A couple weeks ago, we brought you news that Microsoft Corporation was interested in purchasing the home entertainment startup company id8 Group R2 Studios Inc. At the time, both Apple Inc. and Google Inc were both expressing some serious interest. According to multiple reports, including this one from The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft Corporation has come out on top. While the price of the deal has yet to be shared with the public, most believe that Microsoft made this move to improve the standing of its Xbox unit in the home entertainment industry. Here is a brief excerpt explaining what R2 Studios brings to the table: The company, known as R2 Studios, has been working on technology related to distributing and displaying digital media on TVs, a big new battleground for technology giants. Most people are familiar with the fact that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has been looking for a way to expand on its base Xbox platform. While they have had some success doing so, such as by allowing the device to connect television with web video, there is plenty of additional room for growth.
Missing a 2012 delivery date, LG announced on Tuesday that it will release the first 55-Inch OLED HDTVs in Korea in early February 2013, after a year of delays due to reported production problems, at a price of just over $10,000. LG will discuss the TV's U.S. availability and retail price in the next few weeks. Over 1,400 Korean store fronts will begin taking orders Jan. 3 for February delivery on the 55EM9700. LG said it is going to ramp-up production to take the lead in a big-screen OLED TV market that, according to research firm DisplaySearch, will likely reach 7.2 million units by 2016. Today's current LCD and LED LCD TVs rely on light bulbs (whether fluorescent or a few dozen white LED lamps) to illuminate the image. The light from these lamps or bulbs must pass through the LCD panel before reaching the surface of the TV, causing most of the light to be beamed toward viewers sitting closest to the center of the screen. As one moves off-center, the LCD image dims, contrast decreases and colors tend to shift and desaturate. OLEDs emits light directly from the surface, extending the viewing angle to 180 degrees and providing superb, highly saturated colors without the dimming, color shift or loss of contrast seen on LCDs and LED LCDs
LG Electronics will showcase its digital signage lineup at the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 8-11, 2013. The LG selection will include the company's flagship 55-inch 3D video wall, the 84-inch Ultra HD multitouch signage, the EZ Sign TV, Smart Gate Media Pole, Smart Mirror and other commercial display solutions, according to a company announcement. "LG sees a bright future in the digital signage segment," said Il-geun Kwon, senior vice president and head of the IT business unit of the LG Home Entertainment Company. "We are proud to offer a superb range of products, capable of operating in diverse environments to meet a wide range of client needs. Our combination of IPS panels and Smart Energy Saving Technology offers the dual benefit of providing eye-catching images and significant energy savings." LG will be featuring at its CES booth its "larger-than-life" 3D Video Wall, an immense display consisting of 122 LG 55-inch WV70MD screens, the company said. And LG's large-scale digital signage solution employs the company's proprietary Smart Energy Saving Technology, allowing it to use approximately 30 percent less electricity than other commercial LED displays, the company said.
Samsung is ready to introduce its updated version of the Smart Hub interface for its Smart TVs at CES 2013 scheduled for January 8th in Las vegas. Smart Hub is a content platform for Samsung Smart TVs that allows users to navigate through their television's features. The company claims that the new Smart Hub will offer a more intuitive experience to its users. With a new updated version of the Smart Hub, users can now browse through live broadcasts, the internet and other content such as movies, apps and photos and videos. The initial screen is divided into five categories - 'On TV' for live TV, 'Movies & TV Shows' based on VOD contents, 'Apps' for various applications, 'Social' for SNS contents sharing function, ' Photos, Videos & Music' for more personal content. Another noteworthy feature will be a unique 'flipping' function that will let users browse through the five categories with motion control, whereby you can use gestures to flip through menus.
Google (GOOG) took a significant step toward selling off Motorola for parts on Wednesday when it sold Motorola’s Home division to broadband media technology company ARRIS for $2.35 billion. In a press release, ARRIS said that “Google will receive $2.05 billion in cash and approximately $300 million in newly issued ARRIS shares” that would give Google a 15.7% ownership stake in the company. Motorola Home, which is primarily responsible for manufacturing and selling the company’s television set-top boxes, has been rumored to be on the selling block for a while now. Google has shown little interest in incorporating Motorola into its own business for the long haul and has admitted that it purchased the company mostly to acquire its patents.
Via The Register comes some disturbing news for those of us who’ve been championing OLED TVs. Apparently, LG and Samsung are losing confidence in the technology for several reasons: firstly, most of the prototypes we’ve seen of working OLED tech have been 55-inch models set to hit the market for around $10,000, which kinda flies in the face of market trends toward ultra-large, ultra-cheap sets. Secondly, manufacturing has been tricky, with apparently as little as ten percent of manufactured OLED panels being workable, and with the glass soldering process used to make the displays resulting in some fragility. Apparently, timing is also bad, with 4K “Ultra HD” TVs set to be the big thing on the market next year.
LG Electronics (LG) today announced an all-new Magic Re-mote for its CINEMA 3D Smart TV lineup prior to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The redesigned device adopts enhanced language recognition ca-pabilities that make executing commands simple, natural, interactive and conversational. The new design will continue to employ four control options – voice, gesture, point, and wheel – making it the most complete universal remote. "LG is committed to providing innovative home entertainment solutions and the Magic Remote is a key pillar of the CINEMA 3D Smart TV user experience," said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of the LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company. "Building on an already impressive feature set, the latest version boasts accurate lan-guage recognition and its gesture, wheel and point control options makes the Magic Remote stand out amongst its competition as a truly intuitive device." The LG Magic Remote's sophisticated voice control technology makes issuing a verbal command to the TV both simple and effective. New Natural Language Recognition software makes giving voice commands as easy as regular speech and allows the user to talk in a more conversational manner. No longer is there a need for an awkward pause between the command and the title to be viewed, users can simply say "Show me Gang-nam Style video" and the new Magic Remote will understand.
Cable maker Belden Inc said it bought privately held PPC, which makes connectors used in broadband and wireless services, for $515.7 million to strengthen its position in the broadcast industry. Belden, which makes networking products for the broadcast and consumer electronics industries, has been buying connector companies that complement its cable offerings in these markets as it moves away from selling stand-alone cables. The company bought Canadian Miranda Technologies Inc, a maker of cable-TV and networking products, for about $362 million in July. Belden's shares have gained more than a quarter since it offered to buy smaller rival RuggedCom Inc in December 2011 to beef up its networking business. They closed at $39.70 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.
Redbox, the Coinstar-owned operator of movie rental kiosks, has already disrupted the home video model one way. Now, it’s gunning for Netflix. Confirming months of rumors, Redbox Wednesday announced the arrival of Redbox Instant, along with partner Verizon. The $8-per-month service- $9 for Blu-ray discs- also includes four one-night credits per month for rentals from Redbox kiosks. The service will also offer a la carte rentals for non-subscribers. Warner Bros. is on board for streaming, as is cable channel Epix, while many other studios will offer sales and rentals. The service will be offered through the web, as well as on mobile devices and through smart TVs and Blu-ray players from such partners as LG and Samsung. Redbox Instant is available in public beta later this month.
More than 62 percent of online consumers interested in learning more about home automation cited security as their primary purchase motivation, according to new research by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. Consumer Perspective on Home Automation, released today, found that almost half (49 percent) of consumers are familiar with home automation systems that allow them to remotely monitor and control one or more technology system in their homes. "There is room for industry growth, with just 1.7 million households indicating they currently have a home automation system installed in their residence," said Rhonda Daniel, CEA's manger, market research, "The more consumers know about home automation, the more likely they are to adopt the technology in their homes. Our industry must work together to develop clear product descriptions and educate consumers about what these technologies can do in order to increase adoption of these systems." Research indicates that features focused on safety and security should be the building blocks of home automation packages offered by the industry. Consumers expressed interest in capabilities that would allow them to remotely monitor and control one or more systems in their homes. More than half of consumers said they are interested in the following features: receiving alerts if smoke detectors go off (59 percent); receiving alerts if someone enters or exits the home (55 percent); remotely seeing someone at the front door (58 percent); and being able to adjust the lights while away (52 percent).
The Consumer Electronics Show gives us a glimpse of the TV trends we'll see in the year to follow. Much like last year, the talk of the 2013 show in TVs will revolve around OLED and 4K. The television industry has been in flux during the last few years. Marquee Japanese names such as Panasonic, Sharp, and Sony are struggling, new technologies like voice and gesture control and 3D aren't compelling enough to warrant upgrades, and demand is expected to stay flat for 2013. Amid this atmosphere of regrouping and consolidation, there are likely to be very few surprises at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. What we're going to see at the show are several technologies that debuted at previous shows, such as OLED and 4K. We doubt any new display technologies, like the prototype Crystal LED shown last year by Sony, will hit the market in 2013. But chances are some technology will debut that we didn't expect, perhaps from a surprising quarter: think China.
These days, it seems like everyone is innovating for the future. From eco-friendly prefab housing to high-tech city bridges, companies and cities are putting unique and interesting spins on what they believe will change our future. But, think about this for a second: Have you ever thought long and hard about what your thermostat will look like in 10 or 15 years? Probably not. Turns out that the thermostat, for better or for worse, hasn't really changed its form or function in the last few decades, aside from a digital interface and more sophisticated temperature-sensing technology. It seems as though there wasn't much to say about the device until the introduction of the Nest: A high-tech smart thermostat that broke the mold for its minimalist design and mobile, sustainable programming options. "Before Nest, people didn't care about their thermostat," says Matt Rogers, co-founder and VP of engineering at Nest. "We've really awoken that frustration by bringing great design, great technology and a great experience to the space." Mashable spoke with Rogers about how the Nest broke the mold of digital climate control, and what he thinks is going to be the real thermostat of the future.
BenQ America introduced Tuesday what it is calling the first FullHD 3D DLP video projector priced less than $1,000 for the home market. BenQ’s model W1070 (available this month at a $999 suggested retail) offers a host of premium capabilities, including 3D for movie watching and gaming. The projector supports various formats and connection standards, such as Nvidia 3DTV Play, DLP Link and dual HDMI. It includes an auto-detect system for 3D source material for a plug-and-play experience. The 1080p picture is said to have a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, The projector includes built-in audio speakers for temporary setups outdoors or away from home. “With the W1070, BenQ has created the world’s first 3D Full 1080p high-definition projector at the sub-$1,000 price range,” stated Lars Yoder, BenQ America president. “Just in time for the holidays, users gain access to cinema-like picture quality and the captivating immersion of 3D video, right in their homes. This has never been done before at such an affordable price — it’s an industry first and a tremendous value for home viewers. It further establishes BenQ as a premier home projection innovator.”
Crestron announced this week that its Crestron Studio software is now available for download. The software sports Crestron's SmartObject technology. “Custom programming projects that used to require multiple tools can now be done in one unified environment that lets the programmer move quickly from one task to the next,” Fred Bargetzi, Crestron's VP of Technology, said as part of the announcement. “Once-complex programming and GUI design tasks are now much easier and faster, enabling integrators and CAIPs to deliver a beautiful interactive Crestron user experience.” See this link for more information about downloading the product.
Atlona(R) to Host AtlonaAcademy Webinar "HDMI Troubleshooting: Exploring Critical Elements of Digital Connectivity
Atlona(R) today announced that the company will be hosting the AtlonaAcademy webinar "HDMI Troubleshooting: Exploring Critical Elements of Digital Connectivity" on Dec. 4 at 6 a.m. PST and 10 a.m. PST. The one-hour sessions will explore the root causes of HDMI(R) connectivity problems, and the latest technologies and tools being used to combat these issues. "HDMI Troubleshooting: Exploring Critical Elements of Digital Connectivity" will focus on the fundamentals of diagnosing basic A/V system installations, time-saving solutions for everyday tasks, and much more. In addition, attendees will receive problem-solving solutions for modern digital applications. Register Here.
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