Archives For Video

With all of the CES news last week, some media/electronics coverage was overshadowed. Such as the update of popular AV compression and playback software DivX version 7.

DivX 7 introduces support for full HD H.264 videos. The software comes in two forms, a freeware edition with video playback support and a $20 version providing additional creation and conversion tools for DivX videos.  The package also includes the DivX H.264 decoder filter and the DivX MKV Demux filter (both DirectShow filters that extend playback support for MKV files.) MKV has quickly grown in popularity for HD downloads as an open standard enclosure that allows an unlimited number of video, audio, picture and/or subtitle tracks inside one single file. Another new feature is the integration of AAC audio – digital audio format with multichannel audio support.

Also of note for media gadget Fans: DivX has announced the launch of the DivX Plus Certification program enabling additional implementation of DivX technology on game consoles, televisions, mobile devices, and more. In fact, I noticed that Windows 7 will have native DivX capabilities.

Download DivX 7 here with a 15-day trial to sample all the encoding goodies.

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Geek Tonic.

A periodic roundup of relevant news… from our friends at Last100:

Have we just witnessed the second coming of Palm?
The company unveiled its brand new Palm operating system (dubbed the webOS) running on a new smartphone called the “Palm Pre” that features a 3.1-inch multi-touch screen and slide out portrait keyboard. It’s of course early days until we see the first reviews of the Pre and I get to personally play with the new Palm OS and device but from what I’ve seen, I’m very, very excited.

ASUS Eee ‘media center’ Keyboard, Eye-Fi does video, and Negear Internet TV
Although the expo floor of the Consumer Electronics Show doesn’t open until tomorrow, there’s already been a flurry of press conferences and sneak previews fueling the tech press and blogosphere. Here are a few products that have caught my eye.

Internet TV partners: Intel and Adobe, Roku and Amazon, Netflix and LG
A number of industry players announced partnerships relating to getting Internet content onto the TV – a theme that will, once again, be prevalent at CES.

Hackintosh Netbook: Goodbye XP, hello OSX
Although it’s been possible to run OSX on the MSI Wind (or in this case the Advent 4211, a Wind clone) for many months now, it previously involved swapping out the WiFi card for a compatible one. That is until RealTek released an unofficial driver for OSX last month. So how does it run?

mediaroom

Like Chris Lanier, I’ve been disappointed in Microsoft’s apparent inability to deliver an IPTV solution onto the Xbox 360 platform… As announced during Bill Gates’ 2007 CES keynote. We’ve heard relatively little regarding the fate of Xbox IPTV since then, and I imagine the lack of deployment is related to both technological challenges and carrier deals. So I cornered a Mediaroom rep today on the show floor.

Before handing me off to the PR team, she confirmed this initiative is still alive and well with multiple carrier field trials in progress. When asked if anything was going on in the US, she suggested I question AT&T. Now, I can’t really speculate if she said that because AT&T is considering the platform, or because AT&T is their primary partner for television services here in the US (with U-verse).

The PR woman was at once both more forthcoming and more secretive. She indicated BT will be deploying Xbox 360 IPTV in the UK. While that’s isn’t entirely recent news and she didn’t give any details on timing, I’m left with the sense it’s definitely happening this year. And she had no comment on other partners or regions.

The photo up top is the Mediaroom interface running on a Motorola set-top box, though I was told the experience will be the same on the Xbox 360 upon entering the television area. Below is another screenshot of what that menu item looked like (in 2007) within the Xbox 360′s original interface. Which, of course, has since been replaced.

Kodak in the Living Room

Mari Silbey —  January 9, 2009 — 2 Comments

I stopped by the Kodak booth to check out their Wi-Fi photo frames (also getting FrameChannel content), but spent most of my time playing with the Kodak Theatre HD Player. It was launched last fall, but only online and in select Best Buy stores. It’s basically just another media extender – YouTube, Internet radio stations, etc. – except since it’s Kodak the company highlights the photo sharing capabilities. In the video above, check out the photo discovery app. The software starts displaying photos at random on your TV, but if you click one it can bring up other photos taken in the same month across multiple years. View only your summer pics or take a stroll through Christmases past.

The other cool thing about the device is its remote. It gestures and has a scroll wheel, and its entirely intuitive. The remote and the Kodak Player’s interface are both licensed from Hillcrest Labs. Despite Dave’s skepticism, I’m a fan.

Hands On With Kodak Zx1

Dave Zatz —  January 8, 2009 — 1 Comment

As a short term owner of the Kodak Zi6 HD video camera ($180), I was interested in taking a gander at Kodak’s new Zx1 ($150) last night… which may or may not be an upgrade. Like its predecessor, the updated cam features 720p video recording onto SD cards. However, the new “weather resistant” model is sleeker and more compact, featuring comfortable rubberized side grips. And instead of providing component out for television playback, the Zx1 is bundled with an HDMI cable. A feature that doesn’t really do much for me personally. The reason I question if this is a true upgrade, is because the Zx1 drops two very useful features from the Zi6. The flip out USB connector has been replaced with a traditional USB cable, adding to the clutter. More troublesome, given the sorts of things I film, is the removal of a macro recording mode. So, while the price is right, the feature set won’t meet my needs. For slightly better pics, hit Engadget’s coverage.