Saturday, January 5, 2008

Vudu Adds HD Content

VUDU, a start-up offering a movie-on-demand set-top box with content from major studios, announced that it is expanding the high-definition (HD) movies available through the VUDU box.
By the end of January, 70 HD movies will be available for to rent. Playback of the HD movies will be instant provided the Internet connection to the home network is consistently 4 Mbps or greater. Those with lower or fluctuating bandwidth will experience some delay before viewing can begin. VUDU customers will be able to rent HD new releases for $5.99 and HD classics for $3.99.

The HD titles complement the over 5,000 standard definition movies and TV shows currently available from all the major U.S. film studios and more than 22 independent and international film distributors..

Seagate Debuts "PipelineHD" Terabit Drives for DVRs

Seagate Technology unveiled its "PipelineHD" Series Hard Disc Drives purpose-built for Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) with initial capacities planned up to 1TB. This would allow DVRs to capture up to 200 hours of HD television or 1,000 hours of Standard Definition television.

Seagate said its new drives also integrate several other key performance features, including superior acoustic performance for virtually silent operation inside a DVR. Another important characteristic of the PipelineHD Series hard drives is low emitted vibration. The drives are also designed with a target of meeting all global standards for low-power usage. Shipments are expected to begin in the first half of 2008, with capacities from 320GB up to 1TB.

Microsoft Builds Xbox Live and MSN Programming with ABC-Disney, MGM, NBC Universal

Microsoft announced several new entertainment services and partnerships to build its Xbox Live content library , including new deals with Disney-ABC Television Group, NBC Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM).

Under the agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group, later this month, all U.S. Xbox LIVE members will begin to have access to select TV shows and movies from the ABC Television Network, ABC Family, ABC News, Disney Channel and Toon Disney as part of an agreement with Disney-ABC Television Group. More than 500 hours of content, in both standard definition and high definition when available, will be offered.

Under the agreement with MGM, Xbox 360 will offer MGM's movie library on demand for Xbox 360 including such titles as "Rocky," "Terminator," "Legally Blonde," "Silence of the Lambs" and "Barbershop." United Artists, an MGM sister company, will also make select films available on demand.

Microsoft said it now has more than 10 million Xbox LIVE members and more than 3,500 hours of premium content, making Xbox 360 a premier platform for on-demand TV shows and movies.

Under another exclusive agreement, Microsoft and NBC will deliver on MSN, the official U.S. online home of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In the first "long-tail" Olympics, online viewers will have access to more than 3,000 hours of live and on-demand content so they can watch their favorite athlete or sport, regardless of whether the sport has seven fans or 7 million. on MSN will be available free and powered by Microsoft Silverlight technology, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering high-quality video experiences on the Web.

Netgear Adds Multiple Internal Antenna Array to N Products

NETGEAR launched a new series of Wireless-N products including its RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Router, RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router, 5 GHz Wireless-N HD Access Point/Bridge, HD/Gaming 5 GHz Wireless-N Networking Kit, and RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N USB Adapter. The new Wireless-N products, which are based upon the IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 specification and have all been certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, incorporate multiple internal antenna arrays based on NETGEAR's metamaterials technology.

The company said unique wireless signal patterns and properties delivered by metamaterial antenna arrays improve the range and throughput of the WiFi routers and adapters. Based on patented antenna structures, but using conventional and inexpensive manufacturing techniques, the metamaterial antenna array places multiple antennas in close proximity, directing signal energies to targeted wireless devices while avoiding any signal collision or interference with each other. The ability to have antennas placed close together enables NETGEAR to incorporate six to eight internal antennas in a compact design.

The new NETGEAR products are also equipped with the industry-standard Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) introduced by the WiFi Alliance. This enables a "Push 'N' Connect" button that eliminates the need to remember or input security password keys.

Broadcom and Microsoft Collaborate on IPTV System-on-a-Chip

Microsoft and Broadcom are working together to enable Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV client software to operate on next-generation set-top boxes (STBs) utilizing the Broadcom BCM7405 system on a chip (SOC). The companies said their collaboration will permit service providers and original equipment manufacturers to support a range of features such as whole-home digital video recording (DVR), high-performance user interfaces, and photo and music sharing.

Broadcom and Microsoft are also working to help ensure security functionality on this new platform.

Broadcom said its BCM74xx series SOCs can also be embedded into other consumer devices to allow users to choose from a variety of IPTV-ready receivers such as HD DVD players and television sets.


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