But first, a recap: Apple TV is a small device (7.7 inches square and 1.1 inches high) that’s destined for your living room. It attaches to a widescreen digital TV and, optionally, a home theater sound system. After you’ve hooked up an Apple TV and turned on on your TV set, you’ll see a menu of options that are similar to those you’d find on an iPod or in Apple’s Front Row software for the Mac.
In addition to connecting to your TV, the Apple TV connects to your home network, most commonly via 802.11 wireless networking. (Yes, the device has an Ethernet port on the back as well, if your network is wired rather than wireless.) Once that's done, Apple TV can act as a bridge between your computer—which has a hard drive filled with movies, TV shows, music, and photos—and your TV set.
Sounds pretty exciting huh? Of course to get the most out of Apple TV you'll want to invest in the right HDTV. Macworld.com has another nice article that discusses getting the right HDTV for Apple TV that starts out:
With so many HDTVs out there, how do you decide which is right for you? A good start is to first figure out your budget and the size of set you’re looking for. Once you have an idea of what you are willing to spend and how big you want your viewing experience to be, you’ll only be looking at a subset of the various technologies. Then decide which features are most important to you, and try to see a bunch of TVs in action at a few different stores. (We’ve got some recommendations below.) And if you don’t have a surround sound stereo system, it might be a good time to check those out too—most HD programming is delivered with 5.1-channel sound, as are the standard DVDs you already watch.
Overall the list of TVs is pretty small but we agree with their the top item on their list:
Vizio P42HDTV ($1,200): 42-inch plasma display has a bright screen with good image quality and a low-price, but has somewhat over-saturated green tones. Has HDMI and component inputs, integrated HD tuner, 10,000-to-1 contrast ratio, 1,024-by-768 pixel native resolution, and supports 720p and 1080i video.
There's nothing better than being a mobile TVSnob. Back in January we mentioned Sling Media's plan to offer SlingPlayer Mobile for Windows Mobile PDAs, allowing Slingbox owners the ability to stream their television shows to their PDA. Now you download a beta version and according to Sling media:
Beginning April 26th, the retail SlingPlayer Mobile software will be available for $29.99 and includes a free 30 day trial. Slingbox owners who purchase and register their Slingbox prior to April 26th will receive a free license for SlingPlayer Mobile. There are no monthly or recurring charges for the use of SlingPlayer Mobile.
So if you've got a Slingbox and a PDA, you'll want to download the software and give it a shot. If you're considering a Slingbox, you might want to get one by April 26th so you can get SlingPlayer Mobile for free.
If you've got a broadband connected Windows XP PC with a TV tuner, you're pretty close to being able to take your TV on the road with you. All you need now is a Pocket PC and the MyTinyTV software. According to MyTinyTV.com:
No, it's not a replacement for your TiVo, home theater system, big-screen TV or even your regular TV. But it's a great little, ahem, tiny TV that you can use throughout your house. And, you can even bring it along, because it also works across the Internet when you are away from home. Go to your favorite wireless hotspot, like Starbucks, at airports, at hotels, and watch TV. Your own channels from your home cable or antenna, even when you're halfway around the globe. Yes, for remote access you will need a wireless Internet account (for example, as offered by T-Mobile and Verizon) and a pretty decent broadband connection at your house, where the desktop computer with the TV tuner is located.
There's a 7 day trial, so if you're dying to watch the A-Team on the subway, give it a shot.
It looks like Sling Media is listening to Mac users. According to Sling Media's PR:
San Mateo , CA – January 10, 2006 — Sling Media, Inc., a digital lifestyle consumer electronics products company, today announced SlingPlayer Mac, giving Mac users the ability to watch and control their home television from an Internet-connected Macintosh computer anywhere in the world. The software client is in alpha, but the company is conducting a demonstration outside the Macworld Conference and Expo taking place this week in San Francisco, California.
Just like the SlingPlayer software for Windows-based computers, SlingPlayer Mac will deliver the ability to watch living room TV programming from virtually anywhere you can get a broadband Internet connection anywhere in the world. On-screen remote controls will allow full manipulation of the home television source, including the ability to change channels and navigate menus. In addition, if a customer has a digital video recorder (DVR) they will also enjoy those added features including the ability to pause, rewind or fast forward live TV or watch recorded content stored on the DVR.
They've also announced SlingPlayer Mobile for Wndows Mobile PDAs and Smartphones, for you PDA users out there.
If you're a fan of the Starz Network, you'll be interested in their new service called Vongo that goes live today. According to The Starz Entertainment Group:
Vongo is the name of an entirely new Internet video download service that provides a thousand entertainment titles on demand to personal computers and portable media devices. Vongo requires a high-speed broadband connection such as DSL or cable modem. Vongo entertainment offers a high quality video playback with DVD-like features.
Vongo Membership allows members access to a library of over 1000 titles that include new releases bonus materials, extreme sports, concerts and films released in the IMAX® format, as well as great movies from the last 40 years. Vongo Members can watch as many movies from the library as they want (subject to availability), as often as they want all commercial free. The Vongo Membership movie collection is powered by Starz Entertainment Group, the largest provider of premium movie services in the United States. Access to a streaming version of the live Starz television channel is available to Vongo Members at no additional cost. A schedule of the Starz channel is also provided as part of the service.
The Vongo website leaves a lot to be desired and you really have to dig to find out the details. According to MacWorld.com:
Vongo is a subscription-based service that costs $9.99 per month. For that fee, users can watch more than 1,000 movies and video selections as well as a live, streaming Starz TV channel.
Based on Windows Media technology, the service allows users to download movies and videos to “three eligible devices,” and also provides pay-per-view features for $3.99 each.
For now, Vongo works with PCs running Microsoft Windows, certain portable media devices and laptop computers — more announcements of compatible devices are expected to come from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada later this week.
For a service that offers newer movies that can be downloaded to a portable device, we're pretty impressed with the price. Maybe we'll give it a shot a let you know what we think.
I'm pretty excited about anything IPTV related. Making shows available to download and play via the web on my TV - well - wasn't the future supposed to be this way?
"For the last several months, Clarke's television and radio stations have been putting content online using a four-month-old peer-to-peer service called the Open Media Network, which gives public broadcasters an affordable way to distribute high-quality versions of their work on the Net. For now, KQED is doing this with only a few programs--documentaries about San Francisco history or a local park, among others--but more content is on the way. KQED has long experimented with putting video and audio on its Web sites, and the peer-to-peer service now makes it much more affordable to distribute its TV programming online, Clarke said."
Get this for your mac now! It's insane, free, non-profit, tv viewing madness! You can search and find lots of cool stuff and watch it at your leisure. My good friend Steve Garfield has a DTV Channel up right now.
"DTV is a new, free and open-source platform for internet television and video. An intuitive interface lets users subscribe to channels, watch video, and build a video library. Our publishing software lets you broadcast full-screen video to thousands of people at virtually no cost. The project is non-profit, free and open source, and built on open standards. A Windows version of DTV and a full website are well underway and will arrive in the next several weeks."
My god. It's full of stars! You really have to give it to the macintosh audience - when they want to hack something they do it right. Not only does TiVoTool for iTunes & TiVo allow access for anything on your Series 2 TiVo in iTunes, it also decodes and displays the video on the fly in iTunes. Brilliant!