Just in case we were thinking of buying an Xbox for its broadband capabilities, Sony are reminding us that they are planning a late August launch of their online network and the availability of its competitively priced ~$40 network adaptor.
BT have today said it will sell its direct or no-frills ADSL service for as little as 27 ukp from autumn this year.
RealNetworks have updated their video CODEC to version 9. Significantly they are giving the option to play back on a TV screen and a computer monitor. They are also claiming 30% better compression and smoother playback at 56k. I would assume that the smoother play is due to being able to get more data to the viewer – it the 30% better compression.
The sales on the Microsoft Xbox have been lower than expected, so they have now downwardly adjusted the sales targets from 4.5m to 6m to 3.5m to 4m). Where they are different from the game console makers is in the fact broadband and a hard drive are included with the unit, giving them a natural advantage in broadband, multi-user games.
A Maui, Hawaii, USA company is planning to launch the first 3G service in the US. Maui Sky Fibre will offer the $30/month data-only service to the 91k population on the 750 sq. miles island via a PDA -sized modem.
An interesting trial is going to be starting soon, making CinemaNow’s content available to students at Duke university using their broadband network. I hope/assume the US universities have better bandwidth available to them than their UK cousins, which are normally really slow.
Microsoft is planning to freeze the format of their Video files in an attempt give them a chance of becoming as the de facto standard, an approach that has previously been successful for them with the Audio format.
I was briefly at a MS PocketPC social event in London last night and MS had taken the opportunity of making a large numbers of Xboxes available (around 30-40). It’s no shock that the attendees were keen to play, they must be the perfect market, but they were incredibly popular. So why isn’t Xbox selling in the numbers anticipated – the price maybe?
Microsoft UK have announced they’re taking 1/3 off the price of an Xbox from 26th April, dropping the price to £199. The PR quote is that they are “determined to not make price an issue” – translation – people think it’s too expensive and the GameCube is going to be coming out at the beginning of May in the low hundreds. The current three-way battle should be interesting to watch over the coming months.
In a speech given by David Edmunds (Head of UK regulator Oftel) yesterday he outlined Oftel’s commitment of broadband through a strategy of keeping the Public’s aware of broadband, maintaining competition, controlling anti-competitive practises and regulatory guidance on widely available access.
There have been rumours buzzing around about the possibility of many of the $5-10k HDTV set that have been sold in the US won’t be able to display HDTV by the time it’s actually publicly launched. A news item appears to confirm the rumour. Discussions between the Hollywood studios and equipment manufacturers has lead to the creation of the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). HDMI will be the interface between the receiving set top box and the screen/monitor, enabling the content to remain encrypted up to the point it is displayed. By unscrambling at the point it is actually viewed, the studios hope to reduce unauthorised copying of films.