Trade in Your DVDs, Plus a Couple Bucks, and Get the Blu-ray Versions...Steve Ballmer Acknowledges Apple's Gains, Remains Cocky...Sanyo to Build Houses Powered by Solar Energy and Li-Ion Batteries...Sony Announces Vague "iTunes-Like" Store on PlayStation Network for Books, Movies, Music...
Warner set up a DVD to Blu-ray exchange program called, appropriately enough, DVD2Blu, as sort of a more-tempting version of its HD-DVD to Blu-ray version. The problem is, it's not actually that great of a deal; you're limited to Warner movies, obviously, but it also costs $8-10 per DVD, plus $5 shipping, for the exchange. You might actually be better off just hitting Best Buy or Walmart or whatever and looking for sales, since DVD2Blu could cost you 18 bucks plus the agony of waiting for your new HD copy of The Wedding Singer: Totally Awesome Edition to arrive. [Engadget]
Microsoft held a shareholder's meeting this morning, led by the always-dynamic Steve Ballmer, and an interesting question came up: Why does Microsoft have such a lousy reputation among certain demographics, like, say, upper-middle-class college kids? Ballmer admitted that Apple's been seeing some gains that, while small, are a clear sign that Microsoft has room for improvement, either in marketing or product positioning. It's a pretty clear-headed statement from Ballmer—after all, he notes, Microsoft still has an insane marketshare, even in the high-end consumer demo, so despite Apple's visibility, Microsoft doesn't exactly have cause for concern. That level-headedness is why this story's in Remainders: Where's the explosive, frothing-at-the-mouth, prone to Bidenesque gaffes Ballmer we all know and, um, know? [TechFlash]
Sanyo, considered Japan's "greenest" electronics manufacturer (sort of like being the best-dressed homeless person), is about to start building solar-powered, lithium-ion-based homes in its native country. The houses are all equipped with LED lighting, solar-powered water heater, all that stuff. They'll be a little pricey, at around $355,000—an equivalent non-green house would cost $62,000 less, although the Sanyo houses come with a $30,000 government subsidy. It's in Remainders because it's Japan only, and because I don't understand enough Japanese to learn any more about it. [Crunchgear]
Sony announced the tentatively named Sony Online Service today—it's described as an "iTunes-like" service on the PlayStation Network, offering movies, music, and books, all media for which Sony also sells accompanying hardware. It'll also allow users to upload their own video, and will probably have support for independent app development later on down the road. We don't really know much else, like, say, a launch date or pricing (or even a final name), so it winds up here, alone in the dark corner of Gizmodo we call Remainders. [AppleInsider via Engadget]