#test #test

There was a recent article on CNET that outlined some of the challenges facing the smart tv app marketplace and that consumer demand is still a work in progress. The point is that in 2012 a lot of consumers still viewed TV purchases from the point of what display specs the televisions have. The connectivity and “smart” aspect of the various TV models was just an afterthought if that. As suggested in the article, things like voice controlled TV and gesture controlled TV will go a long way to getting smart tv apps more mainstream. Ease of use is an important element and moving forward those should be key elements for television manufacturers to consider. Also regarding smart tv apps, there should be less fragmentation and more universal apps created. Brand specific apps will be more of a hindrance for the entire smart tv market. The use of Android in smart tv boxes will move thing forward in a more positive way.

lg-smart-tv-reviewLG and its smart tv platform is bolstering it’s line-up with a recent agreement with Disney for 3D movie rentals. This means movies from studios such as Disney Pixar, Walt Disney Pictures, Marvel and Touchstone Pictures are available now to rent in 3D. More details can be found here.

Google TV is expanding its support with Asus now set to launch a smart tv box named Qube. It’s an interesting set top box and definitely worth a consideration if you’re in the market for smart tv and Google tv.

  • shaped like a cube
  • hdmi out
  • hdmi in
  • 2 usb ports
  • rj-45
  • ir-out
  • hardware includes Marvell Armada 1500 processor, 1GB RAM and 4GB flash storage
  • $150

Remote controls wise, on the reverse side it has a QWERTY keyboard, voice command button, netflix button, and motion sensor.

asus-qube-smart-tv-box

 

CES 2013 has seen plenty of gaming products. Cloud based gaming is gaining momentum and that opens the door to more functionality out of smart tv boxes. In this instance, the company Agawi and Marvell are working together.

Read the full Press Release for all the details:

Tablet Cloud Gaming Leader Agawi Collaborates With Marvell for Next Generation Cloud Gaming on Android-Powered Smart TVs

With the integration of Agawi’s CloudPlayTM and Marvell’s awarding-winning ARMADA® 1500 HD Media SoC Platform, PC games can now be streamed directly to big screen TVs

Menlo Park, Calif.-January 9, 2013-Today at the 2013 International CES, Agawi and Marvell are teaming up to demonstrate console-quality games streamed to Marvell’s award-winning ARMADA® 1500-based Android smart device. Agawi’s revolutionary CloudPlayTM gaming platform enables OEMs, network operators, game publishers and retailers to deliver their own cloud gaming services to their customers. Marvell’s ARMADA 1500 platform provides state-of-the-art video performance and can be built into any smart TV device. It is also a premiere hardware platform powering the latest Google TV devices from leading OEMs like Vizio, Sony, LG U+ and others.

Now anyone can play console-quality PC games on Android-powered connected TV devices. All devices containing the Marvell ARMADA 1500 chipset-and all OEMs that choose to implement it-have the power to run Agawi’s CloudPlay platform, from smart TVs to connected Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and HDMI dongles.

With the mission of making great games widely accessible on any device, Agawi has teamed up with Marvell for a high quality gaming experience on smart TV products. This extends Agawi’s established leadership position in cloud gaming on tablets.

“By making Agawi CloudPlay accessible via Marvell’s hardware platform, we’re opening up a world of opportunities for gaming on connected smart devices,” said Rajat Gupta, Agawi’s co-founder. “This is an elegant cloud gaming solution that any TV device manufacturer or operator can integrate into their products and services-now it’s even possible to offer Agawi’s instant game streaming as a preloaded application on smart TVs and the like.”

Marvell’s powerful HD media system-on-chip platform offers quick application launching, award-winning video performance and high-resolution graphics-all within the Android TV itself and at affordable costs, without the burden of an expensive gaming console.

“Marvell is very proud to support Agawi’s innovative CloudPlay platform for Android smart TVs. Marvell aims to provide the ultimate in performance, affordability and power efficiency in cloud-based multimedia content delivery,” said Winston Chen,vice president of the Smart Home Business Unit at Marvell Semiconductor, Inc. “Above and beyond traditional gaming services, the ability to deliver an immersive, console-gaming experience on an Android-based platform and on the largest screen in the house is key to allowing our ecosystem partners to rapidly roll out turnkey cloud gaming solutions. Our collaboration with Agawi is testimony to the very talented and committed engineers on our staff and demonstrates yet another way in which Marvell delivers one of the best smart TV experiences in today’s connected lifestyle.”

Unlike other cloud gaming platforms, Agawi CloudPlay is a flexible, white-label B2B solution that can be deployed on an open cloud environment, eliminating the need to build proprietary data centers. It is also the only cloud gaming platform that has been deployed massively on iPads and other mobile devices. Now with the addition of this smart TV capability, Agawi’s vision of “any game, any where, instantly” is becoming a reality.”

Redbox Instant is coming to the major smart tv platforms with a new app. For the most part this will be featuring movies and not so much with TV series. The video is at 720p and audio is stereo. Redbox will be upgrading the quality aspects of Redbox Instant so stay tuned for that. It’s essentially in Beta mode, but certainly worth checking out. They have a promo right now for 1 month free. Available in the USA only.

[see more at Redbox.com]

redbox-instant-smart-tv-app

Since we’ve been following the advancements of smart tv, it’s really exciting to see all the new products and advancements coming out of CES 2013. Heck, we have a lot of new smart tv boxes, televisions and devices to discuss. The price point of getting into smart tv has dropped significantly with regards to set top boxes that give you smart tv functionality. It does appear that being connected via your tv is going to be the norm moving forward. TV needs to evolve beyond just new resolutions and screens and this year at CES it’s clear that the manufacturers “get it”.

sony-smart-tv-reviewsStarting August, the Sony Internet Player powered by Google TV will be available for $199. Sony Blu-Ray players will be priced at $329 and will be Google TV enabled. Look for the logo! Check out here for details.

We wonder the future of gaming consoles and how the next generation might look. Afterall the Xbox 360 and PS3 have been around for a long time and are approaching their due date as it were. We hear from TheVerge.com that Microsoft is testing Internet Explorer 9 on the Xbox 360. This is interesting because it’s a full fledged browser for your console. So in other word I would consider the Xbox 360 to be a great smart tv box option should you be shopping. Before getting too excited we need to see what this is all going to look like. Yes, the Xbox Kinect will be part of the experience and you will be able to use hand gestures in some way. It will also incorporate voice. This is going to be a big step forward for the gaming console market. There will be more details coming at E3 in June 2012.

[read more details on TheVerge.com]

Can we now say it’s not a matter of if but a matter of when? The home television experience is pretty much the last frontier that Apple has yet to stake a claim in. It just makes a lot of sense.

This week we are seeing some mock up photos of what “might” be a Apple smart tv model. Apparently someone has seen a prototype. This source claims that is has a built in iSight camera for FaceTime video calls and comes with Siri voice activated commands. Both those features are no brainers when you think about it. The camera is thought to be a smart camera in that it can zoom to a face even though you may be sitting in an area that is not directly in front of the camera or television.

It’s interesting to hear about but who knows really. Apple is hush hush so don’t expect any great official word until they actually send out invitation to an unveiling event. I do wonder about Holidays 2012. Too soon? Perhaps not.

[see more details and mock-up photos of the Apple smart tv from CNET]

Another good sign of the growing competition in the smart tv market. LG is set (no pun intended) to launch a Google TV enabled television in the May 21st week of 2012. This is official word from a senior LG executive. The details are a little sparse but we will add more details as they are released. This LG smart tv model will be in production in Mexico starting on May 17 and there are no extra details regarding screen sizes or prices.

[read more on this story on Reuters.com]