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Lo and Behold! Google TV Unveiled

There you go folks. Google has spilled the beans about its latest and grandest plan of conquering our lives. Google has just launched Google TV. This time Google is aiming to bring web contents we enjoy consuming on our computers to the sweetest spot in our homes – those areas where we sit back, relax and enjoy watching TV shows and programs.

But exactly is Google trying to bring in here? It’s not a TV set. It’s not a TV media player but what Google has been known for – software platform. And for Google TV, Google is interweaving the web and TV into a single platform.

Google TV will let us watch contents we enjoy from the web. It has  a built-in search with auto-suggest function, a web browser in Google Chrome, a TV homescreen console, and most importantly it has Android running in the background.

How will Google TV change our viewing habits? And how will it affect commercial TV programs. For our TV viewing habits, Google TV will give us more choices and possibly more TV viewing time. For commercial TV programs, this is like Google hauling competition. Google TV might blur the thin line that separates canned TV programs, to freely available online entertainment content.

So, what’s the big plan? Google is working with Sony and Logitech to bring in Google TV on set-top boxes, Blue-Ray players and other media hardware. Google is also releasing the Google TV SDK and web APIs to let third-party developers create more exciting and fun apps that will run alongside Google TV.

It’s going to be fun and exciting in the next few days. Google TV is certainly going to make waves. And if Apple rocked the tablet world recently, Google will certainly rock the TV world soon as well.

Spotify Becomes More Social

Online music service Spotify has just rolled out several social features which the Spotify folks hope would bring their product into the full mainstream of the still growing social music niche. Spotify version 0.4.3 happens to be one of the largest feature upgrade for the online music service since its inception in 2008.

Kicking off its social features are editable Spotify music profile, ability to publish playlists, top artists and top tracks and a relevant move to connect with Facebook. In addition to its new social features, Spotify is also evolving itself to become a full music management platform by adding the “Library” folder which lets you combine your music library with other Spotify members.

Here’s a brief rundown of the new features of Spotify version 0.4.3:

  • published your Spotify profile on Facebook, blogs or personal website
  • share and publish playlists that you select as you create them
  • one-click subscription to playlists within Spotify or Facebook
  • display subscriber numbers and subscribers’ names in the submenu
  • star tracks or albums or group them into folders
  • drag and drop tracks for recommendation

What’s good about the new Spotify is the fact that you can now import any MP3 on your hard drive to your Spotify library via a link within Spotify pointing to its locaiton on your hard drive. You can also import iTunes playlists into Spotify.

Once you’ve setup your account, you can now start browsing, searching, playing and sharing your whole music library.

Overall, a pretty update that is worth checking out. Do you you Spotify? How do you like these new features?

Oprah Mobile Goes Live on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm Pre

oprah mobile app article 300x318 283x300 Oprah Mobile Goes Live on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm PreAre you a fan of Oprah? Well, now you can check out your fans whereabouts as well as connect with her whenever and wherever through Oprah Mobile. Developed by Hands-on Mobile, Inc. Oprah Mobile is a suite of mobile applications that you can use whether you have an iPhone, Android phone, Palm Pre or BlackBerry.

Oprah Mobile will let you access video clips and previews of  The Ophra Winfrey Show as well as quickly find out what time and channel the show is playing in your current location anywhere within the U.S. The app also lets you participate in exclusive weekly polls, listen to audio clips, read articles and view photo galleries and highlights from Oprah.com, the Oprah magazine and Oprah Radio. Yes, even keep with up Oprah’s tweets.

Additionally,  if you’re keeping an eye on show tickets, the app can also alert you whenever these become available. And for its social sharing features, Oprah Mobile also lets you share your favorite items via email, Facebook and Twitter, search by guests and contributors, sign the pledge to make your car a No Phone Zone and customize the menu to keep your favorite sections with easy and quick reach.

Excited about this app? Get it for your iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre or  search for it from the Android Market on your Android phone.

Netflix Now Streams TV Shows and Movies to Nintendo Wii

nintendonetflix Netflix Now Streams TV Shows and Movies to Nintendo Wii

Nintendo and Netflix are treating Wii users all over the world with free streaming of TV and Movies on TV sets via Netflix services. The new TV and movie streaming services are provided free of charge to Wii users with existing Netflix plans starting at $8.99 monthly.

With a Nintendo Wii connected to a broadband service, a Netflix subscription you can practically turn your Nintendo Wii into a multimedia device. We’re talking here of unlimited movies and TV shows delivered courtesy of Netflix.  You can also opt to receive DVDs delivered straight to your door step.

Certainly this new service will boosts Netflix’s clout in the home entertainment scene. The Nintendo Wii remains to be the most popular gaming consoles, thanks to its motion controls which users find useful for both exercising and gaming controls.

As for Nintendo Wii, this new service extends its purposes and functions from a mere gaming machine to a portable multimedia entertainment device. It’s definitely a win-win for both parties.

To have streaming TV shows and movies from Netflix on your Nintendo Wii, you simply need to request for a free instant streaming disc from www.netflix.com/wii. Once you have your CD, you can pop it inside your Nintendo Wii and you will presented with a catalog of movies and TV shows that you can freely watch.

via Business Wire

HP Releases New Video Demo of its Slate

What? You didn’t get the iPad?  Oh, right you’re not an Apple fanboy. You’d rather spend on a more powerful tablet such as the one previewed recently by HP, right? Well, just like you HP is also pinning its hope of capturing the tablet market and perhaps taking the thunder away from the iPad with its HP Slate product.

And as if telling all of us that the HP Slate project is still alive and well on its way to final production, HP has released a new video demo right on its HP Vodoo Blog. And boy what a tablet the HP Slate really is! Design-wise, it looks so handsome although I’m guessing that it will probably be thicker than the iPad.

The HP folks say that aside from the HP Slate’s capability to support Adobe Flash and Air, they have also paid some good attention to the HP Slate’s functionality for consuming media or digital content, be it a story from a major news outlet or or your videos and photos.

Obviously HP is banking on the iPad’s shortcomings such as the lack of front facing camera and USB port to make the HP Slate the preferred tablet instead of the iPad. HP was highlighting the fact that the HP Slate will allow you to chat with friends via Skype or share your photos from the HP Slate to Facebook or Flickr.

So, it would be interesting to see how the HP Slate can match up with the hype and buzz that the iPad has generated. Of course we all know that there are as much Apple fanboys as there are PC guys out there, willing to take the HP Slate.  Which side are you on?

Amazon Outs Kindle for Mac App

kindle for mac tcg. V216904008  489x164 Amazon Outs Kindle for Mac App

Suddenly, Amazon announced the availability of Kindle for Mac app. As if sending a signal to all Mac users planning to buy the iPad for e-book reading purpose that they can do the same thing with their current machine.  That they don’t need to spend some precious $525 dollar just to have an e-book reader.  They can do so with their existing machine and with the help of Amazon’s Kindle for Mac.

Now that I have let that issue out, let’s get into the details of the Kindle for Mac. Features? Pretty much what the application can do with its other iteration – Kindle for PC, Kindle for iPhone, and Kindle for BlackBerry.

Some of these features will let you:

  • Purchase, download, and read hundreds of thousands of books available in the Kindle Store
  • Access their library of previously purchased Kindle books stored on Amazon’s servers for free
  • Choose from 10 different font sizes and adjust words per line
  • Add and automatically synchronize bookmarks and last page read
  • View notes and highlights marked on Kindle, Kindle DX, and Kindle for iPhone
  • Read books in full color including children’s books, cookbooks, travel books and textbooks

Amazon also promise to roll out some more features soon. These include – full text search and the ability to create and edit notes and highlights. Kindle for Mac is available as a free download requiring around 20MB of your Mac’s storage. It works for all Intel Mac models.  Ready to take this app for a spin?  Here’s the download link - www.amazon.com/kindleformac.

Sony Playstation Network Starts Offering HD Movies

Screen shot 2010 03 10 at 5.29.37 AM Sony Playstation Network Starts Offering HD MoviesSony Computer Entertainment America has just snagged a content distribution deal with several major movie studios that will allow Playstation 3 owners to have some great movie titles delivered via the Playstation Network.  This deal just made the Playstation as the first to offer HD movies from practically all the major studios, hence establishing itself as a powerful home entertainment platform not just for video gaming but for total entertainment as well.

Among those who agreed on the movie distribution deal are 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. The deal includes both purchase and rental of the major studios’ titles on their movie catalogs.

To kick this deal off, here are new titles available today on the Playstation Network:

  • “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian”, “Jennifer’s Body” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” – 20th Century Fox
  • “Up”, “G-Force”, “Earth” – Walt Disney Pictures
  • “Star Trek”, Paranormal Activity”, “Zoolander” – Paramount Pictures
  • “This Is It”, “2012″, “District 9″ and “Zombieland” – Sony Pictures
  • “The Hangover”, “Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince”, “Wizard of Oz” – Warner Bros
  • “Inglorious Basterd”, “Couples Retreat”, “Public Enemies” – Universal

There are great movie titles. One is even nominated for the Oscars recently – Inglorious Basterd”. So if you own a Playstation 3 and have registered for the Playstation Network, you can grab these great movies and have delivered to you via your connected Playstation 3 console.

Apple iTunes Scores 10 Billionth Song Download

Screen shot 2010 02 25 at 6.24.37 AM 490x252 Apple iTunes Scores 10 Billionth Song Download

Apple iTunes has just achieved a remarkable feat a moment ago, thanks to a user who just got the 10 billionth song ever downloaded from the music store. The countdown to the 10 billionth song was started earlier this month, and it was Apple’s way of celebrating such a remarkable experience. Meanwhile, whoever got to download the 10 billionth song from iTunes will win a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.

So while we await for the announcement of the winner, why don’t we all take a look at some numbers after the iTunes was opened in 2003.  Almost seven years, Apple has suceeded in making the iTunes as a premiere online music store despite its exlusivity to Apple music and mobile devices. It only goes to show that while Apple is making the iTunes popular and so were its products. And for that,  we all should commend the company, no matter how much you may like or dislike iTunes.

Last quarter, iTunes generated some $520 million in revenues. In terms of profitability, total revenues generated so far by iTunes barely surpassed the break-even point. But that’s just beside the point since we all know that Apple created the iTunes to support its main business – selling hardwares. And it did while at the same time achieving a commendable feat in selling digital music.

Anyway, in case you’re interested to know the most downloaded song from iTunes happens to be Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling. Now this is another an interesting achievement for the band but that’s another story.

Wal-Mart to Enter the VOD Market, Eyes Vudu Movie Service

Screen shot 2010 02 23 at 5.30.36 AM 490x293 Wal Mart to Enter the VOD Market, Eyes Vudu Movie Service

Wal-Mart has been in the DVD retailing business for quite some time now. And while this has been doing good for them, the company lacks one service which has been the the more popular way of bringing digitial movies to U.S. consumers – video-on-demand service.

But Wal-Mart may be preparing up to enter this arena soon, as New York Times is reporting that the video company is eyeing Vudu, an online movie service provider. Although the deal has not been confirmed yet by both companies,reports had it they have began informing Hollywood studios about the deal.

If the deal is indeed true, Wal-Mart maybe facing up stiff challenge against the likes of iTunes, Netflix and other online video-on-demand services. While Vudu for its part has been pretty much making some noise especially during the recent CES Event wherein the company managed to struck some deals with LCD TV manufacturers in putting Vudu services in their products.

Previously, Vudu has been advocating the use of a separate device that would connect to home TVs but could not manage to get some leverage. Since then, the company concentrated on delivering online movie service instead.

We’ll see whether this deal would make some headway in the coming days. It will be exciting to watch how Wal-Mart would put up a challenge against iTunes, Amazon, and other big names in the video-on-demand service. And whether which one will emerge as the households’ choice of VOD provider.

Nintendo Wii to Get NetFlix Streaming Video Service

Netflix Wii TV 489x433 Nintendo Wii to Get NetFlix Streaming Video Service

While Nintendo may have successfully competed in the game console market with its higly successful Wii game console, it is however lagging behind rivals Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 when it comes to diverging into other services and features aside from video gaming.  Playstation 3 has blu-ray movie playback capabilities as well as online connectivity through the Playstation Network while the Xbox has a high-definition movie store and also an online chat facility. And yes, both the PS3 and Xbox also have Netflix service.

So, playing catch-up with its rivals, Nintendo is about to announce that it will soon be adding Netflix service to its Wii console to enable video streaming, according to a report from the NYT. The new Nintendo Wii feature will allow Netflix subscribers to choose from a catalog of older movies and TV Shows through their Nintendoo Wii and watch them immediately on their connected TV.

When the new feature goes live, Nintendo Wii owners using broadband Internet connection at home and who have been subscribe to Netflix’s DVD-by-mail service for the last 9 months can use the new service without incurring any additional cost. But before Nintendo Wii users can watch the moviews, they will have to use a free software disc from Netflix which they need to put into their consoles.

This maybe a rather crude way of introducing video streaming capabilities to its Wii console, but Nintendo certainly knows that there is a growing demand for such capabilities as the market rivalry dictates them to do so. It may not be as good as the video streaming and video playback capabilities of its rival, but it is nonetheless a step in the right direction.

Perhaps, someday Nintendo will also come up with a new Wii version. A Blu-ray capable Nintendo Wii perhaps?