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As I mentioned earlier, the PAL Slingbox has been released… which coincides with an updated SlingPlayer download. Though the US website hasn’t been updated yet, the UK site has the software download available. New features include support for skins, multiple channel bars with drag and drop buttons, an option for widescreen 16:9 display, and double the resolution when slinging locally. I’ve installed and it seems to work just fine with my US Slingbox. Check it out here! Additionally, the new Sling Central online resource of skins, tool bars, and tutorials has launched.

Never enough time…

  • PAL Slingbox released in UK for £179.99. (PC World)
  • Sprint ponders expanding mobile video, in talks with Sling. (Reuters)
  • TiVo’s quaterly conference call analyzed. (Thomas Hawk)
  • New Mac PVR products arrive. (PVRWire)
  • iTunes sells overpriced NHL clips. (TUAW)

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Altec Lansing is obviously looking to harness the power of the blogosphere… and I’m more than happy to help! A few weeks ago they sent me the XM3120, and Tuesday these sexy headphones were waiting at my door.

First off, I’m a sucker for good looks… and the AHP612 cans are pretty sleek other than the prominent “Altec Lansing” advertising on both ears. (I wonder if some nail polish remover could take care of that.) They also happen to feel pretty good — not too bulky, heavy, or constricting though my ears did get warm after prolonged use. Three included AAA NiMH rechargeables supposedly provide 8 hours of listening time, though I didn’t put that claim to the test. For charging, the headphones easily drop into their powered cradle. As you can see from the pics, each ear has a variety of buttons (and lights!), including the all-important volume up/down which work as advertised.

As far as performance goes, the clarity of the audio and the wireless range surprised me. Because the AHP612 headphones operate at 900Mhz, they shouldn’t interfere with WiFi gear or modern cordless phones. In testing I found the signal to be perfect in all areas of my 1100 sq. ft. apartment. To further test the range (listed at 150′), I visited the apartment two floors down and maintained excellent reception. Now the bad news… I’m no audio snob, yet even I can tell you the audio quality is just average. Perhaps that’s the trade we make for wireless freedom.

The AHP612 (couldn’t they have come up with a more memorable name?) retail for $150, though a quick search of Froogle shows several listings under a hundred. Overall, I think these are pretty slick if you have a need for wireless headphones. Since I don’t, I’m gifting them to Kevin over at jkOnTheRun — keep an eye out for his opinion in the coming weeks!
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Several Hollywood studios and television networks have teamed up to kill the “network DVR.” I can’t say this surprises me — in fact, back in March I wondered if the lawyers would get involved. While the distinction between recording locally versus recording remotely may appear minor, in effect Cablevision would essentially be rebroadcasting content in an “on demand” fashion which requires additional licensing fees. While some might argue a studio/network victory would be a beachhead setting the precedent to kill all DVRs, I see this more as a line being drawn in the sand… which I can live with.

Business Week says: The network DVR proposed by Cablevision would allow viewers to choose which programs they want to record. But instead of recording on a hard drive in the home, the cable company would record the shows on a central computer, then allow viewers to watch them later. Studios say the law, under “fair use,” gives consumers the right to time shift. But it doesn’t give that right to companies that license the content only for simultaneous broadcast, meaning that to store the shows and offer them on demand for a fee, companies must obtain a separate license. “Such conduct would constitute willful copyright infringement,” the lawsuit states. The companies are asking the court to issue an injunction preventing Cablevision from launching the service.

The plaintiffs in the case are News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Viacom Corp.’s Paramount Pictures and The Walt Disney Co., along with broadcasters ABC, CBS Corp. and General Electric Co.’s NBC.

Never enough time…

  • Eirik Solheim ponders the future of TV distribution. (eirikso)
  • Constantine to be first HD-DVD with In-Movie Experience features. (HD Beat)
  • Digital content goes outside the box. (Mercury News)
  • Brightcove to add media formats. (Brightcove)
  • TV advertising’s DVR challenge. (CNET)

nabaztag.gifGot $150 burning a hole in your pocket? ThinkGeek’s got you covered by importing this absurb, yet strangely appealing accessory. The “Nabaztag” is configured via web browser and can receive email, announce the time, communicate the weather, read RSS feeds, play MP3s, etc. English voice duties are provided by a “sprightly” British male, though you’re also free to choose the French-speaking woman. Most services are free, though customized RSS and stock quotes run $5/mo. This little guy really takes Ambient Devices Orb concept to the next level, though I’ll be passing.

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As a DVR user and a guy with a short attention span, I don’t watch a whole lot of live TV. Football and Lost are about the only things I catch as they’re broadcast. Why bother posting? I want to get it on the record that 4/13 I predicted Henry Gale as a Kaiser Soze… which I expect to see revealed tonight. In fact I have a $10 bet riding on it with a work buddy.

I’m not an American Idol fan, but I happen to live with someone who is. From what I’ve seen the best performer (Chris Daughtry) has already been booted, making the show even less interesting. However, tonight’s finale is worth mentioning because this is your last chance to enter TiVo’s Idol Speculation Series3 raffle. 3pm EST is the cut off, so you might need to take a long lunch to get your entry in.