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What's Your Poision: Dropbox's Streaming Videos, Apple’s New Retina Display, or Facebook's New Video Chat?

by Joe Kukura on June 18, 2012

There are tons of things happening in the world of video daily. In this edition of video news, we tell you what to expect from the newest version of the Dropbox mobile application, the latest in display technology on the new MacBook Pro, and check-in on this month’s launch of AirTime.

Dropbox video streaming


Fans of cloud-based video storage got some great news last week by getting the added ability to stream video. That’s right; Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich users can update to the latest version of online file-sharing site Dropbox and start streaming video stored in their Dropbox. By simply hitting the Play button next to a video in an accessible Dropbox account, users can sidestep the lengthy video download process and eliminate the storage space burden of video files on a cell phone.

To stream Dropbox video instead of storing it, you’ll need to download the last version of Dropbox to a smartphone running Android 4.0 from the Google Play market. While the update is only available for Android 4.0 users, Apple iOS users (iPhone/iPad) also got a Dropbox update this week that will automatically upload photos and videos over WiFi/data networks to their Dropbox account.

Dropbox video streaming over a cell phone or tablet requires a data connection – either WiFi or a cell phone data network – so be aware of your data usage. Video, after all, is a notorious bandwidth hog. If you’ve got an unlimited data plan, go ahead and stream that video to your heart’s content. If you’re on a tiered data plan, though, you’ll definitely want to switch to a WiFi network to stream video. Otherwise, you could incur additional fees for going over your plan’s data limit.

According to Dropbox, the video file formats .mov, .mp4, and .mv4 are compatible with Dropbox video streaming feature. If you have trouble with these, or find other compatible video formats for Dropbox streaming, let us know in the comments.


Apple has designed some impressive top-shelf computers and laptops, but the new MacBook Pro with Retina display has been called “the most beautiful computer we’ve ever made.” Those are the words of Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president, at the introduction of the new MacBook Pro laptop at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week in San Francisco. Since then, the new MacBook Pro with its thin profile (it’s just 0.71-inch thick and weighs 4.6 pounds) has been the talk of the tech world. Most of the buzz has been about the upgraded Retina display, packing 5.1-million pixels into a 15.4-inch screen.

So what is a “Retina” display and how does it make a laptop worth $2,199? Apple actually invented and trademarked the term and it describes a screen pixelation ratio so high that the human eye cannot distinguish individual pixels. Apple claims a Retina display screen represents the maximum detail the human retina can process. This Retina display screen technology is also used on the iPhone 4S and the latest iPad (third generation model).

The screen resolution on the new MacBook Pro is 2880×1800, that’s higher definition than your HDTV. You can see the difference between Retina display and regular display on Apple’s website. When watching movies on the laptop, video will be so sharp and detailed that you’ll be able to distinguish individual rocks and crevices on mountains in the background, or individual leaves on the trees.


Another new “next big thing” launched this month received a similar burst of publicity, but quickly stumbled. The video chat platform Airtime, founded by ex-Facebook president Sean Parker and Napster inventor Shawn Fanning, offered a Chatroulette-style video calling service hosted over Facebook. Airtime offers the ability to video chat with your Facebook friends, plus offers a “Talk to Someone” feature that allows you to connect and video chat with strangers who have similar Facebook Likes.

Facebook video chat using AirTime

Airtime debuted with a star-studded press conference in New York that featured celebrities like Jim Carrey and Snoop Dogg. Unfortunately, the event also featured a number of embarrassing technical glitches in the live demo of the product, but they had a video demo on hand they played to show off the service.

Once Airtime was released to the general public, the service faced a firestorm of criticism for recording and keeping users’ video chats. The company claims they’re doing so not to violate your privacy, but just to prevent nudity or inappropriate behavior. “By using our Service, you are consenting to have your image and conversations recorded by Airtime,” the company says in its privacy policy, “Airtime is taking snapshots of User Content (and) may review User Content to maintain site safety and ensure a good user experience.” This may be an effective way for Airtime to keep their community on its best behavior. Yet the privacy concerns were already out of the bottle, and adoption of the service has been slow.

Are you using Airtime video chat on Facebook, streaming Dropbox videos through Android  or are you ready to shell out over $2,000 for the super sharp MacBook Pro with a “Retina” display?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 suzieq June 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I think my screen on my Ipad2 is exceptionally good. I can’t see going to shell out more money for some fancy retina display.

2 4Z December 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Susieq, I’ve also got iPad 2 and I agree with u completely. In fact, I have numerous buddies who went out and bought the new iPads, with the retina display and now most of them (not all) exchanged the new ones for the top of the line iPads 2(max on everything) and they are quite happy…for now anyway. I put my iPad and iPad 3 side by side in the store and started a video, and I couldn’t see much difference. Maybe the new retina displays are better for your eyes?! But as for completely different and much better video quality, I gotta say, I didn’t see it yet. Maybe there’s some special videos that you need to play or a special app, I don’t know, but what I do know is that I’m keeping my iPad 2 for now!

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