Weekly wrapup, 22 – 26 October 2007

Here’s a summary of the week’s digital lifestyle action on last100. Note that you can subscribe to the weekly wrapups, either via the special weekly wrapup RSS feed or by email.

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Top digital lifestyle news

Lots of PC-to-TV news this week, as companies continue to battle it out trying to solve the “last 100 feet” problem.

SanDisk launched its TV-friendly USB stick and video download service. Taking a much simpler approach compared to the many media extenders on the market, the Sansa TakeTV player forgoes the need for a home network. Instead, content is physically shuttled from a PC to a TV via a dedicated USB stick and docking station. “No confusing WiFi set-ups, no waiting to burn DVDs”, boasts the Sansa online store. To support its TakeTV device, SanDisk has also rolled out a Beta version of a new video download service called Fanfare, which will offer paid-for, and eventually, ad-supported content from various partners. Of note, CBS and independent film-store Jaman are among the first to have signed on.

TiVo have announced a host of new features including multi-room viewing, progressive downloads and the ability to transfer content to a PC for DVD burning — available as a software update for its Series 3 and HD line of DVRs.  With the introduction of progressive downloads, users of the TiVo version of Amazon’s television and movie download service UnBox, will no longer have to wait for the full video file to download before they can begin watching. Instead, UnBox content will start playing after a much shorter period of buffering, the length of which is dependent on broadband speeds. This puts UnBox on TiVo in much more direct competition with the newly launched set-top box movie service, Vudu (see our review), which differentiates itself from many of its competitors by enabling video rentals to be progressively downloaded for playback on a television.

Talking of Vudu, a little over fifty days after the company launched its set-top movie box and download service, it has slashed the price of its hardware from $399 to $250. Will the price cut give Vudu a much needed boost in the face of increasing competition? We’re not so sure. But it’s a start.

Last week we speculated that Netflix might be about to release its own set-top box, and this week the company confirmed it has more lofty ambitions to get the Netflix download service on next-gen games consoles, XBox 360 and PS3.

In digital music-related news, we reported that in just 30 days, Amazon MP3 may be the No. 3 online music store and AT&T and Napster have launched an expensive over-the-air music download service.

More digital lifestyle news:


For an interesting counterpoint view to the iPhone craze, last100 editor Steve O’Hear puts the case for buying an iPod Touch and not an iPhone.

That’s a wrap for the week. Enjoy the rest of the weekend. 

last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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