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NEW YORK – Coming to late-model Sony LCD flat panels: YouTube videos.

Sony Corp. on Thursday said YouTube and Wired.com have been added to the video providers for a $300 module it sells for its LCD flat panel TVs.

The Internet Video Link module is a small box that fits into the back of some 2007 and 2008 LCD TVs. It connects to the home broadband router and is controlled by the TV remote. Video service comes free with the module.

Yahoo, AOL, Sports Illustrated and Style.com are among existing video providers for the device.

Similarly, Apple Inc.‘s Apple TV set-top box streams YouTube videos to a TV set, but it works with any high-definition set.

Also Thursday, Sony introduced two high-end LCD TV models with backlighting produced by light-emitting diodes, or LEDs. The models are 46 inches and 55 inches diagonally. Prices were not announced, but will be lower than the cost of the only previously available Sony model with LED backlighting, a 70-inch model for $33,000.

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By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer Thu May 22, 3:14 PM ET

NEW YORK – The lack of high-speed Internet access in some areas of the U.S. has been hotly debated, even as that digital divide has narrowed. But a new, wider gap is being created by technology that will make today’s broadband feel as slow as a dial-up connection.

Much like broadband enabled downloads of music, video and work files that weren’t practical over dial-up, the next generation of Internet connections will allow for vivid, lifelike video conferencing and new kinds of interactive games.

But while access to cable and phone-line broadband has spread to cover perhaps 90 percent of the U.S. in the space of a decade, next-generation Internet access looks set to create a much smaller group of “haves” and a larger group of “have nots.”

The most promising route to superfast home broadband is to extend the fiber-optic lines that already form the Internet’s backbone all the way to homes. Existing fiber-to-the-home, or FTTH, connections are already 10 times faster than vanilla broadband provided over phone or cable lines. With relatively easy upgrades, the speeds could be a hundred times faster.

In the U.S., the buildout of FTTH is under way, but it’s highly concentrated in the 17-state service area of Verizon Communications Inc., which is the only major U.S. phone company that is replacing its copper lines with fiber. Its FiOS service accounts for more than 1.8 million of the 2.9 million U.S. homes that are connected to fiber according to RVA LLC, a research firm that specializes in the field.

FTTH is also offered by some small phone companies, cooperatives and municipalities, like Chattanooga, Tenn. The other major phone companies, like AT&T Inc. and Qwest Communications International Inc., are laying FTTH in “greenfield” developments, but aren’t pulling fiber to existing homes. Some cable companies are doing the same.

Graham Finnie, chief analyst for the telecom research firm Heavy Reading, believes 13 percent of U.S. households will be connected to fiber by 2012. Since Verizon is the major builder, the vast majority of those will be in Verizon territory on the East Coast, Texas and California.

“That does beg the question: What happens to everyone else? There’s going to be a huge community of people who are not getting FTTH in the next five years,” Finnie said.

“A quarter of the U.S. is going to get one of the best networks in the world,” said Dave Burstein, editor of the DSL Prime newsletter.

The rest of the country, he said, is going to be stuck with slow DSL or cable, though the latter is due for upgrades in the next few years that will boost top speeds fivefold.

Still, it’s not entirely clear that people on fiber connections are going to have a big advantage over slowpokes on regular broadband. Today, there is not much that can be done on a fast connection that can’t be done on a standard one. Fiber is already available to a third of South Korean homes, but that hasn’t revolutionized society there, at least not yet.

Increased used of video, particularly high-definition video, is seen as the future of the Internet, but most cable modems and high-end DSL are already capable of streaming HD video downloads. However, fiber connections support higher upload speeds, potentially making for better video conferencing from the home, which in turn creates opportunities for distance learning. Games also could get a jump in realism and online interactivity, Burstein said.

Not only are U.S. regions going to differ tremendously in how fast they get fiber, the differences between countries will also be huge. Apart from South Korea, Finnie cited Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Sweden as other front-runners. He estimates that almost half of all Swedish households would have fiber by 2012, for instance.

“This is not a market where there’s a smooth progression across countries and regions — it’s going to be extremely variable,” said Finnie.

Considered as a whole, the U.S. will be “middling” in the international comparison, trailing the pioneers but well ahead of other developed nations like Finnie’s home country, Britain, which he estimates will have 3 to 4 percent fiber-connected homes in 2012.

The fiber buildout is going to take more time and be more patchy than the introduction of broadband because it’s so much more expensive, Finnie said. Cable modem and DSL connections are retrofits to links originally laid down to provide video and phone service, respectively. Fiber-optic lines will be the first links that are built for data to reach U.S. homes.

The costs will remain high, because getting permits for the buildout and drawing the physical lines is “a hugely physical, human-type activity,” said Joe Savage, president of the FTTH Council North America. While the cost of the equipment keeps dropping rapidly, two-thirds of the cost of connecting a home are labor, he said

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By Antone Gonsalves
InformationWeek 

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen says the site plans to launch a live video service this year.

In a brief interview videotaped at a New York party thrown by YouTube, Chen told Sarah Meyers of Pop17.com that YouTube had always wanted to offer live video but lacked the resources. That, however, has changed, since Google‘s acquisition of YouTube in 2006.

The video and transcript of the interview were posted by TechCrunch. In the interview, Meyers asks, “When are you guys gonna do live video on YouTube?”

Chen responds: “2008. We’ll do it this year.” He goes on to say, “Live video is just something that we’ve always wanted to do. We’ve never had the resources to do it correctly, but now with Google, we hope to actually launch something this year.”

Live video, which is the ability to use a Web cam to record events and then stream the results in real time to the Web is not new to the Internet. Yahoo launched such a service as an “experimental release” this month.

Along with showing Web cam-generated video streams from people’s computers, Yahoo Live also offers developers an application programming interface for mashing up live video streams on a Web site or client application. The API uses REST, or Representational State Transfer, an XML-based protocol for invoking Web services over HTTP.

A unique feature in the service is the ability to see people watching the same video, assuming their Web cams are linked to the service. In addition, there’s live chat while the video is playing.

Other sites offering live video include Justin.TV, Mogulus.

See original article on InformationWeek.com

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Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service 

Digital video advertising expert YuMe plans to use Google‘s InVideo overlay ads in Internet videos as part of the services it offers to customers.

The Redwood City, California company will also use Google’s AdSense for video as well, software that matches advertisements with relevant Web content.

Google’s AdSense for video beta program extends the original AdSense, which was designed for text, to the growing online video space, the companies said.

YuMe is a dedicated video advertising network with over 400 Web sites and 150 million video streams. The company operates an ad management system to help publishers and advertisers make the most out of matching their content with catchy ads. It also collects information by tracking ads, and ensures delivery whether the ad is targeted at the Web, downloads, mobile, and IPTV (Internet Protocol Television).

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 Marco Boerries, executive vice president, Connected Life, Yahoo!, ...

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer 

SAN FRANCISCO – Undeterred by the threat of hostile takeover, slumping Internet pioneer Yahoo Inc. completed an acquisition of its own Tuesday by buying online video service Maven Networks Inc. for $160 million.

The deal marks Yahoo‘s latest attempt to expand its online advertising network and snap out of a two-year financial funk that has culminated in unsolicited takeover offer from Microsoft Corp.

Yahoo’s board rejected the bid Monday, prompting Microsoft to raise the possibility of taking its offer — originally valued at $44.6 billion or $31 per share — directly to shareholders.

Sunnyvale-based Yahoo thinks it’s worth more, an opinion echoed by its second largest shareholder in a letter released Tuesday.

“We think (Microsoft) will have to enhance its offer if it wants to complete a deal,” wrote Bill Miller, a respected fund manager for Legg Mason Inc., which owns more than 80 million Yahoo shares.

Like many other industry analysts, Miller predicted Yahoo ultimately will end up in Microsoft’s clutches.

“We think it will be hard for (Yahoo) to come up with alternatives that deliver more value than (Microsoft) will ultimately be willing to pay,” he wrote.

Miller also wrote that he has already met with Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, and spoken to Jerry Yang, Yahoo’s CEO and co-founder, to share his views.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft so far has indicated it’s not budging from its original offer, calling the proposal “full and fair.” Analysts believe the tense mating dance will last at least a few more weeks.

In the meantime, Yahoo continues to work on a long-promised turnaround.

The talks to buy Cambridge, Mass.-based Maven began before Microsoft announced its bid Feb. 1, said Tim Cadogan, Yahoo’s senior vice president of marketing products.

Maven helps television and movie studios find Web sites to show their videos and manage the accompanying advertisements. The 6-year-old startup works with a wide range of media outlets, including CBS Sports, Gannett Co., News Corp., Hearst Corp. and Sony Pictures.

Online video advertising is steadily climbing as more people watch news and entertainment online. The amount spent on Internet video ads annually is expected to triple during the next three years to $4.3 billion in 2001, estimated research firm eMarketer Inc.

“We think video is going to become the third leg of the advertising stool,” said Cadogan. Ads tied to search requests is currently the Internet’s biggest moneymaker, followed by so-called display ads featuring photos, illustrations and other images.

As in search, Yahoo Inc. is trying to catch up to rival Google Inc. in Internet video.

As of December, Yahoo held a 3.4 percent share of the U.S. online video market, lagging far behind Google, whose ownership of industry leader YouTube.com gave it nearly one-third of the market, according to comScore Inc.

Yahoo plans to retain Maven’s roughly 70 employees even as it completes plans to lay off 1,000 workers in other divisions as part of a plan announced two days before Microsoft’s bid.

Employees affected by the job cuts reportedly began receiving layoff notices Tuesday. Yahoo spokeswoman Diana Wong declined to comment.

Based on a previous mid-February timeline established by management, Yahoo is expected to release additional details about the layoffs late this week or early next week.

Yahoo shares fell less than 1 percent to $29.05 Tuesday afternoon while Microsoft shares rose less than 1 percent to $28.34.

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NEW YORK – A new version of video chat software ooVoo released this week allows users to record chats, perhaps to post them to video-sharing sites like YouTube or just to keep them for posterity.

The free software from New York-based ooVoo is a video-oriented competitor to eBay Inc.‘s Skype. It allows video conferencing with up to six participants, while Skype supports only two-party video calls and is more focused on voice communication.

Skype video can be recorded through third-party programs.

Apple Inc.‘s iChat does multiparty video chats, and a recording feature was introduced with Leopard, the company’s latest operating system.

The new 1.5 version of ooVoo also adds features found in other chat programs: visual effects and the ability to call U.S. phones. The first two hours of calls are free. The company hasn’t said how it plans to charge for additional calling.

Recording of calls without the knowledge of all participants is illegal in many U.S. states so the program notifies participants that they are being recorded.

Oovoo is available for Windows PCs only. A Macintosh version is in the works.

___

On the Net:

http://www.oovoo.com

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Robert McMillan, IDG News Service 

A programming error in eBay‘s Skype communications software could give cyber-criminals a new way to sneak their malicious software onto a victim’s PC.

The flaw, which was reported Thursday by security researcher Aviv Raff, has to do with the way that Skype makes use of a Windows Internet Explorer component to render HTML. Because Skype does not apply strict security controls to the software, an attacker could run scripting code on the victim’s system in a dangerous fashion and ultimately install malicious software.

The problem is that Skype runs the IE component with the less locked-down “Local Zone” security setting. Because of this attackers are able to do “all sorts of things… [such as] reading/writing files from the local disc and launching executables,” wrote security researcher Petko Petkov, in a Thursday blog post about the issue.

For an attack to work, the bad guys would first need to find a trustworthy Web site that contained a common programming flaw called a cross-zone scripting error. This bug would give them a way to trick Skype into running their malicious script as if it came from a trusted Web site.

In a video posted to his blog, Raff showed how a cross-zone scripting flaw on the Dailymotion.com Web site could be exploited to launch the calculator program in Windows, using Skype’s “Add video to chat” feature.

“The user simply needs to visit DailyMotion via Skype’s ‘Add video to chat’ button and stumble upon a move which contains the cross-site scripting vector,” Petkov wrote.

Worse, attackers could flood the site with maliciously encoded advertisements in order to boost their likelihood of infecting a victim, he said. “This type of attack is very easy to pull and it requires almost zero preparation.”

The flaw affects the latest version of Skype– version 3.6.0.244– Raff said. Older versions of the software may also be at risk. “Until the Skype guys fix this vulnerability, I recommend that you stop searching for videos in Skype,” he wrote.

Skype representatives could not be reached immediately for comment.

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