Barb Gonzalez

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jul 30, 2012  |  3 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $300-$400 At a Glance: Streams from online providers and networked home computers • Kinect voice and gesture command work well • Excellent video and audio quality

Unless you've been living in an isolated compound in Abadabad, Pakistan—and perhaps even if you have—you know that the Microsoft Xbox 360 is a top-ranked video-game console. However, you might not know that it's also a media streamer with access to oodles of online content. In fact, with all the streaming devices, TVs, and connected Blu-ray players I have in my house at any given time, my first go-to player is the Xbox 360. Not only does it have all my favorite streaming services, its Kinect voice and gesture control appeals to my tendency to be lazy.

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jul 26, 2012  |  1 comments
Watching the Olympics on TV was always a frustrating experience for me. Along with the frequent commercial interruptions, I had to sit through hours of weightlifting and shot-putting to see synchronized swimming. (I know, you were sitting through the synchronized swimming to see the shot-put.) But that problem has been solved for the 2012 London Olympics. NBC has created a website and an app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices that will show live coverage of every sport and match from start to finish.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jul 16, 2012  |  18 comments
For those who stream video from online sources, the speed at which data can be sent into their home is critical. If your connection isn't fast enough, streaming video can sometimes stall as it fills the buffer in the receiving device, or the content provider might send a lower-quality stream because it senses that your available speed can't handle anything more. So how much speed do you need?
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jul 12, 2012  |  2 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $99 At A Glance: Great picture and sound quality • Wi-Fi-enabled • Clean, easy-to-use menus • Variety of streaming content services • Quirky difficulties with file indexing

The WD TV Live streaming media player has much in common with its predecessor, the WD TV Live Hub. When the WD TV Live Hub came out, I thought it was the best network media player and streamer on the market. It has a clean menu system; can play movies, music, and photos on my home network, and simply works.

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jun 26, 2012  |  3 comments
If you’re in search of the perfect music station, with a little dedication and patience, you can customize Pandora. For the uninitiated, Pandora is a free online music-streaming service. Unlike other “free” online music services, it can be streamed to smartphones, tablets, TVs, media-streaming devices, and more without a premium subscription fee.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jun 18, 2012  |  4 comments
Streaming media from online sources provides a huge variety of movies, TV shows, and music that can be rented or watched for free. Still, you may have downloaded movies and music and stored them on your computer as well. Your media libraries may be filled with movies, TV shows, music that you ripped from CDs, and/or digital photos you've taken yourself.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Jun 01, 2012  |  7 comments
There is a growing number of media players, media streamers, and other devices that can access Netflix, Hulu, and your own saved media to watch on your TV. The first step in deciding which one to buy is to know why you want it. Do you only want to stream video and music from the Internet? Do you want to watch Netflix or Hulu, or do you like to find unique videos and video podcasts? Have you saved music, photos, and/or videos on your computer that you want to stream to your TV?
Barb Gonzalez  |  May 17, 2012  |  12 comments
In a recent article by Patrick Nelson on the Tech News World blog, he makes the case that Smart TVs are a dumb idea and that they will go the way of the LaserDisc. For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a "Smart TV" refers to a TV that connects to the Internet and your home network, using built-in apps for streaming video, music, photos, games, and more.
Barb Gonzalez  |  Apr 23, 2012  |  4 comments
Perhaps you just bought a media-streaming device or a smart TV that connects to the Internet to stream movies and TV shows from online providers. Where will you get your movies? Is it better to buy, rent, or stream them from monthly subscription services like Netflix or Hulu? If you buy movies, should you download them to your computer or save them to an online cloud service?
Barb Gonzalez  |  Apr 06, 2012  |  8 comments
I recently cut the cord and canceled my cable TV subscription but kept cable-delivered broadband Internet access. Unfortunately, dropping cable TV didn't work for me because my antenna reception is spotty, so I was glad when someone told me that I could connect my TV to the cable jack and get my local channels. Little did I know that I was being "illicit" and that my circumstances were part of a bigger controversy.

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