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.

Outsourcing wave to hit Hollywood actors

Opinion – Every time a new processor announced, we often wonder what we could use this new horsepower for besides a few more frames in games and faster Photoshop filters. Ten years ago, a 450 MHz (single-core) CPU sounded like overkill, and in ten years we may be wondering what that heterogeneous many-core chip might be good for. You know what I mean. We are typically looking for those new types of applications the hardware vendors tell us have not been invented yet. However, for the next generation of hardware, I will make a prediction: Multi-core processors and capable graphics hardware will enable movie production studios to outsource Hollywood actors, and keep Angeline Jolie as young and attractive as she is now for as long as they want. And there may even be more uses for this technology.

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.

Microsoft records biggest year ever for Xbox

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!

Wii Sports becomes best selling game of all time

Vaporware 2008: And the winner is ...?

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?

Warner Music videos removed from YouTube

If you are used to watching your favorite music videos via YouTube, then you might be surprised to find that task is going to become much more difficult. Warner Music said in a statement that it “simply cannot accept terms that fail to appropriately and fairly compensate recording artists, songwriters, labels and publishers for the value they provide.”

Electronic Arts now under Steam

Valve's Steam content distribution service has scored an important win with the addition of Electronic Arts to the list of participating publishers. The announcement is somewhat surprising given the fact that the world's largest game publisher runs its own online store that also sells select games as digital downloads. Electronic Arts currently offers five triple-A titles on Steam, including Spore, and is expected to grow the list of games by the end of the year with several new additions, including Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3.

YouTube changing format, pushes widescreen HD video

Recently, YouTube released their high-definition video option. They have now created new landing pages in attempt to make finding popular video categories simple.

SimCity now building cities on iPhone screens

If you ever enjoyed building sandcastles on a beach and destroying it afterwards, there is a good chance that you were playing one of the many versions of SimCity on a PC as well. EA Mobile recently released an adaptation of the game for the iPhone which lets you create a finely structured city and, if you want to, bring sudden change through monsters or tornadoes.