Your Daily Phil

Archive for February, 2008

New source for HD video on the web and the iPod Touch

Posted by lozenp on February 29, 2008

Couple quickies today:

First, I came across a piece recently about a new video service on the Web called Miro (it used to be the Democracy player). It’s an open source desktop application that works a little like iTunes. I haven’t had a ton of time to play with it yet, but I was able to download some HD content and it looked pretty good.

Basically there are channels that you can subscribe to, as well as being able to pull in video from YouTube, Google, etc. It looks very interesting, I’ll give a more full report in a little bit after I’ve had time to experiment more.

ipod-touch1.jpgSecond thing is I got an iPod Touch yesterday, the 8GB variety. I’m holding out hope that the rumors of a price drop on the 16GB and the removal of the 8GB will happen in the next 30 days so I can swap them out, but to be honest the extra 8GB is not essential to me.

So far I’m enjoying it quite a bit. I’m going to treat the 30 days as a trial period to make sure I’ll really take advantage of all it offers. So far I’m loving the instant access to the internet and email, and the video quality looks good but I haven’t watched anything yet of length.

Two things that popped out to me as things the iPhone has that the Touch doesn’t; a speaker (so no showing people YouTube vids without headphones) and a camera to easily add faces to the contacts. The Google Maps feature that allows you to pinpoint your location also doesn’t work, although Google Maps works just fine. That feature seems more of a cool to show people item than something really useful unless you travel a lot.

More on this as I get used to it. If you have a Touch (or an iPhone for that matter) let me know some of the cool apps you’ve downloaded and some tips on the best way to get video onto it.


Posted in Apple, computers, IPTV | 5 Comments »

March Madness HD on demand

Posted by lozenp on February 28, 2008

March Madness is just around the corner, and CBS is offering up an appetizer to college hoops fans with news of HD video on demand clips, highlights and recaps of all 63 games. Comcast and Bresnan Communications are the first cable operators to sign up.

CBS is teaming up with the CBS College Sports Network (CSTV) to produce the highlight packages and they will be free of charge to subscribers via the on demand feature.

Now, if Comcast can only figure out how to get me an HD feed for all the games on the first two days, I’d be all set. The last two years I’ve had to watch SD coverage on Thursday and Friday while my satellite subscribing friends got the games in all their HD goodness.

Posted in HDTV, Hoops, Sports | Leave a Comment »

Dead technology, get your dead technology, cheap!

Posted by lozenp on February 25, 2008

Update 4:30 p.m. – Microsoft has announced the new price will be $49.99 starting tomorrow. Best Buy jumped the gun, it seem.

If you’re into retro, or you’re an Xbox 360 owner looking for a bit of up-conversion on the cheap, act fast. Best Buy is selling the now discontinued HD DVD add on for the 360 for a deliciously cheap $49.99. Rumors of this price point were flying last week, but this is the first I’ve seen of it being true. I’ve also been told Kmart has it for the same price, but it’s not listed on their site.

A quick check of Circuit City and Amazon this morning showed they were still holding to a price point over $100. That’s not likely to last too long.

Microsoft announced over the weekend that it was discontinuing the drive. While it had been part of the Toshiba five free movies promotion, I haven’t heard if that’s still going or not, so caveat emptor. However, if it is, add in King Kong in the box and you get the Microsoft remote (handy if you have Media Center and use the Xbox as an extender), King Kong and five other movies for 50 bucks. Not too shabby.

If you’re into that sort of thing.

Don’t forget: I’ve got six Hulu Beta invites left for the next six people to hit this link, add my new RSS and drop a comment. Technically, I can’t trace back if you added my feed, so really you can just drop a comment. I don’t want to tell people what to do. Unless you’re into that sort of thing, too.

Posted in Amazon, HD DVD, Xbox 360 | Leave a Comment »

New HD DVD sale at Amazon, 57% off

Posted by lozenp on February 22, 2008

Amazon has started a new sale on HD DVDs, offering 33 discs at 57 percent off list price. This is in addition to their 50 percent off sale on 150 other discs. Barnes and Noble has a similar 50 percent off sale.
The crown jewel of the new Amazon sale is undoubtedly the full Matrix trilogy for just 44 bucks. Also on the list are: Phantom of the Opera (always a highly-rated disc), George Clooney hits Good Night and Good Luck and Syriana, and holiday classic The Polar Express.

If you have an HD DVD player, nows the time to get some cheap discs to add to your collection.

Posted in Amazon, HD DVD, sales | Leave a Comment »

New RSS feed via feedburner

Posted by lozenp on February 21, 2008

Hey all, for the four of you who have my blog in your reader, if you would do me a solid and resubscribe using the new link on the top of the right column, I would be forever indebted. WordPress is great, but there’s some thing I want to know about the site that I can’t get so I subscribed to Feed Burner to try to get those stats, one of which is subscriptions.

It’s a pain, I know, but it will really help me out. To show my thanks, I’ve got 7 invites to the Hulu Private Beta left. The first seven to resubscribe and drop a comment get an invite. Be sure to put your email in the comment so I can get the invite to you. Many Thanks!

Here’s the feed:

Posted in General Stuff, Hulu | 2 Comments »

Microsoft GDC keynote ends, no Netflix announcement

Posted by lozenp on February 20, 2008

Despite the rumors, my hunches were (unfortunately) correct that Microsoft was not ready to announce a Netflix partnership on the 360.

The Game Developer’s conference keynote featuring Chris Satchell of Microsoft just completed and no mention of Netflix was made. Some cool announcements including community games on the 360, games on the Zune and Gears of War 2 in November came out, but that’s about it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Netflix on the 360? Possible announcement tomorrow

Posted by lozenp on February 19, 2008

The rumors have been flying fast and furious lately about Netflix and Microsoft hooking up to offer Netflix’s instant watch features via the Xbox 360 for Netflix members. A report on MSNBC today hints that an announcement might come tomorrow morning during the Microsoft keynote at the Game Developer’s Conference.

The rumors popped back up after Netflix sent out a user poll asking people if they would be interested in instantly watching movies on their Xbox. A similar poll went out asking the same question with a Playstation flavor.

While this would be an awesome add on for Netflix subscribers, I tend to agree with Dave Zatz of that this marriage is a long way off, if it even happens at all. Zatz brings up two valid points:

1. Microsoft offers movies via the Xbox Live Marketplace already, adding Netflix would either create competition for itself or likely signal an end to Microsoft offering movies itself.

2. Netflix has been talking for a while now about a set-top box and that hasn’t appeared yet.

I’ll certainly be paying close attention to the Microsoft keynote tomorrow morning at 10 a.m., but I’m not holding my breath. I’ll update the site with any news tomorrow.

Posted in computers, Netflix, Xbox 360 | 3 Comments »

Universal, Paramount going Blu

Posted by lozenp on February 19, 2008

uhi.jpgAnd now for the “no duh” announcements. After Toshiba ended HD DVD this morning, Paramount and Universal are going Blu. No specifics on when yet, but you can bet it will be soon. Let me save you time and tell you that Dreamworks and any other current HD DVD backer will be going Blu as well.

In a strange, sad, ironic twist, Universal sent out to its subscribers its UniversalHiDef email yesterday, touting HD DVDs from the company.

The Universal High Def site has not been changed to reflect any announcements as of yet.

Either way, it looks like if you are like me and want to get your hands on some HD DVDs before they disappear, you might want to get going on making purchases. It’s very likely that these Universal and Paramount may stop producing HD DVDs very quickly in an effort to gain sales from the amount of press being given to the end of the format war.

For you Blu-Ray people, shouldn’t be too long before you can enjoy Transformers, Shrek and many other previously exclusive HD DVDs. No word either, on Warner’s upcoming HD DVD releases that have already made it out on Blu-Ray but are in the midst of that companie’s three-week delay between Blu-Ray and HD DVD releases.

Posted in Blu Ray, Format War, HD DVD | Leave a Comment »

It’s over, officially

Posted by lozenp on February 19, 2008

stone.jpgWith an early morning (at least here in America) press conference in Japan, Toshiba has put an end to the next generation disc format war. The company issued a press release today stating it would “no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders.”

Production will begin to wind down immediately, and Toshiba aims to be out of the business by the end of March.

“We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called ‘next-generation format war’ and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop,” said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation. “While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality.”

Nishida went on to say at a press conference following the announcement (read a recap on Engadget HD) that Toshiba has “No plans at all” at this time to support Blu-Ray or any other optical next generation format. The company will still support standard DVD and remain a member of the DVD Forum.

The announcement completes a cycle that was really put in motion back in January with Warner Bros. announcement that it was dropping it’s dual-format stance and moving to Blu-Ray exclusivity. Other smaller studios made announcements in the wake of Warner’s, and then within the span of two days earlier this month Netflix, Best Buy and Wal Mart all announced they would be moving toward Blu-Ray exclusivity in one form or another.

Posted in Blu Ray, Format War, HD DVD, Home Theater | 1 Comment »

HD DVD funeral tomorrow? Lunch at the fellowship hall after

Posted by lozenp on February 18, 2008

This may or may not be true, but various Japanese media outlets are reporting the Toshiba will officially announce the end of HD DVD production tomorrow, signaling the end of the format just a few short days after Best Buy, Wal Mart and Netflix all went Blu Ray.

At this point its kind of like waiting to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs when its obvious your team sucks, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.

Posted in Blu Ray, Format War, HD DVD | 1 Comment »