XBMC for Android

This will be a pretty interesting project to keep an eye on…

XBMC has announced its first full-featured release for Android. Introduced in a blog post on the developer’s website, the open-source media sharing software is compatible with any Android-based smartphone, tablet, or set-top box for local network video and audio streaming. Unlike the existing XBMC Remote for Android app, XBMC for Android offers the full range of features found on the desktop equivalent.

What’s more, users will not be required to root their Android device to access the software. While other details remain scarce, Team XBMC says that it is stable and developers can get their hands on the source code immediately with beta APKs arriving in coming weeks.

via The Verge.

NHK’s stabilised balloon camera replaces traditional crane and jib

A brilliant combination of technologies, makes for one very stable system, worth watching the video to see how well it performs…

The Japan Broadcasting Corporation, or NHK, has developed a camera-carrying balloon capable of steady aerial shots that would previously have been done from a crane. The helium-filled balloon, which can rise to heights of 300 meters but would likely operate at 30 to 50 meters, is attached to a four-axis gimbal that keeps the camera steady even when the balloon moves. Unlike a crane, the balloon is relatively cheap to produce and doesn’t require a permit or large setup space. This means that it could be used to provide bird’s-eye views of events that cranes couldn’t reach, or new shots at things like sporting events.

via The Verge.

Windows Media Center eat my hard disk

Whilst trying out the rather excellent DVBlink 4.0 I came across a strange quirk in Windows Media Center when using lots of TV tuners: it eats hard disk space like it’s going out of fashion.

I say this as a user of a mac mini with a 128gb sad installed running Windows Media Center. Now this setup is never going to win any storage awards but as it’s linked with Windows Home Server’s excellent TV archive add-on (which moves recorded programs slowly over to the server some time after the recording is complete) the lack of storage really shouldn’t be an issue.

Apparently until now Media Center agreed, it had been using 50gb of the 105gb Windows partition, seeing as the most it would use would be about 3gb an hour for BBC Freeview HD program that still leaves plenty of space for many hour of recordings before TV archiver kicks in. This all changed when testing DVBlink v4, runs as a service supplying 8 tuners as a network service. Obviously the number of tuners I have (two) hasn’t changed, but with the upcoming Blackgold Quad Freeview HD tuner, I’m sure this will change at some point.

Unfortunately due to the way Media Center works it likes to reserve a chunk of space for live tv recordings, which seems to be different and separate to the system cache of 1gb per tuner it already has. This is where my well laid plan fell apart as the space reserved by Media Center is extraordinarily large, taking about 40gb of space (ie all of it) for 8 tuners, compared to 20gb for 4 tuners and about 10gb for 2 tuners (anecdotal evidence suggests the rate is about 5gb reserved space per tuner, which would match my findings)

The really pain is that if you’re not using all the tuners in the previous version of DVBlink you could easily just not set them up in Media Center. That doesn’t seem to be the case with DVBlink v4.0 Beta, something I hope will change otherwise I’ll have to switch back to a slower conventional hard disk to support Media Centers hunger for space.

GoPro launches HD Hero2 helmet cam, with live WIFI streaming coming soon

More awesome hardware for the GoPro team, as the extreme camera of choice for most broadcasters, I can’t wait to see what they can do with the new one (especially the new WIFI streaming edition coming this winter!)…

The HD Hero2 competitively boasts that it’s twice as powerful its 2009 predecessor, the original HD Hero. The new helmet cam promises to capture 1080p 16:9 footage from atop your sweaty noggin at both narrow (90-degree), wide (170-degree) and medium (127-degree) angles, and can snap up to ten 11 megapixel photos per second.

The camera’s mini-HDMI port, composite out, USB, SD card and HERO ports will help you share the spoils of your spills when your adventure ends — at least until this winter, when GoPro’s WiFi BacPac promises to enable live broadcasting and camera control over WiFi.

via Engadget.

The Gadget Show builds the ultimate Battlefield 3 gaming platform

This looks like an amazing setup, I can’t wait to see it in action, on Five, this monday (24th October at 8pm)…

Armed with a pre-release level of Battlefield 3, The Gadget Show enlisted a team of design experts to transform a Birmingham studio into an FPS simulator costing £500,000 ($650,000). A four by nine meter video dome surrounds the player as they stand on an omni-directional treadmill that lets you walk wherever you want to go. Ten infra-red motion tracking cameras and a sensor on your gun enables the picture to follow where you point it and a Kinect hack controls your jumping and crouching.

via Engadget.

Visualise your next television in your own living room before buying

Here’s a great idea, Sony have developed a tool to visualise the size of the television in your living room (spoiler: there’s no such thing as too large)

‘Augmented Reality’ from Sony allows you to see the TV in your residence before leaving home. Forget tape measures, gut feelings and guess work. This TV size-guide from Sony will show you how various TVs will look in different parts of your home. Just follow four easy steps and all is revealed. You might find that you can have a larger TV than you thought as televisions are sleeker and more compact today. Try ‘Augmented Reality’ from Sony now and see what your future TV viewing could look like.

via YouTube.