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Archive for the ‘Smart TV’

Sharp reports huge losses and issues survival warning

November 05, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, mobile phones, Search Clinic, smart phones, Smart TV, Tablets, Telecommunications Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

Sharp has issued a warning about its future saying that it has found it tough to raise money after reporting huge losses.Sharp reports huge losses and issues survival warningIt issued the warning as it forecast a loss of 450bn yen (£3.5 billion) for the year to 31 March 2013.

Sharp, which has struggled amid falling sales and a rising yen, has had its credit rating cut to “junk” status.

It said it was looking to restructure its business in an attempt to return to profitability.

When a firm’s bonds are rated as “junk” it means some institutions may no longer invest in them, making it harder for them to raise fresh capital.

“Sharp is in circumstances in which material doubt about its assumed going concern is found,” the company said in a statement.”

Sharp’s troubles are not isolated. Most of the big Japanese electronics giants have seen their fortunes tumble in recent times.

Japanese electronics makers have been hurt by a slowing demand and falling prices of TVs in key markets.

At the same time, rising competition from low-cost manufacturers coupled with a strong yen – which makes Japanese goods more expensive – has also hit their competitiveness.

Faced with these challenges, Sharp, Sony and Panasonic have all announced plans to restructure their business in an attempt to cut costs and improve profitability.

However, analysts said that while these attempts were a step in the right direction, it was unclear how the firms will drive future profit growth, not least because demand for their key products continued to remain subdued.

BBC closes Ceefax service after 38 years

November 02, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Smart TV, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

BBC Ceefax- the world’s first teletext service has been closed down after 38 years on air.BBC closes Ceefax service after 38 yearsBefore Olympic champion Dame Mary Peters turned off the last of the UK’s analogue TV signals in Belfast, a series of graphics on Ceefax’s front page disappeared down to a small dot.

Ceefax was launched on 23 September 1974 to give BBC viewers the chance to check the latest news headlines, sports scores, weather forecast or TV listings – in a pre-internet era where the only alternative was to wait for the next TV or radio bulletin to be aired.

Its premise was to give viewers free access to the same information that was coming into the BBC newsroom, as soon as the BBC’s journalists had received it.

Ceefax had initially been developed when BBC engineers, exploring ways to provide subtitles to enable viewers with hearing problems to enjoy BBC TV programmes, found it was possible to transmit full pages of text information in the “spare lines” transmitted on the analogue TV signal.

It was called Ceefax, simply because viewers would be able to quickly “see the facts” of any story of the day.

Initially the service was a minority interest, with just a handful of Ceefax-capable TVs in the UK, but it slowly started to gain popularity and the engineering team that developed the service was honoured with a Queen’s Award for innovation.

But the real impetus for viewers came when BBC Television decided to use a selection of Ceefax pages, accompanied by music, before the start of programming each day. Initially called Ceefax AM and Ceefax In Vision, the Pages From Ceefax “programme” continued for 30 years, being broadcast overnight on BBC Two until this week.

As viewers got a small taste of what Ceefax had to offer, millions of Britons during the 1980s invested in new teletext-enabled TV sets which gave them access to the full Ceefax service, which by now included recipe details for dishes prepared on BBC cookery shows, share prices, music reviews and an annual advent calendar.

Its audience peaked in the 1990s when it had 20 million viewers who checked the service at least once a week. Since the launch of the National Lottery in 1994, dozens of jackpot winners have revealed that they first learned their life had been changed when they checked their numbers on Ceefax.

But the launch of the UK’s TV digital signal, and the announcement that the analogue TV signal would disappear in a staged switch-off over five years, meant a slow withdrawal of Ceefax, ending with the final broadcast in Northern Ireland.

Ceefax’s commitment to getting information to viewers as quickly and clearly as possible has been marked by the lifetime achievement award from the Plain English Campaign, the pressure group that calls for the use of concise and clear language in all public communication.

Live YouTube new record for skydiver

October 17, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, internet, Search Clinic, Smart TV, Social Media, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Video Marketing, YouTube

YouTube set a new record for live streaming as the skydiver Felix Baumgartner smashed a number of records with his “edge of space” freefall.Live YouTube new record for skydiverMore than eight million people worldwidse watched on their devices the skydiver break the speed of sound live on Google’s YouTube site.

It is the largest number of concurrent live streams in the website’s history Google claimed.

Mr Baumgartner broke the record for the highest freefall.

He jumped from a capsule taken to 128,100ft (24 miles) above New Mexico in the USA by a giant helium balloon.

It took nine minutes for him to reach the ground.

The adventurer plummeted at an estimated 833.9mph, hitting Mach 1.24 in the process.

The capsule from which the skydiver fell was equipped with cameras to provide a live internet feed to millions of people around the world.

The Red Bull Stratos scientists said the stunt had provided invaluable data for the development of high performance, high altitude parachute systems, and that the lessons learned would inform the development of new ideas for emergency evacuation from vehicles, such as spacecraft passing through the stratosphere.

“Part of this programme was to show high altitude egress, passing through Mach and a successful re-entry back to subsonic speed, because our belief scientifically is that’s going to benefit future private space programmes or high-altitude pilots, and Felix proved that today,” said Art Thompson, the team principal.

Apple drops Google Maps software in new iOS

June 13, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, Apps, Computers, Customer Service, internet, smart phones, Smart TV, Tablets, Technology Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

Apple has unveiled its latest mobile operating system, iOS6, which runs on its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices- but will no longer include Google Maps software.Apple drops Google Maps software in new iOSApple will instead run its own mapping app, which has a high-quality 3D mode on the platform.

Google announced its own 3D mapping software last week on its competing mobile platform, Android.

Both companies have used fleets of planes to capture the imagery, drawing concerns from some privacy campaigners.

Apple’s updated iOS software will be available for general consumers by the autumn, chief executive Tim Cook said.

It will be a free update for owners of  the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS – as well as users of the latest iPad, the iPad 2 and fourth generation iPod touch.

Additional features include “eyes free”, a feature on which Apple said it had worked with car manufacturers to integrate a “Siri button” to activate the iPhone’s voice-operated assistant.

For the first time on Apple’s devices, video calls will be able to be made over a cellular connection, rather than relying on wi-fi.

The company also announced revamped models in its Macbook Pro and Macbook Air ranges.

It’s new Macbook Pro is 0.71 inches thick, with a high-resolution Retina display. It utilises Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor.

Its slimline Macbook Air range has also been upgraded with enhanced graphics and processing capabilities.

Both will offer a free upgrade to OS X Mountain Lion, the latest version of the Mac operating system which is set for release in July.

Among its features is enhanced synchronisation between desktop, laptop and mobile, thanks to iCloud, the company’s cloud-based storage service.

Once again, overhyped predictions that Apple was set to announce a long rumoured television were wrong. September is a more likely date.

UK games sales beat video sales

March 26, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Ecommerce, Gaming, Smart TV, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Video Marketing

Sales of computer games in the UK have surpassed those of videos for the first time according to new research.UK games sales beat video salesThe Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) said sales of £1.93 billion in 2011 made the gaming industry the country’s biggest entertainment sector.

By contrast, sales of DVDs and other video formats totalled £1.80 billion, while music sales came only third with only £1.07 billion in UK sales.

However, in the first 11 weeks of this year, the ERA said video sales were worth more than two times those of games.

By comparison over the whole of last year games accounted for 40.2% of the entertainment market, video for 37.6% and music for 22.2%.

Total sales in 2011 for games, video and music fell year-on-year by 3.3% to £4.80bn.

“This is a dramatic time for the entertainment market,” said Kim Bayley, director general of the ERA.

“It is an historic development for the games sector to have overtaken video last year. Video has long been the biggest entertainment sector. Sales so far this year, however, suggest video is not going down without a fight.”

“The UK is the most competitive retail games market in Europe – as such I don’t believe gaps in the market will be left unplugged for any length of time.”

However it not all profits for gaming companies. The Game Group has today gone into administration.

The business has been hit by competition from online only retailers.

Game Group employs 385 staff at its headquarters in Basingstoke in Hampshire, and about 5,100 in its stores in the UK and Ireland.

CES review- Smart TVs are primed for growth

January 20, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apps, Broadband, Browser, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, smart phones, Smart TV, Technology Companies, Televisions, Uncategorized

Smart TVs sets with the ability to stream online content, run apps and show television channels simultaneously dominated the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) exhibition.CES review- Smart TVs are primed for growthAt the end of 2011 there were 82 million connected TVs in homes worldwide according to research group Informa. By 2016 it forecasts that number will have ballooned to 892 million.

For years much of the tech industry has pursued a vision of the computer as the home’s digital hub. Owners used their PCs to copy photos off digital cameras, download music and movies and then transfer the material to other compatible devices.
Camera built into Samsung smart TV Samsung’s built-in camera allows its TV to recognise gestures and identify users

Advanced users might have connected their laptop to their TVs or streamed content to the sets wirelessly, but the televisions were at most at the end of a spur coming off the hub, rather than its heart.

The roll-out of cloud services allied to faster internet speeds now offers televisions the chance to usurp the PC’s place, and offers users further freedom from the confines of broadcasters’ schedules.

Samsung – the world’s best-selling TV-maker – has been at the forefront of efforts to deliver this vision.

One of the promotional videos it showed at this year’s event claimed watching television by appointment would become a foreign concept in the future, and its executives talk of the TV being the centre of the home.

Users are offered thousands of apps allowing them to use social networks, play video games, run educational software and follow exercise routines.

But smart TV makers recognise that people still want a sit back rather than lean forward experience most of the time.

Furthermore they acknowledge that increasing numbers of homes own other connected devices. So users may still find it preferable to tweet about a show via their tablet or smartphone rather than shrink the TV picture to pull up an app alongside.

However, manufacturers insist there are instances where it makes more sense to have everything on one screen.

While Samsung and Panasonic are developing their own system software, Google is taking a second crack at offering its own smart TV service.

At the show, LG and Vizio unveiled new sets with the search firm’s Android-based software built in. Sony also added the facility to two devices – a set-top box and a Blu-ray player.

The first version of Google TV launched in October 2010 to much fanfare, but proved a flop – enabled devices were criticised for being too expensive, and several TV networks blocked the US-only service from accessing their web content.

This time round a focus on apps may tempt content providers to co-operate, but for now it remains reliant on its own YouTube service as well as streams from Netflix, Amazon and several niche operations.

UK-based Canonical was punting a rival Linux-based Ubuntu operating system at the trade show. It says it offers a solution to clients who do not want to develop their own software and content deals, but feel uncomfortable linking up with Google.

Whichever operating system proves most popular, the internet poses a threat to the rest of the pay-TV market.

Furthermore, it says that recent developments have spurred pay-TV providers on to furnish its boxes with more material.

For now, the smart TV market looks fragmented from the point of view of content, and immature in terms of some of the technologies involved.

But as smart TVs become ever smarter, previous generations of unconnected sets may soon appear only slightly less antiquated than the black and white models of yesteryear.