Archives For Video

In the midst of today’s gadget-opia, you’d think it would be easy to pick out CE gifts for the holiday season. But the NPD Group suggests that consumers will be shunning electronics this year in favor of more �traditional� gifts like clothing and toys. And I’m not surprised.

While there are plenty of new and fabulous geek gifts available, there are also plenty of reasons they’re not making it on to holiday shopping lists.

  • The Best Gifts You Can�t Put Your Hands On� Literally
    The CE category isn’t just about gadgets anymore, but the stuff you can access on those gadgets. And how do you buy someone a subscription service for the holidays? If you buy someone three months free, it’s like giving a kid a piece of candy and then snatching it back half-chewed. Plus you can’t un-wrap a service. Think satellite radio,, VOD — these are the gifts that keep on taking…
  • vx8500_perspective_hr.jpgEven the Gadgets Come with a Service (Fee) Attached
    It was a big year for mobile devices. Too bad those shiny toys usually come with a multi-year commitment. Tasty Chocolate phone, smooth Blackberry Pearl, Bond-inspired Motorola Q. All delectable, but not on my shopping list.
  • $$$$$
    It’s nothing new that gadgets often cost a lot of money. But seriously, $800 for a TiVo? [Insert latest rant on TiVo pricing here] $500 or $600 for a PS3? I love my brother, but I also love the idea of putting my kid through college some day.
  • Geeks Don’t Like Surprises
    If you’re buying for a geek, you have to know exactly what that geek wants. In fact, you’d be well-advised to review technical specifications with said geek before hauling out the credit card. Gee, what fun. Nothing like seeing that look of surprise when the ribbon and wrap come off the box.

I’ve come up with a few solutions, for geeks and non-geeks alike. Digital photo frames will probably hit their stride in the 2006 holiday season. (I’d love to review a few for a round-up piece.) We may also have hit the right time for gadgets that convert old media to new formats � records to digital music files, VHS tapes to DVD, etc.

And then there are the hidden gems. I’ve found one, the Squeezebox. It wirelessly streams your own music collection and lets you access Internet radio for free without a PC. (Review coming shortly!) Others are surely out there. The question is, will we uncover them in time? Or will we be buying silk ties for dad again this year?

logo_vz_primary2.gifNotice how indie and mass commercial distribution networks are merging? Well here’s one more example: Reuters and The Wall Street Journal report that YouTube (apparently we still call it that if even after Google’s buyout) and Verizon are in talks to distribute YouTube videos over cell phones and the FiOS TV network.

I’m very curious to see how this works. What videos will YouTube make available? What kind of interface will it use? Will YouTube users expect compensation when their videos start showing up on TV? We’re just beginning to figure out ad models for blogs and vlogs. What’s the ad system for user-generated TV?

Meanwhile, Google’s YouTube continues to insist that advertisers won’t be allowed to mess up the YouTube experience. But now that YouTube’s in business with heavyweights Google and Verizon, how can it stave off the pressure to make gobs and gobs of money?

Money issues aside, it’s fascinating to watch the further blurring of the lines between professional and amateur content. If you’ve got something good in the new meritocracy of Internet distribution, you too can be popular in living rooms around the world. Like Verizon says, “It’s the network.”

I hear ya… You want to know who Mari is. I’ll have a proper intro up in the next day or so. Stay tuned! -DZ

youtube.gifSeveral news organizations are reporting that YouTube has wiped nearly 30,000 videos from its site after a Japanese audit fingered the clips for copyright infringement. Aside from the rights management concerns, this brings up an interesting issue for those who upload and store content on remote servers: When content isn’t stored locally, it isn’t under your control…

In this case it may have been perfectly reasonable for YouTube to remove 30,000 files, but these situations won’t always be black and white. There’s a growing trend towards moving our content off local devices — online word processing applications, photo storage sites, even under-development Network DVRs. While remote storage has its benefits, there are also disadvantages that shouldn’t be ignored. The ability for providers to delete files at will is one of them.

Continue Reading…


Let me start by saying I don’t get MySpace. Maybe I’m too old or maybe I’m just antisocial, but I haven’t found a use for it (other than the requisite ‘keeping-tabs-on-exes’). In fact, seeing some of the stuff (risqué photos, confidential work details, etc) a few younger coworkers have publicly revealed alarms me. Despite me apparently being out of touch, there’s no denying MySpace has huge traffic and is a premiere web destination. Unlike other recent tv-on-web experiments, this one actually has a chance of gaining traction given the stickiness of MySpace — IF Fox moves off their custom player and embeds video directly into Windows Media Player or Flash. Though that would make protecting content and force feeding ads a bit more tricky…

(via TechCrunch)

iTunes 7 Web Roundup

Dave Zatz —  September 15, 2006

The Good
iTunes 7’s big new features. (TUAW)
How to back up your music using iTunes 7. (TUAW)
Use QTFairUse 2.3 to strip FairPlay DRM. (Engadget)

The Bad
iTunes doesn’t see all Nanos. (Apple)
Streaming to SoundBridge is broken. (Roku)

The Ugly
iTunes 7 ate all my purchased music. (Wil Wheaton)

Dave Covers Zune

Dave Zatz —  September 14, 2006

blah blah blah Toshiba Gigabeat S blah blah blah plus MusicGremlin blah blah blah battle iPod/iTunes blah blah blah

If you’d like more verbose coverage, I suggest Engadget: Zune player, Zune marketplace


TVHarmony AutoPilot (free!) has always offered leading edge TiVoToGo desktop software, being the first with scheduled downloads and commercial skip functionality. I traded several emails with Will of TVHarmony, and I’m impressed with what he’s accomplished (and what he has planned). AutoPilot Beta 2 converts to and from a much greater variety of devices and services. Taking a page from Galleon, AutoPilot utilizes HME to optionally schedule downloads and conversions directly from TiVo. While we’ve always been able to remotely download TiVoToGo content, AutoPilot has added some rudimentary place-shifting of previously converted content (think Orb). Will tells me the web streaming is still a work in progress, but he has a cocktail napkin of design notes to build on-the-fly PC conversion to stream content directly from the TiVo. How cool would that be?

Summary of new features:

  • Converts videos for many new devices including Creative Zen, Cell Phones, GP2X, Archos, and Neuros video players.
  • Downloads and converts video from,,, and other video sharing sites.
  • Access AutoPilot from your Tivo via HME so you can schedule downloads and conversions from your living room.
  • Logon to AutoPilot from the web including watching downloaded content from your web browser.
  • Transfer your TiVo shows using your PSP web browser to watch video from the road.
  • Multi-threaded for faster downloads and conversions.