Google Cast Technology Powers New Vizio TVs and Speakers

Vizio is launching a SmartCast TV set and several soundbars and speakers, all based on Google Cast, the same technology as that company’s Chromecast streaming stick. With the SmartCast TV, the user can control streaming services directly from his or her phone, without a remote control. Vizio just introduced a companion Android app on Google Play that will allow volume control and other basic functions as well as a movie/TV show guide. One partner in the launch is Walmart’s video service Vudu. Continue reading Google Cast Technology Powers New Vizio TVs and Speakers

Google and Vizio Partner for First Chromecast-Powered TV Set

According to multiple unnamed sources, Google and TV manufacturer Vizio are partnering on new TV sets with built-in Chromecast-like functionality. The new sets are reported to allow consumers to initiate streaming of online services like Netflix and Hulu from mobile devices. This move is a sharp contrast to Google’s previous model, which drew a line between Chromecast and its Android TV, a smart TV platform launched in 2014 that runs apps on the TV set with navigation via a remote control. Continue reading Google and Vizio Partner for First Chromecast-Powered TV Set

CES 2016: First Public Demo of ATSC 3.0 Standards for UHD

The Advanced Television System Committee’s ATSC 3.0 standards for 4K are expected to be finalized this year, and CES attendees in Las Vegas can get an early look at 4K Ultra HD over broadcast television. LG and Samsung are sponsoring two local TV stations (independent KHMP and NBC-affiliated KSNV, respectively) playing 4K content on display at this week’s conference. This marks the first major public demonstration of the ATSC 3.0 transmission system, designed for improved broadcast signals of 4K Ultra HD TV, mobile TV and interactive content. Continue reading CES 2016: First Public Demo of ATSC 3.0 Standards for UHD

Dolby Vision Promises ‘Astonishing’ Brightness, Contrast, Color

Vizio is expected to be the first television manufacturer to showcase Dolby Vision at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. Audio pioneer Dolby is branching into video; the first two Vizio Reference Series sets with Dolby Vision will be demonstrated at this week’s confab. Vizio, which recently announced its affordable D-Series 4K TVs starting at just $600, is stepping away from its traditional low-cost business model to offer Dolby Vision. This month, the company will debut a 65-inch model for $6,000, and the 120-inch version will initially run about $130,000. Continue reading Dolby Vision Promises ‘Astonishing’ Brightness, Contrast, Color

CES 2016: 4K Displays Tout More Features and Lower Prices

CES 2016 will reflect a year of evolution, not revolution, for TV displays. UHD 4K sets aren’t new at CES, says Paul Gagnon, director of TV research for IHS, but 2016 is “the first breakout year.” What is still on the cutting edge are technologies for improved picture quality and improved dynamic range, with a variety of largely proprietary high dynamic range (HDR) offerings. And lest anyone think that 4K is the end destination, CES 2016 will highlight the 8K offerings of manufacturers doubling down on even higher resolution. Continue reading CES 2016: 4K Displays Tout More Features and Lower Prices

Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

In an October IPO filing, Vizio described its ability to provide “highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy.” This refers to Vizio’s Smart TVs ability to track the user’s viewing habits and share that information with advertisers, who use it to connect with that user’s devices. Vizio dubs this “Smart Interactivity” and it is turned on by default for the more than 10 million Smart TVs the company has sold. Users who do not want to be tracked in this fashion must opt-out. Continue reading Vizio Smart TV Tracks Users’ Viewing, Shares with Advertisers

IPO Plan Details Benefits of ACR Software in Vizio Smart TVs

Vizio has sold more than 15 million smart TVs as part of its $3 billion per year business and is now ready to go public. Its recent IPO filing reveals how its smart TVs are tracking what consumers are watching. Inscape software embedded in Vizio screens can track anything being played — including cable TV, streaming devices and game systems. The technology, based on Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) software, can pull 100 billion datapoints from its connected TVs daily. The data should prove valuable to advertisers and content providers. Continue reading IPO Plan Details Benefits of ACR Software in Vizio Smart TVs

Is a Price War Brewing Between Amazon.com and Jet.com?

Recently, Amazon has been offering discounts on sneakers and video games to its Prime members, prompting some industry watchers to predict an impending price war with discount shopping site Jet.com. Operating in private beta, the members-only Jet offers cheaper prices by lowering order fulfillment and shipping costs. The belief in the possibility of a price war is rooted in recent history: Jet was founded by former Amazon employee Marc Lore, whose previous company Diapers.com was the focus of a heated price war that ended with Amazon’s 2010 acquisition. Continue reading Is a Price War Brewing Between Amazon.com and Jet.com?

Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

New UHD TVs have been announced by companies including Samsung, LG and Vizio. Samsung is touting its quantum-dot-like color tech, and LG is pushing OLEDs and its quantum-dot “ColorPrime,” while Vizio is emphasizing affordable sets with full-array local dimming. Sony just announced pricing and availability of its new Android TV-powered 4K sets. The line features 10 models ranging from 43-inches at $1,300 to 75-inches at $8,000. With its new offerings, Sony is focused on razor-thin panels and HDR features. Continue reading Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

UltraFlix Aims to Become Your Choice for Streaming 4K Content

NanoTech Entertainment is hoping that its 4K movie-streaming service, UltraFlix, will become the Netflix of Ultra HD. However, its immediate obstacle is a lack of 4K content, which is expected to change now that more companies are embracing the format. Consumers who already purchased a 4K smart TV from Hisense, Samsung, Sony or Vizio likely already have the UltraFlix app (next up is LG, Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba, according to NanoTech). Competing with Netflix and Amazon could prove an additional obstacle. Continue reading UltraFlix Aims to Become Your Choice for Streaming 4K Content

Netflix Announces Smart TV Certification Program in Las Vegas

While Netflix has emerged at several CES press events in Las Vegas this week promoting HDR and various partnership deals, the streaming video service also announced its new smart TV certification program, Netflix Recommended TV, designed to help consumers select Netflix-friendly TV sets that are “built for a superior Internet TV experience.” The recommendation program was announced during LG’s press conference. Initial program participants include LG, Sharp, Sony, Vizio and Roku TV makers. Continue reading Netflix Announces Smart TV Certification Program in Las Vegas

UHD Displays Expected to Take Center Stage at January’s CES

Ultra HD displays will deliver on last year’s promise at the 2015 International CES next month. Expect to see 4K/UHD sets with very attractive prices. Set manufacturers Vizio and Acer have already launched 4K displays for $1,000 and under, and other manufacturers are likely to unveil similarly low-cost models. Chinese UHD display manufacturers, that have had a strong presence at recent CES events, will continue their efforts to understand the U.S. consumer and break into the U.S. market at lower price points. Continue reading UHD Displays Expected to Take Center Stage at January’s CES

Connected Televisions in U.S. Households Jump to 168 Million

According to research from Strategy Analytics, the average U.S. home with broadband service now has 1.9 connected TV devices, up 28 percent from Q3 2013, and up 5 percent from the second quarter of 2014. The report indicates there are now 168 million connected smart TVs, Blu-ray players, IP-enabled game consoles and streaming devices such as Apple TV, Roku and Google Chromecast. Samsung maintained a 35 percent share of smart TV shipments during the third quarter. Continue reading Connected Televisions in U.S. Households Jump to 168 Million

Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members

Amazon Prime members who enjoy free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of music and video can soon add Ultra HD to their subscription perks. Amazon announced yesterday that it is releasing a catalog of television shows and movies that stream in 4K, joining Netflix in a move that may provide consumers with another reason to consider a UHD TV purchase. Current UHD models offered by LG, Samsung and Sony feature a built-in chip capable of decoding 4K video streamed from Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Announces Streaming 4K Content for Prime Members

Vizio Undercuts Price with Launch of P-Series 4K LED TV Line

Vizio has announced the availability of its P-Series 4K LED HDTV line we first saw during January’s CES. The company is dramatically undercutting most current UHD offerings from competing manufacturers. The 50-inch model is priced at $999, which could help push 4K into the mainstream — while the top-of-the-line 70-inch model is priced at a reasonable $2,499. Despite the cost of the P-Series line, Vizio has not skimped on the specs, including features such as Full-Array LED backlighting and local dimming. Continue reading Vizio Undercuts Price with Launch of P-Series 4K LED TV Line

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