Samsung demoed its new YM-P1 player with 4-inch color screen and 20GB hard drive. It supports a myriad of formats and is PlaysForSure compatible, but such features come at a price: Samsung will launch the YM-P1 in February for $449.99 USD.
We were a bit skeptical that Samsung could cram a full XM Satellite Radio receiver into a handheld unit without making the device clunky, but our fears were allayed when we inspected the Helix up close. It's sleek and lighter than an iPod, and the screen is crisp to boot. Samsung claims that despite its small size, the Helix antenna is four times as powerful as the Delphi MyFi
New Device Grabs Songs from FM Radio
Washington-based Time Trax Technologies announced Friday that it was launching a new product called the TraxCatcher, which is sure to make the folks at the RIAA upset.
The TraxCatcher is a MP3 player that sits on top of a FM radio dock. From there, it will tune into your favorite FM radio station and record songs from the radio into "near perfectly cut" high-quality MP3 files.
The first model to be announced is the TraxCatcher Classic, retailing for $159.99 USD and providing basic functionality. According to the company, future higher-end models would include HD radio support, digital inputs and outputs, USB connectivity, versatile MP3 docking capabilities, clock-radio functionality and satellite radio receiver integration.
Those models are expected to range from $99.99 to $499.99 USD, Time Trax said.
In response to questions of legality, the company claims its product is legal due to the Fair Use laws in the United States. In what could be viewed as an effort to prevent piracy, the device will embed product serial numbers within that file to track copies that make it onto P2P networks. Time Trax also says it isn't interested in fighting with the record industry, but would rather work together in the future.
"We want input as we shape our future. We aren't interested in being a rogue trailblazer," CEO Elliott Frutkin says. "Time Trax wants to be a welcome partner to the recording industry."
Google Launches Video Store
Google co-founder Larry Page announced that the search engine would allow for the on-demand viewing of both recent and classic CBS shows and NBA basketball games.
While newer shows, such as "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and "The Amazing Race" will cost $1.99 YSD to rent for 24 hours, older programs will be able to be viewed for an unlimited period of time for the same price. NBA basketball games would cost $3.95 USD per download, and would be available about a day after the game is played.
Other content to be added to the service includes films from independent studio Greencine, programs from UK network ITN, and older episodes of "The Charlie Rose Show." All content would be protected except for The Charlie Rose Show, meaning users could transfer episodes to portable devices.
Customers would pay for their downloads via credit card through Google's payment system. Half of the fee collected by Google would go to the companies providing the content, Google said. The search engine expects to have the service up and running soon from the current Google Video page
Zen Vision:M Goes on Sale
Creative launched the 30GB Zen Vision:M, the company's answer to the new video iPod. The $329 device sports a user interface that is quite similar to that of the ubiqitous iPod, and is available in five colors. Both the iPod and Zen Vision:M come in white and black, but Creative's clone also comes in pink, blue and green as well.
While some may think that Creative is treading on thin ice with the Zen Vision:M, the company recently patented the user interface and navigation used in its players. Also, while Apple may be notorious for protecting its unique designs, the company may be avoiding a legal fight with Creative in order to protect the iPod's positive image in the mind of consumers.
Yahoo Launches New 'Go' Services
The suite features Yahoo! Go Mobile, TV and Desktop. Yahoo! Go Mobile brings built-in e-mail, messaging, and calendar functionality to mobile phones, starting with Motorola in the first quarter.
Yahoo! Go TV brings PC-connected televisions content such as digital photos and Internet-enabled content like movie theatre times. Go TV also brings the potential to have Yahoo!'s music service to the television in the future.
Yahoo! Go Desktop will allow consumers access to needed information without the use of a browser via a suite of tools. Initial abilities will include the Yahoo! Widget Engine and Yahoo! Go dashboard which will connect users personal information such as address book entries with Yahoo! Local.
The Widget Engine delivers mini-applications that can perform a wide variety of tasks such as calendar viewing, or finding wi-fi presence. Widgets are developed on an open platform, allowing any third party to build unique functionality.
DirecTV, Microsoft Partner on Digital Content
DirecTV said at CES late Thursday that it will work with Microsoft in order to enable the flow of satellite TV content onto digital devices. The new deal means that consumers with Windows PCs, PlaysForSure-enabled portable media centers and Xbox 360 systems will soon be able to load and play back content from DirecTV DVRs quickly and easily.
The deal would also allow DirecTV set-top boxes to act much like TiVos in the way they would be able to connect to a networked PC to access photos. DirecTV's box would also be able to play music and videos natively from the PC as well.
DivX Working On Download Service
The company is hoping to launch a premium download service offering movies and more later this year
With a high definition format battle brewing between HD DVD and Blu-ray, DivX says it already offers a complete and working HD option with DivX 6 and "Ultra Certified" DVD players. DivX 6 introduces a new media format with DVD-like menu support and interactive features.
Blu-ray: What Format War?
We sat down this morning with Pioneer's Andy Parsons to discuss Blu-ray, the company's upcoming $1,800 Blu-ray player, and why he thinks the format war will be over before it starts. The Blu-ray Disc Association currently includes seven of the eight major movie studios, two large music labels representing as much as half of the music market, and has added five companies since July of last year.
Pioneer's player is scheduled for release in May, and the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 this spring will bring millions of Blu-ray capable players into homes "almost overnight," Parsons told BetaNews. Six more major manufacturers, with the exception of Toshiba, which has backed HD DVD, are set to follow Pioneer with their own Blu-ray players later this year.