Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Home Entertainment

Wireless HDTV Is Coming to a Home Near You ...

June 20, 2008

Verizon Boosts FiOS Internet Speed

June 19, 2008

According to Verizon, beginning next week, Verizon will make available to more than 10 million homes and businesses the nation's fastest consumer broadband connections, with download speeds up to 50 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds up to 20 Mbps over their fiber to the home (FTTH) network.

Verizon had already offered the 50/20 Mbps and 20/20 Mbps services in its FiOS markets in Connecticut (my state), Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island. The company is now expanding those offerings to new Verizon FiOS customers in parts of California, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Washington, replacing existing offerings of 30/15 Mbps and 15/15 Mbps services, respectively.

The mid-tier connection speed in those markets for new customers is being increased from 15/2 Mbps to 20/5 Mbps, and the basic service tier is being increased from 5/2 Mbps to 10/2 Mbps. Existing FiOS Internet customers who are interested in the new speed options can call Verizon for information about the new plans.

Check out these performance benchmarks:

At 50 Mbps, downloading a 5 GB (gigabyte) file, such as a 112-minute, high-definition movie purchased online, takes approximately 13.3 minutes, while a 50 MB (megabyte), or 60-minute, Web video takes 8 seconds, and a 5 MB MP3 music file takes less than eight-tenths of a second.

Using a 20 Mbps upstream broadband connection, a consumer could upload a 250 megabyte (MB) file of 200 photos in about 90 seconds, instead of the roughly 47 minutes it takes over a 768 kilobit-per-second (Kbps) upstream connection.  A 500 MB file, such as 400 digital photos or a medical imaging data file, can be uploaded in less than four minutes, compared with about 90 minutes over a 768 Kbps connection.  A 3 gigabyte (GB) file, such as a one-hour family video shot with a high-definition video camera, can be uploaded in around 20 minutes, compared with more than nine hours with 768 Kbps upstream.

UK court rules Modchips do not circumvent copyright protection

June 13, 2008

UK-based MrModchips was cleared of all 26 counts against him for his role in importing and selling gaming console modchips. You know, the kind that lets you play [cough] backup copies of your video games. The Court of Appeal Criminal Division ruled that modchips do not circumvent copyright protection.

The icing on the cake is that the defendant was "awarded full costs as a result of his successful appeal," Sweet! Can you imagine the look on high-priced lawyers faces representing the multi-billion dollar video gaming industry?

CinemaNow Brings Movie Downloads to Windows Media Center

May 23, 2008

was one of the first to offer downloadable video content on-demand, but has been lost in the shuffle of competitors like Apple, Amazon, and Netflix for their digital movie, music, & TV downloads. And of course you have the big buzz surrounding Netflix's new Roku set-top box.

Well, today CinemaNow is announcing that its library of over 3,400 feature-length movies is now available through Windows Media Center. All you need is Windows Media Center, which comes included with Windows Vista and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. These movies are available right now through a new Online Media channel in Windows Media Center that provides access to CinemaNow. Their library includes feature-length movies and even HD-quality movies.

The big benefit of Windows Media Center is that it gives you an easy way to browse CinemaNow’s library with the "10 foot" experience using your Windows Media Center remote control.

"Digital Downtown" is Lower Manhattan's consumer technology expo

May 16, 2008

Onsia Makes Invisible Speakers

May 6, 2008

Sure do wish I could show you a picture ...

For all of us that want installed sound in every room of our nest, but don't want to see speaker panels all over the place, a company called Onsia is offering what it calls the first truly concealed flat panel speaker system. Designed to blend invisibly into any living space or office setting, (according to the company) only their remarkable performance will remind you they’re there.

The speakers integrate material science and NXT transducer technology to produce a flat panel speaker that delivers evenly distributed, rich, acoustic sound.

DVD Book Type Setting - Troubleshooting DVD Burning Problems

April 29, 2008 is a popular website run by C0deKing and Kanalratte that offers crossflashing and overclocking of your DVD±RW drives using "hacked" firmware for your DVD burner. Often the hacked firmware enables missing features such as overclocking the speed of the DVD burn and more importantly, setting the 'book type' permanently to "DVD-ROM". (more on that later) also offer "autopatchers", which are are easy do-it-yourself tools with an easy-to-use GUI to patch DVD burner firmware.

I recently bought a Sony DRU-840A DVD burner and when I tried to burn a home movie I noticed Nero didn't list the booktype setting under the 'Options' button. (Here's a screenshot of the book type setting in Nero on my Vista PC with a different DVD burner:)

The Book Type setting, also knowns as "bitsetting" allows you to change DVD+R media's default book type of "DVD+R" & "DVD+RW" to "DVD-ROM" more more compatibility with home DVD players which are looking for this particular book type.

SightSpeed Light Flash Video on MySpace

April 22, 2008

SightSpeed just launched a new “SightSpeed Light” widget for MySpace, which adds two-way voice and video to the popular social networking site. If you recall, I wrote the following about SightSpeed Light:

The obvious question that came to my mind when I was thinking about embedded Flash VoIP applets is "what about Flash video conferencing applets that do both voice & video?" Imagine simply visiting a website, and initiating an ad-hoc videoconference with other visitors to that same site. I should mention that there already exists tons of Flash video applications used by popular sites such as YouTube and LiveLeak. The video codecs at least exist within the Flash player. Though, YouTube uses buffering that isn't real-time, so Flash-based videoconferencing would most likely use a different codec that performs better during real-time communication.

In any event, I knew it wouldn't be long before someone took Flash VoIP to the next level and offered Flash videoconferencing.

AT&T to Lay Off 1.5% of Workforce

April 18, 2008

Blu-ray DVD - Buy 2 Blu-ray DVDs Get 1 Free on Amazon

April 9, 2008

Amazon is offering a buy 2 Blu-ray DVDs get 1 Free Blu-ray DVD now that the Blu-ray vs HD DVD war is over.

I just got this email now. Funny how Amazon was very diplomatic when they wrote "Now that all major studios have expressed their support for Blu-ray as the ultimate high definition entertainment experience" as opposed to saying "Now that Blu-ray has whooped HD DVD's arse and we now have a single standard." Guess Amazon didn't want to tick off Toshiba, one of the biggest losers after HD DVD's demise. Oh and speaking of The Biggest Loser, I'm down to 169lbs or 29lbs from my original 198lb weight.

In any event, if you're looking for a free Blu-ray DVD, check out this promotion:
Blu-ray DVDs: Buy 2, Get 1 Free Event

Dear Amazon Associate,

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