Convergence has been discussed for decades. Finally it looks like becoming a reality as companies large and small put considerable effort into developing equipment for Digital Lifestyles. There are many different approaches to hardware and network distribution — the route forward is far from clear. The impact goes well beyond the box in the lounge; it will affect production, funding and broadcast.We cover the leading thinkers and practitioners to discuss the current position, possible future outcomes and their impact on the consumer, the music business and the TV industry.
Lufthansa are going to be Lufthansa deal in December 2001.
Apologies for the recent lack of access to Broadband Entertainment News this week. Register.com failed to inform us that our domain, simonperry.com, was due for renewal. Placed in a position of possibility losing the domain, we were forced to pay them $235 to get the domain back, although they were the ones who had passed it for deletion. It not a very reasonable business practise and we would suggest avoiding them at all costs.
Oftel, the UK telecom regulator has announced the UK now has two million broadband subscribers, which is encouraging. Sadly they’re currently including connections as slow as 128k in their calculation — not commonly thought of as broadband. At least the numbers are moving in the right direction and the take-up is accelerating.
AOL and Sony have got together to make content and Instant Messenging available on broadband-enabled Playstation 2’s. Suits both parties I would have through, a good boost in publicity for Sony and a catch move by AOL against Microsoft. The “AIM Talk” voice-enabled Instant Messenger service is a trump of Xbox Live’s in-game talking.
When will this stop? Apple have passed two million track sales in 16 days of service. This time they’ve provided more detail about the sales — half of the purchases have been as complete albums.
The first product to come out from the TiVo/Toshiba deal, the Toshiba SD-H400, has been announced which combines a PVR and DVD player.
They have also used this opportunity to announce their TiVo Basic service. This free, non-subscription service is a cut-down version of the normal TiVo service, that only looks forward three days rather the normal fourteen days and cuts out features such as the ability to auto-record a TV show based on it’s actors or director. TiVo’s monthly subscription has often been held up as a reason that the public has been hesitant about jumping on to PVR’s.
There’s been a lot of speculation over the price that Microsoft will charge for the Xbox Live service after it’s all inclusive trial price comes to an end. They’ve now announced it at just short of $50/year or just short of $6/month. Whether the offering is strong enough to demand that kind of money isn’t obvious, but what is clear is that it will face stiff competition from the Sony’s zero cost service.
VIA and Niveus have announced a digital lifestyle product, the Niveus Media ONEbox. The 1GHz machine runs Windows XP and is based on VIA mainboard and chippery, providing the functionality you would have imagined,
- Connects to your TV and HiFi
- PVR functions – record and playback TV
- Play DVD’s
- Play/rip CD’s & MP3’s
- Display digital photo’s
- Pull content from other machines on your network
- Interfaces for Ethernet, Firewire, USB, serial and parallel ports
- Controllable via a remote control
Niveus Media have developed their own software, ONEbox Media Center, to control all functions and have integrated the TitanTV‘s Electronic Program Guide (EPG), which will mean it will only cover US TV programming.
It has a reasonable, non-PC looking case but doesn’t appear to have native support for WiFi and, as its single PCI slot is taken up with an ATI All-In-Wonder VE TV tuner card, it doesn’t look can unless it’s via USB. The expected price is $999 US and they plan to ship it in June 2003.
There is a growing number of these lounge-ready Media Hub/Digital Lifestyles devices appearing, which is further testament to realisation of media/computer convergence.