CTIA snooping is in full swing today, as the HTC EVO 3D has seen its major specs divulged courtesy of a document within the exhibition halls of the show. True to our initial scoop and subsequent spec leak, we’re looking at a 3D-capable successor to the EVO 4G, this one rocking a 1.2GHz dual-core processor (Qualcomm’s MSM8660), a 4.3-inch qHD ( 960 x 540) display, dual 5 megapixel cameras around back, and the sweet, sweet promise of 1080p video playback. That’s constrained to 720p for viewing 3D content, but there’s no denying this new Sprint smartphone’s shaping up to be yet another multimedia powerhouse. Specs of the EVO View tablet have also been snapped, marking it as indeed a Sprint rebadge of HTC’s 1.5GHz, 7-inch Flyer slate. Look for both to become official at Sprint’s presser later this week.
Netflix is confident that it will have ample supply in November for every PS3 user who requests a disc for its recently announced streaming service. Speaking with Joystiq, Netflix Vice President of Corporate Communications Steve Swasey wouldn’t disclose the number of reservations the company has received for the free PS3 Netflix disc since the company announced the program on Monday, but did emphasize, “We’re confident we’ve produced enough discs.” Distribution centers apparently already have the units.
Swasey told us that the company is still hammering out the distribution details, but the plan is to send out a press release sometime in November announcing that the discs have shipped. Customers should receive the red envelope in about the same time it usually takes for a Netflix shipment to reach them. He expressed that “there’s no VIP list or special circumstance list,” so everyone should be receiving it around the same time.
Asked if there were any points he’d like to clarify about the recent announcement, Swasey told us that the disc was the best solution currently available in getting PS3 users the Netflix service, downplaying the need to always have disc in the tray. “They put the disc in whenever they play a game.” When pushed on why an integrated solution wasn’t implemented, he said, “We haven’t given any reason. The key thing here … it’s very easy and no different than playing a video game. We’ll have an update in time.” The integrated solution is expected in late 2010.
Netflix doesn’t like to discuss HD content in nitty gritty detail yet, but confirmed that the PS3 will have a similar offering to the Xbox 360, which outputs 720p and stereo sound.
Keep an eye out for an announcement in November for when the discs ship, then put that eye back in when the disc arrives. You’ll need both to appreciate those episodes of Dexter.
Netflix is finally, officially about to hit the PS3, leaving the Wii as the odd console out. Well, besides past hints and the whole “duh” aspect, StreamingMedia swears that the Wii is next, and has seen pitchas to prove it.
Of course, those pictures can’t shared in order to protect they’re source, and what’s more, they’re hearing that “Nintendo originally planned to bring the Netflix service to the Wii before the end of this year” but they’re “also considering holding off on the Netflix service until they release their next generation Wii HD unit in early 2010.” So, uh, just keeping your breath on that one.
Times are tough. With financial resources dwindling by the minute, the movie-viewing public recoils in horror as Hollywood asks them to pay $39.99 for a film on Blu-ray disc. But there are ways to watch those flicks that are more economical. Just in time for cash-strapped film buffs to snap them up, increased bandwidth and processor power are making it practical to stream or download HD movies to living rooms and home theaters.
Sounds good, but there’s a catch. Those production studios are holding out on us. Look at the Netflix HD service on the Xbox 360, the super-sharp HDX movies on the Vudu set-top box, HD movies via Apple TV, and you see the same story every time: thousands of movies and nothing on.
The best movies aren’t available for download in HD. The studios are protecting their lucrative Blu-ray sales. Doesn’t this sound a lot like the record companies when they tried to stop the online digital music juggernaut just so they could keep selling CDs for $16.99?
Follow the Continue link for more.
Movie studios are throttling the online release of their best and newest titles, just at the same moment that broadband connections and PCs can handle HD streaming and downloads. We took a look at the best-selling Blu-ray discs on Amazon, and noticed that only one of the top 10 sellers is available on any download/streaming service in HD. That one movie is Iron Man, pretty much the studios’ poster child for online sales, holding it out and figuratively saying, “See, we’re offering good movies online.” No, you’re not. One new blockbuster overshadowing hundreds of third-tier flops (Get Smart, I’m looking at you) and moldy oldies does not an online library make.
Why Are They Doing This?
Content purveyors would like to protect their old business models. They want to keep that Blu-ray and DVD gravy train rolling. Some consumers are enabling this. For reasons I don’t really understand, a sizable portion of movie buffs want to collect discs to watch again and again, or to just see their boxes lined up on a shelf. For that, many are willing to pay upwards of $25.99 (or a crazy $39.99 retail price) for Iron Man or Hancock or Dark Knight or Wall-E on Blu-ray, because they can’t get those movies in HD quality any other way.
Or Can They?
A peek at one of the many torrent tracking sites shows that every movie that’s released on Blu-ray is available for illegal peer-to-peer (a.k.a. BitTorrent) download in pristine 1080p, sometimes weeks before the physical Blu-ray disc ships. And those copyright-infringing downloaders are not the worst problem for 2009, according to Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey. He says websites such as megavideo.com and watch-movies.net are an even bigger threat to movie studio revenue in the coming year.
Worn-out Business Models
It’s not just the movie studios that are trying to protect worn-out business models. TV networks are holding back full episodes of series for online viewing or download, protecting syndication revenues that garner billion-dollar profits. At the same time, heavy downloaders are being throttled by service providers such as Time Warner, struggling to conserve bandwidth while also protecting their own pay-per-view movie and pay-channel revenues.
Past is Prologue
Clinging to tired old business models … standing in the way of technology: Doesn’t this sound a lot like the record companies in the early part of this century? They tried to protect sales of their overpriced CDs while the world discovered the lubricated ease of downloading every song ever recorded. For free. Eight years later, record stores have almost disappeared from the landscape, and Americans download twice as many singles as they buy in CD form. Digital downloads of music just surpassed overall CD sales at Atlantic Records. Apple’s iTunes continues to sell music for $0.99 a song, an almost-reasonable price that’s helping record companies salvage some profit in this new way of doing things.
Downloads on the Upswing
Likewise, HD movie downloads will eventually surpass sales of Blu-ray discs. In the meantime, movie studios can’t foot-drag this technology just so they can continue supporting their traditional business model. They must make HD offerings plentiful and reasonably priced; the current fantasy of retailing movies at $40 will not fly. Downloads will happen either way — with studios receiving a fair profit, or left out in the cold while consumers find a free way to do the same thing.
Amid all the talk of online video downloading and streaming, the optical disks still get bigger. Pioneer’s future-looking roadmap now boasts of a 400GB optical disc, spread out on 16 layers and read by a head that’s almost the same as those on Blu-ray drives. Read-only versions of these monster discs will arrive soon and then in 2010 there will be re-writable versions. There are even bigger plans on the horizon, with 1TB discs debuting in 2013.
This sounds like that capacity battle that was raging back when Blu-ray and the late HD DVD were locking horns, when last we heard, the top experimental capacity of Blu-ray hit 250GB in 2007. But isn’t all this becoming a moot point? With hard disc prices hitting next to nothing, flash drive costs plummeting and online bandwidth skyrocketing, it’s looking like optical disc’s days are numbered.
However, there will still be a need for long-term archival storage. Perhaps that’s where Pioneer’s projected 1TB optical drive will be welcomed in 2013. Unless, of course, someone figures out a better way to store data for centuries by then. Five years is a long time — there could be a whole new way to store data by then.
Update: Pioneer says these 400GB discs are compatible with Blu-ray readers now on the market.
I have another super secret cool cat to let out of the bag. Netflix streaming to the Xbox 360 is going to have high definition HD content offered if you have the bandwidth. This is not a rumor it is a fact and it is going to be a part of the NXE on day one. I have this on pretty darn good authority.
Microsoft is not going to talk about it now and Netflix is not going to talk about it for two weeks or so but when the New Xbox Experience or NXE ships on November 17th there is going to be high definition content from Netflix available as a part of the video movie streaming offering. I don’t know what movies or TV shows is going to be available in HD but since Netflix has a deal with CBS and Disney I would guess that those are probably going to be some of the first stuff out the door.
When you sign up for Netflix on the Xbox they give you a four digit code that you then type in to the Netflix website on a PC and the two are then synced. Also the video quality looks a lot better on the Xbox 360 than Netflix streaming on a computer but it is all dependant on the speed of your net connection to the Xbox. Since the 360 has graphics power and CPU power to spare it can handle streaming HD video. I don’t know what resolution of HD they are going to offer. It also remembers what point you were last at in a movie or show and you can change your instant playlist on the Xbox 360 or your PC in real time.
In order to use the service you need to have an Xbox Live Gold account and a Netflix membership that has streaming enabled. Most of them do. It looks like a pretty slick business alliance between Microsoft and Netflix. Microsoft wants their Xbox fans to subscribe to Netflix and Netflix wants their views to get Xbox Live. I subscribe to both Netflix and Xbox Live so I am a happy camper.
I fully expect European and Canadian Xbox 360 fans to start complaining about this in 3..2…1.. Look I am sorry folks but Netflix does not offer their business outside the US and if you want it then you need to write them and convince them to open up locally. It’s is not Microsoft’s fault that they can’t offer this outside of the US since it is up to Netflix to run their business. If I were you I would write the Prime Minister and Netflix and demand it because it looks cool.
On a similar note I would not hold my breath on a Blu-Ray player for Xbox 360. Microsoft wants you to use Xbox Live instead or roll your own MP4s.
So hopefully we will be able to watch CSI in HD over the Xbox 360 in time for Thanksgiving if you have the macho pipes for your hook up to the series of tubes that is the internet.
Netflix + Xbox 360 NXE + Mad bandwidth = HD Goodness! FTW!
Video rental-by-mail company Netflix decided to do the only thing needed to make its “watch instantly” service perfect: stream the video in HD. First up is the Xbox 360, where the Netflix HD streaming service will begin in three weeks — November 19th. That coincides with the overhaul of the Xbox 360’s user interface, featuring cartoonish avatars and a revised menu system.
The sketchy details of the breakthrough upgrade put 300 HD streaming titles available on the Xbox 360 at the “soft launch,” but there was no word about their resolution or quality, which movies would be offered, pricing, or anything else.
We have to think (hope) that soon we’ll be enjoying Netflix HD streaming movies on the excellent Roku Netflix box (which is HD-ready), Samsung and LG Netflix-ready Blu-ray players, and the Netflix “watch instantly” service viewed through Internet Explorer.
Via Engadget HD
Netflix has a dance card that’s almost full. The day after we find out the video rental-by-mail company’s Watch Instantly service will be showing up on the Xbox 360 in HD trim, we hear it’s also going to make its appearance on TiVo personal video recorders in December. While it’ll be only available on TiVo’s HD boxes, too bad it won’t be busting out of the gate in high definition. Looks like that’s bound to be on the way, though.
So now you can stream movies and TV shows from the Internet in tons of ways on TiVo, including web video such as YouTube, the Amazon Unbox service where you pay a few bucks for each movie, and now Netflix, which is free if you’re a member of Netflix (which will cost you $8.99 a month to get one DVD at home at a time and unlimited streaming). Exciting stuff.
Add that to the availability of Netflix Watch Instantly on Blu-ray players from LG and Samsung, and having a stand-alone Roku Netflix box — or even a PC — in your home theater might not even be worth the trouble.
Via New York Times
Wall-E might be the most sympathetic, lovable robot ever created on film. While R2-D2 was hilarious and endearing, he had the benefit of C3PO to translate for him and a cast of human characters to carry the weight of the story. At the end of the day, R2-D2 was simply comic relief, but his descendant, whose voice was also created by Ben Burtt, is so full of humanity that you feel like your heart might just burst. Simply put, Wall-E is a masterpiece.
The first 40 minutes or so of Wall-E are almost completely without dialogue. Instead, the story is told visually, as we see Wall-E, the abandoned garbage bot, puttering around a staggeringly rendered post-apocalyptic Earth. He goes around doing his job, as he has for the past 700 years, compacting trash into cubes and stacking them into immense towers. On the side, he collects remnants of humanity to keep for his own amusement. Zippo lighters, Rubik’s Cubes, Christmas lights: these are what Wall-E surrounds himself with. Because he’s so alone (except for a little cockroach), these dirty, abandoned objects are his companions, his contact with humanity.
He watches Hello, Dolly! on an iPod that he somehow hooked up to a VCR, emulating the dancing and learning about love. (That’s not the only Apple reference in the movie: he makes the classic Mac bootup sound when he turns on, and his love interest EVE was designed by Jonathan Ive). When you see Wall-E try to imitate the dancing using a hub cap he collected just for that purpose, you know that this is more than a piece of machinery. Proving Pixar’s raison d’etre, this little silent robot has more humanity in him than most movie characters played by actual humans.
Immediately, we realize this isn’t your typical kiddie cartoon. No pop culture jokes? No instantly-recognizable celebrity voices? A decimated, humanless landscape full of towers of garbage and decrepit buildings? A lonely robot trying to learn about love and humanity through centuries of its trash? This looks more like a beautiful, haunting sci-fi movie than a children’s movie, because that’s exactly what it is.
Wall-E features loving nods to everything from Brave New World to 2001 to Star Wars without ever feeling derivative. Instead, it builds on them, making what has the potential to be an almost relentlessly bleak world into one full of complete joy and levity. It always has that undercurrent of melancholy just under the surface, as we never really forget that humanity has utterly destroyed the planet and turned itself into a race of pudgy, helpless babies, but heart of the story is Wall-E and his longing for love.
And isn’t that the sign of great science fiction? While on the surface it’s a movie about robots and spaceships set centuries in the future, deep down it’s about humanity and its place on Earth and in the universe. It uses its out-of-this-world settings and characters as a lens to reflect our own world back at us, showing us both the beauty and the ugliness of our existence through the eyes of a guileless, trash-compacting robot.
In a movie season that’s overpopulated with tired superhero movies, remakes and sequels, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a movie that stands on its own as a completely new and unique creation. It’s safe to say you’ve never seen anything like Wall-E, and you might not see anything like it again. Go. Go see it as soon as you can.
HOWEVER, my roommate just purchased a 2nd generation Xbox 360 (core system), (for less then what i paid for mine btw), which came with an HDMI port. When we played a regular DVD movie via his Xbox 360, the system automatically up-scaled to 1080p (his TV is 1080p). How very angry i was.
I called Xbox Support and after a hour and half conversation, i was basically told that only Xbox 360’s with HDMI ports will up-covert regular DVD’s to 1080p. All 1st generation system does not have have ability because of the lack of a HDMI port.
When i asked about providing us, the early adopters of the Xbox 360 with a HDMI adaptor for our units so we can then use 1080p gaming as well as up-scale regular DVD movies, i was told one does not exist yet.
I was told if i wanted a system with a HDMI port i needed to sell my Xbox 360 and buy a new one that had a HDMI port on it.
I don’t know about you, but i find that kind of reply beyond &%&&$.
The bottom line here is that as a early adopter, i feel cheated that all these new units can not only plug into the HDMI port on my TV and get 1080p resolution but they can also up-scale DVD’s to 1080p. Which my Xbox cannot.
I am stuck now with an inferior Xbox 360, which upscales my regular DVD movies to 480p. Where is the fairness in that?
I don’t mind playing my games in 1080i, or even seeing my regular DVD’s in 1080i, but i want to have the same ability that all the Xbox 360’s have when playing back DVD’s with HDMI.
To up-scale to 1080p.