Archives For Video

I guess sales aren’t so brisk, as only a month after launch MovieBeam has dropped hardware pricing $50 (to $200) and done away with the $30 activation fee. Will it matter? Somehow I don’t think so… their pricing model needs some serious tweaking if they’re going to compete with a large, installed base of cable and satellite subscribers who have easy access to PPV/VOD. MovieBeam seems intent on charging both hardware and movie rental fees, so I suggest they toss in 24 free flicks, two available per month, to sweeten the deal for consumers while protecting their financial interests.

When Jeremy Toeman isn’t wearing his Sling Media VP hat, he’s reporting on cool gadgets through LIVEdigitally. After putting MovieBeam through its paces, Jeremy came away largely impressed with the service… in standard definition.

Jeremy says: To me, Moviebeam is either the lazy man’s answer to Blockbuster, or, more likely, an early glimpse into the future of our soon-to-arrive “entertainment, anywhere, anytime, on-demand” lifestyle. I have to say the process of finding, selecting, and watching movies is completely satisfying. There may be some issues with pricing, business model, selection, etc., but when it comes down to the core functionality of the Moviebeam system, it does exactly what it’s supposed to do, and it does it well. Once the movie is playing you have complete control over the playback experience, including slomo, frame-by-frame, and multiple speed fast-forward and rewind modes. Also, a convenient ‘chapter skip’ button skips ahead a fixed time interval. After some hands-on use, I have to say, the product is quite fun to use, and a welcome addition to my home.

Stove Top TV

Dave Zatz —  May 4, 2006

Is this really neccessary…?

(via Gizmodo)

Operation Aussie Sling

Dave Zatz —  May 3, 2006

It’s been fairly well documented that you can Sling television feeds around the world, but Hobotech Ron and I wondered what type of quality one could expect outputting that signal to TV. So in the name of science, we broke several international laws to conduct an intercontinental experiment. Ron loaded up his Dell laptop with the SlingPlayer and viewed my Washington, DC-based Slingbox feed from his home in Canberra, Australia. As you can see above, video quality was decent on his rear projection TV with a consistent 320kbps-350kbps download bitrate (which is about what I get here in the US). We believe the limiting factor is not distance, but rather my DSL upload speed which is capped at 384kbps.

Ron says: I hooked it up to the RearPro via S-Video and my wife and I watched it for quite a while and came to the conclusion that, while less than perfect we would be quite happy to watch it, if it provided us with material we couldn’t get from any other source. A little bit like food, while one might prefer a steak, a hamburger will usually do quite well if that’s all that’s available!
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Never enough time…

  • One man’s experience with the MPEG-4 decoding Dish ViP622 HD DVR. (Extreme Tech)
  • MSOs urged to quickly enter portable media market. (Cable Digital News)
  • Wired publishes a static guide of online video services. (Wired)
  • Yahoo unveils tech news and reviews site. (Yahoo)
  • Davis Freeberg breaks down Netflix v. Blockbuster and beats down a financial analyst. (Thomas Hawk)

Today’s the day… ABC launched their two month trial (5/1 – 6/30) offering free web rebroadcasts of current, prime time television series. Unlike most streaming content, you do not need Windows as ABC is broadcasting via cross-platform Flash. Of course free is just another word for advertising, but it competes well with $1.99 iTunes downloads. Assuming all goes well, ABC is planning on tweaking the model and relaunching with the fall television season.

Check it out here!

Do I need to watch all of the advertisements?

The advertisements are placed at various points during the show. You cannot advance the show beyond that point until you have watched the ad for at least 30 seconds. You may see a maximum of four advertisements per show.

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I may doubt the necessity of 1080p and HD DVD at these prices and with limited content, but the fact is I’m down to a lone standard definition setup (the 9″ kitchen TV doesn’t count) holed up in the bedroom.

TV
I picked up this 32″ JVC about 6 years ago when Consumer Reports recommended a similar model. The picture quality can’t compare to current technology, but I’m having a hard time letting go of a fully functional TV. Maybe I’ll take it off the surge protector and hope for an electrical storm. ;)

TiVo
The 80 hour DVD-burning Humax model replaced my Toshiba SD-H400 DVD-playing unit a few months ago. As the guy who wrote the book on TiVoToGo, I can tell you burning DVDs directly from the TiVo is a more efficient and joyful experience. (Assuming you can live with commercials. If you can’t, see this.) The TiVo is fed directly by analog cable which I output to the TV via S-Video and analog audio cables.

Slingbox
I’m not traveling much these days, so I don’t use the Slingbox regularly. However, my mom doesn’t have a cable drop in her computer room (formerly known as the ‘dining room’) and has been enjoying TLC and Discovery fed to her PC over the Internet. I use TiVo’s video pass-thru to provide the entire range of channels to the internal Slingbox tuner — essentially splitting the cable feed so Mom can’t change my channels or control the TiVo. Occasionally I fire up the laptop SlingPlayer in bed when my fiancé must watch Skating with the Next Top Celebrity American Idol Stars.

Buffalo Wireless Bridge
The Slingbox only provides an Ethernet jack and TiVo still doesn’t support WPA which led to this wireless bridge and Linksys USB -> Ethernet adapter. Incidentally, TiVoToGo and Multi-Room Viewing transfers are quicker than using a typical wireless adapter such as the Netgear WG111 I replaced.

Guest review by Thaed, a tech enthusiast from Cleveland, Ohio.

Can a video camera be the greatest piece of technology available today? I can tell you this is the type of wonder that this device instills in me. It’s almost like I bought something from the future. It seems that sophisticated. The button on the right starts recording in HD (720p) and the button on the left takes 5 megapixel pictures. The switch in the middle zooms in and out. The zooming mechanism is the only moving part. The camera writes its data to an SD card. I bought a two GB version. The viewfinder is the clearest I’ve ever seen and the camera is light and fits perfectly in my hands. The combination of ease of use and portability make it easily the best video camera and digital camera I have. It is a first in so many categories. It’s the first digital video recorder that got the still camera part right. It’s the first HD camera I’ve ever used. It’s the first tapeless video camera I’ve had. It does things like allowing you to make panoramic pictures by sweeping the video or extracting decent stills from video. It has a long battery life and it will use the new four GB SD cards.
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