Bearing a striking resemblance to Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link, Samsung has announced the Home Digital Media Adapter (DMA). The Home Digital Media Adapter is designed to attach to the back of certain 2008 Samsung HDTVs and streams media from the internet or networked connected PCs. Connecting to your home network is possible either by a wired Ethernet connection or by buying a separate 802.11n module. It also works as a Media Center Extender, which gives you access to Microsoft's user interface and features like an electronic programming guide. The initial list of supported file types is … Read more
One of our predictions for CES 2008 was that DVD recorders with ATSC tuners would get a couple of key features upgrades that take full advantage of the built-in digital tuner. Well, if Panasonic's new line of DVD recorders is any indication, we were wrong.
Despite some significant clamoring for a DVD recorder with a hard drive, the new Panasonic Diga line of DVD recorders includes only two standard DVD recorders, plus two DVD/VHS recorder combo units. There's also no mention of a few features we were hoping for: true HD output for ATSC programming, an EPG … Read more
LAS VEGAS--The winner in the Blu-ray and HD DVD war is the hard drive, according to Bill Watkins, CEO of Seagate Technology.
"People are saying Blu-ray won the war but who cares? The war is over physical distribution versus electrical distribution, and Blu-ray and HD lost that," he said during a breakfast meeting at the Consumer Electronics Show here this week. "In this, flash memory and hard drives are on the same side. The war is over and the physical guys lost."
Watkins, naturally, speaks from personal interest, but he's got a point. (A former … Read more
The major gripe against Blu-ray has always been that the hardware is just too expensive, especially when $99 HD DVD players were flying off the shelves at Wal-Mart a few months ago. While videophiles on a budget could opt for the $400 Sony PlayStation3, there hasn't been a real alternative for those looking for a cheaper standalone unit. Funai is looking to fill this gap with its latest announcement of a Blu-ray player slated to come in the second quarter of 2008 for less than $300--which is the lowest price we've seen on any Blu-ray player.
Other than … Read more
Anytime the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray is discussed on the Internet, there's always a commenter that chimes in to say that digital downloads are going to beat them both. While we've seen some successful products using the digital distribution model, such as Vudu, we've always been skeptical about true high-def digital distribution taking off in the near future, mostly because high-bandwidth Internet access just isn't cheap enough.
Instead of waiting for cheap, super-fast internet connections, XStreamHD is looking to an older technology to provide the extra bandwidth--a satellite dish. The XStreamHD system consists … Read more
Sony has shored up the problems in its electronics, and will concentrate in 2008 on bringing more video content to its devices and improving its software, said CEO Sir Howard Stringer.
"We will see if we can enter the battle against the software companies. This is probably the year we need to demonstrate that," Stringer said during a meeting with reporters at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Monday morning.
One of the first examples of this strategy will be an expansion of the PlayStation Network. The network now is mostly used by gamers. Sony wants to … Read more
If you think everybody has cable or satellite, you couldn't be more wrong. In fact, if you live in an area that's well-served by digital broadcasters, now's a better time than ever to get your TV over the air (or "OTA," as the cool kids say): yeah, you get only a handful of channels, but they're in crystal-clear digital quality--DVD quality at "worst," uncompressed high-definition at best. The problem--as we're reminded by many an e-mailer--is that there just isn't a good DVR solution for the rabbit-ears crowd, especially if you prefer high-def. (You can opt for a TiVo HD, but you'd still have to pay a monthly fee for their programming guide.) But that may finally be changing, thanks to the EchoStar TR-50. For all intents and purposes, the TR-50 takes many of the features found on Dish Networks' excellent satellite DVRs (such as the ViP622 and 722) and brings them to antenna-based TV viewers. … Read more
It's a common dilemma: you have the flat-screen TV perfectly placed in the living room or home theater, but the rest of your gear is located halfway across the room. You can snake a long HDMI cable around the perimeter--or you can consider something like the Belkin FlyWire. The transmitter/receiver combo lets you toggle as many as six AV sources and wirelessly transmit the audio and video--up to full 1080p--from one side of the room (your equipment rack) to the other (your big-screen TV or projector). The version Belkin was demoing at its booth had two HDMI inputs, two component inputs, a composite/S-Video AV set, and a SCART input--but the company hinted that that the North American version may drop the SCART jack (useless outside Europe) in favor of a third HDMI input. The generous connectivity means even the biggest home-theater geek will have the capacity for all of his gear--say, a PS3, an HD DVR, an Xbox 360, a DVD recorder, a Nintendo Wii, and a sixth device. Setup is said to be plug and play (the transmitter pairs with the receiver at the touch of a button), and because it's a closed system, it should be universally compatible with any standard video source and an HDMI TV.
Over the last few months month, Panasonic has put itself in the lead of the technological race between standalone Blu-ray players. Back in October, it released the first Profile 1.1 player before the deadline for the specification even hit. Now Panasonic is leapfrogging its competitors again with the newly announced Panasonic DMP-BD50, the first Blu-ray player to be Profile 2.0 compatible--also known as BD-Live. This means the DMP-BD50 will be able to handle any special features on future Blu-ray discs that utilize an Internet connection, similar to what has already been done on HD DVD discs like Blood … Read more
Samsung has been one of the most aggressive manufacturers in the Blu-ray market, releasing the very first player, the BD-P1000, and then following it up with the BD-P1200 and the BD-P1400 relatively quickly. The BD-P1500 is the next product in the line, and it looks to be an incremental improvement on the mostly well-reviewed BD-P1400. One of the biggest upgrades is that it's Blu-ray Profile 1.1 compliant, which means it can play back the "picture-in-picture" features available on some new Blu-ray discs coming out this year. The other important upgrade is soundtrack support, as the BD-P1500 … Read more