Archive | April 20, 2011

Sony SMP-N100 Review – Network Media Player with Wi-Fi, Netflix and Hulu Plus


Since I cut the cable cord a while ago, I am constantly looking for solutions to improve my TV watching experience. At this point, I am using a PS3 in living room and ROKU / WD TV Live Plus boxes in every room I have TVs. Recently Sony released a new media streamer box that offers streaming functionality similar (but improved in several ways) to their flagship entertainment product – Playstation 3.  The box is rather cheap at only $89  so I decided to give it a try. It got shipped fast enough and the results are described in this review.
The box includes the main media streamer box, the external power brick adapter, the remote, user manual and the good old red white yellow analog audio video cable. Why Sony did not include a HDMI cable in the year 2011 is beyond me.

Tech Specs

Codecs, Inputs, Outputs: Read More…

Apple TV more than just a hobby – over 1.8 million devices sold

Even if Steve jobs categorized it as a hobby, lot of people bought into it, to the level of around 1.8 million units sold since launch and it still sells at a rate of approximately 280,000 / month, estimated Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. That’s quite a large number for a media streamer, especially one limited to 720p output and with no local content support, and beats by far more featured media streamers like Roku, Boxee Box or WD TV Live Plus. Of course, Apple has the advantage of brand recognition and special distribution channels that will help it achieve success even with a less featured product.

Price also helps. Apple TV is sold for about $99 with free shipping and no taxes to stores like Amazon and supports Netflix, the most popular streaming service in the world. Recently, a software update added support fot NBA and MLB games (via subscription) and the box is also open to jailbreak allowing you to add apps including XBMC media player – with local content and MKV / XVID / DIVX support, Twitter and Facebook clients, etc. Read More…

Library Lending for Kindle Books announced – borrow books from local libraries to your eReader

This is big folks! Amazon finally decided to open their popular eReader Kindle a bit and will soon allow book borrowing from your local library (over 11,000 local libraries on the list). The marketing name is Kindle Library Lending and will be launched sometime later this year. All the current Kindle eReader devices and apps will be supported, that also means you’ll be able to use every iPad / iPhone / iPod, Windows Phone 7 , Android and BlackBerry devices supporting Kindle apps and yes, the rooted Nook Color will work as well!

The technology will be provided by OverDrive which also serves Sony’s own book lending system.

Check after the break for the full press release

Read More…

YouTube transcodes all its videos to WebM / VP8, H.264 still supported

We did know that Google is really in love with WebM since it added support for it and its codec, VP8 in Chrome. Now, Google is ready to take it one step further and begun a huge effort of converting their entire video portfolio (and we have no idea how many terrabytes of data that is – 6 years of uploads to WebM as well. Higher priority will have the files with more views and, like in everything else, the top 10% will get 90% of traffic. Until now, about 30% of the files are already converted through the usage of a cloud video processing infrastructure that can use massively parallel computer networks to spread the converting tasks around.

The new uploads will be automatically converted to WebM but the popular (and iOS favored) H.264 format will also be supported and continue to serve the tens of millions iPad, iPhone and iPod users.

via YouTube Blog