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I am really looking forward to WiFi Direct being integrated into all sorts of products. WiFi Direct is a new spec that was officially launched not too long ago. It allows devices to directly connect to each other using WiFi giving lots of bandwidth and circumventing the need for a router and other tech usually needed for setting up a wireless network.
The specification opens up some really cool possibilities. Things like connecting directly from your iPhone to an Android device to transfer a file or video. Streaming a video from your iPhone directly to a TV in the living room and sharing of web connections. It appears that the first product to use WiFi direct is the LG BD690 Blu-ray player.
NVIDIA has been pushing its 3D Vision stereoscopic support for what feels like a long while now and AMD got in on the game via its HD3D Technology open eco-system with the launch of its Radeon Catalyst 10.3 driver back in March. Who are we missing, though? Oh, Intel!
During our visit to the ASRock headquarters today, we got an early look at one of their Intel H67 Express based motherboards and noticed something interesting on the packaging. Something along the lines of "Intel" and "3D" in the same line got our attention pretty quickly.
It turns out that as long a H67 motherboard comes with a HDMI 1.4a connector, Intel will be able to provide 3D support to desktop systems early in 2011 when the Sandy Bridge platform officially goes on sale around CES time.
The technology used is "InTru 3D" and it was originally thought the technology would only be reserved for laptops. The Sandy Bridge HD Graphics IGP (onboard graphics) will be able to process full dual H.264, VC1 and MPEG-2 high definition decodes, which is what is required to provide 3D viewing.
One of ASRock's upcoming motherboards will include a free set of red and blue polarized lense glasses, pictured above. When asked what type of software would be required for 3D Blu-ray playback, the comment was that any software could be used. CONTINUED...
Western Digital have today announced some new products as well as some polishing to their existing range. Big notes about it include Facebook integration - as social networking gets bigger and bigger, WD have adapted to it quite quickly with their WD TV units.
The WD TV Live Plus also gives consumers the ability to instantly rent or buy the newest release movies the same day they become available on Blu-ray or DVD because of the agreement with Blockbuster on Demand.
Apple have now officially made Apple TV 4.1 live.
For those of you with an Apple TV unit - the update is all systems go, and is now able to play video to your Apple TV from your iTunes equipped PC or iOS based device. The new software also includes VoiceOver support for spoken menus and meta data.
If you live in an area of the US, where you get cable from Cox Communications the company has announced a new service that will get your attention quickly. The new service wraps a new Trio program guide into a package with a DVR system that works for your entire home. That means you can record a program on any DVR in your home and then play it back on any TV in the house.
The part I like the best is that the new service has a bookmarking option. That means you can start watching a program in the living room and then bookmark it to pick up right where you left off in the bedroom. The DVRs used in the system have 500GB of storage.
Internet connected TVs are becoming a pretty big deal with all of the services like Netflix and Google TV hitting living rooms worldwide. Paypal is looking to capitalize on this by working with Canoe Ventures, Catalina Marketing, Delivery Agent, FouthWall Media and icueTV to develop a Television commerce (T-commerce) solution for internet connected TVs.
The premise outlined by Osama Bedler, Paypal's VP of platform for mobile and new ventures, is fairly simple: see it on TV, perform a couple clicks with your remote, and the purchase is done via your Paypal account. This will basically turn Paypal into a digital wallet you can access anywhere you can get internet connectivity. It's a great idea, but I can see a lot of people getting into some financial trouble during late night infomercial watching. Sales of Slap Chops and Mighty Putty will go through the roof!
Over the last year or so Netflix has gone from something I would have never considered joining after experienced years ago with never getting the DVDs I wanted to see to something that I am very interested in trying. The change for me is completely due to the streaming offerings that Netflix has today. Netflix has done so well with its streaming offerings that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has stated previously that the company is a streaming firm that also ships DVDs.
Hastings was on hand at the Web 2.0 Summit and offered some insights into the values of mobile apps for Netflix and what affect those mobile apps have had on the bottom line at the company. Hastings said in a nutshell, that mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad have had a minimal effect on the bottom line for Netflix. Hastings went so far as to say people aren't interested in streaming long-form video to mobile devices.
When it comes to the flat panel TV market in the US one of the leading companies is Vizio. The company has been selling HDTVs for a much shorter time than other makers have, but it is one of the most popular brands in the country. This is due to the low prices and nice features the TVs offer consumers. One of the most popular lines of TV that Vizio offers is the XVT brand. Vizio has announced that it has added three new 3D TV models to the XVT series.
The three new models will offer 42", 47", and 55" screen sizes. The will also support Vizio Internet Apps and 1080p resolution. The sets all have multiple HDMI inputs, SRS TruSurround HD audio, and a 480Hz SPS refresh rate. The sets all also feature 802.11n WiFi for web connectivity and have LED backlighting.
I would be willing to be that a DVR or two is not enough for many of you. My kids use the upstairs DVR to record all sorts of cartoons and the wife and I record all sorts of other shows on the DVR in the living room. Several nights each week we miss shows we really want to watch in favor of shows that we like a little better. The good news is that Hulu lets us catch up on some of those shows, but the offerings could be better. Hulu Plus promised to make that line up better and at higher resolution.
The catch was that when Hulu Plus was first announced at $9.99 monthly, many people thought that was just too much to pay for the service. While the service has been in beta that $9.99 price has been reconsidered by Hulu for the official launch. With Hulu Plus now all official for anyone who wants to join the new price is a bit more palatable than the original with a $2 discount making the new price $7.99.
Sony is really reeling in the streaming services for the Playstation 3. With Netflix and Hulu Plus already on board, VUDU is looking to join the PS3 streaming party on November 23rd.
This video service, recently acquired by Walmart, gives you on-demand HD streaming up to 1080p with Dolby 5.1 Digital sound available. The interface will be familiar to VUDU users; at least until December when VUDU is planning on rolling out a complete UI refresh that will be more streamlined and even Playstation Move friendly. If you're looking for another streaming service, keep an eye on for VUDU next week.