If you’re anything like me, when you go to the movies, you get there early to be assured of a good seat: there’s nothing worse that arriving 10 minutes before the start of the feature and finding out there are only free seats in rows one and two. Then the pre-movie programming starts and I wish I’d stayed home and waited for the Blu-ray. So it’s a double-edged sword: the risk of a terrible seat for 2 hours or 20-minutes of dreadful movie trivia on a five-minute loop (at best). Two companies have grand ambitions to change all that. Screenvision, is launching The Limelight – the first 2-screen configuration targeted to the big screen and mobile devices. According to Screenvision “The Limelight will make movie-going more fun and involving for the audience, giving them a reason to arrive at the theater early and switch on their mobile devices to play trivia and share movie activity with Facebook friends, earn points and prizes, and much more”. Of course it’s really so you can be targeted with more appropriate advertising, but I’ll take it over what’s on offer today. Another company that thinks they’ve got the solution is Phenomblue with their new Movie Lotto . The general idea is that you arrive early, text a number with your Smartphone, and then scratch a virtual ticket. The grand prize for this is a barcode to redeem at the concession stand. All this for some more popcorn? I can’t say either of these would make me arrive one second earlier. They may just alleviate some of the boredom. The real upside is that once the technology is in place, good content will follow (I hope).
Polish Auschwitz survivor Jack Tramiel, who created one of the first home computers, the Commodore 64, has died aged 83. The entrepreneur revolutionised computer technology and lived the American dream after making his fortune. He will be best remembered for creating the Commodore which was bought by nearly 17 million people after its release in 1982. Inspired after visiting Japan, Mr Tramiel started producing cheap calculators. He then moved his business out to the Silicon Valley in California, at the beginning of the PC revolution. Mr Tramiel was a fierce business competitor. In 1977 Commodore became first to produce a digital watch for less than $10 (£6.30). This forced his rivals Texas Instruments to slash their digital watch prices in half to $9.95. "Business is not a sport. It's a war," he said. Full Article: http://news.sky.com/home/technology/article/16205820 Mr Tramiel introduced the home computer VIC-20 in 1980 for under $300 (£189).
According to research group NPD, the average pay-TV subscription for basic pay-TV service and premium-TV channels in the U.S. reached $86 in 2011. NPD expects the average pay-TV bill to reach $123 by the year 2015 and $200 by 2020. Also notable is that 16% of US households do not currently subscribe to pay_TV services. Cable companies are losing subscribers every quarter and with consumer spending power remaining flat, we’re likely to see an increase in cord-cutters if prices rise as indicated. For those interested in cutting the cord, read our earlier article: A Year Without Cable
I'm a movie fan. I love Blu-ray and my Home Theater, and I want 4K. But I'm worried: all the signs point to the death of the optical disc. 10% of Canadians now have Netflix accounts. These are all streamers, as Netflix has no disc by mail service in Canada. In separate news, Dolby's CEO Kevin Yeaman said Dolby generated 52% of its $790 million 2011 license digital audio revenue from non-optical media (movie and music discs), including digital TVs, set‚Äźtop boxes and mobile phones — up 27% from 2010. During the year the company licensed its Dolby Digital-Plus with streaming providers Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Netflix and Vudu. William Blair analyst Ralph Schackart commented "We decreased the optical business [outlook] by 25% in fiscal 2014, 15% in fiscal 2015, and 10% in fiscal 2016” IHS's screendigest says "In 2012 Americans will pay to consume 3.4bn movies online. This equates to over 1bn movies per year than are consumed on DVD and Blu-ray combined - putting the final nail in the old idea that consumers won't accept premium content distributed online." 4K TV's will ship this year. There are already projectors and AV receivers in the market that support 4K, but I fear 4K for the consumer is just a pipedream. Are we really ready for another optical disc format war and is there a mass market for 4K? It pains me to say: "I don't think so". I really can't see Hollywood and the Consumer Electronics industry seeing a new optical format as a viable proposition.
Microsoft Research Asia recently released a few videos on their SemanticMap. While they don’t have plans to productize it for signage, I’m sure there will be many enterprising vendors who will. The display detects both motion and gestures (no doubt utilizing Kinect technology). When a person is far away they see the most significant information in large, bold type. As they approach the display the type size dynamically decreases and the level of detail increases and further overlays are shown. This is similar to a GPS system’s auto-zoom function, where the detail increases as you approach a turn. The overlays are dynamic, and updating in real-time, so could potentially show not just where a conference room is, but the schedule of events. Microsoft says their overall goal of Semantic Map is to “help people find their way around both physical and information spaces, by exploiting natural information-seeking behaviors and body movements”. See the videos at: http://vimeopro.com/msradesignteam/portfolio/video/39564782 and http://vimeopro.com/msradesignteam/portfolio/video/39564783
The acquisition of Optrex will also enable Kyocera to complement its range of resistive and capacitive type touch screen panels with Optrex's touch screen bonding capabilities. The company's acquisition of Optrex America in Plymouth, MI, USA (now Kyocera Display America, Inc.), as well its acquisition of Optrex Europe in Babenhausen, Germany (now Kyocera Display Europe GmbH), will enable Kyocera to expand its presence in the automotive and industrial LCD markets in the Americas and Europe. "We are confident that there will be a strong synergy between the product offerings, manufacturing infrastructure, business strategy and market segments of Kyocera and Optrex," said Akihiko Ikeda, President of Kyocera Display Corporation. "It will benefit the customers of both companies and give us the capability for strong growth in the years ahead." Full Press Release
Pacific Media's End User Survey Finds Consumers' Interest in Home Theater Projectors Up by Two-Thirds in Last Two Years
Pacific Media Associates (PMA), the worldwide market information experts on front projectors, has released their findings on the current use and future purchase intentions of consumer projector users. This is the final set of important results from PMA's sixth biennial large-scale (1000 responses) and statistically-representative survey of United States users and intenders of front projectors, both individual consumers and organizations. The survey focused on topics of timely interest, including requests for additional or modified questions from PMA's extensive client base of front projector manufacturers. This set of findings focused on end-user consumers who own, or plan to buy, a home theater projector. "Our 2011 survey showed an increased interest in front projector use in the home, compared to our previous survey, conducted in 2009," says Dr. William Coggshall, President of PMA. "In 2009, 11% of the survey respondents expected to buy a projector vs. another type of large screen display. Our recent 2011 survey showed that figure has increased to 18%." Full Press Release:
When Best Buy Co. (BBY) said yesterday it was closing 50 big stores and opening 100 smaller ones, the world’s largest electronics retailer was adjusting to reality: The era of big-box retail dominance is coming to an end. The new mantra is small box. While Best Buy, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Target Corp. (TGT) are still opening large stores, all are putting increasing emphasis on smaller ones. Best Buy plans to double the number of its smaller Best Buy Mobile stores by 2016. Wal-Mart is building as many as 100 small-format stores this year, while Target is opening five CityTarget locations. After 50 years of putting mom and pops out of business, big-box retail is having a mid-life crisis. A slow economy has hurt same-store sales, narrowing margins at big stores. Meanwhile, consumers, armed with price-comparison technology, are visiting more stores seeking deals or exclusive merchandise rather than making one-stop, fill-the-cart excursions. Full Article:
For a new film festival in Thailand called Film on the Rocks Yao Noi, an outdoor cinema was constructed in the most unlikely of places: right on top of the water. And it just might be the most amazing place you could ever want to watch a movie. The amazing venue is called the Archipelago Cinema and is tucked away inside a bay surrounded by towering island rocks and lush jungle plants. It's a natural paradise, and it just happens to be the perfect spot for a floating movie theater. The lagoon itself is shallow enough that it turns into a watery beach during low tide. Once the tide shifts, the ocean once again fills the area. Full Article:
Christie® MicroTiles® are drawing rave reviews at the recently remodeled University of Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The 15,500-seat arena is the home of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes men\'s and women\'s basketball teams, as well as the university\'s wrestling (winner of 23 NCAA championships - including 11 straight starting in 1975), men's and women's gymnastics, and volleyball teams. Located in the main lobby of the new entrance, the 10 wide (13 feet 4 inches) by 7 high (7 feet) Christie MicroTiles array greets Hawkeye fans with commissioned video art, slideshows and graphics of upcoming events, and videos of current players and alumni of the college powerhouse. "We collaborated with KJWW Engineering on this project and originally there was another brand of traditional LCD-type video wall that was supposed to go in there,\" said Nate Lawrence, vice president of operations, Electronic Communications Systems (ECS). "We saw the Christie MicroTiles and thought this renovation project would be a good application for them. ECS has done a lot of video walls and we were really excited to get this new technology in there."
When you walk into the home, you're greeted by "Grace," a disembodied voice named after computer pioneer Grace Hopper. Grace gives you a rundown on what's happened since you left, including the news that your electric scooter will be charged in 37 minutes, your daughter got an A on her math test, and you have four voicemail messages. Microsoft envisions a near-future where everything is connected to the cloud. That means your home will learn a lot about you, including your routine. It can remind you to take your medicine and automatically send a message to your relatives if you do anything out of the ordinary like come home early or leave your doors unlocked. Hundreds of tiny sensors are located throughout the home, tracking everything from whether your suit is at the cleaners to when a plant needs more light. Knowing what's in your fridge and pantry, the home suggests a suitable recipe, which Grace can read out while you cook. Full Article: CNN Money
According to a new market research report, “The global 3D technology, products and applications market is expected to reach $227.27 billion in 2016 at an estimated CAGR of 15.81% from 2011 to 2016. North America will remain at the top followed by Europe and APAC. Gaming and animation will be leading application areas in 3D industry..marketsandmarkets.com), the total market is expected to reach $227.27 billion by 2016, at a CAGR of 15.81%. Three Dimension (3D) technologies has now commercialized in most of the products and applications such as Smartphone, TV, Animation, Gaming, Medical imaging etc. After the success of ‘Avatar’, numbers of producers are releasing their movies in 2D as well as 3D version. Thus, 3D cinemas have become the additional revenue generator for cinema producers. Products like 3D Smartphone, 3D printer, 3D gaming consoles etc. are latest 3D technology based products, which have just been launched and are yet to capture the market, but as 3D market is progressing rapidly, these products are expected to perform better in near future.
Eight in ten US broadband households have installed a home network, with nearly 40% of home network routers located in residents’ primary living rooms, more than twice the number installed in home offices, according to a new report from TDG, The Diffusion Group. The number of broadband-networked US households installing home network routers in their living rooms increased 26% in the last year, from 30% in 2010 to 38% in 2011. Conversely, the number installed in home offices declined 30%, from 26% in 2010 to 18% in 2011, according to TDG’s “The CE and PC Ecosystem of the Broadband Household: 2012.” “The migration of home network hardware from the ‘home office’ to the primary living space offers both functional and figurative insight,” notes Michael Greeson, TDG founding partner and director of research. “TDG noted in 2005 that, driven by the incessant desire to optimize their entertainment experiences, consumers would progressively place their network access point adjacent to key net-enabled video entertainment platforms such as game consoles, disc players, and DVRs. In 2012, this is precisely what we observe and most would acknowledge. The meaning of this shift, however, remains lost on the majority of observers.” Full Article:
Rapid Displays has debuted its new intelligent shopper recognition software platform that identifies gender and age group. The software can be integrated into a kiosk to allow retailers to identify who is viewing their ads and then tailor the message accordingly. The technology also tracks analytics, including who saw the media and how long they dwelled in front of the display, said Alan Foshay, vice president of business development for Rapid Displays. "It will allow brands and retailers to actively evaluate in real time who's actually watching, what they're watching, how long they stay there, and if that's proving to not be the target they anticipated they can instantly change that content."
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
INTRODUCING THE SIMPLEST WAY TO CONTROL YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE YOUR VOICE. Imagine this... We've all been there-walking through the door into a dark house, arms full. Wouldn't it be nice to tell your house to offer a helping hand? Now you can. A simple voice command-such as "Alexa, turn on Welcome"-lights up the hallway and kitchen, fires up your favorite Pandora station, while the door locks itself behind you. This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.