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Archive for December, 2009

The Rise of the PS3

December 31st, 2009 No comments

2010 is lining up to be the year of the PS3, at least for me. I bought in to the Playstation 3 when it first came out in 2006, and have been waiting for the egg to hatch. I finally feel the platform has reached the maturity level that it needs to be at in order to increase it’s adoption rate into the homes of America. At least I hope it does, since it makes it much more fun than playing alone.

Source: Seattle PI Blogs

XBox 360 Equation

Let’s get the Xbox 360 discussion over with. I am not comparing it to the PS3 for functionality, as they are both attractive platforms. I would like an Xbox 360 for the handful of propitiatory games, yet I can’t bring my wallet out to make it happen. For one, the subscription based, online playing bothers me. If I am going to pay a monthly fee to play online with your console, then why not subsidize the cost of the console? The other looming problem I have is paying good money for a piece of hardware that is going to break. Take the 54% failure rate of the console and that directly equates to a 10% chance I will use my money to buy one. Give me a 3 year 1 day replacement warranty and subsidize the monthly online gaming cost, and I will buy in.

Observed Adoption Rates

I have to ignore the online adoption statistics and tell you what I see. I see the PS3 making it into the homes of my friends and my family members, even if they don’t have a gamer in the house. This year alone, my PS3 friends list tripled, as neighbors, co-workers and friends found their way to the Playstation platform. That growth rate, while remaining un-published, will be come viral. It was the same generation that pushed the PS2 into the longest life selling console.

The Core of Gamers

I had one main requirement that the PS3 seems to fill. I want to be able to go online, connect with my friends, wherever they may be, and escape together into a game. I want to be able to team up with my friends once a week to and go in to shoot some 8 year old kids who have somehow made it into the M rated first person shooter world. I want to connect with my surrogate nephews across the country and help them make it through the mining level of Little Big Planet, laughing with them along the way. I want to be able to race the the tracks with my team for One Lap 2010, learning the turns of the tracks before I ever step foot on them. Oh, and I don’t want to pay extra to connect.

The Video

We have begun to amass a collection of BlueRay discs over the past couple of years. We are lucky to have a nice television, and the BlueRay format really makes a huge difference on the screen. I am now looking to buy another BlueRay player for the house, and it is really difficult to not buy a second PS3, given all of the additional functions it brings.

Netflix caught up with the PS3 console and delivered a disc that allows any netflix subscriber the ability to play their streaming movies through the console. I will predict that it won’t take long into 2010, before this gets built into the console itself.

PS3 Media Server

If you have a new PS3, you have a contractual obligation after reading this to check out PS3 Media Server. It is an open source project to deliver all of your content on your home computer, through your PS3. The most impressive part about it is, that it just works.

It can be a pain to play different videos on your computer, needing to download things like CODECs and drivers to make sure that the particular video clip will actually play right. The beautiful part about the PS3 media server is that it will transcode the files for you. Meaning it will take that DIVX media video, chew it up, and spit it back out to your PS3 in a format it will play, all over your network.

Now you have a console that can, play the hard drive of music you have, stream the video clips of the family vacation or create a slideshow of pictures on the screen, without moving a single file.

The Wii Factor

The Wii serves a purpose, which is to allow anybody who is not a gamer, introduce themselves to the world of video games. I have a Wii and bought it on release day. I have not turned it on in over a year. The lack of an immersive online experience combined with the sub-par graphics make the system unattractive to play when given my alternatives. I keep it around for the kids and visiting non-gamers to play.

2010 Predictions

It is that time of year where people put predictions on the table. The Wii will grow in sales, still adopting the non-gamer crowd. The growth rate of the PS3 will be exponential for the first time in 4 years. For Sony it will not surpass the other consoles, but it will stabilize, allowing the platform to reach some more longevity goals. What does Sony need to do to make that happen? Bring back the compatibility to the PS2 games in the PS3 console. All of your PS2 owners with new televisions will be ready to make the move, being able to still play the PS2 games will give them the push they need.

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UStream Broadcaster – Everywhere is Live

December 10th, 2009 No comments

Today Ustream released an application that allows for live streaming of video for the iPhone. If you are not familiar with Ustream at all, the concept is rather simple.  You plug in a webcam to your computer, setup an account on Ustream and you are broadcasting live online, allowing any number of people to tune in.  Take that functionality, and put it into the pockets of over 30 million iPhone owners and you have just turned the planet into a live show itself.   Sort of…

The app will only work with the iPhone 3G and the 3Gs, which makes sense when it will not work at all over the EDGE network.

While this functionality in a smartphone is not ground breaking technology, nor is it the news. The news is that UStream was able to get Apple to allow the app into the iTunes store.  The larger news is that AT&T let it sneak by, the same week they were publicly denouncing the fact that there data network is in trouble, and urging customers to use data sparingly.

My advice if you have an iPhone, download this application as soon as possible.  I would not be surprised if the news brought an unexpected level of awareness and it would not be beyond Apple to yank the app out of the store.

Trials and Impressions

I heard that this application came out by listening to my podcast on the way to work.  While I was too excited to know that I could have this leve of connectivity in my pocket, I am afraid I would have to wait until I got home to try it out.  You see I work exactly 1.5 miles away from the invisible line that flips me over from a 3G network to an EDGE network on AT&T.  I have to tell you AT&T, it will be in your best interest to bring me a 3G network out to Newark, NY in the not too distant future.

The application itself is quick and slick.  My first test was over my home WiFi, just to see if the functionality was there. The video buffers in the phone, and even has the option to record locally and upload if you are not tied into a 3G signal or perhaps in need of a retake. While I didn’t wait around long enough to get anybody in the chat room, the interface even has the comments posting up on the screen from people chatting.

I did turn off the WiFi and record a quick video and the quality was equally as good.  This is a video walk around narration of our ridiculous Christmas Tree we have in the house. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the quality did not degrade, and will be excited to try it out when there is actual light around to do the camera justice.

While my videos are rather tame in comparison to what is possible, imagine the broadcast capabilities.  I am excited to think of how we can leverage this on One Lap of America 2010.  The largest negative of course being the AT&T network support around the country.

I did mention this technology was not new, only new to the iPhone.  Perhaps one of the larger mobile broadcasting applications is from Kyte, which has been around longer and may be more mature for anybody who has a phone compatible with that software.

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