Roku 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®, 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.
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
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
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 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.
A 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.
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."
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 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 , 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
You might remember that Engadget broke news of an updated Apple TV headed to market just a few months ago. A trusted Engadget source asserted that the gang in Cupertino would be releasing a $99 version of the set top box, similarly sized and packed with internals akin to that of the iPhone 4 (A4 CPU, 16GB of flash storage), and will introduce new iTunes streaming services the box could take advantage of. Well we've gotten a little more info on the project, and it's not all good. Apparently the box won't be capable of handling (or enabled to handle) 1080i or 1080p video. Instead it will only push out 720p clips. Oh, and there's one more thing -- Apple will be officially changing the name of the device to iTV, abandoning the current moniker in favor of something a little more in line with its current iOfferings. Read the complete story at Engadget...
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said on Tuesday he is suing the world's biggest makers of liquid crystal display screens for engaging in a "conspiracy at the highest level" to fix prices. McCollum's announcement came days after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed a similar lawsuit on Friday, alleging a decade of price fixing by major Japanese, South Korean and Taiwanese LCD makers and by their U.S. units. In a statement, McCollum, who like Cuomo in running for governor, said records subpoenaed by his office indicated the defendants organized the conspiracy "at the highest level of their organizations in various secret meetings and telephone conversations over a period of years." Among the defendants are well-known international LCD makers such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, AU Optronics Corp, Hitachi Ltd, LG Display Co, Sharp Corp and Toshiba Corp, the Florida attorney general's office said. It noted that some of the defendants and their employees had already been indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice and had paid over $890 million in criminal fines. Source - Reuters
THX Ltd. has teamed with BluFocus , a quality assurance and advanced testing facility for the home entertainment industry, to build an ecosystem of services to address the technical challenges of 3D post-production. THX®-BluFocus 3D certification sets authoring and production guidelines and testing procedures for evaluating 3D Audio-Video quality, 3D Blu-ray disc and player Interoperability, and the physiological effects of 3D on home viewers. One of the biggest reported concerns among consumers is experiencing fatigue from 3D video and glasses. THX and BluFocus are researching root causes of viewer fatigue to better understand the physiological effects of 3D. The goal is to work closely with content producers to implement best practices and guidelines for all 3D elements, including onscreen characters, objects, graphics and subtitles. THX-BluFocus certification also evaluates how 2D-to-3D conversion adds depth to the picture, and whether this added depth causes any creative errors or flaws that deviate from the storyline or may cause fatigue.
Verizon Chief Executive Officer Ivan Seidenberg will deliver the opening keynote address at the 2011 International CES. Owned and produced by CEA, the 2011 International CES, the world’s largest consumer technology tradeshow, will be held January 6-9, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seidenberg will deliver his CES keynote address at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2011 in the Hilton Center, following a State of the CE Industry keynote address delivered by Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer will give a preshow keynote address at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, in the Las Vegas Hilton Center. Additional 2011 CES keynote addresses will be announced in the coming months. The 2011 International CES will feature 2,500 global technology companies unveiling the latest consumer technology products and services across 15 major product categories including the latest in audio, automotive electronics, connected home technologies, digital imaging, electronic gaming, entertainment/content and more. For more information on the 2011 International CES, visit CESweb.org .
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
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