CES came and went without much drama beyond the Blu-ray victory, but the tech show’s odds and ends always are worth digging through. Dig:
Divx scored its first major content distribution deal, with Sony Pictures Television. “We are dedicated to finding legitimate outlets for our content and … are excited to be working with DivX,” said Michael Arrieta, exec vp at Sony. Interesting choice of words. DivX usually is seen in the company of pirates and copyright scoffers, but seeks to go legit with its cross-platform video download format. This is apparently the first time major studio content has flowed through DivX.
Divx also partnered up with D-Link for a media hub that wirelessly streams video content from the Net to your TV. Unlike Apple TV, no hard drive is involved. Also unlike Apple TV, HD is involved. Sorry Mac users, it’s Windows-only.
Comcast, one of those super-popular cable companies, debuted Fancast, a web site that’s part TV Guide, part IMDB, part Hulu. It’s still in marketing-friendly beta. The idea is you either watch the content there (usual suspects NBC, Fox, CBS — hey! more Hitchcock) or find out when your show is on. Or program your DVR from afar via the listings.
Comcast also broke out a video download process called wideband that allows really big movies to flow into your system in a little amount of time — say 4 minutes. They’re using 120 Mbps now while floating next-gen speeds of 160 Mbps or more. Catch cable chieftain Brian Roberts looking like a presidential hopeful on this video from his keynote. Yet another indication that the old-school guys realize our future isn’t going to involve shiny discs delivered via dinosaur fuel.
Envive Inc.’s TheaterStation is billed as a media server for people who never learned to program their VCRs. The $2,500 box comes with space for about 200 hours of DVD-quality video and is upgradable. The unit can handle high-def as well, delivered to the flatscreen via HDMI cables. View your own movies and buy some more via the same no-mouse onscreen interface. A pretty low price point for owning the consumer future right now, I’d say.
Marantz showed off its six-input HDMI switcher. Supports 1.3. Yep, we’ll be needing one. $350.