Cook stirs the pot: Apple CEO on TV, Siri, upcoming products and more

By on May 30, 2012 at 7:45 AM.

Cook stirs the pot: Apple CEO on TV, Siri, upcoming products and more

Apple CEO Tim Cook Interview

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.
All Things Digital has posted a series of video clips highlighting various segments from the Cook interview that can be viewed on its site.
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Dish sued by networks over ad-skipping Auto Hop feature

By on May 25, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

Dish sued by networks over ad-skipping Auto Hop feature

Dish Auto Hop Lawsuit

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 →

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Microsoft leading Apple and Google in TV race

By on May 17, 2012 at 7:40 AM.

Microsoft leading Apple and Google in TV race

Microsoft XBox TV

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 →

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Sony and Panasonic in talks to make OLED TVs

By on May 16, 2012 at 7:30 AM.

Sony and Panasonic in talks to make OLED TVs

OLED TVs

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 →

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The Holy Grail of TV: Dish's automatic commercial skipping angers networks

By on May 15, 2012 at 10:00 AM.

The Holy Grail of TV: Dish's automatic commercial skipping angers networks

Dish Commercial Skipping

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 →

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LG to launch new Google TV this month

By on May 8, 2012 at 12:00 AM.

LG to launch new Google TV this month

LG to launch Google TV device in late May

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 →

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Apple 'iTV' details emerge from source claiming to have seen a prototype

By on May 7, 2012 at 11:35 AM.

Apple 'iTV' details emerge from source claiming to have seen a prototype

Apple iTV details emerge: Aluminum case, Siri, Facetime

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 →

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More than one in five U.S. households have a TV connected to the Internet

By on April 30, 2012 at 10:34 PM.

More than one in five U.S. households have a TV connected to the Internet

​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.

More →

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Samsung’s Q1 profit balloons 82% on strong smartphone sales

By on April 27, 2012 at 7:35 AM.

Samsung’s Q1 profit balloons 82% on strong smartphone sales

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 →

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Samsung HDTVs most popular among consumers

By on April 11, 2012 at 7:45 AM.

Samsung HDTVs most popular among consumers

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 →

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Over 1 million U.S. cable subscribers cut the cord in 2011

By on April 4, 2012 at 11:25 AM.

Over 1 million U.S. cable subscribers cut the cord in 2011

More than 1 million cable television subscribers in the United States canceled their service in 2011, opting instead for online films and TV shows available through services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Nearly 2.65 million cable or satellite TV subscribers have canceled their service since 2008 to rely solely on Web-based services according to estimates from the Convergence Consulting Group. “It’s pretty obvious that there’s actual cord-cutting going on in the U.S.,” Brahm Eiley, president of Convergence Consulting, said in an interview with Bloomberg. The firm warns that the pace of defections may slow this year, however, as content providers tighten online access to shows and increase prices. It is estimated that roughly 930,000 customers will cut the cord in 2012, for a total of 3.58 million subscribers since 2008. The group also estimates that traditional television providers will add 185,000 accounts this year, up from 112,000 in 2011. More →

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Apple may run into trouble with rumored ‘iTV’

By on April 2, 2012 at 5:00 PM.

Apple may run into trouble with rumored ‘iTV’

Anthony DiClemente, a media analyst for Barclays, said in a recent note to investors that he doesn’t believe Apple will be able to change the cable industry with its rumored “iTV,” AllThingsD reported on Monday. DiClemente thinks Apple could unveil an incredible piece of hardware, possibly one that looks like a “large-scale iPad,” that would tie together the Internet with the company’s existing suite of iOS apps and services. The analyst also speculates that the Cupertino-based company’s device could retail for $1,500 or more and incorporate its Siri voice assistant with a “groundbreaking interface” that is “so much more than a TV — including gaming, video communication, content delivery, apps, computing and all the capabilities of the current Apple TV.” DiClemente argues that TV programmers have no incentive to stray from their current bundles, however, which could be a big problem for Apple. Cable providers pay upwards of $30 billion each year for these bundles, and the analyst suggests there is too much money on the line for Apple to offer an innovative content model. DiClemente also notes that he doesn’t believe Apple’s HDTV will be release in 2012. More →

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Toshiba unveils its 13.3-inch Android tablet with integrated TV tuner [video]

By on March 21, 2012 at 8:00 PM.

Toshiba unveils its 13.3-inch Android tablet with integrated TV tuner [video]

Toshiba is in Germany this week at the company’s Toshiba World 2012 event, where it is showing off some of its latest smartphones and tablets. During the event, the vendor unveiled a new 13.3-inch Android tablet called the AT330, Techfokus reported on Wednesday. Along with a TV tuner and an antenna, the tablet is equipped with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 1.3-megapixel front facing, an HDMI port, a full SD card slow, a SIM card slot and Android 4.0.1 Ice Cream Sandwich. Unfortunately, the company has not disclosed any details regarding the device’s availability. Techfokus’s hands-on video can be viewed after the break. More →

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