Say Goodbye to the DVD Player

DVD

I remember getting my first DVD player and the movie “The Waterboy”. I also remember streaming my first movie in “Hulk”. Years since, people have debated about losing the tangible disc and moving to streaming. Eventually we knew the DVD would become a thing of the past. As technology improved and new devices came out this year, we may have seen the last viable use for the DVD. Here is why:

Blockbuster

Blockbuster

Blockbuster Goes Bye-Bye, Streaming Video Grows

Blockbuster video rentals closed up in November. This was after a long run and competing with Netflix, followed by Red Box machines. When DISH network bought out Blockbuster, they gave it a home. Its apparent that DISH didn’t want to get into the physical video rental business. So the doors closed.

Netflix tried to close their DVD rental doors a couple years ago with the whole Qwikster debacle — a move that almost killed the company. Somehow they came back stronger than ever, pushing more streaming TV shows and introducing quality shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Add to that promotions — such as the launch of Chromecast: Netflix gave 3-month subscriptions to the first buyers.

I have to admit, I still have my Netflix subscription…

Since Netflix switch to TV show-based content over movies, newer movies take a lot longer to show up on the service. That is where Amazon is leading the pack. You can rent or own the home digital rights of a movie or TV show instead of going down to the store and picking up the box.

Well, at least, kinda…

This last week Disney made Amazon pull back owners rights of holiday movies. It brought up some issue about if you actually own a video. Will that stop millions from buying movies? Probably not.

ChromeCast

Streaming Getting Better

Google Chromecast did two things. They brought the streaming app device down to an affordable price (not that it wasn’t already with the Apple TV and Roku). Chromecast also extended the life of older LCD TVs.

Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on TV’s with apps inside, they could get a cheaper TV and a set top box to run their content. Sure, the TV is not 1080p 120 Hz, but how many homes care about that type of quality? Especially if the TV is in the bedroom or even since our generation spent years staring at a Cathode Ray Tubes with full satisfaction.

Ultimately, they just want to get Chromecast and Netflix, then possibly cut their cable.

Netflix_Web_Logo

Netflix and YouTube in 4K (2160p)

Time to move to bigger and better video quality. 4,000 pixels – or 2160p. At CES, we will definitely be bombarded with 4K television technology — and we will LOVE it.

Even though some home theater experts have adopted 4K, home Internet speeds don’t really take into account 4K streaming just yet. A 4K video will take 6-12 Mbps connection. DSL won’t be able to handle that, especially if you surf and watch at the same time.

Nonetheless, we move forward. Netflix announced earlier their popular “House of Cards” series will be shot and streamed in 4K. YouTube already has 4K video available, although if you try to stream via Roku or Chromecast, it will most likely try to push the 720p version first. 

iPad 2 Smart Cover

Tablets, Game Consoles, Computers Go DVD-less

Even the computer is losing the DVD drive. Current Mac models don’t come with any type of optical drive. Tablets and smartphones also are disc-free. As desktops lose ground to tablets, the DVD will join the floppy disk, Zip drive and tape backup.

The Pawn Shop Effect

The best way to watch the DVD market is to watch the resale of the DVD. Major chain Pawn America runs a special on Tuesdays for DVDs. In May, they started special events where DVD movies only cost $1.

While newer titles might fetch your more, if you pawn a DVD title, they will most likely buy it at .10 cents so they can make .90 cents.

With all these factors (along with others such as DVR technology and flash drives), 2014 looks to be the year we finally lay the DVD optical disc format to rest. Blu-Ray discs still have value, but the DVD player will definitely be placed with the old TV and VCR down in the basement or garage.

Google finally releases official Nexus 7 cases

Google released generation two of its Nexus 7 tablet back on July 24th, and the device has received largely positive feedback. From the beginning, customers could buy cases for their new tablet from Amazon and other retailers. Despite that already available, and rather large, selection, today Google has got around to releasing its “official” line of cases.

The company advertises a collection of four cases that are “custom-molded to protect your Nexus 7, with a microsuede cover and built-in stand. Choose from four colors”.

nexus 7 case

The collection contains a solid black model, a white one with a swipe of red and two grey models — one with a swipe of red and other with a bit of blue. All four are designed the same, and each opens to function as a stand. All retail for $49.99 and can be purchased directly from the Google Play store.

The cases are extremely sharp looking and appear to be well made, but the price is a bit steep, given what can be found on Amazon — I bought a nice rubberized case by Poetic for only $8 just a few days after I received the device.

Amazon Shows Off New Devices in TV Ad

Amazon is expected to release a new line of Kindle devices when they hold their big Santa Monica, California event later today.  Rumors seem to indicate not one, but two new Kindle Fire tablets, as well new versions of the Kindle e-reader.  All of this has been expected for a little while now, especially when Amazon mysteriously announced last week that the Kindle Fire was “sold out”.

What wasn’t expected was the ad that aired during last night’s NFL season-opener between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.  The ad, which was a full one minute in length, showed the new devices, but gave no information on what exactly they were.  However, on closer inspection, there appears to be a larger version of the Fire tablet, perhaps a 10 inch, shown.   That would be the biggest bombshell, since it has been reported that Amazon would announce two 7 inch tablets.

What appears to be a 10 inch tablet is shown around the :35 mark of the ad (posted below, and every geek should appreciate the inclusion of the George R. R. Martin book).  Amazon has been rumored to be working on a larger version ever since before the original 7 inch was announced, but we have been led to believe that they had deemed it not marketable enough for release.

There have also been some recent leaks of an updated Kindle Touch reader, with a higher-resolution screen.  Electonista reports that “The most important change, however, will be the integration of an LED backlight, supposedly combined with battery improvements that allow the unit to go for weeks on a charge, a major selling point over tablets for e-reading purists.”

We will find out later today how close any of this speculation has come to actual reality.  The Amazon event kicks off at 10:30 am PDT, 1:30 pm EDT and will be streamed live on the web.

ASUS to Show Two New Tablets at CES

asus tablet

ASUS was so excited they couldn’t wait for CES next week.  Vice President Samson Hu laid out the company’s 2012 plans at a press event in Taipei and what he had to say was certainly attention-grabbing.  There were some things that had already been rumored – like an ASUS ARM tablet running Windows 8, which he confirmed will be coming by the end of this year.  But he also let everyone know about two new tablets that are coming a lot sooner than that.  In fact they will be shown at CES in just a few days.

At CES we will see a 7 inch tablet called the ASUS Eee Memo Pad and a new, as yet unnamed, 10 inch tablet with a high-resolution screen.  With the 10 inch tablet it’s unclear if this will be a completely new device or a revamped version of the ASUS Prime.  ASUS has beefed up their development department in hopes of reaching their goal of 6 million tablets sold in 2012.  With a combination of Android and Windows 8 tablets coming this year they just may reach that goal.

Source: Netbook News

Price of Chromebook Drops. Will You Buy it Now?

Chromebook Display at Google Places Event

Chromebook Display at Google Places Event

Google announced they are dropping the price of the Chromebook by 30%. Some Chromebooks will be as low as $299. But questions still arise if a Chromebook is in your holiday wish list, when you can get a Kindle Fire, nook Color for less. Even the iPad could be in more stockings than the ultra-portable laptop.

Chromebook came out back in June as Google’s answer to a PC that didn’t have a complicated OS to it. You would load the Chromebook up to a Chrome browser; inside, all your applications would be in the cloud and the data you create would also mostly reside in a cloud drive. However, if you were in a 3G deadspot or didn’t have Wifi, then your work would be rather limited.

Competing with a Tablet

Chromebook’s price drop is pretty much an attempt to counter the prices of the Kindle Fire and nook color tablets, which debuted to the general public last week at $199 and $249 respectively. The tablet – which you could connect a bluetooth keyboard and mouse – could technically become a more functional notebook than a Chromebook itself. And with prices at $100 lower than the device,  will a Samsung or Acer Chromebook even be in your holiday purchase radar?

What is Chromebook’s Market?

Google Chair at SF Airport

Google Chair at SF Airport

Chromebook has to figure out where their niche is going to be. Maybe as a laptop for the kids, or a machine you can keep in the kitchen to call up recipes or as a kiosk in a public place? Back in September, I saw the Chromebook lounge in the San Francisco Airport. Those kiosks would be great for people that have hours to wait but don’t have a computer to check their Facebook profiles or email on.

Remember when the Netbook was a popular item two years ago? What happened to that? The answer is the netbook disappeared fast. You can still get a netbook, but just like the Chromebook, why should you spend $300 or more for a device that is the same speed and power as a Kindle Fire or nook Color?

So now we can start to see the impact of these two new tablets are bringing to the holiday shopping season. Chromebook has to compete with something more compact and useable. Google has not released any data regarding Chromebooks sold, but a DigiTimes report (premium content site) says it all:

“In June 2011, Acer and Samsung launched their Chromebooks ahead of other PC brand vendors, but by the end of July, Acer had reportedly only sold 5,000 units and Samsung was said to have had even lower sales than Acer, according to sources from the PC industry.”

What does that mean to Chromebook? Simply: It’s time to drop prices and hope the Chromebook will sell well in Q4.

Reading Together, Reading for Pleasure

Booktime LogoMore time is spent reading with children but parents are finding modern life tiring and stressful, according to research commissioned by Booktime. The average time spent by parents reading with their child (4  & 5 year olds) is now one hour 26 mins per week, an increase of 10% over 2009. 60% of parents read with children for pleasure on a daily basis.

Tiredness was cited as the main reason for shared reading not being fun, but it was the tiredness of the parents (18%) rather than the child (6%) that was the problem. Getting home from work in time was also a problem, with 30% of dads getting stuck at work.

Regardless, 71% of parents and carers said that reading with their child was always or usually the highlight of the day. 80% of the parents said that reading was associated with fun with 86% of children laughing out loud.

The book is still the main reading device (86%) but other devices such as smartphones, tablets and e-readers are becoming more prevalent. By the time a child is six, nearly a quarter of parents use technology in addition to paper-based books.

In a time of economic doom-and-gloom, this relatively minor story made my day. It costs so little to read to children especially when books are available from libraries or the Booktime programme, yet the benefits to both parents and children are immense. As a father of a 4 year old daughter, I love reading with her, especially at bedtime. It’s just us, with no distractions and we read the story together. If she grows up with a love of reading and learning, I will have done my job as a parent.

Booktime is a national (UK) free books programme for pre-school children that aims to promote the pleasure of reading by encouraging families to have fun reading together. This year, nearly 1.4 million books will be given away in partnership with Pearson.

Tablets: Serious Computing Devices or Toys?

exopc slate

I ran across an article on Electronista in my news feed today that really got me thinking.  It seems a new survey conducted by Citigroup found that, of 1,800 people surveyed, 62% of those planning to purchase a tablet considered the purchase “a toy” (you can read a more in-depth analysis of the survey at that link).  After a few minutes of thought I realized that I feel, somewhat, the same way.  The majority of this survey likely encompasses average users.  Sure, I plug a keyboard into a tablet and work, but my family finds it pure entertainment.

With the addition of Google Docs and, now, Office Live 365, a tablet can be a work environment that’s easy to carry when you’re on the go.  Of course, you’ll need a real keyboard because nobody wants to type a long article or Word doc on the on-screen equivalent.  Throw in email as another productivity chore that can be tackled when using it as a computer, but again, if the response is in-depth, you may want that keyboard.  Meetings can be handled via Skype or Google+ Hangouts, so there is yet another productivity app that you have with you in an easy-to-carry device.  But, most I have named require a real keyboard, which adds to the bulk.  You may even want a mobile mouse if you’re really serious.  Oh, and you will need a stand to use it this way also.

My wife and kids and the majority of the computing public?  They want a tablet to play games, check social media, browse the web, read a book with the Kindle app, use a remote control app for the home theater, check sports scores, and on and on.  In short, it’s a toy for them.  They will never plug in a keyboard or mouse to it, they will never write a document on it, they just don’t see it that way.  To them, that’s what desktops and laptops are for.

For all of the talk about the PC being dead, I think the diagnosis may be a bit premature, or as Mark Twain put it “rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”  Even for business travelers the notebook is still the number one tool.  After all, who wants to carry, and hook-up, all of those accessories?

So, am I missing something here?  Do you feel differently?  Are tablets really ready for prime-time when it comes to real computing tasks and day-to-day work?  Let me know in the comments below.

Is There an Amazon Android Tablet Coming?

Rumors are making their rounds on the internet that Amazon will be releasing their very own Android tablet sometime in the third quarter of this year (which could be tomorrow or September or anytime in between).  In fact, today I even saw projected sales numbers – 1.2 million shipments in the first 3 months.  So what is actually known about this release?  NOTHING!  Amazon still is mum, so it’s all speculation.  Still, with the success of the Kindle, Amazon has proven that they can enter a hardware market and make a strong run.

Given the Amazon initiatives into the tablet and smartphone market with apps for Kindle, MP3 store, Video Store, and music cloud, it seems like a no-brainer for them to release their own devices.  Amazon also seems poised to make the biggest splash since Apple.  They have more behind them than any other tablet maker.

Reliable rumors say that Amazon will be releasing two devices, but all we really know about them, at this point, are code names – Coyote and Hollywood.  We assume this means two different size tablets, as opposed to a tablet and smartphone.  Perhaps 7″ and 10″?  We have also heard that one would run the Tegra-2 processor, while the other will sport a Tegra-3.  So, perhaps, they will be the same size and vary between entry level and pro devices?

That’s a lot of questions and absolutely no answers.  All indications point to these rumors being based in fact, though, so I assume we will find out more pretty soon.  So, would you buy a tablet from Amazon?  Do you think that Amazon entering the tablet market could mean real competition for Apple?

GNC #679 Wisconsin Internet Battle

Geek News Central Podcast Start the show out talking about the Wisconsin Internet Battle and close out talking about big medias battle of Roku, Boxee, etc..

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Show Links
Wisconsin Internet Battle.
Cable 4.5 gbps?
Skype coming to Comcast.
50% of iPhones never Synced.
Is Your Pin on the List.
Twitter.com going after Twiter.com.
Instagram at 5 Million Users.
Anonymous going after Fed Reserve?
YouTube going after Money Makers.
Flying Radiation Calculator.
Great Pyramid Video.
Ingenuity at its best.
Apple Genius Unionized?
Cardiac Arrest Algorithm.
New Surveillance Initiative.
Judges Fed Up.
Space Station on Mars Swamp gas.
Opportunity keeps on Trucking.
Meteorite Analysis.
Archive.org Black Listed.
Gee No Evil.
32 Anonymous Operatives Arrested.
New Heart Pump.
Apple TV Apps Close?
FCC tells Traditional Media your on your own.
Advertising Changes that is good!
Hope for Xbox.
Court Battle on Seized Domains.
Apple iCloud Security.
Google Doc Templates.
Mixtab Rss Reader.
Car Sales Tips.
Canadian Streaming Sites.
1gbps Internet Service.
Turn your iPad into a Phone.
Boxee Update Coming.
Hack Shield for Pace Makers.
Roku in Walmart.
Galaxy Tab to AA.
Web Designer Tools.
More Android Malware.
Cable Providers get Some Help with IPTV.

Dell Tablet Roadmap Leaked, 10″ Streak Pro in June

There have been rumors circulating on the internet for a while now about a Dell Streak 10″ tablet that would be called the Dell Streak Pro.  Now the folks over at Android Central have come up with the proof.  They have published a leaked tablet roadmap from Dell that lists, not just the Streak Pro, but two other tablets.  The list features photos, release dates, and product specs.

The Streak Pro will pack an NVIDIA Tegra T25 processor and run Android Honeycomb.  The 1280 x 800 resolution is standard for a 10″ device.  There is no mention of memory or storage capacity.  There really aren’t any surprises here other than the release date of June, which is earlier than what had been rumored.

More of a surprise were the other two listings – Latitude ST tablet and the Latitude XT-3 convertible tablet.  The ST is another 10 inch tablet, but pack a much stronger hardware punch than the Streak Pro.  The ST will come with 1366 x 766 resolution, an Intel Oak Trail 1.5 GHz processor, 128 GB of storage, and 1080p output.  The XT will, supposedly, ship in October.  That’s far enough away for a lot to change.

The XT-3 is a 13″ convertible with Windows 7 and a list of impressive hardware that includes an Intel i3, i5, or i7 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 1080p output.  The target date is July of 2011.

There were no prices listed and the dates are probably tentative at best.  Of course, while all of this looks legitimate we can’t write any of it in stone since it’s a leak and there has been no confirmation from Dell.