Archives For HDTV


As a soon-to-be FiOS TV subscriber, I was disappointed to hear in May that Verizon was putting the brakes on the rollout of its latest guide software update. But today I hear that IMG 1.9 is back on track. I noted a comment in the DSLReports forums yesterday suggesting the rollout would resume and decided to do a little of my own digging. Sure enough, a very reliable source tells me Verizon will start the guide updates again next week, and the new software should be deployed nationally within a few months. As a reminder, here are some of the new features coming with IMG 1.9. Full release notes available here.


  • 16×9 guide
  • In-home streaming to and from HD DVRs
  • Re-engineered search function
  • More guide data
  • Support for Descriptive Video Service, native pass through, 1080p, and MP3 and MPEG-4 decoding on select devices


I’d like to suggest an update to this Google TV FAQ, as the schedule has clearly been blown (and by any or most objective measures, Google’s initial foray into television services has been a failure).

Expect many more applications after we open the Android Market on Google TV in early 2011.

“Early 2011″ has obviously come and gone while Google TV has remained largely stagnent. Yeah, it provides a few nifty tricks, like that video overlay, and there’s tons of potential. But the interface remains a mess and a large percent of the web video we want to get at is blocked (by the providers). And then there’s all the apps. Rather, the lack of.

That’s the bad news. The good news, unveiled at Google’s developer conference this week, is what looks to be a significant reboot of the Goole TV platform this summer. Based on Android 3.1 (Honeycomb), and as reported by NewTeeVee, the new experience more efficiently directs folks to the features they’re seeking… including a full blown application Market. As you can tell from the screengrabs, the refreshed UI appears at once both more sophisticated and more streamlined. I only hope early adopters of original Sony and Logitech Google TV hardware and rewarded for their gamble with an update. Continue Reading…

While HDTV Skype video chat isn’t entirely new, Logitech’s joining the fray – bringing their webcam expertise to Skype-enabled 2011 Panasonic Viera televisions. What looks to be the same fantabulous HD USB camera/mic array offered to (the very few) Logitech Revue Google TV customers will ship later this month as the Logitech TV Cam for Skype at $150. While not inexpensive, for what’s essentially an accessory, I found my Logitech video chat experiences on Google TV surprisingly compelling. More so than Apple’s Facetime, even. Yet, it was also a very limited experience in being tied solely to Logitech’s network/community. Whereas the Skype ecosystem is massive. And as we contemplate our next living room TV, Panasonic just inched slightly ahead of Samsung in the hunt.

In an attempt to produce that oh-so-elusive all-in-one “God Box”, EchoStar has introduced the SlingLoaded HDS-600RS to the UK. Not only is it a dual tuning Freesat+ DVR that offers Internet apps (BBC iPlayer is up first), it also provides integrated Slingbox placeshifting capabilities. Allowing one to enjoy those 150 free satellite channels around the home… or anywhere beyond.

The inscrutably named HDS-600RS is available for pre-order from Amazon, ships next week, and clocks in at £350 — which equates to about $575 USD. On one hand, that seems somwhat pricey and you’d think EchoStar might have provided something more than a 500GB drive or thrown in the mobile apps to sweeten the deal. On the other, there’s a lot of functionality to be had here and it’s not like owners will be burdened with box or content subscriptions/fees.

Slashgear went hands on with a company rep and shot video of the box in action (and where I swiped the UI shots from) – check it out!

Click to enlarge:


Back in November, Yahoo announced their intention to expand their Connected TV platform beyond television manufacturer curated widgets into a full fledged app store. The plan was set to go live in March. Well, here we are. And the schedule’s been blown:

It’s not clear at this point when the store will be open for consumers.

Mari’s prescient Yahoo TV post headline out of CES sums it up: “Falling for Yahoo Again, Knowing Heartbreak Ahead”. Good ideas are not enough. Timely execution and partner support are also requisite.

As the owner of a Yahoo Connected TV, my initial excitement (Netflix, Vudu, weather!) has been replaced by fear and loathing. I don’t know if I should be directing my ire towards Vizio or Yahoo, but any potential gain I might have received from integrated Internet widgets has been offset by platform unreliability. As in: my television has a predisposition to reboot while accessing apps. Adding insult to injury, when the TV manages to stay up, half my widgets say the network is unavailable… contradicted by the other half that report no issues. Unfortunately, I’m not alone. From GigaOm:

Here’s something I didn’t imagine when I hooked up my brand-new Vizio XVT553SV TV last week: It crashed. Again. And again. And again. The culprit? Turns out the “smart” Internet apps made my television really dumb.

Continue Reading…

Our very own US-based TiVo Community has launched a dedicated area to discuss the new Virgin Media TiVo. And, thus far, commentary seems somewhat and eerily familiar to feedback from TiVo Premiere early adopters (running the Flash-based, high definition user interface).

First up, whereas our hardware features a dual core processor that actually runs on a single core, it seems that still only 2 of the 3 Virgin Media DVR tuners are currently active. Next, one of my Premiere complaints has been a somewhat sluggish interface, and this sentiment is echoed by several Virgin UK customers – and can be seen in the video above.

Having said that, this is new hardware (Cisco) on a new network (Virgin) for TiVo… featuring what may be the completed HDUI. And boy does it look sharp. In fact, some of our UK counterparts suggest Virgin Media acquire TiVo.

Today’s deal of the day comes to us via Dell’s official eBay account… Where they appear to be liquidating a number of new 32″ Sony Bravia LCD HDTVs.

We’re probably in agreement that 32″ is too small to act as a primary television. However, it could be a reasonable size for a bedroom or den. Sony is generally well regarded in this space, but what makes this television (KDL32EX40B) exceptionally compelling is the built-in Blu-ray player (along with connected Internet services including Pandora, Amazon VOD, Netflix). Now I can’t personally vouch for this set, but if I had a need I’d probably make a purchase given the features in relation to that $470 price tag.

Two cautions: In a TV of this size, you can probably assume the speakers aren’t anything to write home about and “wireless ready” is not “wireless” – so you’ll want Ethernet nearby for those “Smart TV” services. Both the eBay listing and Amazon page spell out the specs.

(Thanks, Jon!)