In a effort to cut costs and improve its financial situation, Sony is eliminating two divisions at its main electronics unit, promoting three executives and keeping a close eye on its money-losing television unit, Bloomberg’s Businessweek reported on Tuesday. The Japanese company will shut down its consumer products and services group, which handled consumer-level electronics, and the professional device and solutions group, which handled business oriented products and components. Executive Deputy President Hiroshi Yoshioka, who oversaw the professional device and solutions group, will head the company’s newly created medical business unit. Sony spokeswoman Satsuki Shinnaka said all changes will be effective April 1st and are aimed at speeding up management decisions. On the same date, the company will welcome its new president and CEO Kazuo Hirai. Hiari is largely credited with making Sony’s PlayStation game business profitable and will be looking to do the same with the company’s Bravia television unit, which is expected to post its fourth straight annual loss. More →
Apple hasn’t even announced the HDTV that has been rumored for months, but it is already the most talked-about television in the world. While the constant chatter is certainly building hype surrounding Apple’s first foray into the space, it also reportedly has the Cupertino-based technology giant in a bit of hot water. British television network ITV has apparently sent a strongly worded letter to Apple advising the company not to use the “iTV” moniker for its upcoming HDTV, The Telegraph reports. Apple first unveiled its Apple TV product under the iTV name, however it was later changed in order to skirt a potential lawsuit. Apple is reportedly preparing to launch its first television this summer featuring iOS as well as Apple’s voice-powered Siri technology. A number of sources have referred to the set as “iTV,” though it is unclear if Apple intends to launch the device with that name.
Prototypes of Apple’s upcoming HDTV are already being tested by multiple potential carrier partners Apple is trying to woo, The Globe and Mail reports. The Canadian paper calls the iTV “a product that has the potential to revolutionize TV viewing by turning conventional televisions into gigantic iPads,” and claims at least two Canadian carriers are currently testing the Apple television in their labs. Apple’s forthcoming iTV can be controlled using voice commands or by making gestures in the air, and it supports Web browsing as well according to the report. Apple is said to be in talks with Canadian carriers Rogers and BCE regarding potential broadcast partnerships in Canada, though the content and terms Apple is seeking are unclear. Apple is expected to launch an iOS-powered HDTV later this year that will replace the conventional remote control with voice commands interpreted by Siri. The iTV may also offer a customized channel subscription model and iOS app support according to earlier rumors. More →
Apple will launch its own HDTV called the “iTV,” analyst Peter Misek of Jefferies & Company said on Monday. We’ve written dozens of reports on Apple’s alleged upcoming HDTV, and most speculate that the device will run a version of iOS along with the company’s Siri voice engine that will remove the need for a traditional remote control. Misek also said that Apple is in talks to partner with carriers such as Verizon Wireless and AT&T for access to exclusive and non-exclusive content, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Best Buy recently leaked possible details on the iTV and the retailer’s survey suggested the device will have a 42-inch display and a $1,499 price tag. The TV could launch near the middle of this year, although a recent report suggested that the television’s launch might be pushed back due to limited display availability. More →
Google recently confirmed that YouTube now receives more than 4 billion video views per day. Reuters reported the news Monday morning and noted that the site has seen a 25% increase in videos viewed per day since May. Google, which owns YouTube, also confirmed that there are more than 60 hours of fresh video uploaded each minute, up from the 48 hours of video added per minute in May. Advertisements on videos generate roughly $5 billion in revenue each year, Reuters said, but just 3 billion videos feature ads each week. The growth in viewership was attributed to users accessing the service from smartphones and televisions. More →
The United States Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday published Apple’s patent application related to its Siri digital assistant service. We’ve already heard rumors that Apple is planning to launch a new television set that completely reinvents how we interact with TV by using Siri to replace the remote, but now it appears that the company has much more expansive plans for the technology. Read on for more. More →
Toshiba had a ton of products on display this year at the annual Consumer Electronics Show. The booth was chocked full of stunning new technology and we were blown away by several of the 3D products on display. Toshiba had its new line of Qosmio laptops with glasses-free 3D screens, glasses-free 3D TVs that were more impressive than the models we saw last year, and its Thrive and Excite X10 tablets were on display as well. We even had a chance to play a 3D game on a huge HDTV that was hooked up to a Qosmio laptop, which was a ton of fun. Check out all the highlights from Toshiba’s booth in our gallery below.
Apple recently filed for a patent called “Dynamic Backlight Adaptation for Black Bars with Subtitles” that may be used to provide improved picture quality in its rumored HDTV. Apple explained in the patent application that the black bars above and below video on widescreen televisions can make it tough for a television panel to display blacks properly. “These non-picture portions complicate the analysis of the brightness of the video images, and therefore can create problems when determining the trade-off between the brightness of the video signals and the intensity setting of the light source,” Apple said in the patent. “Moreover, these non-picture portions can also produce visual artifacts, which can degrade the overall user experience.” Apple’s solution would be to dynamically change the backlighting. Read on for more. More →
9% of consumers in the United States have already cut cable TV service from their monthly utility bills, the latest State of the Media Democracy survey from Deloitte indicates. The company also found that 11% of U.S. consumers are considering cutting cable TV. Younger generations are more likely to get rid of cable TV, too. Deloitte found that 19% of those aged 23-28 are thinking about canceling cable while 13% of Generation Xers and 7% of baby boomers said they are considering doing the same. “For the first time, less than half of all viewers say they have viewed their favorite shows live on their home TV,” Phil Asmundson, Deloitte’s U.S. Media & Telecommunications Sector Leader said. “In 2011, the number was only 49%. In 2008, it was 71%. That’s striking.” Read on for more. More →
Samsung may soon begin selling its televisions in Japan after taking a several year hiatus. Samsung is reportedly talking to Yamada Denki Co and Yodobashi Camera Co., two retailers in the country, Reuters said Monday. Samsung originally left the market citing an increase in competition from other television makers and a drop in profits. The South Korean firm is expected to unveil several new models during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. LG, one of the Samsung’s largest competitors, took the wraps off of a gorgeous nearly borderless 55-inch OLED television on Monday. More →
Sharp is reportedly working to supply Apple with 32-inch and 37-inch LCD panels for its Siri-equipped HDTV. Manufacturers could begin building the new televisions as soon as the first quarter, DigiTimes said on Tuesday, and a public launch could occur in the second or third quarter next year. Samsung reportedly began building chips for the “iTV’ devices in November, too. The Wall Street Journal said earlier this month that Apple was already beginning to pitch the voice-controlled TV to top media executives and an article in The New York Times recently said that Apple will “absolutely” launch a TV with Siri-powered voice controls that will replace the remote. Tuesday’s report is in line with an earlier report from an analyst that also said Sharp will provide the displays and that a mid-2012 launch is possible. More →
Until recently, iTunes users were able to purchase episodes of television shows a-la-carte or buy a whole season outright. The problem was, however, a user still had to pay full price for a television season even if he or she already owned a few individual episodes. Apple has reportedly fixed that problem by adding a “Complete my season” button that functions just like the “Complete my album” button in the iTunes Music Store. That means, for example, if you’ve purchased nine episodes of Family Guy and want to own the entire first season, you can buy it at a discounted rate that takes your previous purchases into consideration. The feature should be live now, according to MacRumors. More →
Apple has reportedly met with top media executives to discuss the company’s vision of the television market’s future, suggesting that the company is moving full steam ahead on its rumored Siri-powered HDTV. The television is expected to include similar technology to the company’s current Apple TV set top box, which allows users to stream content such as movies, music and photos over a wireless network. Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has reportedly been in the aforementioned meetings and has pitched the idea of a television that could be controlled by voice or motion, seemingly similar to Microsoft’s Kinect technology, and Cue has discussed “new ways Apple’s technology could recognize users across phones, tablets and TVs,” The Wall Street Journal said Monday. Steve Jobs was said to have been working on a prototype for several years before his passing in 2011. It remains unclear when such a product might hit the market, although early rumors have suggested it will use a display provided by Sharp and will launch in mid-2012. More →