How Fast Doth Your Broadband Go

Here I thought my hefty monthly cable bill paid for a broadband connection, but it turns out we haven’t yet decided what broadband is. Congress is in the process of defining “true broadband” and Om Malik is surveying actual broadband users about what constitutes high speed. (So far 6 Mbps is winning out – See … Read more

Fed Up with eStarling; A Win for Westinghouse

I do not bash products lightly, and I feel I have been extraordinarily patient with the eStarling digital photo frame. However, there is a limit. It is now mid-May, five months after the eStarling debacle started, and my parents’ main Christmas present is still not working as promised. Actually, it’s not working at all.

After running the netconfig utility at least half a dozen times, the newly shipped version of the eStarling frame still will not connect to the Internet and therefore will not operate. The folks over at Gizmodo apparently got their unit to work (though they still didn’t like it), but we tried connecting ours to two different wireless networks (in two different states!) with no luck at all. That’s it. I’m done.

While I’m still yearning for the advertised eStarling feature set, I have in the meantime taken a Westinghouse digital photo frame for a spin and found it very satisfying. My mom was on hand when I took the Westinghouse frame out of the box and her first reaction was that she couldn’t imagine hanging such a thing in her house. Then she saw the photo resolution.

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I have the 14.1″ Westinghouse model for review and the picture quality is beautiful. (My lame photography doesn’t do it justice.) If you have a half-way decent digital camera, the photos fill the frame in slideshow mode. You can also choose mosaic mode for four photos at once, set photo transitions, save favorite photos and watch MPEG videos.

Best of all, the product is dead simple to use. There are three steps on the box: Plug in frame. Insert memory card. Turn on frame. And it’s literally that easy. The frame comes with 128MB of internal Flash memory and has ports for several card types (specs after the jump) as well as USB connections. I successfully tested file transfers from a PC and connection with a Flash drive. For general use, I’d suggest stocking a large Flash drive with gazillions of photos and keeping it plugged in. It’s easy enough to update a Flash drive with new photos when needed.

I’m definitely planning on writing in for a refund on the eStarling frame, and I just may put the proceeds towards a purchase of the Westinghouse 14.1″ digital frame model. The only thing possibly holding me back is the Westinghouse price: $349. Ouch. If you’re interested, Westinghouse does offer frames in different sizes. And the Live Digitally blog likes the 8″ version. But I have to admit, the large screen is delicious.

Want specs and more photos? Keep reading.

Read moreFed Up with eStarling; A Win for Westinghouse

Staten Island Residents Get PhotoShowTV

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Time Warner Cable quietly launched PhotoShowTV in Staten Island last week. I say quietly because it appears there was very little press coverage. Granted the service was already operating in Hawaii, but this is the first time PhotoShowTV has been available on the mainland, so to speak. And it’s a very cool service.

SimpleStar’s PhotoShow has been around for quite a while as a simple tool for creating photo slideshows with music, graphics and even some animations. (Comcast subscribers can download the Deluxe version on Comcast.net) The TV part comes in with the combination of PhotoShow and Time Warner’s VOD service. Staten Island TWC subscribers can now create PhotoShows online and then submit them for public viewing on a local VOD station. In other words, what you create in your living room can be watched on Grandma’s TV screen across town.

Read moreStaten Island Residents Get PhotoShowTV

It’s Fandango-tastic!

A million years ago, and for a very brief period of time, I did some public relations work with the Comcast High-Speed Internet division. At the time, Comcast was pushing its Comcast.net portal as a destination site for news, video, entertainment and applications like photo sharing and shopping. Unfortunately, only Comcast subscribers could access everything … Read more

Boob Tube-onomics

The latest study out of Nielsen Research (also covered by MultiChannel News) has a raft of interesting TV statistics. But since we all know how deceiving numbers can be, I thought I’d add a little context to the facts and figures. For your reading pleasure…nielsen.jpg

Boob Tube-onomics

There are an average of 111.4 million TV homes in the United States for the 2006-07 TV season.
Given a US population of around 300 Million, with an average household of 2.5 people (see below), this means that roughly 93% of American homes have TVs.

The average U.S. TV home has 2.5 people and 2.8 television sets.
The primary TV in consumer homes was bought at an average price of $783. Not cheap, but even doubled or tripled it’s a lot less expensive than .5 of a kid for your typical couple.

28% of U.S. TV homes have digital cable.
More than half of cable subscribers to the top two cable companies get digital services: 52% of Comcast subscribers and 54% of Time Warner subscribers.

More after the jump…

Read moreBoob Tube-onomics

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.”

Read moreWeb Not Good Enough for TV?