Netflix Blu Ray Player 2010
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Getting your TV to double as an all-in-one set-top box or computer sounds like the Holy Grail of living room entertainment. Why pay $75 per month for cable when Hulu streams TV for free, Netflix streams unlimited movies for less than $10 a month, and Amazon offers 50,000 on-demand titles? Why have a Blu-ray player when Vudu streams 1080p video? Why sit with a laptop when news, social media updates and video chat are all available on a big screen, alongside all that video?
Here's what we know right now: Consumers want more media to come through their TVs, especially video content. More than 27% of new TVs sold in January 2010 can be connected to the Web, according to research firm iSuppli, whether it's through the TV itself, game consoles, specialized boxes like Roku or Vudu, a Web-enabled disc player or through a PC.
It's expected that 25% of HDTVs shipped this year will be Internet-ready. The best of these sets do an admirable job of integrating Web content like news, social media, streaming audio and video and, soon, video chat. That said, these TVs still aren't as versatile as the common combination of cable, a game console or disc player and a laptop. Web TV complements a full entertainment system, but it doesn't define it.
D-Link is set to release this year the Boxee Box, which is basically hardware that runs the intuitive Boxee media library software. Google is hard at work with Sony , Intel and Logitech on Google TV. The companies have a working prototype of their own box, but "the technology might be incorporated directly into other TVs or other devices, like Blu-ray players," the New York Times reported last month. Apple TV could also see some sort of upgrade or repositioning--never count Apple out of anything it puts its mind to.
Another issue to consider is that connected TVs, at least those currently on the market, are basically "closed" devices with only a few exceptions. The software, or "widgets," that come built into TVs are pretty much the widgets you're stuck with until the manufacturer offers a firmware update. For example, all 2010 LG NetCast-enabled model come with video-chat service Skype (functionality begins this summer). Anyone who owns last year's models can't get the upgrade without buying a new TV.
So what should you take away from this? Basically, don't buy an HDTV just because it's a connected model--buy it because it has a fantastic picture. It'll probably be connected anyway, but you'll probably want to keep your Blu-ray player and cable TV hooked up, and maybe even look into one of those game-changing set-top boxes when they come out. If you do want to go connected, here are a few new HDTVs with great performance and connectivity.
The Toshiba BDX K100KC is a Special Edition Costco Blu-ray play which is essentially the same as the Toshiba BDX-1100 Blu-ray player which was previously reviewed last month and sold at most retailers. We cannot see any difference between the two model numbers.
The Toshiba BDXK100KC is a stylish Blu-ray DVD Disc player which does everything you want a basic Blu-ray player to do. It plays the most popular video formats BD-ROM, DVD, BD-R, BD-RE, DVD-R, DVD-RW, CD-R, CD, CD-RW, AVCHD and CD-DA. It automatically Up Converts non 1080P formats to 1080P with good clarity. It provides support for MP3 audio playback in two channel stereo and has built in surround sound decoders for Dolby Digital, Dolby True HD and Dolby Digital plus, DTS and DTS HD.
If on the other hand you are a heavy DVD viewer and require support for 3D, WMA, Streaming internet services like NetFlix then the Toshiba BDXK100KC is not the blu-ray player for you and we would recommend either a Panasonic BD65 or Sony PS3.
To a certain extent, these devices duplicate services you may already have. Your cable company offers on-demand shows and movie rentals, and some Blu-ray players and games machines such as the Xbox 360 and Wii provide Netflix subscribers with access to on-demand movies. What this new wave of set-top streamers brings to the show is a greater pool of video and radio from online sources -- the iTunes Store, Flickr and podcasts from the Apple TV; Pandora and Amazon Video On Demand from Roku's XD line; and almost everything on the Web from the Google TV-based Logitech Revue.
Once set up, the Revue's Google TV interface shows an easy-to-navigate system with a left-side menu that includes applications such as NBA Game Time, Google Chrome and a media player that plays video from locally networked computers or USB sticks plugged into either of the Revue's two USB ports. You can queue up or bookmark videos, get to Web sites and other video sources you access most frequently, and even browse what's on live television, all from top-level menus.
Once set up, the Revue's Google TV interface shows an easy-to-navigate system with a left-side menu that includes applications such as Google Chrome and a media player that plays video from locally networked computers.
As you'd expect from a Google-based product, the video search option is excellent. You can call it up from a looking-glass button on the keyboard remote. When you're searching from the main menu, you can find a movie or game on your DVR, TV or online by typing in only a few letters. But if you're in, say, the media player, you'll get results only from your PC or Mac library.
Steven (New England): Hey Mark,Using the Santana Trade as a template: Is a trade of Boston players: Casey Kelly (5 star prospect), Jed Lowrie (MLB Utility INF possible SS/2B), plus a B/B- level prospect like a Gibson (SS)[Navarro (INF) or Lin (OF)] for Doc Halladay work?Remember, Santana netted the Twins Carlos Gomez, great defense with a progressing bat, and the Mulvey/Humber/Guerra trio. Not a very impressive bevy of pitchers.In short, Minnosota received 1 really good player plus some filler in the trade - due to Santana's trade demands, his potential extention price tag and having only 1 year left on the existing contract.The Blue Jays can't possibly get much more than the Twins received in their Trade?
Ethan (New York, NY): Would you expect Ben Zobrist or Aaron Hill to duplicate their performances in 2010? Between those two and Gordon Beckham's move to 2B, how much more or less valuable is a premiere second baseman next year?
Marc Normandin: I actually like Ben Zobrist a lot. He hit pretty well in 2008 too, so it's nice to see him keep things going this past season. I haven't looked at Hill in detail yet (second base is this week's ranking redux though, so you won't have to wait long), but if the three of those players continue to hit, then yes, second base has a lot more worthwhile options that might add some depth to the rankings.
Johnny Tuttle (Exhibition Stadium): In a keeper/dynasty format, I'm trying to decide generally what to do with a few older players. The principle debate is, of course, sell off before drop off or squeeze til the last drop. Do you have a general attitude here, or do you case by case? My gut reaction is different for a Mo Rivera (hang on 'til the end) than it is for a hitter (I've got a few older hitters, and I wonder about selling them off now here and there).
Marc Normandin: It's strange, because the sense of personality is different. It's not its own game in the same way that Mario World of Mario 3 are, as it acts as more of an homage to Mario greatness of the past rather than inventing new worlds and ideas for you to explore, but at the same time, it's very, very refined Mario platforming, and the fact that it combines so much from past games makes it somewhat of a Mario: Greatest Hits title. In that sense, yes, it could be the best 2D Mario platformer. Throw in the multiplayer and I think you have a strong argument for an instant classic that stands with Mario's best sidescrolling moments.
Marc Normandin: I think it would depend on the child. I think I was 5-6 when I started playing games and knew what I was doing, but I could be remembering incorrectly. There are definitely a lot of games for younger players on the system, though they are still usually a year or two ahead of what you're asking for.
Marc Normandin: I've actually been running over this question in my head the last week or so, as I think about where the Padres are heading in 2010 and as I try to find a suitable replacement for my now retired Brian Giles Padres t-shirt. If you could promise me that Headley would field well at third base, I might consider moving Kouzmanoff if there's a market for him. Kouzy is a pretty good glove at third though, and both guys have their question marks at the plate on occasion, meaning that I would prefer the guy with the glove to the guy without one, all other things being equal.
Marc Normandin: Word on the street (which in part I think I heard from you, actually) is that he can field very well, and though it goes without saying he won't slug .561 in 2010 if he plays everyday, as long as he's passable at the plate and can field he's a valuable SS.
Marc Normandin: Oh boy.Xbox 360 has a deep back catalog, maybe a little deeper than the PS3, but it's exclusives are weaker and weakening, and the fact that the wireless is not built in means you need to pay $400 for the console rather than the advertised $300. Xbox Live is worth the $50 price tag, but it does cost $50. Also, charge stations for controllers cost money, so that's more to spend in the future on accessories.The Wii can be had for $200, but you will spend more on controllers to knock it closer to the 360/PS3 price range if you want to play to the system's strength, which is living room multiplayer. The game library is much deeper than people realize, thanks to a string of underrated, undersold and more arty concept titles that haven't made it to the big budget HD systems. Virtual Console means that you can download loads of classic titles, which for a retro gaming junkie like me is huge points.The PS3 costs $300 now and has a blu-ray player, as well as streaming Netflix like the 360. That makes it the entertainment center of choice, and the growing library of strong exclusives also makes it a great choice for gaming. Online play is free, wireless is built in.You can't go wrong with any of them honestly. I have all three and I go through stretches where I play one more than the other two, but it always evens out in the end. 2b1af7f3a8