Western Digital has officially launched its WD TV Live HD Media Player today, offering full HD playback from external drives via your HDTV.
Full specs are very interesting:
Full-HD video playback and navigation - up to 1080p -
This is the real thing; Full-HD 1080p playback. Sit back and enjoy the spectacular picture quality of brilliant high definition video and the crystal-clear sound of digital audio. Use the included remote control to make your entertainment choices using our crisp, animated navigation menus.
Play a wide variety of file formats -
WD TV Live supports a wide variety of the most popular file formats. No need to spend time transcoding.
Play videos, music and photos from the Internet on your big screen TV -
Explore and watch YouTube videos and Flickr pictures on the big screen. Rock out to thousands of radio stations via Live365 and discover new music with Pandora radio.
Access files anywhere on your home network -
Play movies, music, and photos from any PC or drive on your home network. The Ethernet port connects this player to your home network through a wired connection or via popular, supported WiFi adapters (sold separately).
Turn your USB drive into an HD media player -
Play content from most popular USB drives, and digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognized as mass storage devices. Optimized for My Passport portable hard drives.
Result for: portable media players
Amazon and other sources are now displaying the price you will have to pay if you are interested in investing in one of Microsoft’s Zune HD portable media players. Amazon has the Zune EHD-00001 HD 16GB Video MP3 Player priced at $219.99, and the Zune HD 32GB Video MP3 Player (Platinum) priced at $289.99.
It’s unclear how much the players will cost in the UK and other European countries in the event of a launch, but $220 is roughly £133/€155 and $290 is roughly £175/€204. The Zune HD features a 3.5-inch Organic Light-emmiting Diode (OLED) screen in a 16:9 display aspect ratio.
The Zune HD, which also features a HDMI port and a HD Radio receiver, is expected to become available in North America next month, with Amazon not revealing any launch date for the products (but of course, Amazon U.S. has market both models as available for pre-order).
Result for: portable media players
The Xiph.Org Foundation has just announced the release of Theora 1.0. Theora is an open source video codec designed to be a royalty free alternative to high compression formats like MPEG-4.
Theora is based on the proprietary VP3 codec developed by On2 Technologies, but is licensed under a BSD-style license. This means it doesn’t have any of the common open source restrictions on commercial software like forcing derivative works to also be released under as open source.
Even though the format itself has been unchanged since 2004, as the first official stable release Theora 1.0 is still a major milestone. In order to attract the interest of commercial software and especially hardware developers stability, or at least the perception of stability, is an important consideration.
Another aspect of Theora its developers hope will be significant is its relatively low CPU footprint. That makes it particularly suitable for mobile devices like smartphones and portable media players.
Still, it remains to be seen if it can truly become an industry standard (in any industry). It may be that the widespread support for standards like MPEG-4 ASP (DivX, XviD, Nero Digital, etc,… ), MPEG-4 AVC (H.264), and VC-1 already in place will prove more of a factor than any perceived benefits to Theora.