Transition from Analog to DTV Not Perfect – According to James E. O’Neal, Technology Editor of TV Technology, although NTSC analog TV broadcasting came to a halt on June 12, 2009, the fat lady hasn’t yet finished singing. Many viewers were confused by frequency changes, and some of the stations – especially those who stayed in the channels 2-6 area – actually lost thousands of viewers due to coverage problems in those lower frequencies since the FCC required too low power output at transmitters. He pointed out that there was inattention to what the ancillary channels often were carrying. He also found aspect ratios inconsistent and the scaling not that great. (This is true both at the stations and at sets. Whereas in analog days you saw green or blue faces where no one cared about properly adjusting color, now it is stretched or squashed people due to no one caring about aspect ratio settings…Ed.) Another of our pet peeves was addressed by O’Neal: “I observed a lot more audio/video synchronism problems than should be expected this far into the digital broadcasting era. Poor lip sync is really annoying to most viewers. With the excellent tools developed during the last few years [for stations], it’s not that hard to detect and control…Ditto loudness issues.”
Samsung Now Leading Consumer Technology Company in the World – During demonstrations at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Samsung indicated that Smart TV will be the mainstay of their consumer technology push this year. The majority of their thin TVs are Internet-enabled with embedded chipsets and operating software, enabling users to download applications and content from the Internet, while helping them watch videos and applications from other mobile gadgets. According to the Wall Street Journal, Samsung grabbed about 51% of the market share in the global Smart TV category, and that the total number of applications available was now over 200. Samsung also demonstrated a new Windows-based tablet fitting into a keyboard base – allowing it to operate similar to a computer notebook. Despite a consumer backlash, Samsung is determined to keep 3D technology part of their Smart TV offerings.
Sony’s New Line of Wi-Fi-enabled Devices – Sony introduced their HomeShare line of Wi-Fi-enabled audio devices at CES, which could push the technology mainstream. HomeShare devices let you play audio files throughout your home from one shared music library or direct from the Internet. The devices include networked speakers, a network NAS device with a built-in iPod dock, and a universal remote for controlling the system. The products use the 802.11b/g technology and work with any Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)-certified computer or Blu-ray player. DLNA has been around for years, but only now is it seeing widespread consumer support. Most new PCs and media extenders, including PlayStation and Xbox, are DLNA compliant. Free apps for the iPhone, Android phones or iPod Touch are available to control the system. Music can be streamed to any compatible speaker in the house from Internet services such as Pandora, vTuner and Slacker Internet Radio. Home Share products will be available this Spring. Sony’s Video On Demand premium video-streaming service and their Music Unlimited streaming music service were also demonstrated.