Panasonic adds Twitter functionality to HDTVs

By on August 17, 2010 at 9:40 PM.

Panasonic adds Twitter functionality to HDTVs

Today, Panasonic announced that they will add Twitter to the list of built-in web entertainment technologies on their VIERA CAST enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray disc players. The company already offers Skype, Netflix, Pandora, Fox Sports, Amazon Video-On-Demand, YouTube, Picasa, Bloomberg, and weather services on VIERA televisions with the IPTV functionality built-in. Panasonic’s VP of corporate development had this to say:

Since we introduced Panasonic VIERA CAST IPTVs three years ago we have added more and more of the top entertainment and social networking sites in the world. The addition of Twitter to VIERA CAST further strengthens the interactive options Panasonic VIERA HDTV owners can now use to communicate with family and friends worldwide.   Consumers with VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVS can now tweet on Twitter, video chat via Skype, share videos on YouTube and digital photos via Google Picasa right from the comfort of their living rooms.”

Maybe the future of HDTV isn’t in 3D and ridiculous refresh rates… maybe it’s applications? We’ve got the full press release for you after the break. Let us know if functionality like this is something that interests you, or if you think it is just something that will get in the way of your television-viewing enjoyment. More →

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Sony PS3 getting 3D features via firmware: Blu-ray, YouTube, photos, games

By on July 14, 2010 at 12:40 PM.

Sony PS3 getting 3D features via firmware: Blu-ray, YouTube, photos, games

ps3

Mick Hocking, Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE) senior director, had quite a bit of good news for those Play Station 3 owning 3D enthusiasts. At a London event dedicated the 3D speak, Mick was quoted as saying quite a bit:

Now, in June this year we did the 3D Firmware update. Every PlayStation 3 that’s connected online now has a new version of this Firmware. 

At the last count we’ve got 35.8 million PlayStation 3s out there – that means there’s an instant market of around 36 million 3D-ready PlayStation 3 consoles. The upgrade basically makes every PlayStation 3 HDMI 1.4 compatible – that’s the standard that governs 3D displays. 

What this means is that there is no setup at all required. If you have a PlayStation 3 and you buy a 3DTV, you simply connect via your HDMI cable and your PlayStation 3 will automatically recognise that you’ve got a 3D display attached.

In September this year, we’re launching another Firmware upgrade – and this one is going to upgrade the PS3 to support Blu-ray movies in 3D. Again, you won’t have to do anything – just connect your PS3. For the film market that’s a very significant event.

Then later in the year – we’re not going to date it yet – the PS3 is going to support 3D photos. Of course the popularity of 3D isn’t just going to come from movies and games. There’s 3D cameras on the market, there’s 3D camcorders coming on the market in the next 12 months as well, and 3D broadcasts.

So you’ll see 3D games in the next 12 months, you’ll see Blu-ray movies in 3D, and as soon as the broadcasts start through our PlayTV services, you’re going to watch 3D content [through that service].

YouTube will be supporting 3D content over the next 12 months as well – and you’ll be able to watch that on the PlayStation 3. And as you start taking 3D pictures of your family or 3D camcorder movies, you can play those back on PS3, too.

It’s a great purchase proposition and future proof.

All great news for Play Station 3 owners. Of course, not too many people have a 3DTV yet… but it is nice to know that if you were to shell out the cash for one, your PS3 would be ready to rumble. More →

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Hulu Plus gets official: $9.99 per month, supports iOS, TVs, Blu-ray players, and more

By on June 29, 2010 at 2:36 PM.

Hulu Plus gets official: $9.99 per month, supports iOS, TVs, Blu-ray players, and more

hulu-plus

Announced earlier today after months of speculation, Hulu Plus has finally become official. For $9.99 per month, subscribers will be able to watch their favorite shows — including those from seasons past — on a multitude of internet-connected devices. Mobile devices are a go, with iOS devices including the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, and iPod touch (3rd generation) being the main attraction at this point in time. The best part as far as mobile is concerned is that streaming will work on both Wi-Fi and 3G networks. Several internet-connected HDTVs and Blu-ray players from Samsung already have support for the streaming service, and later on in the year, both Sony and Vizio will introduce support in some of their sets ad Blu-ray players. The PlayStation 3 will support the service “soon”, while the Xbox 360 will play nice come 2011. Hulu Plus will officially launch is July, but if you’re lucky you might just be able snag a preview invite. More →

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Blu-ray discs to break 100GB capacity threshold, Intra-Hybrid discs on the way as well

By on April 5, 2010 at 11:01 AM.

Blu-ray discs to break 100GB capacity threshold, Intra-Hybrid discs on the way as well

blu-ray logo

We know what you’re thinking… only being able to store 50GB of data on a Blu-ray disc is so lame. Well, fear not gulper of the gigabyte, because it looks like a new, higher capacity Blu disc is on the way. The new disc technology, dubbed BDXL, will have the ability to store up to 128GB of data for write-only discs and 100GB for re-writable discs. The Blu-ray Disc Association is touting the new discs “provide professional enterprises with a compact, stable and long term solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images using a proven and widely accepted optical technology.”

Intra-Hybrid discs are also an interesting development coming out of the Blu-ray camp:

The Intra-Hybrid Blu-ray Disc (IH-BD) incorporates a single BD-ROM layer and a single BD-RE layer so as to enable the user to view, but not overwrite, critical published data while providing the flexibility to include relevant personal data on the same physical disc. This allows for consumer specific applications where combining published content with related user data on a convenient, single volume is desirable. Both the ROM and the RE layers on IH-BD discs provide 25GB of capacity.

Of course to leverage this new technology will require a new Blu-ray player and/or writer that has the ability to decode these new discs… but you knew that. Pricing and availability of the new equipment has yet to be determined. Hit up the link for the official press release.

[Via Pocket-lint] More →

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Sling Media Touch Control 100 video demo at CES

By on January 8, 2010 at 11:31 PM.

Sling Media Touch Control 100 video demo at CES

Sling1

We popped over to Sling Media’s booth here at CES and took the new Sling Touch Control 100 for a spin. Overall, it’s pretty impressive and nifty, albeit a bit large, but the big, vivid screen makes up for it. Now, instead of picking up your heavy arm, grabbing the remote control and pushing all those buttons, you can set this thing down beside you and navigate your DVR or Blu-ray player over your wireless network with just the touch of a finger. The layout and set-up is very similar to what you’d see online for navigating content, so it’s quite intuitive. But if you miss that good-old-fashioned remote control look, you can get that up on the screen, too. Hit the break for the video demo! More →

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VUDU to come bundled on broadband HDTVs and Blu-ray players from a variety of manufacturers

By on January 7, 2010 at 6:37 AM.

VUDU to come bundled on broadband HDTVs and Blu-ray players from a variety of manufacturers

Vudu Logo

VUDU has taken a great leap forward, moving from its small lineup of streaming media set-top boxes and its presence on a few home entertainment devices to being the embedded media service of choice for LG, Mitsubishi, Samsung, SANYO, Sharp, Toshiba and VIZIO. The popular streaming movie service will be installed on select models of broadband TVs and Blu-ray players across all partners, an arrangement that may put millions of VUDU-enabled home entertainment devices into living rooms across America. Customers who purchase a VUDU-spiced HDTV or Blu-ray player will be able to access VUDU’s 3,000 strong on-demand HD movie catalog and its exclusive 1080p HDX formatted feature films. VUDU also announced its new VUDU Apps application platform, a cloud-based application service that allows customers to browse photos, stream video, access social network sites and more from the comfort of their favorite chair. They’ve got over 100 applications in the catalog and they will be available on broadband HDTVs from Mitsubishi, SANYO, Sharp and Toshiba and on broadband Blu-ray players from Toshiba. We need this. Now. More →

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Netflix and Sony partner up to allow streaming movies on PS3

By on October 26, 2009 at 4:19 PM.

Netflix and Sony partner up to allow streaming movies on PS3

All you movie addicts who own the PlayStation 3 no longer have to envy Xbox 360 users. Sony and Netflix are teaming up to bring movie streaming to the Ps3. The bonus for those on the PlayStation Network is, since your PSN accounts are free, all you need is a Netflix account to watch movies whereas Xbox 360 users need a $50-per-year Xbox Live Gold membership. The service will launch in November and if you decide to use your PS3 to access your Netflix account (why wouldn’t you?), Netflix will send a Blu-Ray disc that will allow you to access its library. It might seem like a hassle to pop in the disc every time you want to watch movies, but Netflix says it’s working on a software update for the PS3 that will do away with the need for a disc. It looks like you gamers and movie buffs are about to see double the couch time.

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VUDU on-demand HD content coming soon to an LG BD390 Blu-ray player near you

By on September 9, 2009 at 3:00 PM.

VUDU on-demand HD content coming soon to an LG BD390 Blu-ray player near you

LG-BD390

File this little guy under gadgets we need ASAP. VUDU has been tearing it up lately as the company wisely broadens its horizons beyond dedicated set top boxes. The HD on-demand content provider recently announced partnerships that bring its service to various LG and Mitsubishi flat-panel televisions, and now VUDU is taking things to a new range of products: LG Blu-ray players. It certainly makes sense — if you’re going to add an on-demand HD streaming service to a line of home theater components, why not make them Blu-ray players? The first LG model that will be graced with VUDU service is the BD390, which is available now with an MSRP of $399. VUDU will go live on the player via a free software update toward the end of the month, though CEDIA attendees will be able to get a preview of the VUDU-enabled player this week at the show. If you have a High Def addiction and you’ve given up fighting it long ago, the BD390 is definitely the 1080p fix you’ve been looking for. Hit the jump for the full release.

More →

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Playstation 3 Slim on sale at Best Buy

By on August 25, 2009 at 8:55 PM.

Playstation 3 Slim on sale at Best Buy

We know, we know — if you really wanted one and stay up on your blawgz you’d have purchased one by now, but for everyone else, it seems as if the PS3 Slim is currently available at a bunch of Best Buy locations. One of our tipsters hit us with the above photo and other sites have reported on this as well. Anyone purchase one yet?

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Apple iTunes 9 details, Blu-ray, app organization

By on August 8, 2009 at 1:18 PM.

Apple iTunes 9 details, Blu-ray, app organization

We’ve just received a tip from a pretty reliable source that detailed for us some of iTunes 9′s upcoming features and they’re pretty exciting.

One of the new additions to iTunes is said to include Blu-ray support which lines up nicely with a recent Apple Insider report about Apple integrating Blu-ray into their new iMac line-up. Something else that will most likely make a bunch of people happy is that we’ve been told iTunes 9 will finally include the ability to visually organize and arrange your iPhone and iPod touch applications. Something that wasn’t so clearly described was some kind of Twitter/Facebook/Last.fm integration. Maybe broadcasting what song you’re playing to your friends?

Let’s see how this pans out. Even though we weren’t given a timeframe on a possible release, that yearly Apple iPod event around the September timeframe would most likely be a reasonable place to expect this sort of announcement we believe.

Thanks, Lindsey!

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Toshiba dances on HD DVD's grave, gets in bed with Blu-ray

By on July 20, 2009 at 5:35 PM.

Toshiba dances on HD DVD's grave, gets in bed with Blu-ray

Following a long a grueling battle that forced the company to bury its now-defunct “next generation” home entertainment media tech, Toshiba was left bleeding worse than a naked cheerleader in an axe murderer flick. It’s been just over a year since we all attended HD DVD’s $1 billion funeral and now it appears that Toshiba is done grieving. A year is enough time, right? According to the the Japanese newspaper the Yomiuri Shimbun, the beaten electronics giant plans to join the dark side and issue a Blu-ray player by year’s end. It’s first BD offering will reportedly play DVDs as well as Blu-ray discs, though the price point is still unknown. Tosh is supposedly considering a Blu-ray recorder as well but no time line was specified so odds are we won’t see it this year. The move makes sense of course — Toshiba has to keep up with the times and 1080p is hotter than Hansel right now. It’s going to have to sell a whole lot of players to make up for that $1 billion it lost in the format war, however. Best of luck to you, Tosh.

[Via HD-Report]

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G.E. boasts of physical storage breakthrough; 500GB on a single disc

By on April 27, 2009 at 4:22 PM.

G.E. boasts of physical storage breakthrough; 500GB on a single disc

As Blu-ray finally begins to gain traction on a wider scale, G.E. is again boasting of a physical disc storage breakthrough with the potential to hold 10 to 20 times more data than a Blu-ray disc and 100 times more data than a DVD. This isn’t the first time G.E. has spoken of its progress in holographic storage research but the New York Times is now reporting the company has made a new breakthrough. G.E.’s technology encodes holographic light patterns onto in a disc and packs data far more densely than the optical technology used by DVDs and Blu-ray discs. In fact, the technology in its current lab state is said to allow for up to 500GB of data storage on a single disc. For comparison, a Blu-ray disc holds 25 or 50GB and a DVD holds 5GB of data. The key to G.E.’s success with this technology of course, is making it affordable — other companies will be introducing holographic storage solutions as soon as this year. InPhase Technologies for example, will soon introduce a specialized holographic storage system geared towards the medical industry. InPhase’s solution however, requires expensive discs and readers that cost tens of thousands of dollars. G.E. plans to show off its work at a conference in Orlando in May, so perhaps some light will be shed on G.E.’s efforts in making the technology a bit more accessible.

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Farewell VHS, we’ll miss you – thanks for the memories!

By on December 23, 2008 at 9:22 AM.

Farewell VHS, we’ll miss you – thanks for the memories!

Remember those Friday nights when you’d rent video tapes by the bundle and watch them all as fast as you can because they were due back in two days and you knew it would take an eternity to rewind each one? Though we’ve come a long way from finely tuning the tracking knob on VCRs for better picture quality, we’re still going to miss these giant cassettes, if not for nostalgia. These days, it’s all about high-definition, Blu-ray and digital sound, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and Distribution Video Audio in Burbank, CA, the last large-scale distributor of VHS tapes, has shipped its last batch. Anything left over will be given away or thrown away. Farewell, large, black, and cumbersome video tapes! We won’t forget you, until we do of course.

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