To the chagrin of home-entertainment aficionados, there will always be people who want all their media functions in a single box. We're not talking about a high-end convergence phenom like the $10,000 "Q," by the way, but something more like a TV/DVD/VCR combo that can be found behind the counter at Walgreens. But with TVs getting thinner all the time, the design and manufacturing may get increasingly tricky.
MySpace has unveiled a new MySpace Celebrity site devoted to entertainment culture, which is slated to launch in full on the News Corp.-owned social network on Thursday. The portal will feature news (including gossip aggregated from People magazine's Web site), blogs, and multimedia content pertaining to already-big and fast-rising names in acting, music, comedy, sports, and Page Six notoriety.
Content on MySpace Celebrity goes beyond gossip, encompassing news about celebrities' charitable endeavors and behind-the-scenes antics on the job. … Read more
ISPs are talking about getting into the copyright-enforcement business. It's hard to see where this will end, once it gets going. Privacy advocates are not going to like it, nor should they.
But I wonder if the effort misses the point, anyway. The end goal is for copyright holders to get paid, right? So why not just levy a "tax" (or subscription, if you will) on all broadband users at $5.99/month (or whatever the price should be). Make it mandatory unless someone agrees to have their bandwidth filtered for copyrighted content (unless bought through iTunes … Read more
Philips' Bluetooth Wireless Entertainment System, the BTM630, may not be among the "future" products Philips announced at CES, but it's making its official debut at the show, so we're going to write it up.
Along with Bluetooth connectivity for streaming music from Bluetooth-equipped cell phones and PCs, the BTM630 features an iPod dock, a slim-slot CD loading system, a USB port, and the ability to playback MP3 or WMA music from a SD or MMC card. With a built-in mic, the system also doubles as speakerphone for cell phone calls (you can switch between calls and … Read more
Getting a jump on the product-launch blitz that is CES 2008, Lenovo has announced a whole new brand of consumer-oriented laptops and desktops. Called IdeaPad and IdeaCentre, the lines are intended to complement the company's flagship business-oriented ThinkPad and ThinkCentre lines. While today's announcement does not include any specifics on desktop models, we learned plenty about the new IdeaPad laptops.
The first full line of entertainment-oriented Lenovo laptops to hit the United States (we saw one consumer model, the Lenovo 3000 Y410, sneak into the States last fall), IdeaPads include such welcome design touches as textured lid finishes and a sleek "frameless" screen that's ergonomically situated a bit farther away from the keyboard than most laptops. Also key to the IdeaPad look are touch-sensitive media controls above the keyboard and a bright orange button, called the Shuttle Key, which can be used on its own to control volume or in combination with the touch controls for additional functionality (somewhat like a Fn key). There's Front Row-like media software, called Shuttle Center, and Dolby Home Theater sound. Every IdeaPad is also outfitted with a built-in 1.3-megapixel Webcam, VeriFace software for biometric security via face recognition, and a ThinkVantage-like Novo key that provides quick system recovery should you ever encounter a data-destroying virus.
Tonight's announcement includes the first three laptop models in the IdeaPad line: the 17-inch Y710, the 15.4-inch Y510, and the 11.1-inch U110. Individual specs and details after the break.… Read more
I've always preferred prognostication to nostalgia, so rather than replay the best of 2007, I'll use these late December doldrums to make 10 predictions for the coming year. Some editors will warn you that this kind of list is suicide--it's too easy for everybody to look back a year later and see where you were wrong--but it hasn't hurt Cringely, so here goes. In no particular order.
A new study from Nokia predicts that by 2012, a quarter of all entertainment will be created, edited, and shared within peer groups rather than being generated by traditional media.
Jointly conducted with the trend research firm The Future Laboratory, Nokia's study asked trend-setting consumers from 17 countries about their digital behaviors and lifestyles. The company also used information gathered from its 900 million customers as well as views of leading industry analysts.
"From our research we predict that up to a quarter of the entertainment being consumed in five years will be what we call 'circular.' The … Read more
I woke up this morning to news that France's Vivendi has agreed to buy a controlling interest in Activision, perhaps creating the world's-largest independent video game company.
The new entity will be known as Activision Blizzard--a suitable name based on the fact that Activision has the best-known video game brand in the new company, but that Vivendi's Blizzard Entertainment unit also produces World of Warcraft, one of the most successful massively multiplayer online games of all time.
But what is not clear is whether the new company will be able to achieve something that is clearly part … Read more
Victor Keegan of The Guardian asks an important question for today's market of near-disposable IP: how long should we allow copyright to endure? When business models increasingly revolve around immediate monetization, does it make sense to hold copyright for 50 to 70 years after the creator dies?It is curious that there is so much pressure to extend copyright in an internet age defined by the willingness to share knowledge freely, ranging from Wikipedia to the genome project. The reason? Producer lobbies are far more powerful than difficult-to-organise consumer ones.
I'm somewhat biased in this - after all, my understanding of IP came of age under the tutelage of Larry Lessig in law school - but I believe the desire to extend copyright interminably bodes ill for both consumers and creators of intellectual property. That is, provided we actually policed it, which we fortunately don't (or don't strictly) [PDF].
As Keegan points out, and which I've noted before, we don't really have a "respect for IP" problem that goads us into extending copyright. It's just that our producers are still tweaking business models for a digital age that recognize the ease of copying and capitalize on this, rather than fear or shun it:… Read more
Sony Computer Entertainment America announced on Thursday a full list of the games and hardware bundles that it will be launching for its PlayStation systems--PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PlayStation portable (PSP)--for the fast-approaching holiday season.
The games, both first- and third-party, range from "enthusiast" titles geared toward the traditional young-male "gamer demographic," to more casual and social games "This holiday season we are offering our largest line up of quality software and hardware products to meet every taste, lifestyle and budget," said Scott A. Steinberg, vice president of product marketing for SCEA, said in a statement.
Sony is pitching the older PlayStation 2 console as an affordable hub for casual games, like SingStar and Buzz: The Mega Quiz. The PS2 is also "getting a social makeover with limited edition ceramic white hardware" and a new price of $149.99--perhaps as Sony's answer to that other white gaming console, you know, the one from Nintendo.
Among the more highly anticipated Sony titles are EA's Rock Band and The Orange Box; Activision's Guitar Hero III; and The Eye of Judgment, a trading card-based game that Sony developed in conjunction with Hasbro's Wizards of the Coast subsidiary.
A full list, below the jump:… Read more