Month: March 2009

NetFlix Raises Rates for Blu-Ray

March 31, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Netflix subscribers are shocked, shocked to discover that Blu-ray discs cost the company more than standard DVDs, and that Netflix is increasing their subscription fees for those users who want to receive their movies in high-definition. Reaction to the announcement made in the company blog yesterday generated hundreds of angry comments from subscribers. The increase is modest, by my measure. Fees will increase by $1 plus $1 for each unlimited...

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FCC Enlists AmeriCorps for DTV Transition

March 30, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
The FCC apparently has decided that it would be helpful to have "boots on the ground" in 49 major metropolitan areas to help residents make the transition to digital broadcasts by the June 12 deadline. According to a press release from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) on Friday, its members "will focus on groups the FCC has targeted for special attention, including low-income individuals, minority communities, non-English speaking consumers,...

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CEA Rides Again: We’re Ready for DTV

March 27, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
I get it. CEA stands for "Consumer Electronics Association", and in addition to hosting the CES conference in Las Vegas every January, the organization provides "representation from the voice of the industry, CEA, promoting and advancing member needs and interests." And those 2,200 members are companies within the consumer technology industry. So I get it; the CEA is a cheerleader for its industry. But I still have a difficult time...

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NetFlix Bogs Down

March 26, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Apparently there has been a flurry of complaints about the Netflix streaming video service. Some users have encountered problems just with HD streams, while others have had problems with choppy performance even on SD titles. The company responded with considerable candor in a blog entry last week in which Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer, addressed some of the concerns. Basically, the company acknowledges that users in different areas may have...

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NTIA to Replace Expired Converter Coupons

March 25, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
In a press release yesterday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it had cleared the backlog of rebate coupon requests for digital converter boxes, and is accepting new applications. For the first time, the agency is also accepting applications from households who received rebate coupons, but who failed to redeem them before their 90-day expiration. If you received two coupons and used one but the other has...

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More Homes Prepare for DTV Transition

March 24, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Nielsen has posted their latest estimate of how many U.S. households remain unprepared for the end of analog TV broadcasts in June. With just over two months left to go, the number of households has been cut nearly in half from December to now, leaving only 4.1 million homes still not ready according to Nielsen; this is 3.6% of the national total. That represents more than a million homes per...

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LCD TV Shipments: Turning the Corner?

March 23, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
DisplaySearch tracks the production of flat panel displays, and in a press release last week, the company released statistics for the LCD TV panel shipments in February. They report that 7.7 million panels shipped in February, compared with 6.9 million in January; this amounts to an 11% gain from month to month. The rest of the story, however, is that this compares with 8.1 million panels shipped in February 2008,...

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More 12 Volt DC LCD TVs

March 20, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
TWICE ran a story this week about "a new start-up LCD TV brand, Naxa Electronics". None of the sets mentioned in the company's new line-up are larger than 26", and some are as small as 13" which gives new meaning to the concept of a "personal" HDTV. The sets have some strange panel resolutions, such as 1280 by 800 pixels or 1440 by 900 pixels, which indicates that the company...

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Circuit City is Gone; Wattles Remains

March 19, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Investor Mark Wattles bought a sizable portion of Circuit City, and tried to influence the company's direction. One of those steps included lobbying to support Blockbuster's abortive effort to buy Circuit City last year. There's a little irony here because Wattles founded Hollywood Video, one of Blockbuster's competitors, and the sale of that chain to Movie Gallery gave him the resources to fund his investments. Circuit City has finally closed...

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Dish-ing Out Movie Tickets

March 18, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
One reason to get satellite or cable TV service is so that you can watch movies at home. Many people pay these services lots of money each month for premium channels in order to watch recent releases on their TV sets. But here's an interesting twist; Dish Network is launching a channel that uses Fandango to report back what movies are showing in your neighborhood, including showtimes. It even lets...

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