Month: May 2012

Comcast Partners with Skype

May 21, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
In a joint announcement last week, Comcast and Skype unveiled plans to provide video chat service to Xfinity customers. By adding an adapter box to their set-top box and a "high-quality" video camera, subscribers will be able to send or receive instant messages or video calls to any Skype user worldwide, including smart phones, tablets, and personal computers, as well as other Comcast subscribers who are equipped for Skype calls. The...

Continue Reading

Alone Together: Is Split Screen TV a Good Idea?

May 18, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Conventional wisdom has it that television remains a group activity. We are rapidly being assimilated by our personal mobile devices, and I often see two people together who are both busy texting or Facebooking or whatever on their smartphones. Then I read a blog entry by some DisplaySearch analysts that describe a new "smart dual view" technology from Samsung. All this does is take a standard stereoscopic 3DTV, and set...

Continue Reading

Turn a Projector into 3D with SmartCrystal Pro

May 17, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
My good friend, colleague, and sometimes co-author M. David Stone alerted me to a product that he recently reviewed for PC Magazine: the SmartCrystal Pro from Volfoni. This is a device that can turn any 3D-capable front projector into one that uses passive glasses for $1,500 (street price). Inexpensive 3D projectors require you to use bulky shutter glasses, but the SmartCrystal Pro lets you wear the same inexpensive passive glasses that you...

Continue Reading

Cable Loses; Telco Wins; SatTV Draws

May 16, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
The Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) recently reported on the pay television service subscriber counts for 2011. The numbers have not really changed much compared with 2010. The big losers continue to be the cable companies; the top 10 U.S. cable services lost more than 1.6 million subscribers in 2011. The telco services (Verizon's FiOS and AT&T's U-verse) picked up the lion's share of the gains, splitting 1.5 million new video...

Continue Reading

Mobile DTV Stuck in the Mud?

May 15, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
I've gone on the record with my pessimism about Mobile DTV, and recent events have done nothing to change my view of the situation. TV Technology recently published an article about a discussion of Mobile TV at the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) in Washington that confirms my suspicions. Jay Adrick is Vice President for Broadcast Technology at Harris Broadcast, and he was involved in the development of the standard. According...

Continue Reading

Olympic Online Coverage Will Include Every Event

May 14, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
NBC will cover all 302 of the Summer Olympic medal events this summer and you can watch them all online. Well, you probably can. The coverage is only available to those viewers who already have a subscription to a cable, satellite, or telco service that includes CNBC and MSNBC. But if you have a subscription, you'll be able to watch on your computer as well as many smartphones and tablets....

Continue Reading

DVD and Blu-Ray: Exit Slowly, Stage Left

May 11, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
There was a time when DVDs enjoyed the fastest new technology adoption of all time. The transition from the clumsy, snowy VHS tapes to the sleek little polycarbonate discs was driven by the fact that the digital image looked terrific even on standard definition picture tube televisions. And they look even better on flat panel HDTVs; many people still think that they're watching high-definition content when they watch a DVD...

Continue Reading

What Is a “Direct LED” TV?

May 10, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
If you haven't noticed, there's a new term creeping into the television industry lexicon: Direct LED TVs. And as is so often the case, the new term has created all sorts of new confusion. Here's a quick overview of what this means. First and foremost, this does not refer to a TV where the image is made directly by LEDs (unlike the Sony CrystalLED technology demonstration at CES 2012). It...

Continue Reading

Media Center, We Hardly Knew Ye!

May 9, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Microsoft initially added the Media Center feature to Windows XP. It let you watch broadcast television on your computer, as well as play DVDs, your digitized music collection, and a lot more. It was there in versions of Windows Vista and 7, but according to news reports, it will be MIA in Windows 8. Apparently, you'll be able to get it as an extra-cost option for some versions of the...

Continue Reading

The Return of Google TV!

May 8, 2012 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
According to a Reuters report, LG is going to start shipping televisions based on the Google TV platform before the end of May. Manufacturing of the sets is slated to begin May 17 in Mexico. This is Round 2 for Google TV which drew a lot of interest before it put on the brakes and asked partners not to show products with it at CES 2011. This next version has...

Continue Reading