AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Dave Horvath

AfterDawn: News

Sanyo brings two HD projectors stateside

Written by Dave Horvath @ 02 Jun 2008 12:29

Sanyo brings two HD projectors stateside Last week, Sanyo had announced an addition of two new projectors for its X-series line in Japan. Recently the company has announced that those same two projectors will come to the United States this summer with a significantly lower price tag than that of the Japanese models. The PLC-XC55 and PLC-XC50 are two bright projectors boasting 3100-luens and 2600 lumens respectively and feature security implementations and a more advanced almost maintenance-free filters.

For security, both units have theft deterrents with Sanyo's integrated security bar to affix the units in place and wires that are 11mm thick. Additionally, to operate the device, an electronic PIN code is required to unlock it. Sanyo's easy-maintenance filter technology, AMF, uses 10 layers of filter material, each which is claimed to last about 3,000 hours and then automatically swapped as it becomes dusty.

Both units have an integrated 7-watt speaker and come with closed captioning options. Additionally, blackboard mode and vertical Auto Keystone Correction make large room setup easy. Both projectors are capable of displaying up to 1080i 50/60 or 720 HD resolution via DVI-I or component video inputs. Standard definition signals are had through composite or S-video connections. VGA input and output connections are also available.

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AfterDawn: News

World's first Blu-ray music only disc announced

Written by Dave Horvath @ 02 Jun 2008 11:08

World's first Blu-ray music only disc announced TrondheimSolistene (The Trondheim Soloists) is one of Norway's most exciting young ensembles and they're celebrating their 20th anniversary with a recording that is said will surpass anything you've ever heard before in sheer sound quality. They will be bringing their recording to eager listeners on the world's very first Blu-ray music disc. With the sheer capacity for incredible sound sampling, the developers of this disc are boasting that every instrument in the ensemble is so clearly placed in the sound that you can actually envision each individual musician playing. The recording itself is set in the Selbu church in Norway, for its acoustic nature and offers a distinct, unique quality.

DIVERTIMENTI, the name of the recording, is produced by Lindberg Lyd and released by 2L, a Grammy nominated record company known internationally for its audiophile quality. 2L previously released TrondheimSolistene's MOZART recording which was declared a record to die for by Stereophile Magazine. The magazine itself has received a Norwegian recording industry Spellemann prize. Additionally, the company is releasing a hybrid SACD coupled with the Blu-ray music only disc to offer multiple options for optimal listening pleasure.

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AfterDawn: News

ABC revamps online video player

Written by Dave Horvath @ 22 May 2008 13:40

ABC revamps online video player Fans of ABC.com will be treated to a new broadband player to view full episodes on their site as the company sets to revamp the current player with new features this coming fall.

It seems the company is taking some queues from the successful YouTube model by adding some features such as; full-screen viewing, closed captioning and the ability to embed video links for blogs and social networking sites like MySpace.

"Having come out of the gate with the first player in the space, we're continually looking at how we expand and provide a better experience from our users," said Alexis Rapo, vp digital media at ABC Entertainment.

Launched in 2006, ABC.com became the first full-episode player online. As of April, it is the dominant one with 8.9 million unique users, surpassing any other broadcasters, according to Nielsen Online. ABC.com also leads in minutes spent per user.

The user interface has been redesigned with new navigation and search features that allow users to comb series offerings graphically, alphabetically, by genre or popularity. ABC has also added a feature which allows for content recommendations that suggests programs based on a viewer's choices.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony announces golf ball sized surround sound

Written by Dave Horvath @ 22 May 2008 13:28

Sony announces golf ball sized surround sound Companies are always trying to find ways to condense media centers into smaller more compact spaces without losing the quality that consumers demand. Sony has made another attempt at honing the smaller is better stigma with the announcement of their new 5.1-channel HT-IS100 HTIB surround sound speaker setup. What makes this setup special is that it touts golf ball sized satellite speakers receiving 45 watts each and support Dolby Digital / Dolby Pro Logic II / DTS and comes with a remote.

The roughly cube-shaped speakers, to go on sale in Japan next month, measure just 1.7 inches on each side, Sony Corp. spokeswoman Eiko Sato said Thursday. The 90,000 yen ($870) system includes five golf ball-sized speakers as well as a bigger, 17 inches tall box for the amplifier and subwoofer, a feature for producing bass sounds.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft may implement copyright cops into every Zune

Written by Dave Horvath @ 08 May 2008 13:42

Microsoft may implement copyright cops into every Zune In response to Microsoft's latest dealings with NBC, it appears that the Redmond based company may be implementing a piece of software on their Zune devices that actively searches on whether or not television shows are legally purchased. If said software discovers that the show was downloaded illegally from a torrent or other P2P type network, it will not play in the Zune.

The copyright package is hasn't been developed yet, but talks between NBC and Microsoft show that they definitely want some type of policing software to guard against illegally obtained episodes of their shows. Regardless of the fact that those shows, obtained from cable and satellite companies, have already been purchased by the consumer through their contract with the respective provider. NBC would like its consumers to pay twice for the same show.

J. B. Perrette, the president of digital distribution for NBC Universal stated that their plan is to create "filtering technology that allows for playback of legitimately purchased content versus non-legitimately purchased content."

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AfterDawn: News

Fake media files hit file sharers with trojan

Written by Dave Horvath @ 08 May 2008 12:36

Fake media files hit file sharers with trojan Sources from the security firm McAfee have stated that over 500,000 machines have reported being infected by a new trojan going around that's disguised as media files shared on popular P2P networks. These files can either look like a popular and heavily seeded music or movie file and often contain the name of whatever popular file is going around the P2P networks now is actually a trojan loaded with tons of malware packages to make a file sharer's day a lot less enjoyable.

McAfee states that this fake file outbreak is the worst that its seen in three years. Users who get attacked by the fake file are treated to an array of pop-ups and open back doors to the world for their computers to be compromised. These files are mostly predominant on the eDonkey and Limewire networks and are often labeled with a different language to confuse users. The titles make the file appear to be music tracks, pornography and full versions of popular movies. Once downloaded, the user is asked to install a specific codec to view the media, and its then that the trojan is launched.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony unveils new circular media servers

Written by Dave Horvath @ 07 May 2008 14:15

Sony unveils new circular media servers Today, Sony has launched an all new home media server on the people of Japan that touts some interesting specs. Being called a multimedia server and NAS drive, the VGF-HS1 and VGF-HS1S come in 1TB and 1.5TB flavors respectively. Coupled with its unique small circular design, it could fit nicely on just about any HTPC.

The device boasts gigabit Ethernet, DLNA compatibility, integrated display, USB connectivity, hide-away multicard reader behind the front panel and plays many different codecs including AVCHD, MPEG2, HDV, JPEG, BMP, PNG, WAV, MP3, ATRAC, AAC and WMA.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft updates Zune with new social aspects

Written by Dave Horvath @ 07 May 2008 13:05

Microsoft updates Zune with new social aspects Trying everything in its power to catch up to the market leading Apple iPod, Microsoft has released a new update for their Zune player that attempts to bring more social aspects into music file sharing. The portable media player received yesterday an update that allows users to download the last nine songs played by their friends as well as up to nine songs flagged by their friends as favorites.

This update to the Zune software that synchronizes the player with a person's music library on the PC and Microsoft's own Zune Marketplace is a clear indication that Microsoft hopes to snag a bit of that market share away from Apple. They feel that building a social network with these media players will attract more customers to their side of the fence. Last November, Microsoft launched the website Zune Social where users could browse each other's playlists and share opinions on the songs and bands contained. This update is the next step in that evolution.

In order for users to trade songs with one another, they need to subscribe to Microsoft's mobile music service called Zune Pass. This service costs $14.99 per month and allows the user to download any of the 3.5 million songs in Microsoft's library to their Zune. A contrasting payment policy when viewed against Apple's $.99 per track option.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft and Apple compete over TV downloads

Written by Dave Horvath @ 06 May 2008 14:15

Microsoft and Apple compete over TV downloads It appears Microsoft has chosen to compete directly with rival Apple's iTunes store by selling television shows at its own store for use with the Zune. Microsoft announced yesterday that it will initially begin offering more than 800 TV episodes for sale at Zune Marketplace and will include many popular shows currently not available on iTunes such as "The Office" and "Heroes". NBC shows cannot be purchased over iTunes because the two companies have failed to come to grips with each other over pricing.

The iTunes store which sells music, movies and TV shows digitally is the dominant force in this retail venue and even surpassed Wal-Mart stores as the top music retailer in the U.S. Last week, Apple increased its number of movie offerings for sale on iTunes. iTunes also allows users to rent movies as well.

Zune Marketplace joins a few other online stores in selling television shows such as Amazon's Unbox and SanDisk's Fanfare services. TV shows purchased at the Zune Marketplace can either be viewed on the Zune device itself, a computer or through the Xbox 360 console.

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AfterDawn: News

HTC announces Microsoft powered iPhone rival

Written by Dave Horvath @ 06 May 2008 13:44

HTC announces Microsoft powered iPhone rival High Tech Computer announced today that they have developed what they feel is a rival to the Apple iPhone. Dubbed the HTC Touch Diamond, its a smartphone running Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional affixed with a touchscreen for one-handed operation. This new smartphone is being touted as HTC's next-generation of the last model which sold upwards of 3 million units in just 10 months after its launch. The new Touch Diamond beats Apple in new technology by upgrading the phone to 3G prior to Apple being able to do so for the iPhone.

Last year, the HTC Touch, the first touchscreen smartphone, launched one month ahead of Apple's iPhone. This phone is expected to hit Europe, Asia and the Middle East in June and North and South America by the second half of the year. Apple has only just announced its plans for 3G within the iPhone.

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AfterDawn: News

Andersen wants to end the RIAA

Written by Dave Horvath @ 05 May 2008 14:05

Andersen wants to end the RIAA Former RIAA defendant Tanya Andersen has filed an amended complaint in her malicious protection lawsuit against the record labels and RIAA themselves. This marks the fourth complaint submitted by Andersen's lawyer, Lory Lybeck. All prior submissions have been rejected by the judge. If Lybeck can get the judge to accept this one, it will begin what Andersen hopes to be a long-range investigation into the tactics the RIAA uses to thwart their P2P nemesis.

The first of three dismissed complaints accused the RIAA of racketeering, fraud, invasion of privacy, deceptive business practices, and a number of other wrong doings. The judge presiding over the case, Judge Anna J. Brown, dismissed it sighting they had not properly stated claims for relief, but allowed for the complaint to be resubmitted.

The second of the three dismissed complaints weighed in at 108 pages and outlined scandalous practices and criminal enterprise practices, but the judge threw it out because both the court and the RIAA believed they ignored the judge's instructions to submit a short and concise complaint.

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AfterDawn: News

Nokia to offer more phones to the U.S.

Written by Dave Horvath @ 05 May 2008 13:38

Nokia to offer more phones to the U.S. Finnish phone maker, Nokia has stated that it will begin shipping many more of its phone models to the United States to grab a bigger percentage of the global mobile phone sales.

Nokia has a 40 percent global share of all cell phones sold, but has been staggering on a 10 percent share in the U.S. due to the Finnish company dropping production of phones using CMDA technology. A technology popular in the U.S.

Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat quoted the chief designer of Nokia in that design cooperation with the U.S. will bear fruit soon. "In the next few months (U.S.) operators will carry a lot of new products from us," Alastair Curtis told the paper.

A Nokia representative stated that the company will begin rolling out many new models to the U.S. this year including CMDA models and phones normally sold globally.





AfterDawn: News

AOL, Real and Yahoo! could lose $100m to songwriters

Written by Dave Horvath @ 01 May 2008 14:15

AOL, Real and Yahoo! could lose $100m to songwriters In a recent court ruling, songwriters could be owed upwards of $100 million in recovering costs for online performances. A court ruled that songwriters should in fact be paid more for their performances than they already are.

A New York court determined that AOL, Yahoo! and Real, who hold license agreements with certain songwriters, had generated some $5.56 billion last year on advertising stemming from online performances. With that, they considered it fair that Yahoo! with 18.7% and AOL with 9.1% in that advertising revenue, they could afford to let go of a bit more to the people that made that possible. The three companies were issued a blanket license by the American composers society ASCAP, but failed to negotiate a proper rate. This was heard and rectified by the courts yesterday.

Yahoo! had already reached an agreement with the with the four biggest proponents of the RIAA, but was slow to adopt a similar plan for paying composers and songwriters.

"Because the benefits of a blanket licence exceed the value of the right to perform the music in the repertory, the blanket licence fee must reflect these extra benefits," the court observed.

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AfterDawn: News

Universal unveils audio plans for Blu-ray

Written by Dave Horvath @ 01 May 2008 13:32

Universal unveils audio plans for Blu-ray Coming up on their deadline to become a Blu-ray only production house, Universal has unveiled its plans for the audio it intends to use on the format. Ever since their defection from the HD-DVD camp, they've been working on a way to maximize the 50Gb worth of space available to them on BD-50 discs.

When working for the HD-DVD group, Universal had slapped together some audio configurations with heavy reliance on Dolby Digital Plus lossy audio, instead of the promised Dolby TrueHD audio. Now with their enthusiasm for the winner of the format war, Blu-ray users will see the first of many discs come out encoded in DTS-HD Master Lossless Audio.

The first discs that will see this treatment are a re-release of The Mummy series, previously already released on HD-DVD with only Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio tracks, and not Dolby TrueHD tracks. These titles are expected to hit the shelves on July 22nd.

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AfterDawn: News

OLED TVs come closer to production reality

Written by Dave Horvath @ 12 Mar 2008 16:38

OLED TVs come closer to production reality Once touted as a bright spot in the future of display panels in the television industry, OLED technology has often been found to promise quite a bit yet produce very little. No one quite knew that developing the next generation of display would take so long to produce. The idea that it was based upon of having a flexible and durable screen has remained a very tantalizing feature that has just been out of reach until now.

A partnership with ECD (Energy Conversion Devices) and a government grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, General Electric has produced the first OLED roll-to-roll manufacturing technology.

One of the drawbacks for existing OLED screens are production costs, by putting them through what GE refers to as "conventional batch processes". This new roll-to-roll manufacturing technology would enable them to produce OLED panels much like a newspaper prints circulars.

"Researchers have long dreamed of making OLEDs using a newspaper-printing like roll-to-roll process," said Anil Duggal, manager of GEs Advanced Technology Program in Organic Electronics. "Now weve shown that it is possible. Commercial applications in lighting require low manufacturing costs, and this demonstration is a major milestone on our way to developing low cost OLED lighting devices."

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