"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.”
Linear LLC has sold the assets of media server pioneer Imerge Ltd. to Prism Sound, the UK-based manufacturer of professional digital audio equipment for the International broadcast, film, music production, manufacturing and telecommunications industries. According to Prism, the Imerge brands will continue with current production as well as new product development under the new ownership. Customer support will be maintained for all former customers of Imerge Ltd, including OEM partners ELAN, SpeakerCraft, Xantech, and Revox. Prism Sound has retained key members of the former Imerge team in research and development, production, customer support and sales, while finance and marketing will be resourced from the Prism Sound team. Prism Sound’s chief technical officer Ian Dennis stated that Imerge is a “fine example” of technical innovation in the UK and that his company is proud to take over the baton. “We will be concentrating on maintaining the impressive record Imerge has built with innovation in the fast-changing home entertainment market,” he said. Graham Boswell, director of sales and marketing at Prism Sound, added, “Imerge is one of the world's premier brands of movie and music-focused entertainment servers, making it simple for users to acquire, store, and replay their content with maximum fidelity and minimum fuss. Our challenge is to tell the story to a global audience and to make the product accessible to new markets. We will be extending the former distribution structure into new and untapped markets in the coming months.”
Borg Displays, Inc introduces a new Muse FlexController tablet leveraging a bright 7” 16:9 format and using the newest in multi-touch technology. The Muse, like the suite of Protégé in-wall platforms, leverage Microsoft Windows CE embedded OS or Google Android OS on a fast Texas Instruments processor for optimum performance and flexibility. The Muse is ideal for OEM’s seeking a fast-to-market advantage with factory-direct affordable pricing. The new Muse dramatically enhances the user experience leveraging the new 16:9 widescreen format AND new multi-touch projective capacitive interactivity like that of Apple’s iPad. Muse is part of a suite of Borg’s interactive embedded appliance-like controllers optimized with select hardware button features and software applets for a wide variety of vertical applications. “Borg now offers a Pro4, Pro6, Pro8, Pro8a, Pro8ac, Pro8gl, Pro10a, Pro15a, NEO8 and now Muse to professional integrators around the globe.” states Borg president, Craig Slawson. “Muse is an always-on appliance and generally located in high traffic areas where net-connected services get used more often then when accessed by PC”.
Sony won't be the only company offering Google TV in its televisions. Samsung plans to run Google's software, which allows users to surf the Web and manage their DVR, among many other features, in a set of HDTVs that it expects to announce in January. The company's intentions were revealed by Samsung TV business head Yoon Boo Keun to the Bloomberg news agency. He didn't provide any further details. With that January announcement, Samsung is lining itself up to become the second company to offer Google TV in its array of televisions. Sony released its Google TV-equipped HDTVs last month. Sony's Google TV devices range in size from a 24-inch display to a 46-inch model. Prices on those sets are between $600 and $1,400. Google TV can also work on devices aside from televisions. The platform is currently available on the Logitech Revue set-top box. It's also running on a Sony Blu-ray disc player.
Atlona Technologies has won HomeToys.com's Innovative products from CEDIA 2010 with its entry of the 7" HD Testing Monitor as voted on by HomeToys.com readers.
Atlona Technologies has won HomeToys.com’s Innovative products from CEDIA 2010 with its entry of the 7” HD Testing Monitor as voted on by HomeToys.com readers. The contest had 24 entrants and garnered well over 2000 reader votes with 811 of those going to Atlona. As the winner Atlona will be awarded a 1 year marketing partnership campaign with an enhanced listing in HomeToys.com’s company directory; a value of $676.00. The theme for HomeToys.com’ s next contest will be Ultimate CE Holiday Gifts with the 1 year Marketing Partnership from HomeToys.com up for grabs again. Product entry will be open from November 16th – December 15th while voting will end December 31st. Please view the guidelines and restrictions for contest rules.
TiVo kicked off Monday a limited-time holiday promotion, slashing up to $200 off the price of certain set-top DVR boxes. Pricing for TiVo Premiere and TiVo Premiere XL boxes have been reduced to $99.99 with a one-year DVR service commitment of $19.99 per month, which TiVo said amounts to an upfront instant savings of $200 on each device. The price for the large recording capacity TiVo Premiere XL was cut to $299 from $499, and also requires a one-year service commitment at $19.99 per month. TiVo said the "holiday prices" will enable cable viewers to better what they get in a typical cable system DVR by integrating broadband content and other features in one box and with one remote. A broadband connection is required to access Internet content. "TiVo delivers the best entertainment experience money can buy for your HDTV. And in keeping with the holiday spirit, we've listened to our customers and reduced the upfront cost making it even easier to give the gift of TiVo to yourself or others," stated Joe Miller, senior vice president of retail sales and marketing for TiVo. "TiVo is the easiest and only complete way to get both television and broadband content in one simple experience. Whether you want traditional TV or movies, web videos, or music you have access to an amazing array of Internet content from Amazon Video On Demand, Netflix, Hulu Plus (coming soon), YouTube and more -- plus your live and recorded cable television programming all packaged in one sleek device." The boxes are available through the TiVo website and Best Buy stores.
It's a pillow. And a remote. And if your powers of observation are anywhere near "strong," you've probably deduced by now that you're looking at a universal remote control... albeit one that's wrapped within a pillow. We've seen similar creations come around in concept form, but leave it to the folks at Brookstone to turn this thing into a reality. Purportedly, this unit can be programmed to work with over 500 devices, and there's a power-saving auto shutoff feature that'll definitely be overrode by your incessant squeezing. We wouldn't count on this thing actually working well, but for $29.95 (in addition to the cost of two AAA batteries, of course), we highly doubt you'll find a more fashionable, lovable cube of cotton.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® announced its 2011 CES Best of Innovations Design and Engineering Award Honorees. The International CES Innovations Awards honor outstanding advancements in design and engineering across 35 consumer electronics product categories. Innovations entries are judged based on overall engineering qualities related to technical specifications and materials, aesthetics and design qualities, the product’s intended use and function, unique features and how the design and innovation of the product compares to others in the marketplace. In addition to the Innovations Showcase, Best of Innovations Award Honorees will also be displayed at CES Unveiled: the Official Press Event of the International CES from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, January 4 in The Venetian Ballroom of The Venetian. Click here to see the full list.
Hulu should make more than $240 million in revenue in 2010, a dramatic surge from the $108 million it collected in advertising revenue last year, Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar said during a keynote address at a technology conference in San Francisco. Earlier this year Hulu said it was profitable but hasn't given details. And on Wednesday, Kilar didn't offer projections for advertising revenue in 2011 and beyond, which is what investors really want to know. The 3-year-old service -- which counts among its owners the entertainment giants NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. -- is looking for ways to grow. It's weighing several options, including a public stock offering. It could also lure new private investors, giving it resources to fund the expansion of its subscription service, Hulu Plus, to portable devices such as Apple Inc.'s iPad, as well as game consoles. Bringing in new partners could also provide the company with money to buy out the stake owned by Providence Equity Partners, which invested $100 million in 2007 to launch the site. However, at Wednesday’s conference, Kilar seemed most interested in underscoring the power of Hulu's key revenue stream: advertising. Hulu expects to continue to generate most of its revenue through commercials even though it is launching a subscription service. Kilar noted that 352 advertisers pitched their products and services on Hulu during the last three months –- delivering 800 million streams in October alone. He also cited industry research that users had a higher recall of the ads they watched on Hulu than on traditional television.
Lutron Electronics Thursday announced a multimedia campaign aimed at spreading awareness of its products' energy-saving attributes. The campaign includes a series of four 30-second TV commercials, a new website at LutronSavesEnergy.com and a continuation of the company's Mobile Experience Tour next year. The TV commercials will air on HGTV and the DIY channel. "Lutron has been committed to saving energy since 1961," Chris Murray, senior vice-president of Lutron's residential solutions business, said as part of the annoucnement. "In fact, we estimate the installed base of our products already saves the nation nearly 10 billion kWh of electricity, or approximately $1 billion in utility costs per year. This latest campaign is our most coordinated effort yet to educate the public on the many energy-saving benefits of Lutron products."
Boxee, which makes software that makes it easy to watch Web video on your TV, celebrates a big milestone this week, when the first Boxee-branded hardware starts shipping to consumers. The start-up is celebrating with an event at New York’s Irving Plaza. But the company’s next big move likely won’t happen in public view: Sources say Boxee is out trying to raise a significant funding round, likely in the $10 million to $15 million range. I’m told that existing investors Union Square, Spark and General Catalyst, which have helped Boxee raise $12 million to date, all plan to re-up, and will likely pick up half of the round. No word on who the new money is, or how close the round is to closing. CEO Avner Ronen will need it sooner than later, though. His two-year-old company now has a significant payroll–33 people, at last count–and very little revenue coming in the door.
Speculation is mounting that Philips may have been crying "wolf" when they announced that they were set to shut down their Pronto control business with insiders now claiming that the actions of last week were designed to flush out a buyer. According to Michael Henriksen the Managing Director of Qualifi, which distributes Pronto products in Australia, the Pronto operation has been "Up for sale" for some time. "It would not surprise me if they are trying to flush out a buyer with their announcement last week that they were going to shut the operation down," he said. According to sources in Asia, Philips has been engaging with potential acquirers of the remote control and home automation line for several months but no one has put a satisfactory offer on the table for the IP and brand name. Philips was hoping that an IP automation company would want to capatalise on the IP as several companies move to software applications that can be used on Smartphones and iPads or a new generation of Google Tablets. Evidently, Philips received so much interest in the product since the announcement of its demise, that the company is now entering discussions with suitors.
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