A report on Thursday suggested that 400,000 American homes cut the cord last quarter, ditching cable and satellite television services to get their home entertainment elsewhere. A number of people argued that the massive figure didn’t account for the 275,000 subscribers that switched to AT&T’s (T) U-Verse and Verizon’s (VZ) FiOS service. What Reuters’s figure also doesn’t account for, however, is the estimated 280,000-300,000 subscribers Charter (CHTR) and Cablevision (CVC) are expected to report having lost during the second quarter. More →
Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” painted a scary picture of the future in a number of ways. For privacy advocates, one of several nightmarish technologies used in the film allowed outdoor signs and billboards to play targeted interactive advertisements by scanning the eyeballs of passers-by in order to identify them. Such technology isn’t widely available yet, but Intel plans to take a big step toward a future chock-full of invasive ads when it launches a new TV advertising platform that makes use of facial recognition to target ads to viewers. More →
BGR has learned from a trusted source that Apple is planning to demonstrate a brand new version of the Apple TV operating system next week at WWDC. This new OS is said to be much more feature-complete than the current OS that runs on the Apple TV, and is apparently the one that Apple’s upcoming HDTV will run. Yes, that one.
Apple CEO Tim Cook opened up All Things Digital’s tenth annual conference on Tuesday evening and while no one expected any product announcements during his time on stage with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, all eyes were on Cook during one of his first public appearances as CEO. Highlights from the interview:
- Cook believes the system that governs standards-essential patents is broken, and he says that Apple’s ongoing patent disputes with rival vendors like Samsung and HTC are a “pain in the ass.” We’re sure Samsung, HTC and other vendors targeted by Apple would agree.
- While the company is considering killing off its social network flop “Ping,” integration with social services like Facebook will play a more important role in iOS moving forward.
- Tim Cook would like to see his company launch products that are made in America.
- Where Apple’s voice-controlled virtual assistant Siri is concerned, Cook made it clear that big things are coming in the next few months. “There’s more that it can do,” Cook said. “We have a lot of people working on this. You’ll be really pleased with the things you’ll see over the coming months. The breadth that you’re talking about… we’ve got some cool ideas about what Siri can do. We have a lot going on on this.”
- Cook wouldn’t comment specifically on the upcoming “iTV” Apple is widely rumored to be readying for launch, but he did say Apple will focus more on the television market moving forward. “This is an area of intense interest for us,” Cook said while speaking about Apple TV, noting that Apple has sold more than 2.7 million Apple TVs so far in 2012. “We’re going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us.” Some reports suggest Apple’s HDTV will launch in the fourth quarter this year.
- While he obviously didn’t get into specifics, the CEO mentioned that we can expect exciting new product launches from Apple in the near future. Apple’s annual WWDC convention kicks off next month and the rumor mill suggests we’ll see new MacBooks and iMacs unveiled with Retina Displays.
CBS, Fox and NBC have independently filed lawsuits against Dish Network, claiming its new automatic commercial-deleting service Auto Hop violates copyright laws; Fox even goes as far as to state that Auto Hop is “destroying the fundamental underpinnings of the broadcast television ecosystem.” Auto Hop is a feature launched recently for Dish Network’s Hopper DVR. When enabled, the free add-on allows users to automatically skip over commercials aired during prime time shows on each of the four major television broadcast networks — ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. Networks took issue with the feature immediately, of course, and now complaints have been filed by three of the four affected networks, BGR sister site Deadline reports. Dish has already filed its own complaint with a New York district court seeking a declaratory judgement that its new service is “in full compliance with copyright law and its re-broadcast agreements.” More →
According to a new report from Forrester Research, Microsoft is leading both Apple and Google in the TV and home entertainment sector, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. While Apple and Google may control mobile, Microsoft’s Xbox entertainment system tops both Apple TV and Google TV according to the report. With the Xbox, Forrester analyst James McQuivey believes Microsoft is the farthest along when it comes to delivering users content through their television sets. “Using those metrics, Microsoft is in the lead, offering everything that matters: a growing content library, a convenient engagement path for millions of existing Xbox 360 owners, and a growing ecosystem of partners and developers eager to exploit the platform for their own purposes,” McQuivey wrote in the report. Microsoft has continued to add more content apps — such as Comcast Xfinity, Verizon FiOS and HBO Go — to the Xbox, alongside thousands of games. The software giant has shipped more than 66 million Xboxes worldwide, and Forrester estimates that half of all Xboxes in the United States are connected to the Internet. More →
Sony and Panasonic are reportedly in talks to develop the technology needed to mass produce next-generation OLED televisions, according to Reuters. The two companies would be playing catch up to their South Korean rivals, Samsung and LG, both of which plan to market 55-inch OLED TVs later this year. “Overseas competitors have gotten a head start in this area and I feel like they’re stepping into this too late,” said Masayuki Otani, chief market analyst at Securities Japan. “There’s no question OLED TVs are going to be the mainstream. The issue is price and size of the displays.” OLED panel technology, which Sony pioneered in 2007, provides users with improved picture quality, deeper color saturation with high contrast, and allows vendors to make TVs as slim as 4 millimeters that consume less power than traditional LCD sets. There is a barrier, however: current OLED TVs are very expensive — Samsung’s upcoming 55-inch OLED TV will cost $9,000 when it launches in South Korea in the coming months. More →
Dish Network made no friends among the major television broadcasters last week, but it will likely pique the interest of tens of thousands of consumers in the coming weeks as news of its latest feature proliferates. Dubbed “Auto Hop,” Dish began rolling out a new commercial-skipping feature to owners of its multi-room digital video recorder, the Hopper. Currently compatible with recorded shows originally broadcast on ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX, Auto Hop skips commercials automatically when enabled, with no action required by the viewer. Groups of ads are replaced by a single black frame for separation, and then the Hopper will skip directly to the next segment of the program. More →
According to an LG executive, the South Korean firm plans to launch an Internet-enabled Google TV in the United States the week of May 21st, Reuters reported on Monday. The company is looking to gain a larger share of the emerging smart TV market and defend itself against Apple, which is widely expected to unveil an HDTV later this year or early next year. “Production of Google TVs will start from May 17 from our factory in Mexico and U.S. consumers will be able to buy the product from the week of May 21,” said Ro Seogho, LG’s executive vice president of its TV business. The executive said the company will decide whether to expand its Google TV offering to Europe and Asia based on sales performance in the U.S. market. More →
Apple’s upcoming high-definition television is real, and it will reportedly feature an aluminum construction, Siri, FaceTime video calling and more. An anonymous source speaking with Cult of Mac claims to have seen a prototype of Apple’s upcoming “iTV” in action, and a number of details have been reinforced as a result. “It resembled an Apple monitor, only much larger,” the unnamed source told the site, referring to the aluminum LED Cinema Displays Apple currently sells alongside its Mac computers. Cult of Mac, which has revealed accurate details surrounding unannounced Apple products in the past, also reports that the HDTV will feature Siri, Apple’s sophisticated voice recognition software, and an iSight camera for FaceTime video calling. Many expect Apple to launch its debut television later this year, though a recent report suggests that it may not hit the market until 2014. More →
Approximately 27 million U.S. households, more than one in five, have either an Internet-ready TV, game console, standalone Blu-ray player, and/or smart set-top box connected to their home network, according to ABI Research. Gaming consoles are the most popular devices, with a connection rate of over 80%, followed by Internet TVs (27%), standalone Blu-ray players (24%) and smart set-top boxes (13%). The research also indicated that a relatively large number of consumers have not connected some devices to their home network, most notably Internet-ready TVs. ABI predicts that the combined penetration rates of all of the devices will reach 60% by 2017. The firm notes that while not all of these devices will be connected to a network, there is room for growth, however, as only 48.5% of consumers with a home network currently have one of these devices connected to the Internet.
Samsung managed to top its pre-announced earnings when it reported results for the first calendar quarter of 2012 on Friday morning. The company reported a record operating profit of 5.85 trillion Korean won, up 98%, and a consolidated net profit of $5.05 trillion won, up 82% over the same quarter last year. Revenue came in at 45.27 trillion won, beating expectations. TV and semiconductor sales were down in the quarter, but any potential impact was offset by strong sales of high-margin display panels and mobile phones. Samsung’s mobile sales grew 86% over the year-ago quarter to 18.9 trillion won, and the company’s combined operating profit margin climbed 1.7 points to 12.9%. Samsung’s full press release follows below. More →
U.S. consumers are more interested in Samsung HDTV models than any other brand, according to a recent study from ABI Research. The South Korean manufacturer captured the top spot with 20% of respondents citing interest in a Samsung HDTV, passing Sony, which had previously held a commanding lead with 27% before dropping eight points to 19% in this latest poll. Consumer interest in LG’s HDTVs increased from 6% to 12%, while interest in Vizio jumped from 8% to 11%. “Regardless how long-lasting this shift in consumer interest may be, Sony continues to face a difficult challenge with its TV business, as do many TV manufacturers,” says senior analyst Michael Inouye. “Consumers continue to place screen size, display technology, and above all, price, as the most vital features for future TV purchases – all of which conspire to make differentiation in the TV market increasingly difficult.” The study also found that features like Internet connectivity and 3D have not yet produced the high demand TV manufacturers were counting on. Consumers cited 3D as the least important feature when buying a new television, with 42% of respondents claiming to have no interest in the technology whatsoever. ABI’s press release follows below. More →