Tech execs and extreme jocks

Tech execs and extreme jocks are making the world safe for plasma-screen shaving mirrors and Wi-Fi window shades. Join Jack Boulware for an exclusive tour of the ultimate wired homes. And please wipe your feet.

Peek into the high tech homes of:

  • Roger Shiffman, the former CEO of Tiger Electronics

  • Steve Perlman, founder of WebTV and creator of Moxi, now Digeo

  • Lyor Cohen, president and CEO of Island Def Jam Music Group

  • Mark Cuban, founder of and cofounder of hi-def TV network HDNet

  • Tony Hawk, Pro Skateboarder

  • Catherine Bell, star of TV show, JAG

While I can’t afford it,

While I can’t afford it, the Meridian 880 Reference Music Server is high on my wish list for home media servers. In fact, it seems to be the media server. I have checked out a few in the past including devices from Lansonic and Imerge. The iMerge always seemed to be much cooler, but something I always wanted to see and certainly hear before making a purchase. The Meridian seems to push the envelope of technology, by using their own proprietary lossless format and software from iMerge. Can’t wait to visit my favorite high end audio store this winter when this baby comes out!

MLP Not MP3. For audiophiles who want to ditch their CDs, but don’t want to have to listen to their entire collection as low-fidelity MP3s, Meridian has come out with their 880 Reference Music Server, which can store up to 750 hours of music. Rather than use MP3 for compression, the RMS uses its own proprietary format for storage, known as Meridian Lossless Packing. The result is that there’s no loss of audio fidelity. All this losslessness doesn’t come cheap though: the RMS is expected to retail for around $20,000. Comes out in January of next year. Read… [Gizmodo]

As I had previously

As I had previously mentioned Video on Demand has been active on our cable system here in NYC. Today the New York Times and Wired News (below) cover the pending and official launch. The main differentiator between this and other VOD systems launched so far is the TiVo like functionality allowing in-viewing play control.

I Want My Show Now. Time Warner Cable plans to launch a video-on-demand service for subscribers in New York. It’s different than pay-per-view they claim — you can start and stop your flick at will. Will Wade reports from New York. [Wired News]

After spending some quality time

After spending some quality time reprogramming my Pronto Universal remote this weekend to accommodate the new features of HDTV, I thought I might be able to share some wisdom with you. First, the process of enabling more technology in your living room is easy (dollars aside), but making it simple for your family to use is far from it.

In our living room, we have a set-up that includes: an integrated amp; a DVD/CD 5-disc carousel; TiVo; VCR; 5.1 Speakers and our HDTV. We used to control the TV through TiVo, which took my wife some getting used to, but was second nature up until last Friday. With the addition of our new converter box, the method for watching TV just became a bit more complex.

In order to enjoy the enhanced sound and picture, we must switch the mode of our TV from TV to Colorstream HD 1, which is 4 modes (of a possible 5) on our set. Once there, we must use the cable box remote to change channels and review the guide since TiVo does not support HDTV. By not supporting it, TiVo does not display it’s information on our screen, but it is still quite possible to pause live programming. We won’t however, see when TiVo is warning us mid-show that it wishes to switch the channel to record something we might like. We also won’t be able to re-view shows that were being recorded by TiVo in HDTV because it cannot handle the picture. Last night for example, we recorded the audio of Curb Your Enthusiasm with a black screen to complement it.

So back to the universal remote conundrum…I had to re-program our pronto’s and add a new button macro to now include HDTV as an option. A macro just to be clear, allows the pronto to handle the functions of several remotes. The example for our HDTV setting is to set the TV from TV to Colorstream 1 HD (4 button presses, with pauses programmed to assure the commands are sent) change the channel on the cable box to 713 (a PBS HD channel). The remote also conveniently switched it’s screen from the main screen to one that will allow us to command the cable box directly at that point. This macro saves us from having to use 2 different remotes and 7 button presses with 1 simple command. The “problem” for my wife, not a gadget enthusiast like myself, is that she must now decide what mode of TV to watch.

So is this new iPronto remote linked below going to solve the complex world of home theater for us? I doubt it. In fact, as cool as it is, I think it will only be cause for more confusion in the home. It will however, give Philips a better chance to compete against Lexicon and AMX in the high end home control market. Don’t get me wrong, I really like this stuff, just that when I am not home, the home theater set-up will continue to intimidate everyone else at home.

The Ultimate Universal Remote?. A new universal remote control from Philips called the iPronto which doesn’t just control your entertainment center – you can also access the Internet with it over an 802.11b connection and use it to control appliances around the house. And for all you Casanovas out there, you can even program the iPronto to dim the lights, close the drapes, and light the fireplace all at the touch of a button. Read… [Gizmodo]

As I mentioned in my

As I mentioned in my post on HDTV, Time Warner has also included a Video on Demand (VOD) service. There are currently about 90 movies costing between $1.95 and $3.95 depending on age of the picture. The classic Hitchcock stuff is on the low end but Lord of the Rings is the high end, though similar to Blockbuster and no potential for late fees. One really nice thing about the way it works, is that you get the movie for a full 24-hour period. With the current pay-per-view model, you only get the movie while it is on, unless on some systems you buy an all day pass, which might cost more.

The VOD system is providing very high quality digital video with TiVo (pause, fastforward…) features. Now that I have tried this, and admittedly only with the free content so far like previews, I would think that video rental places must be extremely nervous. This is a real system, with a valid selection on our televisions – not computers at the right price.

Blockbuster makes all their money from our house, through late-fees, but not any longer…

Warner Gets Into Web Video-On-Demand. Broadband Internet subscribers got their first real opportunity Monday to legally download movies distributed by a major studio. Warner Bros. agreed to offer a few films to Web-based video-on-demand service CinemaNow and split the revenue. That could help to thaw Hollywood’s cold refusal to offer downloadable films on any service but Movielink. [osOpinion]

The future in my living

The future in my living room

Time Warner came by this afternoon with a wonderful new toy… an HDTV cable converter box! It’s hard to describe the difference other than to say, WOW! The picture quality is absolutely fantastic. On HD channels, you get digital 5.1 sounds as well. I’ve had a digital HD capable set for 2 years, and have been able to view DVDs and occasionally my PS2 in the correct 16:9 format… TV was no where near ready, until now.

We get HBO, SHO, FOX, CBS, ABC, NBC and PBS. No HDNet, I guess that is only DirecTV right now…Not all the channels broadcast HD all the time. In the few minutes we have played so far, the non-HD broadcasts seem to be amazingly clear in full digital glory. This is completely beyond where we were with just digital cable.

The cable guy said they are looking to have 2 new channels come on each month so I will certainly be looking for more to come online. He also pointed out a channel that was hidden from view at number 1000… it’s Video on Demand(VOD)! “Soon we will have access to the complete Warner Brothers studio library! Right now, I need to spend somme more time browsing, but we can watch previews and some DVD-extra like content but pause, fastforward and rewind all live on cable with the remote. Pretty intense!

As more goodness gets delivered I will be sure to share…

When it was first announced,

When it was first announced, the Danger hiptop/sidekick was the center of a great deal of attention. I thought it was going to be a very cool product, though this was before the Handspring Treo and the Voice-integrated RIM devices.

Now however, the device has once again started the gadget engine in my mind… After watching the demo movie on the T-Mobile site, I am once again thinking this could be the one. No color, but full data, web and (3) pop3 email accounts.

T-Mobile has a very compelling offer running right now which is a $50 rebate bringing the post-rebate price to $199 with a one year contract. The monthly contract plan includes all-you-can-eat data service for $39.99/mo. It seems that two-way messaging is extra and only the first 50 messages are included…for an additional $2.99/mo you can have 500 more which should more than cover even the most rambunctious user.

One significant question at this time is how (or if) it will sync with a computer. I just got everything settled in my Mac’s Address Book and would want to obviously zap everything up to something like this. From what I recall reading everything gets done through the air – so you would expect some kind of web based upload procedure.

The Next Frontier for the

The Next Frontier for the Home Theater: Motion Simulation. Surround sound is nothing anymore. Anyone who wants the ultimate home theater setup will have to get this: a $20,000 motion simulator from Canadian company D-Box. Called the Odyssee, the whole contraption fits underneath your seats or sofa, and moves you all around whenever there are explosions and stuff like that on screen. It works with DVD, TV, and video games (once this is cheaper this could really take off for car racing and flight simulator games). Right now to take full advantage of the Odyssee requires buying a special disc programmed with synchronized moves, and there are about fifty films that this is available for, like The Phantom Menace, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Top Gun. It also can interpret cues from the audio soundtrack of what you’re watching for other movies and normal television. Read… [Gizmodo]

I actually just saw a quick review of this on Fresh Gear. It seems interesting though obviously out of reach for almost everyone. The main advantages are that you don’t have to dig up your home to install this unit and you will be able to feel (and endure) up to 2 G’s of simulated action!

While actually not on the

While actually not on the rumor mill as long as say, an Apple PDA, the phone rumors have been milling pretty hard since MWNY. This article posted on ePrairie of all places says that Motorola Inadvertently leaked the pictures… if anything close to that comes out it will be a sure thing for me!

OpenTV to Buy Interactive TV

OpenTV to Buy Interactive TV Rivals ACTV and Wink

Media mogul John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. reshuffled its interactive TV properties on Thursday, with Liberty-controlled OpenTV Corp. purchasing both rival ACTV Inc. and Liberty’s Wink Communications.

href=”” > has some amazing

href=”” > has some amazing shots of the new unit. This is a must see

for gadget maniacs. A bit beefier in the backside to accomodate the WLAN adapter

but still very slick. Also of note is the intense screen – running at up to 640×480

the high-res mode is simply amazing. **UPDATE ** was asked to remove the pictures posted today a great sign that this is real.

Sony’s liscensing of teh TiVo

Sony’s liscensing of teh TiVo software is paying off like mad for consumers. The future is looking even brighter with the news this morning that the PS2 will soon be able to handle PVR functions! So much for needing to buy a second TiVo for our apartment – problem solved! (I clearly realize that we will have to buy the addition..)

PS2 to pack in TV recording. Adding the ability to store TV shows on a hard disk could give Sony an edge over rival Microsoft, which is also eyeing home entertainment as an untapped source of revenue. [CNET]

This is exciting stuff and

This is exciting stuff and confirmed (must be the same source?) on PalmInfocenter. The new palm devices are getting closer and closer. Can’t wait to have to decide which way to go. My Palm m505 works great, but the future devices with ARM chips, OS5 and integrated bluetooth are what I am looking for.

Rumors Flying About Two New Sony Handhelds. ClieSource reports that Sony has two new handhelds on the way that share the form factor of the clamshell NR series. These new models, to be known as the NX series, will have 16MB of RAM, run Palm OS 5, and come with a CompactFlash slot that will take a Sony-branded 802.11b card but curiously won’t accept CF memory cards. One of the models will also come with a built-in camera with a resolution of 640×480 pixels. Read [Via PalmInfosource]… [Gizmodo]

We can only hope that

We can only hope that the results of this are excellent products, not more lawsuits, though I doubt there won’t be any more legal action. Not sure if this affects release dates on the pending palms…

PalmSource, Good Technology team up

Palm’s software group and start-up Good Technology are teaming to take on Research In Motion and attract more interest from large businesses.