AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (1 / 2008)

AfterDawn: News

Prosecutors: The Pirate Bay makes $4 million a year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2008 16:44

Prosecutors: The Pirate Bay makes $4 million a year The infamous torrent Tracker The Pirate Bay which has been back in the news recently because Swedish prosecutors have dragged them into court after complaints from Warner Bros., Colombia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony BMG, Universal and EMI just had its first day in court.

One of the early surprising situations that has occurred is the fact that Swedish prosecutors are claiming that the Pirate Bay makes $4 million USD a year from advertising alone. The site does not host any of the files making that figure even more impressive.

Currently, TPB tracks one million BitTorrent files, has over 2.5 million registered users and has even peaked at "more than 10 million simultaneous users downloading files at one time." Those numbers are not so great for advertisers but it seems in a volume business like BitTorrent, a big name like TPB is worth every cent.




AfterDawn: News

ELSPA: DS is least profitable console thanks to piracy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2008 16:22

ELSPA: DS is least profitable console thanks to piracy The Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) has made a new claim that 90 percent of all North American Nintendo DS users play pirated games via the now infamous R4/M3 cartridge.

John Hillier, manager of ELSPA's Intellectual Property Crime Unit, stated that the cartridge, which plays downloaded Roms via a microSD slot, harms sales for Nintendo and it has actually made it the least profitable console on the market.

"The implications are massive. In America it's thought 90 per cent of Nintendo DS users are playing pirated games because of R4s,"
said Hillier.

"Takings from Nintendo DS games in the US are lower than any other console and no doubt it will have a similar impact here,"
he added in reference to the UK.

What makes the R4/M3 so popular is its easy accessibility from overseas and the fact that there is no need for any hardware modifications.

Hillier also added that the cartridge is one of the biggest threats to the gaming industry.

"That's the real danger - you may think you're getting a good deal but using the R4 is risking the future of the games industry."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Topics launched -- new way to use AfterDawn

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 31 Jan 2008 12:17

Topics launched -- new way to use AfterDawn AfterDawn's main navigation has remained virtually the same for almost a decade now. The familiar split between news, software, guides, etc has been an integral part of our site since the very beginning.

But for many, many years, we've received emails and feedback reports from our users (specially new users) saying that when you first time arrive at AfterDawn, it is really hard to understand what type of content the site has and where it could be found from.

Thus, about a year ago, we began planning a new way to organize the material available on our site. The idea to "tag" or "assign content to topics" has evolved to the new navigation bar you now see on the left-hand side of the page. It should be noted that we wanted to build the new "topic-based" navigation system independent of the main navigation, so that it wouldn't get too complex for new users.

We've went through thousands of articles, glossary entries, software items, etc and tried to assign them into somewhat logical "packages" that should ease finding the material from our site users are looking for.

So, there it is; our new navigation sidebar. If you like it or hate it, please tell us! And if you hate it, tell us why and how we could improve it. You can simply post a comment to this article and tell us here what you think about the new navigation element. If you do truly hate it, click the top part of it (the one marked with X :-) and it should disappear.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nearly 200,000 USD claim for Pirate Bay

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 Jan 2008 7:35

Nearly 200,000 USD claim for Pirate Bay Today was the first day in court for the lawsuit against Pirate Bay. The prosecutor set charges for four persons responsible for Pirate Bay's activities. Three of the accused, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm and Peter Sunde, are known Pirate Bay activists and the fourth is a businessman Carl Lundström who formerly owned the company Rix Port 80 which provided Internet Bandwidth for the use of Pirate Bay.

The prosecutions for aiding in copyright infringement cover the illegal distribution of 20 music pieces, nine movies and four video games. The prosecutor demanded that the individuals involved would have to pay 1,2 million SEK (approx. 187 500 USD) and turn over their computers to the government. Prosecutor Roswall is going to use representatives of IFPI and Swedish anti-piracy camp Antipiratbyrån as witnesses and the email conversations of the quartet will serve as one evidence.

Pirate Bay has a strict stand about the lawsuit. They consider it being a political persecution where Hollywood lobbyist are in the driving seat rather than the correct Swedish authorities. According to a Swedish site E24.se and their poll, the people are behind Pirate Bay. 89 percent answered that they consider the lawsuit being "wrong and disgraceful way to try to end file sharing" and only 6 percent are on the prosecutor's side.




AfterDawn: News

U2's manager: time to end ISPs' free ride

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 30 Jan 2008 23:11

U2's manager: time to end ISPs' free ride U2 manager Paul McGuinness recently made a big impression at the MIDEM music industry convention in Cannes by calling out everyone from ISPs to customers. Sounding much like he was reading talking points for international recording industry trade organization IFPI, he said ISPs "have for too long had a free ride on music."

Despite chiding the industry for not "catering to people who want to hear music through big speakers rather than ear buds" and a "lack of foresight and poor planning" he says that ISPs are the real problem because he feels they only have broadband internet customers because of illegal music downloads. He said "It is time for ISPs to be real partners. The safe harbours of the 1990s are no longer appropriate, and if ISPs do not cooperate voluntarily there will need to be legislation to require them to cooperate."

Perhaps this is where the real disconnect between the music business and the rest of the world happens. As one Verizon executive pointed out recently, if ISPs become responsible for copyright enforcement what else should they be expected to be responsible for? And what of privacy - at what point is an internet-bound communication considered private?

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Verizon VP says no plans to examine customer traffic

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 30 Jan 2008 22:17

Verizon VP says no plans to examine customer  traffic During a recent Internet policy conference, Verizon Executive Vice President Tom Tauke spoke about his company's position on filtering customers' traffic for copyright violations. "From a business perspective, we really don't want to assume the role of being police on the Internet," said Tauke, adding "We are leery of using these technologies on our networks."

Recently AT&T generated a great deal of contreversy by announcing that they're working to develop technology to find copyrighted works, hoping to curry favor with content owners. Due to the Safe Harbor clause in the DMCA, as long as ISPs take action when informed of infringing content on their networks they're already safe from sharing liability for it, although many in the recording industry have characterized the ISPs as part of the problem, and said they should be required to police their networks for copyright infringement.

Although he did mention concerns about customer privacy, it appears Verizon is equally worried about what other responsibilities they might be asked to take on. After all there are a number of illegal activities that certainly involve at least a small number of Verizon customers. From child pornography to illegal online gambling to fraud, the possible activities other industries, not to mention government agencies, would like to have Verizon and other ISPs keep track of seem nearly endless.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

US to see 1080p-output camcorders from JVC

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jan 2008 18:08

US to see 1080p-output camcorders from JVC After a successful initial release in Japan JVC has announced that it will be bringing its two new Everio HD camcorders to North American markets.

The HD5 and HD6 will replace their bulkier predecessor, the H7 and will be the first to output a full-speed, 60 FPS, 1080p image when attached to an HDTV. An HDMI 1.3 connector provides x.v.Color support for added color depth in HDTVs that support x.v.Color. The company also says the shots are saved to disc at 1080i.

Just like their Japanese counterparts, the HD5 and 6 are mainly different only by storage capacity with the HD5 having a 60GB HDD and the HD6 having a 120GB HDD. The smaller capacity model will "hold up to 12 hours of standard-ratio (1440x1080) HD video" while the larger capacity model holds double that. The HD6 also adds a headphone jack and lens hood.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google and Dell teaming up on mobile phone?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jan 2008 17:34

Google and Dell teaming up on mobile phone? According to a new claim by the advertisement magazine MarketingWeek it seems that giants Google and Dell may be collaborating on a new mobile phone handset.

Citing "senior industry sources," the claim believes that the phone, kept under wraps for now, will be announced at the Mobile World Congress show in mid-February. Besides the claim the magazine had little details to give but the phone is most likely to be powered by Google's impressive Linux-based Android mobile operating system.

Over at Google however, "insiders" have denied any near-term announcements but this isn't the first time we have heard rumors of Dell's return to the smartphone market. Recent reports have claimed that former Motorola mobile chief Ron Garriques is "spearheading" the revival of handhelds over at Dell after the demise of the Axim PDA.

We will keep you updated.




AfterDawn: News

Europe gets Skype for PSP

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jan 2008 17:08

Europe gets Skype for PSP Sony Europe has released the latest firmware upgrade for its popular PSP handheld which allows gamers to make and receive phone calls using Skype software.

Users of the new PSP Slim and Lite can use the very popular communications package which, for those unfamiliar, allows free calls over the internet to other Skype users and the option to pay to make calls to cellular phones and landlines.

The update also added the Go! Messenger icon to the icon in anticipation of the launch of the service next month. Go! Messenger allows for video calls, instant messaging, voice messaging and voice chat.

Sony announced the addition of Skype to the PSP at CES early this month. There is however, one catch. To use Skype you must have the PSP Headset plugged into the Slim-only remote control which does not come included with the unit. Therefore you must buy it for $30 USD.




AfterDawn: News

Nintendo DS sales hit one million in Australia

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jan 2008 16:35

Nintendo DS sales hit one million in Australia Following the announcement of impressive sales in Japan for its very popular DS handheld, Nintendo Australia has announced that the DS has sold one million units in the country, citing data from the data research company GfK.

The DS sold 509,869 units in 2007, slightly more than was sold in 2006. The sales were boosted by a December surge in which 133,691 units were sold.

The company also reported that the Wii console saw strong sales as well, following similar announcements in Japan and Europe. In the 58 weeks since launch the Wii had moved 300,000 units said the company, matching the last reported sales figures for the Microsoft Xbox 360 which has been out much longer.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sonic drops HD DVD authoring product

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jan 2008 16:19

Sonic drops HD DVD authoring product Sonic Solutions has announced that it will be ending all sales of its popular Scenarist authoring product for HD DVD in an effort to condense operations and put emphasis on Blu-ray and digital distribution of HD content.

The company has also said it believes giving full support to Blu-ray and the Web-enabled BD-Live interactivity will give them a better "return on investment" than by splitting their investment between two formats.

Starting now, the Scenarist product will only be offered as a Blu-ray authoring product and will have an update soon with new BD-Live creation features. As an added bonus, any current Scenarist HD DVD customer has the option to exchange their product for the Blu-ray version.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Analyst: Apple to bring cheaper and innovative Wi-Fi iPods

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2008 9:46

Analyst: Apple to bring cheaper and innovative Wi-Fi iPods According to Gene Munster, an Apple analyst from investment bank Piper Jaffray, the leading MP3 player manufacturer is likely to bring new cheaper iPods that would be like the recently released iPod Touch in terms of multi-touch display and wireless Internet connectivity. In the report released last Monday Munster goes through Apple's last year's fourth quarter and it being the less growth producing time in the history of iPod. Munster therefore presents that introducing new, cheaper and innovative portable MP3 players would be the way to improve growth.

"In order to achieve this level of year-over-year iPod growth, we are expecting Apple to introduce cheaper, innovative iPods with Wi-Fi and multi-touch technology," analyst wrote.

He added that even though the broader market was slowing down the sales growth in MP3 players, Apple has maintained to keep the dominant lead in market share. The segment's dollar share has also grown from 71 percent in 2004 to 84 in 2007, and the most recent update a month after the iPod Touch was released it shot up to 90 percent.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Norwegian broadcasting company shares TV series via BitTorrent

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2008 7:18

Norwegian broadcasting company shares TV series via BitTorrent Norsk rikskringkasting (NRK), the Norway's national broadcasting company, has made one of their most popular TV shows available via BitTorrent. The series called Nordkalotten 365 follows a hiker, Lars Monsen, through his year-round trip in the north of Scandinavia. The first two episodes are online, and the rest of the episodes follow as they are encoded.

Nordkalotten 365 had an average of nearly a million viewers through traditional broadcast, which makes it a rather popular in a country with the population of roughly 4,5 million. The show was downloaded more than 8 000 times in the first 24 hours after the BitTorrent release, and NRK received lot of positive feedback which might encourage the company to release other series via Internet as well.

The episodes are in MP4 file format without DRM protection, and are encoded with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (bitrate 3 Mbit/s) using the Resolution 1024x576 at 25 fps.




AfterDawn: News

New Neil Young release to skip CD in favor of DVD and Blu-ray

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 30 Jan 2008 0:17

New Neil Young release to skip CD in favor of DVD and Blu-ray As music labels sit by and watch their decades old business model crumble before their eyes, yet another artist is attempting to make the leap past CD technology. Neil Young has apparently decided to skip a traditional CD release for the first in a series of releases which are intended to form a retrospective of his career from the 1960s through the present day.

"I know it's in technical production now, but it's only coming out on Blu-ray and DVD," he said during an interview at the Sundance Film Festival, adding "There won't be CDs. Technology has caught up to what the concept was in the first place [and] how we're able to actually present it."

Reportedly, Young's issue with a CD release has nothing to do with complaints about lower CD sales or P2P downloads. Rather it's due to the audio CD's single format - audio - versus the multimedia aspects of DVD and Blu-ray formats, combining music with both video and still images, as well as allowing far more interaction with the listener.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

ReelTime.com adds cartoons to their pay streaming service

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 29 Jan 2008 23:37

ReelTime.com adds cartoons to their pay streaming service Nelvana, a Canadian company that produces such cartoons as the Fairly OddParents and Rolie Polie Olie has inked a deal with ReelTime Rentals, Inc. to add episodes of selected shows to the ReelTime.com subscription Streaming video service. Nelvana titles including 'Jacob Two-Two,' 'Rupert,' 'My Dad The Rock Star,' and 'Flying Rhino Junior High.'

According to Doug Murphy, Nelvana's President, the company is trying to find new ways to sell directly to customers online. They've been selling content through their own online store, TreehouseDirect, since 2006.

ReelTime.com offers streaming Video On Demand (VOD) using a subscription model. Subscribers pay varying amounts, depending on whether they pay for one, three, or six months at a time. Subscribers may watch most content at no additional cost, with additional titles available for viewing for an additional rental fee.




AfterDawn: News

Redbox continues fast paced expansion

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 29 Jan 2008 23:01

Redbox continues fast paced expansion Redbox, the number one DVD rental kiosk operator, is expanding their operation into a pair of supermarket chains in the Midwest. Hy-Vee stores in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Kansas, as well as Buehler locations in Ohio have all gotten the kiosks this year.

Last year a massive shift from traditional brick and mortar video rental operations to kiosks seems to have begun. With McDonald's, owner of a substantial stake in Redbox, making them a common sight outside their fast food restaraunts and Blockbuster shifting from a focus on their Total Access "Netflix killer" to a plan that includes putting branded kiosks in a number of retailers' establishments, taking advantage of their established name.

Less than a month into 2008, Redbox has added more than 400 kiosks around the country, apparently continuing the meteoric rise they experienced last year.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

HD DVD player sales bounce back

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 29 Jan 2008 22:23

HD DVD player sales bounce back After the dissapointment of being outsold by Blu-ray players more than 10:1 a week earlier, HD DVD standalone player sales rebounded for the week ending January 19, 2008 to comprise around 1/3 of all Next-Gen DVD players sold.

Ross Rubin, analyst for the NPD Group attributes both Blu-ray's recent advantage and HD DVD's apparent resurgence to price rather than any consumer mandate. “Both camps face really strong competition from standard DVD up-converting models, which inexpensively render [consumers’] massive DVD libraries well on their TVs,” said Rubin, adding “We’ve seen a consistent trend of the market responding to changes in price and promotion by both camps. So you’ll see a significant shift [in sales one way or the other] in response to the end of a promotion or the beginning of a new promotion.”

Toshiba, however, is putting a more positive face on the development. Toshiba marketing VP Jodi Sally argues that the previous week's figures were the result of a gap betwen promotions, with one ending on Janury 5, and the next beginning on the 13th. “All of our promotions had ended at that time,” he said . “But if you look at our unit sales at key retailers for the first week of our price moves, Toshiba sales are twice the rate of our average weekly sales during 2007.”

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

EU court shoots down attempt to force ISP disclosure of customer data

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 29 Jan 2008 21:52

EU court shoots down attempt to force ISP disclosure of customer data The European Court of Justice, the EU's top legal authority, sent a clear message to content owners that their exclusive right to distribute copyrighted works doesn't trump personal privacy rights of ISP customers.

The decision came in a case where Promusicae, a non-profit organization representing music producers and publishers, was suing to force Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica to turn over names and addresses of people allegedly violating copyright laws by sharing music on the Kazaa P2P network. Telefonica officials had refused to identify their customers, citing Spanish law which they say only allows them to share customers' personal data for public safety or national security purposes.

The court's decision basically came down to the question of one individual's rights versus another's. While the court acknowledged the importance of enforcing intellectual property law, they were emphatic that enforcement efforts may not "affect the requirements of the protection of personal data."

"The directives on the protection of personal data also allow the member states to provide for exceptions to the obligation to guarantee the confidentiality of traffic data," the court added.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Vuze and Broadbandtv team up

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2008 17:40

Vuze and Broadbandtv team up Broadbandtv, a company which specializes in distribution of video content via the Internet has announced that it had started an alliance with Vuze, the rapidly growing HD IPTV platform. The new alliance will offer Broadbandtv's "premium content" to Vuze on "an advertising supported basis."

Vuze, which currently has 18 million users, will offer Broadbandtv's library of premium TV and movie programming which easily exceeds 15,000 titles.

"Vuze has an amazing roster of premium content partners,"
said Gilles BianRosa, CEO of Vuze, Inc. "Today's partnership with Broadbandtv will expand Vuze's expansive library of premium entertainment content to our growing audience of users. Beyond delivering an excellent library of titles, Broadbandtv is at the forefront of content discoverability, which is important because Vuze delivers more than one million hours of high-quality video per month."

"We are thrilled to add Vuze to the Broadbandtv network, a truly first rate IPTV platform that is exhibiting staggering organic growth,"
said Shahrzad Rafati, CEO of Broadbandtv. "We are focused on providing our content partners with unparalleled distribution opportunities with the top InternetTV properties on the net and working with a market leader like Vuze is a big part of that strategy."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony has no plans for larger HDD PS3 in UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2008 17:15

Sony has no plans for larger HDD PS3 in UK Sony Europe has told GI.biz that they have no plans to introduce a 120GB or 160GB model of the PlayStation 3 in the UK.

An internal Best Buy memo showed that supply of the 80GB model was being cut and since then rumors have exploded across the internet that the US will see a 120GB version for the same price as the disappearing 80GB. Sony has yet to confirm or deny the rumors however.

In the UK though, the story is different. "We do not currently have any plans to release a 120GB PlayStation 3 in the UK," added a spokesperson for Sony Europe.

The rumors are not all that far fetched as in the past Sony has implied that it would consider PS3 models with larger hard drives if consumers demanded it.




AfterDawn: News

IFPI raids hundreds of Internet cafes, one arrest

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Jan 2008 5:14

IFPI raids hundreds of Internet cafes, one arrest During the first two weeks of January, IFPI organized 335 raids in Brazil targeted on Internet cafes. In the announcement by IFPI yesterday the mission was called a success with more than 2,000 computers seized and over one million illegal audio tracks found. However, during the operation only one arrest was made by the 600 Special Ops police officers involved.

Most of the raids were conducted in the Sao Paolo area with the help of Associacao Anti-pirateria de Cinema e Musica (APCM) - Brazil's movie and music anti-piracy lobbyists. To justify the raids on Internet cafes, the IFPI claims that 20 percent of Brazilians visit Internet cafes to download illegal content and sometimes burn the files to discs.

IFPI also considers Brazil to be one of the largest black markets for entertainment media in the world with an estimate of almost 50 percent of CDs and DVDs sold are Bootlegs.




AfterDawn: News

Toshiba takes HD DVD message to the big game

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 29 Jan 2008 2:20

Toshiba takes HD DVD message to the big game In case there was any question of Toshiba's commitment to HD DVD technology, it should be put to rest now with the announcement that the company has bought a 30 second ad during the Super Bowl for nearly $3 million.

Toshiba's recent marketing push, including not only the Super Bowl ad, but also reduced HD DVD player prices and a very public order for HD DVD recordable media from Ritek, don't appear to have convinced the public that HD DVD is still a viable product. After seeing Blu-ray's sales edge since Warner Brothers' announcement earlier this month, whatever analysts were still on the fence have also gotten both feet squarely on the side of Blu-ray.

"Gartner believes that Toshiba's price-cutting may prolong HD DVD's life a little, but the Limited line-up of film titles will inflict fatal damage on the format. Gartner expects that, by the end of 2008, Blu-ray will be the winning format in the consumer market, and the war will be over," wrote analyst Hiroyuki Shimizu in Gartner's Semiconductor DQ Monday Report.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

France to mandate ISP monitoring of customers for copyright infringement

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 29 Jan 2008 2:03

France to mandate ISP monitoring of customers for copyright infringement Amid all the hype at the MIDEM music trade show in France around Qtrax's announcement of the free music service that wasn't, a more important story is emerging with the presentation by Jean Berbinau, general secretary of French regulatory body Autorité de Régulation des Mesures Techniques (Regulatory Authority for Technical Measures).

He officially introduced legislation requiring ISPs to monitor their networks for copyright infringement and institute a policy that would disconnect offenders after their third offense, saying "We have to do something, but it is only transitional, only to give time to the industry to adapt and maybe to encourage a new business model."

The idea for the controversial law was first discussed last November by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. It also mirrors the primary goal stated in the annual report on digital music by international music trade organization IFPI.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

US to see larger HDD Sony PlayStation 3?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2008 0:15

US to see larger HDD Sony PlayStation 3? Early last week it was reported that Best Buy would no longer be carrying the 80GB model Sony PlayStation 3 due to a discontinue in supply. If the memo is true and applicable to other North American retailers than that will mean that only one model of the PS3 will exist in the North American market, the BWC-crippled 40GB version. An insider has said however that a new model could be coming, and soon.

“Sony is, in fact, phasing out the 80GB PS3. Sony is going to stay with the two-SKU approach though, and the prices look to stay the same,”
the source said. “The Spiderman 3 pack-in will disappear as well once the 80GB unit is gone. In order to maintain a similar value proposition to the 80GB/Spiderman 3 bundle, I expect to see a storage increase to 120 or 160GB at the same price point, plus the new Dual-Shock 3 controller...”

In response to the posting of Best Buy's memo, a Sony spokesperson gave an official "no comment". “I caught up with all of the posts and news last night, and as you know, we don't comment on rumors and speculation,” he added

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony Ericsson announces deals with 10 major record labels

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2008 0:00

 Sony Ericsson announces deals with 10 major record labels The large mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson has announced that it has signed deals with 10 major record labels so it can add content to its PlayNow service, which allows users to download music directly from their handsets.

The company added that the deals added 5 million new tracks to its catalog of available music. The deals were signed with Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, EMI, The Orchard, IODA, The PocketGroup, Hungama, X5Music, Bonnier Amigo and VidZone.

Sony Ericsson also added that they were still in the process of negotiating further deals.

PlayNow was first introduced in early 2004 as a way to preview and purchase ringtones for mobile phones. It has since expanded allowing for downloads of full songs, games and wallpapers. It is now available in 32 countries.




AfterDawn: News

Analysts estimate a million unlocked iPhones in the U.S.

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 28 Jan 2008 23:12

Analysts estimate a million unlocked iPhones in the U.S. A recent announcement from Apple regarding iPhone sales stirred up contreversy due to much lower numbers being activated for use with AT&T's wireless network. With a discrepency of nearly 1.5 million phones it's easy to see why people would be interested in the reason. According to analysts at Bernstein Reasearch, nearly a third of the phones are in AT&T's hands waiting to be sold. That leaves around 1 million, which are believed to be unlocked to work on networks other than AT&T.

Although neither Apple nor AT&T have had any comment on the analysts' estimates, it's clearly not something either company is happy with. As the only official network for iPhones in the U.S., AT&T splits fees collected for them with Apple. Every phone on a different provider's network is lost revenue for both companies.

"Besides the financial implications, we believe the prevalence of unlocked iPhones presents a significant strategic dilemma to Apple," Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi wrote.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Qtrax client finally available for download - but don't expect any music

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 28 Jan 2008 22:39

Qtrax client finally available for download - but don't expect any music Several hours after their announced launch, and even a few hours after an Afterdawn member posted a link to the much anticipated client software, Qtrax now officially has a download link on their website. But before you rush to out to download it and start looking for free music you should know that there isn't any yet. In fact right now, the Qtrax client basically amounts to a music player with ads.

And there isn't any schedule for when they'll be coming either. Despite claims that they're on the verge of getting contracts signed with each of the four major record labels, the company isn't talking about when they expect those to be in place. Actually they've had contracts with more than one of the labels already, but at least one has expired, and another was made in the context of the original plans for the service, which would have limited the number of times free songs could be played, and added a premium tier of service for unlimited playback.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Woolworths officially drops HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2008 22:32

Woolworths officially drops HD DVD Woolworths has announced that beginning in March it will no longer sell HD DVD movies in its stores and will instead be Blu-ray exclusive.

The company cited Christmas sales as a main reason for the drop, stating that Blu-ray outsold HD-DVD by 10 to 1 over the period. The company also called the Sony PlayStation 3 the major factor for Blu-ray's emerging market dominance.

"Sales figures clearly show that the market is moving towards one format of high definition DVD,"
commented DVD buyer for Woolworths Steven McGunigel.

"The main reason is the success of Sony's PlayStation 3 machine. Because it plays Blu-ray discs, there are over three quarters of a million homes in the UK that can view the new high definition format."


"There is no where near that number of HD-DVD players around," added McGunigel.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Qtrax misses launch time - do they actually have a product yet?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 28 Jan 2008 2:39

Qtrax misses launch time - do they actually have a product yet? It's two hours after the official Qtrax launch time and there's still no sign of a client for download. Since the story of the new P2P based, ad-supported online music service became hot news over the weekend, their website turned into a popular destination. At one point it even featured a message suggesting that visitors come back in 24 hours as the site was unavailable due to high traffic. That was later replaced with a promise for a download to be available at midnight Eastern Standard Time (EST). It's now just past 2AM EST and still no sign of the download. And apparently not quite the same story we, and many other outlets, publicized yesterday.

Although Qtrax is promising downloads from all four major labels - Universal Music Group (UMG), Sony BMG Music, Warner Music Group (WMG), and EMI Group - according to executives from three of the four companies no agreements for their content exists. No one from Sony BMG has commented so far. WMG spokesman Will Tanous told the Silicon Alley Insider that Warner Music Group has not authorized the use of our content on Qtrax’s recently announced service."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Swedish prosecutors to charge Pirate Bay owners as accesories to copyright violation

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 27 Jan 2008 19:32

Swedish prosecutors to charge Pirate Bay owners as accesories to copyright violation This week Swedish officials plan to charge the individuals responsible for running Pirate Bay, a large torrent Tracker originally operated in that country, as accessories and conspirators in breaking copyright law. Since a 2006 raid by Swedish police the servers have been moved to locations reportedly not even known to those in Sweden who are apparently going to be charged in the case.

Public prosecutor Hakan Roswall told Reuters "It's not merely a search engine. It's an active part of an action that aims at, and also leads to, making copyright protected material available." He added "It's a classic example of accessory -- to act as intermediary between people who commit crimes, whether it's in the physical or the virtual world."

"It's idiotic. There is no legal ground (for the charges)," Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde told Reuters.

Prosecuter Roswell isn't fooling himself about the impact convictions in the case would have. He said it could take more than convictions in Sweden to stop Pirate Bay. "Because the infrastructure is scattered among several places around the world... no separate country will be able to stop the site."




AfterDawn: News

Amazon MP3 to go international in 2008

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2008 18:24

Amazon MP3 to go international in 2008 Amazon has announced that in 2008 the company will begin to expand Amazon MP3, its popular DRM-free digital music store to the international stage. The service, which is seen as a strong competitor to Apple's iTunes platform, sells all its songs DRM-free and in MP3 format meaning it is playable on most, if not all digital music-capable devices including the Zune, iPod Touch and mobile phones.

Thanks to deals with big labels and tons of independent labels, Amazon MP3 boasts of 3.3 million songs from 270,000 artists.

"We have received thousands of e-mails from Amazon customers around the world asking us when we will make Amazon MP3 available outside of the U.S. They can't wait to choose from the biggest selection of high-quality, low-priced DRM-free MP3 music downloads which play on virtually any music device they own today or will own in the future,"
said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President of Digital Music. "We are excited to tell those customers today that Amazon MP3 is going international this year."

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AfterDawn: News

Qtrax launches today with free P2P music downloads

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 27 Jan 2008 2:35

Qtrax launches today with free P2P music downloads A new free music download service is getting ready to launch. A P2P-based service called Qtrax is supposed to be going live today, offering 100% ad-supported music downloads, and apparently a selection of over 25 million songs. A Mac OS X beta is supposed to be coming in March. Although at least one website is reporting that the service was to go live at 12 AM today, there doesn't appear to be a download link available as of two hours later.

Last year marked the launch of SpiralFrog, the first free music to work closely with the major record labels, which occured several months after the firing of original CEO Robin Kent. Undeterred, Kent started an advertising firm with fellow SpiralFrog veteran Lance Ford. That company, called Rebel Digital is now responsible for selling the ads necessary to fund Qtrax.

The similarities to SpiralFrog don't end there either. Like that service, Qtrax will be paying royalties based on how often each downloaded song is played. Also like SpiralFrog, that begs the question of how such a service can manage to exist in the long term, with recurring expenses for a single download, regardles of how much ad revenue that download might include.

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AfterDawn: News

Rapidshare.com loses court battle

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2008 17:04

Rapidshare.com loses court battle According to P2P blog, the German music rights holder GEMA has won its court case against the massive file hoster Rapidshare.com. In a press release, GEMA announced that the Dusseldorf district court had ruled that Rapidshare will for now on have to block access to any works in the GEMA repertoire.

In its defense, Rapidshare was saying that "only its users can be held responsible for copyright violations." The court apparently disagreed and said that the site was used mainly for illegal activities and that the company generates "substantial" monthly revenue from those illegal activities.

The ruling could have implications for the future of the site on the whole. GEMA's press release read, "The ruling forces Rapidshare to 'take measures that might have the risk of making Rapidshare's service substantially less attractive or even close it down completely.'" That statement means that potentially GEMA can get the entire site shut down if access isn't blocked to GEMA's copy written material.

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AfterDawn: News

Warner sues SeeqPod over infringement

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2008 18:13

Warner sues SeeqPod over infringement Warner Music Group, one of the big four record labels, has announced that is suing the MP3 access service SeeqPod just days after signing a deal with the similar service Last.FM

For those unfamiliar, SeeqPod "maintains a public index of stored music tracks throughout the Internet". The service also offers a search tool that makes it easier for users to locate the music they are looking for. It also offers a music player to play the files.

According to Warner though, thew site links "to sites containing unauthorized and illegal copies of copyrighted music that can be played on demand or saved as playlists."

Curiously, SeeqPod has "5% of the company is owned by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the US Dept. of Energy, whose algorithm for recognizing music within sound files that might also contain other forms of sound, speech, or Noise, is actually being put to the test by the firm."

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AfterDawn: News

GTA IV was delayed because of PlayStation 3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2008 17:47

GTA IV was delayed because of PlayStation 3 According to Rockstar Games VP of product development Jeronimo Barrera, development for the Sony PlayStation 3 was a contributing factor to the delay of the upcoming blockbuster game GTA IV.

In his interview with MTV, the VP praised the game and explained why the game had been delayed so much.

"I don't see anything being bigger in 2008 in any entertainment,"
Barrera said. "We think it's that big, and we just have to get the word out."

The game was supposed to hit retailers in October 2007 but the game developer made the decision to delay the tile until April 2008. At the time Rockstar CEO Strauss Zelnick blamed "technological challenges" for the delay.

"It's really no surprise to anybody that the PS3 was definitely a contributing factor to that,"
Barrera told MTV.

"Now, we're neck and neck. That's not an issue anymore. But back then that was something we were taking into account."


"We wanted the time, and I think we made the right choice,"
Barrera added.

"It was very difficult to make the choice because everybody wanted it. But we thought, you know, what with that extra bit of time, it's just going to be that much better and there will be more systems out."

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AfterDawn: News

Sony shrinks Blu-ray lasers

Written by Dave Horvath @ 25 Jan 2008 16:09

Sony shrinks Blu-ray lasers
Sony has announced today
that they have successfully produced a read/write Blu-ray laser that is only 3mm thick. This new thin laser was developed in cooperation with Nichia and can read dual layer media, including those that use organic dyes. Sony says by reducing the size and the complexity of the laser assembly, production costs will go down and ultimately amount to cheaper players for consumers. The first device planned to incorporate this new laser assembly will be a 9.5mm thick laptop available later this year.

Cost savings come from a simpler manufacturing process that will yield dividends in mass production, while other features include the ability to handle dual-layer Blu-ray Discs and disks with organic dye in the recording layers. Organic disks can be churned out from existing DVD production lines, thereby adding up to saving across the board.




AfterDawn: News

Toshiba doubles the lifespan of OLED TVs

Written by Dave Horvath @ 25 Jan 2008 15:59

Toshiba doubles the lifespan of OLED TVs Anybody who witnesses an OLED TV in person will remark on how vibrant the colors are and what a wonder these televisions are to behold, but the organic materials they use within the set degrade rapidly over time, giving some potential future consumers an edgy approach. Well, those fears will soon be quenched as Toshiba has sided with Matsushita to effectively double the lifespan of an OLED TV. Earlier prototypes would only sustain clear pictures amounting to about 40 percent less than a standard LCD HDTV.

By inserting a metal inside the OLED TV, one which was prototyped at 20.8 inches, they can deliver the light from polymers in the substrate out through the glass surface more efficiently than current OLED standards. In the end, all this means that the brightness needed can be halved while maintaining the same picture quality and effectively doubling the unit's lifespan.

Earlier OLED televisions have been rated to approximately 30,000 hours of life, or 8 hours per day for 10 years. With the joint venture between Toshiba and Matsushita, it appears they want to appeal to even the most frugal television shoppers by delivering a set that should work for many years to come.




AfterDawn: News

HD-DVD hardware sales plummet

Written by Dave Horvath @ 25 Jan 2008 15:46

HD-DVD hardware sales plummet Ever since movie giant Warner Brothers defected and sided with the Blu-ray camp, its been an uphill battle for those involved with rival HD-DVD. Just weeks after the announcement of WB switching sides, NPD data shows that hardware sales for HD-DVD came to a virtual halt. The NPD Group recorded Blu-ray as having an astounding 93% sales advantage.

According to raw data provided by NPD, consumers bought just 1,758 HD DVD players the week of Jan. 12, down from 14,558 players the week before. In contrast, consumers bought 21,770 Blu-ray Disc machines, up from 15,257 the previous week. The NPD however, would not confirm or deny the actual sales figures and labeled them as proprietary.

Analysts such as Steve Baker say that although this defection was definitely a hard blow to HD-DVD, he added the caveat that its still too soon to tell whether this is the start of a trend. Baker was quoted in saying, "It’s always very dangerous to make long-term assumptions based on one-week sales data."

Baker also noted that strong marketing pushes by Sony and Sharp to include Blu-ray players along with HDTVs haven't helped the cause. "And we haven’t seen the results of Toshiba significantly dropping the price of their set-top players" Baker said. "One week just doesn’t give us enough data points to say something is going on for the long term. It only tells me in one week something happened."




AfterDawn: News

Equinux introduces USB TV Tuner for Macs

Written by Dave Horvath @ 25 Jan 2008 12:51

Equinux introduces USB TV Tuner for Macs Folks over at Equinux have given Apple users something more to cheer about with the introduction of their Tubestick hybrid USB digital and analog TV tuner for the Macintosh computer. It comes in the well known Mac white and houses two individual receivers for both digital and analog television transmissions. These two receivers are capable of allowing users to watch digital over-the-air HDTV broadcasts, digital QAM or analog signals.

Equinux took great lengths to ensure the design would be aesthetically pleasing as the Macintosh computers. Its sleek white with semi-curved edges and has a minimalistic design theory. Each Tubestick comes with a matching white antenna for receiving the transmissions. The antenna is plug and play with the device. Users will not have to worry about screwing in an antenna as it just snaps into place, ready to go.

No information has been given as to the price of this unit, but you can expect it to go on sale this February in the US.




AfterDawn: News

Sony may discontinue 80GB PS3

Written by Dave Horvath @ 25 Jan 2008 11:43

Sony may discontinue 80GB PS3 According to an internal memo at retail giant Best Buy, the store will no longer stock and distribute the 80GB Sony PS3, thereby moving the console closer to a single SKU retail option. According to the memo, the store will no longer carry the product after January 28th of this year. The unverified memo reads, "The 80GB version of the PS3 is going closeout and won't be replaced at this time. Only the 40GB version of PS3 will be sold in Best Buy stores at this time."

This move as a whole would completely dismiss backwards compatibility for future PS3 owners from ever being achieved. As known in the past, the 40GB model saved money by going with a different motherboard which did not include the architecture needed for backwards compatibility for PS2 games. Of course, PS1 games are still playable via the digital download service they offer. If this memo serves as a direction that Sony wishes to take with future sales, it would mean that Sony has given up on supplying backwards compatibility to its customers.

To further substantiate this, North America is the only region that still a multi-system lineup. Japan and the UK have already dropped the higher capacity models in favor of the cheaper 40GB model. Earlier last year, Sony had dropped the 20GB and the 60GB model from their lineup, leaving only the 40GB and 80GB respectively.




AfterDawn: News

P2P downloads outshine digital sales 20:1

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jan 2008 5:47

P2P downloads outshine digital sales 20:1 The past eight years has been a struggle between the music industry and P2P downloads. Since Napster launched in 1999 and brought the peer-to-peer downloads to the mainstream, the International Federation of Phonographic Industry, more commonly known as IFPI, has been trying to stop the P2P revolution. Despite some radical acts to regain momentum for legit music downloads the recording industry is suffering a spiral downwards.

Digital sales have grown immensely and iTunes alone has sold more than 3 billion songs since the 2003 it launched. However, to put it in perspective the same amount of songs are being transferred each quarter of a year in P2P networks, and that doesn't include the downloads from the likes of BitTorrent and Usenet, reports Slyck News.

During last year, Internet Service Providers (ISP) have been under pressure. Even with the "get out of jail free"-card of DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which protects the ISPs from being responsible for the illegal traffic in their networks, some companies including US giant AT&T have voluntarily started to control their network traffic. The same goes for some European countries, one of which is France.

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AfterDawn: News

IFPI annual report praises labels for being forced to ditch DRM

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jan 2008 23:20

IFPI annual report praises labels for being forced to ditch DRM According to the IFPI's annual report on the music industry, released today, it was innovative labels, rather than frustrated consumers or knowledgable online store management who came up with the DRM-free music model that's taking over online music sales. It's an apparent bid to rewrite history, in which they were actually dragged kicking and screaming into the DRM-free marketplace. In fact, last year's report describe DRM as "the enabler of flexible music offerings."

The IFPI is also pulling no punches in their campaign to turn ISPs into their proxies in the fight against internet piracy. opens with a section titled "Making ISP Responsibility A Reality." Interestingly, however, the report also features another section highlighting the mobile music market in Japan, in which that coiuntry is characterized as "setting a fascinating example to the rest of the world."

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AfterDawn: News

Suspected virus author in Japan arrested for copyright infringement

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jan 2008 22:14

Suspected virus author in Japan arrested for copyright infringement Although Japan apparently doesn't have any laws to prosecuted virus authors under, that's not stopping officials in that country from going after a 24 year old graduate student suspected of spreading a virus through infected animation files. Ironically it's the same innocuous looking files used to spread the virus that are at the heart of the government's case - for copyright infringement.

It marks the first case of anyone being arrested in Japan over a virus, and seems to have been a reaction to complaints from animation production houses whose copyrights were being violated. Although it's encouraging to see copyright law used for something clearly in the public's fundamental interest, such as bringing a virus author to justice, it's hard not be struck by the irony of the situation.

While distributing malicious code that could potentially have financial ramifications for hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people, the illegal use of cartoon characters, which is unlikely to affect anyone financially, seems to be a high legal priority.




AfterDawn: News

MySpace video to feature BBC video clips

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jan 2008 21:42

MySpace video to feature BBC video clips In a new deal with the BBC, MySpace will be adding a number of the broadcaster's show's to thier MySpace Video site. In addition to watching them on the YouTube clone, the clips will also be available to MySpace members to embed in their personal pages. In return, the BBC will receive a cut of ad revenues. It's the first deal MySpace has made with a major television network.

"With the global nature of the deal, this is a great opportunity to put the best shows from the BBC in front of new audiences," Simon Danker, director of digital media for BBC Worldwide, said in a statement.

Jeff Berman, MySpace's executive vice president for marketing and content, said the deal "reflects a fast-approaching Internet future defined by co-operation between corporations."




AfterDawn: News

Sony to package MTV shows for PSP

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jan 2008 20:54

Sony to package MTV shows for PSP Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) will be selling programming licensed from MTV on UMD for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). The MTV programming includes episodes of 'Beavis and Butthead', 'Jackass', 'Wildboyz', 'Viva La Bam', and 'Aeon Flux'. Titles will sell for $14.99.

“This collaboration with MTV is a key first step in meeting the needs of our consumers who are utilizing PSP as a video player more than ever and are thirsting for more content, particularly short-form videos,” said Phil Rosenberg, senior VP of sales and business development at SCEA. "MTV’s programming is hugely popular, and SCEA can utilize our internal resources to appropriately manage the publishing and distribution of these hit shows on UMD. This demonstrates our commitment to supporting the UMD video format by delivering what consumers want to watch at the right price. SCEA will continue to license movie, TV and other video content.”

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AfterDawn: News

Yahoo working out plans to offer DRM free MP3 downloads

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jan 2008 20:21

Yahoo working out plans to offer DRM free MP3 downloads Yahoo is reportedly working on a plan to launch a MP3 download service some time this year. The company is apparently engaged in preliminary talks with the major music labels, but still hasn't decided if their service will offer music for free, or as ad-supported downloads.

According to Yahoo spokeswoman Carrie Davis the company has added discussion of DRM free downloads to their regular dialog with the labels. They already have an ongoing relationship, in part due to their existing free and subscription based Streaming music services. Last year they indicated they were planning to move away from their commercial offerings in favor of expanded ad-support.

Yahoo also entered into a deal last year that allows Sony properties to be used by users to create content for various Yahoo services and portals. In exchange, Sony shares in the ad revenue generated.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii sales hit 6 million in Europe

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2008 16:20

Nintendo Wii sales hit 6 million in Europe Following Nintendo Japan's announcement that 5 million Wii units had been sold in the country, Nintendo Europe has revealed that sales of the Wii had reached 6 million and DS handheld sales had reached 20 million units.

The company also revealed that first party software sales for the region had been impressive, with four titles for the Wii blasting past one million units sold. "Wii Play" has sold 2.3 units while "The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess" and "Super Mario Galaxy" sold 1.3 million each. "Mario Party 8" just hit one million units sold.

DS games continued to sell very well with the "Nintendogs" series leading the pack with over 8 million units sold.

2008 Wii titles coming to Europe should also be hot sellers especially the upcoming "Wii Fit", "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" and "Mario Kart Wii". The last two titles are successors to blockbuster hits for past consoles.

Nintendo also revealed that for the 9 month period ending December 31st 2007, profit was $2.43 billion USD, almost double its 2006 profit.

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AfterDawn: News

Police break up large Australian DVD piracy ring

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2008 16:03

Police break up large Australian DVD piracy ring Melbourne police announced today the busting of a $12 million-a-year DVD piracy ring that had been operating in Australia for years.

Police announced that shops had been set up at houses in west Melbourne and customers chose from thousands of pirated DVDs via catalog. The homes where raided early Tuesday.

The two owners of the houses were arrested and charged after the authorities seized 400,000 pirates DVDs, CDs and video games. 100 DVD burners were also seized along with $10,000 in cash.

The people arrested, a man and woman in their mid 40s, were charged with infringing copyright.

Police Commander Terry Purton went as far to say that DVD piracy was so lucrative that criminals were moving away from drug trafficking and into DVD piracy.

"They are making an obscene profit,"
Commander Purton said.

"They are producing DVDs for 20¢ and selling them for $10."


The Commander also said that one of the houses had been raided in November 2007 and that he was surprised to see it back in full production. The police were notified by neighbors who believed that the house was being used to deal drugs.

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AfterDawn: News

Sharp introduces three of the thinnest LCD HDTVs

Written by Dave Horvath @ 24 Jan 2008 11:38

Sharp introduces three of the thinnest LCD HDTVs Bolstering three new LCD televisions to its Aquos X line, Sharp has announced its thin 3.44cm (at the thinnest part) architecture. Loaded with many features HDTV lovers want in their sets, these new sets come in 46-inch, 42-inch and 37-inch displays.

These televisions are being marketed for people who desire to hang their television on the wall as they would a painting and not be put off by the thickness of current television sets. The X Series also adopts a discrete component configuration that separates the display section from the tuner section. Users can connect the display section simply and easily via a single cable. Housing the tuner as a separate component also eliminates the time and effort involved in turning the back of the display section to make connections with the antenna cable or peripheral equipment.

Features include

  • Industry's thinnest Profile at 3.44cm
  • TV contrast of 15,000:1 and 12-bit BDE color value rendering
  • double-speed (120-Hz Frame rate conversion) full-HD LCD technology
  • Thin-profile 3-way 8-speaker system and 1-Bit digital amplifier
  • All models are compatible with AQUOS Familink that enables operation of a connected AQUOS Blu-ray Disc Player simply and easily




AfterDawn: News

MGM brings HD channel to Verizon FiOS

Written by Dave Horvath @ 24 Jan 2008 11:10

MGM brings HD channel to Verizon FiOS In an announcement by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), the company has secured carriage for its MGM HD channel on Verizon's FiOS TV service, bringing feature film hits from the MGM library to Verizon FiOS TV subscriber households in full high definition splendor.

"The response to the MGM HD Channel, even in today's crowded and challenging marketplace, has been very encouraging, especially as consumers validate our belief that HDTV owners value movies along with sports as HD's greatest viewing proposition," said Douglas A. Lee,
Executive Vice President of Worldwide Digital Media for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. "We are one of the only services available 24/7 in full 1080i HD."

MGM HD will be rolled out in late 2008 across all of the Verizon FiOS TV systems including California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia.

Backed by the world's largest modern film library, consisting of more than 4,100 film titles and winner of 209 Academy Awards(R), MGM HD has a distinct advantage over the competition in the expanding HD marketplace. In addition to classic MGM theatrical hits, MGM HD will be the ultimate resource for serious movie fans, offering viewers an array of original programming and new content.




AfterDawn: News

Vudu drops price to battle AppleTV

Written by Dave Horvath @ 24 Jan 2008 10:52

Vudu drops price to battle AppleTV Effective immediately Vudu will drop the price of its video-on-demand Set-Top Box by as much as 25 percent to battle with the recent resurgence of interest in rival AppleTV. Down from its original asking price of $399, Vudu can be had for a scant $295. Any customers that have purchased the set-top box in the past 30 days are also eligible for a $100 movie credit by contacting the company's customer support line.

When Vudu was initially released in September of 2007, it had distinctive advantages over AppleTV. Such features as movie downloads that didn't require a PC to be attached, instant-on playback, high quality video and content from major movie studios gave AppleTV a lot to live up to. Steve Jobs, in his keynote address listed a few features that have apparently made Vudu a little concerned about its competitors.

Apple had promised to match all of the features on the Vudu box as well as slash the price of the 40Gb model to $229 and the 160Gb model came down to $329. Both units were $299 and $399 respectively. In addition, the Apple unit can access the likes of YouTube and stream media from any networked PC in your home directly to your television.




AfterDawn: News

Global music sales fell 10 percent in 2007

Written by Dave Horvath @ 24 Jan 2008 10:24

Global music sales fell 10 percent in 2007 Music sold worldwide had a substantial decline in 2007 and fell faster than 2006 even while digital distribution sales have been seemingly soaring. As is the usual argument, the industry is claiming that they need to adopt a model that better protects against piracy if they are to reclaim sales of music.

Digital distribution sales rose some 40 percent in 2007, but it wasn't enough of a margin to offset the decline in physical media sales. With how fast and sharp CDs fell off the market, the industry as a whole is looking at a 10 percent loss overall. In response to this, industry leaders are contacting Internet Service Providers and encouraging them to take a stronger stance towards allowing the rampant illegal file sharing that occurs over their networks. They wish to discuss plans to either disconnect those who upload music or provide a medium to prevent the download of illegal music. Most ISPs have been reluctant to give into these types of suggestions, but the industry hopes they will take note of a recent move by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The President has mandated that Internet traffic is to be blocked to those found to be frequently downloading illegal wares.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube to integrate its service to more mobile phones

Written by Dave Horvath @ 24 Jan 2008 10:09

YouTube to integrate its service to more mobile phones Currently only able to stream to select devices including the Apple iPhone and Helio, YouTube is looking to open up the mobile phone market by launching its YouTube for Mobile plan. The company hopes to offer its service to the many different cellular phone companies that offer high speed data services to its clients.

Dwipal Desia, mobile product manager of YouTube says, "It's basically the full YouTube experience you can get on the desktop -- on the phone. We expect it to get fairly popular from our past experiences."

As stated before, only the iPhone and Helio have full featured access to YouTube's content. Other companies such as Verizon and Vodafone feature a scaled down version to its clients. YouTube wants to change this to allow all the features to as many mobile consumers as they can reach. There are also plans in the works for allowing users to upload video straight from their phones to the YouTube website, thereby opening up a whole new experience for videographers.

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AfterDawn: News

HP to provide Sony DVD Manufacturing On Demand

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jan 2008 0:53

HP to provide Sony DVD Manufacturing On Demand According to Video Business, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has entered into an agreement with Hewlett-Packard (HP) to provide DVDs using their Manufacturing On Demand (MOD) technology. Like the technology being developed to allow DVDs to be sold through kiosks, MOD allows a DVD to be prepared only after a consumer orders it. Unlike that technology, however, the disc is actually a stamped, making it more or less identical to a mass produced studio release. In a kiosk the disc is burned using special software and hardware capable of including DVD-Video's standard CSS encryption.

Although there are several small studios which already have deals with HP for MOD manufacturing, but Sony is the first major player to get involved. A company representative indicated that this may create the opportunity to sell titles that aren't expected to sell well enough to warrant a general release, but which may be economically viable through MOD.

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AfterDawn: News

Apartment owners appeal FCC decision banning exclusive cable contracts

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jan 2008 0:29

Apartment owners appeal FCC decision banning exclusive cable contracts One of the FCC's most contreversial decisions last year was a rule banning contracts for cable providers to exclusively service entire buildings or complexes, with no choice given to the tenants. "I believe that people in apartment buildings deserve to have the same choices as people in the suburbs," Martin said at the time. "The commission found that people who live in apartment buildings often have no choice of companies when it comes to their video service provider. This is because building owners often strike exclusive deals." He also pointed out that between 1995 and 2005, a period during which cable rates nearly doubled, other communications services such as long distance calling actually fell.

Now the National Multi Housing Council and National Apartment Association who represent the owners of many of these buildings are challenging the ruling in the U.S. District Court of Appeals' District of Columbia division. The complaint alleges that the ruling exceeds FCC authority and is "arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, unsupported by substantial evidence."

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AfterDawn: News

EU culture committee finalizes recommendation to Parliament without IFPI changes

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 23:46

EU culture committee finalizes recommendation to Parliament without IFPI changes The E.U.'s CULT committee, responsible for on helping shape EU policy on issues related to culture and education, has decided not to include amendments drafted by the international recording industry trade association IFPI in the final draft on their report on Cultural Industries. The report is intended for adoption by the European Parliament as EU policy.

As we reported last December, the IFPI was lobbying to have language inserted that would require ISPs to monitor subscriber traffic for copyright violation and actively Block websites the organization deems not in compliance with legal licensing practices. These sites primarily operate out of countries like Russia, where the international recording industry has less sway than the owners of such sites as AllOfMP3.com.

Another amendment which didn't make the cut would have extended copyright terms, purportedly with the intention of extending the period of time during which song writers could profit from their works. Critics have pointed out that only the most successful songs continue to generated enough revenue for the author to receive a benefit worth codifying in law, but record labels who can continue to distribute and license these works would see far more financial gain from such a change.




AfterDawn: News

Auctioning of U.S. analog TV spectrum begins Thursday

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 22:54

Auctioning of U.S. analog TV spectrum begins Thursday Unlike the actual consumer side of the U.S. digital TV (DTV) transition, for which the FCC has taken a relatively hands-off approach, the auctioning off some of the radio frequencies being abandoned by analog TV transimissions, which officially begins on Thursday, has received a lot of personal attention from FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Martin's primary interest in the auction seems to be largely based on what he sees as an opportunity for one or more companies to build wireless data networks that could compete with incumbent cable and DSL broadband internet providers. "It's because of the unique characteristics of the spectrum, it's going to have the most significant impact on consumers we've seen in a while," Martin told the Associated Press.

The characteristics Martin is referring to are primarily related to the frequencies available. Although many wireless data networks have been built around higher transmission frequencies, those being auctioned off now, currently in use for UHF channels 52 through 69 are less prone to loss when encountering solid objects. In other words they're better at going through buildings and other obstacles without becoming too weak to be useful.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft joins South Korean companies in IPTV venture

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 21:53

Microsoft joins South Korean companies in IPTV venture On Tuesday Microsoft reached and agreement with South Korean firms Daum Communications Corp. and Celrun to establish IPTV service in that country. Daum will be supplying content for viewing on Celrun's set-top boxes from Microsoft's MediaRoom IPTV solution. Microsoft will also be responsible for marketing beyond South Korean's borders.

Daum spokeswoman Park Hyun-Jung told AFP "The deal is part of our preparations to launch the IPTV service following the recent passage of a related bill in parliament." She added "We aim to start the VOD service in the second quarter of this year when the joint venture is formally launched."

According to Park Daum is predicting 16 million South Korean IPTV viewers by 2011.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix is still in charge and Movie Gallery is still in trouble

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 18:57

Netflix is still in charge and Movie Gallery is still in trouble A comparison of Netflix and Movie Gallery is a study in opposites. In the last year Netflix managed to withstand a challenge for online rental supremacy from Blockbuster and come out the undisputed leader, with Blockbuster apparently giving up on previous online ambitions to concentrate on brick and mortar operations where their primary competition, Movie Gallery, was declaring bankruptcy and closing stores.

The trends for both Movie Gallery and Netflix appear to be continuing in the same direction for the fourth quarter of last year. Netflix today announced a revenue increase of 9% from the same period in 2006. Meanwhile Movie Gallery has filed a motion asking the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, VA to approve an expenditure of around $1 million dollars for employee compensation related to closing more stores.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple and NBC make up after iTunes split?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2008 18:57

Apple and NBC make up after iTunes split? After months of an uncomfortable stalemate between the two giant companies, it seems that Apple and NBC may be making up and an iTunes reunion could be in the works.

A few months ago NBC and Apple's relationship took a turn for the worst when NBC split from Apple's iTunes platform and refused to sign a new contract. Apple responded by saying NBC wanted a slice of iPod revenue which was unacceptable. NBC has since signed deals with Amazon and SpiralFrog.

Currently NBC still offers older content via iTunes and because of the ongoing writer's strike there has been little new content to offer. Earlier this month tensions began to ease when NBC Universal signed an agreement to provide Universal content for Apple's iTunes rental service.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker have been recently quoted throwing flattering comments back and forth about each other's companies and services with each hinting that a reunion was possible. During an interview, Zucker is quoted as saying "We've said all along that we admire Apple, that we want to be in business with Apple...We're great fans of Steve Jobs."

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AfterDawn: News

Low end ATI cards add HD DVD, Blu-ray playback

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2008 18:33

Low end ATI cards add HD DVD, Blu-ray playback Earlier this morning, at an event in Beijing, the video card maker ATI announced that they will be incorporating Blu-ray and HD DVD playback support into their upcoming low end video cards.

ATI confirmed that they had added DirectX 10.1 support to two new Radeon division cards at the lower end of the price spectrum, namely the HD 3400 model which should retail for as low as $49 USD. The other card is the HD 3600 which is essentially the same card just with more transistors, a significant 378 million versus 181 million.

Despite their relatively low specs, both feature the on-board support for decoding Blu-ray and HD DVD video at full 1080p resolution. This alone should make the cards very appealing to media center PC builders on a budget.

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AfterDawn: News

Comcast TiVo interface officially introduced in Boston

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 18:02

Comcast TiVo interface officially introduced in Boston It's no secret that one of the most influential products in the last few years is the TiVo DVR, which has been the inspiration for an entire industry of products, mostly designed around particular cable and satellite television services. At one time, DirecTV even had a model that combined the TiVo interface and underlying operating system with DirecTV receivers, although they've since discontinued those units in favor of their own proprietary DVR technology.

Now U.S. cable television provider, Comcast, has officially introduced a DVR upgrade that takes a somewhat different approach and adds TiVo functionality to their own DVR platform. In addition to offering Comcast the opportunity to offer the TiVo interface without replacing existing DVR hardware in customer's living rooms, it may also prove to other cable providers that a partnership with TiVo can improve already popular DVR offerings.

The biggest difference between the Comcast and DirecTV TiVo offerings is the ability of cable operators to exercise the same amount of control over the DVRs as they do now. While the DirecTiVo had several key features, including USB support to easily add a wireless network adapter, disabled by default, the relatively open nature of TiVo's Linux based architecture, made if fairly easy to enable them using resources freely available on the internet.

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AfterDawn: News

40GB "ceramic white" PlayStation 3 coming to the US

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2008 17:45

40GB "ceramic white" PlayStation 3 coming to the US Despite Sony's recent decision to discontinue the 20GB and 60GB models of its PlayStation 3 gaming console it seems they will be bringing a new model to North American.

An FCC filing has shown that Sony is planning to bring the "Ceramic White" 40GB model to North American stores but there is no official launch price or date known as of yet.

The filing, along with letters from Sony itself have confirmed that the white PS3 is ready for a North American launch. The model number, CECHH01 is different from the Japanese white PS3 but the model revision is more of a subtraction than any addition. The new model will come standard with a SIXAXIS wireless controller and not the DualShock 3.

There was no release date or launch price indicated by the filing or the Sony memos but the popular rumor is that an official announcement is coming next week and that sales of the new model can begin in early February. Other rumors have suggested that the black 40GB model will receive a price cut with the addition of the new white model to Sony's lineup but be reminded none of this information is verified.




AfterDawn: News

Apple sales forecast doesn't live up to analyst expectations

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 17:11

Apple sales forecast doesn't live up to analyst expectations Despite increased sales and an increased profit margin over the year before, Apple's stock ended the day down more than 3% on Tuesday after the company reported both earnings for the last three months of 2007, which is actually Apple's first quarter of fiscal 2008, and a sales forecast for this quarter.

Yankee Group analyst Carl Howe attribute's Apple's excellent performance during last year's Christmas shopping season as the result of months of preparation and product positioning. "Basically, they had all their ducks in a row well before the holiday shopping season started," he said. "That's really the key to success during a holiday season. It sounds simple, but a lot of companies screw it up. People knew what the products were, where to buy them, and then they went out a bought them."

Interestingly, last quarter's record revenue was fueled by sales of more expensive products, like the 16GB iPod Touch. If that trend continues actual revenues may prove to be be closer to what Wall Street analysts were expecting prior to Apple's Tuesday announcement.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii sales hit 5 million in Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2008 16:59

Nintendo Wii sales hit 5 million in Japan According to Enterbrain's latest data figures the ever popular Nintendo Wii console has hit a new milestone in Japan, hitting 5 million units sold.

As of last Sunday, the console sold 5,109,337 units in the country since its launch in late 2006. The Wii acheived its latest milestone in only 60 weeks surpassing the Sony PlayStation 2 as the fastest selling console in recent memory. The PS2 hit the milestone in 66 weeks. Nintendo's other hit, the DS, hit the milestone in 56 weeks.

As has been the trend of late, Wii, DS and PlayStation Portable sales all continue to see nice sales and growth while the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 continue to lag behind in Japan.




AfterDawn: News

Universal: HD DVD is here to stay

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2008 16:38

Universal: HD DVD is here to stay In an interview with BetaNews, Universal Studios executive vice president and co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group Ken Graffeo has said that despite rampant rumors the struggling format is here to stay. He did however leave the door open for putting an end to the format war if Blu-ray is willing to make an agreement.

When asked by the interviewer how Universal felt about Warner's move to Blu-ray exclusivity, Graffeo had this to say: "Well, we heard about the whole move when everyone else did -- when a lot of us were on planes flying to CES in Las Vegas. To be very honest with you, we have not addressed that yet -- Warner is still releasing HD DVD titles up until May. Warner has always been in two formats, and prior to Paramount's switch, they had been in two formats, so now that Warner is exclusive... we just haven't addressed it yet.

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AfterDawn: News

Last.fm unveils worlds largest free music service

Written by Dave Horvath @ 23 Jan 2008 15:10

Last.fm unveils worlds largest free music service Touting its newest service as the world's largest free music service, Last.fm has signed deals with record labels to pay royalties towards their catalogs of music. The four big labels have all signed as well as over 150,000 independent labels. Users of this service will be able to listen to each Track, streamed, up to 3 times for free. After that, if the consumer likes what they hear, they'll be obligated to purchase it.

If users of this service decide to buy the song after the introductory period, they will be provided direct links to several music services out there, including the likes of iTunes and Amazon. Last.fm will share profits of these sales and that is how they predict they can pay for the cost of running such a service.

One of the original founders of Last.fm before it was sold to CBS, Richard Jones has said, "We want to make music available free and legally to whoever wants it, while rewarding the artists at the same time." He was later asked whether users would not prefer to own music and be able to put it on a portable player rather than just being able to stream it, he said, "The way people consume music is changing - sometimes you just want to listen to it there and then."

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AfterDawn: News

CEA working out portable device connection standard

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 14:54

CEA working out portable device connection standard As part of an initiative to come up with a common standard for connecting portable digital audio and video devices to everything from home stereos to car entertainment systems, the Consumer Electronics Association's Mobile Electronics Committee is preparing to conduct a study of combining High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) signals with Portable Digital Media Interface (PDMI) connectors.

Rather than requiring several different types of connections for different brands of portable media players, this would allow home and automotive entertainment systems to add an interface for practically all such devices at a relatively low cost. Currently most solutions available to consumers, like FM broadcast, add multiple generations of loss to music that's generally been subjected to lossy MP3 or AAC Compression already.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony delays Skype addition to latest PSP

Written by Dave Horvath @ 23 Jan 2008 14:45

Sony delays Skype addition to latest PSP After announcing the addition of the Skype service to the Playstation Portable, Sony has said that it will be forced to delay the launch of the Skype enabled PSP in Japan. The delay seems to stem from a problem with the microphone not meeting the specifications of Skype.

Earlier this month, Sony said that PSP users will be able to download the Skype software and use it along with an active Wi-Fi connection to make world-wide phone calls. The receiving end of these phone calls would have to be other Skype enabled PSPs or people running the Skype software on their home computer.

Apparently, Skype rollouts outside of Japan will go along as planned as the headsets don't fail to meet the specifications in other areas. It is unknown when Japanese PSP users will be able to experience Skype on their handhelds.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

MPAA admits incorrectly estimating college piracy losses

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jan 2008 14:08

MPAA admits incorrectly estimating college piracy losses The MPAA is now backing away from statistics they began using in 2005 as a bullet point in their legal assault on college campuses. The study which generated the statistics claimed that 44% of their domestic losses due to piracy came from college students. However, the group has now admitted that due to "human error" the real number, which is more like 15%, was exaggerated.

According to Mark Luker who is vice president of Educause, a sort of professional association for entire campus IT departments, the real figure is lower still since the study only accounts for the approximately 20% of students who reside on campus. He estimates the correct figure to be closer to 3%.

"The 44 percent figure was used to show that if college campuses could somehow solve this problem on this campus, then it would make a tremendous difference in the business of the motion picture industry," Luker said. The new figures prove "any solution on campus will have only a small impact on the industry itself."




AfterDawn: News

Blu-ray players sell almost 13:1 against HD DVD

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Jan 2008 6:43

Blu-ray players sell almost 13:1 against HD DVD According to the NPD Group's latest report, Blu-ray players have taken a massive leap in market share. In december Blu-ray players held 60 percent of the high-definition player market, the week after HD DVD camp Blu-ray finished with a huge lead of 93 percent, making this year's market share approximately 70-30 for Blu-ray.

Even though the study only spans one week, the difference is huge. To make it even more devastating the recent price drop of HD DVD didn't seem to help them regain momentum. The movie sales has also been in favor of Blu-ray, the top ten high-definition movies sold in week 2 were all Blu-ray, and Blu-ray took 85 percent of the total sales.


Market share of HD players

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AfterDawn: News

3G phone with e-book reader and 5 inch screen to be available this year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 22 Jan 2008 1:56

3G phone with e-book reader and 5 inch screen to be available this year A Dutch company called Polymer Vision hopes to make a big splash this year with the introduction of their new Readius, a 3G mobile phone with a 5 inch display that folds into the device when not in use. The technology that makes this possible is called the Rollable Screen, which involves a display that can literally be rolled up to fit into the device.

In addition to being a phone, the Readius will also be an e-book reader, using the same E-Ink material for its display as the Amazon Kindle, a reader introduced last year by Amazon.com which has no phone functionality. E-ink is primarily notable for appearing very similar to paper, including it's reflective properties. For this reason it makes a superior display for reading from. It's also capable of retaining an image without requiring any electricity, resulting in devices that are more energy efficient than those using conventional LCD displays.

"You get the large display of e-reading, the super battery life of e-reading, and the high-end connectivity ... and the form factor and weight of a mobile phone," said Karl McGoldrick, chief executive of the company, in which electronics giant Phillips has a 25% stake.

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AfterDawn: News

Canadian Privacy Minister expresses concern over copyright amendments

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 22 Jan 2008 0:48

Canadian Privacy Minister expresses concern over copyright amendments The Canadian government has recently been considering changes to their copyright law, laregely in response to complaints from content owners and the U.S. government regarding the country's lack of DMCA-style legislation to make bypassing Digital Rights Management (DRM) measures illegal. However, at least one government official is worried about the implications of legal protections for DRM.

Last Friday Jennifer Stoddart, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, sent a letter to Minister of Industry Jim Prentice and Minister of Canadian Heritage Josée Verner expressing concern over the use of DRM to violate consumers' privacy. She pointed to Sony's now infamous rootkit fiasco in 2005, when a number of that company's CD releases included a program that automatically installed itself when inserted in a computer running Windows without asking, or even notifying the user.

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AfterDawn: News

Time Warner divisions seem conflicted over internet video

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Jan 2008 23:30

Time Warner divisions seem conflicted over internet video As Time Warner's Home Box Office (HBO) premium cable service begins trials of an online Video On Demand (VOD) offering targetted specifically at cable internet customers, another branch of the company, Time Warner Cable, is finalizing a plan to experiment with monthly download limits for broadband internet subscribers.

In other words, while the company's right hand is offering consumers extras available only through the internet connection they're already paying for, the left hand is threatening to charge them more if they use the service too regularly.

Meanwhile Time Warner Cable is trying to downplay the apparent schism between the two Warner Brothers divisions, telling The Hollywood Reporter "Time Warner Cable is confident our subscribers will enjoy content like HBO on Broadband no matter what the pricing is." No doubt there are more than a few customers who would disagree with that opinion, and probably more than a few Time Warner executives trying to figure out how to "clarify" the statement so it doesn't look quite as much like a major corporation calling their customers mindless sheep.

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AfterDawn: News

Survey calls FCC / CEA claims about a smooth DTV transition into question

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Jan 2008 22:45

Survey calls FCC / CEA claims about a smooth DTV transition into question If the results of a recent study by the Association of Public Television Stations is to be believed there are tougher times ahead for television broadcasters in the U.S. According to the study only about 5% of the 21 million people who currently count on Over The Air (OTA) broadcasts for television viewing plan to either subscribe to a satellite or Cable Television service or purchase one of the converter boxes that will soon be available for converting digital TV (DTV) to a format an old fashioned analog TV can handle.

Broadcasters already losing revenue because of the increased use of DVRs, reducing advertising dollars from sponsors who don't want to pay to have their commercials skipped. The possibility of losing 10 million viewers outright can't be an appealing thought.

Of the remaining respondents, only 12% indicated plans to subscribe to a pay service to prepare for the February 2009 digital transition, while 43% said they plan to buy a converter and continue to watch OTA TV. "This data indicates that free, over-the-air television may be set for a big comeback," APTS president and CEO John Lawson said. "Many people see broadcasting as a dinosaur technology, but we broadcasters have the opportunity to reposition it as 'wireless TV' and reach new audiences."

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AfterDawn: News

Does CTO's departure mark the beginning of the end for Joost?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Jan 2008 21:43

Does CTO's departure mark the beginning of the end for Joost? Last Thursday BBC Future Media and Technology Group Controller Erik Huggers announced the hring of Joost CTO Dirk-Willem van Gulik as the division's Chief Technical Architect. van Gulik will be taking over the position in February. He will be succeeded at Joost by former Comcast and Cisco executive Matt Zelesko.

Just a few months ago Joost was in the enviable position of having "legitimate" online video from television networks, as well as a lot of buzz surrounding their beta, which promised free "broadcast quality" online television viewing. Since then, however, it seems to have quickly faded into obscurity, overshadowed by direct offerings from network websites, new services like the joint venture from NBC Universal (NBCU) and News Corp. called Hulu, and more recently Apple TV.

As Joost attempts to re-energize their service with a new CTO and plans for a second base of technical operations in the U.S. it seems fair to ask what kind of future the company has. Last July they boasted of having "1 million viewers," although this most likely equates to the number of people who have downloaded their player, rather than those actually using the service on even a semi-regular basis.

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AfterDawn: News

HTC Touch sales are half that of Apple's iPhone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2008 18:58

HTC Touch sales are half that of Apple's iPhone The large Taiwanese handset manufacturer HTC has finally released its sales report for 2007 and it seems their Apple iPhone rival, the HTC Touch, is selling pretty well.

The Touch and Touch Dual run on Windows Mobile 6 and use the same touch interface as Apple's iPhone. Because of its use of WM6, the Touch has been better suited for corporate and business accounts and it has showed.

At the Macworld event last week, Steve Jobs noted that his company had sold 4 million iPhones worldwide since its launch. HTC reported that it had sold 2 million Touch phones and in total "the company reported sales of 11.8 million handsets, 12% more than it had sold in 2006, garnering 12% more revenue as a result."

It is good to see strong competition and with the LG Voyager now in retail stores 2008 should be interesting to watch.




AfterDawn: News

EA set to release free ad-supported game downloads

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2008 18:52

EA set to release free ad-supported game downloads The large game distributor Electronic Arts has announced that it will be offering a brand new free Battlefield game that is completely ad-supported.

The new game, Battlefield Heroes, will be available free of charge starting this summer and will generate all its revenue from ad support and micro-transactions.

"Online gaming garners a massive audience,"
commented Gerhard Florin, executive vice president of publishing at EA.

"People want to play games in new ways, with easier access that is quick to the fun. With Battlefield Heroes, EA brings its first major franchise to North America and Europe with a new distribution model and pricing structure adapted to the evolving way that people play."


The company even promised regular content updates for players that should "customize" the experience.

"There's something here for all types of players – be it our core Battlefield fans or casual gamers,"
added Ben Cousins, senior producer at EA DICE.

"With the new online model, we will continually add new content to keep the game fresh and keep players engaged, while integrating player feedback in real time. As a game developer, it is such a cool new way to make games."




AfterDawn: News

Thousands of fans sign a "save HD DVD" petition

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2008 18:48

Thousands of fans sign a "save HD DVD" petition So far, over six thousand HD DVD fans have signed an online petition that is urging, maybe pleading, for Warner Home Entertainment to reconsider its decision to drop the next gen format in favor of Blu-ray.

The petition, first posted two weeks ago, takes issue with Warner's press release that explains that the "consumer has clearly chosen Blu-ray," and instead points out HD DVD's lower hardware prices and "better technological capabilities." The petition also says the format is more consumer and user friendly than its rival.

Supporters are hoping that the petition will convince Warner to change its mind on the decision and that it will also prove that HD DVD still has many supporters.




AfterDawn: News

New company to assist Blu-ray studios with "quality control"

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2008 18:37

New company to assist Blu-ray studios with "quality control" The Blu-ray Disc Association has announced that a new company, BluFocus, has been formed to help assist Blu-ray studios in "quality control checks" of their upcoming Blu-ray releases.

Many have hoped for such a group as titles on Blu-ray and its rival HD DVD are very sophisticated systems of interactivity and many make it to retail shelves with flaws that need later patches or even recalls. The new group will test all titles to ensure they operate on all players before release.

The company has an expertise in the Blu-ray authoring language BD-Java and is "able to run the discs through a variety of tests in order to ensure compatibility with the set standards."




AfterDawn: News

HBO On Broadband debuts in Wisconsin

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Jan 2008 0:56

HBO On Broadband debuts in Wisconsin In a move over a year in the making, HBO has announced that it will begin trials of its online video service, dubbed HBO On Broadband. The service will be tested in two different Wisconsin markets - Green Bay and Milwaukee - and be available only to those who subscribe to both HBO and broadband internet from the same cable television provider.

The offering has been planned since at least 2006, but has been slow getting out of the gate because of the HBO's concerns about harming their relationship with cable providers, who would no doubt not be happy to have HBO essentially bypassing them to service customers. For now there will be no additional cost, beyond what consumers are already paying for HBO, to access the content.

"It encourages customers to take our bundle and keep it," says Peter Stern, executive VP at Time Warner Cable, which says 365,000 Wisconsin customers will have access to the new service.

Much like other online Video On Demand services from television networks and stations, HBO On Broadband will allow customers to download current content to their computer and keep it for a limited amount of time for playback. Variety is reporting the amount of time a show may be kept as a few weeks.

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AfterDawn: News

Retailers make room for Blu-ray

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Jan 2008 0:12

Retailers make room for Blu-ray With Warner Brothers jumping on board the Blu-ray bandwagon, studios and consumer electronics manufacturers aren't the only ones starting to think about the end to the so-called war between the two supposed "next-gen" optical movie formats. Retailers, who have consistently said they don't expect to see a serious market as long as both formats are around, are starting to in anticipation of a Blu-ray victory.

Mark Higgins of Trans World Entertainment, which operates more than 800 F.Y.E. stores in the U.S., told Video Business “We are waiting to hear more about what [HD DVD] hardware manufacturers decide to do, but I think one thing we can all agree on as retailers, is that consumer confusion is leading to a delay in buying a format."

He added “They don’t want to buy into another BetaMax. As retailers, we need to simplify things for the consumers as much as we can with merchandising one format. We don’t want to be biased, but that is clearly the direction that high-def production looks to be going.”

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AfterDawn: News

Update: Time Warner's bandwidth caps will hurt the future

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2008 18:58

Update: Time Warner's bandwidth caps will hurt the future Following Time Warner Cable's decision to begin trials of bandwidth caps, analysts and critics have begun speaking out about it.

As company spokespeople have have confirmed, the trials, beginning in Beaumont, Texas, will have "5GB, 10GB, 20GB, and 40GB limits depending on the service level" and there will no longer be an unlimited access option. Any subscriber which goes over the alloted bandwidth will be charged an undisclosed amount for each GB of data over the limit. The company did however say that the caps will only be given to new customers in the area while "legacy" customers will continue to have unlimited access.

The new model is not unique but it is very rare in the US where most ISPs opt for an unlimited model or "soft caps" where excessive use will merit a warning and possible ban if the numbers are extreme.

However, the critics of the new model certainly have a point. The future of online video will depend on unlimited bandwidth, especially as the world moves to HD. For example, a full length feature film in SD will normally consume 700MB to 1GB of bandwidth and HD videos available through Apple TV, Xbox 360, and other services normally consume 5GB of bandwidth. Downloading a few HD videos might cost you a ton of money if Time Warner has its way.

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AfterDawn: News

AT&T will offer iPhone to business accounts

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2008 18:50

AT&T will offer iPhone to business accounts According to anonymous sources, the wireless carrier AT&T will soon begin offering the Apple iPhone to corporate and business accounts. The sources claim the announcement will come tomorrow and have some rumored details to.

Among these "is the continuity of corporate discounts, which may serve to lure in a number of customers. There may however be some restrictions, such as having a data plan at or above $25 a month. It is also said that there will be no equipment discounts, and buyers will have to run through a pre-activation process before the normal one in iTunes."

If the rumors turn out to be true, it should help to bring the iPhone into business circles where it has had little success. So far the main obstacle has been compatibility issues with Microsoft's dominant mail technology, Exchange Server and Outlook which is used by many large corporations.

We will keep you updated.




AfterDawn: News

iPlayer coming to revamped Apple TV?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2008 18:33

iPlayer coming to revamped Apple TV? According to BBC technology director Ashley Highfield, the company is "strongly contemplating" offering its iPlayer web video service through the new updated Apple TV.

Apple's new move to a rental and purchase model would allow the BBC to "mimic the functions of the website while providing a more comfortable TV environment," added Highfield. The shows would be free of charge and the DRM involved would clear episodes after their viewing period is up which is a feature that the show's producers have insisted upon for the website.

Highfield would not say if the company had already talked with Apple but did note that the iPlayer will hit digital set-top boxes such as Virgin's cable service in the UK in the spring.




AfterDawn: News

NBC Universal has "record performance" profits despite iTunes

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2008 17:24

NBC Universal has "record performance" profits despite iTunes The media giant NBC Universal has announced "record performance" profits for 2007 despite its decision to leave Apple's iTunes platform earlier in the year.

The statement, made by CEO Jeff Zucker, stated that profit for 2007 rose to $923 million USD on $2.1 billion USD revenue, a nice 10 percent increase from 2006. Zucker attributed the success to its cable and film business which saw huge releases such as "The Bourne Ultimatum" and increased viewership to CNBC and the Sci-Fi Channel.

An NBCU senior studio official also noted that the increase was in spite of the ongoing writer's strike which started in October of last year. "Careful management of scripts will also let the movie and TV divisions continue significantly into 2008 without damage to the company's bottom line," added the official.

Instead of using iTunes, NBCU has pinned its hopes on Hulu and smaller offerings such as Fanfare.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube banned in Turkey, again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2008 17:03

YouTube banned in Turkey, again According to reports today the extremely popular video sharing site YouTube has been banned in Turkey because of clips that allegedly insult the country's founder.

This situation marks the second time Turkey has banned the site and for the same reason. It is actually illegal to insult the national icon, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Turkish courts have deemed twice that YouTube left clips up that insulted him.

In March 2007, the site was banned for two days in Turkey until offending videos were taken down.

Turkey is not the first country to block YouTube however. Last year the Thai government blocked access to the popular site for 4 months because of clips the government deemed "offensive" towards the Thai monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In Morocco, access was blocked in early May after videos were posted that were "critical of Morocco's treatment of the people of Western Sahara, a territory that Morocco took control of in 1975." The Moroccan government never officially spoke of the ban and called it a "technical glitch" that only affected YouTube.




AfterDawn: News

NBC gives away almost 10,000 tv episodes at CES

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Jan 2008 23:32

NBC gives away almost 10,000 tv episodes at CES At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas NBC Universal (NBCU) experimented with making their TV shows available from kiosks setup by Mediaport Entertainment. Mediaport was hoping to make a deal to add NBC shows as an option for their kiosks, which already offer music that can either be burned to CD or downloaded directly to mobile devices compatible with Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM.

According to NBC, CES visitors downloaded nearly 10,000 shows to complimentary memory sticks. The shows featured DRM customized by NBCU to allow it to be played for up to 14 days.

NBC Universal needed us to create a simple to use, quick-to-download, system that would give the consumers the ability to enjoy the NBCU content while maintaining the intended DRM of the programming," said John Butler, president of Mediaport. “That’s exactly what Mediaport delivered.”

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AfterDawn: News

Is it too late to avoid long term affects from WGA strike?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Jan 2008 19:29

Is it too late to avoid long term affects from WGA strike? With the Directors Guild of America apparently ready to sign a new contract that deals with many of the same issues members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) have been striking over for over two months, it looks likely that a settlement with the writers may be reached within the next month and a potential Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike this summer averted completely. Even assuming that studios are able to come to agreeable terms with the WGA, it will be interesting to see whether the strike has had a lasting impact on the home entertainment industry.

While the business of making movies and TV shows has nearly been shut down by the WGA strike, consumer demand for entertainment in the living room hasn't waned. It has had to adapt to the reality of television with no writers though. According to a recent study from media analysts at Interpret, both DVDs and video games have become more popular as replacements for television are sought. The study found that around 1/3 of respondents have changed their viewing habits since the strike began in November.

More than 40% of those polled reported more time spent watching movies on DVD, and 23% saying they're getting their TV the same way, the outlook for studios to get back to business as usual seems good. But another group, the 26% who said they're spending more time playing video games, may be something of a concern.

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AfterDawn: News

BDA tells early adopters: "We needed to create momentum"

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2008 18:04

BDA tells early adopters: "We needed to create momentum" The BDA has explained why early adopters of the format will not be rewarded for supporting the HD format in its earliest stages because the Blu-ray camp needed to "create momentum" in its battle against rival HD DVD.

Frank Simonis, the European chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association, was the one who spoke out about why new standards (such as Profile 1.1) took so long to hit the market.

"We needed to create momentum and get the players on the market",
he said.

"If we had postponed launch to add in the hardware for the latest features, we would not be in the situation we have today."


Most early adopters who do not have the latest "Final Profile" will not be able to take full advantage of the format and its additional bonus features, without purchasing a new Blu-ray player. The new profile will not be available as a firmware update for older players, he added.

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AfterDawn: News

AT&T will replace exploding IPTV box batteries

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2008 17:55

AT&T will replace exploding IPTV box batteries AT&T has said that it will be replacing over 17,000 batteries that are a primary power source for its U-verse IPTV service following a well documented series of explosions and fires by the batteries.

So far there have been two reported and confirmed reports of explosions as well as two reported and confirmed reports of fire the latest of which occurred in mid-December of 2007. The incidents are thanks to the "the lithium-metal-polymer batteries housed in outdoor telecommunications equipment cabinets" said the company.

U-verse has 126,000 customers in the US but AT&T stopped installing the batteries in the Q1 of 2007 when the manufacturer of the batteries, Avestor, filed for bankruptcy.




AfterDawn: News

Apple TV will not see price cut in Europe

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2008 17:40

Apple TV will not see price cut in Europe According to Pocket-lint, despite Steve Jobs' admission that the Apple TV has so far not been as successful as the company had hoped, they will not be dropping the price of the device in Europe.

Recently, at the Macworld event, Jobs launched Apple TV 2.0 which has an upgraded user interface along with the ability for American users to rent movies in SD or HD via the internet. Along with the firmware upgrade, US users also saw a drop in price for the device, from $299 to $229 USD.

European users will see the firmware update (minus the movie rentals), but not the price cut. In the UK the device sells for £199 for the 40GB version and £269 for the 160GB version repsectively.




AfterDawn: News

Blu-ray pulling away in Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2008 17:31

Blu-ray pulling away in Japan New figures have shown that in Japan, next gen discs have picked up steam but that Blu-ray is pulling away in sales over its rival HD DVD.

The figures, result of a 2300 electronic store study found that Japanese consumers are buying the next gen discs and players at a higher rate than had been seen earlier in 2007. The study, released by Japan's Business Computer News also stated that HD players sold in proportion to standard DVD players rose from 6 percent in October to 20 percent in December. Due to the higher price of the players, Blu-ray and HD DVD players made up a hefty 35 percent of the total value of "DVD player sales in the last two months of 2007."

Blu-ray, backed by Sony and Panasonic among others accounted for 90 percent of those sales for the three month period ending January 1st 2008.

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AfterDawn: News

HD DVD players get price cut in the UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2008 17:14

HD DVD players get price cut in the UK Mirroring their decision to cut prices in the US, Toshiba has announced they will be cutting prices for their HD DVD players in the UK as well. The company also talked about new marketing initiatives it hoped to bring to the UK.

The company, along with other companies in the HD DVD camp, will push their player's DVD upscaling abilites more prominently now.

Additionally, the company released updated sales figures and said that over 200,000 standalone HD DVD players had been sold in Europe to date.

"According to the latest available independent research, Toshiba's accumulated share of the high definition standalone player market was close to 60% at the end of 2007,"
says Toshiba's press release. In the US the company claims a significantly lower 50 percent.

"While it's still early days for HD on optical disc, these results confirm HD DVD performed strongly throughout 2007",
added Yoshio Abe, president of Consumer Products Europe for Toshiba.

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AfterDawn: News

Investment company calls Comcast CEO's tenure a Comcastrophe

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Jan 2008 16:56

Investment company calls Comcast CEO's tenure a Comcastrophe Chieftan Capital, owner of around 2% of Comcast, this week sent a letter to the cable giant requesting that current CEO Brian Roberts be replaced, and the company's shareholder voting rules be changed to wrest control away from the Roberts family. Despite owning a mere 1% of the company, these voting rules give them nearly complete control over management decisions.

The letter characterized Comcast's management team over the last several years as a complete failure, and laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Roberts family, saying "Protected by super-voting stock, management has been free to ignore shareholders entirely"

"Returns on invested capital have been anemic, high-priced acquisitions have proven a waste of capital, capex has ballooned and free cash flow has consistently disappointed. While management has boosted Comcast's operating cash flow by ten-fold in the past decade (mostly through acquisitions), it has created zero return for shareholders," Chieftain wrote in its letter that was signed by managing directors Glenn Greenberg, John Shapiro and Thomas Stern.

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AfterDawn: News

Do Apple's online video rentals really have a chance?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Jan 2008 16:01

Do Apple's online video rentals really have a chance? With the initial buzz over Apple's movie rental operation giving way to speculation about its success or failure, some have cited it as the real next-gen movie format, while others have pointed out some important problems with the current state of online video distribution, warning that big improvements are needed.

While it's probably fair to say there are good points on both sides, the short history of digital distribution shows that a Video On Demand model (rental) should be more successful than selling movies. With the limitations imposed by DRM, and lack of portability from set-top box to DVD, very few people are interested in buying downloaded movies. They offer tighter restrictions for a similar price, and without the extras found on the typical DVD.

Rentals, on the other hand, are quite competitive because long term viewing concerns don't apply. The conveniencence of renting a movie without leaving your living room can easily outweigh the comfort with more familiar technology like DVD. In fact, when coupled with a well designed set-top box, VOD from the internet doesn't have to feel any more foreign than similar offerings from pay TV providers.

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AfterDawn: News

Downloadable content sales for "Rock Band" skyrockets

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2008 18:55

Downloadable content sales for "Rock Band" skyrockets According to Van Toffler, president of MTVN Music Group/Logo/Films, gamers have downloaded and purchased over 2.5 million songs for its hit game Rock Band since the game's release late last year.

"Our goal with Rock Band was to create an entirely new way for people to interact with the music they love, the incredible response to the downloadable content we've released to date motivates us even more to establish this platform as a way for people to discover new, up and coming artists through the game - in addition to delivering great game play experiences set to the music of mega-artists,"
Toffler explained.

Currently, the top selling download is a Metallica triple pack including their hit tracks "Ride The Lightning,” “Blackened” and “And Justice For All”. Triple-packs from other artists such as The Police, Queens of the Stone Age, and David Bowie are also selling very well, added Toffler. For singles, Foreigner's "Juke Box Hero," Weezer’s "Buddy Holly" and covers of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son," and The Knack's "My Sharona" all sold equally as well.

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AfterDawn: News

Steve Jobs calls Zune and Blu-ray "failures"

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2008 18:45

Steve Jobs calls Zune and Blu-ray "failures" Apple CEO Steve Jobs was recently interviewed by CNBC's Jim Goldman and he had a few bold statements to make. For one he called rival Microsoft's Zune media player a "failure" as well as proclaiming that although Blu-ray may have won the format war over HD DVD it had most likely lost the HD content distribution battle.

When Goldman asked Jobs if he had heard Microsoft executive Robbie Bach's comments that the new Zune would be a worthy alternative to the iPod line Jobs went off. "Was he inebriated? Do you even know anyone who owns a Zune?" he added.

When the discussion moved onto Blu-ray he said he believed that the format had won the war over HD DVD but that both formats would lose to HD downloads. Although he is one of the more prominent people to proclaim that, analysts have repeatedly said that the battle only accomplished one thing: Making enough time for streaming HD to become a viable option.




AfterDawn: News

TiVo makes deal to bring indie movies to its set top box

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2008 18:32

TiVo makes deal to bring indie movies to its set top box Jaman, the large distributor of independent films has said that they have struck a deal with TiVo to offer thousands of its titles from its extensive catalog to the DVR maker's subscribers.

The deal would be very similar to the deal Amazon's Unbox has in place with TiVo customers. Jaman's catalog of movies will be downloadable to the DVR in SD or HD. The deal should significantly add to the titles available to TiVo customers.

Jaman has been recently extending the reach of the service making it available on PC, Macs, SanDisk's TakeTV, through DivX and now on TiVo's DVR service.

The movies from Jaman will be either rentable or up for purchase starting at $1.99 and users will need "a broadband-connected Series2 or Series3 DVR in order to use the service."




AfterDawn: News

AMD Xilleon processors will receive DivX certification

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2008 18:07

AMD Xilleon processors will receive DivX certification DivX has announced that it will be teaming up with AMD to certify a few of its new Xilleon processors meaning native DivX functionality could be coming for HDTVs and set-top boxes.

For those unfamiliar, the Xilleon line of chips are "a system-on-a-chip MIPS processor found in set-top boxes and digital TVs" and was formerly a project of the large video card maker ATI. ATI was acquired recently by AMD and the project continued on. There has been no word on which of chips in the line will be certified.

In the past few months AMD has announced a new line of Xilleon panel processors which promise "advanced motion compensation and frame rate conversion for future LCD digital TVs." The use of the processor should result in clearer picture for all displays that use it.




AfterDawn: News

China asks for international help in controlling online piracy

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jan 2008 22:37

China asks for international help in controlling online piracy Today Chinese officials issued what amounts to an international cry for help to help in their crack down on internet piracy. "To evade punishment, pirates often locate their servers in other countries or regions, posing very big difficulties for police efforts to carry out (a) crackdown," said Gao Feng, a senior public security ministry official. "Copyright infringements, by their very nature, are international crimes. To effectively curb such activities, (we) need enhanced international cooperation on law enforcement," he said.

"It's difficult to block these websites completely ... as it's hard to arrest a person responsible if he lives in a foreign country," Liu Bin, a Beijing-based analyst with technology consultancy firm BDA China, told AFP.

However, there's good reason to believe that Chinese officials' actual motives have less to do with piracy than controlling the country's population. The plea for international cooperation comes on the heels of a government announcement that by year's end only state agencies will be authorized to provide audio or video on the Web.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Blu-ray dominates disc sales post-Warner decision

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2008 21:43

Blu-ray dominates disc sales post-Warner decision For the week ending January 13th, the first full week following Warner's decision to go Blu-ray exclusive, the Blu-ray camp had its most dominating disc sales week.

Since the beginning of 2007 Blu-ray has outsold HD DVD by an average of nearly 2:1 but the week in question saw the gap get even further. Blu-ray took a dominating 85 percent share of all HD discs sold.

HomeMediaMagazine also reported that from the top ten selling discs for the week, none were HD DVD. The top selling Blu-ray Title "3:10 to Yuma" sold about ten times as many discs as the top selling HD DVD title, "The Kingdom".

The latest news is another setback for HD DVD which had been holding its ground during the holiday season with a 40 percent share of disc sales.

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AfterDawn: News

RIAA beaten in court by Tanya Andersen yet again

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jan 2008 21:25

RIAA beaten in court by Tanya Andersen yet again Despite RIAA lawyers' brilliant legal argument that they shouldn't be required to pay the victim of a lawsuit they brought without evidence because they were still pretty sure she was pirating music has come to its logical consclusion. Today an appeals court upheld both the decision to force the RIAA to pay Tanya Andersen's legal bills and another dismissing her counterclaims against the organization without prejudice.

Although not as sensational, the status of her claims of RIAA harassment could have a longer lasting impact on the future of such litigation. After the RIAA's suit against her was dropped with prejudice, meaning they may not sue her over the same incident, Andersen decided to continue her claims against the RIAA in a separate suit that she hopes will qualify for class action status. By affirming the decision to drop her original counterclaims without prejudice, they may be included in future lawsuits, such as the one she has pending against the RIAA right now.

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AfterDawn: News

HP outsold Dell in PC market for 2007

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2008 16:42

HP outsold Dell in PC market for 2007 Hewlett-Packard outsold its largest rival Dell in the PC market for 2007, one year after the two companies split the market.

According to Gartner Inc., a research firm, HP held 18.2 percent of the market compared to Dell's 14.3. Last year, 2006, each company held 15.9 percent.

"HP established a solid number one position in 2007,''
Gartner analyst Mikako Kitagawa told Bloomberg. "Robust consumer and mobile PC sales across all regions were two main drivers of HP's overall growth.''

Although the figures are slightly different, research firm IDC released the same result. They showed HP with a market share of 18.8 percent compared to a 14.9 percent share for Dell.

Another data figure of note was the increase of PC shipments by the top 5 manufacturers. HP's shipments rose 30 percent while Dell only rose 1.7 percent.




AfterDawn: News

Time Warner to start bandwidth caps

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2008 16:23

Time Warner to start bandwidth caps According to an internal memo, it seems that the high-speed cable ISP Time Warner Cable will be starting bandwidth caps aimed at "collecting revenue from those who utilize over half of the total network bandwidth."

Besides confirming the legitimacy of the memo, Time Warner has declined any other details on its plans.

The memo explained that the first subscribers subject to the bandwidth cap test would be in Beaumont, Texas with a national deployment following if the company finds the system to be practical. The customers will have their bandwidth metered and charges will be applied if the caps are exceeded.

Bandwidth capping policies have its pitfalls and Comcast can certainly tell you about that. Consumers have responded well to "unlimited" bandwidth policies and would certainly not appreciate being capped. There are legitimate reasons for use of large amounts of bandwidth and caps would surely infuriate those users.

More updates if and when there is any backlash to the tests.




AfterDawn: News

TPB wants Demonoid in Sweden

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jan 2008 23:56

TPB wants Demonoid in Sweden It has been nearly two months and the once very popular torrent site Demonoid is still on its extended period of downtime. The infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay however, has recently offered two brand new servers to the Demonoid crew, in Sweden.

It has been unclear since December whether Demonoid would ever return but tens of thousands of users became hopeful when the founder of the site said he was looking for a new location to host the site. “Money is an issue, but the real problem at the moment is finding a suitable place to host the website. There has been no luck there. And there’s some personal stuff I need to take care of that takes most of my time at the moment, and that does not help,” he added.

Brokep, one of the admins of TPB recently said in an interview that he hopes Demonoid will make a comeback and has claimed to have two new servers already waiting for them if they choose to. “We tried to contact the guys behind Demonoid and we’ve set up a tracker for them but they haven’t responded. But, we have two servers running for them if they want to set it up.”




AfterDawn: News

Veoh adds videos from Hulu

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 16 Jan 2008 23:28

Veoh adds videos from Hulu At the beginning of this year Veoh, a web service that offers free streaming video aggregated from other sites, began distributing video from Hulu. Hulu is a service owned by NBC Universal (NBCU)and News Corp. intended to give TV networks and studios a direct outlet to reach viewers with free video offerings. It's currently in private beta testing.

Veoh made headlines shortly after their launch last year when they filed a lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) after allegedly being threatened with legal action by the music giant. Although some question the legality of Veoh's service, as a company spokeswoman told PC Magazine, "we retain the video ads that the content owners have sold so they can continue to monetize their content."

She also stated "We haven't heard anything from Hulu, so I can't comment on their reaction, but we do think that we can be a valuable source of distribution for their high-quality content."

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AfterDawn: News

Mashboxx founder wants to sue LimeWire

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jan 2008 23:23

Mashboxx founder wants to sue LimeWire Wayne Rosso, the founder of the P2P startup Mashboxx believes that Limewire's newfound initiatives aimed at combining file sharing with contextual ads violates a few of his company's patents and he has vowed to “go after anyone who comes near to it.”

Mashboxx was originally supposed to be licensed by the music industry but financing issues have so far almost killed off the company.

LimeWire CEO George Searle added some words about the company's upcoming initiatives. As Newteevee writes, "He talked about its upcoming music download store, as well as a new project called “LimeSpot,” which will offer bands and their fans forums, wikis and blogs. All of these web-based initiatives will tie into the LimeWire client in what Searle compared to Google’s Universal Search, whereby P2P search results are combined with context and contextual ads: “Soon, within LimeWire you’ll be able to connect with participating artists, and drill down or sideways to see photos, find tour dates, watch music videos, find lyrics and buy music, tickets and merchandise.”

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AfterDawn: News

Trent Reznor talks openly about his experience with giving away music

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 16 Jan 2008 21:41

Trent Reznor talks openly about his experience with giving away music In a pair of interviews published on CNet last week, Trent Reznor and Saul Williams talked extensively about their joint experiment to distribute Williams' latest album online, with consumers given the option to download for free in MP3 format or pay $5 for CD quality audio. 2 weeks ago Reznor revealed that just more than 18% of those downloading the songs chose to pay for the higher quality format.

While Reznor and Williams' experiment was overshadowed by Radiohead's online giveaway last year, and again by CES last week, their story is arguably a more accurate barometer of how the average artist might expect to fare in a market where payment for downloaded music is voluntary. Besides the pair's openness about the number of downloaders who chose to pay, unlike the Radiohead release it wasn't an album that had a large, built-in listener base to generate near-automatic sales.

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AfterDawn: News

BBC to continue dual format HD releases

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jan 2008 18:34

BBC to continue dual format HD releases Despite Warner's decision to go Blu-ray exclusive and the subsequent decisions by HBO and New Line to follow their parent company into HD exclusivity, many figured that the BBC, whose U.S. releases are distributed by Warner Bros., would follow suit.

A company spokesperson for BBC has announced however that the company will remain dual format for the time being and that they need to "evaluate the marketplace before committing to one format."

BBC also cited the remarkable sales of its "Planet Earth" box set, which sold well in both formats (but better in HD DVD than Blu-ray). The spokesman also explained they had high hopes for upcoming dual format HD titles already planned for 2008.

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AfterDawn: News

V CAST mobile TV gets expanded coverage

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jan 2008 18:16

V CAST mobile TV gets expanded coverage Verizon's popular V CAST Mobile TV service, the service that provides television programming to capable mobile phones using MediaFLO has now seen its service upgraded to areas outside of New York City.

Current areas with service including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx will all see a "service enhancement" and new areas, the greater part of Suffolk County including Lindenhurst, West Islip, Holbrook, Centereach, and from Coram east all the way to Riverhead, All of Staten Island, portions of Essex, Union, Passiac, and Morris Counties in New Jersey will finally receive the service.

V CAST Mobile TV was originally introduced in Manhattan in May 2007 and has slowly added a greater and greater service area in the time since.

"This is real broadcast television with a wide range of channels and great shows,"
said Charles Hand, president of Verizon Wireless' New York Metro region. "Our customers throughout Long Island, Northern New Jersey and in all five boroughs of New York City now can carry TV with them in the palms of their hands and watch virtually whenever they choose.

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AfterDawn: News

New guide for installing WMP 11 on Windows MCE 2004

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 16 Jan 2008 3:38

New guide for installing WMP 11 on Windows MCE 2004 As we reported on Monday, in addition to removing limits on the use of their Watch Instantly Streaming video service, Netflix has also "upgraded" their system to require Windows Media Player 11 on subscribers' computers. This unfortunately leaves people with Windows XP Media Center Edition computers with a version from 2004 or earlier out in the cold as WMP 11 can't normally be installed on this operating system.

Being a Windows MCE user myself, I don't have any interest in paying a minimum of $150 essentially for an update to the Media Center application, which is the component that Microsoft hasn't updated for MCE 2004. This left me with two options, either stop streaming video from Netflix or find an alternative to a new version of Windows.

As it turns out there is an alternative, and although it's not free, you shouldn't have to buy any new hardware, including the remote control. A product called SageTV provides all the functionality of Media Center, and in fact appears to have many more features than were available in the older Windows XP MCE versions. By using it, or another Media Center alternative like BeyondTV, you can also safely install Windows Media Player 11 using a new guide.

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AfterDawn: News

Verbatim will offer premium Qflix DVD media

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Jan 2008 0:33

Verbatim will offer premium Qflix DVD media Verbatim has announced today a complete line of Qflix DVD media. Qflix technology, which is licensed by Sonic Solutions, enables users to download and burn DVD movies, complete with the Content Scrambling System (CSS) copy protection that is present on all retail movie DVDs. Verbatim's new product line will include both Qflix consumer media and printable Qflix Pro media for enterprise use.

"Verbatim views Qflix technology as an entertainment breakthrough," said Tim Clatterbuck, Verbatim Optical Storage Manager. "High-quality media that provides broad compatibility will be key to the rapid adoption rate of this technology, and that's where Verbatim media excels. In addition, through our collaboration with Sonic and the leading burner/recorder manufacturers, our Qflix customers can be confident that they also have the best compatibility between Qflix hardware and our media."

The applications for Verbatim's new Qflix media span every consumer, retail and commercial download and burn application, including DVD burning on home PCs, in-store kiosk burning, and manufacturing on demand (MOD) services. "We are delighted to have Verbatim as an official manufacturer and distributor of Qflix DVDs," said Jim Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Sonic Solutions' Advanced Technology Group. "Verbatim's strong brand and reputation will help add momentum to the launch of new, efficient models for the distribution of high-quality entertainment."

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AfterDawn: News

Sony will offer 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Jan 2008 0:32

Sony will offer 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week in Las Vegas, Sony was showing many new innovative products and technology. Among the items was a 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo. The company claims that the higher capacity Memory Stick Duo is suitable for the company's newer handycams, which record in the high-quality AVCHD format.

The new Memory Stick card stores up to 110 minutes of high-definition video recorded in 1920 mode and almost six hours of HD video when shooting in 1440 LP mode. About the size of a postage stamp, the card is the optimal recording media for HD content because of its ability to quickly and easily transfer large amounts of video content between devices.

It can be removed from a camcorder and placed into the Memory Stick media slot in compatible computers for editing and sharing content.

The 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo media card will be available in March for about $300 at sonystyle.com




AfterDawn: News

Apple patches security flaws in iPhone, QuickTime

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Jan 2008 0:15

Apple patches security flaws in iPhone, QuickTime Apple Inc. has fixed several security issues that affect the QuickTime media player, the iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPhone update fixes flaws with the Safari web browser, including one bug that could potentially be used to run unauthorized software on the device. The Safari bugs also affect the iPod Touch. Another iPhone bug could let unauthorized users bypass Passcode Lock and launch iPhone applications.

The security updates for the iPhone will be available through iTunes. The iPhone 1.1.3 software patch does affect those who have installed the Jailbreak software to open the iPhone to third-party applications, as did previous updates. A Jailbreak 1.1.3 script should make its way to the iPhone Wiki soon however.

As for the QuickTime updates, four critical flaws have been patched that could allow attackers to crash the media player and even run unauthorized software on a victim's machine. The QuickTime updates do not address a serious security flaw uncovered over the weekend yet however.




AfterDawn: News

Toshiba orders HD DVD-RW from RITEK

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Jan 2008 0:14

Toshiba orders HD DVD-RW from RITEK Toshiba Corp. has sent OEM orders for blank, re-writeable HD DVD media to one of Tawian's largest producers of blank optical discs, RITEK. DigiTimes cites Chinese-language publication Economic Daily News (EDN) in reporting that shipments of HD DVD-RW from RITEK for Toshiba will be begin early this year.

RITEK confirmed the Economic Daily News report but has not released any details on the order volume or its overall value. Last year, RITEK was responsible for 26.1% of the global output of blank HD DVD discs. Toshiba is set to bundle three HD DVD-RW discs with sales of its latest Qosmio series notebook PCs.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas last week, RITEK showed off a disc that had HD DVD-R on one side and BD-R on the other, allowing you to record to both next-generation formats on a single disc. A high price for such a disc is to be expected but unfortunately RITEK did not shed any light on how much this disc would cost.

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AfterDawn: News

Local media firms warm to YouTube Mexico

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Jan 2008 0:13

Local media firms warm to YouTube Mexico A YouTube Mexico service was launched back in October as a result of heavy traffic on the English YouTube page and Spain country page from Mexico. Entertainment companies in the country are hoping to turn Yahoo Mexico's focus on local content into a revenue stream. YouTube is currently touring the country with representatives demonstrating how to upload videos to the service.

"Before we think about the monetization aspect, we need to make sure the community finds the site interesting," YouTube international product manager Luis Garcia said. Entertainment cable channel Exa TV, newspaper El Universal, modeling agency Contempo Models and soccer site Medio Tiempo have signed on as local content partners to the service.

YouTube Mexico is also an important source for the local music companies. Warner Music Mexico talent executive Alejandro Abaroa said that YouTube Mexico increases exposure for local acts."It's a beginning effort," Reuters reports Abaroa as saying. "Maybe next month it's not going to be a hit anymore. The minute you hear about it, you have to grab it."




AfterDawn: News

Apple shows MacBook Air & improves Apple TV

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Jan 2008 23:09

Apple shows MacBook Air & improves Apple TV At the MacWorld Expo, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs showed the thin and light MacBook Air to the attendees. Measuring just 0.8 inches thick and weighing 3 pounds as standard, the notebook packs impressive hardware under the hood for its size and weight. It is powered by an Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 4MB on-chip shared L2 cache, clocked at 1.6GHz (1.8GHz optional). A 4200RPM PATA hard disk drive provides 80GB of storage space.

An optional 64GB solid state drive (SSD) is also available. As for memory, 2GB of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM is onboard. Graphics is powered by an Intel GMA X3100 graphics processor with 144MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory, driving the included 13.3" display, which has a Native Resolution of 1280x800. It simultaneously supports the native resolution on the built-in display and up to 1920x1200 on an external display.

By use of two included adapters, the MacBook Air supports DVI and VGA output. Two further optional adapters provide output for Composite and S-Video. For a WLAN, the notebook is IEEE 802.11a/b/g compatible. A USB 2.0 port and an Audio out port is also included. Built-in to the notebook is an iSight camera. The included battery is advertised as being capable of operating for five hours on a charge.

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AfterDawn: News

Blockbuster stock drops in response to Apple movie rental announcement

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 15 Jan 2008 22:53

Blockbuster stock drops in response to Apple movie rental announcement As if they didn't have enough problems competing (or refusing to compete) with Netflix, now it appears that the official announcement from Apple that they'll be offering movies for rental from iTunes has stockholders worried. After the official announcement from Apple today, Blockbuster shares dropped more than 15% to $2.69.

According to the Associated Press, Blockbuster spokeswoman Karen Raskopf responded to questions about Apple's plans by saying "We view Apple's announcement as a great way to create consumer awareness, and we believe we are positioned to capitalize on that increased awareness."

Blockbuster rival and leader in online DVD rentals, Netflix, was also affected by Apple's news. Although their stock price lost $0.72, it only amounted to a 3.2% decrease. Earlier in the week Netflix announced that all subscribers will now be able to take advantage of unlimited Streaming through their Watch Instantly service. Previously Netflix customers were only allowed a limited number of hours per month, depending on the rental plan they had.

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AfterDawn: News

EMI loses case to Usenet provider

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2008 22:52

EMI loses case to Usenet provider The German Usenet provider United Newsserver has won an appeal in a suit that was initiated by EMI.

The large record label had wanted to block access to music on the provider through an injunction but a German court has found that the company is not legally repsonsible for the misdeeds of Usenet users.

In May 2007, the court sided with EMI and the IFPI was quick to praise the decision. People "who make illegal content available on the Internet cannot bail out of their resposibilities", said local IFPI boss Peter Zombik at the time.

As could be expected Newsserver CEO Heinz-Dieter Elbracht was very content by the decision. "Usenet has become a platform for the exchange of all kinds of information. It should be in the interest of all users, providers and rights holders to find solutions to act together against inevitable cases of people breaking the law on Usenet."




AfterDawn: News

Jango hits new milestone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2008 22:19

Jango hits new milestone Jango, the "social jukebox" internet radio site which launched as a public beta in November 2007 has announced today that they have hit a new milestone, one million users.

In order to continue the fast growth, the company has released its long promised Jango jukebox embeddable widget. The widget includes a "scrolling repertoire of artists and continuous free stream of music in a simple skinnable form." The company will also be releasing a Facebook application version of the widget soon.

So far legal constraints have prevented many popular artists from appearing on the site but the company hopes that increased user participation will bring the absentee musicians in. There are however, some artists that do not even sell their media digitally meaning Jango is the only place to legally find samples of their music.




AfterDawn: News

DVR manufacturer adjusts focus back to core market

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 15 Jan 2008 21:59

DVR manufacturer adjusts focus back to core market According to a Erica Ogg of CNet, Digeo, the DVR manufacturer owned in part by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, announced a change in direction today. The company is scaling back plans announced last year to introduce an entire range of DVR and home automation products. Instead the company is cancelling what was would have been their flagship product lines, the Moxi Home Cinema Edition DMR and Multi Room DMR and laying off nearly half their workforce. Among those looking for a new job will be CEO Mike Fidler.

Fidler's successor, former COO Greg Gudorf, said "As we assessed our situation, it became clear that the best action for Digeo was to focus our work on the next-generation product for the retail market," adding "Building the software and hardware for this category is a complex endeavor, with dynamic technical standards, regulatory issues, and content considerations. Previously, we were spreading our energies across too many platforms."

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AfterDawn: News

PlayStation 3 production costs drop substantially

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2008 21:29

PlayStation 3 production costs drop substantially When the Sony PlayStation 3 launched in November 2006, many criticized its expensive price and its inclusion of an internal Blu-ray drive.

It was not only consumers that felt the squeeze however. The industry group iSuppli estimated last year that the initial cost to manufacture the 60GB unit was $840.35 USD, way higher than even Sony was charging for the console meaning the company was losing hundreds of dollars per console.

A year later however, Sony has managed to close the gap a substantial amount although they are still losing money. BusinessWeek reported this week that the PS3 now costs around $400 USD to manufacture and that Sony will only lose $1.4 billion USD in its gaming division for 2007 compared to $2.1 billion USD for 2006.

Production cost drops have been attributed to a few new advances in technology as well as higher supply. Firstly, the Cell Broadband Engine chip was shrunk to 65nm. The blue-violet laser diodes used for the Blu-ray drive have also seen a huge increase in yield and supply. Sony also removed the backwards compatibility engine for PS2 titles from its 40GB unit, dropping production costs even further.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple announces iTunes movie rental deals

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2008 14:44

Apple announces iTunes movie rental deals Apple CEO Steve Jobs has finally confirmed what has been a not well kept secret today at the Macworld event. Jobs announced iTunes movie rentals alongside the announcement that deals had been made with every major studio for distribution.

The company also said that they have so far sold 125 million TV shows and 7 million movies through their iTunes platform but did admit that those numbers were not up to expectations. Jobs confirmed that movie rental partnerships had been made with Touchstone, MGM, Miramax, New Line, Lionsgate, Fox, Warner Bros. Disney, Paramount, Universal and Sony.

"We've never offered a rental model in music because we don't think people don't want to rent music. But your favorite movie, most of us watch once, and renting is a great way to do it," Jobs said.

By the end of February there will be 1000 films available for rental and all new releases will be added to the store 30 days after its DVD launch. Users can watch the movies on their PCs, as well as on their iPods and the iPhone.

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AfterDawn: News

iPhone holds almost 20 percent of smartphone market

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2008 13:22

iPhone holds almost 20 percent of smartphone market At the Macworld 2008 event this morning, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that the company has sold 4 million iPhones since the device's release and that the device now holds 19.5 percent of the smartphone market in the US.

Jobs also said Apple is shipping on average, 20,000 new iPhones a day but the market share percent still places them behind RIM's BlackBerry.

The CEO also added that new firmware, 1.1.3 for the iPhone would add some nice new features such as "Web Clips", an improved update to Google Maps, song lyrics and the ability to send SMS to multiple recipients.

New applications would also be available on the iPod Touch including standard Mail, Stocks, Notes and Weather. There will however be a catch for Touch users. Existing customers will have to pay $20 USD for the new features while new customers will have it built in.

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AfterDawn: News

With FCC investigation looming, Comcast repeats same old argument

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jan 2008 23:56

With FCC investigation looming, Comcast repeats same old argument As they're being investigated for alleged violations of the FCC's 2005 Internet Policy Statement, Comcast appears to be sticking to the same company line that company representatives have used for months, namely that they're not blockingany applications.

According to a statement sent to Ars Technica by Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen "Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any websites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services." He also indicated that the company hopes to "bring more transparency for consumers regarding broadband network management."

However, most people familiar with the situation are taking any Comcast statement with a grain of salt right now. For one thing, despite their rhetoric, Comcast has refused to say exactly what form the "network management" that apparently manages to stop much BitTorrent traffic actually takes. Even FCC Chairman Kevin Martin expressed doubt over Comcast's claims, noting in an appearance last week at the Consumer Electronics Show, "When they have reasonable network practices, they should disclose those and make those public."

In reality, what Comcast is being accused of isn't exactly "blocking" applications. Rather, the claims are that they're delaying packets used for particular applications, most notably BitTorrent, for a period of time that will cause them to time out waiting to be delivered. In other words transfers will be stopped because Comcast's network engineers delay them. Although this may not technically amount to "blocking" an application, in effect that's exactly what's happening.

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AfterDawn: News

Wal-Mart reportedly preparing new video download service

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jan 2008 23:03

Wal-Mart reportedly preparing new video download service Despite shutting down its first attempt at a video download service in December, after less than a year of operation, Wal-Mart already appears to be working on a replacement. Unlike the previous attempt, which relied on services provided by Hewlett-Packard (HP) to deliver the video, this time the world's largest retailer looks to be striking out on their own.

No doubt the decision by Wal-Mart executives to set up their own delivery system was at least influenced by the fate of the earlier venture. The reason for making such an early exit the first time around was HP's decision to get out of the business entirely, leaving Wal-Mart without a distribution channel. HP's official statement on the matter said “the market for paid video downloads has not performed as expected, and the broader internet video space continues to remain highly dynamic and uncertain.”

That uncertainty apparently isn't as worrisome to Wal-Mart. According to Multichannel News, Microsoft representatives took advantage of last week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to research the technology required to provide movie downloads that can be burned onto DVD.

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AfterDawn: News

iPhone not coming to China anytime soon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2008 18:58

iPhone not coming to China anytime soon Apple and China Mobile have called off all talks for a Chinese launch of the popular iPhone device, meaning the phone will not be hitting China anytime soon.

China Mobile has an outstanding 350 million subscribers and the two companies had been in talks since November. Talks broke down to due Apple's want of revenue sharing with any deal. The figure Apple wanted was apparently too high.

"It's not a surprise. China Mobile doesn't want to share its non-voice revenue,"
said Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China, a Beijing-based telecoms research consultancy. "The two have very strong egos and, as in any relationship, that often doesn't work."

"Our parent has terminated talks with Apple over the iPhone,"
a China Mobile added.

The iPhone has been a hot selling device in the US as well as in Europe and Apple expects the growth to continue despite this latest setback.

Source:
Yahoo




AfterDawn: News

Amazon MP3 to add advertisements

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2008 18:54

Amazon MP3 to add advertisements Amazon has announced today a new advertising partnership with Pepsi that should be the beginning of a new era of authorized downloads.

Last week at CES, many music industry bosses favored ad-supported, subscription based models of music sales, especially now that DRM is almost dead.

Amazon, which now offers 3.25 million DRM-free songs from all the Big 4 labels as well as from independent labels. The new deal with Pepsi will mean Pepsi products will have "points" under the caps which can be collected and redeemed for MP3 songs on Amazon.

There was no word on how much each point is worth but Pepsi noted that over 4 billion bottles will be circulated during the promotion.

Source:
betanews


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AfterDawn: News

Japanese government plans ultra high-definition TV standard for 2015

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jan 2008 17:45

Japanese government plans ultra high-definition TV standard for 2015 Nowadays, if you have a HDTV that can display 1080p video, you have the best picture quality that high-definition can offer to consumers right now. We have reported several times in the past about UHDV, or Ultra High-Definition Video, which later became known as Super Hi-Vision. For most of our readers, going by comments and feedback, it seems like a dream that won't be seen for a long time yet.

For those that don't know, UHDV or Super Hi-Vision consists of video at a resolution of a massive 7680x4320. Try to envision a 33-megapixel image, which is exactly what this resolution offers. It runs at 60 frames per second. It doesn't lack in the audio department either, offering 22.2CH audio (9 above ear level, 10 at ear level, 3 below ear level and 2 low frequency effects).

Now, the Japanese Government is set to begin a joint project with private companies to develop this next generation technology. The goal is to make this concept a broadcasting standard by 2015. Of course, there have been many technical problems like the development of a camera that can record it and equipment to transfer the 24Gbps uncompressed stream.

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AfterDawn: News

JVC showed LCD HDTVs with iPod docks

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jan 2008 17:06

JVC showed LCD HDTVs with iPod docks At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week, JVC showed off four new HDTV LCD sets that included built-in iPod docks to make video viewing from iPod easier than ever. Each of the four new models, including three full HD 1080p sets, features JVC's new TeleDock, a flip-down iPod dock at the base of the set, providing a direct connection for playback through the TV.

The new JVC P-Series includes the 32-inch LT-32P679, 42-inch LT-42P789, 47-inch LT-47P789 and the 52-inch LT-52P789. The LT-32P679 is a 768p model, while the others offer 1080p resolution. A menu appears on the TV screen for selecting music, music shuffle or video playback once an iPod is docked. Using the TV remote control, content on the iPod can be navigated through and played back easily, using a click-wheel-like design.

Song titles and artist names are displayed on the TV screen when songs are playing. Low resolution video content, such as internet videos, can be displayed in a small screen mode. Higher resolution video can be shown in nine aspect modes at full screen. There's also the option to play music files while the TV displays television programming. In addition, the iPod will charge while docked whether the TV's power is on or off.

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AfterDawn: News

UK iPhone vendors cannot reveal sales figures

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jan 2008 17:06

UK iPhone vendors cannot reveal sales figures According to UK carrier 02, Apple has taken steps to prevent it from revealing any sales figures to the public for the iPhone. According to O2's head of media relations, Simon Lloyd, the sales agreement held with Apple does not allow the company to reveal any such details under Apple is OK with it. Of course, Lloyd did not reveal any official figures to The Register, but stated that sales were "in line" with its expectations.

"We're not releasing the physical number of handsets sold by O2," he said. "We await with interest to see what Steve Jobs says at Macworld." Carphone Warehouse also confirmed that it is under the same constraints. "The restriction is true and we won't release either our financial sales figures or the number of iPhones we've sold," a spokesman for the UK company stated.

Steve Jobs will deliver a keynote speech at the upcoming MacWorld expo, where he is expected to announce movie rentals for the iTunes service and tout sales performances for the iPod and iPhone.

Source:
Reg Hardware


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AfterDawn: News

EFF targets RIAA's 'making available' claims

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jan 2008 16:46

EFF targets RIAA's 'making available' claims The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been bending the legal system to its position that "making files available" is enough to find a defendant guilty of copyright infringement. This is what happened in the infamous case against Jammie Thomas, and it is the argument in several others. In the case against Jeffrey and Pamela Howell, this is the offense the RIAA is claiming again. In response, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has submitted a new amicus brief.

The civil liberties group that is determined to protect your digital rights has pointed out that there is no such crime as "attempted copyright infringement." The record labels claim that 11 tracks were shared by the Howells but fail to provide any real evidence of sharing. SafeNet (MediaSentry) was able to download songs from the Howells computer using Kazaa.

The EFF does not accept this as adequate evidence of infringement however. Copyright law states that content owners control the distribution of copies to the public, and so the RIAA needs to prove that such unauthorized distribution took place. The EFF states that the copyright owner itself could not be considered as the public, and that an authorized agent acting on behalf of the copyright owner (SafeNet) could not possibly infringe any rights of the owner.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple and China Mobile cut off iPhone talks

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jan 2008 16:25

Apple and China Mobile cut off iPhone talks Apple Inc. and China Mobile have broken off talks aimed at making the iPhone available in China. The mobile service provider has more subscribers than the population of the United States; about 350 million people. Many experts and analysts had predicted a break down in the talks as each as they emerged, anticipating technical difficulties and disagreements over pricing and revenue sharing.

An iPhone goes for up to $500 in the United States, which is about double the average monthly salary in China. "It's not a surprise. China Mobile doesn't want to share its non-voice revenue," said Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China, a Beijing-based telecoms research consultancy. "The two have very strong egos and, as in any relationship, that often doesn't work."

Initial news of the talks between Apple and China Mobile drove Apple's stock up about 10 percent on November 13. After Monday's announcement, shares in China Mobile slid about 3%. "Our parent has terminated talks with Apple over the iPhone," a China Mobile spokeswoman said, confirming several unsourced Internet reports.

China Mobile has not ruled out holding discussions again at some stage, if necessary. The country's second most popular service, China Unicom, announce din 2007 that it had no plans to offer the iPhone, but that it was open to the idea.

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AfterDawn: News

Toshiba slashes HD DVD player prices

Written by James Delahunty @ 14 Jan 2008 16:12

Toshiba slashes HD DVD player prices In response to several studios backing the Blu-ray format exclusively over the past couple of weeks, Toshiba Corp. has slashed the prices of its HD DVD player line-up by 40% - 50%, according to a Reuters report. The price cuts are in effect now, aimed at pushing HD DVD players into more consumer homes after Toshiba reported a successful fourth quarter.

Toshiba's HD DVD players now go for prices between $149 and $399 for a top-end player. "While price is one of the consideration elements for the early adopter, it is a deal-breaker for the mainstream consumer," said Toshiba executive Yoshi Uchiyama in a statement. The company will also step up its marketing drive for the format including joint advertising campaigns with studios and extended pricing strategies.

Consumers who buy HD DVD players from Toshiba will continue to get five free HD DVD titles. In the past two weeks, the world's media has focused more on the format war after Warner Bros. decided to release in the Blu-ray format only, causing several studios to follow suit. Rumors that Paramount, DreamWorks and Universal were about to do the same circulated immediately, but have all been denied so far.

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AfterDawn: News

MP accuses BBC head of illegally favoring Microsoft

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jan 2008 11:08

MP accuses BBC head of illegally favoring Microsoft Last Wednesday, at a House of Commons hearing regarding procurement, Liberal Democrat John Pugh was critical of the BBC's Director General over the decision to support Windows and Internet Explorer exclusively in the initial release of the iPlayer. The iPlayer is intended to allow U.K. residents the ability to download recent programs to view for a limited time. They also offer a Streaming player that uses Flash technology, making it compatible with other operating systems and browsers.

Thompson defended the iPlayer program saying "All the feedback we've had is that consumers are enormously enjoying using iPlayer. About a million people in this country have tried it already."

But Pugh apparently wasn't satisfied with what he heard. He followed up his questioning with a scathing letter to Thompson that has been published by The Register, including the following passage.

The more fundamental issue is its failure to apply open standards and be sufficiently interoperable to work fully (stream and download) on more than one platform. The BBC is funded by licence players not all of whom have or choose to use a computer running Windows XP or Vista. By guaranteeing full functionality to the products of one software vendor it is as a public body handing a commercial advantage to that company - effectively illegal state aid! The aspiration to eventually (you said within two years) remove this advantage - does not rebut this charge. A promise of amendment is never sufficient excuse for past sins or indeed much of an explanation.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix Watch Instantly no longer works with older Windows MCE versions

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jan 2008 10:19

Netflix Watch Instantly no longer works with older Windows MCE versions Last Monday Netflix made some changes to their Streaming video service, known as Watch Instantly. Although there was no big announcement, they began requiring Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11) for access to the service. While this may seem like a minor change to most people using the service, if you're running Windows Media Center Edition 2002, 2003, or 2004 it means your operating system is no longer supported.

So far Netflix hasn't responded to a press inquiry I submitted nearly a week ago. I called customer service today on the chance that they might be able to tell me something. Although the representative I spoke with was friendly, courteous, and professional, this was the first she'd heard about the issue.

And really it's not an issue with Netflix as much as with Windows Media Player. WMP 11 works fine on a standard Windows XP installation, and even on Media Center Editions from 2005 on. But if you bought into the Microsoft HTPC technology before it reached its fourth generation you're out of luck unless you want to use a hack that will cause the Media Center application to stop working.

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AfterDawn: News

Acer announces Aspire 7720-6844 notebook for HD multimedia

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jan 2008 20:14

Acer announces Aspire 7720-6844 notebook for HD multimedia Acer America Corporation announced that the Aspire 7720-6844 notebook PC is available in the North America retail channel, designed for consumers who seek high-definition multimedia entertainment paired with powerful, productivity features. The notebook includes remarkable system performance and responsiveness features via Intel Core 2 Duo mobile processor technology, a 250 GB hard disk drive and an integrated Super-Multi drive, which today's consumers demand.

It features 2GB (512/512) DDR2 667 SDRAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8400M GS 256MB dedicated graphics and supports 802.11a/b/g WLAN. Housed in Acer's innovative Gemstone design, the Aspire 7720-6844 notebook PC sports a glossy 17-inch widescreen display with CrystalBrite technology, lending superior contrast ratio and intense color features for pleasurable multimedia viewing.

For added high-definition enjoyment, the notebook is equipped with Dolby Home Theater, providing a flexible and tailored surround sound listening experience. Video conference functionality is supplied via an integrated Acer Crystal Eye webcam.

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AfterDawn: News

DivX, Inc. certifies Panasonic's UniPhier technology

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jan 2008 20:14

DivX, Inc. certifies Panasonic's UniPhier technology DivX, Inc. has announced the DivX Certification of Panasonic's UniPhier System LSI. The "UniPhier" is an integrated multimedia chip platform that enables high-quality video solutions such as DivX playback in a number of product categories. The UniPhier (Universal Platform for High-quality Image Enhancing Revolution) is the first chip platform to integrate DivX technology into Blu-ray products using a hardware solution.

Over 100 million DivX Certified products have been shipped into the market, including DVD players, mobile devices and more. "The DivX Certified 'UniPhier' System LSI offers our customers a rich and flexible platform for enjoying high-quality video in a broad range of device categories," said Akito Miyamoto, General Manager of Software and Solutions, Semiconductor Company, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.

Miyamoto added: "The ability of our solution to support DivX decoding, in addition to many other audio and video formats, highlights the power and flexibility of the 'UniPhier' architecture." Products that bear the DivX Certified logo have undergone a rigorous testing program to ensure a high-quality DivX media experience that includes reliable video playback, excellent visual quality and interoperability with other DivX Certified devices.

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AfterDawn: News

Gates: Xbox 360 will be most reliable console

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jan 2008 20:14

Gates: Xbox 360 will be most reliable console It is no secret that a large portion of the first shipped Xbox 360 consoles were defective. Microsoft Corp. has admitted to this problem and set aside a mountain of cash to repair or replace defective units for customers. In order to prevent more problems of this nature, Microsoft introduced a revised cooling design with heatpipe and heatsink to cool the GPU and used 56nm chip technology in newer consoles (for CPU).

Bill Gates never really spoke out about the matter until now. Speaking with the BBC, Gates revealed that Microsoft is now determined to make the Xbox 360 console the most reliable gaming hardware for consumers. "Well, we certainly had to apologize to our uses about a number of boxes that had to be replaced," said Gates. "We did that for free for all of those people, we've gotten a lot of positive feedback about the way we handled it."

"We've got incredible reliability on the new work we've done," he continued. "Our commitment is that it will be the most reliable video game box out there. People really love the Xbox because of the content, but we've got to make sure that the hardware never stands in the way of that."

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AfterDawn: News

HD VMD shipping in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jan 2008 20:13

HD VMD shipping in U.S. New Medium Enterprises (NME) announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week that HD VMD players would be shipping to the United States. The players, which offer Full HD 1080p video are available from PCRush.com and NMEStore.com at a very affordable price of just $199. All orders for HD VMD players in January will come with two complementary titles, "Mother Ghost" starring James Franco and cult hit "Cutting Room."

HD VMD's ground-breaking innovation is its patented multi-layer disc, which allows for the utilization of proven red laser technology to provide high definition, versus blue laser technology used by HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The players are also capable of Upscaling standard-definition DVDs to high definition.

"We are excited to be delivering upon our promise to deliver high quality, affordable high definition to consumers," said Alex Potter, director of U.S. operations, NME. "We remain committed to delivering great HD products and compelling content to the global consumer market." NME also this week announced its worldwide distribution deal with SFM Entertainment for the release of rare and classic film and TV titles never before seen in HD on NME's disc format.

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AfterDawn: News

Proposed 'iPod Tax' struck down again in Canada

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jan 2008 20:13

Proposed 'iPod Tax' struck down again in Canada While levies are imposed on certain items in Canada like blank CD media and cassette tapes, an ongoing effort to bring such taxes to MP3 playing hardware and flash memory cards has failed yet again in the country. Yesterday, the Federal Court of Appeal rejected a decision by Canada's Copyright Board to collect fees from the sales of MP3 players in order to compensate artists for lost revenue from private copying.

The proposed tax included CAD5 on digital audio players with 1GB storage or less and CD75 on digital audio players with upwards of 30GB storage space. Canada's Private Copyright Collective (CPCC) lobbied for the tax again in 2007, after the proposal saw generally no success since it was brought up in 2004. The Copyright Board agreed with the CPCC's claims and was set to impose the tax in 2008.

"The Copyright Board erred in law when it concluded that it has the legal authority to certify the tariff that CPCC has proposed for 2008 and 2009 on digital audio recorders," the Federal Court of Appeal said in its decision.

Source:
The Register


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AfterDawn: News

50 Chinese sites remove piracy links

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jan 2008 18:56

50 Chinese sites remove piracy links In a move brokered by the Movie Copyright Protection Assn. of China, 50 Chinese websites including the popular China.com.cn, People.com.cn and 163.com, have all agreed to stop providing access to pirated movies.

In exchange, the sites will co-operate with Quacor.com to distribute legal online movies. A recent survey has confirmed that at least 30,000 Chinese websites "provide access to visual arts" and that over 61 percent of Chinese web users watch movies online without paying.

Li Guomin, vice-chairman of the association, has said that growing piracy is damaging China's local film industry.

"If these infringements continue, producers might simply stop making movies altogether. And then 162 million Chinese netizens will lose the service they have now,"
Li added.

Source:
Variety




AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 hits 17.7 million sold

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jan 2008 18:53

Xbox 360 hits 17.7 million sold According to new sales figures released by Microsoft, their Xbox 360 console has sold 17.7 million units since its launch in late 2005.

Software sales were also solid, with Microsoft saying that the blockbuster Halo 3 game has moved 8.1 units since its release 2 months ago.

In a statement, the company declared: “Microsoft is proud of the contributions Xbox 360 is making to the gaming industry, and looks forward to an even more successful 2008.”

Despite their successes in North America and Europe, the Xbox 360 has lagged behind its rivals in Japan by a huge margin. The Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 regularly outsell the 360 by hundreds of thousands of units per month and that gap doesn't seem to be tightening any time soon.

Source:
AV zombie


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AfterDawn: News

Netflix expands Internet viewing option

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jan 2008 18:51

Netflix expands Internet viewing option The popular online rental service Netflix has lifted the limits on how long subscribers can watch movies and television shows over broadband connections.

The move comes on the eve of Macworld in which Apple is expected to move into the movie rental industry. CEO Steve Jobs has not confirmed the move yet however.

Currently, Netflix has set restrictions on how their users can use the streaming service, based on what service plans they have. For example, if you use the $16.99 USD per month plan customers can watch up to 17 hours of streaming video per month. That restriction is now gone, and users, as long as they have the $9.99-per month or higher plans, can watch unlimited streaming video.

Source:
Neowin




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Reactrix develops Wii-like game system

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jan 2008 18:35

CES 2008: Reactrix develops Wii-like game system The software developer Reactrix Systems announced at CES that they have developed a gaming system intended for LCD TVs that will mimic the Nintendo Wii.

The system will allow players to "punch in the air to hit a boxing opponent or swing their arms to return the ball in a game of volleyball."

The technology, dubbed WaveScape was created for large advertising displays, intending to draw in new customers by letting them play an interactive game. The system has a sensor that keeps track of a person's hand and body movement so they can interact with the game on screen. Above the display was a sensor that kept track of a person's hand and body movements so they could interact with an on-screen game. The sensor can cover up to five meters.

"Our first application is going to be advertising and interactive signage,"
said Matt Bell, who is chief scientist at Reactrix and developed the system. "Our first roll-out of these displays will be in the second half of this year iys 150 Hilton hotels. They'll be a mixture of fun, interactive games and information about hotel services."

Bell also explained that new games take a month to create and mini-games take a couple of weeks.

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AfterDawn: News

New sale on Blu-ray and HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jan 2008 18:00

New sale on Blu-ray and HD DVD In probably the largest next-gen disc sale to date, Amazon is offering up to 57 percent off on over 300 HD DVD and Blu-ray titles.

The promotions were both launched today by the e-tailer and will include 229 Blu-ray films and 84 HD DVD titles. Among the Blu-ray movies are such blockbusters as 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind,' 'Spider-Man - The High Definition Trilogy,' 'Superbad' and 'Casino Royale'. You can view the full list here at Amazon.

The HD DVD titles available will include hits such as 'Transformers,' 'Stardust' and 'Serenity'. You can view the whole list here at Amazon.

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AfterDawn: News

Site Updates: Several important video glossary definitions updated

Written by James Delahunty @ 13 Jan 2008 4:48

Site Updates: Several important video glossary definitions updated AfterDawn is a relatively large site; especially when you count the handful of individuals that have the task of contributing officially to it and keeping it up to date. Outside of the forums, everything you see has one or more of a small group of people behind it. This presents an obvious problem; the task of keeping everything up-to-date is a nightmare with all we have to cover, and our performance at keeping certain areas of the site up to scratch ranges from bad to worse.

However, with the new year came new opportunities and now we are taking on the challenge of updating quite a bit of the site. In our glossary section, some items have been untouched for the better part of a decade; a slightly embarrassing fact when you see the enormous amounts of automatic cross links from the main site and forums to the glossary section.

It simply was not good enough that a link to the term "1080p" for example, would bring up just two lines of text telling you the resolution of 1080p and nothing else. So, our small team of English writers is taking on the challenge of getting this section of the site, along with others, up-to-date to regain a reputation we once held, and maintain those we still grasp.

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AfterDawn: News

VideoGiants to offer HD video downloads from Paramount

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Jan 2008 1:24

VideoGiants to offer HD video downloads from Paramount MusicGiants, whose online music store already offers audio downloads in much higher quality than the typical web retailer has made a deal with Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment to deliver HD video. The video oriented service, not surprisingly called VideoGiants, can deliver HD movies either one at a time by download or as entire collections on a hard drive that would be installed into a home theater server.

“Over the past several years, high-end audio consumers have come to rely on MusicGiants as the source for all of their favorite music, and we are now pleased to announce that we are going to do the same thing for films and TV shows through our VideoGiants service,” said MusicGiants CEO Scott Bahneman. “Our company is uniquely positioned to sell the highest quality content onto premium connected homes because the MG MediaStore software is being built into so many home theater devices.”

He was referring to the fact that VideoGiants isn't intended purely for PC playback, but rather can (and will) be supported by a number of home theater media servers, including such brands as Creston, Imerge, Niveus, Russound, ReQuest, Xperinet, Cutting Edge and Inteset.

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AfterDawn: News

Seagate CEO says Blu-ray or HD DVD victory not important

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Jan 2008 0:55

Seagate CEO says Blu-ray or HD DVD victory not important Despite the apparent coup for Blu-ray in convincing Warner Bros. to join their side shortly before this year's CES conference, Seagate Technology CEO Bill Watkins is confident it won't have any impact on the on-going format war for HD dominance. That's not because he believes HD DVD will take the crown, but rather because he's convinced that the real winner will be electronic distribution rather than physical discs.

"People are saying Blu-ray won the war but who cares? The war is over physical distribution versus electrical distribution, and Blu-ray and HD lost that," he said during a breakfast meeting at the Consumer Electronics Show here this week. "In this, flash memory and hard drives are on the same side. The war is over and the physical guys lost."

In addition to talk of devices for storing video from different sources, which of course is a job for either flash memory or hard drives, he also mentioned that electronic distribution also creates the need for backups of all the data to be broadcast.

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AfterDawn: News

LED makers expect 50 pecent revenue increase in 08

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2008 22:21

LED makers expect 50 pecent revenue increase in 08 Large Taiwanese-based LED makers Everlight Electronics, Lite-On Technology, Bright LED Electronics, and Unity Opto Technology have said that their revenues dropped in December but that annual revenue for the year 2007 was up on average, 19 to 39 percent. The manufacturers also expected growth of 30-50 percent in 2008.

Lite-on ranked as the top LED maker for the year with related revenues reaching NT$10.6 billion ($326 million USD. The company predicted 2008 revenue to increase 40 percent.

Revenue was up on strong demand for SMD LEDs used in panel backlighting.

Source:
Digitimes




AfterDawn: News

Kodak professional grade discs have 100-year life

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Jan 2008 20:28

Kodak professional grade discs have 100-year life KODAK has introduced its Professional Grade CD-Rs and DVD-Rs that offer a lifespan of up to 100 years, according to the company. The company is targeting photographers, music studios, and other businesses and professionals who want higher quality discs that will safely store their images, videos and data.

"We are introducing these new, professional grade discs for those who can't take a chance on short-lived silver CD-Rs." said Steve Mizelle, President of KMP Media. The firm operates under trademark license from Eastman Kodak Company.

The discs combine superior recording quality with durability that will protect images, sound and data for 100 years. Only archival KODAK 24K Gold Preservation CDs last longer. The advanced discs are manufactured using a patented, oxidation-resisting gold metallurgy process. This produces enhanced electrical properties, long archival life, significant reductions in error rates and the fastest write speeds available in archival media.

The disc's proprietary reflective surface alloy and high quality dye layer provides quality storage that is far superior to traditional silver discs. Silver discs also can deteriorate quickly when exposed to heat, humidity and ultraviolet light and many last only five years or less.

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AfterDawn: News

Kodak offers self-burning CD-R

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Jan 2008 20:20

Kodak offers self-burning CD-R KODAK has announced its new AutoMagic self-burning CDs aimed at making it easier for novice computer users to burn their music, pictures and important documents to discs for archiving. The disc has built-in software for copying digital content onto the CD.

"This is great news for all the people who want to store images, music or data on a CD but lack the computer skills," said Jim Gordon, Sr. Vice President of Marketing for KMP Media. "Now they can avoid the hassle of downloading, installing and learning how to use a more complex software package."

The CD-R discs are designed for use with Microsoft Windows 2000, XP and Vista operating systems. When one of these CDs is placed in a computer the application pops up on the screen and the user can select and record images, music and other files with just a few clicks. The software takes up little space.

Users can preview, rotate and select photos and even record them directly from a digital camera. The discs also can be read into home video players and compilations of MP3 or WMA music can be made with KODAK AutoMagic CDs and played on any device that supports those formats.

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AfterDawn: News

BBC iPlayer traffic increases 14-fold in a month

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Jan 2008 20:20

BBC iPlayer traffic increases 14-fold in a month Traffic to the BBC's iPlayer service in the UK increased 14 times overall within the space of a month. The impressive gains were made between week ending 08 December 2007 and the week ending 05 January, with the service ranking 80th in the UK in the latter week, peaking at 62nd on New Years Day. Surfers looking to catch up on their soap operas gave a boost to the service, with Eastenders driving a large amount of users to iPlayer.

Other popular program searches were Live at the Apollo, Three men in another boat and Holby City. Over half of the traffic going to the iPlayer website came from other BBC websites, as the corporation has been aggressively promoting its service online. While such services from TV broadcasters are always a step in the right direction, the iPlayer still pales in comparison to the video heavyweight YouTube.

For the week ending January 5th, YouTube accounted for 8.75% of all UK Internet visits to Entertainment websites, over 12 times the market share of iPlayer, with YouTube being the 4th most search term in the UK currently. The average visit time for iPlayer is currently just under nine minutes, compared with almost 20 minutes for YouTube.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony shows 'TransferJet' high-speed wireless transfer system

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Jan 2008 20:19

Sony shows 'TransferJet' high-speed wireless transfer system Sony has shown off a new wireless data transfer system that requires close proximity of devices, but provides a high data transfer rate to compensate. The TransferJet system requires that equipment be about 3cm apart to achieve speed up to 560Mbps. "Even if the conditions for transmission deteriorate, it will maintain the highest possible wireless connectivity by automatically lowering the data transmission rate," Sony stated.

Sony adds that the new technology promises minimal electromagnetic interference due to the low intensity of the radio waves employed. The 3cm distance might make you think the technology is obsolete at first, but on second thought it has a huge variety of uses. For example, it could be added to mobile phones to allow users to transfer huge amounts of data to and from each other in a short amount of time.

It could also eliminate the need for a USB cable between a computer and a digital camera, or remove the need for you to carry a connection cable around with a video camcorder in order to connect to a TV. As long as both devices are compliant, the system can offer a wireless solution that could make life a little bit easier.

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AfterDawn: News

What will Apple show at Macworld?

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Jan 2008 20:19

What will Apple show at Macworld? The only thing that is known for sure about this year's upcoming Macworld Expo is that it most likely won't be nearly as interesting at last year's. Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs caused quite a stir in the mobile phone market by unveiling the iPhone, a touch-screen phone that could play music, video and could be used to browse the net among other great features. Like or dislike the iPhone, it has been a success and it put the Macworld Expo of 2007 in the books.

So what is expected from Apple this year? This is one of the most secretive companies in the business, so it generates quite a lot of rumors and speculation in the weeks before events or expected announcements. We previously reported that Apple may be offering Macs with Blu-ray drives, with the Mac Pro workstation rumored to be the first with Blu-ray.

The company is likely to announce movie rentals for the iTunes download store at Macworld. The expected cost will be $3.99 for 24 hours, a common offer in competing services. Apple has reportedly secured deals with 20th Century Fox and Disney studios, and may be close to signing deals with Warner Bros. and Paramount.

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AfterDawn: News

RITEK shows disc with BD-R and HD DVD-R on either side

Written by James Delahunty @ 12 Jan 2008 20:18

RITEK shows disc with BD-R and HD DVD-R on either side RITEK was showing off several of its new innovative products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas earlier this week. Among the new products was a disc that contained BD-R on one side, and HD DVD-R on the other, allowing you to record to both next-generation formats on a single disc. A high price for such a disc is to be expected but unfortunately RITEK did not shed any light on how much this disc would cost.

As for availability, the discs are expected to be available in the near-future. After Warner Bros. decision to drop the HD DVD format completely for the Sony-backed Blu-ray rival, a move that was then mirrored by other studios, some whispers of the end of the format war have been spreading.

So far however, HD DVD has not lost its support from Paramount, DreamWorks or Universal as rumored. Aside from RITEK's dual disc, the company currently offers 2X dual-layer HD DVD writable discs and expects to offer 2X HD DVD-RW DL discs by Q2 2008. RITEK also offers 4X BD-R media.

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AfterDawn: News

Leadtek launches high end TV tuner card

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2008 19:53

Leadtek launches high end TV tuner card Leadtek Research has announced the launch of a high end TV tuner card, the WinFast PVR2100 which supports "analog TV reception including PAL, NTSC and SECAM, while it can also receive FM radio. With built-in MPEG2 decoding hardware, users can record videos with the minimal system workload."

The tuner card also includes Leadtek's exclusive Winfast PVR2 software that allows users to change their settings and preferences in a "two-layer user friendly menu." The "Live Broadcasting" software "can turn a PC into a TV broadcasting station and let the users share their videos with their family and friends." The "DirectBurn" software "allows users to transfer home videos and movies from camcorders, VHS tapes, and personal DVDs into a blank CDs or DVDs," the company added.

The card also uses TwinView technology that allows for PIP (picture in picture), POP (picture on picture) and PAP (picture and picture) viewing options, features not standard of TV tuners.




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Pricey Marantz Blu-ray player coming in the spring

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2008 19:12

CES 2008: Pricey Marantz Blu-ray player coming in the spring First unveiled in August at the CEDIA event, the "ultimate quality" Marantz branded Blu-ray player finally has a price tag and a release date.

After a couple of manufacturing delays, the player will sell for $2100 USD, and is due to hit retail shelves sometime during the Q2 2008.

So why is this player available at a 400 percent premium over the average player? According to Marantz the player (Profile 1.1 compliant), "features full 1080p output and decoding for all current high-resolution audio formats, including Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Lossless Master Audio and uncompressed PCM, outputting both 7.1-channel analog signals and PCM audio via HDMI."

More importantly, the player will include the Realta HQV video processor, which "allows for advanced video clean-up of even the best high-def signals."

Worth $2100? Lets see how the consumer responds.

Source:
HD Digest


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AfterDawn: News

SlingPlayer coming for iPhone?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2008 18:58

SlingPlayer coming for iPhone? Although not officially confirmed, it seems that a mobile version of the SlingPlayer application could be in the works for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

According to an unanmed "extremely senior source at Sling", the "iPhone and iPod touch are OS X devices, and we can write OS X apps with our eyes closed. It's coming." This answer was in response to whether a SlingPlayer would ever hit the iPhone. The source did not leave a timeline for the player but acknowledged that it would work better on the iPod Touch due to its exclusive Wi-fi connection.

The source also offered that "we know the 3G iPhone's coming", although once again there is no official confirmation of that.

Source:
Mp3newswire




AfterDawn: News

Profile 1.1 Blu-ray titles coming soon, says Warner

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2008 18:20

Profile 1.1 Blu-ray titles coming soon, says Warner Now that it has thrown its support behind Blu-ray, Warner Home Entertainment president Kevin Tsujihara has announced that the company has plans to introduce its first Profile 1.1 compliant movies to the market in the near future.

In doing so, Warner will follow other Blu-ray camp studios in producing discs with 1.1-enabled features. Blu-ray players with Profile 1.1 compliance have been in stores for a couple of months now.

Although they have previously used HD DVD's HDi interactivity technology on their discs, the new titles will be the first with profile 1.1 features. Tsujishara added that the first profile 1.1-enabled discs to hit the market would be the dozen titles that Warner had previously used HDi with. Those titles had been used to "deliver the studio's "In Movie Experience" picture-in-picture video commentary and other interactive features."

"We held off releasing them on Blu-ray because we wanted to be able to have the full interactivity,"
said Tsujishara. "At this point in time, we're still working out all the kinks [with the technology], but they will be released soon."

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AfterDawn: News

Directors guild starts negotiations in Hollywood

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jan 2008 2:44

Directors guild starts negotiations in Hollywood As the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike continues to affect Hollywood productions, and even their annual awards season, it's now the directors' turn to work on a new deal with studios. Starting on Saturday the Director's Guild of America (DGA) will start talks with the studios, under guidelines that were agreed to in recent talks.

Until recently the directors were waiting for developments in the WGA negotiations. The chief point of contention between the writers and studios is royalty rates for digital distribution after broadcast, particularly for Streaming or download online. While studio representatives characterize online video as a money losing, or at best break even venture, some on the writers' side point out that this is contrary to claims made in lawsuits against viral video services like YouTube. As the strike has drug on with little communication between the two sides the directors have apparently lost patience.

The DGA negotiations include discussions of the same issues, and although there has never been a prolonged directors strike in Hollywood, the WGA cautions against assuming the same will hold true this time around.

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AfterDawn: News

EMI threatens IFPI - reorganize or we quit!

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jan 2008 2:08

EMI threatens IFPI - reorganize or we quit! Last year, after being purchased by equity firm Terra Firma, EMI started looking at exactly what the trade organizations they help fund with membership fees were doing to earn their money. We reported in November of last year that the answer was apparently "not enough," and the company was considering backing out of the RIAA because they didn't feel that they were getting their money's worth. Based on a recent article in Variety, things are a little more complicated than that.

While many people, both in the U.S. and internationally, are familiar with the RIAA, most notably for being behind the American campaign of lawsuits against P2P file sharers who offer copyrighted songs for download. But once you leave the U.S. the RIAA has relatively little pull, and not much standing as a lobbying organization. For this reason the four major labels also belong to a number of other trade groups, most notably the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).

Rather than simply backing out of the RIAA (and other industry groups) as sources had indicated last year, it appears the company is actually doing something significantly more calculated. According to Variety, EMI sent a letter to IFPI officials stating their intention to end their association with the organization unless they bring their own interests and goals into alignment with EMI's.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Cowon D3 adds high resolution video

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2008 18:45

CES 2008: Cowon D3 adds high resolution video Representatives of Cowon at the CES event today have confirmed that that the electronics maker is developing a sequel to its well-received D2 touchscreen player, with the sequel adding high resolution video as well as an overall thinning of the device.

Currently the small device only plays videos at a maximum resolution of 320x240.

Spokespeople have also acknowledged that the timeframe for the D3's launch is sometime before July of this year. There was no word on whether that timeframe is for the debut in Korea or the English release.

The Korean D2 was launched in November 2006 and the Americanized model was released four months later. If that trend continues, than the American release of the D3 could see as late of a release date as early 2009.

Source:
Electronista




AfterDawn: News

Nintendo and Sony sued over device ID transmission

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2008 18:42

Nintendo and Sony sued over device ID transmission A patent infringement lawsuit against Nintendo and Sony has been filed by the Copper Innovations Group alleging that both companies infringed upon a 1996 patent that "covers a method for connecting devices to a system and sorting their inputs by means of hardware identification numbers tied to each transmission."

Microsoft was not named in the suit because they do not use Bluetooth to connect their controllers to the Xbox 360. Both the PlayStation 3 and Wii use Bluetooth to connect their controllers and therefore were named in the suit.

The plaintiff is hoping for monetary damages as well as an injunction stopping Sony and Nintendo from further infringing upon the 1996 patent.

Both companies have declined to comment on the case as of yet.

Source:
GI.biz




AfterDawn: News

Warner speaks out about Blu-ray deal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2008 18:40

Warner speaks out about Blu-ray deal When Warner announced last week that it was moving exclusively to Blu-ray, many questions remained as to why the move happened, whether money was involved, and why the studio would voluntarily shun the growing HD DVD market.

Speaking to Reuters, the studio made it clear that the move was not fueled by a money exchange with Sony, but instead that the decision was based on on fears of a deteriorating U.S. economy, falling DVD sales and even rising gas prices.

"We've typically been recession proof,"
Warner Bros Entertainment Group President Kevin Tsujihara said. "But the thing that we saw in the fourth quarter...was gas prices beginning to affect sales. And since we're considered an impulse purchase, it's beginning to impact us."

Tsujihara also added that the decision was based in part in an effort to help end customer and retailer confusion over the HD video formats.

Toshiba, the lead proprietor of HD DVD has said that despite Warner's decision, the time for HD DVD's demise has not come yet. Both Universal and Paramount have said they are committed to HD DVD despite published rumors.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: DeepRockDrive to offer live streaming of concerts

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2008 18:39

CES 2008: DeepRockDrive to offer live streaming of concerts During a special "second release event" today at CES, DeepRockDrive co-founder Jeff Henshaw spoke out about the service, which allows would-be concert goers to pay a fee to watch their favorite artists perform live, via Streaming video on the internet.

"The digital music revolution has not yet touched the live concert industry. DeepRockDrive brings fans and artists closer together than ever before, eliminating wealth and geography as barriers to entry into this new entertainment experience,"
said Henshaw. "We are enabling the other critical part of building long-term artistic careers: the live experience. DeepRockDrive will do for the $10 billion live concert industry what those pioneers did for recorded music," Henshaw added.

DRD's platform will allow fans worldwide to watch their favorite artists live from the comfort of their own homes, a huge plus for fans who do not live near large, popular concert venues.

Tickets, which can be purchased through DRD's site, would be $7 USD and the funds would be shared between the site and the artist.

"We've designed the DeepRockDrive experience to be a hybrid of a live concert and a videogame by giving fans the ability to choose from at least four camera Angles, a vote for what the next song played will be, and live digital shoutouts to artists in the studio. One can watch just the guitarist's chords, the lead singer or an aerial view. We tune the camera angles with every performance, so each show is a unique adventure for both the artists and the fans,"
said Henshaw. "We're simultaneously producing a world-class HD video broadcast; mixing and sweetening audio in a professional recording studio; and incorporating live, two-way interaction with fans into the performance. Nobody's even come close to doing something this ambitious with live performances before."

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AfterDawn: News

Sony America will focus on current PS3 models

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2008 18:38

Sony America will focus on current PS3 models Following Sony Japan's decision to drop the 20GB and 60GB models of the PlayStation 3 in favor of the backwards compatibility lacking 40GB unit, Sony America has implied that they have no plans to change their current focus and are satisfied with the models available.

"This morning SCEI made an announcement in reference to Japan no longer shipping the 20GB and 60GB PlayStation 3 configurations. We have already stopped shipping these in the US and have been focused on the 80GB and 40GB configurations which are currently at retail,"
the company said in a statement.

"As we've said, we will also continue to read and evaluate market trends and communicate with consumers to determine appropriate configurations for each territory."


In North America, the 20GB model retailed in short supply before being dropped. The 60GB was discontinued in favor of the higher capacity 80GB model in July.

Source:
GI.biz




AfterDawn: News

Constantin Film picks Blu-ray format exclusively

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:37

Constantin Film picks Blu-ray format exclusively German studio Constantin Film AG has chosen the Blu-ray format for distribution of high-definition movies and other video content. Up to now, the company has supported both the HD DVD and the Blu-ray technology. Ever since Warner Bros. made the move to Blu-ray exclusivity, there has been speculation about what studios would follow. While the focus has been on major Hollywood studios, it is easy to forget the smaller players in the market.

"Last weekend, the major US studio Warner Brothers already rejected a dual-format strategy too and communicated its decision in favour of the Blu-ray technology. By taking this trendsetting decision, the market-leading US film group has helped to bring about faster the urgently needed clarification of the situation and to end the 'format war,' that has been going on for years now," Constantin's press statement reads.

"In taking our decision in favour of the Blu-ray format, we are clearly following the international trend. The longstanding dispute about the successor to the DVD caused considerable uncertainty among consumers in 2007 in particular and has led to a delay in the mainstream introduction of hi-def as a result. Clear positioning therefore has advantages for consumers, producers and retailers," said Franz Woodtli, Home Entertainment Director at Constantin Film AG.

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AfterDawn: News

Hauppauge shows its 'HD PVR'

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:36

Hauppauge shows its 'HD PVR' Hauppauge Digital, Inc. demonstrated at CES 2008 for the first time their "HD PVR", a USB Personal Video Recorder which can record high definition TV video into H.264 in real time. The HD PVR can connect to high definition cable TV or satellite TV set top box receivers, and uses its on-board H.264 hardware encoder to record high definition TV programs in an ISO standard HD H.264 AVC format in real time.

The connections to the set top boxes are made via component cables, or the RGB connectors on HD set top boxes. The HD PVR includes a video player application which allows the recorded TV programs to be played back on a PC screen. To enable automatic recording of TV programs, the HD PVR recorder includes Hauppauge's IR Blaster, which controls the channels on most popular cable and satellite TV set top boxes in North America and Europe.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Panasonic showed two new Full HD Camcorders

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:34

CES 2008: Panasonic showed two new Full HD Camcorders At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Panasonic showed two new full-High Definition 3CCD camcorders, the HDC-HS9, a hybrid model that can record to either an SD (or SDHC) Memory Card or its built-in 60-GB hard disk and the HDC-SD9, the world's smallest and lightest SD card High Definition camcorder, weighing in at just 0.606 pounds. Both offer Full HD, 1080p recordings at 24 frames per second.

Both the SD9 and HS9 feature new Panasonic camcorder technologies called Face Detection and Intelligent Shooting Guide. "Consumers will be amazed by the richness and clarity of the video taken with one of these new High Definition camcorders, as this is quality they are accustomed to getting when they go to the movies," Alex Fried, National Marketing Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company.



Fried added: "Panasonic is bringing the benefits of High Definition right into the living room, so anyone can enjoy high-quality videos in the comforts of their home. And with new features such as Face Detection and Intelligent Shooting Guide, these new intuitive technologies help consumers easily produce video content they would be proud to view in High Definition."

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AfterDawn: News

QuickTime suffers another RTSP flaw

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:34

QuickTime suffers another RTSP flaw Yet another security flaw in how Apple's QuickTime software handles the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) has been revealed. If exploited by a malicious user, it is possible to run arbitrary code on a victim's computer. This flaw affects fully patched QuickTime version 7.3.1, running on Windows and possibly Mac OS X. It bares some resemblance to the QuickTime RTSP flaw reported in December.

Discovery of the latest flaw is credited to Luigi Auriemma, who has posted a concept exploit on his site. "For exploiting this vulnerability is only needed that an user follows a rtsp:// link, if the port 554 of the server is closed QuickTime will automatically change the transport and will try the HTTP protocol on port 80, the 404 error message of the server (other error numbers are valid too) will be visualized in the LCD-like screen," Auriemma wrote.

Source:
News.com




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: HP's MediaSmart Receiver connects HDTVs wirelessly to network

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:33

CES 2008: HP's MediaSmart Receiver connects HDTVs wirelessly to network At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Hewlett-Packard (HP) showed off its MediaSmart Receiver, an addition to its home entertainment connectivity rollout. The MediaSmart Receiver is a compact Set-Top Box that can connect to a high-definition (HD) television set using the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) standard.

Once connected to a HDTV, it connects it to a home wireless network. WiFi a/b/g/n is supported and the devices is compatible with the UPnP and DLNA streaming standards. The set-top box provides access to Microsoft's Online Media download service. Pictures, music and videos from PC's on the same network can be streamed and viewed on any connected HDTV.



The device has a nice piano-black finish and blue feature lighting with a strange patterned top design. No details on pricing or availability have been released yet.

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AfterDawn: News

Wii Fit sells a million in Japan

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:13

Wii Fit sells a million in Japan Nintendo's effort to make the Wii console an exercise and fitness accessory is paying off in the company's home market of Japan. The Wii Fittitle, unveiled at the E3 Expo in 2007, consists of a wireless balance board that uses pressure sensors to judge a player's movement while playing games like hopscotch, ski-jumping or 'chase the doughnut'.

The controller for the Wii is already seen to demand more physical activity from a player than any other home console (excluding add-ons like a Dance Dance Revolution mat) on most games, and the extra Wii Fit accessory just pushes the bar a little bit higher. The company is attempting to attract more than the traditional gamer to the Wii console, and this extra piece of hardware is just another way to re-enforce that effort.

Following its launch in Japan at the beginning of December, it has gone on to sell 1 million units, which is a good indication of how it may perform in other territories. However, Nintendo does not have complete overseas sales plans for Wii Fit just yet.

Source:
Reg Hardware




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft backs off Blu-ray on Xbox 360 comments

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:11

Microsoft backs off Blu-ray on Xbox 360 comments Microsoft Corp. has re-affirmed its sole dedication to the HD DVD format, despite comments made during this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a lot of attention on the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray following the decision by Warner Bros. to support the Blu-ray format exclusively.

Ever since then, there has been rumors and speculation about what studios or corporations would be willing to switch sides or drop a neutral stance, and several did. Comments made by Microsoft's group marketing manager for Xbox hardware, Albert Penello created a bit of a stir after being asked by Reuters if Microsoft would ever offer a Blu-ray accessory for the Xbox 360.

"It should be consumer choice, and if that's the way they vote, that's something we'll have to consider," he responded. With the previous decision by Warner Bros. and then speculation that Universal and Paramount were getting ready to drop HD DVD too (both denied), the comments could not have come at a worse time for the HD DVD group.

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AfterDawn: News

Online video popularity doubled in 2007

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Jan 2008 18:10

Online video popularity doubled in 2007 According to a report released by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, daily Internet traffic to video-sharing websites such as Google Inc.'s YouTube doubled in 2007 compared to the previous year. The report stated that nearly half of adult Internet users have visited these video sites. In December 2006, 33% of of Internet users had been to video-sharing sites, and now it sits at 48%.

Of 2,054 adults surveyed between late October and early December, about 15% claimed to watched an online video the day before they were asked, which is up from 8% in 2006. Men continue to lead women in this area, with 53% of male respondents being frequent viewers compared to 43% of female respondents. However, average daily use among women did raise enough to contribute significantly to the overall increases.

The main reasons for the continued growth in online video is the increasing amount of homes with broadband and the rapidly growing catalog of video content on sites like YouTube. Far more people also posted their own videos to these websites than those who did in 2006. "Everything connected to online video doubled last year," said James McQuivey, an analyst at industry research firm Forrester.

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AfterDawn: News

Sweden file sharing case gets retrial

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2008 2:10

Sweden file sharing case gets retrial In Sweden, a court case involving a man who had allegedly uploaded 23,000 music tracks and 30 movies to file sharing networks has gone to retrial. The decision in the case will have implications for the future of whether police can raid file sharer's homes in search of evidence.

The man, a 31 year old from Linköping, Sweden, was initially charged with making the music and movies available for unauthorized download. However, there have been doubts surrounding Sweden’s Anti-Piracy Agency’s (APB) use of "questionable investigative techniques" and so prosecutors have dropped all the music related charges.

Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party, commented on the case. “The public prosecutor dropped the bulk of the charges but the record industry decided to pick up the dropped ball and press ahead as a private criminal charge (’enskilt åtal’), meaning they have to act as a prosecutor themselves before a judge and jury.”

On the side of the IFPI, lawyer Lars Gustafsson commented, “We maintain that the technical evidence is sufficient. We have received an inquiry from the court if we would like to continue with the music file-sharing as its own indictment and we have said we would."

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AfterDawn: News

Blockbuster's Keyes details company plans to become entertainment convenience store

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jan 2008 23:07

Blockbuster's Keyes details company plans to become entertainment convenience store On Tuesday, at an event overshadowed by the annual Consumer Electronics Show in nearby Nevada, Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes spoke about the company's plans for the coming year. Not surprisingly, those plans are primarily a continuation of the company's direction since Keyes took over last year.

Although lacking the glamour and media attention of CES, the Citigroup 2008 Global Entertainment, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Phoenix was attended by media analysts, many of whom were in attendance for Keyes' presentation, where he laid out Blockbuster's plan to reshape themselves into “an entertainment convenience store.”

“If we can improve that core [DVD rental] business we believe it can generate incremental cash flow that can then be used to invest in the future, for digitial downloads, for technology, perhaps for kiosks,” he said.

Last year Blockbuster began testing kiosks in a number of locations, and is reportedly considering the possibility of both on-demand DVD burning and downloading video to flash memory as an intermediary format used to transport it to a home computer or portable music player. Eventually they may even be able to load media files directly on the consumer's iPod (or other player hardware).

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Toshiba shows power of cell processor in HDTVs

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jan 2008 22:39

CES 2008: Toshiba shows power of cell processor in HDTVs Although the cell processor is most famous for powering the PS3 game console, one of Sony's partner in the chip's development is now showing off what it can do in other electronic devices. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Toshiba showed off a new HDTV that takes advantage of the cell processor's advanced video processing capabilities.

Although the video processing circuitry in a HDTV is something most consumers know nothing about, and usually don't even consider when making a purchase, it's often the difference between a picture that looks good and one that's merely really big. From scaling between different resolutions to deinterlacing, the video processor is what makes it possible to support the wide variety of video standards in use today in a single TV.

The cell processor signals a quantum leap over the processors used in current generation HDTVs. At CES Toshiba demonstrated some of the chip's capabilities, including decoding multiple TV signals in real time. Although the 48 simultaneous video streams were in standard definition, Toshiba says it could do the same thing with up to six HD signals.

Source: PC World

AfterDawn.com Hardware Section - Toshiba HDTVs (LCD)

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: LionsGate exec agrees Blu-ray copy protections won't stop pirates

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jan 2008 21:48

CES 2008: LionsGate exec agrees Blu-ray copy protections won't stop pirates In an interview from CES with Don Reisinger, the CEO of LionsGate said his company's decision to back Blu-ray over HD DVD was a simple matter of its improved anti-piracy measures. But when pressed later he admitted that the best anti-piracy measure is selling a product people want to buy.

While it's refreshing to see a studio head owning up to the importance of Blu-ray's additional copy protection in their selection, Steve Beeks comments highlight the contradictions inherent in replacing good business decisions with technology. DRM might give warm, fuzzy feelings to studio heads, but spending all their time worrying about it hasn't won them any new customers.

And that's what's really missing from the whole Blu-ray / HD DVD Battle - some customers to fight over. With all the news from both camps over the last year you would think there are huge sales at stake, but so far both together have managed to Capture less than 4% of the total home video market. So far they're biggest accomplishment was finally overtaking VHS sales last year.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Best Buy head worried about U.S. readiness for DTV transition

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jan 2008 20:10

CES 2008: Best Buy head worried about U.S. readiness for DTV transition In a new twist on recent stories about the transition from analog to digital broadcast TV in the U.S., Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson is expressing concern over the challenges of getting converter boxes in the hands of consumers before the last analog signals are turned off in a little over a year.

Speaking to an industry audience at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), he said "I think it's one of the biggest risks our industry has." He added "The number of converter boxes that is going to be required could put tremendous pressure on us to solve all those problems."

Part of the prolem, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in Washington is that there are no real goals set by the FCC, and therefore no way to know how far the country has to go. FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently defended himself, saying "the various orders contained in FCC dockets amount to a plan."

If the FCC does indeed have a plan, retailers apparently aren't convinced it will work. "The clock's ticking and this is coming very quickly," Anderson said. Best Buy is planning to have the converter boxes available for purchase by April.

If you're a U.S. resident you can apply for up to 2 vouchers, which will be good for $40 off the price of a DTV converter from stores like Best Buy, by visiting a special government website or calling 1-888-388-2009.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to buy Logitech?

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 18:48

Microsoft to buy Logitech? It is rumored that Microsoft Corp. is looking to take-over Logitech, a company based in Switzerland that specializes in equipment for PCs, audio system, games consoles and more. Shares of the company surged in value on Thursday as rumors circulated amongst traders. Logitech has a market capitalization of around 7 billion Swiss francs, and Microsoft reportedly bid at 48 francs per share.

"Rumors are rumors. I can't make any specific comment on them," Daniel Borel, co-founder, and the company's largest shareholder, told Reuters. Logitech would be a good acquisition for Microsoft, which is always trying to further its stretch into the living room with Windows Media Extenders, like the Xbox 360 console.

Logitech recently showed off new products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Source:
PocketLint.co.uk




AfterDawn: News

Gates: Microsoft won't make iPhone rival

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 18:46

Gates: Microsoft won't make iPhone rival In an interview with Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Microsoft Corp. chairman Bill Gates said the company will not launch a mobile phone product to compete directly with Apple's iPhone. The iPhone was released mid-2007 and was a big hit with consumers. Of course, it has long been speculated that Microsoft would make something to compete with the iPhone and Apple.

"No, we won't do that. In the so-called smart phone business we will concentrate solely on software with our Windows Mobile program," Gates said. "We have partnerships with a lot of device manufacturers from Samsung to Motorola and this variety brings us significantly more than if we would make our own mobile phone."

Microsoft already competes with Apple's iPod products by selling its Zune MP3 players. While the latest update to the Zune models has been seen by many as the best threat to the iPod so far, Apple remains far ahead in the market and isn't showing signs of budging.

Source:
Yahoo (Reuters)




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: XStreamHD is coming

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2008 18:45

CES 2008: XStreamHD is coming At their press conference yesterday at the CES event and sporting the support of investor, famous actor Michael Douglas, XStreamHD spoke out about a network service that should make it a strong challenger in the direct-only HD provider arena.

The XStreamHD wil deliver full 1080p HD video in either MPEG-2 or MPEG-4/H.264 and lossless audio in 7.1 channels.

With an introductory price of only $399 USD for the server and the receiver box., users will get movies, games, music and other content through 4 seperate video streams and a "virtual personal library that personalizes content to your tastes Pandora-style." The unit also has storage up to 500GB meaning space wont run out anytime soon. The unit also has a DVD/DVR and "an embedded PBX connector for your VoIP enjoyment, which means that you could call other users who have XstreamHD for free."

The only catch is to use the service you must set up a small satellite outside your home which will receive content sent to your XStreamHD Media Server. After that, any DLNA device, such as a digital TV, will be able to access the box and play the content.

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AfterDawn: News

Matsushita to become Panasonic Corp.

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 18:05

Matsushita to become Panasonic Corp. Matsushita Industrial Electric Co., Ltd. is looking to change its name to Panasonic Corp., the strong, well-known brand name given to its internationally sold products. While the name change is being made to avoid consumer confusion and for the good of the company, there are mixed feelings about it, as it was originally named after its charismatic founder, Konosuke Matsushita.

Matsushita President Fumio Ohtsubo said that the name change would bring more value to the company than nostalgia possibly could. "We must create more than what we are giving up," he said Thursday, speaking from the Osaka headquarters. The name change was approved by a Board of Directors and will go into effect on October 1st, pending approval at an upcoming shareholders meeting.

Konosuke Matsushita, along with Sony founder Akio Morita, is credited with leading Japan's modernization and economic success in the post-World War II world. He died in 1989 at age 94 after inspiring Japanese corporate culture, remembered for making claims like only good companies that contribute to social well-being can be truly successful.

In Japan, he is known as "The God of Management"; a title that would seem impossible when he was working at a brazier store at age 9 after his family lost its fortune. Members of the Matsushita family were informed of the intention to change the company name, and reportedly welcomed the move for the good of the company's future.

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AfterDawn: News

Update: Universal is staying with HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2008 18:00

Update: Universal is staying with HD DVD Despite a widely spread rumor fueled by a quote in Variety, Universal Studios has officially dismissed the rumor that it will be dropping HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray.

"Contrary to unsubstantiated rumors from unnamed sources, Universal's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format,"
said Ken Graffeo, executive vice president of HD strategic marketing for Universal Studios Home Entertainment and also co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group.

Graffeo also made it clear that the response would have come earlier but but many members of the HD DVD Promotional Group were on flights home from CES when the rumor started to pick up steam.

Yesterday, Variety started the rumor by saying ""Universal's commitment to backing HD DVD exclusivity has ended." The dismissal of the rumor follows yesterday's news that Paramount is staying committed to HD DVD despite rampant rumors otherwise.

Source:
betanews


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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Content distributor to make Internet video available for mobile platforms

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2008 17:51

CES 2008: Content distributor to make Internet video available for mobile platforms Pyxix, the internet content distributor, has announced it plans to make video available for mobile platforms, giving consumers another choice in a market that is starting to get crowded.

Currently, Pyxix "offers content across three different types of channels" with each offering a platform for new and amateur entertainers to distribute their work. "ComedyPop" offers stand-up and comedies. "DocuPyx" offers documentaries and short films and "Urban Chillers" distributes thriller and horror films for download.

The company plans to add two more channels, "Musyx" for music artists and "PyxNet" which the company describes as "dedicated to the promotion of artists of all genres." The content will be distributed through several different formats with support for file formats used on the PSP, iPod and Zune as well as for mobile phones using the 3gp file format.

Source:
betanews




AfterDawn: News

Universal rumored to be pondering Blu-ray switch

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 17:46

Universal rumored to be pondering Blu-ray switch Several days ago, rumors circulated that Paramount was preparing to drop the HD DVD format for the rival Blu-ray Disc format following a Financial Times report. Paramount denied the claim (not the first time a denial of this kind has been made before a switch) and now there is yet another report, this time saying that Universal Studios is preparing to dump HD DVD for Blu-ray.

"Universal's commitment to backing HD DVD exclusivity has ended," Daily Variety reported on Wednesday. Universal, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation are the only major Hollywood studios left backing the Toshiba-developed HD DVD format.

Warner Bros., HBO and New Line Cinema recently decided to back Blu-ray exclusively in the format war, leading to speculation that the battle was coming to an end and Blu-ray would emerge victorious. Right now, retailers decline to give any input on which format will win, but it is obvious that Blu-ray is the stronger of both in terms of support.

Even Microsoft Corp.'s Albert Penello revealed at CES that the company would consider a Blu-ray Disc accessory for the Xbox 360 console if consumers would demand it. Microsoft is a strong backer of the HD DVD format. As for Universal, the only thing we are guaranteed of right now is the continued spreading of rumors throughout the media.

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AfterDawn: News

Porn gets a set-top box of its own

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 17:34

Porn gets a set-top box of its own At the Adult Entertainment Expo, which opened in Las Vegas on Wednesday, some technology is being shown that will aid you in getting content for those nice and big flat-panel television screens shown off at CES at the exact same time. Miami-based entrepreneur Estefano Isaias is showing off Fyre, a Set-Top Box that delivers DVD-quality video content on demand. The entire catalog of Fyre is composed of adult video.

Fyre is simply connected via Ethernet to a network with a broadband Internet connection and hooked up to a TV. From there, a user can browse through a list of 20,000 titles that are already available. The device itself is free, but there are subscription options ranging from $10 to $100 per month.

For comparison, a mainstream service from Vudu Inc. offers up about 5,000 movies and works in much the same way as Fyre. The video is provided by the big names in Adult Entertainment, who get a share of Fyre's revenue from subscription fees. The content itself is protected from digital copying by use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Creative shows off WiFi video phone device

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2008 17:26

CES 2008: Creative shows off WiFi video phone device Despite having its specifications leaked by an FCC filing back in December, one of the biggest hits of this year's CES event has been Creative's inPerson, a striking Wifi video phone device.

Creative has said they hope the video phone will be the future solution for people that wish to forgo voice calling and instead want a more futuristic appeal.

The device will feature H.264 video with SIP support as well as a VGA resolution and 2 Mbps bitrate high video quality. The screen, a 7-inch 16.7 million color LCD, will be powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery. The company claims 2.5 hours of talk time on one charge.

The inPerson will be used to make video-calls to other devices but the configuration means the consumer will have to adopt a VoIP service if they haven't already.

Source:
Betanews


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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Web, iPod & DVR in bed.. No, literally in your bed!

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 17:18

CES 2008: Web, iPod & DVR in bed.. No, literally in your bed! Leggett & Platt Inc. is another company that wants to make people even more lazy around the house than they already are. Many people these days are used to having Internet access, television and many tech gadgets available in their bedroom, but this company has gone a step further and built them directly into the bed itself. The Starry Night Sleep Technology Bed was on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Available with the bed, besides the mattress, is built in wireless Internet connectivity, an iPod Dock, surround sound speakers, LCD projector, dual temperature controls and of course, a DVR. Another feature present would be very useful to at least one person that I know; it can detect if a "user" is snoring and will elevate the bed 7 degrees at that end and return to the original position once the snoring stops.

So if you are already smiling wide because now you have no reason other than the bathroom to leave your bed, then I hope you have an extra-fat wallet because this bed is expected to sell for between $20,000 and $50,000 when it becomes available this year. "I know it sounds like a lot, but you show me somebody that sleeps in a bed with someone that snores; I will show you a person that thinks $20,000 is a very small amount to pay to solve that problem," Mark Quinn, group executive vice president for Leggett & Platt's bedding division, said Tuesday.

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AfterDawn: News

DivX Inc. and Sony Pictures announce agreement

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 17:17

DivX Inc. and Sony Pictures announce agreement DivX Inc. and Sony Pictures Television Inc. have announced an agreement that will permit online video download sources to sell content from Sony Pictures using the high quality DivX format. Sony Pictures produces TV series, telefilms, theatrical releases and family entertainment for network and Cable Television, as well as first-run and off-network series for syndication.

"We are dedicated to finding legitimate outlets for our content and to that end are excited to be working with DivX to provide retailers with an expanded ecosystem for the digital distribution and playback of our digital media," said Michael Arrieta, Executive Vice President, Digital Distribution & Mobile Entertainment, Sony Pictures Television.

Downloads in this format will be compatible with DivX Certified players, which are produced by a wide variety of manufacturers. "This milestone agreement lays the foundation for Sony to offer high quality video content in the DivX format to its retail partners for playback on next-generation DivX Certified devices," said Kevin Hell, CEO of DivX, Inc.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo DS continues to dominate Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2008 17:00

Nintendo DS continues to dominate Japan The Nintendo DS finished off its impressive 2007 year with a holiday season flourish in Japan, selling just under 500,000 units in the last two weeks of the year.

The sales data, according to Media Create, shows the DS dominated the Japanese hardware market, outselling the Wii (385,000) and PlayStation Portable(332,000) during that same time frame.

Other consoles saw strong sales as well, with the PlayStation 3 finally firmly outselling its aging predecessor the PS2. These sales however, were still poor compared to the Wii. As usual in Japan, the Xbox 360 lagged behind its rivals, selling only 15000 units for the two weeks being counted.

Source:
GI.biz




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Sony Japan to drop 20GB and 60GB PS3 models

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2008 16:00

CES 2008: Sony Japan to drop 20GB and 60GB PS3 models Today at the CES 2008 event, Sony Japan has announced that they will be dropping the 20GB and 60GB PlayStation 3 models after a final shipment next week.

The company is now set to focus on the 40GB model in Japan and it plans to "vigorously promotes" the home console during 2008.

The two discontinued models were available on launch day in November 2006 and the newer 40GB model launched in November 2007. Sony has kept that same strategy worldwide, continuously dropping prices and introducing new models in Europe, North America and Asia.

In October Sony Europe phased out the 60GB model in favor of the cheaper 40GB unit and North America has seen the launch of an 80GB model and the discontinuation of both the 20GB and 60GB units.

Some have complained however about the dropped features of the 40Gb model. Most notably, backwards compatibility for PlayStation and PlayStation 2 titles has been dropped in favor of lower manufacturing costs.

Source:
GI.biz


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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Panasonic introduces new plasma displays

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2008 3:03

CES 2008: Panasonic introduces new plasma displays Panasonic has announced a brand new line of full 1080p HD Plasma displays today at CES 2008.

The new models will fall under the Viera brand and will offer new screen sizes, higher contrast ratio and improved picture quality.

The top range of the new line is the VIERA PZ800 series, featuring 1080p plasmas in four different sizes, the 42-inch TH-42PZ800, the 46-inch TH-46PZ800, the 50-inch TH-50PZ800 and the 58-inch class TH-58PZ800, respectively. Each screen will also be THX certified, said the company. A more important feature is an improved native contrast ratio of 30,000:1. Each will also include a PC input, VIERA link and four HDMI connections.

The middle of the road VIERA PZ85 series will include 1080p plasma displays in 3 different sizes, the 42-inch TH-42PZ85, the 46-inch TH-46PZ85 and the 50-inch TH-50PZ85, respectively. Each will include the same features as the VIERA PZ800 series but will also include an SD memory card slot.

The lowest of the range,the VIERA PZ80 series, still boasts nice specs. Each include HDMI connections, VIERA link, SD memory card slot and native contrast ratio of 20,000:1.

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AfterDawn: News

Panasonic shows DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 2:15

Panasonic shows DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd primary subsidiary Panasonic Corporation of North America is showing off its latest Blu-ray disc player. The DMP-BD50 supports the best of what the Blu-ray format offers, including its Full HD 1080p output. This model adds support for BD-Live, which brings web interactivity to the Blu-ray format, allowing users to download additional content.

VIERA Link technology is also built in to this latest player, which allows the control of an entire home entertainment system using one remote. The BD Live feature will eventually allow users to connect the device to the Internet and download extra content such as images and subtitles, and even play in multi-player games with friends.

The DMP-BD50 employs Panasonic's Uniphier system, which is composed of an PHL Reference Chroma processor and P4HD i/p conversion processor, producing sharp, crisp, natural colors that are extremely faithful to the original movie. The player can decode Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio for the best sound experience.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony sells 1.2 million PS3s during holiday season in North America

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 1:57

Sony sells 1.2 million PS3s during holiday season in North America Following a price cut, improved game line-up and availability of a lower priced model, Sony managed to move 1.2 million PS3 units in North America during the crucial holiday shopping season, providing a significant boost for the gaming platform and - Sony claims - the Blu-ray disc format. The PS3 rivals Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Nintendo's Wii in the multi-billion market for video game content.

The PlayStation Portable (PSP) handheld console also had a decent holiday season with 1.4 million units snatched up by consumers. To remind us that the previous generation of gaming is still alive and well, the PlayStation 2 (PS2) was very popular during the holidays in North America also, managing to sell 1.3 million units.

Adding up the figures for the three common PlayStation-branded items; PS2, PS3 and PSP, you get a figure of 3.9 million unit sales in North America during the holiday season for the devices. Last year, the PS3's launch was negatively affected by a high price tag, lack of attractive games and of course, the consumers' fascination with Nintendo Wii and DS Lite.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Verbatim updates line of Blu-ray media

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 1:34

CES 2008: Verbatim updates line of Blu-ray media Verbatim Americas, LLC is featuring an expanded line of Blu-ray writable media at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. While already having 2x BD recordable (BD-R) and BD rewritable (BD-RE) media on the market, the company is showing 6 new BD products scheduled to begin shipping in the first half of 2008. The new products include 4x BD-R discs, Single-sided Double-layer (DL) 2x BD-R and BD-RE discs, Mini BD-R and BD-RE discs and 1-2x BD-R LTH TYPE discs.

Verbatim's 25GB BD-R 4X media allows a user to write an entire disc in approximately 23 min. The higher performance makes the 4x BD-R media suitable not only for recording personal high-definition video, but also for backing up PC data or archiving photo collections. To achieve the higher speed burning, the proprietary Metal Ablative Recording Layer (MABL) technology developed for the first Verbatim BD-R media has to be fine-tuned.

Verbatim will release its 25GB 4x BD-R media in Q1 2008. To meet demands for capacity, the company will release 2x BD-R DL media in Q2 2008, followed by 4x BD-R DL media later on in the year. With two recording layers on a single side, users can enjoy seamless recording of up to 50GB or about 4 hours of HD-quality video on a single disc without having to flip or change the disc.

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AfterDawn: News

LaCie offers LaCinema Premier Multimedia 1TB Hard Drive

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 1:32

LaCie offers LaCinema Premier Multimedia 1TB Hard Drive LaCie is showing off the new LaCinema Premier multimedia hard disk drive that makes storing and viewing digital content easier than ever. Available in capacities of 500GB, 700GB and 1TB, huge amounts of digital video and audio files can be transfered directly from a computer via USB 2.0, and then played directly from the device on a connected TV.

An included remote control allows you to navigate through your stored digital content with an on-screen menu system. An optical output even enables surround sound enjoyment. While in operation, the device runs silent to avoid spoiling your viewing. Standard Definition content can be upscaled to 1080i if connected to a HDTV.

The LaCinema Premier supports...

"The LaCie LaCinema Premier is an easy to use multimedia hard drive for customers wanting to enjoy their large digital libraries on their television," said Salem Tirane, LaCie Multimedia Product Manager. "Offering high capacity and simplicity, it is a vast improvement over standard DVD players as it directly plays digital music, movies and pictures, without having to first burn a CD or DVD for playback."

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AfterDawn: News

Ritek signs Qflix licensing agreement with Sonic

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 1:32

Ritek signs Qflix licensing agreement with Sonic Sonic Solutions has announced that RITEK Corporation has signed a Qflix technology and IP licensing agreement. The Qflix program offers a new means for content owners to release titles for custom production and sale over the Internet while maintaining the same level of copy protection used on commercially mass-produced DVDs. RITEK is now taking orders on specialized DVDs that will enable the on-demand recording of digitally distributed entertainment with CSS encryption.

"We are delighted to be an official manufacturer and distributor of Qflix DVDs and to be participating in the new entertainment value chain Sonic's technologies are helping to establish," said Eric Ai, RITEK spokesperson. "Our long-standing reputation for producing discs of uncompromising quality and compatibility will help ensure a consistent and reliable consumer entertainment experience regardless of whether content is ordered online, purchased at retail, or produced in the home."

The Qflix brand will appear on other consumer products and services including compatible drives and video download services as a symbol for consumers looking for legitimate "purchase, download, and burn" solutions. Qflix is also the label for the technology and licensing program that includes product and component certification to enable content owners, service providers, and manufacturers of recordable media, PC DVD writers, network-connected DVD recorders, set-top boxes, and software to create compatible and interoperable solutions.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Blu-ray titles to include PSP version of video

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 1:29

CES 2008: Blu-ray titles to include PSP version of video At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Sony demonstrated an upcoming addition to Blu-ray titles; lower-resolution versions of the video content. Using a PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles, which can read BD-ROM discs, and a PlayStation Portable (PSP) console with a MemoryStick Duo for storage, Sony inserted a Blu-ray title into a PS3 and produced a video compatible with the PSP.

The PlayStation 3 did not encode the video however, the copy for the PSP system is permanently stored on the Blu-ray title itself, with no expiration date and at apparently no extra cost. "There was always the promise of greater inactivity," said David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The new feature is not yet part of the company's release schedule, but Bishop said he expected to see Sony Pictures rolling it out this year. Not many details were given on whether the video content could be transfered to portable devices other than a PSP.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Pioneer shows off several DVD writers

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 1:28

CES 2008: Pioneer shows off several DVD writers Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is aiming to assist consumers in keeping vital digital media safe with its introduction today of five new computer drives offering high speed performance and multi-format compatibility. The internal and external DVD/CD writers offer computer users an impressive 20x write speed along with software from Nero for high quality as well as creative preservation and sharing of digital content.

Here is some brief info on each of the new drives...

Pioneer DVR-X152: External USB 2.0 DVD/CD Writer
Connected via USB 2.0 interface, this drive provides users quick connectivity and convenient portability among multiple computers, providing what Pionner describes as "simple 'plug and preserve' functionality".

The DVR-X152 provides 20X burning on DVD-R media by using industry-leading drive technology. It is bundled with Nero software to assist owners in creating and burning a digital library, and also supports Lightscribe functionality with compatible media.

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AfterDawn: News

Maxell offers lens cleaner for HD DVD & Blu-ray

Written by James Delahunty @ 10 Jan 2008 1:26

Maxell offers lens cleaner for HD DVD & Blu-ray Maxell Corporation of America has unveiled a lens cleaner for HD DVD and Blu-ray hardware, aimed at prolonging the life and quality of HD DVD and Blu-ray products. The cleaner features a patented Wind Funnel Cleaning System that can remove dust and dirt from sensitive equipment without the need for brushes or chemicals.

"As technology expands, proper care is needed to prolong the life and quality of products that consumers have invested in," said Gordon Tetreault, director of sales and marketing for Maxell's accessory products. "The new Blu-Ray Lens Cleaner will ensure you can enjoy the very best your media has to offer by delicately removing excessive build up and residue which can tarnish the viewing experience and even damage a player completely."

While the disc rotates in the player, it generates an air stream in a spiral motion which is used to remove dust particles from the lens without damaging the surface. Maxell's new Blu-Ray/HD DVD Lens Cleaner will be available in March 2008 for a suggested retail price of $24.99.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Retailers not ready to declare Blu-ray victory

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 23:27

CES 2008: Retailers not ready to declare Blu-ray victory Regardless of how Sony and the rest of the Blu-ray camp think Warner Brothers' decision to get on board means, according to retailers they haven't won anything yet.

"I don't think we're in a position to go out and declare a winner," said Steve Eastman, Target Corp'svice president of consumer electronics, in an interview. He added that he doesn't believe the majority of consumers are willing to choose either side as long as both exist.

Gary Severson, senior vice president in charge of electronics for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. agrees, saying "If we were able to have one united message and say: 'Here's high definition TV, here's a high definition DVD, here's the medium to play on it,' it's a much cleaner story to customers that the industry can push, that every retailer can push and the customer goes, 'OK I get it.'"

Due to a lack of physical shelves with Limited space to stock the competing formats, online retailers aren't necessarily as concerned as their brick and mortar counterparts. "We don't have to choose," said Paul Ryder, vice president of the electronics store for online retailer Amazon.com. "I don't have to say I don't have enough room on my shelf."

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: AT&T looking for ways to scan customers' communications for copyright violations

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 22:17

CES 2008: AT&T looking for ways to scan customers' communications for copyright violations According to Brad Stone of the New York Times, if a panel discussion at CES regarding piracy is any indication AT&T is working on developing network filtering technology that could be used to identify copyrighted content being uploaded or downloaded by subscribers to their internet service.

“What we are already doing to address piracy hasn’t been working. There’s no secret there,” said James Cicconi, senior vice president, external & legal affairs for AT&T. He added, “We recognize we are not there yet but there are a lot of promising technologies. But we are having an open discussion with a number of content companies, including NBC Universal, to try to explore various technologies that are out there.”

NBC Universal (NBCU) Chief Counsel Rick Cotton, who made headlines last year when he decried the effects of piracy on popcorn farmers after claiming piracy isn't getting its share of government attention compared to crimes like robbery and burglary, was also on the panel.

“The volume of peer-to-peer traffic online, dominated by copyrighted materials, is overwhelming. That clearly should not be an acceptable, continuing status,” he said. “The question is how we collectively collaborate to address this.”

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AfterDawn: News

EU drops Apple investigation in exchange for lower UK iTunes prices

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 21:36

EU drops Apple investigation in exchange for lower UK iTunes prices The EU has ended their investigation of Apple over iTunes pricing in the UK after the company agreed to charge standard prices across all EU countries. At the same time, Apple is also planning to reconsider whether they should continue to sell downloads from any label that doesn't agree to reduce wholesale prices to match what they're already paying in other EU countries.

A statement Wednesday from the European Commision, the body responsible for handling the investigation, said that it “welcomes Apple's announcement to equalize prices for downloads of songs from its iTunes online store in Europe within the next six months. This puts an end to the different treatment of U.K. consumers who currently have to pay higher prices for downloads.”

Commisioners also didn't feel that Apple was forced into their pricing scheme by contracts with the labels. They released a statement saying “The commission’s antitrust proceedings have also clarified that it is not agreements between Apple and the major record companies that determine how the iTunes store is organized in Europe. Consequently, the commission does not intend to take further action in this case.”

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AfterDawn: News

Radiohead's new CD becomes #1 hit despite free downloads

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 21:08

Radiohead's new CD becomes #1 hit despite free downloads Apparently Radiohead's marketing strategy of giving their latest CD, 'In Rainbows' away first in MP3 format, with fans having the option to pay if they wanted to, didn't have quite the effect on sales that many have predicted. The album was number 1 on the U.S POP charts during its first week of release.

In November internet commerce analysts at ComScore announced that according to a sampling of consumers running their tracking software on their computers the band only made $6 per album with more than 60% of downloaders declining to pay anything. A subsequent statement from Radiohead called the ComScore numbers "wholly inaccurate," noting that no one outside their organization had access to the actual numbers.

Many are asking whether the band would have made more money by renewing their contract with former label EMI and releasing the album in the traditional way, with downloads sold through online stores like iTunes. But is that the right question? The CD market that they lead right now is down nearly 4% from last year. Last year's numbers were nothing to brag about either, being down 15% for the year.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: BDA says there will be 10 million Blu-ray users in 08

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2008 18:56

CES 2008: BDA says there will be 10 million Blu-ray users in 08 According to the Blu-ray Disc Association's press conference at CES yesterday, the Blu-ray camp believes that by CES 09 the format's installed base could hit 10 million, triple the current size.

The Association told a jam packed room of reporters and fans that roughly 3.5 million Blu-ray players had been sold to customers so far, with 3 million of those being Sony PlayStation 3 consoles.

The group believes thing are looking up for 2008 and that research has led them to believe that the "format's installed base" will swell to ten million with software sales topping the one billion milestone.

"It should be a year of very strong, explosive growth,"
said Danny Kaye, executive vice president of research for 20th Century Fox. Kaye would go on to say that Blu-ray should start to see "dramatic gains" beginning at the end of the Q2 2008.

The format backers finally insisted they would now change their marketing plans and shift away from "the format war" to instead focusing on convincing DVD users to make the leap to HD.



AfterDawn.com Hardware Section

Sony BDP S300

LG BH100

Panasonic DMP-BD30k

Sony PlayStation 3

Samsung BD-UP5000
Click here to see all Blu-ray players in AfterDawn's Hardware Section !

Source:
HD Digest




AfterDawn: News

HBO moves to Blu-ray as well

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2008 16:51

HBO moves to Blu-ray as well HBO Home Video, following in the footsteps of its parent company Warner, have confirmed that they will dropping HD DVD support and moving exclusively to rival Blu-ray.

HBO Home Video president Henry McGee stated that the company will be "following the same policy as Warner Home Video" and stop releasing titles on HD DVD at the end of May.

New Line Home Entertainment, another studio distributed by Warner recently made the same decision to follow its parent company and move to Blu-ray. BBC Home Video, a third company under the Warner umbrella, has yet to make a decision but it seems likely it will follow Warner to Blu-ray.

Source:
HD Digest


AfterDawn.com Hardware Section

Samsung BD-P1000

LG BH100

Samsung BD-P1400

Sony BDP-S300

Samsung BD-UP5000
Click here to see all Blu-ray players in AfterDawn's Hardware Section !




AfterDawn: News

Paramount denies its dropping HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2008 16:04

Paramount denies its dropping HD DVD Paramount Pictures has publicly denied The Financial Times' report that it is following in the footsteps of Warner Bros. and abandoning HD DVD.

"Paramount's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format," Brenda Ciccone, a spokeswoman for Paramount, said in an e-mail.

Paramount however, can defect if it so chooses to due to a clause in its contract with HD DVD that allows the studio to switch if Warner Bros. ever decided to. Warner made their decision last week.

Toshiba and Sony declined to comment on the original report.

Source:
Bloomberg


AfterDawn.com Hardware Section

Toshiba HD-A3

LG BH100

Toshiba HD-XA2

Toshiba HD-A2

Samsung BD-UP5000
Click here to see all HD DVD players in AfterDawn's Hardware Section !




AfterDawn: News

Fox to include iPod compatible digital copies with DVD releases?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 09 Jan 2008 4:24

Fox to include iPod compatible digital copies with DVD releases? Rumors that Apple and some movie studios were working on movie rentals that would include digital copies compatible with iPods is seeming to come true, at least on some scale.

According to The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW.com) a reader has received a copy of the upcoming Family Guy Blue Harvest DVD including a "Fox Digital copy" ahead of schedule. The DVD is set to release January 15th, the same day MacWorld Expo fires up, coincidence?

Inserting the DVD into the computer would bring up a window with a text, "This Fox Digital copy file requires iTunes version 7.6 or newer," the newest version being 7.5 as this is written. The copy came also with a serial number which seems to be required to access the digital copy.

Act surprised if next week Apple announces upgrade for iTunes and iPod/iPhone compatible digital copies for upcoming movies and TV shows.

Source:
TUAW.com


AfterDawn.com Hardware Section

iPod Touch 16GB

iPod Classic 160GB

iPod Nano 8GB

iPod Shuffle 1GB

iPhone 8GB
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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Manufacturers criticized over design and marketing decisions

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 3:00

CES 2008: Manufacturers criticized over design and marketing decisions According to Allen Delattre, Global Managing Director of management consulting firm Accenture, consumer problems operating new devices costs retailers nearly $14 billion a year in the U.S. alone.

In an interview on Tuesday he said consumers often return the devices believing they don't work correctly even though in many cases it's simply a case of a difficulties figuring out how to operate new gadgets or misunderstand how they work.

While most companies at the Consumer Electronics Show are concentrating on individual products, Delattre is focused on the overal design, manufacture, and packaging process, which he believes nees a major overhaul. "The cost to return on one computer deletes the margin of two others they sell," he said.

The cost comes in the form of labor to test devices and get them back on store shelves for resale and the reduced margins for the returned goods.

Source: Reuters




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: NBC promotes Mediaport kiosks

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 2:22

CES 2008: NBC promotes Mediaport kiosks NBC Universal (NBCU) is using CES to show off kiosks that they hope will eventually be used to distribute video directly to consumers. The kiosks are being provided by Mediaport, who are hoping to make NBC content available through their kiosks.

One of the biggest developments in the home video market last year was the emergence of automated technology for DVD rental. The most conspicous example was the overwhelming success Redbox had with their machines located at McDonald's restaurant locations around the country. Meanwhile provisions were being added to DVD specifications allowing encrypted discs to be burned. This has led to a number of companies working on plans to implement kiosks for on-demand DVD burning.

In addition to transferring video to simple flash drives, which is the focus of the CES presence, the Mediaport kiosks can be configured to burn DVDs or even load video directly to mobile media players.

“We have 500 [music kiosks] globally, and tomorrow we can enable the retailers to also handle video without any major equipment upgrade,” said Mediaport president and owner John Butler. “We are introducing the concept at CES. We can do the same things with TV and movies that are being done with music.”

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: FCC chairman promises investigation of complaints against Comcast

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 1:15

CES 2008: FCC chairman promises investigation of complaints against Comcast Apparently hoping to benefit from the visibility of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who gave Tuesday's keynote address at CES, FCC chairman Kevin Martin spoke with reporters about complaints filed with his agency in regard to the cable giant's "network management" practices.

Last year Comcast came under fire for "delaying" some network traffic, causing a small number of applications, including software using the BitTorrent P2P file sharing protocol, to have connection problems. When asked repeatedly about the issue at the time, Comcast representatives would say only that they don't block any applications on their network.

Comcast's defense for their actions has been that they are allowed to perform "reasonable traffic management." under current FCC regulations. For many this is at the heart of the case against Comcast, because they feel there's malicious intent toward file sharers that's clearly indicated by the methods being employed. Although they don't technically block BitTorrent connections, or those of any other application, their practice of delaying the delivery of certain traffic results in disrupting some customers' connections.

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AfterDawn: News

Parliament considers changes to U.K. copyright law

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jan 2008 0:23

Parliament considers changes to U.K. copyright law Members of the U.K. Parliament spent much of today discussing a document outlining some changes to copyright law. While many of the items discussed involved codifying existing caselaw into written law, perhaps the most interesting issue discussed was that of consumers making copies of legally purchased media, such as CDs.

Today's consultation, which included the presentation of a paper by Parliamentary Undersecretary for Intellectual Property And Quality Lord Triesman, was foreshadowed a few months ago when Parliament took up the issue of copyright term extensions. At that time there were already discussions regarding the changes discussed on Tuesday.

The copying issue, called format shifting in reference to the common practice of encoding CD audio to MP3 format, is one of the most hotly debated topics in the music industry right now. While consumers feel it should be there right to make as many copies of (legally purchased) music as they want, representatives of the recording industry are less enthusiastic about the idea.

Geoff Taylor, CEO of the U.K. equivalent of the RIAA - the BPI, noted the industry's dissapointment that the government is considering additional consumer rights with no additional compensation for copyright holders. Lord Triesman doesn't agree. In his presentation today he specifically mentioned that it doesn't make sense to pay multiple times for the same content simply to listen to it in a different setting.

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AfterDawn: News

Dutch rights organization loses MP3 player levy battle

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 18:53

Dutch rights organization loses MP3 player levy battle A Dutch organization that compensates artists with levies collected from sales of blank media has failed to remove a Government block placed on the formation of new levies for MP3 players and related hardware. The court in The Hague upheld the Government's previous decision to freeze possible levies for MP3 players because it found that the the artists' rights bodies were not distributing levies on blank CD and DVD media efficiently as it is.

The Government's defense is simple; why trust such organizations with the distribution of more revenue when they already do not function properly? "You cannot give such a system the responsibility for a new levy if you know that it is not working properly," a justice ministry spokesman said.

Marnix Langeveld, legal affairs executive of the rights organization Norma, accused the ministry of basing its arguments on old numbers. "Technology has advanced and people more and more use MP3 players and DVD recorders with a hard disk to copy instead of single CDs or DVDs," Langeveld said.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Microsoft could consider Blu-ray accessory for Xbox 360

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 18:51

CES 2008: Microsoft could consider Blu-ray accessory for Xbox 360 At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Albert Penello, group marketing manager for Xbox hardware indicated that Microsoft could consider making a Blu-ray accessory available for the Xbox 360 console even though it remains a backer of the HD DVD format. "It should be consumer choice; and if that's the way they vote, that's something we'll have to consider," he said when asked if Microsoft would support Blu-ray if HD DVD failed.

He said the company does not consider Warner Bros.' surprise decision last week to back the Blu-ray format exclusively as having a negative impact on the Xbox 360 in the current "console war". "I fundamentally don't think ... this has a significant impact on Xbox 360 versus (Sony's) PlayStation 3," he told Reuters at CES.

"With the PlayStation 2, DVD was a big part in the beginning, but over time, people were not buying it as a DVD player after first year or two," Penello said. While you can purchase a relatively cheap HD DVD external drive for the Xbox 360 console for high-definition movies, the PlayStation 3 (PS3) comes loaded with its own Blu-ray player.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Sling Media demonstrates Clip+Sling

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 18:49

CES 2008: Sling Media demonstrates Clip+Sling Sling Media, Inc. is demonstrating Clip+Sling at CES as part of the company's new SlingPlayer 2.0 client software. Clip+Sling gives Slingbox customers the ability to "grab" snippets of their favorite television content and instantly share them with friends. As part of the demonstration at CES, Sling Media is also giving a sneak peak of the forthcoming video destination site, Sling.com.

Slingbox customers can upload clips to Sling.com. Clip+Sling is made possible by Sling Media's new SlingPlayer 2.0, the client software for the PC that gives Slingbox customers the ability to 'placeshift' their television content to a desktop or laptop computer located just about anywhere.

"Clip+Sling will be another exciting feature for Slingbox owners to use and enjoy, but it will also be appreciated by millions of other people who may discover a new show or favorite movie, thanks to the recommendations of their friends," said Blake Krikorian, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Sling Media. "Because of this fundamental shift in the way consumers create, share and interact with content, Clip+Sling will change the way people socialize around television."

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Sony shows off OLED TV

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 18:34

CES 2008: Sony shows off OLED TV At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Sony Corp. is showing off one of the potential candidates to replace both LCD and Plasma display technology. A lot of media attention has been given to organic-light-emitting-diode (OLED) display technology in recent years, and for good reason. The technology offers lower power consumption at a time when the world is more conscious of energy consumption than ever, and a much brighter picture.

It is not without its problems however. First of all, it is incredibly expensive to mass-produce as a viable display option for TV viewing these days, and technical problems hold back displays from growing. There are issues to work out with how long an OLED display will "live" also. Nevertheless, consumer electronics companies are in a competition to make this technology usable and cheaper to manufacture.

Sony is to start selling an 11-inch OLED display immediately for about $2000, quite a bit more than you'd expect to pay for a much larger screen using a rival technology. It is just 3mm thick, and Sony is actually currently developing flexible OLED displays but that is still in the lab stages. "You are going to see us do bigger sizes down the road. It is a new technology that is going to take several years before it competes with plasma and LCD," Sony Electronics President Stan Glasgow said.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Nero showcasing Nero 8 features at Microsoft booth

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 18:33

CES 2008: Nero showcasing Nero 8 features at Microsoft booth Nero is showcasing the latest Windows Vista-enhanced Nero 8 software suite in the Microsoft booth at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Nero's latest package of applications gives consumers the tools to organize and manage their digital content more than previous versions of the popular software title. Nero 8 allows users to author and playback HD-DVD content; play and stream digital media through their digital home; rip, burn and back-up discs faster and easier, and more.

"Windows Vista is a crucial component in the next chapter of digital home technology. We worked with Microsoft to ensure that the Nero 8 software suite is an extension of the already strong foundation of the Windows Vista operating system," said Udo Eberlein, chief operating officer, Nero AG. "Windows Vista optimization adds significant value to Nero 8, providing enhancements that help meet the digital media needs of our users."

Optimized features of Nero 8 for Windows Vista include...

  • Nero DiscCopy gadget: Gives users the ability to copy a disc with just one click and rests in the Windows Vista Sidebar, making it fast and simple to move content.
  • Nero RichPreview: Easily browse and preview audio, video and images without opening it. Previews can be completed via Windows Explorer and/or the Nero FileOpenDialogue within Windows Vista.
  • Live Icons: This feature streamlines the user’s ability to quickly view content with enhanced browsing of thumbnails, support for a wide range of multimedia files and the embedded album art for Nero Digital audio files.
Source:
Press Release




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Sling Media shows off SlingCatcher publicly

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 18:31

CES 2008: Sling Media shows off SlingCatcher publicly Sling Media has given public demonstrations of its SlingCatcher product at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The SlingCatcher is a Set-Top Box that seamlessly delivers broadcast TV, Internet-based content and personal media to the TV, capable of pulling content from multiple sources and places while providing easy navigation and playback.

"We're thrilled to be showing the SlingCatcher with its full set of features here at CES and it's great to see the enthusiasm in the market for this product. We have been spending a lot of time perfecting new technology that is vital to the SlingCatcher's user experience but sometimes these things take longer than expected," said Blake Krikorian, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Sling Media. "We had hoped to deliver the product for the Christmas holiday, but to plagiarize a well known wine maker; we shall sell no SlingCatcher before its time."

SlingCatcher is composed of SlingPlayer for TV, SlingSync and SlingProjector that combine to create a unified media platform to provide the owner complete control over their personal media. Being able to "sling" programming from one TV or device to anywhere in a home over a LAN or WLAN is one thing, but with the upcoming Slingbox PRO-HD, customers will be able to do the same with high-definition content.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Samsung to put 'emphasis' on Blu-ray

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2008 18:29

CES 2008: Samsung to put 'emphasis' on Blu-ray Anthony Marbella, Chief Marketing Officer for Samsung has said in a press statement that the company plans to put "emphasis" on Blu-ray while continuing to support "all formats."

"We'll support all formats, but with the news from Warner Bros we will put an emphasis on Blu-ray. We will make what consumers want," he added.

This latest news could mean the discontinuation of the company's line of dual format players, the latest of which, the BD-U5500 was just announced yesterday.

When he was asked whether consumers wanted and preferred Blu-ray over HD DVD, Marbella responded, "Yes, especially with the shift in content to come."

The BD-U5500 will play both formats, offer HDMI 1.3 connection, be profile 1.1 compliant, an ethernet connection, and the latest BD-Java and HD DVD interactivity available. The player also offers support for audio decoding of 7.1-Ch PCM, DTS-HD High resolution and Master audio, as well as Dolby TrueHD Bistream.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: DivX Connected adds content from Veoh and Vuze

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2008 16:24

CES 2008: DivX Connected adds content from Veoh and Vuze At CES 2008, DivX has announced a handful of new partners for its Connected platform while also confirming that its D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player will be heading to the US finally.

The most notable partners where Vuze and Veoh which means users of the media player will be able to access tons of TV shows, movies, and other video content.

HD content from the Vuze service will include TV and video content from popular channels A&E, the BBC, National Geographic, PBS, and Showtime, alongside hundreds "of premier production studios and thousands of maverick content creators distribute shows through the Vuze platform." DivX Connected users will soon be able to see the selections from the Vuze library, said DivX.

Veoh will offer just as much, if not more content. DivX says under the terms of the agreement, Veoh will be making most, if not all, of its video content available to DivX Connected devices. For those not familiar, Veoh is a site that allows users to watch Fox shows such as "Family Guy" and "24".

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AfterDawn: News

UK IP Minister thinks CD ripping should be legal

Written by Dave Horvath @ 08 Jan 2008 15:46

UK IP Minister thinks CD ripping should be legal Though the record labels would have a heart attack if anyone sanctioned the ripping of music files from a compact disc to your hard drive, it appears the the Intellectual Property Minister, Lord Triesman in the UK feels that the laws against ripping the contents of your legally purchased CD should be changed. He bases his thoughts on the need for the industry to keep up with the times.

Lord Triesman submitted a formal proposal for dissolution of the laws which were welcomed with caution by music industry bodies. The proposal is open for review until April 8th of this year. These changes would apply only to those copying CDs for personal use and not with any form or intent to distribute. Additionally, the proposal has stated that the owner of the CD is not to be permitted to sell or give away the original once the copy has been made. The proposal warns, "To allow consumers to copy works and then pass on the original could result in a loss of sales."

BPI, one of the recording companies, stated that it supports the proposal and what it stands for, but urges caution in the interest of allowing too many freedoms that could further hurt sales. Another group, The Association of Independent Music thinks the proposal is not robust enough and is paving the way for CDs to become obsolete within the next decade. They stated that once the CD has been made obsolete, you will then open the floodgates of rampant piracy and file sharing.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: HD DVD standalones hit 1 million mark

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2008 15:41

CES 2008: HD DVD standalones hit 1 million mark On Sunday, the electronics giant Toshiba revealed that sales of HD DVD standalone players had reached 1 million units sold in North America for 2007. Sales included all HD DVD branded drives and players, not only Toshiba's.

The company said sales will continue to flourish thanks to high demand for Internet-delivered content. Toshiba also took time to stress the potential of its recent alliance with Sharp in the highly competitive LCD market.

So far the high stakes next gen "format war" has caused confusion among would-be consumers and put a damper on what has the potential to be the next DVD. After a decade of growth the industry is finally seeing little to no growth in the standard DVD market.

View all HD DVD player models in the AfterDawn Hardware Section

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Blu-ray camp is already waving signs of victory

Written by Dave Horvath @ 08 Jan 2008 12:24

CES 2008: Blu-ray camp is already waving signs of victory In an all out stalemate of a format war thats been waging for the past few years, it appears that with the recent developments from the HD-DVD camp, supporters of Blu-ray are already claiming their victory in this war is upon them. Touting the shift in support from Warner Brothers as well as talks of Paramount jumping ship, Blu-ray camp believes this will be the tipping point at which HD-DVD sinks into oblivion.

Andy Parsons of the Blu-ray Disc Association has already stated, "It's much clearer to consumers now which of the formats is going to prevail." He added at the CES 2008 show that, "We still have a little bit more work to do before we can say the format war is over." Howard Stringer, chief executive of Sony isn't so quick to jump on the victory bandwagon. He states that his victory banners will fly when the time is right.

In North America, Blu-ray has outsold HD-DVD by a margin of 2-to-1. HD-DVD camp now appears to only have a foothold on Universal Pictures. Since the forced cancellation of their CES appearance, its unclear what the future of the HD-DVD format will be.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Intel discusses mobile internet devices

Written by Dave Horvath @ 08 Jan 2008 12:13

CES 2008: Intel discusses mobile internet devices The CES trade show in Las Vegas is the place where companies get to flex their muscles in both products that are coming out shortly and ideas that will shape the future of consumer electronics. Intel has decided to address the latter in their latest keynote at this year's show.

Paul Otellini, chief executive of Intel announced that they will begin sometime in the second half of 2008, shipping single integrated circuits that will allow digital video recorders and other TV connected consumer devices the ability to run web applications much like a PC. During the keynote address, Otellini demonstrated Intel's system-on-a-chip platform codenamed Canmore which includes an Intel processor tightly integrated with other hardware for processing high-definition video. This in turn means resolutions of 1080p, multi-channel surround-sound audio, and 3-D graphics are all possible on one chip.

In addition, the integrated circuit would include security, a memory controller, and input/output technology important to consumer electronics, such as HDMI.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Samsung shows the future of HDTV

Written by Dave Horvath @ 08 Jan 2008 12:01

CES 2008: Samsung shows the future of HDTV At the CES show this year, it appears Samsung wants everyone to know why they're one of the leading edge designers in next generation televisions by unveiling three econcepts that could change HDTV viewing as we know it.

Unveiled at the show, Samsung brought out two of their latest OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) displays as well as an ultra-thin 52" LCD panel and the mother of all resolutions: The Quadruple Full-HD LCD television. Each display was brought out with the intention of showing off Samsung's innate ability to combine high resolution images and sleek designs.

"OLED and quadruple full-HD technologies represent an entirely new paradigm in picture resolution technology," said Dr. Jongwoo Park, president of Digital Media Business, Samsung Electronics. "This is a level of clarity that is in some cases four times beyond current industry standards yet retains the slim fits and light weight that have made our models preferred among consumers."

OLED is no stranger to being displayed by manufacturers at trade shows, but Samsung is the first to provide a fully finishd OLED television set complete with a sleek design that could potentially be sold to consumers. The
finished products will weigh approximately 40 percent less than other LCD TVs of the same size and have a contrast ratio of 1 million to one, color gamut of 107% and brightness of 550nit. Samsung will begin commercial production OLED TVs around 2010.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Warner did not violate HD DVD contract

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Jan 2008 9:33

CES 2008: Warner did not violate HD DVD contract According to BetaNews, after the Blu-ray press conference at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Warner Bros. President Ron Sanders answered a question everyone has been wondering, whether Warner violated their contract to support HD DVD or not. The answer was, "We did not violate any contract."

We recently reported that one of the six big movie studios, Warner Bros., has abandoned the HD DVD high-definition format, and shifted towards Sony's Blu-ray. Shortly after the whole HD DVD camp expressed their disappointments and Toshiba even hinted that Warner broke the contract. Warner's Ron Sanders however isn't concerned about the situation, responding that Toshiba might be upset and could even file a lawsuit, but wouldn't have anything to accuse Warner of.

"Clearly, [Toshiba and the HD DVD Promotional Group] have reason to be upset... But we fulfilled our obligations to them. That's why we will continue to provide movies in the HD DVD format through May rather than stopping now. They very well could file a lawsuit, but we have done everything that was required of us. We did not violate any contract," said Sanders.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Panasonic to launch series of YouTube TVs

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Jan 2008 6:41

CES 2008: Panasonic to launch series of YouTube TVs Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the Japanese industry giant behind Panasonic, announced at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that it will launch Internet-ready plasma televisions that support Youtube videos and Google web albums. The rival Sony responded with its own announcement that they will also bring Internet video to upcoming TVs. Sony's new brand of TVs will feature content from AOL, Yahoo, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony BMG Music.

"This is the first time mainstream consumers will be able to easily enjoy YouTube videos from the living room with the enhanced quality of a fully integrated Widescreen TV experience," said Matsushita.

Sony Electronics senior vice president Randy Waynick also saw Internet video a big part of future televisions as he stated, "Internet video will clearly be the next step in the evolution of high-definition television, giving users more control over the content they view."

In addition Sony Pictures Television announced that it will add content to YouTube, the videos will be separated to several new channels, first of which is called Minisode Network which offers five-minute versions of TV shows.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Creative adds speaker to Zen Stone line of players

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2008 2:05

CES 2008: Creative adds speaker to Zen Stone line of players Creative has announced at CES that it will be adding a built-in speaker to its tiny media player, the Zen Stone and its cousin the Zen Stone Plus.

The Zen Stone comes in the 1 and 2GB variety while the Plus model comes in the 2 or 4GB variety. Each includes FM radio, voice recording, a stopwatch/clock and customizable equalizer settings.

The 2GB non-Plus model will retail for $49.95 USD. The Plus, which also adds a vibrant screen, will cost about $60 USD for the same capacity model. The Plus also adds AAC support for use with legally purchased iTunes tracks.

"The ZEN Stone and ZEN Stone Plus with Built-in Speaker free you from having to wear headphones to listen to your portable music. It is a great way to enjoy your music when you're on a walk or in a group and you want to enjoy a conversation or hear what's going on around you,"
said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Creative. "It's hard to believe that such incredibly small players can have a speaker that sounds so good, enabling you to listen to music together with a friend without headphones."

Source:
pocketlint




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Studio executives reveal online strategy for coming year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 08 Jan 2008 1:34

CES 2008: Studio executives reveal online strategy for coming year Yesterday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas executives from Fox, Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros. participated in a panel discussing the future of online video distribution. Each panel member gave some insight to their respective company's strategy over the next year.

Dan Fawcett, president of Fox Entertainment Group Digital Media, focused on his company's intention to help users promote content from the Hulu web service by "letting people distribute our content virally through the Hulu player.” Hulu is a joint venture between Fox's parent company News Corp. and NBC Universal. The service has been in beta testing since last year and is expected to have an official launch some time in the first quarter.

The new president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Thomas Gewecke, and Disney's Executive Vice President for Digital Media, Albert Chang, stressed the importance of diversification. “One core of our strategy is to make content as available as possible and in as many configurations as possible,” said Gewecke.

According to Chang, “Product development and how we handle our video is going to change very quickly over the next few years.”

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AfterDawn: News

Paramount to drop HD DVD?

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 1:17

Paramount to drop HD DVD? According to a Financial Times report, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation may be ready to drop support for the HD DVD format following last week's shock announcement that Warner Bros. would support Blu-ray exclusively. Viacom-owned Paramount apparently signed a contract with the HD DVD camp that included a clause allowing it to switch sides in the format war if Warner Bros. should do so.

Last summer, Paramount, which distributes DreamWorks Animation films, threw its support behind the HD DVD format, joining General Electric's Universal Studios as the main backer of the format. Warner joined the ranks of Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer last week when it switched sides to back the Blu-ray format instead.

Paramount is expected to release several blockbuster titles this year including the latest installment in the Indiana Jones franchise. It is unclear whether DreamWorks Animation had the same clause in its contract as Paramount but the odds are high due to the close relationship between both. Each company signed a contract with the HD DVD group at the same time.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Westinghouse & Pulse-LINK unveil integrated wireless HDTV

Written by James Delahunty @ 08 Jan 2008 1:16

CES 2008: Westinghouse & Pulse-LINK unveil integrated wireless HDTV Westinghouse Digital Electronics has teamed up with Pulse~LINK, Inc. in the development and unveiling of the first fully integrated wireless High-definition television (HDTV). Both companies have the new HDTV on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Westinghouse is one of the top 5 LCD manufacturers, while Pulse~LINK is the UWB semiconductor performance leader whose integrated CWave UWB Wireless HDMI technology is featured in the HDTV set.

"Our focus at Westinghouse Digital has been centered around delivering the best HD has to offer," said John Araki, Vice President and General Manager, Commercial Business Unit, Westinghouse Digital Electronics. "HDMI digital transport provides the full HD resolution our customers expect and we are extremely impressed with the performance and capabilities of Pulse~LINK's Wireless HDMI solution. The fact that it is fully integrated into our HDTV display is unprecedented in the industry and will certainly raise expectations for high quality ready-to-mount wall display products in the marketplace."

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: EchoStar to make DTV converters free after government voucher

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 08 Jan 2008 0:37

CES 2008: EchoStar to make DTV converters free after government voucher On the first day of the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), EchoStar Holding Corp., owner of both the Dish Network satellite television service and place-shifting hardware manufacturer Slingbox has announced that they'll be offering a converter box to consumers to allow their analog TVs to receive Digital TV (DTV) broadcasts after analog TV signals disappear from the airwaves early next year. Although they're joining other manufacturers who are making converter boxes, their boxes are unique in that they can be paid for using nothing but U.S. government vouchers set to be distributed this year. All other converter boxes available to date cost more than the $40 value of each voucher.

Although EchoStar will be losing money on each box sold Charlie Ergen, the company's Chairman and chief executive, is looking at it more in public relations terms. "Maybe they'll just feel good that you helped them with their problem of TV and they feel good about you and they buy something else from you down the road," Ergen said.

Among other things, EchoStar no doubt hopes to generate customer interest in their more advanced products, which will include an upgraded digital to analog converter with a built in DVR. Although these units won't qualify for the government's voucher program the company should benefit from both the increased visibility and potential public goodwill when it comes to selling them.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Comcast CEO to discuss Fancast TV and movie listing service in CES address

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 08 Jan 2008 0:03

CES 2008: Comcast  CEO to discuss Fancast TV and movie listing service in CES address On Tuesday a new website from leading U.S. Cable Television provider Comcast will be officially unveiled which they hope will give them the number one internet destination for finding out what's on TV - and what related content is on the internet. The announcement will be part of Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' keynote address to kick off the second day of CES 2008.

The site, called Fancast, is already in beta. "The problem is that people don't know how to get their hands on something," says Amy Banse, president of Comcast Interactive Media. "We thought, let's give consumers a one-stop shop."

In addition to detailed listings for both cable and satellite services across the U.S., Fancast provides access to Streaming video originating with other services like Hulu. However, this feature is apparently somewhat buggy right now. The site's listings even include links to add movies to your Netflix or Blockbuster rental queue, rent from Amazon Unbox or buy from Amazon.com.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Microsoft expands Xbox Live VoD offerings

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Jan 2008 19:04

CES 2008: Microsoft expands Xbox Live VoD offerings At this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Microsoft announced a deal with ABC Television, the Disney Channel, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) to deliver what the president of Microsoft’s Entertainment & Devices Division describes as “twice as much on demand content” as any cable or satellite operator.

Robbie Bach said that U.S. Xbox Live members will have access to TV past and current shows and movies from the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, ABC News, Disney Channel and Toon Disney. Shows will include Lost, Grey’s Anatomy, Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives and Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana and High School Musical. MGM will provide movies like Rocky and The Terminator.

Despite not owning a major studio like rival Sony, Microsoft has slowly but steadily grown Xbox Live from an online gaming platform to include a sizeable amount of both standard and high definition video. Although Sony has withheld their content, they also have yet to develop a comparable service for the PS3.

Source: Multichannel News




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: SanDisk doubles capacity of Sansa Clip and Sansa View

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2008 18:12

CES 2008: SanDisk doubles capacity of Sansa Clip and Sansa View At the CES event today, SanDisk has announced that it will be increasing the capacity of two of its popular Sansa media players, the Clip and the View.

The Clip, which is seen as a direct competitor to the iPod Shuffle and Creative Zen Stone, will move up to a top capacity of 4GB while keeping its same tiny size. The View, which directly competes with the iPod Nano, will double in size as well to a top capacity of 32GB.

Both new higher capacity models are set to hit in February with price tags of $79.99 USD and $349.99 USD respectively.

Source:
pocket lint




AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Toshiba introduces first ever HD DVD-R/RW notebook

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2008 17:58

CES 2008: Toshiba introduces first ever HD DVD-R/RW notebook Despite the fact that it canceled its CES press conference in light of recent news, Toshiba still went on ahead and announced the introduction of the first ever notebook with a HD DVD-R/RW drive.

The notebook, the Qosmio G45-AV690 boasts many other impressive specs besides the debut of the HD DVD writable drive. It features "an Intel Core 2 Duo T9300 processor, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT GPU, 3GB of DDR2 memory, a 320GB HDD, 17" 1080p display, 5.1 surround sound, HDMI output, an OpenCable (OCUR) HDTV tuner and four Harman Kardon stereo speakers with an integrated subwoofer."

“The Qosmio continues to lead the computer industry in terms of high-definition capabilities by bringing many of the most advanced technologies together into a solid and cohesive machine,”
said Toshiba's Jeff Barney. “In a digital world that is driven by power cloaked in simplicity, the Qosmio G45-AV690 is the central hub of a user’s personal Digital Ecosystem, providing users with the ability to enjoy their HD content, while expressing themselves more fully in a digital world, and using HD DVD as a personal means of doing so.”

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Philips shows new BDP7200 Blu-ray player

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Jan 2008 17:36

CES 2008: Philips shows new BDP7200 Blu-ray player Philips is showing off its latest Blu-ray Disc (BD) player, the BDP7200, at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. It is Philips' first BonusView compliant BD player, optimizing the complete HD experience and allowing viewers to enjoy the latest movie applications and features. It supports Full HD 1080p images for the best of HD video quality and supports multi-channel audio decoding for crisp sound and features digital audio optical outputs.




Standard definition DVD titles can be upscaled by the player to 1080p. The BDP7200 supports Full HD images at the original 24fps rate via High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) and "Deep Color" support, capable of producing images with up to 1 billion colors. "Blu-ray Disc has rapidly become the format of choice for high-definition movies, music, games and more," said Andy Mintz, senior vice president, marketing management AM/VM, Philips Consumer Lifestyle North America.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Xbox 360 goes IPTV with new partnership

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2008 17:28

CES 2008: Xbox 360 goes IPTV with new partnership Today at CES, Microsoft and BT jointly announced that UK Xbox 360 owners will be able to access the popular IPTV service, BT Vision, beginning this summer.

Those familiar with the service will tell you that it offers "hundreds of movies and thousands of hours" of all types of TV programming including sporting events, music videos and other digital services for use over a BT Broadband connection.

"We are pleased to partner with Microsoft to deliver a truly compelling connected entertainment experience to our customers,"
said Dan Marks, CEO of BT Vision.

"For the first time consumers in the UK will be able to experience the advantages of an advanced TV service together with the benefits of next-generation gaming.

"Our aim is to provide BT Vision on multiple platforms — giving customers greater convenience, control and flexibility over what they watch, when they watch and how they watch TV. It also means that we are able to potentially expand our BT Vision customer base by tapping into the popularity of Xbox 360,"
he added.

BT Vision customers can access the new service using a set top box or through a 360. A few XBL features will be integrated into the service meaning gamers can send and receive messages while playing a video game or watching TV content.

"This is an exciting moment in home entertainment,"
said Enrique Rodriguez, corporate vice president of the Connected Television Division at Microsoft.

"Last year at CES, we announced Xbox 360 on Microsoft Mediaroom as a powerful platform capable of enabling new entertainment experiences for consumers, and we are pleased to team with BT to bring this service to market.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Sony shows off $200 BD-ROM drive

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Jan 2008 17:16

CES 2008: Sony shows off $200 BD-ROM drive Sony Electronics is showing off an affordable Blu-ray drive for PCs that the company claims can turn almost any modern Desktop into a Blu-ray-driven home entertainment center. The new BDU-X10S BD-ROM uses the Serial ATA (SATA) interface to connect to a motherboard and is designed for the Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows XP operating systems.

It is bundled with the Blu-ray Edition of Cyberlink's PowerDVD Ultra for playback, supporting over 500 available commercial Blu-ray movie titles, recorded Blu-ray Home Video and of course DVD-ROM. "The BD-ROM drive's sub-$200 price tag offers consumers a very viable option to discover and enjoy the nearly 500 high-definition Blu-ray Disc movies released to date," said Bob DeMoulin, marketing manager for branded storage products in Sony Electronics' IT Products Division.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Rhapsody and Philips to team up

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2008 17:08

CES 2008: Rhapsody and Philips to team up In a deal unveiled at CES, Rhapsody, the joint venture between RealNetworks and MTV, and the large electronics manufacturer Philips will be teaming up to reach out to the international market.

The deal will mean Rhapsody will be the online subscription of choice on all upcoming Philips media devices.

The market for MP3 devices is still very young so the deal has some potential to help Philips and Rhapsody grasp some market share. But I wouldn't bet on it. As of Q2 2007, Apple still controlled 74 percent of the market while SanDisk, Creative and Microsoft combined for another 16 percent. The last 10 percent is owned by many companies with each controlling less than 2 percent share.

Source:
Betanews


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AfterDawn: News

Napster to offer DRM-free downloads

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Jan 2008 17:03

Napster to offer DRM-free downloads Following what seems to be a current trend, Napster will begin offering music downloads without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions within a few months. The brand "Napster" can claim a lot of the responsibility for building consumer interest in compressed digital audio files during its less-legitimate days as the dominant P2P application, but as a legitimate service it can only follow behind Apple's iTunes thus far.

Napster users will soon be able to buy DRM-free downloads of single songs or full albums from the service, but of course, the monthly subscription "rental" model should remain unchanged. While certainly a good announcement for consumers, Napster didn't have any extra details to offer up including any details about pricing or what major labels will be offering their DRM-free content through the service.

All the big four major record companies have either already started, or have announced plans to sell DRM-free music downloads through other outlets. "The ubiquity and cross-platform compatibility of MP3s should create a more level playing field for music services and hardware providers and result in greater ease of use and broader adoption of digital music," Napster CEO Chris Gorog said in a statement.

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AfterDawn: News

Seagate designs new HDDs for HD video performance

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Jan 2008 16:52

Seagate designs new HDDs for HD video performance Seagate Technology has announced its brand new PipelineHD series of hard disk drives developed for use in digital video recorders at a time when increasing amounts of high definition video content are available to consumers. Initial capacities for the drives are planned up to 1TB, which the company claims allows for the recording of 200 hours of high definition video content, or 1,000 hours of standard definition video content.

Besides offering enough storage space for hundreds of hours of video, the new HDDs also have several other features that cater to the needs of home entertainment buffs. The drives have been designed for superior acoustic performance and Seagate claims they are virtually silent while used with DVR equipment.

Several key design elements of the new line of hard drives aims to keep power consumption low in all modes of operation, reducing environmental impact and energy costs when used with an energy-efficient DVR system. "Today’s consumer is no longer asking whether they need hard drive storage for their digital content – they're asking us how much we can deliver," said Patrick King, senior vice president and general manager of Seagate's Consumer Electronics Business Unit. "Today's announcement furthers Seagate's leadership in meeting the demands of the consumer's digital content storage, by offering the most dynamic hard drive for the DVR market."

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AfterDawn: News

Hauppauge unveils USB world's first tuner stick at CES

Written by Dave Horvath @ 07 Jan 2008 16:12

Hauppauge unveils USB world's first tuner stick at CES The Consumer Electronics Show is well known for showing off innovative and creative new gadget that eager consumers can get their hands on, and this year is proving to be no different. New York based Hauppauge, well known for TV tuner cards for PCs has introduced what appears to be a very handy device. The world's first USB TV tuner, the WinTV-HVR-950Q.

The new USB tuner stick can be used as a portable TV tuner and can be used to watch and record clear QAM digital cable TV on a laptop or desktop PC. Not only that, it can also be used to watch and record NTSC analog cable TV and over-the-air ATSC high definition digital TV.

Bundled with the USB stick is a credit card sized remote control so you dont have to fumble with keystrokes or mouse clicks to switch channels on your television stream. If the size of the remote is a problem, there is an optional full size remote control as well.

The new WinTV-HVR-950Q supports Hauppauge’s SoftPVR and SoftMCE software MPEG-2 encoders. SoftPVR and SoftMCE are software based MPEG-2 encoders which allow the recording of analog NTSC cable TV onto a PCs hard disk in a compressed format without needing a expensive hardware MPEG encoder. These encoders enable WinTV-HVR-950 to be compatible with Windows XP, Vista Home Basic plus Vista Media Center.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony BMG drops DRM in digital downloads

Written by Dave Horvath @ 07 Jan 2008 15:52

Sony BMG drops DRM in digital downloads The world's second largest music company Sony BMG this month will become the last of the big four recording companies to drop DRM protection schemes from its music downloads. Sony BMG announced today that beginning on the 15th of January, they will offer gift cards available online and in retail stores that will give consumers the ability to download MP3 music from their library that is free of DRM protection.

Consumers will also be able to download full albums digitally, receive a gift card number and redeem the DRM-free album through their MusicPass website. Currently, only US retail outlets such as Best Buy and Target will carry these gift cards.

"The introduction of MusicPass is an important part of Sony BMG's ongoing campaign to bring its artists' music to fans in new and innovative ways, and to develop compelling new business models," said Thomas Hesse, Sony BMG president.

This type of move is no doubt in direct relation to the recent reports showing that physical media music sales have plummeted while digital music sales have risen. Companies like Apple have been urging music labels to drop the DRM practices for quite some time in efforts to boost digital sales. With other record labels dropping DRM from their library earlier, it seems obvious that this has had an impact on the market.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2008: Sony and Toshiba execs comment on Warner Bros. decision at CES

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Jan 2008 12:53

CES 2008: Sony and Toshiba execs comment on Warner Bros. decision at CES The biggest question at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which opened in Las Vegas today, is what Warner's decision to join the Blu-ray camp exclusively means. Based on predictions from industry analysts at the end of 2007 it means Blu-ray will become the dominant format by the end of 2008, but Akiyo Ozaka, president of Toshiba America Consumer Products, isn't so sure, and he said as much at a CES press breifing.

Ozaka said "We have been declared dead before." He also said of the Warner Bros. decision, "We were very disappointed with Warner Brothers' announcement. Sales of HD DVD were very good last year, especially in October to December." However, he didn't have any comments about what the company's next move would be.

Although apparently on the side with the upper hand right now, Sony CEO Howard Stringer wasn't much more talkative. At a press conference yesterday he said “All of us at Sony are feeling Blu. But that is a good feeling. We thank Warner to release only in Blu-ray."

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AfterDawn: News

SyncTV shows off proof of concept HD downloads straight to TV

Written by Dave Horvath @ 07 Jan 2008 12:14

SyncTV shows off proof of concept HD downloads straight to TV At the Consumer Electronics Show going on in Las Vegas, Nevada this week, San Jose, CA based SyncTV will demonstrate a proof-of-concept device that will play downloads, including 1080p HD video content on a television set. This device is just one example how SyncTV is planning on integrating itself into consumer electronics as well as Windows PCs, Macs and Linux PCs. SyncTV's approach is that they will remain an open platform, thus allowing third-party hardware manufacturers to utilize their standards for consumer electronics market penetration.

SynTV itself, a subsidiary of Pioneer, is an unlimited download service started in November 2007 as a private beta application. The service allows its subscribers to download entire series of television broadcasts for one low monthly fee. Aside from just subscriptions, SyncTV also offers rental and purchase of select television shows. The program is set to go into public beta Q1 of 2008, in which pricing and Channel lineups will then be announced.

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AfterDawn: News

Retailers not impressed with 2007 HD DVD or Blu-ray numbers

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Jan 2008 11:42

Retailers not impressed with 2007 HD DVD or Blu-ray numbers Despite the apparent optimism from studios and the consumer electronics industry, U.S. retailers aren't satisified with the growth of either Blu-ray or HD DVD in 2007. While sales were up from the previous year, title sales accounted for only 3.5% of packaged media sold last year.

According to Todd Zaganiacz, president of the National Entertainment Buying Group, sales still aren't high enough to sell retailers on either format. “I’ve talked to a handful of retailers who still aren’t doing HD. I don’t think anybody will ditch it, but there wasn’t enough of a bump to get anyone off the fence, or devote more space to either format.”

Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey indicated that neither format has dominated rentals either. This would seem to validate those who question whether PS3 sales, which have grown at a significantly higher rate than either HD DVD players or non-PS3 Blu-ray players, should be counted in standalone player comparisons.

One thing retailers are convinced of right now is that there's more money to be made in standard definition DVDs. “DVD still gets top billing,” Zaganiacz said. “A lot of the retailers are doing the same as the consumers, and waiting.”

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AfterDawn: News

Sony announced Skype and GPS for PSP

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Jan 2008 8:26

Sony announced Skype and GPS for PSP Sony has announced the VoIP application Skype and Go!Explore GPS receiver and software for PlayStation Portable. The announcement took place at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2008 roughly a week after Sony released details on the new features at their CES 2008 site.

Skype will be free of cost and will be a part of the next Firmware upgrade which is destined to be released in late January. Unfortunately Skype will only work in the new PSP Slim & Lite version, and the first generation PSP users will not be making any VoIP calls, at least for now. The PSP Skype will supports the SkypeOut and SkypeIn features that require purchase of Skype credit.

To use Skype, PSP users need a memory card, a compatible microphone, and a connection to Internet.

Go!Explore GPS receiver and software, released in Japan more than a year ago, are finally coming to Europe and the North America. The use of the GPS will not only be limited to navigation, but the location information can also be used in games as well. Sony hasn't yet announced the price point for the Go!Explore, but the price of approx. $37 (6000 yen) in Japan would suggest a price around $40.

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AfterDawn: News

New Line confirms Blu-ray exclusivity

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2008 18:48

New Line confirms Blu-ray exclusivity One of the few questions left unanswered by Warner Bros.'s announcement to go Blu-ray exclusive was whether the decision would affect the decisions of studios HBO and New Line, both of which are owned by Warner.

Variety however, is reporting that New Line has indeed moved exclusively to Blu-ray, following its parent company. The move means that only one New Line film ever made it to HD DVD, the remarkable "Pan's Labyrinth."

HBO home video has yet to comment but a decision may be upcoming at CES.

One final note, if there are any collectors out there, now might be a good time to get Pan's Labyrinth on HD DVD cause it seems you will never see it again on that media.

Source:
TMR




AfterDawn: News

America's privacy situation worsens

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2008 18:40

America's privacy situation worsens According to Privacy International's latest National Privacy Ranking for 2007, the US, Russia, China and a few southeast Asian countries are ranked at the bottom in protecting their citizens' privacy.

The London-based human rights watchdog group assesses and ranks 14 criteria for its report: "Constitutional protection, statutory protection, privacy enforcement, identity cards and biometrics, data sharing, visual surveillance, communication interception, communication data retention, government access to data, workplace monitoring, surveillance of medical, financial and movement, border and trans-border issues, leadership, and democratic safeguards."

In general, the year's result showed a worsening of worldwide privacy standards, "with an overall increase in surveillance attributable to border control and immigration issues."

The US was the worst ranking country in "the democratic world" in terms of "statutory protections" and "privacy enforcement." Basically, that ranking means that laws protecting Americans' medical, workplace, and financial records from government and corporate surveillance are lacking and the group suggests that a regulatory body governing infractions of these rights needs to be implemented.

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AfterDawn: News

Pioneer to show off plasma technology at CES

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Jan 2008 18:28

Pioneer to show off plasma technology at CES Despite recent consumer trends that have pushed HDTV manufacturers like Panasonic to all but abandon plasma technology in favor of LCD, Pioneer is determined to stay the course. Today the company announced plans to for a new prototype Plasma display they will be showing off at this week's CES show with improved black and contrast levels.

One criticism of every technology that's followed CRT (used for almost all analog TVs) is in the area of reproducing blacks. Although plasma displays were already capable of more accurate reproduction of blacks than LCDs, even the most expensive models haven't been able to match CRT technology in this regard. Russ Johnson of Pioneer says this new prototype doesn't emit any light at all in black areas, which would mark an improvement over even the most expensive plasma HDTVs being sold now.

"There's so much Noise getting around about all these technologies, we thought it was important to show what (plasma) displays can do today," said Johnston. He also noted that the technology isn't quite ready to be used in an actual product that will be available this year. "It's close, but not that close," he said in an interview.

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AfterDawn: News

CBS to significantly increase TV show releases on DVD this year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Jan 2008 2:36

CBS to significantly increase TV show releases on DVD this year Despite concerns in the TV industry that the Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike will give networks problems packaging and selling TV series box sets from the current season, at least one home entertainment division has decided the future lies in the past. That division is CBS DVD, and as the name suggests they're part of CBS Corp., owners of the CBS television network. The past consists of TV shows owned by Paramount Home Entertainment, a division of Viacom, which formerly owned CBS as well. In 2008 CBS plans to release 105 to 110 titles, resulting in an increase of at least 13% over last year.

Despite no longer being part of the same corporate giant, CBS DVD and Paramount Home Video are still partners in TV series packaging, with the Viacom division taking responsibility for sales and distribution and both companies providing marketing support. CBS retains creative control over the packages, just as before the split from Viacom more than two years ago.

“The [overall] category does show flattening growth compared to previous years, but that is not a testament to how viable the business is,” said Ken Ross, executive VP and general manager at CBS DVD. “We have lots of titles that we will put out that will do substantial volume.”

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AfterDawn: News

Album sales drop again, digital tracks surge

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2008 18:20

Album sales drop again, digital tracks surge The AP has reported that 2007 saw another large decline in albums sales, further illustrating that CDs are no longer the top choice for music distribution.

For the year, 500.5 million "physical copies" were sold including CDs, cassettes and LPs, a 15 percent drop from the unit total of 2006.

There is however, a catch to that number. The industry counts every single digital track sold as 1/10th of an album so the 844.2 million single tracks sold in 2007 helps adjust the sales decrease to 9.5 percent, still a hefty number, but not as terrible.

Overall music sales, however, increased again on the back of continued growth of digital tracks, which increased 45 percent year-on-year. For the year, overall music sales grew 14 percent to 1.35 billion units.

The top selling album of 2007 was Josh Groban's christmas album "Noël," which sold an unremarkable 3.7 million units.

Source:
betanews




AfterDawn: News

HD DVD cancels CES conference

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2008 17:15

HD DVD cancels CES conference In response to yesterday's news that Warner Bros. had decided to go Blu-ray exclusive, the HD DVD Promotional Group has announced they have canceled their upcoming CES press conference.

The group, along with Microsoft and Toshiba had planned to tout the Q4 heavy sales of its players and discs. It seems that Warner did not give the group any advanced notice of its decision thus ruining whatever the group had had planned to say.

There is still controversy behind the reasoning for Warner's decision. The studio actually helped in the development of HD DVD and has endorsed the format since its inception. It is also a key member of the DVD Forum, from where HD DVD was born. Many industry insiders have argued that Sony offered Warner a large incentive to go exclusive, somewhere in the ballpark of $400 million for one to two years of exclusivity.

"Based on the timing of the Warner Home Video announcement today, we have decided to postpone our CES 2008 press conference scheduled for Sunday, January 6th at 8:30 p.m. in the Wynn Hotel. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,"
the HD DVD Promotional Group said in an e-mail.

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AfterDawn: News

The future of Blu-ray and HD DVD still not decided

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 05 Jan 2008 15:53

The future of Blu-ray and HD DVD still not decided With the increase in available Blu-ray and HD DVD titles both formats are seeing increased visibility in stores. Blu-ray with more releases and higher Title sales than HD DVD, is also gaining more shelf space, but both have seen significant increases over the last year.

“It’s really a function of more titles being available,” said Best Buy spokesman Brian Lucas. “We are still supporting both equally and haven’t staked a position on [the format war]. We are definitely giving more space and presence to next-generation titles. Part of that is once you start selling the hardware, you have a responsibility to help people get the most out of it.”

It's also worth mentioning that as DVD sales have declined over the same period, industry analysts have said they expect shelf space for them to drop as well. With the increasing emphasis, both among studios and retailers, on replacing DVDs with so called "next-gen" formats this seems to be an accurate prediction.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft sells 4.3 million Xbox 360 units in last quarter of 2007

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Jan 2008 18:18

Microsoft sells 4.3 million Xbox 360 units in last quarter of 2007 Microsoft Corp. is touting impressive sales performance for the Xbox 360 console over the last three months of 2007. The Redmond-based software giant moved 4.3 million units over the fourth quarter of the year following excellent performances of titles such as Halo 3 and Mass Effect. This brings the total number of Xbox 360 consoles sold to 17.7 million since its November 2005 debut according to the company.

"Holiday 2007 was a blockbuster season for the gaming industry," Microsoft said, claiming the Xbox 360 kept a lead over rivals in terms of money spent on software and hardware. While neither Sony or Nintendo have released sales figures for the holiday season yet, as of September 2007, the Wii had sold 13.2 million units and the PS3 had sold 5.6 million units.

Microsoft's Xbox Live service suffered from performance problems over the holidays. Before the holiday sales surge, it had already 8 million members, many who pay a $50 yearly fee to play against friends over the Internet. "While the service was not completely offline at any given time, we are disappointed in our performance," Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten said in a statement

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AfterDawn: News

Hitachi to show off 1.5-inch thick plasma TV

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Jan 2008 18:04

Hitachi to show off 1.5-inch thick plasma TV Japanese conglomerate Hitachi is set to show off a new 50-inch plasma television at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that measures just 1.5-inches thick. That is less than one third of the average 5-inch or more thickness of plasma televisions. According to Bill Whalen, director of product development at Hitachi, this TV will come to the market in 2009 and will probably weigh about 90 pounds.

"It could be a new category in plasma," Whalen said. The television sets shown off at CES never fail to amaze the tech world, with a constant competition running for who can make the biggest TV. Last year, Sharp inherited the crown by showing off a 108-inch LCD TV, while this year Panasonic is expected to stun the attendees with a 150-inch plasma TV.

Along with offering the biggest TV sets, the TV makers also try to slim them down as much as possible. For example, JVC claims a 42-inch LCD TV that is just 22mm thick, while Sharp has a 52-inch set that is 20mm thick.

Source:
News.com




AfterDawn: News

DRM is dead

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2008 18:03

DRM is dead Okay, so the title may not be completely true, but the era of DRM-crippled music continues to fade, especially after today's announcement that Sony BMG has dropped DRM.

The label had been the last holdout of the Big 4, and it now joins EMI, Universal and Warner in offering its music catalog DRM-free and in MP3 format.

The first DRM-free tracks will be likely appearing at the end of the first quarter 2008, according to sources.

Amazon's MP3 store should benefit the most from the recent drop in DRM as users can move away from Apple's iTunes and towards different outlets to purchase their music.

Source:
Business Week




AfterDawn: News

Sirius hits 8.3 million subscribers in 2007

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Jan 2008 17:43

Sirius hits 8.3 million subscribers in 2007 Sirius Satellite Radio managed to hit a previously set target by growing its base of subscribers to 8.3 million before the end of 2007. This represents a 38% increase in overall subscribers. In a statement, Sirius said it added 2.3 million net subscribers in the year, making it the highest number of gross subscriber additions in the entire history of the company.

"Based upon preliminary financial data, we expect to report significantly greater positive free cash flow in the fourth quarter of 2007 than the company reported in the fourth quarter of 2006," said Mel Karmazin, chief executive of Sirius, in a statement on Thursday.

At the beginning of 2007, Sirius revealed that it was aiming to add 2 million subscribers during the year in order to reach over 8 million in total. XM Satellite Radio said early last year it expected to end the year with between 9.0 and 9.2 million subscribers in total. Sirius is currently in the process of potentially acquiring XM.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

EU ponders single market for online music and video

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Jan 2008 17:31

EU ponders single market for online music and video This year, the European Commission will make proposals for the creation of a single European market for online multimedia services that sell music, video and games content. As part of the objective, the Commission must make proposals on how to tackle illegal downloads, which have prevented many content providers from offering multimedia for online consumption.

"Europe's content sector is suffering under its regulatory fragmentation, under its lack of clear, consumer-friendly rules for accessing copyright-protected online content and serious disagreements between stakeholders about fundamental issues such as levies and private copying," EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding said.

A spokesman said that legislation is not the aim of the move. "At the moment we are at the beginning of the process," he said. While EICTA welcomed the move, it questioned whether the Executive's decision to make a non-binding recommendation on the steps to be taken was the right approach as opposed to just going straight for legislation.

"It means you are not going to see any really meaningful changes for consumers for at least a couple of years," EICTA Director General Mark MacGann told Reuters. "It may be too little, too late." The European Commission expects the market for Internet downloads to grow from from €1.8 billion in 2005 to €8.3 billion in 2010.

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AfterDawn: News

Motorola shows DH01 mobile live TV device

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Jan 2008 17:19

Motorola shows DH01 mobile live TV device Motorola Inc. will be showcasing its new DH01 mobile live TV device at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), expanding its reach in the market for portable consumer electronics. The handset maker that has recently lost cell phone market share, also stated that the device will be capable of playing back on-demand video clips and programs saved on digital video recorders.

Wireless carriers are interested in new mobile TV and video products like the DH01, hoping they will boost revenues as cell phone service prices continue to fall. Motorola, along with Nokia, Samsung and LG, already sells mobile phones with live TV capabilities. While both Apple's iPhone and iPod can play video content, neither support live TV.

"I think we'll see more of these types of devices," said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi, adding it is unclear whether consumers will decide to carry devices dedicated to mobile live TV along with a simpler cell phone, or a device that combines both. The DH01 sports a 4.3 inch video screen, a four hour battery and the ability to pause live TV for up to five minutes.

It is compatible with the DVBH standard that is backed by European regulators. DVBH services are already available in many countries including Finland and Italy. "It's going to take a few years for DVBH to take off in Europe," said Oppenheimer analyst Lawrence Harris. Motorola also plans to unveil set-top boxes at CES.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Warner Bros. goes Blu-ray

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2008 17:17

Warner Bros. goes Blu-ray According to an announcement by Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., the studio has decided to throw its support behind Blu-ray beginning in May 2008 meaning it will no longer be dual format.

"Warner Bros.' move to exclusively release in the Blu-ray disc format is a strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want,"
explained Meyer. "The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers."

Up until the end of May, Warner will continue to release in HD DVD, Blu-ray and standard definition DVD.

"Warner Bros. has produced in both high-definition formats in an effort to provide consumer choice, foster mainstream adoption and drive down hardware prices,"
said Jeff Bewkes, President and Chief Executive Officer, Time Warner Inc., the parent company of Warner Bros. Entertainment. "Today's decision by Warner Bros. to distribute in a single format comes at the right time and is the best decision both for consumers and Time Warner."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft experiences Xbox Live problems over holidays

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Jan 2008 17:02

Microsoft experiences Xbox Live problems over holidays Users of Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox Live service have been reporting performance problems over the holiday weeks. The service, which offers downloadable games, multiplayer gaming and Movie/TV Show downloads, was suffering due to record breaking traffic and new member sign-ups, according to Marc Whitten, general manager of Xbox Live. "We are disappointed in our performance," Whitten wrote on the Xbox 360 support web site.

The issues reported by users included problems connecting to the Xbox Live service, downloading multimedia content and establishing connections with other users of the service for multiplayer gaming. The company has not publicly detailed the exact problems with the service, nor has it given any information on how it has addressed the issues.

Xbox Live members will be offered a free game download as an apology from Microsoft for the issues. It is unknown what the game Title will be, but it will be available from the Xbox Live Arcade. According to figures released by Microsoft, the Xbox 360 has sold more than 17.7 million units worldwide since its November 2005 debut.

Source:
Yahoo (AP)




AfterDawn: News

Apple sued for DRM practices

Written by Dave Horvath @ 04 Jan 2008 16:51

Apple sued for DRM practices Ringing in the new year with another lawsuit wasn't high on Steve Jobs' list of things to accomplish, but one frustrated iPod user thought it was the perfect gift.

Stacy Somers and her team of lawyers filed a federal anti-trust complaint in the Northern California District Court in San Jose on New Year's Eve because she's upset that her iPod will not play Microsoft encoded or Apple encoded DRM songs. The details of the suit alleges that, "Apple has engaged in tying and monopolising behaviour, placing unneeded and unjustifiable technological restrictions on its most popular products in an effort to restrict consumer choice, and to restrain what little remains of its competition in the digital music markets."

To be more specific, the lawsuit points at the PortalPlayer media chips that the iPods use to Decode MP3 and WMA files. Since Apple intentionally turns off the WMA encoding on these chips due to the fact that they refuse to pay Microsoft's licensing fees, the complaint states that Apple is crippling her system intentionally. The complaint goes on further to state that Apple is abusing their market share by only playing music that is encoded in their own FairPlay DRM.

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AfterDawn: News

New platform promises hi-def and standard-def on one chip

Written by Dave Horvath @ 04 Jan 2008 16:35

New platform promises hi-def and standard-def on one chip STMicroelectronics, one of the world's largest producers of system-on-chip solutions for digital TV and the world's largest supplier of silicon chips for set-top boxes has announced a new hardware platform that supports worldwide standards. The DTV150 is a new cost-saving hardware platform that provides demodulation, MPEG-2 high-definition and standard-definition decoding, full HD video processing, high quality audio, and video switching (picture-in-picture capabilities) for integrated digital TVs worldwide. This highly-integrated solution is built around ST's new STi1010 single-chip IDTV processor, which provides the capability to
use the same chip for both digital and analog broadcast decoding, and for video TV processing.

The new platform achieves a balance in the trade-off between performance and cost, giving iDTV manufacturers the ability to produce sets that meet worldwide standards, with high-quality full HD displays, while reducing the Bill of Materials.

The core of the Chipset is the STi1010 processor which operates at an 80nm CMOS process technology. This provides the unification of analog and digital on a single chip. It
supports displays up to 1080p (1920 x 1080), including full 1080i de-interlacing using ST's 3D contour sensitive de-interlacer (CSDi) to enhance picture quality. Other features of the chip include embedded HDMI, dual LVDS output and a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface for JPEG and MP3 playback, and capability for decoding AD (Audio Description), Dolby Digital, and AAC (Advanced Audio Coding) audio streams.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

China to censor foreign video sharing sites

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2008 18:32

China to censor foreign video sharing sites Starting at the end of the month, the Chinese government will begin blocking video sharing sites it does not control. The new laws will mean that any website that offers streaming video will need to receive a permit to operate from the government. In order to obtain that permit, the site must be either state-owned or controlled to qualify.

It is unknown on whether YouTube would qualify as a foreign company as it runs a Chinese-language service. If YouTube's servers are hosted elsewhere, the site may be completely blocked by Chinese ISPs.

Banned materials, according to the new law would be aything having to do with "national secrets, content that sullies the reputation of the country, socially disruptive material, and pornography." The videos should "insist on serving the people" as well as "socialist principles."

Source:
betanews




AfterDawn: News

Vouchers for DTV converter boxes now available from the U.S. government

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jan 2008 17:41

Vouchers for DTV converter boxes now available from the U.S. government On Tuesday the first vouchers for converter boxes that make it possible for owners of analog TVs to watch Digital TV (DTV) became available from the U.S. government. The vouchers are intended for people who watch Over The Air (OTA) broadcasts. There's a limit of two vouchers per household.

The vouchers are good for up to $40 towards the purchase of a converter box, which aren't necessary for anyone watching either cable or satellite television. The boxes are expected to retail for between $50 and $70.

Of the available vouchers, the first 22 million are available both to U.S. residents who only receive OTA broadcasts and those who have cable or satellite service, but also receive OTA broadcasts on at least on analog TV in their household. The other 11.5 million are reserved for households where only OTA broadcasts are being viewed. Households with cable or satellite service are Limited to just a single voucher.

Based on numbers from the Nielsen Company there are 14.3 million households in the U.S. who currently don't subscribe to any pay TV service.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Update: RIAA fights back against accusations

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2008 17:08

Update: RIAA fights back against accusations On Sunday, we reported that the RIAA was fighting to make CD ripping illegal.

CNet and a few other news sources are saying however, that Marc Fisher (the Washington Post reporter who originally wrote on the subject) was incorrect in his assessment of the case at hand, that of an Arizona man by the name of Jeffrey Howell who is accused of sharing unauthorized music.

After the story hit the internet, an RIAA spokesman rebutted the story.

"The Washington Post story is wrong,"
said Jonathan Lamy, an RIAA spokesman. "As numerous commentators have since discovered after taking the time to read our brief, the record companies did not allege that ripping a lawfully acquired CD to a computer or transferring a copy to an MP3 player is infringement. This case is about the illegal distribution of copyrighted songs on a peer-to-peer network, not making copies of legally acquired music for personal use."

The trade group then went on to say that Howell had ripped the music to his computer, then placed the ripped tracks into a "shared folder" of a P2P application, basically meaning he had ripped the tracks with the intent to distribute illegally.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Reports of the RIAA suing over CD ripping prove to be unfounded

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jan 2008 17:06

Reports of the RIAA suing over CD ripping prove to be unfounded Despite an erroneous article in the Washington Post, the RIAA is not suing anyone for copying CDs to their hard drive. The story, copied by a number of websites, including Afterdawn, stated that the RIAA was suing Jeffrey Howell both for the music he shared on Kazaa and the additional songs he ripped to his computer's hard drive but didn't share on any P2P network.

As it turns out, simply reading the legal documents in the case shows that this is not true. The confusion apparently stems from a misreading, or more likely a partial reading of a document filed by RIAA lawyers at the request of the judge hearing the case. The document, which can be viewed freely online, sets the legal groundwork for the RIAA's case.

It includes language indicating that "Other courts have also concluded that placing files in a “shared folder” available to other users for download constitutes a distribution of the files" and "files in a KaZaA user’s shared folder, including Defendant’s shared folder, are “available to other people” for download."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

University of Washington may not cooperate with RIAA

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jan 2008 15:16

University of Washington may not cooperate with RIAA Officials at the University of Washington are trying to decide whether to cooperate with a RIAA request to deliver prelitigation letters over alleged P2P copyright infringement. They're citing a lack of evidence as to the identity of the individual behind the list of IP addresses provided in the documents supplied by RIAA lawyers. This makes them the second American university to express concern over the evidence presented by the RIAA in P2P file sharing cases.

Earlier in the year the University of Oregon, with backing from Oregon's Attorney General, refused to give RIAA lawyers the names of students using particular IP addresses (assigned by the university) at times when files were allegedly shared illegally. The argument, as in the University of Washington suits, is that without extensive investigation they have no way to know who was using a computer when RIAA investegators downloaded the infringing files referenced in the lawsuits.

"Students often share Internet connections," UW spokesman Bob Roseth said, noting that in dorm rooms and computer labs it's often not possible to determine who's using a particular computer.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Netflix pairs with LG to make set-top box

Written by Dave Horvath @ 03 Jan 2008 11:37

Netflix pairs with LG to make set-top box DVD renting giant Netflix has paired together with the folks over at LG to bring consumers a new Set-Top Box that will download movies and television programs over the Internet. The device will be built by LG and distributed by Netflix. Current Netflix subscribers will pay nothing extra for this service.

The box is squarely aimed at competitors like AppleTV and Vudu box. Netflix also hopes to take on cable companies with their many DVR type options for more of a dominance in the home theater market.

Netflix currently offers a video Streaming service and its customers have shown they favor the service, having viewed over 10 million movies and television shows since the service began. Netflix does however hope that the ability to stream to your television with one box will boost the appeal of this service entirely. Netflix has currently spent upwards of $40 million to build and maintain their streaming video service.

This market can appear shaky to some as the main competitor, AppleTV hasn't caught on as the Cupertino company would have wanted. Relying on devices like the iPod and iPhone, Apple states that only 1.8 million AppleTV devices have been sold to date.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

WiHD 1.0 specification now official

Written by Dave Horvath @ 03 Jan 2008 11:19

WiHD 1.0 specification now official Eight of the major high-definition product manufacturers out there have for some time been working on wireless baseband specifications for high-definition video transmission. The people over at Intel, LG, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), Samsung, Sony, NEC, Toshiba and SiBEAM, have officially sanctioned the WiHD 1.0 specification and hope to roll out this specification to Adopters beginning early this year. Additionally, since the October 2006 WirelessHD announcement, it has grown to include 40 Early Adopter and Promoter companies as well as technical support with regards to content protection for WirelessHD 1.0 from the Motion Picture Association of America and technical support for DTCP content protection from the Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator (DTLA).

Wireless HD or WiHD is a wireless high-definition interface standard that runs at the unlicensed 60Ghz frequency band. Not only is it the first format to potentially offer wireless HDMI type connections, but its the first consumer focused 60Ghz technology. Once developed into consumer devices, it can feed a wide range of products from HDTVs to camcorders to gaming consoles.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Motorola introduces MPEG-4 DVR boxes for use with HD cable

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jan 2008 18:59

Motorola introduces MPEG-4 DVR boxes for use with HD cable Motorola has announced today that it will be launching its first MPEG-4 set-top DVR box for cable TV users.

Set to debut at the upcoming CES show, the DCX series of DVRs "are designed to serve as hubs on home networks for consumers who want to manage HD content received over cable."

Each box will support HD video due to its use of the MPEG-4 advanced video compression.

According to BetaNews, the boxes will also support the following; "recording; time Shifting of TV shows; surround sound audio; storage of consumer-created multimedia content; and content sharing among other compatible devices over home networks."

In creating these DVRs, Motorola is set to compete directly with TiVo who has already secured a deal with the cable provider Comcast in which certain markets will exclusively use TiVo software.

Source:
BetaNews




AfterDawn: News

Blu-ray Macs coming at Macworld?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jan 2008 17:37

Blu-ray Macs coming at Macworld? According to research analyst Shawn Wu, Macs with Blu-ray drives will be debuting at the Macworld event on January 15th.

Apple has long held a seat on the Blu-ray consortium and CEO Steve Jobs is on the board of directors at Disney, a staunch Blu-ray supporter. These reasons alone have fueled any rumors that Apple, if choosing from the nex-gen formats, would choose Blu-ray. There is a remote chance however, that Apple could release a combo HD DVD and Blu-ray drive and avoid the format war.

A Mac Pro workstation, set for release in the next month, has been rumored to be the first Apple system to have a Blu-ray compatible drive.

Source:
BetaNews




AfterDawn: News

Cyberlink Power DVD Ultra gets BD 1.1 certified

Written by Dave Horvath @ 02 Jan 2008 14:47

Cyberlink Power DVD Ultra gets BD 1.1 certified Announced today, Cyberlink Corp, makers of the well known Power DVD software suite have officially been certified by the Blu-ray Disc Association to support playback of BD-Video profile 1.1 specification. What this means to viewers is that their software will now support multiple video streams from Blu-ray sources for the ability to have picture-in-picture during playback for video and documentary footage simultaneously.

"CyberLink PowerDVD Ultra has been acknowledged for various standards for high-definition video support including BD-ROM Profile 1.0, BD+, AVCHD, and HD DVD," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "Now with PowerDVD Ultra certified for BD-Video Profile 1.1, we ensure users the best Blu-ray movie experience on PCs."

PowerDVD Ultra offers the following key features:

  • Playback of high-definition Blu-ray Disc, and HD DVD movies
  • Support for next-generation disc features, like Picture-in-Picture movie mode, networking, interactive BD-J and iHD, bookmarks, and advanced disc navigation
  • New audio technologies with support for Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD technologies
  • Optimized performance for playing high-definition video content using graphics cards featuring NVIDIA PureVideo, ATI Avivo, and Intel Clear Video technology
Pricing for Power DVD Ultra will be $99.95 and available early 2008.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony could reveal Skype for PSP at CES

Written by Dave Horvath @ 02 Jan 2008 14:37

Sony could reveal Skype for PSP at CES Browsing through Sony's affiliated website shows an interesting tidbit of information for fans of their handheld gaming system, the PSP. There appears to be suggestions that they have worked a deal with Skype to bring communication over the handheld a reality.

There really are no details at the moment but there is clear mention on their CES website, which could turn into an official announcement when the Consumer Electronics Show kicks off on January 7th.

As quoted from their website, one of the features of the new PSP includes "Call friends, talk trash to fellow gamers or catch up with acquaintances via Skype for PSP system."

Source:
Sony CES Click the controller icon on the flash presenation for more information




AfterDawn: News

Year 2007 roundup

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 02 Jan 2008 4:19

Year 2007 roundup So, the year 2007 is behind now and new year has begun. Once again, it was a year that didn't revolutionize the world of digital multimedia, but rather was a year of strong evolution. The year 2007 was a year when technologies and products that have been hyped for several years, finally started to gain ground and it was also a year that showed significant developments towards inevitable "fusion" of various home entertainment technologies.

But lets start with the year's only true surprise...

iPhone


Being one of the most hyped product of the year (losing only to Facebook...), Apple managed to do the unthinkable and stir the well-established mobile phone market so much that it took all the buzz away from technologically more capable product launches during the year.

iPhone showed the tech specs aren't everything -- the phone itself pales in comparison with virtually any "smart phone" produced by likes of Nokia and Samsung. Despite having sub-par camera, slow data transfer modes (no 3G), lacking some of the very basic phone functions (imagine a phone where you have to send SMS separately to each recipient), iPhone proved that with clever user interface and extremely well-thought user experience can be enough to persuade people to cough up well over $1,400 for a phone.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 with internal HD DVD rumors flare again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jan 2008 18:59

Xbox 360 with internal HD DVD rumors flare again With CES 2008 set to begin next week, rumors have flared up again all over the internet that Bill Gates will be including an Xbox 360 announcement at the end of his keynote.

According to analysts, the announcement may include the previously rumored new Xbox 360 unit with an internal HD DVD drive. Others have speculated that the announcement will relate to Microsoft licensing the Xbox technology to other manufacturers who would then create a hybrid machine to be used as a DVR, game console and HD DVD player (and possibly writer).

Microsoft has not taken an official stand on the rumors so there will most likely not be any updates until Bill Gates hits the stage next week.

Source:
GI.biz




AfterDawn: News

Thomas to get new lawyer team for RIAA case appeal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jan 2008 18:45

Thomas to get new lawyer team for RIAA case appeal According to her official website, Jammie Thomas, who was recently served with a $222,000 judgment, will be finding new lawyers for her appeal against the RIAA.

Her former lawyers, Brian Toder, and associates, were hardly the best choice for the type of case and that was made clear with a lackluster non-existent defense. Toder is a maritime law specialist.

Ms. Thomas talked out about why she had chosen Toder originally for the case. “I had no idea who could represent me for my case and Mr. Toder was listed on another attorney’s weblog, Mr. Ray Beckerman, as being the attorney from Minnesota who handled cases such as mine,” she also said, “I feel Mr. Toder performed as best he could considering the financial situation I am in and how much I could afford to pay him and his firm.”

Jamie Thomas continues to take donations to be used towards her new appeal. Her website says the following, “She [Thomas] confirmed that the donations collected here are still going into her legal defense fund and will be used to finance her appeal. She is now in search of a capable attorney ready to take the appeal either pro bono or for what is raised through fundraising efforts.”

Read more...



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