For years TiVo has quietly ranked among the best DVR options money can buy, and now, with the TiVo Roamio ($200-$600), it's just gotten a lot better. It's still the only set-top box that connects to your cable, offers the ability to record a ton of HD content, and houses all the video apps you love (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube) — but now you can also watch all of your recorded content on any iOS device with the TiVo app. Additionally, it can play your music, photo, and video library, includes WiFi, can record up to six shows at once, and has the capacity to hold up to 450 hours of HD video. Not too shabby.
Looked at only as a piece of stunning industrial design, the LG Portable LED Projector ($700) has enough to make Dieter Rams and his ilk a bit jealous. Taken for what it is — a highly-portable, internet-connected LED projector — there's not much there that disappoints. This tiny device (under five by five by three inches and weighing just over a pound) packs everything you'd want in a projector: built-in Wi-Fi, the ability to project up to a 125-inch screen, HDMI connection, and WXGA (1280 by 800) resolution. It can also mirror content from any Miracast-equipped device. Unfortunately, that seems to rule out iOS devices, at least for now.
For years we haven't seen much innovation in TVs beyond growing screen sizes and shrinking costs — but that all changes with the LG Curved OLED TV ($15,000). The first organic LED display to hit the United States market, it passes electrical current through a biological substance that glows without a backlight. This gives it the truest blacks and most vibrant colors of any display, while maintaining a 4.3 mm thickness and 38 pound weight (unheard-of for a 55-inch screen). Couple that with a curved design that delivers an I-Max-like experience, 3D tech, and smart TV functionality, and you've got one hell of an addition to your living room.
Trying a different tack than other internet-connected TV peripherals, the Chromecast ($35) from Google lets you wirelessly stream content from your device — a Chrome browser-equipped laptop, iOS or Android smartphone, or tablet — to your HDTV. With this tiny dongle, you'll be able to watch video from services like Netflix, YouTube, Google Chrome, and (with a forthcoming update) Devour on a full-size display. It's easy to set up, small, and capable of streaming content in full 1080p HD, with 5.1 surround sound. If you buy it now, they'll even throw in three months of free NetFlix, not bad.
Aiming to simplify our TV watching experience, Fan TV ($TBA) integrates everything — live TV, DVR, on-demand, streaming — into one smart device. It combines two components: a trackpad remote, Apple-like in its simplicity, and a tiny set-top box, replacing the clunky one from your cable or satellite provider. The touch-based remote also replaces its button-based counterpart, allowing you to control everything from channels and volume, to a search screen for seamlessly finding content across each of your services. It streams all of its content — even live TV — from the web over Wi-Fi, so no more ugly coaxial cables; that's great news for cord cutters.
Why put a regular old theater in your house when you can put an IMAX in your house? The IMAX Private Theatre ($TBA) promises exactly that. Modeled after IMAX's private screening room which has played host to many filmmakers coming to see their films in IMAX for the first time, this integrated solution includes all the custom IMAX hardware — including proprietary, state-of-the-art dual 4K projection systems and a 7.1 channel laser-aligned sound system — as well as consulting from IMAX specialists who work with your architects, interior designers, and installers to ensure that everything is built to the company's exacting performance standards. How much does it cost? If you have to ask....
Not satisfied with the IR-only capabilities of the Logitech Harmony Touch? Feast your eyes on the Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote ($350). True to its grandiose name, this powerhouse might look a lot like the Touch, but uses RF signals to communicate with a Hub that in turn issues signals over Infrared and Bluetooth to everything from TVs to PS3s. It also controls Philips Hue lights, and offers its own 2.4" touchscreen — but if you'd rather use something a bit larger, you can download the Harmony app and control the whole show from your smartphone or tablet.
We're still a ways off from 4K being mainstream, so if you're one of the lucky few with a 4K-capable set and a dearth of content to show on it, the Sony X1 4K Media Player ($700) should be able to help. Arriving this summer, the player will come pre-loaded with 10 movies of varying quality, ranging from the Adam Sandler/Andy Samberg horror show That's My Boy to all-time classic Taxi Driver. Perhaps more importantly, that content is only there to tide you over until Sony's distribution service launches later in the year, giving you fee-based access to content from Sony Pictures and the always mysterious "other notable production houses". Still, it beats watching upscaled 1080p content — unless we're talking about Battle: Los Angeles, in which case we'd rather watch 480p reruns of Coach off of Netflix.
Well, we all knew it was coming. Apparently sick of ever-thinning bezels, the designers of the Philips DesignLine TV ($TBA) decided to get rid of it altogether, building it into a frameless sheet of glass. Thanks to the unusual design, it can be leaned against a wall, stood up, or hung on the wall, but still offers features like integrated Wi-Fi, a Full HD LED panel, 3D Max, Ambilight on three sides, and SimplyShare to easily send photos and videos from iPad and iPhone to the TV. No word yet on a US release.
Less standalone player and more PS3 with the gaming part thrown out, the Sony S5100 Blu-ray Player ($TBA) is set to become the centerpiece of your home theater. Sporting a sleek, angular design, it offers 3D playback support, built-in Wi-Fi with improved range, access to more than 100 apps and services, including Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video on Demand, YouTube, Slacker, and more, compatibility with the TV SideView app that lets Android and iOS users control the box from their device and "throw" content from the device to the player, and NFC technology for doing the same thing without the need for a separate app. Coming this spring.
Whether you're looking for a major upgrade to your business' outdoor seating area or just want to host the best outdoor movie screenings around, the C Seed Outdoor LED TV ($655,000) should fit the bill. Designed by Porsche Design Studio, the C Seed boasts seven LED panels that raise and unfold in 25 seconds to create a seamless, 201-inch 16:9 display with a total of over 725,000 LEDs and a 100,000 Hz refresh rate. The screen is height-adjustable, can rotate up to 135 degrees to the left or right, and is complemented by a robust sound system featuring 6 speakers for the left and right audio channels, as well as three 700W subwoofers. A radio control, digital wireless HD video link, and glass-fiber data lines take care of getting content to the display, and should you worry about the weather, integrated wind, temperature, and laser sensors make sure everything stays safe and sound in bad weather. [Scouted by Ben]
You might not have any way to get 4K content on it, but if you're preparing for the future of TV and want a huge screen, you might want to check out the Samsung S9 UHD 4K TV ($40,000). Starting at 85 inches and going up to a massive 110, this space-age set boasts 2.2 channels of 120 watt sound, Precision Black Pro technology for outstanding color reproduction and contrast, and an up-scaling engine to make your standard HD content look better. But the real highlight is the unique frame, which suspends the panel inside an oversized, squarish frame that's sure to become the centerpiece of your living room or theater.