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Denon today held an event to launch its first CI-series Blu-Ray players that are the first anywhere with Blu-Ray Profile 1.1 support. The stand-alone DVD-3800BDCI player and its transport-only DVD-2500BTCI equivalent incorporate a secondary AV decoder set that handles advanced special features in movies, such as picture-in-picture director's commentary or downloadable games, subtitles, or other extras that can be saved on a PC and loaded in the player from an SD card.
Pioneer on Tuesday added to its still young Blu-Ray drive lineup and released the BDC-S02, its fastest ever Blu-Ray combo model for desktops. The 3.5-inch drive reads single-layer, 25GB discs as quickly as 5X, besting the 4X of most competitors. Dual-layer Blu-Ray titles can be read at 2X. The Japanese drive maker saves costs by dropping Blu-Ray recording but offers DVD writing closer to desktop drives with 4X dual-layer DVD+/-RW and 12X single-layer discs. Cache is doubled compared to most drives at 4MB and guards against virtually any disc burning errors.
Fujitsu's storage division today previewed the MHY2200BS, a new 2.5-inch hard drive created for environments where storage may have to operate 24 hours per day or in rough conditions. An anti-vibration system prevents the drive head and platters from falling out of sync from the shocks triggered by bumps and nearby equipment -- up to 325Gs of shock can be applied while the drive continues to run at its normal 5400RPM speed, Fujitsu says. Power use is also the best possible at just 0.6W while idle.
The One Laptop Per Child project's just completed XO system may be sold to a general audience as early as this year, the group's chief technical officer Lou Jepsen has revealed. While the ultra-economic system has always been targeted at developing world schools that need inexpensive and rugged computers, the interest in the computer and the desire to reduce the cost of the PC for poorer areas may lead to private companies selling the system to the public. Prices would be set much higher at $350 to account for marketing, support, and ultimately shrinking the $175 cost for developing-world governments, Jepsen said.
A measure has been withdrawn from the US Senate that would have tied university funding to controlling file sharing. Proposed by the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, it would have amended the Higher Education Reauthorization Act to require prevention of "illegal downloading or peer-to-peer distribution of intellectual property" before releasing subsidies. In addition, the Department of Education would have received a mandate to identify the top 25 colleges and universities in terms of complaints from copyright owners.
Samsung will be releasing a series of new phones in Europe -- one of which will bear more than a passing resemblance to the iPhone, according to the preview site for a French event. The P520 (shown) is dominated almost exclusively by a 2.6-inch touchscreen that will share the same design as the Ultra Smart F700 or its smaller cousin the F520 and includes a distinctly black front with chrome trim similar to the Apple device; the home button is replaced with call and answer buttons. The smaller dimensions will make it thinner at 8.9mm (0.35 inches).
D-Link has unveiled its first wireless USB hub, the DUB-9240. It connects to a Windows PC through a bundled USB dongle, and provides connections for as many as four extra USB devices; full 2.0 speeds are assured up to a distance of 30 feet. The 9240 is unique in that it operates at frequencies of 3.4 and 4.5GHz, preventing interference with standard Wi-Fi receivers, which tend to operate at 2.4GHz. D-Link anticipates a release of the hub by the end of the fourth quarter of 2007; pricing should be approximately $120, and it will require Windows Vista or XP SP2. [via Gearlog]
Sony on Tuesday afternoon revamped its Elevated Standard receivers with three new models, all geared towards supporting Blu-Ray as well as the latest formats in digital audio. Leading the charge is the 5300ES; the first Sony receiver to support multiple rooms, it can output audio or video to a second zone while keeping up to date on the new area through a picture-in-picure display. The premium receiver also carries six HDMI 1.3 inputs with deep color and a 120-watt amp that powers 7.1-channel sound in Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master Audio forms.
The Japanese company GreenHouse has released a new audio player, the KanaSD. Although limited to MP3 and WMA files, there are two key features to the Kana: the first is size, strongly comparable to Apple's iPod shuffle, which also deliberately omits a screen. But the most crucial may be storage capacity, since rather than use internal flash, the Kana relies on SD, MMC and SDHC cards. This drops the price of the actual player, and gives owners the option of memory between 32MB and 8GB, and possibly more as SDHC cards grow closer to 32GB.
Alienware revealed today that for the first time, three of its notebook lines -- the m5550, m9700, and m9750 -- now have the option of a 64GB solid-state hard drive, giving them the quick load times, extra battery life, and absolute shockproofing of flash memory while still providing enough room for games and other core software needed by desktop replacement PCs. The 17-inch m9700 and m9750 models are also the first anywhere to ship with the option of dual flash drives in a RAID stripe that offers the same 64GB space but at an even faster, desktop-like speed. Customers can also establish the best of both worlds with a dual-drive configuration that includes a 32GB flash drive for the OS and a 200GB, 7200RPM conventional hard disk for games and other media, Alienware says.
In tandem with the American Gigabeat U, Toshiba today also gave its home territory the U103, a new spin on the company's entry flash jukebox. The new model embraces the Japanese philosophy of creating harmony within an environment, Toshiba claims, and is available in an unprecedented 24 different colors; buyers can pick colors rarely seen for any music player, such as aqua, forest green, or tan. In contrast to most players, choosing a different color has no effect on features or prices.
Sales of Windows Vista may, paradoxically, be hampered by the very success of Windows XP, writes one technology columnist. An observer with the Microsoft-focused Redmond observes that during July 20th's quarterly earnings call, Microsoft substantially altered its predictions for OS sales during Fiscal Year 2008: Vista revenue is expected to fall from 85 to 78 percent, while XP revenue should actually increase from 15 to 22 percent. Respectively, the two should shrink and grow by about 50 percent.
The full shutdown of Amp'd in the US has been delayed a week, the company quietly revealed today in its Q&A page. Although customer service is still set to have elapsed today, preventing customers from contacting the provider, subscribers now have until July 31st to either carry their phones directly to other providers, such as Sprint or Verizon, and to port their phone numbers regardless of their new carrier.
Panasonic today expanded its LUMIX family of digital still cameras by introducing its new LUMIX DMC-FZ18, an 8.1 Megapixel compact camera with an 18x optical zoom. A 28mm wide-angle LEICA DC lens accompanies "Intelligent Auto Mode" for face detection as well as an Intelligent Scene Selector and continuous auto-focus functionality. Similar to the entire 2007 line of LUMIX digital still cameras, the LUMIX DMC-FZ18 includes advanced countermeasures against blurring which include an Intelligent Image Stabilization system, which combines MEGA Optical Image Stabilization (O.I.S.) to compensate for hand-shake and Intelligent ISO Control to detect and adjust for motion blur caused by subject movement. The new camera also features a 2.5-inch large, high resolution LCD with 207,000 pixels, a 0.44-inch Electric Viewfinder with 188,000 pixels, f/2.8 brightness and is powered by the high-performance Venus Engine III capable of shooting at ISO 1600 in normal recording mode. The DMC-FZ18 has been redesigned to make the camera more stylish and easier to use, according to Panasonic, which plans to ship the device in September for $400.
Toshiba today rolled out the Qosmio G45 from its factories, signaling the first appearance of notebooks with HD DVD recording. The flagship AV680 model can record dual-layer 30GB discs in the high-definition format as well as legacy CDs and DVDs, and is fully capable of playing movies both on its own 17-inch, 1920x1200 screen and on flat-panel TVs through HDMI output. Graphics are powered by a 512MB GeForce 8600M GT fast enough for both HD videos and the most recent games. Those interested in authoring content can also take advantage of a large amount of storage: the stock model comes loaded with dual 160GB drives.
Western Digital today upgraded its MyBook external drives to 2TB, representing some of the largest external drives yet from the storage maker or any company. The Premium Edition II, Pro Edition II, and World Edition II now all include two of Western Digital's 1TB drives either in a continuous stripe, a mirrored 1TB arrangement, or as two separate disks. Features are similar to earlier models with the Premium and Pro models each sporting FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 2.0 interfaces for attaching to a Mac or Windows PC; the World model relies on gigabit Ethernet to share its data with a local network or remote users on the Internet.
Kodak on Tuesday broke a longstanding tradition in digital cameras with the EasyShare C513. The 5-megapixel compact is the first of Kodak's point-and-shoots to ever drop the traditional CCD for a CMOS sensor. A breakthrough from Kodak's own labs lets them use the lower-cost and more power efficient technology without compromising image quality compared to ordinary cameras; although ISO sensitivity is low with a range of just 80-200, the low noise of the sensor and software-driven image stabilization help produce clean images in most settings. A 3X zoom lens, 13 preset scene modes, and minor on-camera edits help beginners compose shots without turning to manual settings.
Keyspan has begun shipping a new version of the TuneView remote control. Rather than operate with iPods, as with the earlier model, the new one is designed to control the Mac and PC versions of iTunes from up to 150 feet away, via an included USB-to-RF transceiver. The highlight of both remotes is the color LCD screen, which lets users browse audio and video without having to play through each track. The interface further mimics the behavior of the iPod, for familiarity's sake. iTunes 7.1.1 or later is required, as is Mac OS X 10.3.9 or Windows XP/Vista. The iTunes TuneView costs $149.
Toshiba this morning launched its first American flash-based music player today in the form of the Gigabeat U202. An import of the most recent Japanese version, the device is small at just 3 inches tall and 1.4 inches wide but includes Toshiba's characteristic PlusPad controls and a 1.1-inch OLED display bright and clear enough for JPEG photos. The device also keeps features typically reserved for the Japan market: line-in recording lets owners record CDs and other albums directly to the player rather than wait to sync with a PC, while an FM tuner can both listen to and capture radio. Battery life is estimated at 20 hours but takes less than 2.4 hours to reach a full charge.
TiVo on Tuesday unveiled its simply-titled TiVo HD, its first HD-capable DVR aimed at the mainstream. The HD (previously known as the Series 3 Lite) brings recording and playback of HDTV shows up to 1080i and dual CableCARD slots that can capture one show while playing or capturing another. Costs are reduced by including a single ATSC HD tuner as well as an NTSC analog tuner; it also omits the OLED of the original Series 3, drops storage to 160GB that nets 20 hours of HD recording, and relies on a Series 2-style remote without programming or glowing keys.
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