Latest Trends in Smart TV – Could Apple Win?

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Smart TVs are television sets that can retrieve content from the Internet and offer built-in applications for streaming music and movies, apps for social networking, apps for news, weather, sports, games, YouTube and more. In addition to using apps, one of the most appealing factors for tech-savvy consumers is voice activation technology to control TV sets.

According to DisplaySearch, a leading provider of reliable information about the display-related industries, connected TVs are forecast to grow to over 123 million shipments in 2014 (at a 30% compound annual growth rate). The market is now developing beyond mature regions like Western Europe and Japan. Emerging markets play a major role in this growth. With the improvements in the broadband infrastructure, the adoption of connected TVs is a natural next step in TV feature innovation. Eastern Europe is expected to grow from 2.5 million connected TVs shipped in 2010 to over 10 million in 2014. In addition to that, 33% of flat panel TVs sold in China in 2013 will have the Internet capability.

DisplaySearch also forecasts that the connected TV market will become fragmented and increase in complexity. One group of TV sets is supposed to feature basic video on demand and appeal to consumers who expect television to remain a passive experience. Those who want something more substantial will find interesting other TV sets offering configurable apps, sophisticated search and navigation engines, as well as advanced user interfaces.

The main contemporary connected TV platforms include Samsung Smart TV, LG Smart TV, Mitsubishi Stream TV, Panasonic Viera Connect, Sony Bravia, Toshiba NetTV, Apple TV, Google TV, TiVo, Liberty Global’s Horizon and Yahoo! Connected TV. Samsung, with around 20 million apps downloaded by the end of January 2012, is the segment leader, followed by Panasonic and LG.

However, the biggest shake-up in the television industry is going to cause Apple’s much-talked-of TV set. It promises to revolutionize television like once the iPad hit the market. Steve Jobs was quoted in his official biography saying that he “finally cracked the case” of an integrated TV. The new iTV (alleged name) is expected to be completely easy to use, seamlessly synced with other Apple’s devices and with the iCloud. At the moment Apple with its $99 set-top box Apple TV seems to be doing very well, with 2.8 million units sold in 2011.

We are constantly hearing rumors related to the expected Apple’s product, its features, price, and release date. CLSA Group views Apple TV hardware as a 2013 event. According to the estimations of ITG Industry Investment Research, the new iTV set could increase the company’s market cap by 10%, or $60 billion. Apple, already the world’s most valuable company, has recently hit the $600 billion level.

Analyst Peter Misek from Jefferies, a global securities and investment banking group, doesn’t expect the device to be called iTV. He suggests the new television could be called “iPanel” which can reflect its potential as a hub for gaming, media and more. The iPanel name also follows the “iP” format of other Aplle’s products, like the iPod, iPhone and the iPad. However, it is just a guess from the analyst. Misek expects that an Apple television will have a $1,250 average selling price.

The success of Apple’s products, like the iPod, the iPhone, and iPad, are much about the design. The iTV (let’s take this name) is supposed to have superior quality and excellent design. The list of possible features includes the following ones:

  • An aluminum construction;
  • FaceTime video calling;
  • Siri-based remote voice control;
  • 42-inch HD screen;
  • iOS operating system;
  • iCloud support;
  • Control from the iPhone or the iPad;
  • Access to Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, etc. (same as on the existing Apple TV);
  • Content sharing and media streaming from Apple’s devices.

Obviously, we’ll soon witness the appearance of a new smart TV from Apple that is going to bring new changes to the TV market. And, yes, Apple may win!

Industries and Technology Areas:

Industries: mass media, television

Technology Areas: Smart TV, connected TV, Smart TV applications, TV application development, software development

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LDS Art and Media

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In 1986 – 1987 the Mormon church released films to the dating back from the 1940s to more contemporary. The films were placed in a series which is commonly called “Church Films”. These films were in a 27 VHS set. At this time not everybody had a VCR and DVDs were not invented. Most churches in North America were setup with a television and VCR. Each library was stocked with these films. They were available to the general public, however, most individual homes were not equipped with home theater systems. Most LDS church libraries still have these films or at least a portion of these films. Many youth in the 1980s and 1990s will remember “Johnny Lingo” or “The Phone Call”. However, these films did not actually replace filmstrips, an older technology, until the late 90s.

Films strips are 35 mm still framed images that are projected by light onto a wall or white screen. An audio tape provides the sound. When the slide needs to be changed you simply turn a dial on the projector, and a small beep or buzz indicates at what point during the presentation the slide needs to be changed.

As VHS tapes were replacing film strips, the Mormon church authorized some film strips be converted to VHS; they were just still images that were transitioned.

Many people think that LDS cinema started with the film “God’s Army”; however the LDS church has been producing films since the 1940s. These films might never have been released in conventional theaters, but film has been an important part of LDS culture for many years.

LDS films are a form of art. The LDS motion picture studio is located in Provo, Utah and actively creates films to this day. Many of these films can be seen in Salt Lake City as a way to introduce people to the Church. There have been three major films played exclusively in Salt Lake City.

  • “Legacy” – a film about the early pioneers
  • “Testaments” – a historical drama of Christ’s visit to the America’s from the Book of Mormon
  • “Joseph Smith The Prophet of the Restoration” – a film on the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith

LDS art can be in many forms, and one great form of art is film. LDS people love film and believe that it is a medium for sharing their faith with others as well as to strengthen their own testimonies.

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Media Server – 5 Simple Steps to Convert Your Old PC Into a Media Streamer

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Yesterday while hanging out in my attic among all the old stuff I come across my old PC. This computer has been laying there for the last for at least a couple years. Thinking of discarding it properly I started searching for articles on disposal on the internet. While searching for couple of minutes I found a site suggesting the idea of converting an old PC into a media server. Having some bucks to spare and some free time on my hands I decided to go for it.

Just What is a Media Server?

First thing first I am sure some of you are wondering like I initially was, just what is a Media Server. A Media Server is a PC system designed to receive and record TV programs, play back video and handle the digital music and photo libraries available in its storage through a Television unit connected to it. The main components are a robust storage system with ample hard drive space and processing power and Random Access Memory sufficient enough to deliver seamless playback of HD content.

1. Check the performance of your old pc:

Analyzing the old PC, I figured out that it has a 2.4 GHz Pentium IV processor with 256 MB of RAM. While checking the minimum specifications I found that it may struggle when trying to play the HD 1080 videos so I decided to go for a RAM upgrade to 1 GB and stick to the same processor in order to save some bucks in case I also needed to upgrade the hard drive.

2. Check storage; examine hard drive capacity and speed:

The storage capacity of the old PC is about 40 GB IDE drive; which is much less as compared to the latest media servers. Generally for a media server you should have a capacity of 500gb to have enough space to hold the equivalent of 100s of DVDs. Speed of the hard drives is also a consideration. Luckily both of these problems can be corrected with a raid hard drive array.

RAID vs Single Hard drive:

The RAID array consists of more than one hard drives embedded as a single unit for high capacity and speed than the single hard drive with an external backup. Depending on how the RAID array is configured you can also configure the array for back up security. This is an added benefit as no data would be lost in the event of a hard drive crash.

3. Think about purchasing a Digital TV tuner Card:

A digital TV tuner card is a basic component of media server used to receive and record video content from the local cable or satellite system to the local hard drive. This card is very useful as it will allow to input TV into your PC and record your favorite shows. With several companies charging fees as high $6 per DVR box per month, the one time cost of a TV tuner card could save you quite a bit of money in the long run.

4. Choosing software for you media server:

Windows XP Media Center Edition is a great choice of software for a media server; having a beautiful graphic interface and easy configuration, it is however a bit expensive. If you are strapped for cash Linux based operating systems might be a good choice as they are totally free and have Myth   TV  software for  media  server purpose; but they can be hard to configure.

5. Connecting Server to the TV:

The last step involved in this project is establishing a connection between the PC and the TV. You now have to make the decision on whether to connect the media server through a wired or wireless connection. Wireless systems can be more convenient and will allow you to access your media server from throughout your house. Furthermore in terms of the placement of the wireless systems the server can be hidden out of view. The drawback to wireless systems is that they can be expensive. If only a single TV unit is present then simply running a wire from the server to the TV may be better both in terms of cost and speed of setup.

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