Set-top converter boxes (STBs) may eventually disappear, thanks to cable compatibility rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday, September 10. The rules ratify an agreement reached by cable companies and electronics makers late last year, and insure that new televisions will be able to connect directly to cable feeds nationwide without the need for an adaptive device.
Philips' latest touch-screen remote control, the RC9800i, is part of the company's Connected Planet concept that aims to provide easy access to and control of digital entertainment from home entertainment components, the PC, and the Internet. In addition to controlling legacy and networked audio/video devices, the RC9800i includes built-in Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) connectivity that can be used for accessing PC multimedia files as well as Internet content.
Until now the default price for an album download has been $9.99, with iTunes setting the standard for other music download stores. But a recent pricing experiment involving Arcade Fire and Amazon suggests that a lower price will turn more downloaders into paying customers.
Could the cheapest Blu-ray Disc player on the market be about to get $100 cheaper? Hot on the heels of a UK announcement of a cheaper PlayStation3, speculation online began that a $399 US model would follow. The Hollywood Reporter cited industry sources that seem to be calling it a done deal, citing that the cheaper PS3 will hit US stores November 2nd.
Watching TV on your computer is not a new idea. In fact, companies have been bringing regular DTV to the desktop for over a year now (see previous story). But HDTV is another matter—the high-definition specification for digital television has been struggling to get out of the chute ever since its launch in November 1998. Several factors have slowed the emergence of HDTV, with the high prices of HDTV sets a deciding factor in most cases.
Last week's rumor is this week's confirmed news: the 60GB PS3, which recently saw a $100 price drop, is being phased out for the 80GB model at $599. Although the door is certainly open to a later price drop on the 80GB model, the $499 price of the 60GB PS3 officially remains only until that model sells out. But don't worry- that won't be for a while.
The days when Napster was the world's largest free music library are long gone. Soon, though, it may become the world's cheapest legitimate music subscription service, with a new plan that asks consumers for a mere $5/month for five free tracks and a whole lot of streaming. That's hardly even lunch money!
If you don't have one of the pricey new digital TVs, but you're curious about those DTV broadcasts that started in your area last week (if you happen to live in one of the lucky cities), your PC might soon be able to provide some relief. With a graphics accelerator that can handle the various DTV formats and MPEG decoding and a low-cost DTV receiver card, viewing DTV on the PC is an affordable option. A graphics accelerator and receiver card with a combined cost under $500 can provide DTV at a fraction of the price for a new digital TV and tuner/decoder.
Not too long ago you couldn't find progressive video output on any DVD player for less than $2000. Ditto for 96kHz or 192kHz digital sampling rates in the audio section. Now you can have both for substantially less than a grand.
Maybe HD has finally hit the big-time. According to reports around the web, tomorrow consumers will be offered the inestimable opportunity to trample one another at Wal-Mart to buy an HD DVD player on the cheap. How cheap? Really cheap.
A study released last week claims that in the next five years, smarter TV devices and content will dramatically change how viewers consume television programming. The result, according to a new report from Forrester Research, will be a significant shift in the business model for television: "Even as they drain $18 billion in ordinary TV advertising revenues, smarter devices will create $25 billion in new revenues from viewers interacting with their TV screens."