Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coming to TiVo: Blockbuster downloads online

Blockbuster is going to let TiVo users download movies from its online library beginning later this year.

Most TiVo users with high-speed Internet connections will be able to view the movies offered in Blockbuster's On Demand system. Netflix and Amazon offer online video straight to TiVo, too. Netflix also lets users of certain Blu-Ray players and Xbox 360 systems have access.

Netflix's online movie selection, however, is limited to mostly older titles and doesn't include many HD movies.

Under terms of Blockbuster's new deal, the brick-and-mortar stores and Web site will sell the TiVo DVRs. Blockbuster senior vice president Kevin Lewis said his company planned to make the online system available to users of Apple-brand products. Apple has its own on-demand service, Apple TV, that just expanded its HD offerings.

Lewis said Blockbuster will offer about 10,000 movies when the new service launches in the latter half of the year and said his company's online roster would be stronger than Amazon and Netflix, offering newer content.

With TiVo, once a film is selected, it can be watched while it is still being downloaded over the Internet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The hardest video games of all time

AOL's gaming site, has just released its list of the top 10 hardest video games of all time.

"Not only are these games almost impossible to beat," the Web site claims, "but will inevitably end with you or your fellow gamers cursing, throwing controllers or kicking chairs."

No. 1 on the list was the Ninja Gaiden series, which is, for me, practically impossible to deal with on Xbox 360.

Here's their list.

10. Contra series (Konami)
Contra is one of those holy grail franchises that poses a challenge for all who approach it. The two NES games were hard to beat, unless you were one of those people that used a code for multiple lives. Then came the sequels Contra III: The Alien Wars on SNES (a monster on the hardest setting) and Contra: Shattered Soldier, a game that's so frustrating we still haven't beaten it. (We've gotten close, though.)

9. Defender (Williams)
As the last line of defense for Earth, you've got an awful lot to tackle in Williams' arcade classic. Mutants have overtaken the planet, and they're sucking up innocent people. Not only must you blast these creatures into oblivion, but you also have to rescue falling civilians. Later stages are incredibly demanding, especially with the introduction of the smaller swarm ships. Don't say we didn't give you a heads up.

8. Devil May Cry 3 (Capcom)
In Devil May Cry 3, the "hard" difficulty setting from the Japanese version became "normal" in the States, and Capcom then introduced a new difficulty mode called "Dante Must Die." It was so overwhelming that Capcom had to introduce an easier Special Edition to calm down the gaming community.

7. God of War series (SCEA)
To breeze through God of War games, choose the lightest difficulty and enjoy the cakewalk. For the rest of us, there's God mode, which punishes players with enemies that don't hold anything back; just wait until you face the serpents. Oh, and don't expect God of War III to be any easier.

6. R-Type (Irem)
R-Type leads the pack of nearly impossible shooters. When this game first hit arcades in the late '80s, people kept slamming quarters down for a chance to take on the Bydo Empire with a small spacecraft. It's still a pain in the butt, especially the recently released Xbox Live Arcade game R-Type Dimensions. (Unless you're a wuss and take the easier route.)

5. Ikaruga (Treasure)
Speaking of unbelievably hard shooters, we can't have this list without this Treasure classic. Ikaruga has a twist to its shooting techniques, as you'll switch between two colors and absorb enemy bullets to fire charged shots. You'll need to acquire power-ups, as enemies unleash beautiful, firework-style destruction. Good luck getting past level five – or even level three.

4. Mega Man 9 (Capcom)
Most Mega Man games have their fair share of frustrations, most notably Mega Man 3 on the NES and the Mega Man X games on the PlayStation. Nothing, though, comes close to what you'll face in Mega Man 9. This downloadable game for Xbox Live, Wii Shop Channel and PlayStation Network hurls everything it's got at you, from fire-throwing flowers to tricky spiked floors to crazy boss battles. There's also a list of Challenges to complete, some of which are borderline insane. One even requires you to survive a boss battle for 10 minutes.

3. Battletoads (Tradewest)
The designers at Rare were either mad scientists bent on breaking our spirits or freakin' geniuses testing our physical limits when they produced Battletoads on the NES. Maybe it's both. Either way, this wild platforming game has several tasks for you and a friend to complete, including speeder bike chases, snake riding, beating up baddies and surfing. Few have seen the game's conclusion.

2. Ghouls n' Ghosts series (Capcom)
Ghosts n' Goblins is without question one of the most difficult video game series of all time. Its lead character, Arthur, valiantly attempts to save his love, only to die repeatedly at the hands of numerous monsters. Super Ghouls n' Ghosts for the SNES is a real test, requiring you to go through the game twice before it ends. Many a controller died beating that one.

1. Ninja Gaiden series (Tecmo)
Finally, we come to the series that will bring you to your knees and make you cry for mercy. Since its debut on the NES, Ninja Gaiden introduced tough enemies and even tougher bosses. Over the years, it's only gotten harder. Ninja Gaiden Black is ridiculous with its enormous list of challenges to complete and tricky bad guys. Ninja Gaiden II on the Xbox 360 only increased our stress levels, with monsters so vicious we punched holes through walls

VIDEO: So this is how they created Dr. Manhattan

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Watch out of market NCAA games now for free

The HD out of market feeds of NCAA games are up now and look good.

You can click here to see them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Get your out-of-market NCAA games for free (plus local TV schedule)

Here is WBTV Channel 3's NCAA Tournament schedule for Friday and Saturday:

Thursday, March 19th
12 pm Butler - LSU
2:30 pm Radford - UNC
7 pm Michigan - Clemson
9:30 pm Binghamton - Duke
Friday, March 20th
12 pm Tennessee - Oklahoma State
2:30 pm Dayton - West Virginia
7 pm Southern Cal - Boston College
9:30 pm Cleveland State - Wake Forest

If you want to see other games than the ones listed, you can buy a "March Madness" package from cable or satellite provider, or you can queue up your high-speed internet connection. At, you can see out-of-market games for free. If you have an iPhone or iPod touch, you can download a $4.99 app from the Apple App Store to see out-of-market games on the handheld devices wherever you can access a Wi-Fi connection.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Apple adds most-wanted features to iPhone

Apple today unveiled new features that will be available in the forthcoming iPhone 3.0 software.

The features include: cut, copy and paste (shake to undo or redo); turn-by-turn GPS navigation, landscape keyboard for all applications (including mail), photo instant messaging, and support for stereo bluetooth headsets.

The iPhone and iPhone 3G versions of iPhone OS 3.0 will be free for current iPhone users, and that the iPod touch version will be available for $10.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Apple to unveil new iPhone operating system software

Engadget and several other tech sources are reporting that Apple plans to introduce its iPhone 3.0 software March 17 at 1 p.m.

Apple plans to show of an advance preview of the new software, which many expect to arrive by summer, along with possibly a new iPhone.

Current users want to be able to type emails while holding the device sideways (landscape mode) allowing the keyboard to be larger as well as being able to send multimedia text messages. It'll be interesting to see what goodies Apple puts into the new software.

Dish Network expands national HD offerings

DISH Network has added high definition feeds of Showtime Showcase HD, SHO2 HD, The Movie Channel HD and BET J, expanding its national HD count to up to 128 channels. The sat-caster, which now trails DirecTV in national HD by only a handful of channels, plans to add BET, Comedy Central, CMT, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike TV and VH-1 in HD this spring.

Showtime Showcase HD, SHO2 HD and The Movie Channel HD are located in the Showtime Unlimited package, available for just $12.99 per month. BET J is part of PlatinumHD, which can be added to any programming package for $10 per month. Existing DISH Network subscribers who upgrade to HD programming will receive PlatinumHD free for the first three months.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Apple releases new iMac models

Apple released a slew of new products Tuesday morning, including long-awaited updates to its iMac, Mac mini and Mac Pro lines of personal computers.

The iMac, with its all-in-one design, now starts at $1,199 for a 20-inch version featuring a 2.66 GHz processor and 2 gigabytes of memory. A 24-inch version ($1,499) comes with 4GB of memory and up to 1 terabyte of hard-drive space. A fully tricked-out iMac -- upgradeable to 8GB of memory -- now runs well over $3,000.

All iMacs come with a built-in video camera, speakers and wireless-N networking.

Starting at $599, the mini measures only 6.5 inches square by 2 inches high. It comes with a 2 GHz processor and up to 4GB of memory. Apple claims it uses 10 times less power than a typical desktop PC.

The Mac Pro uses new super-fast Intel "Nehalem" processors that Apple claims make its flagship machine up to twice as fast as the old model. Pricing begins at $2,499, $300 less than the old version. The new machine also includes a high-performance graphics card that Apple said provides "three times greater performance," and an updated interior to allow easier access to components for expansion.

Apple also updated its popular wireless networking base station, the AirPort Extreme, to allow users to have simulatenous 2.4 and 5 GHz dual-band networking, as well as the ability to give guests a password to access your network while still maintaining security for personal files.