SmartHome Improvement: The Video Encoding Blues

2010-12-02 16.12.17 thumbnail.jpgAfter a long day, it's always nice to kick back and veg out to a movie. The old-school home would force you to get off the couch and fish through a wall full of discs. Quaint, I know, but in this age of smart homes, digital downloads, and media streaming  it should be so much easier, right? Wrong! Here’s the trouble –the movie file you want to watch is encoded in .avi for Windows; meanwhile, some device wants it as a H.264 in a .mp4 shell with AAC audio, so without a codec update you can’t interpret the compression… Huh?  Feeling lost?  Don’t worry you’re not alone. So was Darren. Video encoding issues have become the Achilles’ Heel of home entertainment.  With iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, and PlayOn showing us how great it can be to have video as data instead of on discs, one major point is underscored: If we own video content, we should be able to watch it wherever we want! For this installment of SmartHome Improvement, we're going to try and make things a little easier for you.

SmartHome Improvement: Xbox Streaming

 NAME If you’re like Darren and me (but not too much like us…that’d just be downright creepy), you want to be able to watch movies, TV shows, home videos, and the occasional music video (last night, it was Muppets doing Bohemian Rhapsody for me) from anywhere in your home. Even if said content is stored on a computer in another room. Nowadays, practically all our music has gone digital – and video content isn’t too far behind. We’re going to show you how to easily stream that video throughout the house on this installment of SmartHome Improvement…using your Xbox 360!

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