Talk of the day

By Times Staff Writer
Published January 4, 2008

Netflix device to send movies directly to TV

Netflix Inc., the largest U.S. mail-order movie-rental service with more than 7-million subscribers, and South Korea's LG Electronics Inc., are developing a set-top box that allows Internet movies and shows to be viewed on a television screen. The product will be sold later this year to Netflix subscribers, Seoul-based LG Electronics said Thursday, without providing financial terms. The device may give Netflix an advantage over rivals including Apple Inc. as it tries to make online movies a more convenient alternative compared with renting by mail or at retailers. Netflix will offer more than 6,000 movies and television shows on the device, said Steve Swasey, vice president of communications. The movies will be the same ones customers can download now to their personal and laptop computers.

Dollar forbidden to enter Taj Mahal

In yet another troubling sign for the greenback, at least one of the seven wonders of the world is now off limits if you have only U.S. currency in your pocket. India's tourism minister said Thursday that the dollar will no longer be accepted at the Taj Mahal, shown above, and other national tourist sites. For years, tourists visiting most sites in India were charged either $5 or 250 rupees. After falling 11 percent in 2007, hitting nine-year lows to hover around 39 rupees, the dollar is out. Charging only rupees now seems more practical and will save tourists money because "the dollar was weaker against the rupee," Indian Tourism Minister Ambika Soni said.

Airlines making on-time progress

The airline industry's on-time performance through the first 11 months of this year was the second worst on record, but delays in November fell compared with a year ago and from the previous month. The nation's 20 largest carriers reported an on-time arrival rate of 80 percent in November, up from 76.5 percent in the same month a year ago and from 78.2 percent in October, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics said Thursday. In November, 37.8 percent of late flights were delayed by weather, down from 40.7 percent in the same month last year and from 39.8 percent in October.

China takes control of video postings

China has decided to restrict the broadcasting of Internet videos - including those posted on video-sharing Web sites - to sites run by state-controlled companies and to require providers to report questionable content to the government. It wasn't immediately clear how the new rules would affect YouTube and other providers of Internet video that host Web sites available in China but are based in other countries. The new regulations, which take effect Jan. 31, were approved by both the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television and the Ministry of Information Industry and were described on their Web sites Thursday. Under the new policy, Web sites that provide video programming or allow users to upload video must obtain government permits and applicants must be either state-owned or state-controlled companies.