Netflix With Roku Hardware

NewTeeVee has a report on the new hardware device built by Roku that mates to Nextflix streaming online service. At just $99 it’s not expensive but it looks to be only SD. There is an HDMI output so perhaps it may be HD capable in the future. Without HD there’s just no point.

NewTeeVee quite rightly points out that Netflix has a woefully limited, and only SD library of content available online. We watched a couple of shows this way some months back. Not only were the available titles limited, but the compression scheme used to stream the video resulted in poor quality video. That was further exacerbated by watching it on a 42″ LCD TV. It was even really competitive with Comcast Pay-Per-View.

With large TVs (>37″) getting to be the norm anyone operating in this space is going to have to make HD a priority. At least if they propose to offer set-top hardware they should have a clear understanding of a current typical TV set.

I still hope that Amazon get it right with their Unbox service so that Tivo can compete with AppleTV & iTunes.

The Celebrated Mr Abramson Is Right Yet Again; It’s Not About Cheap..It’s About Being Better

Normally I try not to post simple opinions on the statements of others. I’m no guru. There are others more qualified to comment than I. And I do find the blogosphere to be a lot like an old plate reverb from my past days in recording studios. One drum shot into the box and the sound goes on for days. So much commentary on someones commentary. But I’ll set that aside for now.

Andy Abramson was recently highlighted by some major press as being a mighty fine read, and correct in much of his opinion. I always find his posts interesting, with a well balanced perspective on all things telecom. Recently he posted a brief piece highlighting the fact that there’s much work to be done in VOIP beyond cheap calls. I couldn’t agree more.

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Amazon Unboxed Goes HD: Eventually

Just poking around this afternoon I found this which says that Amazon is definitely working on an HD version of their Unbox movie download service. This service is operated in partnership with Tivo. The user interface is very nicely integrated into the Tivo menus. My wife likes it a lot.

They suspect that the new service will be based upon H.264 compression. That’s about the only real option around.

Neither the company nor its customers will have unlimited bandwidth so older compression schemes would be impractical. Newer compression schemes would require that Amazon encode the content themselves. Better that they settle on H.264 which is what Apple’s iTunes uses amongst others.

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ISDN = Integrated Services Digital Notworking? (in the US)

Remember ISDN? It was the 1980s digital connect methodology that was going to bring us everything digitally. In truth, ISDN (a.k.a. BRI) is the “little brother” of T-1 (a.k.a. PRI). PRI is actually the signaling scheme, but the relationship is accurate. Whereas a T-1 is 24 x 64kbps voice channels and signaling an ISDN circuit can be 2 x 64 kbps channels (Bearer or B channels) and signalling (a D channel).

In Europe ISDN is quite common, having been a valid alternative to analog POTS lines for many years. In the US it never caught on the same way. It’s common in certain vertical market niches. For example, just about every significant recording studio used ISDN as a means of transferring audio across country in real-time. It’s a channel with assured bandwidth. The two B channels could be bonded yielding a solid 128 kpbs. Throughout the 1990s voice-over talent working from home studios (Hi Alison!) almost always used this sort of a setup.

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Man Cited For Cell Use on Aircraft

I saw this today on CNN. The story is here.

A man refused to turn off his cellular phone while on a Southwest Airlines flight, and as a result was cited. It’s about time I say! I fly a lot, and numerous times I’ve seen people stay on calls even as the aircraft is speeding down the runway. This despite the crews many attempts to get them to stop.

Most people don’t need to be on that call. If they truly do the  they shouldn’t be on that aircraft. In either case there lapse in judgement is theirs.

In this particular story the man was literally taking a call from his fathers heart surgeon. So it may truly have been a matter of life and death. Even so, the man had no right to risk the lives of the other passengers. I feel that the ticket is completely warranted. If I were him I’d just pay it…the cost of doing what I had to do at the moment, without regard for the rights of others.

I certainly hope that we NEVER allow the use of cell phones on domestic flights. I’m all for in-flight internet access, but I can’t support anything that will raise the ambient noise level of the cabin substantially.