XM Goes HD

Dave Zatz —  December 28, 2005

I’m no audiophile, so this announcement doesn’t do much for me. However, those of you who enjoy fully immersive music are in for a treat. Beginning in March, XM subscriptions will include two “XM HD Surround” stations and special hi-def programming. Obviously, you’ll need some new hardware to handle the 5.1 audio… but why let money prevent you from achieving auditory bliss?

XM says: The new offering of 5.1 Surround on XM is called XM HD Surround, which provides content with six discrete channels of digital full fidelity audio powered by Neural Audio technology. Beginning in March 2006, XM will broadcast the free-form music channel Fine Tuning (XM Channel 76) and the classical pops music channel XM Pops (XM Channel 113) in XM HD Surround. XM will also broadcast a variety of special shows and live music performances at the XM studios in XM HD Surround. XM manufacturing partners such as Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc., and Yamaha will introduce home audio systems capable of playing XM HD Surround powered by Neural Audio in 2006.

Dave’s Deal Of The Day

Dave Zatz —  December 28, 2005

OK so I don’t have “deals of the day” on my site, but every now and then I do come across a bargain on some sort of gadget which needs to be shared.

Walmart has been selling the Garmin i2 under $200 this holiday season and they’re back in stock today. CNET and Amazon reviewers seem to dig it. GPS with audio for under 2 bills… how can you go wrong! In other words, I just got my order in — what are you waiting for?

TiVo’s Wireless Adapter Arrives

Dave Zatz —  December 27, 2005

TiVo’s custom wireless G USB adapter has arrived. As previously reported the adapter is compatible with Series 2 models and off-loads some of the network processing, by utilizing a “full MAC chipset,” resulting in improved throughput over, say, my Netgear WG111. The sexy little adapter retails for $49.99 direct from TiVo or less via Amazon. I’ll post photos with a TiVoToGo and Multi-Room Viewing (MRV) performance comparison as soon as mine arrives.

More visual goodness after the jump…
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DirecTV Goes Mobile

Dave Zatz —  December 27, 2005

DirecTV is joining TiVo and Dish as a competitor in the portable media market. Next week they’ll be announcing a new partnership, possibly with a hardware vendor and NBC, as part of this mobile content initiative. No word yet regarding which DTV models, current or yet-to-come, and portable devices will be covered.

There’s strength in numbers – the more companies that provide us with tools to legally copy and playback free content and content we’ve already paid for, the better. Hopefully a large player like DirecTV will dissuade studios and networks from attempting to block these services now that they’ve found a temporary market to sell shows.

ReplayTV Moves To PC

Dave Zatz —  December 18, 2005

ReplayTV is leaving the hardware business once all 5500 models have been sold. Additionally, D&M Holdings has ported ReplayTV software to the PC platform which will begin shipping next year bundled with Hauppauge tuner cards. ReplayTV intends to become solely a software and services company as first disclosed last summer with their intentions in the Chinese market. More details on offerings and pricing models will be available early next year.

ReplayTV has always had a solid, usable UI running on nice hardware. Commercial skip and DRM-free video have also been major pluses for me. However, the various lawsuits and ownership changes doomed Replay to second tier or worse. Assuming D&M Holdings see value in the product and stays the course, I’m hopeful ReplayTV will find new life as a software solution. Sling Media, are you guys listening?

Reuters says: A company spokeswoman said ReplayTV will complete its transformation from a hardware manufacturer to a DVR software and services provider with the sale of all remaining 5500 Series DVR models, probably by the end of 2005. More product and pricing details for ReplayTV’s software will be announced in 2006, the company said.

Humax plans to sell 26″, 32″, and 40″ LCD televisions with built-in DVRs to American consumers. While similar models have been seen overseas, this is the first time the products will be available in the US. Unlike the reference model displayed at CES, Humax appears to be going it alone without TiVo software. No timeline has been provided.

Seagate says: Seagate Technology, the world’s leading hard drive company, today announced that Humax Co. Ltd. has chosen Seagate’s LD25 Series consumer electronics (CE) hard drive for its LCD TV with a built-in digital video recorder (DVR). Seagate’s new LD25 Series is the first consumer electronics hard drive in a compact, 2.5-inch form factor designed for non-mobile applications — an entirely new concept for inside-the-box CE storage that enables smaller, simpler, cooler-running and more cost-effective game consoles, home entertainment devices and small footprint media PCs.

Thanks to all who entered the contest! The winners are:

  • Cory G.
  • Stephen Lemanek
  • Michael Wade

To pick the winners I reverse alphabetized all entrants, using the name they published under, to create a numbered list. Then the lucky folks were identified using a random number sequencer.