Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New movie services arrive on Internet

Apr 10, 2006 3:29 PM, Beyond The Headlines e-newsletter

Six major Hollywood studios started selling digital versions of movies on the Internet last week � the first time they have allowed U.S. consumers to buy films online and store them indefinitely with no viewing expiration date.

Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and MGM are offering films for sale on a co-owned Website called Movielink.com. Prices range from $10 and $30 per film, with the average being about $20.

In a separate announcement, Sony and Lionsgate said they would sell films through the CinemaNow site. Films from the Walt Disney Co. were not available. Both groups said they are negotiating with Disney for rights.

Both CinemaNow, which began by offering nearly 300 films this week, and Movielink, which offered about 75, will offer films the same day they are released for sale on DVD.
Many have noted that the studio's sales through iTunes have been much greater than he expected. Moreover, Universal's research showed that the majority of those downloads were watched on computer screens, not video iPods, indicating that people are willing to watch video on their PCs.

The New York Times said Apple, Amazon.com and other online retailers are also busily trying to cut deals with Hollywood to sell downloads. In general, the studios want to make downloads available on largely the same terms, in as many places as possible.

For now, these movie downloads are a bit cumbersome and the studios have limited the way they can be watched. A movie will need about one gigabyte of hard-drive space and will take an hour or two to download using a high-speed Internet connection.

CinemaNow will allow the movies to be played only on a single computer. It prevents users from burning a DVD. Movielink will allow the movie to be copied onto a DVD, from which the movie can be downloaded to two other computers, but it cannot be played on a conventional DVD player.

The movies also cannot be copied to Apple's video iPod or the handheld video players that use software from Microsoft. The studios are expected to permit downloads to portable devices later this year.

Mitsubishi unveils new HDTV technology

Apr 10, 2006 4:04 PM, Beyond The Headlines e-newsletter

Mitsubishi has developed a new commercial television technology that uses colored lasers to display images on large, thin, lightweight screens-surpassing images seen on film, the New York Times reported.

The television sets are expected to reach stores sometime late next year.

At the heart of the new television is an existing rear-projection technology called digital light processing. In the past, this technology, developed by Texas Instruments, used white-light mercury lamps as the television's light source.

With laser technology, separate red, green and blue lasers are used in conjunction with an HDTV chip, Frank DeMartin, vice president for marketing and product development at Mitsubishi, told the Times.

In terms of performance, DeMartin said the laser television promises a greater range and intensity of colors. He said the new sets would be made with compact, sculptured cabinets and remain relatively light because the screens would be advanced plastics rather than the glass common in plasma television flat-panel units.

Solid-state lasers, DeMartin said, will greatly outlast lamps. As a light source, he said, they are practically permanent, meaning that the lasers should last for the set's lifetime."

IBM to inject devices with security

Apr 11, 2006 11:16 AM

In an effort to boost the level of data security on portable computers, cell phones and other gadgets, IBM Corp. is unveiling a method for injecting encryption capabilities into the heart of the machines' circuitry, The Associated Press reports.

There are ways to achieve encryption. Specialized software can do the trick, as can hard-wired chips inside computers.
But IBM researchers contend that unless the encryption function is performed by a computer's central processing unit, a supremely savvy hacker can tap into the pathway between the machine's brain and the encryption engine. [Ed - For more infomation on how to break into this side channel visit the RUXCON security conference]

To guard against that, IBM has developed 'SecureBlue,' encryption circuitry that can be integrated into any processor, regardless of its maker.
'This thing is trying to be one of the most paranoid devices on the planet,' Charles Palmer, IBM's head security researcher, tells The AP.

IBM is not the first to seek to integrate encryption into central processing functions. Intel Corp.'s upcoming 'LaGrande' essentially does that, though it requires interaction with a separate chip. The IBM researchers say they know how to skip that step.

Richard Doherty, an analyst with the Envisioneering Group, said SecureBlue's design appears flexible enough to bring strong encryption to such settings as cell phones.
That could mean enhanced security not only for users who keep data on portable devices, but also for owners who can use encryption to lock down copyrighted material."