Zune in Crisis: Holiday sales down 54%

Zune, Microsoft's iPod rival, is not having its finest hour these days. Holiday sales nosedived by a whopping 54%, eating into profits from the entire Entertainment and Devices Division. Pre-holiday price cuts didn't help move Zunes off the shelves, and Apple's stellar iPod holiday sales helped cement Zune's destiny. If Microsoft doesn't come up with a better business plan - one that should call for a touch-based model that could actually be a rival to iPod touch, and an App Store-like model with third-party applications - then Zune could easily never recover from this disaster.

Sony improves PlayStation 3 media capabilities, gets DivX 3.11

 If you own a PlayStation 3, it is important to note that the firmware update is now live. Sony has released the update mainly for the improvement of the PlayStation 3's media capabilities. Among other things, it allows the user to wield a new set of tools for sorting through and displaying their personal collection of digital photos.

Sony exec claims Xbox lacks longevity, PS3 destined to finish first

 Sony's Computer Entertainment chairman, Kazuo Hirai, has expressed strong feelings and opinions regarding the gaming console industry. Hirai feels that the PlayStation 3 is well on its way to outselling and thriving better than the Xbox 360. He says Sony will "continue official leadership in this industry."

First the music business wanted to stop pirating, now it looks to replicate it

 For years the music industry has been making great strides and taking extreme measures to prevent pirates from illegally copying and downloading its content.

YouTube now accessible by television via Wii and PS3

 On Thursday, YouTube announced the launch of the YouTube for television portion of the website that has a new user interface designed for simplified viewing on television screens. The service will be enabled in beta by users with either Wiis or PS3s.

Blockbuster's streaming movie device - not all it's cracked up to be

 The concept of having one set-top box which is capable of delivering to your television set newly released video and film is very appealing. Companies such as Apple have shown that delivering a service of this caliber is almost impossible today, at least until better technology is developed. Even though this type of service might be a far cry from being fully developed, companies are still attempting it - and most recently Blockbuster.

Nintendo sold record breaking 10.2 million Wiis in US in 2008

 According to NPD Group's statistics, in 2008 Nintendo managed to sell 10.17 million Wii game consoles in the United States, breaking sales records. Nintendo's DS handheld game device also sold 9.95 million units last year, the success of which is largely attributed to the DSi's delay in this country.

Nintendo DSi coming to U.S. in April

 IGN has started a rumor that the successor to Nintendo's DS Lite, The DSi, will hit U.S. store shelves in April for $179.99. The devices have already sold more than one million units in Japan for the equivalent of $211.

UPDATED: Blu-ray sales quadrupled in 2008

 Late last week at CES, Andy Parsons, president of the Blu-ray Disc Association announced that 2008 was a banner year for Blu-Ray sales. Surpassing the adoption rate of DVDs, CDs and HDTVs (as well as several other common household technologies), Blu-Ray sales topped 28.6 million in the 4th quarter alone (up from 9.5 million a year earlier). Top seller was Dark Knight.

DRM-free iTunes music embedded with owner's email address

 Apple's DRM-free iTunes service is proving to be completely DRM-free, meaning any player can play new music downloaded from iTunes in the AAC (.m4a extension) iTunes Plus format. However, the DRM-free versions still have internal tags which link the music purchase back to the purchaser.

Some odd 2009 predictions, including a $900 iPhone

 I personally have always felt that free thinking should be encouraged and condoned. I love to hear the opinions of tech geniuses, and gadget gurus as to what the future in technology holds for me. Even if the concepts are off the wall, outrageous, or ridiculous it’s still fun to ponder, right?

UPDATED: Nvidia takes gaming into full-3D with stereoscopic glasses

 Today, Nvidia unveiled 3D Vision for GeForce. Designed to operate wirelessly with high speed shutters and selected 120 Hz frequency monitors, the gaming, photo and movie industry can now go fully 3D out of the box with little or no modification.

CES 2009: Xbox Live has 17 million users, Halo Wars coming March 3

Microsoft’s Robbie Bach provided some updates on Xbox 360 content at CES. Halo Wars received a new release date and Kodu will allow users to create their own games.

CES 2009: Netgear debuts new Internet set-top boxes

 Netgear is taking this week's Consumer Electronics Show to unveil two new Internet-connected set-top boxes for those looking to enjoy online video content. These are the Internet TV Player (ITV2000) and Digital Entertainer Elite (EVA9150), priced around $200 and $400, respectively.

CES 2009: 3D video gaming to become a reality next month

One of the most impressive product demos on the first day came from Mitsubishi. It showcased Nvidia 3D technology on one of its 3D-enabled TVs. You will be able to buy this stunning product for $200 next month (TV not included, of course). 

Macworld 2009: iTunes now DRM-free, iPhone music purchases over 3G network are a go

Remember last year when EMI was the only big music label that offered its music on Apple's iTunes free from the dreaded digital rights management (DRM)? It now appears that the remaining three labels have given up trying to build an iTunes rival. They've done this by now giving everyone DRM-free tracks, including iTunes.

Digital TV switch not going as expected

 The upcoming mandatory switch from analog to digital TV has been known about for some time. Projections were made, estimates were budgeted, and everything was to proceed smoothly. Except, nobody counted on a recession. As a result, digital TV sales are down, fewer consumers are switching to cable/satellite, and converter box sales are up causing the government's coupon program to run out of money. It was a plan well executed!

Apple: iPhone farts ok, boobs not

Apple is relaxing some App Store rules to make room for a broader range of official applications for the iPhone. The download store now has applications like iFart Mobile and Pull my Finger that do exactly what their names suggest. However, porn and sexual content is still off limits, at least officially, as the iBoobs software was kicked out. Most developers greeted the much more liberal approach to approve applications, but some believe Apple should make even more changes – especially to allow the sale of third-party software that competes with Apple's own applications.

Rolando rolls into the App Store

Chicago - Rolando has finally hit the App Store as the most anticipated game for iPhone and iPod touch this holiday season. Great use of tilt and touch controls, unique idea and smooth gameplay make this a must-have iPhone game that numerous reviewers already describe as killer gaming app and a potential system-seller that Apple has been waiting for. Combined with a $9.99 price tag and a digital distribution model, Rolando also demonstrates the advantages of Apple's platform. The fact that gaming content on the App Store is becoming a big business should get Sony’s and Nintendo’s attention. EXTRA: SLIDESHOW

Can a Blu-ray/DVD hybrid disc save Blu-ray?

While Blu-ray player and disc sales apparently are climbing, movie executives repeatedly said that the Blu-ray has been a rather disappointing business so far. HD DVD may be dead, but movie streaming is developing into a serious rival for the Blu-ray disc and we hear that this Christmas is considered to be a make or break event for the technology. A new Blu-ray/DVD hybrid disc brings new hope that more Blu-ray media will be sold. Is it enough?