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Patent licensing terms still murky for next-gen video

A patent licensing group has revealed many names of the corporate muscle behind an important next-generation video compression technology -- but the license itself remains elusive even as the technology arrives in the marketplace.

The technology, called HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) or H.265, is a codec used to encode and decode video for more economical storage and transmission across networks. It's designed to make a transition to 4K Ultra HD video more feasible on today's network connections.

HEVC/H.265 is the sequel to today's dominant technology, AVC/H.264 -- and it's at … Read more

Akamai CEO on streaming 4K TV into your home (podcast)

Just about every TV maker at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was showing off 4K TVs. But to fully appreciate these Ultra High Definition (UHD) TVs, you'll need content that's recorded in 4K.

As far as I know, a 4K standard for broadcast, cable, and satellite isn't on the immediate horizon, nor is a standardized way to deliver the content via disc. So, the solution lies in Internet delivery. But that too raises a challenge because the amount of bandwidth required for 4K is considerably more than today's HD video.

Akamai, which has … Read more

Sennheiser's HD-25 Aluminum and HD-26 Pro: Two knockout headphones from Germany

Sennheiser makes a lot of headphone models, and it can be a bit confusing to make sense of the lineup. Some models are close cousins, and then it's even tougher to keep track of them all. Take the Sennheiser HD-25 Aluminum ($330), the 25th anniversary edition of the classic HD-25 headphone. Then again, the HD-25 Aluminum looks like a twin of the Sennheiser Amperior ($349), and to keep things interesting Sennheiser just introduced another very similar model, the HD 26 Pro ($320). I don't have an on-ear Sennheiser Momentum ($200) in house to compare, but I know it … Read more

Review: Expect functional problems from Photo Reflection HD Free

Photo Reflection HD Free promises to add reflection effects to your photos. Despite its many features, the app didn't produce results that we were particularly happy with, and some functionality issues further interfered with the app's use.

Photo Reflection HD Free's interface is fairly straightforward, with buttons across the bottom for editing features, shadow, size, reflection direction, and saving your work. We chose to work with an image from our iPhone's photo album, which the app opened on a background with an abstract green and yellow swirl pattern. The app creates the reflection by just doubling … Read more

Samsung announces new IP cameras in Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- Samsung has just announced that two more Wi-Fi IP cameras will join its home security roster -- the $179 SmartCam HD and the $229 SmartCam HD Outdoor. Both cameras offer 1080p streaming and wide angle lenses with 128-degree fields of view. That should mean that you will get to view crisp, clear footage of your home and the surrounding outdoor area all from a Web browser or the free Android or iOS SmartCam app.

The $179 SmartCam HD sounds very similar to the $199 DropCam Pro and to a slightly lesser extent, the $229 all-in-one security system, … Read more

Sharp at CES 2014: Join us at 9 a.m. PT Monday (live blog)

LAS VEGAS -- Sharp is known for abiding by the "go big or go home" mantra each year at the International CES, showing off the largest and most outlandish televisions in the mode of "because we can" more than any other strategy.

And it pays off. At last year's CES, Sharp stole the show with its eye-popping line of Aquos smart LED televisions -- including the Aquos 90-inch set that clocks in as "the world's largest LED TV" -- and touted its monstrous 85-inch 8K prototype the year before.

This year, as … Read more

6 things we'll see at CES (whether we want to or not)

It's that magical time of year: Lists are made and checked twice, little eyes sparkle with anticipation, and countless children (at heart) prepare for the unveiling of something new and incredible.

I speak, of course, of the Consumer Electronics Show, where manufacturers from around the world show off their upcoming products.

And let me tell you, the onslaught of nonsense is incessant. Don't get me wrong, we're going to see a lot of cool stuff. We're also going to see a lot of crap, polished and sold as daisies.

This list is some of both.… Read more

Review: InstaLomo HD for Instagram lets you create and post interesting photos

InstaLomo HD for Instagram isn't a bad photo editor by any means, but it doesn't have enough filters or features to beat out countless other options. It's prone to glitches and slower performance, as well. There's just not much here to pull you away from your current photo filtering app of choice.

Though this app references Instagram, it's not connected to it at all. This means that while you don't have to log in, you don't get any of the polished Instagram features, either. Instead, you'll get a handful of Instagram-esque photo … Read more

Review: InstaMirror HD offers numerous filters for flipping and reversing images

InstaMirror HD is a filter app that works closely with Instagram to create mirrored versions of photos you have taken with your camera. The interface combined with the feature layout makes the app very intuitive, and while the number of mirror options is minimal in the free version of the app, the basic layout and tools are solid enough to get a decent experience out of the app.

After installing InstaMirror HD you can open it up and start creating new mirrored images right away. Choose any of the filters that are unlocked (some will be locked pending a paid … Read more

Review: iFileExpress HD provides tools for transferring files between desktop and iPad

iFileExpress HD is designed as a file transfer tool for your iPad, but it requires you to be plugged in and using iTunes. This limits the usefulness of the app and dates it against some other apps that offer immediate transfer over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. While the app works as described and the transfers are fast, its uses will be limited.

After installation, you'll be given a full tutorial, showing you where all of the features are located and how to set up and make your first transfer. You'll need to have the app installed on your … Read more