Let's face it, Netflix and Hulu rule the streaming media world, both are awesome, and we all want our devices to support them. That hasn't really been a problem with Netflix, which has burst into our living rooms via set to boxes, consoles, Blu-ray players, and scores of other devices. Hulu? Now that's another story.
Well, we have some great news folks. D-Link's new Boxee Box just launched and it supports Netflix, VUDU, and Hulu Plus. Not right away, mind you, but both Netflix and Hulu Plus will be supported "before the end of the year."
On the hardware and connectivity side, the new media streamer comes powered by an Intel processor and includes HDMI out, an Ethernet port, Wireless-N, a pair of USB 2.0 ports, S/PDIF and composite audio connectors, and a SD card reader.
Trying to pick the best Youtube videos of X time period is a lot like trying to pick your favorite flavor of ice cream when you haven’t eaten for two weeks. Everything just looks so good and tasty—or viewable—that it would be impossible to concoct a meaningful “Best Flavors Ever” list with even the slightest bit of accuracy. Everything just looks so scrumptious!
Well, the same problem is happening in our attempt to catalog the 25 greatest Youtube videos of 2010. And, to stretch the analogy even further, we’ve noticed that not everyone likes the same flavors of ice cream: Your Rocky Road of groin-hitting videos is our Orange Sherbet of pranks; Your Strawberry Katy Perry music video is our Chocolate cat movie; et cetera. In short, what you love isn’t necessarily what we love, and vice versa.
So how, then, do we come up with a “best-of” list? And more importantly, what's on it?
Social networking addicts have a new entry-level camcorder to play with in Sanyo's VPC-GH4. For $200, this newest addition to Sanyo's Xacti line purportedly offers easy tagging and uploading of videos and pictures to sites like Youtube, Facebook, and Picassa. Twitter users will also benefit from the bundled software, which serves up a convenient link for use with the microblogging service, Sanyo says.
"More than ever, consumers are interested in easy to use imaging solutions that deliver with cutting edge technology," says Tom Van Voy, General Manager of the Consumer Solutions Group for SANYO North America. He added, "SANYO’s GH4 offers the perfect blend of style and performance while recording archive quality photos and videos that people will be proud to display on their HDTVs or share with friends and family from their computer."
Looking over the spec sheet, Sanyo has a compelling package in the budget camcorder arena. The $200 Xacti boasts 10MP photos, a 2.7-inch LCD monitor, Full HD videos at 1080, 60i (1920x1080), 10X dual range optical zoom, SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card support, and mini-HDMi port.
YouTube earlier this month launched its Leanback UI, which is sort of like Pandora for videos. In sort, Leanback serves up videos based on your settings, preferences, subscriptions, and friends on YouTube, all wrapped in a slick interface ideal for couch potatoes with a wireless keyboard.
As it turns out, the Leanback interface is also pretty well suited for remote control with Wii remotes. To prove it, Android Technologies on Monday released its WiiLeanback software, a free download that maps the buttons on the Wii controller to YouTube's Leanback buttons.
"The arrow buttons on the Wiimote take the place of the arrow buttons on the keyboard," the project's author describes in a YouTube video. "The 'A' button pauses and unpauses the video while the 'B' button or trigger button on the back of the Wiimote acts as the enter key."
You don't need to own a Wii console to take advantage of WiiLeanback, just a Wii remote and a Bluetooth dongle.
With the announcement that Netflix is bringing its streaming TV and movie service north of the border, our Canadian brethren have one less thing to complain about.
"Canadian Netflix members will be able to instantly watch a broad array of movies and TV episodes right on their TVs via a range of consumer electronics devices capable of streaming from Netflix, as well as watching on PCs and Macs," Netflix announced today.
At launch, the service will be available in English only, but there are plans to add French language capability sometime down the line.
Citing un-named sources "with knowledge on the matter," Reuters is reporting that Hulu is busy developing a subscription service that it plans to roll out on several devices in the next month or two.
At least one of those devices will be Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console, which already features Netflix streaming, while one of the other sources said you can expect Hulu to release a version for Apple's iPad. Naturally, none of the companies supposedly involved had any comment.
While nothing has been confirmed, a move like this would hardly be surprising. It has been speculated for some time that Hulu would look to a subscription based model of some sort, though it remains to be seen how well something like this will be received.
"Many consumers already pay $100 or more monthly for TV, telephony, and high-speed Internet access and are unlikely to welcome an incremental fee merely to watch from the Internet some of the programs they already get," said Phil Leigh, an analyst with Inside Digital Media.
Not everyone share's Leigh's opinion, however.
"Many viewers are not going home to watch TV anymore. They've already been trained to believe TV is coming to them and demand is growing for this content in different forms and different business models," said Mike Vorhaus of media consultancy Frank N. Magid.
Would you pay for Hulu if it was integrated seamlessly into your Xbox 360, iPad, or other Internet-connected device?
The free ride might soon be over, or at least slowing down. According to a report in the New York Times, Hulu, the popular online streaming site, will begin testing a subscription service called Hulu Plus perhaps as early as May 24.
Users who aren't interested in forking over a monthly stipend would still be able to view the five most recent episodes of most TV shows for free, such as Saturday Night Live and Glee. Where the subscription comes into play is for viewers who want to watch a bigger selection.
Hulu, the second largest video portal on the planet, has turned a profit in the last two quarters and has pulled in more than $100 million in revenue from advertising. But according to the NYT, Hulu is under increasing pressure from its owners to rake in more cash and get viewers accustomed to paying a monthly subscription for professional content.
Do you think the $9.95 fee is reasonable? Would you subscribe to a service like this?
As Netflix continues to steamroll the competition and plow into everyone's living room, Blockbuster could use a victory. Well, the struggling movie rental firm got one, and we're not talking about the moral variety, either. In a deal that has eluded both Netflix and Redbox, Warner Bros. has agreed to make new titles available immediately in Blockbuster's stores, mail, and on-demand.
"Warner Bros. and Blockbuster have enjoyed a cooperative and successful relationship for more than 25 years," Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders said in a statement. "The updated agreement will continue to provide Blockbuster customers with access to Warner Bros. titles the same day they are released."
That can't sit well with Netflix, who isn't allowed to ship new Warner Bros. flicks until 28 days after release. But it's great for Blockbuster, who last week warned for the second time in a year that filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection is a possibility.
The new deal gives Blockbuster a four week advantage over Netflix, starting with The Blindside, which was released earlier this week.
Music, music everywhere, and a ton of programs with which to organize it. But how will you know which of the many iTunes-equivalents (if not iTunes itself) are going to be right for your needs?
If you're one of the many people using Windows' default music libraries to organize and store your files, stop. Just stop. There's so much more you can do beyond that-which-is-given by Windows Media Player's library features, it's not even funny. Conversely, if you're one of the people who clings to Apple's iTunes with a death grip by virtue of it being one of the first big music organizing tools to really "stick" amongst the general geek population... you might be in good hands. You also might be missing out on a ton of additional functionality, depending on what you're looking for and how you typically go about rocking out on your computer.
To keep the playing field fair, we'll look at three different applications in this ultimate guide to media organizing: iTunes, Songbird, and Zune. For those keeping score at home, that's one big solution from Apple, one big solution from Microsoft, and one big solution from the open-source community. There are certainly other options around--Foobar comes to mind as one such example. None are as comprehensive in their combination of features and/or customizability as these three, however. They're all easy to install and easy to set up, but which application has the features and usability that'll make it a hit?
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.