Boxee has dispensed with their old set top device and replaced it with Boxee TV. The device allows HDTV viewing of the major networks and many other channels with antenna or unencrypted basic cable. Two tuners means that you can watch one movie/program while recording on another. Their No Limits plan means that you can record all you want in a cloud-based DVR and watch when it is convenient on your laptop, tablet or TV.
As a bonus, it will come pre-installed with apps like Netflix, Pandora and YouTube with more to come in the future. It is due out in November with a $99.00 price for the box and a $14.99 monthly subscription rate.
Another solution to having an all-in-one media center comes in the form of the TVPlug. The clever gadget replaces your WiFi Router, USB external drive and can record and save TV programs to view on your computer. Available in black or white, it is compatible with both iOS and Android portable devices so that you can view on the fly when you have time to spare.
Sign up for the Dish Network and you can get their latest gadget, the Hopper. The DVR records and stores up to 2,000 movies and TV episodes. Up to 6 HD movies or other content can be recorded at once and can be watched on up to four different HDTVs. The cost of the Hopper is $99.00 with a $24.99 monthly contract, free with the pricier plans. We should warn you that living in a suburban situation that has a tendency towards nasty weather is not conducive to dealing with a temperamental dish.
Turn your iPad/iPhone/touch into a karaoke machine with Soulo. It has a microphone and software that displays the words. The kit comes with a few preloaded tunes and hundreds can be downloaded from the Soulo store for $.99 each. Amateur fanatics can make a video of the experience to share with others. Choose between the regular kit with a wired microphone with pitch correction for $69.00 or a wireless version with receiver for $99.00. Look for them to release a mic with enhanced audio capability later this year.
AT&T's latest improvements include a wireless receiver for its U-verse customers that should simplify where you hook up your TV, including outside or a garage man-cave. It works with your gateway and multiple viewing devices. Of course it still has Total Home DVR capability with record, playback, pause and rewind whatever room you are now. The WiFi receiver will cost you a one-time $49.00 fee and $7.00 rental per month.
TiVo Premiere Elite has been released with 4, count 'em, four digital tuners so that you can record four different movies, TV shows or the latest baseball game to save for later. The DVR also has a 2 TB hard drive, up to 300 HD hours of programming and THX certification. You still need to subscribe to their service for $19.99 a month ($499.99 one time fee) but you get the luxury or rewatching that grand slam over and over and over...
Creatively naming its affordable 3D camcorder Bloggie, Sony's latest entry offers 3D video and still image recording, 1920x1080p MP4 HD video w/5MP still images, 3D viewing on 2.4" LCD (no glasses needed,) and records up to 4 hours of 3D or 2D HD video with 8GB of memory. Other features include SteadyShot image stabilization, auto-macro shooting, 4x digital zoom, flip out USB arm and pre-installed software.
Polaroid's Touch has a hi-res 2.8"touchscreen with built-in speaker, an 8GB memory and a microSD card slot. This means up to 2,000 tunes, 12 hours of video or 16,000 photos. The MP4 Player has USB 2.0 Hi-speed file transfer, very handy for those last thousand family reunion pictures.
Kaleidescape's Cinema One holds up to 225 DVDs or 2,500 CDs. It is an easy setup and, with an added junior remote, will switch to a simpler user interface for your kids. Incorporated are 2 music zones that will play in other rooms while a movie is being watched. The company also provides movie collections that you can purchase but considering that the system is $4,999 you may want to think about that option.
Logitech has an external DVD/CD burner that weighs a mere 300g and comes in scratch and dirt-resistant aluminum black (or red and black for those who want to show it off.) With 6x DVD±R DL and 8x DVD±R/+RW capability, plug the LDR-PME8U2V into your USB 2.0. The company has included video programs CinePlayer5 and audio Roxio Creator XJ. Look for a MSRP of ¥9,600 (~$117.00.)
For anyone who made stop animation with a still camera and a gazillion hours of work, rejoice in the fact that your kids (and you, if you borrow it) will love Digital Blue's cute and simple camcorder. At a size of 3.6 x 1.6 x 2.6", the Lego Stop Animation Video Camera records both regular and stop animation with a 1.5" rotation color screen, a macro lens for close-ups and can hold extra video with SD card (not included.) The package includes Stop Animation Studio Software CD, adjustable tripod. and two LEGO mini-figures.
The TiVo Premiere had an official release back in March, but they have now integrated with Cox OnDEMAND service. The Premiere box is optional but you will get free installation if you decide to purchase one. If you don't have Cox, you can get a CableCARD from them for access to their services that will now include more movies, music, multi-room viewing and TiVoToGo functionality.
AT&T's latest bonus for its U-verse subscribers is a Mobile App for iPhone and BlackBerry Torch. Content streamed from 10 networks, Including Disney, ABC and ESPN can be set up to record on your DVR or portable device and stored up to 2 - 3 weeks. If you don't already have the service, pick up a U300 or U-450 package and get a $75 iTunes gift card as a bonus.
Hook Plextor's BD-ROM Drive up to your USB port and you get Blu-ray playability with no extra cables needed. The PX-B12OU can also burn DVDs and CDs and is barely larger than the discs it houses. The drive, available for $99.99, can turn Plextor's soon-to-be PlexMedia into a serious player.