News Archive for 07/10/02

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DVR software with auto iPhone/iPod sync debuts

10/02, 5:30pm

DVR iPhone/iPod sync

A new version of the Beyond TV software (4.7) adds the ability to automatically sync recordings to the iPod and iPhone via an optional plug-in using H.264 compression. It can also make use of an iTunes podcast RSS feed to push television recordings to your iPod or iPhone. Another new feature is drive pooling, which lets you treat a group of hard drives as one recording folder and automatically manage and distribute the content you have recorded. There's also built-in support for Firefly Mobile allowing the use of iPhones, other smartphones and mobile devices as remote controls for the device. Community Recordings is a feature that will automatically record the top shows each day as reported by Beyond TV Buzz.

USAF develops 30-year notebook battery tech

10/02, 4:25pm

Betavoltaic Battery

The US Air Force Research Laboratory has revealed a new battery technology that could effectively end the need to constantly recharge notebooks, handhelds, and other portable devices in the near future. Called a betavoltaic battery, the advancement would be based on silicon chips but take advantage of the decay from radioisotopes to catch beta electron emissions, using their electricity to power the chips and generate a steady, powered current. Though it would use a decaying substance, the battery would not be radioactive and would be extremely efficient; the energy released is so strong that a notebook could run for 30 years before requiring a new charge, says one estimate.

Samsung cancels BDP-2400 player

10/02, 4:20pm

Samsung cancels BDP-2400

In an unusual move for the electronics industry, Samsung has cancelled its BDP-2400 Blu-Ray player, which was to have shipped in the near future. No official reason for the cancellation has been given, but it does coincide with an impending October 31st deadline, which is the latest a manufacturer can release a player that only meets the Blu-Ray 1.0 profile. Everything following must meet Profile 1.1, which includes secondary audio and video decoders, and at least 256MB of persistent memory. No specifications for the BDP-2400 were known except that it was intended to be a high-end model.

Flash Zune confirmed in FCC leak

10/02, 3:20pm

Flash Zune in FCC Leak

The flash-based Zune has had some of its last details confirmed, thanks to a newly published FCC filing. New diagrams reveal that display mockups sent to a retailer yesterday are legitimate and also confirm that the flash player will only be available in 4GB and 8GB variants, matching Apple's iPod nano but falling short of the 16GB of storage available with Creative's most recent ZEN players. Frequency tests make no mention of the 2.4GHz band needed for Wi-Fi but do make reference to an antenna, suggesting either Wi-Fi or at least a basic form of wireless connection. "Premium" earbuds would be included with the player, Microsoft says.

PlayStation 3 40GB, Spiderman bundle leaked

10/02, 2:45pm

PS3 40GB Spiderman Leaked

Sony's 40GB PlayStation 3 is real, the electronics maker has inadvertently revealed through a UPC barcode. While a public listing for the device confirms its existence only through the manufacturer, a Best buy employee's search for the same barcode turns up a 40GB PS3 at the previously rumored $400 price point, according to Engadget. Despite the price drop, the new system would also come bundled with a Blu-Ray copy of Spiderman 3 to help showcase the console's HD features and drive sales during the holidays.

Toshiba Gigabeat prototype points to Zune with OLED

10/02, 2:10pm

Toshiba Gigabeat OLED

Both Microsoft's Zune and Toshiba's Gigabeat Gigabeat player could have a much better display than most players on the market, the company revealed with a new prototype. Rather than use an LCD, Toshiba's unnamed example Gigabeat would use a wide OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display. The technology would provide much higher contrast ratios than with today's screens and would eliminate the ghosting and color shifting effects that often occurs in fast-moving scenes on LCDs. At 3.2 inches, the screen would also display a relatively sharp 427x240 without consuming much of the extra space demanded by larger displays.

HTC claims 800,000 Touch phones sold

10/02, 1:30pm

HTC sells 800,000 Touches

Taiwanese phone maker HTC claims it has sold approximately 800,000 units of its Touch smartphone, Reuters reports. While not yet available in North America, the Touch has only been on sale in Europe and Asia since June, making for one of the most impressive phone launches in industry history. The record is eclipsed mainly by the sales of the iPhone, which broke the 1 million barrier in early September. "This is better than I expected...We feel very good about our success," comments HTC CEO Peter Chou.

Bell next to launch DRM-free music sales

10/02, 1:25pm

Bell DRM-Free Music Store

Bell Canada today announced that its Sympatico/MSN Music Store was the latest to begin offering digital music without copy protection. The communications firm said that it would now begin offering tracks from EMI as well as several independent labels in MP3 format, allowing much of its previously Windows Media-only catalog to work with nearly any computer or portable device -- including the iPod and virtually all music phones, Bell noted. Unlike stores from Wal-Mart and some other websites, the service does not require a Windows-based computer and will let Mac users download songs through a web portal.

Viacom pushes for stronger DRM

10/02, 12:20pm

Viacom pushes strong DRM

To fight piracy, companies should be installing more DRM safeguards, says Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman. Speaking at a summit of the US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby group, Dauman has complained that it is now far too easy to copy media illegally, and that companies should be be spreading the use of both watermarking and DRM restrictions. Additionally, he would like content aggregators, ISPs, hosting companies and site operators to further collaborate with corporations, something which is already said to be happening in Viacom's case. Regarding Viacom's lawsuit against YouTube, Dauman says the company hopes to "clarify the rights and responsibilities of all media and content owners in the digital age."

Photo leaks confirm new Zune, near-term launch

10/02, 11:45am

Zune 2 Photo Leak

New photos have all but confirmed the imminent arrival of new Zune models within the month, says an unnamed employee from a major American retailer. The worker notes that his store has received "cardboard cutouts" that are exact matches for the photos leaked last month and already reveal key features. A smaller, flash-based model is now certain and will have video playback as a cornerstone. The circular directional pad has also been replaced with a less misleading beveled, square pad, the photos show. Microsoft is now known to be producing pink and red colors on launch rather than withholding them for special editions, as with the original version.

Broadcom chip offers HD video for handhelds

10/02, 10:50am

Broadcom Mobile HD Chip

Semiconductor firm Broadcom today introduced the BCM2727, a new multimedia processor it says will unlock features that were previously impossible on portable devices. Based on the company's new VideoCore III architecture, the chip is the first to have the processing power to both decode and encode HD video in real-time without consuming excessive power. The new hardware can play 720p video in the demanding H.264 format for up to five hours using just a cellphone-sized battery and can record at the same resolution for up to three hours, according to Broadcom's estimates.

Toshiba intros low-cost bright DLP projector

10/02, 9:55am

Toshiba X3000AU

Toshiba today rolled out the TLP-X3000AU, a new projector designed for presenters and home theaters with less than ideal viewing environments. Though relatively affordable at $1,199, the DLP system achieves 3,000 lumens of brightness; this makes it 50 percent brighter than the average projector, helping its image quality in daylight and similarly bright conditions. In spite of the brighness, Toshiba's most recent color enhancer hardware reportedly keeps up a 400:1 contrast ratio.

Panasonic unveils Blu-Ray DVRs with hard disk storage

10/02, 9:30am

Panasonic DIGA Blu-Ray

Panasonic this morning launched the CEATEC expo in Japan with some of its first TV recorders with built-in Blu-Ray burners. The DIGA BW700, BW800, and BW900 all have 4X BD-R drives that can record programming from either their single analog or dual digital TV tuners to the recent disc format. By using AVC (H.264) rather than MPEG-2, this lets users store an exceptionally large amount of video on a single disc: up to 18 hours of digital video can be stored on a 50GB dual-layer disc by using a more heavily compressed high efficiency mode, Panasonic says. Hard drives also keep a more permanent collection, with up to 1TB of content (381 hours) available to watch or burn later.

Sony launches next-gen eBook reader

10/02, 8:30am

Sony PRS-505 eBook Reader

Sony today launched its first major update to its Reader eBook handheld. The new device is the first to reflect Sony's newer, more open approach to media playback and now works as a simple USB mass storage device: users can copy books and create folders on the device by using their operating system rather than a custom software program. The Reader can optionally be set up to automatically sync with specified folders. Controls have also been improved for a more natural feel, Sony says; page turn buttons and other parts of the interface more closely resemble what users would expect.


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