Tag Archives: youtube

Netflix capable Viewsonic’s VMP75 1080p Network Media Player available for pre-order

Behold yet another Netflix capable media streamer, the newly launched Viewsonic VMP75. Remember when every little device had to have mp3 playing capability or else wouldn’t sell? Well, a number of years later the trend shifted toward Netflix capability. Everything from Blu-ray players, connected TVs and media streamers has to support Netflix…And I like it. The question is of course, prices being fairly similar, how to differentiate from the competitors? Viewsonic adds support for ShoutCast radio for example…and, surprise: an Internet Browse (but not flash compatible). Available for pre-order now at Amazon. Photo Gallery / Specs available after the break.

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Top connected DVD/Blu-ray players of 2010 – a buyer’s guide

In case you haven’t heard, Blu-ray won the format war and the prices are finally at the level where everybody should be able to afford them. Streaming movies becomes increasingly popular and the mighty NETFLIX appears on more and more connected devices. Today, we will take a look at the latest and greatest mainstream connected Blu-ray players from major manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony.

Before going into details, we’ll talk a little bit more about what a connected device is and what you need to take full advantage of its full functionality.

As more and more entertainment Internet services started to get popular, and I am talking about movie/music streaming and pictures, a lot of people figured it out that it makes a lot of sense if they somehow can be integrated in the home theater systems. At the beginning, the most technologically gifted consumers used HTPC (and they still do) but having a PC in the living room is not for everybody. A lot of media streaming doesn’t require a lot of tinkering and configurations so the big electronics manufacturers  looked to embed various clients into their connected Blu-ray players or TV lines. The first big company to push for such clients was, you guessed, NETFLIX. The first NETFLIX set-top-box was provided by Roku, and made history, but Read More…

Microsoft’s innovation streak – integration on a roll #2

In a previous article we discussed about Microsoft’s latest efforts to become relevant again in the world (not that they ever stopped to be, mind you, but it is not a good idea to rely only on Windows 7 and Office business, even when you are owning 90+ percent of the market). And you know what your investment agent tells you…diversify, diversify and diversify again your portfolio. So let’s continue to look how Microsoft tries to diversify itself and also be successful about it.

In this second part, we’ll discuss about a not released yet product (and not even officially announced), Microsoft Courier, about Bing search engine and the newly “silverlighted” Bing Maps.

1. Microsoft Courier

As usual, we’ll start with the fun part, and the fun part is a gadget, of course. Judging from the various usability movies that surfaced on the web, Microsoft wants to position Courier as a digital journal, eBook reader, Internet Browser and, even if they don’t specifically show it, I am sure it will have media player capabilities as well. After all, it is rumored to include a NVIDIA Tegra 2 at its core, and that is nothing to joke about.

So Microsoft Courier seems to be a dual screen tablet with a folding design – a smart idea to increase portability while conserving space, very light (a little bit over a pound is what Engadget says) and thinner than an average paperback book. The interface seems to support pen writing and touch as well which would be perfect since both input methods have their own pros and cons. I happen to love tablets for e-Book reading and light internet surfing while in bed, so something like Courier would fit my habit perfectly.

Now, if the iPhone’s recent very successful history has taught us something is that, the vast majority of people prefer their life simple. That means a close, proprietary device with its own application library and closed eco-system. So, following recently announced Windows Phone 7 announcement, I would expect Microsoft will have an eBook store ready by the time Courier launches, with various agreements in place to feed content from newspapers as well. So from this point of view, it will be an iPad contender. Where it will different form a iPad in my opinion is the user interface. While iPad is pretty much an over sized iPhone, Microsoft seems to have become more task oriented in their approach, so the UI will focus more on a set of activities and improve upon them, rather than just let the application developers do it at the application level. From the movies surfaced, you will have the ability to drag, organize and share content, together with the ability of using the pen input to  add drawing, notes or anything else you might like. The rumors say that the device will also have an embedded camera and I’m very sure audio out as well what modern device doesn’t?).

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Microsoft’s innovation streak – integration on a roll #1

Not too long after Windows Vista’s fiasco, continually decreasing relevancy of its Windows Mobile platform and Internet Explorer’s market share dropping rapidly, everybody started to wonder if Microsoft finally lost its way. Its searching engine rapidly losing market share against Google,  together with a corporate image that seemed to discard innovation and originality in favor of …well, I am not sure in favor of what since Microsoft’s most revenue comes from Windows and Office while still losing money almost everywhere else, even in the Entertainment division which was arguable successful through its XBOX 360 sales.

Of course, a company culture that pushes innovation somewhere behind and instead concentrates on marketing, sales, stability and so on is expected to appear in a company as big as Microsoft, but especially in the software industry, it doesn’t take long for the competition to surface. As opposed to manufacturing industry for example, in software you can still have ideas in a garage and became wildly successful, with Google and Facebook being just the two most well known examples.

However, lately Microsoft tries to redefine its image by rolling announcement after announcement. And I am talking about Windows 7, Project Natal, Read More…

My new connected TV, LG 60PS80

Well, well, guess what, I got myself a new TV. With the reluctant acceptance of my wife, I went on Amazon (which at the time had a pretty good deal including free shipping and interest free for a year) and I bought the LG 60PS80 Netcast connected TV.

Without going into details about image quality, sound and so on (there are already a number of sites concentrating on this aspect and I am not the type of person to hunt for minor differences) I want to talk a little bit about the connected part. According to some recent articles, about a quarter of the TVs sold/launched this year are connected. That means they have wired/wireless network connection and a number of clients embedded that support popular services.

This particular TV supports the following clients:

NETFLIX – Arguably the most popular movie streaming service in the world. NETFLIX can be accessed currently on a large number of   TVs, set-top boxes and it might come very soon on iPhone.

There are two main interfaces implemented to access NETFLIX. The so-called Version 1.0 displays your current queue and that’s about it. If you want to see something not currently available in your instant queue, you need to go to your PC and add movies to it. Not necessarily a hard thing to do but I don’t want to access my computer when I am watching TV.

The NETFLIX interface version 2.0 (similar with the one implemented on XBOX 360, PS3 and 7MC) allows you to browse and select movies from multiple categories, so you are not limited only to the movies from your instant queue.

Well, unfortunately LG 60PS80 has only NETFLIX 1.0 so you are stuck with the old style interface. Version 2.0 is available on LG 2010’s TV line and they don’t seem willing to update the firmware for 2009 line (even if the price paid, around $2000 would entitle someone to better support, at least during the first year of ownership). From this perspective, LG as a company seems to not care too much once they sell you a product. I have seen this behavior on their DVD/Blu-ray players as well. However, while I can imagine buying a new Blu-ray player every year, especially with the costs going down, I’ll certainly won’t get another TV for the next 5 years (my wife could read this post 😀 ). OK, enough ranting.


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