I’ve been looking for a solution to stream high definition files to my TV for
a while, and it looks like NetGear listened.  Yesterday, they announced at
the CES the

EVA8000
, which automatically discovers all your media files (they support
all kinds of formats) on your Mac or PC, including HTDV content (the device has an HDMI connector).

Of course, it will definitely be worth waiting for the iTV announcement
before making a final decision (which might not happen at Mac World, based on
the latest rumors), but streamer devices are fairly common these days, so the
the make-or-break feature will be support for high definition TV.  Let’s
hope Apple delivers on that one.

Speaking of Apple, it’s not exactly been a glorious past month:

  • First, the backdating option scandal that is looming over the company
    (Jobs seems to be fairly safe from it, but it doesn’t mean other Apple
    executives won’t be impacted).
     
  • Then the iTV, which Apple pre-announced six months ago, in a dramatic
    break from their previous tradition (Apple never pre-announces anything,
    they prefer to make big splashes at MacWorld).  Some analysts called
    this pre-announcement a "pre-emptive strike", others identified it as Apple
    running scared that they might not come up with the iTV on time, a
    hypothesis which definitely rings more and more true now, since you can bet
    that NetGear won’t be the only one announcing a streaming device at the CES.
     
  • And finally, LinkSys announcing an iPhone family brand a month ago,
    thereby taking away the alleged name for Apple’s rumored phone.  To be
    honest, this speculation looks a bit silly to me:  if Apple has been
    working on a phone, it’s been for at least a year, and you can be sure they
    already knew back then that this name was already taken.  Anyway, it’s
    funny to see everyone, fans and non-fans alike, getting all excited over the
    issue.

Speaking of Apple’s phone, assuming it’s real, will it be successful?

On one hand, the inexplicable success of the RAZR is unequivocally proving
that phone users are much more interested in the form factor than the UI. 
For having worked to make
Gmail for Mobile
work reasonably well on the RAZR for a while, I can tell
you this is no picnic, and Motorola had to cut a lot of corners in order to make
the RAZR look so good.  Everything in this phone is crippled: 
memory, CPU, screen size and density, etc…  And it’s even worse in the
SLVR.

Still, the RAZR has been one the best-selling phones these past years, so
it’s safe to assume that as long as the Apple phone looks cool, it will sell,
regardless of how good the phone really is.  Which doesn’t mean that you can get away
with anything when you make a phone.  If Apple wants to be able to sell to
the mainstream public (not only Mac users, which only represent less than 5% of
computer users in America), they will have to make it possible to synchronize
their phone with Outlook and all other kinds of Windows-specific software. 

I wonder how Steve Jobs feels about that…