Ten days ago, Verizon FiOS TV officially launched here in Washington state. I was actually invited to speak at the launch event that took place that day, alongside Verizon representatives, and local government officials. I was specifically chosen as a case study of just how good FiOS is, since I literally moved specifically because Comcast was way too slow for the things we expected out of our Internet connection here at Gear Live HQ. It was an event meant to talk up the advantages of FiOS over cable (specifically, Comcast, in this area). Obviously, with FiOS looming over their territory, Comcast went into damage control mode to combat Verizon’s claims that they were the best option for Internet and television services. We were sent both the FiOS press release and the Comcast press release, and we figured we would respond to the claims of each, point-by-point.
For some background, we’ve been Comcast customers for over six years, for both Internet and television services. When we moved for FiOS 15 months ago, Comcast was still our cable television provider. As of today, I am a FiOS customer for both Internet and television, and as of 10 days ago, am no longer a Comcast customer. Now, on with the comparisons.
Way out of left field, TiVo has announced that customers are going to be able to browse and purchase from Amazon’s huge inventory, from the comfort of their living rooms. You know, because shopping a store that has tens of thousands of items to choose from, using just your remote control, is all kinds of awesome. To take part, you need to have a broadband-connected TiVo Series 2, Series 3, or TiVo HD (seriously, is anyone still doing dial-up on these things?).
Starting today, TiVo will launch the new service to consumers by merchandising products related to several high profile shows, including but not limited to The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Colbert Report, and Burn Notice. Consumers will also be able to use TiVo’s Universal Swivel Search to easily explore and buy products associated with their favorite shows, movies, actors, and directors, directly from the television set
I don’t know about you, but these images showing Amazon shopping on TiVo don’t look that enticing. In any event, you can get your shop on starting today.
Read More | Zatz Not Funny
With the launch of iPhone 3G, many have been waiting and hoping for a method that would allow tethering of the iPhone to a mobile computer like, say, a MacBook. Well, lucky for your mobile warriors, that time has finally come - it’s just takes a bit of work to get it functioning. Do remember, though, that AT&T isn’t offering any sort of tethering plan with the iPhone, so if you get caught, you may be forced to pay a bunch of money out of pocket. Or your service could be shut off. Still, if that isn’t something that matters to you, then click on through for the instructions, provided by my pal Nate True. He took a bunch of different pieces of software and solutions, and mixed them together into a powerful concoction that allows you to use your iPhone 3G as a modem by way of 3Proxy, Terminal, and WiFi. Now all we need are batteries for the iPhone 3G that don’t die in a matter of seconds.
Read More | Cre.ations.net
For all you Verizon FiOS subscribers out there, Verizon just announced this morning that they are going to be upping a couple of their speed tiers across the country, beginning next week. Of course, you need to live in one of the FiOS-covered areas in one of the 16 states where the service is available, like we do.
So, first things first - if you are in New York or Virginia, don’t expect any changes. You guys are already enjoying the upgraded speeds that the rest of us have been waiting for. For the rest of us though, two changes are in order. First, the 30/15 speed tier will be going away, and will be replaced by the newer 50/20 tier. Crazy, we know. The 50/20 speed will remain at the same $139 per month cost. Those of you on the 15/15 symmetrical tier will also say goodbye to your current speeds, as you will be upgraded to the new 20/20 speed tier, and it will remain at the same $64 per month cost.
The lower tiers are getting upgrades as well, as 15/2 becomes 20/5, and 5/2 becomes 10/2. It should be noted that Comcast recently bumped up their speeds across the board to 16/2. I guess Verizon was just waiting on Comcast before spreading their NY and VA speeds to the rest of the country.
Read More | Verizon Press Release
We remember a time (about 15 years ago) when we were allotted only so many hours on the Net. If you were really addicted, that meant you either had to go online with a stopwatch, reconnect occasionally, or be charged for a business account. Nowadays you can go 24/7 and most providers will offer you a good deal for doing so. For example, knowing that about 1 in seven no longer have landlines, Verizon will be offering discounts to those who don’t but order Internet or TV service. Their Flex Double Play begins this week allowing customer discounts of $8.00 to $12.00 a month if you combine their wireless plan with FiOS TV or broadband.
On the swing side, AT&T is thinking of charging more for those who download too much data. Spokesperson Michael Coe claims that about 5% of their DSL customers use 46% of their bandwidth, while overall usage doubles every year and a half. Time Warner is already charging its customers in Beaumont, Texas, who go over their bandwidth limit $1.00 per gigabyte. If you are one of those who downloads movies and TV shows, especially in hi-def, don’t move to the Lonestar state.
What do you guys think? Should we be charged extra for services that companies are pushing on us to the max? Or should we all go out and purchase a Roku and spend the $8.99 a month before our Internet overcharges become excessive?
Roberts has come up with the nifty Stream 202 radio that plays DAB, FM, and WiFi if you have a broadband connection with wireless router or Ethernet. Stream your computer’s stored tunes, listen to stations all over the planet, and save your faves with 15 presets. The Stream also features an intuitive menu, 2 alarm timers, an aux. input for MP3 player, and a socket for headphones. At a size of 300 x 174 x 115mm and a weight of 1.47kg, the radio comes with an AC adaptor or can run on 6 D batteries (not included.) It carries a price of £149.99 (~$292.00.)
Read More | Roberts
Apple has quietly made a subtle change to the Apple TV movie experience. Previously, you were able to rent standard definition and high definition movies through Apple TV, and obviously, those rentals would expire if left unwatched for 30 days, or within 24 hours of you starting the movie. However, people have been asking for movie downloads since Apple TV Take 2 launched. Well, all that has changed, as Apple has come to an agreement with movie studios that will see new movies available for purchase and download on the same day that they are released on DVD.
The downside to all this? Well, for starters, you can’t buy the HD versions of these movies, despite the fact that you can rent them in HD. If you have an HDTV, we are guessing that you prefer your movies in HD. Also, for a similar price, you could just buy the movie on disc, and get all the extra special feature videos that are lacking on the iTunes download. Oh well, I guess we should just be happy that we are seeing progress.
We’ve all been expecting Apple to release a 3G version of the iPhone at some point during this year. It turns out, it may be coming sooner rather than later. Ken Dulaney, analyst for Gartner, is saying that he has heard from sources over in Asia that Apple has placed an order for 10 million 3G iPhones. Even more interesting is that these would be 10 million on top of the current 10 million that Apple hopes to sell of the current iPhone version in 2008. If this is true, we’d expect to hear about it within the next few months. Maybe around the time that the iPhone 2.0 firmware upgrade is released, hmm?
Dulaney also mentioned that the 3G version of the iPhone may use an OLED screen, which would result in an improvement in battery life. Hey, if Apple went with EDGE for the current iPhone due to battery issues, it would make sense that in their leap to 3G, they’d try and conserve as much battery life as possible, right?
While we won’t know for sure when we will see a 3G model of the iPhone, I personally believe it is a safe bet that we will be seeing one within the next few months. The iPhone is nine months old, and while it is still a marvel, 9 months is a long time to go in the cell phone industry without seeing an upgrade. Apple also knows that 3G is a glaring omission from the current model. After all, there was a collective groan heard around the tech world when it was introduced back at MacWorld 2007 due to it’s lack of 3G. Even 14 months ago it was a huge letdown. Too much time has passed since then.
Bottom line, if you are in the market for an iPhone, but aren’t in the “need to have it now” mindset, you may want to wait a while.
We’ve been expecting an updated Airport Express from Apple for a few days now, after an image was leaked out of Switzerland. As it turns out, the new Airport Express with 802.11n support is now on sale in the US Apple Store. Yeah, on a Monday no less. In case you don’t know, the Airport Express is a small wireless router that supports up to 10 clients at a time, and also features printer sharing and AirTunes. That means you can stream your iTunes content to the device, and have it play through a connected speaker system. With 802.11n support, this is now the perfect travel companion, as long as you don’t mind not have a directly wired Ethernet connection to your computer.Or, if you already have an 802.11n network set up, you can now pick up a refurbished Airport Express model and use it to set up a secondary G network. The Airport Express will cost you $99, while refurbs are $79.
We have the full press release after the break.
Read More | Airport Express product page
If you are like me, you’ve been waiting for Apple TV Take 2 to hit for just about a month now. When it was delayed two weeks ago, I stared at my Apple TV in disgust. In it’s current form, it was nothing more than a YouTube viewer, and sometimes, a nice picture screensaver. However, the wait is no more. As part of today’s Tuesday updates, Apple has finally released the Apple TV Take 2 software, and it is available now for download. Aside from a freatly enhanced UI, here are some of the features:
- Movie rentals in both high definition and standard definition
- Flickr photo browsing and slideshows
- .Mac photo gallery browsing and slideshows
- Purchasing of items from iTunes Store from Apple TV
- Browse and view podcasts in iTunes Podcast directory on Apple TV
If you have an Apple TV, fire up Software Update on the device to get the new hotness, and let us know what you think.
Read More | Apple TV Take 2 Guided Tour