Tech

TV to Stream Netflix Videos Directly

Netflix, Inc.
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LG Electronics will start selling high-definition TV sets that stream Netflix videos directly from the Internet, without an additional device.

This is great news for several reason!

Less devices to have hooked up in my entertainment center.

I am overjoyed that LG Electronics is making it easier to stream internet content directly to a TV.   My entertainment center has so many devices, wires, plugs, and switchers that I can not hook up another device.  I finally got fed-up with having to switch between devices and buying new switchers and having to sort through wires and plugs that I had to draw a line in the sand deciding there needed to be a simpler process.  Why can’t I have my streaming shows, DVD’s, and video game consoles fed through just a few devices.  Thank you LG Electronics, hopefully this will begin a trend for other TV designers.  Thank you Netflix for offering options to your customers and not forcing us into another single purpose device.

Making it easier for people to Decable

With Netflix and LG making it easier for the mainstream market to stream content through the internet more people will realize the joy of breaking free from appointment content.  For many years I have worked irregular schedules which forced me to miss all of the appointment content provided through cable.  Because of that I had to  find alternative means to get that content.  I have been an advocate of the process of breaking free of appointment TV for almost a decade now I just didn’t have a name for it.    Now thanks to Jeff over at Command N I have a term for the process which is to Decable.

(via Fandango: Entertainment News)

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Boxee and the Digital Future

boxee The new build of Boxee is out, and I got a chance to play with it today.  The new build offers a lot of new features:

  • Netflix, for the Mac version only.
  • a new Hulu – looks more like hulu.com, enables you to login (so you can get your Hulu Queue), works faster, and playback should be greatly improved on Apple TV
  • a new YouTube – new look, as well as higher quality video playback. some of these YouTube clips look pretty good on your 46” LCD
  • a new CNN, Flickr, Picasa and Apple Movie Trailers – we’ve re-written all of these plug-ins to work faster and look better
  • Boston Globe’s The Big Picture – it’s a great photo-blog, which we really like, and thought could be pretty cool in a 10-foot experience. if you’ll like it we could bring much more of these type of services (let us know!)
  • integration with MTV Music – when you click on an album you’ll see a new option to let you watch music videos of the artist. check it out. MTV said they can give us higher quality videos, and we have a few more ideas for providing a great music video experience on boxee
  • theWB – on our quest to bring more TV content to boxee theWB is the latest addition. it means shows like Buffy, Babylon5, Firefly, One Tree Hill and The O.C. are now available on boxee

First Impressions

Well, I have to give it mixed reviews.  I love that Boxee is trying to bring together all of the online streaming options into one place.  I installed it on my AppleTV, and I have to say, I am a fan.  These are features that should exist natively on the AppleTV and they turned a something I loved into a device that I am now fanatical about.

There are a couple problems.

Netflix does not work on the AppleTV

I am not sure if this is because of the AppleTV’s processor or the fact that Netflix streaming service relies on Silver Light and a heavy dose of DRM.

This is not a deal breaker, and the folks at Boxee are committed to trying to make it work.  If they can make it work, then the AppleTV will become the best media center I could imagine.

The new Hulu Interface.

While I like the look of the new Hulu interface, I don’t find it as intuitive as the old one.  It could just be that not used to it, but I didn’t find it as easy to use as the old one.  My biggest complaint, is that after I watched a show, I had to drill back down through the show menu to pick a new show.  If there is a “back” botton, I didn’t see it.

All and All

I would have to say it is an improvement, and it shows what Boxee will eventually be able to do.

2 Free Vids for Now

itunes-button-logo-300x300 I got a fun email today:

Dear Charles,

As you may have heard, the Writers Guild of America, the union representing TV and movie writers, has settled its strike and its members have returned to work. Because of the strike your season pass for Ugly Betty, Season 2 may have fewer episodes than were scheduled by the network at the time of your purchase.

We will make all additional episodes which are broadcast during the 2007-08 season available to you as we receive them. If the season does end up with fewer episodes, you will receive a partial refund to make up for the difference.

For now, I have granted two free video credits to your account which you can use to purchase any two TV episodes, music videos, or short films on the iTunes Store.

Your video credit balance should display in the upper-right corner of iTunes next to your account name. If it does not, please sign out and sign back in to refresh. The sign out/sign in functions are found under the Store menu of iTunes. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and thank you for being an iTunes customer.

Sincerely,

Lilly iTunes Store Team

Ok, so I have two free vids and possibly more on the way. They did not mail me about my other subscriptions, so I can only hope that means those seasons my be complete. I know it is too much to hope for. This leaves me with a hard question... what 2 vids to get?

Doctor Who & Torchwood Rule iPlayer

Doctor Who and Torchwood dominate the top 10 watched or downloaded shows on the new BBC iPlayer. I hope this means that with it's success of more than 11 million streamed or downloaded shows that they continue to branch out offering content in America. I'm being selfish of course but I would love to be able to get current Doctor Who, Torchwood and other BBC favorites on my AppleTV. The iPlayer allows the user to either stream the show from the previous seven days or if downloaded it lasts for 30 days. This is an intriguing model because it would allow content providers to take better advantage of adds and to give assurances of add relevancy while giving the content users the choice to download the content instead of only being allowed to steam it. I would love to see the American studios take advantage of this program as long as they remember to keep it free for users and add supported if it will be disposable downloads.

BBC iPlayer Top 10 (25/12/07 to 12/02/08)

1 Doctor Who 2 Louis Theroux Behind Bars 3 Torchwood 4 Ashes To Ashes 5 Torchwood 6 Six Nations Rugby 7 Top Gear 8 Mistresses 9 Mistresses 10 Torchwood

(via Webuser)

Car Built for Shopping

1964 gm concept car color paleofuture While I am sure that this car would have been too small for me to fit in, the shopper in me wants it. This would be great not only for shopping but for conventions. O the dream of not having to hunt down a luggage cart upon arriving at the hotel, not to mention the fun of having a cart in a dealers' room.

The dream of the Shopping cart car was lost in 1964, but it is fun to think about.

(via Paleo-Future)

Sony Portable E-book Reader

C.E. Dorsett Dispite their moronic treatment of the Next-gen DVD console, at least Sony is doing something cool:

The Sony® Reader offers a new and convenient digital reading experience. It boasts an amazing screen with technology that rivals text on paper. Weighing less than 9 ounces and at only ½” thin, it’s more compact than many paperbacks. Plus, it comes with software that seamlessly allows you to search and browse thousands of electronic book titles from the Connect® eBookstore and then easily transfer from your PC to your Sony Reader. With built-in memory and multi-format support, you can take many of your favorite titles and documents with you. So compact and convenient, you’ll want to take it everywhere (Sony Style).

I have to say this gives me a thrill. I have seen demos of the screen technology, and I think this has the potential to be huge. I hope they do a good job advertising, and providing content.

Fighting DVD Formats?

C.E. Dorsett Why don't we just boycott both of them?

Sony Pictures on Tuesday said it aims to deliver its new Blu-ray DVD format to U.S. stores on May 23 to coincide with the entry of compatible disc players, a new step in an industry war for control of home movie viewing (Reuters).

A Toshiba Entertainment representative told CNET Japan that the company plans to release titles in the HD-DVD format on March 28. This supports the company's assertion during January's Consumer Electronics Show that it would release an HD-DVD player in March. At the time, Toshiba said the first players would cost $499 and $799 (Cnet News.com).

Yeah, VHS vs. Beta-max Part II. Yeah this is a good idea... I haven't even replaces all my tapes with DVD's and now two new competitive, non-compatible formats are coming onto the market to replace what I have! They better be backwards compatible, or I say we revolt. Toshiba and Sony need to get their act together. We don't need another obsolete technology.

Beam me up, For real?

C.E. Dorsett This is a real jaw dropper... I have to say, the science headlines lately have just been blowing me away:

The first experimental demonstration of quantum telecloning has just been accomplished by scientists at the University of Tokyo, the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the University of York. Telecloning is a combined achievement; it combines quantum teleportation with quantum cloning into a single step.

...

In their telecloning experiment, researchers cloned a beam of laser light, transmitting its electric field amplitude and phase - but not its polarization - to two distant beams with 58 percent fidelity. The theoretical limit on the experiment was 66 percent (Live Science).

Now, I have to admit, my imagination is peaked by this technology, and I do believe it might one day replace the mail service, I have my doubts whether living beings could be successfully telecloned. I like it in fictions, but feel a bit like Bones when it comes to the idea of it happening to me.