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Video Hardware & Software

Tandberg Movi Review

July 12, 2010

Multi-party HD videoconferencing is often thought of as an expensive proposition that is restricted to special boardrooms with expensive video equipment and large monitor displays. One of the major driving forces behind videoconferencing is its ability to enable collaborative meetings across distances with multiple participants, so having multiple high-tech videoconferencing boardrooms can be cost prohibitive. Further, many employees work from home all or part of the week or travel, which would make attendance at a fixed videoconferencing boardroom impossible. Tandberg, now part of Cisco, aims to solve this problem by combining Mobility and Video, hence the name Movi, a new offering that enables high-definition 720p, 30fps video when used in conjunction with  the Cisco's Tandberg PrecisionHD USB camera.

Tandberg sent me the PrecisionHD USB camera to test along with Movi for the best experience, though any HD USB camera would work as well.

Edit YouTube Videos Online

June 17, 2010

Today, YouTube announced a new feature that lets you edit your YouTube videos online. Sweet!

Here's what you can do:
  • Combine multiple videos you've uploaded to create a new longer video
  • Trim the beginning and/or ending of your videos 
  • Add soundtracks from our AudioSwap library of tens of thousands of songs
  • Create new videos without worrying about file formats and publish them to YouTube with one click -- no upload necessary
We've all been there / done that where we upload a video, wait for it to encode, then play it back to realize we had awkward pauses, didn't stop the camera on time, or simply wanted to cut a piece out. Well, now you can easily cut out these portions as well as create a mashup of several of your videos. Check out the video of how it's done:

Panasonic Activates Skype on Viera 2010 HDTVs

May 18, 2010

Panoramic 360° Video Controllable Via Mouse

April 14, 2010

We've all seen cool panoramic photos. Also, many of us may have been to amusement parks where they have white domes projecting 360° video on the dome. Though there is a lot of distortion when using curved walls. Not exactly a "true" life-like 360° experience.

Netflix on iPhone Tease

April 5, 2010

The big news last week was Netflix's announcement of a Netflix app for the new Apple iPad. Meanwhile, iPhone fans groaned that Netflix still hasn't released a streaming app for the popular and much more prevalent iPhone mobile phone. Fortunately Netflix has heard your cries and responded with the following:

Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications, here. Terrific response to our news today about Netflix on the iPad. For those of you asking whether Netflix will be on the iPhone and iPod Touch: We wouldn't invite you to dinner without planning to serve dessert. In other words, we're working on it so stay tuned.

Netflix is one of my favorite methods for streaming movies and catching up on TV series I hadn't watched before, like Heroes, which I just started watching.

Cool New Microsoft 720p LifeCams with TrueColor Technology

March 16, 2010

Microsoft today announced TrueColor Technology which they claim enhances the color and brightness of webcam video in the worst of lighting conditions. True Color Technology is a new image processing technology that automatically adjusts the picture quality to provide more colorful video. It does this through a proprietary combination of software and firmware technology. TrueColor Technology actually leverages face tracking technology developed by Microsoft Research, which can detect a person's face and help ensure it's not overexposed or underexposed, so the video call picture looks great even in the most challenging lighting scenarios.

Cablevision Connects PC to TV Using Software

February 24, 2010

Who'd a thunk that your cable box could magically transmit your PC's video and audio directly to your TV with no wires? Cablevision just released a new piece of software that you simply load onto your PC and then your screen pixels and audio are transmitted across the coax to Cablevision's centralized network where it is then converted into your very own individualized channel that you can simply view by changing your cable box's channel. Since your cable box is already connected to your TV, there's no need to run any special video or audio cables from your PC. Think of this as Remote Desktop (RDP protocol) (or VNC) on steroids.

The new service is called "PC to TV Media Relay" and it's an interesting solution for less technical users to bridge their PCs and their advanced home entertainment systems.

Skype Brings 720p to HDTVs and PCs

January 5, 2010

Skype today introduced a high-definition (HD) video calling service that will work on computers and televisions. The newest version Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows, supports 720p video calling in a 1280x720 pixel resolution at 30 frames per second. The latest version of Skype will come pre-installed on some LG Electronics Inc. and Panasonic Corp. television sets by June, according to Skype. Panasonic will support the technology via its VIERA Cast televisions and LG will support it with its NetCast Entertainment Access and both will offer HD webcams as accessories.

The new HDTVs will deliver familiar Skype features including:
  • Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
  • Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype's low rates
  • The option to receive inbound calls via a user's online Skype number
  • Skype voicemail, if it is set up
  • Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
  • Support for up to 720p HD video calls, depending on the availability of high-speed broadband and a HD webcam
I have a relatively new (late 2009) Panasonic 54" TV with VIERA Cast, so it'll be interesting to see if my TV will be on the list to support it.

StarTech KVM Console to USB 2.0 Portable Laptop Adapter Review

December 23, 2009

If you are an IT or network manager you know how frustrating it can be to try and troubleshoot a rackmounted server that doesn't have a monitor or keyboard hooked up to it. After all, LCD rackmount console can be pretty expensive.

Often referred to as "headless servers", in many cases you can use Windows Remote Desktop over an IP connection to access the machine and troubleshoot. However, if you have a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death), the network card dies, you have an IP address conflict, or you need to get into the BIOS, you can't use Remote Desktop or other remote desktop software.

Well,'s USB 2.0 Laptop KVM Adapter turns your notebook or netbook into a portable server crashcart, eliminating the need to carry a large, heavy video monitor, keyboard, and mouse. This device will turn any laptop into a portable console for headless servers, PCs, ATMs, kiosks etc.

How does it work?

Tandberg Enhances Movi, But Will Cisco Slam the Video Interoperability Door?

December 8, 2009

Videoconferencing is becoming more critical to businesses, especially with many enterprises employing remote teleworkers. As such, having high-quality HD video has become a requirement, as is the ability to simultaneously collaborate within the videoconferencing session.

Well, today, TANDBERG announced new advanced capabilities for Movi, its business-quality PC video solution. Movi offers the ability to share content, HD video, we well as full audio capabilities and centralized management. Movi's key new feature is the ability to share PC content with other session participants.

I'll just reiterate my concerns about Cisco recently acquiring Tandberg, where I thought perhaps Cisco could take Tandberg's various industry standards-solutions and make them closed/proprietary solutions.

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