It wasn't that long ago that Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and Onkyo were locked in a fierce competition in the home theater in a box (HTIB) market. Every year I'd report about the latest advances in their systems in my CNET reviews. These days, fewer people want to deal with all of the wires and setup requirements of a five-speaker, subwoofer, receiver, and Blu-ray player based system. Skinny sound bars that sit under a TV are now more popular than HTIB systems. Most sound bars are 2.0- or 2.1-channel stereo systems, though some promise a "virtual&… Read more
Can your game console act as a TV replacement? Very nearly, now that more and more video apps are hitting consoles at a record rate. HBO Go, which has become a symbol of sorts for the potential of app-based on-demand entertainment as a cable accessory, has hit the Xbox, joining Roku, Android phones, the iPhone, and the iPad -- and, of course, smart TVs and laptops, too.
Unlike IP-based cable provider apps like Time Warner and Xfinity, HBO Go works anywhere in the U.S. just like Netflix, provided you have a subscriber log-in that comes from signing in via your cable provider. Oh, there's one more thing: not all cable providers allow HBO Go to work on the Xbox. Depending on who your provider is, you'll either (a) not be able to use HBO Go, or (b) be able to use it on certain devices, but not others.… Read more
The company's OneCloud app launcher (iOS only so far) is a centralized spot for users to get into business apps, but more important, it's also a window into data and files created in those apps. And it lets users users open files created in one app in another.
My Comcast DVR died last week, so down I went to my local Comcast office to exchange it for a new box. Although I lost weeks' worth of Modern Family (which, inexplicably, isn't offered On Demand), my DVR's death came at a good time because Comcast recently received a new fleet of cable boxes and sent me home with the Motorola RGN200N.
Years ago, I had programmed a 30-second skip button for my old Comcast DVR on my old silver remote. It was a simple process:
1. Press the Cable button at the top of the remote
2. … Read more
Apple may or may not release a television someday. In the meantime, it offers a tiny $99 streaming box called the Apple TV.
The Apple TV has never felt like a revolutionary product, but consistent updates have transformed it from a glorified Netflix player into a solid streaming-video box. Apple's beefed up its channel selection, adding Hulu Plus, in addition to stalwarts like Netflix, MLB.TV, and YouTube. The Apple TV remains deeply integrated with iTunes, allowing you to stream purchased and rented movies and TV shows, plus with iTunes Match you can get access to your entire digital … Read more
Cisco Systems has signed a $5 billion deal to buy set-top box software developer NDS, the companies said today.
NDS, based in the U.K., sells its software platform along with a combined service platform to video service providers. The products allow video providers to deliver a service that easily lets people view, search, and navigate video content at anytime from anywhere.
Cisco plans to use NDS software and services to enhance development of Videoscape, its own video platform for paid TV providers. The company said the NDS acquisition should help it expand into emerging markets, such as China and … Read more
Don't have a dedicated PC on which to install Windows 8? No problem. Just install the OS virtually on an existing PC using a free virtual machine utility.
Various VM applications will let you install an operating system in a virtual environment on your Windows desktop or laptop. But not all are free and not all support the latest Windows 8 beta.
Instead, you can use Oracle's VirtualBox … Read more
Enigma Virtual Box is a free file system virtualization tool that combines any program and all its associated files into a single boxed executable without extracting any files to your hard disk or creating any temporary files. It works by embedding a special loader that emulates the program's file system and directory plus all extra files in your system's memory. You can add all kinds of files to boxed executables, too, including images, videos, and music. With drag-and-drop and one-click processing, it's easy enough for novices, employees, and other non-experts. It supports Windows 2000 to 7, both … Read more
"Star Wars" in 3D is still out in theaters, but why not make some real 3D Star Wars of your own this weekend?
For barely $10 worth of supplies, you can fight off the winter blues with everybody's favorite mercenary Wookiee, Chewbacca. In the second installment of our crafts series courtesy of Bonnie Burton's "The Star Wars Craft Book," we've turned him into a tissue box cover. Raaaaaaaaaaaaaaawwwwrrn! … Read more
Dashboard cameras and black-box technology are great ways to cover your tush in the event of a fender bender. Whether an honest mistake or an intentional insurance scam, video evidence that an accident wasn't your fault can save you big bucks.
While the technology is fairly cheap, odds are that you've already got a GPS-enabled camera suction cupped to your windshield or dashboard on the back of your smartphone. Why not work with what you've got and take advantage of this hardware with a dashboard-DVR app like DailyRoads Voyager for Android?
Essentially, what this free Android app does is continuously record video of the road ahead using your phone's camera while also tracking vehicle speed, location, and G-forces using the onboard GPS receiver and accelerometer.… Read more