Don't want the champagne-glass tallboy speakers of the LG LHB979 home-theater system? Step on down to the LHB954. You'll lose a few of the 979's value-added features (wireless rear speakers, HDMI inputs), but you'll still get a 1,000-watt Blu-ray home theater system that offers access to Netflix, CinemaNow, and YouTube streaming and an integrated iPod dock. The LHB979 also sports unique-looking spherical speakers. The built-in Blu-ray player is fully BD-Live compliant, and includes full Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding. Look for the LHB954 in May 2009 (price TBD).
Unlike Panasonic and Samsung, LG didn't offer any home theater systems with built-in Blu-ray players in 2008. No problem: the company gets to hit the ground running in 2009 with fully loaded Blu-ray models like its flagship home theater system, the LHB979. The 5.1-channel system takes its design cues from last year's DVD-only LHT888, with champagne-glass front-tower speakers and smaller rears that can be connected wirelessly (obviating the need for front-to-back speaker wires in the room). LG boasts that the LHB979 is "tuned by renowned audio expert Mr. Mark Levinson," but we'll have to … Read more
Amazon Video On Demand will be coming to the Roku Netflix Player in early 2009.
Amazon's video service will become the first non-Netflix "channel" to be available on the Roku box. The service, formerly known as Amazon Unbox, offers more than 40,000 movies and TV shows.
While that dwarfs the 12,000 or so streaming titles currently available via Netflix--and includes many newer titles as they're released on DVD--they're available on a pay-per-view basis rather than the flat-fee subscription of the Netflix.
Monday, LG announced the first TVs with built-in Netflix streaming, due to arrive in the U.S. this spring. The models will go by the generic name "Broadband HDTVs," but we have a feeling they'll be known as "Netflix TVs" soon enough. The plasmas and LCDs are equipped with Ethernet jacks that allow them to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix, including HD content when available.
Netflix currently offers online streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, dubbed "Watch Instantly," to its customers who pay $8.99 per month and up. But you need to connect an external device, like the Roku Netflix player, an Xbox 360, a TiVo DVR, a specially equipped Blu-ray player like the Samsung BD-P2550 or LG BD300, or even a PC, to enjoy it on your TV.
The LG TVs eliminate the need for an external device. They will cost around $300 more than similar LG models that lack the streaming capability--a pretty steep premium considering that you can get a Roku for $99 or an Xbox 360 for $199, but a premium typical of any technology "first."
"It's hugely symbolic," said Netflix's chief executive, Reed Hastings. "The holy grail has always been to give the TV an Internet jack in addition to the cable jack. It's an early glimpse of the long-term future."… Read more
The Netflix Player by Roku is the latest Netflix-compatible device to offer HD video support. The free firmware upgrade (version 1.5) adds the ability to access the approximately 300 or so titles in Netflix's streaming library that are currently available in high-definition. The upgrade brings the Roku box up to speed with the Xbox 360, TiVo HD DVRs, and Samsung BD-P2500 and BD-P2550 Blu-ray players, all of which have been upgraded to support Netflix HD streams over the past few weeks. (The remaining device, the LG BD300 Blu-ray player, should be getting its own HD firmware upgrade soon.)
In addition to the HD upgrade, the Roku box is also teasing the eventual availability of new non-Netflix programming. Clicking the "what's new" button on the updated home screen reveals a message that says: … Read more
If you're a Netflix customer who's paying an extra $1 a month to rent movies on Blu-ray, you might have noticed that the discs aren't being delivered as quickly as DVDs.
Josh Lowensohn, one of my colleagues here at CNET News, was complaining that he's had Futurama: Bender's Game, in his queue for over a month. The flick Wall-E has been in the queue since November 18. Why is it taking so long for Netflix to ship?
Vudu is adding some free video content to its set-top box. Streaming video from providers such as YouTube, MSNBC, CNN, MTV, PBS, and National Geographic will be available, as will access to Flickr and Picasa photos and a handful of casual video games. The new content will be available via a free firmware update that's scheduled to hit all Vudu boxes over the next 24 hours.
The new services will be available as part of what Vudu is calling the Rich Internet Application platform, or RIA. (It'll be available on a tab called "Vudu Labs" on the set-top box's main home screen.) Vudu hasn't signed deals with any of the above-mentioned content providers; instead, the RIA is using freely available Web content and feeds. Vudu is planning to open up its RIA platform to third-party developers in the first half of 2009. The company is also noting that the platform is optimized for fairly low system requirements ("a 300 MHz embedded processor with 128MB of RAM"), suggesting that the Vudu Rich Internet Application platform could be ported to other set-tops as well.
Vudu gave CNET a sneak peek of the RIA features a few days early. We think it shows promise, but--as always--content is king, and there's not yet a wealth of must-see TV there.… Read more
Some movies previously available for streaming on iTunes and Netflix are disappearing from those sites' libraries. Reporter Greg Sandoval drops by the podcast studio to explain why (hint: it's about money) and whether we can expect it to change anytime soon.
Also in this podcast: We knew layoffs were coming to Yahoo, and today, they finally happened; Mac clone maker Psystar uses a new argument in its legal fight against Apple; AOL makes it easy to track your friends' social-network movements; and how Web users in England got their Wikipedia back.Listen now: Download today's podcast
Today's … Read more
A high school teacher finds it inconceivable that any software could be free. I wonder if she uses Internet Explorer? We also talk about the failure of not one but two big Internet filters, and get the scoop from Caroline McCarthy on why YouTube isn't in decline.Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 869
Australian plan to censor Internet in shreds http://www.theage.com.au/news/home/technology/labor-plan-to-censor-internet-in-shreds/2008/12/09/1228584820006.html… Read more
Apple is an Internet retailer and Netflix is a Web video rental service, but Hollywood treats them as if they are potential competitors to TV broadcasters.
In the past two weeks, customers of iTunes and Netflix's streaming digital-movie service have noticed that a growing number of titles are disappearing from the sites or are scheduled to be removed. MacWorld wrote a story last week about how one of the site's contributors noticed that of the 15 films he bookmarked for future viewing at iTunes, 9 were no longer available. Among the movies that vanished were Charlie Wilson's … Read more