Sony must drop PS3 pricing for Christmas

Sony's Gaming chief, Kaz Hirai told the Financial Times recently that his company has no plans to drop the Playstation 3's price leading up to the holidays because he believes the company's console provides the greatest value proposition out of any device on the market.

"The answer is yes, if you're asking, 'Are these the prices we're going with this Christmas?'" Hirai told the Financial Times. "When you really compare apples to apples, then I think we have a very good value proposition."

Hirai is obviously referring to the Playstation 3's Blu-ray player in his case for "value proposition," but I think he unfairly ties the price of the PS3 to that single component.

Sure, the Blu-ray player is arguably one of the most expensive parts in the Playstation 3 and you can't argue that it adds value, but the real consideration isn't "value proposition." Instead, Hirai needs to realize that most consumers are deciding on their next console purchase based off a cost-benefit analysis.

Do I get enough out of my Playstation 3 to justify spending that much cash on it? And more importantly, is it worth the additional $100-$150 it'll cost to have a PS3 instead of an Xbox 360.

Sorry, Sony, but I just don't think it is.… Read more

Second Prada phone gets QWERTY keyboard

We reviewed the original Prada phone more than a year ago and loved its style but weren't happy with its lack of support for 3G. On Monday, LG announced the second generation of the phone, and guess what? It will support 3G and more.

Design-wise, the new Prada will look almost identical to the original, with one major difference: a QWERTY keyboard that slides out from under the handset. The keyboard is very thin and therefore won't make the phone much thicker.

The keyboard is definitely a welcome addition for those who like typing on the phone. You … Read more

UMG chief on YouTube: 'We don't look at anything as promotion'

Doug Morris, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, confirmed that his company is considering a plan to build a Web site to showcase its music videos instead of posting them to YouTube.

Morris, impresario of the largest of the four top recording companies, told Billboard that if the company decides to go ahead, the site would launch in January and would likely partner with another label. But why is he dissatisfied with YouTube?

"With YouTube, the quality (of video) isn't great; it gets low [cost per thousand, or CMP]," Morris, 69, told Billboard. "On the … Read more

Microsoft ready for Silverlight's second act

Updated 9:20 a.m. PDT, with comments from conference call and at 10:20 with additional comments regarding Silverlight and the iPhone.

Microsoft on Monday announced, as expected, that it is ready with a final version of its Silverlight 2 media player.

Silverlight 2 will be available for download starting Tuesday, Microsoft said. Among the new features are support for digital rights management technology, improved cross-platform support and deep zoom technology. Microsoft also announced a range of new partners including AOL, Blockbuster, CBS College Sports, Toyota, and Yahoo Japan.

Microsoft also disclosed some numbers for the Olympics work it did with NBC. … Read more

Video calling on mobile phones to go mainstream

If talking over the phone is not enough (as it's never enough for me, personally), you will probably soon have the option to place video calls, too. That is, of course, if your mobile phone supports VideoEngine Mobile platform Global IP Solutions (GIPS), the company that introduced the VoiceEngine for iPhone recently, announced on Monday.

The technology enables peer-to-peer video calling as well as multipoint video conferencing on mobile phones. GIPS says that its VideoEngine Mobile pave the way for wireless carriers, application developers and mobile handset manufacturers to provide high-quality video calls, even under adverse network conditions.

The … Read more

YouTube beams up 'Star Trek' for long-form video

Google's YouTube has begun testing a dramatic departure in content and advertising, adding 15 50-minute TV episodes from Star Trek, Beverly Hills 90210, and MacGyver and with prominent new ads.

"We are starting to test full-length programming on YouTube, beginning with some fan favorites requested by you," Google said on its YouTube blog on Friday.

It's an experiment in video display and advertising, too, with ads for Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Intel's Centrino chip technology showing prominently on the videos I watched. The TV shows are preceded by a 15-second pre-roll ad, and … Read more

How to convert video for the Zune

Microsoft struggled through two rounds of Zune before hitting the nail on the head with the third generation of the MP3 player, but the company got at least one thing right from the start. Even the first pass offered a larger-than-average screen, clocking in at 3 inches diagonally, and the latest version packs a video-worthy 3.2-inch screen. Of course, getting video content was a bit of a challenge at first, but the Zune Marketplace continues to expand its catalog, which now offers TV shows from several major networks such as NBC and Comedy Central.

However, that video content is going to cost you--about $2 per episode, to be exact--and the Marketplace currently does not offer movies to rent or buy (unlike iTunes). That's where this tutorial comes in: if you already have a collection of digital video content, this step-by-step guide will show you how to convert it for playback on the Zune. The software used in this how-to can convert from any of the following formats: MP4, 3GP, MPG, AVI, WMV, FLV, and SWF.

Note: Unfortunately, ripping most commercial DVDs is currently illegal in the United States, as it requires circumventing the copyright protection found on the DVDs. For unprotected DVDs, try Handbrake.… Read more