If doing away with late fees wasn’t enough for you, Blockbuster has reduced the fee of it’s Blockbuster Online subscription service. For those keeping score, this is the second time they have dropped the price of Blockbuster Online in just a matter of a couple of months. Just two months ago, Blockbuster Online dropped from $19.99 per month to $17.49. The latest decrease brings the price down to a cool $14.99 per month. With Blockbuster Online you get to have 3 DVD’s out at any time, plus you get two free in-store movie or game rentals per month. The new price point is guaranteed through January 2006.
Read More | Internet Week
It looks like Toshiba plans to jump out of the plasma display panel television market head first, and with good reason. They developed surface conduction electron emitter display (or, SED) panels in conjuction with Canon Japan, and plan to produce all flat panel televisions with screens that measure 40 inches or larger with SED display panels. I have always seen plasma as a love-it-or-hate-it thing, and personally haven’t been that impressed with the technology. SED is expected to bring with it higher contrast ratios, faster response times, and consume less power than plasma and LCD televisions. The plan is to have these for sale in Japan by mid-2005.
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Most readers already know how fond I am of my PVR device, and to so to hear this kind of news this morning, I'm just left completely disgusted. According to a report on USA Today, TiVo is planning on introducing static ad images on their players, when users skip through commercials. It's a valid concern for advertisers, without whom we would not have TV programs in the first place. But as one user already points out: "I'm already paying $12.95 a month (to avoid commercials)." Half the fun of a PVR is not putting up with ads. I simply don't watch them anymore these days, allowing me to catch a 1-hour show in about 40 minutes. First we have to put up with annoying Fanta videos before our $10.50 movies, and now this.
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Read More | Seattle Post-Intelligencer
The line between personal computer and home entertainment system appear to be more blurred as each day passes. This is no exception with the all new HP z545 Digital Entertainment Center. At first glance it is a normal home entertainment receiver, upon further inspection, it houses Windows XP Media Center, an Intel Pentium 4 3.0Ghz w/HT, 512MB RAM, and ATI RADEON X300 SE Graphics Card with 128MB RAM, a 200GB hard drive AND a 160GB Personal Media Drive, a Dual Layer 16x DVD-+R/RW drive. Catch your breath, and we will continue. There is also an integrated Personal Video Recorder with dual TV tuners, a 9-in-1 memory card reader, 2 USB 2.0 ports, a FireWire port, gigabit ethernet, 802.11b/g wi-fi built in, and high-definition audio with 7.1 surround sound...phew!
With all this in a stylish case designed beautifully to blend in with the rest of your components in your entertainment room, the HP z545 Digital Entertainment Center definitely seems to be at the forefront of the living room media hub race, at least here in the US.
Read More | Sparktoblog
Compare Pricing | HPshopping.com
Get ready for an extensive advertising blitz from these two powerhouses this holiday season. In an effort to promote their new Media Center PC's, the two companies will be launching a new site, digitaljoy.com, which demonstrates how a PC can be the hub of an entertainment center. Part of the plan is a $1,400 PC that looks like a DVD player and a device that beams digital photos, video and music through the home over radio waves. It may not catch on fully this year, one analyst observes, but it's a first step in letting consumers know what's possible.
Read More | Seattle Times
There are more and more adding wireless networks to their homes, as the technology has come down in price quite a bit. After taking that plunge, most try to make future purchases based on whether the device has integrated Wi-Fi or not. It's understandable, as you have invested in the technology in the first place. Philips is finally ready to release their Streamium HDTV. What does one have to do with the other? The Streamium 23PF9976i is an HDTV with integrated 802.11g Wi-Fi.
Philips claims the TV is "future proof" as well. This simply means that the TV will check Philips servers for updates on codecs and other features throughout its lifetime. Sounds nice, but that's not all the Wi-Fi does. The main attraction of this unit is that it can stream audio (MP3, MP3 Pro, PCM, WAV), video (MPEG-1/2/4, DivX, XviD), and photos (JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG ) over your network and display them on its 23-inch high definition screen. It also boasts a built-in FM tuner, and if that isn't enough, you can stream internet radio as well.
So what's the price? So far, Philips hasn't made it public. We can expect an announcement soon, though, as the Streamium HDTV is set to be released in November. While 23-inches might seem small, it is the perfect compliment to your Streamium Boombox. Right.
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Those of you who are of the mentality that smaller is better, may want to rethink that philosophy - at least as it pertains to camcorders. We all know that high definition is where it's at in terms of jaw-dropping visual quality. How nice would it be to be able to record our home movies in the same vein? Sony has just introduced the world to the HDR-FX1 High Definition Camcorder. Why should you care? Put simply, it enters another consumer level high def recorder into the market, and that brings prices down. This bad boy records in 1080i, and when compared to a regular camcorder, the difference is immediately apparent. A test recording of written text from a book showed that even the fine print was legible on the HDR-FX1 in comparison to the same recording on a normal camcorder where the text was blurry and illegible.
The HDR-FX1 weighs a good 4.4 pounds, and is set to go on sale next month in Japan for about 400,000 yen. That equates to roughly $3,600 USD. The recorder should be available in the States by the end of 2004.
We're slowly getting there, but this year's Olympics will only be seen with some limitations for HD subscribers, estimated to be around 2.5 million people. Interestingly, there are about 5 million HDTV sets out there without HD receivers. In other words, people are buying the sets, but aren't yet flocking to a cable or satellite HD subscription. You can find out more about how HDTV's work here.
Read More | Wired News
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