ViewSonic is this year's Annual Report Card winner in the Digital Signage category, topping out rival NEC for the third year in a row--and both left Samsung in the dust. Similar to last year, ViewSonic came out ahead in the areas of support with a score of 74.7 and a 78.9 in partnership. NEC's 83.1 in product innovation, narrowly edged out ViewSonic's 82.6. "ViewSonic has spent 25 years as a channel company and has supported the channel from new product line innovation, and has dedicated support with new ways to grow and sell products," said Sarah Kearns, ViewSonic marketing manager, adding that being "born in the channel, when our partners win, we win. We constantly strive to support partners with award-winning customer service." The vendor's long-term relationship with the channel has resulted in product loyalty. The company is gearing up for the debut of the new VSD220 computing system, which runs Android. Kearns said the device "is not a PC replacement but a supplement of a PC. It's an ideal all-in-one, family-friendly device that's perfect for sending quick emails, checking Twitter and finding recipes."
Infinity Lifestyle Brands, which specializes in acquiring and turning around struggling or bankrupt consumer brands, purchased worldwide rights to the Altec Lansing brand for $17.5 million at auction. The company purchased the Polaroid and Linens ‘n Things brands in 2010, purchased the Sharper Image brand in 2009, and later sold it off, and is part of a joint venture that owns licensing rights to the Miss America brand. Altec Lansing, founded in 1941, was most recently owned by an affiliate of Prophet Equity, which purchased the company in 2009 from Plantronics and, in 2011, moved the company to San Diego from Milford, Pa. As it has with previous brands that it purchased, Infinity Lifestyle Brands will develop a business plan and strategy for Altec Lansing, then license the brands to various companies that will adhere to Infinity’s marketing and positioning guidelines. These include the types of retailers to be targeted, said Ike Franco, principal of Infinity Group. Infinity Lifestyle Brands is one division of Infinity Group. Another division manages real estate in 13 states
Cable providers have wanted to encrypt basic cable for some time now, allegedly so that service can be enabled and disabled from head end instead of having to roll a truck and to reduce theft, which was estimated to be $5 billion in 2004. Funny how they always fail to mention it will fatten their nest eggs somewhat. Part of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 prohibits cable operators (but not satellite operators) from scrambling or encrypting signals carried on the basic tier of service, but the FCC has now ruled that this encryption is permitted, as long as certain consumer protection measures are put in place, but there are a several caveats. Basically the FCC ruling says that the six largest (caveat one) cable providers (who service 86% of subscribers) are “to comply with additional requirements that are intended to ensure compatibility with certain third-party-provided equipment used to access the basic tier”. These “additional requirements” boil down to offering equipment (or technology to third parties) that is compatible with IP-enabled clear-QAM devices provided by third parties. In order to limit costs, the cable companies are required (for a limited time—caveat two, and to existing subscribers—caveat three) to: (i) offer to existing subscribers who subscribe only to the basic service tier and do not use a set-top box or CableCARD, the subscriber’s choice of a set-top box or CableCARD on up to two television sets without charge for two years from the date of encryption; (ii) offer existing subscribers who subscribe to a level of service above “basic only” but use an additional television set to access only the basic service tier without the use of a set-top box or CableCARD at the time of encryption, the subscriber’s choice of a set-top box or CableCARD on one television set without charge for one year from the date of encryption; and (iii) offer existing subscribers who receive Medicaid,82 subscribe only to the basic service tier, and do not use a settop box or CableCARD, the subscriber’s choice of a set-top box or CableCARD on up to two television sets without charge for five years from the date of encryption. In addition the six largest cable providers have committed to adopt, prior to encrypting, a solution that would provide basic service tier access to third-party provided IP-enabled clear QAM devices (such as Boxee, Hauppage, etc.) These six cable operators will make basic cable available either via connection from operator-supplied equipment or by providing access to the operator’s security technology. This will be accomplished either by: (i) Option 1 - providing a converter box with “standard home networking capability” that can provide IP-enabled clear QAM devices access to basic service tier channels (ii) Option 2 - enable IP-enabled clear QAM devices to access basic service tier channels without any additional hardware through the use of commercially available software upgrades The fact of the matter is that all this does is potentially defer costs as a sunset in proposed on these commitments three years after the Order is adopted unless the Commission extends them. On a positive note, the FCC has committed to reviewing this in future: “We believe that a future review of these rules is warranted because the market for these IP based devices is nascent and it is unclear whether consumer demand for this equipment will flourish. Accordingly, we delegate authority to the Bureau to initiate a review two years after the release of this Order to decide whether these IP-enabled device protections remain necessary to protect consumers or whether it is appropriate to sunset the IP-enabled device protections.” Manufacturers, such as Boxee, are offered some protection, as they will be provided a license for any technology to access the basic service on a “good faith” basis and cable operators must “publicly disclose the DLNA profile or other protocol that is being used for the home-networking (Option 1) capability on such operator-supplied equipment.” Any telecom or cable bill is always peppered with additional fees, but the FCC is clear on this when it comes to having to hand out free devices: “Out of an abundance of caution, however, they suggest we affirmatively state that cable operators may not impose service fees (such as “digital access fees” or “outlet fees”) in lieu of rental fees for the free devices. Consistent with Public Knowledge and Media Access Project’s suggestion, we clarify that boxes provided by cable operators that choose to encrypt the basic service tier must be provided without any additional service charges related to the equipment.” For existing cord cutters who may rejoice, don’t get too excited. If a box is required, you’re not getting it for free. The change clearly states: “We do not agree that free equipment is necessary for new subscribers: given the movement to digital services, many subscribers have become accustomed to leasing set-top devices, and that trend seems likely to continue”. While Boxee, who have a new DVR coming to market, rejoices, for the most part all the changes do is defer costs and force cable providers to provide free basic service for a few years. After that, unless the review extends the sunset date, you’ll be looking at a monthly fee. My advice: if you live near a transmitter, get a digital antenna, or better still a Dishtenna. I put up a new antenna and cut the cord a few years ago and have never looked back. I also get a much better picture to boot. Of course, the cable companies are also trying to kill OTA altogether under the guise of “freeing up that part of the frequency spectrum”, so who knows how long anything will be free.
It's been a few months since we covered UltraViolet, so it's time to try out the disc-to-digital service and see how things have progressed.
Apple has dominated the wireless streaming video playing field for quite a while, but the Wi-Fi Alliance plans to change all that with an open solution called Miracast.
Christie MicroTiles are the next frontier of display technology. Built on proven DLP technology and specifically designed for maximum image quality in high-ambient light environments, Christie MicroTiles are ideal for a wide range of demanding applications, including architectural elements, out-of-home advertising, command and control video walls, and event production.
The eCommandCenter is the first all-in-one energy management solution of its kind that empowers businesses to monitor and manage actual energy consumption, protect equipment, and implement sustainability programs, down to the plug level. Engineered with wireless energy monitoring technology, industrial grade power protection, diagnostic software, and reporting analytics, the eCommandCenter features a sophisticated package of hardware and software that enables businesses to manage energy costs proactively.
Apple users have enjoyed streaming of audio and video to big screen TV's for quite some time. Miracast holds some promise for non-Apple users, but sometimes a wired connection is just better.
After struggling in 2011 with a challenging market environment due to sliding demand and price erosion, 2012 marks a year of recovery for the flat panel display (FPD) industry. According to the latest NPD DisplaySearch Quarterly Worldwide FPD Shipment and Forecast Report, worldwide FPD revenues will reach $120 billion in 2012, up 8% from $111 billion in 2011, and exceeding 2010 revenues. Among the various FPD technologies, TFT LCD accounts for the majority of revenues at $107.7 billion in 2012, up from $99.4 billion in 2011. However, AMOLED displays once again showed the strongest Y/Y growth, as manufacturing capacity and market players continue to expand. However, with the exception of LCOS (liquid crystal on silicon, a form of microdisplay) all other display technologies, including plasma and passive matrix forms of LCD and OLED, are declining in 2012. In a sharp reversal, AMEPD (active matrix electrophoretic display), which is used in monochrome e-readers, swung from strong growth in 2011 to even stronger decline in 2012, due to competition from TFT LCD-based tablet PCs.
News Releases from the show.
It's been one of the more conspicuous omissions in the media hub space: despite Google Play being the cornerstone of Google's content strategy, you couldn't truly use the company's music or movie services through Google TV without depending on content you'd already paid for elsewhere. As of a new upgrade, the ecosystem has come full circle. Viewers with Google TV boxes can at last buy or rent directly from Google Play Movies and Google Play Music, and the content will be indexed in the TV & Movies section alongside third-party video services and traditional TV. The upgrade also helps Google's TV front end play catch-up with its mobile counterpart by adding automatic app updates and subscriptions. While device owners may have to wait a few weeks as the upgrade rolls out, the addition signals a big step forward for a platform that has normally leaned heavily on others for help.
Outdoor signage for QSR needs to meet government approval and stand up to the rigors of the environment. In this article, Delphi Display Systems' Director of Product management, Mark DiCamillo explains what's required
For better or worse, retailers risk falling into the "uncanny valley" by knowing too much about every shopper's habits and buying preferences, which has led to the slow and uncertain adoption of video-based retail shopper identification and marketing systems.
Microsoft confuses me. They have one the best DVR’s on the market with Windows Media Center (WMC), yet they seem disinterested in adding features and are continually sending out signals that its life is almost over. Apple has pretty much treated the AppleTV as a hobby from day one and according to Tim Cook it’s still a wait and see product. Maybe Apple and Microsoft should get serious, combine their two hobbies (or red-headed step children) and make the best set-top box/DVR on the market. Many were left wondering about the future of WMC when Microsoft announced that Media Center would not be an integral part of Windows 8. Now, according to Ceton , “it is still unclear whether Media Center will be offered in the next version of Windows Embedded”. (Windows embedded is an OEM version of Windows used to develop customized systems/products such as SlingCatcher, Ford SYNC, etc.) Consequently, Ceton has announced that “it’s possible the Q will launch in 2013, either as initially envisioned or perhaps re-envisioned, but we can’t guarantee that at this point. We know there is a ton of interest in the Q and that this news will be disappointing to a lot of you but we think it’s important to be upfront about where things stand.” Top marks to Ceton for being up-front with their customers and prospective customers; failing grade for Microsoft for muddying the waters further.
Until recently, nothing short of ethernet wires had the bandwidth necessary to pipe media from one room to another. And unless you were a networking geek, you’d have had to spend thousands of dollars getting a knowledgeable professional to punch holes in your walls to wire your house with ethernet jacks. That time has passed. Today's wireless networks can handle video, music, and lightning-fast Web surfing without breaking a sweat—and they require very little skill to set up. Want to battle it out in Halo 3 via the Xbox in your den, or to play a movie from the collection stored on your server in your basement? I’ll cover everything you need to know to "wire" your house without stringing new cable or busting your budget. Just one caveat before we go on. The speed of your Internet connection will have a significant impact on the quality of the real-time video you get from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. If your genuine download speeds are below 6 mbps, you may be limited to streaming lower-resolution video from the Internet. Read Full Article
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
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