It seems to start earlier and earlier each year, but still a month away HomeToys.com is starting to see the CES news and emails rolling in. This years show will take over Las Vegas from January 6th to the 9th and will offer an even wider variety of companies and exhibitions than the past. The Keynote address will come from Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. More information can be found at the International website. As for HomeToys, we have launched our Special CES Newspage for all the news and PR related to the show. Make sure to check back regularly for product announcements and information. Also if your company will be exhibiting at CES you can submit your news and PR as well. Enjoy the Show! HomeToys would like to thank its CES newspage sponsors: Somfy Systems, Mitsubishi, Vidabox, Richard Gray’s Power Company, Home Automation Inc. and Calrad Electronics.
AT&T has acquired home automation company Xanboo, part of a spate of activity which could lead to energy management services from broadband providers. Xanboo provides homeowners with a system for managing connected devices, such as security cameras and controllers, from a smartphone, TV, or PC. CEPro reported the acquisition yesterday (hat tip to Earth2Tech). The deal follows Motorola's announcement last week that it has bought home automation company 4Home, in which Verizon also had invested. Earlier this year, iControl and uControl merged their product offerings, which are expected to be used as part of Comcast's Xfinity home security service. Internet broadband providers are pushing into home automation to expand their product offerings as a way to retain customers. They expect that consumers will be willing to pay for security services, where people can access cameras and door alarms from a PC, TV, or smartphone. An AT&T representative today said it is too early to discuss specific offerings around the Xanboo technology. "We see synergies between Xanboo's technology and our offerings for consumers and small businesses. Xanboo's monitoring services are a natural extension of our high-speed Internet, video, and voice offerings and a good fit for our wireless services," she said.
Netflix's growth surge—at a time of weak DVD sales and increasingly fragmented TV audiences—prompts concern among movie and TV studios as well as other technology companies. One big worry is that the company could end up dominating the electronic distribution of movies and TV the way Apple Inc.'s iTunes Store dominates music. To prevent that, entertainment and technology companies are exploring plans to outflank Netflix with their own offerings. Amazon.com Inc. is developing a Netflix-like subscription service that would offer TV shows and movies, according to people familiar with the matter. That service would be included as a bundle with its Amazon Prime shipping service, which costs $79 a year, those people said. An Amazon spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment. Media companies, meantime, have talked to Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp., both of which provide access to Netflix's streaming service through their videogame consoles, about licensing TV shows directly to the two companies for offering through subscriptions, said people briefed on the conversations. A spokesman for Microsoft, which already cut one such deal with Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN, declined to comment. A Sony spokesman didn't respond to a request for comment. TV maker Vizio Inc. also has expressed interest securing video content for a subscription service, according to people familiar with the talks. A Vizio spokesman declined to comment.
About 3 million U.S. households plan to buy an Internet-connected television through the holiday shopping season, according to a new report. Research firm Parks Associates said the projection suggests another nail in the coffin for brick-and-mortar video stores. Despite the tally, just 38% of households plan to make a CE purchase by Christmas compared to 50% during the same period last year, according to Parks. “Consumers want deals; that is their trigger as economic conditions have made them more cautious buyers,” CEO Tricia Parks said. “Market players must stress the value and convenience of Internet-connected devices.” Connected devices include connected game consoles, Blu-ray Disc players, tablet computers and media players. By the end of the year, more than 40 million U.S. consumers will have a broadband-connected game console, more than 8 million will have a PC-to-TV connection, more than 5 million will have a connected Blu-ray player and more than 4 million will have a networked media player, such as an Apple TV or Roku. “Connected devices are the future of content consumption and entertainment in the living room as they capture the broader trends of integration among different silos in consumers’ lives,” principal analyst Kurt Scheff said.
Apple has been granted a patent for a projection system that can enable multiple viewers to simultaneously view 3D images without the need for those dorky 3D glasses. The patent, succinctly entitled "Three-dimensional display system," is fiendishly complex, but its goal is simple: to provide "highly effective, practical, efficient, uncomplicated, and inexpensive autostereoscopic 3D displays that allow the observer complete and unencumbered freedom of movement." Autostereoscopic is the standard term for the ability to present 3D content without the need for eyewear such as active shuttered or passive polarized glasses, as are used for most current 3D presentations. As the patent states, "...most voyages into virtual reality are currently solitary and encumbered ones: users often wear helmets, special glasses, or other devices that present the 3D world only to each of them individually." Understandably, this is less than ideal - "observers generally do not like to wear equipment over their eyes," the patent notes.
ELAN’s g! Series Home Control System is shipping worldwide with built-in multi-language support. The IP-Based, whole house entertainment and management solution includes the HR2 handheld remote, TS7 seven-inch in-wall Touchscreen, HC12 and HC6 controllers, TS2 touchpad and its VL2 tabletop kit, plus g! Mobile iPhone app and new precision panels. The ELAN g! Series Home Control System provides users with icon-based control from their favorite devices, including TVs, touchscreens, touchpads, PCs, iPhones, and iPads. The standardized interface works across platforms, so that the g!Mobile app on the iPhone appears and works similarly on ELAN touchscreens, valets and handheld remotes as well as users' televisions and mobile devices. Individual apps for each subsystem allow the user to control security, climate, lighting, media, irrigation, pool/spa, messaging, video, and photos. The interface also features personalized scheduling and detailed history views, enabling consumption subsystems like lighting and climate can be closely monitored and managed.
Level 3 Communications, a technology service provider whose clients include Netflix, is accusing broadband and cable company Comcast of threatening the open Internet by demanding a recurring fee for transmitting movies and other content to consumers. Thomas Stortz, chief legal officer for Level 3, said Comcast notified Level 3 Nov. 19 that its demand for payment was “take it or leave it.” Level 3 agreed to the terms, under protest. “By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content,” Stortz said. “This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation’s largest cable provider.” A request for comment was not immediately returned by Comcast. Level 3 operates a broadband backbone network that independent online content providers use to transmit movies, games and sporting events to consumers. When Comcast customers order content, Level 3 transmits it to Comcast for delivery.
The Cyber Monday online shopping holiday saw a nearly 20 percent gain in sales from last year, making it the biggest shopping day of the year so far. That's according to an estimate released Tuesday by IBM's Coremetrics unit. The firm, which did not release exact sales figures, reported a 19.4 percent increase over 2009's Cyber Monday, with the average order value of $194.89 representing an 8.3 rise over last year's figure. Online sales on Cyber Monday also jumped 31.1 percent over e-commerce sales on Black Friday last week. Shop.org, the National Retail Federation arm that launched Cyber Monday in 2005, had not released official sales figures as of Tuesday morning.
Our Friends at www.CocoonTech.com have been spending a lot of time over the last few months working on a new feature for their website. The feature is called 'Lists' and will collect information for various categories in a list, making it easy for people to find what they are looking for, by allowing users to filter for various criteria in order to find their product. Here are some of the lists online now (updated on a daily basis), more are coming soon. · The ultimate list of Apple iPad mounts (50+ Products) · iOS, iPhone, iPod, iPad home automation and home security apps (240+ Products) · Android phone & tablet home automation and home security apps (60+ Products) · BlackBerry home automation and home security apps (40+ Products)
The folks at Consumer reports have been obsessively poring over early Black Friday ads for several weeks now. While they've found many deals to share with you, their electronics team thought these particular bargains might just make it worthwhile to wake up far too early and brave the consumer crowds on the day after Thanksgiving. Laptops: In a doorbuster deal, Best Buy is selling a Sony laptop with a Blu-ray drive for $500. It includes a Blu-ray video, a subscription to a security software package, and a laptop bag. To take advantage of this early-bird deal, you need to pick up a ticket at Best Buy (they'll be doled out starting at 3 a.m. Friday morning), and quantities are limited to 10 per store. Desktops: Best Buy will also have the HP Pavilion p6624y with a quad-core AMD processor, 8GB of memory, and a 1TB hard drive. It comes with a 23-inch monitor and a wireless printer. The Black Friday price will be $600; it's currently on the Best Buy site for $700, without the monitor and printer. E-book readers: The best deal will demand an early morning. Early-birds at Best Buy can save about $50 on the Nook Wi-Fi, which is selling at $99.99 rather than its usual price of $150. 32-inch LCD TVs: There are a number of deals on 32-inch LCDs. So far, the cheapest we’ve seen is the Emerson 720p set at Walmart (model LC320EM1) priced at $198. 50-inch or larger TVs: Walmart will be also breaking the $500 barrier for a 50-inch plasma with a $498 price on a Sanyo 720p set (DP50740); its regular retail price is $650.
Tivo Inc. announced a powerful new TiVo app for the iPad. The app will be available for free from the Apple iTunes App store in the coming weeks. The TiVo® Premiere App enables you to search, browse, explore and share your favorite entertainment all without interrupting whatever is playing on your TV. Since the app works in tandem with what you are watching, iPad is now the ultimate remote control and companion device for TiVo Premiere users. By bringing its best in class high-definition user interface to iPad, TiVo has created a true two-screen TV experience. TiVo Premiere users will get access to a full set of TiVo capabilities on iPad, providing a richer TV viewing experience for both live TV and Internet video while kicking back on the sofa. Plus, users will also be able to schedule and manage their DVR recordings while on-the-go.
"I think everyone in the known world will want them!" That's a potent, soul-stirring quite from Honolulu's own Becky Gray, and her emotions tend to mimic our own. We mean, who wouldn't want a pop-up MicroLite dongle affixed to the bottom of their remote? For a limited time of indefinite nature, free-spending consumers can actually get not one, not two, but three of these miracle workers for the tidy sum of just $19.99*, enabling them to light up a full trio of cut-rate remotes. Better still, you can use two of 'em to illuminate the keyboard of your shiny new 13-inch MacBook Air -- you know, because Apple decided this solution was better than its own integrated one. There's an unrealistic video demonstration embedded just past the break, and it's just a Billy Mays (rest his soul) short of awesomeness. Order now!
Netflix Inc said it will offer its first unlimited streaming-only subscription plan in the United States for $7.99 a month, and raise prices of its popular unlimited streaming and unlimited DVD plans by a dollar -- eventually shifting away from its mail business. Netflix shares rose 7 percent to $184.71 in morning trading following the announcement. The move is part of Netflix's push to phase out its DVD-by- mail business, said Gabelli & Company analyst Brett Harriss. "For a while, the goal of the company was to change its business model from DVDs to streaming because it recognizes the DVD has a limited shelf life at this time and streaming has higher margins," Harriss said. The company said on Monday the plan will take effect immediately for new subscribers and in January for current members. Netflix, which gained success as a DVD rent-by-mail service, ended the third quarter with 16.9 million members in the United States and Canada. It debuted its first streaming-only service in Canada in September. Its streaming video library is still tiny compared with its DVD by-mail selection and Harriss said the company would have to continue spending on expensive content deals to boost its digital offerings.
Vizio has recaptured the top ranking in LCD TV market share, while Samsung remains #1 in the overall domestic LCD rankings, according to the latest iSuppli Corp. rankings . The research firm found that Vizio has captured a 19.9 percent market share of the LCD market in the U.S., compared with 17.7 percent for Samsung, after Vizio posted a 14.9 percent gain in sales during the third quarter. Sony followed with 9.9, while LG posted 9.2 percent. "Consumer demand is rising rapidly for LED-backlit LCD TVs because of their thinner form factors, improved picture quality, better color saturation, lower power consumption and other green attributes—along their with declining prices," Riddhi Patel, iSuppli's principal analyst, said as part of the announcement. "This allowed Vizio to increase its LCD TV sales by 208,000 units in the third quarter compared to the second.” Samsung retained the top spot in overall flat-panel sales, followed by Vizio, LG, Panasonic and Sony. Overall LCD shipments were reported at 8.04 million units, up 8.1 percent from the previous quarter, but a slight decline from the same period in 2009.
International research firm Parks Associates today announced the sessions and preliminary list of speakers for its upcoming CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES, January 6 at 2011 International CES in Las Vegas. This event provides consumer data and analysis of business and marketing strategies for operators, CE manufacturers, utilities, and communications companies delivering connected devices and advanced services and applications to consumers. “Parks Associates forecasts U.S. sales of nearly 60 million smartphones and more than 13 million Internet tablets, including Apple iPads, in 2011,” said Kurt Scherf, VP, principal analyst, Parks Associates. “These products will grab attention, especially tablets as Lenovo, BlackBerry, and Motorola are launching new models, but it is equally important to focus on the services and content attached to these devices. At CONNECTIONS™ Summit at CES, we will look beyond the headlines and announcements to see what consumers will be doing with these devices and how they will change their video, entertainment, and communication habits.”
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!