AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (3 / 2008)

AfterDawn: News

Sony BMG accused of using pirated software

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2008 16:10

Sony BMG accused of using pirated software Sony BMG, one of the Big 4 record labels, has had a lawsuit filed against them by PointDev, a French software company that claims the label is using pirated versions of its "Ideal Migration" software.

Making the situation even more embarrassing, it seems Sony BMG got themselves in trouble. A company employee called PointDev for help in using the software.

“When PointDev’s technicians addressed the support request they found that the software had been activated with a stolen authorisation key,”
reads the original story.

“PointDev got a search warrant for court bailiffs to raid a Sony BMG office in January. The raid discovered four Sony BMG servers containing unlicenced copies of PointDev’s software, so the servers were seized as evidence.”

“We are not interested in an amicable settlement,”
added Agustoni Paul-Henry, the CEO of PointDev (translated from French). “It is not just a question of money but more importantly in principle...the rate of software piracy in the company is very high. According to the Business Software Alliance, a association of the major publishers in the market, 47% of programs used in the company are unlawfully used in France...We are forced to watch every week if key software pirates are not on the Internet. We are a small company of six employees. Instead of trying to protect us, we could spend this time to develop ourselves,” finished Paul-Henry Agustoni.


AfterDawn: News

Virgin Media gives pirates "three strikes and you're out" alternative

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2008 15:41

Virgin Media gives pirates "three strikes and you're out" alternative After last month's "three strikes and you're off the Internet" announcement in the UK was made official, it seems the large ISP Virgin Media will be the first to implement the plan.

Although record labels have been pushing for a plan like this for years, it is not even known yet whether the actual measures are legal. The government is expected to have a meeting on that very subject sometime next month. Despite this fact, BPI and Virgin say they will enact a pilot program using the infamous "three strikes and you're off the Internet".

A spokesman for Virgin Media said: "We have been in discussions with rights holders organisations about how a voluntary scheme could work. We are taking this problem seriously and would favour a sensible voluntary solution...the BPI has teams of technicians to trace illegal music downloading to individual accounts. It will hand these account numbers over to Virgin Media, which will match them to names and addresses."

BPI plans to send warning letters for first time offenders, a temporary suspension of Internet services for the "second strike" and finally a full disconnection for the final strike.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft inks original content deal with distributor

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2008 15:20

Microsoft inks original content deal with distributor Microsoft has announced a partnership with the Safran Digital Group that will bring original content to gamers via Xbox Live.

SDG added that "full details of film-makers, talent and specific type of content will be disclosed at a later date," but other reports have disclosed that "the first batch of content will be six scripted shows running at under 10 minutes, and focusing on specific genres such as horror and comedy."

The group was established and run by Peter Safran, a producer and agent who produced "Meet the Spartans" and "Over Her Dead Body" and represented actors and film makers such as Sean "P. Diddy" Combs, David Schwimmer, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer.

The shorts will be the first ever original content created for the Xbox Live Video Marketplace.

AfterDawn: News

HTC Touch gets rebranded for Verizon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2008 14:57

HTC Touch gets rebranded for Verizon Verizon has announced at CTIA today that it will be releasing a rebranded version of the HTC Touch dubbed the Verizon XV6900.

The exceptional touchscreen device is almost exactly like the the Touch but with a white color scheme instead of the usual black. The XV6900 retains "HTC's custom TouchFlo front-end software, a 2-megapixel camera, and Office Mobile editing." The new device also has faster 3G Internet access.

The company says the phone stays as close to the HTC Touch as possible, aside from a few slight improvements to the Windows Mobile 6 interface. The device will be available in Verizon's online and retail shops by the end of April and will sell for $350 USD with a two-year contract.

AfterDawn: News

iPhones coming to New Zealand?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2008 18:37

iPhones coming to New Zealand? TeleGeography, a research firm, has reported that New Zealand will be expanding its cellular networks and that iPhones could be on the way.

Telecom New Zealand's
director of mobile operations, Martin Butler added that it is a "good inference that the company will bring over the iPhone." The communications company is currently building a brand new $300 million NZD GSM/EDGE network which should be able to support the 850MHz Frequency of the iPhone. The new expansion of the network is expected by November and will reach 97 percent of New Zealand's residents.

Butler also noted however that the network will support 3G broadband, but for the first few months or so it will only cover NZ's three largest cities, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. "To achieve anything above EDGE -- a "2.5G" technology -- many users will need to fall back to the company's CDMA network, which supports EVDO Revision A," he added.


AfterDawn: News

Sony resurrects its Connect music service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Mar 2008 17:43

Sony resurrects its Connect music service Although they closed down the service last June, it seems that Sony BMG is looking to resurrect its Connect music service.

Sony CEO Rolf Schmidt-Holtz has confirmed the launch of what users are calling "Son of Connect", a service which gives unlimited access to the label's catalog for about €8 per month.

Making the service more interesting is that if a subscriber quits the service then they can still keep some of the downloaded music. The songs will also be playable in non-Sony devices.

No other labels have joined into the service as of yet so the general consensus is that Sony will fail for the third time in a row.

Sony's first digital store, PressPlay, failed due to high DRM restrictions and a Limited catalog. The original Connect was only supported on Sony's own ATRAC players and had crippling DRM as well.


AfterDawn: News

Vivitar announces new DVR565HD HD camcorder

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Mar 2008 17:30

Vivitar announces new DVR565HD HD camcorder Vivitar has announced the upcoming launch of the DVR565HD High Definition Camcorder which should hit retailers by the end of April.

The company did not give all that much information on the upcoming camcorder but did say it will "record in H.264/MPEG4 high definition at 720p with a Frame rate of 30 frames per second, plays back at 1080i and comes complete with HDMI cable for playback on HD Ready TVs."

The device will be available in two colors, silver and black and will be "compact in shape and size". The camcorder will have a 3-inch flip out color display, "a rechargeable lithium ion battery and will support SD cards up to 4GB."


AfterDawn: News

BofA says 3G iPhone is coming in June

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Mar 2008 17:18

BofA says 3G iPhone is coming in June If Bank of America is to be believed, then the upcoming 3G Apple iPhone will hit retailers by June and that up to 11 million iPhones will be produced by the Q3 2008.

The new report, from Bank of America analyst Scott Craig, has not been confirmed by Apple or AT&T. "Our latest Channel checks point to a significant production build of a 3G iPhone beginning in the month of June after an initial small build in May," he said.

Craig estimates that 3 million 3G iPhones will be produced by June and then 8 million more in the Q3. Craig previously estimated that there would only be 8 million units produced for the whole year.

Recently other analysts reported that Apple had ordered 10 million 3G iPhones from manufacturers so Craig's estimates don't seem to far out of reach.

AfterDawn: News

US Attorney General claims piracy funds terrorism

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Mar 2008 16:45

US Attorney General claims piracy funds terrorism During a speech to Silicon Valley executives at the Tech Museum of Innovation, Attorney General Michael Mukasey warned that the "enormous" profits made from counterfeiting and piracy is flowing into the hands of terrorists and terrorist organizations.

Mukasey added that the "economy and national security of the United States are increasingly threatened by violations involving copyrighted software code, patented inventions and trademarked properties."

Terrorists are starting to perform more like organized crime and are increasingly using piracy and counterfeiting money to fund their operations, Mukasey says.

The Attorney General also noted that his department was now giving more resources to prosecuting intellectual property crimes, which has led to a 40 percent increase in IP cases since 2005.

"Criminal syndicates, and in some cases even terrorist groups, view IP crime as a lucrative business and see it as a low-risk way to fund other activities,"
Mukasey said. "A primary goal of our IP enforcement mission is to show these criminals that they're wrong."


AfterDawn: News

Dell releases sub-$900 USD Blu-ray notebook

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2008 18:52

Dell releases sub-$900 USD Blu-ray notebook The giant personal computer manufacturer Dell has announced that it will begin offering its Inspiron 1525 notebooks with an option for an internal Blu-ray drive, and that configurations will start at $879 USD.

The only hitch is that customers will need to select a processor that is non-Celeron and at least 1.83GHz processing power. Of course, if you are trying to add Blu-ray to your configuration you are most likely looking for a nice computer.

The base price for the line is $499 USD and adding the cheapest eligible processor and the drive adds $380 USD to the price. Be noted that the drive can only read BD and if you want burning capabilities then the price jumps another $200 USD.

Besides the drive the system has a 15.4 inch display that has up to 720p Resolution. Also notable, the system has an HDMI port.


AfterDawn: News

HD DVD is officially, officially, dead

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2008 18:36

HD DVD is officially, officially, dead Although the format has been technically dead for over a month, HD DVD is now officially dead, as the HD DVD Promotion Group has formally dissolved itself, marking a quiet end to the High Definition format.

After Toshiba's decision last month to abandon the format, other big players involved have all pulled out as well, including Microsoft, Universal Studios, Paramount Studios and more recently, Best Buy.

The Promotion group, the organization in charge of persuading the world to adopt HD DVD, has now voted to disband, leaving HD DVD and its branding to the DVD Forum.


AfterDawn: News

Apple iPhone SDK beta 2 hits online

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2008 18:19

Apple iPhone SDK beta 2 hits online Apple has announced the release of the second beta for the iPhone SDK which allows developers to build third party applications for the iPhone and similarly built iPod Touch.

The new updated download includes "the interface builder, the Xcode integrated development environment, the iPhone simulator, frameworks and samples, compilers, and the Shark analysis tool."

It was recently reported that 100,000 copies of the original SDK were downloaded in the first week after it was launched. Apple has also said that Firmware upgrade for the device will hit consumers in June.

AfterDawn: News

Nintendo DS back on top of Japanese hardware sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2008 18:03

Nintendo DS back on top of Japanese hardware sales Thanks to the launch of Pokemon Ranger: Battonage, the Nintendo DS has once again moved to the top of hardware sales in Japan.

The popular handheld sold 65,000 units for the week ending March 23, up from a relatively low 53,000 the previous week.

After a strong previous week, the PlayStation Portable fell two places to third and sold 60,000 units, slightly lower than last week's 62,000.

The perennial winner, the Nintendo Wii, moved up to second place with just over 62,000 units sold for the week. The rest of the chart, thanks to data by MediaCreate, is as follows:

* 1. Nintendo DS (65,055)
* 2. Nintendo Wii (62,404)
* 3. PlayStation Portable (59,833)
* 4. PlayStation 3 (12,874)
* 5. PlayStation 2 (9990)
* 6. Xbox 360 (1407)

AfterDawn: News

Best Buy completely drops all HD DVD stock

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2008 14:22

Best Buy completely drops all HD DVD stock It seems that Best Buy is completely dropping HD DVD, and is pulling all titles and players from its retail stores.

Instead of putting the remaining discs through a firesale, Best Buy managers have received a memorandum to remove all HD DVD products from store shelves. The memorandum reads, “Mosaic [field marketing company] will be in all stores before open on March 26 to pull and send back all HD-DVD titles. The representative will fill out the sendback paperwork and create a manifest for each individual tote. They'll also flex all Blu-ray inventory across the space where HD-DVD was featured.”

The memo even goes as far as to day that all signs promoting HD DVD must go as well. “Mosaic will remove any header signs that list both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, as they are no longer valid signs in the store. Stores will be responsible to order additional Blu-ray sign rails to fill in the space Left by the removed HD-DVD signs.”


AfterDawn: News

Cox partners with Rhapsody Music for broadband customers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2008 13:59

Cox partners with Rhapsody Music for broadband customers Cox Communications has announced that they will be partnering with Rhapsody music service to create Cox Rhapsody, a service giving Cox High Speed Internet customers the ability to access and download millions of songs for $12.99 a month.

"Our customers have expressed that music is a big part of their lives, and Cox Rhapsody allows us to make their favorite songs even more accessible," stated Mark Snow, vice president of marketing for Cox Northern Virginia. "Cox Rhapsody provides our customers unlimited access to their music anywhere -- at home, work or while traveling."

According to the press release, the following packages are available:

Cox Rhapsody Free
-- Price: FREE trial service
-- Listen to 25 ad-free, high-quality Streaming radio stations from RealNetworks on your computer
-- Access the Rhapsody Unlimited catalog and play up to 25 on-demand songs per month on your computer

Cox Rhapsody Radio
-- Price: $4.99/month
-- Listen to more than 80 ad-free, high-quality streaming radio stations from RealNetworks on your computer
-- Includes ability to "skip" tracks and create personalized radio stations based on artist preference
-- Access the Rhapsody Unlimited catalog and play up to 25 on-demand songs per month on your computer


AfterDawn: News

IFPI pressuring Swedish ISPs

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 28 Mar 2008 1:43

IFPI pressuring Swedish ISPs After what the IFPI calls a successful operation to Block The Pirate Bay in Denmark, they've decided to try to do the same in Sweden. The IFPI has decided to force Swedish Internet Service Providers to block TPB and other related sites using their landmark "Tele2"-method which is widely considered to be against the EU law. Amongst the ones that received the letter was the largest ISP in Sweden, TeliaSonera, which has over 100 million subscribers across Europe.

TeliaSonera however has extensive experience on Blocking and filtering implementations, and unlike the IFPI they have very strict relationship with what says in the EU law. “The rules say that we as Internet carriers are not allowed to listen in on what our customers are sending to each other or are talking with each other about. That’s something police and prosecutors are allowed to do after a decision has been made about it in court,” said Patrik Hiselius from TeliaSonera.


AfterDawn: News

BCI drops HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2008 16:48

BCI drops HD DVD BCI/Eclipse, an indie movie distributor, has announced they have canceled all HD DVD titles and will be moving onto Blu-ray for future releases.

In 2006 BCI became the first indie distributor to announce HD DVD support but delays have slowed distribution to a few select titles. The company says the HD DVD Title 'My Favorite Brunette'/'Son of Paleface' will be the last release in the format and all future support is over.

Any fans of BCI titles can still look forward to seeing the titles on Blu-ray as the company is "planning a more aggressive Blu-ray line-up for later this year, although exact titles and street dates have yet to be determined."

AfterDawn: News

Blu-ray discs sold hit 9 million milestone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2008 16:18

Blu-ray discs sold hit 9 million milestone Citing strong sales of 'No Country for Old Men,', the Blu-ray camp has now topped 9 million discs sold since its launch.

BD sales for the first 11 weeks of 2008 is about 3 million units, adding to the 6 million that the format had sold since its inception in Q2 2006. The sales are clearly stronger than past years and analysts predict 16 million sold total for 2008.

For the week ended March 16th, sales jumped to 319,000, buoyed by Disney's 'No Country for Old Men.' The movie moved 68,000 Blu-ray copies in its first week, and destroyed all competitors for the week including the healthy selling new Blu-ray release "Hitman".

In related news, HD DVD titles, now to be found for under $20 USD at most retailers continue to sell out and move at a vigorous pace after the format's demise last month.

AfterDawn: News

Velocix to begin live streaming TV, compete with Joost

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2008 15:41

Velocix to begin live streaming TV, compete with Joost The UK-based company Velocix (formerly known as CacheLogic), has announced that beginning today it will be "offering live Streaming television content with a hybrid P2P live streaming client."

So far live streaming has been a challenge to content providers as the audience for live streaming events are all trying to access the video simultaneously, putting a strain on resources.

The popular IPTV platform Joost recently made an attempt to live stream some NCAA "March Madness" basketball games via a partnership with CBS but "connections to CBS feeds were reported to have been dropped at inopportune periods."

Velocix, on the other hand, offers a BitTorrent-compatible hybrid P2P client "which turns each viewer into a sort of peer host for additional viewers." The streams are then available in Flash format or Windows Media format.

The company also says it has made deals with the BBC and Babelgum as well as, and


AfterDawn: News

YouTubes removes video to appease Turkey

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2008 15:23

YouTubes removes video to appease Turkey The giant video sharing site YouTube has removed a few video clips that had prompted Turkish authorities to Block access to the site in January. The company hopes the move will lead the Turkish authorities to open access to the site in a timely fashion.

In a statement the site says, "we reviewed the videos that led to the most recent ban on access and removed them because of their content, which violate YouTube's content policy."

The clips, which Turkish authorities alleged were disrespectful to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, are now removed but the site remains blocked. Under Turkish law, it is a federal crime to even insult Ataturk.

AfterDawn: News

Chinese movie site sues MPA

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2008 14:39

 Chinese movie site sues MPA The popular Chinese movie download site Jeboo has filed a lawsuit against the MPA for libel . The statement in question implies that Jeboo admitted to piracy as part of a past legal settlement. Jeboo claims it did no such admission.

MPA officials refused comment on the suit, which was filed in a Beijing court last week.

Back in September, Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount
Five studios
sued Jeboo in Shanghai for "supplying Internet cafes with computer software that allowed users to download and watch illegal copies of 20 Hollywood movies, including "Hitch" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest.""

Earlier this month the MPA announced that Jeboo had settled with the studios and that the defendants "confirmed the cessation of infringing activities,", apologized to the studios and also paid monetary compensation.

Company official Xie Jiangping says the settlement is confidential but that Jeboo never admitted to piracy. "We cannot tolerate statements that don't reflect the truth," he added.

AfterDawn: News

Bell Canada was throttling P2P traffic

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2008 14:06

Bell Canada was throttling P2P traffic After being accused of shaping and throttling P2P traffic, Bell Canada has admitted to doing so, claiming that it is within its rights to do so.

The company admitted that it implemented "load balancing to manage Bandwidth demand," and did so without telling customers or even the ISPs involved. The accusations thrown at Bell first occurred when Canadian ISP Teksavvy, an ISP popular among P2P users because traffic is guaranteed to not be throttled, noticed the "load balancing" and contacted Bell.

Last October Bell Canada's own ISP, Sympatico, admitted to throttling P2P traffic on BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, Kazaa, eDonkey, eMule, and WinMX which they claimed "use a large portion of bandwidth during peak hours." The measures were supposedly only used during "peak hours" however.

What is more infuriating to customers is the fact that now traffic is affected for not only Sympatico users but customers of other ISPs that have connections through Bell. In response to what many customers have called "anti-competitive measures" being used by Bell a letter campaign is being formed with the Canadian Competition Bureau.

The group letter reads, "Bell Canada has overstepped its authority and are flexing their muscle (infrastructure control) to impose their will on independent competitors. I am a customer of an independent ISP who has purchased bandwidth and my provider is at the mercy of this underhanded tactic being employed by Bell Canada."


AfterDawn: News

TorrentSpy shut down

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 27 Mar 2008 9:11

TorrentSpy shut down TorrentSpy, formerly one of the most popular BitTorrent sites on the Internet, has been permanently shut down. After two years of court room drama, TorrentSpy lost the case against MPAA in last December. This however, was not the reason for shutdown. According to TorrentSpy founder Justin Bunnell, the decision was made by the site's administration to ensure the anonymity and privacy of former users.

TorrentSpy was found guilty without evidence that the court claimed were destroyed on purpose. TorrentSpy was defending theirselves, to no avail, by saying the actions were made to secure user privacy.

The greeting at says, "Ultimately the Court demanded actions that in our view were inconsistent with our privacy policy, traditional court rules, and International law; therefore, we now feel compelled to provide the ultimate method of privacy protection for our users - permanent shutdown."

TorrentSpy is certainly not alone with legal issues. Amongst the ones in the line of fire is The Pirate Bay which is currently waiting for court hearing. "Today all big torrent sites are pressured somehow," said TPB admin Brokep. Brokep told TorrentFreak that TorrentSpy was closed because of the economical reasons of an admin, nothing more. He also convinces that this will not be the case with TPB.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix will credit users affected by outage

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Mar 2008 18:49

Netflix will credit users affected by outage Netflix has announced that it will be giving all customers affected by Monday's outage a 5 percent credit on their monthly bill.

Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey would not give the total amount of customers affected or how much would be refunded but did mention that the credit will have no "material impact on the company's financial operations."

"The key thing here is: This was completely proactive on Netflix's part. There's no requirement for Netflix to do this, no obligation. There was no request for it. We thought it was the right thing to do,"
Swasey said.

Swasey added that many of Netflix's 7.5 million members return DVDs on Mondays after watching them over the weekend and the outage delayed those hoping to receive their movies by Tuesday. The ratings system is still down but all ordering and shipping is back online.

AfterDawn: News

Shakespeares' works go digital

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Mar 2008 18:23

Shakespeares' works go digital The Bodleian Library in Oxford and Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC have announced plans to reproduce all 75 editions of William Shakespeare's plays printed before 1641, online.

"There are no surviving manuscripts of Shakespeare's plays in his handwriting so the quartos are the closest we can get to what Shakespeare really wanted,"
said Bodleian spokeswoman Oana Romocea.

"Some quartos do, however, have his annotations around the printed text."

Many of the quartos are currently only available to scholars and the project is aimed to make the prints more accessible to the general public. The libraries say the downloading of the quartos will begin in April and take about a year to complete.

"We (at the Bodleian) have about 55 copies, although some of them are duplicates,"
said Romocea.

"Each quarto is different, so it's very interesting from a research perspective to compare the quartos.

"For example, some of the famous lines in 'Hamlet' exist in one quarto and in another they don't, or they are very different."

AfterDawn: News

WiiWare finally launched in Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Mar 2008 17:57

WiiWare finally launched in Japan Nintendo's WiiWare service has finally launched in Japan and the company says there will be nine titles available on launch day.

Following the Japanese launch is the North American launch on May 12th and finally the European launch (to be known as Wii Software not WiiWare) sometime later this year. Each title will cost between 500 and 1500 Wii points and the list, courtesy of is:

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King
Okiraku Ping Pong
Kotoba no Puzzle Mojipittan
Dr. Mario
Saku Saku Animal Panic
Star Solider R
Tenshi Solitaire
Pokémon Ranch

At the same time, Sega has announced that it will be bringing Master System classics Wonder Boy and Fantasy Zone to Nintendo's Virtual Console with more titles promised soon.

AfterDawn: News

Apple orders 10 million 3G iPhones?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Mar 2008 17:40

Apple orders 10 million 3G iPhones? Although not confirmed by Apple, Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney, the research firm's iPhone expert, has said that Apple has "already placed orders for 10 million 3G iPhones" meaning the launch could be sooner rather than later.

Last year it was confirmed that a 3G version of the popular iPhone was coming, but Apple has not given an exact date as to when it is arriving. Analysts have suggested that June 2008 is the expected date, but there has been no confirmation.

In a phone interview, Dulaney also speculated that the upcoming 3G version would sport a OLED screen. Talks of an OLED screen have not been thrown around in the past but it would make sense considering the amount of energy the new phone should drain.

AfterDawn: News

Buffalo introduces dual format HD drive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Mar 2008 16:33

Buffalo introduces dual format HD drive Buffalo Technology has introduced its first ever external optical disc drive, a dual format HD drive dubbed the BRHC-6316U2.

The drive can read and write single or dual layer Blu-ray discs at an impressive 6x speed and can read HD DVD at 3x. As is standard, the drive can read and write DVDs at 16x.

Buffalo adds that the drive is very simple to use and connects via USB to any PC using a plug and play connection. Included with the drive is Buffalo's own TurboUSB with Secure Lock Ware for drive encryption and the popular burning suite Nero 8 .

The company says the drive will be available for sale on Amazon,, Misco and for about £284 plus VAT.

AfterDawn: News

Motorola splitting off its cell phone business

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Mar 2008 15:02

Motorola splitting off its cell phone business Motorola has announced that it will be splitting off its mobile phone business into a seperate company by 2009.

The move is seen as a way to acquiesce to the demands of major investor Carl Icahn and the split will leave Motorola as a company that makes TV set-top boxes, wireless equipment, public-safety radios and bar-code scanners.

Motorola CEO Greg Brown has this to say about the latest move. "The decision will provide improved flexibility, more tailored capital structures, and increased management focus - as well as more targeted investment opportunities for our shareholders."

"Clearly there's a lot more work to be done,"
Brown added. "It will be a product-led recovery. We're taking steps now to ensure and solidify that direction."

AfterDawn: News

New guides added for installing SageTV

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 26 Mar 2008 13:36

New guides added for installing SageTV Earlier this year I was forced to find a replacement for Windows Media Center in order to use the latest version of Windows Media Player to support the Netflix Streaming service's DRM. After some searching I settled on SageTV as the best choice.

Besides offering most of the same media center and DVR functionality in Windows Media Center, it also supports the MCE remote I already have. After working with SageTV for a couple of months I've written both a review and an installation guide. I consider SageTV to be a significant upgrade to Windows Media Center.

Being built around cross-platform support (there are also OS X and Linux versions), it works well with formats like FLAC and containers like Matroska (MKV files). With a little work I was even able to get DRM protected content from SpiralFrog to play (via WMP).


AfterDawn: News

Three new guides added to guide section

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2008 10:21

Three new guides added to guide section Today we have added another three guides to our Guide section. The first guide covers a program we forgot to cover long ago called VobBlanker. The guide shows basically how to "blank" anti-piracy videos, copyright warnings, studio logo videos and whatever else you are forced to sit through (by PUOs) before you get to the menu of the DVD disc you just bought. It also shows how to strip streams from features on the disc.

The other two guides were just basic guides to a rising piece of software that certainly makes your life easier; tsMuxer. A guide for taking an MKV with H.264/AVC and AC3 audio and converting it to an M2TS file (with AVC level changed if necessary) which will work with the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console was added and then semi-cloned for plain transport stream (.TS) rips (again, AVC / AC3, process may be necessary for H.264 Level change).


AfterDawn: News

Amazon becomes iTunes' biggest competitor for digital downloads

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2008 8:57

Amazon becomes iTunes' biggest competitor for digital downloads After launching a music service six months ago that only offers digital audio downloads without Digital Rights Management (DRM), Amazon has taken the No. 2 spot in sales after Apple Inc.'s iTunes. Last year, Apple and EMI announced a ground-breaking deal to sell digital music downloads without digital rights management (DRM) technology.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs had predicted that by the end of 2007, half of the iTunes catalog would be DRM-free. However, that simply didn't happen because Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group opted to sell DRM-free downloads through Amazon's service instead.

As it stands, iTunes offers about 2 million DRM-free songs from EMI and independent record companies, while Amazon has 4.5 million DRM-free downloads to offer. A situation such as this was to be expected however as many record industry figures loathe the control that Apple has over the market for digital downloads.

"Amazon's arrival removed some of the stranglehold iTunes had on the market," says Ted Cohen, a former EMI Music executive and managing partner of the Tag Strategic consulting firm. Pete Baltaxe, Amazon's director of digital music said that customers have sent a lot of positive feedback about the lack of DRM restrictions on the music sold.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox Live Gamerscore cheaters targeted

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2008 3:23

Xbox Live Gamerscore cheaters targeted Administrators of Microsoft's Xbox Live online gaming community have cracked down on those who are found to be tampering with their Xbox Live Gamerscore. "Today we took action on some of the accounts we have identified as the most serious offenders who have violated the Xbox Live Terms of Use by tampering with their Gamerscore and achievements." administrator Major Nelson wrote in a post on Tuesday.

Those who were caught suffered a variety of punishments, such as having their Gamerscore reset to zero, all registered achievements canceled and some had their accounts labeled as cheaters on the Xbox Live service and The response from Xbox Live users has been mostly positive. Back in October, Nelson had warned against the cheating activity.

"I strongly urge you not to tamper with your Gamerscore and achievements. If you do decide to employ some nefarious techniques to artificially increase your Gamerscore or obtain achievements by manipulating the Xbox software without playing the game, bad things will happen," a post read at the time.

For More Information: Gamerscore Cheating FAQ

AfterDawn: News

Study: 59 percent of Americans are aware of DTV transition

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2008 3:00

Study: 59 percent of Americans are aware of DTV transition Frank N. Magid Associates conducted a survey which has found that 59 percent of Americans are aware of the impending February 19th 2009 switch to all-digital television broadcasts in the United States. The same company had conducted a survey six months before which found that only 34 percent of Americans were aware of the switch, showing progress by the U.S. Government and other parties involved in educating the public about the change.

However, the implication that 41 percent of Americans are still unaware that the DTV transition will occur in less than a year is nothing to celebrate. Nevertheless, in homes where it matters - with reliance on over-the-air only broadcasts and analog TV sets - only 37 percent were found to be unaware of the impending change.

While the level of awareness has been raised to the digital switch in the past six months, there also was a rise in the number of people who believed that the transition means that all television programming will be available in High-Definition (HD). Six months ago, Magid found that 23 percent believed this falsity, and in late February the number actually rose to 29 percent.


AfterDawn: News

Peerflix to cease DVD trade operations

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2008 2:59

Peerflix to cease DVD trade operations In an email notification to users, Peerflix has announced that it will cease operations of its DVD trading service. Peerflix competed with rental services like Netflix, but differed because it instead let its users swap their own disc collections. Now Peerflix has decided to cut this service due to escalating operational costs.

Peerflix allowed users to post lists of films they were offering and films they were seeking. A transaction fee of 99c applied and each film was assigned a trade value by Peerflix. When a user received a film on their want list, they paid the sender for it.

The company had maintained that it was like "stock trading" and that users who traded heavily would inevitably earn higher profits from it (a cash-out fee of $10 applied for all accounts). However, problems with the service's trading model were spotted early on, with Techcrunch's Michael Arrington, for example, finding the faults irreconcilable and predicting it would "slide into obscurity."

AfterDawn: News

IPTV to grow 52 percent annually through 2012 says study

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2008 2:57

IPTV to grow 52 percent annually through 2012 says study According to a report from IMS Research, by the end of the year 2007, more than 13 million households worldwide subscriber to Internet Protocol TV (IPTV) services. It predicts that by the end of the year 2012, that number will have grown to around 69 million households worldwide, translating into an average annual growth of 52 percent.

This growth is expected to elevate shipments of IPTV set-top boxes to 21 million in the year 2012, compared to the 4.7 million figure for 2006. According to the report, hybrid set-top boxes (set-top boxes that combine Internet Protocol features with traditional TV delivery technologies) will see growth too.

The hybrids will see shipments of 39 million in 2012 compared to less than 5 million in 2006. The IMS report predicts that prices of IPTV technology and services will "continue to fall as increased integration of multiple codecs into a single chip helps to reduce manufacturing costs over time."

AfterDawn: News

CyberLink releases MediaShow 4

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Mar 2008 0:04

CyberLink releases MediaShow 4 CyberLink Corp. today released CyberLink MediaShow 4, combining photo and video management, enhancement, authoring, burning and sharing in one convenient application. The software features a next-generation 3D "liquid" interface that ensures ease-of-use and fun for users while working on their precious photos and videos.

"The ubiquity of mainstream digital cameras and mobile phones is prompting users to take more videos and photos, and accumulate thousands of them on their PCs," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "CyberLink MediaShow 4 is the ideal software to manage visual media libraries in a fun and easy way, allowing users to enhance their own videos and photos quickly, helping them to share their stories creatively, through slideshows, online posting and preserving their best memories onto DVDs."

MediaShow 4 lets users create cool and stylish content such as impressive slideshows, including the new, stunning animated "cell" style, which features beat detection technology for automatically synchronizing the animation of photos according to a soundtrack's rhythm. Users can therefore create unique slideshows from a single set of photos, simply by changing their music selection.


AfterDawn: News

THX chief says war victory came too late for Blu-ray

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Mar 2008 18:21

THX chief says war victory came too late for Blu-ray THX chief scientist Laurie Fincham has been quoted as saying that despite its victory over HD DVD, Blu-ray will not become the next standard in the home entertainment market.

"Personally, I think it's too late for Blu-ray. I think consumers will only become interested in replacing DVD when HD movies becomes available on flash memory. Do we really need another spinning format?"
Fincham is quoted in the Home Cinema Choice Magazine.

"In the future I want to be able to carry four to five movies around with me in a wallet, or walk into a store and have someone copy me a movie to a USB device. Stores will like that idea, because it's all about having zero inventory. I don't want to take up shelf space with dozens of HD movies."

"By the time Blu-ray really finds a mass market, we will have 128GB cards. I would guess that getting studios to supply movies on media cards, or offer downloads, will be a lot easier than getting them to sign up to support a disc format,"
he concluded.

AfterDawn: News

Starz content now available on iTunes

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Mar 2008 18:02

Starz content now available on iTunes Starz has announced it is now offering its TV series on Apple's iTunes platform, marking the second time a premium network has offered its programming on the platform.

Marc DeBevoise, Senior Vice President of business development and strategy for Starz, made the announcement yesterday at the Future of Television West conference in Hollywood. Starz' shows "Head Case" and "Hollywood residential" are the only two current series available on iTunes.

Anonymous sources have cited that the BBC is planning to make a similar move this week but it is not certain if the shows will be for the UK only or will also be available on iTunes in Canada and the US.

AfterDawn: News

PS3 firmware update v2.20 available -- added support for LTH BD-R

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Mar 2008 17:39

PS3 firmware update v2.20 available -- added support for LTH BD-R The next firmware update for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console has gotten much hype over the past couple of weeks, as it turned it into the first official Profile 2.0 Blu-ray hardware. There has been a lot of interest in BD-Live even though only two titles are currently available that provide extra web-based content (War and Saw IV) and two are scheduled for release in April (Walk Hard and The Sixth Day).

There was some speculation that the update would also bring "Portable Copy" support to the PSP as indicated at CES 2008, but that didn't happen. However, media integration with the PlayStation Portable (PSP) has been improved as reported and there is slightly better DivX support (file size limit addressed).

What didn't get as much media attention is the added support for Low to High LTH Blu-ray discs. These discs, included in "Blu-ray Disc Recordable Format Ver.1.2" specifications, use an organic dye recording layer. The technology will help to reduce the cost of making the discs because it eliminates the need for large-scale manufacturing plant investments, and will allow older modified CD-R and DVD-R manufacturing equipment to be used as part of the process.


AfterDawn: News

Sony BMG online music service in development

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Mar 2008 17:22

Sony BMG online music service in development According to Sony BMG Chief Executive Rolf Schmidt-Holtz, the music giant is currently developing a music download service that would offer unlimited access to the company's catalog on a subscription fee basis. The music will be compatible with many different brands of MP3 player including Apple Inc.'s iPod. The service was announced in German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

While Schmidt-Holtz didn't give any time frame for when this service is expected to become available to consumers, he said that the subscription model would include a fee of about €6 -- €8 per month for unlimited access to Sony BMG's catalog, which includes artists such as Leona Lewis, Alicia Keys and Celine Dion.

Interestingly, he also that it was "even possible that clients could keep some songs indefinitely, that they would own them even after the subscription expired." The plans were confirmed by a spokesman of Bertelsmann, which owns a 50% stake in Sony BMG Music Entertainment, a joint venture with Japan's Sony Corp.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung launches touch-screen phone in South Korea

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Mar 2008 17:17

Samsung launches touch-screen phone in South Korea Samsung has launched a touch-screen mobile phone, thinner than Apple Inc.'s iPhone which delivers to the human touch senses through haptic feedback. The Anycall Haptic launched in South Korea on Tuesday, which has a large touch screen, has 22 different kinds of vibration built into the phone. For example, when a user changes the volume of the radio, the phone simulates the sound and feel of the clicks of an old-style volume knob on a real radio.

The phone features a 3.2-inch widescreen display, 2-megapixel camera, a full Internet browser, reception of terrestrial television programming and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. The phone will cost between 700,000 won and 800,000 won (US$700 to $800) in the country but so far there has been no announcements for availability in other territories.

It's not the only new mobile phone to target the human sense of touch either. LG also launched the LG-SH24, which, while not so high-tech as Samsung's model, has a layer of silicon over the front of the phone to simulate human skin. It costs 40,000 won

AfterDawn: News

Netflix shows interest in Xbox 360 video service

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Mar 2008 17:15

Netflix shows interest in Xbox 360 video service Netflix, one of the worlds best known DVD rental services, has revealed that it has been surveying its subscribers to analyze the level of interest in streaming Netflix movies to the Xbox 360 console directly over the Internet. Because the Xbox 360 console is connected directly to a television set in normal use, it allows Microsoft to offer a video download service that has a huge advantage over others that work only with computers.

Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey revealed the surveying efforts on Monday but declined to say whether or not it should be taken as an indication that both companies will announce a partnership soon. He did say however that Netflix is interested in delivering movies to its customers "in as many ways as possible."

While Netflix already announced a partnership with LG Electronics to produce a Set-Top Box to stream movies directly to a television, a deal with Microsoft or Sony to integrate the service on either company's consoles would immediately provide a large installed base of compatible hardware, and guarantee tens of millions of further units to be brought to homes in the near future.


AfterDawn: News

China unblocks BBC site access?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Mar 2008 14:49

China unblocks BBC site access? The BBC has reported that its English-language Website seems to be available to Internet users in China after years of it being blocked in the country.

For the time being, the BBC says stories that would normally be blocked can be accessed and that even sensitive subjects such as the protests in Tibet are available. The Chinese-language site however, remains blocked.

The move, which comes amidst growing backlash against the Chinese government for its actions in Tibet and its censoring of news about the country, had to have been government approved or is just a temporary glitch.

Recently, China blocked access to the gigantic video sharing site YouTube after videos of the Tibetan protests surfaced and the government also announced it will be punishing other video sharing sites for similar reasons.

AfterDawn: News

South Park goes digital, and for free

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Mar 2008 14:01

South Park goes digital, and for free Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of the hit show South Park have announced the launch of a website that streams every episode of South Park ever created, and for free.

The site, South Park Digital Studios will include every episode, 3,000 video clips and an avatar creator. There were also be a dozen "Flash, Shockwave and Java powered mini games" as well as a retail store and download section for wallpapers and the like.

The site,, comes as part of the creators latest contract with Comedy Central, the cable network which broadcasts the show. Stone and Parker agreed to write three more seasons and Comedy Central will financially back the site. Parker and Stone also have equal partnership in the new digital venture.

“Three more years of South Park will give us the opportunity to offend that many more people,”
Stone announced in a prepared statement. “And since Trey and I are in charge of the digital side of South Park, we can offend people on their cellphones, game consoles, and computers too. It's all very exciting for us.”


AfterDawn: News

Quanta and ooVoo team up for HD chat system for HDTVs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2008 21:49

Quanta and ooVoo team up for HD chat system for HDTVs Quanta and ooVoo have announced that they have teamed up to "produce the first plug-and-play, real-time, high-definition video chat and messaging system" for HDTVs.

Citing the continuing growth in HDTV sales and the huge popularity of chat and instant message programs the companies say the product will "easily turn a laptop computer, HDTV or desktop PC into a high-definition chat screen."

Quanta Research Institute, the research Center for the world’s largest laptop maker would develop the hardware, while it would be ooVoo's job to work on the interface and any related software. In the end the two companies hope to develop technology that "would allow users to plug the product into an HDTV source and the Internet as easily as they would a webcam."

The technology would utilize the H.264 codec for video Compression meaning that users would need at least "512kbps of Bandwidth for one-way 720p video feeds at 30 frames per second," which should not be an issue for anyone with DSL or cable, or better.

AfterDawn: News

Plextor introduces dual format HD drives

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2008 21:12

Plextor introduces dual format HD drives Plextor made a surprising announcement today when it introduced two dual-format HD optical drives, the B920SA and B300SA, both of which can read Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.

Although the HD DVD format is now obsolete, the new drives gives owners a chance to watch their HD DVD titles on a computer while also allowing them to make way for Blu-ray.

The B920SA can burn 25GB BD discs at up to 4X speed and can write CDs and DVDs at 16x. The B300SA cannot write Blu-ray discs but can read at a relatively fast 6X speed. Both drives connect through Serial ATA and will ship in March for $450 USD and $600 USD respectively. Each drive comes bundled with movie playback, burning, and editing software for Windows systems.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix service disrupted by tech problems

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 20:14

Netflix service disrupted by tech problems Netflix, a leader in online video rentals, suffered a "technology breakdown" on Monday that affected many areas of the Los Gatos-based company's operations. The company's website, a vital component of its business, suffered downtime of about five hours. Netflix has a base of subscribers that amounts to about 7,500,000 people, so quite a lot may have been inconvenienced by the outage.

The web-site was not the only area affected either, apparently some customers may now have to wait a bit longer for their next due rentals to arrive. Company spokesman Steve Swasey said the overall problem hit several distribution centers and so a lot of the DVDs due to be mailed out Monday have been delayed.

The trouble started for Netflix around 7AM PDT and the website was still down in the afternoon.

AfterDawn: News

Italian police seize pirate CDs, DVDs and burners in raid

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 20:03

Italian police seize pirate CDs, DVDs and burners in raid The Fiscal Police in Catania (GdF) raided an organization involved in the production and distribution of pirate CDs and DVDs in Catania, East Sicily, early in March. The operation led to the seizure of 63 high speed CD burners more than 15,000 illegal CDs and DVDs, in addition to seven professional printers. Two individuals were arrested during the raid.

In the past couple of years, there has been quite a lot of anti-piracy news from Italy. In November 2007, Four people were questioned on suspicion of illegally uploading music on the Internet following a raid near Milan. Six computers, seven external hard discs and more than 2,300 CDs were seized.

The Discotequezone DirectConnect (DC) file sharing hub was also shut down by Italian police in October 2007. A total of 11 computers and more than 110,000 illegal MP3 music files were seized in the operation which was carried out between Rome, Milan and Brescia.

However, last month, news out of Italy showed that the Italian parliament may have accidentally legalized some P2P music.

AfterDawn: News

Digg founder claims 3G iPhone will have video chat

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 19:53

Digg founder claims 3G iPhone will have video chat Digg founder Kevin Rose says that Apple's 3G version of the iPhone will have video chat capabilities. His past predictions about the first generation iPhone turned out to be largely false but he is citing different sources for this information. In a recent "Diggnation" podcast, Rose told viewers that Apple is restricting third parties from authoring applications that run in both the foreground and background partly because it doesn't want rivals to its own upcoming iChat software.

He claims the newer iPhone will have two digital cameras; one on the back of the handset and one behind the transparent touch-screen. The camera will allow video-conferencing over high-speed 3G data networks and according to Rose, users will be able to chat with iChat users on other iPhones or using software on their computer.

While Rose did get a lot of details wrong before the iPhone was released (reported a slide-out keyboard and CDMA support), he has made many good predictions in the past; the most relevant to this article being his last minute report of an iPod Nano before it was unveiled in 2005.

AfterDawn: News

Sony and Warner to make a MySpace music deal?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2008 18:59

Sony and Warner to make a MySpace music deal? It appears that Sony BMG and Warner are close to signing a deal for the upcoming MySpace Music online store that would make their entire music catalogs available to the service.

The service is expected to offer individual pay-for MP3 downloads as well "as ad-subsidized free streams of music and videos." MySpace Music online is also expected to have downloadable ringtones through Jamba.

The deal has a strange compensation format however. All labels that are part of the service will be paid "a share in the venture dictated by their existing marketshare outside of MySpace." It is not clear whether sales success from the service will change the format of compensation however. Universal is expected to not make a deal for the time being because it has an ongoing copyright infringement lawsuit filed against the social networking site.

Sony, Warner and MySpace declined comment but the service is believed to be an attempt to dethrone the online market leader iTunes.

AfterDawn: News

50% of all mobile phones will play music by 2011, says study

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2008 18:38

50% of all mobile phones will play music by 2011, says study According to a study by MultiMedia Intelligence, 50 percent of all phones shipped worldwide will be music-capable by 2011. The report also estimates that the Cell phone market itself will remain flat in terms of growth with about 950 million phones being sold in 2011, same like estimates for 2008.

The mobile music business was $6 billion USD for 2008 and MMI chief researcher Frank Dickson says that music is one of the key drivers "behind future success for cellular carriers."

The study comes at a point when carrier independent music stores are becoming more and more commonplace. Apple offers its iTunes store through the iPhone's wireless and Nokia is introducing its Nokia Music Store worldwide.

AfterDawn: News

Sirius / XM merger gets antitrust approval in U.S.

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 18:37

Sirius / XM merger gets antitrust approval in U.S. The proposed $4.59 billion purchase of XM Satellite Radio by rival Sirius Satellite Radio has been given antitrust clearance by the U.S. Justice Department on Monday. The investigation into the proposed merger that would combine the only two providers of satellite radio in the United States concluded that nowadays things are much different than they were when Sirius and XM were licensed.

These days, consumers have portable audio players and mobile phones that can play digital audio. Other services can now also be considered competition such as HD Radio. "Competition in the marketplace generally protects consumers and I have no reason to believe that this won't happen here," Justice Department antitrust chief, Thomas Barnett, told a conference call with reporters.

Consumer groups and traditional radio bodies criticized the proposed merger as anti-competitive. In 1997, both companies were barred from acquiring the other. A source has told Reuters that while the FCC must determine whether the purchase is in the public-interest, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has not proposed what should be done just yet, but has request staff to draft documents for different possible outcomes.


AfterDawn: News

Sony Pictures will release first BD-Live titles on April 8th

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 18:12

Sony Pictures will release first BD-Live titles on April 8th Coinciding with an update for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console to support Blu-ray Profile 2.0 titles, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will be rolling out its first two BD-Live Blu-ray movie titles. The studio announced the release date of these titles; April 8th. These discs will features bonus material and extra features that can be retrieved from the Internet by supporting hardware.

"Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" and "The Sixth Day" staring Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the first two titles from the studio to offer the extra functionality. Eventually all Blu-ray players on the market will be Profile 2.0-ready. A software update for the Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) will make it the first Blu-ray hardware to support Profile 2.0 titles.

Early Blu-ray players lack the support for Internet connectivity and extras such as picture-in-picture (PIP) functionality, which then were touted as selling points of the rival HD DVD format. BD-Live titles will become more complex with time, eventually providing services such as mobile phone ringtone downloads, live virtual events, social interaction and games.


AfterDawn: News

Four found guilty of conspiracy to infringe copyright in UK

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 18:11

Four found guilty of conspiracy to infringe copyright in UK Earlier this month, four men were found guilty in a £5 million illegal operation in South East England. The pirate CD traders had imported professional-looking discs from the Czech Republic which were then sold over a wide area. The recording industry's UK and international trade bodies, BPI and IFPI, welcomed the verdict at Snaresbrook Crown Court the found the men guilty of conspiracy to infringe copyright.

The operation involved the manufacture and distribution of unlicensed pirate urban music compilations. Some of these became brands in their own right with the "In The Club" series running for more than 15 editions. The IFPI's forensic facility was used in the case to determine the origin of the music CDs, which was a manufacturing plant in the Czech Republic.

The operators of the plant then identified the four UK traders. Waseem Mir was arrested and his storage facilities raided by police. During that raid 25,000 infringing discs were recovered and again samples were sent off for forensic examination by IFPI. It is estimated that more than 400,000 boxsets containing between two and five CDs, some with DVDs, which sold for around £12 a title, were imported during the fraud.


AfterDawn: News

PS3 firmware update to allow 'portable copy' of Blu-ray to PSP?

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 18:08

PS3 firmware update to allow 'portable copy' of Blu-ray to PSP? According to reports floating around the net, of which sources include PC World, the upcoming firmware update for the PlayStation 3 (PS3) console would allow a "Portable Copy" feature for the PSP. Basically, the feature would allow owners of a PS3 and a PSP copy a standard-definition version of a movie from a Blu-ray disc to the PSP's MemoryStick DUO. One could assume that if was true, these copies would be protected somehow.

What isn't part of the report however is exactly "how" this would work. Would it be a standard-definition copy of the movie on a Blu-ray disc that can be directly downloaded to the PSP (or other supporting portable device) -- as has been reported and demonstrated -- or could the PS3 itself be used to create an SD copy from any currently available Blu-ray title? The latter is probably unlikely, but the former has been known to be in plans for quite a while.


AfterDawn: News

Two new short guides added

Written by James Delahunty @ 24 Mar 2008 0:35

Two new short guides added Lately we have been working hard on catching up on some guide requests and getting much of the site's content updated. Most of the time we have been forgetting to write our progress to news items. A short while ago, we added two short guides to the AfterDawn guide section. The first guide shows how to Edit and Delete buttons with PGCEdit.

The guide is by no means a "PGCEdit" guide and avoids posting excessive information on DVD structure or VM commands as such. It simply is there for users who have cut out content (extras, subtitles, audio) while backing up DVDs and want to remove the option to use them from the menu, or to copy the commands of certain buttons (like English language selection, or country selection) to all of the other options that are no longer on the disc.

Edit and Delete DVD Menu buttons with PGCEdit:

The second short guide is just a continuation of the playback guide series. This time the topic is "How to play AAC" as it has increased in popularity in audio trade on the Internet due to its higher-than-MP3 quality. It covers the three easiest players for AAC (VLC, iTunes, Foobar 2000) and also shows how to play AAC with any DirectShow-based player (Windows Media Player etc.). It is by no means a guide for an experienced user, but is a good reference for new users on the forum who might ask about the format.


AfterDawn: News

DirectConnect hub shut down in Chile

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 19:48

DirectConnect hub shut down in Chile Chilean police investigators with the help of IFPI Chile have shut down a DirectConnect hub in the country which housed millions of illegal MP3 files on user's hard drives. The "Metal Hub" required that users have 1GB of music files to share, quite a low figure as some DC hubs require hundreds of GBs to be shared to gain entry.

Local internet and physical anti-piracy teams worked together to identify the hub's location and owner. The hub owner and the ISP he was using received "cease and desist" letters informing them of the copyright infringements that resulted from their activity. With the advantage of having the identity and location of the operator revealed, the hub was down three days after these notifications were sent.

The action was part of the IFPI's Latin America strategy that is targeting P2P services. Several other DC hubs are being watched in Chile according to the IFPI. In the past year, several DirectConnect hubs have been targeted by anti-piracy investigators due to the typically large amount of illegal files being shared.

AfterDawn: News

Sharp aims for 8X Blu-ray laser diode by 2010

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 18:54

Sharp aims for 8X Blu-ray laser diode by 2010 In a technological briefing held in Japan, Sharp revealed some of its plans relating to Blu-ray laser diodes. The company is a pioneer in the field after mass-producing the industry's first infrared laser diode for use in CD players in 1982. Sharp showcased its latest High-Power Blue-Violet Laser Diode for Blu-ray recorders that could achieve 6X writing speed.

Two variations of the diode will begin mass-production next month; the GH04P25A4G which is suitable for notebook PC Blu-ray drives and the GH04P25A2G which can be installed in Desktop Blu-ray writers. Both have a power output of 250mW. However, the more enthusiastic news came when Sharp revealed its post-6X plans.

The company is developing a 300mW laser diode that will be capable of recording Blu-ray discs at 8X speed. This will likely reach mass-production in 2009 with a future planned diode with a power output of 400mW possibly in line for mass production in 2010.

AfterDawn: News

CyberLink's PowerProducer 5 authors Blu-ray, AVCHD

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 18:35

CyberLink's PowerProducer 5 authors Blu-ray, AVCHD CyberLink Corp. announced earlier this month that the latest update to the company's multimedia disc authoring software, PowerProducer Ultra 5, was ready to create high-definition compilations for Blu-ray players. Supporting authoring of Blu-ray Disc (BD) compilations and AVCHD, PowerProducer Ultra 5 lets users create high quality discs from their HD recordings that have significant hardware support.

With support for the AVCHD video format, users can also create DVDs featuring highly compressed high-definition content. In version 5 CyberLink has made major improvements to product usability, providing a simpler, re-stylied interface, and new design tools for creating customizable disc menus with imported photos and videos.

"Now with the release of CyberLink PowerProducer 5, it is not only the Hollywood studios that can produce high-quality discs like Blu-ray Discs and AVCHD DVDs," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink. "By offering easy-to-use features and the latest format support, PowerProducer 5 lets consumers quickly author and burn their high-definition home videos with professional-looking results."


AfterDawn: News

Plextor offers new CD/DVD duplication towers

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 18:26

Plextor offers new CD/DVD duplication towers Plextor announced earlier this month availability of the one-touch-operation PlexTower series of CD/DVD disc duplication towers, designed as small footprint, slim profile towers to deliver high-quality recording for low-volume applications. The duplicators feature 18X DVD and 48X CD recording speeds making it possible to record either 8 DVDs or 22 CDs in an hour per drive -- useful for a small business.

In addition to DVD video, the drives also support dual-layer DVD-R/+R and DVD-ROM recording. Prassi Zulu 2 disc mastering software is included, while a simple interface and LCD readout make it easy to perform common functions like copy and verify.

The PlexTower series features three different models; the single-drive PlexTower PX-DTS100, a three-drive PlexTower PX-DTS-300, and a seven-drive PlexTower PX-DTS-700. The USB 2.0 interface is used for simple connectivity and reliable data throughput with computers running either Windows (2000/XP/VISTA) and Apple Macintosh.


AfterDawn: News

NPD estimates two million will buy Blu-ray within six months

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 18:13

NPD estimates two million will buy Blu-ray within six months According to a survey conducted by the NPD Group during the week ending February 20th, millions are set to buy Blu-ray hardware within the next six months. Of all respondents, about 10.8% said they would buy a Blu-ray player within the next six months, helping to lead NPD to a prediction of two million player sales in that time frame.

The figure is based on the assumption that 25% of people who reveal intent to purchase something usually do so. So far, less than one million Blu-ray stand-alone players have been sold, but the numbers are considered higher because the multi-million selling PlayStation 3 (PS3) console has its own built in Blu-ray player.

While NPD did acknowledge that "intent to buy" figures are not enough to go on in the market, it noted that the increased interest is impressive considering this is the traditional down season for consumer electrionics. "This (increased interest) happened during a quiet part of the year after the Super Bowl, and there was bad weather for shopping," an NPD spokesman said.

AfterDawn: News

LG to offer GH22 -- 22X DVD Burner

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 17:59

LG to offer GH22 -- 22X DVD Burner LG will be offering up a nice and fast DVD burning solution to consumers with the GH22, which offers a 22X recording speed capable of writing a full DVD disc in four and a half minutes. The announcement follows Samsung's SH-S223 DVD burner which is scheduled to arrive in summer this year, also offering DVD writing speeds up to 22X.

Specifically, the GH22 will write DVD+R and DVD-R discs at 22X, DVD+RW DL at 16X, DVD-R DL and 12X and DVD-RAM at 12X. It provides 2MB memory buffer and buffer underun protection for recording safety. The burner comes with support for Lightscribe technology, enabling the user to burn on professional-looking labels to the disc.

SecurDisc technology is also included providing support for password-protected discs and content, data encryption, data reliability advancements and data integrity checks. It uses the E-IDE interface to connect to the motherboard.


AfterDawn: News

SanDisk promotes DRM-free audio with MicroSD cards

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 17:47

SanDisk promotes DRM-free audio with MicroSD cards SanDisk is supporting more than 50 emerging and critically acclaimed artists and promoting DRM-free audio on a MicroSD card. This U.S.-based program from a leader in the MP3 player market is the first of its kind to use microSD cards, and helps launch the new 8GB Sansa Fuze MP3 player. The so-called "Sansa Sessions" microSD card is comprised of a collection of rock, pop, and hip hop songs, music videos, and photos from more than 30 labels.

"The Sansa Sessions microSD card is an innovative medium for music distribution, and great exposure for our artists," said Matt Lunsford, co-president, Polyvinyl Record Co., which represents Of Montreal and other artists featured on the card. "This promotion benefits all involved, aligning the interests of the musician, label and consumer. We look forward to doing more together."

"We're excited to be working with labels and artists to create a new ecosystem for music," said Daniel Schreiber, general manager and senior vice president for SanDisk's Sansa audio/video product line. "The Sansa Sessions music card gives customers a simple way to enjoy, manage, and discover new music. This is just the beginning of our efforts to bring consumers a simplified and highly enjoyable music experience."


AfterDawn: News

iTunes to give credits or refunds due to WGA strike

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2008 17:45

iTunes to give credits or refunds due to WGA strike Writer's Guild of America strike.

Buyers of a season pass get access to a full season of a TV show at a discounted price but because of the strike many shows did not see a full season of episodes. Some shows were even canceled or stopped indefinitely.

As a way to compensate, the company will deliver all subsequent 2007-2008 season episodes when it is possible and issue prorated refunds for shows whose seasons were permanently truncated. Additionally, all season pass holders will be "given two free video credits, good for two TV episodes, music videos and/or short films on the iTunes Store."

AfterDawn: News

Mitsubishi announces new Blu-ray recorders

Written by James Delahunty @ 23 Mar 2008 17:41

Mitsubishi announces new Blu-ray recorders Mitsubishi has announced the development of two new Blu-ray recorder models that come with a touch-screen remote control. The two new and first models to the "REAL Blu-ray" series are the DVR-BZ200 and the DVR-BZ100, housing a 500GB HDD and a 250GB HDD respectively. Along with the normal remote control, Mitsubishi has also thrown in a touch-screen LCD remote control aimed at making the hardware easier to use for owners.

The controller will display necessary buttons on the LCD panel in accordance with the option chosen by the user. The models feature two tuners for each of terrestrial digital, BS digital and 110-degree CS digital broadcasts, and an analog tuner. As such, they can simultaneously record two different broadcast programs in High Definition (HD)

For top quality recording, the H.264/AVC format is used and the records support writing to DVD media without degrading quality when the AVCREC function is used. The models also support recording to and playback back from SD cards. The recorders will be first available in May in Japan with currently no suggested retail price.

AfterDawn: News

Toast 9 Titanium adds Blu-ray support

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2008 16:54

Toast 9 Titanium adds Blu-ray support Roxio has announced the release of Toast 9 Titanium, the latest update in its popular disc burning software for Macs. Among the notable updates are Blu-ray support and remote Streaming.

The new Blu-ray support includes the ability "to copy both computer files and RAW Video across multiple discs" and a few of the notable compatible video sources include TiVos, EyeTVs and AVCHD camcorders. There is even the ability to burn HD video to standard DVDs. As an added promotion, the HD/BD plug-in support will be free until April 13th. After that it will cost an extra $20 USD.

The new remote streaming component, known as Streamer, allows users to "broadcast video from a Mac to any Internet-connected Mac or PC, or iPhones and iPod touches within Wi-Fi range." Users can also Capture songs from Internet radio and the tracks are automatically tagged with Title, artist, and other information.


AfterDawn: News

BitTorrent site traffic sees impressive growth

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Mar 2008 18:10

BitTorrent site traffic sees impressive growth According to TorrentFreak, torrent popularity and torrent site traffic continues to grow with every passing day despite heated efforts by anti-piracy groups such as the MPAA and IFPI to slow piracy.

Using data from the traffic Tracker Alexa, TF compiled a list of the 25 most popular torrent sites and found the amount of growth since December 2007 to be, in a word, explosive. Many saw 40 percent or higher growth. Some saw as high as 400 percent growth.

The list, compiled originally here is as follows and shows the Alexa rank for the sites for December 2007, March 2008, and the increase (or decrease).

Rank # Torrent Site Alexa Rank (Dec 07) Alexa Rank (Mar 08) Change (%)
1. 63 53 + 19 %
2. 182 130 + 40 %
3. 170 147 + 16 %
4. 231 192 + 20 %
5. 689 469 + 47 %
6. 376 585 - 36 %
7. 909 616 + 48 %
8. 942 641 + 47 %
9. 699 697 no change
10. 924 743 + 24 %
11. 1,894 1,101 + 72 %
12. 1,861 1,454 + 28 %
13. 1,738 1,473 + 18 %
14. 1,448 1,646 - 12 %
15. 5,805 1,945 + 300 %
16. 7,990 1,991 + 400 %
17. 3,348 2,272 + 47 %
18. 3,404 2,635 + 29 %
19. 2,812 2,686 + 5 %
20. 3,102 2,901 + 7 %
21. 5,276 3,014 + 75 %
22. … 3,107 New!
23. 3,016 3,313 - 9 %
24. 4,669 3,369 + 39 %
25. 3,992 3,449 + 16 %

AfterDawn: News

Antigua to legalize US movie and music piracy?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Mar 2008 18:00

Antigua to legalize US movie and music piracy? In an effort to get back at the US for its interference with the small country's internet gambling operations, Antigua is threatening to make US movie and music piracy legal, unless its grievances are "properly addressed and losses compensated for."

In 2003, Antigua initially claimed that the US "unlawfully prevented its online gambling operators from accessing American markets although the US allowed domestic online bets for sporting events like horse racing." At the time the country claimed $3.4 billion USD in losses and made a case with the World Trade Organization. It won the case but was only awarded $21 million USD.

Out of retaliation, Antigua is now threatening to allow (make legal)"virtually everything from pharmaceuticals to music, anything with IP protection that can be duplicated," added Mark E. Mendel, who represents Antigua in the affair.

"It is not our preferred option to punish the MPAA or others for the U.S. government's intransigence, but the U.S. has refused to negotiate fairly,"
he said.


AfterDawn: News

CBC set to release TV show for free via torrents

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Mar 2008 17:43

CBC set to release TV  show for free via torrents Canada’s public television broadcaster CBC has announced that they will be releasing the upcoming TV show “Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister” for free via torrents. The move marks the first time a North American broadcaster will use the very popular filesharing protocol.

Although not completely confirmed, early reports show that the TV show will be published the day after the show airs on TV, DRM-free and in HD. Despite being the only North American broadcaster to have the idea, European broadcaster, especially the BBC are working on ways to distribute their content online via torrents. Torrent distribution would cut costs substantially.

Different studies have shown that approximately 50 percent of all BitTorrent downloads are TV-shows and that some hit shows such as "Heroes" can see up to 10 million downloads per new episode so it should become clear to broadcasters that torrents are a great way to get a show distributed. The only question is how to make it a profitable market.

AfterDawn: News

DirecTV lobbied over a million USD on digital TV switch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2008 18:54

 DirecTV lobbied over a million USD on digital TV switch The popular satellite-television provider DirecTV spent a hefty $1.2 million USD in 2007 lobbying the US's switch from analog to digital TV.

Other broadcasters, cable operators, and satellite providers have all been campaigning to educate consumers about the government mandated transition that is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2009.

Current cable and satellite customers have nothing to worry about, even if they have old analog TVs, because their providers will provide devices to help them with the transition. However, "viewers who get free, over-the-air programming" will now need to buy converter boxes now available in stores. The US government is providing coupon vouchers to help citizens pay for the devices if they need such help.

DirecTV spent $600,000 USD for the second half of 2007 to lobby Congress, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The company spent $640,000 in the first half of 2007 on the same issue.


AfterDawn: News

China shuts down video sharing sites

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2008 18:53

China shuts down video sharing sites The Chinese government will be shutting down or "punishing" dozens of video-sharing sites that carry content deemed pornographic, violent or a threat to national security, announced a regulator yesterday. The news comes as China tries to tighten Internet control over the country.

Recently, the Chinese government blocked all access to YouTube after videos of protests in Tibet surfaced on the site.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which made the announcement, noted that, China's most popular video-sharing site, was among the sites that was being penalized.

Rules that had taken effect on January 31st ban Chinese sites from posting or distributing online video that "involves national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography." With the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the government is hoping to stop any bad media that might tarnish the event.

AfterDawn: News

ITC to probe Sony Blu-ray patents

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2008 18:41

ITC to probe Sony Blu-ray patents The U.S. International Trade Commission has announced that it will be investigating possible patent infringements related to Blu-ray players and peripherals, and that Sony was one of 30 companies that are included in the probe.

The probe began because of a complaint filed in February by Columbia University Professor Emeritus Gertrude Neumark Rothschild who claims that short-wavelength light-emitting diodes and laser diodes used in Blu-ray players infringe her patent.

Other notable companies besides Sony in the investigation are Nokia, Motorola Inc, LG Electronics Inc, and Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial.

Sony spokespeople refused comment as the investigation is ongoing. We will keep you updated.

AfterDawn: News

Philips to finally bring Blu-ray to UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2008 18:31

Philips to finally bring Blu-ray to UK Philips has finally confirmed that it will be releasing a Blu-ray player in the UK, however if you are expecting it soon, you will be disappointed. The company will be releasing the BDP7200 in October meaning consumers will have to wait over 7 months for the player.

Making the news even more disappointing is the fact that the player will only support Blu-ray Profile 1.1 despite that fact that its American counterparts will already support 2.0 by then. The company could not even confirm that the player would have an Ethernet port, meaning an update to Profile 2.0 via the internet might not happen ever.

The player is the first the UK will see from Philips, and sports 1080p Resolution, multi-channel audio decoding and digital audio optical outputs.


AfterDawn: News

Guitar Hero coming to the DS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2008 18:17

Guitar Hero coming to the DS Activision has announced that it will be releasing the blockbuster hit game "Guitar Hero" on the world's most popular handheld, the Nintendo DS.

The new game, "Guitar Hero: On Tour" will include a plug-in accessory (pictured later) and a mock guitar-pick that will allow gamers to strum on the bottom screen.

There was no price point set yet, but Activision says the game will hit retailers in June or July. The average Nintendo DS game costs $30 USD but gamers can expect GH: OT to cost around $50 because of the peripheral.

The blockbuster franchise has made over $1 billion USD since its launch in 2005 and the DS is the best selling gaming hardware for the last few years. The combo could be lethal.

Picture courtesy of IGN:

AfterDawn: News

Philips releases "green" LCD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2008 17:59

Philips releases "green" LCD Philips has introduced a new LCD TV, the Eco FlatTV, that it claims will reduce your current electricity bill, regardless of how much TV you watch.

According to Philips, the Eco FlatTV's backlight can be dimmed to reduce the TVs electricity draw, but more importantly, "without compromising the picture quality." The "sensor monitors the surrounding ambient lighting level and adjusts the brightness of the TV's backlight accordingly," says the company of its new feature, Ambilight.

While in standby mode the TV consumes less than 0.15W of electricity which is indeed under the average for LCD TVs. You could however, save full electricity by turning off the TV but that is neither here nor there. The TV also uses lead-free components and flame-retardant materials which are reportedly friendly on the environment. Even the package the TV is shipped in is made from all recycled materials.

Does the TV stand up to other LCDs on the market though? It seems that way. It sports full 1080p Resolution, Pixel Plus HD image enhancement as well as four HDMI ports and invisible built-in speakers. The company says the TV will cost $2200 USD when it is released in June.

AfterDawn: News

How to play FLAC audio

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Mar 2008 10:50

How to play FLAC audio Due to unprecedented interest in a Convert FLAC to MP3 guide posted on AfterDawn last year that has since grown, we decided to add an article on how to play FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) on your computer. While we usually stick to video playback guides, we noticed that many users may have been converting to MP3 out of a perceived necessity, but since FLAC is lossless we thought we would save those users from reducing their audio quality.

The article covers simple methods to play FLAC including built-in support for VLC & Foobar 2000, but more importantly covered configurations to get FLAC audio playing on DirectShow-based players like Media Player Classic and Windows Media Player, the latter which also shows how to add support for FLAC audio tags in the Media Library.


AfterDawn: News

SlySoft offers 20 percent discount on new products

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Mar 2008 10:11

SlySoft offers 20 percent discount on new products SlySoft is once again offering discounts to new users buying their products. This time, the company is offering a 20% discount on all its products to celebrate Easter (do you even need a reason anymore? ;-)). The offer applies to new products, but not upgrades or t-shirts.

SlySoft's products include the mega-popular, anti-DRM tool AnyDVD (AnyDVD HD for Blu-Ray and HD DVD), popular DVD backup software CloneDVD, CloneDVD Mobile for portable devices, CloneCD and also GameJackal Pro.

To take advantage of this offer, enter "easter" (without quotes) into the coupon box at the bottom of the check-out form while buying any SlySoft software. The offer is valid until March, 30th 2008.

CloneDVD Download:


AfterDawn: News

New guide: AC3Filter Installation and Configuration

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Mar 2008 3:04

New guide: AC3Filter Installation and Configuration Today we have another new guide, this time on installing and configuring AC3Filter. Like most of the tools I've been writing about recently, AC3Filter is free and yet full featured and quite competitive with commercial alternatives.

In addition to decoding AC-3 (Dolby Digital) audio as the name suggests, it also supports a variety of other sources including DTS and MPEG Audio.

AfterDawn: News

Iceland's largest torrent tracker facing permanent shutdown

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2008 16:49

Iceland's largest torrent tracker facing permanent shutdown, the largest torrent Tracker in Iceland, is facing a permanent shutdown and the probability that it will have to pay restitution to copyright owners.

In November of 2007 received a preliminary injunction which eventually led to a shutdown of the site and a massive 50 percent drop in overall internet traffic in Iceland. Earlier this week, at the public hearing of the case, the plaintiffs asked for the monetary damages as well as a permanent shutdown of the site.

Snæbjörn Steingrímsson, an executive with SMAIS (the Icelandic MPAA) led the investigation and said his clients had lost "a few hundred million ISK" because of the site. At its peak, the site had 26,500 active users, all in Iceland to ensure fast connectivity between peers and seeds.

Svavar Kjarrval, the head administrator of feels he has a strong case though. “The plaintiffs are making an outrageous claim. They argue that website and domain owners should always be responsible for copyright violations of third parties. The case could set a dangerous precedent if the court agrees with their claims.”


AfterDawn: News

German court rules in favor of file sharers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2008 16:37

German court rules in favor of file sharers The Federal Constitutional Court in Germany has ruled that the identities of file sharers must remain private and can no longer be revealed to media companies that are suing them over alleged copyright infringement. For now one, only people accused of "hard" crimes such as murder and kidnapping will have their identities revealed.

Germany is known to have some of the toughest copyright laws on the planet and some reports have indicated that over 200,000 German citizens have had their identities shared with entertainment and media companies, simply so they can be threatened with future legal action for unauthorized downloads.

Christian Solmecke, a defense lawyer, gave a more in depth look into the system before this latest ruling. “Based on the data provided by Logistep and other P2P tracking enterprises, an offense is reported. The public prosecution service is obliged to investigate because a copyright infringement is a criminal offense in Germany.” The ISP would then be forced to reveal the identity of the alleged file sharer.


AfterDawn: News

Mininova set to launch torrent video streaming

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2008 16:16

Mininova set to launch torrent video streaming Mininova, the very popular torrent site has begun testing a torrent pwered video Streaming feature that would give users the chance to videos streamed from .torrent files.

When it becomes completely publicly available, it will be integrated into the "featured torrents section" where Mininova "lists all the distributors taking part in its content distribution platform."

The "Swarmplayer", as the streaming service is being dubbed, was created in collaboration with the "Tribler" team from the Technical University Delft and Free University Amsterdam.

The site is looking for people to beta test the service, say Erik, one of the admins: “We are looking for people who would like to be in the first testing group who test the software, report suggestions and bugs you find. Please reply in this topic if you want to participate in this closed beta.”

Make sure to check it out.

AfterDawn: News

Profile 2.0 support coming to PlayStation 3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2008 16:07

Profile 2.0 support coming to PlayStation 3 The upcoming PlayStation 3 Firmware update will make the console the first Blu-Ray Profile 2.0 capable player, among other updates.

The new version 2.2 firmware update will add Internet features that are expected with upcoming Blu-ray movies. Future BD-Live titles will allow customers to download new content as well as play games online, added Sony. More Profile 2.0 dedicated players have been introduced but will only be shipping later this year.

Among other new updates coming with the firmware upgrade is the ability for users to "sync specific music and photo playlists to a PSP." An improved web browser is also coming "with direct Streaming of non-Flash video" included. Users will also be able to use the PSP as a remote control for music on the PS3 and new interesting playback memory feature will let users resume Blu-ray and DVD titles from a paused point even if the movie has been ejected since the last time it was viewed.


AfterDawn: News

Update: Unlimited iTunes subscription is all rumor

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2008 15:28

Update: Unlimited iTunes subscription is all rumor Yesterday we reported that the Financial Times was claiming that there was talk of an unlimited subscription to the iTunes Store in the works and that the only catch would be a premium on the price of iPods and other mobile Apple products.

According to Business Week however, the claims are largely unfounded although there have been talks for an iTunes subscription model being floated around for months. The FT report claimed that for a $20-$100 USD premium on the price of iPods and iPhones users would have unlimited access, DRM-free, to iTunes music. The added revenue from the sales of the devices would then be "distributed appropriately amongst record labels."

The latest Business Week report however completely contradicts the last report. "Insiders at major music labels" have supposedly dismissed the rumors completely although Apple has yet to make an official comment.

We will keep you updated on any developments.

AfterDawn: News

IFPI takes down music release group

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2008 15:08

IFPI takes down music release group The IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) has announced that they have successfully raided two servers in Hungary that were home to the very popular music release group RAGEMP3.

The announcement also said that the raid disrupted another music release group, XXL. The raid was a joint action by the IFPI, Hungarian police, and ProArt (the local copyright traffic police).

No arrests have been made and the announcement said nothing about any long term consequences for the release groups. Most likely the organizations are nowhere near decimated and its possible that the servers were not the only ones used by the groups.

The release groups, otherwise known as top sites, are "the top tier hierarchy of the online distribution world." It is where releases begin and the point from which information "trickles" down to torrent sites, newsgroups, Warez forums and finally P2P.

AfterDawn: News

New ffdshow installation guide added

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 20 Mar 2008 3:37

New ffdshow installation guide added As promised earlier this week we have a new guide for ffdshow which covers basic installation and configuration of video and audio decoders.

If you're not familiar with ffdshow, it uses open source libraries (DLL files) to build a DirectShow interface, adding support for all common video and audio formats to most Windows playing, editing, and encoding software. It's particularly popular for the included MPEG-4 AVC support, which rivals any commercial competitor.

AfterDawn: News

IMAX to now use DLP projectors

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2008 18:52

IMAX to now use DLP projectors Texas Instruments DLP Cinema has announced that IMAX will now be using DLP Cinema projectors.

Under the new agreement, beginning in Q2 2008, any IMAX Digital projection system deployed to commercial theaters will be powered by DLP Cinema projectors.

"We are proud to work with IMAX in its development and rollout of the best digital cinema experience in the market,"
said Nancy Fares, business manager for DLP Cinema Products Group. "DLP Cinema projectors are the heart of every digital 2D and 3D movie experience for traditional and now large format venues. We look forward to participating in their move to digital in the months ahead."

Since the great box office success of The Polar Express on IMAX 3D, the format in itself has made a comeback and is resurgent revenue for the movie industry.

Heres hoping everyone moves to digital soon.

AfterDawn: News

Dell getting back into handheld market?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2008 18:43

Dell getting back into handheld market? Dell is reportedly making a comeback to the handheld device market and could be teaming up with large manufacturer Foxconn Electronics (Hon Hai Precision Industry) to develop Windows Mobile-based handheld devices.

The company, which ended it Axim handheld line 2 years ago, has been reorganizing for a comeback since early 2007 with the hiring of Ron Garriques, a former executive vice president at Motorola in charge of its Cell phone division.

Apparently, Dell has accelerated its reorganization since "Acer's recent announcement of acquiring Taiwan-based smartphone maker E-Ten Information Systems."

The sources have also added that Foxconn is "recruiting talent from other Taiwan-based handset makers in preparation for accepting orders from Dell."

We will keep you updated.

AfterDawn: News

PSP firmware gets updated

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2008 18:35

PSP firmware gets updated According to Sony’s PlayStation blog, the PSP has seen its firmware updated to version 3.93 today, which comes with 20 new Internet radio players.

The new players are "organized into more specific styles of music so that PSP users can easily find what they are looking for and listen to their favorite genres." Sony has said that more than 50 percent of PSP owners use the music-playback feature of their gaming handhelds.

Internet Radio functionality was originally introduced with firmware version 3.80 and gamers can can enable the Internet Radio player by going to the Network section of the Xross Media Bar. After you install the Internet Radio feature, a new icon will appear enabling music Streaming.

Also coming with the new firmware update is Skype calling, but you will need to purchase the PSP Headset Kit to use it. The set is not available yet.

AfterDawn: News

HMV starts GTA IV pre-order promotion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2008 18:20

HMV starts GTA IV pre-order promotion The retailer HMV has begun a promotion for gamers eagerly awaiting the upcoming Grand Theft Auto IV that will include 1000 free Xbox Live points "and vouchers worth over GBP 130."

The free XBL points are exactly double what rival retailer GAME is offering. "We've come up with what we believe to be a market-leading offer for Grand Theft Auto IV," added Duncan La Barre, online games specialist at

"Grand Theft Auto IV is the biggest game release of 2008, and we're pleased to offer our online customers a great deal. If there's a better deal out there, we haven't seen it,"
he finished.

Obviously, the deal is only for pre-orders of the 360 version of the game and will not be included on the Grand Theft Auto IV: Special Edition. The game is set for release in Europe on April 29.

AfterDawn: News

Best Buy starts $10 million USD HD DVD refund program

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2008 18:01

Best Buy starts $10 million USD HD DVD refund program Best Buy has announced that it will be giving any BB customer who purchased an HD DVD player or the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on before February 23, 2008 a $50 USD gift card as a way to make amends.

The retailer also added that it will be distributing at most $10 million USD in cards, meaning that about 200,000 individuals bought a player from BB since the format's launch.

To receive the gift card, many customers will not have to do anything but have a phone. BB plans to locate buyers using Reward Zone and service plan program information but those that cannot be identified need to call (888) BEST BUY and supply a receipt or credit card statement with the transaction.

If you did not purchase an HD DVD player from BB but would still like to get rid of it the company is also starting a trade-in program where the "company's Online Trade-In Center will provide estimates for how much the company will pay for various Toshiba HD DVD player models. Individuals can agree to the estimate and mail in their players to receive a Best Buy gift card for that amount."


AfterDawn: News

EMI hoping to join Nokia's new music offering

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2008 17:19

EMI hoping to join Nokia's new music offering EMI has announced that they were negotiating with the biggest mobile phone handset maker in the world, Nokia, in a concentrated effort to offer its music catalog as part Nokia's upcoming "Comes with Music" offering.

"We want to be part of it. I believe strongly that when it launches we will be there, with a full offering,"
Wemppa Koivumaki, head of EMI Finland, said in the announcement.

The handset maker will begin selling phones under its "Comes With Music" brand in the Q3 of 2008 and the service will give users unlimited access to millions of tracks from labels worldwide.

Last December, Universal signed up for the program, being the first of the Big 4 record labels to do so.

AfterDawn: News

New AnyDVD HD release from SlySoft targets BD+

Written by James Delahunty @ 19 Mar 2008 13:25

New AnyDVD HD release from SlySoft targets BD+ SlySoft has been known in the past years for breaking and then poking fun at layers of protection released on DVDs with the AnyDVD application. It was no surprise that SlySoft would be among the first to offer solutions for Advanced Access Content System (AACS) used on both HD DVD and Blu-ray for normal users with no in-depth knowledge of copy protection.

After sort of backing the HD DVD format last year, SlySoft repeatedly blasted Blu-ray's extra copy protection, upholding support for the format in consecutive releases of AnyDVD; now named AnyDVD HD. Now with the release of v6.4.0.0, a SlySoft press release declares that BD+ is not going to stop it, or consumers, from copying their own discs.


AfterDawn: News

Toshiba: HD DVD cost us $656 million

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Mar 2008 8:29

Toshiba: HD DVD cost us $656 million Last week we reported that Nikkei Business Daily had estimated that Toshiba lost nearly billion dollars (100 billion yen) developing and promoting their high-definition format. Now Toshiba has announced its revised business forecast for the fiscal year 2007 and loss of $656 million (65 billion yen) mainly because of the HD DVD.

Toshiba seems to have gotten away with quite a bit smaller HD DVD loss than expected, but the consolidated forecast also sees lowered profit for the whole company. The loss comes from lower net sales than expected in the previous forecast, which the company says is a reflection of "discontinuation of the HD DVD business and the decline in sales prices of NAND flash memories." The net income was half the amount that the forecast from Octobet 29, 2007 expected.

AfterDawn: News

Apple to offer unlimited access to iTunes store?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Mar 2008 5:19

Apple to offer unlimited access to iTunes store? According to Financial Times Apple is in talks with big music companies to use a completely new business model for iTunes. The kind of "all you can eat" model would give premium iPod or iPhone owners free access to the whole iTunes music library.

The plan would be that customers pay for the music library access when they buy their iPod or iPhone, the same kind of model that Nokia has branded with the new Comes with Music service. The first Nokia Comes with Music device will arrive in the second half of the year.

Even though Apple representatives did not comment on the business model, sources said that they were negotiating over the price that Apple would pay to their music industry partners for every sold device. Nokia was said to pay almost $80 while Apple hasn't offered more than $20.

According to an executive, a research has shown that a consumer would pay up to $100 for an unlimited access to music and $7-8 for a monthly subscription. The monthly subscription would work with iPhones because customers have a monthly billing Period and the "comes with music" or "all you can eat" model would work on both iPhones and iPods.


AfterDawn: News

WinDVD9 supports TrueHD and DTS-HD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2008 17:52

WinDVD9 supports TrueHD and DTS-HD According to EngadgetHD, the latest version of the popular WinDVD 9 Plus Blu-ray (it actually supports HD DVD as well) has finally updated support for the latest audio codecs Blu-ray has available, namely TrueHD and DTS-HD.

Also improved in the update is support for BonusView and the HD video camera Codec, AVCHD.

Of course the software is still buggy but a very effective HD video playback software for those who have made the jump to BLu-ray and HD DVD.

AfterDawn: News

iTunes adds C4 content

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2008 17:29

iTunes adds C4 content Channel 4 has announced they will be making content available through Apple's iTunes platform. The announcement comes just a month after the BBC made a similar decision.

The popular C4 shows "Shameless", "Skins", "Teachers", "Peep Show", "Spaced", and "Monarchy" will now all be available on iTunes. Each episode wil cost £1.89.

"Digital technology transforms our audiences’ ability to create, access and engage with our content, making it easier for us to identify the best new British creativity and bring it to a wider UK audience and catalyse a new generation of digital media production companies",
said Channel 4 chief executive Andy Duncan.

AfterDawn: News

100 million will pay for HDTV service by 2012, says report

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2008 16:11

100 million will pay for HDTV service by 2012, says report According to a new Pike & Fischer report, over 47 million American households will pay for some sort of HDTV service by the end of the year and that will increase to over 100 million by 2012.

The report, "HDTV Service: Market Forecast for Multichannel Video Providers", which is produced every year, showed a 17 million home increase from the 2007 report.

Most broadcast networks air their programming in HD for free currently by cable operators, satellite TV providers and telephone companies all offer "premium" HD channels as well as leasing HD-ready equipment, and selling on-demand movies and TV shows in HD format.

The forecast also showed that HD video "will generate up to $2.6 billion in annual revenue for the multichannel video providers by the end of 2012."

Despite the recent decline in consumer spending and economic recession in the US, Scott Sleek, Director of Pike & Fischer's Broadband Advisory Services, believes the slump can have an opposite effect.


AfterDawn: News

EU picks DVB-H mobile TV standard

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2008 15:59

EU picks DVB-H mobile TV standard European Union commissioners have decided on a mobile TV broadcast standard and has now asked that its member governments ask their respective Cell phone carries to favor it.

The standard, DVB-H, or Digital Video Broadcasting for Handhelds, was chosen over rivals MediaFLO and DMB which were favored by South Korean and Chinese manufacturers. DVB-H is the most widely used standard in Europe currently.

Nokia,,Motorola, Philips, Sagem, Sony, Ericsson, Samsung,Vodafone, O2 and T-Mobile all support DVB-H, but MediaFLO is supported by the largest carriers in the US, Verizon Wireless and AT&T.

"They can do that by labeling, they can do that by promoting it in attributing licenses and so on," said EU spokesman Martin Selmayr.

Despite the choice, the impact is Limited. EU nations are under no obligation to choose a standard based on the decision of the commission.

AfterDawn: News

Apple updates Safari browser, supports Windows

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2008 15:41

Apple updates Safari browser, supports Windows Apple has announced the release of the 3.1 version of its Safari web browser and it is sporting several key improvements including Windows support.

The company has said the new version "loads Web pages 1.9 times faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7 and 1.7 times faster than the open-source Firefox 2 browser." Apple also claims that Safari now runs JavaScript almost 6 times faster than any other browser.

The benchmark stats come from using VeriTest's iBench Version 5.0 on default settings. The company said the specs of the computer used was an iMac 2.4-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo system with Windows XP and 1GB of memory.

Apple Senior Vice President Philip Schiller added that Safari 3.1 is "blazingly fast, easy to use" and has an "elegant user interface." More importantly, the browser "supports audio, video and animation standards needed for the next generation of Web 2.0 experiences."

Safari 3.1 is now available for free for Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11, Leopard and Windows XP and Vista.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 sees huge sales spike in UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2008 14:46

Xbox 360 sees huge sales spike in UK According to Chart-Track, the Microsoft Xbox 360 saw a 40 percent sales jump in the UK following the Europe-wide price cut last week.

Says Chart-Track director Dorian Bloch, "Xbox 360 is up 35-40 percent - that's from Friday, when the price cut came into effect, up to midnight Saturday."

"Now it's a question of Easter,"
he noted. "The real litmus test will be over the next three to four weeks – it's too early to read too much into it at this stage."

The data also showed that software sales remained about the same, but more interestingly that the PS2 saw the largest sales surge. "The greatest surge was on PS2," Bloch said. "There was a lot of price promotion going on, with certain titles being well and truly flogged. It's now the calm before the high point of Easter."

On March 14th, Microsoft slashed prices on all models of the 360 in Europe seeing the Arcade, Premium and Elite versions falling to GBP 159, GBP 199 and GBP 259, respectively. The price dropped the Arcade model to an even cheaper price point than the better selling rival, the Nintendo Wii.


AfterDawn: News

More New Guides: Haali Media Splitter and Encoding MPEG-2 Captures with SUPER

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 18 Mar 2008 0:38

More New Guides: Haali Media Splitter and Encoding MPEG-2 Captures with SUPER As part of our continuing effort to keep up with current technology, we're pleased to announce the addition of two new guides. The first is an introduction to Haali Media Splitter. If you're not familiar with this program, it's used to add support for the MP4, MKV, Ogg, and TS containers (file types) to Windows.

The second is a followup to our recent Video Capture guides for processing MPEG-2 TV captures. This guide explains how to Encode MPEG-2 captures to AVC video, either in a MP4 Container with AAC audio or in a Matroska (MKV) container with the original AC-3 (Dolby Digital) sound.


AfterDawn: News

BenQ introduces "thinnest ever" 24-inch monitor

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Mar 2008 17:33

BenQ introduces "thinnest ever" 24-inch monitor At 0.9 inches at its thinnest, BenQ has introduced the V2400W, a 24 inch monitor inspired by the B-2 stealth bomber that "uses a new plastic injection technique that both curves the back of the display and makes it one of the thinnest of its kind."

The display is about 2.4 inches at its thickest point and includes a thin bezel and a touch-sensitive control panel. More importantly, the screen has a 4,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and a 2ms gray-to-gray (5ms normal) pixel response time.

As is standard, the display has DVI, VGA and HDMI inputs. There was no word on price but the company said it will only be available in North America with a spring release date.

AfterDawn: News

Vista SP1 update coming tomorrow

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Mar 2008 16:54

Vista SP1 update coming tomorrow Microsoft Vista SP1 will be available online tomorrow for download and on Wednesday in stores, reported Microsoft.

The long awaited service pack was released as an RTM version in February but is now available to all genuine Windows Vista users. You can directly download the service pack from the Microsoft Download Center or as an optional update through Windows Update. The company did note however that if your system has drivers "which are currently known to be incompatible with SP1", you will not be able to install the update.

"Customers who visit Windows Update can choose to install Service Pack 1. Any system that Windows Update determines has a driver known to not upgrade successfully will not be offered SP1,"
added a Microsoft spokeswoman.

Customers will also be able purchase Vista with SP1 already integrated in retail stores and online for between $94.99 USD and $299.99 USD, with the cheapest being Vista Home and most expensive being Vista Ultimate.

AfterDawn: News

Limewire Store beta launches

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Mar 2008 15:44

Limewire Store beta launches It was announced in August 2007, and now finally Limewire has launched a beta for its DRM-free online MP3 download store.

The store offers "a web browser-based interface for downloading music." The store does not use P2P however and is centralized with the company hosting the MP3s on its own servers. You do not need to be a subscriber to purchase the tracks but you will get better deals if you do. Each individual Track costs $0.99 USD but if you purchase the "Platinum Plan" for $20 USD a month then you receive 75 download credits, good for 75 song downloads. At that rate, each track only costs $0.27 USD.

Users running Internet Explorer 6 & 7, Firefox, Safari or Opera browsers can currently use the store but Limewire hopes to integrate the store into the actual client.

"Our plan with the LimeWire Store is to add to the LimeWire experience–we’re not going to take anything away. We think purchase links should appear alongside Gnutella search results, similar to how Google keeps sponsored links separate. We believe a significant number of users will choose to purchase content if the presentation is convenient and unobtrusive, the price is Right, and the product isn’t hindered by DRM," added a Limewire spokesperson.

AfterDawn: News

Demonoid tracker moves to Ukraine

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Mar 2008 15:23

Demonoid tracker moves to Ukraine Despite the actual website still being down, the once very popular torrent Tracker Demonoid is back, and hosted in the Ukraine.

Back in June 2007, the site was taken down by the Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN but relocated to Canada. After just weeks in the new country though, threats from the CRIA shut down the site again, for what many thought was for good.

For now though, Demonoid torrents are working again at, hosted by the Ukrainian ISP Cocall Ltd.

There has been no word from the Demonoid admin team as of yet but we will keep you updated if there is.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube to begin offering HD videos

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Mar 2008 14:59

YouTube to begin offering HD videos Back in November, YouTube boss Steve Chen promised that the popular video sharing site would begin giving viewers the option to watch some videos in High Definition beginning in March.

As promised, the site has now begun to offer higher definition streams based upon the source file uploaded. The site also promises more videos coming over time.

Users have the option to see the higher definition streams by checking an option in their Account page. Select "always show me higher quality when available" or "never show me higher quality" depending on your personal choice.

The official YouTube blog had this to say about the new video quality. "Our philosophy is to make sure that as many people as possible can access YouTube and that videos start quickly and play smoothly".

"That's one reason why you don't see us racing to call this 'Super Duper YouTube HD' because most people don't want to wait a long time for videos to play."

AfterDawn: News

Zune to finally make it to Europe?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Mar 2008 14:37

Zune to finally make it to Europe? According to the French newspaper Les Echos, Microsoft officials have suggested that a third generation of its popular Zune media player is in the works and that a European launch of the player is coming in 2009.

The Zune, available since late 2006, has been a North American-only product so far despite repeated news reports and rumors that a launch in Europe is coming.

The new rumor, fueled by Microsoft France executive François Ruault, says the company will be releasing the Zune in France in 2009.

We will keep you updated.

AfterDawn: News

Six new DivX Certified Blu-ray players

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Mar 2008 4:35

Six new DivX Certified Blu-ray players Last week we reported that Panasonic announced two new DivX Certified Blu-ray players, DMP-BD30EG and DMP-BD30EE. Now DivX, Inc. announced in a press release that they have granted DivX Certificates to six new stand-alone Blu-ray players.

The newly certified six include Panasonic DMP-BD30EE, Philips BDP7200 and Denon's DVD-2500BTC1B, DVD-3800BDC1B, DVD-3800BDSP and DVD-2500BTSP. All of the players are capable of playing Blu-ray discs, DVDs and DivX video. At least none of the Philips' or Denon's models can play DivX files from Blu-ray discs, but all of them support several subtitle file formats, including .SRT, .sub and .SSA. All of the players also support DivX VOD-technology, which allows the playback of some DivX video with DRM protection.


AfterDawn: News

Japan will block Internet access for illegal file sharers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Mar 2008 18:49

Japan will block Internet access for illegal file sharers A report by the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper has said that Japanese companies are planning to block Internet access to anyone who downloads unauthorized files via P2P or other methods.

The newspaper said that Japan's ISPs have been faced "with mounting complaints from the music, movie and video-game industries" and have agreed to take the drastic action. The ISPs will send e-mails to users who repeatedly download illegally and will then terminate their Internet connections if they do not cease and desist.

The ISPs will hold a panel next month with copyright holders to draft a set of guidelines. If this goes through, the actions will be the strictest measures ever taken to fight online piracy. The newspaper estimated that 1.75 million people in Japan use file-sharing software, mainly for unauthorized downloads.

A similar measure brought forth by a Japanese ISP two years ago was shot down when the government said it might violate the right to privacy.


AfterDawn: News

Acer introduces 1080p Blu-ray notebooks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Mar 2008 18:17

Acer introduces 1080p Blu-ray notebooks Acer has launched a complete overhaul of their Aspire notebook line, dubbed the Gemstone Blue.

The new design revolves around "CineDash", a "touch-sensitive control that lets users navigate music, videos, and menus without having to resort to the trackpad." Each system also has a 10-watt subwoofer and an "advanced speaker system that generates virtual Dolby 5.1-channel Surround Sound."

The first two systems released in the line are the 16-inch Aspire 6920 and 18.4-inch Aspire 8920G. Each are the first notebooks ever to sport a true 16:9 ratio display and can output 1080p (1920x1080) Resolution and can play Blu-ray discs. Each sport a relatively fast 8ms response time.


AfterDawn: News

Nine Inch Nails' "experiment" nets $1.6 million USD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Mar 2008 17:12

Nine Inch Nails' "experiment" nets $1.6 million USD Last week the popular rock band Nine Inch Nails began offering their latest album exclusively as a digital download on their website, and those sales, along with orders for an expensive collector's edition, have netted the band $1.6 million USD since its release.

That figure, released by the band yesterday, is based on 800,000 individual downloads and orders for the new album, Ghosts I-IV. The first quarter of the album was free to download and a full digital download cost $5 USD. Fans could also order a physical copy for $10 USD and $300 USD for a collector's tin which has already sold out. The collector's edition as well as a $75 USD deluxe version both include a "DVD with the RAW tracks used to compose the album as well as a Blu-ray version with Surround audio."

We can only hope that this starts a trend in the music world, where the artists make the money they deserve.

AfterDawn: News

Dell shows off new widescreen LCD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Mar 2008 16:42

Dell shows off new widescreen LCD Dell has introduced a cheaper but more accurate replacement to their mid-grade 2007WFP LCD model dubbed the 2009W.

According to Dell, "the 2009W can reproduce 102% of the NTSC color range and boosts the contrast ratio from 800:1 to 2,000:1 through dynamic adjustments." The display is also faster and sports a 5ms average pixel response time.

The display also improves on its predecessor's input connections by allowing VGA input for analog video, a four-port USB hub, and HDCP encryption support for its DVI connector. The price is also cheaper than its predecessor, and retails for $289 USD.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 shortages causing lagging sales?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Mar 2008 16:23

Xbox 360 shortages causing lagging sales? After the latest figures from the NPD Group showed that the Xbox 360 was once again lagging substantially behind its competitors in US sales, Microsoft has cited a "shortage in console availability" as the main reason for the lagging sales.

The 360 sold 254,600 units for the month while the Nintendo Wii sold 351,800 units and the Sony PlayStation 3 sold 280,900 units. The console equally trailed its competitors for January.

"Our retailers are telling us that Xbox 360 is selling as fast as they can restock, but due to this high demand, Xbox 360 is experiencing temporary shortages,"
Microsoft said in an e-mail. "We are working as quickly as we can to replenish inventory."

The email also threw around other stats saying that the 360 was leading in competitors in other areas of the market. According to NPD those stats are true, with "$159 million USD being spent on Xbox 360 games in January, compared to $131 million on Wii games and $80 million for PS3 games."

AfterDawn: News

China blocks YouTube access

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Mar 2008 15:54

China blocks YouTube access This morning the Chinese government blocked access to the popular video sharing site YouTube after over 20 videos about protests in Tibet appeared on the site.

The protests, which occurred in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Friday, were against Chinese rule. The government has been blocking news broadcasts since the protests in an effort to control what the public knows about the events.

The videos were mainly of foreign news reports and montages of photos taken from the scene. The Chinese government has not yet officially confirmed that they have blocked the site, but Chinese citizens trying to access the site are met with a blank screen.

China has the second largest amount of Internet users at 210 million and is expected to soon surpass the US for largest population of internet users.

This news follows recent decisions by other countries to Block access to YouTube. Last month Pakistan blocked access because of "anti-Islamic" postings. Late last year Turkey made a similar move but the access was only blocked for a couple of days.

AfterDawn: News

BBC begins to correct iPlayer exploit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2008 18:58

BBC begins to correct iPlayer exploit Earlier this week, hackers discovered a loophole in the brand new "iPlayer for iPhone" beta service which allowed users to download and save all iPlayer content DRM-free.

The exploit, which was made easy using a Firefox plug-in, meant users could "fool the service into thinking they were accessing the programming (with a different DRM set-up) on an iPhone or iPod touch whilst on a computer." The shows could then be downloaded with no copyright protection.

The vulnerability has now been closed but the BBC will continue to monitor the situation and look out for future exploits.

"It's an ongoing, constant process and one which we will continue to monitor. Like other broadcasters, the security of rights-protected content online is an issue we take very seriously," added the BBC in a statement.

AfterDawn: News

Apple denies Beatles deal with iTunes

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2008 18:38

Apple denies Beatles deal with iTunes Despite widespread rumors to the contrary, Apple has denied all claims that the Beatles catalog is set to be made available through the company's iTunes platform. A spokesman even called the claim "unsubstantiated speculation."

The rumors claimed that sources close to Sir Paul McCartney had confirmed that a deal had been made for the Beatles catalog to become available through iTunes in a "few months" but has so far been denied by EMI and Apple Corps, the Beatles' own label.

The Beatles' catalog, certain to be a gigantic hit when it becomes digital, has been delayed for years over a simple trademark dispute between Apple Inc. and the label Apple Corps.. The case was resolved in early 2007 and many had hoped that would be the last hurdle.

McCartney himself added fuel to the fire last year when he said in an interview that the catalog becoming digital was inevitable. "It's down to fine-tuning, but I'm pretty sure it'll be happening next year, 2008."

AfterDawn: News

US Xbox 360 price cuts should be coming, says analyst

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2008 14:09

US Xbox 360 price cuts should be coming, says analyst Just days after it was announced that Microsoft was slashing Xbox 360 prices across the board in Europe, leading simExchange analyst Jesse Divnich has reported that price cuts in the US are the "only feasible and economic option" if the 360 wants to combat the Sony PlayStation 3's ongoing momentum in the console market.

"Whether there is an Xbox 360 shortage or not, it is clear that the PS3 has gained considerable ground on its rival,"
he said, adding that the PS3's price cuts and the victory of Blu-ray have added strong gains for the console. "Given these past two months and the momentum that the PS3 has gained, Microsoft must react quickly as the PS3's momentum will only get stronger until Microsoft reacts."

The new price cuts in Europe have made the console war much more competitive as the Xbox 360 Arcade is now cheaper than the rival Nintendo Wii and half the price of the PS3.

"In the short-term, Microsoft's only feasible and economical option is to look at reducing its hardware price in North America to at least slow down the PS3's momentum until it can implement more long-term solutions to winning the next-generation console war,"
he finished.


AfterDawn: News

Telia users having trouble connecting to AfterDawn

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 15 Mar 2008 13:31

Telia users having trouble connecting to AfterDawn Users of Telia, a major ISP in Nordic, have been having hard time getting to AfterDawn during the last 48 hours. The reason behind this is apparently a fight between Telia and another telecom giant, Cogent who haven't managed to find a way to resolve an issue over so-called "peering" between their networks.

Anyway, basically now a big portion of Swedish and Finnish users (basically all users of Sonera and Telia networks and users of other ISPs who use Telia as their route to the U.S.) are unable to access and several other sites located in the United States. Most likely these companies will soon find an agreement over the peering costs, but meanwhile, there's very little what we or anybody else can do about the situation. Apologies for those who are currently affected by this idiocy.

AfterDawn: News

iPhone comes to Ireland and Austria

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2008 12:59

iPhone comes to Ireland and Austria Although it was
announced months ago
the Apple iPhone has finally made its
way to Ireland and Austria, via O2 and T-Mobile,

In Ireland, the 8GB model of the phone will cost 399 euros while the 16GB
model will cost 100 euro more. A standard 45 euro monthly contract will give
users 175 anytime minutes, 100 texts, and 1GB internet data. A 65 euro per
month contract will get you 350 minutes, 150 texts and 1GB data and a very
expensive 100 euro plan will get you 700 minutes, 250 texts, and the same
data. Making the offer even less appealing, Irish iPhone users will not get the
amazing "Visual Voicemail" or the free Cloud Wi-Fi access.

For those still interested despite the crippled features and lack of a
reasonable contract, the phone is available via Apple, O2 or the retailer
Carphone Warehouse.

AfterDawn: News

O2 will offer 5 million tracks from Napster

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2008 12:32

O2 will offer 5 million tracks from Napster The large European mobile phone carrier O2 has announced a partnership with Napster to "offer the UK's largest full Track mobile music download

There is however, one hitch. Your handset must have "O2 Active" to access
the Napster Mobile service, and so far it seems only 30 different handsets can
do so. For those who can however, the service will give users access to over
five million tracks and offer "dual delivery of tracks to both
the customer's mobile phone and PC via email."

The new partnership will provide individual tracks for 99p or 5 for £4 for a
promotional Period but there was no word on pricing after that period.

AfterDawn: News

Wii back on top in Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2008 12:07

Wii back on top in Japan According to data figures released by Media Create yesterday, the ever popular Nintendo Wii was back on top of Japanese hardware sales, regaining its spot after PSP sales returned to normal. The handheld had seen a burst after a Limited edition "mint green" colorway was released in the country.

The Nintendo DS also saw strong sales moving 49,000 units to place third for the week.

The Sony PlayStation 3 also saw an increase in sales, attributed to the released of the game Yakuza 3. The console sold 21,000 units, compared to just over 13,000 last week. So far the console has almost sold 2 million in Japan. As always in Japan, the Xbox 360 lagged behind miserably, selling almost 3000 consoles for the week to bring up the rear.


AfterDawn: News

New Guide: Introduction to SUPER

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 15 Mar 2008 2:34

New Guide: Introduction to SUPER This week has been another light one for Glossary updates as I've been working on guides instead. Our latest guide is an Introduction to Super.

It covers installation and basic operation of the Simplified Universal Player Encoder & Renderer, or SUPER. SUPER is somewhat unique because if offers an extremely simplified interface to a number of very powerful tools. This makes it possible to Encode with the ease generally associated with consumer tools, but with the quality you expect from the best free and open source encoders available.

In addition to adding content, we're also working on improving how it's presented. If you've read my recent guides you may have noticed some layout changes, including additional information on related guides and terms at the bottom of the first and last page of each guide. There are also footnotes which will give you some advanced information related to various subjects.

We'd love to hear your opinions on any changes we make so we can provide the most useful guides possible.


AfterDawn: News

Fox to cut prices on Blu-ray catalog

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2008 17:10

Fox to cut prices on Blu-ray catalog Fox has announced that it will be the first major studio to have extensive price cuts on its HD movie catalog by discounting 22 of its best selling Blu-ray titles.

The price cut, which began yesterday, will see those 22 select films drop in MSRP by $10 USD each from $39.98 to $29.98 USD. However, the titles have been available for some time now on Amazon and other retailers for much less than the MSRP and usually retail for $19.95 USD.

The complete list, courtesy of HighDefDigest are:'28 Days Later,' 'Behind Enemy Lines,' 'Broken Arrow,' 'Cast Away,' 'Chain Reaction,' 'The Devil Wears Prada,' 'Edward Scissorhands,' 'Flight of the Phoenix (2004),' 'The Fly (1986),' 'From Hell,' 'Entrapment,' 'Fantastic Four,' 'Kiss of the Dragon,' 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,' 'Men of Honor,' 'The Omen (2006),' 'Planet of the Apes (2001),' 'Rising Sun,' 'The Sentinel (2006),' 'Speed,' 'The Transporter' and 'Transporter 2.'

Although the price drop is not for all of Fox's titles, its good to see any price drops at all and heres hoping for more to come.


AfterDawn: News

SXSW panel to discuss mandatory online music licensing

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Mar 2008 16:57

SXSW panel to discuss mandatory online music licensing At a panel discussion called 'Mobility, Ubiquity and Monetizing Music,' which will be held tomorrow at the SXSW (South By Southwest) Music And Media Conference in Austin Texas, the focus is expected to be a proposal by one panel member for adding a small monthly surcharge on braodband internet service to pay royalties for music currently being downloaded (illegally) for free. Jim Griffin's plan would see the money divided up among labels, publishers, artists, and songwriters according to download statistics from P2P networks.

Griffiin was responsible for the first commercial release of a song online while head of technology at Geffen Records. Since leaving Geffen he's spent his time working on issues related to digital delivery of various types of media. He'll be joined on the panel by Peter Jenner, manager and former manager of a number of successful recording artits, who describes Griffin's plan as "monetizing the anarchy."


AfterDawn: News

DirecTV begins beta testing video on demand

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Mar 2008 15:46

DirecTV begins beta testing video on demand In its competition with cable companies for subscribers DirecTV has had a number of successes, often due to the geographical size of their customer base, compared to no more than a regional presence for even the largest cable companies. One area that they haven't been a leader, for obvious reasons, is video on demand offerings. While DirecTV's lack of infrastructure (cabling) allows them to expand pretty much anywhre instantaneously, the cable companies' infrastructure makes it possible to offer an interactive on demand service, where viewers can choose from hundreds, or even thousands of (mostly free) TV shows and movies to watch whenever they want.

DirecTV now has their own on demand offering in beta testing, open to all current subscribers with DirecTV's HD DVRs, which will use a combination of content automatically downloaded from the standard satellite signal and customer-supplied broadband to provide around 2,000 on demand offerings. The titles delivered automatically to DVRs will include some of the most popular on demand programming, while additional movies and TV shows can be downloaded across the customers' broadband internet connection (connected directly to the DVR).


AfterDawn: News

HD DVD cost Toshiba a billion

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Mar 2008 9:26

HD DVD cost Toshiba a billion Toshiba's high-definition format HD DVD, which was put to sleep three weeks ago, cost the company a whopping one billion dollars, reports Japanese source. After huge marketing campaigns, handful of price drops and lost partners HD DVD was officially buried. According to Nikkei Business Daily the war cost Toshiba approximately 100 billion yen, or $986 million.

Nikkei claims that as much as $500 million comes from the shutdown of HD DVD production lines, the rest can be explained by the extensive advertisement campaigns and poor product sales. In comparison, the 30-second Super Bowl advertisement cost Toshiba almost $3 million alone.

Toshiba did not comment the Nikkei's figures, but according to a Toshiba representative the company is currently estimating the losses.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 not adopting Blu-ray

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Mar 2008 5:40

Xbox 360 not adopting Blu-ray After the obvious abandoning of HD DVD, Microsoft was said to be in talks with Sony to get a Blu-ray drive for Xbox 360. As we reported last week, Sony boss Stan Glasgow said in an interview with Financial Times that they were negotiating about a Blu-ray drive with Microsoft. At the same time Microsoft's Steve Ballmer gave Blu-ray the green light, but that was only for Windows, not Xbox 360.

However, according to Microsoft's group product manager for Xbox 360 Aaron Greenberg, their console is not ready to go Blu, "Xbox is not currently in talks with Sony or the Blu-ray Association to integrate Blu-ray into the Xbox experience," he said. In the near future Microsoft will be building their Xbox Live as an entertainment Channel rather than adopting the Blu-ray technology.

In the same article Greenberg said that Xbox 360 trailing PS3 in sales for the second month straight was not a surprise, but the supply problems are expected to be a thing of the past by April -- just in time for GTA IV.

AfterDawn: News

iPhone SDK hits 100,000 downloads

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Mar 2008 23:11

iPhone SDK hits 100,000 downloads After only four days of being available, the Apple iPhone SDK has been downloaded over 100,000 times by developers, said the company.

A few of the more notable developers that are now working on titles are Electronic Arts, THQ, PopCap, Namco, id Software and Sega.

"Developer reaction to the iPhone SDK has been incredible with more than 100,000 downloads in the first four days,"
said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice VP of Worldwide Product Marketing.

"Also, over one million people have watched the launch video on, further demonstrating the incredible interest developers have in creating applications for the iPhone."

The SDK is free for all to download and Apple has also launched the App Store which will allow would-be developers to deliver applications and games directly to iPhone and iPod Touch users.

"The iPhone is the mobile platform game developers have been dreaming of,"
said Scott Zerby, vice president, of THQ Wireless.

"We're looking at how we can use the iPhone’s innovative user interface to create new game experiences for our big brand entertainment partners that consumers love."

AfterDawn: News

OLED TVs come closer to production reality

Written by Dave Horvath @ 12 Mar 2008 16:38

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

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

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

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


AfterDawn: News

Japanese iPod Nano emits sparks

Written by Dave Horvath @ 12 Mar 2008 14:02

Japanese iPod Nano emits sparks Apple's popular iPod Nano shoots out sparks in Japan when being plugged into a charger, reports Reuters. The Japan Trade Ministry stated that this incident will initiate an investigation into the product and Apple to find out why the little audio player self destructed.

No one was hurt in the incident and Apple has already claimed that they are looking into the cause of it and whether or not there have been any similar cases that may warrant a recall. Apple officials in Japan were not immediately available for comment.

The incident, involving an earlier model sold in Japan, the MA099J/A, occurred on January 8 in Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo, the official said. Apple reported the matter to the ministry on March 7. Approximately 420,000 Nanos have been sold in Japan since September 2005.

AfterDawn: News

Hulu is now open to the public

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Mar 2008 7:35

Hulu is now open to the public If you've been looking forward to seeing Hulu, the online video site from NBC Universal and News Corp, but haven't been able to get an invitation to the private beta you're in luck. After several hours offline, preparing for the big launch, Hulu is out of beta and available to all U.S. residents.

Hulu has been in private beta since October of last year, and has received very positive reviews from nearly everyone. You can find my new review of the service .

In addition to offering ad-supported Streaming of both current and past TV shows, Hulu allows members to share video clips with friends in a number of ways. They can be embedded in web pages, added to social networking sites like MySpace or Facebook, or submitted to Digg.

If you'd like to try out Hulu for yourself you can sign up at their website. For more information read the new review in our Guides section.

AfterDawn: News

The MP3 player turns 10

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Mar 2008 7:09

The MP3 player turns 10 A decade has passed since the world's first MP3 player hit the shop shelves. Saehan Information Systems' MPMan F10, a Korean wonder at the time, was the first music player that was capable of playing MP3 files. It had a inch-or-so wide LCD and a whopping 32MB of Flash storage that could hold around eight songs. F10, measuring 91x70x165,5mm, was announced at CeBIT show in Hannover, Germany as a prototype but soon was put to mass production for both European and US market. One could get their hands on the first ever MP3 player for a mere $250.

MPMan F10

Following MPMan F10 came the F20, but that wasn't the success story most of us remember. Half a year after the F10, Diamond Multimedia release the device often considered to be the first commercial MP3 player, Rio PMP300. Even though it had the same parallel port connection and 32MB Flash memory as the previous F10, the one features that made all the difference was the Smart Media slot which allowed users to increase the storage capacity of their precious Rio. It also had a larger LCD and a much improved UI.


AfterDawn: News

New upscaling DVD player from OPPO

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Mar 2008 6:01

New upscaling DVD player from OPPO While Sony and Toshiba were competing for attention for their one another cheaper high-def players, a company was developing a quality Upscaling DVD player. OPPO Digital has recently announced its new and hot DVD player capable of up-converting DVD quality video into Full HD glory.

OPPO DV-983H is not necessarily for the masses. While Toshiba HD DVD paperweights are pretty much cheaper than standard DVD player year or two ago, DV-983H has a not so tempting price tag of $399. For DVD enthusiasts however, the player is definetly a fit. The player boasts an impressive list of features, such as Anchor Bay VRS video processing, 7.1-channel audio, USB 2.0 interface for external drives and HDMI-output for the 1080p upscaling.


AfterDawn: News

Buying and selling forums added

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Mar 2008 21:02

Buying and selling forums added After years of repeated requests, AfterDawn has finally added two forum rooms that allow users to buy and sell goods using our forums and private message system. Up until now attempts at trading on the forum were usually blocked, but since so many people asked for dedicated forums, we finally decided to facilitate.

Sell your stuff

Buy stuff

There are of course limitations on what you can advertise for sale and what you can request in these forums, as well as stricter rules. Bare in mind that these forums are presented as is, AfterDawn does not actually offer a new "system" specifically for trading goods, just appropriately named forums where users can choose to do so. The responsibility for items or money exchanged is with the users involved.


AfterDawn: News

Hulu set to launch tomorrow

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Mar 2008 18:57

Hulu set to launch tomorrow NBCU first announced the venture back in October of 2007, and now Hulu is finally set to launch tomorrow. For those unfamiliar, the service is a join venture between NBCU and News Corp and will offer free ad-supported TV shows and motion pictures.

The site will offer thousands of free videos from Fox, NBC, and 50 other content providers. Hulu is also in talks with Lionsgate and Warner Bros. to add more content to the Hulu library with those partnerships expected to be announced soon. Notably however, the service has not reached deals yet with CBS or ABC, two major broadcasters.

Hulu went into beta testing in October of last year and has been described as a rival to the much larger YouTube video sharing site. Besides its TV content deals the site also has video licensing deals with the NBA and NHL and will have its content also appear on AOL, MSN, Comcast, MySpace and Yahoo.

AfterDawn: News

Record companies target Irish ISP Eircom

Written by James Delahunty @ 11 Mar 2008 12:23

Record companies target Irish ISP Eircom According to the Irish Examiner on Tuesday, the Irish arms of the four largest record companies in the world are taking the largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Ireland to the High Court. Eircom revealed in October to the music companies that it is in no position to install web filtering software on its network to tackle growing illegal file sharing in the state.

The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) has previously targeted heavy sharers of illegal music files with litigation, but according to IRMA chairman, Willie Kavanagh, this selective targeting of file sharers proved to be very time consuming and costly. Meanwhile the music companies believe the action was not sufficient to safeguard their intellectual property.

CD sales in the country have suffered a €44 million loss in the past six years with a decline in total sales from €146 million in 2001 to €102 million in 2007, or a 30% decline overall, according to Kavanagh. Now the music companies seek to force Eircom to filter the traffic on its networks and stamp out illegal file sharing by its users.


AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn delivers its 100,000,000th software download

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 11 Mar 2008 4:46

AfterDawn delivers its 100,000,000th software download Last night, we reached yet another big milestone in our site's history when our download servers delivered the 100,000,000th software download ever made from our software section. Yup, that's one hundred million downloads.

As the average size of a software item on our site is around 7 megabytes nowadays, we can make the assumption that so far, our download servers have delivered more than 680,000 gigabytes or 667 terabytes to our users. We currently have six dedicated download servers, making sure that the downloads are reliable and fast.

All-time most popular software items on our site are:


AfterDawn: News

FCC chairman hints at action against Comcast

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Mar 2008 1:29

FCC chairman hints at action against Comcast Although nothing official has been decided, while speaking at a the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society last week FCC chairman Kevin Martin indicated he's troubled by Comcast's decision to manage their network by targetting a particular application (BitTorrent), and particularly by their clear attempts to hide what they were doing.

He said "A hallmark of what should be seen as a reasonable business practice is certainly whether or not the people engaging in that practice are willing to describe it publicly."

However, some are questioning whether the FCC has any actual authority over the matter. While both sides have cited the agency's official Net Neutrality priniciples, the fact is the language in the document being referenced are fairly vague, and make no mention of any consequences for violating the principles listed. In fact, the document ends by stating " we are not adopting rules in this policy statement. The principles we adopt are subject to reasonable network management."


AfterDawn: News

Hollywood looks to help finance shift to digital theaters

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Mar 2008 0:47

Hollywood looks to help finance shift to digital theaters Hoping to jump start the move to convert U.S. movie theaters to digital technology, the major Hollywood studios appear close to a deal that would help subsidize the estimated $70,000 - $75,000 cost of converting a single theater from traditional film to a digital screen. The deal would require studios to pay a "virtual print fee" each time one of their movies plays in a theater owned by Regal Entertainment, Cinemark Holdings, or AMC Entertainment.

So far fewer than 5,000 screens around the country have been converted to digital. The largest theater chains, including the three that would be covered by this agreement, have been unwilling, and they say unable, to pay for the conversion themselves.

Once the arrangement is finalized, the three chains intend to begin a process that will result in all their screens being digital in about three years, for which Digital Cinema Implementation Partners (a company jointly owned by the three chains) intends to finance with a $1.1 billion line of credit. Studio fees would be used to help with payments.

AfterDawn: News

Lionsgate begins offering digital copies with DVDs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2008 17:39

Lionsgate begins offering digital copies with DVDs The large film producer Lionsgate Entertainment has announced that they are working with Apple in an effort to allow customers who purchase select DVDs and Blu-ray titles to download a free digital copy through iTunes as well.

The first movies to include free digital copies are the DVDs and Blu-ray discs of "Rambo" and "The Eye". Rambo will be available later this month while The Eye is slated for a June or July release. More releases are to come, said the company, but there was no word yet on what they might be.

"Our consumers are always looking for new viewing options in terms of the motion pictures they buy, and we are always searching for new ways to deliver content in formats that reflect consumer preference across the entire home entertainment spectrum, from packaged media to digital storage to VOD,"
Lionsgate president and COO Steve Beeks said.

To receive the digital download, consumers must simply insert the DVD or BD into their computers and enter a provided code into iTunes where it will copy to the users library. You can only copy the movie to one library, but it can be re-copied over and over in case you accidentally delete it.

AfterDawn: News

EMI stays with IFPI, but only at reduced cost

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2008 17:25

EMI stays with IFPI, but only at reduced cost EMI, one of the big 4 record labels, has announced that will remain a member of the IFPI, but only at a reduced cost. In December of last year the record label threatened to leave in an effort to cut costs but it seems that the trade group has struck a deal to keep them around.

At the time, EMI chairman Guy Hands made comments that implied that the IFPI made over $250 million USD a year from EMI and other companies, just for membership and other anti-piracy activities. Hands also told the IFPI they had until March 31st 2008 to reduce membership costs or see the label walk.

An IFPI spokesman added that both parties had agreed on a “sensible, appropriate and reasonable reduction in our budget.”

Jean-Francois Cecillon, president of EMI International added that the other Big 4 labels would see reduced rates as well. “We undertook to work with our colleagues in the other major labels and with (IFPI boss) John Kennedy on a cost saving plan for the IFPI. Together we have been able to find solutions which we believe are achievable whilst maintaining what the IFPI does best in representing our industry.”

AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 prices to drop in Europe at week's end

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Mar 2008 13:35

Xbox 360 prices to drop in Europe at week's end Starting on Friday, March 14, Microsoft will reportedly be cutting the price of the 20GB Xbox 360 in Europe to 270 euros. This represents a drop of 80 euros. Meanwhile, in the UK the price of the entry level model (with no hard drive) will be slashed £40 to £159.99.

Microsoft says the UK price was chosen based on the fact that it's "the price point where a console's audience begins to expand." Many industry analysts have been predicting this move for some time due to increased competition from the PS3, which has been steadily gaining market share for the last few months.

Both Sony and Microsoft have tried to position their consoles as home entertainment machines rather than simply game platforms. Microsoft, with their Xbox Live Marketplace, has been far and away more successful to date.

However, with the end of the Blu-ray / HD DVD format war, the inclusion of Blu-ray playback on PS3s and Sony's access to their own content, through Sony BMG's music and the movies owned by Sony Pictures, puts them in a position to be nearly instantly competitive when they get an online service in place to take advantage of it.


AfterDawn: News

Beatles finally coming to iTunes?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2008 12:45

Beatles finally coming to iTunes? The United Press International has reported that a tentative agreement between Apple and former Beatle Paul McCartney had been made which would mean that the Beatles' back catalog will finally be available for digital distribution on iTunes.

The deal, which could be in excess of $400 million USD, will be split between all the former members of the Beatles, Sony, EMI, and Michael Jackson all of which have some rights to the songs, whether it be in publishing, recording or reproduction.

Paul McCartney recently released his latest solo work for distribution on iTunes and that was followed by the release of John Lennon's solo work prompting widespread rumors that the Beatles catalog would soon follow. There has been no official announcement from either McCartney or Apple so for now the report is just speculation but we will keep you updated.

AfterDawn: News

Did Stage6 die of natural causes or was it killed?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Mar 2008 1:41

Did Stage6 die of natural causes or was it killed? In February DivX Inc., developers of the best known MPEG-4 ASP video encoder in the world, decided to shut down their highly popular Stage6 video sharing site. Stage6 was initially established in 2006 as a way to show off their successful codec's potential. In only a few months it had attracted millions of users, and plans began taking shape to spin the service off as a separate company.

According to the official explanation given to Stage6 users by a DivX employee, it was being shut down because there wasn't any interest outside the company in either buying it or providing venture capital to fund it. The message stated that "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."

According to Michael Arrington of TechCrunch that explanation is just plain false. He says that a number of sources involved in the defunct service have outlined a chain of events that took Stage6 from a promising commercial service to being shut down just a few months later. The story begins with DivX co-founder and CEO Jordan Greenhall resigning from DivX, along with a number of other key employees, to establish Stage6 as a distinct brand. Arrington claims that although there was little interest among existing tech companies to buy Stage6, more than a $25 million in venture capital was lined up to spin it off as a separate entity. Under the proposal developed by Greenhall and his Stage6 team DivX Inc. would have retained 20% ownership in the company, and would also receive the bulk of the company's revenue for 2008, which would primarily come from visitors downloading the DivX bundle and installing the included Yahoo Toolbar. Some estimate the potential revenue for 2008 alone at $10 million.


AfterDawn: News

New, larger HDD model of Xbox 360 coming?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2008 14:06

New, larger HDD model of Xbox 360 coming? Microsoft may be planning to upgrade the Xbox 360 Pro to a 60GB HDD model, if new rumors are to be believed. The mid-tier model of the popular game console currently offers 20 GB of storage and the new rumor touts that Microsoft will be replacing the stock 20GB drive with the much higher capacity 60GB drive.

The upgraded console will come at the end of May or early June and although no exact reasons for given for the upgrade, we can imagine it is due to the growing power of the Xbox Video Marketplace and the larger size of game demos from the Xbox Live arcade.

On top of the upgrade, it is believed the company is considering a completely new model, although what will be inside this new model is uncertain as of yet. Could it possibly have an internal Blu-ray drive? We will keep you updated on any new developments.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung and Adidas to compete against Nike+iPod

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2008 12:41

Samsung and Adidas to compete against Nike+iPod Samsung and Adidas have announced the launch of the miCoach workout tracking system in an effort to compete with the popular Nike+iPod program jointly run by Apple and Nike.

miCoach will combine the Samsung miCoach mobile phone with "a heartrate monitor and stride sensor to provide accurate feedback about workout activities." There was no word on pricing yet but the system will be available in Europe beginning next week.

"miCoach is the most advanced interactive training system in the marketplace, blending sophisticated mobile technology with the most advanced in sport innovation and training,"
added Eric Liedtke, VP of Adidas Brand Marketing. "The uniqueness of miCoach is that it collects and analyzes personal data and then customizes training plans based on your fitness level and specific goals, while giving you real-time feedback during your workout via the miCoach phone."

The mobile phone in itself has good specifications without the heartrate monitor or stride sensor including seven colorways, a 2 megapixel camera, 1GB memory capacity and a slider portion.

AfterDawn: News

FutureShop to offer HD DVD "amnesty" deal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Mar 2008 17:21

FutureShop to offer HD DVD "amnesty" deal The large Canadian retailer FutureShop has announced that anyone who bought a now obsolete HD DVD player now has the option to trade it in for a $100 CAD discount on the purchase of one of two hybrid HD players, the Samsung BD-UP5000 or the LG BH200. The hybrid players will play both HD DVD titles and Blu-ray titles. Any HD DVD player is up for the deal no matter how much they cost to begin with.

The new deal, which will last until April 3rd, will see all the received HD DVD players donated to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.

A similar deal was made recently by the giant US retailer Circuit City to allow users to return their HD DVD players within 3 months or trade them in for Blu-ray players.


AfterDawn: News

Jailtime coming for two software pirates

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Mar 2008 16:58

Jailtime coming for two software pirates Yesterday, two brothers accused of software piracy were sentenced to multi-year prison sentences, said the US Department of Justice.

Maurice Robberson and his brother Thomas Robberson were sentenced to 36 and 30 month sentences respectively and ordered to pay $1 million USD in restitution. In November both men plead guilty to felony copyright infringement.

Both men sold counterfeit software through their websites,,, and Both men agreed to pay back all revenue made by the sites which equaled the $1 million USD restitution.

"People who steal the intellectual property of others for their personal financial gain, while defrauding consumers who think they are buying legitimate products, will be punished for their crimes, as today's sentences prove,"
said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher.

Both men received complaints from software copyright holders but denied wrong doing. Undercover FBI agents then purchased items from one of their sites and found a network of other sites selling pirated software.

AfterDawn: News

Sony and Microsoft in talks for Xbox 360 Blu-ray drive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Mar 2008 16:29

Sony and Microsoft in talks for Xbox 360 Blu-ray drive According to the Financial Times, Sony is currently in talks with Microsoft about a having the company offer an internal Blu-ray drive model of the Xbox 360 console.

Microsoft had backed the rival HD DVD until the format's demise last month.

The word of the negotiations come from Stan Glasgow, the president of Sony America. Sony has not confirmed the negotiations as of yet however.

Adding a Blu-ray drive to the 360 would make the console even more competitive with the PlayStation 3 but would give Sony's electronics division a needed revenue boost. Adding the drive would add production costs to the 360 and so a new premium model would be necessary. There is always the possibility of an external drive just like the HD DVD peripheral was.


AfterDawn: News

Image Entertainment drops HD DVD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Mar 2008 15:40

Image Entertainment drops HD DVD Image Entertainment has announced that it has canceled its upcoming HD DVD releases and added that it was dropping HD DVD completely to focus on Blu-ray.

Image is one of the biggest suppliers of independent titles and had supported both HD formats. Over the past two years the company released a large variety of music, special interest and theatrical releases on both formats.

Of the more notable films that have been dropped from their HD DVD releases are 'Before the Devil Knows You're Dead' and a few IMAX films.

Blu-ray releases are not affected by the decision and will be released on time.

AfterDawn: News

Vudu gets upgrades

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Mar 2008 15:22

Vudu gets upgrades Vudu has added a new feature dubbed the "Vault" this week, which will allow users to save space on their HDDs by "storing" any purchased movie they own on the company's servers.

After "flagging" the movie as previously purchased, you can delete it from your HDD and re-download whenever you please at no added charge. You can also delete the file if you choose without flagging, but then re-downloading will cost you extra. Some content providers will not even allow archiving, says the company.

Other updates are "revised sort functionality, updated TV show search functionality, a revised advance settings menu, and a new Most Watched list, ranked by popularity among Vudu users."

The company also added that an IR receiver kit would be made available for $39 USD allowing the device to be usable with universal remotes. Finally, the company also added that Vudu XL was coming, which is a 1 TB version of the Set-Top Box. The added space comes with a hefty price tag however, $999 USD to be exact.

AfterDawn: News

Sorry MPAA, Hollywood box office hits new highs despite piracy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Mar 2008 14:24

Sorry MPAA, Hollywood box office hits new highs despite piracy Despite massive campaigns to inform the public of the dangers of piracy and its effect on the world economies,the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has posted on their website that 2007 saw new all-time highs for both domestic and global box office sales.

The MPAA's own data figures show that the global market grew almost 5 percent$26.6 billion USD, and the US market grew 5.4 percent to $9.6 billion USD.

“From the threat and eventual reality of a writer’s strike to the global impact of film theft to concerns over the economy, the film industry faced significant challenges in 2007,”
stated Dan Glickman, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA. “But, ultimately, we got our Hollywood ending. Once again, diverse, quality films and the timeless allure of the movie house proved a winning combination with consumers around the world.”

According to recent studies by the Institute for Public Innovation, movie piracy costs the US economy $20.5 billion annually including revenue loss and “related measures of economic performance." The study goes as far as to say that the movie industry could have added 45,000 new jobs had it not been for piracy. Funny how BO sales can grow at a steady pace despite the fact that the economy is seeing a "$20.5 billion USD annual loss" right?

AfterDawn: News

Weekly Glossary and Guide updates: 7 March 2008

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Mar 2008 13:17

Weekly Glossary and Guide updates: 7 March 2008 This week has been a little slow for Glossary updates as I've been concentrating on some MPEG-2 editing guides. However there are two notable additions for the VMD (Versatile Multilayer Disc) format and accompanying HD VMD High Definition standalone player format. Although most experts don't consider HD VMD a threat to Blu-ray for a number of reasons outlined in a recent Afterdawn news article, New Media Enterprises, the company behind VMD, are confident it can be a viable competitor in the home theater market.

Cuttermaran Guides

We also have a pair of new Guides for using the free (and Frame accurate) Cuttermaran MPEG-2 editor. If you have MPEG-2 TV captures, either analog or digital, that you want to remove commercials from without re-encoding you can use Cutterman, in combination with QuEnc, to edit with a minimal amount of encoding at the beginning and end of each cut.


AfterDawn: News

Pioneer confirms halt of PDP production

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Mar 2008 10:02

Pioneer confirms halt of PDP production Once an innovator in the field, Pioneer Corp. has confirmed on Friday that it will stop the production of Plasma display panels (PDP) as it attempts to change the fortunes of its money losing business. The company is reportedly in talks with rival Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. about purchasing plasma panels for use in its flat-panel televisions.

Pioneer fell behind Samsung, Matsushita and LG Electronics Inc. in PDP technology despite being one of the leading developers at a time. "We have judged that maintaining the cost competitiveness of plasma display panels, or PDPs, at projected sales volumes will be difficult going forward," Pioneer said in a statement.

Pioneer is facing a loss of 15 billion yen ($145.6 million) at the end of its fiscal year (March 31st) after previously forecasting a profit of 6 billion yen ($58 million). After opting out of plasma panel production, Pioneer faces a one-time fee of 19 billion yen ($184.5 million), but expects to return to profitability by the fiscal year ending March 2010.

In 2007, Pioneer partnered with Sharp Corp. to procure Sharp's liquid crystal displays and the company is reporting that the partnership is going very well. The two will also work on Blu-ray Disc recorders and players.

AfterDawn: News

DivX Certified Panasonic Blu-ray player headed to Europe

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Mar 2008 10:01

DivX Certified Panasonic Blu-ray player headed to Europe DivX Inc. has announced the DivX Certification of an upcoming Panasonic-brand Blu-ray Disc player. The Blu-ray player joined an array other Panasonic products that sport the DivX Certified logo on packaging, and is scheduled to begin shipping in March. It will be the first DivX Certified Blu-ray player available in Europe and Russia.

"In order to give our users access to the extremely popular, high-quality DivX format, we have introduced the first DivX-Certified Blu-ray Disc Player for Europe and Russia," said Yuki Kusumi, Group Manager of Product Technology, Video Business Unit, Network Business Group, Panasonic AVC Networks Company, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. "The timely launch of this strategic product is a direct response to the strong demand for DivX playback among consumers. We are very confident this product will be very popular in the European and Russian markets."


AfterDawn: News

SlySoft offers 20 percent discount on new products

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Mar 2008 9:59

SlySoft offers 20 percent discount on new products SlySoft is once again offering discounts to new users buying their products. This time, the company is offering a 20% discount on all its products before St Patrick's Day (do you even need a reason anymore? ;-)). The offer applies to new products, but not upgrades or t-shirts.

SlySoft's products include the mega-popular, anti-DRM tool AnyDVD (AnyDVD HD for Blu-Ray and HD DVD), popular DVD backup software CloneDVD, CloneDVD Mobile for portable devices, CloneCD and also GameJackal Pro.

To take advantage of this offer, enter "stpatricksday" (without quotes) into the coupon box at the bottom of the check-out form while buying any SlySoft software. The offer is valid until March, 16th 2008.


AfterDawn: News

SanDisk doubles CompactFlash memory to 16GB

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Mar 2008 9:58

SanDisk doubles CompactFlash memory to 16GB SanDisk has announced that it has doubled the capacity of its CompactFlash 5000 flash memory cards for industrial markets. The cards provide a high level of durability as well as high read and write speeds, and the extra capacity makes it a more suitable accessory for mission-critical applications including medical instruments, military applications and gaming systems.

The new 16GB CompactFlash card was unveiled at the CeBIT trade fair in Hannover, Germany this week. An 8GB version of the product was unveiled last spring. It is designed by SanDisk to achieve a sustained read and write performance of up to 30 megabytes (MB) per second. It supports a transfer mode of up to UDMA 4, an industry standard that enables high data transfer rates and includes performance boosters and on-the-fly error detection.

"There's a substantial market for this type of industrial-strength card in mission-critical applications, especially those in harsh environments," said Scott Deutsch, vice president of OEM sales and marketing for SanDisk. "In addition to providing high-performance and high-capacity, the CompactFlash 5000 is a mass storage solution that can be trusted to meet the demands of industrial users and applications."


AfterDawn: News

Apple releases iPhone / iPod Touch SDK

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 07 Mar 2008 4:52

Apple releases iPhone / iPod Touch SDK On Thursday Steve Jobs officially unveiled the SDK (Software Development Kit) that will be released for writing software to work with Apple's iPhone and various iPod Touch models. During his presentation at the company's Cupertino, California headquarters he demonstrated a number of programs written by developers who were given advance copies of the SDK.

Despite the underlying OS X operating system powering both the iPhone and iPod Touch, until now Apple has insisted that developers concentrate on web applications, using the built in Safari browser as an interface. Installing software on the devices currently requires a process called Jailbreaking be performed, which takes advantage of a security hole to add a third party application installer which is then used to install additional software. With the availability of the SDK many developers will be able to write iPhone applications.

The SDK includes support for corporate products from and Cisco, and even integration with Microsoft's Exchange Server, which Apple is touting as superior to the way Blackberrys (from competitor Research In Motion) connect.


AfterDawn: News

Facebook approached record labels?

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 18:31

Facebook approached record labels? According to the Financial Times, online social-networking site Facebook has approached the world's largest record companies about the possibility of opening a music download service. The report cited people familiar with the matter. This comes after Reuters recently reported that the big four record companies were talking to MySpace about launching an online music service as well.

So far neither Facebook or any of the record companies have commented to news agencies about the FT report. Social networking sites like MySpace, Bebo and Facebook are home to millions of members who use the services on a daily basis. Since they attract all types of users, the target audience is wide and it makes it perfect for music download services.

Using complex tracking software, social networking sites could utilize the mountains of data on their servers to make recommendations to users based on their own profiles and habits on the sites.

AfterDawn: News

Greenpeace: CE products greener, but long way to go

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 18:30

Greenpeace: CE products greener, but long way to go According to Greenpeace, consumer electronics are slowing becoming greener but still have a long way to go to eliminate the use of more hazardous and toxic chemicals and to become more energy efficient. At the CeBIT tech fair in Hanover, Germany, Greenpeace praised several products made by Sony, Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Apple.

Greenpeace tested 37 products picked out by 14 different major electronics brands that agreed to pick out their greenest product for testing, awarding points for energy efficiency, recyclability and substitution of toxic substances. The Sony Vaio TZ11 notebook, Sony Ericsson T650i phone and Sony Ericsson P1i PDA were the top three products, achieving just over half of the available 100 points.

"We have already witnessed the arrival of greener products in the market, such as Apple's new laptop, the MacBook Air, and Nokia's new phone, the Evolve," Greenpeace international toxics campaigner Yannick Vicaire said. "Manufacturers still have a long way to go, but more and more are now taking the environmental impacts of their products seriously."


AfterDawn: News

File-sharers convicted in Iceland

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 18:29

File-sharers convicted in Iceland Nine file-sharers in Iceland have been convicted of Internet piracy offenses for sharing movies using the DC++ software. Eight of the nine defendants received two years probation, while the ninth defendant who was singled out, Bjarki Magnússon, received a 30 day suspended sentence by the Reykjavík District Court.

Magnússon received a different punishment as he had established a portal for DC++ on "Since the judgment has ruled in favor of the Icelandic copyright holders, nobody can share now without risking arrest," a reader told The Register.

SMÁÍS chairman Snaebjörn Steingrímsson expressed disappointment at the lenient nature of the punishments handed down by the court. The organization which represents the interests of film rights holders made the complaint that led to the arrest of 12 suspects in 2004.

Computer equipment and many discs were seized during the raids with one of the defendants being caught with 2.5TB of pirated material. The nine sentenced file-sharers now owe legal fees estimated at ISK 2.6 million (US$39,000).

AfterDawn: News

TiVo beats analysts' predictions

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 18:29

TiVo beats analysts' predictions TiVo Inc. has defied the predictions of analysts by making a quarterly loss of $6.4 million. Improved sales of older DVR hardware and reduced expenses influenced the loss, which is about 6 cents per share, much lower than the 20 cents per share (about $19.5 million) loss made in the fourth quarter of the previous year. TiVo has never held a profitable quarter but Chief Executive Tom Rogers thinks its day is coming soon.

Analysts had previously forecast on average a loss of 11 cents per share for the fourth quarter. However, with the better results, Rogers assured investors in a phone conference on Wednesday that the company was narrowing the gap towards profitability as it keeps adding cable and satellite providers to its list of partners.

Cox Communications announced on Wednesday that it will be running a trial in New England markets with a set-top-box that uses TiVo technology, the same technology rolled out in the fourth quarter by Comcast. Rogers also said that sales for stand-alone DVRs would rise responding to demand for content downloaded from the Internet.


AfterDawn: News

MPA settles Jeebo piracy case

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 16:51

MPA settles Jeebo piracy case Members of the Motion Picture Association (MPA) have settled an Internet piracy case with Chinese company Beijing Jeboo Interactive Science & Technology Co. The five Hollywood studios had accused Jeebo of providing cybercafes with illegal copies of their movies, and responded by suing the company in Shanghai in September and December.

Jeebo was providing Internet cafes with software that allowed users to download and watch movies that were owned by the studios without approval. Twenty titles were named in the lawsuit including Hitch and Pirates of the Caribbean 2. The Hollywood studios involved are Walt Disney Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures.

The terms of the deal are confidential but the MPA has stated that Jeebo apologized for the activity and paid a significant amount of compensation. According to the MPA, over 90% of the DVDs sold in China are pirated.

AfterDawn: News

Apple tweaks iPhone for business users, gamers

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 16:49

Apple tweaks iPhone for business users, gamers Apple Inc. is looking to attract more business users for its iPhone product by improving e-mail capabilities. The iPhone's abilities for corporate e-mail have been cited as a big reason why business users buy competing products from other manufacturers. To attack this weakness, Apple is adding support for Microsoft Corp.'s Exchange software, becoming more competitive with Blackberry and Treo Smartphones.

The company is also intensifying its search for developers interested in creating third-party applications for the device, but Apple's approval policy is likely to turn many developers off the idea. Previously, Apple allowed developers to produce applications only through the web and not with the same tools as Apple developers.

To lure developers to the iPhone, Apple has enlisted the help of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, providing a $100 million "iFund". "That should be enough to start about a dozen Amazons or even four Googles," Kleiner Perkins partner John Doerr said. "And if we're running out of money we'll run around and look for more."


AfterDawn: News

Circuit City extends HD DVD return time

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 16:47

Circuit City extends HD DVD return time Circuit City has tripled the period in which a customer can return a HD DVD player from the previous and standard 30 days to 90 days. The move is made at a time when the industry is moving rapidly to the Blu-ray Disc format after Toshiba discontinued production of HD DVD equipment. Circuit City spokesman Jim Babb said the company is seeking to "take care of its customers" during this period.

"The recent resolution of the next generation of video disc formats is an important and singular development in the marketplace," Babb said. Now that the industry has largely settled on a single option for distribution of high-definition video content on DVD-sized discs, consumers can buy hardware with more confidence than before.

The fall of the HD DVD format does however leave over 1 million customers worldwide with players that will have no new content coming for them very soon. Some however have chosen to buy up the remaining HD DVD player stocks for their DVD upscaling capabilities, or have ordered HD DVD titles that have dropped dramatically in price.


AfterDawn: News

Tech Exhibitors raided at CeBIT

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Mar 2008 16:46

Tech Exhibitors raided at CeBIT German Police and Customs Officials investigating claims of patent violations have seized dozens of boxes of tech gadgets and equipment at CeBIT, a tech fair held annually in Hanover. The alleged patent violations primarily concern devices with MP3, MP4 or other digital video playback, as well as several DVD players and blank media.

Police said that over 180 officials were involved in the searches on Wednesday, but did not reveal the targeted individuals or companies, just stating, "the background is the number that has been rising for years of criminal complaints by the holders of patent rights in the run-up to CeBIT."

Overall, 68 boxes of mobile phones, navigation devices and flat-screen devices along with advertising material were seized. Of all the exhibitors affected, only one failed to co-operate with the officers and had to be taken to a nearby police station. 24 were from mainland China, 12 from Taiwan, 9 from Germany, 3 from Hong Kong and one each from the Netherlands, Korea and Poland.

AfterDawn: News

iPlayer coming for iPhone, iPod Touch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Mar 2008 15:12

iPlayer coming for iPhone, iPod Touch According to MacNN, the BBC is working on a mobile version of its popular iPlayer software that will make the service available on the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

Visitors to the BBC iPlayer website through one of the portable devices will see a "small, inactive link appears in the corner of the main window, indicating that a beta version of the player software will soon be available."

The BBC or Apple have not confirmed the link but with the iPhone SDK event coming soon, there should be more news upcoming.

The BBC is also currently developing an iPlayer for Mac users who currently cannot download any content as it is protected WMV files.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung cancels upcoming hybrid HD player

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Mar 2008 14:22

Samsung cancels upcoming hybrid HD player Samsung has announced that it has canceled the upcoming BD-UP5500 Blu-ray/HD DVD hybrid player and attributed the decision directly to Toshiba's decision to drop the format.

The company also praised the decision, saying that have a standard format will allow the company to focus its efforts and money on Blu-ray. The older UP5000 player will still be available but the company added that the prospect of selling future hybrid players was slim.

"[A hybrid player] remains a practical solution, but the window of opportunity is smaller than it was before,"
the company said in a statement.

Toshiba plans to stop producing HD DVD players later this month and prior HD DVD-exclusive studios such as Paramount and Dreamworks have dropped the format making it all but dead.


AfterDawn: News

Piracy is caused by lack of choice, says study

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Mar 2008 13:53

Piracy is caused by lack of choice, says study According to a new study recently released in the UK, the largest cause of piracy and other copyright infringement is simply, a lack of choice or legal alternatives. The study went as far to show that over 30 percent of UK citizens had downloaded pirated content, or at least plan to do so in the future.

The study, the 2008 Digital Entertainment Survey, really only said what many have been saying for years now; legal venues don't have the quality or quantity of the illegal ones.

70 percent of those who had admitted to piracy also agreed that their primary reason for doing so was because “legal sites just don’t have the range of illegal ones”. The same amount of people also agreed that they would purchase the content if what they wanted was available.

Of the respondents who admitted to piracy, 70 percent also suggested that illegal venues were much faster.

Even more interestingly, 68 percent of those studied believed there was little chance they would be caught downloading and understood that many anti-piracy campaigns are more for intimidation.

Read the whole study here, its an interesting read.

AfterDawn: News

Sony not expecting $200 Blu-ray players before next year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Mar 2008 2:25

Sony not expecting $200 Blu-ray players before next year Despite speculation by some that we may see a $200 Blu-ray player before year's end, no such product appears to be in sight. In fact, the Chinese companies responsible for the boom in low priced DVD players a few short years ago don't even seem to have a chance to be licensed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA).

Sony Electronics CEO Stan Glasgow told Gizmodo "I don't think $200 is going to happen this year. Next year $200 could happen. We'll be at a $300 rate this year. $299 will happen this year." He apparently intimated that no Chinese manufacturer was even close to getting a license, which many have suggested is the key to low priced players of any type.

What Sony is apparently hoping to accomplish this year is establishing a presence in the video download market. Rival console maker Microsoft has been able to build a successful service with the Xbox Live store, which includes a number of SD and HD titles. Meanwhile Sony, owner of a great deal of their own content, has somehow failed to establish a similar marketplace for PS3 owners, despite the console being billed as a home entertainment device rather than simply a game console.

AfterDawn: News

Apple TV only makes it halfway to 1000 movie goal for February

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Mar 2008 0:38

Apple TV only makes it halfway to 1000 movie goal for February In January, when Steve Jobs announced details of a new and improved Apple service he said the company would have 1,000 movies available by the end of Februrary. Now that Februrary has come and gone some people are wondering why the actual number appears to be somewhere below 500.

Apparently Steve Jobs is blaming Hollywood, or at least that's what he reportedly told shareholders at the company's annual meeting. According to the Associated Press he said at that meeting that he's "not happy" with the speed at which studios have arranged for all required parties to sign off on distribution rights.

The good news for Apple is they're much closer to their HD goal. Jobs' January prediction was for 100 HD movies to be available for Apple TV. The actual number appears to be 98. That's certainly within a reasonable margin of error by almost anyone's standards.

AfterDawn: News

Large horror film distributor joins Blu-ray

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2008 18:45

Large horror film distributor joins Blu-ray Blue Underground, a giant distributor of cult and horror movies on DVD has announced that they will begin releasing their titles on Blu-ray later this year.

There was no word on which titles would retail first or even what quarter the movies would be released in but Blue Underground has already put word on their website that they plan to support the format with a large number of Blu-ray releases.

First started in the early 90s, Blue Underground has a large catalog of cult and horror classics, including some of the more popular titles from legends of film making like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Larry Cohen, and George A. Romero.

AfterDawn: News

European Xbox 360s to see price cut?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2008 18:30

European Xbox 360s to see price cut? Although it is not officially confirmed yet, industry sources have indicated that there are upcoming price cuts coming for all Microsoft Xbox 360 models in Europe.

The rumors suggest that there are "non-disclosure agreements in place with leading retailers" preventing them to reveal the upcoming price drop but that it is coming a week or so ahead of the Easter sales period. The expected price drop is EUR 50 for each available model.

Interestingly, the latest cuts will drop the price of the Arcade Xbox 360 model to a price cheaper than the rival Nintendo Wii. The Wii has dominated the "casual gamer" and family markets since its launch but Microsoft has said they hope to have the Arcade model steal some of the Wii's thunder. A price drop of this magnitude would certainly put some pressure on Nintendo.

AfterDawn: News

GDMX ramps up Blu-ray Disc production

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2008 18:15

GDMX ramps up Blu-ray Disc production Sonic has announced that Global Digital Media Xchange (GDMX), an Authoring facility, will be using "Sonic's Scenarist HDMV and BD-J authoring and CineVision AVC video encoding systems" to ramp up production capabilities for Blu-ray Discs.

The new move will now make GDMX one of the biggest HD production facilities in the world and allow the company to address the huge increases in BD movie releases that will be coming thanks to the demise of HD DVD.

The Scenarist authoring system allows content creators to "automate standard authoring tasks, such as graphics output for menus, buttons, and navigation, which provides more time for implementing advanced-interactivity components in BD-Java."


AfterDawn: News

Dirt cheap HD DVDs - movies from $9.98

Written by Jari Ketola @ 05 Mar 2008 3:59

Dirt cheap HD DVDs - movies from $9.98 Things aren't looking too bad in the High Definition front for early HD DVD adopters or other HD enthusiasts. In the wake of Toshiba's announcement to drop HD DVD a number of lucrative deals have surfaced.

Most notably the prices of the HD DVD players have plummeted. You can now get, for example, Toshiba HD-A3 + two movies for as little as $79.99, which is rather ridiculous for a player with an excellent upscaler. For people with an existing DVD collection, HD capable display and no upscaling DVD player, the deal is quite tempting.

Even though the format will most likely fade away by the end of the year, there's still plenty of HD DVD movies available - often at bargain prices. For instance Amazon offers The Bourne Trilogy (The Bourne Identity / The Bourne Supremacy / The Bourne Ultimatum) at an incredible price of $29.99. That's almost $60 off the list price. offers HD DVD movies from $9.98 and HDScape is dumping the HD DVD versions of their high definition demo videos at $6.95/each or $39.95 for the bundle of 8 discs.


AfterDawn: News

Consumers approve of ad-supported streaming

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 05 Mar 2008 1:50

Consumers approve of ad-supported streaming The 2008 edition of the Digital Entertainment Survey, published annually by Entertainment Media Research, shows an interesting trend among the more than 1,600 U.K. residents surveyed. An overwhelming majority (70%) indicated that they have no problems with ads before streamed on-demand video, even if the ads can't be skipped. The caveat is that the purpose of the ads must be to make the content free.

Interestingly though, when asked about TV commercials, which essentially exist exactly for that purpose, nearly half said they skip all commercials, with another third saying they skip most. Less than 10% of respondents said they rarely or never skip commercials.

It's unclear exactly what's at the root of the seemingly contradictory positions, although I have to admit I'd fall in the majority who skip TV commercials, but aren't bothered by unskippable ads to watch reasonably high quality TV shows streamed online. Perhaps consumers have a better sense of online distribution costs because of what they pay for their own broadband connections.

AfterDawn: News

7Digital to offer DRM-free downloads from Warner

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 05 Mar 2008 1:18

7Digital to offer DRM-free downloads from Warner is the first online music retailer to offer customers in the U.K., Ireland, Spain, France, and Germany DRM-free songs from Warner Music. Previously Warner's only deal for the DRM-free releases was, which hasn't exported their MP3 store beyond U.S. borders yet. Such an expansion is expected some time this year. already offered (DRM-free) music from EMI, and is reportedly working on deals with the other two major labels; Sony BMG and Universal Music.

James Bates of research firm Deloitte said "Today's announcement may be a tipping point in the general move to DRM-free data."

AfterDawn: News

Skype is coming for Japanese PSPs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Mar 2008 17:50

Skype is coming for Japanese PSPs Sony Japan has announced that Japanese PSP gamers will be able to use Skype services beginning in two weeks, March 18th.

The company also said that the software will be included in the upcoming Firmware update for the system and that Sony will be "releasing official microphones to coincide with the communications service."

The service was originally supposed to hit Japanese PSPs in early January but was hit with delays due to Sony hardware failing to meet Skype specifications.

Also unveiled were new LE PSP bundles made specifically for Japan. "The PSP Matte Bronze Value Pack will go on sale April 24, priced JPY 23,800, and will come with the handheld, a pouch, hand strap, cloth, 32MB Memory Stick Duo and D Terminal AV cable."

AfterDawn: News

Pioneer halts plasma display production

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Mar 2008 17:39

Pioneer halts plasma display production Pioneer has decided the plasma TV market is to competitive and will be halting all internal production of plasma displays. The company will not be leaving the industry however and will instead get plasma panels from Matsushita.

Currently pioneer is the 5th largest plasma TV producer and is losing money on its plasma division. Actually, Pioneer is "expected to report a loss of 10 billion yen or about $96 million USD for the fiscal year."

Although not confirmed yet, Pioneer will supposedly close down one of its largest Japanese plasma manufacturing plants and focus the other two on assembling TVs. Pioneer stopped internal production of LCDs last year and teamed up with Sharp in a similar deal to this recent one.

Adde Mitsushige Akino of Ichiyoshi Investment Management, “This is an excellent development [Pioneer stopping plasma production]. Pioneer could have chosen another way and stepped up its plasma investment despite the fact that the business is bleeding red ink, but it's a wise step to decide against that. A quicker decision would have been even better, though.”


AfterDawn: News

Toshiba CEO talks out about HD DVD's fate

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Mar 2008 17:25

Toshiba CEO talks out about HD DVD's fate Toshiba CEO Atsutoshi Nishida has finally talked out about his company's decision to drop HD DVD and went as far as to say that the format did not "stand a chance" following Warner's decision to drop the format for Blu-ray.

Citing the Warner decision, Nishida said that the format would have only had 20% of the software market share and that Warner's decision sealed the format war's fate.

"One has to take calculated risks in business, but it's also important to switch gears immediately if you think your decision was wrong,"
explained Nishida. "We were doing this to win, and if we weren't going to win then we had to pull out, especially since consumers were already asking for a single standard."

In the wake of the end of the HD format war, Toshiba said it would focus more on upconverting standard-def DVD players and PCs as well as HD digital downloads.


AfterDawn: News

New NIN release includes a partial free download and variable pricing

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 04 Mar 2008 3:07

New NIN release includes a partial free download and variable pricing Trent Reznor, who last year was involved in an experiment to distribute an album he produced for Saul Williams by giving downloaders the option to either pay nothing for MP3s or $5 for CD quality tracks, has started experimenting with his own music. After his disappointment at the small number of people willing to pay for Williams' work he's opted not to offer the new 36 Track Nine Inch Nails (NIN) release, Ghosts I-IV, completely free. Instead, the first disc (Ghosts I) is available for free via BitTorrent. An accompanying 40 page PDF file containing 40 pages of photographs can even be requested from the official NIN website.

If you're interested in getting Ghosts II-IV you'll have to pay at least a little. In fact you can get all four volumes from's (DRM free) MP3 service for a mere $5. Other options include both physical (CD, DVD, and Blu-ray) versions, with accompanying digital downloads.


AfterDawn: News

RIAA argues for basing songwriter royalties on revenue

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 04 Mar 2008 2:40

RIAA argues for basing songwriter royalties on revenue The RIAA is trying to convince the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), which is responsible for setting the mechanical (automatic) royalty rates paid for music publication, that the flat rate calculations ($0.91 per song) used to pay songwriters should be changed to a percentage of the label's revenue. It was about the same time last year that the CRB made headlines by adopting a controversial proposal by SoundExchange, who collect royalties for a number of labels including every RIAA member, setting a flat royalty rate for webcasters.

In the wake of last year's CRB decision a number of webcasters have indicated that the royalties would quickly exceed revenue, resulting in the near demise of the entire industry in the U.S. This argument fell on deaf ears in the CRB, as they chose to adopt the SoundExchange proposal without amendment.

Ironically this mirrors the RIAA's argument. They claim that due to a failing CD industry, and lower revenues from online distribution, they should only be charged based on what they earn. Of course, as the artists who are waiting for their cut of the hundreds of millions of dollars collected last year when various online services settled copyright infringement lawsuits can tell you, in the entertainment industry every project officially loses money until the artists' lawyers and accountants prove otherwise.


AfterDawn: News

China Mobile still wants iPhone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2008 16:17

China Mobile still wants iPhone According to the former CEO of China Mobile the company still has a strong interest in the Apple iPhone despite talks being cut off in January.

There has been no official explanations for why the two companies called off talks, but the general consensus is that negotiations were cut off due to China Mobile not accepting Apple's revenue sharing propositions. All other iPhone carriers use some sort of revenue sharing deal with Apple but Chinese businesses are actually hostile to the concept.

China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou however has been quoted as suggesting there is still a chance for the iPhone in China. "As long as our customers want this kind of product, we will keep all options open," he says. "We have not yet officially begun talks with Apple over the iPhone problem," he adds however.

The revenue sharing deals can be the least of Apple's troubles in China however. The 16GB iPhone model costs $499 USD, about double the average monthly salary for a Chinese citizen, and that is not even factoring in the price of a data plan.

AfterDawn: News

LG launches 10,000:1 PC monitor in UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2008 15:57

LG launches 10,000:1 PC monitor in UK LG has announced the world's first 10,000:1 Digital Fine Contrast ratio (DFC) PC monitor is now available in the UK. The monitor, dubbed the L197WH allegedly has the "greatest clarity available on a PC monitor today".

According to LG, the 19-inch full Widescreen monitor is powered by the "F-Engine", LG's picture enhancing Chipset. There is however, one small catch. The monitor is only set to 10,000:1 contrast ratio when the monitor is set to Movie Mode, "a pre-configured setting of the F-Engine."

"Ghosting, blurring and tearing are virtually removed as a result of the monitor's 2m/s grey-to-grey response time. In addition, the L197WH includes a dual hinge, height adjustment and a tilt design",
adds LG.

No word on street price or availability but we will keep you updated.

AfterDawn: News

Another PS3 price cut is coming, says iSuppli

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2008 15:13

Another PS3 price cut is coming, says iSuppli The large research company iSuppli has said that it believes the Sony PlayStation 3 console will see another price cut during the course of 2008 leading to a huge Christmas for the system.

Analyst Pamela Tufegdzic is quoted as saying, "We anticipate Sony will have another price slash on the PS3 this year, and come Christmas, consumers who originally bought the Wii will likely purchase the PS3."

Continuing on, Tufegdzic reiterated that "2008 will be a turning year for the PS3 - Sony is offering a better forthcoming software pipeline with blockbuster titles like Gran Turismo 5, which will boost PS3 sales this year."

Despite drops in manufacturing costs, Sony still loses money on each console sold, albeit it is less than when the console first launched in late 2006.

Sony has announced that it expects manufacturing costs to drop substantially again this year and that should prompt the company to either slash prices or at least consider it.

AfterDawn: News

Is VMD serious comptetition for Blu-ray?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Mar 2008 3:27

Is VMD serious comptetition for Blu-ray? The High Definition optical disc format war is over. You've read it here and elsewhere, and while some are upset that Blu-ray won, the overwhelming consensus is that a single format is best for everyone. So why does New Medium Enterprises (NME) want to start it up again? Probably because they believe their Versatile VMD format is capable of being a viable alternative to Blu-ray.

Rather than take the approach of both the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps in developing a HD optical format, NME designed VMD around a red laser, similar to those used for standard DVD players. They've simply increased the number of layers, and also the amount of data throughput.

The company's website describes the VMD platform as "meant for 1920X1080i/p High Definition up to 40 Mbps bit rate playback using its 20 GB-40 GB Red Laser optical discs."


AfterDawn: News

Labels tell artists 'we gave your money to our lawyers'

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Mar 2008 23:56

Labels tell artists 'we gave your money to our lawyers' While there are some people opposed to RIAA royalty collection tactics and others who take the labels' side, one thing both sides generally agree on is the importance of paying artists. That is, of course, unless you count the labels themselves as representing their own side.

Last year RIAA member companies successfully negotiated deals with a number of websites whose operators had been accused of copyright infringement, giving them a windfall in royalties for use of their music. The problem is they apparently haven't bothered to share their newfound revenue with the artists whose music they're supposedly collecting royalties for.

"Artist managers and lawyers have been wondering for months when their artists will see money from the copyright settlements and how it will be accounted for," said lawyer John Branca, who has represented Korn, Don Henley, and The Rolling Stones, among others. "Some of them are even talking about filing lawsuits if they don't get paid soon."

Of course the labels say that the money was all but exhausted paying lawyers. On the other hand it's well known that all music label and movie studio deals have a net profit of $0 as a standard way to avoid paying percentages of the real profits to anyone.


AfterDawn: News

An HD DVD title tops HD sales for the week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Mar 2008 18:28

An HD DVD title tops HD sales for the week Although Blu-ray officially won the HD format war last week, in a pretty funny ironic twist, "American Gangster",an HD DVD-only Title was the top selling HD disc for the week, beating out new Blu-ray releases.

American Gangster, a Universal release, was released on the same day that Toshiba announced it was canning HD DVD support but still topped Neilsen VideoScan's charts for the week, beating out Blu-ray's top release "Michael Clayton" by a 2:1 margin.

However, there were no other HD DVD titles in the top 10 and Blu-ray cruised to an easy overall victory for the week, with 77 percent of all HD disc sales.

The rest of the week's chart (thanks to HD Digest)

1. American Gangster (HD DVD); INDEX: 100
2. Michael Clayton (Blu-ray); INDEX: 62.24
3. The Rock (Blu-ray); INDEX: 27.26
4. Cars (Blu-ray); INDEX: 26.18
5. We Own the Night (Blu-ray); INDEX: 24.29
6. Planet Earth (Blu-ray); INDEX: 22.69
7. Con Air (Blu-ray); INDEX: 21.37
8. Gone Baby Gone (Blu-ray); INDEX: 19.89
9. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Blu-ray); INDEX: 19.26
10. Crimson Tide (Blu-ray); INDEX: 18.28

AfterDawn: News

Baidu sued over copyrights again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Mar 2008 18:04

Baidu sued over copyrights again The giant Chinese search engine Baidu has been sued again, this time by a local music industry group, marking the second time in the last month that the search engine finds itself in legal trouble.

The Music Copyright Society of China and one of its officials, Qu Jingming accuse Baidu of "providing music listening, broadcasting and downloading services in various forms on its Web site without approval, and through unfettered piracy, earning huge advertising revenue on its huge number of hits."

The group goes as far as to say that Baidu's piracy led to the shut down of many up and coming legal online music providers. The group filed the suit in Bejing Court yesterday and alleges that 50 songs were illegally traded. The group wants monetary compensation.

Updates as they become available.

AfterDawn: News

Update: Dreamworks drops HD DVD, but wont make Blu-ray for now

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Mar 2008 14:31

Update: Dreamworks drops HD DVD, but wont make Blu-ray for now It seems Dreamworks has gotten the OK from Toshiba to drop HD DVD because they have cancelled all upcoming HD DVD titles including the anticipated "Bee Movie" that was set for release in North America on March 11th.

Dreamwork's parent company Paramount also announced that it would be ending HD DVD releases beginning on March 4th.

The studios differ however with their future plans. Paramount plans to release on Blu-ray right after they drop HD DVD while you wont be seeing any Dreamworks titles until at least the summer. There was no word on what each studio's first release will be.

Earlier this week Dreamworks' CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg made a statement saying that the studio was still committed to HD DVD thanks to contractual obligations. From his mouth, "We have a partnership with Toshiba and have an obligation to see this through," he said. "It really is in [Toshiba's] court at this point to really declare what the next step will be."


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