FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of TV airwaves, nearing its end, has brought in about $18.2 billion in bids. That figure is far less than the last sale of government licenses, due, say analysts, to a lack of interest in low-frequency television airwaves. The spectrum auction enabled TV stations to sell their airwaves, which would be repurposed for use by the mobile industry. But potential buyers are apparently more interested in airwaves that “can carry more data over short distances.” Continue reading FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Support for 3D television has experienced a steady decline and now its demise seems inevitable (unless it is later resurrected). Samsung ceased its 3D support last year and Vizio has not offered 3D since 2013. Hisense, Sharp and TCL were among the companies that did not showcase 3D sets during CES earlier this month. “LG and Sony, the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs, will stop doing so in 2017,” reports CNET. “None of their sets, not even high-end models such as their new OLED TVs, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.” DirecTV shuttered its 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN did the same in 2013. Despite affordability of 3D TVs and the success of 3D in theaters, the technology failed to gain traction in the home. Continue reading 3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Streaming TV is now mainstream, with even cable and satellite subscribers paying for services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime. Television networks also make their fare available for streaming via apps or smart TVs. But the typical streaming service model — whereby the subscriber doesn’t pay for a fat bundle of disparate channels and a DVR — is changing. Dish Network’s Sling TV and AT&T’s DirecTV Now, nominally streaming services, offer bundles of TV networks delivered in a linear fashion, just like cable or satellite. Journalist/author Walt Mossberg is concerned by the change.  Continue reading Mossberg Questions the Direction of Streaming TV Services

Fox Plans to Live-Stream Super Bowl, Will Include Local Ads

On February 5, the Super Bowl will be available for free online as a live stream (with no need for pay-TV credentials) and will include dynamically-inserted local advertising based on the viewer’s location. More than 170 affiliates will team with Fox Sports to deliver the digital ads. “The national ads will be the same on both TV and online, and the live-stream will include the halftime show featuring Lady Gaga,” reports Variety. Coverage “will be available live on Fox Sports Go, the broadcaster’s streaming platform … on iOS, Android, Windows and Amazon tablets; and through connected devices including Apple TV, Roku, Android TV, Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV and Microsoft Xbox One.” Continue reading Fox Plans to Live-Stream Super Bowl, Will Include Local Ads

Nintendo’s Switch Console to Offer Mobile, TV-Connected Play

Nintendo’s Switch, a $300 tablet with wireless controllers, debuts on March 3, for on-the-go gameplay or connecting to a TV. The platform offers a seamless transition between mobile and docked operation, well-designed hardware, a sleek, refined look, with sensor-packed Joy-Con motion controllers that offer vibration feedback and work as game controllers and Wiimote-like wands. But the platform needs a compelling game to “make us fall in love with flailing our arms around at parties again,” and Super Mario Odyssey might fit the bill. Continue reading Nintendo’s Switch Console to Offer Mobile, TV-Connected Play

Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

While most consumers may currently think of gaming or video when they hear “augmented reality,” retailers are experimenting with a new batch of AR apps that leverage mixed reality tech. For example, Amazon’s Product Preview lets shoppers visualize different TV sizes and brands in their homes, Lowe’s Vision accepts measurements to map out placement of kitchen appliances, and WayfairView helps consumers place new sofas and cabinets with their existing furniture. Gap plans to launch DressingRoom on Google Play at the end of the month, providing users with the ability to dress virtual mannequins with different clothing options. Continue reading Retailers Push AR Shopping Apps for Tango-Equipped Phones

Nuvyyo and Mohu Unveil Solutions to Stream OTA Broadcasts

At CES 2017, Nuvyyo unveiled the Tablo Live stick, which offers free over-the-air television on any device, a DVR app for the Nvidia Shield game console, and previewed a cloud DVR for broadcast TV. The company, which also manufactures the cord-cutting Tablo DVR, explains that Tablo Live doesn’t plug directly into a TV set but, instead, streams live TV to devices with already-installed Tablo apps, available on Android phones, iPhone, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One and Apple TV. Tablo Live will ship in Q2 for $99. Cord cutters may also be interested in Mohu, which introduced its Airwave device at CES. Continue reading Nuvyyo and Mohu Unveil Solutions to Stream OTA Broadcasts

Samsung Updates Smart Hub with Emphasis on Sports, Music

Searching for and organizing content is a fact of life with smart TVs. Samsung has updated its Smart Hub to make that experience — on the TV and smartphone — much easier, especially with regard to sports and music. The company demonstrated its new Smart Hub “experience” at CES 2017. The user no longer needs to search for where his or her favorite team can be found on OTA channels and streaming services. Instead, the user tells the Hub what teams he follows, and the Smart TV will give him channels, schedules and scores. For music, Samsung’s Hub now offers Shazam. Continue reading Samsung Updates Smart Hub with Emphasis on Sports, Music

Sony’s CLEDIS Customizable 8K Display Wows CES Crowds

Sony’s new CLEDIS system, most likely aimed at use in large venues such as convention centers (where it was shown at CES 2017), is composed of hundreds of LED tiles, each just 17.875 inches wide. At CES, the 36-foot by 9-foot display showed an astonishing resolution of 8K by 2K. CLEDIS relies on RGB emissive display technology, by which “nearly microscopic LEDs” glow red, green or blue. The result gives Sony’s display the ability to render color volume in a manner that the company calls “off the charts.” Continue reading Sony’s CLEDIS Customizable 8K Display Wows CES Crowds

Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

Hulu’s relaunch will feature a home screen with a personalized lineup that will be determined by the user’s set preferences and past viewing behavior. Among the options for that lineup are current TV shows, Hulu’s streaming exclusives and partner networks’ on-demand offerings. What won’t be there is a live TV feed or a traditional grid guide that allows the user to scroll through channels. In 2017, Hulu will offer live TV to its users for less than $40, while retaining its ad-supported and ad-free on-demand subscription plans. Continue reading Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

Sony, LG, Panasonic Unveil OLED TVs at Better Price Points

At CES 2017, OLED TVs were more numerous and considerably less expensive than past years. LG, for example, continuously lowered its OLED prices throughout 2016; its cheapest model, the B6, initially was priced at $4,000 and came down to $2,000 by October, with another $200 off for Black Friday (although the price is back up to $2,500). Lowered OLED prices are due, in part, to production increasing by 70 percent last year. OLED TVs are desirable for their thinness, improved contrast ratios and wider viewing angles. Continue reading Sony, LG, Panasonic Unveil OLED TVs at Better Price Points

Samsung’s QLED TV Line Claims 100 Percent DCI-P3 Color

Samsung unveiled a new line of TVs at CES, dubbed QLED, which replaces its two-year old SUHD premium line-up. QLED offers better viewing angles, HDR, and 100 percent of the DCI-P3 color space as well as improved black levels. The Samsung Q7, Q8 and Q9 QLED models can be mounted flush with the wall, using the company’s proprietary mounting system. Two tabletop stands, made of stainless steel and aluminum, include an easel-style floor stand. A new fiber-optic system makes the connecting cable almost invisible. Continue reading Samsung’s QLED TV Line Claims 100 Percent DCI-P3 Color

HDMI Forum Releases First Draft of HDMI 2.1 Spec for 8K, 4K

The HDMI Forum’s Technical Working Group just released a first draft of HDMI version 2.1, which will support 8K video with HDR at a 60Hz refresh rate or 4K video at a 120Hz refresh rate. The proposed standard, which will be backward compatible with the current HDMI standard, will, says the Working Group, allow for “immersive viewing and smooth fast-action detail,” as well as support 10K. Although 8K is years away from being mainstream, the first 8K TVs and monitors have been demonstrated at CES 2017. Continue reading HDMI Forum Releases First Draft of HDMI 2.1 Spec for 8K, 4K

Tech Startups Pitch Innovative New Drone Concepts at CES

The VR, AR and Robotics Pitch Competition at CES in Las Vegas included three drone-related entertainment tech startups. The Fotokite, from Zurich-based Perspective Robotics, is a tethered drone camera system. The $249 consumer version unfolds from an easy-carry tube and flies like a kite, but unlike a kite it works to maintain its position and camera angle relative to the handheld ‘kite’ tether. Dotterel “takes the drone out of drones” with technology that was developed to make it possible to record audio from a drone without the loud background buzz. And Boxfish Research showed a simple-to-operate submarine ROV with two universal camera mounts for capturing 360-degree video. Continue reading Tech Startups Pitch Innovative New Drone Concepts at CES

LG Wows the Vegas Crowds with Super-Thin 4K OLED Series

LG is showcasing its new Signature 4K OLED W-series this week in Las Vegas with the tagline “Picture on Wall” (as a follow-up to its previous “Picture on Glass”). That’s because at 2.57-millimeters thin, the TVs are best mounted completely flat against a wall (the ‘W’ stands for ‘wallpaper’). To address the lack of ports with such a super-thin design, the W-series features companion soundbars connected via a thin cable. The Dolby Atmos capable soundbars are outfitted with four HDMI ports, three USB connections and an optical audio port. The two models are also exceptionally light; the 65-inch version weighs 18 pounds, and the 77-inch model is 27 pounds. Continue reading LG Wows the Vegas Crowds with Super-Thin 4K OLED Series

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