A soggy future for paper?

[As ever you can read this on the BBC Website too. And thanks to NationalExpressEastCoast for their crowded train and late running service, which provided the inspiration…]

The UK launch of the Sony Reader has sparked another round of frenzied speculation over the future of the printed book in a world of screens, networks and digital data.

Like the iLiad or the US-only Kindle, the Reader is a paperback-sized electronic book with a high-resolution display that uses ‘electronic ink’ and looks and acts more like paper than a screen.

They have been available for a while in other markets, and I almost succumbed to the temptation to buy one on my last visit to the US.

The  quality and ease of use of the new generation of readers means that they appeal to the general population rather than those who like to live at the leading edge of technological innovation, but although sales have been good they are far from spectacular.

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Home is where the hard drive is

[Also on the BBC News website, as usual]

One of the more interesting announcements made at last week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was that BT Vision, the on-demand TV-over-broadband service, will be available on the Xbox 360 later this year.

It was one of several media-related announcements from Microsoft, including  deals with both MGM and  Disney-ABC that will see Rocky, High School Musical, Lost and many other films and TV series available to download on Xbox Live.
BT plans to use the Xbox 360 as a set top box rather than simply joining Xbox Live, so you’ll only be able to get the service if you have BT broadband at home.

And they won’t be streaming live TV, so Xbox owners won’t be able to throw out their Freeview tuners for a while yet. According to BT ‘the console does not have the capability for live TV or enough space for practical downloading of content.’

Continue reading “Home is where the hard drive is”