[AI] Enjoy podcasts: the way you want!

vishnu ramchandani vishnuhappy at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 12 05:57:16 EDT 2008

Enjoy podcasts: the way you want!

Ajay Jain

(The author is a technology analyst and publishes a
blog, TechGazing.com)

If you have not noticed already, podcasts are catching
on. Okay, for the still uninitiated (and there are
plenty of them), a podcast is a recorded audio
or video programme that one can stream or download,
making broadcast content flexible like books and
magazines. Vidcast and vodcast are more fashionable
words for a video broadcast, although podcast is a
common term. 

Even as thousands of video podcasts get uploaded on to
the Internet every day, with millions viewing them
around the world, it may be said listening and
viewing are not as pleasurable as one may like these
to be. Why should one need to be glued to a personal
computer screen to be able to watch these? Why
shouldn't one be able to put one’s feet up on a couch,
sip a coffee and enjoy some bigger screen experience –
like one does in a living room or a movie

Or, looking at this from the other end, why should you
miss the latest one-day match between India and
Australia just because you are away from your
for some reason? Can't you just beam these signals to
wherever you are? It looks like such fantasies can
come true. Three exciting new products promise
to change the way you look at visual content from the
net and your television network. Without even
necessarily owning a computer. 

PodBoxxtv: Internet video on your television

This device gets connected to your television like a
set-top box, and plays back videos from the Internet
for an enhanced viewing experience. It just needs
a broadband Internet connection to do so. There is no
need for a PC.

The operation is a simple Plug and Play, with no
complex configurations required. And you don't need to
go all over the place seeking the desired content.
PodBoxxtv categorizes the vast amount of video content
available on the Internet into topic areas and
channels for easy navigation. Users can navigate
and play videos using the embedded Internet Video
Channel Guide, all manageable by a remote control. 

The current model needs a cable to connect to the
broadband source; however, if this is not convenient,
users can buy the optional Ethernet bridge (gaming
adaptor) on the PodBoxxtv website for it to work in a
wireless environment.  Plans are currently underway to
integrate wireless capability in future models.

Does this product have competition? Not really, says
J. Barry Lowther of Cytec Corporation, the
manufacturer of this device. "The key differentiating
is that PodBoxxtv is not a media extender. It does not
require a PC or Mac to be used and it provides an
'Open' library of podcast video content available
to the consumer. Unlike other products, PodBoxxtv does
not base its library of podcast content on negotiated
arrangements which limit the consumers viewing
choices. Currently, PodBoxxtv has over 400 podcast
channels in its Internet Video Channel Guide, and the
number is growing," he adds.   Podboxxtv’s device
is expected to start selling sometime this month,
initially through orders from its webiste (
). The US retail price is expected to be $340
(Rs.13,000). Sales in Europe and Asia are expected to
follow soon.

A company representative said they are in talks with
prospective partners already for sales  in India.

HAVA: Podcast your TV content anywhere

Would you like to watch television content on multiple
PCs connected to a wireless home network? Or even
sitting in office or on a holiday through an
computer? If so, HAVA from Monsoon Multimedia is what
you should be picking up.

This device allows you to watch content from any video
source - television, camcorder, a DVD player or video
download recorder TiVo - up to 300 feet from
the HAVA box over Wi-Fi or can be used to transmit and
watch video anywhere in the world via the Internet.
And all of it as full screen 720 x 480 pixels
broadcast quality unlike some other competing devices,
streamed at an unusually high average speed of 8Mbps.

There is more to it. Users can control all the
functions of the video source from their PCs itself.
They can also get TiVo like functionality with the
to store and record on to their PC hard disks, and
burn this content onto DVDs; the PC can also operate
as a Personal Video Recorder with pause, fast forward
and rewind functions. Windows XP Media Center Edition
PC users can also use HAVA as a wireless tuner to add
full multimedia capabilities to their PCs.
Users can also continue to use their wireless network
for services such as web browsing, email, chats,
printing and file transfer while watching high quality
video wirelessly. 

The product will be launched in the US in the spring
of 2008 with a price range of $299-349 (Rs.
12,000-14,000) and would be available in India in the
summer with a similar price tag. It can also be bought
online at myhava.com.

Viewsonic PJ258D: The iPod Projector

Your iPod video's 80 GB of hard disk space may be full
of videos, but how much fun can it be watching it all
by yourself on the small screen? Blow it up
with Viewsonic's PJ258D projector fitted with an iPod
dock for high resolution viewing brightened by the
2000 lumens of the device.

And not only video, it can also play your music too.
The playlists can all be managed with a remote
provided for the purpose. And your iPod gets charged
while on the projector itself, to give you
uninterrupted viewing experience. Its portability is a
strong point too. Of course, you can use this
for business presentations too.

This luxury does not come cheap though; its street
price is Rs. 72,999. Now, once you have such devices,
you can stay at home, invite your friends, but
the get the popcorn ready.

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