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New Advances in Home Theater Internet Technology
The technology of home theater gadgets is constantly improving. Many electronics manufacturers have designed innovative and interesting home theater devices, which they show off each year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. In 2009, there was an overwhelming procession of new and improved home theater gadgets. Internet-connected TV is becoming more popular, and there are devices you can buy to avoid replacing your current HDTV with an Internet-connected model. Some of these devices will also allow you to browse files from your computer using your television set. There are additional innovations being made in wireless HD and remote control technology.
This article is the first in a three-part series which will discuss the best and most useful Internet home theater devices shown at the CES 2009. The next article will discuss innovative speaker systems that you can use with your HDTV, and article 3 will detail Blu-ray players, DVD players and DVR devices that you can use with your home theater, including some new and interesting portable devices.
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Kodak Theatre HD Player
When connected to an HDTV, the Kodak Theatre HD Player can be used to view your personal photos and Internet content such as online videos, images and podcasts, and listen to music that's stored on your computer or from an online source, all in full 1080p HD. This innovative device makes it easier to share your personal files with friends and family. The Kodak Theatre HD Player has a motion-sensing remote control that allows you to navigate the menus with a wave of your hand. This compact home theater gadget has a slim profile and supports a wide range of formats and codecs, including DivX, Xvid and WMV-9. You can connect this gadget to your home network to access the Internet features. It also has a collage feature that will allow you to use your home Wi-Fi to view your personal photos on your personal computer, either by topic or in a random collage. It also comes with a service called Café which allows you to personalize your HDTV with your local date, time, weather, as well as online news feeds that you select. You can connect the Kodak Theatre HD Player to your home network with either a wireless or wired connection.
Image Credit: Kodak
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Slingbox is a home theater gadget that allows you to watch and control your television over the Internet. Slingbox Solo allows you to control your cable set top box or satellite receiver and DVR to watch television programs on your computer or mobile phone in standard definition.
Using Slingbox Pro-HD, you can watch television programs on your computer in 1080i HD. In addition, Slingbox Pro-HD can connect to up to 3 home theater devices. Both Slingbox models have an on-screen remote and an electronic programming guide. Slingbox will work with computers running Windows XP, Vista as well as on Mac computers. You will need a high speed Internet connection and a wireless router to use Slingbox.
Image Credit: Slingbox
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Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapter
The Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapter was designed to eliminate unsightly, cumbersome cables between your HDTV or projection TV and other devices, such as your DVD player, Blu-ray player, game console or television receiver. It is capable of transmitting content at full 1080p HD resolution. It also supports DTS-HD Audio, 7.1 Surround Sound, Deep Color and Dolby TrueHD. The Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapter is particularly useful if you want to mount your television on the wall, and the adapter can be mounted on the wall, as well. The Rocketfish WirelessHD Adapter is a bit pricey, but if you want to connect to multiple devices and avoid the necessity of putting holes in your wall, it's probably worth it.
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URC Digital R50 Universal Remote Control
The URC Digital R50 Universal Remote Control features an LCD color view screen and DVR compatibility. It's capable of controlling up to 18 home theater devices, such as your HDTV, DVD player or cable box. It has a Setup Wizard, and codes for most common devices are already programmed into the remote control, making configuration quicker and easier. It has MacroPower buttons which can turn multiple devices on or off at once, as well as other macro capabilities. Unlike some other universal remote controls, you don't have to connect the URC Digital R50 to the Internet or a computer to program it. It's also "Learning Capable," which means that it can learn from other remote controls. It's a comparable in price and features to remotes with similar features, such as those offered by Logitech.
For more tips on buying home theater equipment, read How to Buy a Real Digital Television.
TV and Internet Connectivity Gadgets for Home Theater
There have been considerable innovations in home theater during 2009. Many of these advanced gadgets can connect your HDTV to the Internet and enhance your home theater audio experience. There have also been advances in Blu-ray, DVD and DVR technology.