Diamond Wireless Range Extender and Set-Top Box Preview

Diamond Wireless Range Extender WR300NI remember building a PC many years ago and at that time, Diamond Multimedia was one of *the* graphics card companies. I even seem to remember that it was VL-bus card, so that dates it to a pre-Pentium era. Anyway, it’s great to see that Diamond is still around when so many others have fallen by the wayside. Todd interviews Louis Kokenis from Diamond Multimedia on the latest products.

The Diamond Wireless Range Extender has three functions in one. First, it’s a wireless repeater that eliminates deadspots in wireless coverage. Second, it’s a wireless bridge that will connect a wired network device to the wireless network and third, it’s a standalone wireless access point, creating wireless hotspot from a single network point. With regard to the last mode, the WR300N’s small size means that it’s great for travelling and creating a wireless network in a hotel room. On-sale now for around $60.

Diamond will be introducing an Android-based TV set-top box that combines web browser, media player, ebook reader, game console, anything that can be downloaded from the Android Market. It won’t be tied to any particular media provider as it will either be able to download an app, e.g. Netflix, or else it will be able to browse to any website and play media directly. Sounds cool, especially if it runs ICS.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Steve Lee of NetCast Studio for the TechPodcast Network.

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UPnP Forum and How Your Gadgets Stream Music

UPnP Forum LogoIf you’ve ever wondered how your gadgets talk amongst themselves to successfully play music from your PC through a media streamer, you’ll be interested in this interview with Dr Alan Messer, President of the UPnP Forum.

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) is the standard by which IP networked gadgets advertise their services and intercommunicate. Formed in 1999, nearly all the big vendors are signed up with over 1000 members, the notable exception being Apple who tend to do their own thing. Think Intel, Samsung, Nokia, Philips.

The most common example of UPnP (AV spec) is DLNA-certification which governs media management, discovery and control and this effectively determines how music is streamed from one device to another. Set-top boxes know how to use different router ports based on UPnP techniques. Almost any consumer device attached to the network in the home will have some element of UPnP built-in.

(No, Andy, it’s not the ISA PnP but thanks for the trip down memory lane.)

Interview by Andy McCaskey and Courtney Wallin of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Trendnet Compacts Powerline Adapter

At CES, TRENDnet has launched the world’s smallest 500 Mb/s Powerline adapter with the new TPL-406E model. Look at the picture below to see the difference in size between a standard Powerline adaptor and the new model on the left. When trying to get all the modern gadgets plugged in and networked, this will certainly help where there is limited space or close electrical sockets.

TPL-406E Trendnet Powerline adaptor

“Consumers are looking for solutions to help connect their TVs to the Internet and TRENDnet Powerline products couldn’t be easier-with no complicated CD installation required,” stated Sonny Su, technology director for TRENDnet. “The TPL-406E defines a new category of ultra-compact high performance 500 Mbps Powerline adapters.”

More and more audio-visual equipment needs to be networked. In my living room, I think there are three ethernet devices (TV, satellite decoder and Bluray player) and I use a 100 Mb/s Powerline device to take the network to them. For this kind of equipment, Powerline is much more convenient than trying to setup a wireless bridge.

Available from April at all good retailers, the TPL-406E will be $60 on its own or $100 in a twin pack, TPL-406E2K.

Global Caché Controlling Your World

Andy McCasky spoke to Josh of Global Caché.  Global Caché creates modules that connect to the local network. They can send an IR blast , RS 232 signals or close contacts to control devices. They allow you to control electronic products from a smartphone, tablet devices or laptop.

Global Caché  uses an open architecture and an open API so developers can easily design applications that work with it. They have already partner with several companies who make the applications that can be installed on a smartphone, tablet or computer that use the Global Caché.  Josh showed some smaller single purpose units that run around $170.00 for wireless devices and $100 for wired. They also offer rack mount multifunction units that start around $400.00. They have a line of sensors that sense voltage, video, contact closure and give you feed back. The units have a discovery beacon, so you can just plug it into the network and it will show up. You do need to know computers and how a network works to install it correctly. Because of this Global Caché works mostly with professional installers, one of their biggest projects so far was when they were installed in the Miami Dolphin Stadium.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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OTT And Paid Content

OTT, short for “over-the-top-television” is an up-and-coming acronym that we are all likely going to become familiar with in the near future, provided someone doesn’t come up with a different marketing name. The concept is simple – it’s TV that comes “over the top” of traditional channels on a cable system via the Internet delivered in digital packets. It can either be live streaming video, on-demand streaming video, or in the form of a pre-recorded on-demand podcast.

There are many aspects of over-the-top TV that have yet to be shaken out. Specifically, here in the early stages there are some still-murky areas when it comes to details of how advertising is going to work.

Things that we know about how OTT works successfully so far:

People are willing to pay for bundled on-demand professionally created OTT content in the form of Netflix on-demand streaming of movies, TV shows, and other content. The bundled Netflix price for all-you-can-eat on-demand streaming OTT offers the consumer a real value. In most cases, a great deal of marketing money and effort has been spent promoting the majority of individual movies and other content that are available on Netflix, so the consumer has a fairly high degree of familiarity with much of the on-demand streaming content they offer. These are essentially repurposed movies that are already on the shelf.

People are willing to watch on-demand streaming OTT of professionally-created content with embedded ads as demonstrated by the ongoing success of Hulu.Com. The consumer is likely already familiar with a portion of the content, but Hulu also allows the consumer to discover and explore previously unknown TV show content in an on-demand stream with embedded ads. These are essentially repurposed TV shows, some movies, and other content.

Live streaming OTT of live content is still catching on. The most successful live OTT content as typified by what Leo Laporte and company are generating still offers an on-demand podcast version that can be downloaded later. Currently, on-demand, after-the-fact podcast versions of live OTT generated content end up with many more downloads than people watching via live streams. Both live streaming OTT and the on-demand podcast versions can contain ads. For the ads to be effective in this format, they need to be relevant to the audience’s needs and desires. The old “shotgun” advertising approach does not work in this format. This specific type of content is closely associated with word-of-mouth promotion.

There are a few questions that remain to be answered. Will consumers pay for on-demand streaming of TV drama-type content they are unfamiliar with — in other words, will consumers pay to watch an on-demand stream of a new TV show drama, documentary or reality show? Using myself as a gage, I wouldn’t pay for individual on-demand episodes of a TV show or movie I wasn’t fairly familiar with. Promotion and word-of-mouth still has to take place.

If consumers will pay-per-view for an unfamiliar on-demand TV show, can the content still contain ads? I think the answer to this depends on the content and its perceived value – i.e., how well it is promoted, and the resulting perceived value that is generated in the potential consumer.

Once “Lost” was a hit TV show, would the fanatic fans have paid for on-demand streams of new episodes? Probably they would have, if they could have gotten them, say a week or so in advance of the actual broadcasts. “Lost” fans would have also put up with ads in the advance on-demand stream. They might have grumbled about it, but if that were the only way it was available in advance, many of them would have opened-up their wallets and paid the price monetarily and with their attention to the embedded ads in order to satisfy their “Lost” habit. Clearly, the producers of “Lost” – ahem – “lost out” on a time-sensitive revenue stream opportunity.

Bottom line, I believe it all revolves around the content and the real and perceived values that the content delivers.

I liked last season’s remake of the old “V” television series. If I could be assured the production values remained just as high, I might pay to subscribe in some manner. If the “V” series is picked up again by ABC next season, I would also pay to subscribe if I could get episodes via on-demand streaming before they were broadcast.

In the meantime, we are still dealing with the death-throws of the old broadcast model with its old appointment based viewing schedule combined with the old shotgun advertising approach. ABC broadcast TV affiliates would have had a cow if “Lost” episodes had been made available as a paid on-demand OTT stream before the episodes were actually broadcast via the network.

The final destination of OTT and when it ends up at that destination depends on what is right for the time. Both delivery infrastructure capabilities and consumer demand will make that determination.

GNC-2009-05-15 #477 Monster Show Longest of the Year

Monster Show tonight longest of the year audio comments and e-mails are flooding in keep it up. Voice Mail hotline is +1-619-342-7365 or email geeknews@gmail.com. Apologies on the last shows Audio it is squared away tonight. Jet Lag got the best of me on the last podcast! Huge tech line up tonight, I am still on the road..

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Show Topic Notes:
Cyberwarfare with China
Real Takes the Battle to the DVD Copy Association
FCC to run DTV test on May 21st
Sweden Government comes collecting to Pirate Bay
Boxee write up in Business Week
Gmail makes it easy to move from AOL, Hotmail and Yahoo!
Google Outage causes panic!
Fake Windows 7 Infected with Botnet
Space Debris misses Shuttle
HP Laptop Battery Recall!
Are you a Metal Gear Fan?
iPhone Slingplayer debate continues
Windows Mobile 7 Requirements
Will Hubble Replacement Match Up?
Clear to Launch in Atlanta Next Month!
The air is full of Drugs
Artist to get Paid by Radio
Three Strikes for everyone…
AT&T Network is Saturated whimper whimper.
Reporter should Loose cell phone like a child
Programmers that care about Users keep application size down!
Create your own Social Media Page
Bye Bye TechMeme
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Senate Blew it in Credit Card reform. No Guts
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Rover Stuck in the mud!
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Knoppix Linux: 30 Minutes to Being Free of Windows

I upgraded one of my network file servers, yesterday. I replaced a hard disk that was setting off occasional error notices, and, while while I was at it, I replaced the current operating system (Mandrake Community 10.1) with Knoppix 3.7. Knoppix is the Linux distribution that I use in class to demonstrate how simple Linux is to use, because Knoppix is a fully-functional operating system with common applications that can boot from a single CD. So, with the bootable CD, I can quickly convert any computer to Linux without the risk of deleting any existing files from the Windows operating system.

[Read more…]

Military Internet for Battle Management

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is developing its own, private, computer network and web, a la the Internet and World Wide Web. The new computer network web, called the Global Information Grid (GIG) will provide military commanders a “God’s-eye view” of the battle. The GIG will enable real-time digital communication and data dissemination through a familiar technology, similar to the World Wide Web, anytime and anyplace, under any conditions, with requisite security.

Amplifying the GIG’s capabilities is the initiative the DoD’s communications transformation is Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion (GIG-BE). According to the Defense Information Systems Agency website, the GIG-BE will create a ubiquitous bandwidth-available environment to improve national security intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and command and control information-sharing. To implement GIG-BE, The program will provide increased bandwidth and diverse physical access to approximately 100 critical sites in the continental United States and in the Pacific and European theaters. These locations will be interconnected via an expanded GIG core. Specifically, GIG-BE will connect key intelligence, command, and operational locations with high bandwidth capability over physically diverse routes, and the vast majority of these locations will be connected by a state-of-the-art optical mesh network design.

Dave’s Opinion
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the U.S. government would be designing its own secure, stable, and reliable web. What surprised me, once I started researching this topic, is how much detailed data is available on the public web. Maybe I should come out from under my shell more often.

Call for Comments
What do you think? Leave your comments on the message center.

References
Defense Acquisition Guidebook (GIG description)
Global Information Grid Bandwidth Expansion
Message Center