VIZIO is launching a new platform that they’re calling “Conneced HDTV,” and with it comes confirmation of the second Netflix direct-to-TV partnership. VIZIO’s Connected HDTV platform is designed to compliment traditional television viewing. You just connect the television to your home network, and if there’s nothing good on, you can go into Netflix, and I am sure there will be other services (YouTube? Hulu?) that you’ll be able to pull up as well. This is a trend we are definitely liking, let’s eliminate set-top boxes while providing more viewing options for the consumer.
EDIT: Okay, we just got more details on this. Aside from Netflix, the VIZIO Connected HDTV platform also brings Amazon Video on Demand, Pandora, Flickr, Blockbuster OnDemand, Rhapsody, Adobe Flash content, games from Accedo Broadband, and the Yahoo! widget engine. Very, very interesting!
Read More | MarketWatch
Samsung has announced that many of its HDTVs released this year will feature Internet@TV service. The 5th generation Yahoo Widget Engine allows users to check news headlines, stocks, and search Internet based photos and videos on such sites as Flickr, and Yahoo News and Finance. Social interaction will also be available as well as access to YouTube, eBay and other sites. Connection is by Ethernet or optional wireless USB dongle.
Read More | electronista
During his first (and only) MacWorld keynote speech, Phil Schiller announced the latest update to the iLife suite of software, iLife ‘09. Let’s take each app, one by one, and look at the changes and additions:
iPhoto ‘09: New to iPhoto is Faces. Faces uses facial recognition to organize and tag photos of people. iPhoto will find a face in a photo, and you tell it who it is. It will then find other photos that it thinks are of the same person. Easy way to grab snapshots that feature the same person. Another new organization feature is called Places. This uses the geotagging feature available on a lot of modern cameraa, and puts pins on a map showing the different places that the images were taken. If you have photos that aren’t geotagged, you simply tell iPhoto where the image (or event images) was taken, and it fills in the rest. The map feature is based on Google Maps, so you can zoom in on a location, look at satellite or street view, etc.
Apple has also added in built-in support for Facebook and Flickr to iPhoto - that means no more fumbling around with clunky plugins to get your pictures out of iPhoto and onto those services. A very welcome addition. Facebook users can add the names of people in their images, and iPhoto will retain that info as well (presumedly for the Faces feature.)
iPhoto also gets new slideshow themes. You choose a theme and photos, and iPhoto puts it all together. It uses the Faces to find the faces in images so that those are centered and zoomed. You can save slideshows to iTunes, and they can be synced to an iPhone or iPod touch. Something new for the Books too, you can now automatically get maps included, with pins that show your location. Great for making travel books.
iMovie ‘09: Apple has admitted that, since it was new, iMovie ‘08 didn’t have all the features that older customer wanted. This year, they aim to change that. iMovie ‘09 gets a new Precision Editor, Advanced drag & drop (that give you context-sensitive menus,) dynamic themes, and even animated travel maps. So, again, you can use your location data to insert 2D and 3D maps of those locations into your movies.
GarageBand ‘09: GarageBand ‘09 is being updated with a new feature called “Learn to Play,” which brings up an instructor which plays video lessons. If that’s not enough to get you excited, there are even Artist Lessons. You get people like John Fogerty, Colbie Caillat, Sting, Sarah McLachlan, Norah Jones, and Patrick Stump, who will teach you how to play instruments like the guitar or piano.
iLife ‘09 also includes updated versions of iWeb and iDVD, and ships free on new Macs. You can purchase an upgrade for $79, or buy a family pack (good on up to five Macs) for $99, and it will be available in “late January.”
For those wondering, Apple has also released a new version of iWork - iWork ‘09.
This is not the first time we have mentioned VUDU, but it would appear that they have upped their game. Not only can you get over 120 free on-demand TV channels, they have added access to YouTube, Flickr, Picasa and other sites with VUDU RIA (Rich Internet Application.) Next year, they plan on adding even more sites. While we are still in awe of HD, VUDU also offers over HDX movies with twice the resolution without additional cost.
Read More | VUDU
Yahoo has decided to regroup. They will be taking all their services, such as Flickr, Del.icio.us, and Upcoming, and transforming them into one network. Ari Balogh, Yahoo’s chief technology officer, said, “We are not building another social network. We are building social into everything we do.”
They have already created Searchmonkey that allows users and developers to easily utilize their search technology. The project, referred to as Y!OS (Yahoo Open Strategy,) should be open to all later on this year if Microsoft doesn’t take them over first.
Read More | BBC
If you are like me, you’ve been waiting for Apple TV Take 2 to hit for just about a month now. When it was delayed two weeks ago, I stared at my Apple TV in disgust. In it’s current form, it was nothing more than a YouTube viewer, and sometimes, a nice picture screensaver. However, the wait is no more. As part of today’s Tuesday updates, Apple has finally released the Apple TV Take 2 software, and it is available now for download. Aside from a freatly enhanced UI, here are some of the features:
- Movie rentals in both high definition and standard definition
- Flickr photo browsing and slideshows
- .Mac photo gallery browsing and slideshows
- Purchasing of items from iTunes Store from Apple TV
- Browse and view podcasts in iTunes Podcast directory on Apple TV
If you have an Apple TV, fire up Software Update on the device to get the new hotness, and let us know what you think.
Read More | Apple TV Take 2 Guided Tour
Flickr devotees, you can now use Picnik editing to correct your images. It has become a simple matter of a click on the new “edit photo” icon above your picture. You can reduce red eye, crop and rotate, and alter exposure. Essentially, you are giving permission to edit and save your photos, and don’t be surprised if it takes a while to load Picnik’s interface. We admit we are partial to our Photoshop because when we screw up, we always have the chance to undo it. However, if you create something with Picnik you cannot undo it unless you have a Flickr pro account. For more Q&A, check out Flickr.
Read More | Flickr Blog
Even if you are not a Paris or Britney, you can look like one in your own humiliating poses with these Stupidiotic Black Bar Glasses. Better still, next time one of your buds passes out in a stupor, put them on him/her, take a picture, and send it to them with a note that you have will be putting it on Flickr unless he/she comes up with a really nice Christmas gift this year. The glasses are available at our fave Danish site for DKK 79,00 (~$15.00.)
Read More | Gadgets.dk
The University of Washington and its Professor Oren Etzoni released PanImages at the recent Machine Translation Summit in Copenhagen. Instead of searching for photos by text that may not be recognizable, the system recognizes a string of letters in about 300 different languages and looks for them in Google and Flickr. In a recent test of the process, PanImages found 57 times more results than on an average search.
The procedure works by scanning machine readable wiktionaries. As an example, Etzioni said that if you type in the Zulu word for refrigerator (“ifriji’) you would get almost 500,000 results as opposed to 2 on available search engines. While we seem to be over-saturated with images by using English, it is a comfort to know that the Zulus will be able to find appliances with less of an effort now.
Read More | Tech News Watch
Our friend Nick Starr went out and purchased one of the new second generation iPod nanos with the quickness, and sent us notice of his unboxing gallery of the device. Of course, this is the one that Steve Jobs introduced in his keynote yesterday. These things are even thinner than the original nanos, and sport new aluminum casing.
Check out the rest of the unboxing images over at Nick’s Flickr pool.
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