Digital Home News Roundup: Pre-CES Edition

Posted on 06. Jan, 2011 by in Event

The Consumer Electronics Show is kicking off and TheZSpace’s Chuck Freedman is already knee-deep in the next-gen digital home technology headed for your living room in 2011. Since Chuck is gathering news and snapping photos first-hand, I’ll let him provide in-depth coverage. What I’d like to do is cover some of the announcements leading up to CES, including some that may define the future of digital home entertainment.

Designer displays
Companies like Samsung are posing the question ‘Why does a TV need to be shaped the same way it has been for decades?”
Samsung Curvy 3D TV
The question is, which trend will last longer: designer displays, or 3D? (via Gizmodo)

Microsoft TV?
Building on the success of XBox and Windows Media Center, Microsoft is planning on challenging Apple with their own $200 set top box. (via Apple Insider)

The Netflix Button
In a brilliant branding move, Netflix is leveraging it’s heft by convincing major manufacturers to include one-button-press access to it’s wildly popular streaming service. The ‘Netflix button’ is planned for Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players, and other set top box remotes.
The Netflix Button on a remote
(via PR Newswire)

Snapstick wants to stream from everywhere
Unfortunate-logo aside, upcoming startup Snapstick has signed a deal with hardware vendor D-Link to provide a software-based solution to stream content from any device to the TV. Check out the demo below:

(via Read Write Web)

OnLive may have found an extra life
OnLive may have just found it’s extra life. Oft disregarded streaming game platform OnLive is a service that aims to move gaming to the cloud, coaxing publishers with the lofty concept of one platform to develop for, and no hardware overhead for discs. The service appeals to hardcore gamers in that it can be played on Mac, PC, or their seemingly purpose-defeating set-top box. OnLive provides full HD games, rentals, demos, and an embedded social network that allows users to capture and share videos (known as “brag clips” with other gamers. The difference is, that full HD games are rendered on dedicated OnLive servers, and then streams the resulting images in near-real time to the player. I beta-tested the service back when it required a hard-wired connection, and before OnLive offered their hardware console, and playing Assassin’s Creed II on my MacBook Pro was an extremely impressive experience.

OnLive service
Today, there is big news for OnLive. In addition to an iPad app [direct iTunes link] and other smartphone apps, OnLive has inked a deal with Vizio, the top-selling TV brand in the United States, to include it’s services baked in. That’s not all, according to sources, the service is planning to be bundled with Blu-Ray players and tablet devices. Keep an eye on this company during CES this week. I have a feeling that you’ll be hearing the name OnLive quite a bit in the future. (via MarketWire)

The contextual living room
Now onto what I consider to be the most excited advancement I’ve seen on TVs, probably ever. Fast Company Design has posted a list of 12 of 2010’s Best Ideas in Interface Design. Somehow all the way down at number 6, is MetaMirror. While it’s only a concept at the moment, Ireland-based Notion is showing us what the TV experience of tomorrow could look like.

MetaMirror iPad app

The idea is that the companion app iPad (arguably) enhances TV consumption, using contextual-advertising and content metadata to give viewers instant access to products and detailed information about the current program. The quote from Fast Company:

[MetaMirror] would turn television into a full-blown interactive experience. Run on an iPad or another secondary device, it would supplement standard programming with online content, like grocery shopping lists, if you’re watching a cooking show; real-time statistics and merch, if you’re watching a football game; and links to Ticketmaster and iTunes, if you’re watching a music video. Basically, it would make TV better at doing what it’s designed to do: sell stuff. How has this not gotten snapped up by some voracious TV exec?

I personally cannot wait to see how this progresses. Expect a more in-depth post, right here on TheZSpace. For now, I’ll sign off and await the exciting news and announcements from CES via Chuck. Tune in next time and be sure to follow @TheZSpace on Twitter for all of the latest updates!

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