Exterior digital message boards on the rise

As the restaurant industry accelerates the adoption of interior digital menu boards to showcase their offerings, more operators are also installing exterior digital signage to pull in new and existing customers. John Kunze, director of Sign Division Sales at Watchfire, said the typical return on investment for one of his company's signs is anywhere from six to 18 months, depending on what features an operator requests. Still, costs remain the main reason more operators haven't updated or added exterior signage. "This is an investment of $20,000 to $50,000, so that's a new shake machine or fryer for some operators," Kunze said. "But the costs are coming down and more restaurants are starting to realize there is a pretty quick ROI."

Consumer Demand for Home Technology Grows with Housing Market Recovery

Installed home technology is solidified in U.S. home builders' offerings as evidenced by a 1-year doubling of home automation installations in new homes, according to the 10th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The report said entertainment and automation solutions are helping builders differentiate their businesses, while more common home technologies like structured wiring are necessary to compete effectively in the market.   The study found an increase in installations across all technology sectors, with the biggest gains in structured wiring - 63% of new homes in 2011, up from 45% of new homes in 2010. Energy management solutions, such as automated lighting controls (12%, up from 7%) and home automation (10%, up from 5%) were at all-time highs. Entertainment features also performed well in 2011 with multi-room audio (23%) and home theater (29%) installations rebounding strongly after recession-period lows.  

O.C. HDTV maker Vizio sued by MIT over patents

Vizio Inc., Irvine maker of high definition TVs and other electronic devices, is being sued on claims of infringement on four patents held by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Boston university lists about 150 Vizio models as violating its patents in the lawsuit filed in Massachusetts federal court. The suit said the patents, issued in 1993, 1995 and 1996, cover digital televisions, Blu-ray disc players, home theater and audio systems. MIT has filed a separate patent infringement lawsuit against Funai, which makes Phillips, Magnavox, Sylvania, Emerson, Funai and Symphonic products. Vizio officials have not yet responded to a Register request for comment. MIT said in the lawsuit that it offered Vizio a license for the technology, but Vizio refused. MIT also said that other unnamed companies are licensing the technology, which university researchers have worked on since the 1980s.  

HDBaseT Alliance to Showcase All-in-One Connectivity for Projection and Digital Signage Markets at InfoComm 2012

HDBaseT Alliance, the cross-industry alliance formed to standardize HDBaseT(R) technology for uncompressed high definition (HD) multimedia content distribution, today announced that it will demonstrate live commercial and home networking installation use cases at InfoComm 2012, June 13-15 in Las Vegas, Nev. The demonstrations will feature projectors, a 40" digital signage display, a surveillance camera, an HDBaseT switch and a single-wire TV, all integrated with HDBaseT technology. Booth visitors will experience for the first time a complete, end-to-end HDBaseT commercial installation scenario, comprised of a large digital signage display and an HDBaseT-integrated projector connected to an HDBaseT-enabled switch. A home theater demonstration will also showcase the technology's application to the consumer projector market.  

90 Million Homes Worldwide Will Employ Home Automation Systems by 2017, Finds ABI Research

New subscription-based home automation offerings are rapidly transforming the way consumers will monitor, secure, and control their homes. Long the preserve of more expensive, custom-installed technology, home automation is moving into the mainstream, with companies such as ADT, Comcast, Verizon, Lowe's, and many others all adding home automation to their customer services. A number of factors are driving the new entrants into the market. Connectivity is one key factor. Not only are there currently high home broadband penetration rates, as well as the potential for embedded cellular connections to connect systems, but also smartphone applications allow consumers to control and check their homes from wherever they are. As connectivity options make the home automation systems more useful, market changes are also making home automation more affordable. A traditional large up-front installation and equipment purchase is increasingly being replaced by monthly subscription offerings - often bundled alongside already existing services.  

Harris Corp. getting out of digital signage/DOOH

Tech giant Harris Corp. recently announced its decision to divest itself of its Broadcast Communications division, which includes is digital signage business, but a company spokesman insists the division is continuing "business as usual." Harris is perhaps best known within the digital signage space for its InfoCaster suite of digital signage products and its 10-year digital out-of-home network deal with 7-Eleven, but the company is perhaps better known outside of the sector as a multibillion dollar communications company specializing in government, defense and commercial contracts. According to a May 1 Harris announcement, after the close of this quarter, the company has approved the plan to drop Broadcast Communications. "As a result, current and prior period financial results for Broadcast Communications will be reported as discontinued operations beginning with the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012," the announcement said.

Beyond Blu-ray

It seems like only yesterday that I breathed a sigh of relief at the end of the HD format wars. Blu-ray had won and I could safely start building my HD media library. With players under $100, it's safe to say Blu-ray is now mainstream, but current TV's and projectors can display content that is not supported by Blu-ray. Good examples include wide-gamut TV's and 4K displays projectors and AV receivers. It's time to look to the future.

4K Resolution - The New Frontier in Home Theater & Media Rooms

You may have heard about "4K" video resolution being offered by Sony, JVC, and Meridian in some of their latest high-end video projectors and wondered if it's for you. If you're the type who has to ride the first wave to the latest and the greatest, then the answer is "Yes". If you don't have to be first, but enjoy owning state-of-the art electronics, you will still have a little time before 4K technology becomes mainstream

Smart TV Ownership

Smart TV Ownership Up 14% from 2009, But Over Half Aren't Connected. We asked Accedo's CEO, Michael Lantz, about the future of SmartTV.

Impact of Smart Grid on Connected Homes

The Continental Automated Buildings Association (http://www.caba.org), through its Connected Home Council (http://www.caba.org/connected-home-council) and new Research Program, has begun work on its Impact of Smart Grid on Connected Home 2012 study. Ron Zimmer, CABA President & CEO describes the organization and project.

NAB 2012 - Content Anywhere, Anytime Needs to be Monetized, Saved

NAB is the second most popular event for us to attend because we like to see how prehistoric our years in TV were compared to today and it's like light years. This year we're way beyond pushing stuff to the tube. The content people are sending stuff to everything. We know that's not a brilliant observation but what literally blows us away is how the industry is now able to do it so precisely to your mobile device, in the right format, even at the right time and BAM!!! with the right ads around it that are of most interest to you. It is so elegant. Oh sure they're not exactly certain what your threshold of pain will be for the volume of ads but they're working on that.

Report: Home energy management market to surpass $2 billion by 2020

Even as deployments of smart grid infrastructure have accelerated in recent years, the home energy management (HEM) market has struggled to gain traction. Numerous trials have led to only a few cases of industry deployments and to anemic rates of consumer adoption. According to Pike Research, that is starting to change, and over the remainder of the decade momentum will build in this nascent market. In its new report, Pike Research predicts that the global annual shipments of standalone HEM systems will grow from a quarter million in 2011 to nearly 4.7 million in 2020, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.3%. Combined revenue for all HEM segments will grow from a base of $93 million in 2011 to more than $2 billion in 2020, the cleantech market intelligence firm forecasts.

The ThruVu™ Cooler Display System is comprised of (3) major components: 1) the transparent LCD; 2) the LED lighting system and 3) the BoldVu® Video Server.

Manufacturing Resources International (MRI) has introduced the first full-size transparent (seethru) Digital LCD Door for the Convenience and Grocery stores. This "high-performance" Digital LCD Display replaces the entire conventional door glass with a transparent display assembly that allows for normal customer viewing of the product through the glass, but with the ability to run full-motion videos / advertisements / promotions in a "see-through" manner. According to Peter Kaszycki, VP of Business Development for MRI, "By introducing this new, eye-catching product, advertisers within C-Store now have a creative way to advertise and promote their products at the all important "point of purchase" stage, just as the customer is making their final beverage or product selection from the cooler. In addition, it is real estate that already exists in the crowded C-Store space but is not being effective utilized."  

Dolby Announces World's First Implementation of Dolby TrueHD 5.1 in Online Music Distribution Service

Dolby Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:DLB) announced today that e-onkyo music, the high-quality music distribution service managed by Onkyo Entertainment Technology Corporation, a subsidiary of Onkyo Corporation, will be the first online music distribution service to feature Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. Expected to launch on May 30, 2012, in Japan and in fall 2012 elsewhere in the world, this service will enable users to download music from 100 album titles (about 1,000 tracks) in Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound. The new Onkyo® A/V receivers (AVR) TX-NR818 and TX-NR717 will support the service. The e-onkyo music service began in August 2005, with DRM-free music (music without digital copyright protection technology) and DSD format music distribution added in 2010, and featured a high-quality distribution of music by the rock group Queen in 2011. Now, with lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1-channel surround sound, the music service will provide consumers with high-quality audio at reduced download times and file sizes.  

Considerations for Outdoor Signage

Outside, digital displays are in an uncontrolled, harsh environment that is constantlychanging, meaning anything can happen to them. To successfully deploy digital displays in outdoor environments, many factors must be considered.

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