JVC unveils thinnest LCDs, TV with iPod dock

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

JVC on Sunday unveiled an LCD TV less than 3 inches thick, calling it the world’s thinnest flat-screen television, as the Consumer Electronics Show began in Las Vegas.

Also at the show, JVC, formally called Victor Co of Japan Ltd, said it would unveil four new LCD models that each sport a built-in dock for the iPod, Apple Inc’s market leading portable digital media players.

The ink had barely dried on JVC’s statement when rival Pioneer Corp was already claiming a concept TV that was less than one-fourth as thick.

JVC said its new slim TV, which includes a TV tuner, measures 1.5 inches or 39 millimeters (mm) at its narrowest, with a maximum depth of 2.9 inches (74 mm) at the center.

Pioneer then unveiled its Kuro 52-inch flat panel concept TV based on plasma technology, a rival to LCD. It boasted a thickness of 9 millimeters. But unlike JVC, which promised its thin TV’s this year, Pioneer said its products would not be available in 2008. It did not say if a tuner was included.

Rival Sharp Corp in August revealed prototype 52-inch LCD TVs, which were 20 mm thick. Its conventional 52-inch TV is 81 mm thick.

Comcast: Cable to Standardize Technology

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Facing pressure from regulators, the cable TV industry plans to make good on a promise to standardize its technology and open the door to televisions and other gadgets that don’t need cable boxes to receive video-on-demand programs and other interactive services.

An industry initiative, to be renamed “tru2way” after a decade in the works, is expected to allow electronics manufacturers to make TVs and other gear that will work regardless of cable provider. By making devices compatible, the standard also could encourage the development of new services and features that rely on two-way communication over the cable network.

Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest cable provider, will roll out the platform in all its markets by the end of 2008, Chief Executive Brian Roberts said in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of a speech Tuesday at the International Consumer Electronics Show.

Time Warner Cable Inc. is even closer to completion, Comcast executives said. A spokesman for No. 3 provider Cox Communications Inc. said the company will have “widespread deployment” this year.

Panasonic unveils wireless HD video system

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Matsushita Electric Industrial’s Panasonic unit said on Sunday it developed a system allowing consumers to send high-definition video to a television from a video player or gaming console without cables.

The system is based on a technology called “WirelessHD” that enables high-definition video transmission without compromising quality.

Users of the new technology could hang a high-definition television on a wall, far from a digital video recorder or disc player, without running wires between the products.

Wikia launching human-powered search

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Today, Wikia launched Wikia Search, a very early-stage version of its open search engine. Wikia (and Wikipedia) co-founder Jimmy Wales believes that it’s necessary for the public to take control of search, which he sees as a shared need and thus a shared resource.

The site that’s launching today is for users who want to “help us build a search engine,” Wales said. So don’t expect a Wikia-powered Google killer on Day One. “We want to be sure people aren’t expecting a Google-quality experience on Monday.”

Magellan announced Google Based GPS

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

WORLD Magazine | Weekly News, Christian Views
Magellan Navigation Inc. on Sunday announced its first portable navigation device to feature cellular connectivity will come with Google Inc. business listings and search functionality.

The Magellan Maestro Elite 5340 GPRS, being unveiled at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, will be among the first in a new crop of global positioning system devices to feature GPRS cellular capability. Several other GPS device makers, including Dash Navigation Inc., are expected to show navigation products with connectivity features at CES, too.

Napster to sell music as MP3 files

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Napster Inc. said Sunday it will begin selling music downloads as unprotected MP3 files in the spring, joining other online retailers.

The file format change will apply only to single tracks and album purchases, according to a company press release. Tracks downloaded as part of the company’s music subscription service will continue to have copyright restrictions.

Toshiba defiant after HD DVD setback

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Toshiba Corp. executives had a tough moment Sunday, when they had to face reporters just two days after its HD DVD movie disc format was dealt a potentially fatal blow by the defection of Warner Bros. Entertainment to a rival technology.

“It’s difficult for me to read the comments of the pundits that HD is dead,” said Jodi Sally, vice president of marketing for digital audio and video at Toshiba America Consumer Products. She was speaking at a news conference ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show, which starts here Monday.

Sally indicated that Toshiba would continue its fight with a Sony Corp.-led group to dominate the market for a replacement to the DVD.

“We’ve been declared dead before,” Sally said.

Only two major U.S. studios now support HD DVD, while five support Sony’s Blu-ray disc. Warner is the last studio to put out movies in both formats, but will stop publishing HD DVDs in May.

Akio Ozaka, head of Toshiba America Consumer Products, said the company was surprised by Warner’s announcement Friday.

“We were particularly disappointed that the decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained,” Ozaka said.

HD DVD players, practically all of which are made by Toshiba, had their best sales ever in the fourth quarter of last year, Ozaka said.

Sally said HD DVD players represented 49.3 percent of the players for high definition discs sold as of Dec. 22, quoting figures from market research firm NPD. However, the figures don’t include sales of Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 3 game console, which plays Blu-ray discs. The format also has consistently beaten HD DVD in the number of discs sold.

Microsoft 2007 CES Keynote

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The Microsoft 2007 CES Keynote. Live demos and new features announced for Windows Vista, Xbox 360, and more.

Bill Gate’s last day CES Clip

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yesterday Bill Gates gave his final Microsoft keynote at the 2008 CES show in Las Vegas. Throughout the keynote he made many references to what he will do with his free time once he retires from day to day operations at Microsoft. It turns out Bill has big plans in addition to his foundation after all.

Video: Bill Gates Last Day CES Clip

Samsung TVs to come with built-in computers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Samsung Electronics Co. will introduce high-definition TV sets with computer-like features, letting users read news from USA Today, play games or look up recipes, the company said Sunday.

A button on the remote of Samsung’s new Series 6 and Series 7 LCD and plasma HDTVs displays news, weather, sports and stocks information supplied by USA Today as a picture within the picture. The TV set needs to be connected to the home Internet connection through an Ethernet port for this feature.

Furthermore, some LCD flat-panel sets will come with content preloaded into flash memory, Samsung said. The content will range from artwork that can be displayed as a screensaver, to fitness programs, food recipes and simple games like Sudoku, said Tim Baxter, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the consumer electronics division of Samsung Electronics America.

“If you think about the TV experience, it has historically been a lean-back experience,” Baxter said, contrasting it to the more active “lean-forward experience” of using a personal computer.

GM says driverless cars may be on market in 10 years

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Cars that drive themselves - even parking at their destination - could be ready for sale within a decade, General Motors Corp. executives say.

GM, parts suppliers, university engineers and other automakers all are working on vehicles that could revolutionize short- and long-distance travel. And Tuesday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas GM Chief Executive Rick Wagoner will devote part of his speech to the driverless vehicles.

“This is not science fiction,” Larry Burns, GM’s vice president for research and development, said in a recent interview.

The most significant obstacles facing the vehicles could be human rather than technical: government regulation, liability laws, privacy concerns and people’s passion for the automobile and the control it gives them.

Much of the technology already exists for vehicles to take the wheel: radar-based cruise control, motion sensors, lane-change warning devices, electronic stability control and satellite-based digital mapping. And automated vehicles could dramatically improve life on the road, reducing crashes and congestion.

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