Antenna Sales Increase as More Users Turn to OTA Reception – Although the majority of homes continue to be served by cable and satellite providers, over-the-air reception is increasing for many reasons: higher costs, billing add-ons, service outages, contact difficulties, waits for in-home service, missing reception of local stations, and the ability to receive the highest-res uncompressed signal for free are among them. Since HDTV reception is an either/or proposition in many areas and more sophisticated antennas are required for digital, many of those owning the 117 million TV sets without cable or satellite connections are turning to new indoor or outdoor OTA antennas such as those offered by Antennas Direct.
Pioneer Stops 42-inch Plasmas – Pioneer – probably the leader in plasma video displays – will no longer manufacture the very popular 42-inch size but instead purchase them from Panasonic. This show a feather in the cap of the LCD manufacturers, as that format has become higher res and lower cost. Pioneer will continue to focus on 50-inch and larger plasma panels.
You Need a Media Extender – Even if you haven’t yet joined the legions running around hooked to various portable digital devices, you probably have at least a portion of your music collection stored on your computer. And now more and more video is being downloaded as well. But most computers have poor audio playback quality and small screens and you would prefer to listen or watch comfortably on your sofa or recliner in the living room, right? What you need is a media extender.
Apple TV is the luxurious solution, basically an iPod for your television set. Microsoft has their version, the Linksys Media Center Extender with DVD. More inexpensive is the SanDisk Sansa TakeTV – basically a little USB flash thumb drive. The Slingbox SOLO lets you watch TV on the road on your laptop or even a compatible smartphone, using the Internet. You could also look for a USB D-to-A converter to bypass the low-quality sound card in your computer and get better sonics out of the music stored on your hard drive. Of course you’ll want to record it originally as standard 44.1K PCM or at least Apple lossless files if want to maintain high sonic quality.