HomeOS aims to be a “PC-like abstraction,” where connecting a new light or ceiling fan to the system is as simple as plugging a new mouse into your computer. Users would have an app store for device controls and for finding new devices compatible with their set-ups. Microsoft Research isn’t the first group to focus on a centralized system for home controls. Standards groups such as Z-Wave and Zigbee Alliance already offer common systems for controlling lights, thermostats, security alarms and other devices. But as Microsoft argues, these systems still don’t allow enough communication between devices, so for instance, you might have a conflict where an energy management system wants to open your windows, while a security system wants to close them. The alternative is to buy a line of products from one company that are designed to work together, but then you’re locked into that company’s devices. Read more:
STRATACACHE, a provider of scalable, high-performance digital signage, content distribution and enterprise video acceleration technologies, today debuted its new translucent digital signage product — PrimaSee Vending. Making its first debut into the vending manufacturer marketplace at the National Automatic Merchandising Association's OneShow 2012, PrimaSee is a translucent digital display that showcases high-definition, dynamic video advertisements embedded within the glass panel of a vending machine. These see-through promotional videos correspond with products visible in the backdrop.
The new offerings will provide electronic systems contractors (ESCs) with access to the information they need to remain relevant in the rapidly diversifying industry, with a strong focus on both business and technical education. CEDIA has added more opportunities for peer-to-peer business discussion with the introduction of two roundtable series. One roundtable series will be broken out into small and mid-size business owner discussions. These moderated sessions will give ESCs an opportunity to discuss common concerns in a non-competitive environment. The second roundtable series will offer six different topics that ESCs identified as "hot topics" such as HDMI, hiring sales staff, and retrofit technologies. Additional information about the roundtables can be found here. CEDIA has also expanded technical education offerings centered around IP and networking. Three new advanced IP and Networking courses have been added to the roster: EST353 Advanced Wireless Networking, EST423 Remote System Access; Methods, Security, and Best Practices, and EST443 Tailoring Network Performance with VLANS and QoS. Lab space has been expanded and a total of eight half-day courses will be available, each of which will be offered twice in addition to a full-day workshop.
Building your own billboard has never been easier or more affordable, thanks to an innovative new digital product from Lamar Advertising Company (Nasdaq: LAMR). Postr™ is a billboard with a digital component that allows consumers and businesses to post their message in minutes for $25 per day. Customers can post their message on a Postr™ billboard in Little Rock in three steps: first, visit lamar.com/postr; next, upload an image; finally, enter a message up to 60 characters. Each spot will be in a rotation and will play over 1,000 times per day. Users have the option to change their message up to two times per day, and they can reserve one of six Postr™ billboard locations up to two weeks in advance.
In a record-breaking year for entries, which saw over 100 projects from more than ten countries battling out for the top prizes, this year's Award winners included a series of remarkable installations across all Media Room, Home Cinema, Integrated Home, Marine and Property Developer categories. These stunning projects represent the crème de la crème of smart home installations from across CEDIA Region 1 which covers the UK and Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, India and Pakistan. In Media Rooms the winners were London-based Olive AV for delivering an impressively modern twist on an 18th century period property renovation and Spanish installer, Smart Business for a stunning and multi-functional media room paradise, appropriately entitled All-in-One. Full Press Release:
If you live in a major urban area, you’ve probably already seen digital signage start to trickle in and replace their dated paper counterparts at bus stops and other points of interest. It looks like the digital display and advertising markets are only going to get bigger and better over the next four years, according to a new report from IHS iSuppli . Specifically, IHS analysts expect digital and professional signage display shipments to reach 17.3 million units by the end of 2012 — up from 15.4 million units in 2011 and 13.5 million units in 2010. By 2016, analysts expect that figure to topple approximately 25.8 million units. Considering that digital signage is so much more expensive than traditional billboard and display advertising methods, it might come as a surprise that digital signage is going to be adopted so quickly.
While Japanese and Korean TV manufacturers either struggle to make a profit, or in some cases, report the biggest losses in their history, 25% of US consumers and 30% of UK consumers surveyed say they would buy an Apple HDTV, according to a survey by KAE. Some analysts believe an Apple branded device will sell for almost double the price of competitors’ models. Lowest estimatest are a 25% price premium. Clearly price is not the only reason for lack of, or profit from, TV sales Top anticipated features were internet connectivity, ability to run apps, and to sync with other iOS devices.
It seems Sony has had a change of heart about OLED. After stating it was dropping OLED several months ago when it’s $2,500, 11” OLED TV (XEL-1) failed to sell (no surprise there), Sony is now reportedly in talks with Taiwan's AU Optronics Corp to jointly produce next-generation OLED televisions, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported. The move allows Sony to position itself for the post-liquid crystal display (LCD) TV market. At CES Sony showed a competing technology to OLED: CrystalLED. Sony were very tight-lipped about the technology behind LED, but many believe it be OLED.
Delphi's Digital Sidewalk SignBoard combines the digital flexibility of a 22-inch sunlight readable LCD with a traditional chalkboard. Developed for indoor or sheltered outdoor use, the Digital Sidewalk SignBoard is perfect for sidewalk cafes, sandwich shops, coffeehouses, boutiques, clubs, and other businesses that desire to entice customers with crisp, impactful digital images or videos along with messages that can be written and changed at any time -- with a personal touch. Digital images or videos are easily customized and updated through a standard USB thumb drive. The digital screen rotates images and/or videos to spotlight key menu items or promotions. The SignBoard also supports high-resolution video. The chalkboard can be used to present daily specials, prices, promotions or daily activities and start times. The Digital Sidewalk SignBoard's LCD is protected with an all-glass front window with black glass bezel. The LCD and 24" black chalkboard are integrated into a foldable A-frame easel on wheels for mobility within and outside a restaurant or business.
Samsung today confirmed that it will be launching a new luxury TV in August, at the IFA press conference to be held in Berlin, 31 August to 5 September. Michael Zoeller, European marketing director of Samsung Televisions, said that the new super-luxury set would sit above current models in Samsung's line-up, but joked "don't ask me anything about it", keeping tight lipped on any real details. Zoeller teased the details at the IFA Global Press Conference in Dubrovnik, Croatia. With Samsung's current flagship set, the ES8000, packing in a huge range of feature - such as gesture and voice control, face recognition, AllShare wireless content sharing and the Smart Hub offering a huge range of services and content - we're not quite sure exactly what else their new set will include.
If you’re anything like me, when you go to the movies, you get there early to be assured of a good seat: there’s nothing worse that arriving 10 minutes before the start of the feature and finding out there are only free seats in rows one and two. Then the pre-movie programming starts and I wish I’d stayed home and waited for the Blu-ray. So it’s a double-edged sword: the risk of a terrible seat for 2 hours or 20-minutes of dreadful movie trivia on a five-minute loop (at best). Two companies have grand ambitions to change all that. Screenvision, is launching The Limelight – the first 2-screen configuration targeted to the big screen and mobile devices. According to Screenvision “The Limelight will make movie-going more fun and involving for the audience, giving them a reason to arrive at the theater early and switch on their mobile devices to play trivia and share movie activity with Facebook friends, earn points and prizes, and much more”. Of course it’s really so you can be targeted with more appropriate advertising, but I’ll take it over what’s on offer today. Another company that thinks they’ve got the solution is Phenomblue with their new Movie Lotto . The general idea is that you arrive early, text a number with your Smartphone, and then scratch a virtual ticket. The grand prize for this is a barcode to redeem at the concession stand. All this for some more popcorn? I can’t say either of these would make me arrive one second earlier. They may just alleviate some of the boredom. The real upside is that once the technology is in place, good content will follow (I hope).
Polish Auschwitz survivor Jack Tramiel, who created one of the first home computers, the Commodore 64, has died aged 83. The entrepreneur revolutionised computer technology and lived the American dream after making his fortune. He will be best remembered for creating the Commodore which was bought by nearly 17 million people after its release in 1982. Inspired after visiting Japan, Mr Tramiel started producing cheap calculators. He then moved his business out to the Silicon Valley in California, at the beginning of the PC revolution. Mr Tramiel was a fierce business competitor. In 1977 Commodore became first to produce a digital watch for less than $10 (£6.30). This forced his rivals Texas Instruments to slash their digital watch prices in half to $9.95. "Business is not a sport. It's a war," he said. Full Article: http://news.sky.com/home/technology/article/16205820 Mr Tramiel introduced the home computer VIC-20 in 1980 for under $300 (£189).
According to research group NPD, the average pay-TV subscription for basic pay-TV service and premium-TV channels in the U.S. reached $86 in 2011. NPD expects the average pay-TV bill to reach $123 by the year 2015 and $200 by 2020. Also notable is that 16% of US households do not currently subscribe to pay_TV services. Cable companies are losing subscribers every quarter and with consumer spending power remaining flat, we’re likely to see an increase in cord-cutters if prices rise as indicated. For those interested in cutting the cord, read our earlier article: A Year Without Cable
I'm a movie fan. I love Blu-ray and my Home Theater, and I want 4K. But I'm worried: all the signs point to the death of the optical disc. 10% of Canadians now have Netflix accounts. These are all streamers, as Netflix has no disc by mail service in Canada. In separate news, Dolby's CEO Kevin Yeaman said Dolby generated 52% of its $790 million 2011 license digital audio revenue from non-optical media (movie and music discs), including digital TVs, set‚Äźtop boxes and mobile phones — up 27% from 2010. During the year the company licensed its Dolby Digital-Plus with streaming providers Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Netflix and Vudu. William Blair analyst Ralph Schackart commented "We decreased the optical business [outlook] by 25% in fiscal 2014, 15% in fiscal 2015, and 10% in fiscal 2016” IHS's screendigest says "In 2012 Americans will pay to consume 3.4bn movies online. This equates to over 1bn movies per year than are consumed on DVD and Blu-ray combined - putting the final nail in the old idea that consumers won't accept premium content distributed online." 4K TV's will ship this year. There are already projectors and AV receivers in the market that support 4K, but I fear 4K for the consumer is just a pipedream. Are we really ready for another optical disc format war and is there a mass market for 4K? It pains me to say: "I don't think so". I really can't see Hollywood and the Consumer Electronics industry seeing a new optical format as a viable proposition.
Microsoft Research Asia recently released a few videos on their SemanticMap. While they don’t have plans to productize it for signage, I’m sure there will be many enterprising vendors who will. The display detects both motion and gestures (no doubt utilizing Kinect technology). When a person is far away they see the most significant information in large, bold type. As they approach the display the type size dynamically decreases and the level of detail increases and further overlays are shown. This is similar to a GPS system’s auto-zoom function, where the detail increases as you approach a turn. The overlays are dynamic, and updating in real-time, so could potentially show not just where a conference room is, but the schedule of events. Microsoft says their overall goal of Semantic Map is to “help people find their way around both physical and information spaces, by exploiting natural information-seeking behaviors and body movements”. See the videos at: http://vimeopro.com/msradesignteam/portfolio/video/39564782 and http://vimeopro.com/msradesignteam/portfolio/video/39564783
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