Belkin Conserve Gateway Connects to Smart Meter to Provide Energy Usage Insight in the Home

Belkin today announced its Conserve Gateway, a router system that pairs with your smart meter to provide real-time insight about home energy use. Conserve Gateway delivers this information via a simple web interface.  The interface allows people to easily track and reduce energy use in their homes and learn conservation tips. Further, it offers utility companies the ability to push information to Conserve Gateway with advice or calls to action, such as: “By using your dryer more efficiently, you can save up to $76 per year.”  Its protocol was informed by extensive ethnographic research that proved most people don’t know what a kilowatt-hour (kWh) is and have even less of an idea about where power comes from.  Both Google with the Google PowerMeter and Microsoft with Microsoft  Hohm also offer real-time wireless internet energy monitoring services.

Google TV puts Apple TV on Notice - Will Apple's "Hobby" Become Irrelevant?

Google’s early unveiling this week of some of its content partners and strategy for Google TV provided a solid preview of the company’s television strategy. According to Paul Erickson, Senior Analyst at IMS Research ( imsresearch.com ), the potential capabilities and embedded product reach of Google TV may make another high-profile over-the-top (OTT) video play, Apple TV, largely irrelevant to consumers over time. Although the latest version of Apple TV has been significantly improved and Apple continues to deliver a strong user experience, Erickson remains doubtful: “Apple has struggled over time to make Apple TV a hit with consumers due to issues with pricing, content, and awareness. The product is now squeezed between broad OTT video capabilities on game consoles and Blu-ray players, and the search-augmented, integrated television+OTT video experience that Google TV is slated to deliver across TV and set-top box form factors.” “Google’s strategy to deliver the Google TV experience on an platform-agnostic basis, regardless of whether Google’s guide, search, applications, and OTT video capabilities are combined with cable, satellite, or terrestrial programming, makes it a product that will have a larger impact than Apple TV. This is also due to broad content support, with Google TV supporting a larger selection of content partners that is only expected to increase over time. Some of Apple TV’s more innovative features, like remote control via iPhone or iPod, already have their equivalent in Google TV, which supports remote control via Android smartphones as well as the iPhone.” Google TV still faces some hurdles of its own, with announced retail hardware partners at this time limited to Sony and Logitech, and a few missing pieces in its content offering, notably Hulu Plus, Flickr, and others. These limitations, however, are only expected to be near-term. Erickson, who will shortly begin work on IMS’ 2011 report on Internet-delivered TV, believes, “Google TV fundamentally differs from Apple TV in that its scale is larger and less constrained; tight integration of live TV, OTT video, and Internet-driven search and applications, either in set-top box form or built straight into your TV. Without a careful re-imagining of exactly what Apple TV’s value proposition will be within this new competitive landscape that Google TV is likely to occupy at the high end, Apple’s “hobby” of Apple TV is likely to remain such.”

A Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 WHDI Model in the Works

Wireless Home Digital Interface, or WHDI, is a technology used to wirelessly stream content from a computer to your TV. Typically, this content has been HD videos streamed from a laptop to an HDTV. But what if there was a video card that had this same technology so you could wirelessly stream a video game to your big screen TV? Well, Galaxy and Amimon are partnering up to embed Amimon's WHDI technology in a GeForce GTX 460. The new card will be known as the Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 WHDI Edition and comes with an adapter you plug in to your TV. Once the video card is installed in your system, all the content will be able to be streamed to your TV, even when you play video games. The WHDI technology delivers uncompressed 1080p video at 60Hz up to 100 feet away, you can even stream HDCP content provided your TV can support it. Curiously, the GTX 460 WHDI Edition does not appear to have any vents on the rear of the card so your guess is as good as mine as to how the temperatures will be inside your case. The Galaxy GeForce GTX 460 WHDI Edition video card will be available in October though no mention was made of pricing.

AMIMON Unveils the WHDI Stick for Easy Wireless PC to TV Connectivity

AMIMON announced today the WHDI Stick™. The WHDI Stick is a new product design that showcases the slim PC-to-TV products that CE manufacturers will bring to market in 2011. The WHDI Stick enables users to wirelessly view all of their tablet or notebook/netbook content on their TVs without the limitations of other solutions. With virtually no latency (less than one millisecond) users can now play their PC games and interactive content on the “big screen.” In addition to all other content, WHDI security and HDCP 2.0 copy protection allow the WHDI Stick to bring Blu-ray movies and other copy-protected content to the HDTV. The WHDI Stick is a true plug-n-play product, no installation is needed and it is OS independent. The WHDI Stick is the smallest WHDI product design to date. The 3.2x1.18x.61 inch (81.3x29.9x15.5 mm) transmitter plugs in directly to the HDMI port of the notebook/netbook and is powered by the USB port. The WHDI Stick will transmit the PC screen directly to TVs embedded with WHDI or to any TV using a WHDI receiver adapter that connects to the TV via HDMI. AMIMON will be demonstrating the WHDI Stick at the CEATEC consumer electronics show in Tokyo, Japan.

FLO TV is Dead

Qualcomm will shut down the FLO TV service, which will wind down by year's end, PaidContent.org reported Monday . The service had been struggling, CEO Paul Jacobs  said multiple times, publicly, in recent months.  The company may lease out the remains of the service to AT&T or Verizon, the report said. The company had announced price cuts for the in-car version of the service as recently as last month.

Toshiba Unveils First Consumer 3D Flatpanel-TV Without Glasses

Toshiba today announced at CEATEC 2010, Japan's biggest consumer electronics show, its first commercially available 3D TVs that can be used without glasses. With the two TVs, one with a screen size of 12'' (30.5 cm) and another with 20'' (50.8 cm), viewers get a three dimensional viewing experience comfortably, without the need to wear 3D glasses. The products will be available by the end of December 2010 in Japan.  The newly developed technological innovation for 3D-TVs without glasses uses an integral imaging system. It provides nine different perspectives (parallaxes) of each single 2D frame which the viewer's brain superimposes to create a 3-dimensional impression of the image. Toshiba achieved this thanks to its engineers' huge knowledge of display technology and of semiconductor and software design. They developed a powerful engine and an algorithm to extrapolate these perspectives out of the 2D frame and used a perpendicular lenticular sheet, an array of lenses, that enable the viewer's brain to superimpose the perspectives. It also offers a wide viewing area in front of the display and allows movement of the eyes and head without disrupting the 3D image and without the discomfort sometimes associated with other 'glasses-less' 3D technologies.

Lutron Introduces Several New Energy-Saving Offerings

Lutron has unveiled HomeWorks QS home control, which provides increased energy savings, is easier to install and program, and which features greater integration capabilities, including lights, shades, HVAC and appliances. Energy-saving features include the ability to control LED and fluorescent light sources, occupancy/vacancy sensors that ensure lights are only on when the room is occupied, temperature control, a Green button which scales back lights, shades and temperature and a programmable timeclock to control lights in spaces where lights are left on.  The system is controlled via a new 4.2-inch touch interface panel. Also introduced is Lutron’sApple iPad app for its wireless RadioRa 2 control system. The app controls lights, shades, temperature and appliances for energy savings.The app will allow homeowners to monitor their system while away from home, control multiple systems from a single iPad, adjust energy-saving preferences and will be available on iTunes® starting in December.

Logitech Unveiling Google TV Product On Oct. 6

It looks as if Logitech will beat Sony across the Google TV finish line.  Sony recently trumpeted an October 12 event in New York City, at which the company will be revealing its Google TV-powered Internet TV. But now Logitech has scheduled its own Google TV event in Manhattan event six days earlier.   The invitation promises that "Google TV will be a new experience that combines TV, the entire Web, and apps--as well as a way to search across them all." The press conference will be led by Logitech's Executive VP of Products, Junien Labrousse. In other words, we should finally be getting all of the juicy details on the Logitech Revue --price, release date, specs--which was first unveiled at last May's Google I/O event.   Interestingly, the invite makes reference to Logitech's "line of products for Google TV," which indicates that the Revue may come in more than one version, or that Logitech has additional Google TV products up its sleeve.   Either way, this is certainly shaping up to be the biggest season for Internet TV products to date. Yet another reason you might want to wait--if only for a few weeks--before taking the plunge on a new Roku or Apple TV .

Sonos Adds Free iPad Controller App

The Sonos Controller for iPad is now available as a free app in the iTunes App Store. The application allows an end user to view rooms, music, and what songs are playing, all at once, and in landscape or portrait mode. Quickly search for your favorite artists by typing on the virtual keyboard and browse through albums by pointing and flicking.  “The iPad, with its large, vibrant touch screen, provides an excellent Controller user experience for music in the home,” said John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos Inc. “In keeping with the tradition of getting better over time—and, at no cost to our customers—we’re thrilled to provide another free app that makes it fun and easy to search, find and play music in any and every room of their home.”  In conjunction with the new Sonos Controller for iPad, Sonos released Sonos System Software 3.3, a free one-button software update to the Sonos Multi-Room Music System. With Sonos 3.3, Sonos now supports AAC radio stations, adding to the more than 100,000 radio stations, shows, and podcasts you can stream directly on Sonos.  In addition, all Sonos customers in Finland, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the UK now have instant access to ten million songs and all of their playlists on Spotify. Sonos Controller for iPhone 3.3 has been submitted to Apple and is pending approval.

3 Innovations That Make Google TV A Winner

Google TV, in tandem with the Logitech Revue and Sony's Internet TV Blu-Ray Player & Internet TV, seems to have paid attention to both the attempts at producing a viable "Internet TV" in the past as well as the functionality a HTPC brings, and have produced something that finally has lasting potential!

3 Reasons why Home Technology Integration is about to Ignite

We live in an "always on" world where we expect our Smartphones to provide us with media content, email, social media, and any other information on demand.  It is time we realize that we can now expect the same functionality that we get on that 4.3" screen of our Smartphone from the 46" HDTV in our living room, the laptop or all-in-one PC in the kitchen, and even from the tablet we use sitting out on the patio enjoying nature.

Blu-ray DVD Part 5: Blu-ray survives

With James Cameron's Avatar becoming the most successful Blu-ray DVD to date,  Blu-ray manufacturers could finally breath a sigh of relief and be confident that the once infant format has finally matured.   The next dilemma facing Blu-ray is an old problem that once again reared its ugly ahead to threaten this newbie format.

CEDIA 2010 News Report

News announcements from the show

Consumer Attitudes and the Benefits of Smart Grid Technologies

Consumer attitudes about the benefits of smart grid technology are still in a formative stage. Most consumers are not aware of the term, much less the capabilities smart grid technologies will be bringing in the next few years.

Content Insider #153 - Entertainment Everywhere

We're not certain what the preoccupation is with TV, but firms beyond the old-fashioned content developers, producers, "shippers" have gone out of their way to say they have the solution you need/want!

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