Internet-to-TV Adapter Kits for Reliable Wired Home Networking – Two new Internet-to-TV adapters have been introduced by Entropic Communications and Channel Master. They allow consumers and home electronics installers to network connected TVs and Internet devices from any room to their broadband router using existing coax wiring in the home rather than the increasingly popular but less dependable wireless approach. Users can enjoy best quality connections at wired Ethernet speeds from any room in their home. The system supports HD streaming for multi-room DVR, over-the-top services, Blu-ray players, online gaming, and more. One model has a single port and the other has four ports to allow connecting multiple devices to the network.
CEDIA Installer Revenues & Margins Up in 2010 – An annual CEDIA (Custom Home Theater Installation Contractors) survey found that members enjoyed 13% revenue growth and rising profit margins last year despite the depressed market for new home construction. Home theater and media room installs had a smaller share of gross revenues due to diversification into lighting, security, energy management and systems integration. 72% of the 112 companies who responded expect to be offering energy-management products and 49% LED lighting.
Roku 2 Set-Top Players Introduced – The new TV set-top Internet streaming box is more compact than the previous one, has an interactive Bluetooth remote supporting video game play, and offers expanded entertainment offerings. It is available in three versions ranging from $60 to $100. The players are also more energy-efficient, using under two watts of power. They also move up from 720p HD video to 1080p HD and add enhancements to the Netflix experience, including support for Dolby Digital Plus and English subtitles.
Circuit City’s Old DIVX Patents Sold for $750,000 – The Liquidating Trust for the out-of-business Circuit City chain has sold the ill-fated Digital Video Express (DIVX) pay-per-play DVD format technology to Imaging Transfer Co. A spokesman says it “…remains relevant to the areas of compression, distribution, security, usage tracking, anti-piracy, digital media and watermarking.” When introduced in the late 1990s it was feared by the industry that it would drive consumers away from the purchase of DVD players, and in 1999 Circuit City withdrew DIVX. Developed as a way to eliminate users having to drive to video-rental outlets to return their viewed discs, DIVX discs carried a special price allowing them to be viewed for an initial 48-hour period – but only on DIVX-enabled DVD players. Users could purchase additional viewing periods or pay more for unlimited viewing. The special players could also play standard DVDs. Many experts think it was an idiotic idea.
Universal Electronics Sues Logitech Over Remote Control Patents – UEI said Logitech continued to make and sell Harmony universal remotes and remote apps for iOS and Android platforms after a licensing agreement with UEI ran out. A UEI spokesman said the company has positive relationships with much of the consumer electronics industry, but wanted to ensure they they were fairly compensated for the use of their technology.
Spotify = Streamined Music Service – Spotify.com has made its way from Sweden, where it originated, to the U.S. It offers three tiers of service: free (but with commercials), $5 a month unlimited, and $10 a month premium – with offline and mobile phone features. You don’t own the music, but aside from that it complements your home audio system as well as mobile devices, offering access to millions of tunes in stereo, including social networking features, and it will also let you play whatever you already have on your hard drive. One musician retorted, “Is this the end of album sales?”