Getting the most out of your gift: Roku edition

Got a Roku media streamer as a gift this holiday season? Then check out this guide for some essential tips on how to set it up, what content to watch, how to get additional channels not listed in the Roku store, and what accessories to buy.

iPod nano, this is your life

The first iPod nano was released on Sept. 7, 2005, and in the six intervening years, it’s undergone a lot of changes. In fact, the nano has one of the most mercurial design histories of any Apple product. Here’s a quick look at the nano’s evolution.

Today in Social

Facebook seems to be building a desktop software team at its Seattle office. What might a Facebook desktop app be? A media player? More than one commenter thinks it could be browser. It used to be that browsers were a legitimate threat to real operating systems in terms of controlling the user interface and driving API adoption by developers. But browsers don’t matter much anymore, because the biggest platform contenders aren’t depending on them for UI or API distribution. While a  browser could help smooth over some mobile platform fragmentation, I suspect something on that big screen in the living room might carry more disruptive clout.

Report: Apple Looking to Carbon Fiber for iPod Wi-Fi Syncing

Apple is looking to outfit future iPods with carbon fiber housing in order to make Wi-Fi syncing a reality, says a new report. A source said to be close to the company revealed that Steve Jobs sees Wi-Fi syncing as key for the iPod’s continued relevance.

Today in Connected Consumer

This may not be of any real surprise, but Microsoft has end-of-lifed the Zune music player.  While the company will continue to keep the Zune brand alive around the media player and marketplace on things such as Window Phone, they are no longer going to be releasing new Zune players (the last of which was released in 2009).  I never understood why they didn’t double down on the Xbox brand rather then creating an entirely new brand, and maybe now they can put more wood behind the Xbox quiver. Sure, Xbox stands for gaming in many people’s minds, but at one point iPod and iTunes largely stood for music, now didn’t it?

VLC 1.0 Goldeneye Released

VLC Icon

VLC media player, an open-source application from the VideoLAN project, finally reached version 1.0 today. The software had its original start back in 1996 as a school project from engineering students at the Ecole Centrale Paris (though it wasn’t released as an open source project until 2001).

Through many point releases before today, VLC has continued to expand its capabilities, offering support for HD codecs, a diverse set of file formats, live recording, AirTunes streaming and more. Read More about VLC 1.0 Goldeneye Released

Today in Connected Consumer

The Popcornhour media player has developed a huge cult following over the past few years, so I wasn’t surprised to see an explosion of excitement over at the networkedmediatank forum. The maker of Popcornhour – Syabas – made a wise choice to diversify from being a 3rd party media middlware vendor (Netgear was an early customer) by going to direct to consumer. Perhaps the most interesting piece about the new C200 is the inclusion of a Blu-ray drive. And if you’re interested in reading about how new devices like these will change the online video market, go over and see the new report by TDG published yesterday.