News Archive for 06/08/21

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Digital Deck networked PVR and iTunes hub

08/21, 5:35pm

Digital Deck Networked PVR

TiVo's most glaring limitation in its current hardware is the lack of widespread networking abilities. They can share shows between computers and other TiVo recorders but are limited in what they can play back beyond television shows. Digital Deck's self-titled television recorder has just shipped and shares many TiVo Series 2 abillites (it can in fact play shows from networked TiVo units), but adds the significant ability to play back iTunes music including playlists and podcasts. It can also display photos from Flickr accounts for those who upload image collections to the service. A main unit is initially available at CompUSA for $499 and includes a remote as well as access to Digital Deck's online program guide updates.

Sony FJ Graphic Edition 10th Anniversary Notebooks

08/21, 4:55pm

Sony FJ Graphic Edition

It was ten years ago that Sony began its current emphasis on computers as audio and video hubs through the VAIO (Video Audio Integrated Operation) line. The line hasn't met with uniformly positive success, but few would dispute that the VAIO name is inseparable from stylish media-oriented systems. To celebrate this achievement, the company recently began producing the Graphic Edition of its FJ-series laptops. One of five prints overlays the FJ's already colorful outer shell: examples include Blue Burst, Pink Feathers (pictured), and Orange Flowers. Specifications remain as they are for normal models, but in contrast to most special launches the Graphic Edition is shipping below standard pricing, at $1130 for a base unit. The new laptop is not yet available for order but is expected soon.

Celestron SkyScout identifies sky objects through GPS

08/21, 4:20pm

Celestron SkyScout

An experienced astronomer can usually identify planets and stars by sight alone; novice stargazers in the field may need to gain experience through hardware that can automatically label certain objects as they fall into view. For those in the field and thus without access to a large telescope that can automatically point to space objects, the SkyScout uses GPS tracking to identify galaxies, man-made objects, planets, and stars depending on the user's Earth coordinates and viewing angle. Additionally, the device can provide a historical background to the object in sight through audio and text. An SD card slot and USB port help keep the SkyScout updated with new audio tours and object data. The unit is available today for $400 at many astronomy and science stores.

Dell and Sony aware of battery issues since October

08/21, 3:50pm

Dell Aware Since October

Dell's problems with its laptops have not ended since the massive battery recall issued last week. Technical support phone service relating to the recall has been consistently busy and prone to disconnections; this damaged Dell's reputation at a time when the company saw its profits halved compared to a year ago. Such timing was not intentional, however. Dell and its manufacturing partner Sony knew about the issue since October, a company spokesman said today. The formal announcement of the recall was made only when both Dell and Sony confirmed that a design flaw in certain lithium-ion batteries could potentially ignite them or cause an explosion.

iMate Jaq set to challenge Motorola's Q

08/21, 3:15pm

iMat Jaq Challenges Moto Q

Motorola earned newfound respect with its Q smartphone. Its use of CDMA for phone calls and EVDO for mobile broadband were the main drawbacks: customers using GSM for phone calls and EDGE for data have been locked out of choosing the Q's design. There is no indication that Motorola will broaden support for the Q in the near future, but this may matter little if iMate's Jaq is chosen by US carriers. Revealed by the Hungarian site PDAMania, the Jaq is similarly focused on a stylish design and sports a number of similar specifications including a 320x240 screen, 64MB of RAM with a miniSD slot for expansion, Bluetooth, and a 1.3 megapixel camera. It also gains the previously mentioned GSM/EDGE support and a 128MB ROM to keep Windows Mobile 5 running smoothly. At this early stage, release information remains unknown.

Shuttle Core 2 Duo-based XPC: "fastest SFF ever"

08/21, 2:40pm

Shuttle Core 2 Duo XPC

The first small form factor PC to use Intel's Core technology was Intel-based Apple's Mac mini. Soon, though, the long-time SFF manufacturer Shuttle will be introducing its own Core-based systems with a focus on performance over Apple's miniturization. At roughly the size of a breadbox, the SD37P2 barebones case is meant for Core 2 Duo desktop processors and up to two ATI video cards in a CrossFire high-performance link (one card from any manufacturer is of course an option). It also supports up to an ample 8GB of RAM and allows for external expansion through two Firewire and eight USB 2 ports. As a basic case with power supply and mainboard, the SN37P2 will sell in Europe for the equivalent of $537 US by the end of September. North American pricing is still unannounced but should follow very shortly.

Panasonic DV camcorder with 2GB of flash storage

08/21, 2:15pm

Panasonic 4GB Flash DV Cam

Multiple alternatives to the conventional tape now exist for storing video on DV cameras: each of them has its drawbacks, however. DVD isn't quick to write and isn't easy to store; hard drives solve these problems but add bulk and the risk of skipping. Flash storage is a relatively new option courtesy of rapidly falling prices. It isn't the fastest or the most capacious, but it can be rewritten many times and resists skipping. Panasonic's new SDR-S150 takes advantage of these benefits and may be a good choice for amateur videographers. It has an SD card slot that lets users store up to 4GB (or 200 minutes) of footage, with a 2GB card included in the box. The camera also uses 3 CCDs to help generate a quality picture. It ships in September for under $1000.

10 megapixel Sony DSC-N2 revealed

08/21, 12:45pm

Sony DSC-N2 Revealed

The reference point for sensor quality in point-and-shoot cameras was just recently set at 7 megapixels, but imminent camera releases promise to push this much further to 10 megapixels. Sony's upcoming DSC-N2 is a prime example of this, as discovered by forum members of the Chinese website PCOnline. Despite a small frame, the N2 improves over its N1 predecessor's already-sharp 8 megapixel sensor while boosting its ISO sensitivity from 800 to 1000. Alternate colors (such as the metallic pink shown here) are also due to appear. Features are otherwise unchanged but still quite capable: a 3-inch touchscreen and 26MB of internal memory suit this camera to the impromptu photography point-and-shoot models are designed for. There is no word on pricing or availability yet; a recent $50 discount on the N1 suggests that its replacement will ship soon for $450.

Malik: Apple should acquire YouTube

08/21, 11:45am

Apple YouTube Possibility

Apple is one of the leading sellers of direct video downloads, but its current model depends primarily on commercial programming that limits the accessibility and desirability of playing videos on an iPod. A large collection of videos would be prohibitively expensive. Steve Jobs buying the video hosting service YouTube would change that situation dramatically, writes technologist Om Malik. It would let Apple tap into the user-created content increasingly commonplace amongst younger users and might also help the company take advantage of online ad revenue streams, which the company has largely ignored so far. Click through for more details and the Electronista perspective.

iRiver N20 surfaces

08/21, 11:20am

iRiver N20 Surfaces

iRiver's current direction in audio players has been towards essentialism. The Clix released earlier this year is one of the smallest video-capable players you can buy today. iRiver is not finished, the Japanese website iRiverFans discovered today. Photos of the upcoming N20 model (pictured, left) show a player barely larger than its earbuds; as with the Clix, the controls are hidden around the borders to keep the size small and navigation relatively easy. The new player is generally a mystery beyond this obvious design influence, but as a step below the Clix the N20 will likely focus on audio only. Click through for a photo of the box and the on-screen interface.

Westinghouse laptop/LCD TV bundle: dorm room ready

08/21, 10:55am

Westinghouse Laptop LCD TV

Most college-bound students are virtually ready to move out and take residence in their dorms, which ensures that many of them are searching for a new laptop or a TV for those idle moments on campus. Westinghouse believes that at least some of these students are looking for an inexpensive way to get both devices at the same time. Its new laptop and LCD TV bundle does just that. The 14-inch laptop's features are modest: a 1.46 GHz Celeron M, DVD writer, integrated graphics, and 60GB hard drive are just enough for class work and little else. A 19-inch TV included with the bundle, however, makes the package more interesting: it features one VGA and two component inputs, which will let that student plug the TV in as either an HDTV or computer display. The bundle's true selling point is the price: $989 purchases both units at once, which gives students an easy way to furnish their dorm room without consuming too much space. You can find the bundle now at Wal-Mart stores in the US.

ATI TV Wonder 650 HD tuner and PVR expansion card

08/21, 10:10am

ATI TV Wonder 650

Those building home theater PCs often need personal video recording as a central feature. It's easy to achieve this with analog television signals, but until recently HDTV recording was difficult, if not impossible. ATI hopes to make this easier with the TV Wonder 650, a new-generation HD video recording card the company is releasing today. It can capture both analog and HD signals and record them to formats such as DivX, H.264, MPEG-2/4, or Windows Media 9. HD video recording is limited to over-the-air broadcasts due to the copy-protection prevalent on cable and satellite networks, but it's also possible to use a second card to record one show while watching another. The 650 is on sale immediately for $129 and requires either Windows XP or Vista (Media Center 2005 is currently recommended).

Samsung unveils 70-inch LCD TV: world's largest?

08/21, 9:40am

Samsung 70-inch LCD

Even if their practicality is often limited, large flat-panel televisions are often seen as a source of pride by electronics companies. Such massive panels are meant to demonstrate technical leadership regardless of whether or not they actually become real products. Samsung has just declared its own leadership; its new 70-inch LCD will be the world's largest LCD television, according to the company's announcement today. While other manufacturers and Samsung itself have demonstrated working prototypes larger than 70 inches (including a 103-inch Panasonic model), Samsung may be the first to release such hardware to the market when it ships this new screen in the first half of 2007. The as yet unnamed model will have very high-end capabilities; 1080p native resolution is to be expected, but it will also have a 120 Hz refresh rate (making it ideally suited for 60 frames per second input) and a 180-degree viewing angle in both horizontal and vertical directions. Its early state rules out any pricing information.

SanDisk launches the first 8GB flash audio player

08/21, 9:10am

SanDisk 8GB Flash Player

Since the introduction of the iPod nano, one of the greatest challenges for digital audio player manufacturers has been to secure special deals for flash memory. The iPod nano would not have been possible without large discounts from Samsung. Of rivals to Apple, SanDisk has a distinct advantage as a flash memory manufacturer itself: it can dictate its own prices and thus increase capacity sooner than most others. This benefit has been validated by SanDisk's latest audio player. The Sansa e280 is the world's first 8GB flash player, the company said in its announcement today. Functionally, the 8GB version is identical to the smaller-capacity e200-series models that helped the company claim second place in the digital audio player market. It includes FM tuning and recording, a microSD slot for extra storage, video playback, and voice recording. At an official price of $249, the e280 is priced equally to Apple's current 4GB iPod nano model and is expected to ship in mid-September, potentially in advance of a widely expected iPod nano update.

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