Entertainment &Hardware &Online Video by Steven Kippel on 21 Aug 2014

Roku TV now available for pre-order

Roku TV now available for pre-order

Roku has beaten Apple to the punch, as it were, by incorporating their streaming software platform into a consumer flat panel television using their own brand badge. The long rumored “Apple TV” that’s actually a TV hasn’t seen the light of day, but the Roku TV is here. Chinese TV manufacturers Hisense and TCL have announced they are now taking pre-orders for the Roku TV.

There are many devices out now that have incorporated support for the Roku Stick, including Blu-ray Disc players, front projectors, televisions, and A/V receivers, but these TVs include the Roku software built in as part of the television’s operating system. In fact, there isn’t an Input button on the remote, and sources are selected from the Roku menu. Additionally, the TV can be controlled using a Roku remote control app.

The TCL Roku TVs are available in a 40-inch, 48-inch, and 55-inch (all 1080p). The pre-orders are available from Amazon starting at $329 for the 40″ size, and a proposed shipping date of 2 to 3 weeks.

Mobile Phones &Software &the web by Wes Novack on 21 Aug 2014

Telephony in the cloud

Yeah, we’ve all heard of Skype, FaceTime and Google Hangouts. These little software gems are fantastic, free(!), voice & video calling products that are just sitting out there on our smartphones (or PC’s), just waiting for us to use them, almost magically, over the interwebs.

VirtualHostedPBX

Perhaps you even have a VoIP service at home, such as Vonage or Ooma, but if you’re a small or medium sized business and you need a professional-grade telephony system, without the costs of buying, supporting and maintaining an infrastructure and support staff, you might want to consider looking at telephony solutions in the cloud.

You can get this type of business-class telephony by using a virtual hosted Private Branch eXchange (PBX), which provides many advanced features that are simply just not available with a regular consumer phone line. Let’s take a look at a few of the advanced features offered by PBX solution providers.

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Entertainment &Hardware by Steven Kippel on 15 Aug 2014

Amazon Fire TV now $84

Amazon Fire TV now $84

For a limited time, Amazon is selling the much lauded Fire TV
for only $84.00. The Apple TV and Roku competitor features hundreds of available apps, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Prime Instant Video, Showtime Anytime, WatchESPN, and more.

Amazon’s “killer app” is the voice control using a microphone built into the remote. Speak a search and Amazon Fire TV will track it down.

Software &the web by Wes Novack on 30 Jun 2014

Bitcoin 2014 conference keynote by Patrick Byrne

This post brought to you by Deep Capture Blog. All opinions are 100% mine.

Patrick Byrne, an ardent supporter of Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, recently delivered the 2014 Bitcoin conference keynote address in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne has a doctorate in philosophy and studied computational theory at Stanford.

Because of his background and ideals, Patrick was immediately interested in Bitcoin when he was first introduced to it. This eventually led to Overstock.com trailblazing the way into becoming the largest online retailer in the world that accepts Bitcoin payments.

Patrick Byrne

Patrick's keynote presentation whisked attendees away on a historical tour of individual liberty, tracing the roots of the American philosophies of freedom. Mr Byrne then detailed his thoughts on the primary institutions that Bitcoin is best positioned to disrupt; Central Banking and Central Counterparty Clearing.

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Mobile Phones by Steven Kippel on 12 Jun 2014

Amazon reveals Prime Music

Amazon reveals Prime Music

amazonAmazon today has added more benefit to Amazon Prime subscribers: Prime Music.

In the vein of Spotify, Google Play Music, Beats Music and iTunes, Prime Music provides unlimited, ad-free streaming of millions of songs. Unlike these other services, Amazon Prime Music is not a monthly subscription, but comes with no additional cost to annual Amazon Prime subscribers.

amazonprimemusic

Amazon Prime members now receive:

  • Free two-day shipping on most items
  • Prime Instant Video – Free streaming of thousands of TV programs and movies
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library
  • Kindle First – a free book download every month
  • Prime Pantry – low-cost grocery items

All of this for the annual price (currently) of $99.

Entertainment &Hardware &Online Video by Steven Kippel on 11 Jun 2014

Sony announces PlayStation TV

Sony announces PlayStation TV

Sony-logoThe streaming set-top box market has exploded recently, in spite of these features being included in new HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, gaming consoles, and even a select few cable boxes. Sony had their own offerings for years, including the recent box with Google TV. This fall, Sony will take on all contenders with their own PlayStation TV set-top box.

Previously launched in Japan as Vita Plus, the PlayStation TV box will be available in North America for the acceptable price of $99, making it on level terms with Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku 3. As with the competition, the PlayStation TV will not simply feature video and audio streaming, but will also focus on gaming.

Sony_PlayStation_TV_specsIt seems like a step back for gamers, because each successive generation of game consoles was more powerful, but the casual gamer market has exploded and Sony is not unaware of this. PlayStation TV will feature games from the original PlayStation One console for download, and some PS3 games will stream through the box. The PlayStation TV will also extend PS4 games (for PS4 owners) within the home network to a second location via Remote Play. For this reason a gaming bundle will come with a DualShock 3 controller and an 8GB memory card for $139.

Blu-ray &DVD &Hardware by Steven Kippel on 06 Jun 2014

Kaleidescape, DVD-CCA come to terms

Kaleidescape, DVD-CCA come to terms

Just after Kaleidescape brought their DVD server to market, the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) sued and this lawsuit has been over their and their customer’s heads ever since. No more.

The Kaleidescape System copies, bit-for-bit, the entire DVD data to a hard drive for playback. Kaleidescape argued, first successfully in 2007, that this preserved the spirit of the DVD CCA licensing agreement. Being the only server manufacturer to actually possess a DVD CCA license for the Content Scramble System (CSS), Kaleidescape was saved the fate of other competing servers who were sued to oblivion who had not.

The DVD CCA argued, successfully on appeal in 2012, that the CSS encryption licensing required the physical disc to be present in the playback device. Kaleidescape was given a permanent injunction, but this ruling was stayed pending appeal.

On June 2, 2014, Kaleidescape and the DVD CCA finalized terms of a settlement which requires Kaleidescape to have the physical disc present in the player upon playback effective on servers sold after November 30, 2014. Kaleidescape Systems will then no longer store data on the hard drives and will have to be played from the tray or vault. The same tags will be used so DVDs will start immediately without warnings or trailers, and chapter and scene tags will still be available.

Why would Kaleidescape agree to such terms after building their entire business model on the idea of no more discs? Because times are changing, and DVDs aren’t as popular as they once were. Blu-ray Disc is here now, and Kaleidescape does have rights to store the data on hard drives as long as the disc is present in the vault or tray upon playback. More than that, the Kaleidescape Store allows for bit-for-bit downloads of DVD and Blu-ray movies for playback without a disc present – including UltraViolet license. The future is arriving faster than you know, because the Kaleidescape Cinema One is intended mainly as a download device.

This settlement is also opening doors to more studios to allow for far more content to be sold through the Kaleidescape Store. This future cut off date may even be a foreboding of new hardware at better price points to push a download service with better features than any other to a larger market.

For more information, read this interview with Cheena Srinivasan, CEO of Kaleidescape.

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