I love Logitech Harmony remote controls. I have yet to use a remote that is more intuitive, easy to set up, and recognized as many devices at the Harmony line. That being the case, I am looking forward to getting my hands on the 520 to see what kind of product they are putting out there at the $99 USD price range. It is a great option for those with just a few devices that they need to control, although the oddly-shaped housing does leave a bit to be desired. Hey, for $99 you still get the signature Harmony internet setup wizard via USB, which makes this thing cake. Look for it to hit stores by the end of the month. Jump down for the full press release.
Read More | Logitech Harmony 520 Product Page
This actually makes a lot of sense, but is something that we don’t often think about. Apparently, the way that Blockbuster Online, Netflix, and similar services send mail is a big problem for the USPS, despite the large amount of revenue these services generate for the postal service. The size of the mail envelopes do not conform to standards set long ago, which the machines used to process mail go by. As a result, rental DVD’s can either be forced into the machines, resulting in breakage, or separated and sorted by hand. Many solutions have been proposed, but none accepted at this point. Still, it is an interesting read.
The problem with CD/DVD mail is that the rules, designed to ensure that mail pieces claiming discounted rates can be processed on letter sorting machines, are useless in evaluating CD mail designs. Most CD/DVD mailers that comply with letter processing regulations are not compatible with letter processing equipment. CD/DVDs are not paper and present unique processing challenges. The USPS processing plants have learned the differences between paper and plastic the hard way. As marketing has pushed for more CD/DVD mail, postal operations have had to contend with more pieces that are incompatible with their equipment. Currently, the two largest companies presenting this non-compatible automation mail are NetFlix and Block Buster; but they are not the only customers with mail piece design problems. New guidelines must be developed to ensure that CD/DVD mail, claiming automated letter rates, is capable of being processed on USPS letter sorting machines.
Read More | Postcom
Jumping on the DVD rental bandwagon, McDonalds is testing Red Box DVD kiosks in some Denver locations. You can now rent movies for $1 a day to accompany your Big Mac, large fries, and heart attack.
In Denver, customers can visit the Redbox DVD machines at participating McDonald’s and rent the newest DVD movies releases for just $1.00 per night, plus tax - with no membership forms and no late fees - and return the same movies at any participating McDonald’s Denver location. The latest new DVD releases are added to the Redbox DVD rental machines every Tuesday. McDonald’s is the first quick service restaurant to offer new DVD movie rentals to consumers, extending its legacy of introducing new and innovative ways to create relevant, satisfying, and unique customer experiences in its restaurants.
Read More | Kiosk Magazine
I just walked out of Blockbuster with a total of eight coupons due to the class action settlement from way back in 2002. Apparently, the more late fees you paid, the more coupons you receive. I guess I must have paid quite a bit. This is what I walked away with:
- Two Free Non-New Release Movie Rentals
- Five $1 Off Rental/Nonfood Purchase
- One Rent One Get One Free
It’s a nice gesture and all, but the fact is that I am a Blockbuster Online member. This means I get unlimited rentals by mail, plus two free in-store rentals each month. The only coupons that I will likely use are the two free non-new movie rentals. If you paid late fees to Blockbuster in the past, you should also have coupons due if you haven’t received them already. Let us know what you get!
Man, TiVo has been on a roll over the past few days. Ever since TiVoToGo launched back in January, I have been waiting for them to upgrade my Pioneer DVD player with integrated TiVo so that I could use mess around with the feature. A few months later, a newer TiVo Desktop was released, which I could not use due to my TiVo being incompatible. Well, the wait is over, as I finally received a software upgrade during my daily TiVo check-in, complete with the new and more vibrant boot sequence (above). My device was upgraded from software version 5.0 to 7.2. TiVoToGo, HME features, and the new TiVo Desktop 2.2 are all compatible. If you own a Pioneer, Humax, or Toshiba TiVo DVD player, you can request the upgrade using the link below if you don’t already have it.
Read More | TiVo Software Priority Request
Dartmouth’s Class of 2009 will enjoy converged living for the next four years. The Hanover, NH location has an extraordinary wired and wireless network that spans over the entire campus. Students will be able to use their laptops to make phone calls, watch television, email, and access the Internet. All incoming freshmen will be given a security key to use over the various computers, enforcing that security is a priority at the school. I think I would prefer this over a school iPod.
Read More | Dartmouth News
Samsung is really striving to raise the bar for the future of HD televisions with their new 71” DLP Monster, the SVP-71L8UH. The SVP-71L8UH features 1080p resolution, 10000:1 contrast ratio, and 20% more brightness then previous models. Now that DLP is really starting to rival CRT in terms of picture quality, and with it’s obvious size advantage (the TV is about 1/2 meter deep), the high end TV aficionado is really going to have to think long and hard about plunking down for another TV before this beauty appears on US shores. With the Sony PS3 supposedly supporting two 1080p displays, I think that two of these would make for the perfect home theater set up - assuming of course that you have a theater-sized room to house them in.
Read More | AVing
Great news today for the TiVo folks. Despite the drastic increase in both open-source and commercial PC DVR software, today TiVo was able to announce their very first profit. They walked away with a second-quarter net income of $240,000. Compared to the same period last year, it’s a sharp increase. In second the second quarter of 2004 TiVo has a net loss of $10.8 million. What a comeback. Maybe they can spend some of that money whipping up a Tiger-compatible version of TiVo Desktop?
In this amazing promotion to rebrand itself, EchoStar Communications Corporation, owners of DISH Network satellite TV has started a contest that could provide millions of dollars in DISH Network services and products. The campaign invites cities in the US to officially change their name to “Dish”. In return, DISH Network will provide them with free programming for 10 years in every household. The deal states that you must change everything in the town, from the town sign to municipal buildings to schools in order to comply with the contest. They must even file state and federal documentation to make it official. Want to enter you town? Drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org before November 1st, 2005 to qualify. Click below for more details.
I must admit, since I got my HDTV a little less than a year ago, my TiVo hasn’t been getting much play. I mean, it does serve as my primary DVD player and all, but it mostly lives today to record shows that aren’t in high definition and only when the dual-tuner Comcast DVR is busy recording two shows at once. That being said, having the ability to mess around with it using TiVo Desktop is something I always enjoy, and later today I plan on doing it a bit more now that TiVo Desktop 2.2 has been released. TiVo Desktop 2.2 now includes support for playing TiVoToGo shows on Microsoft Portable Media Centers, as well as transferring video from your PC to the TiVo unit itself for playback (nice!). The bummer is that the software is only available for Windows XP and 2000 - still no Mac version of the more advanced TiVo Desktop software. Thank goodness for Virtual PC.
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