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Apple takes a byte out of Amazon's margins

Posted: 09/02/10 12:12 PM

Amazon is already reacting to the creation of Apple’s new streaming TV service and set-top box.

The Seattle based online retailer sells streaming TV shows too.  Yesterday those shows cost just about 2 bucks to download. That’s twice the price of Apple’s streaming TV offerings. So today Amazon enacted a price cut. You can stream the boob tube to you computer for just 99 cents a program. Even though amazon will be taking a loss.

Comments | Filed Under: Amazon TV apple

Killing Cable

Posted: 08/30/10 12:51 PM

By Steve Henn

I moved coast to coast about six months ago and I still haven’t hooked up a new cable connection in my house. Okay – given I’m a public radio geek – but I don’t miss it – at all. I’m still streaming shows I like. So the last few months have made me wonder, could cable be entering a death spiral? Turns out I’m not the only one asking the question. MG Siegler at TechCrunch has an overview of Silicon Valley’s assault on the idiot box.  Or you can just watch this ad by Logitech.

Comments | Filed Under: cable tv logitech entertainment

Report says Apple’s reinventing Apple TV

 by John Moe // Posted: 08/12/10 03:58 PM

Apple TV has been this grand idea of a set top box on your TV that connects online and lets you watch shows that way. But the box is expensive and hasn’t sold well at all. We’ve been hearing about an impending relaunch for a while now, possibly at the mid-September event Apple is planning (also expected to involve a re-designed iPod Touch). Now Engadget says they have some of the dirt on what the new device is. They say it will retail for $99, be renamed iTV (because of course you need that lower case i on everything), and run on the same A4 chip that runs the iPhone 4. The upshot of that for consumers is that it will be incapable of delivering 1080p or 1080i video, settling instead for 720p. Those are just numbers but the takeaway is that the video quality will not be state of the art. There will be an app store on it and strong integration with iTunes, presumably, but it’s unlikely to appeal to videophiles and the type of high end user that Apple relies on.

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Comments | Filed Under: apple tv

Hulu to start charging you money. (And that's a good thing?)

 By Jeff Horwich // Posted: 07/01/10 07:00 AM

(Today’s episode features guest host Jeff Horwich)

This week online TV service Hulu started rolling out Hulu Plus, a paid option that offers more content but also changes the game because, you know, it’s not all free any more.

You might think this would be nothing but annoying, especially since you still have to watch the same ads as on the free Hulu service. But Hulu Plus (which is currently available by invitation only; that will change soon) comes with some bonuses: Big extra back-catalog access to popular shows, and new Hulu Plus apps for iPad, iPhone, Xbox and more. Gizmodo’s Matt Buchanan has been checking out the new offerings, and joins us on this episode with the highlights.

Is Hulu Plus – this model of asking people to pay a subscription for on-demand access to shows – the beginning of the end of TV as we know it? Dan Frommer of Business Insider thinks Hulu Plus is great and all, but it’s no cable-killer. He drops by with some thoughts on the bigger picture.

What do you think: Is Hulu Plus going to change your TV habits? Or are you annoyed that the great heyday of free (good) TV on the web could be all too short?

Comments | Filed Under: hulu tv

TV without cable

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/16/10 09:43 AM

On today’s show we talk about how you can watch TV without having cable or satellite service. After we were done recording, our engineer Rob Byers told me he’s quit cable twice before. Here are some links he recommends:

Plex - This is what I use at home. Mac only.  Once you get the software installed and the mac hooked up it’s uber-simple to use (when it doesn’t crash).  Users create the apps, which is hip.  It has everything from iTunes to Hulu to Netflix to Pandora (FREAKING AWESOME) to NPR to TED talks to….. you name it.  Obviously, it’s just a front end for all of those services.
Boxee - Service that coordinates various online content and incorporates social media sites as well.

XBMC - VERY techy-geeky stuff here, but cutting edge.  Stuff that happens here leaks into other projects like Plex and Boxee.  Project just changed to a Sourceforge project which might bring it new life.  Originated from the XBox interface I believe.

Hulu Desktop - Very easy to use, multiplatform.  Hulu content only, obviously.  (Boo to that, I want my Netflix too!)

Here are some other stories we found about cutting the cable:

8 Ways to Watch TV and Movies Without Cable - (PC Mag, November 2009)

Bringing web content fully to the TV (Betanews, May 2010)

How Can I Ditch Cable and Watch My TV Shows and Movies Online? (Lifehacker, February 2010)

We’d love to get your thoughts as well!

Comments | Filed Under: tv

New Mac Mini shows up

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/15/10 11:10 AM

It’s the beginning of pre-orders for the iPhone 4 today but another launch happened as well with very little fanfare. The new Mac Mini, an updated version of Mac’s small but powerful screenless computer, was released. Here are the specs:

a 2.4GHz or 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo chip, Nvidia’s GeForce 320M GPU, a 320GB hard disk an 8x double-layer SuperDrive and an integrated power supply. At the Mini’s rear: 4 USB ports, an SD card slot, ethernet, an HDMI port and a Mini DisplayPort.

That HDMI port could be really significant as it means you can hook up the Mini to your TV. So while we’ve been wondering why Apple didn’t release a new version of Apple TV at the WWDC, maybe they just did. Also, a thrifty person looking to upgrade their computing system could get away with a Mac Mini and an iPad now instead of having to buy a whole laptop or desktop. Significantly, the Mac computer was completely left out of Steve Jobs’ WWDC presentation.

Comments | Filed Under: apple tv

Where to watch the World Cup

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/11/10 08:17 AM

A listener wrote in to ask where online he could watch World Cup matches. Digging around a bit, I think Lifehacker’s list is a pretty complete one. As they point out, the games are subject to regional blackouts (although it’s not hard to find IP proxy hosting to get around that if you’re so inclined). Some of the sites will charge you a bit of money or require a special plug-in but it’s a lot cheaper than flying to South Africa. 

Our listener points out that a lot sites out there seem to be scams to deliver malware to your computer or they’re running a phishing scam. Best to go with a name you know like the BBC or ESPN, although best also to make sure that it’s actually a URL of that media source that you’re seeing. 

Comments | Filed Under: tv soccer

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