updated 12:15 pm EST, Tue January 9, 2007
SanDisk promotes USBTV
SanDisk and several partner corporations have announced USBTV, a technology for quickly playing digital video on a TV. Sidestepping the option of media servers, USBTV drives will be essentially be flash-based media players, to which owners will drag-and-drop desired videoclips. An onboard processor will automatically convert files into a playable format, and once a drive is connected to a TV, preloaded guide software (and a remote) will let users to choose what they play. Initial USBTV players will require a special cradle to output to an AV port, but SanDisk is hoping that some future TVs from the likes of LG, Pioneer and Mitsubishi will permit direct connection. The popularity of USBTV may be hampered by DRM restrictions however, with copying being limited at the behest of movie and TV studios. The first USBTV products should be ready this spring.
SanDisk's announcements continue with word of the Cruzer Contour, a USB flash drive designed as much around aesthetics as storage. Aside from a glossy black exterior, an unusual sliding mechanism exposes and conceals the connector. The drive will also be U3 compatible, giving you access to applications like Firefox, Skype and OpenOffice without needing to install them on a host computer. Contours should be available in March in 2, 4 and 8GB sizes, costing $90, $150 and $240.
Lastly, SanDisk is producing its own line of Memory Stick Micro (M2) cards for Sony products, namely the Walkman and Cyber-shot phones by Ericsson. The cards will be coming in 512MB, 1GB and 2GB capacities, with the 2GB model being championed as the largest M2 card on the market. It should be able to hold up to 500 MP3s, 4,800 photos, or 640 minutes of MPEG-4 video. Shipping this month, the cards will be priced at $45, $55 and $120.