Burnable Blu-ray Discs to Store 128GB – The Blu-ray Disc Association has unveiled new versions of its optical disc storage, raising the total capacity from the present 50GB to 128GB. Their use is intended for video pros and others needing large amounts of removable storage. Rewritable discs would top out at 100GB. A secondary format, called Intra-Hybrid Blu-ray Disc (IH-BD) will allow users to further customize a disc. Since current Blu-ray players are physically not capable of reading beyond a second layer or switching disc types between layers, new drives will be needed to recognize the new formats. In other words, they probably won’t be used for commercial movie Blu-rays discs.
Cisco Home Networking for Dummies – One of the areas in home electronics most in need of gadgets focused on human experience rather than designed for electronic engineers is consumer home networking. Cisco recently acquired camcorder company Flip and has now introduced Valet – a line of routers incorporating their robust Linksys technology but with an Apple-like simplicity of approach. Only about ⅓ of U.S. homes are wireless ready, and most people have no idea how to set up a home network. Mom-friendly Valet has only a router, power cord and USB stick – used to both install the local software and preserve and duplicate saved settings across computers on the network. Additional devices can be added, parental controls can be set, personal security settings can be customized, and a separate network for guests can be set up. Two models are available for both small and larger homes, at $100 & $150, and come with free 24/7 phone tech support.
Get Ready for iAds – Apple’s Steve Jobs has announced they they will be moving into the advertising business, probably shifting lots of marketing dollars from media firms and Google over to Apple. You’re familiar with iMac, iPod, iPhone, iBooks, and iPod? Well, get ready for iAds. Jobs said he thought most mobile advertising is bad and they “might be able to make some contributions.”
Wait…Here’s yet another one to add to the “i” list: iSpecs. It’s a new 3D technology patent filed by Apple this month – a pair of special glasses that work with a video iPod or iPhone to project the image from the small screen so that the user can watch the movie in simulated 3D on the move. A special lens splits the image into a different frame for each eye, so the images appear to be seen from slightly different angles, producing a 3D effect on 2D sources. The images are of HD quality and can be provided with or without the 3D effect. The glasses can also be attached to a camcorder which will then stream video of the outside world onto a smaller screen in the glasses. If someone approaches the viewer when they are in public situations, infrared sensors will detect the movement and the video will pop up inside the glasses to allow the wearer to see what is happening around them. Apple hopes this will enable users to feel comfortable wearing the device out in public, such as traveling on a train or plane. [Is there something just a little bit creepy about all of this?]
European Broadband Carriers Upset with Google and YouTube – Several European Internet carriers are in a fight with Google over the huge amount of bandwidth that YouTube is using on their networks. They say their networks are becoming “dumb pipes” because Google and YouTube pay them little or nothing for carrying its content and advertising. The carriers said they are spending billions on fixed-line and mobile infrastructure to increase broadband download speeds and network capacity, but not getting a return on their investments. The telecom groups are exploring finding common cause with content owners, such as media companies, who get little or no money when their content is aggregated on Google News, for example. One CEO said “We cannot offer our networks for free.”