Category Archives: Uncategorized

RealNetworks Could be Key to Media Center DVD Streaming

A few weeks back RealNetworks
unveiled RealDVD
, a $30 program designed to legally allow ripping
DVDs.  The legal part might be a bit of a
stretch seeing as Real
has sued the CCA and the MPAA has sued Real back
.  While press about the idea of paying to rip
your DVDs while keeping them protected has been unanimously poor, people need
to keep an open mind about this when it comes to Media Center and other commercial
products.

Several years ago I posted about the idea of enabling
streaming DVDs using Microsoft’s WMDRM to protect the DVDs
.  The concept is the exact same with
RealDVD.  If RealNetworks can win their
suit against the MPAA and CCA, the door is even more wide open for Microsoft to
do exactly the same and rip DVDs wrapped in their DRM (maybe part of what this
patent is about
).  This could enable
streaming to any device including Media Center Extenders and (possibility) Zunes,
or maybe not as Microsoft has a hard time finding a good
business case to do any of the work for such features
.  Even if Microsoft doesn’t jump on, I’ve heard that Real is also interested in developing a Media Center plug-in for RealDVD which could be interesting if they do it right (not sure Real could do that).

Another interesting bit involving ripping of disc, AACS has
still not hit their final version which was expected over the summer.  Still no word if the final version, whenever
finished, will
include support for Managed Copy
.

FUZE Media Systems Partners with ArcSoft

Hardened Whole-Home Media System Now Available with Industry-Leading Blu-Ray

San Jose, Calif., May 19, 2008FUZE Media
Systems, makers of the industry’s most hardened whole-home media system, today
announced that it has partnered with ArcSoft for Blu-Ray playback. Following
the company’s recent OEM software announcement, ArcSoft is the first announced
software partner that will be leveraged in both FUZE Media Systems and OEM
partner media devices.

Adding Blu-Ray disc playback is the latest in feature enhancements
for the appliance-like media system that delivers whole-home live &
recorded TV, traditional DVDs, home movies, digital photos, and music. The
selection of ArcSoft highlights that organization’s software leadership in
Blu-Ray playback.

“FUZE has come to represent the vanguard in whole-home media,” said
Bob Silver, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at FUZE. “In the past year,
we have continued to enhance our whole-home media solution to make it even more
desirable, and this partnership with ArcSoft is a logical next step for us.
Arcsoft has proven its Blu-Ray leadership, and our partnership has enabled us
to rapidly implement for our dealer network and our OEM partners.”

Michael Downs, VP of Marketing & Business Development at ArcSoft,
added, “This is an exciting announcement for us. FUZE has delivered an entirely
different sort of media system to market—one that is simplified, robust, and
delivers a performance that functions more like an appliance than a computer.
This is a powerful force for the industry, and we are confident that ArcSoft’s
Blu-Ray software will play a key role in improving whole-home media
distribution moving forward.”

Both companies noted that the Blu-Ray capability has been
implemented and is immediately available for sale.

HP Keeps Computing Personal with Digital Storage First and Customizable PC Lineup

PALO
ALTO, Calif., March 31, 2008
– HP today unveiled new customizable desktop
PCs that offer a wide range of personalized features and options to fit the
needs of every consumer.
 
The company also announced the availability of a digital storage device, the HP
Media Vault mv2120, which is designed to store, protect and share digital
media, as well as advanced monitors and accessories to enhance the digital
lifestyle.
 
Whether desiring a faster processor for casual gaming or more hard drive space
for storing photos, consumers can mix and match the options that appeal to
their individual interests to create a dream PC with HP’s new customizable
desktops.
 
For the ultimate entertainment experience, HP offers the HP Pavilion Elite
m9200t customizable PC. The m9200t features the HP Easy Backup button to
quickly back up files as well as a variety of options including up to a 1
terabyte (TB)(1) hard drive and a Blu-ray DVD writer.(2)
Extra storage options include two built-in drive bays for backing up photos,
music and videos. This PC is ideal for anyone who wants power for the most
demanding PC tasks and high-end home entertainment.
 
The new HP Pavilion a6460t customizable PC is ENERGY STAR® qualified and
features an 80 PLUS power supply to help consumers save money and lessen their
impact on the environment. In addition, the a6460t offers powerful computing
and captivating entertainment options, with an available Intel® Core(tm)
2 Quad Processor,(3,4) wireless LAN card(5) and a TV
tuner(6) to watch, record and pause live TV.
 
For those seeking a high-productivity PC at a superb value, HP offers the
enhanced HP Pavilion a6400z customizable PC. The a6400z can be configured for
as low as $299(7) with a 1.8 GHz AMD Dual-Core Processor,(3)
NVIDIA GeForce 6150 graphics cards, 1 gigabyte (GB) of memory and a 250 GB(8)
hard drive. Additionally, every HP Pavilion PC includes tools to make it more
fun and convenient to work with digital photos and video clips.
 
The Compaq Presario line of retail desktop PCs also has been updated to include
the Compaq Presario SR5450F, which offers a front-panel 15-in-1 memory card
reader,(9) 2 GB of memory and Intel Pentium® Dual-Core Processor(3)
for under $500.(7)
 
HP Media Vault mv2120 Keeps Digital Content Secure and Accessible
 
Consumers are living increasingly digital lifestyles and accumulating rising
amounts of digital photos, music, videos and other content. In fact, Coughlin
& Associates Inc. estimates that by 2013 the average home will require 9 TB
storage capacity, of which 5 TB will be needed for commercial digital downloads
of music, videos and photos.(10)
 
To make it simple for consumers to protect, share and connect to their digital
content and Internet entertainment(11) – from home or on the go – HP
offers the HP Media Vault mv2120. This is the first in a new category of
affordable, easy-to-use products for the central storage, content sharing and
backup of all computers on a home or small business network. The mv2120 can be
set to automatically back up important media and digital files weekly, daily or
continuously – as often as needed.
 
This pioneering product also offers some of the features found in the HP
MediaSmart Server, including Photo Webshare, iTunes server and remote access.
With Photo Webshare, consumers can create a photo-sharing website on the Media
Vault, and with iTunes server, they can centralize their iTunes music library
for playback on any computer running iTunes on the network.
 
Remote access grants designated users enhanced security for accessing important
files on the network from any Internet-connected computer, even while outside
of the home or office. Additionally, the mv2120 offers exceptionally low power
consumption and a smart energy-saving drive spin down feature.
 
The mv2120 ships with 500 GB(8) capacity and can benefit individuals
and small businesses with fewer than 10 employees. HP also recently introduced
the HP Media Vault mv5100 Pro series, available in 1 TB and 1.5 TB(1)
capacities, which is specifically targeted to small businesses.
 
New Vivid Color Monitor and HP Elite Autofocus Webcam
 
To accompany its new desktop PCs, HP introduced the HP w1707 Vivid Color
17-inch diagonal flat-panel monitor. This sleek monitor offers a high-quality
widescreen picture with a BrightView panel and more viewing area for computer
games, spreadsheets and web pages.
 
HP also announced the new, elegantly designed HP Elite Autofocus Webcam, which
makes it fun and easy to chat face-to-face over the Internet, record videos and
snap high-resolution photos. With up to 12-megapixel still photo resolution
using a 3-megapixel core sensor with autofocus, the webcam lets consumers stay
in touch with friends and family.
 
Pricing(7) and Availability
 
The following specifications and prices for the HP Pavilion customizable
desktop PCs are estimated U.S. street prices and depend on the configuration
ordered. They can be customized direct from HP via www.hpshopping.com or through kiosks
located in retail outlets nationwide.

  • The HP
    Pavilion Elite m9200t customizable PC is currently available starting at
    $799.
  • The HP
    Pavilion a6460t ENERGY STAR PC is currently available starting at $549.
  • The HP
    Pavilion a6400z customizable PC is currently available starting at $299.

 The
following prices for the Compaq Presario desktop PC, HP Media Vault mv2120 and
Monitor are also estimated U.S. street prices. They will be available direct
from HP via www.hpshopping.com or at
retail outlets nationwide.

  • The Compaq
    Presario SR5450F is expected to be available April 6 starting at $459.
  • The HP
    Media Vault mv2120 is currently available starting at $299.
  • The HP
    w1707 Vivid Color Monitor is currently available at $180.

The
HP Elite Autofocus Webcam is expected to be available April 6 at Best Buy
outlets nationwide for an estimated U.S. street price of $99

About
HP

HP focuses on simplifying technology experiences for all of its customers –
from individual consumers to the largest businesses. With a portfolio that
spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure,
HP is among the world’s largest IT companies, with revenue totaling $107.7
billion for the four fiscal quarters ended Jan. 31, 2008. More information
about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at www.hp.com.
 
(1) For hard drives, TB = 1 trillion bytes. Actual formatted capacity is less.
(2) As Blu-ray is a new format containing new technologies, certain disc,
digital connection, compatibility and/or performance issues may arise, and do
not constitute defects in the product. Flawless playback on all systems is not
guaranteed. In order for Blu-ray titles to play, they may require a DVI or HDMI
digital connection and the display may require HDCP support. Don’t copy
copyright-protected materials.
(3)  Dual/Quad/Triple is a new technology designed to improve performance
of certain software products. Not all customers or software applications will
necessarily benefit from use of this technology.
(4) 64-bit computing on Intel architecture requires a computer system with a processor,
chipset, BIOS, operating system, device drivers and applications enabled for
Intel 64 architecture. Processors will not operate (including 32-bit operation)
without an Intel 64 architecture-enabled BIOS. Performance will vary depending
on hardware and software configurations. See www.intel.com/info/em64t for more
information.
(5) Wireless access point required and is not included. Availability of public
wireless access points limited. Wireless Internet use requires separately
purchased Internet service contract.
(6) Availability of signals limited by the strength and accessibility of the
originating TV signal, location and other factors. Performance issues may arise
and do not constitute defects in the product.
(7) Estimated U.S. street prices. Actual pricing may vary.
(8) For hard drives, GB = 1 billion bytes. Actual formatted capacity is less.
Up to 10 GB (for Microsoft Vista®, Windows® XP and XP Pro) and up to 12 GB (for
MCE) is reserved for system recovery software.
(9) Supports Smart Media, xD, MultiMedia card (MMC), Reduced Size-MMC (RS-MMC),
MMCplus, MMCmobile, Secure Digital (SD), miniSD, Compact Flash 1, Compact Flash
II, Microdrive, Memory Stick (MS), MS PRO, MS Duo, MS PRO D.
(10) John Coughlin and Jim Handy, “Digital Storage in Consumer Electronics
2008,” January 2008 (p. 12) www.tomcoughlin.com/Techpapers/Brochure%20CE_Storage_Report,%20010208.pdf.
(11) Internet access required.

Niveus Media Gets Hard Core In Whole-Home Entertainment

Upgrades
to Niveus’ Media Servers, including Intel
® Core 2Quad processors and advanced control functionality with the new Niveus
Control Server enable high performance whole-home entertainment.

Denver,
CO – CEDIA Expo 2007 – September 5-9 – Booth #294 –
Niveus Media, the leaders in high-end
digital entertainment solutions for the connected home, introduces the 2008
line of Media Server products. As consumers and installers continue to embrace
Niveus’ Windows Vista-based Media Servers, launched in January 2007, Niveus is
now focused on optimizing these systems to be the ultimate server for
whole-home entertainment. Both the Summit Series and Pro Series Media Server
models will be integral parts of Niveus’ multi-zone audio video and digital
cable demonstration at CEDIA Expo 2007.

With
the custom integrator in mind, Niveus will demo the updated rack mountable Pro
Series Media Servers, featuring the Intel® Core™ 2 Quad processor; now
available on all Pro Series models including the n7, n9, and all new n4. The
Pro Series n4 enters the line-up as the baselevel offering, boasting the same
well-designed form-factor and impressive Pro Series performance capabilities.

Intel’s
Core 2 Quad processor provides four independent cores with dedicated threads,
to efficiently off-load tasks and more readily serve up media including HD
video to multiple rooms of the home. The new Pro Series based on the Intel Core
2 Quad processor is capable of streaming HD media to 5 additional, independent
zones while providing the power, compatibility, and connectivity to perform as
the hard-core central media hub.

“The
growth of Internet-delivered video and rich, high-definition entertainment is
driving the need for powerful multi-core processing that will quickly off-load
tasks to improve system responsiveness and overall performance,” said Jeffrey
McCrea, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Consumer PC Group. “The
Intel Core 2 Quad processor is intended for intensive entertainment applications
that deliver impeccable multi-zone performance for which Niveus’ Pro Series is
recognized.”

As part
of the 2008 whole-home focus, Niveus has beefed up their entire Media Server
offering including the passively cooled Summit Series Rainier and Denali
Editions and the aforementioned Pro Series. Upgrades to all servers include new
Seagate® DB35 Series™ hard drives for video streaming performance, acoustics
& reliability and Nvidia’s GeForce Series 8 graphics featuring PureVideo™ HD
technology for high quality video scaling up to and beyond 1080p.

Additionally,
Niveus introduces the Niveus Control Server, a middleware software component designed
to provide the necessary bi-directional feedback to develop meta-data rich
control templates for premier touch panels. The Niveus Control Server gives
dealers the resources and flexibility to pair the ultimate high-performance
Niveus Media Server and Media Center Extenders with the optimum home automation
solution from any control vendor. Availability and pricing is expected
in Q4 but the beta version of the software can be downloaded beginning today
from the Niveus Media website.

Niveus
Media’s 2008 line of Windows Vista Ultimate-based media centers including the
Summit Series Rainier and Denali Editions, and Pro Series n4, n7 and n9, are
capable of storing, managing, and playing TV, music, movies, and photos while
offering the highest level of media center performance.

For
more information on Niveus Media, Inc., please visit http://www.niveusmedia.com.

Niveus Media Announces Support For Four Digital Cable Tuners

Progressive technology
leads to Niveus Digital Cable training & certification program.

Denver,
CO – CEDIA Expo 2007 – September 5-9 – Booth #294 –
Niveus Media, Inc, the leader in
high-end digital entertainment for the connected home, is taking DVR
functionality to the next level with their announcement to support up to four
digital cable tuners leveraging CableCARD technology. Due to popular demand,
Niveus also announces their plans to roll out an intensive CableCARD training
and certification program early this Fall; a first for the industry.

Through
a Windows® Vista™ Ultimate-based Niveus Media Server and the Niveus Digital
Cable Receiver, customers will now be offered robust DVR functionality for the
enjoyment of four different premium HD programs accessible from anywhere in the
home. Optimized for HDTV recording, the Niveus Digital Cable Receiver enables
users to watch one premium HD program while simultaneously watching or
recording up to three others.

The
quad CableCARD tuner implementation in Niveus’ systems, which are designed specifically
for custom installers, is further evidence that Windows Media Center is
evolving to meet the needs of the CEDIA channel
,” said Scott Evans, Group
Manager, Microsoft® Entertainment and Devices eHome Division. “Quad
CableCARD is the kind of cutting-edge application that clearly will leverage
the know-how and vision of the custom installer
.” Niveus
thoughtfully designed the Niveus Digital Cable Receiver as a modular device to
provide proper cooling, a superior level of performance, and upgrade
potential; offering compatibility for existing Niveus Media Center
owners to upgrade and incorporate this functionality into their system
while allowing for the add-on of additional receivers for support of up to four
digital cable tuners. Easily connected to a Niveus Media Center via a
single USB 2.0, each modular Niveus Digital Cable Receiver is built with
two internal ATI TV Wonder Digital Cable (OCUR) Tuners and is housed in
a complementing and proprietary Niveus black anodized chassis.

The
Niveus Digital Cable Receiver with the Windows Vista Ultimate Media Center TV
function enables unprecedented DVR functionality including: quad HD recording;
access to the interactive electronic program guide (EPG); snapshot thumbnails
of every show from the recorded TV library; a free movie guide that allows
users to browse movies “currently on”, or “on next”; and
movie synopsis & cast/crew details.

We
are very excited to be one of the first companies to offer quad CableCARD
support,”
states Tim Cutting, CEO, Niveus Media. “We’re really focused
on extending the Niveus Entertainment Experience into the whole-home and this
takes digital TV capabilities to the next level, offering greater levels of
convenience and performance.

As with
most high-performing devices in the home entertainment channel, Niveus’ systems
are intended for custom installation by a qualified and trained integrator. To
increase Niveus Authorized Dealers’ familiarity and professionalism in installing
the Niveus Digital Cable Receiver, Niveus plans to offer a comprehensive
digital cable installation training and certification program beginning this
Fall. The program will include both a web-based and “hands-on” component and
will provide installers with the expertise necessary to properly setup and
configure a multi-tuner digital cable solution.

Support
for four digital cable tuners and the Niveus digital cable training program
will be available Q4 2007. Niveus Media’s 2008 line of Windows Vista
Ultimate-based media centers including the Summit Series Rainier and Denali
Editions, and Pro Series n4, n7 and n9, are capable of storing, managing, and
playing TV, music, movies, and photos while offering the highest level of media
center performance.

For
more information on Niveus Media, Inc., please visit http://www.niveusmedia.com.

Niveus Media Introduces First Windows Media Center Extender Designed For The Custom Install Channel

The Niveus Media Extender takes digital entertainment
installs to the next level in performance and profitability!

Denver, CO – CEDIA Expo 2007 – September 5-9 – Booth #294
– Niveus Media, the leader in high-end digital entertainment for the
connected home, proudly introduces the Niveus Media Extender, a hardware device
that gives users the ability to enjoy the Niveus Media Center experience
throughout the whole home. While dealers and consumers continue to embrace the
robust functionality of Niveus’ 2007 Windows Vista Ultimate-based Media
Servers, Niveus has shifted focus to create a superior solution for
distributing the Niveus Entertainment Experience through the entire home.
Welcome the Niveus Media Extender.

By connecting the Niveus Media Extender to any TV throughout
the home, users are granted access to live and recorded TV, digital photos,
digital music, home video, and exclusive online multi-media content, including
downloadable music and local weather – all accessed through and stored on the
Niveus Media Server. The Niveus Media Extender offers users a full fidelity
experience, uncompromised 1080p video, digital audio, and the same amazing 3D
user interface found on the award-winning Niveus Media Center.

In addition to the intuitive on-screen experience, the
Niveus Media Extender features the proprietary Niveus Glacier™ Passive Cooling
system for cool and quiet performance and a sleek and stylish A/V form-factor,
designed to blend seamlessly into any zone of the home and flexible enough to
be installed into a rack-mount solution application.

Niveus Media’s whole-home entertainment system enables
independent content control which makes it possible for a person in a Niveus
Media Extender zone to access one digital entertainment feature while someone at
the Media Server or separate Extender zone accesses another. Niveus currently
offers Extender support for up to five zones.

“We are excited that Niveus Media
is announcing Niveus Media Extender to deliver the Windows Media Center
experience throughout the connected home,” said Dave Alles, General Manager for
eHome at Microsoft. “This is a high-end device clearly targeted at the CEDIA
channel and broadens the options available for custom installers building on
Windows Media Center.”

“The Niveus Media Extender
provides dealers with ability to take their Windows Media Center installs to
the next level,” states John Trimbach, Vice President Sales, Niveus Media.
“Currently, there is no other manufacturer in the channel offering an extender
solution with such audio video performance capabilities and we are proud to be
the first to provide dealers with a profitable and high-performing Extender
solution.”

Technical specifications, pricing,
and availability will be announced on September 27, 2007. Niveus Media’s 2008
line of Windows Vista Ultimate-based media centers including the Summit Series
Rainier and Denali Editions, and Pro Series n4, n7 and n9, are capable of
storing, managing, and playing TV, music, movies, and photos while offering the
highest level of media center performance.

For more information on Niveus
Media, Inc., please visit http://www.niveusmedia.com/.

Ricavision SideShow Remote Available Now (Sort of)

Ricavision
has released their long awated Sideshow Remotes for Vista Media Center (Via
Missing Remote
).  The description
from Ricavision says…

“The Ricavision SideShow remote control is the first and
only remote control that incorporates the one touch access of Media Center with
the power of Microsoft Windows Vista in one convenient home entertainment remote
control solution.  With the integration of Microsoft Vista comes the
access to SideShow and the multiple features that are accessed by the SideShow
Gadgets.  These innovative product developments incorporated with the
Microsoft Windows Vista SideShow provides continuous access to digital
entertainment every minute of every day.”

Features

The SideShow Remote Control
allows direct access & total control of Windows SideShow functions of the
Media Center. It enables you to do the following things:

  • Play Music
  • Browse music library by album, artist and genre.
  • Add to Queue appends all tracks in the selection to the Now
    Playing list.
  • Now Playing List links to the Now Playing screen.
  • Browse TV program guide.
  • Record schedules programs to record now or later without
    interrupting the TV viewing experience.
  • Select recorded TV. For previously recorded TV programs, a
    list of programs by name and by date will be available, along with details
    about the selected program
  • Select other gadgets on the SideShow remote control, and
    view information such as email, a calendar, news headlines, and weather.

Price is $250 and is available now.  However, this is the reference design sample, all sales are final.  I’d love to get one of these to review though and hopefully they will have the newer version of the SideShow remote out soon.