Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Home Entertainment

SureWest Communications Launches Combined VoIP, TV, and HD DVR

March 12, 2008

Interesting news from SureWest where they debuted VoIP service combined with a high-definition digital video recorder (DVR) product for watching recorded and live TV. I'm assuming this is a combined set-top box that does video (TV) and voice over IP. If they really want to get crazy with combining stuff, they should stick a camera in there which will add video over IP (videoconferencing) capabilities. I'll see if I can get a photo of the set-top box.

In the meantime, here's the news from the Sacramento Business Journal:
SureWest Communications has launched Digital Phone, the telecommunication company's new Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service and a high-definition digital video recorder product.

SureWest already offers VoIP for business customers, but Digital Phone extends the service to residential customers.

SureWest (Nasdaq: SURW) has been testing the high-definition DVR in region since December.

Sony PS3 Gets In-Game VoIP

March 4, 2008

The Sony PS3 will finally get in-game VoIP communications with the release of firmware update 2.4.

Sony Computer Entertainment UK boss Ray Maguire stated:
“Our momentum will continue with the introduction of in-game communication in the summer, firmware update 2.4 and the strongest line-up of games through our third party partners and our own studios. I’d personally like to thank our trade and business partners for helping us on the start of the PS3 journey.”

Now the question is "what took so frickin' long?" Both the Xbox and the Xbox 360 have had in-game trash talking VoIPing via Xbox Live since like uhh forever. On the Xbox 360, there's memory reserved just for the guide blade functions, including pulling up friends list, enabling voice chat and custom soundtracks in all games. The Playstation 3's initial design never took this into account so it is much more difficult to add this to the design after-the-fact without causing game instability, affecting performance, etc.

TeVeStream FrameSeeker Detects Video Frame Changes

February 25, 2008

Arcosoft Inc., those same rascals that built 8 simultaneous video streams only Star Trek's Data could love, today announced the release of TeVeStream FrameSeeker. According to Arcosoft, "Surveillance video, such as those captured for security, paranormal investigation, and wildlife study, often contains many frames that are essentially static. Without FrameSeeker, a reviewer must spend many tedious hours watching the video completely to find interesting events. FrameSeeker reduces the effort by scanning for changes frame by frame.

HD DVD RIP, Long Live Blue-ray!

February 21, 2008

The HD DVD vs. Blue-Ray high-definition DVD format war is over. In case you missed it, Toshiba made a statement saying, "it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders." As a result, Amazon and other online retailers have been having a fire sale trying to offload the Toshiba HD DVD players. You can pick one up for $79 or less.

In a further humiliation, according to, instead of being listed as HD DVD players, they are now being displayed as upscaling DVD players.

Netflix Streaming via Vista Media Center MyNetflix plugin

February 11, 2008

Yesterday, I discussed some cool (free) video utilities for converting & downloading video on your Microsoft Media Center PC to your Microsoft Zune. Today, I just learned about another cool video application called MyNetflix for Vista Media Center. The plug-in's "Watch Now" streaming ability is perhaps the coolest feature. Simply using your Media Center remote control you can have the 10' experience of streaming Netflix movies on-demand from your sofa. I always have trouble returning my DVDs, so having the instant gratification of watching a Netflix movie on my 65" TV using my MCE remote control would be great.

DVRMSToolbox For Vista Released

February 9, 2008

DVRMSToolbox For Vista was just released. DVRMSToolbox is a very cool video converter utility for converting TV programs (in Microsoft DVR-MS format) on your Vista PC to .wmv for playback on the Zune video player. Even cooler it can auto-detect and strip out the commercials. With the proper profile setting it converts to a .wmv file with the proper settings such that the Zune software doesn't need to transcode the .wmv video file again (time-consuming). There's also a Windows XP version available that runs on Windows MCE 2005, the first version of Windows with Media Center Edition (MCE) built-in for capturing & playing bck TV programs, but that version is a little older.


January 9, 2008

Sony announced GPS functionality for its Sony PSP gaming platform. While the GPS accessory was released in Japan in late 2006, this marks the "demo" launch (at CES) of the product in North America. It was simply a demo at CES, but Sony reps said they expect the product to ship sometime this year.

The GPS device will load map data from an included UMD that's region specific. Updated or additional country maps can be purchased and downloaded to a Memory Stick.

Logitech Squeezebox Duet

January 7, 2008

Improving upon their line of Squeezebox (& Transporter) music network devices, Logitech recently introduced the Squeezebox Duet.
The Squeezebox Duet sports a cool new remote controller with a full-color 2.4 inch LCD screen and a receiver that utilizes 802.11g WiFi. the Duet allows users to stream music from any computer to any room with an audio receiver, browse your music collection with full color album art, and even stream Internet radio stations. In addition to playing songs stored on your computer, you can also connect to online services such as Pandora and Rhapsody. Rich Tehrani came to me a couple of weeks ago looking for a device that streams Internet radio, and Pandora so he can work out and listen to music. At the time I couldn't think of anything, but the Squeezebox Duet sounds like it might fit the bill.

CopperGate Communications CG3210 HomePNA 3.1

January 7, 2008

Today at CES, CopperGate Communications, a provider of home networking technology for triple play IPTV and MDU access over existing wiring, announced its CopperStream CG3210, the highest speed solution for networking entertainment data over existing coax and telephone wires. The CG3210 is the latest of CopperGate's HomePNA 3.1 compatible solutions and supports data rates of 320 Megabits per second enabling distribution of digital content in buildings and homes driven by emerging applications from satellite and telco service providers such as multi-room IPTV PVRs. Wow, with 320 Megabits per second, who needs fiber-to-the-home (FTTH)? Scratch that, since this is an in-home networking solution. You still need a fat pipe to the home.

8 Simultaneous Videos only Data Could Love

January 7, 2008

You think you're a good multitasker? You've got 20 Firefox tabs open (or IE) and you're watching a YouTube video while reading email. Bet you're proud of yourself huh? Well, have a cool piece of software for you!
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