Sony has been struggling with declining TV sales over the last few months. Now sources have indicated the Japanese company will be stepping up their game by releasing TVs with Intel chips and running Google software. The trio of companies may be unveiling the new devices at a conference on May 19-20. Could this be the real product behind the Google TV rumors last month?
All three companies have something to gain from such an arrangement. If the product is successful, they may be able to win back market share lost to Samsung and LG in recent years. Google would love to be able to deliver their services to a new generation of connected TVs and Blu-ray players. Certainly Intel has the lion's share of the PC market, but owning a new one is never a bad thing. There are also rumors that Logitech is working on a wireless keyboard/remote system.
TV manufacturers are working to integrate services with connected units, and this partnership could be a big step in that direction. No word on exactly what Google software these sets would be running, but some specialized build of Android seems like a possibility. Would you interested in this product?
Word has leaked out today that Hulu's negotiations with UK broadcasters have broken down, and the service will not be offered in that market. Sources at the broadcasters claim that the "market does not match [Hulu's] business expectations”. Which we take to mean the British broadcasters wanted too big a slice of the action.
Hulu in the US has become a marginal success, and even has been turning a profit as of late. The video streaming company is owned by News Corp, NBC Universal and Disney. Hulu is rumored to be planning to launch a subscription model next month, but apparently even that model was not enough to sway UK broadcasters.
One British station, ITV, is clearly forging ahead with their own ITV Player instead of putting their content on aggregators. Hulu hasn't had anything to say on the matter as of yet, but we'd be interested to hear their side of things. In the meantime, at least our friends in the UK can enjoy Spotify, which has yet to land in the States.
A new study from ScanScout could be mighty troubling to advertising types. Apparently about 24% of all online video is being watched during the traditional television primetime hours of 8PM-11PM. You know, the time the networks assume we're watching so they can charge more for ads. It's really starting to look like online video is replacing a certain amount of live TV viewing.
The programmers have always seen their online offerings as a secondary option for people, not as a replacement for their broadcasts. This is evidenced by the approach networks are taking to Hulu and Netflix. But these numbers indicate viewers are perfectly happy to stream what they want if the network isn't giving it to them.
The study also clearly indicated that primetime isn't the only time people sit down to stream video. The other time when users streamed higher than average amounts of content was weekend days. It was 31% higher than during weekdays. It's clear that when people have time to watch a program, they are increasingly turning to online sources. Do you find online video is eating up time you might have spent watching TV in the past?
Maybe one day we'll look back and remember 3D in the homestead as just a passing fad, but in the here now, and short term future, be prepared to have 3D devices shoved down your throat. Toshiba will be among those force feeding 3D tech to households this summer when the company releases its "3D Regza" LCD TV line.
"Based on the concept of high-quality 3D images, we will release products that are different from other companies," Toshiba said.
Toshiba was referring to its "2D-3D" conversion technology. As is often the case, the hardware is preceding the content, so while you wait for more 3D programming to hit the airwaves, Toshiba's upcoming displays will be able to convert normal images into 3D.
Europe will be the first to receive these upcoming displays, though Japan looks to figure prominently in Toshiba's 3D plans. The company said it plans to increase the ratio of 3D TVs among its TVs larger than 46 inches in Japan to 20 percent by the end of the year.
A Swedish company called People of Lava came out ahead in the race to deliver the world's first fully interactive Internet TV in Europe. The "Scandinavia," as it's being called, boasts a Full-HD LED displays and runs on Google's Android platform.
"Think of it as a device that provides all the functionality that you would expect from an Android smartphone, combined with the quality and definition you demand of a high-end Full-HD LED TV set," says Christian Svantesson, co-founder and CEO of People of Lava.
The multifunctional TV set will include a variety of Android TV apps, including YouTube, Google Maps, Weather, Time, Calendar, and Internet Browser. Users will also be able to send and receive email, browse to social networking sites, and download additional apps from an upcoming app store
A 42-inch version of the Scandinavia will be available in September, with 47-inch and 55-inch models to follow.
3D TVs were all the rage at this year’s CES, and now you can buy your very own for about $3000. The content will be harder to come by though. A few providers like DirecTV have announced plans to start 3D broadcasts, but now Verizon is floating their own 3D plans. This is certainly big for the few people that have FiOS TV in their area and actually wants to get a 3D TV.
Verizon’s Shawn Strickland said the new 3D offerings should be available before the holiday season. Strickland seemed concerned about the level of current technology saying, ‘Our goal is to offer a product that has a fully automated HDMI format-switching capability that switches between 2D and 3D, not via ponderous access to the TV's setup menu.” Well, this would be nice, but can they do it? Having a smaller customer base could make them more nimble as this first generation of 3D technology inevitably grows and changes. Any FiOS customers out there? Is this good news, or are you just passing on 3D?
Samsung is pretty confident that this whole 3D craze is much more than just a temporary phase. So much so that the electronics maker is absolutely certain it will reach its goal of selling two million 3D LCD TVs around the world in 2010, and probably more, according to Samsung Taiwan president Smile Kim.
Kim says his company is planning to launch 46-inch and 55-inch 3D LED-backlit models in the Taiwan market next month for about $4,100 and $5,950, respectively. Both models will include two pairs of of 3D glasses and free 3D movies, though Kim didn't say how many.
Kim also talked up the overall specifications of Samsung's 3D LED TVs, including high contrast ratios, energy savings up to 50 percent, Internet access, and connectivity options to other electronics, such as handsets, notebooks, and more.
Those of you waiting for prices to come down will have to be patient. Kim added that Samsung typically drops prices of its products no more than twice, and that the company's LED-backlit TVs won't see much change in 2010.
Chrome is fast becoming ubiquitous with bling, and if that's the case, Sceptre's new line of 24-inch HD LCD TVs bring the bling like no other displays you've ever seen before.
Sceptre describes the new line as "chic" and "sleek," but no matter what you call it, the all-chrome bezel is sure to turn heads. That might have been Sceptre's intention all along.
"We design our television monitors to not only perform exceptionally, but to also look exceptional in any home," said Cathy Chou, vice president of operations, Sceptre. "When it comes to form and function, we, at Sceptre, like to push the industry envelope."
Behind the bezel sits a 24-inch 1080p full HD LCD display. Sceptre measures the response time at 2ms (G to G). Other specs include a 4000:1 dynamic contrast ratio (1000:1 static), dual HDMI and USB ports, 300 cd/M2 brightness, built-in speakers, and viewing angles measured at 170 L/R and 160 Up/Down.
In addition to chrome, Sceptre's also offering its new set in black, red, pink, and blue, all of which are available now for $400.
Philips has unveiled a new HDTV lineup at its annual Winter Media Event in Barcelona, Spain. The new 7000, 8000 and 9000 series LED HDTVs boast a smarter version of the company's Ambilight technology and can adjust hues based on the wall behind them.
The company plans to sell a 3D upgrade kit for TVs in the 8000 and 9000 series. The kit will contain a pair of active-shutter glasses and a wireless transmitter. A 3D upgrade pack for its unreleased Cinema 21:9 TV is also on the cards. The company now hopes to begin shipping the 21:9 TV during summer 2010. The prospect of 3D on a HDTV with a 21:9 aspect ratio is worth the wait.
The news broke today that troubled movie streaming service Vudu is being acquired by Wal-Mart for a rumored $100 million. Amid interest from Comcast, Amazon, and Best Buy it seems that America’s largest retailer just had the deepest pockets and the apatite to get into the streaming game. The deal is likely to be finalized in a matter of weeks.
Wal-Mart is the largest seller of DVDs, but has never had a platform for delivery of video over the internet. With the purchase of Vudu, they have a mature service with many content deals already in place. The interesting thing about Vudu is that they stopped making a stand-alone hardware box last year, instead focusing on getting their software embedded in various devices like TVs and Blu-Ray players. Guess who sells a lot of TVs. Yep, Wal-Mart.
It would be reasonable to expect Wal-Mart to aggressively push Vudu enabled TV’s and other devices now that they own it. We may also see manufacturers become more receptive to adding the Vudu service to their products now that a behemoth like Wal-mart is involved. Wal-mart effectively drives down prices wherever they go, could that also hold true in the video streaming space? Could we be looking at a cheap streaming future? Let us know what you think in the comments.