Microsoft's XBox 360 can also support pictures, music and movies from a PC using Media Center software. And Netgear's Digital Entertainer EVA8000 and Apple's AppleTV will both support high-definition video sharing across a home network. Apple's product includes a hard disk for storing content should there be network problems.
However, PCs aren't and won't be the only options for expanding viewing choice beyond cable and satellite fare. Akimbo, via an RCA device, and Disney's MovieBeam both offer set-top boxes that deliver movies using the Internet and wireless technologies. Akimbo also offers thousands of programming hours of niche content in addition to movies from the Intenet service MovieLink.
At CES, Sony showed off an add-on module for its Bravia televisions that will receive high-definition content directly from the Internet. Even PC stalwart Microsoft showed television delivery direct to the Xbox 360 enabled by IP television, bypassing the PC completely. In a world where televisions have become so thin that they can go nearly anywhere, it's becoming clear that their video sources will soon come from nearly anywhere.
Ross Rubin is director of industry analysis for consumer technology at The NPD Group. www.npd.com