Unless you have some super-fancy configuration set up, odds are good that you--like most--default to Windows Media Player as your multimedia software of choice for playing just about anything that comes across your system. There's no shame in that. While a number of freeware tools support more codecs and/or file formats, and come bundled with other fun features and extensive customizations, it's alright to admit that you use Windows' built-in tool for the job.
In fact, you might very well have found yourself quite fond of your operating system's default media player. That's alright too. I'm not about to show or suggest third-party tools that might add confusion to your routine. Instead, you might want to check out a little chunk of software called Windows Media Player Plus! This app--really, a series of plugins--isn't a replacement for Windows Media Player. It simply builds free enhancements into Windows Media Player to give you even more options to tinker with and features to enjoy.
In May 2005, some former Paypal employees launched the first beta version of YouTube, an online video sharing site that would become so memorable for Rickrolling, the Leave Brittany Alone video, and many other, ahem, gems. In celebration of its fifth birthday, the Google owned company has launched the YouTube Five Year channel.
"There, you’ll find the 'My YouTube Story' project which features people from all over describing how YouTube has changed or shaped their lives," YouTube wrote in a blog post.
"The channel also hosts an interactive timeline containing some of the most important moments and memes in our short history. It was tough to pick -- and just scratches the surface of all the amazing things that have happened on YouTube over the years. What else? We’ve asked a handful of luminaries like Conan O’Brien, Vint Cerf and Katie Couric to curate playlists showcasing their favorite videos on the subjects they know best. You can also check out our Infographic here; it contains lots of neat facts and figures."
Users are invited to add their own story the mix, which can be uploaded here and possibly selected to appear on the channel's video wall or map.
Automated technology to detect pirated content has been tried before, but the results are usually a mess of false positives and misses. NEC claims their new video identification system can succeed where the others have failed. According to NEC, the technology has a detection rate of 96% and a suspiciously good false positive rate of 1 in 5 million.
The NEC detection system works by creating a digital fingerprint from the original content. The files are 76 bytes in size per frame, making storage of many fingerprints doable. The system can work with scenes as short as two seconds; say goodbye to fair use. NEC is also claiming it can detect content that has been altered by converting it from digital to analog, or filming in a theater. It is unclear if a video can be manipulated sufficiently to evade the filter.
The technology is on its way to being integrated into the upcoming MPEG-7 media standard. We'll be interested to see if NEC is promising more than it can deliver here. It sounds like Star Trek level tech to us.
Intel hasn't had much to say about their Light Peak technology since it was first shown off at last year's Intel Developer's Forum. But now they've produced a demo laptop with the new data interconnect standard built in. In the demo, Intel fitted a standard USB cable with the Light Peak optical cables, and ran 2 HD video streams through it. The technology uses a 12mm chip at each end of the connection that converts light into computer bits.
Intel hopes that Light Peak will eventually replace USB, DisplayPort, DVI, eSATA, and HDMI. The first generation of the technology should be capable of 10Gb/sec bidirectional data transfers. The current USB 3.0 standard is capable of only 4.8Gb/sec. "We expect to increase that speed dramatically. You'll see multiple displays being served by a single Light Peak connection." said Intel's Justin Rattner.
Intel has delayed the integration of USB 3.0 technology in their chipsets until sometime next year, and many feel this is a ploy to weaken USB, making Light Peak a stronger competitor. According to Intel, Light Peak will be available to manufacturers by the end of the year. Would you be ready to jump to Light Peak for your devices?
It appears YouTube's little experiment with video rentals may not be long for this world, not at the current pace anyway. Google's online video service continues to put the pieces in place to attract customers, including beefing up its catalog with critically acclaimed hits (3:10 to Yuma, for example) and adding titles from Lionsgate, but none of it seems to be working so far.
YouTube has stopped displaying the play count of rentals on its site, and with good reason. NewTeeVee.com claims they were able to obtain numbers for many of YouTube's rental titles, such as the above mentioned 3:10 to Yuma, which was only streamed a miserable 53 times in the course of a week.
Unfortunately for YouTube, 3:10 to Yuma's performance wasn't an aberration, but par for course. Saw, for example, only saw 40 rentals in the same time span, while Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs was only viewed 101 times even though it's being streamed for $1.99 versus the regular price of $3.99. The most popular title in YouTube's rental store -- Precious -- was only streamed 1,421 times, while the tenth most popular title -- Air Guitar Nation -- was viewed 235 times.
"It's going really well so far," said Anna Richardson, YouTube's Communications Manager
Richardson points out that this is still just an early beta of YouTube's rental program there hasn't been much effort to advertise the service, so these numbers aren't necessarily disappointing. Time will tell if she's right or not.
It doesn't matter whether you blame Apple or Adobe for the lack of Flash support on the iPad and other iPhone OS devices, the end result is that consumers ultimately pay the price. It's unfortunate, but Facebook wasn't about to let the Apple/Adobe tiff put a damper on the social networking experience, no matter which device you're rocking.
As such, it appeared as though Facebook had jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon, at least for its newest videos. Apple iPad owners who tap on a newer Facebook video are no longer greeted with a "Flash Player upgrade required" message, and instead the videos now launch in full-screen. HTML5 all the way, right?
Not so fast. While that was the initial conclusion, Facebook hasn't actually made the switch to HTML5 compliance, and instead is linking out to the actual video transcoded to MP4 when it detects the Safari browser on the iPad. MacStories.net claims to have "confirmed this by uploading a video file to Facebook in WMV format (a non-iPad compatible video format) and then attempting to play it on the iPad. It played as an MP4 file."
Everything has a toucscreen these days, and the new Flip camera is no exception. The Flip SlideHD is now officially out after numerous leaks ruined the surprise. The camera's 3-inch touchscreen lets users scroll through videos without the need for traditional buttons. The screen takes up most of the back of the device when closed, and the button used to start recording is actually on the touchscreen. It slides up and allows the camera to be set down for video viewing.
The FlipHD can reportedly record up to four hours of HD video, or 12 hours of standard def. The HD video is 720p (1280x720), but it does do 30fps. But don't expect to film much of that video in one sitting, the FlipHD can record for about 2 hours on a charge. The battery is a non-removable li-ion that charges over USB.
At $279 it's a tough sell in a world where many smartphones have very able video cameras. With the Flip UltraHD priced $50 lower, can the touchscreen on the SlideHD attract users?
There's a new flagship HD Everio video camera in town, and its name is GZ-HM1. According to JVC, this newcomer excels in three areas, including low light performance, camera shake compensation, and digital still quality, so even if you're hopped up on caffeine on an overcast day, presumably you'll still be able to take serviceable shots.
JVC says the low light performance is aided by a new 1/2.3-inch 10.62 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor that boosts sensitivity to four Lux, and that the camera shake compensation also occurs at wide angle settings and not just high zoom ratios.
Other features include Full HD 1920x1080 recording with 1080/60p output through HDMI, 10x optical zoom, up to ISO6400 sensitivity when shooting stills, a plethora of manual controls, a mic input, audio level control, headphone output, and high speed recording at up to 600 frames per second for ultra-slow motion playback.
3D TVs were all the rage at this year’s CES, and now you can buy your very own for about $3000. The content will be harder to come by though. A few providers like DirecTV have announced plans to start 3D broadcasts, but now Verizon is floating their own 3D plans. This is certainly big for the few people that have FiOS TV in their area and actually wants to get a 3D TV.
Verizon’s Shawn Strickland said the new 3D offerings should be available before the holiday season. Strickland seemed concerned about the level of current technology saying, ‘Our goal is to offer a product that has a fully automated HDMI format-switching capability that switches between 2D and 3D, not via ponderous access to the TV's setup menu.” Well, this would be nice, but can they do it? Having a smaller customer base could make them more nimble as this first generation of 3D technology inevitably grows and changes. Any FiOS customers out there? Is this good news, or are you just passing on 3D?
In an email to a partner today, YouTube confirmed that the new look for the video page they have been testing recently is about to go live. Not long after that, the changes did indeed go live. In case you haven’t seen the new page, it makes the video more of the focus and ditches the clutter.
Right up at the top is the uploader’s information. In addition to the subscribe button, you can see a drop down with the uploader’s other videos. There’s a new player button that puts the video into widescreen mode. This moves the other page elements down. The five star rating system is now gone, replaced instead by a simple thumbs up or down system. Rating a video lets you see how others have rated it. The video description has moved to a drop down right below the video. The recommended video pane now also has an autoplay button so you can avoid all that pesky clicking.
Overall, we feel like it’s a pretty good redesign. It looks much cleaner than the old version, and the video seems like a more prominent part of the page. How do you feel about it?