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Toshiba HD-ZA1

So Toshiba is showing off their HD DVD player prototype, the HD-XA1. This is pretty much an early build of what we should expect to become the first mass-market HD DVD player, scheduled to drop in Japan by the end of 2005. Of course, you can expect this one to retail at some exhorbitantly high figure. Don’t sweat it just yet, as we have yet to see HD DVD movies appearing on store shelves. Still, it’s cool.


Read More | DigitalWorldTokyo


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Google Internet BroadcastingPretty soon, anyone with a connection to the internet will have the ability to view their favorite American and British television shows from Google.  The search engine giant, whose numerous other ventures include Gmail and Google Talk, has already penned a deal with UPN to broadcast some of it’s shows, and talks are now in the works with the BBC.  Though users won’t be able to save the shows on their computer, they will have the ability to pause, rewind, and fast forward thru any of the content stored on Google’s servers.  So what’s the first show to be offered up as Google makes it’s way into internet broadcasting?  Chris Rock’s new show, “Everbody Hates Chris”.


Read More | This Is Money


PocketDishEchoStar Communications, parent company of Dish Network, is attempting to be the latest to break in to the PVP market with the PocketDish. Basically, it’s a portable video player that can store TV programs along with music, games and photos. There are three versions with LCD displays of 2, 4 and 7 inches, and prices accordingly step from $329 to $499 to $599. The PocketDish goes on sale next month, but we are skeptical about how well this thing will be received. Check it - if you connect the PocketDish to a Dish Network receiver, you can transfer a full-length movie in under 10 minutes. Solid. However, if you are not a Dish Network customer, then the PocketDish is simply a recorder. This means that you can hook it up to your Comcast box, but there is no high speed transfer. It will take you an hour to transfer over that latest episode of Lost. I’ll pass.


Read More | Rocky Mountain News


Microsoft Intel HD-DVDThe HD Format DVD war is still going on and Toshiba’s HD DVD camp just got 2 more allies.  Microsoft and Intel announced yesterday that they will be supporting the HD DVD format over Blu-Ray.  Each format has a significan’t amount of followers, but at this point it really is a wash as far as who is ahead.  The main reason for Intel and Microsoft’s support is the storage capacity.  For a while, Sony has claimed Blu-Ray has the most storage, but yesterday it was established that due to Toshiba’s dual-layer technology, their discs will hold up to 30GB rather than Blu-Ray’s 25GB. Which format will prevail?


Read More | GameDaily


TiVo hits CanadaOkay, so the news is that TiVo is finally in Canada. That’s cool and all, but why go there if you aren’t going to do it right. I mean, TiVo even says right up front that units must be imported from the US, and that warranties will not apply unless the replacement is sent to a US address. See for yourself:

Is the TiVo service available in Canada?
The TiVo Service is now available in Canada. Canadian residents will be given special instruction to follow when activating service. Please look for the link “Instructions for Canadian residents,” under step 1 during the activation process.

TiVo does not sell boxes in Canada, so Canadian residents must purchase boxes in the US and import them. If the DVR becomes defective, TiVo will not ship a warranty replacement box into Canada, and will only ship to a US address.

What the…? I don’t think that is going to fly with too many Canadians, fellas.


Read More | TiVo


NXT Micro SystemIf you liked the iBall then you’ll love Oregon Scientific’s sleekly designed 2.1 CD system.  It plays MP3/WMA CDs and has an AM/FM Tuner.  The flat panel speakers are designed to be angled easily.  At £299 expect the system to pack a punch later this year upon it’s release.


Read More | Tech Digest


Verizon FIOS TVThe next phase of the Verizon FIOS service has been opened up, as FIOS TV has been made available in some areas of Texas. Looking at the offering, Verizon is continuing to provide a great value for the money, much the same way that they have done with their Internet service, providing an enormous selection of digital and Video-On-Demand channels.

FiOS TV subscribers will enjoy 100 percent digital programming, as well as access to a large selection of video-on-demand content. Expanded Basic delivers more than 180 video and music channels for $39.95 a month. This tier includes access to 600 on-demand titles now, with 1,800 by year end. This service requires a standard-definition set-top box or a high-definition set-top box for HD channels. Verizon offers three set-top boxes: standard definition for $3.95 per month; high definition, which includes HD channels, for $9.95 per month; and a digital video recorder set-top box with HD channels for $12.95 per month.

FIOS TV should hit California, Florida, and Virginia by the end of 2005.


TiVo Stops SalesOddly enough, TiVo has stopped sales of their DVR’s both by phone and on the TiVo website. The rumor is that the company that TiVo outsources sales to has gone under, but whatever the reason, customers are being directed to Best Buy for order fulfillment. In addition, TiVo accessories and git subscription sales are also halted for the time being.


Read More | TiVo


Vista Netflix Tool

If applications like these are what’s in store with Windows Vista, then it makes me just a little more excited for the release of the next Microsoft OS. The screenshot is a Netflix management tool built on Avalon which works off of the Netflix RSS feeds. It looks slick, optimizing itself depending on what type of PC and screen resolution you are using.

Today at the Microsoft PDC keynote in Los Angeles, during the Jim Allchin keynote, Darryn Dieken, group program manager for Avalon demo’d an experimental Netflix application built on Avalon using Netflix’s pre-existing RSS feeds. The application was built by the design firm Rezn8 with design direction from two of us on the Media Center team.

Unfortunately, I am more of a Blockbuster Online kind of guy.


Read More | Matt’s Media Center Weblog


ITVN

We recently got a peek at Interactive Television Networks (ITVN) service.  The box hooks up to your television, and provides broadband television using a high-speed Internet connection. The service was surprisingly seamless when demoed, working just as smoothly as my cable provider. So far there are three packages: Gold, Adult, and Platinum which are priced at $29.95, $29.95, and $49.95, respectively.  The network, which has been teased for its mostly pornographic offerings, is finally branching out with content that is more family friendly. The list of channels isn’t impressive since there’s no MTV, CNN and so forth.  All stations proprietary channels from ITVN, including a few which are on demand. For example, their music video channel allows you to control which videos you want to watch.  ITVN also told us that they have a few more channels to be released by the end of this year. One nice thing about the service is that it includes high definition content. The idea behind this is entertaining, but without the support of more well known networks it doesn’t yet have that mainstream feel which is ready for the public. After all, we can only watch so much Dean Martin.


Read More | ITVN


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