THE BROWSER: Truth and rumors from the tech world
iPods may get Sony and Disney movies
Apple angles to get Blu-Ray movies on iPods. Plus: MySpace and YouTube inspire a revamp of the Beeb's website.
By Owen Thomas, Business 2.0 Magazine online editor and Oliver Ryan, Fortune reporter

SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0 Magazine) - When Apple (Research) signed on to support Sony's controversial Blu-Ray videodisc initiative, it gave the embattled format a boost in the marketplace. But now Steve Jobs' quid pro quo is becoming clear. Rumor has it that he's asking Sony and other studios to include iPod-ready versions of their movies on Blu-Ray releases. Disney, which has worked closely with Apple on video content in the past, is also in the Blu-Ray camp. Persuading Sony (Research) and Disney (Research) to add iPod support would greatly expand Apple's movie library from the one title it sells today, Disney's "High School Musical." Since Blu-Ray discs are much more capacious than DVDs, it shouldn't be a technical problem to store a much smaller iPod version of a movie alongside the full, high-definition version. The Slashfilm movie blog points out that Apple would be giving up revenues it could realize by selling those movies through the iTunes Music Store - but that having more iPod-ready movies available would help Apple sell more of the devices.

The Beeb goes Web 2.0

FCC leaks Sidekick III details
The new smartphone's specs are published online before its splashy, official launch. Plus: The technorati trash (more)

In a sweeping announcement yesterday, top brass at the BBC announced plans for a "radical revamp" of the Beeb's website. Taking a page from the playbooks of Internet darlings MySpace, Wikipedia, and YouTube, BBC executives said they will rebuild their site around blogs and home video uploads, and will also begin offering TiVo-style online access to TV programming up to a week after it airs. The heady strategy was hailed by Jeff Jarvis as more proof of British ascendency in digital media. But the Associated Press reports that a disgruntled Rupert Murdoch, chief of News Corp. (Research), which paid $580 million for MySpace last year, says it's another example of the public media monopoly unfairly using taxpayer money to compete with poor, benighted multinational media conglomerates.

Congress debates new Net taxes

The ongoing debate about Internet taxes heated up yesterday, Ars Technica reports, as Senator Gordon Smith (R.-Oregon) introduced a new telecom bill that would allow cities and towns to run their own broadband networks, ease the entry of phone companies like AT&T (Research) and Verizon (Research) into the television business, and set aside $500 million to build high-speed networks in rural areas. The unpleasant part? To pay for that latter bit of largesse, the Broadband for America Act proposes to raise $500 million in new tax revenues by extending fees currently imposed on phone bills to any service "capable of carrying two-way voice communication." That would include just about any form of high-speed Internet access, from the Wi-Fi service at your local cafe to your high-speed cable modem at home. Though still far from passage, the bill breaks a long-harbored taboo on proposals to tax Internet access.

Cuban lands satellite radio show

You've read his blog. You've seen his outbursts at Dallas Mavericks game. Now, get ready for a weekly earful from colorful entrepreneur Mark Cuban. Sirius Satellite Radio (Research) has signed Cuban up for a weekly talk show on channel 102, where Howard Stern will be his neighbor on the airwaves. Among the topics he plans to cover: Congress's controversial update to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Top of page

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