Items of Note:
The live-stream & chat room are back! We’re streaming on Monday evenings at 8:30 PM Eastern with Aaron & Allen. Be sure to join us.
Next week is ‘interview week’ here on The Geekcast! Tune into Tuesday’s episode when we speak to the blogger behind ExplainTheFee.com and his fight with Sprint to explain their $10 EVO fee. Then on Thursday’s episode we welcome Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield from Transport Evolved and formerly of the EVCast to talk all about electric cars and green technologies.
Voicemail feedback from Bruce about the oil issues in the Gulf.
Thanks Guys (for a shout out):
That was an excellent show (episode 216). You had some very interesting subject matter. I’m always interested in anything regarding my (iPhone) 3GS. Have a great week and thanks again. I will be signing in on Mondays now.
Huntington Beach, Calif.
Fairly new listener to you but I felt compelled to correct something I heard in the recent podcast.
Let me just tell you that I regularly watch videos “in HD” on Netflix when using my TiVo HD. That’s real HD – aka 720p.
Netflix “in HD” is dependent on a number of items to be true:
1. The device you are using must be supported. I know that TiVo will work in HD, I’m fairly sure PS3 works in HD, dunno about xbox or boxxee or anything else.
2. The content you are watching must exist at Netflix in HD.
3. Your network bandwidth (actually its a number of factors, not specifically max download rate) must be enough to support HD.
Robert Heron – of HD Nation (Revision 3) spent a long time trying to get HD via Netflix working on his TiVo. He was able to make it work..
In my case it just worked and I didn’t experience anything that he did. I don’t know what to say about that other than maybe I was lucky. I’ve also heard other people say that Netflix in “HD” isn’t HD, so just wantted to let you know, that it really does exist, the picture quality is STELLAR, (better than DVD qual, but not Blu-Ray yet). No 5.1 or surround either.
Just an FYI and best regards,
Geek This Week:
Aaron: Rockin’ 49.9 MPG in my Prius so far. HOV lane with just me makes my commute so much easier. Silversun Pickups album ‘Swoon’ on vinyl! Plants vs. Zombies.
Gozer: PS3. Played it at my wife’s friends house. Had a beautiful 47″ Vizio full HD 240hrz tv. Showed me Avatar and GB on blu ray. Would not have thought Ghostbusters was filmed in 1984 if you would have seen this sharp picture. Demo’d God of War 3. Amazing. Buzz Quiz show game, up to eight players! I am pretty sure my wife is getting me a ps3 for mah birfday.
Tech and Gaming News:
Ford steering Google Maps into its cars
Ford owners with Sync-equipped vehicles will be able tap into Google Maps to download directions to their cars before month’s end.
The free Send to Sync feature, announced Tuesday by Ford, will let drivers send Google Maps data from their Bluetooth-enabled computers or mobile phones to their in-car Sync systems. The electronic directions are downloaded directly into Sync and converted into audible turn-by-turn steps. The route is then calculated on the spot using the latest traffic information.
Ford is touting the service as a way for drivers to keep their eyes on the road by eliminating the need to juggle maps and printouts.
“Printing paper directions from a Web site is a relic in our digital age,” Doug VanDagens, director of Ford Connected Services Solutions Organization, said in a statement. “With Send to Sync, you can map a destination at home, at work–wherever you have connectivity–and when you get to your car, it already knows where you want to go.”
Launched in 2007, Ford Sync provides car owners with a variety of voice-activated, cloud-based services, including directions, traffic reports, news, weather, movie listings, and search capabilities. Drivers can also connect cell phones, MP3 players, and other Bluetooth-enabled gadgets to communicate and transfer data with their in-car systems. Sync is powered by Microsoft software.
Send to Sync will be available for existing 2010 and 2011 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles outfitted with Sync. No extra hardware, software updates, or additional fees will be required, according to the company. Ford said it is the only automaker to offer this feature without the need for a paid subscription.
Back to the Future, Jurassic Park Games Coming from Telltale
Episodic games coming this winter due to deal with NBC Universal.
Telltale Games has announced that it has penned a deal with NBC Universal, resulting in two sets of upcoming episodic adventures based on classic film franchises: Back to the Future and Jurassic Park. Develop reports that the Back to the Future games will be available digitally this winter, for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, PC, and Mac. GameInformer similarly notes that the Jurassic Park games will compose a full “season” of episodes, which most likely means six episodes in all.
Telltale has been the one company most notable for creating a steady stream of episodic content for their Tales of Monkey Island and Sam & Max games. These two new properties should give them a chance to experiment with new material, while showing off their ability to consistently deliver on-time episodic content — unlike some developers.
“The games are going to exist within these worlds,” said Telltale CEO Dan Connors. “I wouldn’t call these games sequels per se but a new interpretation of their worlds for a new medium. For one generation, it’s an introduction to these series. For another generation, it’s a thing they can look back on and something they can share warmly with their family and friends.”
System specs haven’t been released for the PC and Mac versions, but we’ll be disappointed if they don’t require at least 1.21 gigawatts of power, and the assistance of Dennis Nedry to get online.
Reuters: Hulu plans to expand to iPad, Xbox 360, offer subscription service
We’ve already heard rumors of Hulu coming to the iPad and Xbox 360, and rumors of a subscription service, and it looks like those might now all be coming together. According to Reuters, two sources and “another with knowledge of the matter” say that Hulu will be rolling out to “multiple devices” in the next month or two — only the iPad and Xbox 360 are mentioned by name — and that it will indeed be offering a subscription service. As we had heard, the subscription service would apparently only be for older episodes of TV shows and other content — you’d still be able to watch new episodes of shows for free — and it sounds like it will apply to Hulu as a whole, not just those aforementioned devices. Not many more details that that, unfortunately, but this does certainly seem to be taking on a feeling of inevitability.
BioWare bosses see potential, challenges in Move and Natal
Speaking to IndustryGamers, BioWare head honchos Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka shared some thoughts on the current state of motion controls and the potential of Move and Project Natal. According to Zeschuk, BioWare has been looking for ways that the technologies could enhance a role-playing experience. He mentioned using motions to “enhance your feeling that you’re actually acting in the game.” For a game like Mass Effect, Zeschuk imagined the ability to affect a conversation with a gesture, saying “you could actually pull your finger and pretend you’re shooting the guy for the renegade action.”
Zeschuk wants to see motion controls “evolve beyond the party game.” He added that “it’s going to be a challenge” for developers to move past the party game mentality. “You look at the Wii, and no one’s ever gotten past that, that initial stage,” said Zeschuk.
For Muzyka’s part, he believes motion controllers can make games more accessible, allowing developers to connect on a deeper level with players. “The challenge is finding ways to remove those barriers that doesn’t create new barriers like having your arms get tired from waving the controller around, things like that,” said Muzyka, adding, “If you can do that, I think there’s a real opportunity.”
Test a Geek:
1. What was the date of the original iPhone announcement? A: January 9, 2007
2. What does VHS stand for? A: Video Home System
3. Who did Verizon license the trademarked word ‘Droid’ from? A: George Lucas & Lucasfilm
How To: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
Ask A Geek: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
Open Source Software: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
Hack: This segment will return on a future episode of The Geekcast
The Geek’s View: Vizio SV472XVT 47″ 240hrz 1080p led tv
47-inch HDTV featuring 1920 x 1080 pixels and support for 1.06 billion colors
Full 1080P High Definition resolution gives you over 2 million pixels, making the clarity and detail of your picture razor sharp.
TruLED direct type, backlit LCD display is comprised of 640 LEDs divided into 80 control blocks and utilizes.
Smart Dimming intelligently controls these blocks–turning them on and completely off based on the content you’re watching–which helps stop light leakage enabling you to achieve an amazing 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio for rich, dark scenes.
240Hz refresh rate delivers 240 scenes per second producing enhanced frame rate and delivering sharper clarity of fast action scenes for blur free images.
178-Degree horizontal viewing angle results in a crisp and clear picture that is easily visible from just about anywhere in the room
Two built-in 15-watt speakers provide room-filling sound.
SRS Audio Technologies: SRS TruVolume evens out dynamics to limit volume inconsistencies between programming. SRS TruSurround HD delivers immersive virtual high-definition surround sound out of the unit’s two speakers.
Connect to the Internet via integrated Wireless-N Wi-Fi or via the included Ethernet port
VIZIO Internet Apps (VIA) let you easily connect to the Internet and stream movies and TV shows, listen to music and get the latest news, sports and weather. VIA comes with Amazon Video on Demand, Flickr, Netflix, Rhapsody, Twitter, VUDU and Yahoo TV Widgets pre-loaded on the TV, ready to launch onscreen at the touch of a single button on the remote. You can continually discover and download more apps from other content and service providers by browsing our gallery of apps that is dynamically updated right on your VIZIO HDTV. (Learn more)
Customized Bluetooth remote with slide out QWERTY keypad enables you to control your TV, even type onscreen, from any spot in the room–all without having to point the remote at the TV. This universal remote also uses infrared to control all of the A/V devices connected to their HDTV, such as DVD and Blu-ray players, VCRs, audio devices, cable and satellite set-top boxes, DVRs, and other components.
ECO HD exceeds the current Energy Star Guidelines by 50 percent below Energy Star 3.0, saving you money on your utility bills while limiting the impact on our planet.
Mercury free display: The display’s backlight is environmentally-friendly due to the fact that LED backlights do not utilize mercury, an environmentally harmful substance.
Warranty: One year parts and labor; free on-site repair (available for models sized 30 inches and above); free lifetime technical support
VIZIO Internet Apps
This VIZIO HDTV includes theVIZIO Internet Apps feature (VIA), and it comes pre-loaded with Amazon Video on Demand, Flickr, Netflix, Rhapsody, Twitter, VUDU and Yahoo TV Widgets, ready to launch onscreen at the touch of a single button on the premium Bluetooth universal remote control. A high-speed Internet connection is required to access content and receive product updates, and this model enables you to connect to the Internet via integrated Wireless-N Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet.
When you press the VIA button on your remote, the Apps Dock appears along the bottom of your screen with a selection of different Apps that let you watch movies, TV shows, listen to music, or get weather and news information all on demand. In addition to the providers listed above, new partners for 2010 include:
blip.tv: Blip.tv is an online television network that hosts the best original shows on the Web; from scripted sitcoms and dramas to shows about fashion, technology, politics and more.
CBS: The CBS Widget offers easy access to CBS schedule information, program metadata, previews and clips, cast photos and bios, and more.
NBC: View NBC’s show schedule, view full screen photo galleries and catch up on your favorite shows with up-to-date quick text recaps, cast bios, and more.
CNBC: The CNBC widget allows you to interact with CNBC’s real-time stock quotes direct from the NYSE and NASDAQ, real-time watchlists to track favorite stocks, and other key analytics.
iMemories: Now all your old home movies, photos and slides can be watched directly on your VIZIO TV with iMemories. iMemories digitally converts and preserves all your favorite memories online, regardless of the original media format.
Roxio CinemaNow: The Roxio CinemaNow platform enables you to instantly access a broad range of high-quality digital entertainment from your favorite consumer electronic devices.
The Weather Channel: Get your weather forecast when you want it with the press of your remote. The Weather Channel Widget delivers current conditions, the 5-day forecast and more for your zip code and thousands more.
GoToMeting: Hold your meetings online for just $49 a month Try GoToMeeting free for 30 days.
Audible: Try Audible Now and Get 1 Free Audio Book Download with a 14 Day Trial. Choose from over 60,000 Titles. Continue your membership and receive 2 audio books a month for only $14.95 per month! Just visit audiblepodcast.com/TheGeekcast