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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 31, 2011 0 comments
Memorial Day shoppers got a special treat at Blockbuster in the form of radically lower rental prices.

In the wake of its acquisition by the Dish Network, Blockbuster is reducing the price of "just released" rentals from $4.99 for three days to $2.99 for the first day and 99 cents per additional day. Other new titles will cost $1.99 first day, 99 cents per additional day.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 27, 2011 1 comments
Apple is fixing to follow Amazon and Pioneer into the cloud. Music industry sources say Apple is lining up support to launch a new service that would store music online.

What would make Apple's service different than the other two? It would license the music, instead of leaving the legal details of acquisition to the user. Hence the music industry consultations.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 26, 2011 0 comments
Over the years DLNA has emerged as a useful standard enabling a/v products to pull content from router-connected computers, among other uses. Now some new interoperability guidelines will enable it to do the same from cable, satellite, or telco TV set top boxes.

The new standard was developed in conjunction with CableLabs, the research arm of the cable, satellite, and telco TV industries, and uses DTCP-IP link-protected streaming. It effectively means you can stream pay-TV signals throughout the home without having to pay for extra set top boxes, though you will need at least one box using the new technology.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 25, 2011 3 comments
We couldn't quite believe this when we read it. But apparently it's true: Movie theaters are leaving 3D equipment in place when showing 2D films. The result, says The Boston Globe, is an image with a fraction of the proper brightness.

Reports the paper: "A walk through the AMC Loews Boston Common on Tremont Street one evening in mid-April illustrates the problem: gloomy, underlit images on eight of the multiplex's 19 screens...."

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 24, 2011 0 comments
In the mood for Vudu's 1080p video stream with Dolby Digital Plus surround? Vizio is going to make it easy for you by building a dedicated Vudu button into 2011 TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes.

Vudu says other manufacturers will offer the button too though their names weren't disclosed at presstime.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 23, 2011 1 comments
TiVo is unquestionably the industry's deluxe DVR, but that status has always come at a price: Users pay for both hardware and the monthly program guide subscription. Now the latter is rising in price.

TiVo's monthly fee of $12.95 is going up to $19.99. And the cost of lifetime service, previously $399, is now $499. The new prices became effective last week, on May 19, 2011.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 20, 2011 0 comments
Hankering for an HDTV with 16 times the total resolution of 1080p, currently the consumer TV industry's gold standard? Sharp offers for your consideration the Super Hi-Vision set, currently in prototype.

Resolution of the 85-inch panel is 7680 by 4320 pixels, definitely an increase over the 1920 by 1080 pixels available in today's best sets at the consumer retail level. That's 103 pixels per inch, versus the 36 pixels per inch of a 60-inch 1080p set, or 33 megapixels, versus the 2 megapixels of current HDTV.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 19, 2011 0 comments
It's official: Netflix is now king of the internet, eclipsing all other forms of net traffic, bringing an abrupt end to the nation's use of other video streaming operations, web browsing, email, and naughty bits.

Oh all right, that's an exaggeration. But not by much. a recent study by Sandvine, a network analytics firm, reveals that Netflix is indeed the biggest bandwidth consumer on the net.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 18, 2011 1 comments
Another day, another Apple rumor. Surround audiophiles may find today's rumor especially juicy: R. Tomlinson Holman, who was instrumental in developing THX, may be about to take a job with Apple.

If this is true, it suggests Apple may be planning a major audio-related move, one in which the help of a certified home theater audio heavyweight would be indispensable.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 17, 2011 0 comments
For the first time, Miramax movies will become available on a digital subscription service. And the name of that service? Netflix, of course.

Miramax and Netflix have signed a multi-year agreement to stream hundreds of movies including Pulp Fiction, Shakespeare in Love, The English Patient, Good Will Hunting, Bad Santa, Scream, Spy Kids, The Piano, and Kill Bill. Look for them starting in June 2011.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 16, 2011 0 comments
Unnamed sources cited by a little-known publication assert that Apple's iPad 3 will be 3D capable. It would be totally irresponsible to pass on this kind of unsubstantiated rumor.

Mea culpa.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 13, 2011 3 comments
You already may have heard about the massive "Why Pink Floyd...?" reissue series scheduled to hit in September 2011. But the most artistically significant aspect of it has been grossly under-reported. The series will include the first release of the 1975 album Wish You Were Here in a 5.1-channel high-res medium.

There will be two ways to get it. One is the six-disc "Immersion" boxed set, which will include both new 5.1-channel and old quad mixes, not to mention stereo mixes, in multiple formats. One disc will be a DVD with lossy codecs (we're guessing Dolby Digital). The other—be still, our hearts—will be a Blu-ray disc with both 5.1 and stereo mixes in 96/24. You can read about the numerous other extras on Amazon.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 12, 2011 0 comments
The economic recovery, though spotty, seems to have reached the consumer electronics industry, if the latest numbers from its biggest trade show are any indication. The January 2011 Consumer Electronics Show boasted audited attendance of 149,529 people, a new record.

No wonder the line for box lunches was so long.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 11, 2011 0 comments
Music by Google, a.k.a. Google Music, launched in beta yesterday. Surprise: The new service will not sell music. However, it will let you store up to 20,000 songs in the cloud, making it similar to Amazon's just-launched Cloud Drive and Player.

In its haste to launch the site, Google fell into the same trap as Amazon: It hasn't managed to negotiate sales terms with the music industry. So no store, just storage. Like Amazon's Cloud Player, Music by Google will also play stored music directly from the web.

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 10, 2011 0 comments
Netflix, previously the bane of content owners, is now wearing a halo of approval. What changed? Netflix is now willing to part with more of its burgeoning revenue for content acquisition.

One notable example is Time Warner, whose CEO Jeff Bewkes once referred to Netflix as the Albanian army. As in: "Is the Albanian army going to take over the world?" Then Netflix paid Time Warner $200,000 per episode for 100 episodes of Nip/Tuck. Now Bewkes refers to Netflix with "fondness."


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