Microsoft plans to make a "Release Candidate" build of its latest operating system, Windows 7, available for anyone to download May 5 . Once installed the preview won't expire until June 2010 so anyone wanting to try it out has more than a year to decide before they need to make a decision. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions will be available in English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish. Arstechnica has an in depth look at one of the earlier betas if you want to see whats improved since Vista and whats completely new.
Sony has just unveiled their Bravia Z5500 line . Top of the feature list is Motionflow 200Hz, which outputs 200fps and comes teamed up with Image Blur Reduction, which Sony claims "cleans" up the newly created extra frames to stamp out motion blur. Also on board is an Ethernet socket which opens the Bravia Z5500 up to DLNA media streaming (from a PC or DLNA-enabled media server) and AppliCast, Sony's selection of online services. This lets you access RSS feeds and view widgets on-screen while you're watching TV. The Sony Bravia Z5500 comes in 40, 46 and 50-inch sizes, all with full HD 1920 x 1080 resolutions.
AMIMON , the company behind the wireless HD technology WHDI , has just introduced its second-generation chipset. The system, which utilizes video modem technology operating in the 5GHz unlicensed band, consists of the new AMN 2120 transmitter and AMN 2220 receiver.. AMIMON asserts that this chipset is the first capable of "delivering full uncompressed 1080p/60Hz HD content throughout the entire home," with a range of beyond 100 feet through walls, under one millisecond of latency and support for HDCP 2.0. The new chipset is available now. Official press release.
Taiwanese researchers at ITRI have produced a flexible paper speaker and aim to have them ready for next year, with the price down to around $20 per 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheet. The speaker is made by layering thin electrodes and a prepolarized diaphragm between two thin sheets of paper. Their first application, they hope, is to use the Flexpeaker in cars as soon as next year. Then, movie posters, with the soundtrack or movie trailer highlights playing as folks walk by. The frequency response is only 500Hz to 200kHz so these speakers are mainly meant for commercial applications.
Warner Home Video through their WBShop.com website has announced that they will now allow HD DVD owners to exchange their old Warner HD DVDs for the Blu-ray version. This service isn’t free, as it costs $4.95 per disc with $6.95 shipping and handling per order. The cost must not be worth it for if you are only exchanging a few disks but if you have a large HD DVD libarary it might make more sense to make the switch to Blu-Ray now.
Christie Projectors' new Entero line is being called the world's first LED based rear projection display systems. The Entero line is designed for control room displays and video wall applications and features DLP display technology, 600 ANSI lumens, and a 1700:1 contrast ratio. By using new LED technology, the Entero line has a life span of more than 50000 hours, which estimates to over five years of dependable 24/7 performance. The two models that are currently in the Entero series are the RPMWU-LED01 and the RPMSP-LED01 . The RPMWU features WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution, while the RPMSP features SXGA+ (1400 x 1050) resolution. Original press release from AboutProjectors.
Kenwood encased its new 2 way speakers, the SP0001 , in optical grade glass. Combined with the optional LED light stand the speakers create a haunting futuristic night listening experience. The system features two 2-way speakers supporting a maximum input of 10W and featuring an 8-ohm impedance. The playback frequency range is of 80Hz – 25kHz and is attained with the help of 6-cm cone and 2.5-cm soft dome-type drivers. The whole thing is not particularly big, measuring somewhere around 140 x 170 x 195 and weighing about 2.3 kilos. Available now in Japan for $1,050 plus $210 for each stand.
Roku has just announced that it will support streaming HD videos coming from Amazon's VOD service. Roku was already streaming non-HD content from Amazon. At the moment, there are about 500 HD movies and TV shows that users can get from Amazon. Episodes of current TV shows will be available for purchase for $2.99; recently released movies will be available to rent for $3.99-$4.99. Roku is available for $99 from the company's web site.
Microsoft recently presented its 2.4 inches square touch screen which they claim to be the smallest in the world. Instead of the touch controls being on top of the screen, obstructing the tiny view, the controls are located directly behind the display. The Nanotouch can also display your finger through the screen for increased accuracy. These tiny touch screens could be very useful for future portable gaming systems, smart phones and universal remotes.
Unlike common televisions that lose picture quality due to glare, this television has a 31 1/2″ active-matrix TFT screen with an anti-reflective window that provides indoor-quality viewing outdoors in shaded daylight. Capable of 1080i HD performance with a 1,500:1 contrast ratio, and is protected by a scratch-resistant, contrast-enhancing window. A dual-airflow system ensures the television stays cool, dry, and properly ventilated -even up to 122° F. Two eight-watt water-resistant speakers provide clear stereo sound. Includes a weather-resistant remote with rechargeable batteries, an articulating wall mount, and an outdoor dust cover. Available at Hammacher Schlemmer now.
Gizmodo has a side by side comparison of eight of the more popular iPod / iPhone docks . If your looking for a simple audio player in the $200 to $300 dollar range Gizmodo has broken down the pluses and minuses of each unit along with some general recommendations. Its a simple rundown that might help you narrow your choices and a great starting point.
D-Link is now shipping its PowerLine HD Ethernet Adapter Starter Kit . The kit is capable of transmitting high-def footage throughout a home's integrated electrical wiring system between any two devices. For $139.99 you get two wall adapters, simple push-button activation, Microsoft Windows Vista's Network Map support and a theoretical throughput of 200Mbps. Available now from D-Links web site .
The Livio Radio is the first Wi-Fi radio specifically designed around the Pandora streaming music service , offering "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons on the front panel and the remote. The Livio can connect to the Pandora service through either the integrated Wi-Fi or the Ethernet port around back. In addition to Pandora, the Livio Radio also features the ability to tune into more than 11,000 standard Internet radio stations. The back of the radio has a line in and stereo out for integration with whatever other audio equipment you have. The Livio Radio sells for $150 and is currently available in the United States at their web site .
Sanyo has announced a new super-short focus projector powered by a laser. The projector has a brightness of 7000 lumens, most consumers projectors are 1000-2000 lumens bright, which should be enough to provide a good image, even in a lit room and is capable of giving you a 100" image at just 63cm away from the screen, and a 150" image at 94cm away from the screen. No word yet on pricing or availability.
If you own a TiVo HD, a TiVo Series3 DVR or a Scientific Atlanta DVR with a eSATA port in the back you can add a whole lot of extra recording space by using one of Western Digital's new My DVR Expander portable hard drives. Once it's plugged into the eSATA port on your TiVo DVR, the expander will be "married" to your DVR, instantly adding 60 ( 500gb model ) or 120 ( 1tb model ) additional hours of HD recording space.
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