5.1 Surround Sound Coming To Netflix?

Get ready for better experience on the live streamed Netflix movies from later this year. CNET is quoting sources as revealing that a higher 5.1 surround sound and closed captioning features could be offered on Netflix’s HD livestreams from later this year.

However, another rumor surrounding the introduction of 1080p HD streaming went bust as Netflix has denied that this shall be brought to customers anytime this year – An implicit approval of the other rumor however.

Netflix is under intense competition of late ever since Google announced the launch of rental movies on Youtube. Unlike Netflix’s policy to bring new movies 28 days after release, Youtube can bring users new releases thus making it a better option. Better home-theater experiences in the form of surround sound are expected to help Netflix retain the loyalty of their users though it is not known if Google has similar plans for their rental releases as well.

[via CNET]

ChaCha To Get Into eCommerce (Kind of)

ChaCha launched back in 2006 as a human edited search engine. However, since then, the company has morphed itself into a SMS-based search service where users may SMS questions to receive answers from human editors.

Now, it appears that the company could be graduating further to help users make purchases via SMS as well. In a patent filed last month, ChaCha has elaborated on a model whereby ChaCha users can integrate their account with their Amazon or eBay accounts. Once this is done, an SMS based enquiry on specific products will return a ‘BUYNOW’ option. Users interested in buying the product may SMS the relevant text to ChaCha for the transaction to be complete. ChaCha is supposedly calling this “242BUY

Here is a portrayal of how the whole process will work. (Click to view enlarged image)

ChaCha eCommerce

While this model might not work with auction based services like eBay where users may not be willing to trust a ChaCha editor for the best prices, it can really be a hit with purchase of books and movies from a service like Amazon.

What do you think of this?

Coming Soon : Symbian Tablets!

Moving into 2010, the New York Times proudly proclaimed the new year to be the year of Tablets. From what we have seen in the past few weeks, that certainly seems to be happening.

After Apple announced its iPad, we heard rumors that Google was following suit. And now in a recent chat with ZDNet, Symbian Foundation chief Lee Williams explicitly indicated that a Symbian platform based tablets are in the works. Here is what he said

“It’s very likely that, in the next year or two, you would see such a product hit the marketplace. A lot of companies are experimenting with PDA-tablet-style form factors, also for stereo systems, and internet-connected devices running low power on primarily ARM architecture — we do get occasional interest for a few of those.”

Lee Williams further talked about making the Symbian platform open to any platform that wants to work with it. He described the foundation’s Wild Ducks project as something that will help any off-the-shelf hardware to interact with their platform.

It was only a few weeks back that people were debating on the need for a Tablet-like device. Now, with so many companies jumping in, this has been one instance where the product demand is being forcefully pushed up.

[via ZDNet]

Bank Of America Brings Proximity-Based Authentication

Next time you forget your login credentials for your BoA account and ask for the password to be sent to your mobile phone, chances are that the system will track the location of your device as well.

In a new patent filed by the company, the inventors claim one way of minimizing risks in false authentication is by ensuring that a mobile device the password is sent to is at more or less the same location as the computer terminal used to access the online account. The inventors say this location based service could help add an alternative way to authenticate the user over the existing methods.

The inventors say the location of the mobile phone can be tracked by one of several ways such as GPS, Wireless IP geolocation, cellphone tower signal triangulation,etc.

Do you see this technology helping authentication or do you think this is a needless additional layer?