CES 2017: First 4K TVs Powered by Amazon Fire TV Announced

Subject: Displays | January 5, 2017 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: Westinghouse, Ultra HD, UHD, tv, television, seiki, FireTV, Element, CES 2017, CES, amazon, Alexa, 4k

In a market packed with UHD TVs, a trio of budget television manufacturers have introduced new Amazon Fire TV-powered 4K televisions at CES, with new models announced from Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element. These TVs are "the world’s first 4K Ultra HD Smart TVs with Amazon Fire TV built in", with remotes supporting Alexa voice commands.

Seiki_Element_4K_Ultra_HD_Smart_TV.jpg

Quoting the press release, the new models from Seiki, Westinghouse, and Element will all offer the following features:

  • Sizes: 43", 50", 55" and 65"
  • 4K Ultra HD 3,840 by 2,160 panel resolution on all models
  • The latest Amazon Fire TV user interface, including easy access to over-the-air TV programming (separate HD antenna required), simple TV input setup, and component switching
  • Through the included voice remote with Alexa, customers can search for content and programming, control TV inputs and settings, and access Alexa skills to play music, get the news, check weather, sports scores, and more
  • Voice remote with Alexa enabled control of smart home devices from multiple brands, including Belkin WeMo, Philips Hue, Wink, Insteon, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, TP-Link, Ecobee and more
  • Access to more than 7,000 channels, games, apps and Alexa skills, including over 300,000 TV episodes and movies from Amazon Video, HBO NOW, Hulu and more
  • Amazon Prime customers get unlimited access to Prime Video, featuring thousands of movies and TV episodes at no additional cost to their membership. Plus, with Amazon Channels, Prime members can now get HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, PBS KIDS, and over 100 more services. They only pay for the channels they want—no cable required, no additional apps to download, and easy online cancellation.
  • 3 GB memory and 16 GB internal storage
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Ethernet connectivity
  • Streaming resolution at 4K Ultra HD (2160p), 1080p, 720p up to 60 fps
  • One-year limited warranty and great customer support

Seiki_Fire_TV_Edition_Live.jpg

We have seen a similar idea with Roku TVs from Hisense, TCL, and others, as budget TV makers look to differentiate themselves; and the integration of the popular Amazon Fire TV for the OS may help position Seiki and company more favorably. Hopefully improvements in backlighting tech and UHD panel production cost reductions will result in a "trickle-down" effect for better picture quality for TVs selected on cost alone, but for now improved user interface design can go a long way in making these budget TVs pleasant to use.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: PR Newswire

Aereo TV Streaming Service Expanding to Midwest, (Several Counties In Illinois and Indiana)

Subject: General Tech | June 28, 2013 - 02:39 PM |
Tagged: video streaming, tv, midwest, media streaming, Lawsuit, Internet, aereo

Aereo, the popular streaming service that delivers broadcast television channels via the Internet, has announced its plans to expand into the Midwest US despite the numerous lawsuits facing its future from big broadcast companies trying to shut it down. Fortunately, Aereo is forging ahead and will be coming to several counties within Illinois and Indiana later this year.

Aereo Antenna Array.jpg

When it expands into this new region, it will pick up several local channels and make them (along with a bit of DVR space) available to subscribers over an internet connection to computers and mobile devices. Channels will include ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and FOX.

On September 13, Aereo will be available to residents of the following Illinois counties:

  • Cook
  • Dekalb
  • Grundy
  • Kane
  • Kankakee
  • Kendall
  • La Salle
  • Lake
  • McHenry
  • Will

Additionally, the service will be available to these counties in Indiana:

  • Jasper
  • La Porte
  • Lake
  • Newton
  • Porter

Conveniently (though mere coincidence), I recently moved from the middle of the state to one of the upcoming counties, and I’m looking forward to finally be able to test the service out.

Have you tried Aereo yet? Is it helping with your cord cutting endeavors or merely a supplement to an existing cable subscription?
 

Source: Aereo

... and Intel officially jumps into the TV or set top box business too

Subject: General Tech | February 13, 2013 - 12:40 PM |
Tagged: Intel, tv, intel media, imagination, PowerVR, intel tv

Ryan spotted prototype Intel TV hardware at CES in the Imagination suite and today Intel Media's Erik Huggers has confirmed that Intel will be producing some sort of set top box or TV for sale in the near future.  It will likely be in partnership with Imagination and their PowerVR technology and might possibly be tied to the new NUC that Intel released recently and which would fit the definition of set top box, plus keep your cat nice and warm.  While The Inquirer did get confirmation that Intel will release hardware to compete with Apple and Google before the end of the year but they would not specify exactly what that hardware would be.  They plan to set themselves apart from NetFlix and other content streamers by offering live TV streams which will probably not make them popular with established cable or satellite proveders but with Intel's deep pockets and the possiblity of personalized advertising they could well steal customers away.

inteltv1.jpg

"CHIPMAKER Intel has confirmed that it is working on hardware to stream live and on-demand content to televisions in 2013."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

CES 2013: Prototype Intel TV System Spotted at Imagination Suite

Subject: Systems | January 10, 2013 - 02:16 PM |
Tagged: CES, ces 2013, Intel, tv, intel media, imagination, PowerVR

While visiting with the folks at Imagination, responsible for the graphics system known as PowerVR found in many Apple and Samsung SoCs, we were shown a new, innovative way to watch TV.  This new system used an impressively quick graphic overlay, the ability to preview other channels before changing to them and even the ability to browse content on your phone and "toss" it to your TV. 

inteltv2.jpg

The software infrastructure is part of the iFeelSmart package but the PowerVR team was demonstrating the performance and use experiences that its low power graphics system could provide for future applications.  And guess what we saw was connected to the TV?

inteltv1.jpg

With all of the information filtering out on Intel's upcoming dive into the TV ecosystem, it shouldn't be a surprise that find hardware like this floating around.  We aren't sure what kind of hardware Intel would actually end up using for the set top box expected later this year, but it is possible we are looking at an early development configuration right here. 

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Podcast #233 - ThinkPad Twist, Intel's rumored TV service, Frame Latency testing and more!

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2013 - 02:10 PM |
Tagged: VOD, video capture, twist, tv, thunderbolt, thinkpad twist, Thinkpad, podcast, Lenovo, Intel, Frame Latency testing, ces 2013, CES

PC Perspective Podcast #233 - 01/03/2013

Join us this week as we talk about the ThinkPad Twist, Intel's rumored TV service, Frame Latency testing and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!

Program length: 1:12:43

Podcast topics of discussion:

  1. Week in Reviews:
    1. 0:03:35 Thermaltake Soprano VO9000 Case
    2. 0:05:40 Lenovo Thinkpad Twist Convertible Ultrabook
    3. 0:10:15 MSI Z77 MPower Motherboard
    4. 0:14:00 AMD FX-8350 Overclock with AMD LCS
  2. 0:22:12 This Podcast is brought to you by MSI!
  3. News items of interest:
    1. 0:23:45 Video: MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt (and new player)
    2. 0:25:45 Fiber optic Thunderbolt cables ready
    3. 0:30:00 Intel planning at TV service in 2013
    4. 0:42:00 Frame Rating: A New Graphics Performance Metric
    5. 0:53:00 CES Predictions!
  4. Closing:
    1. 1:03:00 Hardware / Software Pick of the Week
      1. Ryan: MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt
      2. Jeremy: Logitech 963290-0403 Extreme 3D Pro USB Joystick
      3. Josh: Who needs 16GB? Who cares!
      4. Allyn: Scosche GoBat II (5AH USB 2.1A battery)
  1. 1-888-38-PCPER or podcast@pcper.com
  2. http://pcper.com/podcast
  3. http://twitter.com/ryanshrout and http://twitter.com/pcper
  4. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

 

Details about a possible upcoming Intel TV service, Intel Media

Subject: General Tech | January 1, 2013 - 03:34 PM |
Tagged: tv, intel tv, intel media, Intel, google tv, CES, apple tv

How's this to set off your 2013 tech news?  According to multiple reports and this rather lengthy one from GigaOm, Intel has a new division called Intel Media that is planning on launching a TV service this year.  While it apparently will not be ready to show off at CES next week, "knowledgeable sources" make the GigaOm author quite confident that it will happen in the March time frame.

Running much like a stealth startup rather than the multi-billion dollar corporate entity that it is, a new division called Intel Media has been working on an Intel TV service that aims to beat Google and Apple to the goal of an on-demand, a-la-carte video.  Running under a separate board of directors headed by Intel CEO Paul Otellini and content lead Eric Free among others, Intel Media has lofty goals.

otellini.jpeg

Intel CEO Paul Otellini is pushing services on his way out

The base for this service will be an Intel produced and branded set top box that will be sold online and through retailers like Best Buy.  Maybe something like the Intel Next Unit of Computing we tested in December?  But Intel also plans to have access to the service on any screen including PCs, laptops, tablets and mobile devices. The GigaOm story didn't mention if this would run on iOS and Android devices but if the service is to stand a chance, it had better. 

Building hardware is easy; the real challenge is in convincing content creators and owners to license the video for an "access anywhere" mindset.  Even Apple hasn't been able to accomplish that and I would dare say they have more industry clout with media companies than Intel. 

That will likely include an ambitious licensing play to secure content across all of these devices. Intel’s set-top box will offer access to third-party apps, but also TV content licensed by Intel — something that has been one of the key challenges of the project. Reuters and the Wall Street Journal detailed earlier this year how the company wanted to secure the right to stream individual TV channels over the internet, and Forbes reported this weekend that it will offer consumers the ability to subscribe to individual channels, as opposed to a big and expensive cable bundle.

Intel's desire to develop this service area isn't unexpected as the company has been wanting to get away from being known only as a "chip manufacturer" and move to a "platform provider."  It's just hard to see what Intel will be able to do so much better than what Apple has done with the Apple TV or what Google did with the Google TV platforms.  Intel has no successful operating system and would either have to go with a Windows platform (expensive), Android (what would stop other people for duplicating it) or something custom (not a good track record). 

alacartetv.jpg

There are a lot more questions about what Intel Media is or could become than we have information to address.  But Intel is hoping that the executive team they have assembled will have those answers.  Personnel includes Erik Huggers who led the BBC iPlayer, Sean Ludick from Jawbone, Courtnee Westendorf who handled global marketing for Apple and several more.  Intel wants to be prepared for a world that cares less about the silicon that powers devices and more about the software and services on those devices.

The goal of getting individual channels of live television and on-demand content without the need for huge cable and satellite bills is the goal of a modern media consumption society but there are very large organizations that would like to prevent it from happening.  If Intel does in fact have the answer then I will be among the first to stand up and applaud (and pre-order).  If we are merely getting an Android powered version of the AppleTV with Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming video, I'll pass.

googletv.png

Google TV had a lot of lofty goals and promise as well...

There is a lot more information and speculation on this Intel Media directive on the source GigaOm article, and I encourage you all to check it out.  Personally I don't see how this could be successful without a dramatic shift from the other software moves that Intel has made in recent years.  Remember AppUp?  How about MeeGo?  Exactly my point.  It is understandable for a company as large as Intel to want to branch out and look for new growth opportunities but they have yet to prove they are capable of doing so successfully.  And many would implore Intel to stay focused on the technology...

Coverage of CES 2013 is brought to you by AMD!

PC Perspective's CES 2013 coverage is sponsored by AMD.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: GigaOm

LG Launches 84” 4K 3D Television

Subject: General Tech | August 23, 2012 - 04:00 PM |
Tagged: UHD, tv, LG, 4k, 3dtv

Ryan’s next PC gaming monitor? Perhaps not, but this 84-inch 4K UHDTV from LG is drool worthy nonetheless. The LG 84LM9600 is a promising advancement of TV technology.

Consumer electronics manufacturer LG has taken the wraps off of a new 4K television set to be available next month. The 84LM9600 is the company’s largest Ultra High Definition (UHD) television at 84.” It features a “4K” resolution of 3840x2160 pixels and displays eight million pixels each frame. The television also includes the company’s Smart TV and Cinema 3D technologies for both television apps and displaying 3D content. Further, it comes with an integrated 2.2 speaker system with two 10W speakers and two 15W sub-woofers.

Unfortunately, the press release is rather sparse with details beyond that. Namely, there is no mention of what underlying display technology they are using, what backlight, or what refresh rate it is using.

LG 84-inch 4K TV.jpg

This television is nowhere near the 8K resolution of the 145" Panasonic UHDTV shown off earlier this year, but it’s cheaper and likely weights a lot less (heh, when you live three floors up that’s an important spec). Not to mention that 4K content is few and far between–much less 8K content. Still, even 4K televisions are very much in “early adopter” territory, and as such has the price to go along with it. Coming in September to worldwide markets (including Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America), the 84-inch, 4K LG television has an MSRP of $22,105.

Speaking of high-end monitors, Ken recently reviewed the approximately $300 27" Achieva monitor with a resolution of 2560x1440. Now if only 4K monitors were that cheap!

Source: LG

DirecTV Prepping Ultra-HDTV

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2012 - 02:41 AM |
Tagged: tv, satellite, hdtv, direcTV

US Satellite TV provider DirecTV is upgrading its network and is preparing to deploy Ultra-HDTV services in the future. They are planning to offer both 4K and 8K direct to home streams of TV programming once their users have moved off of Ku band satellites and to Ka band, which the ITU World Radiocommunications Conference in Geneva has named the future carrier of U-HDTV streams.

According to the Advanced Television website, DirecTV is planning for a future transition to Ultra HDTV. Earlier this year, we covered a news article about a Panasonic plasma television that can display 8K images. It was developed in cooperation with Japanese TV broadcaster NHK, and it seems like North American providers are also looking towards these future standards.

DirecTV’s Senior Vice President of R&D and Space and Communications Philip Goswitz has stated that in four to five years, the service provider will likely end it’s Ku-band satellite transmissions as they are currently migrating DirecTV's customers to Ka-band services which has much more bandwidth (currently used for HDTV transmission) than Ku-band. In addition, the company is working on deploying Reverse Band Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) services.

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Unfortunately, Goswitz did not state any hard numbers on when DirecTV might make the transition to Ultra-HDTV. The company did state its desire to implement it as soon as possible to keep a competitive edge over cable and IPTV (like AT&T’s Uverse) services. Some numbers being thrown around online indicate that Ultra-HDTV might be available in North America as soon as 2020, though Japan may see UHDTV signals much sooner thanks to Japanese broadcaster NHK heavily developing compression, transmission, and capture devices relating to UHDTV. NHK has managed in the past to compress a UHDTV signal to a 250 Mb/s MPEG2 stream, which is a huge feat considering the uncompressed signal is around 24 Gb/s!

Philip Goswitz was further quoted in stating "4000-line is exciting to us because of its image quality, and the potential for glasses-free 3D."

Compression and bandwidth are going to be the deciding factors in whether DirecTV and other satellite TV providers are able to deliver UHDTV signals to users’ homes. While 8K video sources are scarce themselves, 4K cameras do exist and are being used to film certain movies. 4K adoption is definitely coming–although it is still a few years out at least–and the UHDTV standard is ready to support 4K streams. Over the air and IPTV are the likely candidates for early 4K and 8K transmissions, but DirecTV seems ready dive it as soon as the compression technology, source material, and user adoption is there.

Image courtesy Chris Waits via Flickr Creative Commons

Panasonic, NHK Show Off 145” 8K Plasma Television

Subject: General Tech | April 30, 2012 - 09:46 PM |
Tagged: UHD, tv, plasma, Panasonic, nhk, 8k, ultra hdtv

Over the weekend I saw a post over at Tom’s Hardware that made my jaw drop. Panasonic and Japanese TV broadcaster NHK have managed to create a 145” plasma with an 8K resolution(!). The massive television’s 7,680 x 4,320 pixel resolution conforms to the Ultra High Definition specification.

Panasonic-Intros-145-Inch-8K-Resolution-Plasma-Display-2.jpg

Other specifications of the TV include an RGB vertical stripe phosphor array, 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, and 60Hz refresh rate. Pixel pitch is .417mm horizontal and .417mm vertical. In a video demonstration by DigInfo (seen below), the companies reported that the TV uses a new method for updating the pixels that eliminates flickering. Such flicker would be caused by the TV updating the picture at 60Hz and having to update 4,320 vertical lines of pixels! Panasonic has developed a new way of driving the pixels that scans and updates multiple lines in each frame at a time.

Panasonic will be showing off the 8K plasma at the SID International Symposium from June 3 to June 8, and Institute of Technology from May 24 to May 27. Consumers have heavily invested in 1080p televisions and now 4K is starting to be common on the content side of things. This 8K resolution is a neat proof of concept but it will likely be quite a while before content creators move to recording in 8K and consumers get their hands on it. Even so, that doesn’t stop me from drooling over this TV (and dreading how much the video card that can drive such a display at native resolution will cost)!

Sony Shelves OLED Tech, Brings Crystal LED TV To Bear Against OLED Competition

Subject: General Tech, Displays | January 9, 2012 - 09:50 PM |
Tagged: CES, sony, led, crystal led, oled, tv

While I read a few weeks ago that Sony would not be showing off any OLED TVs at CES, I was a bit saddened. The company was the first to bring a real OLED television one step above vaporware, even if it was only 11" and prohibitively expensive it was advancing the technology. Well, CES is here and Sony did not bring any OLED television to demo, much less bring to market this year. Fortunately, LG and Samsung have the OLED TVs covered. The question of how Sony plans to compete with the OLED competition seems to be in improved LED TV technology.

crystala5iue3u2io432ohjd.jpg

Speaking of LED TV technology, while Sony did not bring an OLED TV to CES, they did bring a new LED TV that they claim is much improved over current LED back-lit televisions. They are calling this technology "Crystal LED," and it is powering a 55" prototype television at this years CES. The 55" television uses very small RGB (red, green, and blue) LEDs to create the picture. This is an important distinction as current "LED TVs" are really just LCD televisions with LEDs as the back-light; where the LEDs shine light through the LCD pixels to create the picture. This Sony prototype is an actual LED TV, not just a branding misnomer as the LED lights are what creates the picture and not just a light source.

According to Engadget, Sony claims their true LED TV is greatly improved over LED-back-lit LCDs and offers 3.5 times the contrast, a 1.5 times wider color gamut, and is 10 times faster than LCDs. Although these are Sony's numbers and should be taken with a grain of salt (until independent reviewers can verify), they at least seem reasonable and plausible. The contrast improvement and true blacks should be readily possible thanks to the panel tech being self emitting. If done right, it should come close to the contrast offered by OLEDs which share the self-emitting property. The ability to be 10 times faster than LCDs may be the most questionable number, but still not an outrageous claim.

Stay tuned for more information as we get it! Do you think Sony's Crystal LED prototype has a chance against OLED?

PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Engadget