AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (2 / 2008)

AfterDawn: News

Weekly Glossary updates: 29 February 2008

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 29 Feb 2008 14:37

Weekly Glossary updates: 29 February 2008 It's time again for my weekly Glossary updates. This week's highlights include some things you may already have on your computer, such as libavcodec and MPEG-4 encoders. If you're not already familiar with libavcodec I recommend starting there. It has become one of the cornerstones of software media players, and has even become a viable option for encoding video.

In an attempt to make it easier to keep Track of the various industry and special interest groups that seem to be in the news all the time I'm also adding entries for many of them to the Glossary. This week's entry, the White Spaces Coalition, is trying to develop WAN (Wide Area Network) technology that uses DTV frequencies. They're promising the capability for 80Gbps

Broadcasters are opposed to the new technology, citing concerns about interference with TV broadcasts. While this is certainly something that must be taken into account, you have to wonder if their real worry isn't the potential to deliver high quality video using white space networking.




AfterDawn: News

Guides Updated

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Feb 2008 10:00

Guides Updated Recently, we have begun notifying you of the recent changes or updates to Afterdawn in an effort to keep you all informed.

For those that missed it, we recently expanded Afterdawn to Sweden, marking a third language for the site.

We have also added a number of guides aimed at playback of all types of video files on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Finally, the staff has been updating the Glossary section since the beginning of the year with many Glossary items added and others completely revamped.

Now for the new news :)

In an ongoing effort to improve and update our P2P guides the staff has completely revamped a couple of the most popular P2P guides, with aims to update all of them.

Using and Maxing out your download speeds with uTorrent- This guide has been completely updated even down to the structure of the guide. uTorrent is the most popular torrent client so we hope this will be of use for many users and torrent fans.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

iPhone finally coming to Ireland

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Feb 2008 16:54

iPhone finally coming to Ireland The mobile phone carrier O2 has announced that it will be the exclusive carrier for the popular Apple iPhone in Ireland following its successful launch in the UK last year.

The official debut for the device in Ireland is slated for March 14th. The device will sell in O2's retail stores and also through "Carphone Warehouse" retail stores. The smaller capacity 8GB model of the iPhone will sell for €399 including VAT. The larger capacity 16GB model will retail for €499 including VAT. Obviously the device will work with both Macs and PCs.

The different service plans will be available from O2, with the cheapest beginning at €45. Each plan will have anytime minutes, text messaging and a 1GB data bundle at least.

More details when they become available.




AfterDawn: News

Wii dominates consoles in Japan again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Feb 2008 15:16

Wii dominates consoles in Japan again According to new data figures from Enterbrain, the ever popular Nintendo Wii has dominated the Japanese console market again, outselling the next closest competitor, the Sony PlayStation 3 by an almost 4-to-1 margin.

As of February 24th, 331,627 Wii units had been sold in Japan, compared to 89,131 PlayStation 3s.

The PS3 has been closing the gap recently but the blockbuster hit "Super Smash Bros. Brawl" eliminated that, at least for the month. The game reached one million units sold in 11 days, and has now sold 1.33 million.

As always, the Microsoft Xbox 360 lagged terribly behind in the region and shows no signs of improvement.




AfterDawn: News

Apple still planning on iPhone sales reaching 10 million this year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 28 Feb 2008 0:37

Apple still planning on iPhone sales reaching 10 million this year Although they're not saying yet, it appears that Apple's strategy to meet their lofty sales goal of 10 million iPhones (from launch to the end of this year) involves looking to the business community. The company appears to be betting that they can make a serious run at consumers who might otherwise choose a Blackberry from rival Research In Motion (RIM).

They also appear to be banking on the popularity of the third party software that will be officially possible once a SDK is released next month. Although it's already possible to write and install software on the iPhone, it currently requires a procedure called "jailbreaking," which isn't supported (or even condoned) by Apple.

"Apple has understood the importance of local applications and they are responding to that, and it will help them sell more iPhones," said Tim Bajarin, principal analyst of Creative Strategies.




AfterDawn: News

Redbox expansion continues in deal with Walgreens

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 28 Feb 2008 0:02

Redbox expansion continues in deal with Walgreens After some market tests which began last year, Redbox has announced that they'll be adding their kiosks to nearly 1,800 Walgreens stores. At present the company expects to have over 11,000 active kiosks by year's end.

Redbox, which is primarily owned by Coinstar and McDonald's, is already the clear leader in the rental kiosk business. All told they already have nearly 7,000 units in use around the U.S. That's more than four times the number their closest competitor, Moviecube, has.

Although Moviecube has also announced big plans for expansion, with Redbox's aggressive growth continuing from last year, when they tripled the number of kiosks they had deployed, Redbox looks to be the clear market leader for the forseeable future.




AfterDawn: News

Sony PSP Go!Messenger finally arrives

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Feb 2008 18:46

Sony PSP Go!Messenger finally arrives After it announced in mid-January that Skype would be heading to European PSPs, Sony has confirmed that the wireless communication package Go!Messenger will also hit European PSPs by the end of the week.

The package, jointly developed by Sony and BT lets users "send voice, video and instant messages to other Go!Messenger users from any wireless Internet connection, and will work over wireless Internet - including that provided by the 2,500-plus BT Openzone hotspots around UK city centers."

The service is free in theory but you will need to purchase the PSP Go!Cam, which is a mic and video camera, if you want to use the package.

"Enabling more than 8.5 Million PSP users across the SCEE region to communicate with each other, through Video or Voice chat, truly confirms the always evolving nature and potential of PSP," said PSP European marketing manager Stephane Hareau.




AfterDawn: News

Dreamworks "stuck" with Toshiba, HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Feb 2008 18:25

Dreamworks "stuck" with Toshiba, HD DVD Dreamworks Studios has announced that they are still "locked" into an exclusivity deal with Toshiba to distribute their movies on HD DVD only and would continue to do so until Toshiba tells them differently.

"We have a partnership with Toshiba and have an obligation to see this through,"
DreamWorks Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said.

"As you know, we have been well-compensated for our support. It really is in their court at this point to really declare what the next step will be. We're poised either way to jump into the marketplace when the conditions are right to do so,"
he added.

Katzenberg's comments seem to imply that all the past rumors were indeed correct and Dreamworks and Paramount were paid over $150 million USD to go HD DVD-exclusive for 18 months. It seems however that Paramount had a different clause in there contract because they recently dropped HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

YouTube is back in Pakistan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Feb 2008 18:07

YouTube is back in Pakistan Just 3 days after it blocked access to the popular video sharing site, Pakistani officials have lifted the ban on YouTube, citing that the "anti-Islamic" video clips had been removed.

The so-called "anti-Islamic" clips were trailers for an upcoming movie by the Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilder. The movie allegedly will show Islam as a fascist religion and that has proven to incite violence, especially towards women.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) issued notices to all 70 Pakistani ISPs telling them to ban access to the site, but that ban has since been lifted. As the PTA says, the "totally anti-Quranic... very blasphemous" video has been removed despite the fact that other Wilder clips still remain available.




AfterDawn: News

Comcast limits public access to FCC hearing by paying to fill seats

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 27 Feb 2008 0:23

Comcast limits public access to FCC hearing by paying to fill seats You have to give it to Comcast. They're nothing if not consistent. When they've been asked to reveal specifics of their controversial "network management" techniques that have BitTorrent using customers up in arms they really didn't want to talk about it. Now, as if to emphasize that point, they've found a way to control attendance of a FCC hearing that was open to the public.

In order to make sure they were playing to a more sympathetic audience, Comcast paid people off the street to attend, and even bused them to Harvard Law School. Once inside these people took up seats that would otherwise have gone to some of the people denied entry due to limited space.

Unfortunately for Comcast, representatives of an organization called Save the Internet were also there, and had their cameras handy. They took pictures of a Comcast employee handing out papers to the people they bused in. Later, some of the same people were photographed sleeping during the meeting. According to Save the Internet's website, "They arrived en masse some 90 minutes before the hearing began and occupied almost every available seat, upon which many promptly fell asleep."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

iTunes finishes 2007 as second biggest US music retailer

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 26 Feb 2008 23:17

iTunes finishes 2007 as second biggest US music retailer According to data from the NPD Group, after last year's increase in legal online music sales iTunes has become the number two music retailer in the country. During 2007 only Wal-Mart outperformed the online store.

"The continued growth in legal download sites is encouraging, yet the industry struggles to improve the value of each digital customer," said NPD analyst Russ Crupnick in a statement. "With so many baby boomers and gen-Xers entering the market, there are certainly opportunities to sell more digital albums, promote older catalog titles, or create bundles that will raise revenues. In the near term that’s going to be the best means available to narrow the gap on dwindling CD revenues."

Unfortunately the news wasn't as good for labels as it was for Apple. The increase download revenue didn't offset the continuing decline in CD sales. No doubt part of the problem is that downloads are typically sold one or two songs at a time, versus an entire CD. According to NPD, around a million people stopped buying CDs last year.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

DualShock 3 finally coming to US PS3s among other new bundles

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Feb 2008 17:48

DualShock 3 finally coming to US PS3s among other new bundles At its annual retail and publisher conference Sony America has announced that new PlayStation 3 and PSP bundles will be hitting retailers beginning in April.

They company also announced that the wireless DualShock 3 controller will finally be available in North America starting in April for the MSRP of $55 USD.

The first new bundle will include the 80GB model, a DS3 controller and "Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots" for $499 USD.

In June the company will be releasing a special limited-edition PSP bundle that will include "a copy of the God of War: Chains of Olympus PSP game and a "deep red" coloured PSP handheld with a silk-screened image of Kratos on the back of the unit. The Pack will also include a UMD of the movie Superbad as well as a PSN voucher to download Syphon Filter: Combat Ops." The suggested retail price is $200 USD.

"Working closely with our retail and publishing partners and sharing our hardware and software roadmaps at Destination PlayStation gives us a great opportunity to outline some key milestones for the year,"
said SCEA CEO Jack Tretton.

"In response to incredible demand, we will be manufacturing more 80GB PS3s for North America and the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots 80GB PS3 bundle is an ideal way to offer that continued value to our consumers.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony set to introduce Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Feb 2008 16:47

Sony set to introduce Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players Sony has announced that its first Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players will be debuting this summer.

The BDP-S350 will be Sony's first new player since the demise of HD DVD last week and will feature an Ethernet port allowing it to connect to a home network. Curiously, the player will not be able to access online Blu-ray content until Sony releases a BD-Live upgrade for the player. The company says the player will retail for about $400 USD. The new BDP-S550 will cost about $100 more but will be BD-Live capable from the get go.

Both players will be the first of Sony's line to have picture-in-picture (PIP) content although some Panasonic players already have the feature meaning the new players are not the first of their kind.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn expands to Sweden

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 26 Feb 2008 7:40

AfterDawn expands to Sweden AfterDawn.com is one of those websites that has been multilingual right from the very beginning of the site. Since when our site was launched back in 1999, there has always been two editions available -- one in English and one in Finnish. Now, a third language edition is finally available -- Swedish version of AfterDawn.com went "live" today.

The Swedish edition is rather limited for now -- we decided to focus our translation efforts on handful of site areas first and see whether there's enough interest to extend the localized offering to news and guides. So, the "mini AfterDawn" available in Swedish now consists software downloads, product comparison engine and discussion forums.

Swedish AfterDawn is still very strongly in its "beta" phase and is bound to have translation errors, missing translations and even some bugs. Thus, if you're interested to help and speak Swedish fluently, please submit all bug reports and translation corrections to us.

I'd like to thank all of our users who have participated to the translation project -- Helmer, okse and many others have contributed enormous amount of their time and dedication to the project. Lets hope our Swedish users (we have almost 10,000 Swedish members on our English site) "find" the site.




AfterDawn: News

DivX to shut down Stage6 service at month's end

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 26 Feb 2008 1:29

DivX to shut down Stage6 service at month's end DivX, Inc., developers of the MPEG-4 ASP Codec of the same name, have announced they'll be shutting down their Stage6 video sharing service and website. Despite its popularity, or more perhaps more accurately because of it, DivX has been unable to develop a business model capable of turning a profit. As of February 28 it will cease operation.

Unlike sites such as YouTube and its clones, Stage6 was intended to provide high quality video, and it even includes a download feature that allows you to save videos to your hard drive for viewing later. However, that quality comes at no small cost in Bandwidth or manpower. After trying unsuccessfully to find a way to spin-off Stage6 as an independent business, and lacking an interested buyer, The decision was made to shut the service down.

In a message on the Stage6 website, a DivX representative summed it up, saying "the continued operation of Stage6 is a very expensive enterprise that requires an enormous amount of attention and resources that we are not in a position to continue to provide. There are a lot of other details involved, but at the end of the day it’s really as simple as that."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

UMG artists to appear in ad-supported streams

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Feb 2008 23:24

UMG artists to appear in ad-supported streams Universal Music Netherlands has struck a deal with Fabchannel allowing the webcaster, which offers live shows from two clubs in Amsterdam, to offer streaming performances from Universal artists in a no-charge (ad supported) format.

Although the deal gives artists the choice to decline to have their shows streamed, Fabchannel CEO Justin Kniest says only a couple of them have taken advantage of this provision. While the deal is with Universal Music Group's Netherlands division, the streams will be available to viewers worldwide.

Fabchannel will also be able to use the recordings for other purposes, such as allowing them to be added to blogs or social networking homepages. Universal will also get access to the recordings, as well as the right to sell them from their own site.

Justin Kniest said "This is a significant step forward for Fabchannel. The quality of Universal Music artists contributes to our goal of offering our viewers the hottest and broadest selection of live music. Fabchannel has pioneered a way to bring fans, bands and brands together in a way that's good for everyone."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

FCC chairman ready to take on ISPs over net neutrality

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Feb 2008 22:45

FCC chairman ready to take on ISPs over net neutrality FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said today that "The commission is ready, willing and able to step in if necessary to correct any practices that are ongoing today." He made the statement at today's hearing at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Although the hearing was officially a general inquiring into network management practices of broadband internet providers, it was prompted by last year's revelation that Comcast is "managing" their network by disconnecting BitTorrent transfers from customer computers.

Based on statements today the cable giant likely has more to explain than why their practice of inserting their own data into BitTorrent uploads originating on their network telling the computers on each end that the other has ended the connection.

Of course that question will certainly be on the list, but Martin hinted at another issue that may be harder for Comcast officials to explain away. "Consumers need to know if and how network management practices distinguish between different applications, so they can configure their own applications and systems properly," he said.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

ABC and Comcast remove Fast Forward from VOD offering

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Feb 2008 21:55

ABC and Comcast remove Fast Forward from VOD offering ABC executives have managed to convince themselves that viewers really don't care about fast forwarding, or at least that's the official company line, as voiced by Anne Sweeney, the president of the Disney-ABC television group. She was speaking about a new Video On Demand venture the Disney owned network is initiating with the cooperation of affiliate stations and cable carrier Cox Communications which will disable the fast forward capabilities normally associated with on demand offerings.

Sweeney told the New York Times “You don’t need TiVo if you have fast-forward-disabled video on demand. It gives you the same opportunity to catch up to your favorite shows.” Perhaps no one has told her that Americans would prefer to spend the 25% - 30% of each show's running time that's devoted to commercials doing something more interesting than watching the same commercials over and over.

The cluelessness of the executives who made this decision was summed up well by Ray Cole. He's the president of Citadel Communications, owner of three ABC affiliates, who said “As network and affiliates, we both have an interest in slowing down the explosive growth of DVRs.”

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Acer to begin "pushing" Blu-ray in notebooks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Feb 2008 13:12

Acer to begin "pushing" Blu-ray in notebooks Acer, the large notebook manufacturer has announced that it will be "pushing" Blu-ray notebooks beginning in the Q2 of this year.

The company, which had been signed to both Blu-ray and HD DVD, also predicted that the initial boost in Blu-ray sales would be seen in notebooks and not in standalone players.

Scott Lin, president of Acer, said the company's reasoning for the notebook push was that "most homes do not yet have Full HD (1080p) ready TVs, a notebook with a Blu-ray disc drive and full HD panel will have more advantages over a stand-alone player."

There are little details known about the specs of the new laptops but there will be a gigantic 18.4-inch screen model as well as a 16 inch model. Both will have 1080p Resolution.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Lite-on introduces external Blu-ray drive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Feb 2008 12:49

Lite-on introduces external Blu-ray drive PLDS, the joint venture between Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions, has announced the DX-4O1S, a new, faster BD-ROM external drive set to hit stores by April.

The player is only a BD-ROM however and will not having burning capabilities. The drive works via a USB connection making Blu-ray playback very simple. The drive can also read DVD+/-R(W) and CD-R(W) media at high read speeds.

"Due to recent market developments we can expect an increasing volume of movies to be released in High Definition on Blu-ray Discs",
says Jelmer Veldman, European marketing manager at PLDS.

"The market adoption of Blu-ray as the optical disc standard for high definition content results in a growing demand for Blu-ray playback solutions. The portable external Lite-On BD-ROM drive allows users to playback their Blu-ray discs on any PC via a USB 2.0 cable,"
added the company.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

New guides - highlights for the year so far

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Feb 2008 4:00

New guides - highlights for the year so far With the increase in new content at Afterdawn over the last year, we've had a hard time keeping you informed of the resources we have available in our Guides section. In order to let you know what guides are available I'll be writing a weekly update telling you what new guides have been added, and occasionally talking about existing content. To kick things off here are some highlights of what we have so far this year.

We've added several guides aimed at helping Xbox 360 and PS3 owners playback video from various sources on their consoles. Since many containers aren't supported on the Xbox 360 these guides focus primarily on moving the video to supported containers like MP4 and AVI. Our lone PS3 entry gives instructions for moving the contents of MKV (Matroska) files to VOBs that can are supported by that console.

Multimedia playback with Xbox 360


Ever since the Fall update (2007) for the Xbox 360 console, support for a wider variety of video content has been added without the need of Windows Media Center Edition. This article discusses some of the Xbox 360's multimedia capabilities as of January 2008, and shows some brief results we had with the console while trying to play back video files of all types with many different streams and settings. This is not a guide for Streaming and it does not involve the use of MCE.... (Read More)

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Pioneer considers outsourcing smaller plasma panels

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Feb 2008 1:34

Pioneer considers outsourcing smaller plasma panels As flat panel TV sales continue to increase and LCD continues to grab an increasing amount of market share, some manufacturers have shifted their focus away from plasma HDTVs. One company that hasn't wavered in their support for plasma technology is Pioneer. Less than two months ago, at CES, the company's commitment to plasma was on display in the form of new displays capable of near perfect reproduction of blacks.

Despite their commitment though, they're feeling the same consumer pressure for lower prices which has already forced electronics giant Matsushita (Panasonic) to add larger LCD displays to their HDTV lineup. A Japanese newspaper is now reporting that Pioneer is hoping to reduce production costs on HDTVs 42 inches and smaller by building them with panels manufactured by Matsushita and Hitachi. They're reporting that production of these panels at Pioneer's own plant in southern Japan.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

FCC hearing Monday on ISPs' network management practices open to public

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Feb 2008 0:56

FCC hearing Monday on ISPs' network management practices open to public If you'd like a ringside seat to a FCC hearing on ISP network management and happen to be in the Boston area on Monday you're in luck. There's a hearing scheduled for 11:00 in the morning at Harvard Law School. It's open to the public and will be attended by all of the FCC commissioners.

Assuming you haven't spent the last several months on the International Space Station you're probably aware that Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, is being investigated for interfering with certain traffic, primarily BitTorrent related, from customers' computers. Although they claim the "network management" that's causing the problems with BitTorrent is compliant with FCC regulations and that they have nothing to hide, it's difficult to reconcile that with their public comments prior to the FCC investigation, in which they were clearly avoiding the issue entirely. In fact until the FCC got involved no Comcast representative was willing to even confirm what had been proven by both the Associated Press and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

The issue of network management is at the heart of Monday's hearing. Specifically, the commissioners are looking for answers about what is or isn't "reasonable," which is how Comcast describes their practice of forging reset packets to fool customers' computers into thinking a BitTorrent connection has ended by the computer at the other end.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony to begin buying LCD TV panels from Sharp

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Feb 2008 18:40

Sony to begin buying LCD TV panels from Sharp Industry sources have said that Sony is planning to begin buying LCD TV panels from its rival Sharp, possibly as soon as April of this year.

Sony is currently running an LCD panel joint venture with Samsung but this latest move should help the company "secure enough panels to meet fast-growing LCD TV demand without heavy capital investments."

Currently, Samsung and Sony compete for the highest sales in the global LCD TV market, while Sharp lags slightly behind.

Sharp is currently building the world's largest LCD panel factory and the company hopes to boost its LCD output capacity by 50 percent over the next year.




AfterDawn: News

Canadian songwriters want to share their music

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Feb 2008 18:15

Canadian songwriters want to share their music The Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) have revealed a new proposal that would allow all Canadian citizens to download as much unauthorized music as they please for the low, flat-rate of $5 CAD per month.

The new proposal, which will require federal approval to pass, will add a $5 CAD surcharge to your monthly ISP bill but allow unlimited music downloading from sources of your choice.

"That's a very reasonable amount of money to legally, without fear of any legal repercussions, to be able to download that and share it with [whomever] you want to and as many times as you want,"
said Eddie Schwartz, president of the songwriters' group. "On iTunes to download one album, it's $10. This is half of that and this is pretty reasonable to have access to the entire repertoire of Western music."

The organization plans to meet at Toronto's Ryerson University to launch the proposal while asking for an immediate amendment to the Canadian Copyright Act. The new right will be called the Right to Equitable Reenumeration for Music File Sharing and would allow the songwriters to collect fees from all Internet subscribers.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Pakistan blocks access to YouTube

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Feb 2008 18:04

Pakistan blocks access to YouTube Pakistani officials have announced that the government has blocked all access to the popular video-sharing site YouTube because there have been a few anti-Islamic videos posted on the site.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) notified all 70 Pakistani ISPs that access to the site is to be blocked indefinitely.

The PTA revealed that the ban was mainly due to a "trailer for an upcoming film by Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders, who has said he plans to release an anti-Quran movie portraying the religion as fascist and prone to inciting violence against women and homosexuals." Governement officials would not elaborate further.

The group also urged YouTube fans to write to the site and request the removal of all "objectionable movies" saying that the government would unblock the site once the movies were taken down.

The banning follows recent decisions by Turkey and Morocco to block access to the video sharing site, both for similar reasons as Pakistan.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft finally pulls plug on HD DVD add-on

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Feb 2008 17:47

Microsoft finally pulls plug on HD DVD add-on Microsoft has announced that will stop producing its HD DVD player add-on for the Xbox 360, citing Toshiba's end of support for the format as the key reason why.

The company said it would continue to provide warranty support for the 300,000 or so players that had been purchased to date.

"HD DVD is one of the several ways we offer a High Definition experience to consumers and we will continue to give consumers the choice to enjoy digital distribution of high definition movies and TV shows directly to their living room, along with playback of the DVD movies they already own,"
added Blair Westlake, a VP of Microsoft's media and entertainment group.

Microsoft was the second largest backer of the format behind Toshiba, and has said it will continue to look into how HD DVD technology, such as the interactive layer HDi, can be applied to other platforms.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Japanese satellite to provide broadband internet and DTV in Asia

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Feb 2008 0:40

Japanese satellite to provide broadband internet and DTV in Asia Japan may have taken a long time getting into the space race, but they're quickly making up for lost time. Powered by a rocket designed and built in Japan, they've launched a new satellite which they hope will be able to provide digital television (DTV) and high speed internet to remote areas of the country, as well as serving customers in other parts of Southeast Asia.

The satellite called Kizuna was developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the National Institute of Information and Communication Technology, and Mitsubishi. It can reportedly transmit data at up to 1.2Gbps (Gigabits per second), including both internet and DTV streams.

In addition to the fact that launching a satellite is a relatively quick, if still expensive, way to deploy infrrastructer across a larger area than would be possible with physical cables. For Japan, where earthquakes are a real threat, satellite connections also have the advantage that they will be unaffected in the case of any natural disaster.

"The infrastructure on the ground may not withstand a major earthquake, and remote areas may not have any access to optic-fiber networks," one official said.




AfterDawn: News

NBC Universal streams vintage TV from network websites

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Feb 2008 23:02

NBC Universal streams vintage TV from network websites We reported yesterday that CBS will be making older TV series avaiable for streaming online. At the same time, NBC Universal is making a similar, but somewhat bigger move. While CBS appears to simply be looking through their vaults to find the most marketable titles for a general audience, NBC is taking a slightly different tack.

Not only are NBC's selection more varied than those offered by CBS, they're also spread across websites for a number of different channels they own. The sites for NBC, the Sci Fi Channel, Chiller, and the Sleuth Channel are all getting shows ranging from The "A-Team" and "Miami Vice" to "Kojak" and "Night Gallery." Each channel's site will offer a different selection based on its programming.

Here's the reported lineup for each website. As with most full TV shows offered for streaming from a major network they're free, but require yot to watch a short advertisement.

NBC.com: "The A-Team"; "Emergency"; "Night Gallery"; "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour"; "Miami Vice"; "Battlestar Galactica" (1978); and "Buck Rogers."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Musician says RIAA reminds him of Mafia

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Feb 2008 18:58

Musician says RIAA reminds him of Mafia Jello Biafra, the former Dead Kennedys lead singer, recently had a few choice words for the RIAA, going as far as to say that the group reminds him of the mafia.

“I have two different opinions on file-sharing,” says Biafra, “you may take from the big labels...because the only thing they do is steal from both the artists and the audience.”

Besides calling the big labels the "bad guys", he placed the "small guys" on the "good side." “Don’t take from the smaller, independent labels. Then fantastic bands would have to surrender way too early, because they can’t afford it,” he says.

“Support the independent labels, but the big ones –****’em. Anyways, I haven’t found anything in many years which come from a large label worth buying”
adds Biafra.

Moving on to the RIAA, Biafra gets even angrier.

“The RIAA reminds me most of the Godfather,”
Biafra says, actually going into a Marlon Brando impression, “we will sue you. If you want out of this without going to court, we can make an arrangement: Give us $5000. If not, you will find a horses head in your bed.”

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple begins iTunes promotion for movie rental service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Feb 2008 18:47

Apple begins iTunes promotion for movie rental service In what seems to be a concentrated effort to jump start its new movie rental business Apple will be offering 99 cent rentals on iTunes once per week on a new movie.

The rental will be available on Thursday and the special pricing will run until the next Monday. The first movie available is The Hours which is available now.

Apple also announced that there was a small update to the iTunes platform, in which there are several bugfixes including a fix to make the service more compatible with the Apple TV interface.




AfterDawn: News

BBC iPlayer is costing ISPs a hefty sum

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Feb 2008 18:32

BBC iPlayer is costing ISPs a hefty sum According to a few reports and earnings from UK based ISPs, there has been a sharp increase in bandwidth costs thanks to the BBC iPlayer.

The BBC announced that in its first month of operation, January 2008, 2.2 million people watched at least one program using the service which led to almost a tripling in streaming costs for at least one ISP, PlusNet.

The actual cost per user per month for PlusNet rose from 6.1p to 18.3p, meaning the internet TV service is costing the ISP a hefty sum.

Ashley Highfield however, the BBC's director of future media and technology, has said that the iPlayer has "negligible impact on the UK internet infrastructure".




AfterDawn: News

Onkyo drops support of HD DVD as well

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Feb 2008 18:15

Onkyo drops support of HD DVD as well The high-end electronics maker Onkyo has also announced that it will be ending support for HD DVD and stopping all production of HD DVD players.

Although a couple of companies have recently decided to continue their support for HD DVD players Onkyo clearly felt differently following Toshiba's recent decision to end support for HD DVD. "As Onkyo manufactures HD DVD players with core parts supplied by Toshiba," Onkyo's statement read, "it will be difficult for Onkyo to continue its further development and production of HD DVD players."

Any future HD products will be made for Blu-ray, says the company, but it will offer full support for all its HD DVD products including after-sales service.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Warner Bros. to open consumer research facility

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Feb 2008 4:14

Warner Bros. to open consumer research facility With new technology and ways to deliver video being introduced at breakneck speed, one thing most entertainment executives will admit to is that nobody knows anything for sure. To date no one has been able to reach any definite conclusions about how consumers actually respond to the range of offerings from Streaming TV shows to video on game consoles. Warner Bros. has decided it's time to fill the void, and has put together a consumer research facility to find out for themselves.

Warner has put together a media Center that includes game consoles, portable media players, computers of different types, and even DirecTV. They plan to bring in consumers and give them access to content in various forms to see how they react to it. They'll be Left alone to use Video On Demand, web content, and portable media while cameras monitor their activities.

"We're not operating in a vacuum anymore because of this center," Bruce K. Rosenblum, the executive vice president in charge of the operation told CNET News.com on Thursday. "We want to get smarter and understand these technologies a bit better. Warner Bros can't just assume about the deals we do. I think it's important that Warner knows the experience."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

CBS adds classic TV shows to streaming lineup

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Feb 2008 3:54

CBS adds classic TV shows to streaming lineup Visitors to the American CBS website are now able to stream not just a current shows on the network, but also a selection of classic shows including the first season of 'MacGyver,' 'Melrose Place' and 'Hawaii Five-0', the first two seasons of 'The Twilight Zone', and all three seasons of the original 'Star Trek'. While it's not the first time older TV shows have been available for Streaming, they've generally been distributed by third parties like Joost or the NBC and News Corp. owned Hulu.

The move seems to make particular sense for CBS. Due to the terms of their split with former corporate parent Viacom, CBS has a particularly large catalog of TV titles. With the rising popularity of streaming video for more recent programming it only makes sense that they'd want to make it part of their online identity.

In order to watch the shows online you'll need to have the latest version of Flash installed. You'll also be required to watch a 15 or 30 second commercial before each episode.

In addition to the episodes you'll also find links to sites ranging from TV.com to Wikipedia where information about particular series can be located. Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be any option for full screen viewing as of now.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Clarification to British copyright proposal

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Feb 2008 3:45

Clarification to British copyright proposal It turns out the British government isn't actually considering a three-strikes plan for dealing with internet pirates. According to Andy Burnham, culture secretary, suggestions to force ISP disconnection of repeat copyright violators was never in the proposal. But don't start thinking British ISPs are off the hook for their customers' piracy though. The actual recommendation before Parliament suggests a deadline of April, 2009 before the government would step in if a significant decrease in online piracy in the country hasn't been realized.

For the same reason British ISPs are saying they can't comply with the government's request though, it will be problematic at best to write legislation that would allow ISPs to inspect all the packets going to and coming from customers because of the European Union's strict copyright laws. In fact, despite lawmakers' assertions that such legislation will certainly come if they don't feel ISPs are doing their jobs, the people who would be responsible for writing it don't even seem convinced it can be done. They cite “difficult legal issues” as the problem.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft talks about Xbox 360 sales and Blu-ray drive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Feb 2008 18:56

Microsoft talks about Xbox 360 sales and Blu-ray drive Microsoft's GDC keynote speaker, John Schappert has announced that the Xbox 360 has reached another milestone, over 18 million units sold worldwide.

"I think that we've sold 18 million, the last time I've checked. 18 million hardware units worldwide,"
said Schappert. He would not however, project sales for the rest of 2008.

The speaker also went on to say that the company would probably not even bother with an external Blu-ray drive for the console simply because the HD DVD add-on sold poorly.

"We have no plans to announce anything like that right now. But I'd also urge you to look at the attach rate for the HD-DVD drive,"
he noted. "It was a 3 percent attach rate...you also have to take into account how did the other accessory do when you look at the future."




AfterDawn: News

LG staying format neutral for the time being

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Feb 2008 18:41

LG staying format neutral for the time being Contrary to other decisions by major companies, the manufacturer LG has announced it will not be dropping HD DVD and will instead remain format neutral.

"LG believes that at this present moment in time, it is necessary to provide a player which supports both formats and therefore create simplicity and convenience for the existing HD DVD consumer," read a press statement.

LG is one of only two companies to offer a dual-format player, the somewhat popular LG BH100.

Daniel Aziz, marketing manager for LG Electronics added, "With the recent announcement from Toshiba, Blu-ray will now be the format that will pave the way for High Definition movies, however this does not rule out HD DVD immediately as there are still a number of consumers who have chosen HD DVD and begun to build a HD DVD collection."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Paramount becomes final studio to move to Blu-ray

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Feb 2008 18:14

Paramount becomes final studio to move to Blu-ray Paramount has announced that it has become the final major studio to move to Blu-ray, after it had been HD DVD exclusive since last August.

"We are pleased that the industry is moving to a single high-definition format, as we believe it is in the best interest of the consumer," the studio said in a statement.

"As we look to (begin) releasing our titles on Blu-ray, we will monitor consumer adoption and determine our release plans accordingly."


There was no other details issued as to when the transition would begin nor was there word on what titles would be first released on Blu-ray. There was also no word on whether Dreamworks would be moving with its parent company but that announcement is expected soon.




AfterDawn: News

Sony paid Warner Bros. $400 million USD to go Blu-ray exclusive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Feb 2008 17:49

Sony paid Warner Bros. $400 million USD to go Blu-ray exclusive A new article by the GlobeandMail is saying that Sony paid Warner Bros. in excess of $400 million USD to drop HD DVD and move exclusively to Blu-ray.

Warner's decision, a week before this year's CES started a downhill trend for HD DVD until finally the format died this week, with Toshiba confirming they will be dropping production of HD DVD players.

If the article proves to be true, then Sony may have paid a hefty price to win the format war, but being the proprietor of the format, the company could stand to make billions in the next decade; that is however if Blu-ray and physical media are even the medium of choice in the next few years.




AfterDawn: News

Latest White Space device didn't fail FCC tests

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 22 Feb 2008 0:00

Latest White Space device didn't fail FCC tests According to backers of controversial new devices that would make use of the so-called "white spaces" between DTV broadcasts for wireless networking, FCC testing of their latest submission isn't the complete failure that's been reported. Although it's true that the first device, which was tested many months ago, did cause interference with licensed frequencies due to a malfunction, a report from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) apparently exxagerated the problems with the new device.

In fact, according to Ed Thomas of the White Space Coalition the new device being tested has indeed failed, but not in terms of the test. Rather it's had a power failure that has halted testing, but he says at no time did it interfere with surrounding frequencies.

Thomas, during a press briefing, said the NAB was engaged in "rhetoric" designed to complicate the FCC's device testing."Let this be based on science, not politics," Thomas said of the ongoing testing at the FCC. "Let the facts prevail."




AfterDawn: News

Japanese analysts see LCD boom continuing for several years

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Feb 2008 23:18

Japanese analysts see LCD boom continuing for several years the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Association (JEITA) released a forecast on Thursday suggesting that annual sales of LCD TVs will likely reach 155 million units by 2012. In 2007 there were a record 74.8 million LCD models sold.

According to to a JEITA spokesman, the report takes into account anticipated sales from 51 nations, which represents all the countries the organization expects to have a significant impact on sales overy the next five years.

Although they're also anticipating improved demand for plasma, the report only sees it as a 25 million unit per year business, which is actually more of an increase percentage-wise, but obviously not as bright a future as major plasma vendors like Matsushita and Pioneer would like.




AfterDawn: News

RIAA to prosecutors: beware of crack dealing pirates

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Feb 2008 22:57

RIAA to prosecutors: beware of crack dealing pirates Pretend you're a representative for the RIAA and you're tired of taking on file sharers in court, and of course as always you're looking to make your problems somebody else's responsibility. So far your attempts to get additional criminal provisions to make those people prosecutors' problem have failed. So what's your next move? You might put together a presentation telling those same prosecutors that the music pirates you've been taking to court happen to also be crack dealers.

Although it sounds like the plot you might expect to see written during the writer's strike, it turns out that this is exactly what RIAA lawyers have done. In an attempt to show prosecutors the value of piracy charges for going after dangerous criminals for other offenses the RIAA has produced a video in association with the National District Attorneys Association where RIAA representative Frank Walters says "When you buy a CD, would you like it with or without—the with is enclosing a piece of crack or whatever the case may be."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony BMG inks new mobile media deal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Feb 2008 16:55

Sony BMG inks new mobile media deal Sony BMG has announced that it had signed a deal with Thumplay that will add another 7000 pieces of content to the growing mobile media service.

Currently the service offers 80000 ringtones, games, music videos, and wallpapers among its other content. The new content will be from artists and will be in many of the before mentioned categories.

"This deal reinforces Thumbplay's position as the leading U.S. provider of mobile content to consumers who are looking to discover and manage their personalized mobile entertainment experience,"
CEOI Are Traasdahl said in a statement.

Thumbplay is distributed through sites such as Qloud, MSN Mobile, and AOL and there are about 2000 different devices compatible with the service.

The service already has deals with EMI, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, and Universal Music Group accounting for most of its 80000 pieces of content.




AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 sees price drop in Canada

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Feb 2008 16:17

Xbox 360 sees price drop in Canada Microsoft Canada has announced price drops across the line for all of its Xbox 360 models and it seems Canadian buyers will finally see prices more equivalent to their southern neighbors in the US.

The Xbox 360 Pro pack will drop to $349 CAD and the Elite Pack will drop to $449 CAD. The base-level Arcade model will see the smallest cut, from $299 CAD to $279 CAD.

Its US counterparts reached their current pricing model in late August 2007, and so far Canadian gamers have been forced to pay a large premium for the consoles, higher than even the discrepancy in the US and Canadian dollar which is now less than a couple cents per dollar.




AfterDawn: News

Weekly Glossary updates

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Feb 2008 7:27

Weekly Glossary updates Once again it's time for my weekly list of Glossary updates. Since I've spent the majority of the last week working on some guides for processing captured video I haven't been able to spend as much time on the Glossary. Hopefully what I have been able to get done will be helpful though.




AfterDawn: News

LCD sales surpass CRT during last part of 2007

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Feb 2008 6:55

LCD sales surpass CRT during last part of 2007 Sales of LCD televisions have hit a milestone, becoming the number one television technology. In the fourth quarter of 2007, for the first time ever, more LCD TVs were sold than CRT models according to market analysts at DisplaySearch. Compared to CRT televisions, which managed a 46% market share in the 3 months of the year, LCD TVs accounted for a 47% share.

It looks like at least part of the boost came from 1080p models, which saw an increase of nearly 300% for the year, and accounted for more than 15% all LCD units sold and 60% of those with screen sizes larger than 40 inches in the last half of last year. Nearly 80 million LCDs were reportedly sold during all of last year.




AfterDawn: News

Mininova hits 4 billionth download

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Feb 2008 1:03

Mininova hits 4 billionth download Just 4 months after reaching 3 billion downloads the popular torrent site Mininova has announced that they have hit another milestone; 4 billion torrent downloads by its users.

Niek van der Maas, the founder of MiniNova had this to say about the latest milestone. “When we launched back in January 2005, we were the first BitTorrent site to offer a sophisticated search engine, sorting of search results, categorization, etc..We try to keep our lead by innovating and extending our website with new features. Many things changed in the past years, but one thing will always be the same: we try to offer the #1 P2P directory and search engine.”

The milestones just keep racking up for Mininova, and at an exponential rate as well. In May 2006 the site reached 400 million torrent downloads, and only 8 months later they hit the 1 billion plateau. By November of 2007 it was 3 billion.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

American kiosks to invade Canada this year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Feb 2008 23:37

American kiosks to invade Canada this year The New Release (TNR), a Houston-based company, plans to add 1,000 of their Moviecube DVD rental kiosks in North America by the end of 2008. Specifically the kiosks are going to Canada, where they'll be installed in Loblaws grocery stores.

TNR's move was spurred, at least in part, by an influx of cash from a venture capital firm. They're second only to Redbox in the number of rental kiosks currently in service. Redbox's kiosk offerings include many found at parent company McDonald's restaurant locations.

“Expanding into Canada, where movie rental customers have shown a veracious appetite for DVD rentals, is a much anticipated move for us,” said Tim Belton, chief executive officer of TNR, in a statement.




AfterDawn: News

doubleTwist synchronizes media across devices

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Feb 2008 23:09

doubleTwist synchronizes media across devices San Francisco based doubleTwist launched a new service today for transferring digital media between a variety of devices, including computers, portable media players, and mobile phones. The software starts with the basic information to interact with different devices. When you connect a supported media player, media player, or mobile phone to your computer, software called doubleTwist Desktop can retrieve whatever files you'd like, as well as transferring media files from your computer to the device.

The key to the software is the information its programmed with regarding each supported device. With so many variations on media formats it must know the capabilities and limitations of each device to ensure it's only supplying files that can be played. Likewise, it must know how to query for new media and transfer both to and from your computer. It knows so you don't have to.

Jon Lech Johansen, the company's co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, says “We’ve built a format agnostic solution that handles the complexity of file and device compatibility so consumers don’t have to.” You may know Johansen better as "DVD Jon," who became famous at the age of 16 for distributing the famous DeCSS code, which is used to this day in DVD ripping tools.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Demonoid tracker is finally back

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Feb 2008 17:12

Demonoid tracker is finally back Three months ago the immensely popular torrent tracker Demonoid was taken offline but it seems that many hopeful have something to cheer about as the tracker is responding for the first time since the take down.

Curiously, the the new tracker is hosted in Malaysia while the actual frontend of Demonoid and its subforums are still hosted in the US.

There has been no official word from the Demonoid admin team so for now this could purely be coincedence, but there is the possibility that the site has found a new Malaysian host and is preparing a comeback.

A few months back, Deimos, the lead admin for the site said there was a possibility for return but hope has been fading as the months past. “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," Deimos said at the time.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple drops price on Shuffle and shows off new model

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Feb 2008 14:48

Apple drops price on Shuffle and shows off new model Apple has announced that they have dropped the price of their popular iPod Shuffle model after growth drastically slowed for the last quarter.

The 1GB 2nd Generation Shuffle will now cost a reasonable $49 USD. The company also introduced a 2GB version that will cost $69 USD.

A company statement showed that the player saw slowed growth to 5 percent last quarter, compared to 15 percent for the year and a half preceding it.

"This makes the Shuffle more competitive in terms of a price-capacity ratio,"
NPD Group's Ross Rubin said in an interview from New York. "While Apple had a good holiday season, the market has been slowing down somewhat."

To date Apple has sold over 140 million iPods, including Shuffles, "classic" iPods, and the new Touch model.




AfterDawn: News

iTunes in UK adds BBC programming

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Feb 2008 14:38

iTunes in UK adds BBC programming BBC Worldwide has announced it has struck a deal with Apple that will allow users in the UK to download a few top BBC shows from the popular iTunes platform.

Each show will cost 1.89 pounds (about $3.70 USD) and will include such popular shows as "Torchwood," "Life on Mars" and "Spooks". Users can then watch the show on their computers, on TV via the Apple TV device or on Apple handhelds.

The new deal follows in the BBC's strategy to make its shows available for download after they have aired and the deal marks the first for a British broadcaster.

The downloads are available for free on BBC's own iPlayer for 30 days after they air and then will be available for purchase on iTunes.

"We want to give audiences a wide variety of options on how and where to view their favorite BBC shows,"
said Simon Danker, director of digital media at BBC Worldwide.

"With more people now choosing to watch TV shows on their iPods, fans of series such as 'The Mighty Boosh' and 'The Catherine Tate Show' can now enjoy those shows wherever they are."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Toshiba confirms dropping of HD DVD

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Feb 2008 5:42

Toshiba confirms dropping of HD DVD Toshiba has officially announced that the company will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders. After many unofficial announcements by different sources, the company has confirmed in a press release that the development of HD DVD has ended. Toshiba will be reducing the shipments of HD DVD players towards the cessation by the end of March 2008.

First reported by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK and after that by a source from Toshiba, Warner and couple of major retailers, such as Best Buy, Netflix and Wal-mart, dropping HD DVD was too much for the camp. Toshiba promises that it will still provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Australia falling in line with music industry talking points

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Feb 2008 0:22

Australia falling in line with music industry talking points Anyone who read the IFPI's annual report on the state of the music industry when it was released in January would have already been aware that their stated goal for this year was to hold ISPs responsible for copyright infringement taking place on their networks. If you're not familiar with the IFPI, they're a international trade and lobbying organization representing all the major labels, plus a wide variety of smaller ones as well. If you're not familiar with their intentions to force ISPs to take responsibility for copyright enforcement all you have to do is look at the proposals in France, the U.K., and now Australia, which would do exactly that via so-called "three strikes" laws.

Chief executive of Australia's National Internet Industry Association, Peter Corones, will be meeting with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy this week to discuss ISPs' concerns over the proposed new law. While he hasn't laid out any specifics, he did say "Internet service providers are not the enforcers of copyright," calling them instead "a mere conduit" to reach the internet.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

BitTorrent developers working on encryption to defeat ISP interference

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 18 Feb 2008 23:58

BitTorrent developers working on encryption to defeat ISP interference It was only a matter of time before the BitTorrent community decided to take on the "network management" practices of ISPs like Comcast. According to TorrentFreak that's exactly what a small group of developers is doing.

They're working to implement what's being termed as Peer List Obfuscation, referring to its goal of hiding the list of peers returned by a torrent Tracker when queried by a client. This list is apparently used by Comcast's Sandvine network management system to locate BitTorrent traffic in order to falsify reset packets, telling a client uploading a particular file that the computer on the end closed the connection. In reality the message comes from Comcast, and is reportedly used to shut down any file being uploaded using BitTorrent without a corresponding download.

Ironically, if this project is a success it will mean not only that ISP's like Comcast won't be able to shut down most BitTorrent traffic, but also that they'll end up with even more traffic due to the overhead from encryption.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft and Paramount team up for digital downloads

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Feb 2008 18:35

Microsoft and Paramount team up for digital downloads Microsoft and Paramount have announced a new partnership in which the movie studio will offer films via the Live Video Store beginning on February 19th.

The first Title to hit the service will be the blockbuster "Transformers" and new and existing titles will continue to trickle in. New titles from Warner Bros. will also be hitting the service including Beowulf, and The Assassination of Jesse James.

"We're very excited to announce this new relationship,"
Paramount's Alex Carlos added. "We have lots of great content that fits this demographic. We're excited about digital distribution, especially being on a platform as elegant as Xbox 360."

And Robin Burrowes, Xbox Live UK marketing manager, continued, "This announcement gives our Video Store customers in the UK an even greater choice of entertainment, with a great level of HD movie quality, as always."

The store launched in the UK in December and allows users to purchase digital downloads of Standard Definition or High Definition movies. You have two weeks to watch the content or 24 hours to finish it after you've begun watching.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Motorola acquires largest Asian music download provider

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Feb 2008 17:11

Motorola acquires largest Asian music download provider Motorola has announced that it will be completing its previously announced acquisition of Soundbuzz, the Singapore-based provider of digital music downloads. In fact, Soundbuzz is the leading provider for the entire Asian continent.

The companies did not disclose any of the financial terms of the deal but did say it had been in the works for a few months.

"Clearly, this marks a major milestone, as it positions Soundbuzz and Motorola to better participate in the ongoing growth in Asia's booming mobile music download market,"
Soundbuzz CEO Sudhanshu Sarronwala said.

The company's MotoMusic platform will now have 750,000 songs available for download in India, Southeast Asia, and Greater China.




AfterDawn: News

Toshiba denies it is dropping HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Feb 2008 16:18

Toshiba denies it is dropping HD DVD Despite rampant speculation and rumor, it seems that Toshiba is not dropping HD DVD, or at least not for the time being.

The corporation has released a brief press release this morning in an effort to put a damper on the rumors that have been spreading since the giant retailer Wal-Mart decided to go Blu-ray exclusive beginning in June.

"The media reported that Toshiba will discontinue its HD DVD business. Toshiba has not made any announcement concerning this. Although Toshiba is currently assessing its business strategies, no decision has been made at this moment,"
read the complete statement.

This latest statement could simply be a way to stall before the decision to drop the failing format is officially made, but for now HD DVD fans still have some hope.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

EU commissioner wants to extend copyright to 95 years

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 18 Feb 2008 0:58

EU commissioner wants to extend copyright to 95 years Much like songwriter and Congressman Sonny Bono did in the U.S. several years ago, EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy is championing an extension to copyright terms. Not surprisingly his stated goal is much the same as Bono's was - to protect artists from the world the rest of us live in where you have to plan for your own retirement.

Mcreevy says "If nothing is done, thousands of European performers who recorded in the late 1950s and 1960s will lose all of their airplay royalties over the next ten years." This is similar to statements from a variety of recording industry insiders when the UK decided not to make such a change to their copyright terms last year.

The thing is, if the reward is actually intended to pay artists the 95 year copyright term doesn't seem to make much sense. Let's assume you write a song when you're 10 years old. In order for a 95 year term to make a difference to you it would require that you live to be 105. Additionally, if that one song (or album) and its royalties are your only source of income you have a lot bigger problems than copyright terms.

On the other hand, if you're a record label that continues to own works long after the artists are gone you're guaranteed to make money on songs for decades.




AfterDawn: News

Making sure you're ready for DTV

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Feb 2008 21:36

Making sure you're ready for DTV If you live in the U.S. and have a TV with only an old fashioned analog TV you have just a year before your TV will no longer be able to receive OTA (over the air) broadcasts. Although that may seem like a long way off, there are a number of reasons you should be gettting ready as soon as possible. If you already receive your television programming through a cable or satellite service there won't be anything to worry about. At the same time, all us households qualify for two $40 vouchers, which will at least cover most of the cost of a digital to analog converter, so there's really no good reason not to go ahead and get one (or two).

How to know if you're affected
Just because you have an analog TV doesn't mean you don't have a digital tuner. In fact, if you've bought it within the last two years it may have the necessary ATSC (digital) tuner in addition to the standard NTSC (analog) one. If it's less than a year old it's almost guaranteed to include ATSC tuning. If you're not sure you should look through the TVs manual or manufacturer's website to find out for sure. If it has an ATSC tuner you already have everything you need for DTV. If not, keep reading.

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AfterDawn: News

Super Bowl halftime performance lifts online sales for Heartbreakers

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 16 Feb 2008 22:29

Super Bowl halftime performance lifts online sales for Heartbreakers The Super Bowl is perhaps the best known advertising spectacle in the world, but it's not just advertisers who can benefit from increased sales after the big game. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers saw a huge increase in sales of their back catalog after being featured in the halftime show.

While viewers were waiting for a chance to see the latest Madison Avenue efforts on Super Bowl Sunday they were bombarded with reminders that The Heartbreakers would be playing at halftime, which was already fueling sales.

Although the spike in sales isn't particularly notable, what makes it interesting is the job Universal Music Group (UMG) did turning the free publicity into online sales. "A huge part of our marketing was online-based," executive vice president/general manager of Universal Music Enterprises Mike Davis said. "With big television events, the online aspect is so important because people can see (the performance) happen onscreen and then immediately react and buy it online. With so much music being bought online now anyway, it's an easy bull's-eye to market to."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Anonymous Toshiba source confirms HD DVD's demise

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 16 Feb 2008 22:01

Anonymous Toshiba source confirms HD DVD's demise Reuters is reporting that a source within Toshiba is confirming the company is planning to drop HD DVD, and is currently in the final stages of working out their exit strategy, although the decision isn't official yet.

Although there has been a lot of speculation about how long Toshiba would be willing to stand behind the technology which has already cost them a lot of money to develop and promote, after Warner Bros. was convinced to back Blu-ray and drop HD DVD production later this year.

Although Toshiba and studio partners Paramount and Universal have very publicly stated that they have no plans to give up on HD DVD yet, a series of defeats, including this week's announcements from both Netflix and Wal-Mart that they'll be dropping the format to focus on Blu-ray.




AfterDawn: News

Rapidshare to fight against German court ruling

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Feb 2008 18:21

Rapidshare to fight against German court ruling Rapidshare has announced that it will indeed be appealing a recent German court ruling which has the potential to have the gigantic file hosting site shut down.

Last month the court ruled that Rapidshare must block access to any musical works that are represented by the German music rights group GEMA. The ruling even went as far as to say that the courts can "take measures that might have the risk of making Rapidshare's service substantially less attractive or even close it down completely."

A company representative has now said that "Rapidshare wants to clarify the legal situation for hosters", and will be appealing the ruling. The representative also argued that it would be next to impossible to filter its uploads because users can rename files, split them in pieces, or save them as different formats before uploading. Continuing on, the spokesperson added that not all uploads can be considered illegal or unauthorized as music fans can be using the host to have backups of their own MP3 collection without sharing the links.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Price cuts coming for iPhone and iPod Touch?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Feb 2008 17:30

Price cuts coming for iPhone and iPod Touch? According to 9to5mac, Apple is preparing to drop the prices on its very popular iPhone and iPod Touch models, possibly as soon as next week.

The rumored price cut will be $100 USD for both the Touch and the iPhone and the smaller capacity 8 GB Touch will be completely dropped from the line just as the 4 GB iPhone was last year.

If proven true the price cuts will mean the new 16 GB iPhone will cost $399 USD and the 32 GB Touch will cost the same, a very reasonable price considering models touting half the memory capacity sell for that same price currently.

The price drops should make way for "pricing space" for the upcoming 3G iPhone slated for release later this year.




AfterDawn: News

Next-gen format war is officially over

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Feb 2008 14:25

Next-gen format war is officially over First reported by the Japanese public broadcaster NHK and later confirmed by Toshiba itself, the next-gen format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray is finally over, with Toshiba planning on stopping production of HD DVD players.

The battle, which has raged on for the last couple of years, has often been compared to the Betamax-VHS battle of the MID 1980's and has slowed down the development of what movie studios hope will become a multi-billion dollar industry over the next decade.

The final blow to HD DVD and Toshiba took place yesterday when the mammoth retailer Wal-Mart announced they would go Blu-ray exclusive beginning in June. Other recent news, such as Best Buy and Netflix's decisions to support Blu-ray must have also weighed heavily on Toshiba's decision.

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AfterDawn: News

Men prefer YouTube content, Women prefer TV hits

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Feb 2008 2:42

Men prefer YouTube content, Women prefer TV hits According to data reported by research firm Nielsen Online, the video habits of women suggest a bias towards big network television content that is available on the Internet, while men seem to prefer the amateurish short video clips found on YouTube-like sites. The data also suggests that both types of videos are watched mostly at radically different times of the day.

Women in the 18 to 34 year old range are twice as likely as men to watch streaming video on broadcast network TV sites. Most the network TV viewing happens during the lunch hours, or between noon and 2pm. Men are two and a half times more likely to spend their time watching content on sites like YouTube, and this viewing is done mostly anywhere between 10pm and 6am.

The data was sourced from Nielsen Online's new VideoCensus service. It comes after analysts at comScore revealed that the Hollywood writers strike had driven a YouTube-led record month for video viewing. 141 million Internet users in America watched content from sites like YouTube, MySpace, Veoh and Break.com during December.




AfterDawn: News

China Mobile has 400,000 iPhone users

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Feb 2008 2:28

China Mobile has 400,000 iPhone users According to market research firm In-Stat, over 400,000 of Apple's iPhone product are being used with the China Mobile provider despite the lack of availability of iPhone in China and breakdown of talks between the two companies. The company sold 3.7 million iPhones in 2007, and there was a noticeable gap between the number of units sold and those that were activated by providers in the U.S. and Europe that Apple holds exclusive deals with.

Apple has fought off iPhone unlocking as well as it can but it has been turned into a business for entrepreneurs and an ongoing challenge for intelligent developers and hackers. The lucrative revenue sharing deals Apple has signed with providers do not apply if devices are unlocked to use other networks.

At least it does highlight the demand for the iPhone among China's massive population. Apple's talk breakdown with China Mobile was downplayed by CEO Steve Jobs, who claims there was only ever really one meeting. The iPhone is poised to make its Asian debut in 2008 officially.




AfterDawn: News

TVCatchup.com service goes offline

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Feb 2008 2:13

TVCatchup.com service goes offline A self described web Personal Video Recorder (PVR) that allowed users to record from 12 different UK channels appears to have been forced to close its doors. TVCatchup.com which had a tagline "never miss a show again" allowed members set the service to record programmes for them up to 7 days in advance. Afterwards, users could watch the programmes for up to 60 days, or another user could "loan" a recording that another member forgot to set.

Each user had a limit of 10GB worth of recording. However, the legal status of the site has been in question for some time now. The operators maintained that TVCatchup was nothing more than another kind of PVR and so should have the same legal status. The BBC did not agree.

"We are not aware of TVCatchup having approached us, nor have we given our permission for them to make BBC programmes available to the public on this basis," a spokesman told the Guardian in December. "We do not accept all of the assumptions and assertions that they have made in their terms of service, and will be looking into this further."

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AfterDawn: News

European Commission to examine copyright levy

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Feb 2008 1:57

European Commission to examine copyright levy The European Commission is set to consult over the current copyright levy systems in place in many EU states. Copyright levies can apply to anything from blank CDs and DVDs to MP3 players and forms of storage. It is a surcharge on the price of an item based on certain criteria. This revenue is collected and then distributed to artists thought to be victims of music and video piracy.

The problem with the levies is the assumption that all of these items purchased will be used for private copying. Charlie McCreevy, EC Internal Markets Commissioner said that while the EU wouldn't scrap the idea of compensating artists for this copying, there is a problem with the wide diversity of implementation throughout the EU states.

"I hope this new round of consultations can lead to solutions being found to the discrepancies that the diverse application of these levies have led to," he said. "There can be no question of calling into doubt the entitlement of rights holders to compensation for private copying. At the same time there is a need to look at how the levies are applied in practice."

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AfterDawn: News

BBC worldwide content on iTunes next week

Written by James Delahunty @ 16 Feb 2008 1:41

BBC worldwide content on iTunes next week According to a TV industry source, the commercial arm of the BBC will begin adding downloadable video content to Apple Inc.'s iTunes multimedia store. The Register says a source informed them that BBC Worldwide's digital media director Simon Danker informed the company's third-party production partners about the deal with Apple.

BBC Worldwide is an attempt by the BBC to increase revenue by selling rights to TV shows internationally to add to the money collected from TV licenses. The BBC iPlayer allows UK residents to watch TV shows for free up to seven days after they have aired on television, and it has been indicated that iPlayer support will be going to Apple TV soon.

Next year, BBC Worldwide, ITV and Channel 4 are set to launch Project Kangaroo, a joint on-demand video streaming service. It is not clear whether the BBC content going to iTunes will be available worldwide or just in the UK.




AfterDawn: News

US DTV conversion likely to boost cable subscriptions

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 15 Feb 2008 23:46

US DTV conversion likely to boost cable subscriptions When analog TV broadcasts are shut off for good in the U.S. in almost exactly 1 year (Februrary 17, 2009) some people with analog televisions will be using their new DTV converters, while others will find themselves suddenly without reception entirely. A third group, though, will be avoiding the problem altogether and just signing up for Cable Television service.

According to a report from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. on Friday, around 1.4 million households will probably switch to pay TV service as a result of the digital TV transition - enough to significantly lift the growth rates for the cable industry in 2009, compared to recent years.

Watchdog group Consumers Union is keeping an eye on cable and satellite providers to ensure they don't try to boost subscriptions by spreading misinformation about the transition. So far no such tricks have been spotted, but senior counsel Chris Murray says "We want the folks in the marketplace to know that we're watching."

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AfterDawn: News

US DTV vouchers to be mailed next week

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 15 Feb 2008 23:21

US DTV vouchers to be mailed next week If you're one of the more than 2 million Americans who have already applied for government vouchers for digital to analog DTV converter boxes you may be getting it as early as next week, which is when the first of them will be mailed.

All U.S. households are eligible for the vouchers, which cover the first $40 of a qualifying DTV receiver. You can find the full list of converters in our Hardware section. Although most of the boxes are expected to cost more than $40, although satellite receiver and DVR manufacturer Echostar has announced they'll be selling one model at a loss to ensure it costs no more than the voucher's value.

Converters have already started appearing on retailers' shelves. Although the last analog TV signals aren't scheduled to be shut off for another year, you should make sure to get yours well in advance of the deadline to avoid the rush.

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AfterDawn: News

Plextor offers 4X BD-R, HD DVD-ROM SATA drive

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Feb 2008 20:59

Plextor offers 4X BD-R, HD DVD-ROM SATA drive Earlier this month, Plextor Europe announced the upcoming availability of its new Blu-ray burning / HD DVD reading optical drive that uses the faster SATA interface. The Plextor PX-B920SA (pictured below) is capable of writing Blu-ray discs at 4X speed and also offers the disc-labeling Lightscribe technology.

"Plextor has developed its second Blu-ray drive to be faster, dual-format, as it reads HD-DVD discs, and utilizes the SATA interface. Plextor has a long history in providing premium, high reliability optical drives and the new PX-B920SA sets the standard again," Rudy de Meirsman, Sales & Marketing Manager of Plextor Europe, said.



Having been developed to strict environmental and recycling standards, the Plextor PX-B920SA meets EU RoHS (restriction of hazardous substances) and WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) directives. The Plextor PX-B920SA will be available from end of February 2008 at Plextor's network of dealers. It is covered by Plextor's Fast Warranty Service (2-year warranty in the EU, Norway and Switzerland (Collect & Return); other countries 1-year carry-in).

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AfterDawn: News

Panasonic to release 32GB SDHC card

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Feb 2008 20:28

Panasonic to release 32GB SDHC card Panasonic USA has revealed the release date details for its upcoming 32GB SD High Capacity (SDHC) Memory Card, suggestion for use with camcorders that utilize the AVCHD format. In April 2008, new SDHC Memory Card, RP-SDV32GU1K, will be launched and is advertised as being able to record up to 12 hours of High Definition video content, depending on the camcorder and the resolution and bitrate settings.

Panasonic recently released the HDC-SD9 camcorder, which is suggested for use with the new 32GB card. Using the HDC-SD9, up to 12 hours of content can be recorded at 1440 x 1080i video in HE mode, or approximately four hours of video content at 1920 x 1080i in HA mode. With the Class 6 speed of the 32GB SDHC card, transfer speeds up to 20MB/s are possible.

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AfterDawn: News

MPA targets Chinese file sharing service Xunlei

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Feb 2008 19:52

MPA targets Chinese file sharing service Xunlei The Motion Picture Association (MPA) has targeted Shenzhen Xunlei Networking Technology (Xunlei), a popular peer-to-peer file sharing service operator in China with copyright infringement lawsuits. The action was taken by all six members of the MPA. The companies are seeking damages and legal fees in excess of 7 million renminbi (US$975,000) in the cases, as well as a public admission of copyright infringement.

The MPA also expects that Xunlei pledge to refrain from future copyright infringement activities. The company offers downloads of the popular Thunder5 and WebThunder file sharing software from its official web site. The movie studios claim the software is responsible for the distribution and sharing of hundreds of movie titles including Spiderman 3, War of the Worlds and Miami Vice, without authorization.

The plaintiffs include Twentieth Century Fox International, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Buena Vista International, Universal International Films and Warner Bros. Pictures International. Last year, Internet search and services giant Google made a $5 million investment in Xunlei in exchange for a 4% stake in the company.

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AfterDawn: News

iSuppli: Wii to pass 30 million in 2008

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Feb 2008 19:37

iSuppli: Wii to pass 30 million in 2008 According to market research commission by iSuppli, Nintendo's Wii console will reach 18 million sales globally by the end of 2008, jumping from its 2007 figure of 18 million. If iSuppli's figures are correct, it would put a decent gap between the Wii console and the projected 25.7 million units for the Xbox 360 console (by end of 2008).

The Wii is no stranger to popularity, being present in 3.2 million homes by the end of 2006 and then jumping to 18 million a year later. According to iSuppli however, the Xbox 360 managed to retain a lead as the console in most homes by the end of 2007 with 18.2 million units.

Suffering from a shaky first year in the generation, the PlayStation 3 (PS3) lagged behind at 10.3 million by the end of 2007, having sold 1.8 million in its short time on the market at the end of 2006. iSuppli's report did not mention any other games hardware.

The report cited the low price of the Wii console, bundled with its ability to attract more than traditional gamers and its innovative gameplay as the reasons for its predicted continued success. It is competing with two systems that have focused more on high-performance hardware to produce the generation's best GFX experience and also double as home entertainment hubs amongst more attractive features.

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AfterDawn: News

SIIA targets eBay sellers in anti-piracy efforts

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Feb 2008 19:18

SIIA targets eBay sellers in anti-piracy efforts The Software & Information Industry Association (SIAA) has named several eBay sellers in lawsuits aimed at discouraging the sale of pirate software on the Internet auction giant. The nine lawsuits were filed on behalf of Symantec and Adobe Systems in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It marks the latest action by the SIIA in its war on auction-site piracy initiated two years ago.

"Our goal is to give illegal software sellers a rude awakening, so that unsuspecting software buyers and legitimate sellers are protected. For too long, auction sellers have been able to sell pirated software while risking only the removal of their auction. SIIA has upped the ante by bringing those who pirate software to justice in court," said Keith Kupferschmid, senior vice president of SIIA's anti-piracy division.

These nine lawsuits mark the most agressive action taken by SIIA since its auction site program began. The organization monitors auction sites and identifies individuals selling software items without authorization. Along with pirates, the group has also targeted sellers of OEM software. In the conclusion of the Symantec et al. v. Chan et al. case last year, SIIA collected $205,000. The suit involved the sale of OEM, unbundled, counterfeit and software that was not authorized for sale.

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AfterDawn: News

EU Commissioner to propose longer copyright term in EU

Written by James Delahunty @ 15 Feb 2008 19:01

EU Commissioner to propose longer copyright term in EU European internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has indicated he will propose longer copyright terms for recordings in the European Union, stating he wanted to bring "fairness" into the equation. The record industry has been seeking longer copyright terms in the EU for some time now, complaining that the terms are much shorter than those provided in other major markets.

While performers and producers of music tracks enjoy 95 years of protection in the United States, the term in the European Union sits at 50 years. The position taken by those seeking a longer term claims there is no justification for this difference, especially at a time when the Internet is a promising new platform to market early recordings.

"This is great news for thousands of musicians and we are especially delighted that the Commission has acted to benefit session musicians. We are indebted to our friends and colleagues across the music industry for their ongoing support in achieving this most welcome of outcomes. This is a clear sign that the music community working together has a powerful voice," John F Smith, President, International Federation of Musicians (FIM), said.




AfterDawn: News

PS3 beats out Xbox 360 in US January sales, says NPD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Feb 2008 14:48

PS3 beats out Xbox 360 in US January sales, says NPD According to the NPD Group, year-over-years sales for the US videogame market fell 6 percent to $1.18 billion USD for January 2008.

Software sales for the month increased 11 percent however, to $610.6 million USD, but NPD's Anita Frazier attributed that increase mainly to higher prices, such as the expensive "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" bundles that both sold very well.

Hardware sales were down a hefty 25 percent to $377.8 million USD with the Nintendo Wii leading the Pack again with sales of 274,000 units. Notably though, the Sony PlayStation 3 took second place with 269,000 units sold, placing it just ahead of the

Hardware sales were down 25 per cent to USD 377.8 million, with the Wii once again leading the pack with sales of the PS2 (264,000) and the Microsoft Xbox 360 (230,000).

"Based on this month's results, software sales are off to a fantastic start," said Frazier. "Accessories are also very hot, so the industry looks to be pretty healthy out the gate."




AfterDawn: News

Disney Blu-ray titles have $10 USD rebate

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Feb 2008 14:34

Disney Blu-ray titles have $10 USD rebate Now that it seems that HD DVD's time is running short, Disney is running a rebate program on a good amount of its Blu-ray titles.

In a few titles, such as 'The Rock,' 'Crimson Tide' and 'Con Air', there is an included insert that offers a $10 USD rebate for consumers who've purchased both the standard-def DVD edition and the Blu-ray edition of the same title.

For the rebate to work, buyers must send in both UPC codes, the original insert, as well as a copy of the original receipt before December 31st 2008.

When asked about whether the program would be expanded, Disney said "that the studio does not comment on sales initiatives or strategies."




AfterDawn: News

Game over HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Feb 2008 13:42

Game over HD DVD It seems that over the course of the last month, HD DVD has been taking loss after loss, but it seems the giant retailer Wal-Mart has finally put the final nail in the coffin.

The company announced this morning that it has chosen sides in the next-gen format war and that by June it will only be stocking Blu-ray Disc players, completely dropping HD DVD in the process.

Susan Chronister, of Wal-Mart's video division wrote in her blog earlier this morning that the company made its decision following Best Buy's and Netflix's recent decision to snuff HD DVD.

"By June, Wal-Mart will only be carrying Blu-ray movies and hardware machines and, of course, standard-def movies, DVD players, and up-convert players," Chronister said. She then added, "if you bought the HD DVD player like me, I'd retire it to the bedroom, kid's playroom, or give it to your parents to play their John Wayne standard-def movies, and make space for a (Blu-Ray Disc) player."

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AfterDawn: News

Toshiba dropping HD DVD?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Feb 2008 7:33

Toshiba dropping HD DVD? Media and analysts have speculated the future of HD DVD frequently since Warner turned Blu. During the last couple of weeks the emphasis of speculations has been on when HD DVD will lose, rather than will it lose the war. The most recent turn-ups were when Netflix and Best Buy announced support for Blu-ray, and Toshiba's reply to those was considered by some to be the last breath.

According to Hollywood Reporter, "reliable industry sources" claim that Toshiba will be abandoning its high-definition format. Officially there is no decision yet, "Based on its technological advancements, we continue to believe HD DVD is the best format for consumers, given the value and consistent quality inherent in our player offerings," said the vice president of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products, Jodi Sally.

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AfterDawn: News

Borders to add Digital Centers to stores

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Feb 2008 22:36

Borders to add Digital Centers to stores Brick and mortar retailer Borders is hoping to be competitive with online stores like Amazon.com by introducing a new type of store designed to appeal to consumers accustomed to getting what they want when they want it. In addition to the standard assortment of books, CDs, DVDs, and other traditional media, the stores will feature a Digital Center.

The Digital Center will be a place for customers to download eBooks and audiobooks and create and burn custom CDs. Additional features like self-publishing and family tree research will also be possible from the stores' Digital Centers.

Phil Leigh, senior analyst with Inside Digital Media, told TechNewsWorld "Things like this have been tried before and haven't worked largely because people get impatient for the CD to download, because you have to wait for others to get out of the way and wait for the machine to burn it." He added "The longer the line, the worse it is. We'll have to see if they've effectively dealt with that. But I applaud their efforts to take these steps to adapt the terrestrial retail environment to the digital realities of today."

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AfterDawn: News

Site Updates: Weekly glossary updates

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Feb 2008 21:15

Site Updates: Weekly glossary updates Another week has gone by, and as I threatened last week I'm continuing to update the Glossary. Here are the highlights of my updates over the last week.




AfterDawn: News

Nintendo wants the US to solve international video game piracy problems

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Feb 2008 16:42

Nintendo wants the US to solve international video game piracy problems It seems that Nintendo of America has asked the U.S. Trade Representative to "encourage" international governments to take a harsher stance against piracy of Nintendo video games and systems around the world.

Filing a "Special 301" process with the Trade Representative means the group will "solicit input from the public to underscore specific areas of concern."

Although China remains a primary source for the manufacturing of pirated Nintendo console games, the report says Korea is emerging as the leader for distributing the games over the Internet. The report also said that "despite aggressive anti-piracy actions taken by the company", Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Hong Kong remain saturated with pirated goods or serve as major "transshipment points for global distribution of illegal goods."

"The unprecedented momentum enjoyed by Nintendo DS and Wii makes Nintendo an attractive target for counterfeiters," said Jodi Daugherty, Nintendo of America's senior director of anti-piracy. "We estimate that in 2007, Nintendo, together with its publishers and developers, suffered nearly $975 million USD worldwide in lost sales as a result of piracy. Nintendo will continue to work with governments around the world to aggressively curtail this illegal activity."




AfterDawn: News

Google will enter online music sector in China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Feb 2008 15:52

Google will enter online music sector in China Google has announced plans to enter the Chinese online music market for the first time by joining up with the popular Top100.cn, which allows users "to listen to and download licensed music files for free".

The reports come via the major portal Sina.com and the portal added that the venture should generate revenue through online ads on its music search pages.

Google nor Top100 would confirm or deny the rumors however.

The new venture should help Google compete with the market leader Baidu which holds 60.1 percent share of China's search market and has become very popular "by providing search services for and access to music files, or mp3s, many of which are pirated." The popularity has however been monitored by the international music industry, especially the IFPI.

The IFPI has recently claimed that over 98 percent of all music files distributed in China are pirated and that the legal music market, a meager $76 million, stands as less than 1 percent of the global market for sales.




AfterDawn: News

Michael Bay speaks out about Blu-ray, again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Feb 2008 14:41

Michael Bay speaks out about Blu-ray, again In what can equate to an "I told you so", director Michael Bay has spoken out again about Blu-ray and its recent "victories" over the rival HD DVD format.

Earlier this week, both Netflix and Best Buy seemingly chose Blu-ray as their HD format of choice although Best Buy said it will continue to stock both. Bay, taking the time to knock HD DVD had this to say at the Visual Effects Society’s sixth annual award show, “Blu-ray’s better, and I told everyone ... I was very vocal about it. I knew HD [DVD] was not going to make it.”

Ironically, despite his support for Blu-ray, his best selling HD Title is far and away Transformers which is available on HD DVD.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube leads record month for online video

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Feb 2008 23:44

YouTube leads record month for online video Analysts at comScore believe the Hollywood writer's strike may have already had a measurable affect on viewers. In their report covering online video viewing for December of 2007. According to the organization's monthly report, "nearly 141 million Americans viewed online video in December."

“December represented a considerably strong month for online video viewing,” said Erin Hunter, comScore executive vice president of media and entertainment. “With the writer’s strike keeping new TV episodes from reaching the airwaves, viewers have been seeking alternatives for fresh content. It appears that online video is stepping in to help fill that void.”

As usual, the news was better for YouTube, and parent company Google than for any other site. In fact it's fair to say that due to YouTube, Google is more popular for online video than any ten competing services. In December the search juggernaut continued their dominance, being responsible for delivering nearly a third of all online video to an audience encompassing an estimated 43% of all internet users in the U.S.

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AfterDawn: News

Comcast defends BitTorrent blocking in response to FCC

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Feb 2008 23:22

Comcast defends BitTorrent blocking in response to FCC In a 80 page filing with the FCC, Comcast attempted to explain why there's nothing wrong with the "network management" practices that spurred a number of complaints to agency regulators. The problem is they're not really offering new facts. While they're finally admitting what was proven several months ago - that they've been tampering with P2P uploads from subscriber computers - rather than offering an explanation that puts the practice in a new legal light the company's official position is still just that they haven't done anything wrong.

"The carefully Limited measures that Comcast takes to manage traffic on its broadband network -- including its very limited management of certain P2P protocols -- are a reasonable part of Comcast's strategy to ensure a high-quality, reliable Internet experience for all Comcast High-Speed Internet customers," read the company's statement. It added that the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol "utilize(s) immense amounts of Bandwidth in ways that are unpredictable and inconsistent and that can threaten to overwhelm network capacity and harm the online experience of other users."

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AfterDawn: News

Play.com goes DRM-free in the UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Feb 2008 18:56

Play.com goes DRM-free in the UK The decently popular website Play.com has begun offering high quality, DRM-free MP3 music downloads for the relatively low price of 65p in the UK, and the company says it will start with about one million tracks from EMI and indie labels.

The files, which will be 320kbps, should be playable on most if not all media devices on the market, due to its MP3 format. Apple already offers EMI tracks DRM-free as well but in AAC format which is mainly supported by its iPod line. The price is also cheaper and a Play.com spokesperson has said that "we're going to be cheaper than [Apple's] iTunes. Whatever price iTunes goes down to, we'll be looking to go lower."

In a recent decision, the EU has told Apple it must standardize its prices across Europe and so the tracks are expected to drop from its high 79p current price.

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AfterDawn: News

New phone chipset receives DivX certification

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Feb 2008 18:46

New phone chipset receives DivX certification DivX has announced today that they have completed a licensing deal with Mtekvision, a global leader in advanced mobile semiconductor technology that will give rare DivX Mobile Certification to a new processor Chipset that will be used in upcoming mobile phones.

The MtekVision MV8722, which is a member of the Maple family of media processors will allow mobile phone owners with the chip to playback DivX video at resolutions of up to 720x400.

So far there over 100 million devices that are DivX Certified but mobile phones are only just beginning to receive the certification.

"Mtekvision is dedicated toward creating mobile solutions that foster a rich multimedia experience and allow users to benefit from superior portable technology,"
said Simon Morris, CEO, MtekVision Canada Ltd. "Offering DivX Mobile Certification enables us to provide our partners and customers with a valuable feature for ensuring the highest quality video possible across mobile devices."

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AfterDawn: News

HD DVD talks out about Netflix and Best Buy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Feb 2008 18:22

HD DVD talks out about Netflix and Best Buy After recent announcements that Best Buy had snuffed HD DVD and that Netflix would be dropping all stock of HD DVD, the HD DVD Promotional Group took time to make a statement about the future of the format and the recent decisions.

Clearly, the Group was upset over the recent losses (which seem to be mounting) and offered only this as a response.

"We have long held the belief that HD DVD is the best format for consumers based on quality and value, and with more than 1 million HD DVD players on the market, it's unfortunate to see Netflix make the decision to only stock Blu-ray titles going forward. While the Best Buy announcement says they will recommend Blu-ray, at least they will continue to carry HD DVD and offer consumers a choice at retail.

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AfterDawn: News

FCC to consider net neutrality and ISP network management

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Feb 2008 21:08

FCC to consider net neutrality and ISP network management On February 26 the FCC will hold and open hearing at Harvard Law School where commissioners "will hear from expert panelists regarding broadband network management practices," according to an FCC announcement released Tuesday. The hearing will be open to the public.

The Net Neutrality debate in the U.S. has heated up significantly following allegations of Comcast unfairly, and perhaps illegally, interfering with BitTorrent traffic. Comcast has repeatedly stated that they don't block any applications and that their network management practices are in compliance with the relevant FCC rules, which permit "reasonable traffic management."

"Today's announcement by the FCC of an en banc hearing on broadband network management is a direct reaction to Comcast's improper blocking of competing Internet applications and services," said Mark Erickson, executive director of the Open Internet Coalition, in a statement.




AfterDawn: News

White space wireless fails second round of FCC testing

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Feb 2008 20:14

White space wireless fails second round of FCC testing A wireless device which would use the so-called "white spaces" between broadcast television channels for wireless communication has failed FCC testing.

This is the second test and second failure in seven months. After the first failure a second device was provided. FCC approval of such devices is dependent on proof that they'll be guaranteed not to interfere with television broadcasts.

According to NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton, "This admission by 'white space' proponents vindicates beyond doubt the interference concerns expressed by broadcasters, sports leagues, wireless microphone companies and theater operators." Wharton said. "Completing a successful transition to digital television ought not to be jeopardized by introducing risky technology that has proven to be unworkable."

Advocates for the coalition of companies behind the white space initiative, including Microsoft, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Intel, and Phillips Electronics, have claimed after both failures that the results weren't valid because the devices weren't functioning properly. However that seems to be a completely relevant circumstance. Interference caused by a malfunctioning device is a legitimate concern for regulators.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple TV "Take 2" finally available

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Feb 2008 18:32

Apple TV "Take 2" finally available After last month's announcement that the Apple TV would see an update, the "Take 2" upgrade is finally available.

Users simply need to navigate to the Settings menu and hit Software Update. It will then download and install.

The new update, the first major update to the device, will offer new features such as "the ability to purchase and download video and music directly from iTunes instead of having to use a Mac or PC first."

The Apple TV now supports HD movie rentals through iTunes. The new service allows users to download movies for $2.99 for SD or $4.99 USD for HD. The videos can be played once and then expire after 24 hours.

Another new feature is access to photostreams on Flickr as well as on .Mac Web Galleries.

The upgrade is free to existing Apple TV users and is also included on all new units which now retail for $229 USD for the 40GB model or $329 USD for a 160GB version.




AfterDawn: News

International video game piracy is rampant, says ESA

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Feb 2008 16:49

International video game piracy is rampant, says ESA The ESA(Entertainment Software Association) had filed a new Special 301 Report with the US Trade Representative which shows the growing struggles for growth in the international video game industry thanks to ever increasing piracy.

The report specifically mentions a few countries where piracy is highest, notably Canada, China, Malaysia, Russia and eastern Europe.

Michael Gallagher, CEO of the ESA, explained, "Countries that support computer and video game piracy discourage publishers from establishing viable and legitimate markets. The Special 301 process sends a strong message to them to clean up their act to avoid damaging trade sanctions."

The ESA even went on to say that in some of the areas listed, piracy exceeded 80 to 90 percent. These included areas in southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central and South America. The ESA defines "piracy" as any "factory production of optical discs (such as CDs and DVDs); CD-R and DVD-R 'burning'; cartridge counterfeiting; Internet downloading and file trading; as well as Internet cafe piracy."

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AfterDawn: News

Best Buy publicly snuffs HD-DVD

Written by Dave Horvath @ 12 Feb 2008 12:43

Best Buy publicly snuffs HD-DVD The largest electronics chain the U.S. has announced that it will begin focusing its recommendations to customers toward Sony's Blu-ray technology, according to an article by Reuters.

"Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products," Brian Dunn, Best Buy's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement Monday.

It's not an exclusive arrangement since Best Buy says it will still continue to offer HD DVD. But having Best Buy's valuable endorsement in the form of Sunday circulars, front-and-center store kiosks, and staff recommendation seems to be the icing on the cake for a Blu-ray victory in the format war, and potentially the death rattle for HD DVD.

The HD DVD Promotional Group responded with a statement "We have long held the belief that HD DVD is the best format for consumers based on quality and value, and with more than 1 million HD DVD players on the market, it's unfortunate to see Netflix make the decision to only stock Blu-ray titles going forward. While the Best Buy announcement says they will recommend Blu-ray, at least they will continue to carry HD DVD and offer consumers a choice at retail."




AfterDawn: News

Canada entertains bids for OTA HDTV offerings

Written by Dave Horvath @ 12 Feb 2008 12:34

Canada entertains bids for OTA HDTV offerings Canada's federal broadcast regulator will begin hearings today on whether or not it will allow two companies to enter into the ring with their own unique over-the-air HDTV signals. Toronto businessman John Bitove has proposed to start the first over-the-air high-definition TV network with stations in Canada's eight biggest cities. Another entrant, Yes TV, wants a licence to operate a station for the Toronto market.

The proposals have drawn considerably unfavorable opposition from television's big players such as CTV and Global, which state they are gearing up for the advent of HDTV and believe they are already facing hard times with acquiring the correct advertising schedules for a profitable market.

If successful, the Bitove HDTV operation would represent the first time a network was born into existence from nothing, without a series of pre-existing stations or acquisitions bonded together. Bitove's proposed network would offer English-language HDTV free of charge in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax.




AfterDawn: News

Apple releases Aperture 2

Written by Dave Horvath @ 12 Feb 2008 12:24

Apple releases Aperture 2 Cupertino based Apple has announced today that Aperture 2, a major upgrade to its workflow and lossless image editing software for photographers, will be available to consumers shortly. Current Aperture users can upgrade to the new client for only $99 while new clients will have to pay the full $199 price tag.

The new software adds more than 100 new features including a streamlined new user interface and image processing engine, according to Apple. A list of new tools have been added to give photographers an added edge in recovering highlights, bringing out color vibrancy, managing local contrast definition, doing soft-edged retouching and vignetting, and fine-tune RAW images.

Aperture 2 also integrates itself with the .Mac web galleries as well as syncs with the iPhone, iPod Touch and Apple TV so users can browse and showcase their photos on a number of their Apple devices.

Apple touched on complaints about the predecessor's heavy processing and performance issues by streamlining the new product into a faster and more efficient program. Indexing, searching, browsing large volumes of images has all been given a performance massage.




AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile and Orange attempt TV broadcast

Written by Dave Horvath @ 12 Feb 2008 11:50

T-Mobile and Orange attempt TV broadcast Two prominent wireless companies have joined forces to try and bring television to the mobile masses in London. T-Mobile and Orange have decided to try a short venture in which they will offer subscribers "high-resolution" television channels (24 video and 10 audio) over it's existing 3G network. The companies have announced that they will attempt this service on a trial basis to determine the marketability of it.

The two companies will use a technology called Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (MBMS) to deploy the service. MBMS is part of the 3G architecture, however its not widely supported as little equipment is available for it. The broadcast signal is sent out as one stream from the server, and that stream is then split repeatedly until one stream arrives at each base station from which it is broadcast. By using existing 3G infrastructure the deployment costs should be much lower than DVB-H, which until recently was heavily supported by EU standards.

The companies will use unused areas of the 3G infrastructure that was once scheduled to be used for the TDD (Time Division Duplex) services, but never was deployed. Cost of deploying this television service should be much lower because they don't have to develop any new infrastructure to support it.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sharereactor admin found guilty

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Feb 2008 7:50

Sharereactor admin found guilty Christian Riesen (aka Simon Moon), the admin of the late eDonkey link site, was found guilty of copyright infringement in Swiss district court of Frauenburg. Almost four years after Sharereactor.com was shut down by the local authorities, Riesen has been ordered to pay 4700 Swiss francs (approx. 4250 USD) in compensation.

Sharereactor.com was one of the most popular ED2K link sites and was visited daily by up to 250,000 visitors during its golden age in 2004. The admin didn't however make any kind of profit, more like the opposite. In an interview with "Moon" in October 2004 the admin claimed that he was paying around 5,000 dollars, more than the compensation the court seeks, a month just to keep up with the bandwidth demand of the popular website.

Sharereactor came back online in 2006 and at the same time Riesen told he had sold the domain. However, the comeback was brief, most likely due to the fact that many users had already switched to BitTorrent.

As this is written Sharereactor.com is maintained by Riesen, the domain is registered to Riesen Industries, which operates from Canada, but the site welcomes visitors with a "Host sharereactor.com is under construction" text.




AfterDawn: News

Three strikes law for internet piracy to be proposed in Britain

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Feb 2008 1:58

Three strikes law for internet piracy to be proposed in Britain It appears like British officials are looking to follow French President Nicolas Sarkozy's lead and consider putting illegal downloaders on warning with a "three strikes" law. The proposed law would result in a warning via email if suspected of illegally downloading movies or music, a temporary suspension of their internet service if a second violation is detected, and termination of their internet service upon a third offense.

Details are expected to be published next week in a Green Paper, which is the first step in the process of changing British law. A draft copy reportedly reads “We will move to legislate to require internet service providers to take action on illegal file-sharing.”

Although no details have been worked out yet on the amount of customer information that would be shared between ISPs, information on alleged offenders is likely to be available to the courts.

Internet providers have been engaged in talks over a voluntary system similar to the one proposed in the Green Paper. However, an agreement has yet to be worked out that satisfies both sides with regard to disputed infringement claims. A spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association said it remained hopeful that agreement over a voluntary agreement could be reached: “Every right-thinking body knows that self-regulation is much the better option in these areas.”

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

HD DVD sales rebound but still trail Blu-ray

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Feb 2008 0:27

HD DVD sales rebound but still trail Blu-ray Apparently nobody has told companies backing HD DVD that the format war is over. According to sales figures leaked to This Week In Consumer Electronics from The NPD Group, Blu-ray standalone players (not including PS3 consoles) are still outselling HD DVD units, but not nearly by the same commanding margin as a few short weeks ago.

HD DVD sales appeared to be dropping off the radar less than a month ago. However, as Toshiba, Microsoft, and company have regrouped and made a serious promotional push they've at least managed to halt a complete meltdown. According to the leaked NPD figures, the week ending January 26 saw Blu-ray players accounting for 65% of unit sales compared to nearly 90% just two weeks earlier.

According to Ross Rubin of NPD, “It has only been a couple of weeks since the Warner Bros. announcement [of exclusive support for Blu-ray], as well as Toshiba’s price promotions, Microsoft’s lowering the price on its HD DVD Xbox peripheral and the [Toshiba] HD DVD Super Bowl ad. So, the story continues to evolve. The two formats ended 2007 essentially in a dead heat. Until one camp decides to give up its format we are going to continue to see confusion at retail.”

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Update: Pirate Bay sees increase in Danish traffic

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2008 15:39

Update: Pirate Bay sees increase in Danish traffic Although Tele2, Denmark's largest ISP, was recently forced to block all access to the notorious torrent site The Pirate Bay, it seems once again the admin team over at TPB are having the last laugh.

The access block, from a technical standpoint, is very elementary and the admins even created a site to help Danish file sharers break the block and access the site. A new blog post seems to prove that their method is working and that all the IFPI has done has given more publicity to the already hugely popular site.

"...the number of visits from Denmark has increased by 12% thanks to IFPI,"
reads the post. "Our site http://thejesperbay.org is growing more because of the media attention than people actually coming to learn how to bypass the filter - our guess is that alot of the users on the site now run OpenDNS instead of the censoring DNS at Tele2.dk."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung gets sued over Blu-ray incompatibility issues

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Feb 2008 14:18

Samsung gets sued over Blu-ray incompatibility issues According to court papers filed late last week, the electronics manufacturing giant Samsung has had a class action lawsuit filed against it by early adopters of the BDP-1200 Blu-ray player which has had compatibility issues with a few Blu-ray discs.

The man behind the suit, a Connecticut man by the name of Bob McGovern, said he filed the suit "on behalf of thousands, and perhaps tens of thousands" of BDP-1200 buyers who only later found out that the player was "incompatible with numerous Blu-ray disc titles."

Although the suit does not mention which titles the player is incompatible with or what makes them incompatible, McGovern alleges that "Samsung was fully aware" of the problem at the time of manufacturing yet it has still not updated or repaired the player.

The Fantastic Four sequel, one of the problem discs was previously reported but Samsung said that the problems were fixed by a firmware update. This is clearly not the case for McGovern and many other early adopters.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Engineers dispute FCC estimates for DTV signal strength

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Feb 2008 13:38

Engineers dispute FCC estimates for DTV signal strength With preparations for the DTV (Digital Television) cutover in the U.S. gaining momentum, many people have already questioned the government's preparedness. Now it appears that at least one of the preparations that has been made is even in question. The FCC may be greatly overestimating the effective range of DTV broadcasts. If that's true there may be millions of Americans who are unable to receive the same selection of channels they're currently getting via analog broadcast.

The issue is signal degradation. One major advantage of DTV is that the quality is relatively even for everyone who recieves a particular broadcast. The reason for this is that, unlike analog broadcasts, when a digital signal degrades to the point where analog image or sound quality would suffer it simply drops out completely. Rather than getting a lower quality picture you get none at all.

While FCC officials believe most viewers will be able to receive the same channels digitally that they do now, a study from a market research firm in Los Angeles called Centris casts doubt on those claims. According to the Centris study, which claims to be based on a more detailed model than the federal government has been using, the government figures are overly optimistic. Centris claims that nearly 6 million households will need outdoor antennas to keep receiving the same selection of channels they're currently getting.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Netflix to drop HD DVD but concerned about Blu-ray prices

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Feb 2008 11:29

Netflix to drop HD DVD but concerned about Blu-ray prices According to the Associated Press, internet DVD rental leader Netflix has decided to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon, and will be dropping HD DVD rentals completely.

"From the Netflix perspective, focusing on one format will enable us to create the best experience for subscribers," said a company spokesman, adding that not many customers seem interested in either format yet.

According to Netlix CFO Barry McCarthy, even if you're a Blu-ray fan, the format's "victory" against the rival HD DVD format may not be the good news you were hoping for. Last week he indicated that the company is watching prices closely, saying “If a winner emerges and we experience some margin Compression if a large number of subscribers rent in high-def, we’ll weigh the options of increasing prices.”

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Wal-Mart to sell Magnavox DTV converter for under $50

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Feb 2008 11:05

Wal-Mart to sell Magnavox DTV converter for under $50 As we recently reported, the end of analog TV in the U.S. is approaching and the fact that the government is sponsoring a fair share of the coupon-eligible box prices doesn't remove the need to compare these devices, quite the opposite.

Wal-Mart has decided to be one of the first to open an extensive sales with a pretty nice deal. Get your own Magnavox DTV converter for a mere $49.87. It is one of the approximately 30 boxes that are currently coupon-eligible, so after the $40 coupon it costs you around as much as a bag of sand.

The complete model name should be Magnavox TB100MW9 since there are no other coupon-eligible Magnavox converters on the NTIA's (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) official CECB (Coupon Eligible Converter Boxes) list.

You can apply for coupons online at http://www.dtv2009.gov/

All CECB certified DTV converters:
http://www.afterdawn.com/hardware/category.cfm/dtv_converters?feature_627=1

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nokia N96 official

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Feb 2008 7:36

Nokia N96 official Nokia announced N96 multimedia phone or "computer" as they call it. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, the Chief Executive Officer of Nokia, announced today N96 and three other phones at Mobile World Congress 2008 in Barcelona. The earlier speculated N96 boasts an impressive list of features, including A-GPS, Wi-Fi, 2,8" display, 16GB of INTERNAL flash memory and a MicroSD slot.

The other N-series phone announced today was the N78, which will have "wireless music, photo and navigation features." You'll find a 3,2Mpix camera, A-GPS, Bluetooth 2.0, and an integrated FM trasmitter inside the N73 successor. Nokia also announced two a bit more traditional phones at MWC, the 6220 Classic and 6210 Navigator. The first one has a 5Mpix camera and A-GPS, and the latter has an integrated compass, an accelerometer and the new Nokia Maps 2.0 navigation software.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Verizon and Timbaland make an exclusive music deal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Feb 2008 18:37

Verizon and Timbaland make an exclusive music deal The star hip-hop producer Timbaland has announced that he has made a deal with Verizon Wireless to produce the first ever "mobile album" which will be exclusively available on V Cast.

For the deal, Timbaland will produce one song per month for every month during 2008, each time working with a different artist and touring the country on the Verizon Mobile Recording Studio Bus.

The hitmaker says the deal will help him reach out to more fans because "every place don't get a CD (but) everybody has a mobile phone."

He also added, "Just producing a mobile album has never been done. I'm the first to ever do it."

Despite recent events in which artists have left labels in efforts to reach new fans, Timbaland says he will be sticking by Interscope. In fact, Interscope artists will be the only musicians he will be working with for his mobile album.

From Verizon's point of view, the deal is a "marriage of promotional opportunity and a large distribution platform," director of digital music Ed Ruth says. "Our goal is to show the music industry that we're truly a viable distribution platform for them."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Time Warner wants to sell AOL dial up service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Feb 2008 18:02

Time Warner wants to sell AOL dial up service After a multi-billion dollar failed experiment, Time Warner has made moves to rid itself of the still profitable, but quickly dying AOL dial-up internet division.

The company plans to keep AOL's Web-portal and advertising sectors and only sell its dial up internet access division which has been losing subscribers at an exponential rate. Time Warner's new CEO Jeff Bewkes had this to say at a recent conference call. “This should significantly increase AOL’s strategic options,” he said. It is notable to mention that at its peak in 2002 AOL had 30 million paying subscribers. It now has 10 million.

AOL has now been ramping up its advertising business but it still lagging behind the industry. For the Q4 2007, ad revenue for the company grew 18 percent while the industry averaged propelled ahead by 25 percent.

The separation of AOL from Time Warner's growing content business should allow the company to focus on stronger, more profitable businesses. A rival executive noted that Time Warner has wasted billions of dollars trying to find the Right business model for AOL. “Follow the money. Platforms, not content businesses, are where the money has been made on the internet,” he added.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Toast users frustrated with Roxio and TiVo

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Feb 2008 3:01

Toast users frustrated with Roxio and TiVo Roxio and TiVo are getting heat from customers who are unhappy that file transfers from the popular TiVo DVR to burn to DVD or to Encode for mobile devices using Roxio Toast on OS X haven't worked Right since an October update from TiVo. Roxio product manager Patrick Nugent said his company has been working with TiVo on the issue, but he believes it affects "a small number of users."

"It is important to us that all TiVo subscribers using TiVoToGo receive the same great TiVo experience whether they are utilizing a PC or Mac," read a statement from TiVo to News.com. "It has been brought to our attention that a small subset of customers using Toast 8 have experienced a problem when trying to transfer their shows. We have been working with our partner Roxio and currently have a fix in beta."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nokia begins open beta test for N-Gage

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Feb 2008 22:19

Nokia begins open beta test for N-Gage According to the Nokia N-Gage website, users of the N81 mobile phone are now able to download the oft-delayed N-Gage mobile games platform as an open beta test.

The platform will allow mobile gamers to link up for multiplayer games and social elements in the same way Xbox Live does for Xbox 360 users.

The company says they are in the final stage before "full-scale deployment" and that the stage means increasing the user base.

For the beta, only the N81 and N 81 8GB are supported, as long as they are connected via service plans that support GPRS or have an accessible Wi-Fi connection. The company did note that the Chinese model of the phone is incompatible.

The games available now during the beta test are: Creatures of the Deep, Space Impact: Kappa Base, Block Breaker Deluxe and System Rush Evolution. 13 more titles will be released after full launch including FIFA 08, Brothers in Arms and The Sims: Pets.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nokia N96 leaked

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Feb 2008 8:41

Nokia N96 leaked The upcoming substitute for the popular N95 and N95 8GB, Nokia N96, was leaked by the Nokia German site. According to IntoMobile.com the site didn't show any official pictures of the device, but most of the key features were captured.

In addition to the features found in both N95 and the 8GB model, such as Wi-Fi, 3G, 5Mpix camera and GPS, the N96 hosts Dual LED flash, DVB-H Class C, Symbian S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 with Flash Lite 3 support, 16GB INTERNAL memory (upgradeable with additional MicroSD cards or paying $80 for internal memory of 24GB) and microUSB capable of charging the device.

Looking at the current unofficial photos, the new N96 doesn't look much like its predecessors, the N95s, but more like the later released N81. And according to the leaked specs the phone is a tad longer and wider, and a bit thinner and lighter than the N95 8GB.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Complete list of coupon-eligible Digital TV converters -- with specs

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 08 Feb 2008 7:50

Complete list of coupon-eligible Digital TV converters -- with specs As the U.S. analog TV cut-off date is approaching, the public interest to government-sponsored coupon program is growing. But as our forum users have noticed and we noticed when we did some research into this subject, there's virtually no information available on the DTV converter boxes and their specs. Seriously, some of the products listed on official U.S. Digital TV are so difficult to find that it requires quite a feat to even prove that they exist.

To ease the process of comparing the converters that the coupons can be used for, we searched through the Web and compiled a full list of coupon-eligible converter boxes with all the tech specs we could find. Although the specs are mandated by the government guidelines, products still differ from each other -- some of the DTV boxes don't have EPG, etc.

Furthermore, we hope that as the cut-off date approaches and demand for the converters builds up, that our users would post their reviews to our DTV converter section, so that there would be a comprehensive list of reviews by real users (rather than lab tests published by newspapers).

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn RSS feed improved

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 08 Feb 2008 6:33

AfterDawn RSS feed improved For years, one of the most popular ways to follow our news has been through our RSS feed. The RSS feed hasn't been improved in years and in today's terms, the old RSS 1.0 without any associated styles or features, was a little bit tired to be honest.

Today our RSS news feed has moved to a new address and has an improved look and features. Most importantly, the feed now contains the complete news stories with pictures. The old way of having only a "teaser text" available for the RSS subscribers is gone.

To make the transition as smooth as possible, the old feed URL simply redirects to the new feed, so you shouldn't need to change anything in your favorite feed reader application.

If you haven't subscribed to our RSS feed yet, please do so -- our RSS news feed is available here:

http://feeds.afterdawn.com/afterdawn

If you are looking for a good, free RSS / Atom reader, take a look at Feedreader. It's very easy to use and quite versatile. If you are new to RSS feeds, please take a look at our RSS feeds guide/tutorial for more information on how to use RSS feeds with, for example, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google Reader.




AfterDawn: News

Wal-Mart to add Redbox DVD rental kiosks to most US locations

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 08 Feb 2008 0:25

Wal-Mart to add Redbox DVD rental kiosks to most US locations After trying out DVD rental kiosks from Redbox in a number of their locations in the U.S. since 2006, Wal-Mart executives are planning to add them to nearly all their stores. Besides providing a low cost way to make DVD rentals available from the world's largest retailer, it will also increase the number of Redbox kiosks deployed by 40%, compared to today.

"Wal-Mart is constantly adapting to meet changing customer needs. This year will bring changes to the look of many of our vestibules. Equipment placement will be based on customer demographics and our commitment to ensure we are not interrupting traffic flow into the store,” read a Wal-Mart statement, confirming that it will “shortly begin a rollout to all stores.”

“We just felt it was a perfect fit,” said Christopher Goodrich, a spokesman for Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.-based Redbox. “We’re actually continuing to look at additional partners.”

With the kiosk market expanding rapidly, even more traditional brick and mortar operators like Blockbuster have their eyes on kiosks, although they appear to be focusing more on On-Demand burning, rather than just rentals. However, with the explosion in popularity of Redbox kiosks last year, expect to see more competitors trying to squeeze into this niche market.




AfterDawn: News

Department of Justice investigates labels over TotalMusic

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Feb 2008 23:53

Department of Justice investigates labels over TotalMusic The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), which among other things is responsible for enforcing federal antitrust laws, is apparently suspicious of record labels intentions with respect to a new proposed subscription music service tentatively called TotalMusic. The service, originally proposed by Universal Music Group (UMG) CEO Doug Morris, would provide most major label titles for a monthly $5 subscription fee, which Morris has suggested be paid by portable media player manufacturers.

A report in a music industry periodical called MusicAlly indicates that DOJ officials have contacted all four major labels to get more information. What apparently concerns DOJ regulators is the possibility that the labels are actually just trying to put existing online music services, most notably iTunes, out of business. It probably doesn't help any that the idea for TotalMusic surfaced around the same time Morris had a very public falling out with Apple, eventually leading to the company declining to renew the distribution deal between them.

This isn't the first such label backed service that's come under DOJ scrutiny. Before the launch of iTunes, there were two subscription services with label backing - PressPlay and MusicNet - which were similarly investigated, with no evidence found against the labels. One important difference between then and now is that labels are clearly interested in making the most of music downloads, while the earlier case focused on their potential use of the two services as a tool to kill online music entirely.




AfterDawn: News

Toshiba updates Gigabeat line

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Feb 2008 16:17

Toshiba updates Gigabeat line Toshiba has announced that it has updated two models in its Gigabeat media player line, one in the T series and the other in the V series.

The new T802 is an upgrade to the T401 and will add 802.11b/g wireless as well as doubling the capacity of memory from 4GB to 8GB. Users will be able to browse the YouTube-like GyaO service as well as download movies and podcasts. The player will be available first in Japan on February 15th for the equivalent of $279 USD.

The new V81, an update to the V41, will also see a doubling in capacity from 4 GB to 8 GB. Another new feature is the ability to play copy-protected videos. The player will launch on the same day as the T802 but with a heftier price tag of about $326 USD.





AfterDawn: News

Napster posts small loss for Q3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Feb 2008 15:31

Napster posts small loss for Q3 Yesterday, the subscription-based online music retailer Napster announced that thanks to a 15 percent jump in revenue from subscriptions the company has posted a much smaller Q3 loss for 2007 than the comparable quarter a year before.

For the three month period that ended December 31st, Napster posted a net loss of $2.8 million USD, a huge drop compared to the $9.5 million USD loss they posted the year before for the same period.

The company, which survives primarily on its monthly music subscription service, announced last month that it will begin selling DRM-free tracks in MP3 format, putting another nail in DRM's coffin.

Napster also said revenue for the quarter was $32.8 million USD, up 15 percent from the comparable quarter a year ago. The company also stated that they finished the quarter with 743,000 subscribers, a minuscule decline from the previous quarter.




AfterDawn: News

Site updates: More glossary updates finished

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Feb 2008 15:10

Site updates: More glossary updates finished As Jamie (Dela) announced last month, the staff here at Afterdawn is working on updating some of our core content in the Glossary. Along with additions like our new Topics feature we're planning a number of improvements to navigating the site and finding basic (and not so basic) help.

I've updated or added some more important Glossary terms. As we continue to update the Glossary (and other areas) we'll be giving regular updates on our progress.




AfterDawn: News

The Pirate Bay fights back against ISP block

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Feb 2008 14:58

The Pirate Bay fights back against ISP block In an effort to fight back against the recent Danish ISP Block of its site, The Pirate Bay has launched jesperbay.org as a countermeasure.

The new site, named after the boss of the Danish IFPI, gives Danish users detailed instructions on how to get around the block and gain access again to The Pirate Bay.

One of the admins of TPB, Brokep, had this to say about the new domain name. “We’ll associate his name with something positive instead of his negative IFPI vibe.”

The admin team over at TPB has also asked other torrent site admins to help by redirecting all customers from the blocked ISP Tele2 to the Jesper Bay. The team even wrote a piece of code that can redirect all Tele2 users to the Jesper Bay so they can change their DNS.

The ruling which has caused the block was released last night and ruled that Tele2 "assists in copyright infringement" simply because they give their customers access to TPB. The ruling should result in more ISP blocks, and the IFPI has already announced that they will start similar cases in Norway and Finland.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Best Buy will begin selling DTV boxes in two weeks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Feb 2008 14:25

Best Buy will begin selling DTV boxes in two weeks The large retailer Best Buy has announced that it has stocked up on Digital TV converter boxes that are compatible with the US government's rebate program for the boxes.

Last month, the Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) began offering a $40 USD rebate off the purchase price of $59.99 USD for the box. It is important to note that the box will only be required for TV owners that do not have cable or satellite service. To qualify for the rebate, any consumer must simply apply for it via NTIA's web site.

In October, the retailer pulled analog TVs and analog tuner products from its shelves, being the first company to do so. The retailer also said it will be launching a dedicated toll-free number for Best Buy customers to call if they have any inquiries about the transition.

"The DTV transition is an event that is unprecedented in this country, and it will require a coordinated effort by broadcasters, manufacturers, retailers and the government,"
electronics chief Mike Vitell said "We take our role as a trusted source of information very seriously."




AfterDawn: News

Motorola talks out about LTE and HD Video

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Feb 2008 14:05

Motorola talks out about LTE and HD Video According to Motorola, the upcoming 4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) standard should allow HD video to finally be available on cellular networks. Motorola promises to prove its theory next week at the Mobile World Congress.

The company also stated that they will demo the standard and show examples of HD video moving in both directions including something they call "HD blogging". Motorola will use LTE to stream live HD video to a set top box so that viewers can follow mobile phone footage in real-time. From the opposite direction, the standard will be shown Streaming an HDTV feed from home straight to the handset, cutting out the need for re-encoding.

Motorola also added that the very low lag times of LTE will make real-time actions finally possible. To demo their statement, the company will show off a racing game played online against other players. They will also show VoIP calls made using LTE.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

New modular phones available in October from USB flash drive innovator

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Feb 2008 13:25

New modular phones available in October from USB flash drive innovator A company in Isreal called Modu will be partnering with wireless carriers in three different countries to sell a new modular phone design. The phones will consist of a rudimentary phone meant to be used with "jackets" which provide additional functionality like text messaging and music playback.

The core phone unit essentially acts as a peripheral to add a mobile phone connection to the jackets, which will initially just provide standard features like text messaging and cameras. Universal Music Group is reportedly considering using Modu jackets to promote their artists, although no details of their plans are available at this time.

The initial model will be limited to using General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) for data transfer. GPRS is only capable of data transfer at speeds approximately equivalent to a dialup modem. A 3G version, which would be able to make use of the much faster High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) technology, is said to be in the works. According to Modu founder and CEO Dov Moran the 3G version will remain compatible with jackets for first generation phones.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Netflix CFO says the DVD rental business isn't disappearing any time soon

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Feb 2008 23:54

Netflix CFO says the DVD rental business isn't disappearing any time soon According to Netflix Chief Financial Officer Barry McCarthy, his company's current business strategy is still firmly rooted in DVD technology. Speaking at the Thomas Weisel Partners Technology, Telecom & Internet Conference in San Francisco he talked about some of the reasons Netflix is so sure DVDs are still the most important way to distribute movies.

“There are 100 million DVD players in U.S. households,” McCarthy said. “If you really think people are going to stop renting DVDs, you need to lie down until that thought passes.”

He also talked about the barriers to establishing a mainstream online video system. He said that the main problem right now is that content needs to be available on a wide range of reasonably priced set-top boxes. He also said it would need to be an "open" system, mentioning Amazon's Unbox service as an example of a current system that's "closed."

He did, however, mention what may be a step from Netflix to open their own Streaming service, called Instant Watching, to Apple users, who are apparently supposed to be able to use the service from their Macs before the end of the year. Until now the (Microsoft) DRM used for the videos has made it incompatible with OS X.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft drops price of Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Feb 2008 17:45

Microsoft drops price of Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on Microsoft has announced that it has cut the price of its Xbox 360 HD DVD addon by $50 USD. The price cut follows recent decisions by Toshiba to drop prices on their HD DVD players.

The new price cut brings the price of the add-on in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to $129.99 USD. A few months ago Microsoft dropped the price of its add-on and promptly saw a surge in sales.

Earlier today, the huge e-tailer Amazon began selling the add-on for $79.99 USD and sold out within hours.

It is also important to note that every purchase of the add-on includes a free copy of "King Kong" on HD DVD in the box as well as an offer to get five free discs in the mail.




AfterDawn: News

LG's Viewty handset gets certified for DivX

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Feb 2008 17:27

LG's Viewty handset gets certified for DivX LG Mobile has announced that its very popular Viewty mobile phone has now become the first handset to become certified for recording video using DivX compression.

Although the list of DivX-certified devices continues to grow, the list of mobile phones is very short. There are only two phones that even support DivX playback, the Samsung SGH-F500 and SGH-F508.

The Viewty camera phone captures video at an abnormally large 120 FPS and a relatively large 640 x 480 Resolution. Besides adding better quality Compression the Viewty will no longer need to use conversion software that 3GP video needs.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony jumps to top of LCD sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Feb 2008 17:04

Sony jumps to top of LCD sales According to DisplaySearch, Sony has jumped ahead in holiday quarter LCD TV sales while Vizio has dropped.

This quarter marks the first time Sony has been on top of LCD sales and DisplaySearch said the lead was built upon "top showings" in the 40-44", 45-49" and 50-54" categories.

Vizio, which has been on top for a few quarters now, fell to third place yet still posted 250 percent growth year over year and kept its share lead in the 37" HDTV market, selling almost twice as many TVs as the next closest competitor.

The market itself remained very close, with Sony leading at 12.8 percent of the market. Samsung was second at 12.3 percent, Vizio followed at 10.7 percent and Sharp rounded out the top four at 8.4 percent.

Sharp fell furthest for the quarter seeing almost flat quarter growth. Sony grew over 80 percent and Samsung grew over 50.




AfterDawn: News

EFF worried patent reform will halt watchdog project

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Feb 2008 14:23

EFF worried patent reform will halt watchdog project As patent reform legislation makes its way through the U.S. Congress the reaction from EFF activists has been generally positive. However, that may be changing now that they've examined a Senate Judiciary Committee report on the version of the legislation which recently passed the House of Representatives. According to that report, the Patent Reform Act of 2007 changes the rules for third parties like the EFF, making it virtually impossible for them to challenge patents except within the first 12 months after its approval.

Currently the EFF's Patent Busting Project is working to get a number of patents nullified, including 1-click online shopping (U.S. Patent No. 5,960,411), online shopping carts (U.S. Patent No. 5,715,314), hyperlinking (U.S. Patent No. 4,873,662.), Streaming video (U.S. Patent No. 5,132,992), and popup windows (U.S. Patent No. 6,389,458). Although many individuals and organizations have spoken out about patent reform in the U.S., the EFF has gone a step further to legal action, wihch appears to be in jeapordy of being halted as the project picks up steam.

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AfterDawn: News

3G for iPhone using a Nokia smartphone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Feb 2008 8:49

3G for iPhone using a Nokia smartphone Finnish software house Joikusoft released today an application that allows Nokia smartphones to act as Wi-Fi hotspots. The simple piece of software turns your 3G phone into an access point which is able to share internet connection for multiple users simultaneously. The wireless Internet connection can be used with laptops, iPods, iPhones, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices.

The application goes by the name JoikuSpot Light, and is at the moment in beta Phase. To use the software you need a Nokia 3G phone (N95 8GB, N95, N93i, N91, N82, N80, E90, E70, E61i, E61 and E51 are listed as supported devices), the latest Firmware for your phone, and of course the application itself.

JoikuSpot is entirely free to download, but it doesn't feature any kind of security or encryption options, so be careful when sharing your 3G connection in a public location. You can observe the traffic and clients using your JoikuSpot access point from the application's user interface.

JoikuSoft is going to add encryption support for the final version, and the company is also considering a chargeable version of the application.

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AfterDawn: News

Copyright Royalty Board hears arguments over proposed songwriter royalties

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Feb 2008 0:10

Copyright Royalty Board hears arguments over proposed songwriter royalties According to many music label executives, manufacturers of portable music players should be paying them a cut of profits since their sales are predicated on the availability of recorded music. Unfortunately they don't hold themselves to the same standard they'd like to hold companies like Apple to, as they've shown in a proposal to the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) which would reduce songwriter royalties for physical sales (in formats like CD) to $0.06 per song, from the current rate of $0.091. Their proposal would also set download rates at a lower level of up to 5.5 cents per Track, while Streaming would compensate songwriters to the tune of 0.58% (less than 1%) of revenue.

The songwriters, represented at CRB negotiations by the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA), are proposing that royalties for physical sales be increased to 12.5 cents per song (twice the labels' proposed rate), with a rate of 15 cents per song for downloaded songs, under the assumption that downloaded music has lower costs for the labels compared to the distribution of physical media like CDs. Their proposal calls for streaming royalties to be set at 12.5% of revenue, 27.5% of content costs, or less than a penny per play as a flat rate.

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AfterDawn: News

RIAA contractors accused of illegal investigation in New York

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 05 Feb 2008 23:20

RIAA contractors accused of illegal investigation in New York Yet another defendant in a RIAA file sharing lawsuit has decided to fight back. On behalf of his client Rolando Armurao, who is accused of illegally distribution of more than 500 songs using Limewire P2P software, Richard Altman filed a brief with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York asking that all evidence collected by representatives of Media Sentry be thrown out of court due to the lack of a private investigator's license.

"Plaintiffs proceed in these copyright infringement cases based upon evidence of file-sharing or distribution derived from investigations conducted by Safenet, Inc., a private company operating under the name of Media Sentry," Altman's motion stated. Media Sentry is paid by record labels to find file sharers violating music industry copyrights and get enough information for RIAA lawyers to initiate court cases.

Altman told Computerworld that New York state law there are only a few circumstances where such evidence gathering doesn't require a license, and that the RIAA cases don't fall into the category of an exception. "This is a private company. So I've asked their evidence be excluded," he said

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AfterDawn: News

MSN video adds Sony BMG and MTV content

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Feb 2008 17:48

MSN video adds Sony BMG and MTV content Microsoft has announced that it has made deals with Sony BMG and MTV to add their content to its free MSN video service.

Currently the service has offerings from National Geographic and ITN but will now add shows such as "Pimp My Ride" and music videos.

The deal with Sony BMG will put exclusive videos, backstage footage, interviews, and tour info on MSN Video.

"The music industry is facing tough challenges and it is all now about becoming a music entertainment company rather than just a record company",
said Ulrich Jarkel, senior vice president, Digital and Business Development Sony BMG.

"The whole game has changed. We now have over 150 ways to access Justin Timberlake content for example."


MTV has made similar deals in the recent past, giving users access to South Park, Pimp My Ride, Punk'd, Cribs and Soapbox.

"This is one of our most important partnerships",
said Gideon Bierer, senior vice president, Digital Media, MT, "we will be adding other MTV network brands in the future from channels such as Nickelodeon and Comedy Central".

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple doubles iPhone and iPod Touch capacities

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Feb 2008 16:20

Apple doubles iPhone and iPod Touch capacities Apple has announced that it has updated its iPhone and iPod Touch lineup by adding new models with double the memory capacity.

The new iPhone will feature 16GB of memory and will retail for $499 USD. The current 8GB version costs $399 USD and has been available since Q4 2007.

The new iPod Touch will have 32GB of memory and will retail for $499 USD. The current 8GB and 16GB models cost $299 and $399 USD respectively.

Apple said the new devices will be available in Apple's retail stores and online through various e-tailers. The new capacity iPhone will also be available through AT&T's online and retail stores. The new models will come with the latest firmware pre-installed meaning users will be able to rent movies from the iTunes movie rental service.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Baidu gets sued again by record industry

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Feb 2008 15:55

Baidu gets sued again by record industry Despite being found not guilty in a previous case, China's most used Internet search site Baidu is in legal trouble again.

Universal Music Group, Sony BMG, and Warner Music Group have all sued the site again over illegal music downloads, deeming it a winnable cause after last month's ruling against Yahoo China. The companies are being represented by the IFPI which noted that the record companies had also sued Sohu.com, China's third largest Internet portal.

The IFPI has stated that China's market of legally distributed music files is a minuscule $76 million USD, less than 1 percent of the global market.

"It's a matter of great regret that, despite the clear precedent laid down by the Yahoo China judgment, those Internet companies are instead choosing blatant violation of copyright"
and the litigation that accompanies it, said John Kennedy, CEO of the IFPI.




AfterDawn: News

AT&T raises prices on broadband plans

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Feb 2008 15:37

AT&T raises prices on broadband plans Starting March 1st, AT&T has announced that it will be raising the price of its three most common broadband Internet plans in most of the states in which it operates.

The new price hike, $5 USD a month, will apply to all states except for those that were acquired with the buyout of BellSouth. The hike will apply only to the three slowest broadband plans offered, the 768 Kpbs, 1.5 Mbps and 3 Mbps services. The new move should affect most of AT&T's current 14.2 million broadband customers.

Michael Coe, a company spokesperson, went to to say that "customers who signed up under special package promotional deals also avoid the price hike, at least for the term of their promotional deal."

Coe also said that the company decided on the price raise "to better reflect the value of our broadband service" especially as demand for broadband increases.




AfterDawn: News

Update: Folding@home hits one million users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Feb 2008 15:21

Update: Folding@home hits one million users Less than a year since its release, Sony has announced that one million Sony PlayStation 3 users have taken part in the Folding@home technology, making the console the leading contributor to the effort.

According to Sony, that means 3000 PS3 users registered for Folding@home each day, equivalent of 2 new registered users every minute.

"Since partnering with SCEI, we have seen our research capabilities increase by leaps and bounds through the continued participation of Folding@home users,"
said Vijay Pande, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Stanford University and Folding@home project lead. "Now we have over one million PS3 users registered for Folding@home, allowing us to address questions previously considered impossible to tackle computationally, with the goal of finding cures to some of the world's most life-threatening diseases. We are grateful for the extraordinary worldwide participation by PS3 and PC users around the globe."

The Folding@home team has stated that a network of 10,000 PS3s can "accomplish the same amount of work as a network of 100,000 PCs." The team also noted that merely six months after PS3 joined the effort, the project surpassed a petflop, a milestone that had never been hit before by a computing network. Late last year, Guinness World Records called the project the world's most powerful distributed computing network.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

The Pirate Bay to be blocked in Finland?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Feb 2008 6:09

The Pirate Bay to be blocked in Finland? As Swedish government is suing and Danish Tele2 operator is blocking The Pirate Bay, Finland joins the Scandinavian group of anti-piracy pacesetters. The IFPI Finland is considering a civil action suit which would force ISPs to block The Pirate Bay.

The executive director of IFPI Finland, Arto Alaspää, stated that the operational model of the Tele2 will be tried out in Finland as well. "Similar block petitions are likely to be used in Finland," he said. The details of the suit are yet to be determined, but in Finland the site restriction would be a civil law police matter.

The site has an approximate of 100,000 Finnish users daily and simultaneous torrent downloads could rise up to five times the amount.




AfterDawn: News

OiNK's bail date extended

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Feb 2008 4:23

OiNK's bail date extended Still after three months since the police shut down OiNK, Alan Ellis, the admin of OiNK, is in custody. Today, for the second time, the bail date of Alan Ellis was extended, until May 6th. The investigations are still in ongoing and it's unclear what evidence the police are looking for.

OiNK was a private BitTorrent music Tracker, which had 180,000 members, hosted thousands of torrents and tracked over a million peers. It was considered to be one of the most popular private trackers, and even more popular than many public trackers.

After the police shut down the tracker, IFPI and BPI seized the OiNK.cd domain. They tried to scare off the users by claiming that there was an investigation into the users of the site. They also claimed that Alan Ellis made a fortune out of the service. However, the service was entirely free to use.

"If OiNK cost anything, I would certainly have paid, but there isn’t the equivalent of that in the retail space right now," said Nine Inch Nails artist Trent Reznor.

It remains to be seen whether the extended bail date turns into charges, or just another month of useless questioning.




AfterDawn: News

Cablevision offers simultaneous DVD / VOD releases

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 04 Feb 2008 22:44

Cablevision offers simultaneous DVD / VOD releases Cablevision is now offering an upgrade to their standard Video On Demand (VOD) service that will allow quicker access to movies, while also selling DVDs. Under the terms of Cablevision's partnership with Popcorn Home Entertainment, the cable provider's New York customers get access to titles the same day they're released on DVD.

The catch? You must also buy a copy of the DVD, which will be delvered several days later. The VOD movies must be watched within the standard 24 hour window.

Popcorn Home Entertainment is headed by former CEO of VOD provider In Demand, Steve Brenner, who notes that the only time the studios have any interest in reducing (or eliminating) the wait between DVD release and VOD offering is when its tied directly to DVD sales. “At In Demand, we tried to get windows moved up, but the studios do so much better selling DVDs,” Brenner said. “This is nicely positioned to do what’s good for them and good for cable.”




AfterDawn: News

Update: Pirate Bay calls big revenue claims false

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Feb 2008 18:57

Update: Pirate Bay calls big revenue claims false In an update to our article here, the infamous torrent tracker The Pirate Bay has fought back against claims that it makes $4 million USD revenue yearly based on advertisments.

Arstechnica, speaking to Peter Sunde, one of the admins of TPB, has commented on the allegations from Swedish authorities. "They do not want to even talk about charges so it's easier for them to just try to throw dirt at their opponents and to be honest, the things they've found regarding money is not even money that all together has something to do with The Pirate Bay. And some of the money is accounted for twice, because the money has been taxed, then sent to another company because that was the company that took care of the payments, and then sent back for paying bandwidth."

Sunde continued on to say that the IFPI's claim that revenue exceeds $3 million on revenue was overstated. Without revealing financial details, he argued that the "site's high bandwidth, power, and hardware costs eliminate the potential for profit". TPB, he says, operates at a loss.




AfterDawn: News

Rhapsody buys up Yahoo music service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Feb 2008 18:57

Rhapsody buys up Yahoo music service
Yahoo has announced that it is selling
its digital music subscription service to Rhapsody America in an effort to revamp its struggling music strategy.

Yahoo Music will still offer its music videos, internet radio and music downloads but subscribers to the
Yahoo Music Unlimited service
will be moved to Rhapsody. There was no financials discussed but Yahoo did say the deal is expected to close by the end of Q2 2008.

Music.yahoo.com is the most popular online music destination with 20 million monthly visitors but the subscription service only has 400,000 customers.

Yahoo senior vice president Scott Moore notes that the company decided to sell because "we made a strategic decision to focus on the mass audience".

Currently, Rhapsody has just under 1 million subscribers and the deal should make them far and away the market leader.

"This takes away a competitor, and gives Rhapsody potentially some marketing muscle,"
says Jupiter analyst David Card. "This is good for Rhapsody."




AfterDawn: News

Amazon invests in DVD rental service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Feb 2008 18:42

Amazon invests in DVD rental service Amazon has announced that it has become the largest shareholder in the online DVD rental firm LoveFilm and that it will be rebranding its UK and German based DVD rental businesses under the LoveFilm banner.

After the deal is completed, LoveFilm's subscription base will increase to almost 1 million customers, mainly in the UK and Germany but also from countries such as Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Greg Greeley, Amazon's vice-president of European retail, said: "Our investment will enable LoveFilm to grow the business further and we are excited to be part of their future".

Amazon Europe has said it will continue to operate its current services in the UK and Germany for a period until it is completely rebranded under the LoveFilm banner.




AfterDawn: News

PlayStation 3 to see a Greatest Hits line for software

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Feb 2008 16:52

PlayStation 3 to see a Greatest Hits line for software Following Sony's recent decsion to create a line of Greatest Hits titles for the PlayStation 3 in Japan, the electronics giant has been quoted as saying that will most "likely" do the same for the European market.

In the past, Sony has re-released hit tiles under its Platinum or Greatest Hits line which gives the games a new lease on life at a very discounted price.

"We have introduced a Platinum range of best-selling titles for all of our platforms to date, and it is likely that we will do so in the future for PS3,"
said a spokesperson for the company.

"However, no decisions have yet been made on timing or line-up."


The first Platinum title that Japan will see is the blockbuster game "Resistance: Fall of Man".

So far, a Sony America spokesperson has said they had not come to decision on when the Greatest Hits line would hit North America.




AfterDawn: News

New, cheaper Xbox 360 model coming to Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Feb 2008 15:59

New, cheaper Xbox 360 model coming to Japan Microsoft has announced that beginning on March 6th it will begin selling a cheaper Xbox 360 model in Japan.

The new model will have identical specifications to the Xbox 360 Arcade model which was released in the US late last year. It will include an HDMI output, a wireless controller, and a 256MB memory card instead of a HDD.

Microsoft says the new model will retail for JPY 27,800, about $260 USD, which is one-fifth less than the current lowest priced model.

Since its launch in 2005, the company has sold 17.7 million consoles worldwide but has declined to give a regional breakdown. Regardless, analysts have continually shown that the 360 continues to struggle in Japan, selling as little as 300,000 consoles last year in Japan while the rival Sony PlayStation 3 sold 1.2 million consoles and the market leader Nintendo Wii sold 3.6 million units in the area.




AfterDawn: News

Torrent site isoHunt gets free AMD CPUs

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Feb 2008 10:30

Torrent site isoHunt gets free AMD CPUs The BitTorrent search engine isoHunt has received a couple of AMD's unreleased processors. According to a post at isoHunt.com forums, the site administration received two "pre-production engineering samples" of AMD Opteron 2352 CPUs. The 2,1GHz processors are used in the primary database servers, which will give them a great real-world test drive.

The to be released quad-core CPUs, found already in Yahoo store for $650 somehow, feature a 2MB L2 cache and apparently work flawlessly, unlike the previous Opteron 2350 with the infamous TLB bug.

It remains to be seen whether the antipiracy lobbyists target AMD because of this. isoHunt has been a target of several accusations by both MPAA and RIAA.




AfterDawn: News

Yahoo management considering deal with Google to avoid MS buyout - or maybe not

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 04 Feb 2008 1:21

Yahoo management considering deal with Google to avoid MS buyout - or maybe not If you're concerned about the possible effects of a Microsoft buyout of one-time internet search leader Yahoo, you're not alone. In fact, it seems that Yahoo executives may feel the same way - kind of.

Unnamed sources at Yahoo have indicated that company management is considering re-opening talks they had just a few months ago with current search frontrunner Google. The talks were intended to forge a partnership of some sort between the two companies, which some in management are apparently considering again in order to fend off Microsoft's advances. With monopoly considerations making them nothing more than a spectator in the entire affair, it seems like obvious that Google would jump at the chance to put a halt to Microsoft's plan to expand right into their backyard.

The same unnamed sources aren't going so far as to suggest that a Yahoo-Google partnership is likely, or that others may not be interested in buying Yahoo (although no obvious companies come to mind). In fact it's possible that they're just hoping to force Microsoft to raise their bid because they feel the initial offer is too low. Meanhwhile, some in the investment world have suggested that Microsoft's offer isn't likely to be their final one, but rather that it's just high enough for Yahoo shareholders to get excited, forcing mangement to give their own appraisal of the company's worth.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Xunlei loses piracy suit in China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Feb 2008 18:48

Xunlei loses piracy suit in China Xunlei, one of the largest download service providers in China has today announced that they have lost a piracy suit brought forward by the Shanghai Youdu Broadband Technology Co.(Youdu) and will have to pay 150,000 yuan(20,833 USD) in compensation.

Xunlei had alegedly violated the "rights of network promulgation and reaping profit," off Youdu promulgation rights.

Youdu, which is a content provider for broadband users, paid 600,000 yuan to get the network promulgation rights for a Chinese blockbuster film. The agreement allowed the company to provide the movie for download for one month. Xunlei however did not have rights yet provided download links on its site for free.

In early June Youdu sued Xunlei asking for monetary damages and the case has finally been settled.




AfterDawn: News

Circuit City is not dropping HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Feb 2008 18:28

Circuit City is not dropping HD DVD Despite a recent clearance on a wide array of HD DVD products Circuit City has said it is not going Blu-ray exclusive.

A representative did say however that the clearance price on the Toshiba HD-A3 and HD-A30 will continue for the time being however. The clearance prices are "inadvertent" to Circuit City's future in the next gen disc format war.

The rep also stated that the company will remain platform agnostic and that stores had experienced strong hardware sales over the past week.

The clearance sales has sparked rumors that the large chain would ditch HD DVD for the more popular Blu-ray format but those rumors have now been squashed.




AfterDawn: News

Amazon slashes HD DVD movie prices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Feb 2008 18:14

Amazon slashes HD DVD movie prices In another round of price slashing, Amazon is offering over 50% off of over 100 HD DVD titles, including the ever popular 'Shaun of the Dead,' 'Elizabeth' and 'Inside Man'.

The promo was launched today by the e-tailer and the majority of the titles will now cost $14.95, almost as cheap as their Standard Definition counterparts.

The new sale comes on the heels of a price slashing by the now Blu-ray exclusive Warner which is still ongoing.

There was no word on how long this promotion will last but Amazon has called it a "limited time offer".




AfterDawn: News

Musician uploads album to P2P networks, blames music industry for increasing piracy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Feb 2008 17:52

Musician uploads album to P2P networks, blames music industry for increasing piracy Benn Jordan, better known as The Flashbulb has announced that he has uploaded digital copies of his new album "Soundtrack To A Vacant Life" to the public trackers What.cd and The Pirate Bay as well as other trackers in an effort to bypass the traditional distribution methods of a new CD.

The digital download, which comes with an NFO file, starts with "hello listener...downloader...pirate...pseudo-criminal...", and continues, "If you can read this, then you've more than likely downloaded this album from a peer to peer network or torrent. You probably expect the rest of this message to tell you that you're hurting musicians and breaking just about every copyright law in the book. Well, it won't tell you that."

Jordan continues on to debate why anyone would even buy CDs anymore now that the world has moved on to a digital age. He believes the only reason is that fans still want to support their favorite artists but aren't given the proper options to do so.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Netflix profit to be used to buy back stock

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Feb 2008 22:50

Netflix profit to be used to buy back stock Netflix has announced a plan to buy back $100 million in stock by the end of the year. After the company endured their first real competition ever when Blockbuster was seen as a serious competitor, and even managed to take some customers from the leader in online DVD rental. However, with Blockbuster appointing a new CEO whose focus on profitability has changed that company's focus from beating Netflix to entering the kiosk market Netflix has seemingly had no problem luring customers back, resulting in higher earnings for the fourth quarter of last year.

With the U.S. economy looking ready for a full blown recession at any time it seems like an obvious time for Netflix to make such a move. Even many companies reporting good to excellent earnings have faced the wrath of shareholders who aren't happy with relatively low sales forecasts. If Netflix's stock price becomes another casualty of shareholder dissatisfaction it would be a perfect opportunity for the company to put their increased profits from last year to good use.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

US House and Senate schedule more hearings to assess readiness for DTV transition

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Feb 2008 22:22

US House and Senate schedule more hearings to assess readiness for DTV transition The Committee on Energy and Commerce for the U.S. House of Representatives has announced a hearing regarding the upcoming DTV (digital television) transition. The hearing will be held on February 13, just over a year before analog signals are scheduled to disappear from U.S. airwaves. Not to be outdone, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will be holding a hearing of their own the next day.

"As part of our ongoing oversight of the DTV transition process, this hearing will be a key opportunity to check-in on the various aspects of the transition, which is so important for public safety, economic growth, innovation, consumer welfare, and the future of television itself. With just a year to go, we want this transition to be as smooth as possible for American consumers,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet.

The problem is that everyone in the government already seems to have a pretty good idea where things stand right now, or if they don't it's not for a lack of available information. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued more than one report indicating that government agencies have done a horrible job of preparing the public for the 2009 transition, and in in one report even went so far as to suggest that the FCC doesn't have so much as a single benchmark in place to figure out whether the process is on track or not.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Italy accidentally legalizes some P2P music

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2008 16:57

Italy accidentally legalizes some P2P music It seems that Italian parliament has inadvertently legalized some music sharing over P2P networks.

The new copyright law, which was passed by both houses of the parliament allows Italians to share all the music they want over the internet as long as it is "noncommercial" and the music is "degraded" in terms of quality.

The original piece, printed in the Italian newspaper la Republica quotes Italian copyright attorney Andrea Monti as saying that "whoever authored the law failed to take into account that the word 'degraded' has a 'very precise meaning'." Currently, music sold on all major legal alternatives is degraded, usually to 192kbps MP3 or 128kbps AAC. The new law means that Italian music fans will be able to share their music libraries over P2P networks as long as it is not lossless.

Despite the fact that the law limits such sharing to "educational or scientific" use, Monti feels it will make prosecuting P2P users more difficult.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

National Geographic Presents goes Blu-ray exclusive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2008 16:33

National Geographic Presents goes Blu-ray exclusive It seems that Warner's decision to go Blu-ray exclusive has swayed another one of its distribution partners to follow in its footsteps with National Geographic Presents confirming today that it will also drop HD DVD and move exclusively to Blu-ray.

National Geographic Presents, which is distributed under the wider Warner umbrella alongside New Line Home Entertainment, HBO Home Video and BBC Home Video has been format neutral so far, but has only released one film in both formats.

The company has said it will not be releasing a press release but has confirmed all reports that it will be dropping HD DVD. The move will go into effect beginning in April with the release of "Sharkwater."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Slim PlayStation 3 coming?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2008 16:04

Slim PlayStation 3 coming? According to T3 magazine, Sony is planning to release a new slimmer, redesigned PlayStation 3 console.

In the report, a source has said that the new updated design will be smaller, lighter and may contain a 160GB HDD. There have been other rumors recently claiming PS3s with larger capacity HDDs are coming but this latest rumor seems a bit far-fetched, considering how young the PS3 is.

Sony, as is policy, refused to comment. "We don't comment on rumour or speculation."

The rumor is not completely off base though. Sony has introduced slim versions of its PSP, original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 after production costs fell.




AfterDawn: News

Sony gaming division finally sees a profit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2008 15:30

Sony gaming division finally sees a profit Although the PlayStation 3 had a slow start, after multiple price cuts and aggressive ad campaigns, sales have picked up and Sony has breathed a sigh of relief. The company has reported a 6 percent increase in its quarterly operating profit citing very strong sales in the video game market. Overall, net income in Q3 increased 25 percent to $1.9 billion USD and sales were up over 9 percent.

Sony Computer Entertainment, also known more affectionately as the PlayStation division, turned a profit for the first time since the PS3 launched thanks mainly to increased sales and reduction in production costs which led to price cuts. For the holiday quarter, Sony was able to sell 4.9 million PS3s worldwide.

Despite the high sales though,
Sony also announced it would lowering its full year sales target from 11 million down to 9.5 million, a pretty significant reduction.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Update: ELSPA denies R4 quotes

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2008 14:33

Update: ELSPA denies R4 quotes Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, the ELSPA has refuted recent quotes about Nintendo DS piracy in North America and instead said the original story contained false quotes.

In The Sunday Post, ELSPA spokesperson John Hillier was quoted as saying "In America, it's thought 90 per cent of Nintendo DS users are playing pirated games because of R4s," while discussing the now infamous piracy cartridge that runs off microSD cards.

A new spokesperson has refuted that quote and instead said, "[John] didn't quote The Sunday Post on any figures whatsoever."

"ELSPA would certainly never presume to comment about America or anywhere else outside of the UK,"
he added.

That article, said the ELSPA, is a poorly done mix of genuine facts, false quotes and a poorly translated article from Singapore.

"The quotes from The Sunday Post were ascribed to his name from another article which originates from a website in Singapore. This, it appears, is where The Sunday Post first found out about the supposed R4 situation and for some reason unknown to John have quoted him on what this article said."




AfterDawn: News

TiVo gets a victory in Dish Network appeal

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Feb 2008 3:13

TiVo gets a victory in Dish Network appeal On Thursday TiVo won a major appeals court battle that may give them more leverage in licensing their software to cable and satellite providers. The ruling, upholding a lower court decision that Dish Network DVRs violate their software patents, may mean that other DVR providers have to either pay up for licensing or work TiVo's product into the DVRs they provide customers.

TiVo is certainly the best known DVR brand among consumers, who often refer to the very act of DVR Capture as 'TiVo-ing' a program. But the company's financial fortunes currently seem tied to their capability to sell cable and satellite television providers their product. They've recently started widescale testing of a port of the TiVo interface to existing Comcast DVRs.


With Thursday's decision, the company appears to be in a strong position to secure partnerships with other DVR providers. Meanwhile Dish DVR customers shouldn't have to worry about the fallout. According to a company spokesman they've already been migrated to software that doesn't violate any TiVo patents.




AfterDawn: News

BBC adds Firefox support to the iPlayer

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Feb 2008 2:35

BBC adds Firefox support to the iPlayer The BBC has finally gotten their iPlayer to work with software not developed byMicrosoft. It's not a competitor's operating system, however, but rather the Firefox web browser. So while the BBC's video download service, intended to act as a sort of free DVR for people paying the licence fee that keeps the network on the air, no longer requires Internet Explorer, it does still need Windows for its DRM.

While this may not sound like an important enough milestone to get too worked up over, based on statements from Anthony Rose, who took over responsibility for the iPlayer's development in September, "It's good because it's the first real non-Microsoft thing we've been able to do with the download iPlayer."

He also indicates that the long wait for Firefox support isn't actually the BBC's fault. According to Rose the problem was the client provided by Verisign, and the BBC was forced to write their own client from scratch to make it work.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Hulu to offer Super Bowl commercials the following Monday

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Feb 2008 2:03

Hulu to offer Super Bowl commercials the following Monday With the Super Bowl coming up in less than a week,a number of people are making plans to watch just to see the entertainment during commercial breaks. Every year the commercials are nearly an event to themselves, with each sponsor trying to attract enough attention to be the center of attention around the water cooler Monday morning.

So what if you don't care about the game and can't be bothered to sit through it hoping to see the next legendary ad? You could record it on your DVR and skip from one commercial break to the next, or you could just wait until Monday and watch them on Hulu, where every one be posted to the company's official blog.

Although Hulu is currently in private beta, the blog can be read by anyone stopping by, making the commercial replays available to the public as well. If a new advertising legend, like Apple's now famous 1984 introduction for the Mac, is born during this year's big game it could be Hulu's big chance to enter the public consciousness.




AfterDawn: News

Amazon pays $300 million for Audible

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Feb 2008 16:53

Amazon pays $300 million for Audible Amazon has announced it plans to buy out Audible for about $300 million USD, expanding the company's interests in the digital audio market. Those familiar with the acquisition say the purchase will include all of Audible's cash and short-term investments.

For those unfamiliar, Audible offers a huge range of audio books from popular authors alongside a large library of newspapers, television and radio programs, magazines, and original programming. In the US, Germany and the UK, the site hosts about 80,000 programs.

"This deal brings together two pioneering companies that share a long history of ceaseless focus on improving the customer experience,"
said Donald Katz, founder and chief executive of Audible.com. "We are very excited to be joining a company as innovative as Amazon.com."

The deal, which should close by mid-year 2008, will help Amazon in its recent trend of moving into the digital audio market, following the glaring success of Amazon MP3.




AfterDawn: News

Finnish Christian Democrats want censorship for games

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Feb 2008 9:24

Finnish Christian Democrats want censorship for games Finnish Christian Democratic Party wants preliminary inspection for video games. However, even though video games are not included in the Finnish law describing obligatory preliminary inspections, each of the games go through the PEGI (Pan European Game Information) classification. PEGI was designed in collaboration between game studios, child welfare, and other corresponding organizations.

In a recent winter assembly the Finnish CDP parliamentary faction brought up the necessity of censorship and preliminary inspection of video games. Not long after Finnish Games and Multimedia Association (FIGMA) responded that the inspections are already taken care of even though the law doesn't require it. The Christian Democrats also wish for more accurate and detailed descriptions about possible violence and erotic content in video game packaging.

FIGMA also added that another, a national, examination would "decrease the number of released games, cause delays in release schedules, and increase the price of video games." The association also mentions that this would most likely give consumers a reason to buy their games outside Finland, which would effectively remove the reason for national control.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $45 billion

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Feb 2008 7:39

Microsoft offers to buy Yahoo for $45 billion Microsoft has announced today that they have made an offer to buy Yahoo. The long speculated acquisition now has a price tag on it, $44,6 billion, which is significantly more than the current market value of Yahoo. According to Microsoft the deal would improve the operational efficiency and increase value for advertisers, which would create a "more efficient" company.

The forty-five billion is approximately 20 billion more than the market value of Yahoo according to Nasdaq. The current value is $19,18 per share or around $25,6 billion for the whole company. If the deal becomes reality the share's value would be roughly $31.

Microsoft hopes to complete the deal during the second half of the year.





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