AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (6 / 2008)

AfterDawn: News

Samsung invests over $500 million to boost OLED production

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jun 2008 6:56

Samsung invests over $500 million to boost OLED production Samsung SDI said today that it will be spending over $500 million USD to boost production of next-generation OLED displays to six times its current level by mid-2009.

This latest move comes as panel makers try to get bigger shares of the growing market for OLED displays, which offer better contrast ratio, slimmer designs and better energy efficiency than current LCD or plasma displays.

Currently, however, production costs are still high, too high to make OLED TVs available to the masses.

Samsung currently produces small-sized AM-OLED screens used in watches and other handheld devices and there was no word on whether this large new investment will be to increase production of small OLED screens or for all OLED production including TVs.

Using 2-inch screens as a basis, the new investment should raise capacity from 1.5 million units a month to over 9 million by mid-2009.

AfterDawn: News

MCE bringing 6x Blu-ray burners to Macs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jun 2008 6:49

MCE bringing 6x Blu-ray burners to Macs MCE Technologies has announced it is bringing a 6x Blu-ray burner to Macs that can playback DVDs at 16x as well as read both Blu-ray and HD DVD.

The drive also has LightScribe compatibility and will allow professionals to author Blu-ray movies using Adobe Premier Pro CS3's Encore software. Non-professionals can use Roxio's Toast 9 Titanium (with the Toast HD/BD plug-in) to author more simple BD movies.

The bare drive is meant for Mac Pro or Power Mac G4/G5 running Mac OS X 10.4 or higher and can only use the HD DVD and Blu-ray playback if using Windows XP/Vista through a Boot Camp partition.

The drive will retail for $500 USD with an external model selling for $750 USD.

According to the specs, the new "Blu-ray drive works with all DVD and CD media, and writes to both 25 GB and 50 GB BD-R and BD-RE (rewritable) Blu-ray disks. Speed specs for the new drive are 6X for 25 GB BD-R, 4X to 50 GB BD-R and 16X to DVD±R. It also burns at 4X speeds to DVD±R DL, 5X to DVD-RAM and 40X to CD-R media, among others."


AfterDawn: News

DualShock 3 finally headed to Europe

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jun 2008 6:27

DualShock 3 finally headed to Europe Sony Europe has confirmed that the PlayStation 3 DualShock 3 controller will finally hit Europe on July 4th, months after it was launched in Japan and North America.

The controller adds "rumble" vibration technology to the PS3, a feature that many gamers missed when the Sixaxis controller was released with the console.

"We are delighted to confirm that DualShock 3 will be released in SCEE territories in early July. We hope this will add to the intense gaming experience for our fans, as we continue to evolve PS3, its software and its peripherals,"
added David Reeves, president of SCEE.

The DS3 will cost GBP 39.99 and is usable for games such as Resistance: Fall of Man, Gran Turismo 5 and Uncharted: Drake's Fortune as long as you have firmware 1.94 or higher.

AfterDawn: News

Real opens DRM-free MP3 store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jun 2008 6:17

Real opens DRM-free MP3 store Today, Real announced the beta launch of its DRM-Free Rhapsody MP3 Store, a completely different service then its current DRM-based subscription service.

The new store will sell MP3s and has already secured the full catalogs of all the Big 4 music labels. The store also promises to allow subscribers full-length previews of any song they want before purchasing while non-subscribers can preview up to 25 complete songs.

Giving the store another edge over rivals such as iTunes, Amazon and Napster is Real's exclusive connection to MTV, CMT and VH1. Facebook users can also access the service and individual songs directly using the iLike application.

The Rhapsody service will not however, offer re-downloads for misplaced music like Amazon does.

Pricing for the service is identical to that of Napster, with individual songs costing 99 cents and full albums usually priced at $10. The company adds "Windows-only subscriptions will remain in place and cost $13 per month for PCs alone or $15 for those who also want device transfers to Rhapsody-compatible devices."

AfterDawn: News

Crytek CEO speaks out about PC game piracy, again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jun 2008 4:49

Crytek CEO speaks out about PC game piracy, again Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli is in the news again for talking about how PC game piracy has affected his company and sales of its blockbuster hit Crysis. Last month, Yerli said the company would no longer be PC exclusive because of piracy and would bring future titles to multiple platforms.

In this most recent interview, Yerli was asked what he felt were the reasons behind Crysis' "lacluster" sales and he responded with putting most of the blame on PC piracy.

"The PC industry is really, at the moment, I would say the most intensely pirated market ever. It's crazy how the ratio between sales to piracy is probably 1 to 15 to 1 to 20 right now,"
Yerli said.

"For one sale there are 15 to 20 pirates and pirate versions, and that's a big shame for the PC industry. I hope with Warhead I hope we improve the situation, but at the same time it may have an impact on [our] PC exclusivity in the future."

AfterDawn: News

Update: Panasonic denies OLED reports

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jun 2008 4:16

Update: Panasonic denies OLED reports Panasonic executives are denying recent reports that they will have a 37-inch OLED TV on the market by 2012, and instead say that the launch date is closer to 2015. Official timelines were not available but the company did say R&D was continuing in Japan.

The recent reports had Panasonic readying commercial OLED displays at its Himeji production facility beginning in 2010. The manufacturer confirms the facility will eventually produce the OLED panels but not in time to have mass-produced displays by 2012.

"We are currently advancing research and development in view of OLED production at IPS Alpha's Himeji Plant for the future, but nothing specific has yet been decided on the commercialization of our OLED TV at the moment," added a spokesperson.

AfterDawn: News

BBC building iPlayer set-top box?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jun 2008 3:21

BBC building iPlayer set-top box? According to an article in the Financial Times, the BBC is planning on bringing a set-top box to the market that will allow iPlayer users to transfer web video to their HDTVs.

The set top box, which will face competition from Apple TV and the newly introduced Roku from Netflix would allow users with broadband connections to have instant IPTV.

Mark Thompson, BBC director-general, added, "There are many things out there in the market but what we haven't got is a simple standard, to mean that you can get services like iPlayer and Kangaroo."

It also appears the BBC is talking with content owners hoping to strike deals making their content available. If the set top box does come through, the BBC will most likely more directly compete with BSkyB and its digital video recorder service Sky+.

AfterDawn: News

Rogers requires 3 year contract for iPhone 3G

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jun 2008 3:09

Rogers requires 3 year contract for iPhone 3G Would-be iPhone 3G customers in Canada have just been hit with the news that Rogers will require a 3-year contract for the smartphone along with the mandatory data plan.

The carrier also announced the price of the plans, with the cheapest at $60 CAD and the most expensive being $115 CAD although the the carrier did not say how much the phone itself will cost when it hits on July 11th.

The lower end plan will come with 150 minutes of voice calling, with unlimited evenings and weekends, 400 MB of data, 75 sent text messages, and unlimited incoming texts and visual voicemail messages.

The medium $75 plan will get you 300 weekday minutes, 750 MB of data, and 100 sent texts.

The most expensive, $115, will get subscribers 800 minutes of daytime calling, 2 GB of data, and 300 sent text messages.

Rogers said the 400MB plan is enough bandwidth for 200,000 emails and 3000 web pages browsed. The 2GB plan will get you 1 million emails and 16,000 web pages.

Despite unlimited access to all Rogers Wi-Fi hotspots, many predict that even 2GB will not be enough to satisfy most iPhone users. In comparison, in the US AT&T offers an unlimited data plan for $30 USD on top of a $39 USD voice plan.

AfterDawn: News

Joss Stone wants her music to be shared, calls piracy "brilliant"

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jun 2008 2:34

Joss Stone wants her music to be shared, calls piracy "brilliant" Following in the footsteps of a few artists before her, the Australian singer/songwriter Joss Stone has begun encouraging fans to share her music online, going as far as to call piracy "brilliant".

In a recent interview, the artist admits she loves music but hates the music industry and feels that most artists are brainwashed by the industry.

When asked after a recent concert how she felt about piracy and unauthorized downloads on the Internet, she replied, “I think it’s great…yeah, I love it. I think it’s brilliant and I’ll tell you why,” Stone continued. “Music should be shared. [...] The only part about music that I dislike is the business that is attached to it. Now, if music is free, then there is no business, there is just music. So, I like it, I think that we should share.”

“It’s ok, if one person buys it, it’s totally cool, burn it up, share it with your friends, I don’t care. I don’t care how you hear it as long as you hear it. As long as you come to my show, and have a great time listening to the live show it’s totally cool. I don’t mind. I’m happy that they hear it.”


AfterDawn: News

Portugal now has its first convicted file-sharer

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jun 2008 1:47

Portugal now has its first convicted file-sharer In order to "set an example", Portugal's first convicted file sharer has been sentenced to 90 days in prison. The man, who remains unnamed, had been in court after the Portuguese version of the RIAA accused him of unauthorized uploading of music on P2P networks.

The punishment was decided upon by the court in Portimão in an effort to set an example for future file sharers.

The Portuguese Phonographic Association (AFP), the Portuguese equivalent of the RIAA sent out a complaint about the file sharer which was confirmed by EMI. The user was accused of uploading a couple hundred of EMI's copyrighted songs. The courts confirmed that there were over 100 other complaints being investigated currently.

A spokesperson for the EMI said he was pleased by the decision, a "necessary evil" that should be employed to stop future file sharers. “The problem is people know they are doing something illegal, but they also know there are no consequences, at least until this week,” he added.


AfterDawn: News

BT wants to cut off pirate's Internet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jun 2008 2:30

BT wants to cut off pirate's Internet BT, the largest broadband service provider in the UK, has begun threatening "pirates" with disconnection from the Internet if they are found to be sharing copyrighted music over file sharing networks.

An anonymous broadband user forwarded one such email to TheRegister and the letter indeed showed that the woman was being threatened with disconnection for the unauthorized sharing of "Biology" by Girls Aloud. The sharing occurred using the file sharing program Ares in May and she received the letter this week.

Geoff Taylor, the chief of UK record industry trade body the BPI said in a statement, "Establishing partnerships with ISPs is the number one issue for the BPI, and we are beginning to form positive working relationships with BT, Virgin Media and most of the other major ISPs."

It was still unclear whether BT has signed on to the so-called "three strikes" procedure agreed upon by the record industry and the government. Accused users will get two warnings for infringing music copyright and the third strike will be disconnection from the Internet.

Taylor added, "Everyone agrees on where we need to be, and we are working closely with our colleagues across the music community, the more progressive ISPs, and government to get us there."


AfterDawn: News

EliteTorrents administrator found guilty

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jun 2008 2:14

EliteTorrents administrator found guilty According to a Department of Justice press statement, Daniel Dove, administrator for the defunct EliteTorrents torrent tracker has been found guilty by a jury of his peers and now faces 10 years in jail for criminal copyright infringement.

To give a quick refresher on the situation, EliteTorrents, for at least a 3 year period ended 2005, was the most popular public torrent tracker in the US and was the site responsible for the pre-release of the workprint version of "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" before its theatrical release. It was all downhill from there for the site and its 3 administrators. The MPAA, FBI, local police and US Customs all came together as part of Operation D-Elite and forced the site off line while arresting the administrators. Scott McCausland and Grant Stanley, the other administrators, pleaded guilty to their crimes and were sentenced to 5 months of prison.


AfterDawn: News

The BBC starts Freeview HD TV trial

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jun 2008 1:57

The BBC starts Freeview HD TV trial The BBC has announced they have begun testing the transmission of HD services over Freeview using the second generation DVB-T specification DVB-T2. If the trials are successful then HD can be introduced to Freeview by December of next year, says the broadcaster.

The new spec is supposed to offer "30 percent more data-carrying capacity" as DVB-T "under the same conditions."

Justin Mitchell, DVB-T2 modem development team leader for the BBC, added: “This is a big step forward in enabling the introduction of full HD terrestrial on Freeview by the end of 2009.”

The trial was approved by the DVB Project, the industry-led consortium which designed the DVB-T2 specification.

Freeview uses the over 10 years old DVB-T standard but hopes to move to the DVB-T2 standards soon, especially for "use in a post-Analogue Switch-Off environment".

In 2005, the BBC ran a trial of DVB-T based HD content over Freeview but compatibility issues and bandwidth limitations prevented anything more than a trial.

AfterDawn: News

Google introduces new Media Server application

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jun 2008 1:17

Google introduces new Media Server application Google has just introduced its latest Windows application, aptly named Google Media Server which will allow users to share video content and other personal files, most notably from YouTube to UPnP compatible devices such as the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360.

The application works alongside the popular Google Desktop and uses the Google Desktop Search for locating media files. To run the Media Server, you will only need a PC with Google Desktop and the UPnP-enabled device. Google Media Server does the rest.

Earlier this month Google CEO Eric Schmidt noted that YouTube had yet to turn a profit and that the site eats most of Google’s outgoing bandwidth as well. The company always hoped to sell ads according to target demographics but have run into hurdles every step of the way. There may be million of viewers watching every second all day but the content is completely unstructured and there is no logical way to make a demographic study.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 price cut seen in the wild

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jun 2008 5:49

Xbox 360 price cut seen in the wild A new, leaked KMart flyer shows that Microsoft is indeed set to drop the price of at least one model of its Xbox 360 console line at the upcoming E3 event.

The ad, pictured below, shows the 20GB model selling for $300 USD, a $50 USD price cut from its current sale price. There was no indication of any rebate, or temporary discount so it appears this price will be the new asking price from Microsoft. All features appear to remain intact.

Two weeks ago we reported that Jesse Divnich said he expected a price cut across the board on Xbox 360s and that he also expected the introduction of a new model.

The new price for the Pro model leaves some unanswered problems however. The entry level Xbox 360 Arcade will only cost $20 USD less then the newly reduced price Pro model meaning Microsoft will have to either drop the price even lower or completely discontinue the model which seems more likely. The other problem is the now huge gap between the Pro and Elite models which sells for $450 USD. The software giant will either have to lower the price or upgrade the hardware to avoid cannibalizing its own high end model.


AfterDawn: News

Japanese researchers develop 42GB red laser disc

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 27 Jun 2008 3:52

Japanese researchers develop 42GB red laser disc A research paper from a team at Tohoku University in Japan has apparently found a way to increase the data density on a DVD by changing the shape of the pits. Supposedly a V shaped pit can hold more than 500 times as much data as the standard square sided pit found on a regular DVD.

While it's certainly an interesting idea, it seems like the buzz that's being generated on some tech websites is more than a little premature. To begin with it's not really a DVD and apparently can't be played on any existing hardware. That makes sense if you consider that the angle of reflection would be different.

Presumably the description of it as a DVD refers to the laser's wavelength, which could certainly make players less expensive to manufacture than Blu-ray. But that doesn't necessarily mean disc production costs, perhaps Blu-ray's biggest weakness, would be any better.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, this new technology would be cheaper to implement than Blu-ray. The studios and consumer electronics manufacturers have already decided on Blu-ray. Regardless of the technical merits of a new format it would still need hardware and content. We already have VMD as a cheaper alternative to Blu-ray and so far it looks like a nonstarter.


AfterDawn: News

BBC iPlayer 2.0 beta now available

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jun 2008 3:29

BBC iPlayer 2.0 beta now available Late last year, the BBC launched its iPlayer, giving users over 400 hours of free BBC content to watch and download. Today, the broadcaster has announced the launch of the 2.0 beta of its iPlayer and promises a complete overhaul for the software.

The software now has an enlarged playback screen, a BBC schedule of both broadcast and webcast programs as well as a "'last played' section that allows content interrupted from previous sessions to be resumed, and a "More Like This" section that links to related programs and relevant Web sites."

The BBC Radio portion of the service has been upgraded as well to allow users to rewind and fast forward during live radio playback.

When it first launched, the iPlayer was only available for Windows XP users but has now expanded to the iPhone, iPod Touch, Virgin Media cable boxes, and the Nintendo Wii. After long time promises, Vista, Mac and Linux users finally have their support as well.


AfterDawn: News

iPhone finally headed to China?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jun 2008 2:53

iPhone finally headed to China? China Mobile has said that they are closer than ever to striking a deal to distribute the Apple iPhone in China now that the largest hurdle in negotiations has been cleared, the dropping of revenue sharing.

Talks between the companies have been on and off for over a year, with no notable progress.

"We've broken through the biggest obstacle and we are negotiating at the working level,"
said Gao Songge, deputy director of China Mobile's general department.


AfterDawn: News

Update: Sony has no partners yet for movie download service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jun 2008 2:19

Update: Sony has no partners yet for movie download service Yesterday, Sony confirmed that it was bringing a movie download service to US PlayStation 3 users. Today however, new reports have surfaced implying that no movie studios have yet to strike distribution deals with Sony for the new service, meaning the movie catalog for the service could be small to start.

Sony has been in talks with all the major studios, but so far only Sony Pictures is a definite, for obvious reasons.

"Sources at numerous major studios confirmed to me that while they have all talked to Sony, none have yet made a deal. The only one that's definitely on board so far is Sony Pictures,"
reads a report from Variety.

The report also suggests that in the future users will be able to transfer movie downloads from their PS3 to their PSPs.

AfterDawn: News

UK DTV transition - same problems different country

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 27 Jun 2008 1:50

UK DTV transition - same problems different country With the US DTV transition coming up in less than a year we've given you a number of updates about the resulting public confusion. Anyone who's followed that saga in the last several months won't be surprised to hear that the UK seems to have the same problems.

The Committee of Public Accounts, which is approximately equivalent to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), is reporting that although broadcasters appear to be on track for digital transmissions, the two governmental agencies tasked with ensuring a smooth transition "have not taken effective action to protect consumer interests."

The report says the Department for Culture, Media, and Sport and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform have done a poor job of educating consumers. It goes on to complain that they haven't established the kind of specific goals necessary to avoid major problems when analog TV signals are turned off. This has resulted in many people buying analog-only TVs that will require a set-top box for DTV reception.

It also criticizes both departments for pawning off their responsibilities on third parties with no real oversight to make sure public money is being used effieciently or effectively.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft finally allows license transfer for Xbox 360

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 27 Jun 2008 10:00

Microsoft finally allows license transfer for Xbox 360 Xbox users have been able to move data from one hard drive to another for some time. This is extremely useful if you happen to have bought a model with a small hard drive and want to upgrade to a larger one. Unfortunately one thing missing from the process has been the ability to transfer licenses for DRM-crippled content from the Xbox Live Marketplace.

With the introduction of a new DRM transfer tool Microsoft has finally made that possible. A PC is required to initiate the transfer online, after which you can connect to Xbox Live with a new hard drive in your Xbox (or with a Xbox) and download the licenses.

Movie licenses still can't be transferred, so you'll want to make sure and watch any titles you've rented before swapping hard drives.

You can find more information about the process, including a video demonstrating the process, on Microsoft's website.

AfterDawn: News

Prince gets tribute album for birthday and promptly sues

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 26 Jun 2008 4:03

Prince gets tribute album for birthday and promptly sues Whatever else you can say about Prince he seems to be very consistent. In the past he's been vigilant in protecting the rights granted him as a copyright holder, and even gone so far as to make up a few rights of his own. Now he's going after a record label in Norway for a 5 CD tribute recorded in honor of his 50th birthday.

C+C Records is the offending label, and they do actually seem to be in violation of copyright law. Apparently they were under the mistaken impression than since they weren't making a profit from the sale of the limited edition release no royalties were owed. While it seems likely they still owe Prince the small mechanical royalty for each song, that's not what he's after, or at least not the only thing.

Instead he's suing to have every copy of the album destroyed. It's not necessarily surprising that Prince would attempt to claim rights over his work that he just doesn't have. Previously we've told you about how he's used the DMCA to have videos removed from YouTube that were either a clear case of fair use or simply owned by someone else.


AfterDawn: News

PSP-based phone coming?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jun 2008 4:00

PSP-based phone coming? According to a new Marketing Week article, Sony is reviving talks of a PSP-based mobile phone and that it could possibly drop the Ericsson name, at least for that one model.

Citing multiple sources from Japan and Korea, the article says the phone would "include elements of the PSP gaming handheld and that the process would be relatively simple, as components such as Wi-Fi are already well-suited to the device."

There was no other specifics mentioned besides the Wi-Fi but the dropping of UMD is almost a given due to its bulkiness and low popularity. The phone could go commercial by the holiday season 2009.

Sony Ericsson currently has a gaming phone, the F305, but it does not include and PlayStation hardware or software.


AfterDawn: News

European nations get iPhone 3G details

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jun 2008 3:22

European nations get iPhone 3G details France's Orange, Belgium's Mobistar and Sweden's TeliaSonera have all now published details for their individual releases of the iPhone 3G

Orange has a couple different ways of obtaining the phone, will be selling the 8GB model for €149 with 2-year service and high-end options such as Origami, First and Jet. The 16GB model will cost €199 under that arrangement. For owners of the first generation iPhone, you can upgrade for discounted prices of €99 and €149, with a new two year contract of course. If you do not want the higher end options, then the phone will cost €199 for the 8GB, and €249 for the 16GB with the lowest data plan.

In Sweden, TeliaSonera there will be three different options for iPhone plans, dubbed iMini, iMidi and iMaxi options. iMini hardly seems viable as you will only recieve 100 minutes of talk time, 100 SMS messages and 100MB of data per month. iMidi makes each 250 each, while iMaxi moves it to 1000/1GB.

Mobistar only announced that they will have full details available July 4th but that they will have multiple options as well.

AfterDawn: News

New York Senate passes 'violent videogame' bill

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jun 2008 2:47

New York Senate passes 'violent videogame' bill A new bill has just passed in New York that will allow a governmental advisory council to "examine the potential impact of violent videogames" and now heads off to the Governor before it can become a law. It passed almost unanimously in the Senate by a 61-1 vote.

If Governor David Paterson signs the bill, then the law will go into effect September 1st, 2010. The legislation will require that all console systems be equipped with parental controls and that ESRB ratings must be displayed on packaging. These practices are already standard, but neither is by bound by law and are done voluntarily.

The advisory council will consist of 16 members and will get to make recommendations regarding the current ESRB rating system. They can also offer "a parent-teacher violence awareness program to identify and appropriately assist students who may have a propensity toward violence."

Senator Andrew Lanza added of the bill, "There is some confusion with respect to what this bill actually accomplishes... The word prohibition was talked about. I want to be clear. This bill does not prohibit the sale of any video to anyone."


AfterDawn: News

Wii headed to Taiwan, officially

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jun 2008 2:17

Wii headed to Taiwan, officially Nintendo has announced that its ever-popular Wii console will be headed to Taiwan on July 12th, marking the first time in months that any consoles have moved to new markets.

Although the console now has an official launch date in the region, imported consoles have been on sale for over a year now, with most stores selling the system with mod chips allowing users to play downloaded games.

Since its release in late 2006, the console has steamrolled the competition on its way to 25 million worldwide sales but both Sony and Microsoft should have a head start in the region where their consoles have been officially available since 2006.

AfterDawn: News

Sony confirms movie download service coming for PS3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jun 2008 1:20

Sony confirms movie download service coming for PS3 Sony has confirmed that it will be bringing its anticipated movie download service to US PlayStation 3 users this summer. The PlayStation Network will be Sony's first service to offer the movie downloads and the service will move to the popular handheld PSP later in the year.

Kazuo Hirai, head of the PlayStation division, said that they service will also be available to Japanese and European users as well, but details wont be available until next month at least.

Any official details will be revealed at the upcoming E3 expo in July, added Hirai. He also noted that they company was continuously cutting costs to achieve profitability for the division by the Q2 2009.

"Please expect more from our evolving PlayStation business,"
Hirai told reporters.

With the announcement, also came word, through Sony documentation that the company was planning to offer a similar service through its video-capable Walkman line and through Internet Link enabled BRAVIA LCD TVs. No other details were available yet however.

AfterDawn: News

Judge once again affirms award against RIAA in Tanya Andersen case

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 26 Jun 2008 1:06

Judge once again affirms award against RIAA in Tanya Andersen case It's been nearly 3 years since the RIAA brought a copyright infringement suit against Tanya Andersen accusing her of sharing files illegally on KaZaA, and nearly a year since she was awarded lawyer fees related to the case after it was dismissed with prejudice. Recording industry lawyers characterize Ms. Andersen's claims against them as an attempt to game the system, but the facts simply aren't on their side.

What really happened should be an eye opener for anyone who believes the labels are actually looking for justice, rather than simply trying to show they can bully people because they have the resources to do so. The RIAA spent nearly two years getting through the discovery process. When the investigation was complete they actually had a weaker case than when they started, and still they claimed the moral high ground, even going so far as to assert their lack of evidence shouldn't be held against them.


AfterDawn: News

Weinstein Co. finally goes Blu-ray

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jun 2008 5:00

Weinstein Co. finally goes Blu-ray Weinstein Co. has announced the launch of the "The Mist" on Blu-ray disc, meaning it will become the last major studio to make the jump over to the victorious HD format.

The Weinstein's first theatrical Blu-ray film will hit retailers on August 5th and will be the first HD movie release from the studio since the demise of HD DVD in February.

The disc will include "extensive extras" including audio commentary with director Frank Darabont, multiple making-of featurettes, deleted scenes, a series of behind-the-scenes Webisodes, as well as theatrical trailers.

The movie will be special 2-disc edition with one version being the original theatrical release and the second being a "black and white" version of the film. Each will ship with 1080p video and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround audio.

AfterDawn: News

Report says 1Gbps internet needed for US to stay competitive

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Jun 2008 4:31

Report says 1Gbps internet needed for US to stay competitive A report commissioned by the e-NC Authority in North Carolina has dire warnings for the future if the US continues to fall behind other western nations in broadband internet deployment. It explains how the US has fallen behind so many other countries and characterizes it as a necessity for competing in the modern world rather than being a luxury along the lines of cable television.

"If the United States wants to preserve its high standard of living and quality of life, it must rapidly prepare its workforce to move up the value chain to knowledge-based jobs that can command the high wages that Americans have come to expect. This will require improvements in many areas, especially to our educational system and our advanced communications infrastructure," says the report.

The document proposes a remedy to the US' leadership void. It suggests the country needs a national plan to make 100Mbps internet connections available across the country by 2012, and 1Gbps connections by 2015.

Additionally it suggests that local governments be encouraged to establish their own networks if telecommunications companies don't step up to the challenge. They use the example of early deployment of electric service, when privately owned utilities didn't consider many small towns or most rural areas worth serving. Communities were forced to create public utilities of their own to fill the gap.


AfterDawn: News

Gene Simmons blames NIN, Radiohead and fans, for 'death' of music industry

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jun 2008 3:54

Gene Simmons blames NIN, Radiohead and fans, for 'death' of music industry Last November we reported that Gene Simmons, founding member of the rock group KISS, had gone off on Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead and college aged pirates, going as far as to call Radiohead "idiots" and saying "Every little college kid ... should have been sued off the face of the earth," for their unauthorized downloading of course.

He has followed his last tirade with some new comments, this time again blaming NIN and Radiohead but more importantly, the music fans. "The record industry is dead," Simmons notes "It's six feet underground and unfortunately the fans have done this. They've decided to download and file share." He then insisted that the aforementioned bands were "contributing to the demise of the record industry" by using new intelligent sales models that apparently he does not approve of.

When asked why KISS had not released a new CD since 1998's 'Psycho Circus', Simmons added that "there is no record industry around so we're going to wait until everybody settles down and becomes civilized. As soon as the record industry pops its head up we'll record new material."


AfterDawn: News

iPhone 3G only costs $173 to build, says report

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jun 2008 3:29

iPhone 3G only costs $173 to build, says report According to a new iSuppli report, each unit of the upcoming iPhone 3G only costs $173 USD to assemble and manufacture, meaning Apple could be making upwards of $500 USD profit on each phone sold.

The research group said they "virtually" tore down the phone, based on internal experts in the cellphone and wireless technology fields and were able to estimate the costs of each part and finally the unit as a whole.

If the estimates are true, then the new device will cost 23 percent less to produce then its predecessor, which cost $226 USD to make. The cut costs can be attributed to falling prices on flash memory and other individual parts.

It is believed that AT&T in the US is subsidizing the iPhone for up to $425 USD and are selling the phone for $199. Using some quick math shows that AT&T is paying $624 for a phone that only costs $173 to produce, leaving Apple with huge profit margins in the process.

The report also added that the manufacturing costs should keep declining regularly and that if left untouched, the phone will cost $126 to produce in 2012.

AfterDawn: News

Could DVB-H be a replacement for GPS?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Jun 2008 1:59

Could DVB-H be a replacement for GPS? A California company has just successfully demonstrated new positioning technology similar to GPS, but which utilizes DVB-H mobile television broadcasts in place of GPS satellite signals. The company's name is Rosum and their technology is intended as a way to augment, or even completely replace GPS in certain applications.

The test was conducted using a DVB-H trial network in the UK belonging to National Grid Wireless. They provide infrastructure for both mobile phone and television broadcasters.

The primary advantage to Rosum's technology is its improved performance indoors compared to GPS. Since GPS was originally designed for outdoor use it doesn't always work well for applications such as tracking assets or people, where it may have to work well inside a building. This is particularly true in densely populated urban areas. TV signals, on the other hand. are designed specifically for the ability to traverse buildings, trees, and other obstacles.

DVB-H in particular is an interesting application for such technology since its primary application is in consumer devices - mostly mobile phones right now. Technology like this could help fuel sales of DVB-H enable handsets for business applications.


AfterDawn: News

DivX makes distribution deal with Sony for TV shows

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Jun 2008 12:54

DivX makes distribution deal with Sony for TV shows It looks like television shows produced by Sony Pictures may be available in a new form soon. That's because DivX, Inc, creators of the the well-known DivX video codec, have made a deal with Sony Pictues Television International (SPTI) which will allow online retailers to offer downloads in DivX format.

Although better known as the company that spread MPEG-4 video beyond the video enthusiast community with their popular codec, the DivX Certification program has been arguably a much more important development for consumers. Not only are certified DVD and media players capable of playing MPEG-4 video encoded with a wide variety of tools, they're also compatible with the company's own VOD system (and DRM), which is presumably a key factor in the deal with Sony.


AfterDawn: News

Vizio to offer 3 new 1080p HDTVs in July

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Jun 2008 11:55

Vizio to offer 3 new 1080p HDTVs in July Vizio has announced two new LCD HDTVs as well as a new plasma model. Each of the new 1080p TVs will feature a pair of HDMI 1.3 inputs.

The 42' SV420XVT and 47" SV470XVT LCD TVs are expected to start shipping in July and will retail for $1500 and $1900 respectively. Both have a refresh rate of 120Hz.

The 50" VP505XVT plasma TV will also be available starting in July for a price of $1700. It incorporates the Silicon Optix REON HQV video processor for deinterlacing, pulldown detection, and general picture cleanup.

Over the past two years Vizio has become a major player in the flat panel HDTV market, and is currently second only to Samsung in terms of unit sales.

AfterDawn: News

Mitsubishi to release first laser HDTV later this year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 25 Jun 2008 11:05

Mitsubishi to release first laser HDTV later this year Mitsubishi announce that the first model in their new LaserVue line of HDTVs will be available some time in the third quarter of this year. The LaserVue name refers to the fact that the picture is produced by actual laser beams. The first model will have a 65" screen and will be followed at some point by a 73" version.

"As a result of our majority share of the world-wide high-performance red laser market, Mitsubishi has an unparalleled, acute understanding of laser technology, and the corresponding expertise to effectively engineer laser beams to function as the ultimate light engine for this premium large screen television product," said Frank DeMartin, vice president, marketing, at Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America.

He added "Several TV manufacturers have attempted to bring laser TV to market, and have failed. Making laser TV a reality represents yet another history-making milestone in a long legacy of industry firsts for Mitsubishi."

LaserVue TVs wlll also feature a 120Hz refresh rate and support for x.v.Color.

AfterDawn: News

JVC set to launch 'thinnest' 1080p HDTV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jun 2008 2:15

JVC set to launch 'thinnest' 1080p HDTV JVC has announced that it will be introducing the "industry's thinnest" 1080p LCDs with built-in TV tuners next month.

At its deepest, the new 42-inch LT-42SL89 and the 46-inch LT-46SL89 are 2.9 inches deep, and each come equipped with new backlight paneling and power supply substrates making each set lighter and more efficient. Each set also boast Full HD 1080p resolution (1920x1080).

The new sets will be part of the JVC Procision line and the newly developed technologies should help the company put out even slimmer TVs in the future. "The backlight is 40 percent slimmer than the old panel, and weighs in at 26.5lbs while consuming 145W. The slimmer backlight was made possible not with more parts but with a more efficient integration of them," JVC says. The added low power consumption is accomplished "via the use of a direct-mount power substrate that does not use a fan to dissipate heat."


AfterDawn: News

iLuv introduces new DVD/iPod hybrid player

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2008 10:36

iLuv introduces new DVD/iPod hybrid player iLuv announced today that it has begun shipping the unique i1255 DVD/iPod hybrid player, which includes a DVD player with 5.1-channel surround sound as well as a built-in iPod dock.

All compatible iPods can output video to the attached TV and the DVD portion can support raw data CDs, DVDs and MP3 and JPEG photo discs.

The player also has an audio input for playback of devices other than the iPods using the 5.1 speakers.


AfterDawn: News

EMA report shows games, not Blu-ray with most impressive gain in '07

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jun 2008 2:24

EMA report shows games, not Blu-ray with most impressive gain in '07 The Entertainment Merchants Associatioon (EMA) has released its annual report on the US home entertainment sales and rental market. After last year's prediction that high definition discs would dominate the market by 2009 you might expect to see significant growth during 2007. In terms of percentage it was actually fairly impressive at more than 200% sales growth, but in terms of the total market that's not as impressive as it sounds.

According to the report HD discs still accounted for barely over $260 million in sales during 2007. By comparison standard DVD sales amounted to nearly $16 billion. The EMA's current estimate for Blu-ray is sales of $9.5 billion in 2012, when they are predicting it will account for higher sales than DVD.

Total spending for all home video, including both sales and rental of all formats was down slightly from 2006, but the news was much better for the gaming market. In stark contrast to DVD and other home video formats, spending for games saw a serious increase of 34% from 2006.


AfterDawn: News

Panasonic planning cheap 37-inch OLED TV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2008 1:46

Panasonic planning cheap 37-inch OLED TV Panasonic has announced that it is in the final stages of drafting plans for a new, cheap 37-inch, OLED-based HDTV that should have a price comparable to today's plasma and LCD displays.

The company says the actual designs and development have still not begun, but the TV should be commercially available in 2011 and will cost about $1300 USD.

Panasonic also noted that it hopes to enter the OLED TV business soon but that decision would mean releasing a smaller TV at a higher price.

Currently OLED TVs are still in the growing stages, and the only commercially available TV is the 11-inch Sony XEL-1. OLED TVs could be more mainstream in the upcoming years however as prices drop and the technology matures, especially given its advantages over LCD and plasma technologies. OLED displays will have much stronger contrast ratios, usually 1,000,000:1 or higher and produce true blacks as well as a lag-free image.

AfterDawn: News

Spain set to start 'iPod Tax' July 1st

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2008 1:27

Spain set to start 'iPod Tax' July 1st According to Billboard, Spain is the next country to adopt the 'iPod Tax', which will formally go into effect on July 1st.

The new tax will apply to all electronic devices "capable of copying or recording sound and images, even to the extent of applying to printers, scanners and ink cartridges." The fee will depend on each device with MP3 players costing an extra €3.15 each. Devices such as cellphones with cameras and MP3 players will only cost a €1.10 extra.

The tax is intended to give publishers and artists extra money to offset the alleged costs of piracy but has been very controversial in Spain and in other countries around the world as well. Both electronics makers and consumer groups have tried to fight to tax, and were successful for a while. In fact, the tax was first passed 18 months ago in Spain but has been delayed due to the debates.

The terms of the tax also say that "at least €110.2 million must be collected in the first year, but not more than €117.8 million." If more or less are collected, then the tax goes to the culture ministry for revisions.

AfterDawn: News

Apple, Dell named in portable touch screen technology suit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2008 1:01

Apple, Dell named in portable touch screen technology suit Typhoon Touch Technologies has filed suit this week against 11 giants whom it claims have infringed on several important portable touch screen technology patents.

The companies are as follows: Apple, Dell, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Lenovo, Panasonic, HTC, Palm, Samsung, Nokia, and LG. Typhoon is looking for monetary compensation as well as an injunction stopping all production of the "infringing" devices.

Typhoon's legal representative Craig Weiner added that the scale of the suit could be tremendous, claiming that the amount of offending devices is probably "in the millions".


AfterDawn: News

Live Nation Artists makes another high profile deal - this time for severance pay

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jun 2008 10:37

Live Nation Artists makes another high profile deal - this time for severance pay Starting last year a concert promoters at Live Nation made headlines by signing Madonna to what's become known in the music business as a 360 deal. Under the agreement Madonna shares revenue from recordings, merchandise, and concerts with Live Nation in exchange for several million dollars up front. They've since made similar 360 deals with U2 and Jay-Z. Now, for an encore, they've fired the man chiefly responsible for those deals.

Apparently Micheal Cohl, who ran the Live Nation Artist's division, was pushing to sign even more artists. That put him at odds with Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino who wanted to stick with the company's original plan to find out if the 360 deals were actually profitable before spending the additional money.

The idea behind 360 deals is a fairly obvious one for many people in the music business. Since music sales are down while concert and merchandise revenue are growing, offering a single contract that covers all of them makes more sense financially than just a recording contract on its own. The problem is that artists know that too and they're not ready to give up their more lucrative businesses without big advances.


AfterDawn: News

New software features streaming from home to your iPhone

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jun 2008 9:55

New software features streaming from home to your iPhone SingleClick Systems, who already sells home network management software for consumers and small businesses, has a new product aimed at iPhone and Blackberry owners who want mobile access to the video files they have at home. Their new Remote Access software is designed to allow users to stream video from home without installing any additional software on their phones.

"SingleClick Remote Access works seamlessly with the installed software on the iPhone, as opposed to other solutions requiring the user to download a third party application which may violate their user license agreement and warranty," said Scot Zarkiewicz, CEO of SingleClick Systems. "Because SingleClick Remote Access is a dynamic software application residing on the home computer, iPhone users can safely break out of the iTunes stranglehold and stream their entire content library anywhere they happen to be."

In addition to streaming support, SingleClick Remote Access will also provide a VPN connection to access the rest of the network securely. It will be offered as a standalone product and also integrated into the company's HomeNet Manager networking software.

AfterDawn: News

Nokia buys Symbian to set the OS free

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 24 Jun 2008 9:40

Nokia buys Symbian to set the OS free Nokia is leading the charge among mobile phone manufacturers and service providers to make the Symbian OS the standard in mobile devices. Nokia, who already owned 48% of Symbian Limited, is buying the remaining shares and will be moving the company to a royalty-free licensing model. At the same time they're working with AT&T, LG Electronics, Motorola, NTT DOCOMO, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and Vodafone to establish the Symbian Foundation for the development and distribution of the OS.

By getting the backing of so many industry leaders they've virutally assured their smart phone OS of choice a place in the market for the next few years. It probably doesn't hurt that it helps established companies at the expense of newer competitors like Google's Android. Being an established platform and royalty-free arguably gives them the advantage.


AfterDawn: News

Softbank will sell iPhone in Japan for $215

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jun 2008 12:24

Softbank will sell iPhone in Japan for $215 Softbank has announced that it will offer the iPhone 3G in Japan for the equivalent of $215 USD, a price comparable to North American pricing.

The phone is set to hit the region on July 11th, around the time when the phone hits over 20 countries around the world.

The price is of course contingent on a 2-year contract, and the $215 is for the 8GB model. The larger capacity 16GB model will cost the equivalent of $320 USD.

In comparison, Apple and AT&T will be selling the 8GB and 16GB models in the United States for $199 and $299 USD respectively with two year contract and data plan.

AfterDawn: News

CSNY documentary to test simultaneous theatrical and VOD release

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 11:43

CSNY documentary to test simultaneous theatrical and VOD release Although there's been a lot of talk about siumlutanious theatrical and VOD releases for movies. Not surprisingly the big studios have been in no hurry to actually test out such a revolutionary release schedule. Now perhaps the first step in that direction is being taken by Roadside Attractions, a small studio 40% owned by Lions Gate Entertainment.

The movie is a documentary from the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young anti-war themed tour in 2006. Unlike the typical studio executive, director Neil Young is mostly concerned to get his movie in front of as many people as possible instead of pushing for the most money.

Assuming the negotiations work out the plan is to release the movie theatrically on July 25, the same day it premieres on Video On Demand services and also the Netflix streaming service.

"It's a big experiment to release this film simultaneously on all these media, with big expectations for all of them," said Howard Cohen, co-president of Roadside.

AfterDawn: News

Atari tries to get bad reviews taken down, claims piracy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jun 2008 11:18

Atari tries to get bad reviews taken down, claims piracy The video game developer Atari has filed suit against two Dutch gaming sites that have published unfavorable pre-release reviews of the upcoming game "Alone in the Dark." In the suit, the developer claims the reviews were written based on pirated copies of the game.

The sites, 4Players and gave negative reviews of the game, 68/100 and 5/10 respectively, and posted the reviews two days before the official European street date. Because the reviews were based on "pirated" copies, Atari is seeking an undisclosed monetary settlement.

"Within an hour [after posting], Atari called to have the review pulled off, claiming there was an embargo till Friday," commented. "Our review copy was sent directly to us by Atari and [was] not a pirated copy. They explicitly told [] that they only let high scoring reviews break the post-release embargo date."

Although a pirated copy has been on file sharing networks for over a week, 4Players proclaimed that their copy was also retail. They said through the same "retail connection" they were able to have other games in the past.


AfterDawn: News

Music industry targets radio station piracy - demands more royalties

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 10:37

Music industry targets radio station piracy - demands more royalties Seeing music executives with their hands in somebody else's pocket is nothing new. Still it's noteworthy when they decided to reach a little deeper, which is exactly what they're hoping to do with radio stations across the US. According to representatives of the musicFIRST coalition, which represents the RIAA and a number of songwriter groups, AM and FM broadcasters are pirates and need to pay royalties.

"It's a form of piracy, if you will, but not in the classic sense as we think of it," said Martin Machowsky, a musicFIRST spokesman. "Today we gifted them a can of herring, about their argument that they provide promotional value. We think that's a red herring. Nobody listens to the radio for the commercials."

As usual, what's really at stake is a new revenue stream. For most businesses a new revenue stream drying up means revamping the business to accomodate the new market. But in the alternate reality where the music industry exists it's all about mandatory payments. Currently the broadcasters don't pay performance royalties under the premise that they're promoting the music. In recent years that's been a sore point for music executives. With the advent of internet and satellite radio they're getting used to collecting that money for every performance.


AfterDawn: News

Sony web experiment to be released on DVD

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 8:31

Sony web experiment to be released on DVD In 2009 Sony will be experimenting with web-based video. A new title called 'Angel of Death' will first be available as a series of 8 minute segments which will later be released together on DVD.

It's hard to understand exactly what Sony is hoping to accomplish aside from convincing potential viewers to follow a trail of breadcrumbs from one website to another. It doesn't seem to have any actual commercial use.

Apparently they're planning an entire series of titles which will start on the internet and then make the leap to either DVD or TV. In order for this to work they'd have to come up with titles that will both translate to episodic delivery and be interesting enough to keep viewers looking for the next episode several weeks in a row.

Sony is the only company that owns a major movie studio and a major record labels as well as being a leading manufacturer of consumer electronics and computer hardware, and even game consoles billed as home entertainment centers. You might expect a company with a presence in nearly every phase of the production, distribution, and consumer markets to have a comprehensive system for making money from their own content.


AfterDawn: News

Free NBC Olympic video coming - only for some Vista users

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 7:28

Free NBC Olympic video coming - only for some Vista users NBC will be offering free downloads of video from the Beijing Olympics through a service from WaveExpress. Each event will separated into a separate channel, and viewers will be encouraged to subscribe to their favorite channel to receive nightly updates, delivered directly to their computers. The good news is this will be a free service. Unfortunately it will only work if you have the right version of Windows Vista.

More accurately you'll need to have one of 2 versions, either Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate. That's because it requires Vista's built-in Media Center software, and only those two editions have it.

Ironically the press release announcing the offering quoted Perkins Miller of NBC Sports and Olympics saying "we are committed to reaching as many viewers as possible.”

Perhaps what he meant was as many viewers as possible who have the version of Windows most convenient for us to support. Or perhaps its due to Vista's improved DRM support.

Whatever the reason, if this is NBC's idea of reaching the most viewers possible it's safe to say they've set the bar pretty low.

AfterDawn: News

Bell Canada has some explaining to do - to the public this time

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 5:19

Bell Canada has some explaining to do - to the public this time Since Bell Canada was accused of throttling P2P traffic back in March they have freely admitted the practice, and claimed it was necessary because of its affect on their network. In May the company defended their actions in a filing with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), as part of their public inquiry into the matter. Unfortunately the actual traffic figures in the filing were withheld from the public.

Bell Canada claimed it was vital to keep the information private to keep it out of competitors' hands. It seems that the CTRC doesn't agree. The agency's director general of competition, costing, and tariffs has sent a letter to Bell Canada instructing the company to make the data public.

"Commission staff has determined, based on all the material before it, that no specific direct harm would likely result from disclosure, or that the public interest in disclosure outweighs any specific direct harm that might result from disclosure," read the letter.

With the actual traffic data finally available to the public we'll get some actual debate about the facts of the case instead of Bell Canada's posturing. Regardless of what the facts are it's not likely to turn out well for Bell Canada.


AfterDawn: News

Artists offering music subscriptions with TopSpin

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 3:56

Artists offering music subscriptions with TopSpin If there's one thing that music labels still have to offer artists it's marketing. Sure it's possible to record a relatively cheap album, and with the internet it's not really necessary to put up the huge cost of CD mastering and replication. Still you have to come up with a distribution channel. Recorded music may not be a huge source of income for most acts, but it's still essential if you want to convince people to attend your concerts.

For very small acts it makes sense to give away music, and many artists are doing exactly that, often using social networking websitess like Facebook or MySpace. But what if you want to sell your music instead? Do you still need a label to make the jump from amateur to professional distribution? Not according to Ian Rogers, CEO of TopSpin.

TopSpin is building a platform for artists to use for marketing their music. Using TopSpin's technology it's possible to offer a variety of different options, from individual tracks to complete albums. A more interesting option for the bands using TopSpin right now is offering year long subscriptions. Rather than being limited to an individual work, fans who buy a subscription get access to all the tracks offered by an artist for an entire year.


AfterDawn: News

ABC, ESPN add videos to Veoh

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jun 2008 2:14

ABC, ESPN add videos to Veoh ESPN and ABC have announced that they will be adding video content to the Veoh Web video service.

The agreement will allow Veoh to present hit shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Lost,” “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives,” as well as ESPN programming and game highlights.

Matt Murphy, the senior vice president for digital media distribution at Disney and ESPN Media Networks, added: “These types of partnerships allow us to reach our fans and viewers in a much deeper and more meaningful way…This is a world where you have to constantly re-evaluate your business and constantly look at partners and how they are running their businesses.”

There was no word on any of the financial aspects of the latest deal.

AfterDawn: News

Warner BD-Live titles coming this Winter

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jun 2008 2:06

Warner BD-Live titles coming this Winter At a press event this week, Warner has revealed that its first BD-Live enabled titles will become available in time for the Winter holidays, as promised at CES.

Darcy Antonellis, president of Warner Bros. Technical Operations added that among the new interactive features would be "real-time viewing, a search engine, library access, and a 'recommendation tool' for other titles complete with e-mail reminders."

There will also of course be downloadable picture-in-picture, deleted scenes and trailers, as well as wallpapers and ringtones.

"I think it [BD-Live] has the ability to compete [with MySpace and YouTube] for a user's time because you are taking them online and you're able to create a community that we have never been able to do before," she said. 'That's huge for us."

Although the titles were not confirmed, Antonellis implied that the upcoming blockbuster 'The Dark Knight' was a likely candidate.

"These are exclusive opportunities that can be offered through this small community that is created with these [Profile 2.0] players,"
Antonellis said. "We are no longer limited by finite capacity on the disc."

AfterDawn: News

Beatles music headed to Guitar Hero, Rock Band?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jun 2008 1:48

Beatles music headed to Guitar Hero, Rock Band? According to a new report published in the Financial Times, the Beatles are currently in discussions with both Activision and MTV in an effort to bring licensing for the band's music to video games, most notably Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

The sources imply that any deal would be worth "several million dollars" and that the licensing deal could be struck within a matter of weeks or months.

One possible hurdle for the deal is that it needs to be approved by EMI who owns the master recordings for the band. Apple Corps will also need to sign off as they are in charge of the Beatles business interests.

Apple has been very selective with expanding licensing for the band and currently there are no authorized digital recordings of the Beatles available online.

AfterDawn: News

NVIDIA teams with Mistubishi to develop 3-D for home theater

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 1:30

NVIDIA teams with Mistubishi to develop 3-D for home theater Following recent interest in 3-D movies on digital cinema screens, Mitsubishi is partnering with NVIDIA and Aspen Media Products to bring 3-D home video to the living room.

"NVIDIA is extremely excited about its new relationship with Mitsubishi and Aspen Media Products, and is fully committed to bringing 3D technology to the home entertainment market," said Ujesh Desai, general manager, NVIDIA Corporation. "This is an unparalleled industry first, and we are proud to play a key role in providing a complete 3D home entertainment solution to the consumer."

Presumably the partnership will combine displays from Mitsubishi with 3-D capabilities already offered in current generation GeForce GPUs. Mitsubishi already makes HDTVs that are capable of displaying the stereoscopic images required by this technology.

Aspen Media Products is no doubt included for their experience integrating computers and consumer electronics. Many of their existing products rely on either Linux or Windows for everything from media servers to home automation.

AfterDawn: News

Amazon MP3 finally heading to Europe?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jun 2008 1:07

Amazon MP3 finally heading to Europe? According to a new report in the British Telegraph, the giant e-tailer Amazon is in talks to finally bring its popular Amazon MP3 store to Europe, and even as early as October.

The report says senior Amazon officials have been in talks with British labels to strike deals that would allow for the DRM-free store to open in the UK in October.

When the store launched in the US last year, Amazon had promised that a 2008 international launch was imminent and that it was likely to expand to Canada, Japan, and regions in Europe.

The British launch is sure to have a bigger impact in the UK then the US store is having in North America, as there are very few online stores that make DRM-free tracks available in the UK, and iTunes does not have the dominant market share that it has in the States.

AfterDawn: News

EFF shoots down "making available" argument in Jammie Thomas case

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 23 Jun 2008 12:47

EFF shoots down "making available" argument in Jammie Thomas case Last week we told you about briefs filed both for and against Jammie Thomas in her quest to get a new trial for alleged copyright violations from sharing songs via P2P. In addition to the MPAA and respected copyright scholars, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has also filed a "friend of the court" brief. Not surprisingly the public interest group makes arguments specifically addressing the claim that "making available," or the mere act of sharing files on P2P, is a copyright violation.

While the MPAA's arguments largely center on the premise that the meaning of a law must be interpretted in whatever way aligns them best with treaties the US is a party to, the EFF points out a more fundamental legal principle - that of plain meaning. Plain meaning basically says if there's a clear and obvious way to interpret the wording of a law that's how it must be read.


AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay bringing SSL encryption for its users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jun 2008 5:41

Pirate Bay bringing SSL encryption for its users The infamous torrent tracker The Pirate Bay has announced that in response to a new Swedish legislation passed this week, it will be offering encryption services to all of its users.

On Thursday, Sweden passed a new "surveillance law" which allows authorities to monitor all incoming and outgoing transmissions if they feel it is in the best interests on national security. The Pirate Bay had lobbied against the bill, but unfortunately their efforts for futile. In response to the bill however, all Pirate Bay users will be given an encryption option this week.

"Many people have asked me what we’re planning to do,"
admin Peter Sunde writes "- and the answer is “A lot!”. We’re going to help out in any way we can with fighting the law. This week we’re going to add SSL to The Pirate Bay. We’re also going to help out making a website about easy encryption - both for your hard drives and your net traffic. As some people know, we’re running a system for VPN-tunnels already and we’re going to lower the price for that as well and open it up for international users as well."


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft denied appeal in patent case

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jun 2008 9:49

Microsoft denied appeal in patent case A federal judge has denied Microsoft's appeal in one of five patent cases brought against it by Alcatel-Lucent and says the software giant will have to pay $511.6 million USD in damages and interest.

In April a jury awarded Lucent $357.7 million USD and Microsoft had asked the judge to reconsider the award. Judge Marilyn L. Huff denied that request however and increased the damages payable. She said the new amount accounts for "prejudgment interest to compensate for how long it took to resolve the matter."

"We are disappointed that Judge Huff denied our request for a new trial,"
said Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster, in an e-mailed statement. "We plan to appeal the rulings against us. We are confident that the damages award against Microsoft will not be sustained on appeal."

"We had always believed we had a strong case and are pleased that the judge agreed that the jury's thoughtful verdict was well reasoned and supported by the evidence presented during the more than monthlong trial on these two patents," said Alcatel-Lucent spokeswoman Mary Lou Ambrus in an e-mailed statement.


AfterDawn: News

UAE sees 52 percent rise in software piracy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jun 2008 8:48

UAE sees 52 percent rise in software piracy Officials in the United Arab Emirates have said they are growing more and more concerned with the rising levels of piracy in the region despite its reputation as the region leader in anti-piracy practices.

Estimates say 35-38 percent of all software sold in the UAE is counterfeit and that the number of pirated goods sold has risen 52 percent year over year. According to a survey conducted by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and global market research firm IDC, losses attributed to piracy rose to $94 million USD up from $62 million last year.

Overall software piracy in the Middle East rose to $2.45 billion, up 24 percent year on year.

In a similar announcement, the Ministry of Interior noted that arrests for software piracy had risen 107 percent year over year and that number seemed to be still growing.

"Software piracy is the easiest type of piracy because software is not tangible,"
said Ahmad Al Jasim, regional manager of Autodesk Middle East. According to Al-Jasim, Autodesk sees a 55 percent piracy rate in the region.

"Software is usually on a CD and because a company's knowledge is on this small storage device people can actually easily pirate it. The fakes come in mass volume, primarily from East Asia."


AfterDawn: News

IsoHunt adds thousands of authorized albums

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jun 2008 8:31

IsoHunt adds thousands of authorized albums IsoHunt, the public torrent site currently in legal trouble with the MPAA, has announced that it has made a new partnership with Creative Commons music distribution site Jamendo and will offer over 10,000 free and authorized albums on the site.

Despite coming under attack from the MPAA in 2006, IsoHunt has refused to shut the site down and continues to add features to the site. The main feature is the continued addition of Creative Commons licensed content. All CC media is free to be shared and licensed by its creator. The most notable use of CC recently is Nine Inch Nails releasing their Ghosts album earlier this year, for free, using a CC license.

Jamendo is a site that indexes Creative Commons licensed music and just recently hit 10,000 albums available. Adds Laurent Kratz, CEO of Jamendo, “Jamendo uses the Creative Commons licensing scheme to keep the rules very straight forward : copy as much as you can eat, the artist, the right-holders are ok. The new thing about partnering with a torrent portal like isoHunt, is that Jamendo has started an editorial work on top.”


AfterDawn: News

AT&T subsidizing over $400 USD for each iPhone sale

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jun 2008 4:38

AT&T subsidizing over $400 USD for each iPhone sale After being unveiled a couple of weeks ago at the very consumer attractive price of $199 USD, the iPhone 3G is set to go on sale next month through Apple and AT&T.

According to new reports, it appears however that AT&T is subsidizing the phone, over $400 USD in some cases, just to be able to reap in the benefits of a 2 year contract including data plans.

Oppenheimer financial analyst Yair Reimer writes that as a general rule of thumb, wireless carriers subsidize the price of smartphones by about $200 USD and make it back from expensive data plans. AT&T it appears though, is losing $325-425 for each unit sold and could be buying each phone from Apple for as much $724 USD for the 16GB model.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster also wrote a report estimating that Apple will make about $466 USD per iPhone. Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi, in a separate report says he anticipates Apple is selling each phone at $700 USD.

AfterDawn: News

AP resolves copyright dispute with blogger

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jun 2008 4:03

AP resolves copyright dispute with blogger Last week we reported that the AP had begun confronting a blogger over copyright issues, but it appears that both sides have come to a resolution in the dispute.

The AP had demanded that the site, the Drudge Retort, remove some of the new agency's content. In a statement, Rogers Cadenhead, owner of the site, said he is "glad" that the dispute is over but said he still believes the larger conflict over the use of AP content still remains.

An AP statement added that both sides considered the matter closed and that the agency was "having a constructive exchange with a number of interested parties in the blogging community" about the current relationship between bloggers and news providers.

The agency also added it was working on developing guidelines for it considered permissible use of content by bloggers.

"I think it would be helpful for bloggers and users of social news sites to know what the AP believes to be fair use of their copyrighted work,"
said Cadenhead's lawyer, Wade Duchene. "I hope that any guidelines that are issued are not interpreted as an agreed definition of fair use under copyright law", he added.

AfterDawn: News

BenQ introduces industry first 16:9 desktop LCD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jun 2008 3:22

BenQ introduces industry first 16:9 desktop LCD BenQ has announced the availability of what it claims is the industry's first desktop LCD to use a 16:9 aspect ratio. The new model, the E2200HDA, will fit widescreen HD content without the black bars that most current commercial displays have.

The display measures 21.5 inches diagonally, and can playback full 1080p content (1920x1080) from a variety of sources "without losing any detail."

Other specifications include a very high 10,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and automatic color adjustment. The display has a relatively fast 5ms pixel response time and will have built in speakers. There was no exact word on what inputs would be available on the display but rest assured there will be a couple of HDMI and DVI.


AfterDawn: News

Future for record labels doesn't look bright

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Jun 2008 2:02

Future for record labels doesn't look bright George Van Horn, a senior analyst for IBISWorld, is predicting good news for the music industry, but not necessarily for the big labels that have dominated it for decades. In a recent report he predicts a shrinking role for labels in online music sales despite increasing legal downloads.

According to Van Horn "As the industry evolves, it is record labels that are out of step with the latest technology trends, and it's hurting their bottom line in a major way."

And the issue isn't simply one of understanding the market either. He also identifies the labels' lack of a diverse product as a liability. He says "The fact that performers make most of their money from merchandise sales and touring, rather than solely CD sales, also helps protect them somewhat, compared to the record companies which are suffering some serious losses."

But surely they the labels are still important for marketing rightt?

Not necessarily according to Van Horn, who asserts "since illegal downloads are not publicized, a new challenge for record companies lies in identifying which music is popular, discouraging companies from investing too heavily in music as a promotional tool."


AfterDawn: News

NHK unveils Super Hi-Vision projection system

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jun 2008 2:00

NHK unveils Super Hi-Vision projection system At this week's CommunicAsia technology expo, the popular Japanese TV broadcaster NHK unveiled a projection system that implements Super Hi-Vision (SHV) technology, and has resolution of 7680x4320, four times the resolution of current 1080p technology (1920x1080)

The demonstration, which took place in Singapore, showed the screen measuring about 300 inches diagonally, or 6.6 x 3.7 meters. The broadcaster used two LCOS projectors, each rated at 8000 lumens as well as a 33-megapixel sensor.

As a demonstration, NHK showed off images it had recorded with an 8k studio camera. To make the demo even more impressive, the broadcaster used a 22.2 channel sound system for the audio.

NHK, which began working on the technology in 2002, believes the technology, in 10 years when it is small enough to be commercial, will succeed current HDTV technology.


AfterDawn: News

MPAA to judge: We don't need no stinking proof

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 21 Jun 2008 11:02

MPAA to judge: We don't need no stinking proof The MPAA is arguing in a legal brief that plaintiffs should be allowed to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages with no proof that anyone has actually downloaded from a defendant's shared folder. The brief was filed by MPAA lawyers in Jammie Thomas' appeal of the $222,000 judgement against her for copyright infringement. Judge Michael Davis asked for public comments on whether simply making files available is a violation of The Copyright Act and the MPAA took the opportunity to put in their 2 cents worth.

Actually 2 cents may be a little generous for the MPAA's contribution. Their argument basically goes something like this, it's difficult, or maybe impossible, to prove that people are actually downloading files from someone's shared folder so the courts should just assume files are shared with the intention of distributing them illegally and rule in favor of the plaintiff.

The real problem with the MPAA's position isn't necessarily the idea that sharing files is infringement. Even some legal scholars who disagree with the "making available" as infringement argument have pointed out that copying a song to your computer for the purpose of sharing it illegally might be infringement. But that's not the same thing as no proof. It would still require the RIAA to show a defendant's intent.


AfterDawn: News

PlayStation 3 tops Japanese console hardware sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jun 2008 5:14

PlayStation 3 tops Japanese console hardware sales The Sony PlayStation 3 moved to the top of Japanese console hardware sales for the week ended June 15, using the launch of the blockbuster PS3-exclusive hit Metal Gear Solid 4 as a springboard.

According to figures from Media Create, the PS3 sold 75,311 units for the week handily beating out any other console including the very popular Sony handheld, the PSP.

The Nintendo Wii lagged behind in sales for the first time in a while, selling only 45,564 units. As always, the Microsoft Xbox 360 barely made a dent in the sales, selling a measly 2163 units

According to the data, here are the rest of the figures for the week:


AfterDawn: News

1080p projectors coming from InFocus

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jun 2008 4:33

1080p projectors coming from InFocus InFocus has announced its latest projector for the UK, the X10 which is capable of Full HD 1080p and features a 16:9 native aspect ratio as well as a contrast ratio of 2500:1 that can be increased to 7500:1 using the company's special Active Iris lens.

The projector's 300W lamp gets a 1200 lumens brightness rating and has an expected 2000 hours of operation. The "1.2:1 fixed lens is able to create a clear image up to nearly 17 feet, or over 200 inches. Vertical Digital Keystone Correction is adjustable up to 13 degrees. The The DarkChip1 DLP chipset was sourced from Texas Instruments and the DLP color wheel is a 7-segment unit, calibrated to the D65K color accuracy standard," reads reports.


AfterDawn: News

NEC has 8x Blu-ray recorder in the works

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jun 2008 3:27

NEC has 8x Blu-ray recorder in the works NEC says that the company has developed technology that will make 8x Blu-ray burners a reality in the near future.

The average current Blu-ray burners can record at 2x or 4x and NEC drives can burn at 5x. For the most part, thanks to high prices, Blu-ray burners have taken a back seat to drives that are only capable of reading Blu-ray discs but it appears NEC is doing its best to change that.

Samples of the new 8x chipset have already been sent to manufacturers and the technology should "merge a digital signal processor (DSP) with an analog one." The analog processor was originally intended for 20x DVD burners.

NEC is combining circuits that would normally be housed separately and by doing so will reduce the size of the system-on-chip by 20 percent and cut power consumption by one-third.

The drive maker has also created a cheaper version that can read Blu-ray discs at fast speeds but does not offer Blu-ray recording. There was no word on commercial availability but NEC did add that it was working on technology for 16x BD drives.

AfterDawn: News

RIAA prepares to drop long running P2P suit for a lack of evidence

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 20 Jun 2008 4:46

RIAA prepares to drop long running P2P suit for a lack of evidence The RIAA has filed a motion to dismiss what may be the most contentious file sharing case to date. In a letter to the judge the RIAA's lawyers admitted they don't believe there is any chance they will be able to positively identify the computer used to share the files in question. They're now confident it was the same PC owned by the plaintiff's daughter, which she has since gotten rid of. The letter also mentioned that they'll be filing for court sanctions against the defense for impeding discovery of this evidence earlier.

To say the case of UMG v. Lindor has been hotly contested would be an understatement at best. The defendant, Marie Lindor, owns a computer but has reportedly doesn't know enough about it to share a file. In fact the plaintiffs' investigators have officially stated that her computer wasn't the one involved in the file sharing they reported to the RIAA.

While RIAA lawyers have focused on who else may have had a computer connected to the internet through Lindor's account her lawyer, Ray Beckerman, has repeatedly attacked both the legality of the damages claimed, the lack of transparency in the investigation, and even the competence of the investigators themselves.


AfterDawn: News

Law professors argue against making available as infringement in Jammie Thomas appeal

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 20 Jun 2008 3:08

Law professors argue against making available as infringement in Jammie Thomas appeal Last month the federal judge in the Jammie Thomas file sharing case did something you don't see very often. He admitted that he may have been wrong when he gave instructions to the jury before they began deliberating, which may lead to a new trial. In case you don't remember, the jury ruled in favor of the RIAA, who claimed that since Thomas' computer had songs shared on a P2P network she was violating the copyright holders exclusive right to distribute.

Judge Michael Davis instructed the jury that simply sharing the files would qualify as infringement, but has since discovered that this is not the generally accepted interpretation of copyright law. Now he's trying to determine whether he erred in the first trial, which ended in a judgement for $222,000 against Thomas. To his credit, rather than brushing aside the defense's argument about his interpretation of the law he's asked for outside opinions on the matter and gotten some from a group of 10 law professors who specialize in copyright law.


AfterDawn: News

French parliament expected to vote on 3-strikes anti-piracy bill in the fall

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 20 Jun 2008 2:13

French parliament expected to vote on 3-strikes anti-piracy bill in the fall If you've been wondering what ever happened to France's plans for a so-called "3 strikes" law to punish file sharers repeatedly caught violating copyright law, have no fear. It's not gone, just a little behind schedule.

French Culture and Communication Minister Christine Albanel expects it to pass this fall, which is apparently they can get it in front of parliament due to a large number of bills lined up in front of it. The original plan was to put it to a vote before summer.

If you're not familiar with the controversial proposal, as originally laid out it would have required ISPs to monitor subscriber traffic for copyright infringement and send them threatening letters if caught. If someone were to be caught three times they would lose their internet connection.

The actual bill is apparently a little different, and would instead create a government agency to monitor P2P sites and catch file sharers in the act.

The law, was not only drafted by the entertainment industry, but even given an official introduction and stamp of approval at the MIDEM music industry conference in France earlier this year. In return for getting the government to prop up their outdated business model the recording industry has magnanimously agreed to work on getting rid of DRM in online music.


AfterDawn: News

Poison sues Capitol Records for cheating them out of royalties

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 20 Jun 2008 1:34

Poison sues Capitol Records for cheating them out of royalties As if to underscore Kid Rock's statements to the BBC about record labels, members of Poison are suing Capitol Records for allegedly cheating them out of royalties through a variety of intentional miscalculations. In fact, according to the suit the band's management hasn't even been able to get Capitol to show them the records necessary to correctly calculate what they're owed.

In the suit band members claim Capitol "willfully and consistently accounted to Plaintiffs for, and paid over to Plaintiffs, substantially less money than is properly due and owing to Plaintiffs pursuant to the terms of the Recording Agreement." In other words the label intentionally cheated them out of royalties.

It also goes on to accuse Capitol representatives of lying to them, not just at the time royalties were due, but also later when they tried to audit the relevant records as allowed by their recording contract.

I can't imagine why people don't take the music industry's piracy data seriously. They seem so honest in all their othe dealings.

You can read the text of the suit in this PDF file.

AfterDawn: News

Qtrax launches with just a few songs but lots of headaches

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Jun 2008 11:24

Qtrax launches with just a few songs but lots of headaches It's official. Qtrax, arguably the most infamous music service ever (even before they ever offered a download) has finally launched. That's the good news. If all you were looking for is good news now would be a good time to stop reading.

The rest of the story is "launch" may be too strong a word for what Qtrax has acoomplished so far. While it's possible to find a few albums, there don't appear to be any that are complete. From what I was able to find the content appears to be solely from Universal Music Group (UMG) despite the recent announcement of a deal to offer EMI's music.

After a searching for a short time I was eventually able to find some songs to download. The process went smoothly enough until I tried to play them. The Qtrax player gave me an error saying it needed to be re-installed. Being naturally skeptical I double checked by trying to play it with Windows Media Player. It turned out I needed to upgrade Windows Media Player and install some additional hotfixes from Microsoft.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft changes policy on MSN Music DRM

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jun 2008 6:01

Microsoft changes policy on MSN Music DRM Microsoft has announced that it will be extending the effective lifespan of all music purchased from its now defunct MSN Music service.

When the service shut down, Microsoft imposed an August 31st deadline for the shutdown of its DRM servers effectively stopping users from authorizing the music they had purchased when the service was up and running. It appears the software giant has had a change of heart and will now extend the life of the music until "at least" 2011. Despite the new decision, the company still warns users to make permanent backups and not just leave the music on portable media players. In 2011, Microsoft will reexamine the servers and extend the period if users still require it.

The original decision had been criticized by users and was a glowing reminder of the risks of using DRM to "protect" music.

Since the close of the MSN Music service, Microsoft has been pushing its customers towards the Zune Marketplace or URGE as preferred online music services.

AfterDawn: News

Spain's Telecinco sues YouTube

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jun 2008 5:28

Spain's Telecinco sues YouTube Telecinco, Spain's leading television channel, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the video sharing giant YouTube claiming the site has violated its intellectual property rights.

The TV station which is owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi added that YouTube had "refused to adopt effective measures" to stop clips of the station's programming from appearing and reappearing on the site.

"YouTube is exploiting content that belongs solely and exclusively to Telecinco,"
said the channel's secretary general, Mario Rodriguez in a statement. The statement went as far as to say that clips on YouTube were airing Telecinco programming before they were even broadcast in Spain.

"For this reason we have the right to order that this illegal exploitation cease and to demand economic compensation,"
Rodriguez said.

Telecinco said in a separate statement, "YouTube does not deny the systemic infractions of rights which are carried out in its website but it defends itself by saying they are committed by its users, not by it."

AfterDawn: News

iTunes hits 5 billion sold milestone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jun 2008 1:37

iTunes hits 5 billion sold milestone Apple has announced that its popular iTunes platform has hit yet another milestone, 5 billion songs purchased since the store's launch in April 2003.

The latest milestone shows that sales are picking up at an impressive clip especially considering it took 3 years for the store to hit its first billion. It took the store just 3 months to go from 4 billion to 5 billion sold.

Apple had an even more impressive number to announce however. The company says that movies are being purchased or rented from the store at a rate of 50,000 a day, a huge increase that can mostly be attributed to Apple's recent deal to begin renting movies. That deal was struck in January of 2008. Doing some simple math shows us that Apple is selling or renting 1.5 million movies per month, and the company now claims iTunes is the world's most popular online movie store. I'm sure no one will refute that claim if the numbers are true.

AfterDawn: News

Kid rock tells fans "Download it illegally - I don't care"

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Jun 2008 1:02

Kid rock tells fans "Download it illegally - I don't care" Kid Rock is part of an exclusive club whose only other members are The Beatles, Garth Brooks, and AC/DC. What do thse artists have in common? They're major artists whose music isn't sold on iTunes. In Kid Rock's case there is actually one album being sold by the online music giant, but that's just because he doesn't own the rights to it.

So why doesn't he want to sell his music on iTunes? It's simple really. He sees it as simply a continuation of the way labels have treated artists for decades. In his words, "iTunes takes the money, the record company takes the money, and they don't give it to the artists"

In a recent interview with the BBC he talked about his reaction to Atlantic Records executives asking him to take a stand against file sharing. "Wait a second," he said, "you've been stealing from the artists for years. Now you want me to stand up for you?"

"I was telling kids - download it illegally, I don't care. I want you to hear my music so I can play live."


AfterDawn: News

Kaleidescape System gets a 1080p upscaling DVD player

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 19 Jun 2008 12:15

Kaleidescape System gets a 1080p upscaling DVD player Kaleidescape's home media servers have been a sore topic for the studios. They were the only company granted the license necessary to create a product capable of legally ripping CSS protected DVDs to store them for playback later. Unfortunately, despite the inclusion of managed copy features into the Blu-ray specs, they're not planning to have support for that format until next year. If you own one of these very expensive systems you'll have to settle for their new upscaling 1080p Player for now.

The Kaleidescape 1080p Player is a dual purpose device, capable of importing DVDs to Kaleidescape System servers and also playing them directly, making it a complete replacement for the older Movie Player 2 which upconverts to 1080i at lower quality. Another new feature includes the ability to go straight to the move on a DVD, skipping not just trailers and other content that plays before the menus, but even the menus themselves.


AfterDawn: News

TI demonstrates lamp-free 1080p DLP projector

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 18 Jun 2008 10:45

TI demonstrates lamp-free 1080p DLP projector LCD may be the hot thing in HDTVs and projectors, but that hasn't stopped Texas Instruments (TI) from continuing to work on DLP. At the Infocomm 08 trade show in Las Vegas they showed off a 1080p DLP projector that replaces the traditional lamp with Phlatlight LED technology. Phlatlight LEDs have already been used for miniature DLP projecters, as well as both DLP and LCD HDTVs.

The projector uses Texas Instruments' new BrilliantColor chipset. They're reporting up to 30% less power consumption compared to units with lamps thanks to the LED technology from Luminus.

"DLP Products has a proven legacy of "firsts" in the market and the projectors being demonstrated this year are examples of that commitment to innovation and commitment to our customers," said Lars Yoder, vice president and business manager, TI's DLP Front Projection Business Unit. "DLP Products is proud to enable our customers, who are the leading projector manufacturers globally, to be the best."

According to a press release the first consumer models are expected to ship from "multiple DLP customers" later this year, although the only company named so far has been Optoma.

AfterDawn: News

That video you're watching just might break the internet

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 18 Jun 2008 9:18

That video you're watching just might break the internet Do you use your broadband internet connection for video? If so you might partly responsible for "breaking" the internet within the next few years according to more than half of the 372 telecommunications professionals surveyed by Tellabs and research firm IDC. More than 10% think it will happen within the next 2 years.

So what's the solution? It seems that nearly half of those surveyed believe it's up to ISPs, either through traffic inspection and prioritization or simply charging more for using "excess bandwidth."

"The findings of this survey make it very plain that bandwidth is not infinite," said Lee Doyle, Group Vice President and General Manager, Network Infrastructure and Security Products and Services, IDC. "Unless there is sufficient investment into new infrastructure, the increased bandwidth demands of new advanced services could well outstrip capacity."

Dan Kelly, executive vice president of global products for Tellabs is quick to point the finger at consumers for causing the problem. He said "Internet access has become essential for millions of Americans and the appetite for bandwidth is putting pressure on service provider networks."


AfterDawn: News

TidalTV brings look and feel of TV to your web browser

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 18 Jun 2008 8:16

TidalTV brings look and feel of TV to your web browser One of the biggest barriers to success for online TV services is that they don't really feel like TV. They might have TV shows, and even TV commercials, but that's pretty much where the similarity ends. That was true until today anyway. Now there's a new service in beta called TidalTV, and it has an interface that's remarkably TV-like.

Featuring an on-screen program guide and even on-demand programming, TidalTV should be easy to use for anybody who's used to standard cable or satellite TV. It doesn't even have a client to download and install. Just load the website and start watching programs from CBS, The Food Network, or The National Geographic channel among others.

Scott Ferber, chairman and founder of TidalTV, said, "What we love about TV is being able to ask it to entertain, educate and inform us just by sitting down and clicking through channels. TidalTV wants to provide that same potential online - for everyone from the techno-savvy Internet junkie to the novice computer user. We want to deliver the comfort, ease of use and simplicity of TV, while offering all of the control and selection that we are accustomed to on the Web. It's the best of both worlds!"

AfterDawn: News

Despite piracy, Lil Wayne's latest CD is a monster hit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jun 2008 1:50

Despite piracy, Lil Wayne's latest CD is a monster hit Despite another year of falling CD sales and the leaking of his album to P2P networks weeks ago, the prolific rapper Lil Wayne's latest CD, “Tha Carter III” sold 420,000 copies on launch day and has surpassed 1 million for its first week sold, marking the first time in 3 years that an album has sold over a million in its initial week. The sales also eclipses any other CD launched this year, including big ticket names such as Mariah Carey and Usher which sold under half of what "Tha Carter III" has.

Making the news even better for the rapper and the labels behind him, is that hip hop sales have been seeing the largest declines recently, down almost 25 percent year on year from 2007. Lil Wayne has not released a CD since 2005, but has been featured on over 70 other artist's songs in the last 12 months and has released tons of mixtapes.

“He stayed connected and nurtured his audience,” said Sylvia Rhone, president of Universal Motown Records. “He was always working. And I think the rabid following he’s cultivated is reflected in those sales numbers.”


AfterDawn: News

Gamers upset over Mass Effect DRM

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jun 2008 1:31

Gamers upset over Mass Effect DRM Last month, we reported that the blockbuster PC game Mass Effect was set to have rolling DRM, the form of DRM unflatteringly known as "phoning home" as every 10 days the game would connect to Bioware's servers and re-activate itself. After the report surfaced around the Internet though, the backlash was too much for the company and they decided to remove the DRM from the game.

As was said then, "BioWare has always listened very closely to its fans and we made this decision to ensure we are delivering the best possible experience to them," said BioWare community manager Jay Watamaniuk.

"To all the fans including our many friends in the armed services and internationally who expressed concerns that they would not be able re-authenticate as often as required, EA and BioWare want you to know that your feedback is important to us."

The game of course still has DRM though, and the DRM is upsetting gamers. Instead of "phoning home", the game only needs to be authenticated once but can only be installed 3 times, total.


AfterDawn: News

Over 90 percent of Japanese don't want new iPhone, says study

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jun 2008 1:11

Over 90 percent of Japanese don't want new iPhone, says study According to a new iSHARE study, the 3G iPhone should have a hard time getting footing in Japan, the country where technology is light years ahead of the rest of the world.

91 percent of Japanese adults polled said they have no plans to buy the phone, at least not in the near future. The other 9 percent all planned to buy the device and many are SoftBank users, the carrier brining the iPhone at launch.

The same survey was done in July of 2007 and at that time almost 10 percent of those polled said they would buy the phone if their carrier made it available so it appears demand is somewhat down.

iSHARE did not have exact reasons for the low demand but did note that SoftBank is third in subscriber base and only 23 percent of those polled were current SoftBank users. NTT DoCoMo is the clear leader at almost 40 percent, but they do not hold an iPhone distribution contract.

77 percent also noted that they prefer a removable battery, something Apple refuses to do with their media devices. The largest hurdle will most likely be that the iPhone does not bring anything the Japanese have not seen already. 3G is standard on Japanese networks for both calls and data services and most new phones have Japan-only 1Seg digital TV and high resolutions such as 800x480. The iPhone will have neither when it launches.

AfterDawn: News

Is Verizon too cheap or is fiber too expensive?

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 18 Jun 2008 1:06

Is Verizon too cheap or is fiber too expensive? Verizon's FiOS has been marketed largely on the premise that running fiber to each building is the best way to build a network for the long term. Since the company is apparently preparing to boost the top download speed for many of their subscribers it seems somewhat odd that they're also talking about going backwards and using old fashioned copper for some new customers after 2010.

Both of those appear to be true though, and surprisingly not necessarily in conflict with each other. Although it's not official yet, Verizon is apparently on the verge of announcing that subscribers to Verizon's top service tier will see their download speeds increase from 30Mbps to 50Mbps in many of the 16 states they service.

That's the same speed already offered in a few states so it makes sense to bring it to everybody. Lower price plans are expected to see increases to 20Mbps and 10Mbps from 15 and 5 respectively.

So if they're increasing speeds what's with the talk of using copper for some future expansion? Basically it's a question of economics. So far Verizon has been able to stick with fiber because they're sticking to urban and suburban areas.


AfterDawn: News

New HP "digital media receiver" connects your PC to a TV

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 9:27

New HP "digital media receiver" connects your PC to a TV HP has expanded their MediaSmart product line with the addition of a new product called the Connect digital media receiver. Right now it's available for pre-order from, Best Buy, Circuit City, and NewEgg.

It isn't a receiver in the traditional sense of a home theater receiver. What a home theater receiver does for your DVD player and perhaps a cable or satellite receiver, the MediaSmart Connect does for your PC. It features standard high definition A/V outputs like HDMI and component video, allowing it to be hooked up directly to a HDTV, but gets its input from a home network.

Paired with either a computer running Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate it can act as a Media Center Extender. If you have Windows XP or any type of storage device with UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) support, including the HP MediaSmart Home Server, you can use the built-in MediaSmart interface instead to take advantage of your network storage.


AfterDawn: News

Google still losing money on YouTube

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 8:05

Google still losing money on YouTube Many companies have tried and failed to emulate YouTube's success at capturing an audience. But despite their undeniable popularity there's one thing the viral video leader has yet to accomplish. They haven't made a single penny in profit.

At the Supernova technology conference YouTube's Director of Content Partnerships Jordan Hoffner was brutally honest about obstacles to attracting sponsors.

He said "We've seen that because of the increased fragmentation of audiences, brand advertisers that we deal with - Coca-Cola, Proctor and Gamble, General Motors - feel like they're missing something. They want to know how you reach a large number of people with a small amount of money."

Maybe the larger issue is that he assumes a lack of understanding is at fault, rather than a flawed business model. Maybe a service like YouTube needs to be an add-on to another business in order to make money. Having an interesting product is great for attracting traffic, but not all traffic can drive revenue.

In the case of YouTube they seem to be running into the perception that becoming more commercial means not being YouTube any more, and maybe that's a fair criticism. If so, it means that in order to have advertising it needs to somehow blend into YouTube's existing service instead of altering the service to include advertising.


AfterDawn: News

Firefox 3 gets off to a late start but hits the ground running

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 8:04

Firefox 3 gets off to a late start but hits the ground running The long anticipated release of Firefox v3 came today as expected, well almost anyway. Initially there were problems caused by a massive amount of traffic. With a little bit of work the servers were feeling better and the official attempt at setting a world record was on.

Granted the record has never been attempted before, so they technically could have quit after the first download and still gotten the record, but there was a more important goal at stake. The launch of Firefox v2 saw more than a million and a half downloads on the first day. Developers were anxious to surpass that by a wide margin, and it looks like they've done exactly that.

According to an update on the Mozilla developers site, "Thanks to overwhelming demand we’ve passed through 14,000 downloads a minute! This will put us well into the tens of millions of downloads in a 24 hour period if we can sustain it. Each download is about 7MB so that’s around 13 Gigabits/s of just download traffic."

Get your own copy of Firefox 3 from one of the official download sites.

AfterDawn: News

Console sales mean higher revenue but lower profit for Best Buy

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 8:03

Console sales mean higher revenue but lower profit for Best Buy For the fiscal quarter ending May 31, Best Buy revenue was up by over a billion dollars compared to last year. Normally that would be good news, but this year it's something of a mixed blessing.

The problem isn't so much the amount of money they brought in as what was selling. While they had some success selling items like PCs and flat panel TVs, the big story was video games.

In addition to the record setting performance of Grand Theft Auto IV, increased inventory of the still popular Wii helped fuel sales.

“Gross margin should remain under pressure as the mix to gaming and PCs continue as well as increasing pressure from discounters,” Pali Capital analyst Stacey Widlitz wrote in a note to clients yesterday, before earnings were released. “We believe the competitive landscape will continue to move in the wrong direction.”

AfterDawn: News

Average iPod has 842 unauthorized tracks, says survey

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jun 2008 4:33

Average iPod has 842 unauthorized tracks, says survey According to a new survey by the University of Hertfordshire, 14-24 year old iPod owners have on average 842 unauthorized songs on those iPods and download an average of 53 more each month.

The survey polled 1200 participants from that age range and that own iPods and found that nearly 70 percent download unauthorized music on a regular basis. 42 percent of those surveyed also admitted to uploading music to P2P networks.

The survey was commissioned by British Music Rights (BMR) and CEO Fergal Sharkey had this to add. "I was one of those people who went around the back of the bike shed with songs I had taped off the radio the night before. But this totally dwarfs that, and anything we expected," he added of the results.

BMR has been campaigning to make legal music services more appealing and easy to use while at the same time making piracy less appealing. The group feels the best way to do this is to have ISPs offer unlimited music download services as an additional fee to a standard broadband package.

"The positive message is that 80 per cent of downloaders said they would pay for a legal subscription-based service, and they told us they would be willing to pay more than a few pounds a month,"
added Sharkey.

AfterDawn: News

Integrated Google search coming to PSP

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jun 2008 4:09

Integrated Google search coming to PSP The official PlayStation Blog has announced that with upcoming firmware update v4.00 the PSP will add integrated Google searches directly into the XrossMediaBar interface.

The update will "replicate the Google Internet search experience, delivering the same search results that you’d get at" The blog adds users will have a history recall of 20 items.

After you have installed the latest firmware, simply click on the XMB Network icon and go to new Internet Search icon. You can then use Google search as if you were on a home PC.

Additionally, the 4.00 update will bring a new feature allowing the user to "change viewing speed during playback of videos stored on your Memory Stick PRO Duo, so you can speed through or slow down what you’re watching."

AfterDawn: News

Sony introduces "green-friendly" Bravia HDTV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jun 2008 3:33

Sony introduces "green-friendly" Bravia HDTV In an effort to become more environmental friendly, Sony has announced that they will be starting a new series line of green HDTVs beginning with the BRAVIA JE1.

The JE1 is the inaugural TV from the line and is a 32 inch LCD. Sony promises it uses about 70 percent less power over the course of a year by using efficient fluorescent backlights and more efficient screen filters. The JEI uses less lighting tubes than a standard HDTV by "generating more light and allowing more existing light to go through."

The products used in the set itself is actually made from recycled plastic, Styrofoam, and optical film used from previous HDTVs that have hit their lifespan.

Other specifications of the TV are mid-range, including 720p output, static contrast ratio of 2,500:1, two HDMI inputs, a digital TV tuner and other standard inputs.


AfterDawn: News

Movie industry insiders see a bright future for Blu-ray

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 3:35

Movie industry insiders see a bright future for Blu-ray At the Home Entertainment Media Summit in Los Angeles there were a lot of bold predictions about the future of Blu-ray among entertainment industry insiders. All in all though there was apparently more heat than light.

Disney representatives in particular seem to have come wearing their rose colored glasses. Lori MacPherson, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment general manager North America predicted that by 2015 Blu-ray will account for 56% of entertainment sales, while online video will only amount to 6%. That seems confident to say the least with online video at least appearing ready to take off at any time.

Gordon Ho, representing Disney marketting was also very upbeat. He talked about the importance of BD-Live, which studios and player manufacturers are counting on to boost sales this year, but given Disney's somewhat limited view of it's possibilities (is chat really the best thing they could come up with?) it remains to be seen how much difference it will really make.

One voice of caution was that of senior analyst at NPD, Russ Crupnick. He pointed out the increased competition faced by Blu-ray from video games, and the Wii in particular. “There are people who’d be spending time with movies on a Saturday night who are now spending it with their game consoles,” said Crupnick.


AfterDawn: News

XM / Sirius merger appears close to conclusion

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 2:29

XM / Sirius merger appears close to conclusion It's been more than a year and a half since XM and Sirius, the only 2 companies licensed by the FCC to provide satellite radio service, filed for government permission to merge into a single company and service. It took more than a year to get approval from the Justice Department, and nearly 3 months more for FCC chairmain Kevin Martin to announce his position. Now it looks like the merger will be happening soon.

The deal, which must still be approved by the full commission, will reportedly include several concessions from the companies, including the adoption of a tiered model that allows consumers to pay for fewer channels at a lower cost and a general price freeze for the next few years. In addition 8% of all channels will be set aside for non-profit and minority channels.

By the time the matter is decided with a vote it's possible there will be more conditions attached. Both parties have already agreed to all of Chairman Martin's conditions, but the other commissioners will still have a chance to weigh in. No date has been announced for the vote.

AfterDawn: News

AP goes after bloggers and faces public backlash

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 1:50

AP goes after bloggers and faces public backlash Like many traditional news agencies, the Associated Press has made it clear they're not happy about bloggers and forum posters copying from stories they own for use in a variety of places on the internet. For some reason they apparently feel the need to make an example of one site, the Drudge Retort, by sending DMCA takedown notices for 5 different quotes. The strange thing is each of the quotes they're demanding be taken down seem to be textbook examples of fair use.

Fair use, at least in the US, has always been something of a gray area. Rather than a right unto itself, it's actually a limitation on the exclusive rights of copyright holders. Rather than being clearly defined in in a way that can be measured it's described as much by the "character" of the potentially infringing work as anything else, and primarily left to a judge to decide.

Just to show how complex an issue it can be, although the amount of text quoted can be a factor in whether something is fair use or infringement, it's possible for reproducing an entire article to be fair use, and also for a single sentence to be copyright infringement.


AfterDawn: News

New study: young people prefer to reward artists and peers for music

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 17 Jun 2008 1:10

New study: young people prefer to reward artists and peers for music British Music Rights (BMR), an organization that represents British Academy of Composers & Songwriters, Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society, Music Publishers Association, and Performing Right Society. They've just published the results of a new study that looks at how young people, primarily between the ages of 14 and 25, feel about music and artists. More to the point, it discusses what these attitudes mean for those who make money from music.

The report's key findings were interesting to say the least. They definitely indicate a lot of potential for artists to make money, but don't seem to look so good for labels. On the whole, the respondents indicated that they spend money in no small part to support artists. In fact they said that 60% of their music budget was spent on live music rather than recordings.

At the same time young people value the social experience of trying out music others recommend and making their own recommendations to their peers. 4 out of 5 people indicated that they would be willing to pay to use a legal file sharing service.

But that doesn't mean they've given up on CDs. While the obvious conclusion from the siginificant drop in CD purchases over the last few years you might think young people don't place any value on the medium. Not so says the report. In fact many consider buying a CD to a better tribute to artists they prefer than downloading, even commercially.


AfterDawn: News

BPI CEO gets defensive about Virgin Media partnership

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 16 Jun 2008 10:04

BPI CEO gets defensive about Virgin Media partnership Last week BBC writer Bill Thompson attacked the deal Virgin Media made to send out letters on bealf of the UK's equivalent of the RIAA, the British Phonographic Industry. It's part of the BPI's campaign to "educate" broadband internet users about illegal downloading. Now Geoff Taylor, head of the BPI, has published a response on the organization's website, and not surprisingly it reads a lot like a creative writing assignment.

Taylor says "Independent research has shown time after time that people who download illegally generally spend less on music than people that don’t, which undermines investment in new music."

Conveniently he doesn't provide any sources for his claim. Fortunately we have Google to help out, and wouldn't you know it, Taylor apparently has it exactly wrong. Every study done on the subject seems to reach the same conclusion, just not the one Taylor does.

They show that people who share music on P2P networks also buy music, and more of it than non-file sharers. Now it's entirely possible file sharers are buying less than they would without P2P, but that doesn't make it any less short sighted for the recording industry to go after their most loyal customers.


AfterDawn: News

HBO to use Amazon's on-demand DVD burning for documentaries

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 16 Jun 2008 6:08

HBO to use Amazon's on-demand DVD burning for documentaries CreateSpace, a company owned by, will start selling documentaries from HBO later this month. The first offering will be 'When I Knew,' which premieres on Cinemax on June 25 and CreateSpace the next day.

Henry McGee, president of HBO Video, said in a statement, “The CreateSpace DVD-on-demand program will allow HBO to bring a selection of our highly acclaimed documentary programming to consumers in a very cost-efficient and timely manner.”

On-demand DVD burning has gotten increased attention since the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) approved the use of CSS encryption on recordable media last year. At the same time its seen little use in the real world.

Looking at the prices of the HBO movies it's not too hard to see why either. You can already order both 'When I Knew' and a second release, 'Hard Times at Douglass High: A No Child Left Behind Report Card,' already. Both are priced at $24.99, which is more than most people pay for Hollywood blockbusters as new releases.

AfterDawn: News

Update: 60GB Xbox 360 Pro coming at E3?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jun 2008 1:42

Update: 60GB Xbox 360 Pro coming at E3? Last week we reported that analyst Jesse Divnich had said he strongly expects either a price cut or a model introduction of the Microsoft Xbox 360 before or at the E3 event.

According to new sources, it appears Divnich will be right and there will be a new model introduced at E3. If the claims are to be believed, the oft-rumored 60GB Xbox 360 Pro will emerge and replace the 20GB HDD model when it begins shipping in August.

It was unclear whether there would be a price cut as well or the addition of more HDD capacity for other 360 models.

We will keep you updated.

AfterDawn: News

JVC debuts first ever AVC/MPEG-2 HD camcorders

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jun 2008 1:11

JVC debuts first ever AVC/MPEG-2 HD camcorders JVC has debuted three new HD Everio camcorders which promise to bring new features never before seen on camcorders.

The HD30 and HD40 are the first camcorders that capture picture in AVCHD (H.264) or MPEG-2 format with the ability to use either. AVC is better quality and more efficient but MPEG-2 is widespread and might be easier for some to edit.

The HD40 also claims to be the "longest-running HD camcorder available" with its ability to record up to 50 hours of 1920x1080 video at "Extended Play" mode. Of course at full quality, recording time is only 15 hours, but that it is still a very long running time. The HD40 boasts a 120GB HDD and the HD30 offers the same recording capabilities but with a built-in 80GB HDD instead.


AfterDawn: News

3G iPhone to sell for 1 euro in Germany

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jun 2008 12:55

3G iPhone to sell for 1 euro in Germany T-Mobile has announced today that they will be offering the new 8GB 3G iPhone for 1 euro (about $1.50 USD) in Germany when purchased with a 69 euro monthly contract for 2 years.

Since Apple has dropped its insistence on revenue sharing and made the phone available non-exclusively in over 70 countries worldwide, carriers now have the option to subsidize the cost of the phone in an effort to lock the consumer into expensive data plans for long periods of time.

The original iPhone, which went on sale last June, sold six million units despite high prices and carrier exclusivity deals so at least on the outside it appears the 3G model will sell better.

T-Mobile added that the 8GB model would cost 170 euro if bought with the minimal data plan, of 29 euro a month and that the price would range between those prices for other data plans.

The 16GB model will sell for similar but with a range of 19.95-249.95 euros.

AfterDawn: News

New app turns iPhone into radio

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jun 2008 5:48

New app turns iPhone into radio AOL has created a new Radio application for the Apple iPhone that will allow users to connect to AOL servers via EDGE, 3G or Wi-Fi and listen to local CBS radio stations. The application won an 'Apple Design Award' last week at the annual WWDC.

Making the app even more intriguing is that the service will be free, but ad-supported, just like traditional radio is. There will be over 200 AOL and 150 CBS stations available in 25 different genres.

Apple noted this about the application, "Reliable audio streaming and improved battery life are achieved by using AudioFileServices and AudioQueueServices, while SCNetwork manages the best narrowband or broadband streaming based on whether users are connected via EDGE or Wi-Fi."

How is the quality though? AOL VP Kevin Conroy says it is "as good as listening to a CD".

AfterDawn: News

German court throws out P2P lawsuit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jun 2008 5:40

German court throws out P2P lawsuit The Frankenthal district court in Germany has thrown out a lawsuit against a suspected unauthorized file sharer after claiming that the evidence used to prosecute him was "obtained in an unconstitutional way".

The evidence was originally obtained by Swiss-based anti-piracy agency Logistep, which provided the users IP address to the content owners. The rights holders then used the IP address to begin the criminal complaint. Prosecutors then asked for the user's name from his German ISP and used it to begin the civil lawsuit. That same process has been used to start almost 30,000 similar lawsuits in Germany over the years.

The court has now ruled however that the ISP is not allowed to give out the defendant's names because file sharing "doesn't count as a serious criminal offense." That his name and address were handed over violates citizen's constitutional right to privacy, the ruling read.

As there is no common law in Germany the case wont affect the thousands of other alleged file sharers in the same position but the decision should give defendants more leverage if they choose to take the case to court.

AfterDawn: News

Verizon shuts down access to Usenet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jun 2008 4:11

Verizon shuts down access to Usenet Verizon has announced that they will be stopping access to tens of thousands of Usenet discussion areas including the very popular alt.* groups that have been around since the late 1980s.

Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe said only a select few newsgroups/discussion groups would be offered to customers going into the future. It appears the decision is in response to political "strong-arming" from New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo who wants strong restrictions on all newsgroups.

Cuomo added that his office had found child porn on at least 88 newsgroups, although that percentage is tiny compared to the over 90,000 newsgroups that exist. "We are attacking this problem by working with Internet service providers...I commend the companies that have stepped up today to embrace a new standard of responsibility, which should serve as a model for the entire industry," read a press statement from Cuomo's office.

Newsgroups are a pre-Web technology that has relied on ISPs and Universities to operate servers in which users can exchange messages and files.

With the decision however, comes the shut down of many useful newsgroups such as symantec.customerservice.general, us.military, microsoft.public.excel, and fr.soc.economie. which have longed helped users.


AfterDawn: News

Lancashire police accused of playing music without a license

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 15 Jun 2008 2:56

Lancashire police accused of playing music without a license Steve Finnigan, Chief Constable in Lancashire, England seems to have gotten himself in trouble with the Performing Right Society (PRS). Apparently there's been music playing in police stations where people can hear it, and someone at the PRS noticed that no one has paid any licensing fees for it. The PRS is responsible for collecting performance royalties on behalf of composers and publishers in the UK.

In addition to the music that allegedly plays in 34 separate police stations, they're also being accused of allowing employees to listen to it in gyms and at office parties. They've even gone so far as to use unlicensed music for entertaining the public when they get put on hold while calling in.

Since Lancashire Constabulary's head of legal services, Niamh Noone, instructed officers not to discuss what was being played with PRS representatives, the agency decided to take them to court in order to collect back royalties they believe are owed and arrange for proper licensing so that future royalties may be collected in a more timely manner.

Although PRS representatives didn't personally witness the music being played, or in fact get specifics from representatives of the Lancashire Constabulary, based on information gained from police in other areas of the country they feel confident that the violations are taking place in Lancashire. Given Ms Noone's failure to provide them with a compelling argument, or any argument for that matter, why they shouldn't be receiving royalties they're assuming that the Chief Constable agrees with their assessment.

AfterDawn: News

Comcast increases Premium and Premium Plus upload speeds

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jun 2008 10:40

Comcast increases Premium and Premium Plus upload speeds Comcast, perhaps still in PR damage control mode, has decided to increase upstream speeds for customers with Performance and Performance Plus subscriptions. At the Performance tier upload speeds are increasing from 384kbps (kilobits per second) to 1Mbps (Megabits per second). Customers signed up for Premium Plus service will be getting a boost from 768kbps to 2Mbps. That's an increase of more than 2 and a half times in both cases.

They've also added a feature they're calling PowerBoost, which according to the company is "Comcast network technology that enables you to experience faster connection speeds while you are downloading and uploading large files to the Internet."

Mitch Bowling, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Comcast High-Speed Internet, said. “We’ve made a number of complimentary speed increases over the last few years and we focused this latest increase on upstream speeds so our customers can take even better advantage of the ever-expanding amount of interactive applications the Internet has to offer.”

Unfortunately the fine print for PowerBoost makes it appear less useful than you might think. A FAQ on the company's website says the speed increase will last for "as long as the 10MB of a file download on Comcast's 6Mbps High-Speed Internet service, and as long as 5MB of a file upload." Unless you consider 25MB files to be "large" it doesn't seem like Comcast customers will likely see it as more of a PowerBust.

AfterDawn: News

Nintendo sues Nyko over Nunchuk

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jun 2008 6:46

Nintendo sues Nyko over Nunchuk Nintendo has sued the peripherals maker Nyko for allegedly violating Nintendo patents and trademarks pertaining to the Wireless Nunchuk add-on for the Wii-mote.

The complaint, filed in Washington, claims that Nyko's "Kama" controller "wholly appropriates the novel shape, design, overall appearance and even the color and materials used in the Nintendo Nunchuk controller."

Additionally, Nintendo says even the Kama's packaging infringe on trademarks held by Nintendo. The entertainment giant wants monetary damages and the removal of the product from stores.

AfterDawn: News

Fees for heavy Internet use "inevitable", says AT&T

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jun 2008 6:34

Fees for  heavy Internet use "inevitable", says AT&T AT&T representative Michael Coe has said the company believes it is "inevitable" that heavy Internet users will eventually have to pay some sort of surcharge for the extra bandwidth demand placed on the network.

The ISP along with other providers have been seeing a huge surge in traffic for its DSL services, which can be attributed to a small group of users. Coe added that only 5 percent of customers are currently accounting for 46 percent of overall bandwidth used per month. These users may need to be charged extra.

Although DSL is switch-based unlike cable Internet access Coe says the highly disproportionate use is still affecting other users.

The new stance is similar to other ISPs, such as Rogers in Canada and Comcast in the States which has said it is considering using a 250GB softcap and charging overage fees for users who cross that bandwidth cap.

Critics complain however, that the caps would unfairly punish users who use tons of bandwidth legitimately to, for example, watch movies through Hulu or Netflix, download movies from iTunes or play online multiplayer gaming. The critics do have a point, not everyone is a BitTorrent user.

AfterDawn: News

Sony preparing 'break apart' Wii-like controller?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jun 2008 6:22

Sony preparing 'break apart' Wii-like controller? According to developing partners, it appears that Sony is preparing a new controller for its PlayStation 3 console, one which can "break apart" into two units each of which have Wii-mote-like motion sensing functionality.

Although not officially announced by Sony, the controller has been sent off to a few developer partners already meaning an E3 launch is possible.

If true, the controller could help bring the casual or family gamer over to the PlayStation 3. The Nintendo Wii currently dominates the casual gaming audience.

The original PS3 controller, the Sixaxis did include some motion sensing ability but nowhere near the freedom of movement a Wii-Mote allows.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 price cut expected before E3?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jun 2008 6:13

Xbox 360 price cut expected before E3? Jesse Divnich, an expert analyst from the firm EEDAR, has said that a Microsoft Xbox 360 price cut, or maybe a model introduction, will happen before or at the E3 event next month.

Without citing any specific sources, Divnich says he is "very confident" a price cut is coming, or perhaps the introduction of a new version. Blu-ray model anyone?

It is unclear how drastic the price cut will be, if it comes, especially as Microsoft currently sells its Arcade version for $280 and Elite model at $450, both priced to compete with rivals Nintendo Wii and Sony PlayStation 3 which sell for $250 and $400 (for cheapest model) respectively.

Divnich continued on by saying that the newly released blockbuster Metal Gear Solid 4 should be a catalyst for PS3 sales due to its exclusive nature and he expects a high attach rate.


AfterDawn: News

New guide: Convert DVD to AVC with TMPGEnc 4 Xpress

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jun 2008 4:30

New guide: Convert DVD to AVC with TMPGEnc 4 Xpress TMPGEnc has long been known as a high quality MPEG-2 encoder. For a few years it was nearly the only software of its kind priced for the average consumer. What you may not be as familiar with are the MPEG-4 encoding features which have been added to recent versions of the popular TMPGEnc Xpress encoder.

Unlike their MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 encoders, which are homegrown solutions, Pegasys decided to use other companies' solutions for MPEG-4. In the case of AVC this means MainConcept software which is known for being one of only a handful of high quality encoders for the format.

Our new guide for encoding from DVD to AVC uses TMPGEnc 4 Xpress to produce high quality output suitable for playback on a computer or standalone DVD player with AVC (H.264) support.


AfterDawn: News

Digital copies on DVD getting consumer attention

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jun 2008 4:12

Digital copies on DVD getting consumer attention It's no secret that the annual increase in DVD sales of just a couple years ago has vanished. As consumers have finished replacing their video tapes, new formats have become available, and HDTV broadcasts have taken off it's become harder to convince people they need a DVD. One thing that does seem to be helping is the recent trend of distributing free digital copies along with select new releases.

These copies, which have been included with movies like 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix' and 'Live Free or Die Hard,' are intended to be copied to devices ranging from PCs to iPods. Some releases have even come with copies in multiple formats to make sure there's a version supporting both Microsoft and Apple DRM.

Despite not getting a lot of publicity by the studios it seems consumers have taken notice of this feature. The results of a recent Warner Bros. survey indicated more than a third of consumers are aware of these copies. Jim Wuthrich, Senior VP of Digital Distribution for the company indicated that their second release featuring a digital copy, 'I Am Legend,' saw about 20% more people taking advantage of the feature than their first effort with the most recent Harry Potter movie.


AfterDawn: News

RIAA allegedly seeking piracy tax on internet access

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jun 2008 3:56

RIAA allegedly seeking piracy tax on internet access The folks at the Digital Freedom website are hearing whispers of a new tax some RIAA lobbyists are trying to get enacted which would be applied to every internet account in the US. The so-called Piracy Tax would be used to "compensate" record labels for internet piracy.

Although this report doesn't conclusively show that the RIAA is actually working on such a proposal, they clearly started laying the groundwork for something along the same lines earlier this year.

Leaving aside the obvious issue of being innocent until proven guilty, and the fact that even the RIAA doesn't claim everyone in the US with an internet connection is using it to infringe on their copyrights, there's still the issue of calling this a tax. Last time I checked being ordered to pay money for breaking the law was called a fine, not a tax.

And then there's the issue of what rights would go along with it. If the RIAA gets to start charging what amounts to royalties on each internet account they're likely to find that people expect to get something for their money. After all royalties are for licensing content. Logically if you're paying royalties, albeit government mandated and collected royalties, that should entitle you to some copyrighted content.

AfterDawn: News

Panasonic says Tru2Way should be available by holiday season

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jun 2008 3:27

Panasonic says Tru2Way should be available by holiday season After reports of supposed problems with the certification of Panasonic's new Tru2Way TVs hit the internet earlier this week Panasonic there has been growing discussion about whether the company will be able to get them on store shelves before the end of this year. In a statement sent by email to CNet the company indicates they still expect to be selling them this Christmas season.

The statement said "Panasonic's Tru2way-enabled VIERA HDTV is in the certification process at CableLabs. Panasonic expects to deliver Tru2way-enabled VIERA HDTVs to the market in time for the holiday season."

Of course saying they expect it isn't the same as actually delivering. But even if the number of problems reported on June 10 by a blogger at IP Democracy is accurate it also doesn't necessarily mean it won't be available later this year either. Of course they apparently didn't say they were expecting it for this year's holiday season.


AfterDawn: News

RIAA goes judge shopping in New York

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 14 Jun 2008 3:11

RIAA goes judge shopping in New York Ray Beckerman, the attorney behind the RIAA watchdog site Recording Industry vs The People appeared to be on the verge of getting a file sharing lawsuit dismissed in federal court when the RIAA suddenly dopped the case. Initially there was a lot of speculation they feared the judge's expected decision that simply making music available by sharing via P2P doesn't infringe copyright and neither does an authorized recording industry agent downloading it. Now it looks like there was more to it than that as the suit has been re-filed with the apparent aim of getting a more favorable judge.

You see the issue isn't whether the RIAA can re-file in federal court. Since the original lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice they're within their rights to do so. What's controversial is their failure to let the courts know this was a case that had already been assigned a judge in a previous incarnation. This "oversight" allowed them to get a new judge.

In response Beckerman has told one interviewer "These people are psychos."


AfterDawn: News

Warner Bros. adds content to online distributors

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jun 2008 4:07

Warner Bros. adds content to online distributors Warner Bros. TV has announced that it has signed deals to have its content distributed on WB-branded channels on Dailymotion, Joost, Sling Media, TiVo and Veoh Networks.

Each channel will include content from and as well as other series that are currently not distributed online. The studio did not reveal the series as of yet however.

The new channels will launch in mid-September and will join current studio channels on AOL and Comcast's Fancast. The company noted that popular social networking site Facebook has an application for WB content as well., currently in beta, has hit shows such as "Gilmore Girls", "Smallville", "Friends," "The O.C." and "Veronica Mars."

AfterDawn: News

Sharp begins selling its 108-inch LCD TV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jun 2008 3:00

Sharp begins selling its 108-inch LCD TV After announcing the TV late last year, Sharp has finally begun selling the largest single panel HDTV on the planet, the LB-1085's which stands at 108 inches diagonally. The company says the display is designed for public, outdoor use, and has a rich picture that at 1080p results in 76 million colors. In comparison, most commercial LCDs reach almost 17 million.

As is standard with all Sharp displays, the LB-1085 will have three HDMI connections, dual component inputs, one S-video, dual RCA connections, and computer input through both a DVI video port and a minijack input. For sound the TV is equipped with dual 15W speakers under the monitor.

The TV will go on sale in Japan in early July and already has one buyer, the Shinjuku Piccadilly movie theater. Other countries including the US will have soon have the chance to purchase the TV, for approximately $101,000 USD but it was unclear whether the build-to-order TV would be sold to individual customers or just companies.

AfterDawn: News

Nintendo dominates US console hardware sales for May

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jun 2008 2:25

Nintendo dominates US console hardware sales for May The research firm NPD has released US console hardware sales data for the month of May, and Nintendo was the clear winner, again, although Sony and Microsoft did have a few figures to boast about.

The ever popular Wii had sales of 675,089 for the month, and the extremely popular handheld, the DS had sales of 452,608.

Sony continued to beat out Microsoft, selling 208,709 PlayStation 3 units compared to 186,500 Xbox 360 units sold.

Software sales were up exponentially for Sony year-on-year thanks to strong sales of Grand Theft Auto IV, Haze and SingStar. Overall for the month, sales were up 234 percent. The company also noted that GTA IV had a higher attach rate than the Xbox 360 with a 32 percent rate for US PS3 owners.


AfterDawn: News

Modchips declared legal in the UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jun 2008 2:09

Modchips declared legal in the UK In the UK it has been ruled that the creation and sale of modchips are infact legal, overturning a past ruling by a lower court.

The UK Court of Appeals ruled in favor of vendor Neil Higgs, who had been arrested on 26 charges of selling modification kits for consoles, most notably the PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360. For those unaware, modchips allow gamers to play pirated games, usually downloaded from the Internet. The ruling subsequently invalidates the lower courts ruling and Higgs is free to go. He will also be re-compensated for all his legal costs.

The appeal was based on the point that modchips do not circumvent copyright protection even though they are key to piracy on consoles. According to the ruling, "while modchips are integral to the piracy of console games, any act of copyright infringement has been already committed before modchip use or installation."


AfterDawn: News

Tru2Way may be delayed until next year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 13 Jun 2008 3:53

Tru2Way may be delayed until next year This September Panasonic was planning to start selling TVs equipped with the new Tru2Way technology that amounts to a more advanced alternative to CableCard. Unlike CableCard, Tru2Way makes it possible to use services like Video On Demand (VOD) without the need for a digital cable receiver. Unfortunately Panasonic seems to have hit some bumps in the road to certification for this new technology which may delay its release several months.

As part of the licensing agreement signed by Panasonic (or any other manufacturer) they must submit Tru2Way devices for testing by CableLabs, a sort of combination R&D lab and certification agency. Until they certify that the device works properly it won't be sold. That seems to be where the process is stalled right now.

According to a report on IP Democracy Panasonic's Tru2WAy equipped TVs have failed the CableLabs tests in spectacular fashion. In fact, if the report is true, it seems likely that there are so many problems it will likely delay getting the TVs to stores for several months.


AfterDawn: News

It's a girl!

Written by Jari Ketola @ 13 Jun 2008 3:47

It's a girl! On behalf of the whole staff congratulations to Teemu (our web designer) and his wife Katariina who yesterday became parents of a baby girl!

AfterDawn: News

Canadian copyright bill proposal includes $20,000 fines

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 11:41

Canadian copyright bill proposal includes $20,000 fines Canadian Industry Minister Jim Prentice called his country's proposed new copyright law a "win-win" for consumers and copyright holders alike. It seems obvious what the copyright lobby has won, since it would make sharing copyrighted material an offense punishable by a $20,000 fine. Exactly what he thinks consumers are getting out of the deal is less clear.

To be fair the law would expressly permit time shifting, such as recording TV shows with a DVR, and format shifting like encoding songs from a CD to play on your MP3 player. Both of those could be wins for the consumer - except of course for the so-called digital lock provisions. In a nutshell they make it illegal to circumvent copy protection, similar to provisions in the United States' DMCA or various implementations of the European Union's EUCD.

In return the public wins the right to be sued for up to $500 per violation when illegal copies are made solely for private use. While that may seem more lenient than say the RIAA judgements agains US file sharers, keep in mind those violations would actually fall into the $20,000 category. Private use would include things like copying a protected CD to your own music server which can only be accessed within your house.


AfterDawn: News

Mozilla tries to set world record with Firefox launch

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 9:33

Mozilla tries to set world record with Firefox launch After nearly 3 years in development, the much anticipated release of Firefox version 3 should be available on June 17. As part of the launch the Mozilla Foundation has announced that they'll be attempting to set a world record for the most software downloads in a 24 hour period. They're also suggesting that fans of Firefox host parties celebrating the launch.

The good news for Mozilla is that they don't seem to have any competition for the record. According to the FAQ on the website created to promote the launch, "This is the first record attempt of its kind so there is no set number. We'd really like to outdo the number of Firefox 2 downloads on its launch day, which was 1.6 million. Let's shoot for 5 million--the sky is the limit!"

If you'd like a reminder on the release day you can pledge to download and they'll send you an email reminder on the day Firefox 3 launches. You can also look for launch parties at Mozilla Party Central.

Or, if you're like most people, you can just download the software.

AfterDawn: News

Cross your fingers - Qtrax is launching again

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 8:44

Cross your fingers - Qtrax is launching again Qtrax, which bills itelf as "The world's first free and legal P2P music download network," is scheduled to start offering downloads on June 18. You may remember that their launch in January was unique for an online music service. It featured a great deal of hype and an ad-supported client, but not a single song.

In reality the original event appeared to have been timed for maximum exposure at the annual MIDEM music industry conference in Cannes, France. Unfortunately it quickly became more notable for the company's claims they had secured contracts to provide music from every major label, which ultimately proved to be false.

This time around, however, the situation looks much better. For starters they seem to actually have some music now.

One thing that doesn't seem quite clear is where the service will be available. Although the Qtrax website has sections for various coutries, one of the major label agreements cited in ther Press section indicates that EMI songs will only be available to residents of the US and Canada. That makes sense when you consider that the only other similar service, SpiralFrog, has the same limitation.


AfterDawn: News

Canal Plus to begin VOD for the PSP

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 7:48

Canal Plus to begin VOD for the PSP Later this month Sony PSP owners in France will be getting access on on-demand content from the Canal Plus Group. Starting June 19 4,000 offerings from the company's CanalPlus internet-based VOD service will be available, encrypted with Sony's own DRM.

"It provides Sony with quite an appealing content proposition for their portable device, in addition to the games," said Dan Cryan of media analyst Screen Digest. "What's become clear for about every form of online content, with the exception of sport and adult, is that the PC is not a paying platform."

"But if you move it onto a device, people become more interested in handing over money," he added, citing Apple's emergence as the leading online movie and TV player for paid content.

News Corp owned BSkyB is also expected to be launching a similar service in the UK by month's end.

AfterDawn: News

Nintendo to have first third-party hardware bundle for DS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jun 2008 4:18

Nintendo to have first third-party hardware bundle for DS Nintendo has announced that it will be teaming up with Activision to release their first third party hardware bundle for the DS handheld. The bundle is part of the launch of the anticipated Guitar Hero: World Tour.

The bundle will include an exclusive silver and black console with Guitar Hero: World Tour branding, the game, and the necessary peripheral to play the game. The game is set to go on sale on June 22nd.

"We are thrilled to be the first third-party publisher to partner with Nintendo on this unique offering,"
said Dusty Welch, head of publishing for RedOctane.

Activision's Guitar Hero franchise is becoming one of the largest blockbusters in history and in just a few years has already surpassed $1 billion USD in sales in just the North American region.

AfterDawn: News

Amazon and Tower start Blu-ray sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jun 2008 4:06

Amazon and Tower start Blu-ray sales The giant e-tailer Amazon and the once huge audio/video retailer Tower have started new sales on Blu-ray movie titles, with some popular movies reaching as low as $12 USD.

Amazon, for its deal, has slashed the price on a few popular titles and added a new "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" offer. A few of the movies seeing price cuts are 'Blade Runner,' 'I Am Legend', '3:10 To Yuma,' and '300.' The B2G1F promotion will last all week and includes 95 titles including 'The Fifth Element,' 'Hellboy,', 'Underworld Evolution' and 'Spider-Man: The High-Definition Trilogy.' You can view the complete list here: Amazon "Buy 2 Get 1 Free" offer.

On the other hand, Tower has slashed the prices of many Blu-ray titles, some even lower than that of Amazon. Just like the e-tailer, there is free shipping on orders above $25 USD.

A few of the notable price cuts have '300', '3:10 to Yuma' and 'Blade Runner' at $12 USD, the cheapest price I have seen for great BD movies in a very long time.


AfterDawn: News

PBS adds content to Hulu

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jun 2008 3:52

PBS adds content to Hulu Although on TV it normally shuns commercials, the publically supported, non-profit broadcaster PBS has announced that it has struck a deal to have several of its shows streamed on the new (and getting more and more impressive) Hulu website.

The shows are “Nova,” “Wired Science,” “Carrier” and “Scientific American Frontiers.”

Each show will a solitary 30-second ad before each program and the revenue will be split between Hulu and PBS. Andrew Russell, the senior vice president who runs PBS Ventures, reasoned on how the company's need for revenue could balance with its traditional heritage.

“It is very important to carry the principles of public television into these environments,”
he said. Notably, he added, the deal only allows for the commercials at the beginning of the shows. “We do not allow interruption of our programs,” he finished. Russell also made it clear that certain advertisers would not be allowed to have commercials on PBS programming such as tobacco companies or politicians.

Currently, PBS offers some of its shows online on its own website, a few other shows on Joost (with superimposed ads), and some clips on a YouTube channel. Making digital distribution even harder is the fact that PBS only has the rights to a fraction of its shows. For example, "the show Nova is produced by WGBH in Boston, which acquires individual episodes from various production companies."


AfterDawn: News

Orange opens music download store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jun 2008 3:32

Orange opens music download store The French mobile carrier Orange has announced the launch of Musique Max, a desktop and mobile music download store. The service has music from the Big 4 labels plus independents, "with an emphasis on French artists."

Musique Max will be a subscription based store, but there will be a limited amount of songs you can download per month. For €12 a month, users are allowed to download up to 500 songs. If you want more, each track will cost an additional 99 euro cents.

Making the service unique, and very intriguing, is the fact that the songs never "expire" even after your monthly subscription is up. Any song you've downloaded is yours to keep, whether you cancel the service or not.

The only catch however, is that the songs, at least for the time being, are DRM-riddled Windows Media files. Orange had hoped to open a DRM-free store, but it appears the labels would not allow it. The songs can be played on a maximum of 5 PCs and 5 portable devices but notably the songs are locked out of the dominant market leader, the iPod which cannot play locked WMAs.

AfterDawn: News

Federal court says UMG can't stop the sale of promo CDs

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 5:13

Federal court says UMG can't stop the sale of promo CDs Last year Universal Music Group (UMG) filed a lawsuit against Troy Augusto claiming he was violating copyright law by offering promotional CDs for sale. Now a federal district court has ruled that UMG's copyright wasn't violated by the sales.

At issue is the legal force of warnings on the CDs, which were sent (free of charge) to radio stations. UMG claimed that since they weren't actually sold the first sale doctrine, which allows you to do what you please with goods you've purchased, has no application. The court ruled that the CDs are given as gifts, which in turn means the first sale doctrine does apply and UMG has no say in whether they're sold later.

The court's decision may also be important in the case of Timothy Vernor. Vernor is suing AutoCAD developer Autodesk for repeatedly interfering with his right to sell legally purchased copies of their software through eBay. Autodesk's argument has been that the licensing agreement for AutoCAD makes resale a copyright violation.


AfterDawn: News

Nokia to bring touchscreens to a wide range of phones

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 4:31

Nokia to bring touchscreens to a wide range of phones As many consumers consider the purchase of an iPhone 3G one of its perceived strengths is the use of a touchscreen interface. It's even been enough of a selling point to convince rivals like Samsung to adopt it for their own competing phones. Nokia is also planning to offer a touchscreen later this year, but what's more interesting is the scope of their plans.

Rather than sticking to the high-end models which compete with the iPhone, it seems Nokia plans to put touchscreens in phones at all price points.

"Currently, the market for touchscreen products is a niche market. We always aim for a situation where we can cover all the segments with all the options," said Senior Vice President of Nokia Markets Anssi Vanjoki. He added "We will introduce products from the very low segment to the highest one featuring this type of functionality."

Despite a drastic price reduction compared to the original, the new iPhone is still out of reach for many consumers. If Nokia is able to capture the interest of consumers who would like to own an iPhone 3G but just can't afford it there should be a lot of market potential. Of course if they're plan isn't wildly successful it could be a fairly expensive misstep.

AfterDawn: News

"Virtual label" representing 12,000 indies working on licensing deals

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 3:26

"Virtual label" representing 12,000 indies working on licensing deals Despite the playing field levelling capabilities provided by the internet, for most musical acts it remains a fact of life that the four major labels simply have more power than the numerous independents. When it comes to negotiating licensing deals the independents are still at a disadvantage - or at least they have been until recently.

Now independent labels have been getting organized into a new "virtual label" called Merlin. Merlin, which counts labels from around the world as members, was originally organized more than a year ago. Since then they've grown to include more than 12,000 labels, which account for around 8% of all music sold in the US. While that may not seem like very much, it's approximately equal to the market share of EMI, which is the smallest of the four majors.

According to Merlin's chairman Bob Frank, who also runs indie label KOCH Records, Merlin is "in discussions with and MySpace as well as other major digital companies" to distribute members' music.


AfterDawn: News

Disney decides chat clients are the killer app for BD Live

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 2:52

Disney decides chat clients are the killer app for BD Live Disney, a studio which has been very public in their support for Blu-ray since the format was introduced, appears ready to take full advantage of the BD Live features that will finally be available in a number of new players later this year. BD Live enables web-based content to be added to Blu-ray discs. Taking advantage of such content obviously requires that your player be connected to the internet. Currently it also requires a PS3 since it's the only player compatible with Blu-ray's Profile 2.0.

Disney's first foray into web enabled Blu-ray content will be part of a special 50 anniversary edition of Sleeping Beauty. It will include a chat feature allowing viewers to connect with others watching the movie at the same time. It will also apparently require the use of a Blackberry or similar device for text entry.

“The idea of my little girl being able to experience the movie and chat in real time with her grandparents across the country is very exciting to me,” said Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek during a presentation Monday night.


AfterDawn: News

EMI puts Second Life programmer in charge of digital distribution

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 12 Jun 2008 2:07

EMI puts Second Life programmer in charge of digital distribution EMI Music announced their choice to fill a newly created position Senior VP of Digital Strategy. What probably came as a surprise to many in the music business was their choice. Rather than hiring someone with experience in the industry they decided to bring in Second Life co-creator Cory Ondrejka.

Not only does Ondrejka lack the experience you would expect from an executive at one of the four major music labels, according to his blog he doesn't really buy music either. In fact he specifically states that he's purchased just 5 albums since 2000, and most were from the same band (Rush).

So what qualifies him to provide direction for what amounts to the future of distribution for EMI? Well if his blog is any indication he certainly understands why consumers are frustrated. His description of the hurdles he faced simply buying music on his laptop speaks volumes.

"It's like they don't want to sell me music. Then, once I did remember all the passwords I needed, I couldn't figure out whether the iTunes download was DRM free. So I went to Amazon, which was slightly easier and made it clear the download wasn't broken via DRM."


AfterDawn: News

Telefonica signs iPhone distribution deal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jun 2008 5:24

Telefonica signs iPhone distribution deal The Spanish company Telefonica has announced it will distribute the iPhone to 16 countries in Latin America and the Czech Republic after striking a deal with Apple.

"The 16 countries where we will distribute the iPhone have a market potential of 500 million people, making us one of the global leaders in the distribution of these revolutionary handsets,"
Telefonica Chairman Cesar Alierta said in a statement.

Telefonica already sells the phone in the UK and Ireland through O2 and will begin selling the device in Spain on July 11th.

The 16 new countries are the Czech Republic, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Unlike its current markets however, the new markets will not be exclusive for Telefonica as America Movil has already signed a deal to distribute the phone in most of those countries.

AfterDawn: News

Bertelsmann to sell its Sony BMG stake to Sony?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jun 2008 4:53

Bertelsmann to sell its Sony BMG stake to Sony? The giant German conglomerate Bertelsmann is in talks with its partner Sony to sell Bertelsmann's half of the jointly owned music company Sony BMG back to Sony.

Each company has owned 50 percent of the music publishing firm since its launch in 2004 and Sony has the option to buy Bertlesmann's stake if it ever chooses to sell any or all of its stake.

So far spokespeople for both companies have declined to comment on the speculation.

The sources for the rumor also added that Bertelsmann CEO Hartmut Ostrowski has decided its time to move out of the music business, citing the spectacular fall of physical CDs sales.

In 2006, Bertelsmann sold the rights of BMG Music Publishing's catalogue to Vivendi and if this current deal goes through could end their run in the music business.

AfterDawn: News

Swedish political party votes for legal piracy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jun 2008 2:53

Swedish political party votes for legal piracy The Vänsterpartiet, translated to the Left Party of Sweden, held its annual congress last weekend and passed a motion that will legalize the online sharing of copyright material.

During the debate on whether to pass the measure, the infamous torrent tracker The Pirate Bay was cited as why current copyright legislation is outdated.

“The farce that is the ongoing legal procedures against The Pirate Bay also shows how legal security is in risk of being compromised by those trying to enforce the current ban on file sharing.”

Members continued on, “To many of us in the Left Party, file sharing is something positive in the same obvious way that public libraries are.”

Additionally, the measure asks for the end of "big brother" tactics such as surveillance, entrapment and lawsuits for alleged pirates.

The party only holds 22 seats in the Swedish parliament currently but hopefully this measure will see the light with the other political parties in Sweden.

AfterDawn: News

AC/DC album to be Wal-Mart exclusive

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Jun 2008 6:15

AC/DC album to be Wal-Mart exclusive As CD sales continue to decline it's become harder and harder for brick and mortar retailers to compete with iTunes. In fact just this year Apple's online music store became the largest US music retailer. One of the few bands whose music isn't available on iTunes, AC/DC, will reportedly be selling their next CD exclusively through Wal-Mart this fall.

Although there's certainly interest in AC/DC's popular catalog of titles among online retailers, currently only Verizon is authorized to sell downloads of their music. Even if that weren't the case it's unlikely iTunes would be interested. That's because the band has so far resisted selling individual tracks, preferring to require that entire albums be downloaded instead.

While it may seem somewhat old fashioned for a band to avoid iTunes, depending on the terms of the deal it might not be as crazy as it sounds. Previously Wal-Mart has made exclusive deals to distribute music from artists like Journey and The Eagles, allowing them to bypass labels entirely and deal directly with the retailer.


AfterDawn: News

GAO report highlights potential for trouble in US DTV transition

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Jun 2008 5:08

GAO report highlights potential for trouble in US DTV transition If you live in the US you're hopefully already aware of the Digital TV (DTV) transition that will be occuring next February. At that time nearly all analog television broadcasts will be shut off forever, replaced by DTV signals which require an ATSC tuner, and for older TVs the use of a special converter box. But if you didn't know about it, or aren't yet prepared according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) you're not alone.

First the good news. The GAO indicates 84% of the public is aware of the transition. Unfortunately that knowledge doesn't equate to understanding what, if anything, they must do to prepare. Even among those who said they plan to take advantage of the government program which provides $40 voucher cards to consumers for purchasing converter boxes, only a third actually knew how to get them.

The outlook for people who don't need to worry about transition isn't much better either. The report states "Amongst those unaffected by the transition, 30 percent indicated they have plans to ready themselves for the transition—despite the fact that no action will be required to maintain television service."


AfterDawn: News

Analyst suggests shipments of 18 million iPhones this year

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Jun 2008 4:01

Analyst suggests shipments of 18 million iPhones this year Jenny Lai, an analyst at CLSA Emerging Markets, is predicting that the iPhone 3G's new price may result in 18 million units shipped this year.

Lai, who covers Hon Hai Precision Industry, the contractor responsible for building the Apple phones, wrote "The higher expectation on the 3G iPhone reflects attractive prices and a broader distribution channel (availability at ~70 countries)," adding "The newly added white color for the 3G iPhone also bodes well to consumers."

She indicated that if her estimates of demand are correct the phone could represent as much as 10% of 2008 revenue for Hon Hai, which is currently the world's largest contract electronics manufacturer.

She did caution that there could be supply problems when the phone launches on July 11, but indicated they should be resolved by month's end.

AfterDawn: News

O2 offers iPhone for free with select contracts

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Jun 2008 3:35

O2 offers iPhone for free with select contracts If Monday's announcement of the iPhone 3G's drastically reduced price was cause for celebration among consumers, the news from UK provider O2 should be equally exciting for potential customers. Rather than sticking to a price of £99 for the 8GB model or £159 for 16GB, which is what customers with either a £30 or £35 per month contract will pay, customers who sign up for more expensive plans will be able to get both at even lower prices or even free.

The deal is intended for those who choose service contracts costing either £45 or £75 each month. The £45 plans will be eligible for a free 8GB iPhone 3G or £59 for its 16GB sibling. With a £75 plan even the 16GB iPhone 3G can be had for free. All of O2's iPhone plans have a term of 18 months and feature unlimited data on their 3G network.

"With this new pricing, iPhone 3G becomes an unbeatable proposition," said Ronan Dunne, the chief executive of O2.

During his introduction of the new iPhone, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs admitted that a high price was "the No 1 reason people didn't buy iPhones." That's been particularly true in the UK and Germany where prices had already been cut in an attempt to overcome disappointing sales.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft files string of suits against resellers over piracy concerns

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jun 2008 2:46

Microsoft files string of suits against resellers over piracy concerns This morning Microsoft announced it had filed 21 federal lawsuits against resellers it believes are selling pirated copies of Windows and Office software.

The software giant added that the companies that are being sued are selling PCs which are pre-installed with unlicensed copies. Eight of the companies were already sued for the same issue and settled the past lawsuits.

For most of the cases, Microsoft learned of the piracy from customers using the company's piracy hotline. Some of the computers also failed the company's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) online validation tool for legitimate Microsoft software.

"These legal actions are about protecting Microsoft's customers from falling victim to some dealers who operate a business model of peddling pirated and counterfeit software,"
Microsoft attorney Sharon Cates said in a statement. "Some companies previously involved in these lawsuits have discontinued their illegal business practices; others have not."

Six of the companies are from California, two in Texas, two in Washington, and others around the country in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

AfterDawn: News

iPhone 3G not quite as cheap if you want to unlock it

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 11 Jun 2008 2:34

iPhone 3G not quite as cheap if you want to unlock it After the official unveiling of Apple's new iPhone 3G on Monday, arguably the most interesting difference from the original was the $200 price reduction. What Steve Jobs didn't mention during his WWDC keynote address was exactly how they managed to bring costs down far enough to make the new price feasible. As it turns out the answer to that question may be bad news for those who intend to unlock the phone for use on networks where the carrier doesn't have a deal with Apple.

Perhaps even more than the technology itself, Apple's sales strategy for the original iPhone was revolutionary, if somewhat flawed. Rather than relying on service providers like AT&T to subsidize the price and provide them directly to consumers they chose to charge consumers full price. Although this allowed them to sell the phone directly at their own Apple Stores, it also made it easy to purchase it without signing up for service at the same time.

For anyone who wanted to use the phone outside the six networks officially sanctioned by Apple it made things easier. By simply buying the phone with no service they avoided the hassle (and early termination fees) typically associated with cancelling a contract.


AfterDawn: News

Iomega introduces 'DVR expander' drive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jun 2008 11:09

Iomega introduces 'DVR expander' drive Iomega has announced that they have released their own Iomega DVR expander which will work with Scientific Atlanta DVRs and TiVo and will give users up to 500GB of extra storage capacity.

The DVR Expander connects via an eSATA connection and is capable of 1.5GBps transfer speeds. 500GB should be able to hold up to 300 hours of SD TV programming and just over 60 hours of HD programming.

The drive is identical, technically, to the Western Digital DVR Expander which has been out for several months and will be compatible with any eSATA-enabled DVRs from Scientific Atlanta. Those boxes are available from cable providers such as COX, Time Warner, iO Cable and Rogers.

The drive will retail for $199 USD, the same price as its Western Digital counterpart.


AfterDawn: News

SanDisk buys up MusicGremlin service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jun 2008 10:49

SanDisk buys up MusicGremlin service SanDisk has agreed in principle to purchase the wireless MP3 player company MusicGremlin for a currently undisclosed amount.

The latter company, which was launched in early 2003, built media players called 'Gremlins' that could download music from a subscription service directly, using Wi-Fi, thus eliminating the need for a PC at all. Users could then share their songs with other Gremlin users.

The technology is still somewhat rare despite the fact that Microsoft has tried to use it in their Zune line and SanDisk has even used it in their Sansa Connect players. SanDisk's Sansa Senior VP Daniel Schreiber says the features brought by Gremlin will play a "key role" in future Sansa media players.

Schreiber added that MusicGremlin will be fully integrated in SanDisk and will no longer continue its own services. It appears that SanDisk was also somewhat forced to make this move as it tries to steal more market share from the dominant leader Apple. Its Sansa Connect players currently use Yahoo's unlimited music subscription service but the service has since closed.

AfterDawn: News

EMI and XM Satellite radio settle lawsuit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jun 2008 10:25

EMI and XM Satellite radio settle lawsuit The Big 4 record label EMI has said they have finally reached a settlement in its lawsuit brought against XM Satellite Radio.

The lawsuit, which was brought forward in May 2006, revolved around the Pioneer Inno music player which allowed suers to record on-air streams from XM programming. EMI, and the rest of the Big 4 labels considered that ability a violation of copyright and subsequently sued the satellite radio giant. The player cannot distinguish the difference between authorized and unauthorized music and brought comparisons to cassette players that can record streams right from FM radio.

EMI's settlement marks the end of the lawsuit, which had already seen 3 settlements last December for Warner, Universal and Sony BMG.

The terms of the latest settlement were not disclosed.

AfterDawn: News

Disney to stream full movies online for free

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jun 2008 9:19

Disney to stream full movies online for free Disney has announced that it will begin streaming full-length movies online, for free, from its "Wonderful World of Disney" collection.

As part of a deal with ABC, the films will air on ABC every Saturday night for the summer and then will be available for free on for the week following the broadcast.

“Streaming full-length films on takes our acommitment to delivering world-class online entertainment to the next level,”
stated Paul Yanover, executive vice president and managing director, Disney Online. “This is a wonderful partnership with ABC, and just another example of how Disney’s unmatched, high-quality content can be leveraged on multiple platforms.”

The movies, according to the Disney press release are:

* “Finding Nemo” – currently available online through June 13
* “Monsters Inc.” – airs on ABC Saturday, June 14 at 8pm; available on June 16-20
* “Haunted Mansion” – airs on ABC Saturday, June 28 at 8pm; available on June 30-July 4
* “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen” – airs on ABC Saturday, July 5 at 8pm; available on July 7-11
* “Princess Diaries 2” – airs on ABC Saturday, July 12 at 8pm; available on July 14-18
* “Freaky Friday” – airs on ABC Saturday, July 19 at 8pm; available on July 21-25
* “Peter Pan” – airs on ABC Saturday, Aug. 2 at 8pm; available on Aug. 4-8

AfterDawn: News

Apple drops revenue sharing for most new iPhone 3G carriers

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jun 2008 7:57

Apple drops revenue sharing for most new iPhone 3G carriers One of the most controversial issues surrounding the iPhone since its introduction last year has been Apple's policy requiring service providers to share revenue in exchange for the privilege of selling the phone. The has led to the exclusive deals signed in each of the 6 countries where the phone is officially available. With the introduction of the iPhone 3G that appears to be changing - for new markets anyway.

A filing yesterday with the US Securities and Exchange Commission says:

"Apple has signed multi-year agreements with carriers authorizing them to distribute and provide network services for iPhones in over 70 countries. These agreements are generally not exclusive with a specific carrier, except in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Ireland, and certain other countries. Under the vast majority of these agreements, Apple will not receive follow-on revenue generating payments from carriers for the new iPhone 3G beyond the purchase of the device by carriers or a commission on sales of the device by Apple. Apple will continue to receive payments from cellular network providers related to first-generation iPhones as long as they remain active on authorized networks."


AfterDawn: News

Hulu lands Comedy Central's Daily Show and Colbert Report

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jun 2008 6:39

Hulu lands Comedy Central's Daily Show and Colbert Report Hulu, the video site jointly owned by NBC Universal and News Corp, has added a bit of truthiness to their lineup with the addition of Comedy Central hits 'The Colbert Report' and 'The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.'

The deal with Comedy Central to provide content for Hulu is noteable for a couple of reasons. For starters it's the first time such popular content from a major network other than those owned by NBC or News Corp will be featured on the site. Although both companies have made it clear that they'd like to see other networks participate, until now it hasn't really happened. Comedy Central is part of MTV Networks, which is owned by Viacom.

The timing is also very important. Both shows are well known for their political commentary, particularly when it comes to election coverage. John Edwards even announced his candidacy for President of the United States last year on 'The Daily Show.' As the 2008 election goes into high gear it certainly seems like a major victory for Hulu that could result in a substantially increased number of viewers.

If you're interested in checking out either show on Hulu, both clips and short episodes are already available.

AfterDawn: News

Vizio sued by other TV manufacturers for alleged patent infringement

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jun 2008 5:45

Vizio sued by other TV manufacturers for alleged patent infringement Over the last 2 years Vizio has become a powerful player in the HDTV market by selling low priced displays. Now it looks like some of the more established TV manufacturers have come up with a new strategy to compete with them. Last week a number of companies that hold MPEG-2 video related patents, including Mitsubishi, Samsung , and JVC, filed suit against them, claiming that Vizio owes licensing fees for components used in their TVs.

While acknowledging the use of the components, as well as the companies' right to collect patent royalties on them, Vizio claims their suppliers, the actual manufacturers of the parts, are responsible for the royalties.

"Vizio's suppliers have licenses for the MPEG-2 patents, and Vizio believes that these licenses extend to Vizio's products," the company said in a statement.


AfterDawn: News

Samsung introduces iPhone rival OMNIA

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jun 2008 5:00

Samsung introduces iPhone rival OMNIA Although you might not know if from the news, Apple's new iPhone 3G wasn't the only new smartphone to be introduced on Monday. The new Samsung OMNIA runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and features a 3.2 inch wide touchscreen. Like the new iPhone it will be available in either 8GB or 16GB versions, but it also adds a microSDHC expansion slot for additional storage.

The OMNIA, which will be officially unveiled at CommunicAsia later this month in Singapore, includes a 5 Megapixel camera and GPS funtionality in addition to supporting audio and video playback in a number of formats.

Supported video formats include MPEG-4 ASP (DivX, Xvid, Nero Digital, etc,...), MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), H.263, and WMV. Audio support includes MP3, AAC, WMA, and OGG. Besides playback, it can also be used for simple video recording and editing, and even has a built-in FM radio.


AfterDawn: News

AfterDawn's 9th birthday

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 10 Jun 2008 4:54

AfterDawn's 9th birthday Wow. It is exactly nine years now since our site was launched to public for the first time. In the world where thousands of websites get launched each week and thousands of sites fold as well, it seems like an eternity. And how amazing these years have been..

During the last year, our site has managed to grow in many ways -- we have reached new all-time records with our traffic, our Finnish site is now Finland's largest IT site, we've launched Swedish version of AfterDawn, launched product comparison service, installed fleet of new servers to support the continuous growth of the site, etc. Simply put, the growth continues. Next year we'll be celebrating our 10th birthday, which seems unbelievable. Something that began as a hobby project, has grown into a project that reaches millions of people, month after month.

Now, I wont bore you further, but would like to thank all of my fellow admins, our excellent team of forum moderators and of course, all of our users, for making this site possible.

On behalf of AfterDawn,

-Petteri Pyyny

AfterDawn: News

Steve Jobs unveils $199 iPhone 3G at WWDC

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 10 Jun 2008 2:31

Steve Jobs unveils $199 iPhone 3G at WWDC In his keynote address to open Apple's Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) on Monday, Steve Jobs officially announced the iPhone 3G. Perhaps the most important revelation was the price, which at $199 for the entry level (8GB) model is half the original's current $399 pricetag. He indicated that the price was based on research where consumers who have so far passed on the iPhone said cost was the biggest barrier.

Not surprisingly he didn't talk about his previous prediction of 10 million iPhones sold by the end of 2008. Why is that significant? Maybe because at the current (pre-iPhone 3G) prices it appears unlikely to happen. In fact despite "selling out some number of weeks ago," Jobs said only 6 million have been sold in the approximately 11 months since the initial launch on June 29 of last year.

Jobs showed off the speed difference between the iPhone 3G's "amazingly zippy" performance on newer 3G networks, compared with the EDGE connection available to owner's of the original. The same web page that took nearly a minute to load using an EDGE connection took just over 20 seconds across 3G. He also compared it to a Nokia N95 and Treo 750, which reportedly took 33 and 34 seconds respectively to load the same page (using 3G) while delivering it in a less complete mobile format. He also pointed out that 3G speed is "actually approaching Wi-Fi."


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft again denies Blu-ray Xbox 360 rumors, Zune Touch coming?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jun 2008 12:56

Microsoft again denies Blu-ray Xbox 360 rumors, Zune Touch coming? Robbie Bach, Microsoft's president for entertainment and devices has once again denied the rumors that have flared up on the internet that a Blu-ray enabled Xbox 360 or a Zune mobile phone is coming soon, or at all.

When asked if a Zune phone was coming to rival Apple's iPhone, Bach said "there are plenty of Windows Mobile products on the market right now and that Microsoft doesn't have any plans to make phones ourselves."

When told that rumors had flared up again about a Blu-ray Xbox 360, Bach added the rumors are "so far out that there isn't anything to talk about."

When asked if he felt HD disc formats were a failure so far, Bach added, “You have to look at how fundamentally compelling the difference is between a progressive scan DVD player and the picture that it can produce and what you get on a high-definition player. The reality is there is some difference, but most people look at it and say, "I am not going to pay extra for that."


AfterDawn: News

Slingbox ready for the iPhone and iPod Touch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jun 2008 12:41

Slingbox ready for the iPhone and iPod Touch Sling Media has shown off proof that they have created a software application that will allow iPhone and iPod Touch users to access their Slingbox machines via the media devices.

The company says the software is still in pre-Alpha stage of development but eventually Slingbox users will be able to access their satellite and Freeview channels from the media devices using a Wi-Fi connection at home.

Sling Media hopes to have a fully working app available by the end of 2008 and it could be sold through the new iPhone Apps store that is set to launch later this month.

One issue with that however, is that Sling is currently not an approved Apple developer. That could change in the future though.

AfterDawn: News

Motorola set to launch movie service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jun 2008 12:16

Motorola set to launch movie service Motorola has announced today that it has inked a deal with Paramount to start a movie download service for its millions of mobile phone customers.

The service will launch in the UK at first and then move to Germany, Italy, Spain and France. The service is different than other mobile offerings however and will not allow on the go downloads. Users will instead have to download the movies to their PCs and then move them over to memory cards on their Motorola phones.

The company is hoping that customers will pay up to £8.99 per movie to watch on the small screen.

“We’re expecting significant consumer interest in the movie download store, with blockbusters available from just £5.99,”
said Andrew Till, senior director of applications and service portfolio of the multimedia team at Motorola. “The first 40 films being made available mark a significant step change in our content strategy and we look forward to adding further rich material in the coming weeks and months.”


AfterDawn: News

Warner music disappears from On-Demand

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 09 Jun 2008 12:20

Warner music disappears from On-Demand Warner Music Group has pulled all of their music from's "Free On-Demand" streaming service. In case you're not already familiar with the service, it allows visitors to stream tracks for free just 3 times, after which they're prompted to buy it from a retail partner such as iTunes or

A statement from's parent company CBS said "We are currently negotiating a new agreement with Warner Music Group and are working hard to build the most comprehensive music service on the Web. While we work things out, be assured that there’s more than enough music to fill a lifetime of listening on, and we are continually adding to it."

The details of Warner's move are a little sketchy right now. If a report from one source are correct it appears that the basic problem is their insistence on making more money for each song streamed. The demands may even include a cut of ad revenue from any area of the site related to WMG music, even including pages containing discussions about their songs.


AfterDawn: News

Comcast sued over BitTorrent throttling

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jun 2008 12:14

Comcast sued over BitTorrent throttling The broadband provider Comcast has been served with three class-action lawsuits this week for its former practice of throttling BitTorrent file transfers for some of its users.

Late last year, users from Comcast's 14 million broadband subscribers were outraged to learn that the provider was interfering with their file sharing traffic, most notably with torrents. The FCC then got involved and there have so far been a few investigations and public hearings into the matter.

The three lawsuits, filed in California, Illinois and New Jersey each claim that the company "misled consumers when it promised to offer unfettered access to all the content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer."

"Comcast's clandestine techniques are similar to those used by totalitarian governments to censor the use of the Internet,"
states the Illinois complaint.

"No doubt Comcast would characterize the behavior as illegal and malicious hacking if perpetrated by others on Comcast and its customers."

AfterDawn: News

Sales of smartphones double in the North America

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jun 2008 3:17

Sales of smartphones double in the North America According to the research firm Gartner, sales of smartphones doubled in North America for the Q1 2008, a huge growth even in comparison to the category's growth world wide.

The growth was spurred by growing popularity for Research in Motion's BlackBerry line and the Apple iPhone.

Apple sold 1.73 million iPhones for the first three months of the year, enough to move into a 5.3 percent share of the worldwide smart-phone market. That number should be much larger soon, thanks to the launch of the new 3G version of the phone and deals Apple has struck to bring the phone to every continent.


AfterDawn: News

Record labels sue P2P pioneer for $20 million USD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jun 2008 2:58

Record labels sue P2P pioneer for $20 million USD MP2P Techonologies has announced that they were recently served with a lawsuit by the Spanish branches of the Big 4 labels. Warner Music Spain, Universal Music Spain, EMI music Spain and Sony BMG Music along with the Spanish branch of the IFPI, the Promusicae, are seeking $20 million USD in damages for what they call "unfair competition."

"We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this shake down attempt by the major label cabal,"
said Pablo Soto, founder and CEO of MP2P Technologies. "Rather than embracing technology, they have chosen a path that will ultimately lead to their own demise, as evidenced by the label's consistent decline over the past decade. Litigation is in itself not a valid business model for them, however, it has been a dogged and futile pursuit of theirs since the advent of P2P."

"PROMUSICAE (Spanish branch of the IFPI; international arm of the RIAA) tried to proceed with civil suits against users of P2P networks in Spain and, after being halted by the Court of Justice of the EU, it has now decided to go against a neutral communication tool such as P2P technology,"
added Soto.


AfterDawn: News

Sony shows off new LED-backlit Bravia HDTVs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jun 2008 9:59

Sony shows off new LED-backlit Bravia HDTVs Sony announced yesterday that it had updated its top of the line BRAVIA XBR HDTV lineup with new sets across the board.

The XBR8 series will see a new 46 and 55 inch model which are Sony's first to have LED backlights. The improved lighting provides a better contrast ratio and more even and color accurate images. The two new TVs will each include the "new BRAVIA Engine 2 PRO for rendering the image, 120Hz panels to improve the picture in fast movement, a hooks for the BRAVIA Internet Link adapter, and a media port for connecting iPods and other media players."

Each of the models have four HDMI 1.3 inputs with deep color support, component jacks, PC inputs and Ethernet for connecting to the Internet.

A new XBR7 set will feature more traditional fluorescent backlighting but will include the same other features such as deep color HDMI 1.3, 120Hz panels and Ethernet.

There was no word on price but the entire line will be available in the fall.


AfterDawn: News

PSP tops Japanese hardware sales again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jun 2008 9:21

PSP tops Japanese hardware sales again According to figures from Media Create, for the week ended June 1st, Japanese console hardware sales saw a nice surge and the PSP remained dominant.

The Sony handheld sold 71, 986 units for the week, up from 64,449 for the week before it. The ever popular Nintendo Wii trailed behind with 50,851 units sold, up from last week's 49,047 units sold.

The Ninendo DS sold well again, with 38,355 and the PlayStation 3 saw a surge as well, to 9169 units, up from 9017.

As is now expected in the Japanese market, the Xbox 360 lagged very far behind, selling only 1959 units for the week.

AfterDawn: News

Virgin and BPI send letters to suspected pirates

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jun 2008 7:30

Virgin and BPI send letters to suspected pirates Virgin Media ISP and the British Photographic Institute (BPI) have begun sending out a fresh batch of letters to customers who they suspect are participating in the unauthorized downloading of music and movies.

These customers will receive an 'informative correspondence" from both Virgin and the BPI which will "educate them on how to safely download music without being at risk of legal action."

The BPI, unlike other organizations like the RIAA, does not believe in suing users before they have at least received ample warnings, and acknowledges that some of the unauthorized downloads may have been done without the owners knowledge or consent. Unsecured wireless, children, and other family members using the computer without owner knowledge were the reasons given.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI, added: 'Education is absolutely key to reducing the extent of illegal downloading and we are pleased to be working with Virgin Media on this campaign.'

The BPI however also notes that anyone who receives several warnings but "continues to offend" will have their Internet account cut off by the ISP and face legal consequences.

AfterDawn: News

Philips shows off commercial 22-inch 3D display

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jun 2008 7:02

Philips shows off commercial 22-inch 3D display Philips has announced that it will be showing off a new 22-inch 3D display at the upcoming InfoComm 2008 event on June 18th.

The display is based on a WSXGA (1680x1050) LCD panel and will use Philips' WOWvx technology "to provide 3D-like images without requiring users to wear special viewing glasses." Technically, WOWvx uses Philips' internal 2D-plus-Depth (the 2D image and its depth map) format "and combines it with the Declipse format developed especially for autostereoscopic 3D displays such as this one. Declipse provides additional "background" information for a more realistic 3D effect."

The company says the display can be used commercially in digital signs used for advertising, retail and gaming applications at casinos. Other specifications include a standard 16:10 aspect ratio, 300cd/m2 brightness, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio and relatively fast 5 ms response time.

The display will go on sale during the Q4 2008, although there was no word on pricing.

AfterDawn: News

New guide for encoding DVD to AVC using Nero Recode 3

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 06 Jun 2008 2:24

New guide for encoding DVD to AVC using Nero Recode 3 AVC video is arguably the most important video standard in use today. It can be used to produce high quality at relatively low bitrates, and is compatible with devices ranging from standalone DVD and Blu-ray players to portable media players and mobile phones.

Although there are a handful of high quality encoders which can be used to create MPEG-4 AVC video files, ease of use varies widely from one program to the next. If you've found yourself unable to convert from DVD to AVC using the many tools out there you should take a look at our new guide intended to help you Convert DVD to AVC with Nero Recode 3.

Why use Nero Recode? There are a number of possible reasons. To begin with it features what's generally considered to be among the top AVC encoders around, written by a company called Ateme. Not only does the Ateme encoder produce high quality video, it's also capable of blazing fast speed for 2 pass encoding.


AfterDawn: News

Tsutaya to offer HD downloads

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jun 2008 12:52

Tsutaya to offer HD downloads Japan's largest retail chain, Tsutaya, has announced that it will be starting an HD video on demand (VOD) service that will allow users to download titles from home using the acTVila portal that is popular on Japanese plasma and LCD HDTVs.

The chain did not specify what format the videos were in, but did say that users will have 48 hours to watch the films or TV shows as many times as they want.

Tsutaya has over 27 million members and 1,330 branches in Japan and added it plans to make deals with Paramount, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney and NBC Universal to expand its available online library to 2000 titles. The chain also added that "high-speed fiber-optic connections are required for use of the service," and about a quarter of Japan's 48 million homes are currently equipped.

The service is set to launch tomorrow with downloads of the first seasons of Heroes, Lost and Desperate Housewives. Each full length movie will cost 735 yen (about $7 USD) with other prices unknown right now.

AfterDawn: News

Xbox 360 does not violate Alcatel patents, rules jury

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jun 2008 10:51

Xbox 360 does not violate Alcatel patents, rules jury In the third of five lawsuits brought forth against Microsoft by Alcatel-Lucent SA, a federal jury has ruled that the Microsoft Xbox 360 console does not violate any patents held my Alcatel-Lucent and threw the case out.

The technologies company had wanted $420 million USD in damages. On the other side however, Microsoft had counter-sued for $11.5 million USD in damages, claiming that Alcatel-Lucent had infringed one of their patents.

The jury ruled
that "one of Microsoft's patents was invalid and found that Alcatel-Lucent didn't violate another four of the company's patents."

Last year, in the first of the five trials, a jury ruled that Microsoft's Windows Media Player "infringed Alcatel-Lucent's patents for the MP3 digital-audio standard" and awarded the latter company a huge $1.52 billion USD settlement. The verdict however is now on appeal and it appears the damages award will be lessened.


AfterDawn: News

MPAA accuses laser printer of illegal file sharing

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 05 Jun 2008 8:35

MPAA accuses laser printer of illegal file sharing Since the RIAA first begain their campaign against illegal file sharing on P2P networks there has been intense debate over the methods used to figure out who's responsible for sharing copyrighted content. Now a a report from the University of Washington may prove to be a powerful tool for those accused of such illicit behavior in fighting back against their accusers. The report, written by Michael Piatek, Tadayoshi Kohno, and Arvind Krishnamurthy and based on experiments conducted in August, 2007 and May of this year, shows that some of the agencies tasked with putting a stop to illegal file sharing are making accusations that are simply false.

The report says "Copyright holders utilize inconclusive methods for identifying infringing BitTorrent users. We were able to generate hundreds of DMCA takedown notices for machines under our control at the University of Washington that were not downloading or sharing any content"


AfterDawn: News

VLC Media Player coming to jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jun 2008 7:07

VLC Media Player coming to jailbroken iPhones and iPod Touch In what should be welcomed warmly by owners of jailbroken iPhones or iPod Touches, members of ZodTTD have announced they have successfully ported the extremely powerful media player VLC (Video Lan Client) to the media devices.

Dubbed vlc4iphone, the port has its own frontend and will make your iPhone or iPod Touch capable of drag-and-drop playback of MP3, XviD, FLAC, MPEG2, MPEG4, h264, and OGG formats.

According to the official post on the site the project is still in beta, but it is expected to be released to the public in the near future.

The list of new additions, according to the post, are:
* Compiled in FFmpeg!
* MANY more decoders supported, including support for XviD, h264, MPEG4, FLAC, 3GP, MP3, MPEG2, AVI, and more!
* Added volume control.
* Fixed a warning when no media is found.
* Increased the size of vlc4iphone's binary from 5MB to 24MB! Lots of media goodness packed inside!


AfterDawn: News

Nine Inch Nails releases more free music

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jun 2008 6:49

Nine Inch Nails releases more free music In commemoration of its upcoming Nine Inch Nails: Lights in the Sky tour, the band has released a nice five-track EP on its website with songs from itself and four other bands which are on the tour.

According to the NIN website, the songs are all "high quality, DRM-free, fully-tagged MP3 files" and each download will even come with "cover art and a pack of digital extras."

The five track EP includes the following songs:
1. a place to bury strangers - "to fix the gash in your head"
2. does it offend you, yeah? - "we are rockstars"
3. crystal castles - "crimewave (crystal castles vs HEALTH)"
4. deerhunter - "like new"
5. nine inch nails - "echoplex"

For those interested in picking up the free EP, all you need to do is sign up here and provide a working email address. You will then be emailed a download code for the EP and digital extras.

In early May, the band was applauded for fighting back against the record companies and giving away part of its album "Ghosts I-IV" for free in better-than-CD quality. The band also offered the CD in physical format and the rest of the CD in digital format for much cheaper prices than most CDs cost today. Their "experiment" is said to have netted $1.6 million USD for the band, with little to no production costs and nothing to pay to the labels.

AfterDawn: News

CBS and Yahoo agree to video sharing deal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jun 2008 1:19

 CBS and Yahoo agree to video sharing deal CBS has said that it has struck a deal with Yahoo to allow its web videos to be shown by the latter company. The deal is part of an ongoing plan for CBS to have new outlets online for its TV shows.

The deal means Yahoo would join the CBS Audience Network, which now includes huge web outlets such as YouTube, AOL, MSN,, Joost, Veoh, and Bebo.

The whole Network offers short movies and shows from CBS, CSTV and Showtime, and with this new deal should reach over 90 percent of the web. All the clips are supported by advertising and are free to users.

CBS has always maintained that it would rather have its content available to as many internet users as possible, unlike broadcasting rivals such as NBC Universal which have rigidly tight restrictions on all content.

AfterDawn: News

Blue Underground unveils Blu-ray roadmap

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jun 2008 12:55

Blue Underground unveils Blu-ray roadmap The indie horror distributor Blue Underground has revealed its upcoming Blu-ray roadmap, following its decision in March to start Blu-ray support.

Blue Underground has now released their initial title line-up and the list includes 9 popular favorites from filmmakers such as Dario Argento, Ralph Bakashi and William Lustig.

The nine titles are 'The Final Countdown,' 'The Bird With The Crystal Plumage,' 'The Stendhal Syndrome,' 'Maniac (1980),' 'Vigilante (1983),' 'Fire & Ice,' 'Dead & Buried,' 'Two Evil Eyes,' and 'Uncle Sam: I Want You... Dead!'

The distributor also says all of titles will be on"BD-50 dual-layer discs with full 1080p encodes and DTS-HD Lossless Master Audio 7.1 Surround and/or Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Surround audio."


AfterDawn: News

Radiohead agrees to let iTunes sell individual tracks from EMI years

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 04 Jun 2008 11:49

Radiohead agrees to let iTunes sell individual tracks from EMI years Despite Radiohead's recent experiment with a new online distribution model for their album 'In Rainbows' and embrace of DRM-free music, they've remained one of the last holdouts when it comes to selling individual tracks instead of full albums. In fact they were so adamant about it that EMI hadn't been allowed to sell their back catalog through iTunes because the service requires that consumers be given the choice to purchase every track individually.

With the recent success of the tracks from 'In Rainbows' on iTunes the band's stance has apparently changed. On Tuesday the songs from all of the band's EMI releases were offered on iTunes for the first time as DRM-free files.

Based on numbers from Nielsen Soundscan, 106,000 digital copies of 'In Rainbows' have been sold in the US through online retailers like and Meanwhile 178,000 individual songs from the release have been sold. By comparison CDs have accounted for about 420,000 copies.


AfterDawn: News

U2's manager once again decries ISP's for not policing subscribers

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 04 Jun 2008 10:56

U2's manager once again decries ISP's for not policing subscribers Paul McGuinness, manager of rock superstars U2, is once again going after ISP's, calling them "shoplifters" and accusing them of turning a blind eye to music piracy because it makes them money by selling broadband internet subscriptions.

"Cable operators, ISPs, device manufacturers, P2P software companies -- companies that have used music to drive vast revenues from broadband subscriptions and from advertising. They would argue that they have been neutral bystanders to the spectacular devaluation of music. I don't believe that is true," said McGuinness.

You may recall that he made similar accusations earlier this year at the MIDEM music industry trade show in Cannes, France. This time around he was once again speaking to a music industry audience in Hong Kong's Music Matters conference.

McGuinness claimed that ISPs are already capable of taking action. He said "The modern history of the Internet is chockfull of examples of ISPs intervening in the traffic on their networks when it suits them,"


AfterDawn: News

iTunes adds movies to UK store as well

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jun 2008 8:48

iTunes adds movies to UK store as well Just hours after it was announced for Canada, Apple has announced that it will be launching movie rentals and sales via iTunes in the UK.

The deal, exactly like that for Canada, has deals signed with 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., MGM, Sony Pictures and Lionsgate.

The UK store will only have 700 films available however, with 100 of those being available in HD.

"We’re kicking off movies on the iTunes Store in the UK with over 700 films for purchase and rent",
said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes.

"We think customers in the UK are going to love being able to enjoy their favourite movies on their iPod, iPhone or on a widescreen TV with Apple TV."


AfterDawn: News

Verizon to acquire Alltel for $27 billion?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jun 2008 7:47

Verizon to acquire Alltel for $27 billion? Reports have surfaced from CNBC that Verizon is in talks to buyout rival carrier Alltel for $27 billion USD, an almost 8x premium over its current pre-interest, pre-tax earnings. The deal would be considered a friendly takeover as Goldman Sachs is in charge of the acquisition.

The reports say that allegedly there was an auction in the spring of last year for the company but that the value was too high. They now see the company's up front value as low enough to be acquired.

The deal should have its fair share of benefits for the acquiring company however. Alltel's service areas overlap Verizon's and Alltel even has a roaming deal with Verizon to allow Alltel customers to borrow Verizon airspace when there is none of their own. Buying out would help reduce competition and increase subscriber totals substantially.

Neither Alltel or Verizon had comments on the speculation. Currently, AT&T has the largest customer base in the US, but this deal could narrow that gap substantially for Verizon.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung makes extra-wide LCDs for notebooks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jun 2008 6:15

Samsung makes extra-wide LCDs for notebooks Samsung has said it will become the latest company to begin offering new extra-wide 16:9 aspect ratio LCDs for notebooks.

Currently the electronics giant produces 15.4-inch, 16:10 screens found in most notebooks but it will begin 15.6-inch screens that are usually known to be better for movie viewing and side-by-side documents.

According to reports from display industry insiders, the production will start in November with commercial notebook releases being seen in early 2009.

Other display makers such as AU Optronics and LG Display are also reportedly producing 17.3-inch LCDs at the same 16:9 ratio that is usually targeted at HD viewing.

AfterDawn: News

Sony introduces dynamic in-game ads on PS3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jun 2008 3:45

Sony introduces dynamic in-game ads on PS3 Sony has announced that it will be introducing dynamic in-game advertising on the PlayStation 3 in both the UK and the US.

Marketers and companies interesting in having the ads in games are now able to engage "through advertisement distribution partners" and Sony announced that IGA Worldwide was selected as the PS3's first partner.

"The PS3 platform is primed to leverage the high growth potential of the in-game advertising market",
said Phil Rosenberg, senior vice president, SCEA.

"Ads that are organic to the environment not only benefit developers and advertisers, but also create a richer experience for gamers."

Analysts have said the dynamic advert market will reach $800 million USD by 2012 and it is clear Sony wants a piece.

AfterDawn: News

iPhone finally headed to Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jun 2008 3:09

iPhone finally headed to Japan The Japanese mobile carrier Softbank has announced that it has signed a deal with Apple to bring the iPhone to Japan later this year.

There was no details on pricing, availability or whether the deal was exclusive for the country.

Softbank has about 19 million subscribers in Japan but still lags decently far behind NTT DoCoMo and KDDI in market share.

Although the Japanese are a huge market for the iPod line of media devices, the iPhone may not be so impressive to a country whose cell phones are years ahead technologically then ours.

Regardless, rival NTT DoCoMo spokesman Shinjiro Minami added that his company was unhappy at the turn of events as DoCoMo had been trying to ink a similar deal for months.

"The user interface is very attractive and it's a product that's likely to draw Apple fans in Japan,"
he added.

So far this year Apple has struck deals to sell the iPhone in over 20 new countries, including markets in Asia, Australia, Europe and South America.

AfterDawn: News

iTunes downloadable movies come to Canada

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jun 2008 2:43

iTunes downloadable movies come to Canada Apple has announced that they will now be making movies available for sale and rental on iTunes Canada.

Apple has signed the deal with major film studios 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), Sony Pictures Television International and Lionsgate and Maple Pictures to make the movies available on the iTunes platform in Canada.

The company says there will be 1200 movies available rent or purchase and that 200 are available in HD resolutions.

“Canadians have made iTunes the most popular place to find and buy music and TV shows online,”
said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We’re thrilled to give iTunes customers access to over 1,200 movies from major studios to rent or purchase, whether to enjoy at home on their widescreen TV with Apple TV or on-the-go on their iPod.”


AfterDawn: News

New ultra-compact camcorder available from Pure Digital

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 04 Jun 2008 11:56

New ultra-compact camcorder available from Pure Digital San Francisco's Pure Digital is introducing a new addition to their line of digital camcorders today. The ultra-compact Flip Video and Flip Ultra models have already been a big success thanks to equally compact prices of just $129 and $149 respectively. Their newest model, the Flip Mino, has a slightly higher price at $179, but an even smaller footprint, measuring just 3.94" x 1.97" x 0.63" compared to 4.17" x 2.16" x 1.25" for the Flip Ultra.

Besides boasting an even smaller size, the Mino adds an internal Lithium-Ion battery which is supposed to be good for 4 hours of use between charges. Both previous models use 2 AA batteries, with an estimated battery life of just 2 hours for typical alkalines.

Like the Flip Video and Ultra, the Mino includes software which allows video to be uploaded directly to YouTube or AOL Video after being transferred to a computer via USB cable. It also adds a similar capability for MySpace.

All of Pure Digital's camcorders encode video in MPEG-4 ASP format, which is the same standard that popular codecs like DivX and XviD are based on. At 640x480 the resolution is slightly lower than most standard definition digital camcorders, but also unlike most consumer models the video files produced are progressive rather than interlaced.

AfterDawn: News

Time Warner Cable metered internet trial starts this week

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jun 2008 8:18

Time Warner Cable metered internet trial starts this week Starting this Thursday new subscribers to Time Warner Cable broadband internet service in Beaumont, Texas will be given a monthly limit on downloads. For ever Gigabyte a customer exceeds their plan's limit by they'll be charged an additional $1. In the past company representatives have indicated that the reason for the change is that just 5% of users use 50% of the available bandwidth.

"We think it's the fairest way to finance the needed investment in the infrastructure," said Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Cable's executive vice president of advanced technology.

He indicated the service will be divided into different tiers, each with its own download limits. The lowest tier will cost $29.95 a month for a maximum download speed of 768 kilobits per second and up to 5 Gigabytes total transferred. At the top end the speed will be 15 Megabits per second, with a limit of 40 Gigabytes worth of downloads.


AfterDawn: News

Apple iTunes U hits the UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jun 2008 6:27

Apple iTunes U hits the UK Apple has finally fully launched its iTunes U platform in the UK, after the service has been successfully running in the US for some time.

For those unfamiliar, iTunes U uses the iTunes store to allow colleges and universities to "add learning and course content to for students to access anywhere."

Apple says the service is "transforming learning in the classroom, outside the classroom, and where there's no classroom at all".

As with the iTunes store, users can search, download and play course content as if it were music or a movie.

Although the content is aimed at students, it is available to anyone who has the software installed, on both Macs and PCs. The content is also syncable to iPods and iPhones so students can take it with them to lunch or other activities.


AfterDawn: News

LG introduces three new Blu-ray drives

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jun 2008 6:04

LG introduces three new Blu-ray drives The large electronics company LG has announced it will be releasing three new PC Blu-ray drives with a price range of $200 USD to $380 USD.

The three drives, the BE06, GBC-H20L, and GBW-H20L are the latest in a successful line from LG. The BE06 is an external model which connects through a USB 2.0 port. It is supposed to be compatible with "all" Blu-ray disc formats, as well as all CD and DVD formats. The drive however, can only write DVDs and CDs at up to 16x and 24x speeds respectively and read BD-R at 6x speed. BD-REs can stream at 2x. That drive will cost $380 USD.


AfterDawn: News

Wal-Mart to promote Blu-ray in June

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jun 2008 5:06

Wal-Mart to promote Blu-ray in June Retail giant Wal-Mart is finally throwing their significant weight behind Blu-ray in a big way with the launch of a new ‘Hi-Def Blu-ray Experience Area' in 1200 stores where shoppers will find a bigger selection of both players and movies than were previously available.

In addition to the increased presence for the technology, Wal-Mart will be handing offering $100 gift cards with the purchase of a Blu-ray player between June 8 and June 14. During the same week they'll be featuring big discounts on select Blu-ray titles, including '3:10 to Yuma,' 'War,' 'Shooter,' '300' and 'The Fifth Element' for just $15 each.

“We are excited to be a destination for families looking to create a high quality, affordable home entertainment experience with our new, wider selection of high-def TVs, Blu-ray players and movies,” said Gary Severson, senior VP of home entertainment at Wal-Mart.

To go along with the focus on Blu-ray, the stores are also increasing their selection of HDTVs with the introduction of new models and brands.

AfterDawn: News

DVDPlay appoints new COO to increase kiosk presence in supermarkets

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jun 2008 4:50

 	DVDPlay appoints new COO to increase kiosk presence in supermarkets Just a few years ago, if you had said supermarkets would be the key to success for the DVD rental market you would no doubt have gotten more than a few odd looks. Regardless, with the unprecedented success of rental kiosks from Redbox, and their apparent future as the replacement for in-store video rental departments, that's exactly what's happening. Apparently responding to that reality, kiosk operation DVDPlay has made former Safeway executive Charles T. Piper their President and Chief Operating Officer.

DVDPlay, the number 3 operator of DVD rental kiosks in the US, has big plans for a major expansion into supermarkets in 2008. The company expects to more than double the number of US kiosks they have in operation by year's end, with the vast majority ending up in Safeway and Albertson's supermarkets.

The kiosk business as a whole is expected to see significant growth in the next 2 years, with at least one analysis suggesting it will reach $800 million in 2010. That's around 3 times the current level.


AfterDawn: News

US HDTV owners don't want Blu-ray

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jun 2008 4:40

US HDTV owners don't want Blu-ray According to an NPD report, only 9 percent of US HDTV owners plan to buy a Blu-ray disc player in the next six months.

The survey by NPD was carried out in the middle of March, after Blu-ray killed off the rival HD DVD format. Although sentiments may have changed in the months since the survey was taken, I would assume the numbers are still pretty accurate, considering reports of Blu-ray sales show declining results.

The survey also showed that about 40 million US homes have at least one HDTV and that 9 percent amounts to a lowly 3.6 million units.

There was however, more interesting numbers to note. NPD added that only 45 percent of HDTV owners had even heard of Blu-ray or HD DVD meaning that 22 million HDTV owners were not even familiar with HD optical formats.


AfterDawn: News

Netflix criticized for streaming strategy as set-top boxes sell out

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jun 2008 4:17

Netflix criticized for streaming strategy as set-top boxes sell out After Netflix held their annual investor conference last week analysts began criticizing C.E.O. Reed Hastings' vision for the company's future. The criticism primarily centered around plans to spend as much as $70 million dollars this year to improve and market their streaming video service.

"I think the way to measure us is the number of millions of Netflix-ready devices installed in homes," Hastings told investors. "If that's a big number at the end of '09, then our strategic investment has greatly paid off. If it's a small number, you have every right to be whiny about management having wasted a lot of money."

He asked investors to be patient and allow the company to develop their new business model to replace their currently booming DVD rental operation within the next few years. A few days earlier, when meeting with analysts, Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy said of the strategy "if we fall on our face I have no doubt investors will vote us off the island."


AfterDawn: News

British police arrest 6 former OiNK users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jun 2008 4:05

British police arrest 6 former OiNK users The British authorities have confirmed that at least 6 former users of the torrent site OiNK have been arrested, more than the single user that was reported on Friday.

All of those arrested were pre-release uploaders, people who shared full albums days or weeks before the official retail date. The arrest were all made between May 23rd and May 28th and include 5 men and 1 woman, all aged between 19 and 33.

Allegedly, all suspects were arrested on suspicion of “Conspiracy to Defraud the Music Industry” and were fingerprinted and forced to leave DNA samples.

The BPI left a statement about the matter, but for now most of the details remain vague. "The BPI and IFPI worked with the police in order to close down the OiNK tracker site last October. The illegal online distribution of music, particularly pre-release, is hugely damaging, and as OiNK was the biggest source for pre-releases at the time we moved to shut it down. We provided the information to assist this investigation, but this is now a police matter and we are unable to comment further at this stage."

AfterDawn: News

SpiralFrog to add songs from EMI

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jun 2008 1:23

SpiralFrog to add songs from EMI SpiralFrog, a service offering free music downloads in the US and Canada, has announced a licensing deal with EMI to offer songs from that label for download. EMI is the second of the four major labels to offer content through the ad-supported service, which already features music from Universal Music Group. SpiralFrog plans to add more than 1 million EMI tracks over the next few weeks.

"You're going to see that users on our site are going to see a lot more content, so there's going to be far fewer searches where they won't find music they're looking for," said Joe Mohen, SpiralFrog's chairman and founder.

According to Nielsen SoundScan Universal Music and EMI accounted for nearly 40% of US album sales so far in 2008 (through May 25). The other two major labels, Sony BMG and Warner Music made up another 46%, while albums from independent labels comprised just over 14%. SpiralFrog already has deals in place with a number of independents, and according to Mohen there are plans to add the remaining two majors by year's end.


AfterDawn: News

NBC Direct beta bugs still causing frustration

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 03 Jun 2008 12:50

NBC Direct beta bugs still causing frustration NBC is reportedly planning to officially launch their video download service, NBC Direct, some time this summer. No doubt they'd like to have it in place before new shows premiere this Fall. In preparation they've launched a new beta version of the associated player and download manager. Unfortunately, like the first version of the software released last November, there appear to be a lot of people who can't get it to work right.

The idea behind NBC Direct is fairly simple. It's a sort of web-enabled DVR which allows you to download episodes of selected NBC shows to your computer and view them for a week after they air. It's an alternative to streaming services like Hulu, which is co-owned by NBC along with News Corp. In addition to the obvious difference between downloading and streaming video there's another important distinction. Hulu has become wildly popular while NBC Direct seems better known for its bugs.


AfterDawn: News

Exclusive 'iTunes Festival' announced

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jun 2008 5:07

Exclusive 'iTunes Festival' announced Apple has announced the acts that are set to perform at its iTunes Festival: London performance this year.

Among the notable artists are James Blunt, McFly, N.E.R.D., The Zutons and Chaka Khan which will perform live sets in front of about 1000 fans in Camden.

Each of the recordings will then be recorded and sold exclusively on Apple's iTunes platform.

Other performers include Death Cab For Cutie, The Ting Tings, Feeder, CSS, I Was A Cub Scout, Jamie Lidell, and Pendulum, and a few unannounced artists.

AfterDawn: News

3G iPhone will only be £100 in UK?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jun 2008 3:57

3G iPhone will only be £100 in UK? According to internet and print reports, it appears that the 3G iPhone could hit the UK with a £100 price tag, thanks to carrier O2 subsidizing the cost of the phone.

Apple could be using this new strategy with O2 to help boost sales and help the company hits its 10 million iPhone sales target for the year.

Although still not officially confirmed, Steve Jobs is expected to unveil the 3G model at this years WWDC08 developer event on June 9th.

In the UK however, the Times says "a source close to the deal" has revealed that the model will hit shelves in early July.

Ben Wood, a CCS Insight analyst, added: "They are also looking for more flexibility on how the operators can price the iPhone, although I am not convinced that they will let them have open season on the price, as they have a lucrative iPod market to protect".

AfterDawn: News

Outdoor LCD TV manufacturer Pantel adds 3 new models

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Jun 2008 3:21

Outdoor LCD TV manufacturer Pantel adds 3 new models Pantel, which already produces weatherproof LCD HDTVs with 32 and 42 inch screens, is adding new models with screen sizes of 20, 52, and 65 inches. The new models will be making their debut later this month at InfoComm 2008, held in Las Vegas from June 18 - 20.

The 52 and 65 inch models feature 1080p native resolution and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. The 20" model feature a progressive resolution of 1366x768 at a contrast ratio of 700:1. The existing 32 and 42 inch models feature a native 1080i resolution and a contrast ratio of 1600:1.

Prices for the new HDTVs will range from $2,999 for the 20 inch model to $25,999 for the 65 inch version.

Pantel Outdoor Weatherproof TVs have changed the way people entertain,” said Joe Pantel, CEO of Pantel Corp. in a press release. “With the weather being a threat to what most people can do outside to entertain, Pantel Corp. makes it easy without worry. Now, we offer even more solutions with five different screen sizes to meet the needs of nearly every application.”


AfterDawn: News

At least 100 WiiWare games are currently in development

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jun 2008 2:45

At least 100 WiiWare games are currently in development Nintendo of America's senior director of project development, Tom Prata, has revealed that there are at least 100 WiiWare games currently in development.

Citing WiiWare's early success, Prata also explained that the developing games are the products of "working with developers... to bring the products to consumers in a timely manner".

"Currently, there are about 100 games in development for WiiWare at various stages of completion,"
Prata added.

WiiWare, which was launched in the US last month with six games, in Japan in April with nine games, and Europe on May 20th with eight games has seen early success, especially for the game LostWinds.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix to stream movies through Xbox 360?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jun 2008 2:01

Netflix to stream movies through Xbox 360? Analysts at Wedbush Morgan Securities have reported that there is the likely possibility that Netflix will strike a deal with Microsoft to stream movies through the Xbox 360.

The report came after the investment banking firm looked through comments made by Netflix management. If the report turns out to be true, the popular online rental service would be able to stream movie directly to million's of consumer's gaming consoles.

"As we have speculated in the past, we believe that one of Netflix's partners is Microsoft. We arrive at this conclusion based upon Netflix management repeatedly mentioning 'Internet enabled video game consoles',"
said a Wedbush Morgan statement.

"While there are three such consoles, only one - Microsoft's Xbox 360 - has a sufficiently large installed base to make sense from a streaming partnership with Netflix."

"The competitive advantage of such an alliance is clear: Netflix customers who are Xbox Live members will have the ability to stream online content through their Xbox 360s directly to their televisions. The ability to do so is available without the Xbox 360, but requires a measure of technological sophistication and a high tolerance for failure,"
it added.


AfterDawn: News

Adobe announces Acrobat 9 with Flash support

Written by Rich Fiscus @ 02 Jun 2008 1:10

Adobe announces Acrobat 9 with Flash support Adobe Systems has announced the latest version of their Acrobat family of products for PDF creation and viewing. Version 9 of Acrobat will feature the addition of support for Flash video embedded in PDF files.

John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe, said in a press release “With Acrobat 9 we’ve combined the power, reach and richness of two ubiquitous technologies, Adobe Flash and PDF, to empower customers to create engaging experiences, prepare high-quality PDF files and collaborate more efficiently.”

Embedding Flash video in PDF documents will require Acrobat 9 Pro or Pro Extended. Playback will be possible across the entire family of new Acrobat products, including the free Acrobat Reader. Acrobat 9 Pro will also be included in the upcoming release of Adobe Creative Suite 3.3. Both Acrobat 9 and Creative Suite 3.3 are scheduled for a July release.

In 2005 Adobe purchased Macromedia, the creator of Flash. Since that time the format has increased in popularity, thanks in no small part to its use on websites like YouTube.

AfterDawn: News

Sanyo brings two HD projectors stateside

Written by Dave Horvath @ 02 Jun 2008 12:29

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

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

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


AfterDawn: News

World's first Blu-ray music only disc announced

Written by Dave Horvath @ 02 Jun 2008 11:08

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

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


AfterDawn: News

CRIA targets What.CD and SumoTracker

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jun 2008 4:28

CRIA targets What.CD and SumoTracker The Canadian ISP MoxioColo has been served with cease and desist orders from CRIA to shut down the popular torrent sites, SumoTorrent, BTMon and FullDls.

CRIA, the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA, was in the news last year as well for getting Demonoid closed down after it had moved to a Canadian ISP.

This time it seems that the ISP is not going to back down however, and Sean Corbin, CEO of Moxie Communications added "We will not be following the request and will be fighting for the rights of our clients as to date laws in Canada protect them. We have looked into the matter and from what we understand these sites are not breaking any laws in Canada. If we do not comply they might bring legal action against Moxie Communications, as they believe without us these sites could not do what they do so therefore we are as bad as they are.


AfterDawn: News

iPhone market share shrinks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jun 2008 3:15

iPhone market share shrinks According to a vendor survey by IDC, the Apple iPhone saw its market share shrink in the "smartphone" market for the Q1 2008. For the fourth quarter 2007, the iPhone had about 27 percent of the market which has now shrunk to just over 19 percent.

It seems that all of the lost market share was taken back by RIM's Blackberry line which moved from 35.1 percent to 44.5 percent market share in the same period. IDC analyst Ramon Llamas added that RIM's success is because it has finally widened its appeal from the "professional" segment which had been its core consumer.

Although IDC did not reveal the total amount of smartphones sold for the quarter, Apple has said it sold 1.7 million iPhones, including overseas sales.

Additionally, Palm picked up market share as well, moving from 7.9 percent to 13.4 percent for the quarter. IDC added, "Palm also did really well. It posted a sequential gain mainly on the strength of the Centro phone."


AfterDawn: News

Radiohead and Prince in fight over copyright

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jun 2008 2:24

Radiohead and Prince in fight over copyright Earlier this week, the musician Prince did a cover of the popular song "Creep" originally by Radiohead at a concert at the Coachella. After word spread, tens of thousands of curious fans went to YouTube looking to get at least a glimpse of the performance. There was a problem however, NPG Records, Prince's label had quickly advised the site to take everything down related to the song and there were no videos to see.

There was one problem with that however. Not even Radiohead could see the fan videos, of their own song. Thom Yorke, lead singer for the group, first heard of the cover via text message and after his bandmate was unable to view a video on YouTube he quickly called his publicist.

"Really? He's blocked it?"
asked Yorke, who figured it was their song to block or not. "Surely we should block it. Hang on a moment."

Yorke added: "Well, tell him to unblock it. It's our ... song."

YouTube's policy is that if they receive a complaint from a copyright owner they take down the infringing video. This situation is a lot more tricky however, as Radiohead owns the song copyrights despite the fact that it is Prince singing it.


AfterDawn: News

Amazon to offer 5,000 more books for Kindle

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jun 2008 2:00

Amazon to offer 5,000 more books for Kindle Amazon has announced that it will be making 5,000 more books available for its popular e-reader device Kindle, adding to the already 120,000 downloadable titles available.

The new titles are available thanks to a recent deal struck by Amazon and the large book publisher Simon & Schuster.

At last week's BookExpo America convention, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos continued to praise the Kindle and the benefits of electronic books. "That's one of the great things about electronic books. They don't go out of stock." His statement came in response to the recently sold out title "What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception." People want it, but it is sold out everywhere.

The Kindle was launched last November and now accounts for over 6 percent of the site’s total book sales. Amazon says it expects that number to increase significantly over the next few years.

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