Nine Inch Nails band leader Trent Reznor announced in a blog post on the band's official page Wednesday that a "subversive" group contacted him recently with 400GB of HD footage from three of the band's recent concerts. In a move that would send shock waves through the music industry, Reznor provided a link to the file and challenged fans to create compelling videos out of all the footage. Those interested can find more information about the video on the Nine Inch Nails Web site.
Samsung's got three new all-in-one home theater systems for 2009, all of which are headlined with built-in Blu-ray and support for streaming online Netflix video and Pandora's free Internet music service. The HT-BD8200 and HT-BD7200 are both "lifestyle" systems with minimalist form factors, funky designs, and front-only virtual surround sound (the former is a speakerbar with wireless subwoofer and the latter sports a 2.1 design). But if you want real surround sound, you're going to need actual rear speakers--and that means the more traditional 5.1-channel design of the Samsung HT-BD1250.
Samsung, of course, … Read more
The HT-X710T was one of Samsung's funkier home theater products of 2008, a 2.1-style (two speakers plus subwoofer) home theater system with a tapered, wall-mountable DVD player head unit. While the 2009 follow-up shares a similar "Touch of Color" red-accented design and curved enclosures, the HT-BD7200 gets a Blu-ray upgrade (replete with BD-Live capability and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding) and support for streaming Netflix online video and the Pandora music service. It's also Wi-Fi-ready, but you'll need to invest in a separate USB 802.11n dongle, or stick with wired Ethernet … Read more
The Samsung HT-X810T--which debuted at 2008's Consumer Electronics Show--wasn't the first sound bar home theater system with a built-in DVD player (that'd be the Philips HTS8100). When CNET eventually reviewed it, we praised the inclusion of the wireless subwoofer, but included this knock: "the [built-in] DVD player's nice, but a Blu-ray player would have been even better." Well, it seems Samsung took that criticism to heart. The 2009 version, known as the HT-BD8200, does indeed get the upgrade to a Blu-ray player. Like the other models in the Sammy's '09 line-up, it'… Read more
Your flat-screen TV looks awfully lonely mounted on the wall by itself--why not give it a companion? That, we assume, is the rationale behind the Samsung BD-P4600 wall-mountable Blu-ray player. The BD-P4600 looks to include all the features of its step-down sibling, the BD-P3600: Profile 2.0/BD-Live, Netflix and Pandora streaming, 1GB onboard memory, built-in Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, "Touch of Color" style accents, and--the big upgrade for 2009--802.11n Wi-Fi via an included USB dongle. But unlike the 3600, this ultraslim 1.5-inch model has a slot-loading disc drive and can be mounted … Read more
The BD-P3600 Blu-ray player includes much of the same basic feature list as the Samsung BD-P2550 released last fall: Profile 2.0 (BD-Live), built-in Netflix and Pandora streaming, and 1GB onboard memory. But the 2009 model includes a few niceties missing from the 2550: an included USB dongle adds 802.11n Wi-Fi (in addition to Ethernet) and the 3600 should support DTS-HD Master Audio decoding out of the box (no need to wait for a future firmware update, as with early purchasers of the 2550). On the design front, the BD-P3600 will also sport unusual topside button placement and Samsung'… Read more
As if being the No. 1 free iPhone app of 2008 wasn't enough for Pandora, it has launched version 2.0 of its app just six days into 2009.
New features in this release include a progress bar for songs (finally!), 30-second previews for bookmarked songs, the ability to create a new station from a song or artist, artist information, cover-flow view for song history, and some sharing features.
While this update isn't anything revolutionary, it certainly rounds out the cool features in the app, like embedded iTunes purchasing. With Tuesday's Macworld announcement of iTunes downloads, now being possible over 3G, … Read more
Although there are a slew of music-streaming services across the Web, they're not created equal. But if you find the right service to match your music style, you'll quickly realize that finding the best song for a particular occasion isn't as hard as it once was.
Including Grooveshark in the list of the top five music-streaming services may surprise some since it doesn't get the kind of attention Last.fm or Pandora does. But with the help of an outstanding search interface that lets users find a slew of songs by artist, album, or song, … Read more
Coolfer has an interesting post this morning, responding to Peter Kafka's suggestion that it's getting too hard to buy music because fewer retailers are stocking CDs. I think Kafka's confusing cause and effect--if retailers were still making lots of money on Britney and Rihanna, CDs would be sold front and center. But regardless of the chicken-and-egg question, Coolfer makes the very good point that most music purchasers don't seek out music and aren't willing to sift through the racks at their local record stores, but rather pick up a CD as an impulse buy on … Read more
I've been using Pandora, the excellent music discovery service, for over three years now, discovering Death Cab for Cutie, Band of Horses, and other bands in the process. I was therefore dismayed to discover that Internet radio royalty fees threatened to bury Pandora earlier this year.
Fortunately, you can't keep a great service down: Pandora has notched two million users on the iPhone, becoming Apple's most popular iPhone application. As Jack Schofield of The Guardian suggests, this iPhone popularity should ensure Pandora's enduring presence in my life, and hopefully yours.
What still rankles me, however, is … Read more