March Madness On-Demand?

Well, sort of. The NCAA and CBS SportsLine announced back in February that they’d be offering all NCAA tournament games online again this year for free. (Woohoo!) As a pre-registered, VIP member, I got into the streaming application pretty quickly, though I did get a few error episodes along the way. Unfortunately, the video seems … Read more

Web Not Good Enough for TV?

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There tends to be a lot of confusion around the term IPTV. It doesn’t mean video streamed over the free-and-clear Internet like YouTube. It means television that is streamed over a regulated IP network. In other words, IPTV requires some service provider manage the quality and security of the television experience.

Yesterday Google warned publicly that the Web cannot support broadcast-quality Internet TV over the long term. The system won’t scale. So what does Google plan to do about it? Apparently the company wants to work with cable operators to “combine its technology for searching for video and TV footage and its tailored advertising with the cable networks’ high-quality delivery of shows.”

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TiVo Top Ten

If you watched the Super Bowl last night, chances are you tuned in for and even repeat-viewed some of the commercials. It’s the one time of year when couch potatoes actually want to watch ads, and TiVo capitalized on the phenomenon by making certain commercials download-able for enthusiastic fans. TiVo also put out a list … Read more

Who’s On First: Voice, Video, Data?

verizon-logo.jpgI was perusing the transcript of a Verizon webcast the other day (yes, I am that lame), and ran across two interesting and related points. First, Ron Lataille, Verizon SVP of IR, acknowledged that many young people don’t get wireline phone service when they move, but rather stick with just a cell phone. Not surprising in itself, but Mr. Lataille also suggested that starting a family seems to be a trigger point for converting from a cell-phone-only residence to one with a landline.I seem to be just past the cell-phone-only demographic, or at least among people living outside of NYC. However, I have to admit that if I had only had a cell phone a few years ago, that would have changed when I had my daughter. It’s not so much that I worry about the wireless infrastructure. Any phone system can go down with enough traffic overload. No, I worry about leaving my phone uncharged and then discovering that my power adapter doesn’t work. (It’s happened. Several times.) I also still worry about the issue of dialing 911. Until my cell phone is GPS-enabled, I want a landline the police can track my location on. (VoIP discussion, anyone?)

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Hands On With Netgear Dual Mode Skype Phone

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I must preface this post by saying Netgear gifted me with their new $199 Dual Mode Skype Phone, part of my CES Blogger In Residence prize package (AKA ‘Dave got paid’). So, it’s entirely possible I’m not objective and therefore I won’t do a formal review. Having said that, quite a few products sit (unopened) on my floor for months waiting to be reviewed… whereas I immediately put this phone into production when I returned from CES.

Unlike Netgear’s previous WiFi Skype phone, this model has a base station which you wire to your home router. The base station will also accept a telephone connection from your “land line” — hence the “dual-mode” moniker: Skype + Land Line. Which brings me to the first point (of two) that I wanted to share…

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Storing Stuff, Part 1

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Whether or not Microsoft has the right solution, the company has hit upon a problem in need of solving: how to store your digital stuff. Microsoft launched its Home Server at CES with the goal to create a storage hub for your media files. Some folks wonder whether consumers will buy into the idea of a home server, but with the explosion of storage-worthy digital media, there’s no question. In fact, I’m a little surprised there hasn’t been more mainstream coverage of the Home Server announcement (you know, beyond Engadget and Ars Technica) given its importance in signaling a new trend.

Let me give you my own house as an example. We have two active laptops (1 Apple, 1 PC), one active desktop (Apple), two digital cameras and three iPods. All of these devices generate and store media files that we want to preserve, preferably in our own home rather than on a remote server. My husband has managed this in a couple of ways, first by rigging an old Apple G4 tower to act as a server, and then by buying a Western Digital USB hard drive. Both solutions have worked (the USB hard drive is excellent), but the general public probably wouldn’t consider either, simply because the general public probably doesn’t think about digital storage at all.

Microsoft has the power to change that.

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Mari’s Gadget-Giving Post-Mortem, Part 3

Part 3 begins with the coveted eStarling photo frame. (Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.) eStarling Wireless Digital Photo Frame Paying for the Hype The $250 eStarling frame has gotten so much good hype, I suppose it’s only karmic-ly justified that everything went to hell when the product finally shipped again … Read more