Intel Wireless Display: A Sight for Sore Eyes

When I first heard about Intel’s Wireless Display technology after this year’s CES, I was intrigued. This technology, which is built into your laptop, lets you view the contents of your computer on your HDTV. All that’s required is a small adapter, the Netgear Push2TV, that stays connected to your TV. There’s no cable to snake, content to transfer, or file compatibility to worry about. It sounded great.

Now that I’ve spent some time testing out the Intel Wireless Display system, I can say that it lived up to my expectations — for the most part. The system was not without the occasional hiccup, but overall, it provided one of the best ways I’ve found for viewing PC-based content on your TV.

The system is only available on three laptops: the Toshiba E205-S1904, Dell S15Z-2249CPN, and Sony VPCS111FM/S, all of which are available exclusively from Best Buy. As of this writing, the retailer is offering the Push2TV adapter as a free add-on when you purchase one.

Read More about Intel Wireless Display: A Sight for Sore Eyes

Netgear’s New Box Takes Aim at Roku

Netgear LiveNetgear (s NTGR) will release its Digital Entertainer Live set-top box next week, as the company tries a less techie approach to getting over-the-top video to your TV.
The simplified set-top box looks like a router, but is more reminiscent of a Roku with its small, unassuming design. The box is powered by Verismo’s VuNow technology and pipes in web video from YouTube (s GOOG), CinemaNow, and other live and on-demand Internet TV channels (BBC, Revision 3, etc.) as well as connect to your personal media stored on your home network. You can also search for web video through vTap, and access Hulu and Netflix on your TV through the PlayOn software.
Priced at $149, the DEL is aimed at the Roku set (though the Roku is fifty bucks cheaper), and is half the price of Netgear’s more powerful Digital Entertainer Elite ($399). But can Netgear compete with the Roku?
To be fair, I haven’t run the DEL through its paces, but Netgear sat me down for a demo of the device yesterday. Some of it is definitely cool, but there are some big red flags I can see that might hamper widespread adoption of the device.
Read More about Netgear’s New Box Takes Aim at Roku

Trends to Watch For at Mobile World Congress

Next week, while most Americans are lounging about in honor of President’s Day, the people responsible for your mobile phones, netbooks and cellular networks will converge on Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress trade show. Check back on Monday for clues as to what type of devices you’ll be toting in your pockets and purses next year, but in the meantime, here are a few things to look out for, whether you’re at the show or merely monitoring it from elsewhere. Read More about Trends to Watch For at Mobile World Congress

Netgear Unveils Verismo-Based TV Set-Top Box

Netgear announced its new Internet TV Player, the ITV2000, set-top box at CES today. Based on Verismo‘s VuNow, the compact box lets users watch live Internet television programming from around the world, check out web video and access premium content. From the press release:

“[F]or the Internet families who enjoy online video, and for those who are geographically displaced from their preferred television content, such as international sporting events and Bollywood productions. It streams content from popular sites such as BBC.com, CNN.com, ESPN.com, EuroSport.com, NBC.com, PGATour and TMZ.com, as well as video powerhouses YouTube, Google Videos, Yahoo Videos and MetaCafe. NETGEAR’s Internet TV Player supports streaming of live TV broadcasts from Internet sites around the world, and premium, paid movies on demand such as CinemaNow.com, in addition to downloaded videos from sites such as BitTorrent.”

The ITV2000 plugs into your TV and does not require a PC to work. To give you a sense of the functionality, here’s a video demo Liz did of the Verismo box in action last year.

Read More about Netgear Unveils Verismo-Based TV Set-Top Box

YouTube HD on a Big TV (via Netgear)

Netgear threw a press event last night to show off some of the products it will be debuting at CES next month. Among them was its new set-top box, the EVA 9000 Digital Entertainer Elite, which, to my pleasant surprise, can stream HD YouTube videos to an actual HD TV.

How does it look? Awesome. Take a look for yourself. (The demo of YouTube kicks in around the 1:50 mark)

Watching YouTube HD on a big screen, you get a glimpse at YouTube’s future: premium content from networks and studios delivered straight to your TV sans any cable provider. And it makes you realize why the company reversed its position on pre-rolls as they will look just like commercials on a big screen and probably be more tolerated since people will be in their living rooms.

Beyond YouTube, the Netgear box can manage your BitTorrents as well as other video content on your network, and streams other web video like podcasts and such. It currently doesn’t stream Netflix content, but the Netgear rep didn’t rule that out as a possibility. The Digital Entertainer Elite will ship in the first quarter of next year and will be priced at $399. By Netgear’s own admission, the Digital Entertainer Elite is more for the tech-savvy, early adopter, not your average Roku user.

Tour the Video Home of the Future

Wonder what neat tricks your oldteevee will be up to in the near future? Check out two homes of the future, courtesy of HP and Netgear. I recently had the pleasure of touring each facility and caught all the hot, televised action on video. (I gave the GigaOM readers a sneak-peek, but you know you’re still my favorite.)

First up, Brian Burch, HP’s director of marketing for connected entertainment, took me on a tour of the HP Smart Home, an actual 2,000-square-foot, fully functional house built on the company’s HQ. Check out a demo of the MediaSmart TV and Connect, as well as a teched-out kid’s room that would bring a smile to even the most pouty teenager.

Read More about Tour the Video Home of the Future

Tour the Homes of the Future (Jet Packs Not Included)

When I told my colleague Stacey that I was going on a tour of Netgear’s home of the future setup, she asked if I would grab her a jet pack. Much to her (and my) disappointment neither Netgear nor HP‘s “house of tomorrow”-type setups included personal flying transportation. What they did offer, however, was a glimpse into the future of home entertainment. [digg=http://digg.com/gadgets/Tour_the_Smart_Homes_of_the_Future]

Brian Burch, HP’s director of marketing for connected entertainment, took me on a tour of the HP Smart Home, an actual 2,000-square-foot, fully functional house built on the company’s HQ. It’s pretty cool, and packed with gadgets like the MediaSmart TV and Connect, control display for home functions and a teched-out kid’s room that would bring a smile to even the most angst-ridden teenager. Here’s a video walk-through of the house (or as I called it “Cribs: HP”).

Read More about Tour the Homes of the Future (Jet Packs Not Included)

BitTorrent Teams Up With Orb

Popular peer-to-peer network BitTorrent is continuing efforts to grow its reach by signing a partnership agreement with Orb Networks. The agreement bundles BitTorrent’s P2P software with that of Orb’s, which allows users to stream their music, movies or other media to their PCs, phones and other devices.

Users will have the option of downloading the bundled version or not. In practice, an Orb user would get access to BitTorrent content on his PC and then be able to use Orb to stream that content to any of his devices — from a PS3 to an iPhone. Typically BitTorrent is used to download content — video or music — to a personal computer, which is difficult to share within the home.

From that perspective, this alliance with Orb makes a lot of sense, though we’re not sure how big an impact it’s likely to have: As of February 2008, Orb had about 5 million users, big — but not big enough.

Read More about BitTorrent Teams Up With Orb

Ruckus Kicks Up a Fuss Over Wi-Fi

If Ruckus Wireless wins a recently filed lawsuit against Netgear, the Wi-Fi tech developer might want to send a thank-you note to the Patent and Trademark Office. Ruckus sued Netgear and another wireless network developer, Rayspan, in federal court this week, claiming that Netgear infringed on two of its patents. The PTO issued Ruckus one of those patents last year; the second patent was issued just three weeks ago.

Ruckus says in a legal filing that both patents hold innovative technologies that helped make Ruckus “the success that it is today.” If the federal court finds that Netgear and Rayspan infringed on either one, the court could halt sales of a new Netgear wireless router. So the issuance of the second patent could really help Ruckus in court, the same way a second big gun could help a warrior on the battlefield. Read More about Ruckus Kicks Up a Fuss Over Wi-Fi