Fox and some other networks are threatening to leave the broadcast airwaves for a more exclusive life as paid cable channels. This is all due to a court spat with Aereo, a startup live-broadcast-TV-over-the-Web service that uses tiny TV antennas to reel in over-the-air network TV shows that its subscribers can then watch on the Web through computers and mobile devices. The tiny antenna part seems to be what gets around legal issues since you’re basically getting your own little roof rack when you subscribe and that skirts the Copyright Act since hey, an antenna’s an antenna.) As you can imagine, broadcast TV stations are very, very, very angry, especially because they aren’t getting paid for their signals like other TV providers who want to show the programs on cable and satellite systems. Aereo has won multiple legal battles so far, but the war likely isn’t over. Stay tuned, as they say in the TV business.
Sony has announced 55- and 65-inch Ultra HD TVs, and those are respectively priced at $4,999 and $6,999. And because getting ultra high-def content may be hard to do for early adopters, Sony also announced a $700 FMP-X1 4K media player that comes pre-stocked with 10 movies in the big beefy 3840-by-2160 resolution. Blade Runner is not one of them, but you can see The Bridge on the River Kwai and last year’s webslinger reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, among the offerings.
Spring is in the air and Google has freshened up its Google Play online store with a visual redesign and reorganization to help shoppers find content more easily. Google has also cleaned up from of the crappier apps lurking about the virtual shelves. According to a report on the TechCrunch blog, 60,000 apps were removed in February, as Google has begun to crack down on non-compliant apps and those whose main function seems to be spewing spam.
In the near future, the US Navy will be firing laser beams at unmanned drones that try to attack the Navy’s boats and the United States Air Force has designated six cybertools as designated weapons for budgetary and planning purposes. No details on these cybertools have been shared, and as far as futuristic weapons, go, the White House has already ruled out building a Death Star.
Microsoft may be announcing the new version of its Xbox game console on May 21, and some other rumors point to a lack of backward compatibility with Xbox 360 games if they switch processors to make cross-platform development with PC games easier. As many tech sites have pointed out, this week marks the beginning of the end of extended support for Windows XP, which ends on April 8, 2014. In an attempt to sweeten the deal so holdout will pleasepleaseplease upgrade, Microsoft is currently offering a 15-percent discount for companies that upgrade their computers and licenses to Windows 8 and the standard edition of Office 2013. (Despite its busy schedule Microsoft also found the time recently to join Nokia in a complaint to the European Union over Google’s perceived monopoly on the mobile space.)
Facebook had a press conference to announce its new Facebook Home software that basically skins an Android handset and turns it into a total wormhole to The Social Network. As one might expect, those who worry about privacy issues are a little bothered by Facebook Home. If you fall into this camp, check out the post on GigaOm site that ponders the implications. For its part, Facebook addresses these concerns in a Q&A on its site. If it all makes you just want to chill out and take a break from it all, there are plenty of other sites on the Web — the total number of top-level domain names has now passed the 252 million mark. Grab another cool refreshing beverage and keep surfin’…