• Sling Media Adds Wireless To Web TV Offerings
    Sling Media's Slingbox is the sleeper hit of the media technology. The device allows you to watch and control your television remotely through an Internet-connected computer. It enables users to watch their television--DVR and all--from anywhere they can get a broadband connection. The young company just received a hefty round of financing in January from Goldman Sachs, Liberty Media and EchoStar Communications. This week, the company extended its business to the wireless market, which means that users will be able to communicate with their Slingbox through third-generation (3G) handheld devices and mobile phones equipped with Windows. To date, Sling Media's ...
  • Apple Settles Patent Dispute For $100 Million
    It's been a rough couple of months for Apple Computer: lawsuits, anti-competitive accusations abroad, earnings restatements--now its on-fire lithium-ion batteries. But on Wednesday, the PC and mobile device maker got one monkey off its back, settling out of court with Creative Technology, a Singapore-based rival that was seeking to halt U.S. sales of its iPod digital media player. Creative filed a complaint against Apple in May, accusing it of "willful infringement" of a patent related to the user-interface on music players. Apple later filed a counter-suit, accusing Creative of similar things. Obviously, Apple lost that argument; company CEO Steve Jobs ...
  • Lithium-ion Batteries In Spotlight
    What's the story with these lithium-ion batteries--you know, the ones in most of our laptops? First, there was Dell's massive recall, then Apple's. What gives? The AP serves up an academic report on the lightweight, energy dense, highly reactive little batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are easily rechargeable, generate very high voltage and take up little space--which is what makes them ideal for energy-sucking mobile devices. But they're also extremely delicate. "Manufacturing contamination" caused the overheating which led to the recall of nearly 6 million Sony Corp batteries from Apple Computer and Dell Inc. The actual chemical reaction that occurs in these ...
  • MySpace Founders: What's Next?
    Here's how things get done at MySpace: Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, the original founders of the social networking phenomenon, play around on MySpace, find something cool, and then ask Rupert Murdoch to buy it. That's exactly what happened with the company's latest acquisition, kSolo, a service that lets you record karaoke online and post it to your Web site. Anderson, a karaoke fan, found it, tried it and showed it to his partner DeWolfe. The pair decided to fly the founder of the service out for a meeting, telling Murdoch about it. Within a week, a deal was struck. ...
  • Satellite TV Companies Abandon Radio Auction For WiMAX
    Satellite TV companies shockingly withdrew from the FCC's Auction 66 last week in order to focus their attention on emerging wireless technologies, like WiMAX and ATC. Rival satellite TV operators EchoStar Communications and DirecTV paid a massive $1 billion deposit in the Auction 66 bid market for radio spectrum, then abruptly withdrew about 10 days ago. Those companies were believed to be in the hunt for airwaves to help them expand into wireless communications and step up their competition with Comcast and mobile carriers like Verizon. So why did they back out? Turns out that EchoStar and DirecTV have a ...
  • Beck and 'The Infinite Album'
    This was too cool to be ignored. Interscope recording artist Beck is readying a new album that aims to reinvent the entire concept. His next as-yet untitled album will be a cycle of songs, remixes and videos that fans can string together any way they want. Wired calls the new project "The Infinite Album," and suggests this may be the future of a format badly in need of a makeover. In an age where consumers can download songs for $0.99 (or free), artists have to do something more to add value to their records. For Beck, the 21st-century album is ...
  • Online Video's Top 5 Takeover Targets
    The takeover speculation continues. As Grouper CEO Josh Felser says: "All the major media companies will have meaningful, user-generated video portals within the next year ... We are at the start of a movement and the smaller [online video] companies that don't participate in that movement will be left out." BusinessWeek named five that it predicts will be scooped up by bigger media fish in the coming months. YouTube--not surprisingly--tops that list, and it would be by far the most expensive, with traffic approaching 16 million uniques in July and more than 100 million videos a day. The company wouldn't ...
  • What's Your Online Video Site Worth?
    Sony's acquisition of Grouper yesterday set off media speculation that other online video acquisitions would be next. Revver.com, Guba, Instant Media, Veoh Networks, Heavy, Metacafe.com and a host of others offer effectively the same thing as Grouper, with minor differences. But at $65 million, did Grouper go cheap or expensive? MarketWatch says that for a site registering 630,000 unique users (just enough to crack the Nielsen//NetRatings top 20 video sites) $65 million is an awful lot of money. Metacafe, Break.com, vidiLife, Veoh Networks, StupidVideos, ManiaTV, Dumpalink and KillSomeTime all rank higher in online video than Grouper, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. YouTube, ...
  • Google Faces Brazilian Shutdown
    Federal prosecutors in Brazil are threatening to shut down Google's operations in the country after the company refused to hand over information requested by the government. Brazil's Public Attorney's Office filed a lawsuit against the Web search giant demanding information about users of its social network, Orkut, which is quite popular there. The prosecutors say they want the information in order to crack down on child pornographers and others who have used the site for illegal activities. The request is similar to the one lodged by the U.S. government earlier in the year, when it requested search data from Google ...
  • Redstone Asks Hollywood To Flex Price Movies
    Sumner Redstone, chairman of Viacom, Inc. and CBS Corp., has called on Hollywood to create a more flexible approach to movie pricing to help combat piracy and intellectual-property rights. In a speech Tuesday, he said studios could charge a lower price for a single viewing of a film downloaded from the Internet, another for multiple viewings and a third for permanently downloading the film or burning it to a DVD. "I would argue that's where we've fallen down as an industry," Redstone said. Inflexible pricing is the reason the music business is faced with such rampant piracy, he added--forcing consumers ...
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