Thursday, August 21, 2003
Digital-Lifestyles.info to include Broadband Entertainment News
I'm pleased and excited to announce that Broadband Entertainment News has been Incorporated into a new magazine called Digital-Lifestyles.info.
You won't be surprised to learn that it is all about Digital Lifestyles - reporting on the areas covered here, plus a wide range of subjects related to the convergence of media and technology. Pleasingly it is already creating significant interest, and has a strong readership from the industry and the consumers alike.
In addition to new content, the whole archive of Broadband Entertainment News will be remain searchable at Digital-Lifestyles.info, with the added advantage that every story published has been categorised to help you locate relevant content as quickly as possible.
I would like to say a big 'Thank You' to the many people who have visited Broadband Entertainment News over the last two years and for providing so much thought provoking feedback.
I'm looking forward to seeing you all at Digital-Lifestyles.info, sharing a Digital Lifestyle. It's just starting to get interesting.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Broadband entertainment news will be taking a break until August when it will return in a new, improved form.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
Heavyweights form the Digital Home Working Group
There are many issues that make the inter-connection of Digital Lifestyles devices a pretty big headache. With this is mind a lot of the heavy hitting companies in this area - Fujitsu, Gateway, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, Kenwood, Lenovo, Microsoft, NEC CustomTechnica, Nokia, Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, STMicroelectronics and Thomson - are getting together to try and make this simpler. To this end they've formed the Digital Home Working Group after realising that everyone trying to create their own standards isn't that sensible. Watch the space, it could be promising.
RealNetworks motherboard deal with Intel
In an effort to try to re-balance the near-blanket distribution of Microsoft's Media player, RealNetworks and Intel have signed a deal to have it's player software distributed on the driver CD that comes with some new Intel motherboards. It appears to only be for two motherboards and strangely they only support Pentium III and Celeron processors - strange as video playback results get much better the more powerful the processor.
Industry analysts are split on the value of the deal with the detractors wondering if the system builders will actually install the software.
Real have done lots of deals like this in the past, where the headline sounds really impressive but when you look at the detail, its value is diminished. One that springs to mind is their announcement that they were to provide their media player to Nokia. Closer examination showed they had signed a deal to provide the player for only one of their handsets.
Sony act to protect downloaded movies
Sony ISP in Japan, So-net, is working with JapanWave to provide protected, downloadable videos that stop working after a set period of time. The most common approach to protecting Internet-delivered music and videos is to stream them. The content distributor believes this will stop their content being permanently saved, which is not the case, as software has existed for a long time to store the streamed content to the local computer. The main problem with streaming is that viewing quality if dependant on the speed of its delivery - this doesn't occur when the video is downloaded. JapanWave's approach is to fragment the downloaded video file and distribute those sections are around numerous directories on the receiving computer. The JapanWave player then reassembles these when the video is played back while checking to see if the video is past its "view by" date. As is common knowledge, all DRM's systems are crackable and not surprisingly, the details of how Japanware protects the content aren't given, but it sounds like a simple solution that will not detract from the viewers experience and should put off most casual hackers.
Apple iTunes - 5m tracks sold
The latest update on sales figures from the online Apple iTunes music store have emerged. Five million tracks have now been bought in the first two months of the US Mac only service. While the initial purchasing frenzy of the first couple of weeks has slowed, when one million was sold in the first week and two million in the first sixteen days, it's still doing very well. Interestingly, 46% of the songs have been purchased as albums.
DVDs rentals outstrip VHS tapes in the US
It's not a great surprise that DVD rental has now exceeded VHS rental in the US, six years after DVD was introduced.
The US Video Software Dealers Association has reported consumers rented 28.2 million DVDs compared to 27.3 million VHS cassettes during the week ended June 15.
While there has been advantages for the consumer, the benefits for the trade have been significant. The distribution and storage of DVD's is significantly cheaper, as are the production costs. DVD are also more robust, being less prone to damage while playing.
Goodbye BT Openworld, hello BT Yahoo
Tucked away in BT's disclosure last week on its progress to roll-out broadband to the UK was the fact that it had failed to hit the projected number of users for its own BT Openworld service. Clearly something needed to be done so they have inked a deal with Yahoo in the UK to re-launch as BT Yahoo. BT has finally realised that they don't have the talent to licence or commission content so will rely on Yahoo's substantial content library hoping this attract new users.
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
Sony laptop with PVR built-in
Sony have released the Vaio PCG-GRT190G -- a high-spec portable that has built in TV tuner and PVR. Their interesting marketing angle is it's for executives that are really busy, so they need to shift their viewing and watch the recorded shows when they're on the move.
Video - BB NB
D&M strip ReplayTV of controvertial functions
The new owners of ReplayTV have decided to avoid the roth, and the lawyers, of the US TV broadcasters by removing two of the functions that the broadcasters had the greats expection to -- the automatic skipping of adverts and the ability to send a recorded show to another ReplayTV-equiped household -- from their soon to be released 5500 series. Pricing hasn't been announced.