Archive | January 25, 2011

You can now port your phone number to Google Voice for $20

Want to stop paying for land-line phone service but you are in love with your phone number and you don’t want to give it up? Google just launched their Google Voice number porting service and it only takes about $20 and to be an existing Google Voice user. Of course, after you ported your number your old phone service stops functioning, so be sure you have a backup solution in place.

If you are not yet a member of Google Voice, you can became one today but you won’t be able to port your phone number right away. Per Google’s announcement, all the accounts will get the porting feature in the following weeks. The new feature will allow you to make the mobile number ring to any phone you have, so you can have your land-line ringing to your cellphone automatically. Once you requested your number to be ported, it should take about 24 hours for the process to complete. Available in US only.

via Google Voice Blog

Check after the break for a video clip explaining the new service. Read More…

Best Media Streamers / Players 2011 – Top 10

Note: there is a newer Best Media Players / Streamers list for 2012 that will be maintained from now on.

A new year, a new top 10 list that tries to offer a comprehensive view of the top 10 best media streamers for 2011.

If 2010 was a year in which the media streamer boxes sales experienced a big grow and many new web clients launched, in my opinion 2011 is a year of consolidation, partnerships and jump from technologically inclined users to wide adoption. Apple TV is one box that helped the transition due to its simplicity and customer friendlies. Although Apple TV was one of the boxes that took streaming to mainstream, I decided not to include ti in my list due to lack of support for local content and low number of web clients supported.

In terms of pure streaming, Roku deserves to be on the first place due to its excellent implementation of web clients and the support for all important premium clients such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video on Demand, etc.

Local files support continues to be critical and Boxee Box and Western Digital boxes are among the best in this category (even with their inherent bugs), without stepping into the pro-sumer category like the Dune BD Prime 3.0 media player for example which is in my opinion the best in terms of codec support.

As usual, I’ll update the list as new devices come on the market and I would also appreciate your input / votes as well. Considering that some will prefer a stronger codec support for local media and some will only care about web streaming, this top 10 will obviously not make everybody happy. However, I tried to add as many technical specs as I could so you can perform a side by side comparison.

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Charter to start offering TiVo premiere

Charter and TiVo announced a new agreement today, involving Charter offering the new TiVo Premiere DVR and the soon to come multi-room capability. Later in the year non-DVR platform support will follow, also with TiVo Premiere.

For who doesn’t know, TiVo Premiere consists in an innovative user interface, rich web clients for Internet media streaming including popular clients as Facebook and Twitter, video on demand, an iPad application,  New York Times, Digg, The Onion, YouTube, Pandora, Rhapsody, Music Choice, Live 365, Picasa, Photobucket, Woot! and many others.

TiVo Premiere also offers premium streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand and  Blockbuster on Demand, although it’s not very clear if these premium services will also find their way to Charter, since there are various agreements in place to limit premium services on cable boxes.

Jump after the break for the full press release.

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Verizon announces $30 unlimited data plan for iPhone but for limited time

COO Lowell McAdam of Verizon confirmed to WSJ that Verizon intends to offer an unlimited data package for the new subscribers that iPhone 4 will bring starting February 10th. The only problem is, the unlimited plan will only be offered for a limited time and “if you snooze, you loose”.

There are no details about whether the current tiered plans will still stand, or whether, even with the unlimited plans, you’ll experience lower speeds due to data throttle after you pass let’s say a 2GB limit.

The new iPhone 4 is universally hoped to be the device that will bring some spark to the lackluster smartphone sales on Verizon side in the last quarter and, using COO’s own words, “I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot” offering low value data packages to potential customers. It is obvious that Verizon intends to milk the new devices as much as they can.