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All posts tagged "tv"

Friday, September 14, 2012

It is Time to Stick with Android

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Specs? The UG802 is powered by a Rockchip RK3066 ARM Cortex-A9 dual core processor paired with 1 GB of RAM, 4 GB integrated storage, a microSD card slot for expansion an integrated HDMI connector."

I have been seeing lots of TVs coming out lately that act a lot like smartphones and tablets. Watching a show is no longer enough these days. You have to keep in touch with everyone on Twitter and Facebook, surf the web and look up that actor in that show who does that thing on IMDB. Sadly, a lot of us probably have TVs that do not have all these hip features. While buying a new TV is always a nice proposition, the recent wave of Android on a stick can turn your existing TV into an amazing App experience! The only caveat is that while the sticks are getting cheap in price, don't forget, you will also need a remote or keyboard to go with it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Live TV Functionality For Boxee Box Users

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:30 AM

"Initially announced back in November, this tool pipes coaxial signals through to a user's Boxee Box, allowing users to connect their antennas to a Box and stream select channels at no monthly fee. The system also features Facebook integration, allowing you to see what shows your friends are watching, with their profiles displayed under each show within the sidebar menu."

You should be able to find this new Boxee product in stores in the next few days. It will set you back $50 (US), but it does offer some impressive new functionality. Check out the Read link for a demo video.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Roku's Streaming Stick Boosts TV IQ into the Land of Smart

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

"Smart TVs are great and all - who doesn't want a dash of WiFi with their daily dose of reality television? - but the segment will face challenges in the market. For one, a $49 Roku LT is a much better value proposition than a $1,000+ smart TV. Secondly, the hardware moves at such a rapid pace that even with solid software updates, your smart TV will likely be outdated much sooner than you're ready to buy a new one."

There's nothing worse than a dumb TV right? Most TVs are pretty low-IQ in terms of what they can do - it's a recent development that we have TVs capable of running apps, streaming media, etc. The Roku looks like an interesting solution, but TechCrunch points out a key problem: it requires an HDMI port that supports the MHL standard, which only newer TVs do. For a product like this to be successful, it should work with the oldest, most basic HDMI port there is from years ago. Anything less than that and Roku might have a hard time selling many of these...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Which Is Best: LED, Plasma, or LCD?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 08:30 PM

"Want to know the best part, and the dirty little secret of the TV world? If you're buying a name-brand TV, its picture quality is going to be really, really good. You are seriously picking from good, gooder, and goodly goodest here. Compared with flat panel TVs from just a few years ago, new HDTVs are thinner, brighter, bigger, better-performing, and cheaper than ever before. So have at it. Your new TV is going to be awesome for years to come."

Geoffrey Morrison over at CNet has an interesting article comparing the three predominant television technologies. If you have any experience at all following this industry, you will know how complicated it can be to stay on top of "what is what" and "what is best". One of the key points Morrison states makes a lot of sense to me: what is best depends on what is important to you. His article compares the technologies on a number of criteria: light output, black level, contrast ratio, viewing angle, and energy consumption. This is definitely not an in-depth, detailed comparison, but it does hit some high points and is a pretty good introduction to the issues and subject matter. The bottom line: each technology offers some benefits that may or may not be important to you. If you are trying to decide on a new TV, check out this article.

Tags: hardware, tv, lcd, led, plasma

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What Will Happen With Cable And Television In 2012?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"But change is going to come, and amid news that Google is interested in entering the cable TV business and continued rumors that Apple will be releasing its own branded television set, we also have to wonder what's going to happen with streaming services like Hulu and Netflix. TalkPoint CEO Nick Balletta says that the real battle to hedge is with cable companies."

Molly McHugh over at the Digital Trends website has written a short piece about what we might see in 2012 with Internet streaming services, cable, and television. While streaming of content over the Internet and to your mobile or desktop device has been growing, cable and television are not sitting idly by. Changes in traditional content provision and consumption models have far-reaching implications and will play out over a multi-year period. So, in this slowly evolving industry, what movement might we see in 2012? One thing the article suggests is that connected TV's may hit their stride during the holiday shopping period next year. The Read link will take you to the Digital Trends site where you can read more.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Most Cable-Cutters Aren't Going Online for TV, They're Just Not Watching

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"New research suggests that people who have cut the cord aren't doing so because they think Netflix provides a good alternative to their local cable TV company. In fact, those that go broadband-only are only slightly more likely to watch online video than those with pay-TV subscriptions, according to the latest data from Leichtman Research Group."

Well here's a splash of cold reality: many tech blogs, including this one, thought that the people who were at the vanguard of the "cable cutting" movement were still watching TV, they were just shifting where they did it. It turns out, that's not the case: only a small minority of people who cancelled their cable have switched to online viewing. Most people have simply stopped watching TV altogether. That sounds like a more "normal" response to cancelling cable than jumping through the fairly painful hoops (for "regular" people at least) required to watch TV online. I have some fantasies about cutting cable myself, but haven't quite gotten around to figuring out if there are enough online sources for me to do so.

I watch The Daily Show with John Stewart every weekday morning for instance; if I leave iTunes running, does it automatically download the new episode? Or will I have to manually start the download? I get terrible iTunes download performance (well, terrible for a 100mbps Internet connection) so the thought of having to start the download then wait 30 minutes before watching it is frustrating.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Panasonic's Viera TX-P50GT30 Reviewed

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 01:00 PM

"We thought last year's Panasonic GT20 plasma TVs were good, but the P50GT30 knocks the spots of its predecessors. It ramps up the online functionality that's becoming such an essential item of 2011's TV feature counts, sports a drastically improved design, and best of all serves up the best 2D and 3D picture quality we've seen from a mid-range TV."

Panasonic makes some very, very good plasma TVs - I very nearly bought one a couple of years ago but ended up going for an LG model - and despite what some people might think, plasma TVs are still alive and kicking in this era of LCD TVs. The Panasonic Viera TX-P50GT30 appears to have a lot going for it, not the least of which is an attractive outer shell. The LG TV I bought? One of the reasons why is that it looked much nicer hanging on my wall. Nice to see that Panasonic has re-vamped their outer shell!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TV Has Gone Crazy...It's Going to be a Few Ugly Years

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 12:00 PM

"After more than a decade of false starts, web TV is here -- sort of. I'm talking about more than just streaming a sitcom on my laptop. We know the web has the power to make any media distribution system cheaper and more efficient. This is different. Thanks to streaming video services like Hulu and Netflix (NFLX) and new portable devices such as the iPad, we've begun to expect that TV should be more like the web itself: social, mobile, searchable, and instantly available."

This article definitely strikes a chord with me - and nicely summarizes the incredibly complex TV landscape, pointing out the reasons why we're unlikely to get what we really want any time soon: the ability to watch any TV show or movie on any device we have, anywhere we are. This is an ugly time for the TV/movie industry as they figure out how to offer consumers what we want, while still trying to preserve their fat profits...and you can guess why we haven't seen much in the way of good solutions so far.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sony's Google TV Event

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Events" @ 10:37 AM

The gang over at Engadget attended the Sony Google TV event, and Sony is the first TV OEM to integrate Google's TV platform right into the box. The prices range from $599 (26" TV) to $1399 (46" TV), which is definitely a price premium on the low end - in the 26" TV space, they tend to cost about $350 or so. Sony is betting that people will want to pay a premium for Google TV. They're also offering a $399 Blu-ray player that will have Google TV functionality - though it's unclear as to whether it has the "capture and re-broadcast" approach - I see two HDMI ports on the back of it, presumably HDMI IN/HDMI OUT, so perhaps.

Although this is a long, hard road to go down - asking people to replace their HDTVs to get the new technology is a slow process - ultimately I think it's better than the add-on box route in the long term. Short term, the geeks among us will probably embrace Logitech's Revue box, but long-term, I think direct integration into your TV is the way to go. Agree? Disagree? Sound off.

Tags: tv, sony, hdtv, google tv

Monday, October 4, 2010

Google TV Shaping Up to be the Real Deal?

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 AM

"If it works as smooth as it looks in this preview video, Google TV could provide the kind of seamless web-on-TV experience many have been looking for. Dedicated apps, a Chrome browser, easy picture and music viewing, and more are shown off. Google TV was announced in May, but the only evidence of how it could work was provided in a simple stage demonstration, and a cartoon-styled video. It seemed like a really web-savvy DVR, perhaps, or maybe a set-top box that had a little more Google juice."

I admit I was more than a little sceptical about Google TV when it was first announced - after all, this is the same company that had Gmail in beta for five years - and working with TV manufacturers is no small mountain to climb. I remain a little dubious about whether or not Google can accomplish this task, but they have the money and resources to potentially make in-roads where the likes of Microsoft have failed. This demo looks pretty slick, but there's a rather large chasm between a pretty software demo and real, working software on a TV that you can purchase at Best Buy made by a big name-brand OEM. This site is also worth a look.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Who Will You Invite Into Your Living Room?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Think about it: unlike so many other sectors of society, the living room is one in which traditional approaches to media still largely dominate. DVD sales still dwarf streaming and online video in both numbers and revenue, while the web has yet to make any serious inroads onto people’s TVs."

I remember when the PlayStation 2 first came out, Sony was touting it as a home entertainment center. Microsoft also made some comments to the same effect when their original XBox was released. Convergence was all the talk. As it turns out, neither really lived up to the hopes of their creators, but it looks as if the battle for the living room is still going strong, but instead of Sony and Microsoft duking it out, two other challengers have entered the ring. Each have their own advantages, though I would think that Sony and Microsoft have an edge, with their well established install base of game consoles. Apple also has some strengths owing to its iTunes empire and iSomething devices. Google seems to have the greatest challenge ahead of them as all they really have is their branding. Of couse, if one company manages to ink deals with a lot of cable companies (something that Microsoft seems to be trying to do, really hard) that may just seal the deal. All I know is that for many years to come, I will have to be satisfied with watching a blank TV screen, in HD, of course, since it will be decades before any of these neat devices comes to Canada.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Telus Bridges the Xbox 360 + PVR Gap...I'm Shocked!

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"After years (and years) of waiting it's no surprise to see the Xbox 360 finally sliding into the role of IPTV set-top box, but we couldn't have seen Canada's Telus being the first in North America to offer the option. It only switched customers over to the Microsoft Mediaroom platform (also used by AT&T's U-Verse, where the feature should appear soon) powering its Optik TV package earlier this year, enabling this new multiroom setup."

A quick history lesson on Telus: they used to be AGT (Alberta Government Telephone), the monopoly for phone service here in Alberta. Over the years they've privatized, changed their name, acquired many companies, moved into mobile and Internet (DSL) access, grown to cover much of Canada, and lately gone into the TV business. I've been a Telus customer off and on in my life, and have generally disliked the company - from a customer's point of view, they've seemed to be highly dysfunctional, with customer service being an afterthought. I was incredibly happy when I was finally able to get my wife's phone off Telus, thus severing my last and only connection with them. I currently have my home phone, Internet, and cable TV service with Shaw, the cable company out here, and both mobile phones with Rogers. Read more...

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Google Explain Google TV

Posted by Andy Dixon in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 03:00 AM

"Google's reveal of Google TV wasn't exactly flawless. After technical issues wreaked havoc with the live launch demonstration, many of us found it nearly impossible to focus just as soon as we heard mention of IR blaster control. Fear not, Google has returned with a two and half minute video that breaks it down like we were kindergartners. So grab your blanky and Mr. Tickle, the embedded video is available after the break."

If you're not sure what Google TV is all about or how it's planned to work, then this video should explain it all.

Tags: hardware, tv, google

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Google and Intel To Bring Android To Your TV

Posted by Jon Childs in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 PM

"Google, Intel, and Sony have apparently teamed up (and Logitech too) to develop an Android-based platform for interactive television... It's a space where techies dream, entrepreneurs try, and companies fail. The list of failed convergence companies is notably longer than the list of successes. It's a field where even Apple, the current king of the world when it comes to entertainment technology, can't get a reasonable foothold in the home."

Jeremy Toeman has some interesting things to say about the new Google initiative to bring Android to your TV. Given his experience he would seem to know what he is talking about. I agree with a lot of what he says. My Comcast DVR, while sometimes slow, is "good enough" to make spending hundreds of dollars to upgrade to a 3rd party box unappealing. Especially when considering the amount of trouble people have getting support for Cablecard from their providers. Also, I get a lot of the extras from using my son's Xbox360 to stream Netflix movies, show photos on the TV, play some music, etc. The key to this for Google seems to be getting the TV manufacturers to integrate it into the TVs. Sony seems to be onboard, but Panasonic and Samsung don't seem to interested. They claim that the Intel hardware to support Android would add to much cost to a TV set.

Monday, March 15, 2010

3-D TV Pricing from Panasonic and Samsung

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 05:00 AM

"Panasonic's suggested retail price is $2,900 for a 50-inch plasma set, one pair of glasses and a 3-D Blu-ray player. An extra pair of glasses costs $150. South Korean competitor Samsung Electronics Co. announced Tuesday that its 3-D sets would go on sale this week. For $3,000, buyers get a 46-inch set, two pairs of glasses, a 3-D Blu-ray player and a 3-D copy of "Monsters vs. Aliens.""

Meh, totally not interested. I really have no desire to watch stuff in 3-D. Any time I've watched something in 3-D it pretty much guarantees a migraine. Plus there is not a heck of a lot of content available yet, so even if you really want this, you might as well wait until later in the year when there is more compelling content AND you can pick the gear up at a bit lower than the bleeding edge price of admission.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tivo Premiere Brings On-Demand Content Into The Mix

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 11:07 PM

If you're a Tivo fan, there's some really great stuff that has been announced tonight. Engadget has the live event coverage - though it was kind of boring and short compared to the other stuff they tend to cover - and they have the details on the new Tivo Premiere along with some images and a brief hands-on. This looks pretty impressive actually - it blends YouTube, Amazon Video on Demand, Netflix, and other content. I can't get too excited about it though until a cable provider in Canada decides to pick it up...

Friday, October 9, 2009

FLO TV Devices from Qualcomm

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 12:00 AM

"Qualcomm this morning made official its attempt to produce its own hardware with the FLO TV Personal Television. The handheld revolves around the company's own FLO TV digital broadcast TV standard and depends on a subscription that provides multiple channels of both live and delayed content, such as Comedy Central, NBC and Nickelodeon."

One word: fail. I really don't see people flocking to buy a device that costs $250, but more importantly, requires a monthly minimum fee of $9 on a three year contract and doesn't do any local playback of content. What problem is this trying to solve exactly? Mark my words, this product is going to FLO away fast...

Tags: tv, qualcomm, flo tv

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Keeping up with the Jones'?

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:30 AM

"Thought you had it all set with a 14-inch TV and an NES in your room as a kid? Then you might want to look away for a minute, lest your childhood memories be diminished. Everyone else can take a good look at this 98-inch screen that Patti Deni had installed flush in the ceiling of her son's bedroom."

This woman has done a great disservice to parents everywhere. No all the kids are going to demand ceiling mounted TV's for Christmas this year. I must be getting old. I though my 9 inch black and white TV with pong was pretty cool. Although it is very nice installation, I still think a TV on the ceiling would be pretty uncomfortable to watch. OK, I'm just jealous.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Philips Agrees That Wider Is Better

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"Dubbed the Cinema 21:9, this TV's screen measures 56 inches diagonally with a native resolution of 2560x1080. An auto-formatting function can resize 16:9 material to fill the screen, or—thankfully—this function can be disabled to display everything in its native aspect ratio, sort of like an anamorphic lens being moved into and out of position on a front projector. "

I've always preferred widescreen to formats that have been modified to fit my television. Aside from the fact that most movies are filmed with an eye to widescreen, it provides a much more compelling experience. Yes, I even watched widescreen format movies on a 13" kitchen TV. Philips seems to be taking this to the extreme by releasing a TV that has an aspect ratio of 2.33:1, just kissing the widest ratio you will ever need. The rest of the specifications look typical with it capable of 1080p resolution and 56 inches of LCD goodness. But why, oh why would you want Ambilight? I've never understood manufacturers that are infatuated with extra lights on their products. I have a desktop computer case that has blue LEDs that rivals the Luxor Hotel spotlight! Especially for a TV where all I would want to see is the movie itself, not the poorly painted wall its mounted on. Does anyone buy into mood lighting?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Traditional Broadcast Media Still King

Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 AM

"Despite the growing popularity of online video options, average TV watchers still get most of their TV exposure from switching on the ol' boob tube and watching whatever's available at the moment. DVRs, web video, and even mobile devices are gaining in prominence, according to a new report by the Nielsen-funded Council for Research Excellence (CRE). Still, when it comes to sitting back, turning your brain off, and watching objects move on a screen, traditional TV viewing remains king."

No surprise here, but I think they are missing something. They seem focused on the quantitative rather than the qualitative. By their measures, we probably watch more broadcast TV than most, but for us, broadcast TV is kind of like the radio, it is background. For example, I put Sci-Fi channel on when I get home from work for Star Trek and Stargate episodes, while I do chores, cook dinner, etc. When I actually sit down to watch something without doing background tasks, it tends to be more on-demand media like DVD's, Netflix streaming, or Hulu.

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