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Thread: Random Tech thread.

  1. #1
    Banned Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Random Tech thread.

    There is a lot of interesting Electronics and Techincal things coming to market I thought it would be good to have a dedicated place to post and talk the things that interest you.

    I am a gadget guy so this caught my eye recently.



    Samsung To Launch New Smartwatch Amid Changes In Market Expectations

    So, the Smartwatch war is finally getting under way. Samsung, yesterday, officially confirmed the arrival of its smart watch, the Galaxy Gear, on the 4th September. There are rumors of delays in the iWatch – Apple‘s version – with some estimates now putting it at a year away with a late 2014 launch. Will Samsung steal the show?

    By happy coincidence research firm Juniper launched a new report on the future of the smart watch segment, also yesterday.

    The report, Next Generation Smart Watches, predicts a market of 36 million units, globally, by 2018. The report author, Nitan Bhas, notes:

    By educating and publicising this device segment to the consumer, Apple and Samsung will indeed act as a catalyst to the market. In addition, being a key influencer, these player’s entry into the smart watch segment will benefit existing smart watch players – providing an increase in awareness and adoption of other wearable devices.


    But whichever way you look at it, assuming these two giants do build momentum quickly, 36 million units is not a huge market and the likelihood is the smart watch will be priced as a peripheral rather than as a main device. The iWatch price tag is now thought to be around $200. This is the beginning of the computer’s distribution around the body rather than the birth of a new segment.

    The possibility of a fast growing smart watch segment caused considerable excitement back in the spring. Back of the envelope calculations earlier in the year put the potential gains for Apple in excess of $60 billion a year. iDownoloadblog has a reprise of some of that data:

    Analyst Katy Huberty wrote back in February that the iWatch would present Apple with an $80 billion opportunity , assuming it sells at least 50 million units at an average selling price between $200 and $300. This could drive an incremental $10 to $15 billion in revenue, or $2.50 to $4.00 in per-share earnings, each year.

    Samsung, however, seems to suggest that its smart watch will be very much a peripheral for its own phones, rather than a general purpose device.

    The watch will connect to a Samsung watch manager app on the phone to manage the connection between watch and the phone. The connection will use Samsung’s proprietary accessory protocol and will use Bluetooth LE as the network transport.

    It is aimed at a young trendsetter market and will need an app downloaded from the Samsung app store. GigaOm reports that it will have an OLED display, so good color representation, and a gestural interface. However it looks like it will have a square screen and not make use of Samsung’s flexible display technology. It will use the strap for functions like camera and speakers. The device is expected to compete with Nike Fuelband too.

    Taken together, the Samsung announcement, the details we have on the device, and the Juniper report, suggest that the entry of the two big players in devices to the Smart watch market will fall far short of expectations set by analysts earlier this year. That could change, of course, if Apple produces a revolutionary design and concept. But for now, expectations should be set lower for smart watches. Perhaps it is time to raise our expectations of other segments – not just main competitor glass but also other smartphone peripherals. The ultimate smartphone experience will be a personal server connecting us to a variety of wearables and essential location information points. A slow start for watches does not mean a failure point for that bigger vision.

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    Is Google's Chromecast the future of television?
    Farhad Manjoo thinks Google's £30 dongle transform the way you watch your favourite shows
    FARHAD MANJOO WEDNESDAY 21 AUGUST 2013

    Google's Chromecast doesn't do much. But what it does do, it does so consistently well, and so cheaply, that it's quickly became a primary part of my media-watching routine. Chromecast, a little USB-stick-sized device, streams Netflix, YouTube and other sites to your TV. (But wait a second, aren't Netflix and YouTube also websites? Yes, but there's a technical distinction we'll get to in a minute.) Also, Chromecast is fast, unbelievably easy to set up, and pretty much foolproof to use. And it's £30, which makes it one of the best values in tech, ever. Combine all that and it's irresistible. In the five days I've had it, Chromecast has become my go-to way for streaming shows to my TV. It's expected to hit shops in the UK before Christmas.

    It's not that I lacked for ways to stream videos already–my TV, DVD player and Xbox all have Netflix and YouTube apps, and they're pretty easy to use. But Chromecast is simpler, faster and more intuitive than any of those. Other methods usually require four or five steps to set up streaming. First, you've got to turn on the TV, choose the right input, turn on the ancillary device, load up an app, find a show, and then press play. It takes a minute or two, and if your set-top box is really slow, maybe a lot more.

    Chromecast eliminates a couple of those steps, and it makes others much faster. In this way, Chromecast is similar to other small digital set-top boxes, especially the Roku (from £49.99) and the £99 Apple TV (though there are some important differences I'll get to below). With Chromecast, you turn on the TV. Then you load up Netflix (or YouTube or Chrome) on any other machine that's handy– it could be a PC, a phone, or a tablet, or whatever you have lying around. It's much faster to navigate and type on those devices than on your set-top box, so you'll find your show much more quickly. Then press play. On many TVs, you won't even need to change your TV's input –Chromecast will do that for you. (Depending on how you set up Chromecast – that is, if you plug its power cord into an external AC adapter rather than into your TV's USB slot – you might not even need to turn on your TV at all; Chromecast might be able to do that for you, too.) So, anyway, once you find your show, press play. Like black magic, your video just shows up on your TV.

    Does this sound complicated? It's not. Once you have it set up, Chromecast becomes a natural extension of all of the devices in your house. When you're watching something on pretty much any machine, you'll be able to shuttle it over to your TV instantly without giving it a second thought. That's a great deal for only £30.

    Now, let me briefly mention a subtle but important technical limitation regarding how Chromecast works. The device streams videos in two ways – either directly over the internet from a service like Netflix, or from the Chrome browser on your own computer. The first of these methods is the better one – because the video is coming directly from Netflix, your phone or PC is acting only as the remote, and you can turn it off after you've started watching the video. The downside is that, at the moment, only YouTube, Netflix, and Google Play support this direct streaming method.

    Chromecast also lets you stream anything that you have open in a Chrome tab to your TV. Technically, this means you can play any web video service on Chromecas, or even a Bittorrent-ed video that you drag into Chrome. All you do is play the video on your laptop in Chrome, then press the button to stream to your Chromecast. But this method – streaming from a Chrome tab – is kind of a hack. Because the videos you play this way come directly from your computer to your Chromecast, they require that your machine be on and they tend to be of lower quality than the ones you stream from a service such as Netflix.

    I can already hear Apple partisans hissing at me for failing to mention the greater charms of that company's set-top box, the Apple TV. And they're right – in some ways, Chromecast isn't as good as Apple TV. Apple TV plays videos from many more services than you'll find on Chromecast. Apple TV also allows for "mirroring" from Apple devices, meaning you can send anything on your iPad over to your TV. Chromecast, meanwhile, only lets you mirror Chrome tabs – and only from a PC, not from your mobile device. So if you've got a bunch of photos in Picasa on your Mac, you won't be able to stream a slideshow to Chromecast, as you can using Apple TV. But if your photos are in Flickr – ie, on the web – you will be able to watch them on Chromecast (as well as Apple TV).

    But Apple TV has its disadvantages, too. First, it only works with Apple's mobile devices. If your household has multiple machines running different operating systems – if you've got an Android phone and Apple tablet – then Apple TV may not be right for you. Also, Apple TV is £99. You'll be ableto get almost Chromecasts for the price of one Apple TV. If you've got several TVs in your house, Chromecast is obviously a better choice.

    Plus, some of Chromecast's limitations are temporary. Google has released an API for the device – a way for developers to get their services to directly stream to the device – and several firms will reportedly begin adopting it. I suspect that soon, most of the services that work on Apple TV and Xbox will work on Chromecast, too. (One of the really surprising things about Netflix and YouTube's support for Chromecast was that I didn't have to update their apps on my phone to get it – the Chromecast button just showed up in the apps on every device. Watch for that to happen with every other video service you use.)

    In some ways, though, the most important thing about Chromecast isn't what it does. It's what it costs. By setting a profit-free low price on Chromecast, Google is signaling that it's not looking to make a lot of money on the device. Instead, it's aiming for ubiquity. And ubiquity, in and of itself, will improve Chromecast. I don't have any inside info, but if I were to venture a guess, I think Google's ideal scenario for Chromecast goes something like this: 1) A lot of people buy the device. 2) A lot of media companies start supporting the device. 3) The dongle disappears – given the device's popularity and low price, TV companies start building the Chromecast protocol into their TVs. In other words, Chromecast becomes the quasi-standard way of streaming and every TV becomes a Google TV.

    Out of these three steps, Apple, Microsoft and Roku have already achieved the first two. But none of them can get to Step 3, because all of their business models depend on selling devices for a profit. Google's does not. Google is instead interested in capturing the ecosystem – once every TV is a Google TV, the company will figure out how to make money from that, somehow.

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    Review: Google has potential contender in new, customizable Motorola phone
    Published August 02, 2013
    Associated Press

    NEW YORK – In the four decades since Motorola first showed off a prototype of the world's first cellphone, the company has watched Apple, Samsung and other innovators surpass it in sales. With Google as its new owner, Motorola is introducing the Moto X, a phone notable for innovations in manufacturing, as part of an attempt to regain its stature.

    Yes, there's plenty the Moto X offers in terms of software, including the ability to get directions, seek trivia answers or set the alarm without ever touching the phone. There's good hardware, too, including a body that's nearly as slim as the iPhone 5, but with the larger, 4.7-inch screen that is comparable to those found in rival Android phones.

    ABOUT THE MOTO X
    The Moto X is the first smartphone to be assembled in the U.S., allowing Motorola to offer a range of customization options, such as colors and personalized messages. It's available in black or white for about $200 through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular. Other colors and options are available at no extra charge, but only with AT&T as a service provider. It's $50 more for a 32-gigabyte phone. The standard is 16 GB.

    The phone has a 4.7-inch screen and two cameras capable of high-definition video at 1060p. The back camera is 10 megapixels and the front one is 2 megapixels. With a curved edge, thickness ranges from 0.22 inch on the edges to 0.41 inches in the middle. That middle part is thicker than most phones, but it's designed to fit more naturally in the curvature of your palm in grip position.
    The phone goes on sale in the U.S. in late August or early September. Custom features are selected through Motorola's website, and delivery is promised within four days.

    But what's really special about the Moto X has nothing to do with making calls, checking Facebook or holding it in your hands. Rather, it breaks from the pack by allowing for a lot of customization. You can choose everything from the color of the power button to a personalized message on the back cover.

    To make those special orders possible, Motorola is assembling the Moto X in Texas, making it the first smartphone to be put together in the U.S. Motorola promises to ship custom designs within four days, faster than it would be able to if the company had chosen to make the Moto X halfway around the world in Asia, as other phones typically are. (Phones for overseas markets will be made overseas.)

    You can still buy the phone the traditional way, in black or white. Walk into a store, pay about $200, sign a two-year service agreement (or installment plan with T-Mobile), and off you go with a brand new phone.

    But that's boring.

    Just as Apple's colorful iMacs showed more than a decade ago that personal computers don't have to be beige or black, Motorola is moving away from traditional black and white. You're still limited to black or white as your front color, but you can choose any combination of 18 back cover colors and seven "accent" colors, which highlight the power button, volume control and the rim of the camera lens. There's more coming: Motorola is testing back covers made of wood, for instance, and it plans to let people vote on Facebook on future patterns, colors and designs.

    You can choose a custom message for the back of the phone — with limits. I tried to enter profanity and trademarked names and was told, "We'd rather you not say that." You can use the space to display your email address, in case you lose the phone, for instance. In addition, you can choose one of 16 wallpapers in advance and enter your Google ID so your phone is all set up the first time you turn it on. You can select a different custom message to appear on your screen when you turn the phone on. You can even choose the color of your charger, white or black.

    Choose carefully, as you won't be able to make changes after a 14-day return window. These aren't parts that you can simply pop out and swap.

    With the exception of $50 more for a phone with 32 gigabytes of storage rather than 16 gigabytes, there's no cost for the customization. They will be available at about the same time the standard white and black phones come out in late August or early September. Wood back covers aren't expected until later in the year, however.

    In the beginning, you can get custom versions only with AT&T as your service provider, but other carriers are coming. Standard versions will also be available through Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular at launch. You do the ordering through Motorola's Moto Maker website, which will cover service plan options with AT&T when you order the phone. If you walk into an AT&T store, you can pay for it there, just like a gift card, but you'll then have to visit the Moto Maker site and enter a scratch-off code.

    So what does all this mean?

    At first, I thought of it as a gimmick. But then I thought more about how phones are among our most personal possessions. Your phone contains your private thoughts in email, contact information for your loved ones and precious memories in the form of photos. So I can understand the desire to add a personal touch to the look of your phone, especially if you don't have to pay more. Keep in mind that your customizations might make the phone harder to resell when you're ready to trade up for a new model.

    In many ways, it's similar to the way desktops and laptops have been sold. You can go to Dell's or Apple's website and order any number of configurations. The difference is those configurations typically have to do with the amount of storage, the speed of the processor, the size of the screen and the software that comes with the machine. With Moto X, you're getting the same storage choices that other phones offer, but all the other options are cosmetic.

    Meanwhile, the Moto X advances hands-free phone use. Although hands-free options are available elsewhere to make a call or send a text, Moto X opens the door to the entire Web. It relies on Google Now, the virtual assistant that retrieves information when you speak into the phone. Normally, you press something to activate Google Now. That's how Siri works on iPhones as well. With Moto X, you simply say, "OK, Google Now."

    That command is specific to your voice. I asked three colleagues to speak "OK, Google Now" into a phone I trained by repeating the phrase three times. The phone ignored my colleagues, but responded to me instantly once I spoke from the same distance. Sorry, pranksters: You won't be able use this feature to set 3 a.m. alarms on your friend's Moto X.

    I was able to get the phone to recognize my command from about 10 feet away, as well as close by with an episode of "The Walking Dead" playing at full blast on a laptop inches away. But under those conditions, the service was more prone to make mistakes. For instance, the phone misheard a request for directions to Boston as "directions to fall."

    Even in a quiet room, Google Now made a lot of mistakes responding to requests to call specific people. When I asked Google Now to "call Bob," it offered me "Emily," ''Dave" and "Super" — for the superintendent of my apartment building, who's not named Bob.

    I can see this feature being useful to motorists, but it's imperfect. And if you protect your phone with a PIN code, you'll need to type it in to unlock the phone, except to make a call. Motorola says it tried voice recognition for passwords, but couldn't get it to work properly.

    There are two things that will work without entering your PIN: You can get a peek at text messages and other notifications by pressing the center of the screen for a second. If you want to respond or see more, then you'll need the PIN. You can also access your camera by twisting the phone like opening a doorknob. You can browse through shots you have just taken, but you'll need the PIN for older ones.

    Speaking of the camera, Motorola did a good job of keeping it simple. With Samsung's Galaxy S4 and HTC's One, I've often hit the wrong buttons for gimmicky features I don't want. With the Moto X, you have to swipe the screen from the left to access the settings. That way, the buttons aren't there to hit accidently. To access your gallery of photos, you swipe from the right. Again, you won't be getting old images accidently and miss the chance to snap a new one.

    The camera also lacks a shutter button. Instead, you tap anywhere on the screen to take a photo. Keep pressing on the screen, and the camera will take a series of shots in succession.
    The screen measures 4.7 inches diagonally, which is larger than the iPhone 5's 4 inches and close to the 5 inches found on a few other leading phones. Held like a skyscraper, the phone is narrower than most leading Android phones. The edges are curved, but the middle is thickened more than the typical phone. That actually fits nicely in my hands, as the palm isn't flat when in a grip position. It's not heavy either, at 4.6 ounces.

    Although Motorola has released other phones since Google bought the company in May 2012, the Moto X is the first to be designed under Google. It's an impressive offering that could make Motorola a contender in phones again.


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/08/...#ixzz2dHglWOaq

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    Ultra HD and 4K: Everything you need to know
    The momentum behind Ultra HD TV is quickly gathering
    By James Rivington July 20th 11 COMMENTS

    Ultra HD and 4K: Everything you need to knowUltra HD, UHD, 4K, it's all the same: lots more pixels

    4k is the new big thing in display tech, and it's coming to a big screen living room TV near you.
    Today's 1920 x 1080 resolution Full HD TVs present us with an image of around 2 megapixels, but this new generation of screens delivers an 8 megapixel image from hi-res cameras.
    With new Ultra HD 4K TVs arriving this year from the big TV brands, it will soon become a format for both broadcast TV and Blu-ray.

    What is 4K?

    Technically speaking, 4K denotes a very specific display resolution of 4096 x 2160. This is the resolution of all 4K recordings, though many people use 4K to refer to any display resolution that has roughly 4000 horizontal pixels.
    Ultra HD TVs have a resolution slightly lower than that - 3840 x 2160. That's exactly four times higher than the full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080.
    Many current movie cameras already film above 4K resolutions, for example the RED Epic which can film at a 5K resolution of 5120 x 2700 and the Sony F65 which films at 8192 x 4320 (8K).

    How big is an Ultra HD TV?

    So far it's been monster Ultra HD TVs all the way, with Sony's 84-inch 84X9005 and LG's 84-inch 84LM960V leading the way alongside the now-a-bit-old Toshiba 55ZL2, a 55-inch TV whose real claim is glasses-free 3D TV (though there's more where that came from, this time from Philips).
    However, this summer Sony is launching 55-inch and 65-inch models in the form of the Sony KD-55X9000A and the Sony KD-65X9000A. Previous 84-inch models cost upwards of £20,000 ($30,000) but the 55-inch Sony will start at $5,000 in the US and £4,000 in the UK.
    More models are coming from the likes of Samsung, LG and Panasonic and will likely launch at IFA at the end of August.

    Ultra HD: what you need to know
    Do I need an Ultra HD TV?



    High definition comes in two flavours: 720p (HD ready) and 1080p (Full HD), both of which offer more picture information than the standard definition formats. The more pixels that make up an image, the more detail you see - and the smoother the appearance of curved and diagonal lines. Ultra HD just takes that on to the next level.
    A high pixel count also enables images to go larger before they break up, which suits the trend to bigger TVs. Ultra HD is already making big inroads into the world of digital cinema; almost all major Hollywood movies and TV shows are filmed in 4K - or even 5K.

    Of course, perceived picture resolution is as much about viewing distance as resolution. What's the real difference between 720p and 1080p? The answer is about two metres. Increase the pixel density and you can sit closer without the pixel grid becoming obvious; a 2160p image - or Ultra HD - enables you to sit 1.6m from the screen.
    Some engineers dispute that you can see a difference between 2K and 4K on any screen less than 100-inches; go larger and the subtle nuances that make up a 4K picture certainly become easier to appreciate.

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    OUYA tries to change the game for consoles


    BY GADJO CARDENAS SEVILLA, WHATSYOURTECH.CA AUGUST 6, 2013

    8755017.jpg

    The tiny OUYA console runs on the guts of an Android tablet tweaked for gaming on HDTV displays.

    Today's video game consoles cost at least $400 for the hardware and the games can cost as much as $60.00 for popular titles. This is because the games now cost millions of dollars to make, promote and distribute.

    The current competition in console gaming creates an economy where small game developers and independents are shut out, while buyers have little choice but to pay through the nose for games that they may or may not like after they've tried them for a while.

    OUYA (pronounced ooh-yeah), a gaming project that originated on the popular crowd-funding website Kickstarter, is not the answer to the current state of console games, but it presents a new direction - one that is more open and affordable.

    The OUYA console itself costs $99.00 and comes with one controller. Additional controllers cost $49.99.

    The tiny console runs on the guts of an Android tablet tweaked for gaming. It's like a Kindle Fire tablet, but without a display. It also features a pared down version of the Android operating system that runs on various smartphones and tablets.

    Games are all free to try and can be downloaded from OUYA's Discovery store. If users like a game that they have tried, they can unlock the full version by paying around $4.99 for the game.

    Hardware Quality Issues

    The hardware of the console itself is cleverly designed. About the size of a Rubik's cube with a half-square, half-sphere shape made of aluminum and shiny plastic, it looks pretty cool and unlike any other console in the market. Eminent industrial designer Yves Béhar created it.

    The controller, which is wireless, is a sleek affair with the battery covers locking to the rest of the controller via magnet.

    While the design is spirited and well conceptualized, the execution, fit and finish are quite poor. The plastic seams of the controller are misaligned in certain places.

    The controllers are so poorly made that the buttons sometimes get stuck and getting them to pair with the console is also challenging. Thankfully, OUYA will accept pairing with wired or wireless controllers from other consoles.

    Software Surprises

    OUYA's software user experience is better executed, and finding and downloading games is straightforward and easy. I tried some engrossing games like Canabalt , Bombsquad, Puddle as well as the first person shooter Shadowgun.

    The games are mostly ports of Android games or simulacra of popular games we've all played before but tweaked to play on HDTV screens. There are also many original games that bring a fresh new way to play alone or against a competing player.

    There are also versions of classic hits like Sonic the Hedgehog and Final Fantasy III. Many hope that developers will bring their classic games to OUYA so they can be rediscovered by a new generation of users.

    Rough Start

    OUYA has the potential to create a new niche in console gaming. Leveraging cloud computing for game discovery and distribution as well as affordable hardware and games, could attract gamers who enjoy trying new games but don't want to spend too much.

    OUYA has had a rough start, since 73% of owners have not paid for any games (http://bit.ly/1cnYcZf) and this can hurt perceptions as well as turn off potential developers.

    I am still confident that OUYA has a future. If they can lock down on their hardware's quality control as well as manage their developer and user community well, it could be a very successful gaming play.

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    AppleTV Has More Content, Now It Has To Get Good

    Apple AAPL +1.23% again quietly added more content to its popular yet lightly promoted AppleTV set-top box yesterday, with new offerings from Disney, the music video giant Vevo, The Weather Channel and Smithsonian. Coming just two months after the device received an upgrade that brought HBO Go and Watch ESPN , the continued content rollouts signal a new-found aggressiveness around TV for Apple, which had been moribund for quite some time. What the new content doesn’t yet show is Apple’s hand. The $99 AppleTV has likely crossed the 15 million sold mark by now, but faces new competition from Google GOOG +0.36%‘s $35 Chromecast and Roku’s popular boxes. But competing for sales of low-priced television add-ons is not an end to itself, but rather a means for a larger strategy. If that strategy is a jigsaw puzzle, we can barely see the frame at this point.



    Once again, the content on AppleTV that is traditionally associated with a cable subscription requires one. That means, to watch the new Disney and Disney XD offerings on AppleTV, you’ll need a subscription to one of the 7 supported cable companies (which include Comcast CMCSA +0.82%, Cox, Charter, AT&T T +0.18%, Verizon, Optimum and Midcontinent). Dish and DirecTV are shut out, like they were with ESPN. The reason for this is apparently that Disney-owned stations won’t negotiate for app support with providers separately from their standard negotiations over programming and in the case of the satellite folks, those haven’t come up for a redo yet. Of course, as consumers, none of that matters to you. It just means if you’re among the more than 1/4th of U.S. homes that can’t get the new programming, you’re reminded about how archaic these business models are.

    And that archaic nature is why you also can’t buy any of this programming directly from Apple to run on top of your internet service, but without a cable subscription — the kind of offering that might truly begin to bring about the “capocalypse” that destroys the industry. Earlier this month, I looked at a plan from Sony to offer just such a service and it’s definitely possible Apple is working on one of its own. If it is, though, these apps are a strange stop on the road to such an offering. In fact, Apple already has a dichotomy built into AppleTV. The sports apps for Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, for example, can be ordered without a cable account, but that isn’t true of Watch ESPN, which pays those leagues a fortune to carry their games. ESPN relies on getting its $5+ every month from your cable provider and doesn’t want to upset that relationship.

    But what about Apple? If it wants to follow Sony, it’s hard to make sense of the rumor that the next major launch will be an app that lets you turn your AppleTV into a Time Warner Cable set-top box. That functionality just rolled out on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and provides access to all 300 channels a Time Warner customer would normally get. Adding it to AppleTV would certainly provide additional functionality, but would further muddle the box’s identity: “It’s a cable add-on”. “No it’s a cable-box replacement.” “No it’s a source of direct content.” Flexibility is good to a point, but a really mixed message is less than likely to truly change the way people watch television.

    Not a great box yet either

    The other thing Apple needs to do if it wants to create a revolution in TV watching is to decide how to make the user experience of AppleTV great, because it isn’t at the moment. And new content isn’t helping it get much greater. The “wall of icons” approach that has served the iPhone so well is less appealing on the TV, especially when one compares it to the traditional cable guide that has the advantage of showing you what’s currently on. And that’s an interesting conundrum for this kind of device. The Disney Channel on AppleTV, along with WatchESPN and even The Weather Channel, have this combination of live programming and on-demand offerings that make them very cable-like, but in a way that sometimes forgets that people just like to sit down and watch sometimes.

    Even Netflix is coming to realize with its new queue system, that sometimes we want to turn on the TV and let the programming come to us, without having to think about it. Live TV streams do this well and AppleTV is getting more of them. Vevo will just run music videos in pretty good quality HD on a channel that recalls the early days of MTV. But until I click through to that channel (or any other), I have no idea what’s on. And with AppleTV there is a lot of clicking to move between channels. It can take a half dozen button presses to move from one program to another, during which no video is playing in the corner like on my normal DVR. On top of that, there’s a decent delay for most streams to start showing video when you go to a new channel (or app really) which makes the normally interminable DirecTV channel changing seem lightning fast by comparison.

    When AT&T was preparing to deliver U-verse, one of the design goals was to have the channel changing be nearly instant, even though the system was based entirely on internet protocols, which could have led to a slower-than-cable experience. With the help of Microsoft, they mostly succeeded and while U-verse isn’t perfect by any means, it does deliver on the expectations of TV viewers. The counterargument will be that Netflix doesn’t, yet it’s still wildly successful. But it’s important to remember that for all the people you know who supposedly have canceled cable and only have Netflix or Hulu, the reality is that’s still a small minority of people. None of this is to suggest that Netflix isn’t great at what it does, just that kind of slow navigation won’t cut it for a multichannel TV offering. Things like using the iPhone as a remote can help, but currently it offers nothing more than a touchscreen version of the simplistic AppleTV remote so you’re still left pressing the same button over and over to achieve simple tasks.

    Whatever Apple’s goals are in television, the company is likely guided by what CEO Tim Cook said in May at the AllThingsD conference, “I think many of us would agree that there’s lots of things about the TV experience that can be better.” So far, AppleTV offers some niceties in the way on-demand content is accessed, although not many of them are unique and there are bizarre omissions like the lack of proper queue management in the HBO Go app that had be reaching for a laptop with a web browser. Still, as I finish this, I got to hear some Pink and Justin Timberlake. Then I had to grab the remote when Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop” came on. Progress comes in fits and starts.

  7. #7
    Senior Member 1bigfan13's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about giving Chromecast a try. For only $35 bucks it sounds like it's well worth it.

  8. #8
    El Other Presidente' UncleMilti's Avatar
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    Good stuff Jiggy.

    I like the 4K TV's, but its basically where we were with baby HD when it first came out....it looks killer, but there's really nothing out there that can deliver it.

    Satellite struggles to deliver 1080P, and 99% of the content they do deliver is 1080i, or worse 720p. Cable struggles to deliver 720p. Its hard to believe that either one of those will somehow find the bandwidth and money to deliver the massive amount of bandwidth needed for 4K TV and programming.

    Which sucks because the 4K picture pretty much kicks ass.

  9. #9
    Banned Jiggyfly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UncleMilti View Post
    Good stuff Jiggy.

    I like the 4K TV's, but its basically where we were with baby HD when it first came out....it looks killer, but there's really nothing out there that can deliver it.

    Satellite struggles to deliver 1080P, and 99% of the content they do deliver is 1080i, or worse 720p. Cable struggles to deliver 720p. Its hard to believe that either one of those will somehow find the bandwidth and money to deliver the massive amount of bandwidth needed for 4K TV and programming.

    Which sucks because the 4K picture pretty much kicks ass.
    I did not realize that about cable and satellite I thought it was more about what the TV was able do, how do you know what 1080 you are watching?

  10. #10
    Teh Acester Texas Ace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggyfly View Post
    I did not realize that about cable and satellite I thought it was more about what the TV was able do, how do you know what 1080 you are watching?
    Both your satellite receiver and your TV will tell you what resolution you're viewing it in.

    But you just kind of know.....your receiver can upscale it, but anyone who has been an avid HD user for a long time knows when their picture is 1080P or 720P, and 1080P just isn't broadcasted right now.

    Most everything you see that is sports related is almost always 1080i.

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