3D 'Avatar' to Blu-ray in December; exclusive to Panasonic 3D TVs

Confirming the rumors, Panasonic has announced that the 3D version of the 'Avatar' Blu-ray disc will arrive in December as an exclusive available only to owners of the company's 3D TVs.

As first reported by TWICE:

At launch, running through an undisclosed period of time, the disc will only be available to consumers who purchase a Panasonic 3D Viera plasma TV. The promotional offer will likely take the form of a variety of bundles onto the purchase of Viera 3D TVs and related equipment, although exact details are still to be announced, the company said.

Currently available qualifying TVs … Read more

3D at home still a tough sell

SAN JOSE, Calif.--Even if "Piranha 3D" has a modestly successful box-office debut this weekend, it could in the long run do more damage to the hopes of 3D TV makers than good.

The more 3D movies available, the better is what the consumer electronics industry's strongest proponents of 3D would say. After all, the more opportunities to demonstrate the technology to people and sell the 3D Blu-ray copy later is in their interests. But a horror movie starring three-dimensional carnivorous fish, and similarly schlocky uses of the technology could be a setback.

The industry that's … Read more

Kinect's Dance Central: The Auto-Tune of dancing

I'll be the first to admit I've been less than excited about the 2010 crop of motion-controlled gaming hardware from Sony and Microsoft. Particularly in the case of the Kinect, the upcoming motion-control camera peripheral for the Xbox 360, interacting with a motorized camera presents ways of physically humiliating yourself that make the Nintendo Wii seem positively tame.

An invitation to try out Dance Central, the hopeful killer app from MTV Games and Harmonix for the Kinect's November launch, didn't encourage me. The previous session was finishing, and true to my expectation, members of the press were hopping up and down to club beats, looking ridiculous and somewhat uncoordinated. I am not a dancer, nor do I dream of being one, and I was expecting this to be a painful demo.

When we dance in front of a camera, it's like an invitation to be shy. Who's really up for this type of exhibition? I know the Kinect is watching me, and I certainly don't want to see myself onscreen. I also don't want to fail out at a dance game. Games like Dance Dance Revolution are unforgiving with misses, and you know it when you don't land on the right part of the mat.

I was surprised to discover two things: in a head-to-head dance-off, I came close to unseating the PR demonstrator who clearly had physical and experiential advantages over me. And, I actually had fun and felt encouraged. How did this happen?

I equate it to Auto-Tune for dance. … Read more

The 404 643: Where we stick an Android in our PSP (podcast )

We rarely invite guests to join us on the show, but anyone who listens to The 404 Podcast knows that we're suckers for sweet treats, especially the homemade kind hand-delivered by a cute girl!

Ruby Liza, a dedicated 404 listener and aspiring librarian, joins us on today's episode and brings us a box of lemon bars to munch on while we discuss the war between books and e-book readers, a Sony Ericsson PSP powered by Android 3.0, a study that shows women are attracted to men wearing red, and a French rapper who turns Facebook into a real-life music video.

Google released Android 2.0 less than a year ago, but rumors are already floating around about what the next version, code-named Gingerbread, will bring to the world of Google-powered devices. The folks over at Engadget report insider information about a new Sony Ericsson device that could redefine gaming on the mobile platform.

In fact, it claims a "trusted source" says the company is developing a brand new ecosystem and hardware that will run on Android 3.0, with a new section of the Android Market dedicated to its games. The black and silver phone is supersexy indeed, with a large WVGA display and a landscape sliding design in place of a keyboard. We'll come back to it when there's more to report.

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that women are more attracted to a man wearing the color red. Apparently the cherry color draws women because of its capability to make men appear more powerful and likely to succeed, and that ambition to climb the social ladder and become the "alpha male" triggers a biological reaction in women that makes them "act like animals."

To quantify the red effect, researchers interviewed hundreds of participants to determine trends, but we're wondering if women like red only because it's more distinguishable than the rest of the colors. Also, is it a bad sign that none of us even owns any all-red clothing?

Instead of showing you the awful French music video that Wilson dug up, we'd like to thank our buddy Todd for sending us pictures of his 404-powered motorcycle! His Honda CBR600RR is all decked out in 404 stickers to match his race number! Check out his bike cam video from last year, and be sure to click through the page break to see pics! Thanks again, Todd- ride safe!… Read more

James Cameron talks entertainment at D8


James Cameron made "Titanic," the highest-grossing film ever made.

Thirteen years later he did it again: "Avatar." And as much as "Avatar" stretched the boundaries of the box office, it has stretched the boundaries of cinema as well. The 3D film features a staggering 2,500-plus special-effects shots, set a new standard for movie-making technology, and may have ushered in a big-screen renaissance in the process.

Live blog Walt and Kara are bathed in blue! They look vaguely Avatar-like. And here comes Cameron, who lavishes praise on the red leather hot seats.

8:17 … Read more

Ford recruits 'virtual soldier' for ergonomic tests

Ford's newest employee has moved from the army to the assembly line. But since he's virtual, that type of job change shouldn't pose a problem.

Designed to test the safety of Ford's auto factories, Santos is a virtual avatar that can mimic and record all the physical strains and pains that plague us poor humans. By reaching, lifting, and stretching in his own virtual world, he can provide feedback on how those activities might affect an actual person.

Initially created for the U.S. Department of Defense to help find ways to relieve physical strain on soldiers, Santos is now working at Ford testing the ergonomics of assembly lines. His job is to perform the same physical tasks that a factory worker would perform when building a car to gauge their impact on the human body. The automaker's goal is to improve the quality and safety of its factories before assembly lines are even created.

Read more

The next five years of the X Prize

At a gala charity event Saturday night featuring "Avatar" director James Cameron, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and a who's who of tech industry luminaries, the X Prize Foundation laid out its vision for the next five years.

Already in 2004, the foundation has paid out $10 million in prize money for the winner of the Ansari X Prize, which in 2004 went to the first non-governmental team to launch a vehicle into space twice in two weeks. The prize winners were Burt Rutan and the Paul Allen-backed team that built SpaceShipOne.

The foundation offers … Read more

Glorious Avatar graphics on the iPad

Editors' take: We liked the movie, but didn't bother with the tie-in game that debuted on the iPhone late last year. Why? We find most action titles a bit too claustrophobic on the small screen. But if it's on an iPad and features updated HD graphics, just show us where to sign up. This combat-packed trip to Na'vi will cost you $9.99.

The 404 573: Where seriously, whose iPhone 4G prototype is this? (podcast)

We're all wondering what's going on with the story of the Apple iPhone 4G prototype found in a Redwood City, Calif., bar and its subsequent sale to Gizmodo. CNET News Senior Writer Greg Sandoval drops by the studio to fill us in on all the latest developments, including who exactly found the phone, how it eventually got into the hands of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, and why it's never a good idea to purchase anything you know for a fact is stolen! Unfortunately, "finders keepers, losers weepers" only holds water on the playground.

Wired published an article last week outing Brian J. Hogan as the person who found and sold the iPhone prototype to Gizmodo, but CNET also learned that he had help finding a buyer for the device from Sage Wallower, a UC Berkeley student who attended Santa Barbara City College with Hogan.

The investigation is still ongoing (San Mateo County police still have Chen's computers), but Greg tells us felony criminal charges are still a very serious possibility since a California law specifically states that "any person who knowingly receives property that has been obtained illegally can be imprisoned for up to one year."

We also have a collection of silly stories to even out the show in the second half, including a very discomforting story about an unlikely pairing between a 59-year-old Chinese man and a 20-inch long eel. We can't go into much detail, but there's a very important lesson to take away from it all, and that is to never, ever pass out in front of your friends.

Finally, Roger Ebert has written an open letter to the public decrying the concept of 3D movies as a way of life. His points are direct and address many of the issues we've already discussed with David Katzmaier, senior editor of TVs and home theater for CNET.

Ebert claims that the 3D element, even in popular movies like "Avatar," add nothing essential to the moviegoing experience. It also doesn't help that these movies often cause nausea and headaches for people who just want to be entertained for two hours, not to mention the inflated surcharges that theaters tack onto already expensive tickets. Listen in to hear our take on the future of 3D movies and home theater.

Big thanks to Greg for taking time out of his schedule to join us on today's show. If you have a question for us or simply want to comment on the show, give us a call at 1-866-404-CNET or e-mail the404(at)cnet(dot)com. Thanks for listening!

EPISODE 573 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS Video

Read more

The 404 567: Where we get caught playing with our toys (podcast)

Today's episode of The 404 Podcast resurrects our love for action figures and other toys from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Jeff's a little older than Wilson and me, but we can still bond over our mutual love for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures and our mutual hatred for picking up all those foam Nerd darts.

There's also a lot to learn about each other based on our toys. For example, Wilson's mom used to yell at him for unscrewing and tinkering with all his figures, which explains why he eventually grew up building his own computers.

Unfortunately, we're too old to play with children's toys now so we've all graduated to big-boy toys, and it's with great sadness that we have to announce the death of the floppy disk. After three decades of production, Sony announced Friday that it would end all floppy-disk sales before the end of March 2011.

Many are unaware that Sony actually pioneered the first 3.5-inch floppy disk in 1981, although the 1.44MB disks were quickly rendered obsolete by other types of removable media like Zip disks, USB flash drives, and of course rewriteable CDs and DVDs. Stay tuned as we deliver a heartfelt "eugoogly" to the floppy disk--a close friend that saved kilobytes of data and served as the basis for way too many nerdy pickup lines.

It's no surprise that Internet privacy is a thing of the past, but a few Blippy users are still finding that out the hard way. If you've never heard of the site before, Blippy is a new company that lets you share your online purchases with everyone on a social network. The service gleans financial data, including what you bought and where you got it, and lets you compare your purchases with others at a granular level, all with the hopes of saving you a few bucks on future purchases.

Unfortunately, five Blippy users found their credit card information published in Google's search engine cache over the weekend. A rep from the company claims that a breach in two banks' security systems caused the problem and they've asked Google to reindex the entire site to fix it, but none of us really understand the appeal of Blippy- feel free to chime in if you're a user and let us know if you've stopped using the service after hearing about this breach in security.

EPISODE 567 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more