Sean Portnoy

Contributor

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as an online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

Sean Portnoy is a freelance technology journalist; currently, all work that Sean does is on a contractural basis. Sean has also written corporate communications documents for CA.Sean does not accept gifts from companies he covers. All hardware products he writes about are purchased with his own funds or are review units covered under formal loan agreements and are returned after the review is complete.

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DirecTV, Verizon FiOS lead in offering HD channels

DirecTV, Verizon FiOS lead in offering HD channels

If you believed the commercials, it would be clear that Comcast is the leader when it comes to providing the most HD programming. But anyone who has Comcast as their cable provider knows that the cable giant makes that claim based on the amount of on-demand high-def programming it makes available, not on the number of HD channels it provides.

February 16, 2009 by in Telcos

AMD announces ATI Theater HD 750 "HDTV on a chip"

AMD announces ATI Theater HD 750 "HDTV on a chip"

Some owners of home theater PCs (HTPCs) want as much of the same experience as a typical cable user as possible, which means they need to install CableCards into their systems to access scrambled digital channels and the like. For those whose TV needs are less demanding, a PC with a TV tuner can get you unscrambled cable channels and over-the-air HD stations.

June 2, 2009 by in Telcos

DirecTV releases iPhone app to taunt us cable customers

DirecTV releases iPhone app to taunt us cable customers

If its superior number of HD channels isn't enough to elicit some envy from cable subscribers, DirecTV is rubbing it in a little more with the official release of an iPhone app that basically lets you control your DVR from anywhere.More specifically, you can search for shows up to two weeks in advance, then record them onto any DirecTV DVR in your home, either as a one-time recording or a season's worth.

March 30, 2009 by in Telcos

Monster vs. Vampires: Cutting down home theaters' wasted energy

Monster vs. Vampires: Cutting down home theaters' wasted energy

You may best know Monster Cable as the company that produces the $80 HDMI cables that Best Buy tries to sell you as being superior to the $10 ones you can find online. But with its GreenPower products, Monster is more concerned with the wasted energy being sucked from electronics components than with sucking money out of your wallet.

May 3, 2009 by in Telcos

"HDTV" experiment proves believing is seeing

"HDTV" experiment proves believing is seeing

The result isn't really that surprising, but it's still an interesting finding. According to a recent Dutch experiment, it turns out that the power of suggestion once again can make unsuspecting test subjects talk themselves into seeing something that isn't there—literally, in this case.

October 11, 2009 by in Telcos

Is CableCard dead? FCC weighs alternatives.

Is CableCard dead? FCC weighs alternatives.

In theory, CableCards don't seem like a bad idea: Instead of using a set-top box provided by your cable company, you can slide a small card into a device like a PC or TiVo and use that to control your programming options. The first cards were hobbled by their inability to communicate in both directions—able to transmit to the device but not to send signals back from it—which made features like on-demand viewing unavailable.

December 5, 2009 by in Telcos

Netflix Player by Roku adds streaming HD content

Netflix Player by Roku adds streaming HD content

For $99, the Netflix Player by Roku was already a pretty good deal for getting on-demand content from Netflix's Watch Now service streamed to your TV. Now Roku has upgraded the device to support HD streaming from Netflix, which should help it answer one of the chief criticisms leveled at the player: video quality that's lackluster on a high-def set.

December 22, 2008 by in Telcos

Will any Comcast subscribers pay $60 to watch Eddie Murphy's brand-new movie on demand?

Will any Comcast subscribers pay $60 to watch Eddie Murphy's brand-new movie on demand?

Major movie studios continue to take baby steps toward offering new films to cable subscribers via premium on demand while the flicks are still in theaters. The biggest test to date will come in a few weeks, when Comcast will bring the new Eddie Murphy/Ben Stiller potential blockbuster Tower Heist to a pair of test markets just three weeks after it debuts on movie house screens.

October 9, 2011 by in Telcos