Roku & Boxee respond to Steve Jobs and his Apple TV announcement

Roku, which markets Internet video receivers priced between $59 and $99. Roku vice president of marketing Chuck Seiber said his firm is targeting different consumers than Apple and offers unique content including Major League Baseball games and Ultimate Fighting Championship matches. “We’re going to make our product really inexpensive, really super easy to use,” Sieber said. He also noted that Roku has managed to stave off competition from consumer electronics firms marketing broadband-connected Blu-ray players and TVs.


Boxee which plans to begin distributing its $199 Boxee Box in November, but isn’t cutting the price for its receiver, which will allow users access to Web video content from dozens of providers. Boxee CEO Avner Ronen wrote in a blog post late Wednesday.


“We have a different view of what users want in their living rooms. We are taking different paths to get there. The Boxee Box is going to be $100 more expensive than the Apple TV, but will give you the freedom to watch what you want,”

ATON™ LAUNCHES FIRST EVER OUT-OF-BOX SOLUTION FOR MULTI-ZONE MUSIC WITH IN-WALL OLED INTERFACES AND PLUG AND PLAY SUPPORT FOR IPOD & LIGHTING CONTROL

ATON™ announced today it will be launching the industry’s first pre-programmed Whole House “Music & More” System at CEDIA 2010, the AH66T KT. The new kit features the AH66T Multi-Source Multi-Zone Controller plus six (6) OLED2 touchpads that offer full-color graphic control and feedback. With built-in programming to run market leading sources like the iPort® and Lutron™ RadioRA®2, the affordable multi-room audio solution allows dealers to rapidly deploy a first-time or add-on audio system with iPod® & lighting control capability ready to go. Bob Williams, ATON’s General Manager, made the announcement. “The AH66T KT offers an unsurpassed out-of-box experience that delivers beyond expectations,” said Williams. “ATON is all about bending traditional categories and this is no exception. Why have just music when you can get so much more? Plus you can complete the system with our musician-voiced Storm Series speakers.”

AppleTV - Here's the Hype

Here what Apples Steve Jobs had to say about Apple TV at Apples Fall 2010 event.
“So what have we learned from our users? They want hollywood movies and TV shows whenever they want. It's not complicated. They don't want amateur hour. They want HD -- everyone wants HD. They want to pay lower prices for content. They don't want a computer on their TV -- they have computers. They go to their TVs for entertainment.  They don't want to manage storage. They don't want to think about -- they just want to watch movies and TV shows. And they don't want to sync to a computer. And they want whatever hardware we have to be silent, cool, and small.  So this is what we've learned. It's different than what a lot of companies think...  So we made something new.  This is the new Apple TV."
"It's small -- a 4th of the size of the current ATV. It looks like a small hockey puck."
"Matte black. Around back it's got HDMI, USB, optical audio and Ethernet."
"Wifi 802.11n"
"It's got a great remote. It's about movies and TV shows -- it's all HD when the content is available. We've gone to the rental model for this -- you rent everything.  It's all rentals and you don't store anything on it -- you just rent them.  You stream content from your computer if you want to. There's no syncing required. Stunning photo slideshows. And, it's silent cool and tiny."
"So what about content? iTunes has the largest online library of movies and hd movies iin the world. You can rent them for $4.99 the day they come out on DVD. Now, to buy TV shows it used to be $2.99 -- people said that was too expensive. Now they're going to be $.99."
"Remember, these are commercial free. Now this is a big step for some of the studios to make. So we have ABC and Fox. We think the rest of the studios will see the light.  In addition to renting, you can also stream Netflix.  You can also watch anything you want on YouTube. You can get photos from Flickr and MobileMe. And you can stream content from your computer."
"So that gives you an overview of Apple TV. Now let me show you something else that's really cool. We talked about AirPlay before. One of the things we can do with AirPlay is stream content from an iPad to an Apple TV. You're going to be able to be watching a movie, push it to your TV, and finish watching it there. You're going to be able to push photos from your iPad to your TV... it's going to be pretty cool. The price of Apple TV was $229... users said they'd like to see it more affordable. So we're gonna lower the price, from $299... to just $99. The Apple TV will be available in 4 weeks."

GUIFX ANNOUNCES DEANA UI KIT FOR IPAD

Guifx(R), an interface design studio specializing in touchscreen interfaces for home automation and embedded systems, today announced that its Deana User Interface (UI) Kit(TM) is now available for the iPad(TM). Providing uncompromising convenience at home or away, Deana is currently compatible with Crestron's Mobile Pro(R) G iPad application, with other manufacturers to follow. "The iPad is a revolutionary device that is the perfect complement to any control system. For users, the ability to access their components easily from anywhere provides the ultimate in convenience, while our Deana UI Kit gives them exactly the same experience they would have at home," said Morgan Strauss, director of operations at Guifx. "Even more than that, remote access provides a great opportunity to save energy and lower utility bills. If a user leaves for work without turning off the lights, it's not a problem. A single push of the Deana UI's designer icons takes care of it."

The Deana UI Kit for iPad is available for download now on Guifx's website (www.guifx.com) for $799.99, or as part of the Deana Bundle, which includes all file sizes, ranging from 240 x 320 to 1280 x 768, for $2,999.99. Updates to the Deana UI Kit, as with all Guifx products, are always available for free, so customers who have already purchased the Deana Bundle may download the updated version with Crestron's Mobile Pro G iPad functionality at no additional charge.

Roku slashes prices on streaming video set-top boxes in preparation for Google TV

Roku slashes prices on streaming video set-top boxes in preparation for Google TVRoku aggressively lowered the prices of all of its internet video streaming set-top boxes yesterday, in an attempt to remain competitive with upcoming web video-to-TV offerings like Google TV, Apple’s revamped Apple TV (which may be called iTV), and Boxee’s set-top box.  Roku’s SD (standard definition) box is now available for $59.99, its HD box for $69.99, and the top-end HD-XR has now squeaked below $100 to $99.99. The SD box was reduced by $20, and both HD boxes saw $30 price drops.  The company mentioned in its email announcement that “competitive products (both current and yet to be announced)” will be available for more than $99, clearly a jab at Google, Apple,  Boxee, and others. Roku has the  early-bird advantage, a healthy variety of content channels from Netflix, Amazon, and Pandora, as well as sports partnerships with the NBA, MLB, and UFC. But with Google TV’s ambitious plans to completely redefine the way we watch television, Roku will certainly have to innovate if it wants to remain relevant.

Netgear Launches Media Player - MSRP. $219

NETGEAR®, Inc. today announced the NeoTV 350 HD and NeoTV 550 Ultimate HD Media Players as the flagship products in the NETGEAR AV Series. The NeoTV HD Media Players enable users to play their digital videos, photos, or music directly on their HDTVs whether the media is stored locally, on the home network, or the Internet. The AV Series is made up of easy-to-use products that help consumers easily connect their Internet-ready devices such as HDTVs, Blu-ray™ players, IPTV set-top boxes, media players and game consoles to the Internet and the home network. Other NeoTV features include a built-in memory card slot for instant photo slideshows on the TV, DLNA/UPnP compatibility for access to media servers, network share connectivity and an optional wireless connection with the AV Series NETGEAR Universal Wi-Fi Internet Adapter (WNCE2001). The NeoTV 350 HD Media Player and NeoTV 550 Ultimate HD Media Player will be available in the fall 2010. The NeoTV 350 will be available in Europe with an MSRP of Euro 129.99 and Australia with an MSRP of AUD $189.99. The NeoTV 550 will be available in North America with an MSRP of $219.99, Europe for Euro 199.99 and Australia for AUD $299.99.

Web enabled TVs prove bigger for manufacturers than 3D in 2010

Internet-connected TVs are proving bigger this year for manufacturers than the much vaunted 3D technology.Nearly 28m TV sets with built-in internet connectivity are expected to ship over 2010, according to the iSuppli research firm, compared with just 4m 3D TVs. This would be a rise of 125 per cent on the 12m units shipped in 2009. TV makers are rushing to offer web services and content such as movies, music and photos, with iSuppli expecting that by 2014, 54 per cent of flat-panel TVs shipped – about 148m units – will have internet connectivity and services. The figures imply that TV makers will hold a majority share of the smart TV market in the coming years, with their relationship with consumers altering as they move to provide content as well as services. That would require new partnerships with content providers and perhaps a radical change in business model. Source: Financial Times, Chris Nuttall

ESPN joins CEA from Sept. 10 to 12 for a 3-D retail event

The Consumer Electronics Association, ESPN and the top cable and satellite providers are looking to demystify some of consumers' questions about 3D television via a special weekend of "National 3D Demo Days" at electronics retailers around the country. "A lot of our members came to us looking for help promoting 3D TV," Megan Pollock, a representative of the CEA, tells Marketing Daily. "It's new. It's exciting. But consumers still have a lot of questions." During the weekend of Sept. 10-12, ESPN will provide continuous 3D programming in several stores, while knowledgeable sales staff will be on hand to answer the questions. The programming will include the live telecast of the Ohio State vs. Miami college football game on Sept. 11, as well as packages from the 2010 FIFA World Cup, X Games, U.S. Open and other collegiate sporting events. Source: Mediapost.com

Boxee Eyes Over-the-Top Live TV

Over-the-top video player Boxee could soon add live TV channels and Hollywood hits to its content roster after striking a deal to use Widevine Technologies Inc. 's digital rights management (DRM) and adaptive streaming technology. The companies said they've reached an agreement with a “large content service” that will allow Boxee to deliver “major motion pictures” to viewers watching TVs wired to broadband Internet devices such as Boxee’s upcoming broadband-fueled set-top. Boxee will be able to use Widevine’s DRM technology, adaptive streaming, and virtual DVD controls to deliver linear TV channels directly to viewers via the Internet, Widevine CEO Brian Baker tells Light Reading Cable. While Boxee’s agreement with Widevine gives it the technology to add live TV channels to the mix, the company has yet to announce any network deals. Cable networks that rely on license fees from cable MSOs, satellite TV providers, and telcos may hesitate to sell content to a firm that could threaten their core business. Source: Lightreading.com.

VidaBox LiivController with vAutomation 2.0 Provides Total Control of Any Equipment from Any iPad

VidaBox debuts the LiivController™, a 4U rack-mount system that runs the new vAutomation 2.0™ platform. Any iPad® can access the LiivController™ running the vAutomation™ webapp via WiFi, which then turns its touchscreen interface into a remote control emulator. The iPad® can now provide total control of any device, ranging from cable or satellite TV boxes to VidaBox media servers & multiroom audio systems – all via IR, TCP/IP, and RS-232 commands sent from the LiivController™. Beyond controlling devices via IR, any iPad® can also interface with the LiivController™ to control any VidaBox media center via TCP/IP to access Blu-rays, DVDs, Netflix, music, photos, videos, IPTV, and more. It also provides the unique ability for a user to browse stored movies and music via cover art, via the fast, efficient scrolling interfaces familiar to all Apple users. Tapping on any cover art will bring up rich, detailed metadata, and allow playback to start. This is natively available when a LiivController™ is added onto any VidaBox media server setup.

Itunes 99˘ a la carte TV shows coming Sept. 7

report by Peter Burrows, a veteran BusinessWeek reporter now writing for Bloomberg Businessweek, lays out the details of what sounds like a credible scenario. According to Burrows:

Apple is set to begin a new service that would let iPad, iPhone and iPod owners rent current TV programs for 48 hours at 99-cents apiece. Currently movies can be rented from iTunes, but TV shows must be purchased for $1.99 to $2.99 each.

Apple is said to be in "advanced talks" with News Corp. and "talks" with CBS and Disney to get access to their content. [According to the Wall Street Journal, Disney is "close to an agreement."] That would cover three of the four major networks (Fox, CBS and ABC). Time Warner might also make its older programs available. General Electric's NBC, which is in the process of being acquired by Comcast, was conspicuously absent from the Bloomberg report.

Apple is also planning to unveil a $99 version of its three-year-old Apple TV set-top box. Earlier reports suggested that the new device would run the same operating system as the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch and be optimized for streaming, rather than downloading, video content.

This is all supposed to happen at a special event on Sept. 7, at which time Steve Jobs will also unveil a new version of the iPod touch with a higher-resolution screen.

Jobs has apparently abandoned its efforts to convince the TV networks to let him repackage their programming into a $30-per-month "best of TV" subscription service. Such a service would have jeopardized the networks' chances of getting higher retransmission fees from TV-system operators, according to RBC Capital's David Bank, the only source named in Burrows' piece.

Toshiba to launch first glasses-free 3D TV

From Breitbart - Japanese electronics giant Toshiba plans to market the world's first 3D television that does not need special glasses later this year, a report said on Tuesday. Toshiba will unveil three models of the television, which will cost several thousand dollars, before Christmas, the Yomiuri Shimbun said. The company has developed a new system that emits a number of rays of light with various angles from the screen so that viewers can see stereoscopic images without glasses, the daily said. "People can enjoy images in three dimensions from various positions and suffer less stress," it said. Japan's major electronics makers launched 3D television this year, but sales have not been as strong as expected while many customers have complained of being irritated by the glasses. However, a Toshiba spokeswoman said: "We are not in a position to make any announcement."

Dish Network Begins Streaming TV Shows Online

Beginning Tuesday, satellite TV provider Dish Network will stream TV shows to its subscribers on a website called DishOnline.com and through set-top boxes and mobile devices.  That differentiates Dish’s online offering from some other cable or satellite TV Internet channels like Time Warner and Comcast’s TV Everywhere strategies, which are primarily focused on web streaming.  According to The New York Times, the first wave of content will include shows from the Discovery Channel, HGTV and MTV. Dish plans to serve both TV shows and movies, but most of the content will only be available to subscribers. Some clips or trailers might stream to you even if you’re not a subscriber, but full-length programs and movies will generally be restricted.  Subscribers will be able to watch the online content on certain set-top boxes, in addition to the traditionally distributed shows they record with their DVRs. NewTeeVee reports that iOS, Android and BlackBerry apps are coming too. Source: Mashables

iPort Turns Apple iPad and iPod touch into in-wall touchscreens

iPort has introduced two new products in its Control Mount Series for the Apple iPad and iPod touch®. The CM2000 Control Mount for iPad and the iPort CM100 Control Mount for iPod touch both integrate the handheld Apple touchscreen products in an attractive in-wall frame, transforming them into in-wall touchscreens for display of weather, news, stocks and many other preferred Apps. The CM100 also transforms the iPod touch into an in-wall Internet radio source, and easily connects to any stereo or audio/video receiver. Users can download their choice of any Internet radio apps available in the App Store and play the audio back through any connected stereo system. "From the very beginning of iPort, we have been creating innovative in-home solutions for the integration of Apple products. As Apple's products have evolved from media players to intuitive touchscreens, we remain committed to this, and to making our products useful in a way that is aesthetically compelling and easy to use," said Ari Supran, CEO of iPort's parent company Dana Innovations.

Hulu eyes $2 billion stock sale in potential IPO

Hulu, the Web video service that features popular shows such as "The Office" and "Modern Family" as well as movies, is planning to sell stock in a deal that could value the company at more than $2 billion, sources said Monday.  The three-year-old service, backed by some of the most powerful companies in entertainment including GE, Disney and News Corp., could hold its initial public offering this year.  Hulu began as a free service that streamed programming to computers and depended on advertising revenue. In June, the company announced its Hulu Plus paid service, offering current and archived TV shows on computers, cell phones, Apple's iPad and TV sets for $9.99 a month.  Although the site has dabbled in revenue-generating features, some Wall Street analysts said offering up an IPO is ambitious with an untested business model. Source - NYDailyNews

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