Archives For HDTV

smarttv

On the way to a Boxee-fied television, it appears View Sonic has come to the same conclusion I have regarding Internet-connected displays. From GigaOm:

‘Smart TV’ has not achieved the consumer acceptance or market expectation… that was forecasted over the last couple years. In addition, consumer spending for Smart TV’s in general has experienced a significant slow down as the economy has slowed.

Just because industry is pumping Smart TV doesn’t mean we’re buying. At least not in the numbers the manufacturers may have hoped for. Granted, View Sonic is a minor player in this space… But we’ve been down this path before as manufacturers attempt to shorten the consumer television refresh cycle. And this mirrors the tepid response we witnessed to 3D TVs in 2010. That’s not to say folks aren’t interested in three dimensional content or Internet apps. But they’re less likely to invest in a high end product (sooner) to get those features. In fact, while I’d say we’re just getting started harnessing web content on the television, millions of Apple TVs and Rokus have been sold – as well as presumably even more Internet-connected Blu-ray players. Further, several cable and satellite providers (or their proxies, like TiVo) are bringing over-the-top video (like YouTube) and social Internet features (such as Twitter & Facebook) to the big screen. So why would I buy a new TV? Especially one that has a tendency to reboot.

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It’s been nearly four weeks since the TiVo-powered Best Buy Insignia HDTV launched. Yet all we’ve heard is crickets. How bad is it? To my knowledge, not a single owner has stepped forward on the TiVo Community. Being a Best Buy house brand, I assume they’re the ones responsible for marketing. And we just haven’t seen much yet, beyond an occasional end cap display. Unfortunately, the one I checked out today wasn’t connected to a network so I was unable to get a sense of the UI and apps… but sought out some assistance. One Best Buy employee told me to try connecting to the wireless Barnes & Noble network next door (which obviously didn’t work) and another later said, “Have you seen the Google TV? It’s basically the same thing.” Look – we realize the product is new, but if Best Buy intends to do something more with the Insignia brand beyond undercutting the competition on price, they’re going to need to train their staff and put some serious marketing muscle behind this initiative. Selling a non-DVR TiVo is a difficult enough challenge.

Right on the heels of HP announcing the death of WebOS and the TouchPad, there’s new evidence today that Apple will be coming out with its third-generation iPad in early 2012. Better yet, the rumors that this will be an “iPad HD” appear to be true. According to The Wall Street Journal (via MacRumors) the new iPad is “expected to feature a high resolution display – 2048 by 1536 compared with 1024 by 768 in the iPad 2.”

An HD iPad brings with it a number of interesting implications. Apple mobile device users love their video, and high-def content ups the ante for both content and broadband providers. For the content folks, there’s likely to be increased anxiety around content security, and fears of greater piracy. For the ISPs, this is one more way subscribers can bog down their networks. That’s good for getting users to sign on for higher-tier Internet packages, and it’s a potential way to push the metered billing agenda. But it’s bad for operators who are already facing a bandwidth crunch, and need to open up their wallets for further network upgrades.

Sony PS3 Lands NFL Streaming

Dave Zatz —  August 18, 2011 — 10 Comments

Will you look at that. Not only is DirecTV taking NFL over-the-top for DirecTV subscribers and non-subscribers alike (as they did last year), they’re expanding their reach beyond mobile devices like the the iPad and will stream live football direct to the Sony PS3 in 2011. This is a massive deal given the NFL’s status in the US as not only the premiere sports league but also as one of the most lucrative entertainment properties of any stripe. And this marks the first time the NFL will all be available to a television-based device over the Internet. Minus those in market games, of course.

Engadget reports non-DirecTV subscribers will be able to order the streaming-only version of Sunday Ticket for $350 as of September 1st. As I said last year, “it doesn’t come cheap. But they don’t call it Super Fan for nothing.” Then again, I’m sure I spend more than that at my local wing joint in any given season. Bonus? The PS3 price drop – now only $250. Is it too early to declare Sony’s more-than-gaming platform as box of the year? Although there’s still time for additional lean back partners to be announced…

HBO GO offers arguably the best value in online streaming. For the cost of a HBO subscription, via your cable or satellite provider, you receive bundled online access to a solid stable of relatively new movies plus every episode of every HBO series. While watching Game of Thrones on my (wife’s) iPad or Eastbound & Down on my iPhone (at the gym) has worked out reasonably well, what many of us have been pining for is the “lean back” experience — HBO GO on the television. My attempts to get the web experience going on Google TV failed (thanks to Comcast), yet a full on HBO GO TV app experience is nearly upon us.

Tech of the Hub has been following these developments closely and it seems we missed news back in May indicating HBO GO is headed to “a variety of TVs, game consoles and streaming devices.” Better yet, Tech of the Hub has learned that Internet-connected Samsung HDTVs and Blu-ray players will receive an HBO GO app “soon” – perhaps within the next week or so. But, having abandoned both Blu-ray decks and smart TVs (for now), I’m hopeful some other entrants in the streaming space (Roku, TiVo, Apple TV) might also have good news for us in the near future.

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While Best Buy’s new pair of Insignia TVs featuring “TiVo Design” started trickling into stores last week, as you can see above, the retailer is just now officially announcing their first foray into the “connected” television space. And in discussing this new initiative with Best Buy, they clearly acknowledged something of a marketing challenge… given TiVo’s association with the DVR. This is an Insignia television first, featuring TiVo’s high definition interface. But it’s no DVR. Already, even TechCrunch got it horribly wrong:

a $499 32-incher with DVR built-in isn’t too bad and if you’re hard up for cash you can save a little money by sticking getting a TV and DVR in one.

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Speaking of pricing, I’m happy to say the rumors were wrong. The 32″ set runs $500 and the 42″ clocks in at $700. Which is much more reasonable for a Best Buy house brand like Insignia and allows them to compete with the likes of Vizio. Although, I suspect their intended market exceeds budget offerings. And it surely seems as they’ve invested a lot into this new platform. Continue Reading…

By any measure, Google TV has been a failure. In fact, I’d say they’re not even in the game. And no company has paid the price more than Logitech with their bad bet on Google’s initial foray into the living room. Just how bad has it been? More Logitech Revue hardware was returned in the second quarter than was actually purchased. Ouch. I’m sure both Google and Logitech shoulder their fair share of blame – neither did an effective job explaining the unique benefits of this product or platform. But the software experience failings themselves are on Google. At $250 or $300, as originally priced, there are very few people I could (or did) recommend the Revue too.

However, as of today, the Logitech Revue is now merely a hundred bucks. And its capabilities and shortcomings look much different at this price point… First off, in my experience, Google TV offers the very best television-based web browsing experience. Neverminding for a moment those blocked sites. Next, while the Google TV platform has remained relatively stagnant and most “apps” are actually just reformatted webpages, you’ve got access to core services similar to what’s found find competing platforms in this range - like the new Roku 2. In fact, I’d say Netflix, Amazon VOD, Pandora, and YouTube make the Revue fairly well rounded. Pulling it all together is the full-on wireless QWERTY keyboard… which ran $99 until last week. So now you get Logitech’s complete Google TV experience for the price of the keyboard.

Of course, it’s not entirely clear how committed Logitech will remain to this product or Google TV in general given the massive hemorrhaging. But if they deliver the marketplace-powered Android Honeycomb Google TV update this summer, as promised, it’s a whole new ballgame.