News for Friday, 1 December 2006
Apple has once more initiated the market in 2006 by offering movies for download on the iTunes Store. First numbers published by Disney shows that it has been a success, and suddenly all companies involved in the movie/video filed want to be ready, not to repeat the same mistake as in the past with online music store; letting Apple sets the rules and the format for this market.
in Australia, Wal-Mart is offering to download
the movie "Superman Returns" for consumers who have already bought the DVD from Wal-Mart shops (different prices depending on end user, from 1.97US$ to 3,97US$). Of course it includes DRM, and probably the Microsoft Play4sure system (not compatible with Mac).
will also launch an online video store in 2007 as commented by Richard Parsons, Time Warner Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
If one could be happy to get online access to movie collections, one will have to be very careful, and look at DRMs and video resolution available for such offers.
Manufacturers and brands are looking for an alternative between the mid-range 20" LCD display and the luxurious and expensive 30" models. So, when looking for a high-end LCD display for consumer mass market, Dell has decided 27" will be the right size, as Samsung provides such panels.
The 27" panel features the same definition than a 23", 1920x1200 pixels, so there is no improvement for resolution but an enhanced visual rendering. The price should be closer to the one currently applied for 24" LCDs than the luxurious 30" models.
Let's hope that Apple will soon refresh its Cinema Displays, because beside the eyes-catching design, they are technologically outdated.
Original by Lionel
- 01/12/2006 13:49:08 CET - Category: Software
The beautiful screen saver "Fenêtres Volantes" (Flying Windows in English) is now available in version 1.0.
If this screen saver is CPU/GPU power consuming, it will display a nice 3D animation, while providing an example about the real 3D performance of your machine.
Official website: http://www.objective-cocoa.org/fenetresvolantes/en/index_en.html
Original by Lionel
- 01/12/2006 13:42:26 CET - Category: Apple
European Apple Store Black Friday-like event has started.
Apple offers discount on all iPod models, as well many iPod-dedicated devices, but also on MacBook and iMac. Consumers are the real target of this event and not tech-addict users. Discount varies from 21€ for an iPod nano to 101€ for a high-end MacBook or iMac...
Direct link to the Apple Store
[update] They are also special deals organized by Macway and 4D:
- From today till Sunday, Macway
offers discounts and reduced shipping costs (depending on countries.).
offers a special bundle: 4D Developer Edition + 4D Runtime Volume License Sponsored + one iPod video 80GB = 998€ (VAT included).
The video-encoding format seems to have bright future. But if it offers more compression than MPEG-2 and other earlier formats, it requires heavy computing resources for both encoding and decoding video. To evaluate the CPU loading, you can try playing in QT a HD video from Apple website, it requires 80% of a single core Xeon 3.0GHz, and you will need at least a dual G4 or a Core Duo to be able to play it properly.
As initiated by ATI with its Avivo technology, most of future graphic cards should offer H.264 decoding as a standard feature. Apple and others could also try to improve applications/algorithm for playing H.264 HD videos.
The other solution might come from a dedicated chip, as the one available from Fujitsu. Its features look promising, and the potential market is huge as it might find its way in standalone players, as well as in computer motherboards, optical drive or even mobile video devices.
1. Real-time compression and decompression of HDTV video and sound
Capable of real-time compression and decompression of high-definition video (maximum up to 1440 dots x 1080 lines) using H.264 High Profile Level 4.0 format, with simultaneous compression and decompression of sound in Dolby Digital(4) format. This is the first time in the industry that these processing features have been integrated onto a single chip for general use (according to internal research as of November 2006).
2. Embedded memory enables smaller size and lower power consumption
This is also the industry's first H.264-supportive LSI featuring two pieces of embedded 256Mbit (MB) FCRAM , with optimized design that combines logic and memory on one LSI chip, enabling a more compact size and lower power consumption.
3. Proprietary compression and image-enhancement technology
The new chip has a proprietary "self-tuning" algorithm developed by Fujitsu Laboratories that automatically applies lighter compression method to high-action zones where compression artifacts are most noticeable, such as human faces or slow-moving objects, and stronger compression method in other zones. This enables image data size to be reduced to one-half to one-third that of the MPEG-2 format at an equivalent level of image quality.
While waiting for this chips to be inside our Macs, on can encode video into H.264 thanks to the x264 QuickTime Codec version 1.1
. This codec is faster, provides a better rendering, and offers more features than Apple's one.
Perpendicular recording has been the main recent technology breakthrough for HD system. If it will allow higher storage capacity, there are physical limits, and the only way to increase available space in the future will be via improved storage density. Here again, the current reading/writing magnetic heads of our HDs have to operate on a define area without modifying adjacent ones; and one can not minimize HD head at will.
Fujitsu scientists have achieved densities greater than the 1TB per squared inch theoretical maximum, by using a laser head. Its function is to modify the physical properties of the HD area to be targeted by the magnetic recording head. Due to the higher precision provided by the laser, one can then increase storage density over the 1TB/in2 limit.
One will have to see if in the future such technology is commercially viable ant technically reliable.
Direct link to Fujitsu PR: here
Original by Lionel
- 01/12/2006 10:46:38 CET - Category: Apple
Harry has sent us photos of an counterfeited iPod nano found in Thailand but manufactured in China. For sure such copy will soon invade Europe and the rest of the world.
It is not a copy or an iPod-like design, it is a real counterfeit as both Apple logo and trademarks are used.