Of all the tech in my home one of the devices that I just can't live without is my DVR. Even my kids are hooked; they can’t understand why you can't fast-forward every show that comes on TV. I have two DVRs in my house and what I would really like is a single DVR that can play on any TV in my home.
"Touch me, touch me" sang 80s legend Samantha Fox, "I want to feel your body," and while the intentions of Sony's new VAIO L Series of touchscreen desktops may be different, the sentiment is just the same. Announced alongside the skinny VAIO X, the L Series is being pushed - like other big-screen all-in-one PCs in Sony's past - as a hybrid HDTV and computer, though with its 24-inch 1920 x 1080 display, optional Blu-ray and optional TV tuners we suppose it does have more of a claim than most. As for the touchscreen, that's used not only for Windows 7's multitouch functionality but to control Sony's own Media Gallery DVR app.
Toshiba have announced their latest high-end LCD TV, and it's the first to include the Cell Broadband Engine for multi-channel display and DVR recording. The Toshiba CELL REGZA 55X1 has a 55-inch, 5,000,000:1 contrast LED-backlit panel, with independent control over each of the 512 LED backlighting zones and 240Hz refresh. It's accompanied by a processor box, housing the Cell goodies, which can pump out eight channels to be shown on-screen at once, time-shift up to eight channels simultaneously for 26 hours, or boot up a web browser based on Opera.
When I first was briefed on the Media Center edition of XP by Microsoft, I thought MCE was a pretty bad idea. A lot of my skepticism had to do with the market they claimed they were going after, namely college students in dorm rooms and yuppies living in cramped apartments with no room for both TVs and PCs. Of course, college students mostly buy laptops, and no matter where you live most folks don't watch TV on a small computer monitor from across the room. The short-term market were enthusiasts who understood the value of a DVR such as a TiVo.
Over time, Microsoft tried a few approaches with MCE – from extenders to allow you to view content on other TVs in the home over your network, to creating extender technology for Xbox (which is already hooked up to a TV set) – as well as working with a host of OEMs to create "living room" form factor home theater PCs. The result of these efforts was less than a stellar success and few vendors actively build home theater PCs; these days, if a consumer uses media center they're either an enthusiast or they've tripped over it by mistake trying to do something else. That's a shame, as MCE has evolved over time to become a great technology, one that few people even know exist.
Remotely controlling your TiVo from a BlackBerry has been possible for a while now - thanks to the mobile web interface - but now there's a specific app that aims to make it even easier. TiVo for BlackBerry Smartphones is available free from the App World, and has browse, search and scheduling functionality, together with "Daily Picks" and "Most Popular" categories.
I love my DVR and out of all the tech innovations of the last decade, the DVR is right at the top of my most important list. I can’t imagine going back to a VCR or other system for recording shows. Hitachi has announced a couple new HDDs that will make DVRs even better.
The United States District Court in the Eastern Division of Texas is becoming a very common place for major corporations to file patent infringement suits against other companies. The glut of suits filed here is due to the judge's previous pro-patent holder rulings.
Digeo have unveiled the latest piece in their Moxi DVR puzzle, the Moxi Mate, which takes digital content multi-room. Designed to work in tandem with the Moxi HD DVR, the "virtually silent" box shuttles video recorded from the main unit, together with Rhapsody music, Flickr photos and - courtesy of the PlayOn software - Hulu and Netflix content.
Neuros Technology have been spilling the beans about their next-gen open-source mediaplayer, the OSD3, and while it's not set to hit shelves for at least another 18 months it's shaping up to be impressive. The company is working with Texas Instruments regarding the OSD3's ARM-based processor, and have official support for 1080p/60 encoding and decoding.