Western Digital TV – HD Media Player Review

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These days, everyone wants to be able to watch all their media easily. And of course, why not, with media coming from so many places… digital cameras, video cameras, cell phones and naturally, the Internet. You also don’t want to have to physically swap your DVDs or Blu-Rays discs because that’d be, well, un-North American! 750-something doughnuts a year, we Canadians eat. It’s gotta take a toll somewhere.

But in all seriousness, playing all the different media you might have is never an easy task. Let’s look at the options some of us might have.

XBOX 360 – Somewhat capable, but suffers from codec incompatibility, no built-in WiFi, loudness and other issues. Amazingly, the 360 is reported to be able to read HFS+ (Mac) partitions which I like for a number of reasons, while the PS3, a non-Apple competitor company’s product, cannot read HFS+ or NTFS. Even more amazing still, the 360 can’t read NTFS. I’d love to know what happened behind the scenes… was there a disgruntled employee(s) who said,”let’s stick to the MS man baby! HFS but no NTFS!! HAHA! There!” The menu, sorry, Dashboard works pretty well for a console, but not so much in my opinion as a media center. Finally, the 360 just uses too much darn power.

Sony PlayStation 3 – Considered to be a good media player by many, it doesn’t meet with the same sort of fanfare in my house. It can’t handle MKVs, even though the files within that container are usually OK for the PS3, it can’t take files larger than 4GB, it can’t stream these sorts of videos from a PC (and even if it could, its 802.11g speeds would hold it back). Also can get loud/hot like the 360, and it takes a lot of power. Aside from that, the PS3 having a Blu-Ray player is its saving grace. That, its Blu-Ray boot up speed and the fact that it can decode the lossless formats internally make it a decent player. I even like the XMB to a point where I don’t mind using it for organizing pictures and music, but since it can’t handle my MKV video collection, it too, unfortunately, has to receive a thumbs down.

Wii – Hah. I’ll discuss the 1080p media center capabilities of my original Game Boy next.

Popcorn Hour – This was one of the first proper media center thingys that had all the requisite features on paper. Hard drive, included, along with WiFi, RSS Bit Torrenting skills and the ability to play back MKVs and high-bitrate 1080p video. Only problem is, it didn’t do it well. First hand reports abound of the player stuttering, freezing, and generally sucking at playing back 1080p video.

Various other networked media streamers – These all work decently well for pictures, music and even SD video, but then again, so do the 360 and PS3 with TVersity. Nay, the real test is full-bandwidth 1080p video, and I’m afraid both the players and their skimpy wireless connections are not up to the job.

HTPC – This would be the only real solution for a long time. I even have posts detailing what they do and how to put them together. Why do these work? Because they’re just computers connected to TVs. Dual-core CPUs, lots of RAM and fancy videos ought to make short work of anything you can throw at them, at least in theory. Having owned HTPCs since I was able to connect an S-video cable to my Radeon 9700 Pro back in the day, I can tell you that the experience is not as smooth as it should be. Why? Because we’re using Windows! XP Media Center Edition was just XP, and Vista has Media Center built in, so that Media Center is just an application that runs on top. BSODs, freezes, slowdowns and other issues will still happen, especially if you use the box for other purposes, such as downloading in the background. That, and the incredibly complex setup procedure was seriously annoying. You have to of course install Vista, but then the codecs, and making sure that things are being upconverted and handled properly, sound is being output through the coax or toslink or HDMI the way it should, and then finally calibrating the video output was a chore and then some. Most of these problems go away when using Plex with a Mac as your HTPC. It’s one of the best media center frontends I’ve seen, and it’s incredibly efficient with its processing, playing video back smoothly that won’t in VLC or Quicktime with Perian. Still, it’s quite an investment (well, it’s actually a depreciating asset, but let’s not split hairs) to buy a whole PC, and that too a Mac. Your only aesthetically-acceptable option would be a Mac Mini, and their price-performance relationship is unheard of (in a bad way).

WD TV HD Media Player – Finally, that brings us to the object this review is about, the Western Digital TV HD Media Player. No one was expecting this thing, at all, at this price, and certainly not from WD. But none of that is important.

We’ve been led to believe that good things come in small packages, and it seems that this tiny device may be a proponent of that idea. It’s unbelievably small, at least to my eyes, which are used to seeing acceptable 1080p playback from big boxes that contain massive coolers atop multi-core CPUS breathing hot air, sucking electricity down and adding to the racket and sweltering heat produced by the other components inside that (usually) ugly box. This thing has no fans, is pretty green and gasp… actually does what its supposed to! Setup could not be easier, and I think no AV device in history has been easier to set up, physically. The power cable, the HDMI cable… and you’re done. Yes, this is also the case with many other HDMI devices, but this thing is tiny, and it only has a few jacks, so it’s very hard to mess it up. No physical buttons are on the unit, so it’s switched on by the remote. A more-white-than-blue LED lights up for power, and if you have a USB device plugged in, it’ll flash or light up, depending on whether it’s scanning the drive or is ready to go. I encountered a problem early on. After setting up the easy cabling and getting into the menu, I found that it would not recognize my external 1 TB hard drive. Alarmed, I immediately copied a 720p TV show to my Patriot Xporter flash drive and plugged it in. After a few seconds of inactivity, it started flashing and the videos came up. Still, if it wouldn’t read 1 TB hard drives, it’s not really an effective 1080p media center now, is it? I updated the firmware, and then it finally saw the drive. I noticed speed improvements as well! Hopefully this thing will get better and better with each firmware update.

This baby will play just about anything digital you can find. From old-school DivX encodings to the latest super-high bitrate 1080p MKVs, this will handle them all. More surprisingly, it seems to have no trouble playing them. They are no signs of a struggle! I put on a specially ripped version of the Godfather, barely compressed from the original, taking up about 20 GB. It started playing right away, faster than my gaming computer could start playing it(and that has a 4 GHz Yorkfield and 8GB of RAM). VLC and other players sometimes have a lot of visual imperfections playing back high-resolution high-bitrate video, but there was no such macroblocking, other than any present from compression. If you haven’t compressed your Blu-Ray rips much, or, you’ve just copied the stream file from a Blu-Ray disc (which it WILL play!), the video will look superb. Sound is as good as standard Dolby Digital or DTS gets (if you’re connected through composite, it won’t decode DTS though), but currently, it doesn’t do DTS-MA or TrueHD as far as I know.

The interface is a little like a simplified, vertical-scrolling Windows XP-coloured Sony PS3 XMB interface. Sounds a bit like Windows Media Center, right? It’s not unlike it actually. Though the menus are a little simplistic, they get the job done and I can’t complain much. The only issue I have with the interface is that each icon should have the corresponding text near it, not down in the bottom-right corner. A small niggle, really. The device has the ability to create libraries for you, but I disabled this feature as I have my own organizational structure on the drive, and also, it
seemingly takes forever to index a 1 TB drive. One more caveat here is that it can’t do this for HFS+ formatted drives, and I think it’s because it can read them, but not write to them.

After using the device for a few hours, I can say that I’m very satisfied with it. It switches between videos easily, resumes videos where you left them off, and never falters during playback, no matter how demanding the video file is. At this point, I have just one niggle… the remote is too small for adult male hands, and the buttons require a lot of effort to push. Sounds like a small issue, which can easily be resolved by using other kinds of remotes (programmable, Harmony etc.). At $139 Canadian, this is a great deal since it can do what HTPCs can’t do as reliably or as quick, for hundreds less. It also trumps every other media solution on the market, including the consoles.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

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How To Make Successful Communication Through International Conferencing Services

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Do you feel the necessity of communicating with others all around the globe? International Conferencing is the best ever way to meet the end of your like nature requirement in a gainful way. Such conferencing features Audio Conferencing which works through telephone calls using people’s voices or audio medium. This system attaches a group of people, dialing into a specific conference network, hosted by particular conferencing service provider. As a raconteur, on behalf of any global business organization, you can handle efficiently the relation with consumers & employees all over the world through this unique system. This is also an easy task to make a close bonding with your friends or relatives residing or working abroad through this type of conferencing service. This system is an ideal for those who want to lop off the travelling cost and many other problems related to making of a big business promotion. Anyone can get this facility at home, in the office, in your car or sitting in a pub, too.

Feature rich Conferencing

The web or audio conferencing solutions seems apt enough for Real-time communication in a professional environment as it takes good care of the necessary functionality in a corporate or business scenario. Users get the liberty of transferring the documents, applications and files effortlessly alongside sharing the whole desktop with the participants present on the other end. Effective features including white-boarding, drag and drop, annotations are being blended into the collaborative software to ensure proper brainstorming and real-time sharing amongst participants who are located distantly. Companies or individuals can choose these features as per their needs and requirements while acquiring international conferencing solutions from reliable service providers.

To let people well aware of the high-end features, the service providers have come up with collaboration software with intuitive interfaces. Such user-friendly web conferencing can be included into phone or audio conferencing platforms to ensure greater functionality to users. The large bold icons, cool interface designs, screen fit feature etc ensure easy operational functionality for new users. Besides, the conferencing products are well backed with online controls so as to help the participants in configuring dial-out options, participant settings and mute, unmute features from interface.

Working procedure of Worldwide Conferencing:

The methods of Global Call Conferencing start in a lucid manner; this are-

Conference Calling Number: In this process, you need an exclusive access number to get rid of paying high-priced international call rates. The caller may get a global toll-free number, to gain access into the discussion, in case you go for such types of call services provider.

Getting into through Access Code: The individual member of the conference must come into the PIN number or the specific access code for entering into the said discussion.

Start over the Discussion: After substantiation of the exact access code or recognition process, you can start your conference.

So, prior to selecting International Conferencing, you must particularly find out whether the systems match well with your factual requirement. It is expected that you can make good use of this article before initiating a communication with such type of Audio Conferencing.

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Innovativeness of Dish TV

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Dish   TV   media  players are the output of high end technology. They provide the best form of entertainment on television. Besides, they are devised in such a way that they facilitate live recording of shows. Digital video recording systems are structured in the dish receiver which enable live video recording. This service is available at the lowest cost possible. You can even get three months of free service if you order now. Life will be so easy with the satellite TV at your home. Just don’t let this opportunity go off your hands.

Each day these media players are getting innovative with a host of new features that are being loaded in them. They have become so advanced that they allow TV programming even when you are traveling. Slingbox Solo is one such device that allows you to program your TV on road. You need to attach the player to your television source. It can be a DVD player, dish TV, or digital cable. No matter whatever your television source is, you can view your satellite TV channels and even control them on your cell phone or laptop. Thus, your favorite shows can be in your finger tips. Traveling will become more exciting than ever with the new Sling box Solo.

As a kid, I could hardly get the opportunity to watch my favorite Disney program as the TV would be occupied by my dad. Once in a blue moon I could watch and really wished if that program could be recorded. Finally in my adulthood the dream came true when we bought the dish TV. In the recent past, the dish satellites have been equipped with a new technology. This technology facilitates the recording of live videos.

Digital Video Recording (DVR) receivers are being used in the dish satellite. Now there is no need to fight over the remote control with your family members. Switch on the video recording mode and later you can watch your favorite program. High end technology used in these receivers offer digitally enriched pictures. Thus, it is highly satisfying for the viewer. All of these digital programming can be afforded at a reasonable price through Dish satellite Network.

With dish TV you can record your other two favorite programs while you watch the third one itself. Even if three of your favorite shows get telecast at the same time, you do not miss any. The satellite receivers are equipped with integrated DVR systems, two TV outputs and dual tuners. This facilitates the recording of your two favorite shows simultaneously. Live satellite TV can be viewed independently along with the previously recorded events. You just need to connect it to two other television sets. The DVR receiver has been devised in such a way that you just need to select the name of your favorite show. The rest is done by your dish receiver.

It will search out for and record all the latest episodes without changing their duration, or broadcast schedule. Dish TV enables hundred hours of video recording which is 100% digital. Besides, you can pause live shows, reverse or forward them. In between shows you can even play.

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Streaming Video Using Real Media and Flash

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In this article, we will examine two of the most commonly used formats for video streaming, Real media and Flash.

Real Media video streaming

Real Media was one of the first serious video streaming formats. When it was first introduced, it was widely heralded as one of the best platforms for streaming, however, it has been challenged in recent years by rivals from other software companies.

One of the main objections many people have towards Real is that it requires users to download Real Player software. Although this is free, users are strongly encouraged to purchase the full version and this has led to many people shunning it in favour of other, more commonly used platforms. 

From a technical point of view, the video images in Real Player tend to be less sharp than other formats. Moving images are reasonably well represented, however, the finer detail is often lost.

These factors have meant that many users and developers have grown disillusioned with Real and its future as a video streaming platform looks in doubt.

Flash video streaming

Flash is one of the major contenders in the world of video streaming, and is the format most commonly favoured by developers. As it is one of the most common plug-ins, it is one of the most accessible formats, and as such, it is one of the most popular and widely used.

Praised for its wide range of features, flash video streaming allows you to offer the most advanced media streaming available. As the most well-supported, cross-platform player, Flash enables interactive video and animations and advanced integration with web pages.

On the downside, Flash is expensive and can be a complex platform to work with. In order to get the most from it, developers will have to use and get to grips with the Adobe Flash authoring program.

Flash comes in two forms:.swf  is the standard type of file which is used in web pages, and .flv is a special format that can be called from within swf files.

Streaming Video Using Flash

As with most video streaming formats, Flash provides two different ways to deliver video from a web page.

Streaming

In order to stream Flash video, you will need to use a special type of server application called Flash Media Server (FMS). This is the most advanced solution and is suitable for those looking for the most bespoke and impressive video displays.

Progressive Download

Progressive download is the most commonly used and simple method of video streaming, requiring only a standard web hosting service. Despite its limitations, and the fact that it is not ‘true’ streaming, it is a more than adequate substitute for most people.

This article was brought to you by Streaming Tank, who offer a range of web   TV ,  media  streaming and webcasting solutions for organisations across the U.K

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Tips for Choosing a HD 1080p Media Player

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So how do you make sure you are getting the most value when purchasing a HD 1080p media player? Let’s look at the facts.

Media Compatibility

Broadcast TV, DVD movies, and streaming video are almost never 1080p. Having a HD 1080p is not going to enhance the picture any higher than one supporting only 1080i or 720p. The big difference comes when you start considering the latest formats of entertainment. Blu-Ray discs are support 1080p and can take the full advantage a HD which supports 1080p. This only becomes important if your are planning on archiving your Blu-Ray movies onto your HD 1080p, which can be a great choice.

What about your TV and your HD 1080p media player

The other factor you need to consider is your television. Having a HD 1080p player does you no good, if your big screen TV is only 720p. You could still buy the 1080p HD digital player with the plans of being ready when you upgrade your TV.

Video on Demand

Since 1080p is not supported by video on demand systems at this time, due to the large bandwidth it would require, it is not a major consideration when considering your HD streaming player today. This doesn’t mean it is not going to happen in the future. Should you plan for the future, or wait for change? If price was not your biggest concern, it would make sense to get a digital player which is ready for the next generation of streaming media. Microsoft, YouTube, and other services are already planning to offer 1080p.

Now lets look at the question is a HD 1080p player worth the price? The answer is an absolute YES. You will quickly discover the cost difference between a HD 1080p player and a less capable HD digital media player is only a few dollars. Why would you try to save only a few dollars, and then not be able to use it for your future upgrades? If you have any equipment capable of 1080p, your investment in a HD 1080p media player will be well rewarded.

Additional considerations when purchasing an HD 1080p media player

Compatibility with your entertainment system

The more important questions come down to choosing seamlessly integrates with your existing television and home theater system. Choose a HD 1080p which supports video on demand, is also an HD streaming media player, and has all the connection options you need for your equipment, especially an HDMI video connector.

Wired or wireless

A bigger question should be do I choose a wireless media player, or a wired system. This can even become more important with a HD 1080p since you’ll be pushing more data.

Storage of the HD 1080p.

Also, considering your storage options will be critical when buying a HD 1080p player. Storing your Blu-Ray movies onto your HD is going to use large amounts of space. You may want to consider using network attached storage for the ease of expansion and flexibility.

So is a HD 1080p media player the best choice in a HD digital player? To get the highest value from your dollar, and to be ready for all your future needs, no other choice really makes sense.

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International Copyright Protection

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Copyright Intellectual Property can be protected at National and International. Copyright has international protection such as Berne convention, universal copyright convention, WIPO copyright Treaty, Rome convention, Brussels convention etc.

The International union for the protection of literary and artistic works was established in 1886 in Berne, Switzerland. It is popularly known as Berne Convention. It entered into force on 5th December, 1887 and it has been revised for five times. It is administered by world intellectual property organization (WIPO). The Berne convention has 38 articles and special provisions for the developing countries. The convention has established a minimum of protection of life plus 50 years or an alternative of fifty years from publication of anonymous work and pseudonymous work. India is a member of the Berne convention.

One of the International copyright protections is Universal Copyright Convention (UCC). The universal copyright convention was signed and entered into force on September 6, 1952. It was revised on 1971 at Paris. The protection given is for published as well as unpublished works. The member countries must grant a minimum copyright term of 25 years from publication, or life of the author plus 25 years. The foreign authors of other member countries must be granted exclusively rights for at least seven years.

The next International Copyright protection for the performers, producers of phonogram and broadcasting organizations is Rome convention. The Rome convention was completed on October 26, 1961 and entered into force on may 18, 1964 basically intend to protect the neighboring rights. Phonogram is a sound recording. The rights in respect of phonograms and performances and broadcasting are called neighboring rights.

The benefits of this convention are performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasters. The protection is granted for twenty years term will vary according to the nature of work. The eligibility to participate in this convention is that a state must be a member of either of the Berne convention or the universal copyright convention.

Another International Copyright protection is WIPO copyright Treaty. It was adopted by the diplomatic conference at Geneva on December 20, 1996 and entered into force on January 1, 1996. This convention is for the protection of rights of performers and produces of phonograms. The term of protection is fifty years.

Some treaties convention gives protection for the unauthorized duplication. On October 29, 1971, the convention for the producers of phonograms against unauthorized duplication of their phonograms is signed at Geneva. The main purpose of this Geneva Convention is to fight against the practice of piracy by third parties.

The convention relating to the distribution of programme- carrying signals transmitted by satellite and audio- visual works is Brussels convention signed on may 21 1974. The main purpose is to battle the misappropriation of satellite signals on an international level. The treaty on international registration of audio-visual works Geneva signed on April 20, 1989 at Geneva. It deals with the registration of audio- visual works at the international level.

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