We evaluate a collection of media players to find the best one
If we strip away everything else, your choice of car doesn't matter so long as it gets you from Point A to Point B. However, there are all kinds of factors that separate a hot rod from jalopy on wheels, including price, performance, amenities, maintenance, and more. So it goes with media players, which are vehicles for your music and movies.
Like cars, not all media players are created equal. Some are big and bulky, others are lightweight and nimble. If you all you care about is the ability to play your favorite song over and over, just about any media player will do, but why short change yourself? Of course, going through the process of testing them all is a daunting task, so it's understandable if you want to roll the dice with a random selection.
Better yet, get your click (or tap) finger ready and digest our evaluation of some the most popular (and not so popular) media players around. As we go from one selection to the next, we'll tell you what we like and despise about each one, and then pick a winner.
Remember that scene in Step Brothers when Dale Doback and Brennan Huff meet for the first time? They stare each other down and insist on being called Dragon (Dale) and Nighthawk (Brennan). It's a scene that immediately came to mind when we found out Microsoft's Office productivity suite had wandered over to iOS to meet the iPhone -- and only the iPhone -- in the form of Office Mobile.
Just about everyone has a smartphone or tablet these days, so in addition to buying family/friends physical gifts, why not gift a few apps this holiday season? Ranging anywhere from $1 to $30, apps are like digital stocking stuffers, perfect as last minute purchases that won’t break your budget.
Microsoft has suffered through more than a few security embarrassments over the years, but at least according to Kaspersky Labs, the Redmond based software giant is back in control. The security researchers have named the top 10 offending companies/products, and for once, Microsoft has been knocked off the list thanks to improvements in Windows 7 & 8. Automatic update mechanisms are citied as the top reason for the high profile exclusion, and have indeed done an amazing job of keeping hackers at bay.
Want to see the top 10 worst offenders? Hit the jump to see the list.
Microsoft on Sunday introduced the world to Xbox Music, a streaming music service available exclusive to Windows 8 and Windows RT device owners. It's being billed as the first all-in-one music service, and it one-ups streaming services like Spotify by giving Windows 8/RT PC and tablet owners the ability to play specific songs on-demand without having to pay a subscription fee. Microsoft says its music catalog extends to tens of millions of songs (over 30 million), all instantly available to stream and/or to create an unlimited number of playlists.
Technology is transforming the humble idiot box into a powerful Internet appliance. Whether you call it “smart TV,” “connected TV,” or “Internet TV,” it has the potential to upend our boob tube experience, letting us watch our favorite shows whenever and wherever we want, and merging TV shows with online content in cunning, clever ways. Smart TV won’t prevent television from rotting your brain (it’s not that smart), but it should empower you to find, and get more from, all the content that’s available.
Hollywood studios and TV networks are finally waking up to the power of the Internet, thanks to pioneering efforts by the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu. And if you can wait for pay-TV services such as HBO and Showtime to release their original programming on DVD, you can seriously consider ditching your expensive cable or satellite subscription services, too.
In the following pages, we’ll solve all the mysteries of smart TV. We’ll explain every important service and device that falls under the smart TV rubric (omitting only the most obvious players, such as YouTube), and tie everything together into a neat and simple package. It’s time to turn on and tune in.
iTunes killer. We're not saying Google is or is not an iTunes killer, but now that the sultan of search has removed the beta label from its Google Music platform and opened its disco doors to the public, we wanted to throw those two words out there so you can get used to seeing them. Google Music is officially open for business and you can bet there will be lots of comparisons to iTunes. So, were the rumors and speculation right on the money?
The promise of cloud computing is simple. Platforms don’t matter, and accessing your data is seamless experience from any Internet connective device with a modern browser. These values are usually considered sacred when setting out to create a new cloud service, but apparently Apple didn’t get the memo.
Songs from the cloud? No, its not the name of a LSD-induced Beatles guitar-fest. It's the future of music, from the sounds of it, and it has all of the major players rattling their sabers and baring their teeth at one another. In an obvious grab at some of Apple's musical market share, Google and Amazon have both recently rolled out cloud-based services that let users upload music to company servers, then stream the songs to Internet-connected devices. Apple's response? "Pfah! Who needs uploading?"
The thing about train wrecks is once an out-of-control locomotive steamrolls off of the tracks, there's no telling where it will land. Such is the morbid curiosity that comes from seeing where Charlie Sheen will take his antics next. He's tried talk shows, live streaming, and even the stand-up variety show circuit. What's left to, um, conquer? The mobile app world, duh!