Archive | January 11, 2011

Google drops H.264 video codec support in Chrome – Microsoft to the rescue?

Google just announced a critical move: They will drop H/264 codec support in Google Chrome browsers and shift their support on their own WebM (VP8) and Theora codecs. The change should happen over the next couple of months. This is very significant and oddly enough, comes after MPEG-LA, the H.264 creator removed the royalties making the codec free as long as it is freely distributed.

Interestingly enough, Flash will still be natively supported in Chrome (and when we say natively means it will come pre-embedded).

Presumably H.264 codec will still be available to install as a plu-in and it might come from the company you least expect – Microsoft which just released one plug-in enabling H.264 video for Firefox. Unfortunately it only works in Windows 7 but it is free and we can’t complain.

The problem is that H.264 is a widely-used across the industry and it is hardware accelerated in many portable devices. If you are using Google Chrome in any portable gadget, expect high definition streaming to stop working properly after the transition which certainly sucks!

Cutting the TV cable cord – a family journal

Hello everybody! As I mentioned several posts ago, I received a letter from Dish Network stating that my Dish HD Absolute plan will no longer be available and after a quick check with Dish’s CSR there were no alternative plans to cover my current line-up and keep the cost close to what I had so, after several discussions with my wife we decided to go ahead and switch to online providers only. I have more than enough media streamer boxes I bought for various reviews so I certainly don’t lack the hardware. My house is wired for Gigabit Ethernet and wireless N so, networking wise I am set.

Now let’s see what can I do to get / DVR features online that would be similar to my current Dish Network setup. Read More…

Kindle eBooks lending gets global

Shortly after Amazon enabled their eBook lending option, a new startup company called Kindle Lending Club launched a new website that potentially could revolutionize the way we get our eBook (for free if you can finish them reading in two weeks).

What Kindle Lending Club does is basically offer a pairing service between kind souls ready to make the extra steps in order to lend an eBook and the other ones that would like to read a book but without paying for it (isn’t that what EVERYBODY wants?). The way to monetize the service would be to sell books through the website using Amazon affiliates if the borrower did not finish the book in time or just wants to buy it to have it for later re-reading.

The idea is not new and there are other companies that are trying the same business so it is basically a game of who markets it better. Currently the service is in beta and accepting applications.

The idea is excellent but I wonder how long until Amazon gets really annoyed and somehow puts a stop to global lending because it cuts their own book selling business? One possible immediate action could come not necessarily from Amazon but from the book publishers themselves that currently dictate what books are available for lending and what not. If global lending plans really take off, we might see future lending restrictions in place for more books than today.

via cnet

Roku XD Media Player / Streamer Review

1. Introduction

Roku was the first to release a Netflix dedicated box in industry, the old Roku DVP released in 2008 so they should get a lot of credit for the media streaming revolution across the industry. Since then, the marketplace has drastically changed, although Netflix is still content king. However, many other Internet content providers offering media streamers implementation for set top boxes popped up, like Hulu/Hulu Plus, VUDU, Amazon Video on Demand, Blockbuster, etc.

Roku had to keep up with the innovation if they wanted to be a significant player and obviously succeeded. Most of the top successful are part of the Roku family and low prices combined with a very good selection of web clients kept them on top.

The object of today’s review is Roku XD Media Player, the mid-level player from the current Roku media players generation. Since the review will be oriented toward describing the streaming features, it can be applied equally well to the other models in the family: Roku HD and Roku XDS. Teh main differences between models is: XDS vs XD – the addition of dual channel wireless adapter, USB port and component video / optical audio outputs. Roku HD model lacks the instant replay feature the other more Read More…