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Rumor Has It HybridIn what continues to be a one-sided battle, with HD-DVD having a minor lead as a result of being first to market, comes the first hybrid HD/DVD disc featuring the movie “Rumor Has It”.  Available on May 9th, the disc features the widescreen DVD version on one side, with the HD-DVD version on the other. 

Due to manufacturing differences, it’s easier and less expensive to create a hybrid HD/DVD disc than the equivalent BD/DVD version.  Providing consumers with discs that offer an upgrade path for HD content, instead of a standard definition dead end, could be a major factor in the format war.  Not everyone is willing to jump into the deep end of the early adopter pool, and many would rather wriggle their toes in the shallow end until a winner is “declared”.  Hybrid discs will allow them to do just that, while also working as an obstacle to potential Blu-ray purchases.  After all, if you already have movies on DVD that also include the High-Def version on the flip-side, why would you want to buy the movie again in Blu-ray format?  With an MSRP of $39.99 USD, the hybrid HD/DVD version does carry a higher price than the standard DVD, but it does keep one’s options open without forcing an immediate hardware purchase.

Purely speculation on our part, but if the price of hybrid discs were lowered to be very close to their plain DVD cousins, the HD-DVD camp would “clean house” as there would be little impetus for consumers to buy just the DVD version.  For the short term this might lower profits or possibly even incur a minor fiscal loss, but in the end isn’t it all about who wins the war?


Read More | Yahoo! News


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Red One

You have to admit, Mysterium sounds like a late-night infomercial product that comes with a free paring knife if you order right now.  Not in this instance though as Mysterium is the oddly named 12-megapixel CMOS sensor used in the Red One video camera.  With 11.4M usable pixels, the camera offers HD resolutions in the form of 720p and 1080i, and beyond conventional HD in 2K, 4K, and 2540p formats.  Created to be future-proof, the camera is modular by design and “easily accepts upgrades in hardware, software, storage, handling and monitoring accessories.”  The picture shown above includes the optional Red-Cage accessory that is primarily used for mounting accessories (and obliterating one’s toes if accidentally dropped).  The Red One camera by itself weighs less the 7 pounds and is made from a lightweight magnesium alloy.

Currently under development, with no release date in sight, the Red One carries a tentative MSRP of $17,500 USD.  Refundable reservations are currently being accepted for a mere $1,000 USD.


Read More | Red Digital Cinema via Fosfor Gadgets


HP StorageWorks XP12000Anyone in Information Technology (IT) that has had to deal with a stubborn HP server has thought of taking the server out behind the woodshed and putting an end to it.  Those crazy kids at HP have decided that an HP StorageWorks XP12000 disk array should be able to take a bullet and keep on ticking.  The test involves a fridge sized server, a specially mounted rifle, and a .308-caliber bullet traveling 2,900 feet per second.  HP’s engineers mandate that the array should be able to continue streaming video after a bullet passes completely through the disk array and shatters a fish tank behind the XP. 

“Our engineers told me that you could wipe out an entire side of the array and the HP StorageWorks XP12000 Disk Array would keep working,” says Scott Edwards, XP product marketing manager.

Um. Good.


Read More | HP News


World's Thinnest DVD

Using an innovative nanoimprint technology, Hitachi Maxell, LTD have succeeded in creating the world’s thinnest DVD media at 0.092mm thick.  This makes the new disc approximately 1/13th the thickness of existing DVD media, yet allows it to retain the full 4.7GB capacity.  Obviously a single disc isn’t going to gain you any benefits simply by being thinner, but if you were to take a stack of say 100-discs, make them double-sided (9.4GB), stuff them into a cartridge 2.5-inches thick, and slap a fancy acronym like SVOD on it, you’d have a digital library cartidge with almost 1TB of capacity (940

MB

GB).  SVOD, which stands for Stacked Volumetric Optical Disc, really starts to shine when coupled with the next generation of blue laser technology, as a stack of 50GB discs could increase storage capacity to 5TB.

When released the discs will be priced at under $325 for a 100-disc cartridge.


Read More | Maxell (jp) via Pink Tentacle


Wow - the nostalgia of it all. Steve Jobs keynotes used to be so low key. Nowadays, a new iPod announcement wouldn’t be made with such little fanfare. Then again, back then, iPods were only compatible with Macs, and they just weren’t as cool (looking) back then. Still, the unveiling of the first iPod was a huge moment in the history of digital entertainment. For that reason alone, this is worth a look.


Plantronics MX203S-X1With so many mobile phones being MP3-enabled, it only makes sense that manufacturers would start churning out headsets to match.  Plantronics has released their latest headset, the stereo MX203S-X1, for just that application.  Available in the eternally lovely black, there’s also the “new black”, which is to say, white (made popular by our friends at Apple).  To help prevent bothersome wind noise from becoming an issue, Plantronics has implemented WindSmart technology to nix the problem, and their Flex Grip design makes the earbuds comfortable to wear with no concerns about them falling off. 

Compatible with all MP3-enabled phones that have a 2.5mm headset jack, the only thing we wish the headset really had, or rather didn’t have, would be wires.  A similarly styled Bluetooth model would be nice, but that would require AD2P in order to sound good, which in turn would mean we’d have to worry about batteries/charging, and then there’s the fact that many mobile phones don’t support the AD2P profile.  On second thought, the wires are just fine.

Estimated street pricing is $29.99 USD with availability later this month.


Read More | Plantronics via Digital Tech News


BenQ CP120

BenQ has released their CP120, a Wi-Fi enabled projector that allows users to display presentation materials wirelessly.  The projector is 802.11a/b/g compliant and includes their Wireless Wizard software which makes connecting easy, and allows for switching among mutliple notebook computers.  BenQ didn’t make wireless the only feature going for the CP120 as it also has DLP technology for a superior picture, weighs a mere 2.6 pounds (thanks in part to its magnesium-alloy case), has an automatic keystoning feature that works in real-time, and an EL illuminated keypad for easy control in a dark room.  Just about the only thing missing is an automatic zoom feature, but we can live with that.

The projector is available for a suggested list price of $1,599 USD.  Full specifications are available after the jump.

Read More | BenQ via BIOS

Click to continue reading BenQ CP120 Wireless Projector


PhilipsRumors have circulated the Internet for some time about the various methods broadcasters might employ to get time-shifting viewers to watch commercials.  Let’s face facts - the revenue generated by the commercials does pay (in part) for the television we watch, but at the same time, no one typically wants to watch said commercials.  Those of us with PVRs have a hard time understanding how people without them can stand to watch television.  Commercials typically occupy more than 20% of the airtime for a given show, and the percentage seems to grow all the time.

Thanks to

our friends at

Philips Electronics, the option to choose whether to skip a commercial or not may be a thing of the past.  They’ve been awarded a patent for a technology that would prevent you from skipping commercials, or even from switching to another channel while a commercial is playing.  To quote C|Net, “Viewers would be released from the freeze only after paying a fee to the broadcaster. The freeze would be implemented on a program-by-program basis, giving viewers a choice at the start of each one.  According to a recently published patent, the apparatus could work inside a set-top box. It would use the standard Multimedia Home Platform to receive a first control signal and then respond by taking control of the TV. The MHP would also be capable of sending the payment information that would lift the freeze, as it does when authorizing pay-per-view content.”

Keep in mind that the device doesn’t actually exist as of yet, but it’s easy to imagine that such a device could one day be implemented.  Given the negative backlash that would incur from the viewers, we can only wonder about the ultimate outcome.


Read More | C|Net


Counterfeit iPod

It seems that some companies are attempting to pass off counterfeit iPods to unsuspecting consumers.  Apple warns that the two players that are most likely to be ripped off are the iPod nano and the iPod shuffle.  It has been noted that several of the fakes are even stamped with legit serial numbers, one of which is 6U545TK2TJT.  The fake iPods also lack a dock connector, and often have non standard headphone jacks.  Apple said that the counterfeit nanos also ship without the standard USB cable, and have a screen that is slightly longer than that of the real thing.

One key mark to look out for is a play/pause symbol on the center select button.  The players that are similar to the shuffle lack a battery or status indicator light, and have a power switch that lacks a repeat option.  The counterfeit packaging is the same as Apple packaging except that the counterfeit package has the words “Digital Music Player” on the top of the box.  Some of the counterfeit players have also known to have documentation included that asks the user to copy their music to a directory on the device rather than using iTunes.  Apple is taking this matter very seriously and has released a bulletin to its service providers asking them to photograph the fake iPod, find out where the buyer purchased the fake iPod, document the serial number, and pass the information along to Apple’s technical support group. 


Read More | Apple Insider


MeedioDepending on your point of view, the fact that Meedio has sold off its technology and intellectual property to Yahoo!, falls somewhere between “another one bites the dust” and “the greatest thing since sliced bread”.  Meedio, for those of you not in the know, was a media center application that started life as myHTPC.  When myHTPC was in full swing I remember tinkering with and coaxing it into life, but in the end moved away from the platform to Windows Media Center.  Although Windows MCE didn’t originally have the depth and breadth of scope that myHTPC (and eventually Meedio) encompassed, what enticed me was the ability to get it up and running with minimal fuss.  After all, the time saved in setup and configuration allowed more time for enjoyment of the media center, and additionally allowed more time for the million other projects I always seem to have cooking.

Although it’s sad to see Meedio go the way of the corporate giant, it’s far better than the fate that another media center pioneer, ShowShifter, met with . . . non-existence altogether.  Unfortunately, for current users of Meedio your official support options have ceased to exist effective immediately, and while Yahoo! didn’t technically purchase the existing Meedio product, they have everything else.  Depending on what Yahoo! does with Meedio’s technology and how long it takes, it leaves the current media center market open mainly to Microsoft, MythTV and SnapStream.


Read More | Meedio via Zatz Not Funny


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