What if you could watch all your favorite movies and TV shows from the comfort of your own home, whenever you want to watch them? Wouldn’t that send your pixels firing on all cylinders?
Well now you can!
Of course, this is nothing new, as one obvious way to do this is through your cable company, which most likely already offers On Demand movies and shows. However, there are many drawbacks to these cable services, with cost being the main concern.
But forget cable services, that’s strictly old school. Right now we are entering the dawn of a new era in home entertainment, heralding the arrival of Multiplex TV.
Mainly because we are looking at the fusion of your TV and your computer screen. The union of your television screen with your computer screen is fast approaching, if it hasn’t arrived yet. He probably ran off while you weren’t looking; but many savvy consumers have already taken note and benefited from these two merged entertainment forces.
Although the use of the Internet as a vehicle to deliver high-quality entertainment to your television screen is still in its infancy, there are a host of services and products that will allow viewers to gain access to streaming TV shows, movies and movies on demand. and original online content across the web. These services will greatly enhance the level of your home entertainment experience and enjoyment.
So the real question is where and how do I get access to this vast and powerful online streaming media database.
There are numerous services that you can choose from and some of them are even free while most of them are subscription based. Regardless, all of them will provide you with more than enough content to fully enjoy streaming media online from the comfort of your own home.
Here, in my opinion, are the best options available right now and some upcoming ones you should know about.
TVersity is a free program that you can download for free from tversity.com. TVersity works by installing a media server on your PC that will stream your media anywhere you want. Paired with a game console like PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, TVersity will open up a wide variety of Internet media for you. One of the main features that makes TVersity so great is that it can convert your files to the correct format for easy streaming. This is very important because certain game consoles can only play certain file formats. TVersity eliminates any playback issues, no matter what kind of media center you’re using, like Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, iPhone, PSP or others.
2. Vizio Connected HDTVs (Available Fall 2009)
Vizio is planning to have its own Internet-enabled HDTV set for release in the fall of 2009. Details are still in the works, but these TVs must have the ability to connect to your home’s Internet feed, via an Ethernet connection or a wireless signal, allowing you to access all online content providers such as Netflix, Amazon, and Blockbuster. If these TVs actually deliver half of what they promise, it may be a worthwhile investment and you should wait until they launch if buying a TV is high on your to-do list.
3. LG NetCast Entertainment Access HDTV (available May and June 2009)
This spring, LG is introducing a TV that has its NetCast Entertainment Access feature built-in. Perhaps seeing the potential that Blu-ray players have with the ability to stream, LG has chosen to ditch the box altogether. There will be four televisions with Internet access: the 42LH50 and 47LH50 LCD televisions and the 50PS80 and 60PS80 plasmas. All televisions will allow access to Netflix, CinemaNow and YouTube; eliminating the need for alternate devices when accessing through an Ethernet connection.
4. Media Mall PlayOn Digital Media Server (Price: $40)
Media Mall is third party software that allows you to watch Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, CBS, CNN, ESPN and more on your TV. Basically, it powers the streaming features of your video game console. You can run the program on your Windows PC and this allows your game console to access the streaming data through your computer, to be displayed on your TV. Isn’t technology wonderful?
5. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (Price: $199 – $299; $399 – $499)
The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 aren’t just game consoles, they also have the ability to be full media centers. For example, Xbox 360 supports Netflix streaming and Xbox Live MarketPlace allows you to purchase movies or TV shows. PlayStation 3 has a similar feature, the PlayStation Network Store, where you can download video content to the internal hard drive for viewing. Also, by adding third-party software, your Xbox and PlayStation 3 can support streaming from Hulu.com, Amazon On Demand, and other similar movie providers.
6. LG BD 370 Blu-ray Player (Price: $330)
This LG Blu-ray player comes equipped with NetCast Entertainment Access. You can stream videos from Netflix, YouTube, and CinemaNow. (CinemaNow is similar to Amazon Video On Demand) The LG BD 370 will quickly become a major asset to anyone’s home entertainment network.
7. Samsung BD-P1600/BD-P4600 Blu-ray Player ($229 – $499)
The Samsung BD-P1600 and BD-P4600 allow instant streaming of Netflix and Pandora, you can also listen to great tunes or watch your favorite movies. Both are Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players, giving you excellent HD quality when using Blu-ray discs. Internet connection is through an Ethernet port.
8. Roku Digital Video Player ($99)
The Roku Digital Video Player is a very affordable way to bring streaming media from the Internet to your TV. It was released when Netflix launched its “Watch Instantly” show. You connect the player to your home network via an Ethernet cable, and then you can select from a wide range of standard to high-definition connections for your TV. The Roku player is also compatible with Amazon On Demand, giving you another great option for watching your movies. You’ll get over 50,000 titles from Amazon Video On Demand and Netflix, many available in HD.
9. Voodoo ($149)
Like the Roku Digital Video Player, Vudu is a box that plugs into your TV and gives you access to over 13,000 movies. Vudu can be a perfect addition to your home entertainment network. You can also listen to Pandora music through Vudu Labs on your TV.
10. Netflix ‘Watch Instantly’
Netflix subscribers who have plans of $8.99 or more can take advantage of Netflix’s “Watch Now” program, which gives them access to over 12,000 movies. You can access this program through your Windows PC, Intel Mac, or a number of other devices, such as Roku Digital Video Player, LG BD 370 Blu-ray Player, Samsung BD-P1600 Blu-ray Player, and Samsung BD-p4600 . Blu-ray playback.
11. Amazon Video On Demand
Amazon Video On Demand has a current catalog of over 40,000 titles to choose from, including HD movies and TV shows that are available to watch in the comfort of your living room. You can buy or rent these movies/TV shows and the prices range from $14.99 to $2.99. It provides a convenient way to watch HD quality movies and TV shows on your TV, all without ever leaving home. Amazon Video On Demand in HD is currently available on the following supported devices, the Roku Digital Video Player, the TiVo S3, the Sony DMXNV1 Bravia Internet Video Link, and Panasonic VIERA Cast-enabled HDTVs.
Together, NBC Universal and News Corp have produced Hulu.com, which offers FREE full-length DVD-quality streaming movies and TV shows over the Internet. Of course, you have to deal with a few 15-30 second commercials from time to time, but the benefits will outweigh this inconvenience for many viewers.
As you can clearly see from the variety and number of different ways you can access streaming movies and TV shows over the internet; Home entertainment is definitely going through a major transition and everyone wants to get in on the action and the potential profits. The common viewer has a wide variety of options and choices when it comes to choosing the system that will allow them to stream videos, movies, and TV shows. It’s a perfect marriage, now let’s bring the honeymoon.