Monthly Archives: June 2009

Pioneer’s new slim, portable DVD, CD Writer: DVR-XD08

Pioneer: The DVR-XD08, Pioneer’s new slim, portable DVD and CD writer, is now available across Europe.

Pioneer DVR-XD08 DVD, CD WriterBig on performance, it features a a sleek, high-gloss black casing and writes at speeds of up to 8X on DVD-R/+R and 6X on Dual/Double Layer (DL) DVDs and 24X to CD.

And with DL media offering 8.5GB storage capacity and technologies to reduce power consumption, the easily-connected (through USB 2.0) portable writer is ideal for users of laptops and compact netbook PCs that typically don’t include optical drives.

The DVR-XD08 supports “bus-powered” reading and writing and operates efficiently to extend the battery life of notebooks when not connected to a mains supply.

It also includes a range of proprietary Pioneer technologies to reduce noise, cut vibration and ensure robust operation which advance performance over comparable products.

Highlights of these features include:

  • A Multi-Effect Liquid Crystal Tilt Compensator: it operates at high speed – even on Dual Layer/Double Layer media types – to ensure precise writing to the disc by automatically compensating for discs that are warped or of uneven thickness
  • A highly efficient Optical Pick-Up (OPU) unit
  • Performance Adjusting Firmware: this optimises the disc’s rotation speed depending on the user’s application – for example, if watching a movie or listening to music, the disc velocity is reduced keeping background noise to a minimum

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Report finds North American TV sales staying strong in recession

Yahoo: Never mind the lousy economy: Flat-panel TVs are still flying off the shelves in the U.S. and Canada. Sales of new flat-panel TVs totaled 7.8 million in the first three months of the year, an increase of 17 percent from the same period in 2008, research firm iSuppli.

Sales had declined in the fourth quarter from the year before, and the industry was expecting to see that trend continue into this year. Sales are still declining overseas, but North American consumers seem to have a special love for big sets and are going against the flow.

ISuppli’s vice president of displays, Joe Abelson, attributed the increase to “cocooning.” People who have cut back on travel and other spending still find the money to improve their home entertainment setup, he said.

Consumers are looking for cheaper sets, and they’re more likely to go to cheaper stores. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. nearly matched Best Buy Co.’s sales volume, iSuppli said. Samsung Electronics Co. remained the largest seller of flat panels in the U.S. market. Value brand Vizio Inc. overtook Sony Corp. in the No. 2 slot.

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LG demos ultra-bright Full HD 3D monitor

EngadgetHD: LG’s certainly been known to dabble in the third-dimension, and while we’re still waiting for it to ship those “one or two” 3D TVs this year, at least we’re confident that it’s getting closer.

Over in South Korea, the company has showcased a new Full HD (1080p) 3D monitor with what it says is the highest brightness level of any competing panel. Sadly, viewers are still required to don glasses when ingesting the action, but this take on the tech enables said eyewear to be somewhat thinner and less cumbersome. Have a peek at the vid down in the read link.

LG 3D Monitor

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How to fit 300 DVDs on one disc

BBC: A new optical recording method could pave the way for data discs with 300 times the storage capacity of standard DVDs, Nature journal reports.

The researchers say this could see a whopping 1.6 terabytes of information fit on a DVD-sized disc.

They describe their method as “five-dimensional” optical recording and say it could be commercialised.

The technique employs nanometre-scale particles of gold as a recording medium. Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have exploited the particular properties of these gold “nano-rods” by manipulating the light pointed at them. The team members described what they did as adding three “dimensions” to the two spatial dimensions that DVD and CD discs already have.

They say they were able to introduce a spectral – or colour – dimension and a polarisation dimension, as well as recording information in 10 layers of the nano-rod films, adding a third spatial dimension.

The scientists used the nanoparticles to record information in a range of different colour wavelengths on the same physical disc location. This is a major improvement over traditional DVDs, which are recorded in a single colour wavelength with a laser. Also, the amount of incoming laser light absorbed by the nanoparticles depends on its polarisation. This allowed the researchers to record different layers of information at different angles.

The researchers thus refer to the approach as 5-D recording. Previous research has demonstrated recording techniques based on colour or polarisation, but this is the first work that shows the integration of both. As a result, the scientists say they have achieved unprecedented data density.

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3D party planned for Glastonbury

Wired: Along with the usual wellies and plastic macks, it seems 3D glasses are to be the accessory for this year’s Glastonbury Festival.

Revellers are being urged to don cardboard glasses to dodge flying 3D records and CDs at what the festival organisers say is “one of the most exciting and innovative approaches to music visuals we’ve seen”.

The Novak 3D Disco is to run for four nights in the festival’s Dance East tent. The team promises “a bewitching mix of future-retro influences, songs, pop artists and visual styles all with that ‘in your face’ aesthetic that you can only experience at a 3D Disco”.

Revellers will be given 3D glasses along with headphones for the one-hour show, which is part of the Silent Disco line-up. Buckets will probably also be dotted around for when the heady mix of alcohol and dodging flying objects gets too much for some of the party goers.

The Novak team entertained crowds earlier this month at the 02 Dome but its 3D graphics were also used at a Calvin Harris gig in 2007 in London’s Trafalgar Square.

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SATA 3.0 spec now official

Electronista: The Serial ATA International Organization (SATA-IO) consortium on Tuesday released the Serial ATA Revision 3.0 specification, which doubles the transfer speeds of the current SATA II interface to 6Gbps and adds multimedia application support.

The SATA 3 specification is backwards compatible with the earlier version and retains its low-power requirements. Other changes include a new Native Command Queuing (NCQ) streaming to better accommodate bandwidth-intensive audio and video applications.

A new NCQ Management feature is meant to optimize performance by allowing host processing and management of outstanding NCQ commands. The new standard also includes a new small Low Insertion Force (LIF) connector for compact 1.8-inch storage devices, including solid state drives (SSDs).

At the same time, there is a connector for 7mm optical disk drives found in today’s thin and light notebooks. SATA-IO will demonstrate the SATA Revision 3.0 specification at Computex Taipei at the start of June.

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EU nearing pan-European online music stores

Electronista: The European Commission today pressed music labels on switching to a Europe-wide licensing strategy for music that would let Apple and others run stores for the entire continent.

Citing early agreements with EMI as well as French agency SACEM, antitrust Commissioner Neelie Kroes argues that labels need to follow suit and switch from their current country-by-country approach, which forces iTunes and other stores to segregate their audiences and musicians to collect pay through local agencies rather than a single source.

EU regulators have expressed concerns that this fencing-off of music sales has let them have too much control over prices and other terms in certain countries. Apple, at least, has publicly stated its willingness to move to a whole-Europe iTunes store if it can arrange deals with necessary labels and has agreed in the meantime to standardize prices in Europe and the UK when possible.

Some musicians have also publicly objected with worries that they may actually miss out on revenue through the deal, though changes in royalty rates haven’t been described as part of the unified store effort.

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Volkswagen integrate connected PC

NaviGadget: Volkswagen research lab has managed to integrated a fully connected PC to one of their vehicles.

The project demonstrates the capabilities of Intel’s IVI (in vehicle infotainment) and is a fully functional self contained head unit that doesn’t require any space in your trunk.

Some features include digital music, 3G GPS navigation with online satellite imagery, ability to view pictures and videos from SD card or the HDD, AM/FM radio, online services; and for in-car connectivity USB ports, Wi-Fi, and bluetooth.

Broadband internet connectivity is always on, and gesture based touch screen controls.

Interesting video here.

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The Google Street View Trike

NaviGadget: You’ve probably already seen many images of the Google Street View Car, or similar Navteq vehicles but probably never a tricycle with Google equipment on top. Let’s just call this the Google Trike from now on.

Google Street View Trike

It is now going to map streets of UK – specially narrow ones, and places where motor vehicles are not allowed – starting with historical landmarks that public voted to the top.

Google Trike weighs about 250 lbs and allows for 360 degrees images to be taken with the on board cameras and processed with the on board image software. It is currently being tested somewhere else in Europe – namely Genoa – and will arrive in Britain this summer.

For those privacy crazy Brits – the software will be blurring those license plates and faces so they can focus on worrying about their own government’s surveillance cameras and not Google.

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UK ‘worst electrical recycler’

BBC: A study on recycling suggests Britons are the worst in Europe when it comes to recycling electrical equipment.

Computer manufacturer Dell found that fewer than half of UK residents regularly recycled old hardware, compared with more than 80% of Germans.

Within the UK, the Welsh are the worst when it comes to recycling technology; almost 20% have never done so. It is thought the UK creates enough electrical waste each year to fill Wembley Stadium six times over.

Environmental consultant Tony Juniper said that lack of awareness was a serious issue.

“Governments in every country need to make the disposal of old electrical equipment as accessible and commonplace as recycling old paper, plastics and glass,” said the former Friends of the Earth director.

In early May, mobile operator 02 looked at what electrical equipment was inside a typical home. It found that there was an average of 2.4 TVs, 1.6 computers, 2.4 games consoles, 3 mobile phones, and 2.2 MP3 players.

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