For whatever reason, TV makers are apparently confuzzled about the general lack of interest among consumers in paying a premium for 3D television sets, only to unbox them and be disappointed by a lack of 3D content. And that's on top of the nuisance of wearing a pair of 3D glasses. Yet according to market research firm DisplaySearch, the 3D TV segment isn't growing as fast as TV makers expected. Gee, imagine that!
It's not all bad news on the manufacturing front, however. DisplaySearch also says 3D TVs are on pace to reach mainstream status by 2014, at which point the 3D TV market will grow from 3.2 million units shipped (2010) to over 90 million.
"While TV manufacturers have bold plans and a lot of new products, consumers remain cautious," said Paul Gray, Director of TV Electronics Research. "Consumers have been told that 3D TV is the future, but there still remains a huge price jump and little 3D content to watch."
North America remains a particularly tough market to crack, as those in the good ol' U.S. of A. are more than willing to wait for price drops.
"North American consumers in particular appear to be playing a waiting game," noted Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Research. "Set makers have trained consumers to expect rapid price falls for new technology, and consumers seem happy to wait a little."
This, DisplaySearch says, is the reason why 3D shipments in the U.S. won't even breach 1.6 million units this year.
While 3D-enabled displays struggle to gain a foothold in mainstream living rooms, Internet-connected televisions are barging through the front door. According to market research firm WitsView, TVs with integrated NICs will balloon to 40 million units in 2010, or roughly 20 percent of the global LCD TV market.
And that's just the beginning. By 2015, Internet-connected TVs will account for more than 65 percent of the market with 200 million units in the wild, WitsView predicts.
Both Apple TV and Google TV will help drive this explosive demand, as well as the increased attention being paid to streaming downloads.
We can probably all agree that letting kids sit in front of their PC playing videogames or watching TV all day long probably doesn't promote mental health, but how much time is too much? According to a new study, anything longer than two hours per day is psychologically damaging.
"Watching TV or playing computer games for more than two hours a day is related to greater psychological difficulties irrespective of how active children are," lead author Dr. Angie Page from the University of Bristol's Center for Exercise, Nutrition, and Health Sciences said.
To arrive at that conclusion, the PEACH project, as it's called, studied over 1,000 children aged between 10-11 years old.
If you live in the US, odds are you've used Hulu. You probably even think it's a cool service. But do you think it's worth $2 billion? That's apparently what Hulu thinks they're worth according to a report from Reuters. Sources say that Hulu is looking to raise $200-300 million in an IPO, which would value the entire company at about $2 billion.
The official filing should hit the SEC late in 2010, meaning the IPO will happen in the first half of 2011. Sure, these are some big numbers, but investors are still skittish. Hulu's entire business model relies on their network partners continued generosity. If they chose not to license content to Hulu, the site would quickly die. As it is, Hulu has to pay nearly half its ad revenue to content partners.
The recently launched subscription service is perhaps another way to pull in some cash, but it remains to be seen if Hulu can attract significant numbers of users. Still more, can they get the content deals to fill out the selection? What do you think Hulu's future holds?
At the Best Buy holiday preview event today, Sony was on hand to show off their upcoming Google TV equipped HDTV. The Sony NSX-46GT1 is a 46-inch set that uses LED edge lighting, and has Google TV baked right into the firmware. The Google TV interface was controlled in the demo with a wireless USB dongle plugged into a rear USB port. Users will be able to use a special Sony remote, or an iOS or Android device to interact with the TV.
Google TV aims to aggregate the video content available both online, and over cable into one place. A user could simply search for what they want, and have the options laid out for them. In addition to the video aggregation features, Google TV will allow users to browse the web with an imbedded Chrome browser (also controlled by remote).
We expect to also see the Google TV service built into some of DirecTV's boxes, and a Logitech standalone device is also on the way. Do you think Google TV will make more sense in your TV, or do you want a box you can move around?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) yesterday approved a set of new rules for using the unused broadcast spectrum between television, otherwise known as "white space."
"As compared to the airwaves we released for unlicensed use in 1985, this 'white spaces' spectrum is far more robust -- traveling longer distances and through walls, making the potential for unlicensed spectrum much greater," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.
"We know what the first major application will be: super Wi-Fi. Super Wi-Fi is what it sounds like: Wi-Fi, but with longer range, faster speeds, and more reliable connections. We can also expect, as we've seen now with Wi-Fi, enhanced performance from the mobile devices using licensed spectrum that we've come to rely on so heavily."
Microsoft applauded the FCC's decision, saying that their action will lead to greater broadband connectivity to consumers, while contributing to a new generation of wireless broadband technologies.
"With this vote, the commission is taking a forward-looking view of how to optimize spectrum allocation by capitalizing on evolving technologies," Craig Mundie, Microsoft's Chief Research and Strategy Officer, said in a blog post. "As a result, technology companies will be able to develop new applications that tap into the potential of white spaces networks.
Microsoft's own campus in Redmond already makes use of a prototype "White-Fi" systems, which Mundie says 'delivers more economical broadband Internet access employees traveling between buildings."
Wires are the bane of any neat freak's home theater setup, so it should come as good news that AuraSound went and developed the industry's first wireless 5.1 soundbar for TVs.
"We are very excited to introduce the wireless 5.1 soundbar which will immerse individuals in a rich audio experience from their home entertainment systems," Mr. Harald Weisshaupt, President and CEO stated. "The response from both our retail and OEM customers has been outstanding."
The wireless soundbar measures 42 inches and includes four 3-inch hand-built mid/bass transducers and two 3/4-inch aluminum dome neodymium tweeters. A pair of satellites and a wireless subwoofer round out the package. Equipped with a 6.5-inch long throw driver, the sub's frequency comes rated at 35Hz up to 80Hz, so it's not going to trade low blows with the likes of Outlaw, SVS, or Hsu subwoofers, but it's all about reducing clutter here, and AuraSound's subwoofer can be placed within 60 feet of the soundbar (with a clear line of sight). As for lag? AuroSound claims a latency equal to the speed of sound (1ms/ft).
Volume shipments have already begun, and from what AuroSound tells us, it's "selling like hotcakes at almost all the major U.S. retailers." MSRP for the 5.1 system is $429.
In an interview today, Intel's Paul Otellini said that the first Google TV devices should show up this month. Otellini did not specify if he was referring to the Logitech Revue or the Sony Bravia TVs, but Logitech is considered to be further along in the development process. Intel has been working closely with Google to bring Google TV to market.
The Intel head also discussed how he feels Google TV will stack up against the Apple TV (which contains no Intel chips). Otellini takes issue with the move to a streaming only device for the Apple TV. He said the Google TV solution will be better because of its unrestricted use of the "full internet". We assume that is a dig at Apple's aversion to Flash.
Still, he thinks both products can find a niche in the market. If Otellini is right, consumers will be able to decide later this month as both products become available. Are you looking at getting either one of these?
Any way you slice it, companies that are already in the online video business are looking to get deeper in. Reports indicate that Amazon is working to expand their video offerings to include TV and movies from the likes of NBC, Time Warner, and Viacom. The new service would likely be viewable on devices Amazon currently uses for video. Devices like the Roku, Xbox 360, and PC would all fall into this category.
Amazon currently charges $1.99 for many individual TV episodes. The new streaming service would probably be a subscription affair, or would offer cheaper prices. Amazon may provide free subscriptions to current Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 per year for unlimited 2-day shipping on purchases.
As usual, the viability of this strategy is reliant on content creators signing on. No word on that yet, but Amazon will want to hurry if the Apple rumors about $0.99 streaming rentals on iTunes are real.
Sources are reporting that Apple is in talks with several major networks to begin offering 99-cent TV show rentals on the iTunes platform. Talks with News Corp. are apparently barreling ahead, while deals with CBS and Disney are looking solid as well. This new arrangement could be part of Apple's announcement at the annual Fall iPod event expected to be held next month.
If successful, these deals would offer users of Apple's iTunes ecosystem to access a much larger catalog of content on a rental basis. The files are expected to be available for purchase within 24 hours of air date, and will be commercial free. Amid the rumors of a $99 Apple TV relaunch (maybe called iTV), this new pricing structure could be very tempting for many consumers.
With options like Netflix working hard to expand selection for a flat rate, do you think a rental system like this will succeed?