I upgraded my MacBook Pro to Apple OS X Lion in a lunch hour. Okay, it wasn't a lunch hour—I couldn't wait that long—but even more astonishing than the expediency (30 minutes to download and 35 to upgrade) was the effortlessness of the process.
At 9am yesterday morning, I opened the Mac App Store, clicked purchase, and let the installer work its magic. When I returned to my machine, it donned a fresh new log-in screen and a new OS. As tech journalist, this ought to have delighted me. Instead, I was left hungering for more.
It's not that Lion isn't a graceful creature; Apple's latest OS adds poise to an already agile predecessor. The 250 new features—Mission Control has already changed how I work—touch every corner of the OS and surpass the 150 additions of the refinement-focused Snow Leopard. Yet I can't help feel that something important is happening—has already happened—to very concept of the OS.
Usually around this time in a console’s lifespan we would already be knee deep in talks about the succeeding console, if not already playing it in our homes. However, with the constant updates and improved network capabilities the need for a new console every five years is no longer necessary. Though, Sony’s Kaz Hirai did mutter some words about the eventual Playstation 4 system, stating that a “digital future is over ten years away”, and the PS4 will definitely not be a download only console à la PSP Go. Hirai noted that this is because “we do business in parts of the world where network infrastructure isn’t as robust as one would hope, [and] there’s always going to be a requirement for a business of our size and scope to have a physical medium.”
Read More | Eurogamer
Okay, so an hour ago we warned you that Apple would be giving away a $10,000 iTunes gift card to the purchaser of the ten billionth iTunes download, and if you didn’t act upon being put on notice, you’re too late. That’s right, Apple has officially surpassed the 10 billion song milestone with the iTunes Store, which is just unreal. Nice work, guys.
Edit: Alongside the announcement above, Apple also released a list of the the top 20 all-time best-selling iTunes songs, which has to be seen to be believed.
Read More | Apple sells ten billion iTunes tracks
If you have any songs you’d like to purchase from iTunes, you may want to care that task sometime today. Why? Simple. Apple is gonna giveaway a $10,000 iTunes gift card to the purchaser of the ten billionth iTunes track, and based on Apple’s ticker, that’s going to happen sometime today. Hit the link below for full details of the giveaway (or head straight to the iTunes store,) and good luck!
Read More | Apple
Whoa - Amazon‘s got a killer sale going on for downloadable HD television content. They currently have a bunch of full high definition TV seasons for sale for just $5 per season. Shows include The Office (Seasons 1 and 4,) 30 Rock Season 1, House Season 4, Battlestar Galactica Season 1, Heroes Volume 2, and more. Again, that is the entire season, which in some cases includes more then 20 episodes, for $5. You can’t beat that. Head on over to the Amazon $5 Season Specials to check it out.
Read More | Amazon $5 Season Specials
To the average Amazon consumer, this may be an odd pairing at first glance. However, as broadband penetration becomes more widespread throughout the US, digital movie download services will slowly drive a nail through physical disk media rental services. Both Amazon and Netflix offer movie streaming services right now. Many users of the Netflix service have complained about the lack of newer content being available. Amazon however, offers new movies for rent and download. Together, though, you have one hell of an offering.
A Netflix acquisition for Amazon would mean up airing of these two services, which in the eyes of many a digital downloader would be perfection.
Of course this is all rumor, and we won’t know for sure until something official comes out of either camp. However, looking at the stock surge, there certainly seems to be something up at Netflix. Do note, however, a similar rumor cropped up about two years ago, and nothing ever came of it.
Read More | Bloomberg
As we all know Zune Marketplace is coming to the Xbox 360. Through the magic of Microsoft Silverlight, instant-on 1080p content will be available when the Marketplace comes to the Xbox 360; but did you know that you could check out the 1080p streaming now? All that you need are a compatible web browser with Microsoft Silverlight installed. As you’ll see in the demo, you can play around with the bit-rate to see exactly how the technology will work, and compensate for changes in your Internet speed. Check it out and let us know what you think, is this enough to replace Blu-Ray in your life?
Read More | Experience Smooth Streaming
New York’s Governor David Paterson is trying to come up with creative ways to pad the state’s $15.4 billion deficit. One of these is an “iPod tax” that would charge for downloaded music and other “digitally delivered entertainment services.” In addition, cable and satellite TV services, movie tickets, taxis, soda, beer, wine, cigars and massages will also be taxed. The proposal must still get legislative approval and we expect that if it passes, there may be an influx of New Yorkers flooding to places like New Jersey to get their tunes.
Read More | NY Daily News
Okay, this is just getting ridiculous, because Netflix is just making Blockbuster look downright silly. Hot on the heels of debuting Netflix HD streaming on the Xbox 360, today TiVo and Netflix have announced the availability of Netflix HD streaming on all TiVo Series 3, TiVo HD, and TiVo HD XL DVRs. All you need to get this working is the free TiVo Fall Update (which you should already have) and a Netflix subscription. From there, just head into the new Video on Demand menu item on TiVo, and choose Netflix. Once selected, you’ll see a 4-character alphanumeric code. Plug that in over at www.netflix.com/activate, and you are in.
Our early tests even show that Netflix streaming on TiVo looks just a smidge better than the product on the Xbox 360 when a movie is playing (though, we like the interface more on the 360.) We eagerly await the next step in the home theater component domination that is the TiVo Watch Instantly service. If you’re interested, we’ve got the full press release, straight from TiVo, after the break.
Yesterday, VUDU went live with their new HDX 1080p movie downloads, and word on the street (or, at least, from Pogue at the Times) is that they are the best thing available as it pertains to the digital download movie game. Now, VUDU promised “Blu-ray quality” movies, and I don’t think that’s what we are seeing here. After all, that would mean some people would have to spend the better part of a day downloading a flick - that would make for an awkward evening when inviting the girl over. However, the quality is decidedly sharper than DVD, and looks better than high definition downloads from other services, like iTunes through Apple TV. So, how do they achieve this goodness? Well, the bit rate for the videos hovers around 9Mbps, and goes as high as 20Mbps during fast-moving action scenes. Nothing else touches that, including your cable company with their On Demand, seriously.
VUDU currently has 65 movies available to rent in their HDX format, and all new releases will be available in HDX as well. A VUDU box will run you $299, but if you buy it before the end of the year, you get a $200 movie credit, which seems to make it worth the price of admission - especially since those who own HDTVs have such a hard time finding great content to take advantage of their screens on a consistent basis. You can get one online, or at your local Best Buy.
Read More | New York Times