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Tag Archives: TV

Hulu Inches Closer To A Paid Subscription Model


By Chris Scott Barr

It’s been nearly a year since I dropped my cable subscription, and I couldn’t be happier. Between Hulu Plus vs Netflix streaming, I have little desire to ever switch back. Of course there has always been that fear that Hulu would switch over to a paid subscription model. Now it seems that a paid model is coming, but it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been.

The current proposal is to continue offering the latest 5 episodes of current shows for free. However, users could pay $9.95 a month for what’s called Hulu Plus. This would get you the entire back-catalog of episodes, rather than being limited to the latest ones. There is no word on whether paying the fee would free you from watching the ads or not.

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Philips Portable DVD Player Becomes Slightly More Relevant Again With The Inclusion Of A Digital TV Tuner

Philips Portable DVD Player With Digital TV Tuner (Image courtesy Philips)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s kind of hard to justify the cost of a portable DVD player these days when a similarly priced device like the iPod Touch does so much more, but the Philips PET729 manages to make itself slightly more useful with the inclusion of a digital TV tuner and antenna. For about $120 you get a 7 inch TFT LCD display (480×234 pixel resolution) and support for almost every type of media disk including DVD, CD and SVCD, though the most ‘exotic’ file format it can handle is MP3s, so if you’re hoping to use this for watching downloaded video content, you’re out of luck. The rechargeable battery is good for about 3 hours of TV or DVD enjoyment, and should you find the ATSC reception lacking, you do have the option of hooking up a larger rooftop or outside antenna for a better picture.

[ Philips Portable DVD Player With Digital TV Tuner ] VIA [ GadgetGrid ]

DTV Converter Box – You Know, For Cars

ATSC Digital TV Receiver for Cars (Images courtesy Chinavasion)
By Andrew Liszewski

If your ride is pimped out with some manner of LCD display with an A/V input, you can now enjoy local terrestrial digital broadcasts thanks to this ATSC receiver that’s specifically designed for vehicles. The blue converter box can be stashed somewhere out of sight, as well as the cables that connect it to your car’s AV center, but an included remote (not pictured) allows you to change channels or select additional inputs if you still wanted to use an external DVD player. The receiver supports the ATSC DTV standard meaning it will work in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central + South America, while the kit is available from Chinavasion for ~$70.

[ ATSC Digital TV Receiver for Cars ]

[CES 2010] Sony Distance Alert Tells You To Step Off


By Evan Ackerman

I don’t have a big screen TV, but I can pretend that I do by sitting just inches from the screen. Sony is having none of that, though, with their Distance Alert system, which uses a small camera to measure your distance from the TV screen. If you get closer than about a meter to the TV, a message pops up advising you to back away, and it won’t restore the picture until you do.

The same technology is used for a couple other things, too… Since the TV knows where you (and any other people in the room) are, it can optimize its sound and light output so that if you’re all sitting off to one side, everything still looks and sounds balanced. Also, if the TV doesn’t see anyone in the room, it shuts its backlight off and will turn itself off completely after 30 minutes to save power. Neat tricks, but since the little camera is hardware integrated, Sony is currently only planning to release one model with these features so far this year, and it’s going to be (to quote the Sony rep) “expensive.”

[CES 2010] Hannspree Polar Bear TV


By Evan Ackerman

It’s a 19″, 720p, $299 polar bear TV that you can buy in March from Hannspree. It’s designed to “raise awareness” about polar bears, and is just the first in a series of other (unspecified) threatened animal TVs, but it does not in fact help the polar bears in any way if you buy one. Except with karma, maybe, but karma isn’t an unmeltable iceberg or a tasty seal.

[ Hannspree ]

$30/month iTunes “Cable Killer” Subscription Service On The Way?


By David Ponce

The word on the street (meaning Peter Kafka from AllThingsD) is that Apple has been going around TV networks over the last few weeks pitching a $30/month subscription service that would make it possible to watch TV through iTunes. It’s not clear exactly how this would work. For instance, we don’t know whether this would make live programs available live or as a later download, nor whether you’d have access to the same kind of programming that you get currently from cable companies. This of course would depend on how many networks jump on board, a selling task left up to iTunes boss Eddy Cue. Rumor has it

“that if anyone jumps first, it will be Disney (DIS), since CEO Bob Iger has shown a willingness to experiment with Apple and iTunes in the past: In 2005, Disney was the first player to sell its programming on iTunes, via a-la-carte downloads. And Apple CEO Steve Jobs is Disney’s largest single shareholder, a result of Disney’s 2006 acquisition of Jobs’s Pixar animation studio. Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.”

Whatever happens, Apple’s in a hurry as they’d like to launch this early 2010.

The question is, would you pay $30 for a service like this? Would you ditch your cable company? Everything is moving to the web as it is, so this seems like a natural and perhaps inevitable evolution for broadcast… but is it too ambitious, too soon?

[ AllThingsD ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Futurama: The Complete Collection Includes Bender’s Head As A Really Depressing Trophy

Futurama: The Complete Collection (Image courtesy Fox)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t know about you, but I’m still miffed about the way Fox treated Futurama, so I’m not entirely sure if I’d want to see Bender’s head every day, staring at me from my DVD shelf and reminding me about another brilliant animated series cut-down in its prime.

On the other hand, Futurama: The Complete Collection does include every single episode of the late sci-fi series, including the four recent feature-length adventures (which didn’t really capture the spirit of the original series) and should be mandatory for any animated series collection. And of course it also includes Bender’s head in a fake jar, and a numbered letter from Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. $159.98 from available October 13, no Blu-ray.

[ Futurama: The Complete Collection ] VIA [ Chip Chick ]

TVClean Is A Lint Roller For Your TV Or Monitor


By Chris Scott Barr

Being the bachelor that I am, I wouldn’t exactly call myself a clean freak. Granted, I usually keep things pretty tidy, since I can’t work in a messy office, but I’d fail the old white glove test. One thing that I do hate is when people touch my monitors or TV. I spend half my day staring at one, so I really don’t want fingerprints on it. I generally use a microfiber cloth to clean my screens, but here’s another interesting solution.

The TV Clean is sort of like a lint roller for your LCD monitor or TV. You just roll the little device over your screen, and its rubber roller picks up any dust and dirt, which is transferred to a sticky roller. This does seem like an easy way to get the dust off, but unfortunately you’ll still need to use a microfiber cloth to remove fingerprints and such. $50 seems a bit expensive for a dust remover. I’m sure it works just fine, but so does my method, and I don’t have to pay for refills.

[ TVClean ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]

Epix To Stream Movies Before DVD Release


By Chris Scott Barr

Don’t you love it when you realize that you missed a movie in theaters, and thus have to wait months for it come out on DVD? I’m sure that the movie studios have a good reason for doing it (profit, mostly), but it can still be rather frustrating. Well a few movie studios including MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate have jumped on a project that will allow you to watch movies at home, before they are released on DVD.

The project is called Epix, and it works in two ways. First, it is a TV channel that will air movies in a pay-per-view fashion before they are released on DVD. Second, they will also allow you to stream the movies to your computer, in 720p no less. This all sounds pretty good right? It would be pretty cool if it weren’t for the one little catch. Epix will only be housing their servers with select ISPs. What that means is that you will have to have both TV and internet service through a specific ISP in order to enjoy these movies. Honestly, if I can stream movies online, why do I need a TV channel for it? I ditched my cable service in favor of Hulu and Boxee and I have no regrets. I think I can wait for a DVD.

[ Epix ] VIA [ Dvice ]