Audio News for February 24, 2009

by | Feb 24, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

Streaming Online Movies Still Have Some Glitches – Many different services and providers are working at it, but it is still not possible to instantly view any movie you might want to select on your home screen using a Net connection – especially in HD.  Netflix may come the closest with its alternative to DVDs-by-mail which it calls Watch Now and costs $9 a month. You can select from around 100,000 titles, but it is not cross-platform (only Windows PC) and picture quality will depend on the speed of your Net broadband connection.  The faster your service, the better image quality you will get.  Since the movies are not stored on a hard drive, whenever you fast-forward or rewind you will run into a pause for “rebuffering.”  You receive only PCM stereo, no surround – lossless or otherwise – no subtitles, director’s commentary tracks or any other DVD extras. And not all of those movies are necessarily Oscar material. TiVo now includes Netflix on its menu, and Netflix and Roku have a $100 TV-connected box letting you watch the streaming movies. Both Vizio and LG are building Watch Now into their HDTV sets starting this spring.

MatrixStream Technologies has an end-to-end Video On Demand solution that works thru a local ISP and involves a set top box. Their technology offers broadcast-quality or better streaming VOD over typical home broadband connections.  It even works over WiMAX wireless networks.  The content so far includes about 10,000 movies (not necessarily the latest), adult material and sports.  MatrixStream also provides access to over 300 IPTV channels, but no network or cable channels.  An Australian ISP is currently offering MatrixCast and commercial launches are expected soon in the U.S. and Canada. is a current Matrixstream client.   Keep in mind that the higher def video you are attempting to stream, the more likely it may suffer from jerky motion, choppy playback, pixelization, color blocking, or poor sync of image and sound. 

Studios Offering Blu-ray + DVD Combos
– A report by Video Business magazine says that more movie studios are going to be releasing Blu-ray movies with an included standard DVD.  Some Blu-rays have featured a digital copy, allowing the users to copy the movie in lower res to a computer, but a standard DVD will be compatible in more different locations. The T2 Complete Collector’s Set” (6 discs!), Marley & Me and The Princess Bride are getting this treatment. People can now watch their new movie in the car or bedroom, on a plane or wherever they have a DVD player. It is also hoped the packaged combos may make the higher cost of Blu-ray movies more palatable.

A “Third Screen” at Home?
– Believe it or not the lowly digital photo frame is emerging as a connected “third screen” in the home. Consumer electronics makers, chip suppliers, and wireless carriers are seeing the financial possibilities of Net-connected digital photo frames. One CEO called the digital frame “a new class of personal consumer device that is neither PC nor mobile phone.”

Sony Intros All-In-One HD Studio
– The new VAIO VGC-RT100Y is a high-powered compact video editing and display center for HD video editing, sound mixing and audio dubbing.  It has a 26.1-inch 1080p display, the PC portion has an Intel Core 2 Quad processor with 4MB of L2 cache and a Blu-ray recorder/player. You can watch and record live TV on different channels simultaneously with integrated NTSC and ATSC tuners, and it supports Dolby HT technology.

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