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Unlimited movies on your iPad

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If you’re one of the growing band of new iPad owners, you’ve probably already noticed that watching movies on a dazzlingly sharp screen is one of the device’s great benefits. You may also have heard of Netflix, America’s number one online movierental service. It’s not available to South Africans, though. Or is it? Our appexpert, LAURENCE SEBERINI, explains how to install the app, subscribe to Netflix and enjoy unlimited movies for a modest monthly fee.

So you have a new iPad but eitherdon’t know how to import your movies onto it, or perhaps the iTunes pricing is a bit steep?Simply follow the steps below and you can watch unlimited content for a mere $14.99 a month – that is R108 a month. And I am not talking about a DSTV type service where you watch what they broadcast – I am talking about video on demand ‚ it’s like having an entire video shop on your iPad!

Simply go to iTunes, enter Netflix in the search window, and Install it on your iPad – the app is free. The first month’s use is also free and, thereafter, $7.99 a month.

You will then need to set up a VPN, or virtual private network, on your iPad. This is normally a business service for large companies, but you can have your own personal VPN too. Go to www.strongvpn.com and sign up for the $21 for 3 months service, which effectively is $7 per month. Aside from added security, it also enables your iPad to have an Internet address that allows it to appear to be located in the United States or Europe.

Once your account has been created, follow the instructions they e-mail you for your VPN account settings – you can use the set-up tutorial page here to guide you: http://strongvpn.com/vpn_iphone.shtml

Once your VPN is up and running, launch the Netflix app. Create an account and sign up. Now you are ready to go.

There are a few important provisos before you get going, though:

Firstly, it seems that you need to re-enter your password on your VPN every time you want to use it – so save it to notes on your iPad and then copy and paste it whenever you switch on your VPN account.

Secondly, although the cost of the content works out to $14.99 a month, you are still liable for the internet access costs. Therefore it is strongly advisable to use an uncapped ADSL account and not your 3G modem.

Finally, you might run into an error telling you that you cannot view the content from your location. If this happens, simply sign out of Netflix, go to the settings in your iPad and go to the Safari section. Clear history, cache and cookies. Then login to Netflix again and it should work. If you still struggle, contact the Strong VPN team – they are very helpful.

You can now watch all “instant”” movies on Netflix on your iPad or even on your TV if you have TV-out cables, which you can buy from an Apple store. The selection is huge and the content streams pretty quickly.

Make a bag of popcorn and enjoy!

* The publishers of Gadget stress that much of the advice above is not consistent with the terms and conditions of using the iTunes and Netflix services. Apple and Netflix have the right to cancel the account of anyone providing incorrect information. However, Gadget believes it is necessary to open the debate on the geographical limitations of such services. We welcome comment, criticism and suggestions on this matter.

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Planet Radio TV tune in on any device

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Planet Radio TV plans to be Africa’s first online broadcaster that allows its listeners to watch via Internet and satellite TV as well as listen via FM or Internet radio. SEAN BACHER visits its studios.

Planet Radio TV (PRTV) is broadcast much like any other terrestrial radio station, allowing its users to tune into it with a standard FM tuner. But its owner, Planet Image Productions, is about to launch two other means of tuning into the station.

In the coming month, MultiChoice will place a new satellite in orbit that will, by the new year, allow Planet to broadcast to subscribers via the satellite. Planet has also announced the PRTV app, which can be downloaded to Apple, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices, allowing users to stream the content to their phones and tablets.

‚”What makes this unique though is that our systems will automatically detect a user’s connection speed and stream content in a format that suits that speed, says Planet Image CEO Wale Akinlabi. ‚”For example, someone connecting through 3G will be able to view high-definition video and hear high-definition audio. A user with a slower connection will still be able to view and listen to the station, but at a lower quality.‚”

This, he believes, will eliminate the buffering issue which discourages many users from streaming video and audio to their devices.

The radio station comprises 80% African music, with the remainder being international, and is targeted at Africa’s youth.

‚”At PRTV we intend to change the way consumers view, listen and interact with television, radio and Internet mediums,‚” says Mabel Mabaso, chief operations officer and director at Planet Image. ‚”It is an exciting platform that synchronises three mediums, providing opportunities for consumers and advertisers alike.‚”

Planet RadioTV differentiates itself from other local broadcasters with its clever use of software and hardware. Planet Image uses a high-definition video-graphics (HDVG) rendering program, designed by Orad, an Israeli company specialising in TV production software. This software suite, combined with four Panasonic high-definition cameras, is able to detect and focus on a person’s voice. When the camera fixes on a voice, that camera is automatically activated and begins broadcasting. Should someone else begin talking, a separate camera will detect the voice and focus on that person.

The software controlling the cameras also performs basic video editing. Mabaso says that, although the initial cost of the equipment was more than that of standard cameras, it will prove well worth it, as it eliminates the need for a dedicated cameraman filming the show in the studio.

‚”Another payoff is that we don’t need that much office space,‚” she says.

Based in Randburg in Johannesburg, the studio is small in comparison to most others and the control room is just big enough for one person.

‚”The control room merely serves as a back-up should one of the cameras fail. It also allows us to control when and where visual adverts appear.‚”

The system is also tightly integrated with applications like Skype.

‚”We can interview someone overseas without having to send a crew there to perform recording. We simply communicate via Skype, making the interviewee’s Internet camera an extension of our own in-studio cameras.‚”

Besides featuring local and international music, the station has regular fashion, food and cooking, music and culture segments, which are broadcast to around 30 000 listeners around Africa.

Rounding up the technology aspect, PRTV has integrated Twitter and Facebook, allowing its listeners to interact with DJs.

Listeners can tune into Planet Radio TV by logging onto www.planetradio.co.za

* Follow Sean Bacher on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Canon EOS M – small and simple

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Canon has extended the EOS range with the EOS M, its first compact system camera. Although not yet available in South Africa, the EOS M offers DSLR quality images and full HD recording in a compact, easy to use device.

Canon has expanded the EOS range with the launch of the EOS M. The company’s first ever compact system camera (CSC), the EOS M offers DSLR-quality imaging and full HD movie creation in a compact and easy-to-use model.

The EOS M is available in sleek black, glossy white, stylish silver or bold red colours, and condenses Canon’s EOS imaging heritage into a stylish, compact design. The model launches alongside two new lenses, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake and the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom, as well as a new compact EX Speedlite the Speedlite 90EX. For those who want to push their images even further, the EOS M can also use Canon’s range of EF lenses with the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, for even more creative freedom.

The quality of a Canon DSLR

The EOS M’s high-resolution, 18 megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor also allows you to blur the background for beautiful portraits, or for close-ups with impact.

With the inclusion of Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor, colours ‚’pop’ and skin tones are beautifully natural, while a super-fast shutter allows you to capture split-second action.

Shoot what you see and easily express your creative vision

Every aspect of the EOS M has been designed to make it simple to capture high-quality images. With the high-resolution, 7.7cm (3.0‚”), Clear View LCD II Touch screen, the EOS M gives you as much or as little control over your photos as desired. Simply select different shooting modes and settings via the on-screen icons, or let Scene Intelligent Auto adjust the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions, leaving you free to focus on composition and selecting the perfect moment to hit the shutter release button.

Turn film-maker with EOS Movie and Video Snapshot

When a moment calls for more than a still image, the EOS M lets you switch to Full HD video with stereo sound.

Extending the EOS System with dedicated accessories

In addition to compatibility with Canon’s existing EF lenses, accessories and Speedlites, the EOS M launches with its own range of accessories. Two new EF-M lenses offer portability and high performance when using the new model the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. Both feature new stepper motor technology for exceptionally smooth AF performance, as well as precision Canon optics, while their compact designs offer the perfect form-factor to complement the camera’s pocket-sized body.

Additionally, the EOS M will ship with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard. Lightweight and highly-compact, it offers a maximum guide number of nine and supports wide-angle lenses, making it an ideal general-purpose flash for everyday use. A wireless master function also allows the control of multiple flash guns wirelessly, allowing more advanced users to experiment with a range of creative lighting effects.

EOS M key features

· The quality of a digital SLR in a compact body

· Scene Intelligent Auto

· Be versatile with interchangeable lenses

· Create out-of-focus backgrounds for high impact

· Easy-to-use touch-screen

· Atmospheric photos in low light

· Full-HD video with Video Snapshot Mode

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