Blu-ray came into its own in 2010; although the technology has been around for years, this was its best year yet. In the past, finding a movie that wasn’t on the new release list was a challenge, but now there are not only new movies on Blu-ray, but many older – and even classic films – as well.
Blu-ray, if you don’t know, is like a DVD, but with much higher resolution. If someone has a TV larger than 40”, they will certainly appreciate the difference. And if the person on your list is movie buff, they’ll enjoy your gift for years to come.
This Blu-ray player from Samsung offers not only Blu-ray disc playback, but DVD as well. It even upscales standard definition DVD video to look better on HDTVs. Plus, there are built-in apps which allow you to watch Internet video from multiple sources like Netflix, Vudu, and Blockbuster, not to mention audio from Internet radio services like Pandora. And with Samsung’s app system, the player can be updated over time with additional sources of online content.
The Samsung BD-C5500 is relatively inexpensive at $111 @ Amazon.com.
DRM has failed repeatedly, cannot succeed, and yet continues to haunt us.
Just last week, Netflix announced that its delay in streaming video to Android-powered smartphones is due to the operating system’s lack of acceptable system-wide DRM; the movie studios and TV networks aren’t satisfied.
I suppose their fear – the studios, not Netflix – is that owners of Android phones might use them to get at copyrighted movies and TV shows for illegal distribution. At last! A way to access and share unprotected video: Android. Google-powered smartphones would become the first platform capable of producing unprotected video content for the purposes of illegal sharing if suitable DRM is not in place…
Except – wait a tick – there’s no Netflix on Android today, so how have movies and TV shows already shown up on torrent sites and other P2P networks? Has someone secretly ported Netflix to Android in its current, non-locked-down state? Who could this evil genius be?
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You know that PS3 Netflix disc you’ve been guarding against scratches and scuffs for the last eleven months? Well, next week, you’ll be able to toss it.
Today Netflix announced that a dedicated app for their streaming video service is coming to the PS3 on Monday, October 18 – that’s just three days from today. The Netflix app will feature an entirely redesigned interface, improved browsing, and supposedly “dramatic improvements in how fast playback starts.” If it’s as fast as the iPhone app, I’ll be very, very happy.
Netflix is also introducing 1080i high definition video on selected titles, as well as Dolby 5.1 channel surround sound to their streaming service.
Check out the video below for more details and a brief preview of the new interface.
The Netflix app for the PS3–Coming October 18th
Update: The PS3 Netflix app is live!
The most frustrating thing about web video is that you have to jump through so many hoops to watch it on a TV. I use the PS3 for streaming Netflix, but I can’t watch Hulu or other web videos on the console; for that, you really need a PC or Mac connected to your boob tube.
But TV manufacturers are beginning to tune into the fact that Internet video is here to stay and that it’s most naturally viewed on a TV. To cash in on this reality, a new generation of TVs is emerging with built-in Internet connectivity, video playback and web software. And it’s about time.
One of the first pioneers into this brave new world is VIZIO, a brand of TVs sold largely by Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club. Three new VIZIO TVs will be available for purchase next week (the 42-inch SV422XVT, the 47-inch SV472XVT and the 55-inch VF552XVT) that include VIZIO Internet Apps, or VIA, which allow you to connect to the Internet (via 802.11n Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable) for watching Netflix, Amazon Video on Demand, Yahoo! Video and VuDu. Hopefully Hulu will join the party at some point, but I won’t hold my breath.
And the VIZIO Internet Apps aren’t just about web video. There’s also social networking capabilities with Twitter and Facebook connectivity, Internet radio via Pandora, and photo viewing with flickr.
That’s all well and good, but it’s the built-in web video technology that caught my attention. It’ll be interesting to see how this trend develops.