Now that it's finally got an Android tablet app to speak of, DirecTV is returning its attention to phones: the company announced today that both its iOS and Android applications will be receiving voice search starting this summer. As the company describes it, the app is meant to address the age-old problem of there being "nothing on TV." (And also, the fact that searching for things on your television is damn tedious.) In particular, you can use the app to search by person, title, channel show time or genre, using commands such as "find comedy movies," etc. Like other voice-control services, too, you can give follow-up instructions like, "with Bill Hader" and it'll know to narrow down your results instead of starting a new search. Considering DirecTV whipped up its own search algorithm from scratch, it seems to work intuitively. Still, the fact that the landing page is filled with sample queries suggests there's very much a right and wrong way to ask for what you want.
If you're using the app away from home, you can set your DVR to record different shows. When you're on your home network, though, you can have the search results show up on your television, at which point your phone transforms into a remote you can use to scroll through menus and the like. With the TV, too, you can wade through various programs, as well as search for sports content or ask the app to switch to a certain channel (saying either the channel name or number will work). You can even tell the app to go back through menus, but you can't use your voice to access features like the settings menu. No word on when the beta will roll out, except that it'll happen sometime this summer.
Panasonic and Nuance have been close partners on TV voice recognition in the past; we now know that they're getting a bit cozier for Panasonic's 2013 Smart TVs. The company's newer LCDs and plasmas with voice recognition use Nuance's Dragon TV for voice-only control of basics like volume as well as content and web searches. The engine will also speak out content and menus if you need more than just visual confirmation of where you're going. Panasonic's refreshed TV line is gradually rolling out over the spring, so those who see a plastic remote control as so very 2010 won't have long to wait.
While our zipcodes still haven't popped up on Google's gigabit-connected list, it announced tonight that Google Fiber is coming to the Kansas City suburb of Olathe, KS. The Olathe City Council approved an agreement allowing the expansion earlier this evening, although there's no word on timing for the deployment just yet. The internet / TV service Google provides will be competing with Comcast locally, as opposed to incumbent Time Warner in many of the previous areas. As you can see from the map above, this is technically beyond the initial rollout announced, which should thrill residents of what Wikipedia tells us is the fourth largest Kansas City suburb and hometown of NFL running back Darren Sproles. Still, despite Google calling this hopefully the first of several announcements for additional KC-area cities it will still require a move to this particular corner of the Great Plains.
Time Warner Cable has already brought live TV streaming to iOS, Android and PCs, and now it's finally released its TWC TV service on a device for your TV. Now available on newer Roku players (and, we presume, whatever hardware is coming next), it brings up to 300 channels to subscriber's set-top boxes via the internet. Hit the link below to add the channel to your box -- assuming you have Time Warner cable + internet and your Roku is located in the house where you have service, of course. We've seen demos of the software on Samsung and Panasonic connected TV platforms before, and the Xbox 360 features similar access from a number of providers, so take that into account when guessing which one may be next up.
19/02/2013 - Apple Rumored to Acquire German TV Maker Loewe
Chinese manufacturer TCL has a rather significant showing at CES 2013, with a number of TVs and TV-related products. We're not sure if we'll be seeing any of these debut in the US, but among them were a 110-inch "China Star" 3D 4K TV that's got a brand tie-in with Iron Man 3, and its MoVo Google TV product. Its Google TV set-top box is powered by the same Marvell Armada 1500 SoC as many others, but features a custom skin and uses facial recognition to provide personalized experiences for every family member. It seemed to run equally to other Google TVs, although we wonder if that custom skin may slow down the pace of future updates. Also on display in the booth are TCL's iCE Screen that debuted last year, and its super thin V101 Blade TV. There's more details on the products in the press release after the break, as well as some in person pics (including the 36+ sq ft China Star and accompanying costumed Iron Man) in the gallery.
Gallery: TCL CES 2013 booth
09/01/2013 - Lionsgate teams up with Samsung to convert more films to 3D, starts with Gamer, Crank and Bangkok Dangerous
Got a 3D TV? You've probably noticed that not all depth perception is equal. It's true, not all films have the privilege of being shot in 3D -- many are converted in post production, and more still make the switch years after their initial release. Lionsgate and Samsung are planning to expand the latter category. Using Sammy's proprietary 3D processing technology, the two firms will dimensionalize a handful of films from Lionsgate's catalog, starting with Gamer, Bangkok Dangerous, Crank, and The Descent. More title are on the way too, slated for future release on DVD and Blu-ray. Groundbreaking? No, but worthwhile for 3D connoisseurs. After all, 3D conversion served Star Wars, I, Robot and Disney well enough, didn't it?
07/01/2013 - NHK proposes new 3D broadcast format: transmits dual images at higher resolution (video)
A technical arm of Japan's national broadcaster, NHK Media Technology, is proposing a new Advanced Stereo 3D format for broadcasting high-quality 3D content. It would be able to transmit programming to both 3D-capable TVs and standard HD sets, all while holding hands with existing broadcast standards. According to DigInfoNews, the new format is being submitted to the ARIB, which decides broadcasting standards. What's different here is that NHK would be able to offer both images in full high-definition -- independently transmitting both left and right images instead of side-by-side at a reduced resolution. The Japanese broadcaster has noted that Korean developers are working on similar tech and a compatible format between both projects could be very likely, and hopefully lay the groundwork for global take-up of the standard.
29/12/2012 - DirecTV Genie whole-home DVR review
We're very happy that 2012 ended up being the year of whole-home DVRs. We reviewed Dish Network's Hopper earlier this year and now we've spent some quality time with DirecTV's Genie -- can't say we expected the cute names. Capable of serving up to eight rooms in your house (but only four at once), the Genie system works with a variety of setups, including being built into some newer Samsung TVs. Only available as part of DirecTV service, the Genie can be had for free by some new DirecTV customers who are willing to sign a term agreement and select the right package, and available to existing customers as an upgrade for $300 depending on the circumstances. If DirecTV didn't already have you at five tuners, 1TB and up to eight rooms, then click through for a full rundown on the latest the original direct satellite broadcast TV provider has to offer.
Gallery: DirecTV Genie whole-shome DVR
DirecTV announced today that it will raise its prices effected February 7, 2013, with the average customer's bill going up about 4.5 percent. The card shown above displays the new rates (hit the source link to see them all) which it claims are up less than cable competitor's price hikes, and are pushed by programming costs that have gone up eight percent. The last time we noted an increase in prices, DirecTV had just added a slew of HD channels. This time, it comes after a year that's seen a number of DVR upgrades, more new channels, a lower price for Sunday Ticket, the launch DirecTV Everywhere features and, of course, a battle over programming costs with Viacom. We predicted that last bit would be reflected sooner or later in a pricing adjustment and it appears the time has come. So tell us DirecTV customers, are the new features, and keeping all those channels worth an increase to you, or are you thinking of moving on?
19/12/2012 - Hulu in 2012: $695M Revenue, 3M Paying Subscribers
Not getting your fill of connected TV action with contextual content and ads appearing alongside your soaps? Your hunger could be satisfied by picking up a Sony-made television in 2013, as Hirai and Co. have inked a multi-year deal with the folks at Ensequence to bake software for such experiences into all of their connected TVs starting next year. Ensequence leverages the automatic content recognition tech inside Sony's sets and provides a platform for content producers and advertisers to sling up everything from relevant coupons to trivia games on displays. If you watched the 2012 Olympics through Verizon FiOS, chances are you've glimpsed the company's technology in action. Proud owners of connected TVs made by Sony between 2011 and 2012 won't be left out of the contextual content bonanza, however, as a software update packing Ensequence's secret sauce will be available. For more details, and prognostications regarding the future of internet-savvy televisions, hit the jump for the press release.
Mobile apps that blend DVR control and live TV are thriving in the US and elsewhere, so you can imagine the frustration Canadians have felt going without an official option from local telecom giants. A new version of Rogers' Anyplace TV Home Edition app for iOS redresses that problem, if not quite in a radically different way than its US peers. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch owners can now manage DVR recordings on their NextBox hubs, and iPad owners can watch live TV from the same app -- but only from 25 cleared channels, and only when they're at home on a Rogers internet connection. It's not quite a liberation from the TV status quo, then, and Android users will have to wait for their own fix sometime during the last few weeks of 2012. Still, it's hard to object to a free bonus for an existing subscription.
When Nintendo's Wii U launches this weekend, it won't arrive with most of its primary multimedia features -- namely, Nintendo TVii, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, or Netflix. All were said to come pre-loaded on the new console, but reviewers found out early that a launch day patch would enable the functionality. As it turns out, that patch will actually arrive at some point in December, bearing Nintendo TVii, with the rest of the apps arriving "in the coming weeks" (no hard date is given for any of the apps). The console is still expected to launch with Miiverse, Nintendo Network, and backwards compatibility with the Nintendo Wii -- none of which is currently enabled on the Wii U (presumably still arriving in some form of day-one patch). We've reached out to Nintendo to see if those things are still planned for launch.
Wii U's Nintendo TVii, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, and Netflix pushed to December originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 16 Nov 2012 09:47:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink Joystiq | | Email this | Comments
14/11/2012 - Dish Network's Hopper gets an off-air digital TV tuner, software update packing new features
If recording satellite television using one of Dish Network's Hopper systems left you longing for something a little more terrestrial, there's good news: the firm just unveiled an off-air digital tuner that's compatible with its marsupial-themed hardware. For those eager to record broadcasts picked up with an antenna, the OTA dongle is already available for $30 from Dish's online store. A freshly released software update not only adds support for the hardware, but also brings a raft of new features to the Hopper. With the update, users can now pair Bluetooth audio devices with the DVR, gaze at album art on SiriusXM channels and recover deleted recordings from a recycle bin that saves nixed footage for 48 hours. The box's "Prime Time Anytime" feature now supports standard definition local channels, and a new "What's Hot" section clues users into what other folks are watching locally and nationwide. For nitty gritty details, screenshots and impressions of the OTA module, tap the source links below.
Dish Network's Hopper gets an off-air digital TV tuner, software update packing new features originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Nov 2012 05:02:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | SatelliteGuys (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) | Email this | Comments
If you were wondering what was next for webOS now that it's gone all open source on us, webOS Nation chimes in with word that Gram is working with LG to bring it to connected HDTVs. Several names from the HP / Gram team are dropped as being involved in the effort, which reportedly was under way even before HP revealed it would spin the project off as an independent. Of course, when we actually saw Open webOS 1.0 it was already stretching to fill the space of an HP TouchSmart computer screen (project architect Steve Winston specifically mentioned hotel kiosks as a possibility, a market LG is all over) so it makes sense that larger displays have been a target. With LG supposedly both looking to replace its existing NetCast smart TV platform and unhappy with Google TV based on its rate of adoption and Google's terms, engineers have been working to port the software to its dual-core L9 chipset. In the past LG has pursued voice and motion control, the aforementioned Google TV integration and even Plex support to make its smart TVs more appealing, and has founded the Smart TV Alliance for cross platform apps. We only have to wait until CES 2013 to see if webOS is next up to power its efforts, stay tuned.
Open webOS-powered HDTVs said to be on the way from... LG? originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 25 Oct 2012 01:37:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | webOS Nation | Email this | Comments
15/10/2012 - Simple.TV finally starts shipping to backers, latecomers can still order for $149 and up
The Kickstarter success known as Simple.TV had let it be known that units would start showing up at backers' doorsteps around October 10th-15th, and now those who happily invested on the project will be pleased to know the company's doing just as it promised. Meanwhile, folks who were late to the Kickstarter shindig can still grab a simplified video streamer for themselves via the outfit's site, where a Simple.TV Limited, Premier and Lifetime can be found for $149, $199 and $299, respectively. In case you need a quick refresh, the Simple.TV puck will let users watch and record live TV, which can then be easily streamed to a variety of devices -- including, as you can see above, an iPad, Mac or PC as well as Roku boxes. You'll find more info on what bundle is best suited for you at the source link below.
Simple.TV finally starts shipping to backers, latecomers can still order for $149 and up originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 15 Oct 2012 17:54:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Simple.TV | Email this | Comments
There's a new Bang & Olufsen set in town. The BeoVision 11 Smart TV gives viewers access to the Web courtesy of a browser that can be navigated via remote, iPad or Android tablet. You can also check out apps like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube on the set. There's DLNA enabled for media streaming, two USB ports, Ethernet, six HDMI sockets, six speakers and a cabinet in the back for storing your Apple TV. Aesthetically, the TV doesn't look all too different from the BeoVision 10, though the company is calling this its "most ambitious television to date." The 11 comes in 40-, 46- and 55-inch varieties and a slew of color options. You can pick one up (use your back) at B&O stores beginning today, priced at £4,995 (around $8,000). Stay tuned after the break for a press release and a video in which B&O's CEO humbly calls it the best TV his company has ever made.
Bang & Olufsen gets connected with BeoVision 11 Smart TV originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 11 Oct 2012 09:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
28/09/2012 - Simple.TV clarifies shipping dates, tells backers units will start arriving October 10th
According to Simple.TV, there have been articles circulating around the interwebs that may have caused confusion amongst parties interested about the shipping dates of its facile white puck. So, in order to induce some clarity, the folks behind the project have posted a Kickstarter update to let its backers know their Simple.TVs will be arriving soon -- somewhere between October 10th and 15th, to be precise. On the other hand, Simple.TV is also set to start taking pre-orders on its website tomorrow from folks who missed out on the crowd-funded party, with these particular units estimated to ship "within 20 days" after the order has been placed. The good news is we're only a couple of weeks away from its long-overdue arrival; in the meantime, however, don't forget we have our own hands-on for you to graciously pore over.
Simple.TV clarifies shipping dates, tells backers units will start arriving October 10th originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Sep 2012 19:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink CNET | Kickstarter (Simple.tv) | Email this | Comments
It wasn't a part of Samsung's IFA 2012 press conference, but Samsung is showing off Google TV hardware for the first time since CES 2011 (pictured above), and will release a Smart TV with Google TV later this year. According to its press release and a blog post by the Google TV team, it will "enhance the Smart TV experience" with premium content from its Samsung Apps services. How exactly it will be merged we should see soon, but now that ARM chips are powering a cheaper, more conventionally built experience we figure whatever hung up the deal has been squashed. We should get an eye on it if it's anywhere on the show floor soon, as well as the Google TV box from Hisense, and Sony's NSZ-GS7 which already launched in the US and UK, but is coming to Germany, France and the Netherlands soon.
Samsung Smart TV with Google TV on display at IFA 2012, ships 'later this year' originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 31 Aug 2012 04:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Google TV Blog, Samsung Tomorrow | Email this | Comments
With this year's National Football League season almost ready to kick off (not taking pre-season games into consideration, of course), DirecTV's properly preparing itself on all entertainment cylinders. The satellite provider announced earlier today that the well-known Sunday Ticket package will be returning to the PlayStation 3 on September 4th via a PS Store update, allowing current subscribers to stream full-HD games directly to Sony's renowned console. As for those without any current attachments to DirecTV, however, there is an option out there -- one which costs a familiar $300 per NFL season. We've still got a few days until the madness gets started, which should be plenty of time to get approval from your better half to snag the action-packed ticket.
DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket returns to PS3 in time for the upcoming football season originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 22:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | PlayStation Blog | Email this | Comments
Here's yet another 84-inch 4K TV, this time from LG. The company's 84LM9600 was announced last week and has already started shipping in Korea, but it's here at IFA and poised to hit the market worldwide. Priced at about $22,105, this display is big in every way. You get a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 -- four times the resolution of existing full HD panels -- and what LG calls "3D sound" thanks to 2.2 integrated channel speakers. 3D is courtesy of the company's passive glasses technology. So how does that all look?
We spotted the set during LG's booth tour today. At first it seemed like "just another" 84-inch 4K TV (the form-factor seems to have exploded within the last week), but this flavor is rigged for three-dimensional viewing as well. You'll need to view 2D content in order to take advantage of the full resolution, and the picture in this mode seemed to be on par with the competition, based on our quick peek at IFA. And how about 3D? The passive picture was consistent with the company's other sets, just, well, much much larger. Will you be making room for this massive set in your living room? You might want to take a closer look in our hands-on photos below before pulling out that credit card.
Follow all of our IFA 2012 coverage by heading to our event hub!
Gallery: LG 4K UD 3D TV hands-on
LG's 84-inch UD 3D TV makes its formal IFA debut, we go hands-on (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 09:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments