Does your notebook or desktop lack HDMI output? If so, hooking up to your HDTV can turn into a hassle, especially when it comes time to route the audio. Or at least it used to be. Altona's upcoming VGA to HDMI scaler-converter called the AT-HDVieW looks to solve this problem in one fell swoop.
The AT-HDVieW comes with three cables protruding out the back, including audio, VGA, and USB. Why USB? It's there to power the device, while the other two connectors extract audio and video from the host PC and coverts them to an HDMI signal. The built-in scaler makes sure the image looks correct on your TV, no matter what resolution your PC is running.
It supports resolutions up to 1920 x 1200, and unlike some HDMI devices, this one comes with an HDMI cable (6 feet).
Micro-management just isn't Microsoft's thing. Why do we say that? It's because the folks from Redmond are regular Babe Ruths when it comes to coding an OS and knocked the ball out of the park with Windows 7. But when it comes to integrated apps -- all those things we would expect Microsoft to excel at -- the software giant is more like Casey at the bat and we're all just a bunch of Mudville suckers wondering how Microsoft manages to whiff it at the easy pitches. Internet Explorer? Most of us are rocking Firefox or Chrome. And while we don't want to be too hard on Windows Media Player, there are certainly better media frontends out there.
One of them is XBMC, an open-source project formerly known as Xbox Media Center. XBMC was originally developed for the first Xbox console, and through the years, it has evolved as a fully fledged, cross-platform media hub with a rabid following and plenty of user-created plugins and scripts. It's also given birth to more familiar projects like Boxee, Voddler, and others, all of which initially borrowed from XBMC's source code.
If you've never played with XBMC, it's time for a test drive. To help you kick the tires, we've assembled 12 terrific tips and tricks so you can spend more time cruising the media byways and less time fumbling with the controls.
China has denied any involvement with the recent cyberattacks that targeted Google and about 35 other large U.S. corporations, but when it comes to the country's media, China's more than willing to openly go on the offensive.
"It is not difficult to see the shadow of the U.S. government behind the politicization of the Google affair," Communist newspaper, People's Daily, wrote partially in response to Hillary Clinton's defense of Google threatening to shut down service in China. The paper added that American politicians are using Google "in an effort to restrict China's right to protect its national security and interests on the Internet."
These comments come despite the fact that Google continues to filter out content the Chinese government deems "sensitive" and has asked to talk to China about the situation. Naturally, this can only mean one thing:
"Perhaps Google has already realized that China can do without Google, but without China, Google does not have a future," the paper added.
Have you heard of XBMC, the open-source, multi-platform media frontend? If not, you soon will as we put the finishing touches on a related how-to guide with plenty of advanced tips and tricks, but in the meantime, check out what resourceful modder Richard Wileman managed to do with his old Xbox.
We're talking about the original Xbox here, the little black box that most of us have long since retired. But rather than toss his up on Ebay or Craigslist, Wileman pretty much redesigned the unit from the ground up, sticking the Xbox's guts into an aluminum chassis and giving it a few other upgrades.
There's a full size 2.5-inch hard drive, a new DVD drive, an IR port, and even a little LCD to help keep tabs on the playlist.
It appears Syabas had some unfinished business with its Popcorn Hour media hub, and so the company has just announced a follow-up version called the Popbox, which replaces the Popcorn Hour as the company's flagship device.
Syabas completely overhauled the design, including a revamped and much more polished user interface. The UI now includes little applets called Infoapps that show weather, Twitter updates, and various other data whenever the user pauses the onscreen action. And just like previously available Popapps, expect to see more Infoapps added as time goes on.
But that's not all that's new. Syabas added support for 1080p video up to a 100Mbps bitrate, while also retaining several file formats, including MPEG, H.264, VC-1, WMV, and XViD. It can also handle containers like MKV, and supports multiple subtitle formats, Syabas says.
Look for the Popbox to go on sale sometime in March for around $130.
It was with a bit of apprehension that I clicked on the link in my email box to check out the personal site that Posterous, an online archive of notes both yellow and multimedia, had automatically created for me. First off, they got the name all wrong. I won't tell you what it is, for fear that an unsavory party might sign me up for all sorts of interesting email lists, but just know that I hadn't exactly intended for random letters to be a part of my brand-new domain.
But that's Posterous. To its credit, this microblogger's dream might not get the name right the first time around, but the customized blogging platform it creates for you--based on a photo, note, MP3, or other file you email into the service--isn't set in stone. And I far prefer this method to the opposite: Signing up for multiple accounts just to be able to quickly host and share files with others.
That last scenario is really the best-case usage scenario for Posterous. For while you can "claim" a site that the service creates on your behalf by signing up for an official Posterous account (which grants you, among other features, the ability to redo the name of the site's xxx.posterous.com subdomain), Posterous is the perfect platform for quick-and-dirty multimedia hits.
Of course, that's not all Posterous offers--not by a mile! Click the jump to find out more!
Netbooks and internet-hungry consumers began romancing each other in 2007. They cemented their relationship this year and set off on their honeymoon. In fact, most of this year has been like a honeymoon for netbooks. But the thing that makes a honeymoon all the more special is that it only occurs once in a lifetime and almost always seems to end abruptly. Some industry analysts prognosticate the end of the honeymoon period in 2010.
They feel that netbooks will again be haunted by the same identity crisis that was born with them but was overshadowed by consumer enthusiasm. But it is a question that will be hard to ignore in the new year if prices continue to rise. Some netbooks are priced perilously close to entry-level laptops much more powerful than them. Besides, most users have become used to a more exciting brand of internet than the one netbooks offer.
"It's the internet's fault for making us much more multimedia savvy," Stuart Miles, founder and editor of technology blog Pocket Lint, told BBC News. "Technology has advanced so much that it's outmanoeuvred itself. You wouldn't go for something so basic anymore."
Netbooks may come under heavy pressure from the upcoming deluge of tablets and smartphones built to provide PC-like browsing, according to a BBC report. There are many different form factors being thrown around, to the extent that it has become difficult for consumers to choose among them. But Arm spokesperson Ian Drew believes that various device types will have to eventually coexist. "It will be a lot of different machines for a lot of different people," he told BBC News.
It's back! I've covered Songbird before, but that's only because it's one of the best open-source alternatives to Apple's iTunes. Well, Songbird just got bumped up to version 1.4.2--a brief fix for a UI glitch that was affecting its December 21 release of version 1.4.1. The latter is really the meat and potatoes of Songbird's latest update, representing as good a time as any to try out this unique and easy-to-use application!
Why Songbird? Well, you won't be locked into using Apple's proprietary iTunes platform... sort-of. For while Songbird supports device synchronization for the app's music files and playlists, users of those i-named Apple devices will still have to use Songbird's clever iTunes export workaround to sync music to their devices. Beside that, Songbird offers a comprehensive amount of media sorting, organizing, and tagging--including playlists that automatically update with new pictures, videos, and tour dates for bands of-interest.
In fact, this is one of Songbird's strongest features. Its built-in Internet-based enhancements deliver a wealth of additional information and functionality beyond what you'd expect to find in iTunes and it's... well, it's single connection to Apple's own Music Store. Shoot, you can even purchase concert tickets through Songbird, not to mention pack a bundle of additional add-ons and customizations to truly trick out your media player/organizer as you see fit.
So what's new with this super-handy music app? Click the jump to see all the big 1.4.1 changes!
You can view the video here and switch between 720p and 1080p at any time. While perhaps not dramatic or always obvious, there's a definite difference in quality noticeable in the finer details. Switch between the videos in full screen to see what we're talking about, or take a gander at these screenshot comparisons Gizmodo posted.
Have you found any other 1080p videos on YouTube worth watching? Hit the jump and drop a link!
Down but not out, RealNetworks said it will file an appeal and ask that a court ruling to ban sales of its DVD-copying software, RealDVD, be lifted.
The original ruling dates back to August when a federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction to halt sales of the software after film studios successfully argued that RealDVD violated copyright law. The injunction drew major interest from consumers looking for some clarification in the murky Fair Use waters.
RealNetwork's appeal only addresses the injunction, not the case itself, which, barring a resolution, is moving towards a jury trial.
"What they're going to argue is that somehow the legal basis for the injunction is wanting," said Denise Howell, an appellate and technology lawyer. "They will say that there has been an error of law somewhere along the way but they're going to try and undo the injunction. Real is facing an uphill battle."