Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

14
Mar 11

The Multimedia Wonderland

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Dunno if you guys saw it or not, but we recently made a video about how all kinds of devices are carrying media in new ways, and I just wrote an article comparing some of the services. So, you may ask, what are these magical fountains from which vast amounts of entertainment are yeilded?  Just about everything. Even my iToaster gets wifi.

Check these gadgets out:

Televisions
Many TVs are now capable of streaming content from providers like netflix, youtube, and hulu plus and also allow for connecting to social media like facebook and twitter. Beyond that, many can connect to your home network, allowing you to view content (like pictures or music) from your home computer directly on your TV. Nothing like viewing embarrassing pictures from a social networking site of cruising youtube on a 46″ screen. 

Blu ray/DVD Players
Already have a nice big TV, but it doesn’t have streaming capabilities? You don’t have to replace it, just get a Blu ray (or DVD) player that can do it! Yep, these guys can do it too. Grab one of these and turn any television into a bona fide media center.

PORTABLE Blu-ray Players
Yep, these come with wifi and streaming capabilities too. Take your media with you.

Xbox 360
Online gaming has been around for a while, and it is continuing to evolve and get more exciting, but the Xbox’s online abilities don’t stop there. First off, the new Xbox has built in wifi, saving you from running cables all over your house or paying for a wireless adapter. Online, you can manage accounts and stream content from your couch. Oh, and this is the really cool thing: you can watch stuff with your friends when you “party up” with them, allowing you to watch a movie with a friend on the other side of the world, all while chatting about it on your headsets.

The iPad
Want all that great stuff in a portable and sexy package? There’s an app for that! These things are the way of the future; they can do just about anything, and I’m pretty sure they’ll soon be able to do anything. Oh yeah, and there’s a recently upgraded new one.

Tivo
It’s already your best friend in the world of television, why not jump into world wide web? Now it’s not gonna tell you what to watch online (yet), but it’ll definitely get you there. At only 89 bucks for the base model, it’s one of the cheapest ways to get your TV streaming online content.

Apple TV
Another affordable option at just $99, the newly redesigned Apple TV is a nice small media hub designed for watching TV or movies downloaded or rented from iTunes. (Yep, they rent too) But that’s not all, it does everything else too, like Netflix, Youtube, and networking capabilities.

D-Link Boxee Box
An entity all of its own, the Boxee Box offers expansive online content with no monthly fee in a cool, easy to use package. This guy is the social (wo)man’s media server with its separate personalized user accounts and content sharing.

When buying, the important thing to know is that most of these devices only allow you access to providers, like Youtube, Facebook, Netflix. If you want full internet access, consider a Sony television with Google TV, a service that allows full internet searches from the TV. Also, some devices (namely the 360 and Tivo) and providers (Netflix, Hulu Plus) require a membership with fees to use the online services, and some services are provided on some devices but not others. As always, it is important to figure out what services you want and make sure you know what you’re getting. Vann’s staff is highly knowledgeable and always ready to help you find what you need. If you’re looking to buy online, there’s always expert advice available by phone or by live chat.



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