Sunday, April 22, 2007 

New Release from TVersity (0.9.10)


TVersity 0.9.10 is out, featuring support for the Sony Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nokia N800 and video transcoding for the Sony PSP. This new release has a new Adobe Flash based media library interface that allows audio and video streaming to any device that supports the flash runtime. While this interface was created specifically for the Sony Playstation 3 and for the Nintendo Wii, it can be used on many other devices and on computers of any operating system.

This new release has many additional improvements under the hood, designed to allow video/audio conversion to many new formats such as Divx, MPEG4, Flash Video and more (TVersity could convert these formats to MPEG1/2 before, however conversion to these formats is a new addition).

Wii owners, please note that due to inability to get a Nintendo Wii, support for this unit is experimental, however some users already report success in streaming both audio and video.

As always, we ask that you take the time to share with us your feedback and ideas for further improvement. This is now especially important as we approach our 1.0 release and wish to emerge out of beta status.

Download the new release at:
http://download.tversity.com/Setup_0_9_10_1.exe

Release notes are at:

http://tversity.com/support/releasenotes/

Saturday, April 14, 2007 

Apple's iPod may gain Wi-Fi by holidays



AppleInsider is reporting that the iPod is gaining WiFi support by this holiday season. This will finally turn the iPod into a connected device, something I predicted for 2006 and then when it did not happen for 2007.

The question is what kind of functionality Apple is planning to offer based on this new capability. In my original post about this topic (back in January of 2006) I tried to discuss different scenarios WiFi may enable. It will be interesting to see how far Apple takes it.

Most importantly, this new capability turns the iPod into a device TVersity needs to support and it also makes Bonjour a protocol we need to add, side by side with UPnP. Bonjour, for those that do not know, is Apple's take on device interoperability over home networks. It is an alternative to UPnP, and like UPnP A/V Bonjour has DAAP for audio and video services. iTunes, Apple TV and most likely the iPod will implement this protocol, hence it will become more important than UPnP A/V over night.

While Apple is trying to promote Bonjour and get others to adopt it (this is probably the main reason behind their recent decision to open source it), they are not trying to do the same with the audio and video services that they have implemented on top of Bonjour and for that reason UPnP still has a role to play.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out as the battle between the closed system approach championed by Apple and the open ecosystem approach championed by Microsoft goes to the next level and is about to span every facet of our connected lifestyle. Make no mistake, the battle for MP3 players was merely round I. The introduction of the Apple TV, WiFi for the iPod and the iPhone indicate that Apple is aiming to displace both Microsoft and Intel and become the most important company in tech by leading all the major product categories of tomorrow.

More about my gloomy predictions about Apple and their attempt to take over the world, is available in my previous post about the iPhone Effect.

Friday, April 06, 2007 

HP Drops its Flagship Media Center Line




CEPro is reporting that HP is pulling out of the media center business and will no longer sell living room friendly form factor PCs with MCE. The company that pioneered the living-room form factor for Media Center Edition (MCE) PCs has decided to drop the line. I am sure you can guess the reason, the product must have virtually no demand in the market.



The company instead will focus its energy on MediaSmart, the new brand of TVs, mobile devices and media servers - this is not Microsoft Media Center Extenders, but HP's own implementation of the UPnP A/V and DLNA standards.

This, in my opinion, is a reflection of MCE failure to serve its purpose. Sure, Microsoft is selling millions of copies, but are they being used as media centers? Are they installed in living rooms? The answer is now clear, definitely not - therwise HP would not abandon this market.

 

Long-form television is not Something the Average American Wants to View on a Computer Screen



Here is yet another proof that Internet TV should be delivered to the living room and not to the PC. Do you remember that experiment Time Warner started back in 2005 offering some of their subscribers basic TV to the PC? Well, after almost two years they declared the experiment a failure and they will no longer offer this service. According to Time Warner fewer than 1% of the 9,000 customers to which it had been providing this television service to the PC actually watched any TV that way on any given day.

I wonder what that means for Joost. Will they be able to get a significant number of people watching TV on their PC? If you ask me Apple TV will be bigger than Joost now and forever, but it is not surprising that I would say that. After all, TVersity is a reflection of what I think Internet TV should be like.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007 

Some Screenshots from the Upcoming release

Here are some screenshot of the user interface we are creating for the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. This will also work on any web browser on any OS that has Macromedia flash version 7 or higher. As you can see this is going to be a full blown implementation of a media center front end running on Adobe Flash.

The top of the media library:

Playing an audio podcast:

Browsing YouTube Videos:

Playing a YouTube Video:

Browsing a Video Podcast:

Downloading a video to the PS3 hard drive in Hi-Def MPEG format:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007 

DRM Free Music available on iTunes - Goodbye CD Stores

Back in January I said that this year we will see music from major labels sold on the web without DRM. I thought it might take a while and I am glad to see that it did not and already now Apple offers DRM free music.

This is is a great step forward, especially when considering the fact that the premium for a DRM free song (which according to Apple will also be in a higher quality) is just 30 cents. DRM free albums will sell for the same price of $9.99, as DRM protected ones (why even bother offering DRM protected albums?).

Looks like the industry is on track to offer music from all the four major labels without DRM by the end of the year. This hypothesis is based on the fact that in the past, once Apple signed one studio or one label the rest came knocking on Apple's door. Of-course we, the consumers, will first need to make DRM free music a big success or else the other labels won't follow EMI. I personally do not think there is any reason for concern here, I am very confident that DRM free music will allow digital music sales to grow exponentially.

According to the New York Times, Mr. Jobs feels half of the songs on iTunes will be DRM free by year end:

Mr. Jobs, however, was unequivocal in his prediction that the industry would eventually reduce its use of copy protection. He said that he expected more than half of the songs on iTunes would be available in unprotected versions by year’s end.

The one concern I do have is for all the CD stores that are still out there, everyone should go visit one soon and say goodbye, adios, hasta la vista... The one thing we cannot say to them is farewell because they won't.