For a few years now, streaming media has been touted as the Next Big Thing at CES. And for about as long it's fallen flat on its face as the year unfolds with the promised products failing to live up to their hype. Enter 2008. Okay, we're hardly fools; you won't catch us claiming this is the year. That said, it's looking far more hopeful than usual. For one, some of the most-anticipated products of previous years are actually hitting the shelves this time around. SlingCatcher, a set-top streamer we've had our eye on for a while is coming out with updated software that sends not just movies or music from PC to TV, but Internet content as well (think Charlie the Unicorn in High-Def). Add to that the creativity and technology behind some of this year's offerings—leaps and bounds ahead of what we've seen previously—and, my friends, well lets keep our fingers crossed.
The television above is from Samsung's new line of Ethernet-equipped HDTVs. After the jump, more streamers than you can shake a stick at.—Abby Seiff
i2i Stream Digital Music Broadcaster
Forget burning CDs. The i2i Stream revolutionizes music sharing—beaming songs from nearly any media source (iPods, DVD players, computers) to multiple users via a palm-sized portable device. A color-coded frequency indicator makes it easy to swap between friends' "channels."
With the highest bandwidth of any high-def streamer, Radiospire's Theater Hub transmits extremely high-quality video and audio without any lag. Its 15 feet range, isn't much compared to other streamers, but they claim an impressive cost/quality ratio—one that would more than make up for not being able to beam content across your mansion.
Samsung's rolling out a bunch of new LCD and plasma [at left] HDTVs with an innovative "Interactive Content" feature. Equipped with an Ethernet connection, they can pull RSS feeds, allowing you to customize your news, weather, sports, and more. All models are equipped with HDMI and USB connections, making it a snap to consolidate your media.
Hyped since last year's CES, the SlingCatcher's finally being released. The ultra-sleek set-top box keeps your content yours, streaming it across a LAN or WAN and allowing you to access shows, or personal content from outside television sets. The bundled SlingProjector goes one step further, sending Internet content (movies, pics, YouTube clips, etc.) straight to the TV.
Free your tunes. The new Squeezebox Duet builds on its predecessor's MO—streaming your computer-imprisoned music through any stereo system—but with a slimmer and more user-friendly receiver. A full-color LCD remote allows seamless control.
NetGear RangeMax Dual-Band Wireless-N Router (WNDR3300)
Simplify, simplify, simplify. This router [left] boasts two bands—one with extra channels for optimal W-iFi connectivity, the other for multimedia streaming. Run both at once and bask in the Automatic Quality of Service, which ensures no dropped calls, jittery video or deadly gaming lag.
With high hopes for a media-rich house of the future, STS's fourth-generation chip sets a high standard for connectivity. Able to both transmit and receive up to eight streams of HD audio content throughout a home (150 feet indoors, 500 feet out) it can beam virtually any type of content to any receiver. Listen to TV through your shower speakers; beam playlists across the house through wireless headphones.
Want more? Check out our entire CES 2008 coverage here.