Last year, DirecTV temporarily added TruTV HD to its lineup just during March Madness so its fans could catch all of the games, and it’s bringing Turner-owned network back again this year. This time however, the satellite company has promised on Facebook (if a relationship is Facebook official, you know it’s real) it’s sticking around this time. This means not only can customers get all the college hoops this month, they can also later tune into all manner of reality TV programming. You’re welcome (c) Kobe Bryant.
Hollywood’s latest digital ecosystem offers lots of promise, but in the five months since its release, it couldn’t be further from delivering on it. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Walmart will finally make use of its membership to the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem by offering in-store disc to digital UltraViolet upgrade opportunities, for a small price of course. No doubt UltraViolet can use all the help it can get, but this is far from what we were hoping for when we learned Walmart would be in the mix — we were hoping for the ability to buy and watch UltraViolet movies via Walmart’s Vudu. Beyond our personal wishes, this no where near the big revelation that most consumers would actually find interesting: the release of the Common File Format which promises universal offline playback of our movie collection.
In a bit of bad news for Dish Network, the FCC has decided against issuing a waiver for it to start using the spectrum it’s acquired from DBSD and Terrestar over the last year or so right away. Company chairman Charlie Ergen that waiting might make it too risky for the company to try and roll out wireless services at all. We’ll see if that is truly the case, as the FCC’s decision is to opt for a longer “rule-making” process that could take until the end of the year to wrap up before Dish can get started on delivering LTE services. While it seems unlikely Dish is going to get the LightSquared treatment, what exactly this means for its wireless broadband plans, or even the potential of a rumored purchase by ATT, is unclear at this point.
We don’t think there is such a thing as Racing stripes “2.0″, but if there was, this is what it might look like. Audi’s “Visions” project brings the OLEDs we know and love to the outside of the not-so-humble automobile. Like something out of Tron, the fancy light array in the concept we see here hints at how external lighting on cars might look in the near future. Stephan Berlitz, Head of Lighting Electronics for the car maker, states that we’re still some way out from OLED surfaces replacing front and brake lights, due to low currents and the temperature ranges the diodes can presently operate under. We might, however, see it replacing tail and side lights before too long. If you watch the video after the break, you may have a few ideas for those pseudo-screens of your own.
Not to be outdone by the Nokia 808‘s appearance at MWC, HTC has released sample shots taken using the ImageSense camera module that comes in its One X and One S phones. In many ways they’re normal-looking stills, with nothing like PureView’s 41-megapixel oversampling (which is claimed to result in a superior 5-megapixel still), and certainly no over-sized 1/1.2-inch sensor. However, if you look closely, you can see the benefits of some of HTC’s improvements. Top among those is the faster f/2.0 lens, which will allow for shorter exposures and clearer moving subjects — like the skateboarders above. Such images will also likely benefit from the 0.7-second time window for capturing an image and the 0.2-second auto-focus when shooting continuously. Whatever you make of the sample shots in the gallery below, HTC can also claim one key advantage over PureView: camera technology that still fits into a regular-sized smartphone.
Gallery: HTC ImageSense sample photos
Look who just beat Nokia, ZTE and Lenovo to launching the first official Windows Phone in China? At the opening of HTC’s first Chinese flagship store in Beijing yesterday (pictured after the break), Sina Tech’s Zāng Zh Yuān noticed that the company’s already accepting pre-orders for the 4.7-inch Titan, which is priced at 4,399 or about $700 sans contract — very much in the high-end of the market, surprisingly enough. In fact, we had already heard HTC’s managers claiming to have the first Chinese Windows Phone at MWC last week, except they couldn’t comment on the actual timing.
Judging by the sign above, the only noticeable difference here — depending on your Chinese literacy — is that the phone’s dubbed Triumph locally; but additionally, HTC informed us that its first Chinese Windows Phone will be powered by WP7.5 Tango, with its Facebook and Twitter integration replaced by the likes of Sina Weibo, Tencent Weixin and SkyDrive to play the local rules. If you’ll recall, such localization is very much what Nokia’s Stephen Elop had confirmed in our Engadget Show interview back in November. So, any bets on who’s next in line to climb over the Great Wall?
Got an Android tab and don’t like its government manufacturer-issue UI? Then why not join the ranks of the launcher rebel alliance. GO Launcher EX for phones has been around for a while, but now it’s been upscaled for Honeycomb 3.0+ slates under the GO HD moniker. It’s only a beta release, and with that comes the normal caveats on functionality — such as a lack of fancy transitions — but you can still make other tweaks to your tab’s interface, such as alter the grid size and customize your dock. Ready to cross enemy lines? Then launch your browser toward the source for the download.
Remember that gorgeous looking R18 hybrid from Audi that raced into our hearts earlier this week? Well, we found this video of it in action. If you can look past the flock of applauding suits, you’ll get a sneak-peek at this beast on the track. Sadly we’ll have to wait until Le Mans before we can really smell the rubber, but in the meantime, there’s a gallery of renders below to keep you going.
Gallery: Audi R81 Hybrid
It’s good to see a special edition that may actually deserve its name, for once. When the silver version of the popular K-5 came out last year, it was priced at $1,700 body-only. This new kit, which will be limited to 1,500 units worldwide and available from April, will cost just $1,600 including the bundled lens. And it’s decent glass: an ultra-thin, Marc Newson designed beauty with a 40mm fixed focal length and f/2.8 aperture — just like on the mirrorless K-01. The only thing missing? There’s no sign of a “Limited Edition” stamp anywhere on it, but luckily we’re too modest to notice.
In a move that is sure to surprise no one, it appears ATT is getting ready to send its trusty 2G GSM network riding off into the sunset. MarketWatch is reporting that some Ma Bell customers have received letters, urging them to upgrade to a 3G or (gasp) 4G device and warning that service may degrade in some areas as spectrum is repurposed. While the letter stops short of saying the 2G network is being shut down, it seems the writing is on the wall. With the collapse of the T-Mobile acquisition and Verizon’s sizable lead in the race to acquire spectrum, ATT is left with little choice but to use its GSM channels for HSPA+ and LTE service. So far the notices have only gone out to customers in the New York metro area, but it seems safe to assume other locales will follow. The only question is whether the carrier will lean on hold-outs the same way it did when the time came to kill off TDMA — with a tax on primitive technology.