For years now, there's been a flood of boxes trying to better connect your PC and your TV. So when the $300 Kodak Theater HD Player landed, few took notice. But the device delivers, according to reviews. Online consensus agrees that Kodak, who's new to the TV middle-man game, gets an A for effort. But some waver on what grade it deserves for execution.
The box runs like many of the media server devices out there – bringing together your family's two favorite screens. Kodak Theater HD Player grabs pictures, video, and music then shuttles it over to a TV via ethernet or Wi-Fi. Some kinds of media aren't up to the journey. For example, files with DRM often stumble along the way.
But when it works, "everything actually looks exceedingly good once it arrived at our HDTV," writes Wired, who gave the Kodak Theater HD Player an 8 out of 10. "Displayed in all their high-res, 16:9 glory, our library of digital photos popped off the screen. And with support for most digital media file formats and codecs, we had no problem streaming 1080p video at 30 fps with relatively few hiccups. The player even managed to transform YouTube video into something slightly less horrible — no small feat if you've ever watched YouTube on a PS3 or Apple TV."
Two of the Kodak Theater HD Player's features really shine. First, the motion-sensing remote "works like using a mouse on a TV screen," says the Wall Street Journal. "Wherever you move it, a tiny leaf-shaped cursor appears on-screen. A Hide button on the remote will hide the cursor while you watch slideshows. The remote's Back button is helpful; when pressed, it backs you out of one screen using visual effects that make the screen shrink into the TV as if you were moving backward."
The other standout feature is its clean interface, which makes moving from one media to another easy.
But the Kodak Theater HD Player has some issues. To flip through photos, you'll need to run Kodak Gallery. Most online photo collections – such as Facebook – will not work. There's also no built-in memory for storing images without external sources, but a card slot and USB jack alleviate the problem.