2/11/2008

Netflix Opts for Blu-Ray High-Def DVDs

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Netflix Inc., the online movie rental company, said Monday it is switching exclusively to the Blu-ray format for high-definition DVDs, following four major movie studios in selecting the Sony technology over one pushed by Toshiba Corp.

Toshiba and Sony have been vying to set the standard for high-definition DVDs for several years. The stakes are high because the winner will also get a boost in sales of DVD players needed to read the new format.

The Walt Disney Co., Sony Corp.’s Sony Pictures, News Corp.’s Twentieth Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have endorsed Blu-ray. Paramount and Universal Studios publish their high-definition DVDs in Toshiba’s HD DVD format.

Netflix has stocked both formats since they became available in 2006, but said the decision of four of the six major studios to issue films only in Blu-ray format made it likely that the Sony format will prevail.

Yahoo seeks to restart merger talks with AOL

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo is seeking to restart merger talks with AOL as a means of defending itself against an unsolicited bid approach from Microsoft, the Times newspaper said on Monday.

The paper, without citing sources, said Yahoo was also considering tie-ups with groups such as Google and Disney.

It said Yahoo and AOL had previously tried to join forces, but were unable to agree on the price of a deal.

Security Research and Blackmail

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A Russian security research company, Gleg, has discovered a zero-day in the latest version of RealPlayer 11. But they won’t reveal details to Real, or to CERT, despite repeated requests.

Details are available only to their clients who pay a lot of money for early access to such knowledge. To describe Gleg’s business model Daniweb rather cautiously puts forward the word “blackmail.

Microsoft makes changes to Office Live

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft is making a series of changes to its Office Live Small Business service, offering some previously paid-for services free, while adding a new charge for domain name registration after the first year.

Domain name registration will continue to be free for the first year. But each subsequent year Microsoft will charge $14.95, though it will add the ability for so-called private registration, where customers can keep their personal information out of the public Whois database. Microsoft said that those who have already signed up for Office Live will continue to have their domain name registered for free “in perpetuity.”

The company has about 600,000 subscribers for Office Live, which offers, among other things, free e-mail accounts and Web site creation and hosting. The service is tailored to the smallest of businesses that have neither an IT staff nor an outside technology consultant.

Bluetooth body confirms Wi-Fi ‘hijack’ plan

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The organisation behind Bluetooth will tomorrow go public on its plan to borrow bandwidth from Wi-Fi, allowing the device-to-device wireless connection technology to offer faster data transfers when it needs to.

It’s a stepping stone, of course, until Bluetooth is firmly fitted on top of ultrawideband (UWB) radios, but until then, the trick – which it began hinting at privately late last year - should provide it with a speed boost way beyond what it can deliver today.

How does that square with Bluetooth’s low power consumption characteristics? Bluetooth will only leverage Wi-Fi if it needs it, and if the technology is present in the host device. It already is, in plenty of laptops and, increasingly, mobile phones too.

If Bluetooth detects that an application wants to transmit a large quantity of data, it will be able to grab the 802.11 radio temporarily. Once the data’s sent, Bluetooth lets go of Wi-Fi and goes back to its usual state.

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