Belkin Conserve Gateway Connects to Smart Meter to Provide Energy Usage Insight in the Home

Belkin today announced its Conserve Gateway, a router system that pairs with your smart meter to provide real-time insight about home energy use. Conserve Gateway delivers this information via a simple web interface.  The interface allows people to easily track and reduce energy use in their homes and learn conservation tips. Further, it offers utility companies the ability to push information to Conserve Gateway with advice or calls to action, such as: “By using your dryer more efficiently, you can save up to $76 per year.”  Its protocol was informed by extensive ethnographic research that proved most people don’t know what a kilowatt-hour (kWh) is and have even less of an idea about where power comes from.  Both Google with the Google PowerMeter and Microsoft with Microsoft  Hohm also offer real-time wireless internet energy monitoring services.

Google TV puts Apple TV on Notice - Will Apple's "Hobby" Become Irrelevant?

Google’s early unveiling this week of some of its content partners and strategy for Google TV provided a solid preview of the company’s television strategy. According to Paul Erickson, Senior Analyst at IMS Research (, the potential capabilities and embedded product reach of Google TV may make another high-profile over-the-top (OTT) video play, Apple TV, largely irrelevant to consumers over time. Although the latest version of Apple TV has been significantly improved and Apple continues to deliver a strong user experience, Erickson remains doubtful: “Apple has struggled over time to make Apple TV a hit with consumers due to issues with pricing, content, and awareness. The product is now squeezed between broad OTT video capabilities on game consoles and Blu-ray players, and the search-augmented, integrated television+OTT video experience that Google TV is slated to deliver across TV and set-top box form factors.” “Google’s strategy to deliver the Google TV experience on an platform-agnostic basis, regardless of whether Google’s guide, search, applications, and OTT video capabilities are combined with cable, satellite, or terrestrial programming, makes it a product that will have a larger impact than Apple TV. This is also due to broad content support, with Google TV supporting a larger selection of content partners that is only expected to increase over time. Some of Apple TV’s more innovative features, like remote control via iPhone or iPod, already have their equivalent in Google TV, which supports remote control via Android smartphones as well as the iPhone.” Google TV still faces some hurdles of its own, with announced retail hardware partners at this time limited to Sony and Logitech, and a few missing pieces in its content offering, notably Hulu Plus, Flickr, and others. These limitations, however, are only expected to be near-term. Erickson, who will shortly begin work on IMS’ 2011 report on Internet-delivered TV, believes, “Google TV fundamentally differs from Apple TV in that its scale is larger and less constrained; tight integration of live TV, OTT video, and Internet-driven search and applications, either in set-top box form or built straight into your TV. Without a careful re-imagining of exactly what Apple TV’s value proposition will be within this new competitive landscape that Google TV is likely to occupy at the high end, Apple’s “hobby” of Apple TV is likely to remain such.”

A Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 WHDI Model in the Works

Wireless Home Digital Interface, or WHDI, is a technology used to wirelessly stream content from a computer to your TV. Typically, this content has been HD videos streamed from a laptop to an HDTV. But what if there was a video card that had this same technology so you could wirelessly stream a video game to your big screen TV? Well, Galaxy and Amimon are partnering up to embed Amimon's WHDI technology in a GeForce GTX 460. The new card will be known as the Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 WHDI Edition and comes with an adapter you plug in to your TV. Once the video card is installed in your system, all the content will be able to be streamed to your TV, even when you play video games. The WHDI technology delivers uncompressed 1080p video at 60Hz up to 100 feet away, you can even stream HDCP content provided your TV can support it. Curiously, the GTX 460 WHDI Edition does not appear to have any vents on the rear of the card so your guess is as good as mine as to how the temperatures will be inside your case. The Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 WHDI Edition video card will be available in October though no mention was made of pricing.

AMIMON Unveils the WHDI Stick for Easy Wireless PC to TV Connectivity

AMIMON announced today the WHDI Stick™. The WHDI Stick is a new product design that showcases the slim PC-to-TV products that CE manufacturers will bring to market in 2011. The WHDI Stick enables users to wirelessly view all of their tablet or notebook/netbook content on their TVs without the limitations of other solutions. With virtually no latency (less than one millisecond) users can now play their PC games and interactive content on the “big screen.” In addition to all other content, WHDI security and HDCP 2.0 copy protection allow the WHDI Stick to bring Blu-ray movies and other copy-protected content to the HDTV. The WHDI Stick is a true plug-n-play product, no installation is needed and it is OS independent. The WHDI Stick is the smallest WHDI product design to date. The 3.2x1.18x.61 inch (81.3x29.9x15.5 mm) transmitter plugs in directly to the HDMI port of the notebook/netbook and is powered by the USB port. The WHDI Stick will transmit the PC screen directly to TVs embedded with WHDI or to any TV using a WHDI receiver adapter that connects to the TV via HDMI. AMIMON will be demonstrating the WHDI Stick at the CEATEC consumer electronics show in Tokyo, Japan.

FLO TV is Dead

Qualcomm will shut down the FLO TV service, which will wind down by year's end, reported Monday. The service had been struggling, CEO Paul Jacobs  said multiple times, publicly, in recent months.  The company may lease out the remains of the service to AT&T or Verizon, the report said. The company had announced price cuts for the in-car version of the service as recently as last month.

Toshiba Unveils First Consumer 3D Flatpanel-TV Without Glasses

Toshiba today announced at CEATEC 2010, Japan's biggest consumer electronics show, its first commercially available 3D TVs that can be used without glasses. With the two TVs, one with a screen size of 12'' (30.5 cm) and another with 20'' (50.8 cm), viewers get a three dimensional viewing experience comfortably, without the need to wear 3D glasses. The products will be available by the end of December 2010 in Japan.  The newly developed technological innovation for 3D-TVs without glasses uses an integral imaging system. It provides nine different perspectives (parallaxes) of each single 2D frame which the viewer's brain superimposes to create a 3-dimensional impression of the image. Toshiba achieved this thanks to its engineers' huge knowledge of display technology and of semiconductor and software design. They developed a powerful engine and an algorithm to extrapolate these perspectives out of the 2D frame and used a perpendicular lenticular sheet, an array of lenses, that enable the viewer's brain to superimpose the perspectives. It also offers a wide viewing area in front of the display and allows movement of the eyes and head without disrupting the 3D image and without the discomfort sometimes associated with other 'glasses-less' 3D technologies.

Lutron Introduces Several New Energy-Saving Offerings

Lutron has unveiled HomeWorks QS home control, which provides increased energy savings, is easier to install and program, and which features greater integration capabilities, including lights, shades, HVAC and appliances. Energy-saving features include the ability to control LED and fluorescent light sources, occupancy/vacancy sensors that ensure lights are only on when the room is occupied, temperature control, a Green button which scales back lights, shades and temperature and a programmable timeclock to control lights in spaces where lights are left on.  The system is controlled via a new 4.2-inch touch interface panel.

Also introduced is Lutron’sApple iPad app for its wireless RadioRa 2 control system. The app controls lights, shades, temperature and appliances for energy savings.The app will allow homeowners to monitor their system while away from home, control multiple systems from a single iPad, adjust energy-saving preferences and will be available on iTunes® starting in December.

Logitech Unveiling Google TV Product On Oct. 6

It looks as if Logitech will beat Sony across the Google TV finish line.  Sony recently trumpeted an October 12 event in New York City, at which the company will be revealing its Google TV-powered Internet TV. But now Logitech has scheduled its own Google TV event in Manhattan event six days earlier.   The invitation promises that "Google TV will be a new experience that combines TV, the entire Web, and apps--as well as a way to search across them all." The press conference will be led by Logitech's Executive VP of Products, Junien Labrousse. In other words, we should finally be getting all of the juicy details on the Logitech Revue--price, release date, specs--which was first unveiled at last May's Google I/O event.   Interestingly, the invite makes reference to Logitech's "line of products for Google TV," which indicates that the Revue may come in more than one version, or that Logitech has additional Google TV products up its sleeve.   Either way, this is certainly shaping up to be the biggest season for Internet TV products to date. Yet another reason you might want to wait--if only for a few weeks--before taking the plunge on a new Roku or Apple TV.

Sonos Adds Free iPad Controller App

The Sonos Controller for iPad is now available as a free app in the iTunes App Store. The application allows an end user to view rooms, music, and what songs are playing, all at once, and in landscape or portrait mode. Quickly search for your favorite artists by typing on the virtual keyboard and browse through albums by pointing and flicking.  “The iPad, with its large, vibrant touch screen, provides an excellent Controller user experience for music in the home,” said John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos Inc. “In keeping with the tradition of getting better over time—and, at no cost to our customers—we’re thrilled to provide another free app that makes it fun and easy to search, find and play music in any and every room of their home.”  In conjunction with the new Sonos Controller for iPad, Sonos released Sonos System Software 3.3, a free one-button software update to the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. With Sonos 3.3, Sonos now supports AAC radio stations, adding to the more than 100,000 radio stations, shows, and podcasts you can stream directly on Sonos.  In addition, all Sonos customers in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK now have instant access to ten million songs and all of their playlists on Spotify. Sonos Controller for iPhone 3.3 has been submitted to Apple and is pending approval.

Major Broadcasters Band Together And File A Lawsuit Against Online Video Startup Ivi.

The major broadcasters usually can’t agree on much, but they’ve agreed to band together and file a lawsuit against Ivi, claiming that the online video startup is infringing copyrights. The suit, filed in the Southern District of New York yesterday, aims to shut down Ivi’s video service, which retransmits over-the-air broadcast signals online.  Ivi’s system works by relaying live TV feeds from more than 40 broadcasters — including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and Telemundo — to online viewers. It claims to be operating under a legal loophole which says that cable and satellite companies can legally retransmit over-the-air broadcast content as long as they pay semi-annual fees to the U.S. Copyright Office. The startup says it has already applied to pay those fees, which are later distributed to rights holders.  It should come as little surprise that the broadcasters disagree with Ivi’s reading of the law, and have pressured it with cease and desist letters, calling for the startup to take down the online video service. That prompted Ivi to file a preemptive lawsuit against certain broadcasters last week.

Hulu Plus coming to Roku, TiVo Premiere

Roku today confirmed the murmurings of yesterday that Hulu Plus is coming to its trio of set-top boxes. Starting "later this fall," the $9.99-per-month service that brings on-demand movies and TV shows from NBC, Fox, ABC, and others will be available.  There is no extra fee beyond the standard Hulu Plus subscription.  This is, of course, not the only way to get Hulu on your TV: Samsung, Sony, and Vizio TVs and Blu-ray players, as well as the Xbox and PlayStation 3 will feed Hulu Plus to your TV screen, but those require a much larger purchase. Roku comes in three options now, ranging from $59 to $99. (And Roku takes about six minutes to set up.)

It's also an interesting option compared with the new Apple TV. Apple rejiggered its set-top offering to feature a rental-only service for content, including 99-cent TV shows. But for those who prefer a flat fee from Hulu versus paying for every show, Roku is making itself an intriguing alternative.  Not to be outdone, TiVo issued its own announcement minutes after Roku's. Hulu Plus will also be coming to TiVo Premiere "in the coming months." It's the same deal, subscribers who pay $9.99 a month for Hulu Plus can add it to their TiVo Premiere box for free.

Bose VideoWave: 46-inch HDTV + integrated invisible speaker system = $5,349

Bose is known for squeezing big sound out of little speakers, often for a lot of money. It may have created the ultimate version of that formula in the new VideoWave Entertainment System, which combines an HDTV with virtual surround sound speakers built into the bezel and a single console that routes video from your set-top box, Blu-ray player, and game console to the set. The VideoWave has a 46-inch 1080p LCD as its foundation, and Bose then somehow manages to fit 16 speakers into the surrounding frame, including six woofers, which are automatically calibrated for your room via Bose’s Adaptiq system. It also comes with a click pad remote that has a few buttons to cover basics like volume or channel control, but then touching the pad lets you control devices via an on-screen display that surrounds the image. The console houses four HDMI inputs, a pair of component-video ports, a USB port, and the inevitable iPod dock.

RocketGUI Announces "Home Pilot" iPad based Whole-Home Control Solution

RocketGUI, LLC announced their new iPad solution designed for the mid- to high-end residential control system market. The new iPad software, named Home Pilot™, is unique because it doesn’t rely on a separate processor-based controller like other whole-home control system solutions. Instead, the control intelligence is integrated into the Home Pilot application itself providing the reliability of built-in control redundancy in multi-interface systems, plus an extremely powerful, fluid and engaging user experience.  Home Pilot can be installed on as many iPad’s as desired to provide convenient access to controls and information anywhere in the home.  Intuitive “home-base” style navigation makes for familiar control requiring little or no training to operate.  Home Pilot controls HVAC, lighting, shades, home security, audio sources like CD changers, music servers, and streaming music clients, and video sources such as Blu-ray players, DVD changers, video servers and streaming video clients. Home Pilot also manages whole house audio and video routing and distribution and more from an intuitive, unified interface.

ivi, Inc., Empowers Consumers to Cut-the-Cord and Turn On ivi TV - Live TV Online

ivi TV™ is making it easier than ever for consumers to cut-the-cord and free themselves from paying high cable bills for access to live television content. In an ever-increasing new consumer trend, they can now easily access popular TV programming by downloading ivi TV’s app from its website. The online cable system’s app transforms nearly any internet-connected device into a “TV” allowing the user to watch live TV anytime, anywhere.  At $4.99 a month for all major network programming, it is significantly cheaper than cable TV bills, which average $71.00 a month. As cable TV bundle pricing goes the way of the landline telephone business, ivi TV now delivers what consumers have been waiting for since the dawn of the Internet boom – live television over the Internet, without buffering or other issues often experienced at video on demand (VOD) sites, like YouTube.

Transform your Apple device into a universal remote control with the L5 Remote

Now that football season is here, do you find your friends, family members, and neighbors flocking to your house at kickoff time on Sunday afternoons? Check out the L5 Remote, a new device that can enhance the experience of watching the game (and clear that cluttered coffee table). This intuitive app and hardware combo for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch turns your Apple device into a touch-screen remote in a matter of minutes. Use it to channel surf on your Cable or Satellite box, operate your DVD player, control your DVR, and activate most other home entertainment devices. The L5 Remote offers a drag and drop design, which allows you to customize your dream remote by adding the buttons you want and deleting the ones you don’t. Upload your favorite designs, and download those that interest you. Who doesn’t want options? That’s why you can also transfer, share, and backup remote designs through the L5 Remote app. The product boasts a large capacity so your options for personalization are virtually endless; make as many 1,000 remotes, and name up to 100,000 buttons. The benefits of the L5 Remote go beyond custom remote designs and buttons. The device’s capacity for macro controls allows the user to create and activate a sequence of events with just one touch. Dim the lights, power on the surround sound, and click on the TV to your favorite team’s game, all with one simple click. Let the L5 remote consolidate your complex remote collection, leaving more time for tailgating and touchdowns. Aavailable now from for $49.95.

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