In a classic “split the baby” decision, the FCC will allow “multichannel video programming distributors” [MPVD's] (aka your cable or satellite company) to disable the analog outputs of your cable/satellite box when you watch first-run movies before they are released on DVD. The process makes use of a set-top box feature called “Selectable Output Control” (SOC) whereby your “MPVD” can turn off the analog outputs of your box to prevent you from making “illegal” copies of the program.
For example, “IFC in Theaters” sometimes releases a movie in theatrical distribution and on “on-demand” at the same time. They would be able to protect the on-demand showing of the movie for 90 days. (The issues are actually more complicated if you have an older TV with analog-only inputs: you might not be able to watch these new movies at all. The FCC does not see that as a problem, as they assumed that you have never been able to watch first run movies before, so you won’t miss not getting them.)
On engadget.com “RandomGuy” commented: “The FCC did the right thing by essentially calling their [the MPAA's] bluff and saying, sure go ahead and prevent analog, but only on titles that haven’t hit physical media, and only for 90 days. Meaning that the studios cannot easily use this on the content they really wanted to [all movies], while still allowing them to use it on the early pay-per-view that they requested.”
What do you think? “Speak Your Mind” below. (Registration required.)Read More
Technology lives up to hype, but CR recommends waiting to buy
YONKERS, N.Y.: Consumer Reports tested several new 3DTV sets in its labs in what it calls “the first hands-on evaluation outside the manufacturers’ facilities.” So far, so good. The TVs live up to their billing, but the “average consumer shouldn’t rush out to buy one,” CR said.
The product examiners tested two Samsung LCD 3DTVs and a Panasonic plasma set. CR said the results were “impressive…. The 3D images had excellent depth, color, and high-def details, creating a compelling 3D picture as good as a movie theater.” It recommended that folks who are perfectly happy with the relatively new HDTV sets wait for subsequent generations of 3D sets. Later models are likely to be cheaper.Read More
Stephen Hawking: Human, alien interaction ‘risky’ business
By Associated Press | Monday, April 26, 2010 | http://www.bostonherald.com | Television News
LONDON – Earthlings would be on the losing end of close encounters with aliens, warned renowned British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking.
Hawking, in a new documentary, said aliens are out there but they are so far advanced it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life.Read More
Apparently Gray Powell is a hot item these days. I was listening to Leo Laporte (The Tech Guy) today on the internet (via KFI radio online) and he talked about it. The full story is below.
Apple’s Lost iPhone: A Case of Puppet Master or Victim?
Apr 25, 2010 12:17 pm
Apple could be worse off.
By now we all know Gray Powell, a software engineer at Apple, “lost” a prototype iPhone in a bar in Redwood City, California. Since then, the device ended up in the hands of Gizmoapple iphonedo, was reviewed, and eventually made its way back to Apple.
Many folks think this is bad news for the Cupertino-based company. Others might even go as far as saying Apple somehow screwed up.
Personally, I think Apple deserves a little more credit; with its long history of device leaks, it must know a thing or two about turning lemons into lemonade.
My colleague, Ed Oswald, said in a post, “…it is beyond comprehension to me that the company (Apple) would allow a lower-level employee to walk off One Infinite Loop with a prototype in hand on a personal jaunt.”
Oswald cites Apple’s notorious love of secrecy and goes as far as saying that covering Apple is “much like walking blindfolded into a maze.” How does a company like the one Oswald describes end up in a situation like this?Read More
Catch this photo of Norway’s Prime Minister working on his iPad while stranded in New York due to delays caused by the volcano in Iceland. (With tongue-in-cheek courtesy of PCWorld.)
The subhead of the CNN on-line article (which I believe was first with the photo) was “Running a country? There’s an app for that.”Read More