Archive for the ‘Home Entertainment’ Category

The case for the writer’s strike

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Growing up in a union family, I’ve always had sympathy for the working man (ok, I’m also a working man, but you get the point).

Admittedly, some unions are better than others and not knowing both sides of the case, I whole heartedly, with full disclosure, present this video I found today about the writer’s strike going on in Hollywood.

Godspeed, Writer’s Guild of America and good luck. I’d like to see the Daily Show again this year.

Macworld 2007

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

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Just a few quick general impressions from the show today.

iPhone and AppleTV

First, iPhone and AppleTV are two huge new platforms for Apple to develop and deserved the spotlight today. That said, not really being able to touch or to truly get a “live” demo of the iPhone was a bit of a bummer. I guess this is why Apple usually doesn’t release products that aren’t done.

[Jan 10, 2007 – David Pogue gets a hands on with the iPhone – “Typing is difficult”

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The AppleTV seems to be on the surface of things a great platform for Apple to develop. That said, I think they may need to do some convincing to those of use with HDTVs. While photos look great on this device, video was …lacking. Maybe it’s the fact that I was looking at a 42″ HD set from less than 3 feet away, but video looked kind of horrible. I’m not sure if it is the device or the video, but man, it didn’t look good.

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Fanboy Whining

No Macworld would be complete without a little complaining. I know we’ll see it soon, but I really, really wanna see what Leopard looks like. I get that two big products were introduced today, but what’s shipping from today? Typically, we get a little software to play with before the hardware ships, so I’m bummed that we didn’t get iLife ’07 today. I suspect that it is tied to the features in Leopard we haven’t seen yet.

Finally

From a visit to Macworld perspective, Macworld is pretty boring. Folks at home are getting as much of a hands on experience as we are at the show. However, the AppleTV and iPhone launch are the most significant new directions we have seen from Apple in years. Exciting times, indeed.


More pictures from the show

Links for Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday, September 11th, 2006

What is pretexting?
I’ve only kinda sorta followed the whole HP fiasco, but here is Valleywag’s explanation of what the hell pretexting is.

New Influencers
Draft chapters of the new book Paul Gillin about blogging and the influence it has in the world. Paul wrote the book to “help marketers understand the changes that social media are creating in influence patterns in their customer base.” [via MicroPersuasion]

Apple Rumor Roundup Roundup
It’s “Showtime” for something from Apple tomorrow. Here’s a list of the prognosticators:

Wired Blogs – Wired has collected a brilliant set of mockups
TechCrunch
TUAW
Gizmodo
MacRumors
ThinkSecret
The Apple Core

Monday links

Monday, July 24th, 2006

Mergers, wikis and movies, oh my!

AMD buys ATI
Are any TLA companies starting with “A” safe from this insanity?

SocialText goes open source and JotSpot goes 2.0
Two wikis enter, one wiki leaves. Will the open source wonder take down its more usable, more expensive foe?

Amazon to offer movie downloads
Jobs better get their service out soon before everyone else does.

EyeTV meet FrontRow, FrontRow meet EyeTV

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

I’ve been a mostly happy user of EyeTV for about a year now (I’ve got the EyeTV 500 for recording digital TV signals), but I’d always hoped that they would go the 10 foot interface route.

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I use EyeTV in our kitchen and record programs mainly for my daughter and to stream signals to a network DVD player in my bedroom. My biggest complaint with EyeTV is that unlike it’s PC brethren (Windows Media Center, SageTV, and Beyond TV), it lacked a good way to control it from far away.

The new version of EyeTV will work in full screen mode (that is a little more than an homage to Apple’s FrontRow)and it appears most of the features will be accessible from a remote control. The upgrade will work with the Apple remote or the remote that was bundled with the EyeTV hardware. Unfortunately, there are no screen shots of program scheduling or upcoming schedules, but the two screen shots they have provided, it seems that they are keen to keep the simplicity of the FrontRow interface, for better or worse.

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It’s a bit strange that this is a dot release for EyeTV given their recent upgrade from 1.x to 2.0 was a small upgrade feature-wise and they charge $79. This upgrade completely changes EyeTV into a TV friendly application, rather than merely a way to watch television on your desktop.

As a first release, I’m sure that their will be some kinks to work out, but I look forward to the EyeTV upgrade later this month. Kudos to Elgato for continuing to build and improve this great Mac program.

Thursday Links

Thursday, June 29th, 2006

ReplayTV resurrected?
looks like my old pal ReplayTV is back from the dead in the form of PC software. But for $100 and a $20 yearly guide fee, uh-uh. Replay, you were my first and my favorite, why did you have to piss off the TV industry so? See Dave Zatz for more commentary.

Yahoo! Messenger for Mac 3.0 in beta
I gave up on you so long ago, Yahoo! Messenger. Check out what your friends in at AdiumX are doing. [Via Jeremy Zawodny]

IDEA Design Awards on Businessweek.com
Always very shiny, very pretty.

Monday links

Monday, June 26th, 2006

Digg goes to 3.0
Third time’s the charm. Digg has updated their UI and added other categories including Science, Business, Entertainment, and Gaming. What, no Home and Garden?

10 Reasons High Definition DVD Formats Have Already Failed
AKA why consumers hate format wars.

Sofa Control and Remote Buddy
Two apps for the Apple remote control. [via Daring Fireball]

MacOSXhints unveils rating system
making a useful site even more useful. [via TUAW]

The D: All Things Digital

Monday, June 19th, 2006

d.jpgThe Wall Street Journal released their report from the Walt Mossberg’s CEO love-in from a few weeks back.

(FYI – “The D” is a small conference for executives from large companies and essentially is a series of discussions and interviews conducted by the Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher.)

Interviews include Bill Gates, “who showed off a dramatic new version of the dominant Office software, took shots at search rival Google, and declared the network-TV business dead,” Robert Iger (Walt Disney CEO), “who didn’t agree with him,” Sir Howard Stringer (Sony CEO), who was indicted by Martha Stewart for cluttering her life with wires, and Barry Sonnenfeld, (Movie Director) who thinks the movie to DVD release window is too short.

Much of this year’s conference was devoted to the changing media landscape and the disruption that technology is creating for old business models.

If you have a WSJ subscription, the D conference report is essential reading. I’ll provide some highlights in subsequent postings.

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ABC shows online today

Monday, May 1st, 2006

abconline.jpgAs promised a few weeks back, ABC launched their experimental streaming television shows today. Launch shows include Lost, Desperate Housewives, Alias and Commander in Chief. All shows come with 4 30 second ads from a single sponsor (reload if you don’t want the first one they give you. I’ve seen Tylenol, Toyota and Cingular) and the video is in Flash, so don’t worry Mac users, it works fine. Video is running at around 533×300 resolution, so not only is this free, it runs at a decent, near-tv-quality resolution.

The downside? Besides ads, you can’t take it with you and you can’t go full screen. I think that ABC really intends this for occasional, “oops-I-missed-Deperate-Housewives” viewing and not for the gym or for family viewing. But if you are a feeling like a total slacker in your cube or you missed last night’s Lost, free might just be better than $1.99.

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(Via Zatz Not Funny)

Yahoo! acquires Meedio

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

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Ten foot interfaces. Microsoft has one and recently, so does Apple. And now, Yahoo! bought their very own. Meedio, one of the many television front ends for Windows XP, was acquired today by Yahoo! Strangely, tho, it appears that only the company was purchased but not all of their products, so it is unclear whether Yahoo! intends to use the technology as a DVR front end or to merely have ten foot interface of their own.

This acquisition reminds me a bit of the Konfabulator (now Yahoo! Widgets) acquisition made earlier this year by Yahoo! Much like Konfabulator, Meedio had an avid developer community and there were many plug-ins developed for weather, news, RSS and the like. So while a web based DVR may be part of the picture, don’t be too surprised to see Yahoo! on your television in the not-to-distant future.

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(Via Zatz not Funny)

Xbox 360 is in the house!

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

xbox360logo.jpgSo, I’ve been secretly lusting for the Xbox 360 for some time. I told myself and others that I wasn’t going to hang out at Best Buy or Costco like the other nerds, but all the while I’ve made side trips into these dens of electronic goodness for the past several months.

The persistence finally paid off yesterday, when everyone and their brother could finally get the 360. Apparently, local Best Buy, Walmart and others received shipments of around 60-80 Xbox 360’s. Mind you, they still sold out, but a lot more people got their hands on Xboxes this weekend.

I’ll post a more detailed report later, but so far the experience has been fairly positive. While a minor detail, the most impressive thing so far is how well the wireless controllers work with the Xbox. If you’ve ever tried to pair Bluetooth devices, you’ll appreciate how you turn the Xbox on, hit the big X button on the controller and it just works. You’d think Apple made it :-)

Movie downloads compete with DVD

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

brokeback.jpgMovielink and CinemaNow announced today that they will have day and date releases with their DVD counterparts reports the Wall Street Journal this morning. Starting tomorrow with Brokeback Mountain, both companies will give users the ability to buy movies the same day they arrive on DVD.

Both seem to limit what people can do with the movies. Movielink will allow users to burn the movies to DVD, but those DVDs will only be playable on PCs. For the privilege, Movielink will be charging between $20-30 per movie for new films, on par with DVD’s MSRP, but not the actual street price. CinemaNow will be charging between $10-20 per movie, but users won’t be able to burn the movies to DVD.

More details at WSJ.com (paid subscription) and Yahoo!

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New Tivo?

Monday, March 27th, 2006

images.jpegNo Series 3 Tivo yet, but Amazon has specs on a SD dual cable tuner (one analog, one digital). Sounds like they may have one input for an external tuner and one internal tuner. Probably not the most straightforward thing to hook up, but Tivo has been pretty remarkable in the past making this stuff just work.

No official word from Tivo yet, but Amazon, Buy.com and a few others seem to have product info, but no ship date.

(Via Zatz Not Funny. . ..)

Windows MCE on a iMac

Monday, March 20th, 2006

imacmce.jpgNot satisfied with just running regular XP on an Intel Mac, the folks over at the OSX86Project have gotten Windows MCE up and running on an Intel iMac. They don’t have the IR port working yet, but I imagine that it will only be a matter of time.

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(Via Matt Goyer’s Media Center Blog.)

Moviebeam relaunches

Tuesday, February 14th, 2006

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A number of stories this morning regarding the relaunch of Disney’s Moviebeam service in 29 markets this year. In a nutshell, Moviebeam is a hard drive based set top box that receives movies over unused television spectrum. The box ships with a 100 movies on the hard drive and about 10 movies are swapped out each week for new ones. Movies then can be rented for $1.99 to $3.99 (catalog versus new releases) with HD movies costing $1 more.

While the service is interesting, the biggest problem that I see is that the set top box is $250 before rebates, which is a huge barrier to entry for many folks. Not to mention it is another piece of hardware to hook up to a television. I have a sense that if this service were being a promoted by someone like Apple it could be hugely successful, but with backers such as Cisco and Disney, the future of Moviebeam is fuzzy at best.

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(Via Zatz Not Funny)

AIBO, Qualia Roadkill

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

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Sony, in a cost cutting effort, has cut the AIBO and Qualia lines from production, according to Akihabara News. I think quite a few geeks will be sad to see the AIBO line die, but few will lament the passing of Sony’s Qualia line.

Qualia, FYI, is Sony’s ultra high end line of consumer electronics. This line includes a $27,000 projector, $12,000 rear projections television, $3300 headphones, and my personal favorite the $3300 2 megapixel digital camera.

The problems withe Qualia brand were not just with prices, but it was incredibly questionable if there was a market for such devices. Sony wasn’t successful in making Qualia truly aspirational products. I mean, if the incredibly rich don’t want them, why would John Q. Public?

Oh well, no one is crying over Qualia, but AIBO lovers, you might consider the Robosapien or some other more-human robot companion.

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