Archive for December, 2008

Rotel Selected as CES Innovations 2009 Design and Engineering Award Honoree

Monday, December 1st, 2008

North Reading, MA—December 1, 2008—Rotel, manufacturer of affordable, high-end audio and home theater components has been named an International CES Innovations 2009 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree for the RSX-1560 Home Theater Receiver. Products are judged by a preeminent panel of independent industrial designers, engineers and members of the trade press to honor outstanding design and engineering in cutting edge consumer electronics products. (more…)

New! Bel Canto USB Link 24/96

Monday, December 1st, 2008

For Immediate Release

Introducing the Bel Canto USB Link 24/96
Opens a High Performance Audio Link From Any Computer
Plays Music Files Up To 24 bit 96kHz

Visit Us at CES 09 Venetian Tower 29-232

Minneapolis MN • December 1st, 2008 • Bel Canto Design, Ltd., manufacturers of analog and digital source components and amplifiers debuts the USB Link 24/96, the must-have component for computer hard disc music systems. (more…)

Escient Announces Free Vision Update V1.1 Software Release For Vision Series Media Ma

Monday, December 1st, 2008

— Vision Update V1.1 Software Release Provides New 2-Way External Control Capabilities, Improved User Interface Responsiveness and More —

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, December 1, 2008 – Escient®, the pioneer in digital media management, today announced a major free software update for its leading-edge Vision Series Media Management products. The Vision Update V1.1 software release, which is available beginning today, will enhance and expand the home entertainment experience for Escient’s Vision Series customers, adding both improved functionality and new lifestyle features. The update will be available free of charge to all Escient’s Vision VS and VC Series products, including two versions of the company’s all-in-one server/player, Models VS-100 and VS-200, as well as the VC-1 networked audio/video zone player . Customers may visit for instructions on how to receive their free updates. (more…)

Discussion Topic: More on Video on Demand – Matt Abel – December 1, 2008

Monday, December 1st, 2008

John’s post got me thinking about the other options for video on demand. Besides the movies you can get from your cable or satellite provider; Amazon on Demand, iTunes, Netflix Watch Instantly and Vudu also offer downloadable or streaming movie services.  Over the last year, I’ve used Amazon, iTunes and Netflix, but I keep coming back to Netflix as the most rational choice in this space.

Sumit has already written about Netflix’s watch instantly feature, but the service has improved considerably since he made his original post.  Netflix, has continued to grow their library through a partnership with Starz, bringing recent movies like Ratatouille and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End to the service. They’ve also put some currently airing TV seasons on the service, like season 3 of Heroes. Netflix still doesn’t have the library of new releases that Amazon on Demand, iTunes and Vudu have, but it continues to improve.

Netflix has done a better job of putting their service on a variety of convenient devices for watching on your TV. You can currently stream Netflix movies to your TV using the Netflix Player by Roku, the Xbox 360, the LG BD300 Blu-ray Player, the Samsung BD-P2500 Blu-ray player and in the near future on TiVo HDs. With the $99 the Netflix Player by Roku and all of the other options, Netflix Watch Instantly beats all the services hands down in the pricing and variety of compatible devices.

I’ve used Netflix Watch Instantly on both a Xbox 360 and the Netflix Player by Roku. While the interface is slightly different between the two, they both allow you to easily navigate through a queue of movies you set up on your computer. Movies start quickly once they are selected and the overall user experience is very good on both devices.

Quality-wise Netflix Watch Instantly looks like SD digital cable when displayed using the Netflix Player by Roku, which is not amazing, but reasonable if you run it through a decent video processor. At the very least, it’s comparable to Amazon on Demand playing on a TiVo or iTunes video files played from an iPod.

Finally, the price is right for the Netflix service with plans starting at $8.99/month for unlimited viewing (the plans include Netflix DVD by mail service as well), compared to $0.99/rental and up for the other services. Ultimately, the value and convenience of the Netflix service make it my choice for Video on Demand.

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