CBS to advertise using Video-in-Print technology

In what seems like another move to blur the line between digital and print media, CBS has announced that they will be introducing something called Video-in-Print technology in next month’s issue of Entertainment Weekly. Video-in-Print, or ViP, technology consists of a small LCD screen and circuit board that can be inserted into print media and play video and audio content. CBS is using the ViP technology to promote their fall prime-time television lineup. Video-in-Print technology is the brainchild of Americhip, a company that claims to specialize in multisensory marketing. The ViP player in next month’s issue of Entertainment Weekly incorporates a 320×240 resolution TFT LCD screen and a rechargeable battery lasting 50-60 hours. The battery can be recharged via the player’s on-board mini USB port. While this isn’t the first time that we’ve seen a magazine do something like this, as far as we know this is the first time that anyone has put a video player into a magazine. That being said, there seems to be no indication whether or not CBS will make it easy for us to modify the ViP player’s software like Esquire did with their e-ink display. We’re not entirely sure what we’re going to do with the ViP player, but the fact that it has a mini USB port gives us some interesting ideas. Juicebox, anyone?


  1. 36chambers says:

    Aggghhhh Future.

  2. Varne says:

    Now if they are more hackable than the Esquire e-ink was….

  3. sly says:

    video greeting cards… no longer limited to the intardtubes

  4. McSquid says:

    excellent. the video scrolling paper from firefly is one step closer to becoming reality. hopefully the holographic pool table isnt far behind!

  5. amishx64 says:

    Ugh. I would hate sitting down in the library, opening the magazine, “BUY THIS, BUY THAT”. I flip right past ads in magazines anyway.

    However, it would be great if mass producing these made them really cheap. Then you could get a bunch of these magazines with some nice hackable displays for the electronics projects.

  6. Drew G says:

    The problem with this post is that it doesn’t mention that pepsi is also using this technology to advertise at the same time in the same magazine

  7. Maj says:

    [embed]video spam[/embed]

  8. Barney says:

    Wait for it….L-L-L LEGENDARY!!!

  9. octelcogopod says:

    how many millions of tons of this crap is going to clog landfills when the magazine is inevitable thrown away?

    fuck this, and fuck cbs

  10. looking past all other issues here (and I second the feeling “Aggghhhh Future.”)

    Who is going to wait for an ad to load? thats dumb, I turn off my speakers when an ad plays while I’m loading a youtube video, why would I sit on a two-page ad spread and wait for an embeded video to load in rl?

    sorry but so far epic fail.

    Now if the engineers find a way to somehow load the content from flash memory entirely instantly… Then props to them and it deserves a hack-a-day mention.

  11. charliefreck says:

    i just don’t like it. sure it would be fun to hack. it should be possible to make a little pmp, or animated name badge or something. but a lot of these are gonna go into the trash. those rechargeable batteries contain toxic material, and will not be recycled properly. the magazine cannot even be recycled as paper without separating the electronic junk. rohs is a start, but we need to think more about all the electronic junk we are producing. it’s getting worse every day. :(

  12. M4CGYV3R says:

    If they want me to read it their going to have to pick a better magazine than Entertainment Weekly.

  13. napalm says:

    octelcogopod & charliefreck
    I totally agree with these two, very few people will even think to recycle this properly, we hardly recycle paper and we recycle electronics(properly) even less. this is insanely wasteful.
    we need a curbside electronics pick up with its own bin like the plastic & metal recycling system, any paper that goes along with the electronics would get burnt up in the process of separating out the toxic & valuable materials.

    curbside electronics pickup! think about it!

  14. BigD145 says:

    argh. advertising.

  15. blizzarddemon says:


  16. Colonel Gentlemen says:

    To the people who think this will ‘clog up landfills’, you need to stop being meat puppets to green marketing.

    As for the magazine, this could be very innovative or VEEEEERY annoying.

  17. joyride says:

    Does anyone know when the magazine will be released… and if the price will be the same?

  18. skitchin says:

    So what the hell is the point of reading if they’re just going to make it more like TV? I’m already sick of crap like this, just one more way for retailers to try and cram their products down your throat. I agree, would be cool having a cheap display, but who says it’d be hackable, and not purposely prevented? Maybe I’m falling victim to greenpeace’s spell, but I think things like this belong in the “because I can” category, and not the “because it’s profitable” one. Count me as against this concept, I can already see it now, sitting on the crapper in peace when (shouting voice)’Congratulations! You’ve been selected…’ etc

  19. Another display to hack… thanks cbs..

  20. Tux-fan says:

    @everybody who dislike that idea…

    face it yourare *not* the target audience !!!
    i guess you dislike
    * nerving ring tones and even more people who are going to pay 5$/ring tone
    * stupid java games ala “i can read your mind…” for 10$/game
    * social networks and social games ala sims
    * people who share a shitty snipplet of music played on there crappy mobile phone with everybody at a distance of 20m
    * people who think sharing *all* photos of the last whatever party with the rest of the internet community is cool
    * people who buy stuff and throw stuff as the get bored resp. existed to it.
    * advertising every few clicks and flashy websites

    Face it if you read hack-a-day you might not be the audience for a magazine who is going to have video ads …
    they will do whatever they think will help to target there audience… not looking at some old school hackers :P


  21. bADiTCH says:

    LOL! tux-fan nailed it! My mind thinks there got to be a hack, I’ll get at least one and put in one of my project boxes. Might come in handy sometime. :D

  22. Dave says:

    The people that push this shit need to be put down! When will these infectious new york sleaze bags stop! Why don’t they just team up with the drug companies and taint our water? Just imagine having the CBS illness, You’d have to watch Letterman every night or start having involuntary convulsions. If you miss Survivor Oh No… a grand mal seizure.

  23. jeff-o says:

    Someone *will* figure out a way to hack this display. Chances are, you’ll be able to get ‘em for free, once people are done “reading” them.

    Free 320×240 displays for everyone! Yay!

  24. J Bidds says:

    my ears

  25. maroc says:

    Saw this post and immediately wanted one too, so this morning I decided to do some research on the topic and nail down a release date here’s what I found out 1. they will be released in September issue #18. 2. They will only be released in New York and Los Angeles. and here’s the real kicker you have to be a subscriber to get one of these! 3. everyone else will get a boring paper and staples only copy and will feature no video display. So unless you already meet all of the aforementioned criteria we are all pretty much screwed! (unless of course you just happen to know someone)

  26. J Mac says:

    I just so happen to have 2 copies of this mag(mine and my g/f’s) rip the ad open and SUPRISE it does have a mini usb jack, for charging, but if you read it when you first plug it in it says you can enter a password when that charge screen comes up….given that there are only 5 buttons i imagine it shouldent be impossible to figure out the password, just time consuming…but the real question is, if you unlock it, does that allow you to really do anything with it??? ill let you know if i even figure out which of the 120 possible passwords it could be… anyone one else figures it out,im all ears…

  27. fernandoh says:

    I just saw on the Americhip promo vid that it can hold 45min, 1hour or 2hours of content. So I think the CBS/Pepsi material is only around 20 minutes. It makes me wonder if there’s other material from Americhip (maybe other promos or easter eggs) on there as well. Has anyone tried pushing multiple buttons or are there any “hidden” buttons on there?

  28. Jann says:

    The password crack is easy. It’s 123 right after the warning.

  29. Jason says:

    When you enter the password of 123 it turns the device into a usb drive that gives full access to the files, I have not spent a lot of time yet but the device does have 417MB of memory with 253MB free on it.

  30. dogworth says:

    So does that mean you can put new videos on the drive and have them show up on the screen – how do you program the buttons/menu? Whatever it is, it seems like someone did figure out how to hack in on a large scale. More info here:

  31. scans says:

    So, although the files seem to be an AVI wrapper, with XVID/MPEG-4 video (25fps, 320×240) and standard MPEG layer-3 stereo audio (44100/128kbps), I can’t get the player to play any transcoded file of mine. Anyone else hacking this???

  32. amishx64 says:

    I would be, but I have yet to get my hands on one. they probably have a slightly different video spec for the device. :/

    Maybe someone else has some more info… Good luck.

  33. Dennis says:

    @scans Is it xvid? I thought it was h264 in an AVI wrapper, judging from the file title ie “button_5_new_dramas_r5_h264.avi”

  34. DS says:

    OK, I got it playing my videos.
    Using SUPER, you can see that the video files are AVI containers encoded with XviD and mp3 at 320×240 and 25 fps and ~1500 kbps bitrate.
    The audio is 44100 sampling, 2 chan, 128 kbps bitrate.
    Install XviD codec and use SUPER to encode into this.
    Just rename the files to overwrite the .avi files on the media player.
    It acts just like a USB drive.
    Unfortunately there is no way to change the volume that I see.
    Make sure you uncheck Adjust The Encode Volume so that it isn’t blastingly loud unless you want to make it quieter.
    With FFmpeg and Top Quality (VBR I think), you might be able to get 1 hours worth of video on this thing.
    Now it can be reused rather than dumped after use.

  35. Jann says:

    Thanks DS,

    I am going to use this for my sons next birthday party. We are going for a take on the DHARMA initaitive (LOST) and video clues work in nicely with some of the cryptograms and riddles.



  36. cm says:

    I just got one from AT&T, there is only 1 button. So after you plug in the USB, you just hit the number 1 button 3 times and you have a usb drive. Everything above is correct.
    Pressing the 1 button after it’s playing will skip to the next file.

  37. library juice says:

    I guess this is kind of a shot in the dark, seeing as how long this thread has been dead, but… I wanna get my hands on a few of these for an art project, and was wondering if anyone has any leads?


  38. fronq says:

    SUPER is seen by the heuristics engine as a virus.

  39. OldDude says:

    Just got one from Avaya.. only three buttons and “1-2-3″ doesn’t work. :(

    Tried all 9 single press combo’s to no avail. going to have to solder more buttons on to see whats up with that.

    If anyone knows the button press sequence for the Avaya add, please share.


  40. OldWhiteGUy says:

    I have one from IBM.
    Upon removing the outer covering from the device, I found that a third button was hidden by the packaging. I was able to use the ‘1-2-3′ password input to gain access to the filesystem contents.

  41. mtnmainiac says:

    I have an AVAYA one and got it open with 1-2-3 right to left.

  42. bothersaidpooh says:

    Cool, wonder if they are using EL or LED as the backlight?

    Planar and Durel were looking into this a while back for overlighting on e-ink readers, seems that they had some measure of success but the problem was the reflectivity of the overlay.

    Combining capacitance touch sensing with EL on the other hand…

    • Chabze says:

      Hi guys I have just got hold of a D&G one from a magazine. On inspection there are no buttons on this one. And on carefully removing some of the covering I found it uses a micro SDCARD. However the video file on it is in a .MJP
      Format. I have tried everything to get this to play on my laptop but nothing. And tried everything I could find to convert other files to play on it. Nothing.
      The file is labeled 000.MJP and is 28Mb in size. The SD card is showing as 118mb. No hidden partitions or files. …. Stumped
      Won’t play the original file if I rename it to 001.MJP.
      But will if I rename it back.

      Any ideas or help would be great .
      By the way the board has no buttons but there are solder tags where they all should be and there labeled but on bridging them they seem to do nothing

      • Dan H says:

        I just received a quicken loans video brochure yesterday that I’ve started to try to figure out. Has a 2GB SD card inside also with the MJP files. Made a couple of videos:

        This one has 4 buttons to control the 4 videos.

        Can’t seem to decode the MJP files yet.

  43. Dan Hanson says:

    Has anyone tried using something other than MJP files yet? I was thinking of getting a larger SD card and loading different file types to see what it will play. Hoping someone will post more info on this technology. I too received a QL brochure and have had fun tearing it apart.

  44. chabze says:

    Yes tried other formats but nothing as yet, anyone else have any look with MJP format yet? I did look at the file header inside word pad which shows as JFIF
    But still clueless on converting something to play on it

  45. Lupercal says:

    Just picked up a Novartis one. 7inch screen, 6 buttons, power jack, and mini USB port. Plugging in USB brings up the “Enter Password” screen. I can’t figure out the 6 digit password for the life of me.

    Any ideas?

    • william says:

      Just picked up a Novartis one. 7inch screen, 6 buttons, power jack, and mini USB port. Plugging in USB brings up the “Enter Password” screen. I can’t figure out the 6 digit password for the life of me……

      I have those books I have the same password problem too… bypass this theres a sd card in side that is where your videos are stored in no pass needed!!!! :-)

      • Lupercal says:

        Where, exactly, in the side? I’d like to preserve the display as much as possible so, I don’t want o go tearing it apart looking for the SD card.

        • william says:

          its inside the unit tho you have to make a little hole in the back to give access to the sd card…..that’s the only thing I know about…. unless if you know the 800 to 1 possible combinations of password to work on the system….

  46. Amber says:

    Looking for the Novartis one as well

  47. glitchus says:

    Found this while searching for hacks:

    Americhip Video Converter
    Welcome to Americhip’s Video Conversion Site. We’ve partnered with our clients to create a simple tool that allows you to easily convert your files and download them onto our VIP products.

    I tried to access the site but the connection always times out. Go figure.

    Also found out that mjp is: Motion JPEG video format that stores video frames using .JPG compression; used by LG cell phones to capture and store video; saved in a proprietary format that is not supported my most video playback programs.

  48. groovy dogg says:

    I have an americhip with a 512 sd card inside (its a drug hand out) the screen has nice resolution. there are no buttons…. anyone have any ideas? I know this is an old thread

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