Archive | March 29, 2011

XBOX 360 System Update Preview Program is live

Folks, if you want to register for the Microsoft XBOX 360 System Update Preview Program, the website is live, kicking and accepting registrations right now. If among the few lucky chosen, you get to enjoy testing new stuff from Microsoft including an “updated XBOX 360 disc format”. What you’ll find on it, remains to be seen, but whatever it is, it is slated for the XBOX 360 spring update for 2011. Your testing efforts won’t remain unrewarded with a free Halo: Reach game for you to keep.

Note: You’ll have to be a US resident to qualify and you’ll need an XBOX Live account as well (Gold membership will score you more kudos). To sign up, you’ll also need your console serial number and ID so no, you won’t be able to sign right now, from work unless you registered your console already with Microsoft. You’ll also need to agree with their NDA…Space is limited, as usual!

The sign of things to come – Netflix bandwith management for limited traffic accounts

While capped data plans are just starting to appear in US on a large scale (see AT&T data capping plans starting May 2), our neighbors had the “pleasure” of low internet traffic limits for a much longer time. Now, with the recent availability of Netflix streaming service in Canada, you can imagine users can run very fast over their allocated limit while streaming movies at the highest quality. To help with this issue, Netflix added a management console destined to let users choose their streaming quality (and data usage) (see the photo).

The current choices are Good quality capped at 0.3GB traffic per hour with 625kbps for video and 64kbps for audio, Better quality capped at 0.7 GB per hour with 1300kbps for video and 192kbps for audio and Best quality at around 1GB per hour with 4800kbps for 1080p video and 384kbps for audio (includes DD 5.1 surround sound). Whether the video quality at the lower rates is good enough for the average users or will start a general outcry is something that we’ll have to wait and see, but expect this feature currently not available here in US to come and haunt us sooner that you might expect. General data capping across all US Internet providers is something that all of us that cut the cable cord and rely exclusively on web content and services like Hulu Plus and Netflix for entertainment are terrified of.

via Netflix Blog

Amazon Cloud Drive is live – music locker for the crowd

If you cannot keep up with the many devices used to access your music collection and you have storage issues, Amazon has now an answer for you with their freshly launched digital music locker service. Built around the philosophy store once play anywhere the new service promises instant access to your uploaded music everywhere you have internet access and on a large variety of platforms including all the smartphones on the market, and basically every computer with a capable browser installed.

The new service is called Amazon Cloud Drive, supports both AAC or MP3 file formats (Amazon won’t limit the bit rate either) which you’ll be able to access anytime you want, without access limits. There is a free option for 5GB storage and paid plans anywhere between a reasonable 20GB to a hefty 1TB which really should take care about your ENTIRE collection. The paid plans cost $20 for 20GB scaling linearly to $1000 for 1,000GB. All these yearly. I do wonder though, Did Amazon heard anything by now about the economy of scale? At $20 / year I might consider paying it for a plan, but at $1000 / year I would probably go for a different storage method, maybe even some semi-dedicated host.

Access to all these music files can be performed through either Amazon’s Cloud Player for Web or through Cloud Player for Android Read More…