Films downloadable to Kaleidescape servers at Blu-ray quality
Kaleidescape has launched a new online video store for its range of home media servers, claimed to be the first in the world to deliver Blu-ray quality movies. Emerging from being in beta since December 2012, the service provides downloads of movies instead of streams, with audio and video quality said to be equal to that of films on Blu-ray disc itself.
Mobile connectivity main focus of LG AV systems
LG has announced a number of AV systems the company will be demonstrating at CES, alongside the recently-revealed Hecto Laser TV Projector. Of the five audio products that will be shown, two will use Near Field Communication (NFC) to connect to mobile devices, while Bluetooth connectivity is also prevalent among the remainder.
Doctor Who, Top Gear first to get downloadable treatment
The BBC will be releasing its first UltraViolet-enabled DVD and Blu-ray titles in time for Christmas. The corporation is working with Flixster in order to offer the downloadable versions of the shows, which will include a stand-up comedy title from John Bishop, as well as the first part of Doctor Who Series 7.
App preinstalled in Sony devices, dashboard for LG
Startup Reduxhas partnered with LG and Sony, to provide Internet video discovery on both manufacturer's smart TVs and Blu-ray players. Sony's implementation is app-oriented, while Redux is becoming the default channel guide and homepage on LG devices.
NPD report see kiosks issue almost half of disc rentals
People still rent more movies on DVD and Blu-ray than streaming and video-on-demand services combined, according to an NPD Group report. In the first half of the year, 62 percent of all movie rentals in the US stemmed from discs supplied by brick-and-mortar shops, kiosks and mail-order services. Kiosk use has increased by five percent, now taking up 45 percent of the physical-media rental market.
Sony launches Google TV STB in international markets
Sony is launching its NSZ-GS7 set-top box internationally, putting it up for pre-order on in the UK and the US. The device is also slated for launch in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico and the Netherlands later in the year. A version with an integrated Blu-ray player, the NSZ-GP9 is also expected to arrive around October.
Pioneer disc burner supports 3D Blu-ray movies, due early in May
Pioneer has just detailed its new BDR-2207 internal Blu-ray burner that supports BDXL optical media with capacities of up to 128GB. Calling it its most powerful and full-featured drive, Pioneer said it can write at up to 12x speeds onto BD-R and BD-R DL media as well. There is a SATA connection onboard as well, and the bundled CyberLink software lets users play back Blu-ray movies on a PC. With the proper hardware behind it, users can watch 3D Blu-ray content using the drive as well.
HP dv series gets 2012 Intel and NVIDIA tech
HP has quietly continued its 2012 PC updates by swinging its attention to notebooks. The Pavilion dv6t and dv7t have made the leap to Intel's Ivy Bridge processors, with each starting off using a quad-core 2.3GHz Core i7. The two likewise share NVIDIA's GeForce GT 630M to give them mid-level video.
Sony BDP-S790 due on May 6
Sony on Sunday said it was on the verge of shipping its most advanced Blu-ray player for the year, the BDP-S790. The networked movie hub is due to reach stores May 6. Pre-orders are starting now for the player, which costs $250.
Combination units expected in third quarter
Toshiba has announced its new line of all-in-one desktop PCs it will release in the third quarter. The 21.5-inch LX815 and 23-inch LX835 are Intel Ivy Bridge powered combined monitor and computer units which Toshiba are aiming towards design conscious users.
Neil Young takes active steps on quality audio
Neil Young's plans to work on an improved digital audio format may not be waiting for Apple cooperation. Six USPTO trademarks were made public in the past few days for names implying a new audio format or a matching service, such as 21st Century Record Player, Earth Storage, Storage Shed, Studio Quality Sound (SQS), and Storage Shed. The timeframe for the full comment and approval system would clear the trademarks no earlier than the end of this year despite the trademarks having first been submitted last June.
Next Xbox may lean on graphics and DRM
A currently uncertain but unusually detailed rumor Monday has Microsoft's next-generation Xbox making aggressive decisions on hardware. Multiple tips to VG24/7 supported AMD's hints of movie-quality 3D graphics with claims there would be two Radeon HD 7000 graphics cores. Rather than simply pair them up to form a single virtual card, as with AMD's usual CrossFire, it would have each core rendering separate objects in the same scene.
PlayStation 4 gets possible major new leak
Gradually mounting talk of early PlayStation 4 plans culminated Wednesday with a potentially telling rumor. Believed to be codenamed Orbis or "circle," possibly to make it part of a "circle of life" with the Vita, the system outlined to Kotaku would not just break from using the Cell processor but from the entire Power and NVIDIA graphics combo. Instead, it would reportedly use a 64-bit, x86-based AMD processor as well as graphics based on AMD's Southern Island core, used in the Radeon HD 7700 series and up.
Sony expands Tablet P and upgrades OS
Sony early Thursday dealt a slew of updates for the Tablet P and its older Tablet S cousin. The Tablet P should now have a Wi-Fi only version, trimming the cost versus the 3G model. In Japan, it ships on April 21 for 50,000 yen ($601) with tax, although there's no sign of whether or not it will reach the US.
Components housed in sandblasted aluminum
Commodore has introduced its latest desktop PC, the Amiga Mini, along with updated versions of the C64x Supreme, VIC Mini and VIC Slim keyboard computer. The computer, which resembles a tall Mac Mini with a slot-load optical drive, is powered by a quad-core 3.5GHz Core i7 processor and a 1GB GeForce graphics card.
Panasonic prices connected 2012 Blu-ray players
Panasonic has just revealed pricing for its 2012 range of Blu-ray players that were introduced at CES, most of which are now shipping. The prices are suggested retail, so should be slightly lower in practice. The entry-level DMP-BD77 is officially priced at $90, with the DMP-BD87 costing $120. Both offer access to video-on-demand over the web, with the former getting an accessory Wi-Fi dongle while the latter has Wi-Fi built-in.
Acer Timeline Ultra M3 and V3 kick off CeBIT
Acer used Germany's CeBIT expo to unveil a pair of new notebooks to take its 2012 roster in new directions. The Timeline Ultra M3 stretches the definition of an ultrabook with a 15-inch screen and an optical drive, counting mostly on its 0.79-inch thickness as an edge. Its true rarity is the inclusion of dedicated graphics: it can afford to fit a GeForce GT 640M for video, making it useful for games.
Expensive but flexible media server
Popcorn Hour has released its latest home media streaming assistant, the C-300. The new model features a new color screen, support for a user-added Blu-Ray DVD player, room for full-sized as well as notebook-sized hard drives (which are easily swappable) and a revamped user interface. While considerably pricier than an Apple TV, the C-300 offers advantages such as storage space, multiple format support and extra content.
Pooled license simplifies technology dispersal
MPEG LA, which holds patent rights for several technologies including components of MPEG-2, MPEG-4, ATSC, and AVC, is now offering a consolidated license for patents pertaining to MVC (Multiview Video Coding). MVC is the standard for encoding and decoding video that is used in 3D-capable hardware, such as Blu-ray disc players and burners, video cameras, and PCs.
VLC 2.0 media player ships
VideoLAN on Saturday posted one of its largest updates yet in the finished version of VLC 2.0. The new media player sees the most interface changes on the Mac, where it now has a single-window interface as well as tighter visual and technical integration with Lion. It now supports any QTKit device capture and sound, and both PowerPC and Leopard-era users can still expect support, even at higher video resolutions.
Sony Google TV sets, players get mid-cycle update
Google posted word of an update for Sony's Google TV devices. Both its Internet TV and Internet Blu-ray player now have a faster Chrome web browser. The Blu-ray gets an extra treat in support for 3D Blu-ray movies to catch it up to other players.
Neil Young contends Jobs wanted better audio
Musician Neil Young in an interview at the D: Dive Into Media conference made the contentious claim that Apple's late chief Steve Jobs would have been pushing hard for improved audio quality. The "Needle and the Damage Done" creator claimed that Jobs, despite creating the iPod for digital music, preferred to listen to vinyl records at home. Apple's co-founder would have allegedly been working on higher quality devices, not just formats like Apple Lossless, to improve audio quality.
New Xbox could see Microsoft jump to Blu-ray
The third-generation Xbox could mark a symbolic switch in storage but also a step back for game ownership. Kotaku understood from a rumor source that it would keep an optical drive but jump to Blu-ray, allowing it to hold larger games and play offline HD movies. For Microsoft, it would be the footnote to the HD disc debate of the mid-2000s, where the company officially backed HD DVD but was forced to drop plans after Toshiba axed the format and eventually supported Blu-ray.
Digital versions offer limited viewing options
Paramount has become the first movie distributor to sell movies using the UltraViolet digital distribution system directly to customers. Up until now, UltraViolet digital downloads were available only as part of a DVD/Blu-Ray disc
package deal or from a retailer such as Amazon.
Microsoft's Cutler shifts to Xbox team
Exploration has confirmed that at least two key Microsoft staffers have jumped from the Azure cloud service to the Xbox team. Dave Cutler, best known as the chief architect behind Windows NT, has left for the gamign division, ZDNet heard after talking to Microsoft. While his exact project wasn't known, he would be helping shift the Xbox to a digital media hub, a transition that had already started with the fall 2011 Dashboard update.
Alienware X51 biled as smallest gaming PC ever
Dell's Alienware badge ventured into small form factor desktops for the first time late Tuesday. The X51 is billed as the smallest gaming PC desktop ever at no more than 13.5 inches at its largest dimension. Even with a 3.7-inch thick width, it can not only fit up to a GeForce GTX 555 desktop graphics card but replace this, the hard drive, and the RAM as new technology comes through.
Vizio details 2012 TV and Stream Player roadmap
Vizio on Tuesday expanded its entire TV-focused strategy for 2012 by starting with its own equivalent to an Apple TV. The VAP430 Stream Player is dedicated solely to bringing Google TV 2.0 to sets that don't already have it. It links to the TV through HDMI, with a pass-through for other devices, and can share media on the local network through Wi-Fi and DLNA.
We test Sony's 2012 Google TV hardware
Sony at CES unveiled new Google TV hardware that we had the opportunity to try. The hardware itself, a new NSZ-GS7 Network Player and a NSZ-GP9 Blu-ray player, isn't a revolution but is subtler and fits well into a home theater. The more distinctive feature for us is the remote: while Sony wouldn't let users touch the early prototypes, which we'll go into depth for along with launch details and pricing.
Slew of new devices unveiled ahead of CES
Sharp has unveiled a slew of new devices this week ahead of CES in Las Vegas. The product lineup includes a projector, 20- to 85-inch Aquos televisions and connected services, Blu-ray players, sound bars, shelf speaker systems, and several solar charging products for home installations.
HP Omni27 and HPE Phoenix mark CES presence
HP hoped to cut into the territory of Apple's iMac with CES introductions by launching its first 27-inch all-in-one desktop. The Omni27 forgoes touch but is the first without touch to use HP's Magic Canvas, a widescreen-optimized space for apps, movies, and photos. Beats Audio and direct HDMI video input turn it into a media system both on its own and for other devices.
Samsung E6730W, E5500W and E550 theaters arrive
Samsung kept up its preview of its strategy for CES with two new home theaters and a sound bar. The HT-E6730W combines a 1,330W, 7.1-channel speaker system with vacuum tubes amplifiers. Much like its new Audio Dock, it mixes a digital amp to provide a clean source with the warmer sound and an extra octave of sound before distortion sets in.
Sales bring discounts up to 50 percent
Sony has kicked off its holiday sales a few days ahead of Black Friday, offering a variety of discounts on direct purchases. The company has slashed prices for a variety of products, including home theater systems, speakers, televisions, Blu-ray players and bundles, with free ground shipping on all orders.
Receiver paired with 5.1-channel speakers
Yamaha has introduced its latest home theater system, the BDX-610, which pairs an A/V receiver with six speakers. The 5.1-channel receiver features a 3D Blu-ray player, along with a network connection that enables users to access BD-Live and Netflix, among other services. Users can attach iOS devices via USB, with audio from iPhones or iPods sent as a digital PCM signal.
HP overhauls Envy 15, 17, and 17 3D for audio
HP in one of its more surprising unveilings Wednesday night completely remade its Envy 15 and 17 notebooks. The new versions take more of their visual cues from the MacBook Pro, adopting its silver-colored metal, but put an even heavier emphasis on Beats audio processing than they did in the past. Each has six speakers and a subwoofer, even going so far as to have an oversized thumb dial for volume that both gives it finer volume control and a more iconic look.
PS3 gets 3D Harry Potter, PS Plus bundle
Sony brought out a late PlayStation 3 holiday bundle on Tuesday to catch Black Friday buyers next week. The new bundle ties a 160GB PS3 to both 2D and 3D versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 on Blu-ray. A coupon in the box gives access to downloadable versions of the two earliest movies in the series, Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets.
LIMBO coming to Mac by end of year
MCE Technologies has announced that all internal and external models of its 12X Blu-ray recordable drives will now include playback software for the Mac. The Mac Blu-ray playback software allows users to play both commercial and non-commercial movies on any Mac running OS X 10.5.2 or later. A one year license that enables full Blu-ray playback capabilities is included with the purchase, while a lifetime license can be purchased at a discounted rate. The software requires an Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo or faster processor, and minimum 4GB of RAM.
Download now available via Flixster
Warner Brothers is ready to offer copies of its Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 2 movie to download or stream on the UltraViolet platform. People who buy the Blu-ray/DVD combo, which goes on sale tomorrow, will be able to download an additional copy via Flixster apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices.
HP unveils trio of 3D-aware devices and PCs
HP started off the week with a push into 3D in areas it doesn't normally touch. Its media hub, the Wireless TV Connect, now has a new model that has the still-rare ability to stream 3D video from a PC to a TV. It's now much smaller but can still take the footage directly from a PC's HDMI adapter, up to 1080p with 7.1-channel surround, over a WHDI stream with "virtually no latency" to its own wired HDMI connection.
UltraViolet has wide but potentially vague rights
The long in the making UltraViolet platform will get its formal launch this week. Starting with the October 11 Blu-ray release of Horrible Bosses and the October 14 release of The Green Lantern, viewers who prove ownership of a UV-aware title will have access to it across computers, mobile apps on Android, BlackBerry, and iOS, and even across services. The rights include five major movie studios and, for an extra fee, can sometimes involve getting a physical copy for something they only own digitally.
Dell Inspiron 2320 scales from budget to high end
Dell replaced the higher-end of its all-in-one desktops Tuesday with the Inspiron One 2320. It stays framed around a 23-inch, 1080p display with optional touch and freshens it up with a jump from AMD to the newest Intel hardware. Systems start off at the entry level with a twin-core Pentium and scale up to as much as a Core i7 and 8GB of RAM.
Toshiba unleashes PVR with massive 5TB HDD
Toshiba has used the CEATEC trade show in Japan to unveil the Regza Blu-ray DBR-M190. The device stands out from the Blu-ray player/personal video recorder crowd in that it packs a massive 5TB hard drive. This, along with its mult-tuner capability, makes it good for simultaneously recording up to six digital broadcasts for up to 15 days.
Blockbuster Movie Pass gives perks for satellite
Dish Network made a bet on Internet video Friday with Blockbuster Movie Pass. The service bundles satellite TV with mailed movie, TV, and game rentals as well as Internet streaming. Pitched as a rival to Netflix and Qwikster, it takes advantage of the Blockbuster rights and TV streaming to give a wider catalog of Internet video; 10,000 movies in total will stream to TVs and computers, including from Starz and others who have held out on Netflix to shelter their TV business.
ASUS promises multimedia notebooks due soon
ASUS has just put up two new multimedia notebooks with the 15.6-inch N55SF and 17.3-inch N75SF. The former can be had with a screen resolution of either 1600x900 or 1920x1080, and with either a 2.3GHz Core i5 or 2GHz Core i7. Either model gets a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M graphics processor.
MSI GT683DXR and GT780DXR target high-end games
MSI pushed deep into gaming notebooks Wednesday with two new higher-end systems. The GT683DXR and GT780DXR at 15.6 and 17.3 inches each both carry quad-core 2GHz Core i7 processors and newer GeForce GTX 570M graphics to handle modern games. As desktop replacements, they both have 2.1-channel Dynaudio speakers and twin hard drives in a RAID 0 stripe that boosts the disk performance.
Sony N200, VW95ES, BDP-S185 arrive
Home theater viewers received three new choices from Sony at the IFA show. The SMP-N200 Network Media Player updates Sony's early digital-only box and adds support for both 3D and HD video streaming as well as a new 'concave' design. It primarily taps into Sony's own music and video services, but it can take media from DLNA-equipped devices on the local network and supports the 'throw' sharing from the Tablet S.
System adds 3D "height" to listening experience
Sony is set to launch a new headphone system designed to be used while watching 3D media. The MDR-DS7500 is the first with Sony's new 3D VPT (Virtualphones Technology) which recreates 3D surround sound, and is optimized for 3D content. The headphones are also ergometrically designed to allow the user to wear both 3D glasses and the headphones simultaneously and comfortably.
Sony Tablet S details leak out at last minute
Sony's S1 tablet has had some of its launch details spoiled just a week before it's expected to show. Now rechristened the Tablet S, the 9.4-inch slate should now be shipping with Android 3.1. Its support for remote controlling home theaters over IR was known, but Engadget has seen that it will now have a pseudo-AirPlay style "throw" over DLNA and should be groomed for Ice Cream Sandwich when it arrives.
Nielsen shows split of Netflix and Hulu device use
Netflix and Hulu occupy almost entirely separate camps of digital streaming, Nielsen learned in a study Wednesday. Both are now available on many platforms, but Netflix is the dominant form by a wide margin on non-PC devices, including iPads, game consoles, and Internet-aware media hubs, ranging from a three-to-one ratio on Apple's tablet to seven or eight times higher. Hulu only wins out on computers but often does so by a wide margin, with 89 percent of its viewers watching on a computer versus just 42 percent of Netflix owners wanting to do the same.
Netflix talks Facebook tie-in and prices in Q2
Netflix in discussing its spring results (PDF) confirmed plans for a Facebook integration feature, albeit with limits. The company planned to allow sharing video recommendations over Facebook before the end of the summer. To avoid possible legal ramifications from the US' Video Privacy Protection Act, however, the company planned to serve Canada and Latin America at first.
Fox to offer digital copies of movies this fall
Fox will become the first movie studio to bring movie downloads to Google's Android platform this October. The first movie will be X-Men: First Class, a digital copy of which Blu-ray disc buyers will be able to download and sideload onto their Android devices. The service will at first be available in the US, the UK, France and Germany.