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.
Microsoft's Research team in Cambridge opened its doors last week to offer a sneak peek at the future. Microsoft has spent nearly $30 billion on research and development over the past three years, and this particular lab — consisting of over 100 researchers mainly from Europe — has contributed to Bing, Xbox Kinect, and the functional programming language F#. Microsoft is now looking well ahead into the future of computing and how user interfaces and the way we interact with machines will change. During an open house, the software maker demonstrated a variety of ways that the company is looking to improve its Kinect sensor and use it for an augmented reality future. From Kinect Fusion, that creates an interactive real-time 3D model of the environment, to Kinect-infused augmented projectors, where projection-based devices are "aware" of their environment — Microsoft is focused on a world of sensors and cameras. "In the future we will see more and more, we believe, of no-touch computing," says Andrew Blake, a Microsoft Distinguished Scientist and the Laboratory Director of Microsoft Research Cambridge. "There is something rather compelling about such a free style of interaction, breaking free from the desktop and being much more expressive." This type of interaction was originally applied to Microsoft's Kinect camera for gaming, a popular accessory that took the idea of controller-free gaming to the masses. It's now crossing over to additional devices that might serve to assist Kinect in mapping out the real world for a computer.
BOSE, world renowned for selling premium home entertainment and sound systems, are the new owners of a Signbox digital signage system. BOSE Singapore dealer, Atlas, have also purchased the signEye digital signage package that captures key audience measurement data and provides new analytical capabilities to better understand and communicate with their valued customers. The signEye digital signage audience measurement system uses a digital camera in conjunction with the latest in facial recognition technology, to identify audience metrics that occur in the field of vision. The digital camera is embedded in the screen frame and will normally be located above or below a digital signage screen, so the recorded metrics are directly related to the content being shown on the digital signage screen in real time
The global market for home automation services saw strong growth during 2012, driven by a wave of new entrants and offerings in the North American market. The US in particular leads in deployments and new shipments - acting as a bellwether for markets around the world. Even with the low growth US economy and the stuttering housing market, home automation systems installed in the US this year almost doubled over 2011 shipments, according to the latest market study from ABI Research. In 2017, more than 8 million systems will ship, showing a CAGR rate of 45.2% between 2011 and 2017. In the US over the past 12 months, Verizon has rolled out its service offering, cable companies including Comcast and Time Warner have expanded their footprints and security vendors including ADT and Vivint continued to see strong demand for their solutions. "Home automation adoption is moving into the mainstream as a combination of home connectivity, standardization, and a range of new sensors and devices bring an ever expanding number of players into the market," says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst, ABI Research. "Meanwhile existing players are adapting their offerings and a host of technologies and connectivity options are battling to become de facto standards."
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