If you're not familiar with Google's Android operating system, it's an open source, free-to-use OS originally built for mobile phones and used with T-Mobile's popular G1. Several other handset manufacturer's are currently working on Android-based phones hoping for higher profit margins resulting from the free nature of the software. At CES recently, several prototype web tablets and netbooks were also on display running Android.
But could you imagine an HDTV with a customized version of the Android operating system?
From The Wall Street Journal:
Mr. Horowitz added that he is aware of companies trying to translate Android -- whose software is open source, making it easier to customize -- to devices that aren't phones, like netbooks (a new breed of low-end portable computers), or televisions, but declined to go into details.
Mr. Horowitz is Steve Horowitz, the engineer hired back in 2006 to spearhead Android's development. He seems to indicate that one or more television makers are hard at work trying to port Android to televisions. Definitely something we have to keep our eyes on!
The quality of a Blu-ray disc compared to a DVD, or high-def TV compared to standard-def TV is astounding. But get this:
Phillip Hyde, dispensing optician and head of professional services at Vision Express, said: 'Even a marginally short-sighted person sitting on a sofa watching an HD broadcast may not see the full benefits in enhanced image quality.
'A small change in prescription can potentially make a big change in the quality of the picture that you see.
'If you're investing in HDTV, you ought to have your eyes checked to make sure you get the full benefit.'
In a nutshell--if you need glasses and don't have them, you're wasting money on HD.
Select 2009 Samsung HDTV's will be effectively widgetized, allowing viewers computer-like interactivity with their TV screens. Powered by Yahoo's Widget Engine, the TV widgets are the product of a collaboration between Samsung, Intel, and Comcast announced in summer 2008.
Officially called the Internet@TV--Content Service, the widgets will bring Flickr, Yahoo News, Yahoo Finance, and Yahoo Weather content from Yahoo properties and 3rd party content from services such as USA Today, Showtime, Youtube, and eBay straight to the TV screen. Additional services will be continually added as the Internet@TV grows.
Developers will also have access to a Widget Development Kit to develop their own 3rd party widgets. The 2009 compatible Samsung models will be at CES 2009 and will be released in 13 countries over the course of the year. Check out the full release after the cut.
Adobe Systems and Intel are teaming up to port Adobe Flash onto Intel's Media Processor CE 3100. The CE 3100 is built specifically for consumer electronic devices such as Blu-ray players and HDTV's. With the addition of Adobe Flash, such devices, if internet connected, will be able to display richer web content and Flash-based applications. Both Adobe's Flash Player and Flash Lite will be optimized for the CE 3100 and Intel chips with the latter Adobe technology are expected to ship later in the first half of 2009.
LG Electronics will be announcing new lines of LCD and plasma HDTV's today that can directly stream internet video without a wired connection, set-top box, or add-on module like the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link. Called Broadband HDTV's, the sets will retail for about $300 more than same-sized models without internet. Unfortunately the Broadband HDTV's won't be able to surf the web freely as the processing power and memory chips in the TV's aren't powerful enough. But LG's new lines will be able to directly stream over 12, 000 Netflix Watch Instantly movies and television shows (Netflix is supposed to announce new Showtime content today), and access a few unnamed internet video content sites.
LG has made huge inroads into bringing web video to the living room home theater over the past year. At CES 2008 the company announced a it'd be partnering with Netflix to develop a set-top box that could deliver web video content to the HDTV. That of course later came to be known as the Roku box. The company also decided to back the CableLabs tru2way standard which allows TV's to communicate with cable providers and vice versa. Finally in the latter half of the year, LG released its BD300 Blu-ray player which also plays back Netflix content.
overall TV sales are predicted to decline by 4% in 2009
LCD revenues are predicted to drop by 24% globally with a 17% increase in shipments
North American LCD revenues will decline by 24%
flat panel factories in Asia are running at 80% capacity
What's this mean? DisplaySearch says that once the digital TV transition is done and over with, demand for HDTV's will decrease. Usually that means supply will increase and prices will drop. But manufacturers have a leg up already and with cuts in production it's unlikely HDTV's will get any cheaper next year. The research firm estimates that LCD sets 32-inches and smaller will likely stay the same, while 42-inch and larger sets could decrease slightly.
Draper, better known for its projection screens, has debuted Fine Art for FlatScreens. Designed to conceal your HDTV screen when not in use, Fine Art for FlatScreens consists of 39 pre-made Jacquard Woven Tapestries to choose from. It also has a PictureWeave option that allows a custom tapestry to be created from a digital photograph.
The tapestry is mounted on a motorized roller and rolled up and down using either a switch hidden behind a fascia or using a wireless transmitter. The included side and front fascia's can be painted or covered with either vinyl wall covering or wallpaper. There is also a hardwood fascia option.
Fine Art for FlatScreens comes in a variety of sizes varying in price from $835 to $1317 for pre-made hard-wired or plug and play units. PictureWeave tapestries cost $1140 to $1494 depending on the size and whether the unit is hard-wired or plug and play.
Speaking of giant displays, NewSight Corp, an American company I've never heard of, has developed a 180-inch 3D LED display. 3.84 meters wide, the 3D LED Video Wall as it's called is able to render images in 3D using something called the "parallax barrier" method which is interchangeable with LCD displays. The company outsources it LED manufacturing to China where they are built at a pitch of 6 millimeters and work identically to the those found in LCD displays. NewSight says that the optimal viewing distance is only 5 meters and they guarantee a 20, 000 hour LED life. They also said that the display works with other LED's and the new display can be combined in groups of four to form an impressive 360-inch LED display. No idea what the pricing is like though.