Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest flat-screen television maker by shipments, said glasses-free three-dimensional TV sets won't be a common household item in the next five to 10 years because technical hurdles still exist before such TVs can be mass-produced at an affordable price. B.K. Yoon, Samsung Electronics' visual-display president, said at a forum that while 3D without glasses is possible on cellphones and other small mobile devices, there are still challenges for 3D TVs. However, rival Toshiba Corp. of Japan earlier this month unveiled the world's first glasses-free 3D liquid-crystal-display television sets, less than a year after most set makers launched 3D television sets that require the cumbersome eyewear. The company has said it plans to start selling the glasses-free TVs in December. Many analysts agree with Samsung, noting that it will likely take at least five years to bring the glasses-free 3D TVs into living rooms at an affordable price.
Sony on Tuesday officially launched four HDTV's loaded with the Google TV interface, as well as a Google TV Blu-ray player. The company's Google TV products will be called Sony Internet TV and will range in price from $399.99 for the Blu-ray player to $1,399.99 for the 46-inch HDTV. Sony first announced plans to produce a Google TV-branded set at the search engine giant's May I/O developer conference. Sony said it would bring to market HDTVs loaded with Google TV, Google's Android operating system customized for HDTV screens. Google TV aims to provide a clean and easy way to browse the Web, watch TV, and run applications all on your HDTV. The four HDTVs and Blu-ray player all include a remote control that features a thumb-sized QWERTY keyboard. Sony said the remote has design elements borrowed from a controller of a Sony PS3, like the trigger buttons on top and two directional pads on the front. It was very comfortable to use.
Marantz were early arrivals at the Apple AirPlay shindig, stating that its Melody Media all-in-one system, was "the world's first AirPlay certified music system". Since that announcement, Denon has also confrimed that it will come a rocking down AirPlay avenue, via a firmware update on some of its systems. And now, Marantz has announced a similar plan and declared what systems it will be including in its AirPlay line-up.The AirPlay update will be coming to Marantz's SR7005 AV receiver, the AV7005 AV preamplifier, the NA7004 network audio player and the Melody Media (M-CR603) networked CD receiver. Ken Ishiwata, brand ambassador of Marantz said: “Marantz has always been at the forefront of every music packaged media playback, be it mono LP, stereo LP, CD and SACD. "However people’s lifestyle and needs changed. Nowadays the use of iPod and iPhone is very popular and rapidly increasing. That is why it is a natural step for Marantz to make AirPlay possible on our products and we strongly believe this way of listening music will bring Marantz closer to people. "AirPlay uses Apple’s lossless format and this allows high quality music playback from the Marantz systems. AirPlay adds yet another great dimension to the content enjoyment experience made possible through Marantz’s relationship with a variety of streaming partners. "Our consumers, as well as valued retail partners, have always depended on Marantz for the most advanced innovations and leading-edge technologies that take the home entertainment experience to the next level and provide creative solutions for maximum enjoyment and flexibility." It isn't yet known how much the upgrade will cost, but we expect it to be around £40 (US $60).
A Netflix spokesperson would not confirm nor deny online chatter the DVD rental service is testing a $7.99 streaming-only plan in select markets nationwide. According to hackingnetflix.com, Los Gatos, Calif.-based Netflix is testing a plan that would include a $2-per-month option to rent one DVD at a time, bringing the total cost to $9.99 per month — $1 more than the current $8.99 plan for one DVD and unlimited streaming. Last month Netflix bowed a $7.99 (Canadian) streaming-only plan in Canada — the company’s first foreign business venture. CEO Reed Hastings mentioned Netflix would be launching a streaming-only service in the United States in the near future. “We’re always testing consumer sentiment for everything related to Netflix, whether it is pricing, website design, content or devices,” said Netflix spokesperson Steve Swasey, adding he wouldn’t confirm any specific testing. Noteworthy is that Netflix has offered a domestic ($7.99) streaming-only option for Starz Media content, which includes Disney titles, since 2008.
Popular U.S. Web video service Hulu is prepared to raise as much as $300 million in an initial public offering likely to be led by Morgan Stanley, according to sources familiar with the matter. Hulu is ready to raise $200 million to $300 million in a deal valuing the company at about $2 billion, and could file a prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission before the end of the year, one source said. A decision could come by November, the source said, adding that the offering is contingent on the renewal of rights to carry shows, some of which expire in a year. The online video service, backed by General Electric Co's ( GE.N ) NBC Universal, Walt Disney Co ( DIS.N ), News Corp ( NWSA.O ) and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, was launched three years ago as an ambitious attempt to harness the explosive growth in online video viewing. The worldwide online video market is expected to hit $16.1 billion through paid and ad-supported services by 2012, according to ABI Research, which tracks media trends. Hulu is now the second-largest Web video service behind Google's YouTube in the United States.
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’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 ( imsresearch.com ), 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.”
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 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.
Qualcomm will shut down the FLO TV service, which will wind down by year's end, PaidContent.org 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 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 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.
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 .
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.
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.
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