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All posts tagged "streaming"

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Streaming Prime Instant Video to Xbox 360

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 01:49 PM

"You can already stream Prime Instant Videos on your Kindle Fire, your PlayStation 3, your Roku, and hundreds of other TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes. Today, we're excited to announce that the Xbox 360 joins the fold."

About time! And you can also set up a "wait list" much like the que you set up in Netflix. Too bad they don't have it set up for iPad or for Apple TV but at least you can watch it on your Mac. Personally, the more they add to Xbox 360 the happier I get since it means I'm that much closer to getting rid of Dish Network. I'm almost there actually, between this and Hulu + and Apple TV, along with the iPad apps I use I pretty much can get all I want except for sports. And for that I can always go to a bar or a friends house, sports are more fun to watch in groups anyway right?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Walmart And Partners Offering Cloud Access To Video

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"Tomorrow at 1pm ET, Walmart along with UltraViolet partners Universal, Paramount, Warner Brothers, Sony Pictures and Fox will announce Walmart's UltraViolet offering. Studio execs I have spoken with say that consumers will be able to bring their DVDs into Walmart, which will then charge the consumer between $2-$4 per DVD to give the consumer access to that movie in the UltraViolet cloud locker system. DVDs will then be stamped at the store, so they can't be used by multiple people and I'm told pricing for converting the DVD to digital will vary based on either SD or HD quality."

UltraViolet is a digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system that allows consumers of digital home entertainment content to stream and download purchased content to multiple platforms and devices. One of its selling points is that it allows a consumer to store movie or TV titles in a free, online personal library. UltraViolet is deployed by the 70-plus members of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem consortium, which includes film studios, retailers, consumer electronics manufacturers, cable companies, ISPs, network hosting vendors, and other Internet systems and security vendors. Walmart's service offering is intended to help facilitate consumers using the cloud-based system.

Dan Rayburn over at the Streaming Media Blog has some very interesting analysis of the potential success of the UltraViolet system. In short, he doesn't think it will work. Among the issues he sees as prevailing are the fact that consumers have to pay twice for the same piece of content, it is not easy to use, it requires multiple accounts with multiple websites, there is very little device support, and you need an Internet connection to watch your cloud-based movie. His analysis is well-worth reading if you are thinking of using the Walmart or a similar service, or if you just need to get up to speed with some of the issues in this domain.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Zune Music Pass Launches In Australia

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune News" @ 05:40 PM

Oh, yes, fellow Aussies. You'd better believe it. The Zune Music Pass has finally launched in Australia, which means 13 million songs and unlimited music video streaming are now at your fingertips on the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, PC, and web. You can get started now with a free 14-day trial; then, if it's to your liking, continue your subscription for $11.99 AUD per month, or go all out with an annual pass that nets you twelve months for the price of ten. Happy listening!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Pogoplug Mobile Offers Anywhere-You-Go Streaming

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:30 AM

"Looking for a drop-dead simple solution for streaming media (photos, music, video) and accessing files from home on your smartphone or tablet? Or how about backing up your smartphone's recently taken photos and video? Well, Pogoplug's new $79 Pogoplug Mobile product offers to do just that."

There's definitely something very appealing about having access to all of your music, videos, and photos anywhere you go. I've solve this by by uploading every photo I've ever taken to Smugmug, every song I have to Amazon's Cloud Drive, and videos...well, I don't have a good solution for that yet. I can access them remotely via my Windows Home Server, but only when that works (the last time it didn't). This is rather appealing, especially given the $79 price point. What solution do you use for everywhere-you-go media access?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

(Re)Discovering Music - A Guide For Today's Options

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"Luckily internet services abound for discovering, trying, and buying new music. Unfortunately, your choices can be a little overwhelming, not all tools fit your needs, and few of them actually integrate with one another. Here's how to work new music into your life in a post-MP3 age, from discovering it to integrating it into your library."

Discovering new music and artists is one of the real joys of life. If you're like me, you may get frustrated from time to time when you hear a song while driving, working, or otherwise focusing on an activity that is not the music itself and wonder who the artist is and what the name of the song is. Often, before you figure it out, it's gone. You may also be spending some time exploring music on the web or on conventional radio or satellite radio, and find that it's a tedious, non-scientific, endeavor. Fortunately, with a little planning and experience, you can leverage all kinds of music resources, tools, and repositories, and experience that wonderful feeling of finding a great song. Lifehacker has put together a three-step process for effectively exploring the world for music using present-day options: discovering music you like, on-demand streaming, and buying. If music is a big part of your life, read this posting and take advantage of the options available to us these days.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

DVD Streaming Service Goes Offline (At Least Temporarily)

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 09:30 AM

"Zediva, an innovative and unlicensed DVD streaming company that ran afoul of Hollywood, has shut the online doors to its private theater to comply with a federal court order."

Earlier this month the Zediva company closed (at least temporarily) its online operations. They had what I thought was quite a unique idea for, and implementation of, a streaming DVD service. Zediva thought it could circumvent licensing requirements by literally renting customers a DVD and a DVD player, with your computer, tablet or Google TV as the remote control. Were any of you using this service, and, if so, did it work well for you?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Uploading Unauthorized Video To YouTube Could Eventually Cause You Some Legal Issues

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:00 PM

"If you're considering uploading a movie or TV show to YouTube, go ahead and get it out of your system now, because pretty soon, such an act could land you behind bars with a felony count on your rap sheet - at least if Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) get their way."

While there is nothing imminent at this point in time, you've likely been thinking this idea was not far off. The proposal for this future bill is focused on increasing the penalties associated with streaming unauthorized content. The issue has been studied by Victoria Espinel, President Obama’s US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator. Currently, related laws state that “reproducing” and “distributing” copyrighted content are felony offenses. Streaming, on the other hand, is still considered a “public performance,” which carries lesser consequences. It seems significant new deterrents will be in place, including up to a five-year jail sentence and fines. Hit the Read link for a more detailed discussion of the proposed bill.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Concise Guide to Video-on-Demand Services

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 PM

"Stop watching movies and TV shows according to Hollywood's schedule! With video-on-demand, you can watch TV whenever you want, wherever you want, and you don't even have to remember to program a box to record it. Here's MaximumPC's take on the major online VOD services available today."

Gizmodo has an informative article describing some of the major video-on-demand services. The article covers Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster on Demand, CinemaNow, Crackle, Vudu, Hulu and Hulu Plus, the iTunes Store, and Netflix. A brief overview of each service, the content available through the service, and pricing, is provided. Users outside of the United States cannot access all these services but reading the service descriptions provides some insight as to how the services are differentiated and where this segment of the industry is headed.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Guide To Setting Up A Remotely Accessible Home Media Server

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:30 PM

"If you're out of the house a lot but still want access to files on your home computer, one of the best ways to solve that problem involves setting up your computer as a remotely accessible home media server. Here's a look at how to not only access your files (and control your computer) remotely, but also share files with others, stream music and video, access your photo library, and a whole lot more."

It seems to me that the interest in remote access to a home computer originated with the need for owners to provide direct access to their PC to support personnel troubleshooting problems. Wow, have things come a long way since then. There are a plethora of capabilities provided by a variety of software applications focused on remote access needs (e.g. take over your PC remotely, access files remotely, initiate and run an application on your PC remotely, stream media, and more). Lifehacker has provided us with a nicely structured guide for how to set up a remotely accessible home media server on a Windows, Mac, or Linux home PC.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Comprehensive Guide to Ripping, Watching, And Converting All Things Digital

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:30 AM,1

"Listen up, mediaphiles, because this might just be the last time we tackle the preservation of physical media in the hallowed pages of Maximum PC. Yes, the times are changing. Yes, we've cut back on purchasing CDs, DVDs, and BDs lately. Yes, we still have plenty of discs lying around in jewel cases on dusty shelves or in enormous three-ring binders. And yes-most definitely yes-we want to be able to access all these movies and songs from our PC, television, and our shiny new smartphone."

It's hard to imagine anyone today not having an ever growing collection of digital media. While much of that media is now originating in an electronic format that you can download directly, you likely still have many old favorite DVDs and other media sources stored in a physical format. At one time we heard and read regularly about ripping and converting digital media. While not as common a topic as it once was perhaps, it is still an important issue and one that can confound even the most experienced people. Maximum PC has done a very nice job of over viewing and presenting the in's and out's of ripping, watching, and converting all things digital. The article covers video and audio file formats, target playback devices, storage devices, organization strategies, streaming, and more. It would be a great site to add to your bookmarks list, and to refer to when you need a refresher or advice on handling your digital media.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ever Wonder How To Better Manage Your Music Collection?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"This question is a little like the onsite backup one we answered last week, and what methods you can use depend on how simple, expensive, and extensible you want your centralized music collection to be. Clearly, there are a ton of ways to tackle this problem, and this answer does not aim to be comprehensive. Rather, we're just throwing a few ideas out there that newbies to networked music sharing should investigate further."

"Ah", you are thinking. Finally. The answer to that pesky problem you have been dealing with for the last five years. Unfortunately, you may not be happy to hear that we don't have the definitive answer. What we do have is the observation that the options for you are ever expanding. Ars Technica was recently posed the question "How can I liberate my music collection from my single PC, store it somewhere central on my LAN, and access it from multiple locations?", and in their response they listed a least a half a dozen options. The comments on their article listed more. There is certainly no consensus on how to address this common need, primarily because each potential solution has some limitation or lack of flexibility that people wish was included.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Major Outage For Netflix Operation

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 07:05 PM

"Media distribution giant Netflix is currently offline. Their website states that the Netflix website and the DVD shipping operations are temporarily down."

Just got a Roku box and want to try Netflix streaming? Or waiting for you Netflix DVD to arrive? Well, you're going to have to wait. Netflix is currently down. This includes their web site, streaming and DVD shipping operations.

Hopefully Netflix will figure it all out and get back online soon.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sony Wants to Satisfy Your Qriosity

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 12:00 PM

"The service, called "Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity," will initially be available in the U.K. and Ireland, but Sony plans to expand it to more countries in 2011. It expects to add at least Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and the U.S. next year."

Look out Pandora! Watch out! Sony is coming for you! Well, maybe. Qriosity is a new service to be offered by Sony that offers music streaming. Supported on various Sony (Surprised?) devices, it looks like it will offer music not just from Sony, but several other record companies. Aside from the obvious vendor lock-in and lack of ability to save your music for offline listening, one thing that is not mentioned is whether the service offers automatic playlist generation.

I believe that one of the reasons why Pandora and are so popular is because they make customized stations to listen to catered to your own tastes. If Qriosity does not include that, it will be a serious advantage for its competitors. Access to over 6 million songs is great, but without any way to organize and listen to what you want in that 6 million can become quite a challenge.

Of course, that does remind me of the hours, or even days, I would spend as a teenager making mix-tapes. I guess those days are largely gone and we have decided to let technology do our mixing for us.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome to Microsoft TV!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:00 PM

"Microsoft's partnership with ESPN to bring streaming sports to the Xbox 360 may be the tip of a streaming video iceberg. According to sources speaking to Reuters, the company is working on deals to launch a subscription service to stream video content to Windows PCs or devices such as the Xbox 360."

Boxee, Apple, Google and now Microsoft seems to be getting into the streaming business. We have all heard the word "convergence" tossed around for the past decade, if not longer, and it seems that the pieces are slowly fitting together. Xbox Live has had several streaming services for it for quite some time, so it is no surprise that Microsoft wants to, and has the capability to offer additional streaming services. Microsoft, along with Sony and its PS3, could eventually become credible competitors to the cable and satellite companies. With the install base that Microsoft has, it certainly has a greater chance than many of the other companies.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Netflix Changes Their Pricing Structure

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 07:00 AM

"Netflix on Monday excitedly announced a new streaming-only, DVD-less plan, and then, while staring down at the floor, quietly murmured something about a price hike for all other plans."

This was bound to happen as more and more people stream content from Netflix, and find no need to even order the physical disks. According to the Netflix Blog, you can get a streaming only plan for $7.99 USD. The other plans will increase by $1.00 USD, so if you had the one disk plan before, it will go up to $9.99 USD. I prefer the option to have at least one disk sent to me as not all the content Netflix offers is available to stream. Once that happens, I'm streaming only.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Streaming Netflix On the PS3 Without a Disk

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home News" @ 05:00 AM

"Take Netflix's widely adored streaming service, subtract the disc, add 1080p video and 5.1 audio and you should have something everyone's happy with right? Not exactly, as we've discovered a day after the updated Netflix app launched for the PlayStation 3 with a bunch of new features and unfortunately, a few new issues to go along with them including the app not working at all on imported systems, needing a new PSN user ID and the confusion of certain users seeing very different interfaces than what was promised."

I finally got around to downloading the Netflix app for my PS3 this weekend. Everything went smoothly for me, I ran into no issues with my old 60GB PS3. I think the interface is much nicer than the disk based version. The video quality is noticeably improved from what I was getting. Previously I never found anything that was better than a good DVD transfer. Now it seems to be somewhere between DVD and BluRay in my non videophile opinion. Since I don't stream too much stuff, it is really nice to not have to search around for the disk anymore. Now if Netflix can improve their catalogue I will be all set. Anyone try this on the Wii yet? I can't imagine the quality is any good, but it might be nice to have something my kids can stream their animated movies on without using my home theater setup.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bing Spring 2010 Update: New Features Galore

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 02:30 PM

"Moving to the updated Bing web site, we see the biggest changes. And the most important of these, I think, is a rethinking of the overall Bing user experience, with Microsoft moving to more of a dialog-driven model. (Where "dialog" here means a conversation with the user, not a PC-type dialog window.) The impetus for this was the way the Bing user interface had evolved and become somewhat cluttered over the past year, with the left column, or "rail" in Bing-speak, losing its focus and becoming, on many pages, too long to be useful. (Microsoft has found that once the navigational pane extends past the "fold," or the bottom of the initial screen height, that many users simply stop paying attention.)"

The new Bing update is out, there's lots to like - of particular interest is the entertainment/media options. When you look up an artist and flip over to the music tab, you'll have an option to hear a full version of the track - as in, the entire song, once - after that, you'll get a 30 second preview. Zune Pass subscribers will get to hear the whole song as many times as they want. I haven't been able to see/test this feature, even when I manually go to the US version of Bing. Anyone else had any luck with this?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Keeping Connected to Everything at Home

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 04:00 PM

"Streaming recorded TV to your hotel room. Grabbing files off your home computer from work. Checking on the dog walker. Your computer can do amazing things while you're nowhere near it, and these 10 killer remote access apps help you do them."

So not everything can exist in the cloud right now, and a lot of people still have a considerable amount of their digital life tucked away on their home. Just because you are not at home, or not right in from of the computer that stores what you need, does not mean that you cannot get access to it. There are a wide variety of tools that provide services like remote access, VPN and streaming. Of particular interest should be the Wake-on-LAN option that is available for most current generation computers. In the world of saving power and arguably faster boot times, you may not need to have your computer(s) on all the time. However, with Wake-on-LAN, you can rouse them from their slumber to do tasks only when needed. You might be surprised just how much power than can save over the course of a year. Now if only LCD monitors could get there. Yes, I know they're improving, but many still use way too much power for what they need when in stand-by mode.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Walmart Wants Some Vudu to Compete with Hulu

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 09:30 AM

"Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but a person briefed on the deal said the price for the company, which raised $60 million in capital, was over $100 million. Other companies, including Best Buy,, Comcast and the satellite company EchoStar, had also expressed interest in acquiring Vudu, according to this person, who asked for anonymity because the terms of the deal were private."

Ah Blu-ray, I hardly knew you. The battle for the next generation video delivery service is well underway, and as everyone expected, it is online. Soon, you will be able to watch any movie you want, new or old, right from the comfort of your living room without having to go to a store, Redbox, or even your mailbox. Well, for some of you, that reality is already here, and Wal-Mart's entry is only going to provide you with more options. There are some of us, living in third world countries like Canada, are presented with expensive and limited options provided to us by our telvision carriers. Hooray for regional copyright regulations! The $100 million (!!!!!) deal just further cements the idea that physical media will be relegated to smaller markets.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Infinitec Flash Drive is Infinite

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 04:00 PM

"Infinitec has created a USB stick that contains an 802.11n module capable of creating an ad hoc network through any device's USB port. But on the receiving end, it appears as nothing more complicated than a flash drive."

With this, any device that can read from a USB key could theoretically stream that same media over your wi-fi network. Wouldn't seem as useful for video game consoles (since they already have options to hook up to your network), but would be great for a TV or DVD player that doesn't have a network interface.

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