July 16, 2008 Kodak’s new Theatre HD Player is a Wi-Fi-enabled set top box that connects to your HDTV. Kodak describes the unit as, "An interactive device displaying personal content - pictures, video, podcasts, music - and Web-based content on a HDTV, while wirelessly connecting to a household's private Wi-Fi network.” The Wi-Fi connection allows the unit to connect to websites such as Kodak Gallery and Flickr for photos, YouTube for video content, and RadioTime for streaming audio. Jumping on the Wii bandwagon the Theatre HD Player also includes a gyroscopic remote, which allows users to navigate the on screen menus with a wave of the hand.
The device includes multiple flash card slots, a USB port, and HDMI and component output connections for 720p video playback of content stored on your PC’s hard drive. The Theatre HD Player also allows users to connect their digital camera, sort through the pictures on the TV, and send the best ones to a PC for safekeeping. Backdrops, slideshow settings, and choice of screensaver can also be changed to personalize the player.
While it is reportedly easy to use with an easy to navigate menu system, David Carnoy, who got a first hand glimpse of the unit at a product unveiling, rightfully points out that the US$300 price tag might be a bit too much for something that seems to be directly competing with Apple TV or a PS3 but doesn’t include any built in storage or Blu-Ray player. Only time and the spending public will tell.
The Kodak Theatre HD Player is set for a September release with a retail price of US$300.