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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Intel and Adobe bringing Flash to a living room near you

By on January 5, 2009 at 10:49 AM.

Intel and Adobe bringing Flash to a living room near you

As is always the case, we can all expect plenty of home entertainment-related news to come this week as CES kicks off. New TVs, new Blu-ray players, new set top boxes and plenty of new technology will be showcased later this week and among the first to press release a big announcement is Intel. Alongside Adobe, Intel has announced plans to bring its new Media Processor CE 3100 to market along with a new optimized version of Adobe Flash. These efforts, according to Intel, will “provide consumers with richer and more seamless Web-based and video viewing experiences through advanced Intel-based cable set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, digital TVs and retail connected AV devices.” Coincidentally, we want more seamless Web-based and video viewing experiences, so this new allegiance should work out perfectly. 2009 is looking to be the year of the multi-source set top box which is plenty interesting to say the least. Set top technology has hardly gone mainstream but manufacturers of all shapes and sizes are incredibly eager to make it happen. Of course they are, as set top boxes and video-on-demand services make spending money about as easy as buying insurance from Geico – even easier, perhaps.

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Blockbuster finally releases its very own set-top box

By on November 25, 2008 at 4:56 PM.

Blockbuster finally releases its very own set-top box

After making an announcement ages ago, Blockbuster has finally launched its movie rental service via set-top boxes. Since word got out about the box and service, the only other option was to have DVDs delivered to your home, Netflix style, or to download movies and TV shows online. Now, with Blockbuster’s set-top box, you can snag movies with its OnDemand service whenever you want. The box is free if you pre-pay for 25 movies at the cost of $99, and while that sounds expensive, you wouldn’t be getting the box and service if you weren’t going to be watching a ton of movies, anyway – right? The set-top box works wirelessly and manages to deliver DVD quality to your screen, so if HD is an absolute must you’re pretty much out of luck with this one for now. If you’re a movie fiend and you have to have the latest hits from Hollywood, you’re still better off with the Blockbuster service as Netflix seems to be having a shortage of those movies lately. Anyone going to pick one of these up for the holidays?

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Tivo launches a new mobile website

By on November 25, 2008 at 10:53 AM.

Tivo launches a new mobile website

Tivo announced today that it is officially launching the beta version of its mobile website (m.tivo.com).  Anyone with a mobile browser can browse and search Tivo’s new mobile website for programming content. The search interface allows users to search by actor name, director name, titles or keywords and will even incorporate an “if you like this” recommendation system. Tivo subscribers who own a Series2 or Series3 set top box get an added bonus as they can use the mobile website to schedule programs to record on their Tivo at home. Sweet! Last week it was pizza and this week it is is mobile scheduling – we wonder what other goodies Tivo has in store for us next!

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Signs of the Apocalypse, volume one: TiVo meets Domino’s

By on November 17, 2008 at 2:54 PM.

Signs of the Apocalypse, volume one: TiVo meets Domino’s

Well people, it was fun while it lasted. Green fields and sunny pastures may soon be a thing of the past as TiVo has officially announced the Domino’s widget – a fast food ordering service that allows TiVo subscribers to order from Domino’s without ever having to get up from their couches. Ugh. The Domino’s widget walks users though the Domino’s menu right on the TV screen, providing separate sections for pizzas, side orders and drinks. A quick check out later and you’ve got 30 minutes before piping-hot cholesterol is delivered right to your door. Those of you comfortable with leaving your front door unlocked might not even have to get up off the couch to pay for the food. Orders are capped at $100 which is fine considering any order over $100 should be delivered by an ambulance. If this isn’t a sign of the end of times, we don’t know what is.

[Via Zatz Not Funny!]

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Memorex Readies $270 MVBD-2510 Blu-ray Player

By on September 18, 2008 at 1:08 PM.

Memorex Readies $270 MVBD-2510 Blu-ray Player

Here it is people, the first Blu-ray player to be announced with an MSRP under $300. It might not be quite as high-class as Goldmund’s Eidos 20 BD and it might not be quite as versatile as LG’s BG-3000 with integrated Netflix streaming, but those of you looking for some Blu-ray love on the cheap this is definitely right up your alley. Specs:

  • Progressive scan Blu-ray Disc player 1080p capability for higher definition video content
  • Full HD 1080p, DVD up-conversion up to 1080p (480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p), 24p, 60p video frame rate
  • Multi-channel audio content (supports more advanced Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD)
  • BD-ROM, DVD-ROM, DVD, DVD-R/-RW, DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R DL, DVD+R DL, CD-ROM, CD, CD-R/-RW
  • 16:9 / 4:3 picture select
  • On-screen graphical user interface
  • Slow motion function (2x – 4x – 8x)
  • RW/FF play function (2x – 4x – 8x – 16x)
  • VFD display

In a nutshell, Memorex’s upcoming offering is a pretty capable player at a pretty affordable price. Nothing more, nothing less. This unit should go a long way in making Blu-ray accessible to a much wider variety of consumer. It could also do us all a favor as competitive brands are forced to respond to the lower price range. The MVBD-2510 will be available in November just in time for the gift-giving season and will carry a recommended price tag of $269.99.

[Via Electronista]

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Movie Downloads Finally Coming to Blockbuster

By on July 25, 2008 at 10:49 AM.

Movie Downloads Finally Coming to Blockbuster

Come on Blockbuster, all the cool kids are doing it. Almost a year since announcing the acquisition of video download service Movielink, it looks like Blockbuster is finally getting ready to round out its portfolio with a download service of its own. No there still isn’t anything new with regards to the Blockbuster set top box many have been eagerly awaiting, but we’ll get there. In the meantime word on the street is that Blockbuster downloads should go live some time next month. A handful of Total Access members are currently beta testing the new service and so far it looks like everything is in order. Blockbuster will offer movie and TV show downloads for both rental and for purchase, though the number of available titles at the time of launch is still unknown. Whether or not the rental portion of the service will come with added fees attached is also still up in the air but we have to wage a guess that at least the upper-tier subscribers will have access at no charge. In light of the fact that Netflix and Microsoft’s partnership to stream content to Xbox 360 will be available soon enough, Blockbuster is going to have to do everything it can to make its new digital offering appealing.

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