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.

Entertainment &the web by Wes Novack on 12 May 2014

ScoreBig.com review: the Priceline of event tickets

Score small, score little? No way! Score BIG! Any sports fan would attest to that. With that in mind, an online ticketing website has labeled their service apropos. The aptly named ScoreBig sent us a $100 voucher to test out their service, where they flaunt the tag line “Save on every ticket. Guaranteed.”

So what is ScoreBig? It’s a website and service that aims to offer discounted tickets direct to consumers, without any added taxes or fees tacked on. They claim that you can save up to 60% off the regular price of tickets, versus going through TicketMaster, the venue or via other ticketing sites.

scorebig-logo

Here’s how they describe the service themselves:

“Well, we make fun affordable! At ScoreBig, you can save on sports, concert, and theater tickets without ever paying any fees or shipping charges for the privilege.

How do we get such great savings?
Around 40% of live event tickets go unsold every year – even for events you think are “sold out”. That’s a lot of empty seats! And the ticket industry can’t offer big discounts on some seats and not others in a way everyone sees. So to get those seats filled they give them to ScoreBig, which allows us to pass on those huge savings directly to you!”

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Entertainment &Online Video &Video Rental by Steven Kippel on 23 Apr 2014

Amazon Prime lands HBO

Amazon Prime lands HBO

Amazon.com LogoIf we haven’t told you how great Amazon Prime is yet, let’s add HBO shows to the mix. You do know HBO has some of the best shows ever produced right? The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Band of Brothers, Generation Kill, The Newsroom et al. (I haven’t forgot about Game of Thrones.)

That’s right! Amazon Prime has added most HBO programming free to Amazon Prime subscribers. All of those series listed above: included. Starting May 21, stream to your heart’s content. (Whatever kept you from watching The Wire isn’t an excuse anymore.)

So… What’s the catch? Game of Thrones is not included in this, and recent programs (Girls, The Newsroom, Veep, et al) will only begin streaming three years after the first broadcast.

Also announced is the Amazon Fire TV will be receiving the HBO Go app, targeting a launch by year-end, so those who do have an HBO account (or borrowing one) and a Fire TV will have access to all HBO content.

When you throw in discounts and free two-day shipping, how can you afford to not have Amazon Prime?

Update: Corrected HBO Go availability on Fire TV from May 21 to year end.

Entertainment &Online Video &Video Rental by Steven Kippel on 21 Apr 2014

Netflix raising prices

Netflix raising prices

In a letter to shareholders, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced a price increase for new users to Netflix.

In the U.S. we have greatly improved our content selection since we introduced our streaming plan in 2010 at $7.99 per month. Our current view is to do a one or two dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter for new members only. Existing members would stay at current pricing (e.g. $7.99 in the U.S.) for a generous time period. These changes will enable us to acquire more content and deliver an even better streaming experience.

Rates for existing subscribers would remain unchanged for “a generous time period.”

This is nothing new, nor unexpected. Netflix had previously raised prices by decoupling streaming from DVD-by-mail, and to Blu-ray Disc subscribers. With the amount of content Netflix has been buying, including original content, it was all but inevitable costs would go up. And that’s not including the costs Netflix have paid to Comcast to keep their streaming bandwidth high.

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