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Entries in Television (9)

Thursday
Jul262012

Google Introduces Fiber: Fast Broadband/TV Service

 Google(KANSAS CITY, Kan.) -- Google detailed its fast new Internet and TV service called Fiber on Thursday, and residents of Kansas City can now pre-register to get it.

"Google Fiber starts at a speed 100 times faster than most Americans have today," Milo Medin, vice president of access services at Google, said at the Fiber event today in Kansas City.

According to Google, the connection will run at 1,000Mb per second -- much faster than Verizon's 300Mb-per-second FIOS service, which is also fiber based. Fiber-optic connections provide much faster speeds than DSL and cable.

The faster Internet connection will enable faster web surfing, video streaming, and uploading; downloading a movie will take just a few minutes. Google's Network Box, a box it will provide to customers, will serve as a hub for the service in houses, but it will also require special installation to get the hook-up. The box is also a Wi-Fi router and has four Ethernet ports.

Google's also providing the TV offering to compete against other cable and Internet providers. The company will provide the full TV channel lineup and an HD TV box that is capable of recording up to eight shows at the same time. The box has built-in Netflix and YouTube streaming capabilities. It doesn't come with a traditional remote; instead it uses Google's latest Nexus 7 tablet.

The pricing structure is also unique. For $120 a month Kansas City residents can get the Internet connection and TV; there's no construction or installation fee. For $70 a month, they can just sign up to get Internet connectivity.

On top of that Google is offering Internet with no monthly fee. However, to get it you need to pay a $300 construction or installation fee. There is no data cap on any of the plans, meaning customers will get unlimited Internet access every month. The free option is guaranteed for at least seven years and includes the network box.

Google is planning to accommodate everyone in Kansas City, Mo. and Kansas City, Kans., but it is requiring people there to pay $10 to pre-register now with their neighbors. The areas that have the most registrants will be the first to get the service in their neighborhoods -- or what Google is cleverly calling "Fiberhoods."

"We believe Google Fiber is best when you have a critical mass of users," Medin said at the event.

Technology analysts point out that this is just a project.

"It's all part of a larger experiment which is typical Google. Put something out there as a stake in the ground. Learn from the effort and iterate quickly," Michael Gartenberg, Gartner Research Director, told ABC News. "It certainly looks to be a compelling deal at face value, but when it comes to this level of effort, it's all about the details, levels of service and overall experience that matter."

Google has not discussed plans to expand its Fiber offering beyond Kansas City. If you live in Kansas City, you can pre-register here.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun202012

World’s Largest Television? Sharp Releases Giant Flat Screen TV

Sharp Electronics Corporation(NEW YORK) -- Don’t you just hate not being able to see your TV from half a mile away?  Don’t worry.  Sharp has your back.

The company has just released what is said to be the world’s largest LED flat screen television. It is four feet tall and 6 feet 8 inches long, with a 90-inch screen measured diagonally.  The television, named the Sharp Aquos LC-90LE745U, is as long as NBA star Lebron James is tall.

Despite its size, the TV weighs in at comparatively light 114 pounds, largely because it is only five inches thick.

Consumer Reports has yet to examine the television in depth, but said, “Sharp has definitely take the lead in larger TV screen sizes.” It said the company’s televisions had traditionally done well in past reviews, despite a history of “relatively narrow viewing angles.”

The television is also loaded with extra features. According to Consumer Reports, “The LC-90LE745U is a full-featured, 3D-capable 1080p LCD set that includes an edge LED backlight, 240Hz anti-blur technology, built-in Wi-Fi, and Sharp’s SmartCentral Internet platform with access to apps, YouTube videos, and CinemaNow, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Vudu streaming movies and TV shows. The LC-90LE745U also has a full Web browser and can make Skype video calls when used with an optional webcam. The TV uses active-3D technology and comes with two sets of active-3D glasses.”

But make sure to check your bank account before lining up to buy this wall-sized set. The Aquos is priced at a whopping $10,999.99.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb082012

Creating a Smarter Reality Show with Entrepreneurial Ideas

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOULDER, Colo.) -- A group of young social innovators with ideas that might change the world spent three months living in a house having their lives taped 24/7 for an online reality show.

It's called the Unreasonable Institute and was created during a light-bulb moment by Daniel Epstein, along with fellow University of Colorado alumni Teju Ravilochan and Tyler Hartung.

"We're very intentional about not making this into reality TV. We wanted this to be real TV," Epstein said. "We want to be showing the struggles, the ups and downs and the wins of entrepreneurship."

Competition was stiff. More than 300 people applied from 65 countries to attend the 32-day program nestled in the foothills of Boulder, Colo., and 26 were selected.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

"The Unreasonable Institute is an international accelerator for early-stage entrepreneurs who are wielding entrepreneurship as a mechanism for combating social challenges, and they're trying to take those to scale," Epstein said.

The institute's name comes from a quotation by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw: "All progress depends on the unreasonable man." But these entrepreneurs who are selected believe they can realistically affect the lives of at least 1 million people.

Some of the ideas: utilizing worms to increase agricultural yield; providing solar cookstoves to rural regions in the Himalayan Mountains; or tackling anemia through iron fortification and testing. One young woman literally reinvented the wheel.

The water wheel is a 25-gallon drum that moves five times the amount of water possible than traditional methods, which is five gallons carried on the head, Cynthia Koenig, inventor and CEO of Wello, said. "So not only is it alleviating women and girls from this tremendous physical burden of water collection but it's also reducing the time burden. Women and girls spend about 25 percent of their time each day collecting water," she said.

Daniel and his team at the institute match the early-stage entrepreneurs with mentors such as the chief of technology at Hewlett-Packard, as well as investors who come to stay in the house and help them bring their ideas to scale.

"It's amazing what Unreasonable will do," said Myshkin Ingawale, who raised money at the institute for his company Biosense, which is helping to monitor anemia in India.

"We call it accidental productivity. So you have 26 people with ideas to change the world and they are put together in this frat house which they call the mansion. Synergy is the perfect word to describe it."

When ABC News stopped by the institute, ER Executive Producer Neal Baer was offering mentorship to the 26 entrepreneurs, teaching them how to use good storytelling techniques to help raise funds.

"When you are pitching to a venture capitalist, I want to be moved," Baer told the fellows. "The thing I found that moves venture capitalists is they want to know the story. They need to see the numbers but if they can't see it, then they're not going to be involved."

The do-gooders get by with barely any sleep for six weeks. By day, the fellows might go to the mountains with a mentor such as Baer, or potential investor. They also discuss their ideas at workshops, or take part in a large pitch where entrepreneurs present their companies to the community for feedback. By night, they have dinner at a huge table straight out of a scene from Beauty and the Beast.

"At the dinner table, we try to meet with random people we don't know so we can mingle a little bit, dinner's supposed to be fun," said Mohamed Ali Niang, CEO of Malo Traders, an organization fortifying rice in Mali.

And then it's off to town out to blow off a bit of steam. After all what is a revolution without a little dancing?

The program culminates as the entrepreneurs travel to San Francisco pitching their ideas to a group of investors, and then it's back to Boulder for the "Unreasonable Climax" one last final pitch to the community. The whole idea is to get these ideas funded and brought to scale.

This year, you can help decide who gets to go by going online to unreasonableinstiute.org/marketplace. It might be one way you can make the world a better place.

"Take Mohamed Salem, he's s providing renewable energy to off-the-grid customers in the deserts of Palestine and Israel, getting Jewish and Muslim communities to work together at the same time," Epstein said. "Philip Wilson from Guatemala is providing clean drinking water to families for $35 a year through a brilliant water filtration device they've developed. They have sold over 53,000 filters benefiting over 300,000 people in the last three years. The stories go on and on."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep262011

Netflix CEO: Company Has 'Sincere Regret' over Handling of Service Changes

PRNewsFoto/Netflix, Inc.(LOS GATOS, Calif.) -- Netflix "moved too quickly" in making changes to its subscription plans, which caused widespread outrage among its customer base, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said in an exclusive interview with Nightline.

"We moved too quickly," Hastings told ABC News' John Donvan. "We didn't give it enough thought. We didn't give it enough explanation, enough integration, and you know, that's legitimately caused our customers to be angry."

The company caught vicious backlash from subscribers after Netflix announced last week it was separating its DVDs-by-mail and live streaming services. The announcement came after Netflix had said in July it also would be raising its subscription costs by as much as 60 percent, starting Sept. 1.

"We made a big mistake in the way we communicated it," Hastings said. "We're apologizing, and we're trying to build this great service for [our customers]."

Since the announcements, more than 600,000 customers have canceled their subscriptions.

"It's a big setback, there's no question about that," Hastings said.

Netflix's blog and Facebook page became inundated with negative comments and Netflix's stocks plummeted 50 percent.

"It's reading some of those comments that made me realize that I really did regret the way that we handled that communication," Hastings said.

In response, Hastings, who was named Forbes' "2010 Business Person of the Year," sent an apology email to Netflix's 24 million customers, starting the letter with, "I messed up. I owe you an explanation."

Hastings also announced last week that the company's DVDs-by-mail service would now be called "Qwikster" and Netflix would be just for streaming.

"It's not a marketing tactic, OK?" Hastings said of the letter. "It's an expression of our genuine, sincere regret about the way we handled the communication with people. We've worked really hard to serve and built a lot of trust and loyalty, and we didn't respect that in the way that we wish we had."

But another hiccup surfaced: Netflix didn't secure the @Qwikster Twitter handle rights before Hasting made his announcement. It is currently used by a man named Jason Castillo.

"I think we were just moving too fast," Hastings said. "Sometimes, the thing that makes you great, your speed, can trip you up, and so, you know, we need to be a little bit more thoughtful as we move."

Hastings told Donvan that while his company didn't communicate the changes with its customers well, the decision to split the company in two was the "right move internally."

"There's no question," Hastings said. "In terms of customers, what we should have found is more ways to make it transparent to the customer, so it was less of a change.

Established in 1997, Netflix launched its DVDs-by-mail-only service in 1999, then incorporated the live-streaming service last year. When Hastings spoke with Nightline in 2009, even then he said he knew that streaming would become a huge priority.

"Eventually in the very long term, it's unlikely that we'll be on plastic media. So, we've always known that," he said at the time. "That's why we named the company Netflix and not DVDs by Mail."

And that hasn't been the end of Netflix's worries: Other heavyweight media companies have used Netflix's recent mishaps as a springboard to launch their video-streaming ventures.

Amazon.com Inc., which launched a free on-demand video service to its Prime shipping members in February, signed a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Monday to stream Fox movies and TV shows, including the popular shows 24 and Arrested Development. The company already has a deal with CBS Corp. to stream 2,000 TV show episodes to its Prime members.

Even Blockbuster, which Netflix forced into bankruptcy court and was bought out by TV provider Dish Network for $234 million earlier this year, is getting back into the game. Blockbuster announced a new DVDs-by-mail and Internet video streaming bundle for $10 a month -- roughly what Netflix used to charge users before it raised its prices.

Not to mention Netflix has been competing with the likes of Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Hulu.com.

Despite it all, Netflix continues marching on. The company signed a multi-year licensing deal with Dreamworks Monday to stream its movies, including Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, and TV specials, starting in 2013.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep062011

Report: Only Five Super Bowl Ad Slots Remain Available

Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Despite a dismal economy, companies are again paying big bucks for the chance to advertise during the Super Bowl. The National Football League has yet to officially kick off its 2011 season, yet all but five 30-second spots for the upcoming 2012 Super Bowl have already been taken -- at the princely cost of $3.5 million each -- a rep for NBC tells USA Today.

"We expect to sell out totally before the end of the year," says Seth Winter, head of sales for NBC Sports. Advertisers who pony up for the Super Bowl must also buy advertising on other NBC Sports programming, Winter acknowledges.

Some advertisers who've already revealed they're coming back to the big dance include GoDaddy.com, Sketchers, Teleflora, Kia, Century 21 realtors and Pepsi, which will feature the winner of The X Factor in a 30-second spot.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
May162011

Media and Ad Executives Eye Baby Boomers

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Television executives are shifting their attention to the marginalized TV viewers aged 55 and above. According to a New York Times article, baby boomers are financially more stable with a lower unemployment rate than their younger counterparts.

Advertisers and media leaders began catering to the baby boomers in the 1960s and continued the trend of focusing on younger viewers in the age range of 18 to 54. Over the years, however, shows featuring older cast members have proved competitive and forced the shift of advertising dollars to this more lucrative market.

According to The New York Times, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows people aged from 45 to 64 earn average median weekly earnings of over $800 while those aged 20 to 24 earned just over half that at $454.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov162010

Pre-Black Friday Bargains: Why It Pays to Wait

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Black Friday is a cultural phenomenon in which consumers take part in the thrill of the deal. This year, the mania is more intense than ever. Black Friday deals have been leaked two weeks early –- many posted on Facebook -– all to get you in the mood to buy.

So where are the deals, and is it worth it to wait? Many retailers have to guess almost a year early how many big-ticket items, like televisions, to order. If they overbuy, you get the deals.

At Walmart, for example, an Emerson 32-inch LCD HD TV that typically goes for $328 has been slashed to $198. Target and others have similar deals. But the deepest discounts this year will be on some of the biggest sets. Best Buy is offering a 50-inch Panasonic plasma set -– regular price $999 –- for $699 after Thanksgiving. At Sears, there’s a 55-inch Samsung LCD for almost $1,000 off.

It's not just the big-ticket items like TVs where deals can be found. Retailers are spending loads of money to get you into their stores, so they're going to do everything they can to make sure you leave with a shopping bag or two.

Other hot deals include a five-piece luggage set for $38.88 at JCPenney and KitchenAid Cutlery, on sale for $80. Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-book reader is $99.99 after having been reduced from $149.99.

And, of course, there are the toys. Zhuzhu pets, one of last year’s must-have holiday items, are $4 at Walmart, 50 percent off the regular $8 sale price. At Toys R Us, Buzz Lightyear and Lincoln Logs are each 50 percent off.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct162010

Blackout: Fox Pulls Programming from Cablevision

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- More than 3 million New York-area households lost access to Fox programming overnight, when the network’s parent company pulled its channels from Cablevision as the result of an ongoing dispute over programming fees.

“Cablevision already pays News Corp. more than $70 million a year for its channels,” Cablevision said in a statement. “News Corp. is demanding more than $150 million a year for the same exact programming.”

The outages include FOX5 and MY9 in New York, and FOX29 in Philadelphia. FOX Business Network, NatGeo Wild and FOX Deportes were among the News Corp.-owned network’s to be blacked out.

"We deeply regret that Cablevision refuses to recognize the value of our programming,” said FOX5 and MY9 Vice President and General Manager Lew Leone.

Negotiations between the two sides continue.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

(NEW YORK) -- More than 3 million New York-area households lost access to Fox programming overnight, when the network’s parent company pulled its channels from Cablevision as the result of an ongoing dispute over programming fees.

Cablevision already pays News Corp. more than $70 million a year for its channels,” Cablevision said in a statement. “News Corp. is demanding more than $150 million a year for the same exact programming.”

The outages include FOX5 and MY9 in New York, and FOX29 in Philadelphia. FOX Business Network, NatGeo Wild and FOX Deportes were among the News Corp.-owned network’s to be blacked out.


"We deeply regret that Cablevision refuses to recognize the value of our programming,” said FOX5 and MY9 Vice President and General Manager Lew Leone.

Negotiations between the two sides continue.


Monday
Oct042010

Google TV: The Future of Interactive Television?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- First, Google revolutionized Web searches. Now it's trying to reinvent the way you watch TV.

Inside a top-secret lab in Silicon Valley, programmers are putting the finishing touches on a new product called Google TV. The company says this new device will take all the best features of watching television, surfing the Web, playing online games, and connecting with friends on Twitter and Facebook, and combine them into a single experience.

With Google TV, users can channel-surf between traditional TV shows, websites, online video, social media, and eventually programs recorded on a DVR, all with just a few clicks of the remote. (The DVR function has not yet been worked out with all major cable and satellite providers.)

Google is betting that it will transform TV the same way smartphones transformed the telephone.

The device is expected to hit store shelves later this month. It will be marketed as a stand-alone unit that can be attached to an existing TV, and also as a built-in feature in Sony TVs and Blu-Ray DVD players.

Google TV already has competition from Apple, which markets a system called Apple TV. Apple's device -- a sleek little black box -- provides access to TV shows, movie downloads, online music, photos and more. Amazon and Netflix are also looking at new ways to provide immediate content for viewers to turn watching TV into a more interactive experience.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio