The launch of the 450Mbps segment of the 802.11n specification was sort of backwards. We saw some of the first routers last year in the September – October time frame. Then at CES we got our first glimpse of one of the new 450Mbps wireless adapters. This was the TRENDNet TEW-687GA that we just finished testing. But we are not going to stop there as we have another 450Mbps adapter from TRENDNet in the lab. This one is more PC specific and connects over USB 2.0. You lose the universal appeal that the 687GA had but gain more on portability. So let’s introduce the TRENDNet TEW-684UB 450Mbps Dual Band USB wireless adapter.
In an odd turn of events Netflix, one of the largest internet streaming media companies, appears to have locked out the Windows 7 Media Center Plug-in. The issue began on June 29th in the early evening when reports of this issue popped up from different users around the net. We checked into the problem and found that while the rest of the service appeared to work flawlessly, you still could not view any movies. The error? Our apologies – we could not authenticate this request.
Netgear has decided to upgrade their existing line of media players and has come out with three new ones. They hope that these will be decent competition for Apple TV and Roku's streaming boxes. The basic model the Neo TV will be available for $49.99, while the NeoTV Pro and NeoTV MAX will go for $59.99 and $69.99 respectively. The new line will have HTML 5 support and more content sources compared to previous models, also it will have Push2TV media streamer for pushing media from smartphones or laptops to the big screen.
We have talked (at length) about Microsoft’s new move to the cloud and also their push with the Windows 8 Ecosystem (which is the cloud). We have pointed out many items of concern as well as shown some of the good parts to the OS; such as faster boot times, much better windows explorer interface, significantly improved task manager etc. However, the one massive point that we cannot get past is the choice Microsoft has made in making the Xbox and Windows Phone the center of the connected home. What Microsoft has done with this mode of thinking is what earned me a D- on a science paper in High School; Concluding the Assumption.
Western Digital is expanding their product line. The Hard Drive maker (and maker of home media players) has decided to attempt to dive into the home networking market. To do this they are introducing a new line of routers called My Net. According to Western Digital My Net is designed to optimize the viewing of online streaming media services and online gaming.
For home theater enthusiasts there is some good news today as we have found out that XBMC is working on a Media Center for use with the Android operating system. Many sites are reporting this as a “leak”, but as the information comes straight from XBMC’s own page we are going to call it a sneak peak. Ever since the first few Android based media players popped up on the market we have noted a rather large gap in what they offer. While most of them do have access to a limited form of the internet and you can access pictures and other items from your own network, the UI is clunky and not really suited for a home theater environment.
The Netflix App for Android devices has finally received a face lift! The lists of titles for viewing has been dramatically increased, the user interface has been greatly improved with short cuts and new features, and things have been moved around to be more user friendly and easier to navigate.
During the last few years the corporate world has enjoyed something of a respite from the typical anti-trust laws that are upheld by the Sherman Antitrust Act. This means that things like the MPAA, RIAA, the Viacom merger and too many others to count have all gotten the thumbs up from regulators. It was not until the Occupy movements hit the streets in major towns that we began to see regulation agencies begin to take notice of some of the more outrageous violations. It was as if they suddenly woke up and said “Hey! You can’t do that…” of course it is an election year and the majority of voters are very unhappy. The incumbent politicians have to at least appear to be doing something.
The war for and against SOPA has once again heated up. We have already told you that the entertainment industry, content owners, and lawmakers are working very hard to push through legislation to get what they want (control of the internet as a means of distribution of their content). It does not matter that the simple act of do this violates many Civil Liberties or that it represents a violation of the very basic tenants of the existing Anti-Trust laws that we have. Now only a few days after Chris Dodd let slip that the MPAA is working to reopen SOPA (or something worse) we find that a new power lobby has sprung up from the ground to take the banner of censorship and wave it.
One of Hulu's first investors, Providence, decided to sell its stake in the streaming media company for $200 million, which is twice as much they invested in Hulu back in 2007. That investment gave them a 10% stake and an independent position on the company board. They decided to move from the company back in April and earned themselves a decent amount of money. With Providence moving out the only investors left are NBC Universal, Disney and Fox. This move could have a huge impact on Hulu's future, as Providence made some big moves in their past like bringing Disney in as a new investor.