Sony Considers Internet Rival to Cable TV

Sony Corp. is considering launching an Internet-based alternative to cable-TV service, people familiar with the situation said, posing the latest threat to the cable and satellite operators that dominate pay TV. The Japanese electronics and entertainment company has approached several big media companies to negotiate the rights to offer their TV channels over the Web in the U.S., the people said. Sony is proposing to beam the channels over Internet connections to Sony-made devices, including PlayStation gaming consoles, TV sets and Blu-ray players, the people said. Sony has sold about 18.1 million PlayStation 3 consoles in the U.S. alone, according to NPD Group Inc., and many homes have other Internet-connected Sony devices. The biggest U.S. cable operator, Comcast Corp., has about 22.4 million video subscribers and serves a geographic area with over 52 million homes.

CEO Says Sony Developing New Kind of TV

Sony Corp.'s chief executive said Thursday that the Japanese electronics giant is well-positioned to turn out the innovative products needed to re-energize the television market, even as it faces design-savvy competitors like Apple Inc. Howard Stringer, speaking at a breakfast hosted by The Wall Street Journal, said TV manufacturers, driven by their desire to rack up market share, have bred an intensely competitive market. As a result, they are scrambling to come up with a new generation of TV sets that will separate them from the pack and command premium prices. Mr. Stringer declined to discuss details of what Sony has on the drawing board, but said, "There's a tremendous amount of R&D going into a different kind of TV set." He added that he has "no doubt" Apple's late leader Steve Jobs also was working on changing the traditional TV set. "That's what we're all looking for," said Mr. Stringer. "We can't continue selling TV sets [the way we have been]. Every TV set we all make loses money."

Kindle Fire ships today, a day early

A release from the company this morning says that Amazon's much anticipated 7-inch, $199 slate will beginning showing up on customers' doorsteps a little sooner than anticipated. "We're thrilled to be able to ship Kindle Fire to our customers earlier than we expected." said Amazon's Kindle VP, Dave Limp in the statement. "Kindle Fire quickly became the bestselling item across all of Amazon.com, and based on customer response we're building millions more than we'd planned." Amazon's promotional effort of the Kindle Fire, which many believe could be the first substantial challenger to Apple's iPad in the tablet market, has been closely controlled. For months, Amazon refused to even acknowledge it was developing a tablet. Then, earlier this fall it unveiled a whole new line of Kindles at greatly reduced prices while also introducing the Fire.

GORDON J. GOW TECHNOLOGIES, INC. INTRODUCES CLARUS

Calling them THE WORLD’S MOST ADVANCED AUDIOPHILE-QUALITY CABLES.  Developed by celebrated cable designer Jay Victor, the Clarus Collection features:
• Pure Copper Ohno Continuous Casting (PCOCC) the purest copper in the world
• Individually insulated cable strands
• Precision impedances
• CNC-machined gold-plate connectors
• Extraordinary fit and finish
“The new Clarus brand of products present a 2-channel dealer with the opportunity to demonstrate and sell cables that no other high-end brand on the market can match,” said Joe Perfito, President of Tributaries. “Their revolutionary design and superior sound quality reproduction make them the ideal choice for the audiophile who demands nothing less than the ultimate listening experience.”

The Boxee Box is getting a live TV tuner

Boxee Box owners will soon be able to watch live television through the device, with the help of a special USB dongle that functions as a tuner for free over-the-air HD TV signals. The live TV feature is part of a major update to the Boxee platform that is likely going to be rolled out over the coming weeks.  Read the article and view the video here.

INTRODUCING: ZONKEY - Made in the USA by Northwire Technical Cable!

Northwire’s first retail direct product line features USB Compatible Coiled Cords for Data Transfer + Power Charging in XL + XXL Lengths! Available in 11 brilliant colors and 2 glow-in-the-dark options for use with Mobile Phones, Laptops, Cameras, GPS Units, Car Chargers, Gaming and a variety of Consumer Electronics!  A percentage of the proceeds from Zonkey Products benefit:  Food Shelf, Adolescent Cancer Treatment + Research Initiatives, Injured Veterans + Families and Animal Shelters.

Nearly half of all U.S. households have a DVR

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group (LRG) found that 44 percent of TV households in the United States have at least one DVR, and one-third of DVR households have more than one DVR - representing 14 percent of all households having multiple DVRs. In 2005, just 8 percent of all households had a DVR. In addition, 73 percent of all digital cable subscribers have used VOD, with 87 percent of this group having watched an on-demand program or movie in the past month. Overall, about 62 percent of digital cable subscribers used on-demand in the past month - compared with 52 percent last year. "On-demand TV viewing in the forms of DVR and VOD, as well as Netflix streaming, have significantly increased in terms of usage and popularity over the past few years," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "Yet these on-demand TV platforms remain largely complementary to traditional TV services and viewing, with about 90 percent of all TV viewing in the U.S. still being via live TV."

Stores gear up for "dogfight" in TV aisles

The television aisles of top U.S. retailers are poised for a hard-fought contest this holiday season as chains take little chances with budget-conscious shoppers. Unlike last year when some such as Best Buy held the line on discounts and promoted only high-end TVs, many retailers told Reuters this past week that they plan to do whatever it takes to get the customer through the door. For the consumer, expect to see price cuts of up to 40 percent from a year ago on big-screen TVs, plus free shipping deals and even a 36-month financing option, in the run-up to "Black Friday" on November 25, the unofficial start of the holiday selling season.

How Sonos plans to go mainstream & double in growth this holiday season

It's been the year of smart, streaming music companies. And if Sonos has anything to say about it, 2011 will also be the year of the smart speaker. As Sonos prepares for the upcoming holiday season, it's bringing its wireless speaker system to mainstream retail outlets like Target, where it will be featured prominently in store displays. Sonos speakers have built-in compatibility with many popular streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, Rhapsody and iRadio. "We set out to be the Bose of the digital age," said co-founder Tom Cullen in a VentureBeat interview. Cullen added that between cloud-based subscription music services and hardware systems like the ones he's worked on, "It's the best time in history to be a music lover." Target is just one part of Sonos' plan to infiltrate the consciousness of the average consumer. "In the last few weeks, we've added almost 3,000 retail locations that are selling our products," said Cullen. "Sonos has been selling in consumer electronics places for years. Target for us was a big change … And they have a huge customer base that looks to them to introduce them to new ideas."

Japan shows off world's largest glasses-free 3D display

Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications and JVC Kenwood recently demonstrated a 200-inch glasses-free 3D display that they touted as the world's largest auto-stereoscopic 3D screen. Aside from the enormous size, the system offers a full-HD resolution with 57 effective viewing angles. Hardware-wise, 57 projectors were deployed to render the 3D visuals, and these have to be individually tuned to maintain a uniform brightness and color consistency. The hefty 1,000-plus-pound screen is far from ordinary, either, and features a condenser lens and a diffuser film to smooth the transition between viewing angles. An improved version of this glasses-free 3D system with 200 viewpoints is in the pipeline as well. Unfortunately, according to Akihabara News, there's no indication this technology will make it way into consumer electronics as it was originally conceived for design and digital-signage applications.

Google takes another shot at the TV market

The Internet search engine unveiled a revamped version of its Google TV service and announced plans to create about one hundred online "channels" of original video programing for its YouTube website, in separate announcements on Friday. The YouTube channels will feature videos created though partnerships with various media organizations, and involving celebrities including rapper Jay-Z, Madonna and skateboarder Tony Hawk. The partnerships involve more than $100 million in upfront payments by Google to the various partners, according to a person familiar with the matter. The new 2.0 version of Google TV provides new tools for recommending movies, TV programs and online videos to TV viewers, and makes it easier for software developers to create new apps for the television screen.

AT&T U-verse cuts the coax, goes wireless in-home

Pretty soon, new AT&T U-verse subscribers won’t have to go through the hassle of having their entire home re-wired with coaxial cable when they sign up for the pay TV service. Instead, all they’ll need is a residential gateway and a set of thin-client wireless receivers to deliver live and on-demand TV throughout the home.  Starting Oct. 31, U-verse customers can order the new wireless receiver, which can be placed anywhere throughout the home or even outside, as long as it’s within Wi-Fi range. By hooking up the wireless receiver, users will no longer have to connect the TV’s set-top box to a coax connection, meaning they have the flexibility to move TVs around the house or to switch out the wireless receiver to rooms that aren’t used as much.

Can the father of the iPod make saving energy sexy?

Tony Fadell is the man who took the idea of the iPod to Steve Jobs, spawning a renaissance at the company and then overseeing successive products, including the first iPhones. He officially left the company last year (after a stint in a consulting role) to pursue green technologies, and today he's ready with his first introduction. Dubbed Nest Labs, his post-Apple debut is a home thermostat. Yes, a thermostat.Nest takes a different approach by learning when you turn it up and down, understanding your preferred settings at particular times of the day, and then after a week or so starting to make those changes on its own. It even has a motion sensor so that if no one walks by it after a couple of hours, it will switch into "away" mode, and turn down the heat or the AC, according to presets. (Of course, you can turn it back up, and it will learn to stay on longer, too.) Current programmable thermostats can be set for a week, but they don't learn your family's habits or watch for movement. They also aren't automatically connected to the Internet.

Buying a TV on Black Friday? The price predictions are in

This year continues to be slow for TV sales. Not only do economic conditions remain sour, but the roll-out of 3-D technology has been poor — lacking necessary programming — and so-called "smart TVs" have been marketed confusingly, or in some cases not demonstrated at all. This has led to high inventory levels. The holiday season is the last chance for retailers and set makers to improve their fiscal year. This year all sizes are affected. The glut of sets has already produced the lowest prices of the year and we know the holidays will mean "loss-leader" models that stores can offer in outstanding deals. In fact, the areas where we'll see the greatest price drops are in the category of TVs measuring 55 inches and above.

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Netflix loses 800,000 subscribers

For Netflix, the hits keep on coming -- the bad kind. The latest thwack: Netflix lost 800,000 U.S. subscribers in the quarter that just ended, which was littered with PR nightmares including a price hike and the Qwikster debacle. It was the first time in years that Netflix's U.S. customer base shrank instead of growing. Netflix spoke bluntly about the recent problems in its third-quarter earnings letter, released late Monday. "The last few months...have been difficult for shareholders, employees, and most unfortunately, many members of Netflix," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a letter to shareholders. "We've hurt our hard-earned reputation, and stalled our domestic growth."

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

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