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Digeo Unveils New Moxi HD DVR

Dave Zatz —  December 11, 2008 — 19 Comments

11 months after blowing up their previous destined-for-retail DVR(s), Digeo’s web site (and Amazon) have spilled the beans on the for-real model that’ll be available for sale… shortly?

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It’s been well over a year since DivX and Joost discussed the possibility of bringing Joost content to the television. And suddenly, with no fanfare at all, a DivX Connected plug-in has appeared.

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Voltaic Systems has just announced a new computer bag – the Generator – designed to charge a laptop computer solely with stored energy from the sun’s rays. The bag comes in five colors and is available at the company’s website now.

Since energy waste and the CE industry go hand-in-hand, I’m in favor of anything that makes our shiny gadgets a little greener. Unfortunately, there are a few sticking points with the solar-powered Generator bag. On the one hand it represents an important milestone, and Voltaic Systems should be commended. On the other hand, it’s hardly practical in its current form.

First of all, it takes an hour of sun time to extend laptop battery time by 20 to 45 minutes. If it took an hour to download 20 to 45 minutes of a movie, there would be no Rokus or Vudus or any of the other movie download boxes around. Second, the bag costs $499. That’s more than a lot of netbooks today, and certainly too hefty a price tag for most of the gadget-toters I know.

Since Voltaic Systems is first to market, it deserves a hearty congratulations for the noteworthy achievement. Personally, I’ll be waiting a few more years for my first solar-powered laptop bag. Maybe Christmas 2012.

Netflix Arrives on TiVo Today

Dave Zatz —  December 8, 2008 — 30 Comments

TiVo Series 3, HD, and HD XL subscribers who also partake in an unlimited Netflix plan can now stream a wide variety of video content at no additional cost.

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So much for a day of vacation recovery… UPS just arrived with the new Blockbuster OnDemand movie rental box, by 2Wire. If you recall, $99 gets you the box and 25 video rental credits. Once those have been consumed, content begins at $1.99 a pop.

Packaging is Blockbuster branded, though there’s absolutely no mention of “Blockbuster” on the 2Wire MediaPoint unit. (Then again, the competing Roku box is also devoid of “Netflix” branding.) The AppleTV-shaped hardware feels somewhat plasticy, but it’s more attractive and has more personality than the Roku box.

Setup didn’t start so smoothly when the 2Wire box just hung (repeatedly) when using an Ethernet connection. However, I was successful going wireless by punching in my SSID and WPA2 security key. Once connected, I was prompted to set my television resolution and link to a Blockbuster web account – where I provided my billing info. The remote control works fine and the interface is pretty straight forward, though some screens fill in slower than I’d like. Unlike the Netflix streaming experience, Blockbuster permits you to browse their entire catalog from the couch… although they charge per rental, like typical video on demand services. Which raises the question: Why pick up this unit if you’ve got a (cable, gaming, or TiVo) box that already offers VOD?

The big surprise for me is that Blockbuster OnDemand is not purely a streaming service. Video can be played back while streaming, without transport controls, and/or once the download has completed. I assume this is why they’re beginning (?) with only “DVD quality” content, since it’s being queued up on an internal 8GB USB stick. (Which has some implications on the sort of Blu-ray players Blockbuster will support…) Speaking of storage, I haven’t yet tried inserting anything into the SD slot on the front. And while I’ve started to download the new Indiana Jones flick, I haven’t tested video playback yet. In addition to checking out the quality and playback controls, I’m curious to see how (if) the device manages storage. Stay tuned.

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