Disney-owned ABC TV is planning to expand the reach of its free Internet TV services, says Reuters. Its highest-rated shows should soon be viewable through Time Warner's AOL service, an unusual step in that it is clearly a third-party website, rather than its own first-party site or an application-based service such as iTunes or Joost.
The network is joining the spiritual ranks of NBC, which already hosts episodes and is planning a collaboration with News Corp. (owners of Fox) to start a service called Hulu. On Wednesday NBC further revealed NBC Direct, a download service which will allow PC and Mac users to download and keep TV episodes for up to a week past airdate.
Digitial rights management, or DRM, may in many cases be breaking Canadian law, IDG News reports. A study published by the University of Ottawa's Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC) suggests that DRM is being used to gather personal information for purposes never consented to, whether expressly or through clauses. The ability to discover how information is used and refuse consent is required as part of Canada's PIPEDA legislation, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.
Iomega today unveiled new rackmount and desktop network attached storage devices designed for small and medium-sized businesses. The company's new four-drive rackmount models include the Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS 200r 1TB Server with and without print serving capability, as well as the new Iomega StorCenter Pro NAS 150d 3TB server. The StorCenter Pro NAS 150d offers SMB administrators add-on network storage with Active Directory support, and all of the new NAS servers use Gigabit Ethernet for fast connectivity to support up to four SATA-II hard drives that are configurable to RAID 0 (striping), RAID 1 (mirroring), or RAID 5 (striping plus parity) operation. Iomega's StorCenter Pro NAS 150d 3GB ($1,700) and 200r 1TB ($1,900) both work with Mac OS X 10.2.7 or later. The company's StorCenter Pro NAS 200r 1TB server with print will ship later this month for $2,500.
All 277 stations of the New York City subway system are to be wired for cellphone access, New York state's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has announced. A private group called Transit Wireless will actually pay the New York City Transit Authority $46.8 mllion to do this, over the course of 10 years, spending another $150-200 million for the actual building of infrastructure. TW's compensation should come in the form of revenue from cellular companies, who will have to pay to have their phones function. The first six stations should be outfitted within two years, the rest being finished within another four.
Audio equipment maker M-Audio today took the wraps from the Session Music Producer, a microphone combo built for amateur artists and podcasters. The design is based around the Producer USB microphone that builds its own audio encoding hardware into the base, allowing any user to hook it up to a USB port without requiring a separate card or other clutter. The 16mm cardioid microphone itself is also much clearer than basic models. Recorders or studio helpers can also listen to the raw recording with a headphone output jack, receiving the raw audio without the potential delay inserted by software on a computer.
ezGear today rolled out its new ezWake WK7 alarm clock for Apple's iPod. The revision of the company's older model improves various features and includes an enhanced full-function remote control. The ezWake's iPod dock allows users to play as well as control an iPod while simultaneously charging the device. Multiple adapters accommodate all iPod models past and present, while ports on the rear provide connectivity to TVs as well as stereos and computers. A 24-function remote control allows users to control every aspect of the alarm clock dock, which uses the same audio electronics as the original ezWake to maintain high quality audio. The device runs on AC power or via batteries on-the-go, and features two alarms alongside an LED display with dimming functionality and backlit buttons for operation in the dark. The ezWake WK7 is priced at $100 and is scheduled to ship some time this month.
Slacker today revealed that it had struck deals with all four major music labels. The service now gives the company's web radio and upcoming Portable Player access to a much larger catalog of music from EMI, Sony-BMG, Universal, and Warner; smaller independents such as Beggar's Group and Matador Records are also part of the deal, Slacker says. The agreement lets users either stream music directly from the Internet or store it locally on the device's internal hard drive to create personalized radio stations without the need for an active connection.
Headplay has released its namesake Personal Cinema System, a video output visor notable mainly for the range of inputs its base station supports. Aside from composite, S-Video and VGA inputs, it also accepts 802.11g Wi-Fi, allowing connections to Macs and PCs; users can further expand through stereo, Mini USB and two USB 2.0 ports, giving access to media players such as iPods. Should direct connections not be an option, users can insert Compact Flash cards. File formats directly supported include AVI, MP3, QuickTime, MPEG-2/4 and JPEG/JPEG2000.
Linksys, soon to be absorbed completely by Cisco, has nevertheless launched a new line of budget-level products called RangePlus. The core component is the WRT100 Wireless Router (not pictured), a stripped-down device whose primary features are MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) support and a computer-based guide that takes people step-by-step through setting up a network. It also benefits from Wi-Fi Protected Setup, a feature on some certified products that allows two to be linked by pressing a button on each.
Alienware today claimed to set records by shipping the first portable systems with 320GB notebook drives. The 15.4-inch Area-51 m1550 as well as the 17-inch Aurora m9700 and Area-51 m9750 now all have the option of using Samsung's latest 320GB, 5400RPM mobile disk to pack desktop-like storage. The 17-inch systems also have dual bays and can store up to 640GB. If completely full, this would allow for as many as 107 average games or 163,000 songs, according to Alienware's estimates.
MSI this morning released its PR210 YA Edition notebook as a new option for those who want an ultraportable without the associated costs and a drop in features. The 12-inch, 4-pound notebook now gets the choice of blue, green, and pink outer shells to customize their looks while also providing improved components beyond the surface. A stock system includes a 1.7GHZ Athlon 64 X2 Mobile with AMD's most recent ATI Radeon X1270 integrated graphics, adding both hardware acceleration for Vista Home Premium's graphics and HDMI output for HD video output. A 1.3-megapixel webcam and a fingerprint reader also separate MSI's system from its immediate rivals.
In tandem with its new Diamani DUO screens, ViewSonic today also unveiled some of its most advanced computer-centric displays. The VX series now has full dynamic contrast and produces ratios as high as 4,000:1; these are often as much as four times better than traditional desktop LCDs and make them useful for both pro image editors and movie viewers, ViewSonic says. One of the new models, the VX1940w, is also the first 19-inch desktop display with a 1680x1050 resolution and matches the near-1080p resolution of 20- and 22-inch screens without their accompanying size. The company also offers a 22-inch VX2240w for a more comfortable viewing angle and a lower-resolution, 1440x900 19-inch display in the VX1932wm. All have DVI and VGA inputs and will begin to ship in October with the $249 VX1932wm; the two premium models follow in November at an identical $249 for the VX1940w and $349 for the VX2240w.
ViewSonic on Thursday launched a major overhaul of its LCDs, beginning with the introduction of a new line of personal HDTVs that also serve as computer displays. The Diamani DUO's 19-inch NX1932w and 22-inch NX2232w are full-fledged HDTVs with HDMI input for pure digital signals as well as an integrated ATSC HD tuner and a built-in, 10W speaker system. VGA input and the option of a DVI-to-HDMI adapter, however, turn the displays into full computer monitors. This gives students and apartment dwellers an opportunity to connect their game consoles or TV service without investing in a second display, ViewSonic says.
Bell Canada today revealed its unlimited data service, allowing notebook owners with a free ExpressCard or PC Card slot to connect to the Internet without worrying about the bandwidth limits that often hurt cellular access in Canada or having to look for a Wi-Fi hotspot. The plan is not specific to any one connection type and includes the company's faster EVDO Revision A network, providing 3.5G transfer speeds closer to a home broadband connection. At its theoretical peak, the connection can download as quickly as 3.1Mbps and upload at 1.8Mbps, Bell says. The service is available now for $75 Canadian ($74 US) per month plus a $9 access fee and the price of an adapter card; no mention has been made of extending the feature to cellphones.
Western Digital on Thursday reworked its MyBook external hard disks with a new design that also adds a dose of new features. Replacing the previous ring of light with a strip, more advanced models now have a single strip that doubles as a capacity gauge. Each new version also provides new features for its class, the hard drive maker says. The Home Edition is the first mainstream drive from the company to include three interfaces. In addition to FireWire 400 and USB 2.0, the Home builds in external SATA for performance matching an internal disk with supporting computers and adapters. The Office Edition also breaks ground as the first MyBook to share its files online without an Ethernet connection; on Windows PCs, special MioNet software makes files and folders available online through USB whenever the PC is online.
Nokia today sought to bring Wi-Fi to a wider audience with the 6301. The bar-shaped phone incorporates the wireless standard both to provide a fast alternative for Internet access and to offer calls over Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA); as with earlier phones of its kind, the 6301 can automatically hand over calls from the cellular network to VoIP and back. This not only saves cellular minutes when calls begin on Wi-Fi but also improves reception indoors; many users could scrap a landline entirely with a supporting cell carrier, Nokia says. To reflect this, the 6301 comes bundled with a desk stand to let the phone charge without losing its connection to a home wireless network.
SoundTech Professional Audio has announced the the LightSnake USB stereo cable, which allows users to plug keyboards, drum machines, turntables or any audio source into a Mac or PC. It features built-in stereo output to allow for real-time monitoring using the included stereo ear buds or any headset or for hooking up to mixers and powered speakers. The device also features an embedded USB-powered analog to digital converter and signal booster, eliminating the need for additional signal conversion devices. It can be used in conjunction with programs like Sony Acid Music Studio and Apple's GarageBand. The cable also features a "Live when Lit" feature that lights up the cable when sound is being transmitted. It includes a stereo RCA to 1/8" adaptor cable, female to female RCA adaptor and stereo ear buds, as well as a stereo 1/8" output jack compatible with powered monitors. The cable is priced at $50.
Sony Computer Entertainment on Thursday formally announced its rumble-enabled Dual Shock 3 controller for the PlayStation 3 game console and said that the controller would begin shipping in Japan this November and is expected to be available in the US and Europe next Spring (2008). According to the report, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Kazuo Hirai confirmed the existence of the rumored rumble-enabled Dual Shock 3 controller and noted several games that were compatible with the rumble feature, including Devil May Cry 4, Metal Gear Solid 4, Metal Gear Solid Online, and Ratchet and Clank Future as well as long list of already-released titles -- such as Warhawk -- which were expected to be updated with support for the controller, ShackNews reports. (Older Sixaxis game controller shown at right.)
Details regarding Meizu's iPod touch look-a-like have materialized. The device will feature a 2.81" TFT screen with a 15:9 aspect ratio, and a native resolution of 480X288 pixels with 16-bit color. Like the iPod touch, Meizu's unit will respond to tactile feedback, and has the ability to playback H.264-formatted video at resolutions up to 720x480 at 30 frames per second, and M6 at up to 20 frames per second. It will also sport video out capabilities. 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities will be available. We previously reported that the device has been been tentatively named the M7 -- suggesting that it will be a bridge between the media-only M6 and the iPhone-influenced miniOne, also known as the M8. The latter is expected to launch in China before the end of the year with a slightly larger screen than the M7 at 3.3 inches and with full phone support, including 3G Internet access. Meizu's president declined to provide a release date for the M7, though the device is unlikely to be available before late 2008. [Images via Meizu Blog France]