Nokia Corporation (NYSE: NOK), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KSE: 005930, LSE-GDR: SMSN), Silicon Image™, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIMG), Sony Corporation (NYSE: SNE) and Toshiba Corporation (TSE:6502) today announced the formation of a Mobile High-Definition Interface Working Group that intends to create an industry standard for an audio/video interface to connect mobile phones or portable consumer electronics (CE) devices directly to high-definition televisions (HDTVs) and displays. This new mobile connectivity standard, based on Silicon Image’s Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL™) technology, will be defined, promoted and marketed by the Working Group as an industry standard open to anyone desiring to be an adopter and enable the development of mobile products that adhere to this new standard across a broad connectivity ecosystem.
The Working Group’s vision for the next generation of mobile connectivity is to provide an easy and cost-effective implementation for manufacturers while offering consumers a simple and reliable mobile connectivity experience. A single-cable with a low pin count interface will be able to support up to 1080p high-definition (HD) digital video and HD audio in addition to delivering power to a portable device.
The Working Group is expected to organize a Consortium of founding members who will develop a mobile connectivity technology standard specification that governs transmission and reception of high-definition content between portable devices and display devices, to support connectivity in accordance with the new specification.
Networked media players are, if not quite ten-a-penny, then at least increasingly common these days, so it takes more than an ethernet port and an HDMI output to impress us. QNAP are hoping their NMP-1000 will do just that, however, thanks to its onboard 3.5-inch hard-drive (up to 2TB), Full HD 1080p output, YouTube and Flickr support, automatic NAS backup functionality and UPnP streaming.
QNAP NMP-1000 Brings Networked Video, Audio, Digital Pictures And Other Digital Content Into The Living Room
New Home Network Appliance Unique Blending of Set-top Box Player and Networked Storage Capable of Delivering Cinema Quality Video and Audio to the Home Theater
Taipei, Taiwan, September 2009 – QNAP Systems, Inc, a world-class manufacturer of Network Attached Storage (NAS) servers today unveiled a unique new network appliance that can best be described as a set-top player crossed with a NAS server. Computer users around the globe face the dilemma of how to centrally store, manage, and playback growing amounts of digital content spread around the home on multiple computers.
“QNAP ’s ground-breaking NMP-1000 Network Multimedia Player is the definitive product that bridges the gap between the home network and the living room” said Meiji Chang, CEO of QNAP Systems, Inc. “Users are clamoring to centrally store and enjoy all their digital content in the living room and the NMP-1000 just fits the bill” Mr. Chang added.
The new NMP-1000 incorporates an internal hard disk drive that easily catalogs digital pictures, videos, music, and other content from computers on the home network and can effortlessly play them back in the home theater with the included remote control.
The new NMP-1000 connects to the home network via wired Ethernet (wireless adapter ready) and to an HDTV via HDMI or Component interfaces, or Composite & S-Video interfaces for standard-def TVs. The NMP-1000 is capable of playing back smooth Full HD 1080p video and crystal clear audio; turning digital picture slide shows, home videos, purchased content, and even shared iTunes® libraries into a viewing/listening experience worthy of the living room. Because the NMP-1000 is Internet connected via the home network, you can even browse digital pictures & albums from Flickr™ or videos from YouTube™. The “10-foot” user interface makes it a snap to select content for viewing with the included remote control, and the NMP-1000 supports a very wide range of formats for playing back digital pictures, videos, movies, and music. Because the NMP-1000 incorporates technologies found in its popular Turbo NAS servers, it can also be used to automatically backup computers on the network and also for easy file storage and sharing. The NMP-1000 is equally at home on Windows®, Macintosh®, Linux, and even UNIX-based home networks.
The NMP-1000 is fully DLNA™ compliant and features advanced technology including HDMI 1.3 support, powerful Sigma Designs® video/audio hardware decoders, and a host of advanced networking support hidden under the hood. Set-up and the overall user experience of the NMP-1000 are exceptionally easy and enjoyable.
The new PDP and glasses evolved from Panasonic’s world-first Full HD 3D Plasma Home Theater System1 that was developed in 2008 and comprised of a 103-inch PDP and a Blu-ray Disc player. The prototype PDP has a 50-inch screen, which is expected to become the most popular size for home theaters.
This 50-inch PDP uses Panasonic’s newly-developed high-speed 3D drive technology that enables rapid illumination of pixels while maintaining brightness. The panel also incorporates a crosstalk reduction technology allowing for minimizing double-image (ghosting) that occurs when left- and right-eye images are alternately displayed. PDPs have excellent video response with full moving picture resolution2. The new panel offers even improved performance, achieving clear, high-quality and high-resolution images in 3D. The high-precision active shutter glasses incorporate Panasonic’s technology that precisely controls the active shutters with the left- and right-eye images shown on the PDP.
All these technologies work in tandem with each other to create Full HD 3D images that deliver an immersive, movie-theater-like experience in which the viewers can feel as if they were part of the scene. They represent Panasonic’s concept of 3D products: “Bringing the movie theater experience into the living rooms.”
Panasonic has been working to develop its original Full HD 3D technology3 to create synergy between PDPs, which excel in moving picture resolution and color reproduction, and Blu-ray Disc players, which are able to faithfully reproduce high quality Hollywood 3D movies. Panasonic continues to work on developing 3D products to allow its customers to enjoy the immersive 3D world in their living rooms, targeting to launch the products in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. in 2010. (Subject to approval of the 3D Expanded Standard.)
Features of Panasonic’s Full HD 3D System
Panasonic’s full HD 3D system uses the full HD x 2 frame sequential method and takes full advantage of the unique properties of the most advanced PDP device such as high-speed illumination and color reproduction to create immersive, true-to-life and high-quality full HD 3D images.
The 3D experience occurs because the left and right eyes recognize different images. In September last year, Panasonic developed the Full HD 3D Plasma Home Theater System, comprised of Blu-ray Discs onto which 3D video consisting of left- and right-sided 1080p full HD images is recorded, a Blu-ray Disc player to play them back, and a PDP display to show them.
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) image processing occurs on both the left- and right-sided 3D images in every single process – from recording, playback and display. With a special pair of glasses, the viewer is able to experience 3D images formed with twice the volume of information as regular full HD images, and enjoy them together with high-quality surround sound.
I just love how competition works these days. Just look at Samsung and Toshiba. Very, very soon after Toshiba let the public know it was preparing an external portable hard drive with a storage space of 640GB, here comes Samsung shouting that it too is developing such storage. Funny, innit?
Samsung’s 640GB portable hard drive will be part of the S2 Portable series and, of course, will be 2.5 inches in size. To overcome the competition, Samsung is offering some new features (also known as marketing fireworks). There is a Power Saving Mode, auto backup and a SecretZone – cute little feature that will act as a virtual drive where you can store your precious information or just files that you don’t want everyone to see – that provides secure AES-128bit or AES-256bit encryption.
“As consumer demands continue to escalate for storing personal data, music and video files, Samsung has expanded its extensive family of external hard drives to support the growing personal storage market,” said Cheol-hee Lee, vice president of marketing, Storage Systems Division, Samsung Electronics. “The new drives provide users with a sleek design and high-density choices in both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch form factors.”
To spice up the competition even more, besides the 640GB portable drive that should ship somewhat later this month, Samsung also announced the future release of a 2TB S3 Station external HDD. The latter, 3.5-inch in size, should ship by the beginning of next year.
So that’s how competition works, my friends, say what you feel like saying, but I say that it’s to our best. The faster they upgrade their offerings, the faster they’ll have to reduce prices on the older ones. How was it? Where two fight, third one wins. It is us who win. No pricing provided for the upcoming S2 and S3 drives.
Sure, JVC’s new Picsio GC-FM1 pocket video camera has the specs to complete with the likes of Flip Video’s Ultra HD and other similar offerings (1080p video, 8-megapixel stills, a 2-inch LCD, and HDMI out), but it also has a little something extra, something rarely seen in the world of anthropomorphized products since they heyday of the California Raisins: showmanship. Still no word on a North American appearance just yet, unfortunately but it looks like the camera will run around ¥20,000 (or about $220) when it hits Japan by the end of the month. In the meantime, we’re sure the video after the break will more than tide you over.
Intel’s CE3100 media chip has been behind some of the cooler demos they’ve done here at IDF, and it’s just gotten a big brother, the Atom CE4100. As you’d expect, the big change is the replacement of the CE3100’s Pentium M core with an Atom core, but this thing is actually kind of a monster — it can decode two 1080p video streams with various high-end audio codecs, it adds MPEG-4 support and 3D graphics capability, and it can even capture uncompressed 1080p video. Of course, it’s up to manufacturers and cable companies to actually put all this power to use, but Intel’s promised us some hardware demos from partners — stay tuned.
The world better be ready for SuperSpeed USB 3.0, cause it’s coming, baby — and by the looks of things at IDF, it’s coming soon. Intel’s “USB Community” pavilion is filled with SuperSpeed tech from a variety of companies, and while some of the demos are happening on crazy Frankenstein rigs, there’s a bunch of stuff here that’s basically ready to ship, including controller chips from NEC and Fujitsu, which are the heart of the whole shebang. Of course, while lightning-fast SSD transfers are nice, the showiest product on the floor is Point Grey’s prototype HD camera here, which streams uncompressed 1080p video over USB 3.0 — it’s not a final product, but it’s apparently quite close. Yes, we know the gallery below is basically cable porn, but here are the facts: USB 3.0 is 10x faster than 2.0 while using less power, and it’s entirely backwards-compatible, since the five 3.0 pins in the connector have been cleverly engineered to sit above the four legacy 2.0 pins. If that doesn’t get you dreaming of hard drives for the holidays, well, we don’t know what will.
Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the first portable Macintosh computer, the aptly-named Macintosh Portable. While it was indeed portable, it was anything but svelte. Apple’s first non-desktop Mac weighed in at nearly 16lb and was a beast at 4″ thick, 15.25″ wide and 14.8″ deep. While the 9.8″ 1-bit, 640×400 display is quaint by today’s standards, it was active-matrix, an expensive rarity in the days of passive matrix portable computers. Unfortunately, it wasn’t backlit.
The Portable sold for a whopping $6,500 when it was launched in September 1989, and it’s hardly surprising that it was never a top-seller. The hardware was modest, even by contemporary standards. It rocked a 16MHz 68000 CPU and shipped with 1MB of RAM, as well as a 40MB hard drive. It was updated in February 1991 with a backlit display, but Apple snuffed out the Portable line in October of that year when it launched its first PowerBook, the PowerBook 100.
In recognition of the 20-year anniversary of the Macintosh Portable, let’s look back at some of the superstars of Apple’s laptop lineup—as well as a couple of duds that should never have made it out of Cupertino.
In a Samsung-esque introduction, Samsung has unveiled a crazy stack of tech for mobile devices, most of it aimed at improving performance in high-end devices while reducing power consumption — an initiative we can always get behind. Among the introductions are a pair of 1GHz ARM CORTEX A8 processors, one for phones and one for larger mobile devices, the former of which can be paired with Samsung’s new 1Gb OneDRAM solution, and both of which can churn through 3D graphics while keeping power usage to a minimum. Other highlights include a 5 megapixel CMOS system on a chip camera, which can process 1080p at 30 fps, a 512Mb PRAM chip newly in production, and a mobile display driver with integrated capacitive touchscreen support. With samples of the processors out in December, and the camera trickling into the market Q1 of next year, we probably have a ways to wait for devices based on all this tech — but boy are we prepped for it.
Apple has published a podcast of its “Rock & Roll” media event held Wednesday in San Francisco, marking Steve Jobs’ first keynote since receiving a liver transplant during a leave of absence. The iconic CEO was met with a lengthy standing ovation before he acknowledged the transplant and procedure and expressed thanks for the generosity of the organ donor.
Jobs and Phil Schiller introduced several new iPods, including an updated Touch and a camera-equipped Nano. Along with the hardware unveiling, Apple also debuted iPhone firmware v3.1 and iTunes 9. The software adds new app management features and expanded Genius functionality.
The end of September 2009 keynote podcast can be downloaded from iTunes.