NFC has been a solution looking for a problem for some time, but products using NFC to solve real world issues are finally beginning to appear. Todd speaks with Brad from LG about how NFC is helping get video off smartphones and onto TVs.
Most people wanting to show video from their smartphone on their TV would automatically reach for a cable and then probably spend the next 10 minutes hunting around for the adaptor to plug the TV’s HDMI cable into the phone’s much smaller socket. NFC eliminates all this by wirelessly providing the information needed to stream the video to the TV using Miracast and all the person has to do is place his or her smartphone on the NFC tag. It’s not limited to sending video to the TV from the smartphone as the reverse is also possible: they can view what’s on the smart TV on their smartphone. Watch the video to see it in action – it’s very cool.
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IOGear makes some pretty cool hardware, some of which I use in my own home. Most recently the company made a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada to show off one of its newest offerings — the Wireless 5×2 HD Matrix.
The name may be a bit cryptic, so an explanation is required here. Perhaps you have heard rumors of wireless HDMI? Well, it is here now and this device has five ports and a receiver to prove it — that is four inputs and one output. There is full switching capability and it has a claimed range of one hundred feet. Plug in all of your devices and then place the receiver with a TV in another room and control everything wirelessly, even when two TV’s are displaying content from different devices. For instance, one can be using the Blu-Ray player while another plays DVR content. No more need for two boxes.
A two TV setup will run you $399 and the device will be available at the end of March. But honestly, you need to watch the demo posted below to really appreciate this technology.
A couple of years ago I had the good fortune to review a Netgear NeoTV set top box. I liked it. The interface was a bit stark and simple, but everything worked very well. However, these days we want more from our set top boxes and Netgear needed to move on into the new generation, which meant either doing a lot of R&D to come up with its own new UI or adopt a different platform.
The company chose the latter option, deciding to go Google TV. At this weeks Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas it unveiled the Netgear NeoTV Prime. Unlike many products seen at CES, this one not only WILL come to market, it HAS come to market. It is available for sale as I write this, retailing for $129.
“Building on the features of NETGEAR NeoTV, NeoTV PRO and NeoTV MAX family of streaming players, the new NeoTV PRIME with Google TV extends your entertainment experience beyond just streaming video or even basic TV viewing. NeoTV PRIME opens up the world of apps from Google Play, delivering access to a growing library of entertainment including movies, TV shows, and music from streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, HBO Go, Crackle, Flixter, Rhapsody, Pandora and many more. Google Play gives you movies and new releases in HD, music albums, and apps designed specifically for the TV.”
While it is priced just bit higher than some competitors like Vizio, Netgear has a history of producing solid hardware, so there is no reason to think this box will be anything less. Google TV is moving into the mainstream in a big way, both with set top boxes and built into smart TV’s.
Amazon today announced a new partnership to bring even more content to its Prime video service. Prime is, of course, more than just video — it is also free second-day shipping on all orders (which often arrive next day) and a lending library for Kindle customers, allowing for one free book per month.
Now, in the face of growing competition from rivals, the retail giant has snagged a deal with TV network A&E, which will bring “popular series from A&E, bio, HISTORY and Lifetime to the Prime Instant Video service.”
Amazon announces these deals fairly regularly, but there are a couple of reasons why this particular one is a bit more important. First of all, it is a slap in the face of rival Netflix, who previously had, and lost, this deal. Second, there is a looming problem on the horizon and it is, potentially, a big one.
Redbox, the company who brought us those irresistible kiosks, has teamed with Verizon and plans to launch a competitor in early 2013. I have been among the early beta testers for the service and, I must admit, it is compelling.
So, is this enough to keep Amazon ahead of the market? Certainly Netflix still seems to be the dominant player, but Amazon is moving steadily up and now Redbox is coming. Competition, of course, is good for all of us.
ARCHOS has come up with another innovative device that you won’t want to miss! It will make your TV viewing experience into something much more interactive. It’s called ARCHOS TV Connect. It turns any HDTV into an Android powered smart TV that provides the full Android ecosystem. There is a specially designed TV Touch remote for you to use.
Instead of sitting in front of your TV, and perhaps clicking the buttons on your regular remote, you use the TV Touch remote. Suddenly, you are able to control your TV like you would a tablet. You can tap, swipe, zoom in or zoom out, select something or type. It even has a full keyboard with Android shortcuts, (including a key for voice controls and voice typing).
You can choose from over 700,000 apps and games on Google Play, and play them on your TV. The TV Connect has dual analog thumb sticks and a gaming mapping tool.
Use TV Connect to call a group of friends or family and have a video chat with them through your big screen TV. ARCHOS TV Connect has an HD webcam for high quality video calling. An LED light will notify you of an incoming call while you are watching TV. It is compatible with Skype or Google Talk.
TV Connect includes the ARCHOS Media Center applications. It will read your favorite video files with format and codec support including H.264 decoding in full 1080p HD. You can stream media content over your home network through WiFi or Ethernet. The TV Connect features HDMI (cable included), full USB host and micro SD slot.
The ARCHOS TV connect runs Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”. It will be available beginning in February of 2013, and will cost $129.99. You can experience the ARCHOS TV Connect first hand at CES 2013. ARCHOS will be showing off its new line up of tablets, including the Game Pad and more. The ARCHOS booth is in the Central Hall (15322) of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
PlayOn has been around for several years now, but for most people it has remained on the edge. However, the app has managed to become more prominent and insinuate itself into more places. It can work with almost any DLNA-capable device and also works with other popular hardware like Roku and Google TV. Since DirecTV’s HR line of DVR’s are DLNA-capable I decided to give it a shot.
There are a few things you need to take care of before getting started. First and foremost, you need to make sure your DVR is connected to your home network — mine is hardwired thanks to an ethernet jack I installed behind the media cabinet and network switch that feeds, not only the DVR, but the HTPC, Netgear NeoTV and Blue-Ray player.
Now you will need to install the PlayOn server on a computer on your home network. The free version contains home media access, Pandora, YouTube and HBO Go (subject to your subscription). The paid service contains about 60 additional channels and costs $19.99 per year.
Enable the “My Media” feature and then point it to the folders where your media — pictures, video and music — is stored. It may take a bit of time to catalog everything.
Now, on your DirecTV DVR click the “Menu” button, browse to “Extras”, click “Music & Pictures” and you will find a list of the available channels and files from your PlayOn server.
Under many of the stations you will find sub-headings, including subsidiary channels like NBC Sports under NBC. While it work great with a DirecTV DVR, it really is more for those who are looking to cut the cord and PlayOn with a Google TV box may just be the way to go.
DirecTV subscribers are often frustrated by the lack of benefits to current customers, while the service continues to advertise great deals, like free NFL Sunday Ticket, to new subscribers. Well, right now the satellite company is throwing a bone to current users by offering their brand new Genie HD DVR for free.
The Genie is the latest upgrade to the receiver / DVR and it offers a long list of benefits that make it a much better device than the current HR 23 and HR 24 hardware. Those older receivers featured two tuners, meaning you could either record two shows at a time or record one while watching another. They also featured a fairly sizable 500 GB hard drive, which provided plenty of storage for most people.
If, however, you find yourself, as my family has, receiving messages that you need to cancel a recording because you have more than two things set, or because you are watching something while two other shows are scheduled, or running out of space during an big event like the summer Olympics, then you may want the Genie. The new DVR offers an incredible 5 tuners and 1 TB of storage. In addition, all of the previous version’s features are also included.
So why not upgrade? Well, there is one stumbling block that may turn off some customers. You will need to agree to a brand new two year contract just like the one you got way back when you first signed up for the service.
If you don’t mind the extra two year agreement, or simply can’t live anymore without more tuners or more space, then this is a no-brainer. If you aren’t worried about these things, or planning to cut the cord, then you should probably skip this deal.
As the last analogue TV signals are turned off tonight in the UK to make way for 4G and digital TV, thousands of TVs, videos and hard-disk recorders will become obsolete literally overnight. While an external decoder may prolong their life, the sheer inconvenience of multiple settings and synchronised recordings will consign many of these perfectly functional devices to the rubbish bin recycling centre. Reflecting, I suspect that this is probably the first time that enforced obsolescence has impacted on me personally.
Undoubtedly, I’ve had other gadgets that have become obsolete but they became out-of-date because I chose to make them so, usually by purchasing a newer devices. If I plugged in and turned on my first laptop, a Tandy 1400LT that ran MsDOS 3.2, I guarantee you that it would still work, albeit with somewhat crude CGA graphics accompanied by whirring floppy drives. The 1400LT became obsolete when I bought an 386SX desktop, but it still worked as designed.
But when I wake up tomorrow, my Casio TV-470 pocket TV and my Pioneer 530H hard disk recorder will be of almost no use as the analogue TV signals these devices need will no longer be broadcast. I find this enforced obsolescence somewhat disturbing as faceless government officials simply made a decision and that was that. Game over for the unfortunate gadgets.
To be fair, the analogue TV signal has had a good run for its money. The PAL system started in 1967 so it’s lasted over 40 years and my TV-470′s been around for about half of that (1991). I hope it’s happy in TV heaven.
Ever since the motion picture first burst onto the silver screen, people have wanted to enhance the cinematic experience. From 3D and IMAX to Smell-O-vision, just about every trick in the book has been used to make you feel part of the film, rather than an outside observer. To this fine canon of techniques, UK retailer Tesco and on-line movie service blinkbox are adding….food.
For their “Movie & Meal Deal“, Tesco and blinkbox commissioned top neuroscientist, Dr. Jack Lewis, to study the effects of active ingredients on people’s brains and then suggest food types that complement the movie-watching experience. His findings gave Tesco and blinkbox the perfect, if somewhat unusual, combinations for the ultimate movie night in.
Dr. Lewis reckons these foods match the movie genres.
Action – Sun-dried tomatoes coated in cocoa powder will raise noradrenaline which is instrumental to sensations of excitement
Comedy – Fresh fish stuffed with beetroot and coleslaw to supplement the nitric oxide system and improve dopamine availability in the pleasure pathways of your brain
Drama – Chopped lemon, lime and mint sandwich drizzled with chilli sauce on wholewheat bread to trigger the RAS (reticular activating system) to remain alert and focused.
Horror – Chicken marinated in freshly brewed coffee will take you out of your comfort zone and raise levels of anxiety
Romance – Curl up with a spicy curry (not chocolate!)to top up your libido-stoking testosteronelevels
“Everyone knows that certain drugs can change the way you feel, but the chemicals we take into our bodies through our diet can also have an effect on our mood,” says Dr. Jack Lewis “Choosing to eat certain foods, whilst leaving others out, regulates the availability of ‘raw materials’ that the brain’s chemical messengers are created from. This means that you can tailor your meals to create the perfect mood for a movie night in, no matter what the genre.”
The “Move & Meal Deal” is a partnership between Tesco and blinkbox: buy a variety of food and drinks from Tesco and then rent a blinkbox new release movie for just £2 instead of the usual price of £3.49.
When you think of Android on a TV then you probably think of Google TV, the line of set top boxes that run a dedicated version of Android that is made specifically for the living room. However, MIPS Technologies, Inc. has announced a new dongle that will bring native Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) to every TV that has an HDMI port, which is pretty much any TV made in the past five years.
The iPPea TV is thumb drive-like device that plugs into an HDMI port and brings the full Android apps catalog to the living room. This means video and audio streaming, social apps, and games, among other things. For this functionality, the maker has set the MSRP at $50.
“The tiny iPPea TV is a fully-functioning Android super micro PC that connects to the cloud, accesses a broad range of websites and apps, and delivers a high-quality entertainment experience,” said iPPea CEO Amanda Senkowski. “We are delighted to be using the MIPS-Based Ingenic processor, which provides all of the advantages of an industry-standard architecture, including a broad ecosystem of supporting tools and software. And because of its inherent power efficiency, the device can be fully powered by a standard USB port — such as those available on most DTVs. Also, unlike many competitive PC offerings, no heat sink is necessary in the iPPea TV device.”
MIPS-Based(TM) XBurst(TM) CPU running at 1.2 GHz
2GB storage with support for up to 32GB external storage via a microSD slot
support for 1080p HD video and most popular audio/video formats, and other advanced functionality.
In addition, they are making several useful accessories available at reasonable prices. There is a wireless gyro mouse, USB LAN Adapter and HDMI extension cable for prices ranging from $8 to $22. You can find out, as well as place a pre-order, by visiting iPPea.