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If you live in an area of the US, where you get cable from Cox Communications the company has announced a new service that will get your attention quickly. The new service wraps a new Trio program guide into a package with a DVR system that works for your entire home. That means you can record a program on any DVR in your home and then play it back on any TV in the house.
The part I like the best is that the new service has a bookmarking option. That means you can start watching a program in the living room and then bookmark it to pick up right where you left off in the bedroom. The DVRs used in the system have 500GB of storage.
Internet connected TVs are becoming a pretty big deal with all of the services like Netflix and Google TV hitting living rooms worldwide. Paypal is looking to capitalize on this by working with Canoe Ventures, Catalina Marketing, Delivery Agent, FouthWall Media and icueTV to develop a Television commerce (T-commerce) solution for internet connected TVs.
The premise outlined by Osama Bedler, Paypal's VP of platform for mobile and new ventures, is fairly simple: see it on TV, perform a couple clicks with your remote, and the purchase is done via your Paypal account. This will basically turn Paypal into a digital wallet you can access anywhere you can get internet connectivity. It's a great idea, but I can see a lot of people getting into some financial trouble during late night infomercial watching. Sales of Slap Chops and Mighty Putty will go through the roof!
Over the last year or so Netflix has gone from something I would have never considered joining after experienced years ago with never getting the DVDs I wanted to see to something that I am very interested in trying. The change for me is completely due to the streaming offerings that Netflix has today. Netflix has done so well with its streaming offerings that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has stated previously that the company is a streaming firm that also ships DVDs.
Hastings was on hand at the Web 2.0 Summit and offered some insights into the values of mobile apps for Netflix and what affect those mobile apps have had on the bottom line at the company. Hastings said in a nutshell, that mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad have had a minimal effect on the bottom line for Netflix. Hastings went so far as to say people aren't interested in streaming long-form video to mobile devices.
When it comes to the flat panel TV market in the US one of the leading companies is Vizio. The company has been selling HDTVs for a much shorter time than other makers have, but it is one of the most popular brands in the country. This is due to the low prices and nice features the TVs offer consumers. One of the most popular lines of TV that Vizio offers is the XVT brand. Vizio has announced that it has added three new 3D TV models to the XVT series.
The three new models will offer 42", 47", and 55" screen sizes. The will also support Vizio Internet Apps and 1080p resolution. The sets all have multiple HDMI inputs, SRS TruSurround HD audio, and a 480Hz SPS refresh rate. The sets all also feature 802.11n WiFi for web connectivity and have LED backlighting.
I would be willing to be that a DVR or two is not enough for many of you. My kids use the upstairs DVR to record all sorts of cartoons and the wife and I record all sorts of other shows on the DVR in the living room. Several nights each week we miss shows we really want to watch in favor of shows that we like a little better. The good news is that Hulu lets us catch up on some of those shows, but the offerings could be better. Hulu Plus promised to make that line up better and at higher resolution.
The catch was that when Hulu Plus was first announced at $9.99 monthly, many people thought that was just too much to pay for the service. While the service has been in beta that $9.99 price has been reconsidered by Hulu for the official launch. With Hulu Plus now all official for anyone who wants to join the new price is a bit more palatable than the original with a $2 discount making the new price $7.99.
Sony is really reeling in the streaming services for the Playstation 3. With Netflix and Hulu Plus already on board, VUDU is looking to join the PS3 streaming party on November 23rd.
This video service, recently acquired by Walmart, gives you on-demand HD streaming up to 1080p with Dolby 5.1 Digital sound available. The interface will be familiar to VUDU users; at least until December when VUDU is planning on rolling out a complete UI refresh that will be more streamlined and even Playstation Move friendly. If you're looking for another streaming service, keep an eye on for VUDU next week.
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Google TV is cool and when it was first announced I was really looking forward to getting it on my set with the Logitech Revue box so I could watching Hulu and online shows from networks. After the device launched, all of the major networks and Hulu blocked users of Google TV from being able to access any of their online content making the Google TV service much less appealing. At launch, the only TVs to support Google TV were from Sony.
Sometime next year that will change. Samsung will be making an announcement in January that it will support Google TV. The specifics of their plans are unknown, but with January being CES time, we will most likely hear then what will happen with Samsung and Google TV. I would be surprised if there aren't some Samsung TVs supporting the service on hand at CES.
The Boxee Box official launch event has come and gone and the cats behind it have answered a few of the nagging questions many have had. The network blocking of their sites on the device were not specifically addressed, but two big dogs in the streaming industry are reportedly ready to jump on board: Netflix and Hulu Plus.
Netflix is officially on board; all signs are pointing towards the Boxee Box being Netflix capable by the end of the year. Boxee even pictured a remote with a Netflix button at their event. The timetable on Hulu Plus is not as clear; talks are only in their beginning stages but Boxee is confident they will be bringing Hulu on board sometime soon; even if Hulu will be initially blocked from being streamed on launch day. Adding these two big boys to their already impressive codec list should help in the competition against Google TV; now if we could only get the networks on board.
It looks like the line in the sand has officially been drawn between the big network TV companies and Google TV. FOX.com has joined ABC, NBC, CBS, and sites like Hulu.com in blocking their content from being shown on Google TV enabled devices.
These blocks are also expected to happen on the Boxee Box, which is having its official unveiling this evening. Rumors have swirled about Google being in negotiations with the networks about solving this issue but nothing firm has been verified from either camp. It just seems a bit silly to have a setup that is dedicated to streaming TV that, well, can't play TV. Score once more for HTPC users, I suppose; at least until the hacking community finds a workaround.