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Tom Keating
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Video Hardware & Software

The HD-DVD Age Is Officially Upon Us

April 18, 2006

It may not be the second dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but the high-definition DVD era begins today with the official launch in the United States of HD-DVD movie players and discs.

The Contra Costa Times got it right -- don't expect much fanfare; only two players ($499 and $799 Toshiba models) and four movies are available. And the arrival of a competing format known as Blu-ray is a little over a month away. But there are hopeful signs for electronics makers and movie studios that HD-DVD or Blu-ray could eventually be a hit with consumers.

Yes, Flat-Screens Are the New Standard

March 31, 2006

V Chip Returns as v.gis

March 15, 2006

TiVo Mobile - what's the point?

March 8, 2006

TiVo added another remote programming option called TiVo Mobile - a partnership between TiVo and Verizon Wireless that allows subscribers to remotely schedule DVR recordings from their mobile phones. What's the point?

Seriously. TiVo already lets you schedule recordings from your computer with Internet access if you forget to record something. Internet access is pretty ubiquitous, so do you really need the ability to schedule a recording from your cell phone?

Back from the Gloom: V Chip Resurrection

March 8, 2006

A decade ago, one of the hottest topics in CE was the V Chip, a little device that enabled televisions to filter content. There was much debate about the benefit, legality and ultimate cost of this device that enabled consumers to determine what content they would watch on TV.

Ultimately, the little chip that could was incorporated into the 1996 Telecommunications Act, with the result that as of January 1, 2000, all analog televisions sold in the U.S. had to include a V Chip. Taking the next step, now digital televisions (DTV) and other products with embedded digital receivers will be required to include V Chip capabilities, together with a new programmable interface.

In one week, on March 15, all new products with digital television receivers – including TVs, video recorders and set-top boxes – must incorporate parental control capabilities with a new "open" version of the V Chip that can be reprogrammed to adapt to changing standards.

Is Free TiVO On the Horizon?

February 28, 2006

In days of old (actually not that long ago), everybody who had TiVO loved to tell anybody who didn’t have TiVO how great the system was – record TV show, watch them when you want (and skip the commercials!). Ah, those were the days ...

Now, as TiVO faces increasing competition on simultaneous front – cable TV companies, satellite TV companies and consumer electronics manufacturers with their own digital video recorder offerings – TiVO is contemplating the ultimate four-letter word in CE (and any other market, too): free.

Yes, in another version of the “give away the razor, sell the blades,” TiVO is considering pricing options that would include free set-top boxes (with the trade-off being long plans or some such catch.

Xtremey Gives It Academy Awards Treatment; Get Out and Vote

February 27, 2006

If you're into extreme sports (and who isn't -- from the active to the armchair), then you don't want to miss your chance to vote in the 6th Annual Xtremey Awards. (It's sort of like the Academy Awards, but without all of the gowns and other trappings.)

Just take a look at these categories in which you can cast your vote:

  • Best Freestyle MX
  • Best Freestyle Sportbike
  • Best 50' Freestyle
  • Best Competition Documentary
  • Best Broadcast Competition
  • Best Off-Road Truck
  • Best Quad/Sand
  • Best Rock Crawling
  • Best Snowmobile

We've got Travis, Metzger and a whole bunch of others takin' it to the max. 

My favorite -- FMX Riot 2005 -- another awesome Paul Taublieb DVD!

021709: Bye-Bye Analog TV

February 17, 2006

Grandstream GXV-3000 video phone

January 26, 2006

This is the new Grandstream GXV-3000 H.264 based SIP video phone launched at ITEXPO and which I promised to post a photo. This is the phone I told you about yesterday during my chit-chat with Digium's Mark Spencer. Based on completed interoperability tests conducted by engineers from Grandstream and its partners, GXV-3000 works seamlessly with SIP soft client from Counterpath, IP-PBX or softswitch products from Digium, Netcentrex, and Pingtel.

"With the exciting release of GXV-3000, Grandstream solved 2 critical issues that prevent video communications over public Internet from becoming a mass phenomenon: high cost of hardware terminal and delivery of high quality 2-way real-time video over modest bandwidth," said David Li, Grandstream's CEO.

Philips VP5500 WiFi VoIP phone launches

January 23, 2006

The Philips VP5500 WiFi VoIP phone was announced way back in September 2005 and it was finally launched today in the Netherlands of all places. No offense Netherlands, but how come you get first dibs on this cool phone? Anyway, the sleekly styled VP-5500 is powered by Linux and lets users enjoy live video calls using its built-in VGA camera (640x480 resolution) that rotates up to 240 degrees and supports 30 FPS. Video calls are displayed on a 2.2" color LCD supporting 64k colors. The VP5500 features a video out port that lets others watch the video on a TV.

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