One million Xbox 360 users tap Netflix

Corrected at 12:53 p.m. PST Friday, February 6, 2009, to indicate that Sony is available again via streaming and Netflix does not currently rent games.

While I'm both an Xbox 360 gamer and a Netflix user, I still haven't signed up for Netflix on my Xbox.

That's the unpopular stand, it seems, as Microsoft and the video rental site on Thursday announced that more than 1 million Xbox users have downloaded and activated the movie service since it was introduced on the game console in November of last year. That translates to more than 13,… Read more

CES 2009 preview: Gaming

While last year's CES didn't offer much in terms of gaming, it would appear that CES 2009 has a lot more in store. This is partially thanks to the Nintendo Wii, which has not only solidified itself as the best-selling console of this generation, but because the system lends itself so well to third-party accessories. We expect to see plenty of new products announced exclusively for the Wii from companies like Mad Catz and Nyko.

It's possible that Microsoft may reveal some new info regarding the Xbox 360 hardware. Rumors of a Blu-ray drive continue to swirl, … Read more

Xbox 360 to offer first-ever Netflix HD streaming

When Microsoft unveiled the plan for the new Xbox Live experience back at E3 2008, we were thrilled to hear that Netflix instant streaming was among the features announced.

That news just got a little sweeter now that Engadget HD is reporting that Xbox 360 owners will also be able to stream selected Netflix titles in HD.

While a list of HD-ready movies is not immediately available, some 300 titles will be ready for HD streaming when the service launches--along with the new Xbox Live experience--November 19.

Judging from the screen grab, it looks like the Netflix 360 player … Read more

DirecTV to add 1080p content too?

Just a few weeks after Dish Network announced that it would offer 1080p on-demand movies, it looks like DirecTV is getting ready to match them. According to Scott Greczkowski's blog on Multichannel News, DirecTV is currently running a beta test that allows subscribers to download 1080p on-demand movies as well. Here's the relevant snippet:

I am not sure if the 1080p movie was coming from the satellite or if it was being downloaded over the internet. I do know that when I checked my DVR list the next morning the movie The Bucket List was there waiting for … Read more

Can Tru2way succeed where CableCard failed?

If the industry press is to be believed, Tuesday's announcement that Sony would be producing TVs with Tru2way compatibility was a watershed event--the electronics world equivalent of the Magna Carta or the Treaty of Versailles. But let's step back a bit and examine what this really means.

Tru2way is a digital cable technology developed by CableLabs that's designed to be built directly into TVs, eliminating the need for an outboard set-top box. In theory, you'd be able to buy a Tru2way-compatible TV, bring it home, connect it to your coaxial cable, and instantly be able to … Read more

TiVo to offer Disney movies for download

TiVo is gearing up to dish out Disney movie rentals, as the digital video recorder company expands its lineup of movies from major studios.

Under an agreement with Disney-ABC and CinemaNow, TiVo subscribers can download the movies for 24-hour rental. TiVo expects to offer the Disney rentals later this year to its broadband-connected TiVo Series2 and Series3 subscribers. Price for the service was not disclosed.

The Disney movies will add to TiVo's more than 30,000 titles from Amazon Unbox, Music Choice, and other content providers.

TiVo's efforts come as Blockbuster is reportedly looking at set-top boxes for … Read more

Intacct raises $15 million in funding

Intacct announced Monday it raised a $15 million round of venture funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners.

The on-demand financial management and accounting applications company also received a portion of the round from its existing investors Emergence Capital, Sigma Partners, and Sutter Hill Ventures. That brings total funding for Intacct, which was founded in 2000, to approximately $80 million.

Intacct, which also raised a $14 million round last summer, plans to use the funding to accelerate its growth via product line additions and enhancements to its channel and sales force, said Mike Braun, Intacct's chief executive. He added that … Read more

New Oracle software targets Salesforce

Updated at 7:20 a.m. to add details from Oracle announcement.

Oracle on Tuesday announced new on-demand CRM software aimed squarely at Salesforce.com.

The new software, Oracle CRM on Demand 15, is a revised version of a product acquired via Oracle's purchase of Siebel Systems in 2005.

Oracle's on-demand software, designed to help companies manage customer resources, will include a browser-based interface and can be customized to run on mobile devices such as BlackBerrys, and included in personalized Google and Yahoo pages.

Another aspect of the release is the inclusion of what Oracle calls "Social … Read more

Pick and play a song right now with Songerize

If you've got a song stuck in your head, this is the place to get it out (or make it worse through repeated plays). Go to Songerize, select a song name, artist, and hit play. That's it. No confusing interface, no sign-in screen, no extraneous information, no ads.

It doesn't find everything--in my quick tests, it had about a 50% success ratio, and completely failed on PiL and Jane's Addiction. But it found just about every pop and classic rock radio title I could think of.

(Thanks to Listening Post for the tip.)

BBC's iPlayer getting Mac version in 2008, Web version continues to dominate usage

If there are lessons to be learned about the need for big companies to create platform-agnostic services, the BBC's iPlayer project may be one of the most shining examples.

Since the launch of the iPlayer, the BBC has been under fire not only from its viewers, but also members of the British Parliament. Parliament members have come down on the broadcasting corporation for its lack of support for open standards, and soaring costs in the development of the Windows-only software whose cost is estimated to be close to ?6 million pounds (nearly $11 million dollars).

We've blogged about … Read more