Amazon Instant Video streaming is now live on the Xbox 360

If Amazon's video store is going to compete with the other online sources like Hulu and Netflix, getting on as many platforms as possible is key and it made a major expansion today by launching on the Xbox 360. The app launched on the PS3 back in April, and just like that version, this one includes access to Amazon's video on-demand and Prime all-you-can-eat subscription based streaming. Unique to the Xbox 360 app is support for the console's Kinect peripheral and its ability to recognize control by gesture or voice, plus a brand new feature for Amazon -- a queue. The Watchlist (for now only available on the Xbox 360, Kindle Fire and via the web) lets customers preselect programming they're interested in for easy access on the devices later, just like Netflix's implementation, however Amazon's VOD store means access to newer and higher profile content is just a click away. There's more details in the press release and video after the break, or you can just check out the app on your console right now (if you're in the US and have Xbox Live Gold, of course -- even if you don't have Prime, there's a one month free trial offer).

Update: Major Nelson also posted availability of other apps and a free XBL Gold preview weekend, as Antena 3 launches in Spain, MLB.tv in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Muzu.tv in Australia and New Zealand. June 1st through June 3rd, XBL Gold access will be "unlocked", letting Silver gamers in U.S., Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Chile play for free and access the Amazon, IGN, Manga Entertainment and Muzu.tv apps.

[Thanks, AtillaG!]

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

editorial-48-fps-hobbit-preview-high-frame-rates

Well actually, the Hobbit preview wasn't shaky, it was smooth -- maybe too smooth -- and that's the point. "It does take you a while to get used to," Peter Jackson has admitted, referring to the surprisingly fluid motion of his 48 fps movie footage. But is he right to think audiences will even give it a chance? The launch of high frame-rate (HFR) cinema is surrounded by publicity in the run-up to the Hobbit's debut on December 12th, but it equally has a lot going against it. For starters, the film's 48 fps preview wasn't exactly received warmly. On top of that, the video-style appearance of HFR has a long history of being disliked by movie-goers -- past attempts since the 1970s have all flamed out.

85 years after the first 24 fps movies, the same number of frames are still going stubbornly through the gate (digital or otherwise) each second, so that must be what "filmic" is, right? Or will we look back on 24fps as the bad old days? Read on to see if these new/old-fangled frame speeds might survive, and though a 48 fps Hobbit trailer isn't available, we've provided a couple of clips to help you judge what two-dimensional HFR looks like.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

We don't have 100 fingers -- theoretically the supported limit of Windows 8 on the 82-inch capacitive touchscreen display we just had a chance to go hands-on with at the company's latest OS demo at Mobile World Congress -- but things looked pretty impressive even with just 10. The display we saw is manufactured by a company called Perceptive Pixel, and it may even look familiar -- it's the same glass screen used by television news networks like CNN. But, unlike the giant touchscreens you've seen on TV, this guy is connected to a standard off-the-shelf PC running Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The glass panel is constructed of optically-bonded Gorilla Glass, so there's very little space between the picture and your hand, making for a much more realistic user experience. Naturally, this monitor is all about the visuals, so you really need to see it in action to get an accurate impression of just how slick the experience can be. Jump past the break for our hands-on.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

Samsung, expected to make a quiet showing at this year's Mobile World Congress due to the fact that it doesn't have a press conference scheduled today or tomorrow, is actually projecting to offer a bit more buzz than the Ace 2 or Mini 2. How? With a projector phone, of course! Sammy's latest phone announced for the show is the Galaxy Beam, a refreshed version of the projector phone, with a bit fancier specs. The device is packing a 4-inch WVGA display, dual-core ST-Ericsson U8500 Cortex A9 CPU, 768MB of RAM and a 2,000mAh battery. Of course, those aren't the important specs to consider here -- the projector is. Taking advantage of a nHD (640 x 360) resolution and 15 Lumen brightness, the 12.5mm thickness helps Samsung claim the title of "world's thinnest projector phone."

All in all, the phone felt very comfortable to hold, and the lump that incorporates the projector isn't an eyesore in the slightest -- in fact, Samsung managed to add it in a rather stylish manner. Our only concern? The projector itself is found on the very top of the device without any recession, which will likely make it a candidate for being a fingerprint magnet. We also liked the dedicated power button for the projector on the top right of the phone, just above the normal phone switch.

We're also expecting to see some docks become available for the phone (which itself should be available in select markets in Q2) that will help stabilize it and keep it from shaking, as well as amplify sound for watching movies or video presentations. We'll add in more pics and videos as they come.

Myriam Joire contributed to this report.

0 Comments

0

We've landed in Vegas, just in time to enjoy the proverbial calm before the storm that will be the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. Motorized carts zoom around the parking lot as the Las Vegas Convention Center begins to take shape -- as always, getting the million-dollar-booths fully dressed before the curtain comes up next week seems an impossible task, but the crews will come through, making the finished product a far-cry from what we see today. And as exciting as it can be to roam the halls of the LVCC and surrounding venues during the show, the pageantry of CES is really about the products, including many of which we haven't heard so much as a peep about in the weeks leading up to the show. But as the booths inside will remain veiled until company heads have a chance to brief attendees, a few hints have begun popping up outside the convention center, as workers hang sponsored banners above and along the massive entranceways. Some of these product hints serve to confirm previous rumors, so join us past the break for an early look at what's to come.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

Channel Master TV review

If you prefer your DVR with no strings attached, your choices are pretty limited these days. You can of course roll your own, but admittedly, that isn't for everyone. Channel Master does plan to change that, though, as it's currently accepting pre-orders for its over-the-air DVR with over-the-top features that doesn't require a subscription. The Channel Master TV ($399) should be hitting retailers and homes this week, and since we love DVRs, especially when they're free from commitments, we decided to take it for a spin. Click through to see how it stacks up.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

The new "whole home solution" from TiVo consisting of the four tuner Premiere Q DVR and Preview extender is finally available for the first time, from RCN. The initial rollout is taking place in the Washington D.C. area, marketed as the Whole Home Bundle consisting of one Premiere Q and one Preview for $29.99 monthly. Additional Preview extenders, which lack tuners and hard drives entirely, can be added for $9.99 per month. While DVR features like pausing live TV aren't currently available, Gizmo Lovers points out a DSLReports post by an RCN rep indicating that early next year it will gain the ability to start recordings on the Q remotely, so users can press record, then pause, rewind, or fast forward freely. The Preview box still has yet to hit retail, but those who need four tuners in their TiVo can always pick up the Premiere Elite which features a bigger hard drive than the Q. A press release with all the details is after the break, or you can check the forum post for more Q&A.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Autumn is fast approaching -- and you know what that means: it's round about time for an Xbox Dashboard update. Sure, we got a peek of Microsoft's upcoming harvest back at E3, but the good folks from Redmond invited us to take a closer look at what they're calling the "most significant update to the Dashboard since NXE." Senior project Manager Terry Ferrell was on-site to walk us through an early engineering beta and show us how an updated Metro UI, Bing search and deeper Kinect integration is going to change the way folks manage their entertainment content.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

It ain't nearly as monumental as the day that YouTube actually started supporting high-def videos, but it'll certainly make those who routinely upload HD content a bit happier. We're talking about two new additions put forth by the YT team: HD preview images and a logoless playback option. Any new video uploaded to the site in a resolution of 480p or higher will have an HD preview image wherever the player is embedded, and we're told that preexisting HD videos will be updated "in the next few weeks." Moving right along, that pesky YouTube watermark (seen above) will be no more should you choose to nix it, but it's not as simple as just ticking a box; you'll need to add "?modestbranding=1" at the end of the video URL in order to make it disappear. So, celebratory drinks at noon?

0 Comments

0

Our trailer was just visited by an iriver rep bearing his company's Kindle killer in waiting, the Story HD. This 6-inch e-reader touts a bodacious 1024 x 768 resolution, which contributes to an even better contrast ratio than on Amazon's E Ink slate, while software optimizations between now and release are expected to make the Story HD the fastest-refreshing device of its kind. The display itself is built by LG Display and is accompanied by a Freescale Cortex A8 CPU, 2GB of onboard storage, and an SDHC card-reading slot. Sun rays are, as expected, absolutely no problem and we have to admit that on first sight we thought the device had a sticker affixed to its front -- its that good at reproducing printed materials. Physically, it seems to have been constructed with the third-gen Kindle as its dimensional blueprint, albeit with quite a different control scheme. The hand-built proto unit we played with wasn't really ready to have its ergonomics judged properly, but iriver has plenty of time until the expected May launch to iron out any kinks. Content distribution partnerships have already been sewn up for the US, so now it's just a matter of patience until we get our e-reading on in gorgeous XGA resolution. Video hands-on after the break.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

Sure, we already told you what Hulu Plus looked like on iPhone, iPad and a Samsung TV, and not much has changed since that juncture, but we expect a number of you care quite a bit about how it will operate on PlayStation 3, especially considering you'll (presently) have to cough up an additional $50 annually for the privilege. The good news is it's absolutely nothing like the PS3's disc-based Netflix solution -- here, you're looking at a responsive experience through and through, and the interface is about as simple and full-featured as we'd hoped.

After a 28MB download, we were invited to either log in with an email/password combination or link our console at Hulu's website, both of which launched the program nigh instantly from the hard drive. The interface afterwards is a dead-ringer for the Samsung TV version, except optimized for console control, with the analog stick and shoulder buttons smartly seeking through programs at high speed, or tapped to jump ahead in fifteen-second increments. You can similarly adjust video quality (and thus, bandwidth usage) with a press of the R1 button, watch picture-in-picture programs while you browse, and the search function admirably narrows down Hulu's content as quickly as you can type the letters in. It does have its bugs, like when we tried to watch High Fidelity and were asked if we wanted to subscribe to the show, and there was the time we got caught in an unending advertising loop for body wash, but that time we think the app was just trying to tell us something. Yeah, we'd better run out to the store, but don't go away -- hit the gallery below for a brief tour.

Update: Our friends at Joystiq have a video walkthrough; check it after the break!

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

0

In every geek's life, the time must come when he or she steps away from the pocket-friendly compact point-and-shooter and straps up with a hefty DSLR to do real photography with. Or such was the received wisdom until not too long ago. It's still the case that lenses, bound by the laws of physics, will protrude more than most of us want them to, but mirrorless Micro Four Thirds shooters from Olympus and Panasonic, along with Samsung's NX series, have shown that prosumer camera bodies don't always have to be that bulky. This is the stage upon which the NEX-5 enters, with Sony predictably aiming to outdo everyone using an ultraslim magnesium alloy body that delivers 1080p video and 14 megapixel stills. Join us after the break to see what we thought of the Japanese giant's latest product.

Read the Full Story | 0 Comments

We're less than a day away from another MLB season starting and the league is celebrating by throwing up another free preview of its online streaming platform. Viewable through a variety of mediums (including iPad, Boxee and Roku of course) there's even more HD streams promised, with VOD access to archived baseball games, a new pitch-by-pitch display and the requisite DVR and multigame viewing features. Unfortunately blackout rules can still put a crimp in the player's style, even with prices rising once again to their $119 (Premium with DVR, home or away broadcast and Multi-Game View) or $99.95 (standard) levels, keeping an eye on the TV schedule will be as important as checking out the bandwidth meter on the Flash-powered player before deciding to pay up for continued access.

0 Comments

Popcorn Hour C-200 media streamer
It looks like Popcorn Hour's C-200 media streamer is making its way into end-users' hands, so prepare yourself for a flurry of reviews. Our friend Brent over at GeekTonic should be jumping into the fray soon, and has kicked things off with a preview. Yeah, the C-200 is bigger than its sibling A-100, but it brings so much to the table that we'd say Popcorn Hour has packed in just as much -- if not more -- goodness per cubic inch. With space available for a hard and/or Blu-ray drive, wired and wireless networking, and USB ports to round out the input connectivity, the C-200 then adds a smorgasbord of codec support just to make sure your bits will survive the translation back into entertainment. With the "it plays anything" kind of capability the C-200 is promising, we've got a feeling that a positive review or two might be the only thing standing between us and a $300 dent in our credit cards.

[Via ZatzNotFunny]

0 Comments


The folks over at HDGuru managed to spend a few quality minutes with Samsung's forthcoming hybrid player, and initial impressions look to be pretty positive. Granted, their BD-UP5000 was a pre-production sample, but they were mighty impressed with the BD-Java / HDi support, HDMI 1.3 functionality, and the Reon scaler chip within. During limited time with the player, the assortment of HD DVDs and Blu-ray films that they got to view "all looked spectacular, with every image appearing clean, crisp and sharp as a tack," and the "faster chapter changes and quicker entry into other menu functions" compared to previous generation units were highly praised, too. Overall, it seems that we've got a respectable combo player on the horizon for those not willing to choose a side, so be sure and give the read link a visit if you're too impatient to wait for a full-on review.

0 Comments