The Redeye Complex

Sunday, January 14, 2007
Where are we with HDTV and portable MP3 players?

With CES and Macworld wrapped up, I've read plenty about new gear coming out. What interests me are state of things I currently have an interest in - HDTV and portable music players. After the glitz of the shows, now is the time to read the summary articles to figure out if we are actually improving how we can use these devices. HDTV and MP3 players are really really cool. However there are a few gotchas.

Rob Pegoraro in the Washington Post writes about HDTV and just nails it with his commentary that while HDTV is catching on, the companies and broadcasters have roadblocks in the way of consumers.

As HDTV prices have plunged off a cliff, to the delight of consumers who have bought them by the millions, quality and features have continued to improve.

But the same companies responsible for this success have botched the other half of the high-definition experience: what people watch on their HDTVs when they're not tuning into an on-air, cable or satellite signal.

It still bugs me that I cannot yet record an HDTV signal for archiving, like I could with a VCR. Computers still do not have capture cards for HD. Sigh! Maybe next year's CES will have a product.

Onto MP3 players ...

Randall Stross writes in the NYTimes Want an iPhone? Beware the iHandcuffs about the copy protection schemes that some record companies have insisted on being installed and the mp3 player makers that have gone along with it.

When I hear about DRM, I just shudder. Any player or store that in on board with it is not my choice. The article suggests however that there is a future that will see the end to the content issue.

today’s copy-protection battles will prove short-lived. Eventually, perhaps in 5 or 10 years, he predicts, all portable players will have wireless broadband capability and will provide direct access, anytime, anywhere, to every song ever released for a low monthly subscription fee.


Pointing to South Korea, where copy protection has disappeared, Mr. Goldberg invoked the pithy aphorism attributed to the author William Gibson: “The future is here; it’s just not widely distributed yet.”


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