Archives For Media

I’m impressed with the D-Link DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player’s interface and ease of use and the playback quality for formats supported out of the box. There is a market for this type of device, similar to Apple TV, and there’s compelling online content that will appeal to many with this media extender. Unfortunately that online content is relatively scarce. A bigger issue is the default restriction to only DivX video or MP3 and WMA audio, which limits this product to those who either already have encoded the bulk of their collection as DivX or who take the time to “hack” the unit to stream other formats. In talking with a DivX representative, I’ve learned that they are planning to provide additional format support. In fact, the next version of the server software will support Flash video support, which should help quite a bit with online content in particular.

I can recommend this device with qualifications. If you have a large DivX collection or are just starting out and like the concept of all video on DivX then this is definitely a very desirable media extender for you. If you don’t fit into that category, I still encourage you to consider the device for it’s nice interface and strong potential for online video and other online content. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Read the rest of this entry at Brent Evans Geek Tonic »

A short while ago I speculated that Verizon would be offering VOD content around the Olympics. A day later the news came out that NBC U and Verizon had indeed done a deal, with on-demand clips and event replays coming to both FiOS TV and V-CAST.

Right now on FiOS TV you can already get several free Olympics features. They’re not bad either. Check out the gallery of FiOS screenshots I took yesterday. (Thanks, Heather!) Note: Dave also spent today up at VZ headquarters in Basking Ridge. More FiOS photos to come?

YouTube on TiVo Launches

Dave Zatz —  July 17, 2008

As I’d suspected, TiVo support for YouTube is indeed hidden within the 9.4 software update. Series 3 and TiVo HD subscribers should start seeing the application show up as early as tomorrow (Thursday), though the rollout will be completed over the next few weeks. And in some form of meta-irony, I’ve shot a brief video of YouTube on TiVo… on YouTube. For good measure, I also brought up the new SDV Tuning Adapter and TCP Remote screens on my Series3.

I’ve confirmed the YouTube content is indeed H.264 – thus marking the first time TiVo is rendering anything other than MPEG-2. (And why Series2 customers are out of luck – sorry, your hardware doesn’t support additional codecs.) In pressing TiVo on the issue of codecs, I also learned the forthcoming CinemaNow movie rentals will be provided (to both Series2 and Series3/TiVoHD units) as MPEG-2.

I can’t say I’m a huge YouTube fan (and I don’t like Mentos), but I’m impressed with the breadth of this app and the seamless playback. However, what I’d really like to see them do with the new H.264 capabilities is provide access to a much larger library of video podcasts without requiring TiVo Desktop Windows PC transcoding or TiVo to broker indivudal content deals before providing server-side transcoding. I know I’m not the only one waiting for Tekzilla

Expect TiVo’s YouTube press release tomorrow AM, which is also when the informational page will be activated.

There was general outrage last month (except from Dave) when word came down from NBC that it won’t show any live Olympics coverage if it’s set to be televised in the evening. That might not be a big issue if there wasn’t such a huge time delay between Beijing and the US. But as it is, we’re likely to read scores and text highlights long before we can actually see Olympic action from half way around the world.

Or so we’ve thought.

One industry insider (my own Deep Throat) says talks are ongoing at NBC about the possibility of posting teaser coverage online during the day. With the success of other sports events on the Web, NBC has to know there is huge revenue potential in making live or nearly-live highlights available for daytime viewing. The network says it’s not having any trouble selling ad spots. Why not expand the audience?

Of course the big issue here is that NBC doesn’t want to cannibalize its primetime TV viewership. I don’t know why it’s worried. Show me a clip of the latest 14-year-old phenom on the uneven bars during the day, and I’m still going to tune in at night to see her take on the balance beam.

Here’s hoping NBC’s interactive folks win the day on this debate. The summer Olympics only happen once every four years. I want all the coverage I can get. And, assuming I’m not alone, that translates into big bucks for NBC.

I waited until the last minute to book this trip to NYC and find myself in possibly the only Holiday Inn Express that charges over $400/night. To soften the blow, they’re providing free audio streaming via the (also gratis) wired Internet connection. I generally forgo in-room network connectivity, opting instead for my travel router and 3G card – Fortunately (ha), the room’s located in an AT&T dead zone giving me the opportunity to discover this streaming media perk. Though, as a Slingbox owner and football fan, I don’t find it very compelling.

Both Engadget and Gizmodo are live-blogging Microsoft’s opening E3 keynote… In addition to a massive Xbox 360 Dashboard UI overhaul (which I alluded to in May), Netflix-on-Xbox video streaming has been confirmed for fall. Sweet! Here’s to hoping Netflix can load up on current Hollywood hits prior to launch. Guess my Netflix Roku box is headed to ebay once we’ve completed the Battle Royale.

The 3G iPhone wasn’t the only new release last week… The D-Link DivX media extender (DSM-300) has started shipping in the US. Though it lists for $300, online retailers are offering it for $230 minus an additional $30 rebate. $200 for this handsome wireless-capable, 720p extender is a decent deal if your digital video collection is primarily Xvid- or Divx-encoded. Plus, the community developed plugins and theme offerings continue to expand. Both Brent and I have review samples, though I suspect he’ll get something written up sooner. In fact, I may just let him cover it for the both of us while I continue my gadget purge and realignment (1, 2, 3, 4).

Rafat’s (paidContent) disappointed with the upcoming Olympics web video, labeling NBC “totalitarian” and heavy handed – his major beefs seem to be that televised content will only be available online post TV broadcast and only viewable at As I commented Sunday, I’m pleased with any/all online viewing options – especially being able to catch the “long tail” sports and qualifying rounds:

Live doesn’t matter to me – I don’t even know what the time difference is and I don’t want to worry about remembering the schedules. However, I’m looking forward to being able to access lower profile sports (that interest me) like judo and freestyle wrestling that get very little or random, hard to find air-time.

In taking the screengrab above, I tried out the (Mac-compatible!) Silverlight player… and had better luck streaming via Safari than with Firefox 3 (which served up blank screens and stuttering video). Yet to be seen is if NBC can handle the traffic and how their site will organize and present video.

Random factoid: One of my first online purchases was an Olympics wrestling t-shirt during the ’96 Atlanta games.