Archive for December, 2010

Netflix and VUDU not hitting Boxee Box till January… as if you couldn’t have guessed

Friday, December 31st, 2010

According to a post that’s just gone live on Boxee’s blog, users of the Boxee Box won’t see VUDU or Netflix content on their TVs until January. We know, the wait will be painful. According to the Boxee team, VUDU offerings should hit the platform as soon as next week, but Netflix won’t be made available until the end of the month. The company claims that both services are up and running in its offices, but more time was needed to “test each application to make sure they are ready for launch.” It’s nice to know where we stand, though it would have been even nicer to get more frequent updates on the status of these apps, instead of a last-minute blog post on New Year’s Eve.

Still, the post has equal touches of hopefulness for the bright future Boxee sees for home entertainment, and acknowledgment of the massive challenges the startup faces in the coming year. In their words: “As we get ready for the New Year tomorrow and CES next week, it’s clear that in 2011 we will be competing with companies that spend more feeding their employees that we have to pay ours. We’re confident though that our small team will continue to push the envelop of what people expect from their TVs.” Here at Engadget, we’re eager to see how it all plays out, but we’re definitely rooting for underdogs like Boxee who have pioneered so much of what the world is just waking up to. 2011 is going to be a crazy year!

Netflix and VUDU not hitting Boxee Box till January… as if you couldn’t have guessed originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 31 Dec 2010 21:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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iPod Docks: The Group Test

Friday, December 31st, 2010

T3: iPod/iPhone docks offer high-volume playback of your music library, charging your device at the same time. Most have a remote control but some offer wireless connectivity so you don’t have…



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HDTV Listings for December 30, 2010

Friday, December 31st, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • WGN (1080i) has WWE Superstars at 8 p.m.
  • History (720p) has Ancient Aliens at 9 p.m. and Brad Meltzer’s Decoded at 10 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) has Oddities at 10:30 p.m.
  • A&E (720p) has the season finale of The Peacemaker at 10 p.m.
  • Spike TV (1080i) has TNA: Impact! at 9 p.m. and TNA Reaction at 11:30 p.m.
  • ESPN (720p) has North Carolina/Tennesse in the Music City Bowl at 6:45 p.m. and Nebraska/Washington in the Holiday Bowl at 10 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has Temple/Villanova college basketball at 7 p.m. and Connecticut/Stanford women’s college basketball at 9 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 30, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Thu, 30 Dec 2010 18:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Panasonic TC-P50VT25 Plasma 3D TV Review

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Panasonic knocks one out of the park with this first generation full high definition 3D-ready plasma HDTV.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Oxygen Audio debuts O’Car, O’Dock iPhone car docking accessories

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Engadget: Looking for a bit more integration than your usual iPhone car dock or FM transmitter can provide? Then you might want to consider Oxygen Audio’s new O’Car head unit, which packs…



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Survey Says: We All Hate 3DTV!

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Gizmodo: After polling the U.S. a few months ago, Nielsen conducted a worldwide poll to gauge interest in 3DTV displays. SPOILER ALERT: less than 10 percent of those asked said they’ll buy a 3D…



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LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader brings DLNA, apps, and a web browser to formerly dumb displays

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

If you buy any of LG’s latest HDTVs, you’re pretty much assured it’ll have a big sticker saying “Smart TV” somewhere along its fascia assuring you of its internet connectivity and compatibility. But, if you’re still rocking some old school piece of visual tech that isn’t yet past its “watch by” date, you’ll be needing a set-top box of some kind to get on the web without leaving your couch. Naturally, LG would like to be the one to Smarten up your viewing habits there too, and so it’s just unveiled its new ST600 sidekick for older television sets. It adds DLNA connectivity for some wireless media transfer fun, grants access to a “vast range” of premium content as well as local programming, throws in a web browser, and finishes things off with LG’s TV Apps selection. Of course, this is the week of the pre-CES announcement, hence we’ve no pricing to share yet, but the way the company’s talking about it, the ST600 sounds like it might make an aggressive MSRP its standout feature. Sadly, that’s a bit of a distant hope for now as this Upgrader isn’t expected in shops until Q2 2011. Who knows if we’ll even be watching TV by that time?

Continue reading LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader brings DLNA, apps, and a web browser to formerly dumb displays

LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader brings DLNA, apps, and a web browser to formerly dumb displays originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Dec 2010 03:19:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Pioneer introduces white pearl models of the CDJ-350 and DJM-350

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Pioneer.eu: Pioneer’s popular CDJ-350 player and DJM-350 mixer are about to get even more desirable, with stylish pearl white models set for release at the end of January 2011. Suggested retail…



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LG Announces LW6500 65-inch Cinema 3D TV Using Passive 3D Glasses

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

The company is promising a better, blur-free viewing experience, with more comfortable (and far less expensive) glasses.

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Battlestar Galactica: Razor Blu-ray Review

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

The first Galactica telefilm is now available in a loaded single-disc edition.


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LG 50PX950 3D Network Plasma HDTV Review

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

LG’s latest plasma display is the first to sport THX video certification for both 2D and 3D. And while it may not be perfect, it’s easily the finest display we’ve yet seen from LG.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Rovi to Acquire Sonic Solutions

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

The story broke last week that Rovi will acquire Sonic Solutions for more than 0 million. And you are probably saying, “Who cares?”

It helps to know who these two companies are. Rovi used to be called Macrovision, and they are responsible for the copy protection schemes that prevent you from copying (or at least make it more difficult to copy) published DVDs. They also provide on-screen program guides. Their customer list includes cable and satellite TV services.

Sonic Solutions is probably best known for its Roxi0 brand of software for CD and DVD burning on computers. The company also provides a range of other services, including its RoxioNow service that is used by clients including Best Buy and Blockbuster for their streaming video content rental and sales systems.

It makes good sense for Rovi to grow its product portfolio by acquiring Sonic Solutions. This creates a synergy that helps strengthen the company’s relations with major content producers and retailers, both for traditional DVD products as well as new online streaming services. In this fast-moving market, it would appear that Rovi continues to be agile and responsive. You still may not recognize the company’s name, but the chances are increased that it will touch on your choices for home entertainment content.

HDTV Almanac

LG looks set to unveil mobile 3DTV at CES

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
LG looks set to unveil mobile 3DTV

We don’t know much about it yet, but it’s looking like we might be getting a taste of 3D on the go after all at CES. We’d hoped it would be with Nintendo’s 3DS, but that report turned out to be a bust, and now LG is apparently going to pick up the slack with a new mobile digital TV that has a 3D display. We know virtually nothing about the set at this point, but we’re thinking it will be glasses-free and are speculating that, after its appearance in Vegas next week, it’ll never be seen in the US again.

LG looks set to unveil mobile 3DTV at CES originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 27 Dec 2010 20:46:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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On-ear Headphones: The Group Test

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Forget discreet in-ear headphones; for the best sound quality and the biggest style statement you need a decent set of over-ear cans. Whether you want Bluetooth connectivity for wireless listening,…



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No New Google TV at CES

Monday, December 27th, 2010

How can life possibly be hard for a company with a net worth of more than billion? Well, Google apparently has stubbed its toe and is struggling to make the best of it. The problem is with Google TV, which was to be the company’s universal solution to all things video. It is intended to provide a single, simple access point for all programming, whether it is broadcast over the airwaves, on cable, on satellite, on a telco system, or available on the Internet. It has not been as simple as Google might have hoped (or planned), and now the company has asked its partners to not show any new products using Google TV at the upcoming CES 2011 trade show in Las Vegas. Making this change in direction must be creating some difficulties for major players such as Toshiba, LG, and Sharp.

Part of the problem may be the lackluster sales to date for the Sony HDTV and Logitech network media player that include Google TV. Another part of the problem, however, may have been Google’s failure to secure access to the most popular content. At this point, ABC, CBS, and NBC all have declined to make the content from their Web sites available through Google TV, and you can’t access Hulu’s large (and attractive) collection either.

So while the potential is enormous, it is clear that Google is not yet in a position to deliver on that promise. So pulling the products from CES may be a good call. Or it may shake the confidence of both product partners and consumers, and maybe we’ll just muddle through without Google’s help. It’s too soon to tell, but when the company does get it right and is finally ready to roll it out in earnest, it had better be awesome.

HDTV Almanac

Panasonic’s Sanyo and PEW buyout official: subsidiaries for life

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Engadget: Congratulations, Panasonic, you’re now the adoptive father of two companies, Sanyo and Panasonic Electric Works. We know, the plan’s been all but confirmed since July, but…



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HDTV Listings for December 26, 2010

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • NBC (1080i) Sunday Night Football with Eagles/Vikings is shifted to Tuesday night.
  • History (720p) has Ax Men at 9 p.m. and Top Gear at 10 p.m.
  • TLC (1080i) has Sarah Palin’s Alaska at 9 p.m. and My Kid Survived at 10 p.m.
  • Fox (720p) has Running Wilde at 9:30 p.m.
  • ESPN (720p) has the 2010 Little Caesars Bowl with Florida International/Toledo at 8:30 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has North American Poker Tour at 9 & 10 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 26, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Sun, 26 Dec 2010 18:42:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LG unveils its ’superior’ 3D Blu-ray AV range

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

TechRadar: LG has decided to beat the January tech crowds and give everyone a peek at what it will be showing off at CES 2011.
This week the Korean company announced that it will be offering what it…



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FCC Pleases Few with Net Neutrality

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Here’s the problem in a nutshell. People are watching more video over the Internet than ever before; by some accounts, Netflix streaming alone accounts for 20% of all Internet traffic in the U.S. at peak times. Streaming video can place a strain on the available bandwidth for some service providers, such as cable companies. The streaming video companies do pay for access to the Internet for their data, but in some cases, the carriers feel that they don’t pay enough.

The question is what happens if a service provider wants to charge one data provider more than another? Or if the service provider wants to give data from one source preferential treatment? Or even block data from a source altogether?

The issue is complex and anything but clear cut. Some groups feel that Internet access is essential for free speech, and anything that allows the establishment of arbitrary obstacles is wrong. Others view the Internet as a business operation, and businesses should be free to make deals that they believe to be in the best interest of their customers and themselves. And then there are those on both sides who question whether or not the FCC has the right to regulate the situation at all.

After hesitation, delays, and mixed signals, the FCC finally took action this week and established new rules to protect “net neutrality”. Needless to say, opponents on both sides complained loudly about these rules. While the rules have not yet been published, they apparently will prohibit wired service providers from blocking data from specific sources. Wireless broadband operators will be allowed to limit access to specific sites and services, persumably because their bandwidth is more limited. But even the wired carriers will be permitted to adjust access to sites and services as part of “reasonable network management”. That would appear to be a loophole large enough to drive a truck through. And the rules apparently will allow “paid prioritazion” that will give packets from some services faster handling than others.

As a result, there’s something to upset just about everyone involved. At this point, about the only thing for certain is that provisions of these new rules are bound to be tested in the courts. It may well take Congressional action with new laws to provide a final resolution. This is not the end of the net neutrality issue, but instead probably marks the beginning of hammering out a solution.

HDTV Almanac

So, what’d you get?

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Let’s just call it what it is: the best Christmas ever. Why? Well, for starters, it’s December 25th. Secondly, it’s a Saturday in much of the world. How often does that happen? The technology outfits ’round the globe have managed to deliver a rather insane stack of wares to consider this year — from terrifically desirable goods to rubbish that we wouldn’t wish on our worst enemy’s enemies — and now it’s our turn to pry into your business and find out what Santa Claus dumped (or didn’t dump) under your tree overnight. Hit us up with your scores in comments below, and be sure to cast your vote as to whether or not the kid on the right is feigning excitement over his newfound laptop. Oh, the kid in the video just past the break — that’s probably useful information.

When you’re done, check out what people got jazzed about in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Continue reading So, what’d you get?

So, what’d you get? originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 25 Dec 2010 11:55:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hulu Holds Off on IPO

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Hulu has changed the way that many Americans watch television programming these days. It is currently owned by News Corp, Walt Disney, NBC Universal, and Providence Equity Partners, but the company had been looking to going public with an IPO to gain its independence. Those plans are now on hold, even though the company is on track to earn 0 million for 2010. The problem apparently is that Hulu has not yet locked up long-term agreements for its streaming video content, which it fears could spook investors. Instead, it seems that they will go back to the well again, and ask the current investors for additional funding.

One of the big problems for Hulu is that Netflix is breathing down its neck. While Hulu shows “catch-up” episodes of television programming, Netflix has been limited to past seasons that have come out on DVD. Netflix is busy making new deals, however, including a “next day” arrangement for NBC’s Saturday Night Live. If Netflix continues to add access to recent episodes, it could challenge Hulu’s advantage in this area.

Many have viewed Hulu as an interesting experiment that has given Fox, ABC, and NBC a sandbox in which to explore online streaming of their programming content. Whether or not they have the conviction to transform it into a major distribution service for their content — and whether they can compete effectively with Netflix — remains to be seen.

HDTV Almanac

ASUS O!Play Mini player ditches the USB 3.0 but keeps the 1080p

Saturday, December 25th, 2010
ASUS O!Play Mini streamer ditches the USB 3.0 but keeps the 1080p

The O!Play HD2 may be the first media device to support USB 3.0, but we’re guessing that hasn’t exactly inspired too many of you to run out and buy the things — assuming you can actually find one for sale. Maybe a slimmer, shaplier form factor would do the trick. That’s the new O!Play Mini, a much more petite entry into the series that makes do with a single USB 2.0 connector along with an SD/MMC/MS/XD card reader up front. Around back are optical audio and an HDMI 1.3 connector, through which it will pump 1080p video and up to 7.1 audio in Dolby Digital AC3, DTS 2.0+, even TrueHD and DTS-HD, plus a variety of other formats. There are also RCA outputs if you prefer your digital steam in audio. File format support looks pretty legendary, including all the usuals plus less commonly supported extensions like MKV, MTS, OGG, and FLAC, even RighTxT subtitles. No word on price or availability yet, but with the HD2 clocking in at 9.99 we wouldn’t be surprised to see this slotting in somewhere under 0.

ASUS O!Play Mini player ditches the USB 3.0 but keeps the 1080p originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 24 Dec 2010 20:03:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New Pioneer car CD tuners with high-grade audio parts and advanced features

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Pioneer.eu: Pioneer introduces its new range with, at the top of the line, the flagship models DEH-9300SD and DEH-8300SD. These models will be available from January 2011 at Pioneer car audio…



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HDTV Listings for December 24, 2010

Friday, December 24th, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • ESPN (720p) has Hawaii/Tulsa in the Hawaii Bowl at 8 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has college basketball with Saint Louis/Mississippi at 7 p.m. and Colorado State/Southern Mississippi at 9 p.m.
  • Syfy (1080i) has WWE Smackdown at 8 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 24, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Fri, 24 Dec 2010 17:56:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Despicable Me Blu-ray 3D Review

Friday, December 24th, 2010

They should have called it "Dimensional Three"!


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KinEmote: Kinect gesture control for Boxee and XBMC media centers now available (video)

Friday, December 24th, 2010

We’ve seen plenty of Kinect hacks over the last few weeks — trouble is, beyond the initial wow factor they’re just not very useful on a daily basis. That situation just changed, however, with the release of KinEmote, a free public beta that lets Windows users navigate XBMC and Boxee menus using nothing but hand gestures. Better yet, the software is built around OpenNI and NITE middleware from PrimeSense, the company behind the Project Natal reference gear. It certainly looks impressive in the video after the break. Good enough that we suspect many of you will hit up the source link below instead of finishing up your last minute holiday shopping — hey, Santa can wait, this is progress!

Continue reading KinEmote: Kinect gesture control for Boxee and XBMC media centers now available (video)

KinEmote: Kinect gesture control for Boxee and XBMC media centers now available (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 24 Dec 2010 01:12:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps Blu-ray Review

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Oliver Stone’s latest on Blu-ray is a must-watch for Gekko-philes.

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HDTV Listings for December 22, 2010

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • NBC (1080i) has Undercovers at 8 p.m.
  • Fox (720p) has Human Target at 8 p.m. and Million Dollar Money Drop at 9 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) has the season finale of Mythbusters at 9 p.m.
  • Showtime (1080i) has Inside the NFL at 9 p.m.
  • USA (1080i) has the season finale of Psych at 10 p.m.
  • TLC (1080i) presents Untold Stories of the E.R. at 9 & 10 p.m.
  • HBO (1080i) has 24/7: Penguins/Capitals at 10 p.m.
  • TBS (1080i) has the season finale of Meet the Browns at 10 & 10:30 p.m.
  • ESPN (720p) has the 2010 Maaco Bowl Las Vegas with Utah/Boise State at 8 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has college basketball with Texas/Michigan State at 7 p.m., Missouri/Illinois at 9 p.m. and Xavier/Gonzaga at 11 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 22, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 16:53:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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VUDU 2.0 interface is live on the PlayStation 3

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

Just shy of a month after it launched on the PlayStation 3, VUDU has begun delivering its newly revamped interface on the game console. It should be there once the app is opened, but just in case you’re not near a Sixaxis or the (now supported) Move controller check out our gallery for an idea of what the new layout look like. Oh, and if you’re getting your 1080p HDX streaming via a different box or smart TV widget then keep an eye out, the company’s support page say the PS3 and LG devices will be the only ones sporting the new look through January, with all the rest getting it later on.

VUDU 2.0 interface is live on the PlayStation 3 originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 23:22:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sony buys back Toshiba’s Cell plant for 50 billion yen, makes a killing and plans a CMOS fab

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Looks like Toshiba’s Cell processor ambitions didn’t quite pan out — Japanese news sources are reporting that the company’s selling its Nagasaki manufacturing plant back to Sony for 50 billion yen, or roughly 7 million in US money. Considering that Toshiba originally purchased the semiconductor facility for 100 90 billion yen (then 5 million) back in 2008, it seems like Sony’s making out like a bandit here — and it may have just found the perfect place to build more CMOS chips for its high-end camera lineup, too. Sony reportedly told the Nikkei Business Daily that it may repurpose the facility to produce HD image sensors for cameras and smartphones. What will happen to the chip that launched 40 million PS3s and a graphics co-processor or two? With any luck, we’ll find out at CES 2011 quite soon.

Sony buys back Toshiba’s Cell plant for 50 billion yen, makes a killing and plans a CMOS fab originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 14:44:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sony’s Music Unlimited subscription service ready to stream tunes to PS3s and Bravia TVs in the UK

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

The UK and Ireland are today the first to get a taste of Sony’s big play for the online music market, the appropriately titled Music Unlimited. This new subscription service (£3.99 a month for Basic access, £9.99 for the Premium stuff) will let you stream a library of about six million songs to your PS3, Bravia telly, or web-connected Blu-ray player, while also offering the option to sync playlists from other music services like iTunes. PC support is available as well, with “a wide range of Sony’s portable devices” and Android-based smartphones on the roadmap for future compatibility. Music Unlimited sidles up next to Qriocity as part of Sony’s strategy to expand its influence in content delivery, presumably in an effort to thicken its revenue streams, and will be following up this British launch with arrivals in the US, Canada and most of Western Europe in the new year.

Continue reading Sony’s Music Unlimited subscription service ready to stream tunes to PS3s and Bravia TVs in the UK

Sony’s Music Unlimited subscription service ready to stream tunes to PS3s and Bravia TVs in the UK originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 22 Dec 2010 07:21:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’hoole Blu-ray 3D Review

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Folks feeling blasé about 3D are sure to give a hoot after watching this gorgeous new disc.


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FLO TV Spectrum Sold

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Qualcomm will sell its nationwide licenses for the 700 MHz broadcast spectrum as it pulls the plug on its FLO TV mobile television service. AT&T will pay nearly billion for the rights to these radio waves. Along with this announcement came the news that Qualcomm will shut down the mobile television services that it has been providing to AT&T and Verizon for their privately-branded services.

AT&T will reportedly use the new spectrum to provide faster wireless broadband service as part of its new 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network. Qualcomm is primarily a chip maker, and will make the chips required for 4G LTE devices. As I wrote in the the past, Qualcomm’s heart probably was never in the FLO TV project; it just wanted to demonstrate what could be done with a high-bandwidth wireless data network. So it’s hard to count this as a failure for the company; the spectrum will still be used and chips like Qualcomm’s will still be required.

The take-away for me is that there are indeed limits to what the American consumer wants in terms of wireless services. And in particular, it appears that scheduled TV programming on cell-phone-sized devices is probably beyond those limits. I still think that consumers are getting a taste for on-demand programming, thanks to the Internet, and I suspect that high-speed broadband wireless provides a more versatile and appealing solution than just replicating the traditional broadcast model.

HDTV Almanac

Chris Boylan’s Top 5 – The Best Blu-rays of 2010

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

In a year chock full of exciting titles, our editor in chief picks his favorite Blu-ray Discs of 2010.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Please Support HDTV Almanac

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Last year, HDTV Almanac was honored with a “Golden Retrevo Award” for 2010 for its coverage of HDTV and home entertainment technology topics. As 2010 draws to a close, Retrevo is getting ready to choose the winners for 2011. And once again, HDTV Almanac has been nominated for the award.

This year, they are asking readers to vote for their favorite candidates. If you think that HDTV Almanac has been of value to you over the past year, then I ask that you take a moment to click on this link — http://www.retrevo.com/search/vote.jsp?q=GRA187 — to vote for HDTV Almanac. There is no registration required and you don’t have to give any personal information to vote.

And if you’re so inclined, you can vote every day through January 24, 2011. We’ll find out in February if HDTV Almanac gets to wear the Golden Retrevo badge for another year.

Thanks for all your support, and please help spread the word.

HDTV Almanac

Last Minute Stocking Stuffer Christmas Gift Ideas: Blu-ray Discs Under $10

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Amazon has a great selection of last-minute movie gifts for just about everyone on your list.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Engadget HD Giveaway: win Inception on Blu-ray!

Monday, December 20th, 2010

It’s the time of year where we give gifts to the people we care about most — and for us at Engadget that means you, the reader. In this case, we have a copy of Inception on Blu-ray to give away. Already one of our favorites, we’re sure this will find a nice home with one of the randomly selected commenters on this post. Of course, this entire contest could just a dream inside of a dream, wrapped in another dream, but just in case it’s real and you are awake, doublecheck the rules below and drop us a note to enter.

Thanks to Warner for providing the disc.

Continue reading Engadget HD Giveaway: win Inception on Blu-ray!

Engadget HD Giveaway: win Inception on Blu-ray! originally appeared on Engadget HD on Mon, 20 Dec 2010 13:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FiOS rolls out ‘sneak peek’ of updated v1.9 set-top box software

Monday, December 20th, 2010

The much anticipated new guide for Verizon’s FiOS TV service is out in the wild for testers recruited via its blog, and testers report new features like eSATA support and multiroom DVR browsing are present and accounted for. Another new feature is automatic switching for 3D content, with plans for enhanced user profiles, more HD and VOD and customizable menus in the future. Of course, we’re just happy to see another guide for 16:9 displays, but if you’re wondering what the new software can do, check out the thread on DSLForums for a few early impressions.

FiOS rolls out ‘sneak peek’ of updated v1.9 set-top box software originally appeared on Engadget HD on Mon, 20 Dec 2010 14:43:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Hands-On with Orb Networks Orb Music Player MP-1

Monday, December 20th, 2010

A tiny Wi-Fi puck and a dab of software can set your iTunes free!


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NYT: Next batch of Google TV devices delayed, pending software updates

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

We were expecting to see a slew of new Google TV-powered displays and boxes at CES in a couple of weeks, but now The New York Times is reporting the list of new product partners at the show may be much shorter than expected. The cause is reported to be Google’s last minute decision to ask for more time to work on its software first, resulting in no new hardware from LG, Sharp and Toshiba at the show, leaving only Samsung and VIZIO to show off their products. The always popular unnamed sources now peg timing for the next full fledged assault of Google TV hardware as after the company completes updates including the addition of the Android Market some time next year. Of course, Chrome OS and Honeycomb already provide plenty of examples of a disconnect between the good folks at Mountain View and their hardware partners, but with some already casting doubt on the platform’s potential, and the company’s ability to work out licensing deals with Hollywood, it’d be good to see more than last week’s partial facelift as a sign of what is to come.

NYT: Next batch of Google TV devices delayed, pending software updates originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 19 Dec 2010 22:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Vizio Proves Me Wrong!

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

For quite a while, I’ve been saying that if you want 3DTV with a flat panel display, you’re going to be stuck with active “shutter glasses” for the foreseeable future. Why not use the inexpensive passive glasses like you wear at the local cinema? Because it costs too much to add the required extra polarizing layers to the display panel, and this would raise the price too much to be competitive.

Clearly, I was wrong.

Yesterday, Vizio announced the XVT3D650SV, a new 65″ LED LCD HDTV with 3DTV support. It also has Vizio’s VIA (Vizio Internet Apps) for Internet connectivity and access to Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Facebook, Rhapsody, Pandora, and much, much more. It has wired and dual-band 802.11n WiFi support and a Bluetooth universal remote with a QWERTY keypad. It has localized dimming with the edge-lit LED backlight for increased dynamic contrast. And it is compatible with a wide range of 3DTV signal formats – including Blu-ray — which helps futureproof the purchase. And it comes bundled with four pairs of passive 3D glasses which are just like the ones that you wear at the local cinema. In fact, the same glasses will work in both places.

Not only does it use passive glasses, but the price is not sky high. Packed with top-of-the-line features, it will sell at Costco and Sam’s Club (in store and online) for ,500. That’s much less than the price for other 65″ LCD 3DTVs that use active glasses, and even less than the street price for Panasonic’s 65″ 3D plasma model that uses active glasses. So not only does this not cost more than the other approaches, Vizio is able to sell it for less!

In short, this new 3DTV is a game changer. While Vizio has rolled it out as a flagship model, presumably there is no reason why this technology can’t filter down to smaller models and sets without the premium bells and whistles found in this one. I still am holding to my prediction that 3D will be a standard feature in all flat panel HDTVs within two or three years, but now I’m not so sure that they will be using active shutter glasses.

I’ll get a chance to see this new set up close and personal at CES 2011 next month in Las Vegas, and you can be sure that you’ll hear more about it right here. Stay tuned!

HDTV Almanac

Toshiba BDX3000 3D Network Blu-ray Disc Player Review

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Toshiba’s latest flagship disc spinner does a whole lot for very little (money).

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

New Champion Series subwoofers provide a pure, rock-solid bass experience

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Pioneer.eu: Pioneer has introduced its new line-up of Champion Series car subwoofers, combining high power output, clean and punchy bass and sharp new cosmetic design. They use technologies derived…



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3D TV Bundle Deal: Panasonic 50-inch TC-P50VT25: $1856.24 with Free Blu-ray 3D Player, Avatar 3D and Glasses

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Ready to relive Avatar, from the comfort of your own couch? Amazon has a deal that can put the biggest movie of all time right inside your living room in glorious 3D.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

HDTV Listings for December 17, 2010

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • ESPN (720p) has a basketball doubleheader with Heat/Knicks at 7 p.m. and Suns/Mavericks at 9:30 p.m.
  • ESPN 3D (720p) has Heat/Knicks basketball at 7 p.m.
  • Syfy (1080i) has WWE Smackdown at 8 p.m. and the fall finale of Sanctuary at 10 p.m.
  • History (720p) has Modern Marvels at 9 p.m. and The Beatles on Record at 10 p.m.
  • TLC (1080i) has What Not to Wear at 9 p.m. and Stuffocating at 10 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) has Gold Rush: Alaska at 10 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has Division 1 FCS playoff football with Villanova/Eastern Washington at 8 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 17, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Fri, 17 Dec 2010 18:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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3D TV Sale: Samsung 50-inch PN50C680 1080p Plasma: $1076.98 with Free 3D Starter Kit

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

Amazon is making it easy to add 3D into your home, packaging up this 50-incher with two pairs of 3D glasses and plenty to watch.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

VIZIO Unveils 65-inch Theater 3D Razor LED HDTV

Friday, December 17th, 2010

VIZIO announced the introduction of their new Theater 3D technology with the launch of the 65″ Theater 3D Edge Lit Razor LED LCD HDTV with VIZIO Internet Apps. The 65″ XVT3D650SV is VIZIO’s largest HDTV ever.

Continue reading VIZIO Unveils 65-inch Theater 3D Razor LED HDTV

Originally appeared on HDTV.biz-news.com :: Latest HDTV Business News on 17/12/2010


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Panasonic VIERA G3 Series HDTVs lets you record TV onto SD cards, very convenient

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Newlaunches.com: Panasonic’s Viera range of HDTVs has just a new addition in the G3 series – the TH-L42G3. As usually, Panasonic has crammed the new device with quite a bit of functionality making…



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TRON: Legacy Movie Review

Friday, December 17th, 2010

The new "TRON" sequel looks like a stunningly beautiful car commercial or a vodka ad – but that’s not enough to sustain the film, which quickly dulls after you leave the games arena.

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H2O intros new Flex waterproof earbuds

Friday, December 17th, 2010

iPodNN: H2O Audio has just introduced new waterproof earbuds with the Flex All Sport Buds. They can be submerged in up to three feet of water without any ill effects. This also makes them ideal for…



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Digital Boombox turns your iPhone into a portable DJ system

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Dvice: True tech classics never die as exampled by TDK’s new Three Speaker Boombox, a slick mutation of an old school favorite.
The Boombox features an AM/FM radio, and a USB port for media…



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Kinect Hacks Daily, Episode 47: Kinect taught to control XBMC through hand gestures

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

One of our favorite parts of Kinect, at least theoretically, was the idea of controller-free and remote-free control of the dashboard and media playbook. Sure, it’s never going to be as optimized and snappy as those tried-and-true digital buttons, but it’s a great party trick, and we’re all about the party tricks. Well, now you can get some of that gesture mojo going on with your XBMC setup — and we’re guessing eventually you’ll be able to control just about anything else you’d use basic “left, right, click” actions for navigation. Our only suggestion? Get some of that Dance Central-style menu navigation going on here. That goes for you, too, Microsoft.

[Thanks, Joshua]

Kinect Hacks Daily, Episode 47: Kinect taught to control XBMC through hand gestures originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 15 Dec 2010 21:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dish Network gets in the 3D game with a bit of VOD

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

So far, Dish Network has been content to let others lead the way on 3D content, but tonight it’s announced plans to kick off its offerings in the area by putting several movies up on its VOD service. Early adopting 3D TV owners can check out Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, The Last Airbender, A Christmas Carol and Step Up 3D this month, with Despicable Me, Shrek Forever After and Saw: The Final Chapter due for availability in January. All the flicks are available in 1080p — no word what compression they’re using — but are available for .99 – .99 each. It’s no ESPN 3D or the Sony/Discovery/IMAX channel, but at least Dish subscribers have something to watch on their TVs, no matter how pricey. Check the details and info on a Holiday Sweepstakes offer in the press release after the break.

Continue reading Dish Network gets in the 3D game with a bit of VOD

Dish Network gets in the 3D game with a bit of VOD originally appeared on Engadget HD on Thu, 16 Dec 2010 01:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Same Day Movies at Home?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Tired of standing in line to see the latest blockbuster? Not so thrilled about paying a fortune for a giant tub of buttery popcorn? Wishing for a way that you could enjoy the latest movies without having to endure the loud conversations and ringing cell phones at your local cinema?

Well, you may be able to solve your problems, if Prima Cinema is successful. According to a Wall Street Journal article, the new company hopes to have a system that will stream first-run movies to your home screen. Now, before you go out and order new slippers to wear for opening night, understand that there is a cost involved. The home system is expected to cost about ,000. Oh, and each movie screening will cost an additional 0. That’s a lot of popcorn!

The company has financial backing from Best Buy and Universal Pictures, and hopes to start installations later next year. Clearly, this is not the solution for the average movie fan, but it could find its niche among the very wealthy who are looking for new, exclusive technologies.

HDTV Almanac

The A-Team Blu-ray Review

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Hannibal, Face, B.A. and Murdoch are together again, bringing incredible action and A-list audio/video and extras.


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True Grit Blu-ray Review

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

No grit but a little noise and grain mark the arrival of The Duke’s Oscar-winning western in HD.


Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

iPod Touch Deal: 32 GB iPod Touch 3G, with Tom Tom GPS Kit and Case: $239.99

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Amazon is knocking 20 percent off the price of an iPod and throwing in freebies, making this the perfect holiday gift!

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Sennheiser teams up with Adidas for headphone series

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

iPodNN: Sennheiser has teamed with Adidas to release a new Adidas Originals line of headphones. The range includes the HD 25, the HD 220 and the CX 310. The HD 25 is a premium headphone set aimed at…



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LG Unveils E90 LED Monitor

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

LG has just unveiled its new E90 monitor, the company’s slimmest LED monitor to date at just 7.2 mm in depth. It will be available starting this month in select markets.

Continue reading LG Unveils E90 LED Monitor

Originally appeared on HDTV.biz-news.com :: Latest HDTV Business News on 13/12/2010


HDTV.biz-news.com :: Latest HDTV Business News :: Hardware & Technology

HDTV Listings for December 13, 2010

Monday, December 13th, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • NBC (1080i) has The Sing-Off at 8 p.m.
  • CBS (1080i) How I Met Your Mother at 8 p.m., Rules of Engagement at 8:30 p.m., Two and a Half Men at 9 p.m., Mike & Molly at 9:30 p.m. and Hawaii Five-0 at 10 p.m.
  • ABC (720p) has Skating With The Stars at 8 p.m. and Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas to You at 9 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) has American Chopper: Junior vs. Senior at 9 p.m. and the season premiere of Howe & Howe Tech at 10 p.m.
  • USA (1080i) has WWE: Raw at 8 p.m.
  • TNT (1080i) has The Closer at 9 p.m. and Men of a Certain Age at 10 p.m.
  • History (720p) has American Pickers at 9 p.m.
  • A&E (720p) has the season premiere of Intervention at 9 p.m. and Hoarders at 10 p.m.
  • ESPN (720p) has Ravens/Texans Monday Night Football at 8:30 p.m.
  • TLC (1080i) has Next Great Baker at 9 p.m. and Fabulous Cakes at 10 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 13, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 18:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kaleidescape launches 100-disc Blu-ray movie server

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Kaleidescape has fulfilled its promise of launching the industry’s first Blu-ray server by releasing its new 100-disc Blu-ray disc vault we saw at CEDIA that, when paired with its M300 or M500 players, can rip, store, and stream copies of Blu-ray movies throughout the home. However, despite its pricetag of ,495 (plus ,500+ for the player) there’s still some serious restrictions — each disc vault has to be connected to an individual player, and the discs have to remain in the vault for the player to stream their ripped copies over the network. Sony’s 400 disc changer can store more movies, but this should load them faster and offer easy browsing with cover art and title info. We suppose this is the “simplest” ripping solution available for now, but a year and a half later we’re still wondering if Blu-ray’s Managed Copy feature will ever launch and make a legitimate movie jukebox option a reality.

Continue reading Kaleidescape launches 100-disc Blu-ray movie server

Kaleidescape launches 100-disc Blu-ray movie server originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 13 Dec 2010 14:09:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why I Love Networked Devices

Monday, December 13th, 2010

I’ve got a couple Internet-connected devices here, including network media player boxes from Roku and Western Digital. They have individual strengths and weaknessess, but both share two features that I really like.

First, they let me access content on the Internet or on my other computers on the network. This gives me a nearly-endless supply of music and video content that I can enjoy without having to boot up a full-blown computer. This saves me time and money, and makes it easy for me to explore new content that I might not know about, such as genres of music that are not familiar to me. (I’m a big bluegrass fan, but I like to have a change of pace sometimes with a little jazz guitar, or perhaps a ska/reggae mix.)

The other fetaure that I love is the no-hassle upgrade process. In the early days of computers, you’d have to get updated programs on a disk, and then find the time to install and configure the updates. Now, the Internet delivers these upgrades to computers automatically if you want. The cool thing about network-attached entertainment devices is that they too can be updated automatically over the Internet. If the manufacturer makes a deal with a new content source, an automatic update of the network media player’s update means that the new choice will show up on your home menu. No muss, no fuss; I love it.

The fact is that the cost of processing power and its associated memory keeps dropping, which means that these network media players and other boxes are just going to get smarter and smarter. If you’ve been thinking about hooking up a personal computer to your HDTV, you might want to investigate a network-capable Blu-ray player, network media player, or other Internet-connected device and just see what they can do for you.

HDTV Almanac

Enid Burns’ Top Five Blu-rays of 2010

Monday, December 13th, 2010

My favorite Blu-ray Discs this year included a few you might have missed in theaters.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Switched On: Which connected TV box are you?

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.

Switched On presents a short quiz to determine your content-delivery personality.

It’s most important that my on-demand entertainment:
a) is easy and accessible
b) is not blocked
c) is available at the optimum bitrate
d) offers a new navigation paradigm
e) advances the species

The place I usually find entertainment is:

a) the cloud
b) my PC
c) the NAS connected to my TV
d) the long tail of the Web
e) Madagascar

Continue reading Switched On: Which connected TV box are you?

Switched On: Which connected TV box are you? originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 11 Dec 2010 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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More TV Content for Netflix

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Several sources including the LA Times have reported that Netflix has struck a new deal with Disney to gain access to more of its television content. This includes episodes from prior seasons of popular ABC shows such as “Lost” and “Grey’s Anatomy”. According to the LA Times article, episodes from the current season still will be only available on Hulu. Some of shows from other Disney networks — ABC Family and the Disney Channel — will be available as early as 15 days after the initial broadcast date.

There are two interesting aspects to this story. First, the Netflix camel’s nose is nudging insitently under the tent. No longer are they just streaming content that’s avaiable on DVDs; they are getting into television episodes in a big way. Sure, it’s not every episode of every show, but at the end of that sentence, you have to put a great big “YET”. The company is in the right place at the right time to capitalize on the studios’ worries about revenues and retransmission rights and plummeting DVD sales. So expect to see more deals that will expand the scope of the content, and compress the delay between initial release and streaming availability.

The other part of the LA Times story that I found interesting is how much Netflix is willing to spend. According to the newspaper’s unnamed sources, the company will pay Disney-ABC between ,000 and 0,000 per episode for the major shows. That may seem like a lot of money, until you find out that some networks pay .4 million per episode for reruns of popular shows. Now, the initial conclusion might be that Netflix can’t afford to increase their offer by 10-fold to compete with these cable networks. I think that’s looking at the wrong end of the telescope. What happens to the studio revenues if cable and satellite services offer more stripped-down packages, or even shift to a la carte pricing? Many of these networks that have these rerun deals may see their subscriber count drop, which reduces ad revenues, which limits what they can pay for the programming. If this happens, it’s likely that Netflix could pick up much of the slack, as subscribers would not be paying extra to gain access to these shows. Netflix revenues increase, and is able to pay the studios more. As they become the major outlet, their bargaining position also gets stronger. It will be interesting to see how the money side of episodic television programming develops.

HDTV Almanac

Blu-ray Players: Best of the bunch

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

T3: Blu-ray players should be big sellers this Christmas, helped by increased availability of films and lower prices – a state-of-the-art deck now comes in at under £300. With cutting-edge features…



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HDTV Rollout in China Continues to Power Cogo’s Digital Media Growth

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Cogo, an embedded solutions and software provider for the technology and industrial sectors in China, continues to benefit from the strong roll-out of HDTV as total HDTV subscribers in China passed 2 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from 2 million in July 2010.

Continue reading HDTV Rollout in China Continues to Power Cogo’s Digital Media Growth

Originally appeared on HDTV.biz-news.com :: Latest HDTV Business News on 09/12/2010


HDTV.biz-news.com :: Latest HDTV Business News :: Hardware & Technology

Vampires Suck Blu-ray Review

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

When you see the word "suck" in the title, really, what do you expect?


Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Nexus S

Friday, December 10th, 2010

NaviGadget: Google’s new phone, Nexus S from Samsung was officially announced today. It comes with the latest Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread which now includes NFC (near field communications)…



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Sony Integrates HDTV with PS2

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Looking for the ideal holiday gift for a college student or someone living in a small flat? Note that I say “flat” instead of “apartment” because this new set is only available in the United Kingdom at this point. Sony has rolled out the new KDL-22PX300, a 22″ LCD HDTV with a built-in PS2 video game console. This one device will let you watch television, watch Blu-ray high definition movies, play video games, and thanks to the Ethernet network port, get content streamed from the Internet. And there are even ports that let you use it as a monitor for a personal computer.

One problem with integrated devices such as this is that if one component fails, you have to take the whole thing in for servicing. On the other hand, it saves space and costs less than separate parts. This has been the crux of the argument over compact versus component stereo systems for years, and it applies just as well to integrated HDTVs. In my opinion, these devices have become incredibly reliable and I would not hesitate to buy an integrated device if I had a setting that would benefit from one.

HDTV Almanac

Gifts for Audiophiles 2010

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Born Rich: Considering the fact that the shelves are flooded with a range of products for music lovers, finding a perfect holiday gift for a true audiophile is quite a challenge. You might find it a…



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Snapstick shows off iPhone-controlled internet TV prototype

Thursday, December 9th, 2010
It’s still not an actual product just yet, but upstart Snaptick has given Crave an early look at its eponymously-named internet TV system, which it says will challenge the likes of Google TV and Apple TV. The company’s hook is that it simply delivers the “full web” to your TV, which can be controlled using either your phone or a laptop. In the case of the company’s iPhone app, you can actually flick content from your iPhone to the TV, and even have multiple people control the same TV with their respective iPhones. Things get a bit more complicated when it comes to the actual device, though. It seems the company still isn’t sure what form it will take — it could be a separate set-top box like the prototype above, or it could be built-in into a Blu-ray player or TV. Given that state of things, it shouldn’t come as much surprise that there’s no indication of a price or release date, but the company is now accepting applications for a private beta, and you can get an idea of what might be in store in the video after the break.

Continue reading Snapstick shows off iPhone-controlled internet TV prototype

Snapstick shows off iPhone-controlled internet TV prototype originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 09 Dec 2010 14:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Disney announces Bambi Blu-ray/DVD combo for March 1st, debuts new Second Screen PC/iPad app

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Disney’s officially put a date on the Diamond Edition release of Bambi, which will arrive March 1, 2011 in Blu-ray/DVD combo pack edition HD download, or SD download — DVD only packages arrive April 19th. There’s plenty of exclusive Blu-ray features, including never before seen deleted scenes, 7.1 audio track, a deleted song, a peek inside Walt Disney’s meetings where the concept of the film came to be, and an interactive game. The biggest addition is that this disc will debut Disney’s new “Second Screen” feature on computer or iPad which promises to sync with the film and pull in even more interactive features. It sounds similar to Universal’s BD Touch apps, but we’ll have to wait and see exactly what it brings to this classic flick next year.

Continue reading Disney announces Bambi Blu-ray/DVD combo for March 1st, debuts new Second Screen PC/iPad app

Disney announces Bambi Blu-ray/DVD combo for March 1st, debuts new Second Screen PC/iPad app originally appeared on Engadget HD on Wed, 08 Dec 2010 16:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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HDTV Listings for December 8, 2010

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • NBC (1080i) has The Sing-Off at 8 p.m.
  • ABC (720p) has The Middle at 8 p.m., Better With You at 8:30 p.m., Modern Family at 9 p.m. and Cougar Town at 9:31 p.m.
  • CBS (1080i) has Survivor at 8 p.m., Criminal Minds at 9 p.m. and The Defenders at 10 p.m.
  • Fox (720p) has Human Target at 8 p.m.
  • TLC (1080i) presents Losing One of My Giant Legs at 8 p.m., Untold Stories of the E.R. at 9 p.m. and The 8 Limbed Boy at 10 p.m.
  • TBS (1080i) has Meet the Browns at 10 & 10:30 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) has Mythbusters at 9 p.m. and Storm Chasers at 10 p.m.
  • Showtime (1080i) has Inside the NFL at 9 p.m.
  • ESPN(720p) has Notre Dame/Kentucky college basketball at 9:30 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has Bradley/Duke college basketball at 9 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 8, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Wed, 08 Dec 2010 19:26:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Engadget HD

Smart portables continue to gain on nav systems

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

(Credit: Automotive News)
Car Tech: Suppliers of navigation systems and their automaker customers are facing a tough new competitor. And the competitor is, literally, in their pocket.
That pesky…



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No-Disc NetFlix Subscription

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

The future is here. Netflix has announced a new subscription option; for .99 a month, you get unlimited access to the company’s streaming video content for movies and television episodes. That’s a drop of a month from the old plan that also included one DVD movie rental at a time. The cost of the single-DVD plan is now increasing to .99, so you can save a month if you don’t want to get the discs in the mail.

The streaming service still suffers from a limited selection of “quality” movies, though some recent deals have helped improve the choices somewhat. And now that Netflix has demonstrated that it is serious about becoming an Internet-based service, it may be able to negotiate some better deals for other content as well. For example, NBC is letting the company stream the latest episodes of Saturday Night Live starting the day after they air. If Netflix can make other deals for current programming, it could pose serious problems for competitors such as Hulu.

The genie of video content over the Internet shows no signs of being put back in its bottle, and growing consumer enthusiasm is building momentum for this game-changing delivery approach. This is going to get very interesting.

HDTV Almanac

Speed Bump in FilmOn Road to Success

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

What would you say about a company that started streaming television programming over the Internet to subscribers, and chalked up 30 million users in a few weeks? That’s reportedly the score for FilmOn, one of two companies that are streaming locally-broadcast television content over the Internet. Along with iviTV, FilmOn believes that it has the right to rebroadcast the content as a cable company, but the networks are opposing this interpretation. Yesterday, a federal court in New York issued a temporary restraining order against FilmOn, requiring it to stop transmitting content from Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC affiliate stations over the Internet. This is in advance of a hearing that will be held to determine whether or not there is legal cause for the FilmOn site to be shut down.

FilmOn has agreed to comply with the order, but continues to stream content from other channels. It likely will take weeks before the next set of decisions are handed down, but this is certainly an anxious time for the major networks. If FilmOn and iviTV should prevail in their position that their operations are legal under existing law, it could represent a serious challenge to the existing television broadcast and distribution systems. It could also impact the cable and satellite services by providing broadband subscribers with the equivalent of basic cable service at a much lower price.

We’re witnessing the initial skirmishes of what promises to be an important battle for the television industry as a whole.

HDTV Almanac

Time Warner Scales Down

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

This is big news, folks. Time Warner has announced a new subscription option. For to a month, the cable service will offer a stripped down “basic” plan named “TV Essentials” as a response to subscribers who complain that the monthly fees are just too high. The service will include local channels and 12 of the top-rated cable channels.

The company’s press release indicates that this is in response to the impact of the recession, with many households looking for ways to trim costs from their budgets. The release does not mention that there’s a need to stop the bleeding as subscribers cancel their cable contracts; according to MediaBiz, cable services had a net loss of 641,000 subscribers in the third quarter of this year. Time Warner lost 155,000 of those.

Is this new offering going to make a difference? I doubt it. Subscribers will be paying about to per channel per month (aside from the ones that they could get for free just by sticking up an antenna), and unless these are channels that they love, that doesn’t strike me as a great bargain. The choices for content streamed over the Internet aren’t ready yet to take cable’s place in most households, but they’re getting better every day.

And this offering is getting perilously close to the a la carte pricing that consumers want. Why pay for channels you never watch? Instead of bundling them, why not pay or a month for just the individual networks that you want? The problem is that this approach would drastically reduce the cable companies’ revenues, making it difficult for them to maintain their physical infrastructure. And it certainly would not make the networks happy as they would not be able to count on getting bundled in with a package and their viewer counts will undoubtedly drop.

So Time Warner and the others are going to have to find a way to preserve the bundling concept, and still keep the consumer happy. But as Blockbuster and Netflix have discovered, the old models for distributing video entertainment content are not holding up well, and it looks as though new models are developing whether the cable companies are ready or not.

HDTV Almanac

Killer Home Theater Deals: Denon 5.1 AV Receiver for $197.86 (AVR391)

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Both Amazon and OneCall have amazing prices on this receiver, which features decoding for the latest A/V formats and 3D passthrough.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

TV Deals: 55-inch Toshiba 55HT1U 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV: $999.99 While Supplies Last

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

OneCall is offering a nice price on this HDTV, which features a Gaming Mode, Dynamic Noise Reduction, and a full HD 1080p image.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Concerns Continue Over HDTV Inventories

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

A report this week from DisplaySearch showed that the growth of global television shipments slowed in the third quarter of 2010, compared with the same period in 2009. Last year’s shipments over the prior year were up 26% for the third quarter, but this year, that figure shrank to just 9%. Weak sell-through at the retail level — especially in North America — has led to increased inventories.

DisplaySearch also points out that the lower prices for plasma HDTVs compared with LCD models of equivalent size has resulted in a 35% increase in unit shipments compared with the third quarter last year, but this still left the technology with only about one-tenth the number of units shipped for LCD televisions. Samsung, LGE, and Sony remain the top three flat panel TV brands worldwide.

The low growth in shipments indicates that consumer demand is still weak, which is to be expected under the current economic conditions faced by most consumers. The retailers are clearly doing what they can to spur sales, as we saw last week on Black Friday with 32″ models available for under 0 and a 40″ LCD HDTV under 0. It’s not clear yet how strong the HDTV sales were on Black Friday, but it would appear that there are still plenty of sets in inventory as the bargain advertisements continue. If you’re still waiting to buy a new HDTV, you should expect to strike a good bargain between now and New Year’s.

HDTV Almanac

Sony Outsources More HDTV Production

Monday, December 6th, 2010

HDTV may be in Sony’s DNA, according to the company’s marketing campaign, but it appears that they are turning more and more to surrogate parents to produce their offspring. A recent report in DigiTimes indicates that Sony will increase its use of LCD panels made by other companies from 30% to 50%, relying primarily on the Taiwanese companies such as CMI. This means that half of Sony’s HDTVs won’t have Sony LCD panels inside.

This is just one more sign that the once-dominant Japanese electronic industry continues to lose ground in the worldwide markets. Sony also recently disclosed that it would not increase its share of the new Sharp Gen 10 plant from 7% to 34% as originally planned. Electronics production has moved to Korea and Taiwan, and now there are signs that mainland China could take over the top production role before too long.

HDTV Almanac

Comcast vs. Level 3 Forces Net Neutrality Issue

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Yesterday, Level 3 went public with its complaints that Comcast is demanding new fees in order to deliver Level 3’s data over its cable broadband networks. The dispute becomes a lot more interesting when you consider that Level 3 is now distributing the content for Netflix’s on-demand streaming video service. The stakes are increased by the fact that Comcast — the largest cable service in the country — is already under federal scrutiny as it moves to complete its purchase of NBC Universal.

As I dig into the story, however, I find that it’s hard to tell who is truly the aggrieved party here. From what I understand, Level 3 is one of several services that distribute Internet content along the backbones of the data network. Local service providers — such as Comcast – make arrangements with these services so that they can get their data to the end customers. In many cases, it apparently has been standard practice for the nationwide and local services to simply make reciprocal arrangements to give access to the each other’s networks.

Comcast claims, however, that the usage is now lopsided. Level 3 is using much more of Comcast’s resources than the other way around, and Comcast feels that it should be compensated for this. What is causing all that usage? A recent study showed that Netflix accounts for as much as 20% of the total traffic on the Internet at peak times. So maybe Comcast has a valid claim.

On the other hand, Level 3 complains that Comcast is essentially holding its users hostage and demanding that Level 3 pay an unreasonable fee for access. The fear is that this could lead to other services picking and choosing which content they will pass through to their customers. Could Comcast make a sweetheart deal with NBC Universal that would allow their content access to the Comcast networks at a lower fee than for competing content providers?

I certainly don’t have the answers on this, but it appears to me that the growth of the Internet has outrun it rules and we are at risk of falling into a black hole of confusion. It seems to me that we need to have rules established so content providers get access to consumers on a reliable basis and at reasonable cost, while the cable companies and other broadband providers are able to make enough revenues to support their businesses. I expect that the FCC can no longer ignore this “net neutrality” mess, but I also suspect that it’s too late for the FCC to fix it. I expect that there will be court cases and new federal legislation before this problem gets fixed.

HDTV Almanac

The Search for Santa Paws Blu-ray Review

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Santa’s BFF is cute, cuddly, and also, not a little bit silly.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Chris Chiarella’s Top 5 Blu-ray Discs of 2010

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

Hang on for several blasts from the past, and even a few from the future….

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

The Other Guys Blu-ray Review

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

This year saw a lot of films with over-the-top action heroes arrive on Blu-ray, but this one is about The Other Guys.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

HDTV Listings for December 4, 2010

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • ESPN, ESPN 3D (720p) has Florida State/Virginia Tech ACC Championship football at 7:45 p.m.
  • ESPN (720p) has UCONN/South Florida college football at 8 p.m.
  • ABC (720p) has Oklahoma/Nebraska Big 12 Championship college football at 8 p.m.
  • NBC (1080i) has Saturday Night Live with Robert DeNiro and Diddy Dirty Money at 11:29 p.m.
  • Fox (720p) has Cops at 8 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) presents FBI’s 10 Most Wanted at 8 p.m. and the series premiere of Get Out Alive at 10 p.m.
  • Fox Sports Network (720p) has USC/UCLA college football at 10:30 p.m.
  • Versus (1080i) has Washington/Washington State college football at 7 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 4, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Sat, 04 Dec 2010 17:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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HDTV Listings for December 3, 2010

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • Fox (720p) has The Good Guys at 9 p.m.
  • CBS (1080i) has Medium at 8 p.m. and CSI: NY at 9 p.m. and Blue Bloods at 10 p.m.
  • NBC (1080i) presents A Walk In My Shoes at 8 p.m.
  • CW (1080i) has Smallville at 8 p.m. and Supernatural at 9 p.m.
  • BBC America (1080i) has Law & Order UK at 9 p.m.
  • Syfy (1080i) has WWE Smackdown at 8 p.m. and Sanctuary at 10 p.m.
  • History (720p) has Modern Marvels at 9 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) has Swamp Loggers at 9 p.m. and the series premiere of Gold Rush: Alaska at 10 p.m.
  • TLC (1080i) has What Not to Wear at 9 p.m. and Homemade Millionaire at 10 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has Northern Illinois/Miami (OH) MAC College Football Championship game at 7 p.m.
  • ESPN (720p) has basketball with Bulls/Celtics at 8 p.m. and Mavericks/Jazz at 10:30 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 3, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Fri, 03 Dec 2010 19:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Greg Robinson’s Top 5 Blu-rays of 2010

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

It’s virtually impossible to pick just five Blu-ray Discs that outshone the rest in 2010. But that’s not going to stop us from trying.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

How would you change Roku’s XDS media streamer?

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

2010 may arguably be the year of the tablet, but darn if media streamers aren’t breathing down their neck. This year, we’ve seen an explosion in the quantity and quality of media streamer options, with even the mighty Google buying in via its Google TV solution. One of the earlier birds, Roku, decided to dole out an updated box just a few months ago, and now it’s competing against the Apple TV, a few WD TV Live units, D-Link’s Boxee Box and scores of integrated options within HDTVs. At , there’s an awful lot of choices on the market, but we’re curious to know how XDS early adopters would tweak and / or overhaul things if given the golden opportunity. Would you change the exterior at all? How about the user interface? Add any content partners? How’s the remote control situation treating you? Think of comments below ike you would an AA meeting — speak your heart and wait for nods. We’re all one in this brainstorming bubble.

How would you change Roku’s XDS media streamer? originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 03 Dec 2010 23:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Truth about 3DTV

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

Calvin Hsieh of Displaybank has written a great article, entitled “Which Technology Will Dominate the 3DTV Market?”. It’s been picked up all over the place — just search with Google — and one place you can find it is Widescreen Review. In the article, he tears down the different approaches to building a 3D-compatible flat screen television, and analyzes the different choices based on the bill of material costs for the different approaches. It’s a detailed and well-reasoned explanation that answers many of the questions that I get asked by friends, family, and neighbors. And best of all, he essentially agrees with what I’ve been saying for more than a year, so he must be smart!

Here’s my take in a nutshell. Current technology for autostere0scopic 3DTV – the one that doesn’t need glasses — cannot work in the living room for multiple viewers. We won’t have a workable solution at a competitive price for at least 10 years, so you’re going have to wear the goofy glasses. Get over it.

So which goofy glasses will win? It costs almost nothing to add 3D support to a panel capable of 120 Hz refresh rate if you simply present the left eye image and the right eye image in rapid succession. This preserves the full resolution of the image, but means that you need to wear active “shutter” glasses. One good feature of this approach is that the set does not have to cost more, putting the extra cost in the active glasses which the consumer can buy when he or she is ready to start using the 3D feature.

The other approach is to use passive glasses, much like the ones you use at the local cinema. To do this, you have to add a special polarizing layer to the front of the display panel, and it has to be precisely aligned so that it splits the image into left and right eye images. This cuts the resolution of the image in half. It also adds a significant amount to the materials and assembly costs, which makes the final set more expensive. The passive glasses may cost a lot less than active glasses, but that is offset by the initial set price. (And I won’t even mention the fact that this approach can greatly reduce off-axis viewing performance.)

Consumers are especially cost-sensitive these days, and I believe that any technology that inherently costs more than its competitors is a losing strategy. Consumers are much more willing to pay for optional accessories than pay a higher price for the television set. So for the near term, I expect that solutions that use active glasses will dominate for the next few years.

If you’re in the Philadelphia area and would like to hear me talk about 3DTV technologies, I’ll be speaking to the Philadelphia Area Computer Society (PACS) in Willow Grove on Saturday, December 18, at noon. The meeting is free and open to the public; complete details are available at http://pacsnet.org/.

HDTV Almanac

FCC Prepares to Reassign TV Spectrum

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

The transition to digital broadcasting of television content freed up a lot of valuable radio spectrum, much of which the FCC auctioned off years ago for which it collected billions of dollars. Almost before the transition dust had settled, however, the FCC started to look longingly at some of the spectrum that had been assigned to the television broadcasters. The agency felt that it was not being used to its full capacity, and it might be more valuable if reassigned to other purposes, such as wireless broadband services to help expand high-speed network connections around the country. TV broadcasters objected, citing projects such as Mobile DTV that can transmit television content to mobile devices.

Now the FCC has taken the next step in reallocating parts of the radio spectrum. The agency published a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that asks TV stations to voluntarily give up part of their assigned spectrum. The carrot in the deal is that the stations would likely share in the proceeds from the sale of this spectrum. It appears that there is no stick in this proposal, and television stations will be free to opt out of any reallocation if they choose.

The FCC is seeking public comment on how the extra spectrum should be used to support both fixed and mobile broadband services. You can find the details about Innovation in the Broadcast Television Bands: Allocations, Channel Sharing and Improvements to VHF at the FCC site.

HDTV Almanac

HDTV Listings for December 2, 2010

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

What we’re watching tonight:

  • NBC (1080i) has Community at 8 p.m., 30 Rock at 8:30 p.m., The Office at 9 p.m., Outsourced at 9:30 p.m. and The Apprentice at 10 p.m.
  • Fox (720p) has Bones at 8 p.m. and Fringe at 9 p.m.
  • FX (720p) has It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia at 10 p.m. and The League at 10:30 p.m.
  • ABC (720p) has Grey’s Anatomy at 9 p.m. and Private Practice at 10 p.m.
  • CW (1080i) has The Vampire Diaries at 8 p.m. and Nikita at 9 p.m.
  • Spike TV (1080i) has TNA: Impact! at 9 p.m. and TNA Reaction at 11 p.m.
  • NFL Network (1080i) has Eagles/Texans at 8 p.m.
  • History (720p) has Ancient Aliens at 9 p.m. and the series premiere of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded at 10 p.m.
  • Discovery (1080i) presents The Kennedy Detail at 9 p.m.
  • WGN (1080i) has WWE Superstars at 8 p.m.
  • USA (1080i) has Burn Notice at 10 p.m.
  • TNT (1080i) has an NBA doubleheader with Heat/Cavaliers at 8 p.m. and Suns/Warriors at 10:30 p.m.
  • ESPN (720p) has Arizona State/Arizona college football at 8 p.m.
  • ESPN2 (720p) has college basketball with Arizona State/Baylor at 7 p.m. and UCLA/Kansas at 9 p.m.

HDTV Listings for December 2, 2010 originally appeared on Engadget HD on Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DISH Network Adds Remote Access via iPad App

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Subscribers can now use Apple’s tablet to watch Sling-enabled live and recorded TV from wherever they can find an internet connection.

Big Picture Big Sound – Home Theater, HDTV, Movie Reviews

Urbanears outs limited Tanto multi-colored headphones

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

iPodNN: Urbanears today brought out its limited-edition Tanto headphones at the Wired Pop Up Store in New York City. The retro styled over-the-ear headphones are assembled with parts of random…



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Motorola Mobility’s mystery gadget streams video to tablets and phones

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Wonder why Motorola’s set-top-box business got bundled in with the phones? If we had to guess, it’s probably because Motorola Mobility is making a device that will wirelessly join both. Speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit, company president Daniel Moloney said that Motorola’s working on a standalone device that will wirelessly sling video to tablets and phones in the home, and will later be integrated directly into new set-top-boxes the company rolls out. “It’s one consumer proposition that will come sooner rather than later,” he told the crowd, suggesting that the device would be available through “service providers” rather than sold off the shelf, and that said providers might charge an additional service fee for its use. Here’s hoping not. Perhaps Qualcomm finally found a buyer for that FLO TV spectrum, though?

Motorola Mobility’s mystery gadget streams video to tablets and phones originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 01 Dec 2010 19:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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FCC addressing net neutrality on December 21st (updated)

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Well, well, look at what’s been added to a tentative agenda when the FCC meets on December 21st: net neutrality. Here’s how the item reads:

Open Internet Order: An Order adopting basic rules of the road to preserve the open Internet as a platform for innovation, investment, competition, and free expression. These rules would protect consumers’ and innovators’ right to know basic information about broadband service, right to send and receive lawful Internet traffic, and right to a level playing field, while providing broadband Internet access providers with the flexibility to reasonably manage their networks.

Presumably, a draft order is now circulating amongst attendees, the details of which are of the utmost concern for both consumers and wired / wireless providers alike. According to the AP, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will outline his net neutrality proposal in a speech on Wednesday, with plans to bring the new rules to a full vote before the end of the year and ahead of the newly elected Republicans taking their seats in the House.

Update: The AP received an advanced copy of Genachowski’s speech. Here are the highlights of the FCC proposal:

  • Wired broadband providers will be required to let subscribers access all legal content, applications, and services with the flexibility to manage network congestion and spam as long as they publicly disclose their network management approach. Broadband providers would also be allowed to experiment with dedicated networks to route traffic from specialized services like smart grids and home security systems as long as they “don’t hurt the public internet.”
  • Wireless providers would also be required to disclose network management practices and be prohibited from blocking access to web sites or competing applications like cellphone VoIP services. However, they’d be given more flexibility to manage traffic due to relative bandwidth constraints. In other words, wireless networks will still be special under the FCC proposal, just not as special as the plan pitched by Google / Verizon (which only required transparency) over the summer.
  • The proposal would leave the FCC’s regulatory framework for broadband unchanged as a lightly regulated “information service,” not as a “common carrier” as Genachowski had wanted. Another victory for Comcast.

Update 2: The New York Times says that the proposal will allow broadband companies to implement usage-based pricing, charging customers higher rates for heavy data usage.

FCC addressing net neutrality on December 21st (updated) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 01 Dec 2010 03:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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LG and QD Vision unite for QLEDs: the quantum dot displays of our power-efficient future

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Seems like LG really has a thing for those quantum dot LEDs. After hooking up with Nanosys earlier this year, the Korean giant is now stretching out another of its tentacles — LG Display, to be specific — for a partnership with a competing QLED designer in QD Vision. What’s being promised by this joint venture falls right in line with your generic pipe dream — better color accuracy than OLEDs, up to twice the power efficiency at a given color purity, and a cheap and straightforward manufacturing process. In fact, because QLEDs do not require the same glass substrate as most current display technologies, they offer unmatched flexibility (olé!) in terms of how and where they may be used. The only downer, and you had to know there would be one, is that QD Vision describes its tech as still in the “development stage,” but hey, at least we have another cool acronym to add to our library.

Continue reading LG and QD Vision unite for QLEDs: the quantum dot displays of our power-efficient future

LG and QD Vision unite for QLEDs: the quantum dot displays of our power-efficient future originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 01 Dec 2010 05:17:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Libratone’s wireless speaker touts 360-degree iPad, PC audio

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

 
Electronista: The Libratone Beat is a wireless speaker tailored to Apple users and has a unique prism-like design that puts out sound in a 360-degree arc, theoretically removing the need to sit in…



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