i.TV is an incredibly useful free app for anyone who loves watching movies and TV shows. It has a very simple interface, divided up into TV, movies, a global search function, and "My Media" (basically, favorites and a set of listings for browsing genres, TV channels, and your Netflix queue). With a few taps, you can find out what's currently playing on a particular TV channel (you pick the broadcast or cable provider), watch previews and check showtimes at your local theaters, add movies to your Netflix queue (including your instant watching queue), and even read … Read more
A United Kingdom-led mission to put a satellite in orbit around the moon, potentially enabling lunar colonists to use mobile phones to communicate with each other, has inched a step closer to blastoff.
The British National Space Centre has announced that it will undertake a technical-feasibility study of the MoonLITE, or Moon Lightweight Interior and Telecom Experiment, mission, which Lord Drayson, the U.K. minister of state for science and innovation, said could help answer fundamental questions about the composition of the moon.
The study will report with a full mission schedule and costs late next year. It is expected … Read more
Iridium has begun delivering its latest generation handset, which signals a new era for the global satellite carrier. It has been several years since any significant changes have been made in its handheld equipment, so for current users, this should be welcome news. I received one of the first 9555's that was delivered to World Communications in Chandler, Ariz., by Iridium. It has been a primary vendor for Iridium from the first implementation of the network. The new handsets, with accessories, sell for about $1,700, and according to Iridium, are available now.
The Iridium network, conceived, engineered, and … Read more
Sony's XDR-F1HD HD Radio has developed a real buzz among my audiophile pals; on second thought maybe buzz isn't the right word. It's the quietest, noise-free radio I've ever used.
These guys can be real snobs and only listen to ultra-high-end components, and some wouldn't be caught dead using mainstream gear with their hi-fis, and yet they're all going ga-ga over the Sony. We're all thinking it's too good to be true.
I originally heard about the Sony from Steven Stone, a writer friend, and then from an engineer at an American high-end audio company known for making awesome tuners that sell for thousands of dollars. The engineer was positively gushing about how good the XDR-F1HD is; not just that it sounded great, but also because it pulls in tough-to-receive analog stations with lower noise and distortion than tuners that sell for big bucks. You can read my full CNET review here.
I rushed right out and bought an XDR-F1HD from Amazon, and sure nuff, it's true, the little Sony is no baloney. Analog FM stations came in like gangbusters, clean as a whistle, and HD stations, like my favorite jazz station WBGO had "CD quality" sound. That phrase is tossed around a lot, but this time it's for real. I listened to WBGO with the Sony over my high-end system with Magnepan 3.6/R speakers, and the sound was amazing. It's day and night better than what I get from Sirius Satellite Radio, which is almost unlistenable over those speakers. … Read more
Quite a bit has happened to satellite radio over the past year. First, we had two companies vying for your dollars and then, in a ridiculously long merger process, the two companies finally became one.
Since then, the new Sirius XM has tried to find its footing in a world where terrestrial radio still reigns supreme and advertising dollars aren't floating around as much as they did last year. And to make matters worse, the company is forced to pay Howard Stern $100 million per year on a total subscriber base of about 19.1 million by the end of the year -- not the kind of numbers that would attract advertisers, let alone shareholders.
Following that, we can't forget that the company's share price is at a woeful $0.26 and $1 billion in debt is coming due in 2009 as the company posted a huge $4.88 billion loss. Sirius XM is working on refinancing and recently reduced a $300 million note to $210 million, but its troubles persist.
And although it sounds like the company is facing enough issues already, this whole discussion has left out an important piece of the puzzle: automotive sales are declining at a rapid rate, there are no signs of that slowing down next year, and America's three major car manufacturers -- Ford, Daimler-Chrysler, and GM -- are hoping the U.S. government will bail them out. And considering most people listen to Sirius XM Radio in the car, the company is feeling the effects.
So what can really be done? Should Sirius XM dump Howard Stern and other prominent radio personalities and stick to music? Should Sirius XM call it a day and try to sell its operation to the highest bidder? Or should Sirius XM forge ahead with its current strategy and hope against hope that everything will be OK?
To answer those questions won't be easy. But at this point, I simply don't know how Sirius XM can survive unless it does something drastic.… Read more
If satellite radio has a corner on any market, it's in the car, and with the increasingly narrow selection offered by terrestrial radio in many areas, it's no wonder. But for those who want to listen to Sirius or XM at the gym, in the train, or on the streets, the selection is a bit more limited, namely because many portable receivers aren't as adept at picking up satellite signals due to the small size of the units, and thus, their antennae.
With the Inno XMP3 for XM, Pioneer aims to offer the most compact device while … Read more
At 2008's SEMA Show, I took a spin in a Toyota Sienna with a rather unique feature designed and installed by AT&T: CruiseCast Satellite TV. I have to say after seeing the system, I'm impressed.
We here at CNET Car Tech have test driven vehicles equipped with satellite TV, such as the 2009 Dodge Ram and Durango Hybrid vehicles with their Sirius Backseat TV systems. These systems have two fatal flaws. First, the signal is poor even at its best. At its worst, it's unwatchable because of spotty reception. Secondly, the selection of channels is … Read more