The field of freeware media players that claim support for most or all playback formats out there is growing. GOM, VLC, and KMPlayer tend to top people's lists. KMPlayer is perhaps the least known of the three, but if you haven't toyed around with the level of customization that it offers, you're missing out.
If you've ever wanted to run a bunch of video widgets on your desktop, there's a new service for you called uvLayer. It's a tiny Adobe AIR application that lets you search, view, and organize Web video clips on your desktop and share them with others. The videos come courtesy of YouTube and Truveo--the AOL-owned video search tool.
What sets uvLayer appart from basic Web video browsing are its sharing features which are robust. The application lets you cobble together a instant-messanger-like friends list and drag and drop any video you think they would enjoy. If they're using the application, your shared video will simply show up on their desktop like a new e-mail would in your in-box. Likewise, you can simply hop over to see what they're watching if they're online.
For bookmarking addicts, uvLayer also lets you share entire sets full of Web videos via URL. If your recipient has the application installed, their screen will simply fill up with your video picks, complete with your original groupings. You can then syndicate these Webtops to both your uvLayer buddies, and your Facebook friends who will be able to view it right in the Facebook application.
The entire uvLayer experience is very reminiscent of OS X's Dashboard for widgets, as you can flip each item around and get access to some of the metadata like the rating and any user comments. It's very flashy. In fact, if you're running the latest version of OS X, then uvLayer might not be that interesting considering you can rip out nearly any Web video and put it on your Dashboard using Safari's Web clips feature.
I'm not sold on the value of watching videos in a virtual desktop environment. While convenient, I think there's a ton of added value to the community of users where the video's hosted. Admittedly when a video hits the front page of Digg or Fark, the user comments from those sites are usually much more entertaining, but the same can't be said when you're passing it along to a just handful of people.
I've embedded a live version of uvLayer after the break (taken from Ryan Stewart's first look over at his blog on ZDNet). Be sure to check out its stacking feature, which lets you group together several videos at once by drawing a box around them with your mouse.… Read more
YouTube may be the best-known mainstream video-hosting site on the Web, but it's certainly not winning any awards for the visual quality of its content. YouTube's creators have said higher-resolution videos are on the way, but until then, there are a handful of other services that do a much better job at making your uploaded video look a little less Webby.
There's another problem at hand: size. Video files are big, and a lot of the most popular services place tedious size restrictions. Those restrictions mean that you are either going to have to compress your video through third-party software before uploading or make smaller, lower-quality source recordings to begin with.
We've handpicked four services that have pretty lenient size limits and that don't force you to download software clients just to graduate up to the higher caps. To be fair, we're also comparing all four to the YouTube status quo.
So here's the deal. We took a source video of just less than 2 minutes at full VGA quality at 30 frames per second. It came off a recent-model Canon digital camera that saved it as an approximately 200MB AVI file. Your results for source material may vary, but based on the popularity charts on Flickr, Canons rule the roost both overall and in the point-and-shoot camera category, so we felt that it was a good control.
It's worth noting that Casio has several models of digital cameras with "YouTube capture" modes, though these are simply recording video in MPEG-4 H.264 at smaller resolutions, which takes up less space. You can accomplish a similar feat, albeit using a different video codec, if your camera has a "compact" or "e-mail ready" video-capturing mode.… Read more
Do you think valve amps have a place in today's home cinema systems? If not, look away now, because Philips is about to annoy you.
Its MCD908 micro hi-fi is an affordable blend of DVD upscaling, DivX playback, and potentially decent speakers. It claims to be an audiophile system, in part as a result of using a valve-based preamp, and while this is of course fairly gimmicky these days, its combination of neodymium ribbon tweeters, silk dome tweeters, and a whopping great woofer in each 150W speaker rather makes up for it.
For 239 pounds (about $472), this extremely … Read more
Someone must have spiked the Calpico vending machines near NEC's R&D labs in Tokyo.
The company made a legitimate splash at Macworld with a giant curved-screen display, but then creativity began giving way to surreality a few days later with its liquid-powered "Flask" phone. Now things are getting almost Dali-eseque with an NEC concept gadget called the "Dew Life Recording Interface."
A few days ago, we discussed the greatest game console of all time. Some would say the NES, some would say the Super Nintendo, some would say the Playstation, some would say the Playstation 2. It really depends on your standards, and what system you grew up with. Naturally, this now begs the question: What was the worst console of all time?
One CNET blogger wrote the Sega Saturn was the worst major console of all time. However, the Saturn's relative failure pales in comparison with several other systems' atrocious critical and commercial receptions. The Saturn certainly wasn't … Read more
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With primaries in more than 20 states next week, MTV has announced "Super Tuesday" coverage plans for its hand-picked citizen journalism corps.
In each state with a Super Tuesday primary, a member of the "Street Team" will be streaming live coverage from the video camera of a Nokia N95 handset; N95s can upload video directly to the Web, and this will be the first time that MTV has experimented with live mobile-to-Web coverage.
Video advertising online is certainly becoming more common, but it's still difficult to get a good handle on exactly the kind of impact those types of ads are having.
Three companies came to Demo to push their individual strategy on how to improve the placement of video ads and the information gathered about them.
Liquidus: This 6-year-old Web marketing company has come up with a quick way for digital cable providers to produce and push video classified ads to the Web and TV screens via video on demand. Liquidus' video publishing platform aggregates video ads from a variety of … Read more