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.

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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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Apple’s upcoming streaming TV service again tipped by CBS CEO

By on March 12, 2012 at 7:35 AM.

Apple’s upcoming streaming TV service again tipped by CBS CEO

Apple CEO Steve Jobs approached CBS approximately one year ago in an attempt to secure a content deal for a streaming television service that was in development at the time. CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves publicly spoke of the negotiations once before during an earnings call late last year, and now he is quoted again after having reportedly discussed the matter on stage during a presentation at the UCLA Entertainment Symposium. “I told Steve, ‘You know more than me about 99 percent of things but I know more about the television business,’ ” Moonves said according to Hollywood Reporter. Moonves said he denied Jobs access to CBS content for the service out of fear it might disrupt CBS’s existing revenue streams. Apple is reportedly still working on a unique streaming TV service that it intends to launch alongside an Apple-branded HDTV later this year. Some reports suggest the service may treat channels like apps, allowing users to subscribe to individual channels or groups of channels a la carte. More →

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Comcast will not offer Netflix to subscribers

By on March 9, 2012 at 8:45 PM.

Comcast will not offer Netflix to subscribers

On Tuesday, a report surfaced claiming Netflix was in talks with some of the largest cable companies in the U.S. to discuss integrating the company’s streaming product into cable services. The report stated that at least one cable provider was considering the launch of a trial run before the end of the year. Comcast, however, will not be that company, FierceCable reported. “We have no plans to offer access to Netflix to our customers through our Xfinity TV service, no matter what device,” Comcast spokeswoman Alana Davis said. The cable company recently launched “Streampix,” a subscription video service that competes with Netflix, allowing Xfinity subscribers to access TV series and movies from PCs and mobile devices. More →

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Netflix adds iTunes sign up and 1080p HD support to Apple TV

By on March 8, 2012 at 7:25 AM.

Netflix adds iTunes sign up and 1080p HD support to Apple TV

Netflix on Wednesday announced that users can now sign up for the service directly through Apple TV, and pay for it with their iTunes account. The company also announced that it will be offering 1080p HD streaming to Apple’s new set-top box. Apple unveiled its new Apple TV unit during the company’s press conference in San Francisco. Along with 1080p support, the new set-top box features a brand new user interface with support for Genius recommendations, Photo Stream and iTunes Match. Netflix’s new sign up and payment features will be available to customers in the United States, Canada, Latin America, the United Kingdom and Ireland. More →

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Netflix in talks with cable companies to bundle streaming service

By on March 7, 2012 at 8:00 PM.

Netflix in talks with cable companies to bundle streaming service

Netflix’s chief executive Reed Hastings has been meeting with some of the largest cable companies in the U.S. to discuss integrating the company’s streaming product into cable services, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The site’s source said that at least one cable provider may experiment and offer the streaming service before the end of the year. If a partnership were to come from these talks, cable operators could offer Netflix as an additional on-demand option that would be added onto a subscriber’s monthly cable bill. The cable industry originally viewed Netflix as a threat to its $100 billion-a-year business, fearing users would abandon more expensive packages in favor of cheap online streaming services. Having Netflix as an added option could be appealing to many cable companies in an effort to retain “cord cutting” customers. “It’s not in the short term, but it’s in the natural direction for us in the long term,” said Hastings during an investor conference last week. “Many [cable service providers] would like to have a competitor to HBO, and they would bid us off of HBO.” More →

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