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Microsoft is getting into the TV set top box business

Posted in Microsoft by Conner Flynn on January 4th, 2011

The time is right for Microsoft to make a play for the set top box market. Apple is never at CES and Google is asking its partners at CES this year to hold back while Google takes its Google TV back to the drawing board. The timing seems perfect.

And according to the Seattle Times that is just what they are doing. Looks like Microsoft is going to enter this market with a stripped-down version of Windows suited for set-top boxes and connected TVs. The software is a version of its embedded device software, overlaid with the Windows Media Center interface, with media streaming and remote-control capabilities.

LG launching Mobile 3D TV at CES 2011

Posted in LG by Conner Flynn on December 28th, 2010

Yesterday we heard about the new 72 inch LED 3D TV from LG, and now we learn that LG also has some smaller 3D TVs planned. Much smaller. The company will be launching a mobile 3D TV.

The company will reveal this new 3D mobile TV at CES 2011. The device will be powered by an LG2161R MDTV chip with NRT (non Real Time) technology and be able to receive 3D TV signals when you are traveling at speeds of up to 200 km/h. So feel free to watch a lot of content in your fast car. Preferably while someone else is driving.

Freebox V6 Revolution offers Calling, TV and Gaming

Posted in Set Top Boxes by Conner Flynn on December 14th, 2010

Many set top boxes are boring, but that’s not the case here. Free, an ISP in France, has introduced the Freebox v6 Revolution, a set-top box designed by Philippe Starck. The device offers a 250GB hard drive and an internal 802.11n Wi-Fi module, Blu-ray drive, web browser, Intel’s Atom CE4100 media processor and also a motion-sensing remote.

So you will get live/streaming TV options, Internet, gaming and even at-home calling. What can’t it do? They also throw in a joystick and a pair of powerline adapters. The device is already available for pre-order and will cost you between EUR59.99 ($80) to EUR119.99 ($161). Not bad considering all it does.

Netflix licenses more TV for streaming from ABC/Disney

Posted in Netflix by Conner Flynn on December 8th, 2010

Netflix was rumored to be offering to pay $100,000 per episode for these shows. We don’t know if that was the price or not, but the company has reached a new deal with Disney-ABC Television Group that keeps episodes of shows like Lost on your streaming list and adds some new ones.

The delay time for adding new episodes is 15 days minimum so they will arrive soon. You can look forward to every single episode of Scrubs, Ugly Betty and Reaper due in 2011, plus expanded offerings from Disney Channel and ABC Family.

Microsoft planning TV service for Xbox Live subscribers?

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on December 3rd, 2010

Looks like Microsoft is planning to reward it’s most loyal customers. How? Word is that there may be a dedicated TV channel for Xbox Live users coming. The channel will offer brand new shows as well as old ones. It’s possible that Fox TV is involved so it might actually offer decent content.

The channel idea was apparently pitched by Peter Chernin, an ex News Corp. President. So far the subscription prices will rise by just $1 or $2. So, what do you think? Is this something you want?

Sony offers BRAVIA TV with built-in PS2 console

Posted in Sony by Conner Flynn on December 3rd, 2010

Sony isn’t finished with the PS2 yet. The company has released a TV that features a built-in PS2 console. The Sony BRAVIA KDL-22PX300 offers a 22-inch display and a disc slot at the base for PS2 games and DVDs.

The games will only run in standard definition, but the TV itself is capable of supporting 720p and offers four HDMI ports, three USB sockets, a SCART socket, PC input and support for component cable. There’s also built-in Freeview and two Ethernet ports for online access to sites like YouTube. It’s available now for GBP200 (or $312).

Best Buy throws in free PS3 with TVs

Posted in Best Buy by Conner Flynn on December 1st, 2010

Looks like now is a good time to buy a new TV if you also need a PS3. Best Buy has just announced some post-holiday deals that are valid until December 11. In the Sony PS3 bundle deals there are several discounts when a Sony TV is paired with a PS3, including a 46-inch LED-lit LCD with a 160GB PlayStation 3 for $1,300, which saves you $1,380. Not bad right?

A 3D-ready 46-inch LED TV with a PS3 will cost you $1,700, a savings of about $1,180. How about a 55-inch 3D-ready LED HDTV and the same PS3 for $2,200?

Toshiba Battery-powered TVs for South Asian Nations

Posted in Toshiba by Conner Flynn on November 30th, 2010

Toshiba has announced their latest Power TV series, targeted at Southern Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. These are available in 24-inch (PB1), 32-inch (PC1) or 40-inch (PS1) models.

The battery-powered TVs will still provide basic information needs during Typhoon seasons and during blackouts thanks to the batteries. They are priced between $190 and $400 and come with an LED panel and an internal battery, with enough juice for up to 2-hours.

[Techfresh]

Microsoft working on TV subscription service for Xbox, PCs

Posted in Xbox 360 by Conner Flynn on November 29th, 2010

Reuters has some information suggesting that Microsoft is getting ready to launch a video subscription service for the XBox 360. The details are scarce and nobody knows yet how this will work, but Microsoft has several options.

The first option is to become a virtual cable operator and charge for bundles of channels. This is a model that we all know well and one that networks are familiar with. They could also create one app per channel, similar to what Roku does. It will be interesting to see what happens with this one.

Panasonic TH-P103MT2 103 inch 3D Plasma TV

Posted in HDTV by Conner Flynn on November 17th, 2010

Back in 2008 Panasonic introduced the TH-103PZ800, a 103 inch full HD Plasma. Fast Forward to today and Panasonic has improved the technology and introduced the TH-P103MT2, which supports 3D playback. It lacks a TV tuner, but supports full HD resolution and comes with a new dynamic black layer, better gas discharge technology and improved luminous efficiency.

It features a contrast ratio of 5,000,000: 1, 24Hz image processing and even comes with a pair of 3D glasses. This mammoth TV weighs 320 kgs and consumes 1350 Watts of power which is the equivalent of 10 40 inch LED televisions.

TiVo Premiere is now free on $20 monthly contract

Posted in Tivo by Conner Flynn on November 15th, 2010

TiVo has started implementing plans to subsidize their DVR hardware with a monthly fee, so Premiere is now yours for free if you agree to a 2-year contract at $20 per month. Of course, you have the other option if you don’t want to be tied down that long. You can pay $99, if you are willing to make a year-long commitment.

The TiVo Premiere XL will cost you $299 with a one-year commitment if THX-certified recorded shows are what you want. Just pick your poison.

Universal remote pillow

Posted in Remotes by Conner Flynn on November 15th, 2010

This pillow will let you channel surf, but not rest your head at the same time. It’s a pillow. With a remote crammed inside. The folks at Brookstone have turned this dream into a reality. They say that this unit can be programmed to work with over 500 devices.

Even better, there’s a power-saving auto shutoff feature that can be overridden by your squeezing. It’s probably not very comfortable as a pillow, but for $29.95 it’s a fun remote. It will require 2 AAA batteries.

BBC One HD launches

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on November 3rd, 2010

Those living in the UK who love high definition will be happy to know that they now have the BBC One HD channel.

BBC One HD is actually a simulcast of BBC One scheduling. BBC HD will be bumping the BBC HD channel to Freesat channel 109, Freeview channel 54, Sky channel 169 and Virgin Media channel 187. You can check out BBC One HD on Sky channel 143, Freeview channel 50, Freesat channel 108, and Virgin Media channel 108.

Amazon expands Disc+ program

Posted in Amazon by Conner Flynn on November 2nd, 2010

Amazon has announced that its Disc+ program is growing, from about 300 titles last year to more than 10,000 DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Disc+ means that when you buy the disc, not only is the disc shipped to you, but you also get a free downloadable copy to watch right away. So, no waiting.

You can check out the site for a full list of available titles. Good news for those who love discs, but have no patience.

Redbox to start streaming in 2011

Posted in News by Conner Flynn on October 31st, 2010

Redbox, the company that has operated DVD rental kiosks at shopping centers across the US, has announced that the company will now be entering the movie streaming business in 2011. Redbox didn’t name a partner yet, but obviously they will need somebody to host and manage the streaming business.

The company doesn’t know yet if it would adopt a subscription plan like Netflix or an a la carte model like iTunes and Blockbuster. The company has been testing the waters for some time now. Back in April a survey from the company asked consumers what they thought of a $3.95 monthly plan that would include unlimited streaming in addition to four free DVD rentals. Right now, four DVD rentals would cost $4 by itself.