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Extending your Media Center

Extending your Media Center

To get your media content from the computer to the living room entertainment center generally involves either lugging a computer in to connect directly, or using some kind of media extender.

These devices connect via your home network to the computer storing your photos, music, and videos, and provide easy output via standard A/V jacks. They usually include some kind of user interface for navigating the content on your computer.

The Thunderbridge Media Extender from GAT offers standard media-extender connections that offer the ability to stream many kinds of audio and video, plus it offers media card slots for plugging SD and compact flash cards directly from your digital camera or other portable device. It will also up-convert your video to 720p or 1080i, for HD compatible output. Dressed up in a small, stylish black or silver case, it would fit into the living room better than some more blocky extenders we've seen.

But if the idea of having a media extender box eating up even a little valuable shelf space by your TV is too much to handle, Digitrex, the new U.S. arm of Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer Jiangkui Group, is introducing a line of three LCD TVs with media extenders built in.

The Digitrex JFN-4650W is a 46-inch HD LCD display that carries the Microsoft Plays for Sure seal and connects wirelessly through your home network to any Windows PC with the Windows Media Connect client or Windows Media Center Edition. It's also available in 40-inch and 32-inch versions. Digitrex say it's the first-ever wireless HD LCD with Plays for Sure certification, and as we haven't heard of any others, we're inclined to believe them.