Vizio today introduced its largest HDTV to date, the M801d 80-inch Razor LED Smart TV featuring a new Apps Plus platform and a competitive $4,000 price, the lowest list price for a TV of its size on the market.
In the mood for Vudu's 1080p video stream with Dolby Digital Plus surround? Vizio is going to make it easy for you by building a dedicated Vudu button into 2011 TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes.
Vudu says other manufacturers will offer the button too though their names weren't disclosed at presstime.
One of the hottest buzz phases in telecommunications is "video-on-demand," a service that allows customers to plug into the universal content library and watch anything they wish whenever they wish. VOD and interactive television (ITV) are the twin holy grails of cable companies and Internet service providers.
Volunteers connected with a joint public/private service program will help ease the transition from analog to digital television broadcasting for low-income households, minorities, seniors, the disabled, those who live in rural areas, and those who don't speak English.
Cablevision's recent announcement of the pending sale of the VOOM satellite (along with other assets related to VOOM) to Echostar Communications Corp. (DISH Network) should cause a twinge of sadness in the hearts of all HDTV lovers. Whether you admired VOOM's pluck in attempting to go against the two established satellite services (DISH Network and DIRECTV) or thought that Cablevison Chairman Charles Dolan must have been smoking something beyond cigars when he came up with the idea for an HD-centric satellite service, the virtually certain discontinuation of VOOM (Echostar will most likely use the satellite to expand its own channel offerings) is no happy event. During its brief existence, VOOM brought more high-definition content into the homes of its approximately 26,000 subscribers than all other providers put together (cable, satellite, and over-the-air terrestrial broadcast). As many a pair of eyeballs with HDTVs sitting in front of them know, HD content is an addiction that continually demands to be satisfied. Where, oh where, will we now go to get our daily HD fix?
Those of us still mourning the imminent and unstoppable demise of VOOM, the ill-fated HD-centric satellite service, are being offered a reduced price on a second chance at HD nirvana from DIRECTV. Although it's small consolation to the thirty-some thousand VOOM devotees who are at this moment longingly stroking their VOOM remote controls and asking, "Why? Why me?", at least it's something.
It seems that Voom is not doomed just yet. The primarily high-definition satellite service has been the focus of a bizarre family struggle between Charles Dolan, founder of Voom owner Cablevision, and his son, Cablevision CEO James Dolan.
As Michael Fremer discussed in his February 2005 column, Cablevision recently agreed to sell the primary assets of its Voom HD satellite service—including the satellite itself and FCC licenses to operate DBS services on 11 frequencies from the satellite's orbital location as well as ground facilities in South Dakota—to EchoStar, the company behind competitor Dish Network, for $200 million in cash. Apparently, Cablevision founder and chairman Charles Dolan opposed the sale, while his son James, CEO of the company, supported it. The elder Dolan and another son, Tom, then signed a letter of intent to purchase the remaining Voom assets from Cablevision.
Earlier this week, it looked like the Voom HD satellite service was dead, but it now seems that reports of its demise were at least slightly exaggerated. On Tuesday, we reported that Cablevision, Voom's parent company, decided to pull the plug after founder Charles Dolan failed to meet a February 28 deadline for purchasing Voom's remaining assets. (The Voom satellite and FCC licenses to operate at its orbital location are being purchased by rival EchoStar, subject to regulatory approval.)
According to Zenith, the orginator of the VSB digital transmission system behind over-the-air broadcast of DTV and HDTV, "there will be no urban-rural 'digital divide' in the delivery of digital television (DTV) service." The company says that this is thanks in large part to ATSC VSB translators that it has developed.
The chicken-or-egg issue that plagued the early ramp-up of DVD may now be history. Sales of both DVD hardware and software are increasing rapidly, attendees learned at last week's Video Software Dealers Association convention in Las Vegas.
Most Net-connected movie fans have heard of downloading films. They have sampled AVI files and found the results less than satisfying. The digital video is jerky, out of focus, and suffers from terrible pixelation effects---all caused by slow microprocessors and low frame rates. The present typical state of the art isn't high enough for most folks to take Internet video seriously.
VUDU Inc., has unveiled HDX, a high definition video format that delivers full HD 1080p material using the company's existing set-top box. Content is delivered over the Internet and optimized for 40 inch and larger HDTVs. According to VUDU, the HDX content is the highest quality available from any Internet, broadcast, cable, or satellite on-demand service. HDX movies are available to all VUDU customers and will be rented for the same price as standard HD titles.
Wal-Mart has become the latest online music retailer to shut down the encryption-key servers for its DRM-encrusted downloads. As a result, anyone unfortunate enough to have bought the latter will have to burn them to CDs for archiving. Otherwise it will become impossible to transfer them to other computers and players in the future.