Archives For HDTV

vizio-internet-apps

Vizio was one of the first and perhaps largest manufacturer to take on the Yahoo Internet TV platform. And early iterations could be a bit painful. Fast forward a few years, never minding that brief flirtation with Google TV, and we find ourselves a visually rich, customizable, and robust “VIA+” experience based on Yahoo Connected TV 6.5 and bolstered by the Opera SDK for HTML 5 apps, like Netflix. Continue Reading…

tablo

The cord cutting options are heating up, with Tablo poised to ship in February. I spent some quality time at the Digital Experience with CEO Grant Hall going over their offering… that consists of both two- and four-tuner configurations to pull in luscious broadcast video via antenna, without going through a cable company. Like Simple TV, the headless Tablo box sits on your home network to stream live and DVR-ed content to various local and remote endpoints. However, unlike Simple, Tablo integrates dual band 802.11n wireless capabilities for more flexible placement – your network cable location may not always be the best position for an antenna.

Tablo will ship with 1GB of local storage, which is used for caching guide and meta data, including box art and the like. By keeping this content local, Continue Reading…

vizio-sounbars

Those following closely know the original Vizio 5.1 “soundbar” was one of the best tech purchases I made in 2013. Unlike traditional soundbars, in addition to being paired to a subwoofer, the Vizio also includes a pair of rear channel speakers (that connect to the subwoofer, which communicates wireless to the soundbar) to provide a true surround experience. Taking into account I’m no audiophile, I’ve been very pleased with the sound quality. Further, I appreciate the lack of clutter with this solution in conjunction with its understated style. Oh yeah – it also quite capably streams Bluetooth audio. Retail was somewhere in the neighborhood of $330, but I picked mine up for a mere $230. Of course, with any amazing value like this there must be some catch. Indeed, the Vizio shipped with a limited number of inputs. Enter 2014… Continue Reading…

ActiveVideo AmEx ad

TV service providers have had a monopoly on the consumer television experience for years, but the CE guys finally have a chance to get in on the game. From LG’s launch of WebOS TVs to the incorporation of the Roku platform in TCL and Hisense sets, CES is full of news about how the TV companies are banking on delivering better software to differentiate themselves.

As Dave alluded to, however, it’s hard to imagine that consumers are going to pay too much attention to software when they buy a TV. Worse, the messy ecosystem means it will take longer for any useful new applications and features to gain traction. How are content companies and developers going to deal with creating TV apps for a thousand different connected TVs, set-tops, and streaming sticks?

The one interesting solution out there right now is ActiveVideo’s CloudTV distribution platform. Continue Reading…

Roku TV Launching This Fall

Dave Zatz —  January 6, 2014 — 8 Comments

roku-smart-tv

Nearly two years after announcing their MHL Streaming Stick designed to make dumb TVs smart, Roku has now inked deals with Hisense and TCL to produce Roku TVs — in sizes ranging from 32″ to 55″ that are expected to ship this fall. It’s a great win for manufacturers looking to integrate a mature and continually updated platform. But, like LG, Roku and their partners will soon learn if a television operating system matters to shoppers the way it does in mobile as these guys collectively work to shorten the consumer television refresh cycle. Continue Reading…

Netgear Puts A RDK Set-Top On A HDMI Stick

tivo-opera-apps

With CES mere days away, it’s time to flex our predictive musculature. Mari’s gone broad with the TV trends, but I’m dialing it down to a single set-top manufacturer we know so well. Unlike years past where TiVo hid themselves at the end of an obscure, dusty hallway for invite-only meetings, TiVo’s invested in a real booth for 2014. Go big, or go home! And their prime Central Hall location will provide a much larger stage to tell the compelling Roamio story. Reinforcing TiVo’s more visible approach, beyond the booth, I’ve counted at least five events TiVo management will be speaking at. While I expect TiVo to make some noise around their analytics group and viewer behavior, a partner announcement or two isn’t out the question, and we’re still awaiting TiVo Roamio upgrade offers, I remain most interested in retail TiVo functionality. Continue Reading…