Category Archives: Audio / Video

Spotify

spotify

It’s not often it happens, but occasionally an application will come along that simply forces you to sit back and mutter ‘wow’ in sheer amazement. Google Earth was probably the last application that prompted this reaction from me until this week when I started playing with a free application called ‘Spotify’.

You’d be forgiven for not having heard of Spotify just yet but it has changed the way that I (and probably you) listen to music not only today but possibly forever. It has been in development since 2006 only recently have members of the public been allowed to open free accounts.

Essentially, you download and install a tiny 2.5mb application from www.spotify.com which will then give you immediate and free access to practically every piece of music ever released. Simply type the name of any artist and you will be presented with a list of every song and album … Read the rest

BluRay, AACS and HDCP

bluray

Being a self confessed geek, not to mention the author of a weekly technology column, it might surprise you to learn that until this week I was still watching my movies in standard DVD format rather than in high definition [collective gasp].This was all set to change this week, however, as realising that I needed a new laptop I plumped for a shiny Sony Vaio with an inbuilt BluRay writer.

I swiped a HDMI lead from work, rented a BluRay film from Blockbuster, connected the laptop to my TV and at around 9pm the missus and I sat down ready to be left in awe at the improvement in picture quality.All was going well until after approximately 15 seconds of footage we were greeted with a message telling us that the ‘display configuration that we were using was not supported by this film’.

Somewhat bemused I started trawling Google and Read the rest

YouTube and the PRS

youtube_logo

YouTube has always been one of my favourite sites on the Internet and so I’m extremely disappointed that a row between the site owners, Google, and the Performing Rights Society has culminated in them prohibiting UK users access to thousands of music videos.Apparently the two groups were unable to find “mutually acceptable terms for a new licence” as PRS had proposed new payment terms resulting in YouTube paying a greater figure to show the video than it makes from the advertising displayed on the same page.The sad fact is that until terms are settled, UK viewers will simply reach a message saying ‘the video you have chosen isn’t available in your country’ whenever they try to play a music video.

The PRS, along with TV licensing, is one of those groups that I’m surprised are allowed to exist in their current guise within the modern day world.If we can focus Read the rest

Windows Movie Maker

windows-movie-maker

I often recommend various pieces of free software which I believe my readers may be interested in downloading, however when getting caught up in the process of downloading new and exciting software it is apparently quite easy to overlook something right under your nose.Windows Movie Maker has been bundled with Windows ever since the dreadful Windows ME (Millennium Edition), and whilst the earlier versions suffered from a woefully inadequate feature set, the later editions have actually been pretty good.

The application can be accessed from the Accessories folder from the programs section of the Start Menu and the version you will be using is dependent on your version of Windows.Those who have Windows XP with the latest service pack installed (this will have most likely been done automatically) will be using version 2.1 however if you own Windows Vista then you will be using version 6.This skip in version numbers Read the rest

Vimeo

vimeo

This week, regular reader Ian McMillan wrote to me noting a website which until now I haven’t mentioned.I have printed his letter below as I thought it would be of interest to anyone who regularly uses video sharing websites such as YouTube.

At the moment, my experience of high definition television and camcorders is confined to watching demonstrations in the shops and so I was interested to come across the website Vimeo (www.vimeo.com).There are many video sharing websites (YouTube being the best known) but Vimeo if different in the fact that it has online videos in high definition.

A standard YouTube video has a picture of 320 by 240 pixels and mono sound whereas the videos on the Vimeo HD Channel are 1280 by 720 pixels (widescreen) and have stereo sound.As a demonstration of the difference, take a look at the video of San Francisco at https://www.vimeo.com/844044Read the rest

Joost

joost

I was listening to a representative of the Writers Guild of America bang on last week about how modern day film and television writers were unappreciated, and his theory that in the future they may avoid the major networks altogether and broadcast directly on to the Internet.This got me thinking about the future of conventional film and television so in order to do a little more research I started looking around on the Internet to see how close this was to becoming a reality.

I very quickly got sidetracked when I stumbled across an application called ‘Joost’ which is still in beta (testing) stage; after spending over an hour playing around I decided that it would make a good inclusion for Click.You may remember that, several years ago, I reviewed an application called TVexe which was good in principal but lacking in the design of the user interface.Joost is very Read the rest

Launch Music Site

launchcast

One of the most fantastic websites that I’ve discovered this month would have to be one called ‘Launch’ which has been bought to us by Yahoo - seemingly, out of nowhere came this excellent Internet site which allows you to pick from hundreds of music videos, MP3’s and artist interviews all completely free of charge and for a change this is available completely legally.

As I really don’t know where to start with this site, we’ll begin by looking at the music videos section which immediately presents you with a long list of artists or allows you to search and quickly find the artist you’re looking for. Once you’ve found you’re desired artist, the site will list all music videos that it has in its comprehensive database for you to view at your pleasure completely free of charge. To fully take advantage of this area of the site it would … Read the rest

Podcasting

Podcasting

Another common 21st century buzzword is ‘podcast’ which is a curious portmanteau of the words iPod and Broadcast; the iPod being, of course, a popular portable MP3 player developed by Apple.The term is used to describe a technology that allows a user to automatically download an audio file of some description for listening to later, and is no longer specifically related to the iPod as many software and hardware combinations can potentially be used.

The roots of podcasting most likely lie in the blogging world as it is the natural progression to broadcasting information via the written word.I’m sorry for chucking another buzzword in the form of ‘blogging’, but with technology suddenly becoming cool there are dozens of new ones making their way in to our vocabularies.A blog, for those of you that don’t know, is an online journal that is frequently updated and intended for the general public.I Read the rest

Last.fm

last-fm

It’s no secret that the radio can at times be both repetitive and, if we’re honest, rubbish. Working in an office, it is pretty essential to have some background music however if I heard Umbrella by Rihanna one more time this summer then I would have actually broken down in to tears.

For those of you unfamiliar with the song you must have been locked away for the entire summer or you simply don’t own a radio as I was exposed to it literally every half an hour through my nine hour working day for a period of three months. By my calculations this means that over the period of the summer I listened to that song over 1,600 times which in my mind is around 1,599 times too often.

If you’re still not sure which song I’m talking about, it’s the one that has three entire choruses that consist … Read the rest

HDTV

hdtv

In the news this week I read that freeview television has just overtaken Sky when it comes to the number of subscribers in the UK. This isn’t exactly shocking news considering many new TV’s now come with freeview boxes installed, but it did get me thinking about where things were heading.

Personally, I’m pleased to have a reminder that the masses are finally moving away from the traditional four or five channel analogue system by investing in freeview boxes.I am still shocked,however, by the number of people actively complaining about the analogue switch off that will be occurring gradually across the UK from next year until 2012.

The argument pretty much comes down to a price point as these people argue that they just can’t afford to invest in a freeview box so the government should keep analogue TV online switched on.This,in my mind, is pretty short-sighted especially when you Read the rest

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