Real-world price tag tracks shifting Bitcoin exchange rate

You walk into a store, your virtual wallet full of bitcoins. You see a nice shirt and check the digital price tag dangling from the collar. You know exactly what fraction of a bitcoin it will cost you to buy it. That's the dream of the BitTag, a wireless, constantly self-updating price tag looking to bridge the gap between the virtual and real worlds.

The BitTag is the creation of designer Samuel Cox. He describes BitTag as "a physical price tag for digital currency." Each tag shows the name of the product, the price in local traditional currency, and the price in bitcoins on an OLED display.… Read more

Hulu to partner with pay-TV operators for content bundling?

Hulu could be coming to a cable set-top box near you. According to The Wall Street Journal, the online TV streaming service is said to be in preliminary talks with a handful of pay-TV operators about possible partnerships.

These talks are said to be about Hulu potentially bundling its Hulu Plus subscription service with pay-TV subscriptions. According to the Journal, the streaming service is purportedly in talks with Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, AT&T, and Verizon.

Apparently, Hulu hopes that any deal would let cable customers get its service via a set-top box, according to the Journal. … Read more

Comcast ditches the DVR for cloud recordings

CNET Update is posting to Myspace:

In this episode of Update:

- Learn how Comcast and other cable providers are updating set-top boxes and channel guides.

- Give your smartphone more camera with the Galaxy S4 Zoom coming out later this year.

- Prepare for Google Maps to get more social, now that Google bought the app Waze.

- Rock out with music stations and GIFs on Myspace's new iPhone app.

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps, … Read more

BBC blocks live linkup with aliens, scared they might curse

I am sure you'd watch. I am sure your kids would be fascinated.

And yet, it is not to be. The BBC will not be doing a live show in which scientists try to talk to aliens.

You might be wondering why this would be.

Thankfully, Professor Brian Cox, a celebrated particle physicist and TV presenter (and former member of the band D:Ream), revealed that Britain's most august news source was a little scared of the kind of news it would make.… Read more

Supercomputer clicked together from Legos and Raspberry Pi's

The flexible, affordable Raspberry Pi Linux computer system has been hacked, tinkered, and transformed into all sorts of creations since its introduction. There's a Raspberry Pi Apple TV, a Raspberry Pi ocean explorer, and Raspberry Pi smart glasses.

Now there's a Raspberry Pi supercomputer. How do you turn a 700MHz mini system into a supercomputer? You use 64 of them and mount them in a rack made out of Legos.… Read more

Netflix is cable's 'frenemy'

BOSTON -- Is Netflix a friend or foe to the traditional cable TV companies? Cox Communications CEO Patrick Esser says it's a "frenemy."

There's no question that Netflix and other over-the-top Internet-based video services have shaken things up for traditional TV distributors and content owners. But is Netflix destroying the cable industry's business model?

Cox's Esser acknowledged today during a panel discussion here at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association's Cable Show that there are times when Netflix may compete for an audience with cable TV providers. But as a broadband provider, he … Read more

FCC extends review process for Verizon-cable deal

Federal regulators said today they needed more time to review Verizon's deal to acquire spectrum from the cable providers and cross-sell cable and wireless services.

The Federal Communications Commission extended the typical 180-day review period by 21 days to give it sufficient time to examine the reams of documents that were submitted late by Verizon and the cable companies. Opponents have lauded the FCC's move, claiming the agency has "stopped the clock" on the deal, signalling deeper concerns about the transaction. But the move only marks an extension, and not an actual pause, in the process. … Read more

Verizon dangles mobile video as hook for its cable deal

Verizon's new argument to regulators on its cable deal: give us the OK and we'll start offering better mobile video.

CEO Lowell McAdam is eager to win regulatory approval for Verizon's cross-selling and spectrum deal with several cable providers. One such benefit would be pay-TV subscribers getting access to more mobile video, the Wall Street Journal reported. Lowell said the integrated service would be available to cable subscribers or customers of its own Fios TV service.

Verizon and the cable companies are in the midst of defending a $3.9 billion deal that would send a valuable … Read more

Justice Department reportedly probing Verizon-cable deal

Verizon Wireless' deal with cable providers is facing scrutiny from the Justice Department.

That's according to a report today from Bloomberg, citing an anonymous source. The report said the Justice Department would look at whether Verizon would control too much spectrum, and whether the cross-selling component of the deal would violate antitrust laws.

Verizon earlier this month shored up its spectrum needs by acquiring a swath owned by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks for $3.6 billion. As part of the deal, Verizon agreed to resell cable service in its national chain of stores, while the … Read more

Sprint fires off lawsuit at cable giants

Sprint Nextel has sued several cable providers over what it claims is the illegal use of its digital phone technology, further fraying an already strained relationship between the carrier and the cable industry.

In separate lawsuits filed yesterday, Sprint alleged that Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and the Washington Post's Cable One all infringed on 12 patents related to digital phone technology it secured in the '90s.

The lawsuits represent just the latest development in an increasingly rocky relationship. Sprint and the cable providers were once strong allies, partnering up to buy spectrum and resell wireless service, and … Read more