This particular launch may have ended in a ball of fire, but DirecTV says its planned launch of 100 new HD channels by year's end is still on track. Yesterday a Zenit-3SL rocket operated by a company called Sea Launch exploded on the platform. Although the rocket did not contain a DirecTV satellite, the company plans to use Sea Launch to put up the second of two new "birds" later this year. DirecTV spokesman Robert Mercer told TVpredictions.com that the explosion would have no impact on the company's high-definition plans; he wouldn't elaborate. Mercer'… Read more
Shhhhhh! Audiovox has been displaying the XM2Go/MP3 portable in its copious CES 2007 booth, but the company isn't quite ready to discuss details. Scheduled for a late-summer release, the X2G100B will offer a similar feature set as other XM/MP3 portables such as the Delphi SkyFi3--live and recorded XM playback, MP3 playback, storage, and so on--but company execs say they are taking some time to make sure they can equip the player with enough cool features to really differentiate it from other XM/MP3 portables.
It will likely have at least enough memory to store up to 50 … Read more
The headline on Dish Network's press release says "free high-definition DVR," but the fine print is a bit less exciting. The company introduced two new programming packages, called DishDVR Advantage and Dish DVR Advantage HD, that are said to reduce the cost of items purchased separately--as much as seven percent for the first package (woo hoo!). The "free high-definition DVR," a ViP-622 normally available for $199, is part of the HD version. For the reasonable cost of $69.99 per month, customers will receive the DVR, the satcaster's 30 national HD channels (more info), … Read more
In a major announcement at CES this year, DirecTV said it would expand its national HD channel offering to 100 channels by the end of the year, far surpassing the HD channel offerings of satellite rival Dish Network and of cable providers. The "100" number sounds suspiciously round to me, but the company's press release mentions it has "signed agreements, or agreements in principle, with more than 70 major networks including: A&E, National Geographic, Bravo, NFL Network, Cartoon Network, SciFi Channel, CNN, Speed, Food Network, TBS, FX, the History Channel, HGTV, the Weather Channel, … Read more
The big surprise at CES 2007 has been the dearth of major announcements about new home-audio products. Receivers with HDMI 1.3 and built-in decoding for next-gen lossless audio formats are nowhere to be seen. But at least one receiver has brought something new to the table: Pioneer's VSX-1017TXV is the first model we've seen that offers built-in compatibility with both XM and Sirius satellite radio services. (In fact, it's one of three receivers in Pioneer's 2007 line that offers the dual-satellite option.)
As evidenced by the model number, the 1017TXV is just an evolutionary upgrade … Read more
Europe on Wednesday morning launched a new space observatory from a rocket base in Kazakhstan.
The COROT satellite was produced by a French-led design and science team. COROT--the acronym for Convection Rotation and Planetary Transits--uses highly precise sensors to note diminshed light emissions when planets pass between the satellite and the star being observed.
Main goal of this satellite: find other rocks in space--that is, other planets around other stars besides our own sun. When they find those other planets, will we also find out if "Britney Spears" is the most-searched term on their Internet?