1/14/2008

Sony’s “TransferJet” to take on Bluetooth 3.0

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Never one to settle for an open standard when the opportunity to push a proprietary alternative presents itself, Sony has announced that it will wade into the next-generation short-range interconnect wars with a proprietary new wireless spec called “TransferJet.” Sony’s proposed TransferJet spec has a physical peak transmission rate of 560Mbps and would appear to compete directly with short- and medium-range ultrawideband-based offerings like wireless USB (W-USB) and the next generation of Bluetooth technology. But in spite of any similarities to either W-USB or Bluetooth 3.0, both of which are based on the same WiMedia radio technology and promise transfer speeds in the 480Mbps range, Sony’s TransferJet has some distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from the pack.

In Sony’s vision of the future, any two consumer devices will be able to exchange data wirelessly with one another simply by holding them close together. The system is designed for maximum ease of use, which means limited options for controlling the transfers; devices will transfer their contents automatically to another device within range. Users can “register” devices within the home to keep them from transmitting to “unregistered” devices, which should keep Uncle Dave from beaming his “art photos” onto your TV set without permission. Other than that, everything else appears to be automatic and button-free.

Porn filmmakers join fight against Internet piracy

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

What does Sumner Redstone have in common with Steve Hirsch, founder and president of the world’s largest producer of hard-core sex videos? More than the Viacom honcho might think.

Hirsch’s Vivid Entertainment, the biggest name in the $12 billion-a-year adult video industry, filed a lawsuit last month against PornoTube, one of a handful of popular video-sharing sites styled as the dirtier cousins of YouTube, Redstone’s legal nemesis. Similar to the Google-owned video juggernaut, PornoTube has become a destination for free porn by letting anyone post sex videos without filtering out clips that might be copyrighted.

“In other words,” the lawsuit reads, PornoTube “deliberately and knowingly built a library of infringing works … enabling them to gain an enormous share of the Internet traffic, increase its businesses and earn vast amounts of revenues in the process.”

Redstone’s words, almost exactly. Vivid’s argument mirror’s Viacom’s $1 billion claim against YouTube, filed last March and just entering the discovery phase in New York. At issue in both cases is whether video-sharing sites are shielded from liability by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act if they take down videos once asked and don’t profit “directly” from the infringements. (Vivid also claims PornoTube violates a strict child-pornography law by not verifying the ages of the participants in videos posted on its site, though recently an appeals court ruled against that law on free speech grounds.)

Netflix Expands Internet Viewing Option

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Girding for a potential threat from Apple Inc., online DVD rental service Netflix Inc. is lifting its limits on how long most subscribers can watch movies and television shows over high-speed Internet connections.

The Associated Press has learned the change will become effective Monday, on the eve of Apple’s widely anticipated move into the movie rental industry. Although Apple hasn’t confirmed anything yet, Chief Executive Steve Jobs is expected to make it official during a presentation Tuesday in San Francisco.

Netflix is gearing up for the increased competition by expanding a year-old feature that streams movies over the Internet instead of making customers wait for their online rental requests to be delivered through the mail.

Until now, Netflix restricted how long its more than 7 million subscribers could use the streaming service each month, based on how much they pay to rent DVDs.

For instance, under a popular plan that charges $16.99 per month to rent up to three DVDs at a time, Netflix customers could watch as many as 17 hours of entertainment each month on the streaming service, dubbed “Watch Instantly.”

With Monday’s change, virtually all Netflix subscribers will be able to stream as many movies and TV shows as they want from a library containing more than 6,000 titles. There will be no additional charge for the unlimited access.

Only the small portion of Netflix customers who pay $4.99 to rent up to two DVDs per month won’t be provided unlimited access to the streaming service.

The unlimited streaming option figures to become more enticing later this year when LG Electronics Inc. will begin selling a set-top box that will deliver the content to TVs.

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