CES Microcosm: Sony Press Events Focus on End-to-End 4K

It began Monday night with a low cost 4K camcorder, new 4K TVs and a 4K streaming partnership with Netflix, all announced during Sony’s press reveal. But CEO Kaz Hirai kept the news coming during his 2014 International CES keynote Tuesday morning, as Sony introduced new cloud-based streaming TV and gaming services. These events clearly helped set the tone for a show that was dominated by every aspect of the 4K pipeline, especially TVs, and somewhat surprisingly, streaming services. Continue reading CES Microcosm: Sony Press Events Focus on End-to-End 4K

Value Providers Show Impressive 4K TVs at Reasonable Prices

The speed of CE technology adoption may be getting an impressive jolt in a potentially unprecedented reversal. From video screens developed as house brands and partnerships of glass and panel producers, we saw a surprising number of quality Ultra HD TV sets at CES scheduled for reasonable price points. Seiki and Polaroid both showcased sub-$1,000 4K TVs, while companies such as Vizio were promising “consumer-friendly” prices for 4K sets launching this year. Continue reading Value Providers Show Impressive 4K TVs at Reasonable Prices

TV: Will 4K LED LCD Replace 1080p Plasma at CES in January?

In the wake of an eventful year for television technology, January’s Consumer Electronics Show is expected to feature a slew of new announcements, most notably, perhaps, involving a new wave of LED LCD sets possibly filling the void left by plasma. In October, Panasonic announced it would stop manufacturing plasma TVs. While LG and Samsung will likely introduce new plasma models in 2014, compelling features of affordable LED LCD models could possibly take center stage. Continue reading TV: Will 4K LED LCD Replace 1080p Plasma at CES in January?

Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

Forbes reports that Apple was a big winner on Black Friday. The article notes that InfoScout reviewed more than 90,000 shopping receipts in the U.S. and learned that Apple products accounted for 22 percent of Target’s sales on Black Friday. The iPad Air 16GB, iPad mini 16GB and iPad Air 32GB models were the number one, two and three sellers, respectively. Additionally, the iPad mini 16GB model was the number one seller at Walmart. Continue reading Black Friday: Apple iPad a Big Winner at Target and Walmart

Roku to Support DIAL, Offer Functionality Found on Chromecast

Roku CEO Anthony Wood announced at the Next TV Summit in San Francisco this week that his company’s devices will soon add support for the DIAL protocol. The update will allow Roku to offer functionality similar to that of Google’s Chromecast, which would include expanded second-screen support for Netflix. Devices from Sony, Vizio, LG, Panasonic and TiVo already support DIAL, a multiscreen protocol jointly developed by Netflix and YouTube. Continue reading Roku to Support DIAL, Offer Functionality Found on Chromecast

Movie Service M-GO Unveils Personal Cards, Considers Live TV

M-GO, the movie service launched by Technicolor and DreamWorks, recently announced that it is adding LG TVs to its growing list of supported devices. The company is also launching new personal Cards for its Web app, a personalization feature akin to Pinterest for your movies. As part of its expansion strategy, M-GO has ambitious content plans, which possibly include integrating a locker service for access to personal content, in addition to live television. Continue reading Movie Service M-GO Unveils Personal Cards, Considers Live TV

Netflix Hopes to Bring Increased Intelligence to Smart TVs

Netflix has started a quiet effort to address problems with smart TVs. The company is in talks with tech companies and consumer electronics manufacturers in order to find improvements to user interfaces, remote controls and other smart TV components. The idea of Internet content combined with TVs began in the mid 1990s, but some believe progress has been slow. New apps, services and compelling content are needed to engage viewers to purchase and use smart TVs. Continue reading Netflix Hopes to Bring Increased Intelligence to Smart TVs

Redbox Instant by Verizon App Now Available on Google TV

Google announced this week that the newly launched Redbox Instant by Verizon app is now ready for Google TV. Available in the Google Play market, owners of second generation hardware will be able to make full use of the app’s streaming capabilities (as detailed at the Google I/O conference, only newer devices have the necessary DRM support). Google Play is currently offering a one month free trial for new subscribers. Continue reading Redbox Instant by Verizon App Now Available on Google TV

CES 2013: Razer Edge Takes Top Awards in CNET Best of CES

CNET announced the winners of its official “Best of CES” Awards program on Thursday morning. Hundreds of new products were judged by the CNET editors, while the People’s Voice Award was selected by an online audience. This year, both the Best of Show and People’s Voice Awards went to the $999 Razer Edge, a PC gaming-oriented Windows 8 tablet. Other winners included the Lenovo 27-inch Horizon Table PC, Samsung’s 4K UHDTV and the Android YotaPhone with e-ink display. Continue reading CES 2013: Razer Edge Takes Top Awards in CNET Best of CES

CES 2013: Vizio To Launch 3DGO! App On its Smart TVs

Vizio is adding an app for 3DGO! — Sensio Technologies’ 3D VOD service — to its Vizio Internet Apps on its Theatre 3D Smart TV models. Sensio is making the app, and is talking with additional set makers about this opportunity. Aimed at growing the amount of available 3D content in the home, 3DGO! currently offers roughly 30 titles, primarily documentaries. Continue reading CES 2013: Vizio To Launch 3DGO! App On its Smart TVs

If Consumers Do Not Care about 3D, Why are 3D TV Sales on the Rise?

  • According to the DisplaySearch unit of The NPD Group, 6.6 million 3D TV sets were shipped in the third quarter of 2011, up 27 percent from the previous quarter.
  • The research firm expects shipments to increase 30 percent this quarter, for a total of 21.5 million units in 2011.
  • However, DisplaySearch suggests a “lack of 3D content and services” means buyers are mostly watching 2D video.
  • Additionally, Nielsen released a study last year suggesting consumers were reluctant to wear 3D glasses and nearly 90 percent said that viewing 3D TV would get in the way of checking e-mail or Web surfing while watching television.
  • The article suggests that marketing and aggressive pricing has made the difference. “Television vendors have been pushing 3D sets on customers all year,” reports CNET. “In fact, companies such as Samsung, Vizio, and Panasonic, among others, have made 3D a key component in a large number of their televisions, making it harder and harder to find sets that don’t come with 3D support.”

Vizio Releases $299 Android Tablet in Time for School

  • Vizio has released an 8-inch Android tablet priced at a mere $299. It features Adobe Flash, a three-speaker configuration and a MicroSD slot for expanding to 32GB.
  • The Wi-Fi tablet is being promoted by Vizio as an affordable back-to-school option and as a media device designed to interact with TVs.
  • According to the press release: “The VIZIO Tablet features VIZIO Internet Apps Plus which combines the latest technologies with a unified, easy-to-use and fun user interface across select future VIZIO HDTVs, Blu-ray players and other devices — further differentiating the sleek VIZIO Tablet. In addition, the new Tablet is able to control nearly every element of a user’s home theater with a universal remote app and includes a built-in HDMI port with HDCP support for content protected HD playback on the big screen.”

Smart TV Platform Flingo Merges Television and the Web

  • Flingo has created a development platform to integrate the Web and TV.
  • The company’s video demo shows how you can “fling” a YouTube video from your PC to your TV.
  • Their technology is already available in over half the TVs being sold including those from Samsung, LG, Vizio and Western Digital.
  • It is currently available on 5.7 million TVs in 117 countries. You can also buy Flingo-enabled Blu-ray players and Roku boxes.
  • The goal is to merge TV and the Web, allowing media partners like Fox, Showtime and others to build apps that integrate both.
  • Flingo was founded in 2008 by former BitTorrent employees Ashwin Navin and David Harrison.

MeeGo Smart TV aims to Combine TV Services with One Set-Top Box

A new software platform developed for television by the MeeGo open-source community (hosted by The Linux Foundation) is expected to launch as early as next month. MeeGo Smart TV 1.2 was developed in order to enable service providers to combine pay TV, apps, video and a variety of other content in a unified set-top box. According to MeeGo, “This release provides a solid baseline for device vendors and developers to start creating software for various device categories on Intel Atom and ARMv7 architectures.”

The MeeGo Smart TV platform is based on the MeeGo 1.2 release that came out last week, just prior to the MeeGo Conference in San Francisco (May 23-25). MeeGo TV hopes to succeed where others have failed regarding efforts to fuse TV and the Web by remaining open to applications from a multitude of developers.

“What people don’t want is a browser on their TV,” explained MeeGo TV Architect Dominique Le Foll at the MeeGo Conference. “Instead, just as on a mobile phone, consumers prefer to use apps that are optimized for the device.”

CIO.com reports: “The MeeGo team is not alone in recognizing this. Even TV manufacturers, including Sony and Vizio, are trying to build up stores of apps and widgets that can be used on their sets. But MeeGo’s openness gives it advantages over other options for connected TVs, Le Foll said. Previous TV-Web systems have been based on set-top boxes with traditional embedded operating systems, which are difficult and expensive for service providers to update and maintain. By contrast, MeeGo TV is maintained by a community of developers, organized on the model of the Linux community and managed by the Linux Foundation.”

The MeeGo press release outlines the anticipated development schedule: “MeeGo development continues forward on a six-month cadence, with MeeGo 1.3 scheduled to be released in October, 2011. Many new features targeting MeeGo 1.3 have already been accepted in MeeGo Featurezilla. The development tree for MeeGo 1.3 is open and we are starting to integrate new components now.”

Interesting history of the project from The Linux Foundation (pdf format): “Introduction to the MeeGo Project”

One-year anniversary overview from The Linux Foundation (pdf format): “12 Months Since the Project Announcement: Where Are We and What’s New in MeeGo1.1?”

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