Multimedia, AV Archive

Apple’s Mini DisplayPort Officially Adopted by VESA

"The Video Electronics Standard Association officially issued its Mini DisplayPort standard Tuesday, based on the technology licensed from Apple. VESA said that all devices using the Mini DisplayPort connector must meet the specifications required by the DisplayPort 1.1a standard, and cables that support the standard must also meet specific electrical specifications. It's a formal confirmation of the news from earlier this year, when VESA announced the Mini DisplayPort connector would be included in the forthcoming DisplayPort 1.2 specification."

Hulu Goes Linux

Hulu has finally released a Linux client, in both .rpm and .deb, 32bit and 64bit. "Hulu Desktop for Linux is currently built on Fedora 11 and Ubuntu 9.04. The packages should also work on any Linux distribution with glib2.16 (such as Ubuntu 8.04+ and Fedora 9+). Other configurations have not been tested." Only useful inside the US, us peasants in the rest of the world will have to resort to torrents.

EU Calls for Volume Limit on Music Players

"There are no current European standards on volume controls for MP3 players, though under French law personal music players must be limited to an output of 100 decibels (db). The Apple iPod, which can reach 130db, was briefly withdrawn from sale in France in 2002 until Apple updated the software to reduce the maximum volume. All iPods sold in Europe are now limited to an output of 100db. The European Commission’s new proposals call for the default setting on all personal music players to be 80db. This would apply to MP3 players and mobile phones that are capable of playing music. However, the proposals apply only to the default setting, not to the maximum setting for the device."

Theora 1.1 (Thusnelda) Stable Release

"We are pleased to announce a new stable release of libtheora, the Xiph.org Foundation's reference implementation of the royalty-free Theora video format. This new release, version 1.1, codenamed Thusnelda, incorporates all of the recent encoder improvements we have been making over the past year, though some of the code had its genesis all the way back in 2003. It also brings substantial speed and robustness improvements to the 1.0 decoder." For a more visual run-down of the changes, check out Mozilla's excellent article.

‘Invisible’ Speakers Debuted

Remember those magical speakers with invisibility cloaks? They're back, and they reek more of "awesome" than ever. Though not available to the public quite yet, these handy dandy speakers are planned to be implemented into your everyday flat-panel televisions, desktop monitors, laptop screens, and mobile devices. They're a slim technology made from a membrane and little micro motors embedded into the screen. The motors vibrate the membrane on each side of the screen and bring about what we call sound directly from the screen itself, eliminating the need for miniature crummy speakers planted in leftover space on our ever-smaller display technology. Anyone who doesn't integrate them into their products when this technology becomes available is foolish. In my mind's eye, I see people not needing to buy those funny portable iPod speakers anymore as well as me not needing to put my head on my netbook in order to hear the sound played on it. Glorious.

What HTPC Solution Do You Prefer?

While we at OSNews often talk about desktops, laptops, and netbooks, there is another "form factor" which is making inroads into various households: the home theatre PC, or HTPC. There are a lot of software packages out there that will aid in turning a computer into an HTPC, and since I've been testing three of them extensively over the past months, I figured we'd talk about what you use.

Review: The Video Mode on the Canon SX200 IS

I had no plans to write a mini-review for the Canon SX200 IS which I bought recently, but I can't contain my excitement about its video mode, so I had to share. The story behind it is that after testing various digicams in its class, I concluded that this is the best HD video P&S digicam in the sub-$500 price range (not counting digi-recorders like the Sanyo Xacti). Read on for more info, and for some directly-out-of-the-camera samples to download and scrutinize yourselves.

Theora: Thusnelda Project Update

"Since the last update from around the time of 1.1alpha2, Thusnelda has moved to the SVN trunk where work has concentrated on final features, cleanup and testing for the Theora 1.1 (Thusnelda) final. We're very close to the complete 1.1 and have already released two 1.1 release candidates. We'd optimistically scheduled final 1.1 release for last week, however we're taken some additional time to do more testing/tuning of the two-pass rate control."

Sony Open Sources Digital Effects Software

Sony Pictures Imageworks has released five digital image-manipulation software tools under open source licenses. Imageworks (the unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions that handles visual effects and digital character animation) has contributed other open source software in the past. However, the release of five tools at once brings its involvement in open source to a new level. The new effort includes a Web site aimed at keeping open source developers up to date on the projects. All five of the tools are licensed under the new BSD license, and are hosted on Google Code.

Video Going Open Source on Wikipedia

In a recent interview, Wikimedia deputy director Erik Moller talks about the site's upcoming suite of editing tools and sharing options. "Although videos have been part of the Wikimedia stable for a couple years through the open-source Ogg Theora format, the offering has been limited. Now, however, a Firefox 3.5 plugin called Firefogg will allow for server-side transcoding to the Ogg format. In addition to allowing for downloading and editing, the Ogg format also consumes significantly fewer resources during video playback. The linked article also indicates that there are other video sites (apart from Wikimedia and Dailymotion) that are moving to the open standards format for video, noting that "hundreds of thousands of public domain videos from sources such as the Internet Archive and Metavid will be available in the new format".

Flash To Be Optimised for Intel, NVIDIA Netbooks

De wonderen zijn de wereld nog niet uit. As we all know, Flash is a terrible resource hog on just about any device. Even my quad-core desktop space age computer sees spikes in processor usage whenever Flash rears it ugly head, let alone my poor Intel Atom-based devices. Well, it seems Adobe finally pulled its head out of its behind, and has committed itself to enabling proper Flash performance on Atom-base devices. The catch? You need a Broadcom Media Accelerator, or an NVIDIA graphics chip.