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Rovi, TiVo, and The Battle of TV Guides

2015 marked a milestone in a relatively less known war that has been plaguing the tech and entertainment industry. This is the patent war. This is a war between what are called as patent trolls and the average organizations. Patent trolls, as they are known, are some obscure companies that buy relatively unknown patents and start bullying organizations by threatening them with lawsuits for intellectual property infringements. Whether the patents they actually own do cover the products or services offered by the other organization is highly debatable. But, fearing lawsuits, most companies simply settle for a sum. Some companies are not intimidated, and they fight their battles in the court. In some cases, they win, while in others, they fail.

If this sounds all too familiar, that is because many analysts feel that, more often than not, Apple vs. Samsung lawsuits fall in this category. Whether Apple does possess a valid justification or is simply trying to weed out the competition the dirty way is something that is for the judiciary to decide. But industry experts agree that a desperate change is needed in how patents are issued and how patent licensing should work, so that companies with genuine cases are not strong-armed by the patent trolls.

rovi-tv-guide

If you are wondering what Rovi and TiVo have to do anything with all this, well, the answer is quite complicated. As you must know, Rovi provides TV programming guides. Roughly about 18 million American households use Rovi TV guides through various apps and devices. But, have you ever wondered what is so special about Rovi guides? Why doesn’t everyone else build their own TV guide? It’s not like Rovi is the only company which has a copyright on making TV guides, right? Well, the simple answer is that Rovi has about more than 1,500 issued and pending patents in the US alone. Because of its patents, it has intellectual property rights on many features and functions of TV guides in general. That’s why most other companies simply go with Rovi when they offer TV programming guides. Even the giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung, Sony, Apple, and Comcast simply prefer to sign licensing deals with Rovi rather than build their own TV guides and antagonize Rovi. However, not everybody is comfortable with this idea.

Some companies like Amazon, Netflix, Sharp, Hulu, Toshiba and others stood up against Rovi. Amazon took on Rovi head on in court, and won the case in 2014. Amazon had attracted the case from Rovi, just because it bought IMDB. The patents which Rovi claimed that Amazon’s IMDB was infringing, that they were just describing TV guides, but on the internet. With Rovi losing the case, these “but-on-the-internet” cases are slowly losing their steam. It was Netflix’s court battle against Rovi in 2015 that deserves special attention. The US District Judge Phyllis Hamilton invalidated 5 of the patents Rovi was holding, essentially making it impossible for the company to cause trouble toward other companies based on those patents. Hamilton noted that these patents were not given for new technology or revolutionary concept. Instead, those patents were awarded for generic ideas. Ideas such as combining two categories into one set of suggestions such as crime dramas, sci-fi fantasies, and so on. Hamilton noted that patents cannot be given away for abstract ideas.

rovi-court-case

With these two lawsuits, Rovi’s death grip on the TV guide industry has taken a serious hit. It may not be too farfetched to presume that Rovi might find its customers abandoning it and developing their own TV guides instead. Perhaps, it is this reason which has pushed it to acquire another player in the industry to ensure that it continues to maintain its market share in the industry and stays relevant. A few months ago Rovi announced that it is acquiring TiVo, a DVR and TV guide company, for $1.1 billion.

This deal gives Rovi all of the 10 million customers of TiVo. Also, as TiVo brand is more popular and customer-friendly, the company, post-merger, will take the name of TiVo. This deal is expected to give Rovi the foothold it wants in the industry. Also, the company will threaten new competitors with lawsuits, as it still has a lot of patents in its bag, which it can use. Even though it is impossible to guess how many of those lawsuits it will actually win in the future, if at all it is challenged. A lot of companies might simply choose to avoid the confrontation and sign a licensing deal with Rovi. Coupled with its newfound bump in the market share after it buys off TiVo, it is safe to say that Rovi will continue to be the leader in this industry.

rovi-buys-tivo

TED for Smart TVs

Every year, TED hosts conferences across the world. Renowned academicians, politicians, businessmen, Novel laureates, and other people come and share their ideas, and offer a glimpse of revolutionary ideas that are changing the world in their own field. Some of these speakers bring knowledge that every person can make use of, while others share highly specialized and niche information. But, a common theme that runs across all of them is the fact that they are absolutely life-changing. What’s more, they are highly entertaining too. While the tickets to these conferences are very expensive, and difficult to get, TED does release many of its events online. So, if you want to enjoy TED talks on your smart TVs, TED apps are supported on so many platforms that chances are you already own one. So, check out here how you can use your existing hardware to enjoy TED talks on your smart TVs.

Android TV

TED for android tv

TED is available on Android. That pretty much makes the app compatible with a host of devices out there, including smartphones, tablets, and of course, smart TVs. If you smart TV runs on Android TV operating system, then all you need to do is go to Google Play, search for TED app, and download it. Once you access the TED app, you will be able to enjoy thousands of TED talks, even with subtitles, if you need them.

Xbox One

TED for xbox one

TED has been available on Xbox One platform for quite some time now. You can access the TED app on Xbox One and enjoy the talks on your smart TV. Moreover, if you have Kinect, then you can just wave your hand to enjoy TED talks. If that is not enough, Xbox One even provides you voice commands for this purpose. It really is a cool way to enjoy TED talks.

Netflix

TED app netflix

Netflix has one of the world’s biggest libraries of TV shows, movies, documentaries, and other videos. Naturally, it also features TED talks in its content library. However, Netflix does not offer all the TED talks that are online. Instead, it features some select talks on only a handful of topics. The collection of TED talks is quite small.

Amazon Fire TV

TED amazon fire tv

Amazon Fire TV is a power-packed streaming device, and gives access to a huge variety of content, most of which is for entertainment. However, some of that content is educational, and TED talks belong in that category. TED released an app for Amazon Fire TV in January of 2015. You can download the app, and enjoy the talks by using the streaming service with your smart TV.

Samsung Smart TV

TED samsung smart tv

Samsung smart TVs do not feature Android TV OS. Instead, the latest ones run on Tizen OS. Samsung has been the biggest supporter of Tizen, and hence, is trying very hard to make the platform a substitute for Android. One of the fruits of its efforts is TED app. Yes, TED is also available on Tizen. You can download the app just like you download it from Android Play Store, and enjoy the talks.

Roku

TED roku

Roku is another impressive streaming device. It has a variety of channels, which you can browse and enjoy all kinds of video content. TED talks can be found on Roku under the Science and Tech category. However, the classification under this category does not mean that you can access only Science and Tech TED talks. You can browse and enjoy all videos that are available online.

YouTube

TED youtube app

YouTube features a massive number of TED talks on the namesake channel. In addition to videos from TED, you can also comment and share your views on any specific video, although YouTube comment section can be a nasty place with comment wars being a norm. The being said, YouTube is accessible on pretty much any smart platform. So, if you have a smart TV that supports YouTube, or even a set-top-box that supports YouTube, you can enjoy TED walks without much fuss.

Bonus: For Non Smart TVs

TED for non smart tvs

If you do not have a smart TV that is compatible with any of the TED apps or platforms that support the app, there is one way you can still enjoy TED talks inexpensively. You will need a Google Chromecast for the purpose. You can plug in the Chromecast into your HD TV, and stream the TED videos from your smartphone or tablet, be it an Android or iOS device.

Virtual Reality is Succeeding Where 3D TV Failed

Remember CES 2012? LG unveiled the massive 84-inch 3D TV, which was super-thin, super-expensive, and super-everything. At the time, everyone thought that this ultra-HD 3D TV was going to start a gadget war in the industry like nothing we had ever seen. Well, for some time, it did appear that the manufacturers are jumping onto this 3D bandwagon. Sure, even customers began to purchase 3D TVs. Come 2016, and we can safely say that 3D TV is pretty much dead. Buried, really! It wasn’t like manufacturers didn’t push it. They tried, but It simply didn’t fly. Now, a new technology, Virtual Reality, which a lot of people thought bit the dust way back in the late 90s with Virtual Boy, is rising from the ashes like a phoenix. This time, however, Virtual Reality hopes to succeed for exactly the same reasons that 3D TV failed. Here’s how.

Content

virtual reality gaming

To their credit, TV manufacturers did manage to sell quite a number of 3D TVs when people still thought the technology was novel. However, to their dismay, the consumers did not get, and still do not have enough content to watch on their 3D TVs. It has been quite some time since 3D has gone mainstream and yet there is hardly enough content for consumers to enjoy over a weekend. The content that exists is minimal, and honestly, unappealing. But that’s not the case with VR. VR opens up a whole world of entertainment. Even before VR has gone mainstream, there are already games that are being designed specifically for this technology. The best part is that a lot of people are interested in developing content for VR. A Seinfeld fan has recreated the sets of the show for VR. Needless to say, when VR goes mainstream, the market will be crowded with people willing to create content, specifically for the technology. This is not even the adult entertainment potential of VR. Let’s just say that there have already been a lot of improvements in this area, and people are ‘very excited’ about this.

Ah! Those Silly Glasses

virtual reality 3D

People want new technology to be cool and fun to use. The 3D glasses are not at all comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. Making the matters worse is the fact that everyone who wants to enjoy a 3D program should have 3D glasses. Well, if you have friends over, you don’t expect them to bring 3D glasses with them whenever they come, or stock a dozen glasses yourself for them. Not to mention that 3D glasses are quite expensive. Now, VRs are a different ballgame altogether.

TV shows and movies are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to VR. The real deal is sports, games, and adult entertainment. Being able to enjoy sports “in the stadium,” or playing an FPS game in VR, will be such a draw that a lot of people will end up buying a VR device. Thus, even in group meets, VR actually has the potential to complement console gaming or take people into a live sports match, etc. It will make itself indispensable. The present generation of VR devices is quite comfortable to wear too.

Experience

virtual reality glasses

Let’s face it. 3D movies are sh*t. There are no two ways about it. Occasionally, there is an Avatar, but most of the 3D movies are downright pathetic. People expected 3D to enhance the experience. Instead, those awful 3D glasses darken the screen, and more often than not, you can see that the entire movie has been made with the idea that action scenes look great in 3D. The story, screenplay, and other things that actually matter to most moviegoers are largely missing. So, why did movie producers push for 3D so much? Competition. Movie studios realized that the TVs were getting bigger, and your couch at home wasn’t getting any less comfortable. Naturally, less and less people were hitting the theaters. So, they tried to offer something in the cinemas that TVs couldn’t offer. As it turned out, neither the theaters nor the TVs back home could deliver this feature promptly to the movie lovers. Enter VR!

Unlike 3D, which compromises the movie experience instead of enhancing it, VR makes your experience memorable every single time. Those who have already tried the technology have been very vocal about how awesome the VR experience is. You don’t even need action designed for VR to make its experience great. People will simply love to be inside a Victorian world and experience its glory all by themselves, even if the movie is a drama. The promise of great experience, in the case of VR, simply cannot be ignored.

9 Best Smart TV apps for your Samsung TV

The way the TV entertainment industry is taking shape, it is difficult to predict what the future will hold. Just two decades ago, cable TV and satellite were pretty much the only options. Then came the streaming devices that totally changed the industry. Now, much of the smart TVs are seeking to even make those streaming sticks obsolete. Whether one of them will win or coexist together is a discussion for another day. Today, let’s have a look at the top apps that you should have on your Samsung Smart TV to fully enjoy its potential.

Netflix

samsung smart tv apps netflix

When it comes to streaming services, Netflix is the undisputed champion of the lot. Sure, a lot of services are slowly catching up to Netflix, but it is the top streaming service by a huge margin. Its content library is the biggest among its competition, and it allows you to enjoy pretty much any show of your liking, any time you want. Moreover, Netflix is heavily investing in homegrown original shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and so on which have tasted immense success. It goes without saying that Netflix will continue to be the unchallenged king in entertainment, at least in the near future.

Amazon Instant Video

samsung smart tv apps amazon instant video

Amazon Instant Video is following Netflix like a shadow. Like the leader, Amazon is also building up a huge content library. One great feature about Amazon Instant Video is that you can download your favorite shows, and watch them later offline as well, which is pretty rare. Also, it is striking deals with many content producers, broadcasters, and movie studios to bring a lot of content to your smart TV.

Hulu

samsung smart tv apps hulu

Until recently, Hulu had been plagued by ads. Now, ads are the biggest reason for cord-cutters to become, well, cord-cutters. However, Hulu has now released another tier in its packages, which is completely ad-free, barring less than 10 select shows. The service is quite affordable, and offers excellent content. In fact, its TV show library is one of the best in the industry, although don’t expect to find many movies worth watching there.

TED

samsung smart tv apps ted

While the above apps were mostly into entertainment, this one is not. If you have never heard of TED, it’s basically an organization that hosts conferences all over the world, and people discuss revolutionary ideas in their field – everything from global politics to the coolest inventions. The speakers at the events usually talk for only a few minutes but leave a lasting impact. It is a great source for learning new things.

HBO Now and HBO GO

samsung smart tv apps hbo go hbo now

If you love HBO’s programming, such as Game of Thrones, Last Week Tonight, and The Wire, then one of these two apps is a must. They are both from HBO, and there is only one difference between them. HBO Go can be accessed only by users who have a cable subscription to HBO channels. On the other hand, anyone can sign up for HBO Now.

Napster

samsung smart tv apps napster

Yes, Napster is still alive. No, it is no more the pirate king it used to be. It has taken a different form now. Currently, it is owned by Best Buy, and has been merged with Rhapsody. Napster has a good collection of music for your pleasure. It even offers the feature of downloading the content. Other than these, it has a lot of cool features worth noting. Check it out.

YouTube

samsung smart tv apps youtube

YouTube has transformed immensely over the last few years. It is no longer the place you visited only when you wanted to watch funny cat videos. Professional teams work in studios to produce high quality content for the service, under various channels on YouTube. There is a lot of outstanding content worth your time. The free version has ads, as always, but the sheer amount of good content gives YouTube bonus points.

Spotify

samsung smart tv apps spotify

Just like Napster, Spotify is another app that lets you play music in the background while you go about your routine at home. The difference is that Spotify has a bigger collection of music, and even comes with a free version. The free version has ads, and you can always go for the premium version to get rid of them.

VUDU

samsung smart tv apps vudu

VUDU is a digital video rental service from Walmart. It does not offer a monthly subscription, and you have to pay per video basis. The rates vary, but are quite affordable. The good thing about VUDU is that it brings a lot of latest movies to the table. Its library of old and classic movies is quite impressive too.

Virtual Reality Might Change TV Shows as We Know It

Just think how many times you have had this experience. You are watching a TV show, and one of the characters is startled by some sound from the kitchen. She is trying to check the source of that sound. You know that it is a bad idea because it is that kind of a show, and it would be stupid for the character to check the source of sounds. But, the character still goes to the kitchen and is promptly butchered by a demon, devil, or a serial killer. You are left cursing at the character because you have seen this all too many times. But, you tried to tell her to not go there. If only you could have somehow jumped inside the television, and stop the character, it would have saved her, right? Well, guess what! You might be able to do that soon, thanks to virtual reality (VR). A lot is being said about VR and its potential to become the next big thing. Whether it will just become another fad like 3D that will never catch on, or something that will change every aspect of our television entertainment, is yet to be seen. Regardless, there is no denying that VR may probably have a lasting impact on the entertainment industry in many ways.

Did you know that there are already TV shows out there that you can experience in VR? Well, not completely. But, they allow you to experience their world in the most intimate way. At this year’s SXSW festival, HBO’s Game of Thrones allowed its fans to experience The Wall in VR. Imagine what it would be like to enjoy the whole show in VR in the future! You can participate in the battles, bloodbaths, and all the sickening, gut-wrenching, and equally exhilarating events on the show. That future may not be too far after all.

virtual reality glasses

A Seinfeld fan has managed to create a navigable version of Jerry’s apartment for Oculus Rift. You can hang out at Jerry’s and enjoy the magical feel of being ‘inside’ a TV show. Of course, Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George will not be waiting there to greet you at present. But, that may soon change. Yes, you could actually get inside the Seinfeld world and interact with the characters you want. As you probably guessed, the real cast will not be present there to interact with you. Instead, the showmakers have their voices, movements, and other information with them. They can just use them to give you a pretty authentic feel of the characters. Amazing, isn’t it? Being able to share a coffee with your favorite characters!

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there! You will be able to change what is happening in the TV show you are watching. Suppose you do not like a particular actor, and you believe that the character could have been better in the hands of another actor. No problem. You can replace that artist with your choice of actor. Yes, YOU will be able to do that. The new actor’s body, body language, voice, and behavior will be completely mapped digitally beforehand. So, you can choose between many such actors in the future, and see who you like the most for a particular role. Of course, there will be some ground rules. The presence of a character may even change the entire show’s plot, or even the genre for that matter. At this point, it is difficult to guess how this will pan out. But, according to the founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, Jeremy Bailenson, all of this is surely going to happen.

virtual reality gaming

As far as VR is concerned, TV shows are just the beginning. The next frontier will be the sports on live TV. At present, you can enjoy your favorite sports from different camera angles, although you don’t have any control over which camera angle you would like to watch the match from. But, soon, that might change big time. No, we are not just discussing you being able to enjoy the match by being in the stadium. How about enjoying it being ‘the player’!

Yes, discussions are underway in the sports industry for some time now, about using a series of tiny cameras, networked together to project to the fans, a player’s point of view as he plays a practice session. The plan has been scrapped at present, but considering the fact that sports is a multi-billion dollar industry, there is simply no chance that the technology will not be pursued sooner or later. Not least because fans would pay top dollar for an experience like this.

virtual reality television

These are just glimpses of what VR could do for the television in the future. The true extent of the change it will bring will be realized only after it has become mainstream. So, gear up. If the potential of VR is anything to go by, traditional TV might soon be dead for good.

How Orange is the New Black Continues to Revolutionize TV (Spoiler Alert)

Every season of Netflix’s most popular original series starts a buzz across the internet. This season is no different. Orange is the New Black pushes the limit like never before in Season 4, which went live on Netflix on June 17.

orange is the new black netflix

OITNB premiered on Netflix in summer 2013, and off the bat, began to address topics that weren’t typically portrayed in popular media, including race relations for women of color, humanizing prison culture, and developing LGBTQ relationships. The show first focuses on new inmate Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling) and her experiences entering Litchfield Penitentiary in upstate New York. The audience sees Schilling’s character develop (perhaps for the worst) and the show also begins to delve into the lives of the other inmates at Litchfield (who are by far more interesting than Piper). OTINB is based on a memoir called “Orange is the New Black: My Year In A Women’s Prison” written by Piper Kerman, but the show is insanely more popular than the book.

But why does a show about prisoners continue to receive stellar ratings and an immense following on social media? Like with any TV show, audience members are emotionally invested in these characters. Creator Jenji Kohan and show writers love pushing the bar and writing up ridiculous situations to enhance the shock value of the plot. Addressing social issues also spurs conversation topics on social media after everyone has finished binging each 13-episode season in one day. The rate of prison violence and alienation against transgender women of color is addressed through the storyline of Sophia Burset (Laverne Cox). The Black Lives Matter movement also makes an appearance in season 4, in addition to a white supremacist group of prisoners who combat the BLM supporters. Finally, the unnecessary death of the beloved inmate Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley) caused a ruckus from fans.

orange is the new black laverne cox

Besides the emotional attachment viewers have, Netflix does an excellent job of marketing OITNB. Months before each season premieres, Netflix plasters Schilling’s face in a banner on their home page. It’s impossible to avoid Piper Chapman and the other inmates when you’re just trying to binge The Office for the seventh time. Netflix includes videos and previews of the show before it premieres, and then features a countdown on its home page until the new season begins to stream. And since Netflix is practically a household appliance at this point, it’s impossible to avoid the on-site advertising. Netflix plants the OITNB trailers in other areas of the web too, and fans are eager to share the advertisements on their social media platforms with an excited message to accompany it. Even people who don’t watch the show seem to have some knowledge of it, considering the vast amount of fans who take to social media to discuss it (similar to Game of Thrones).

orange is the new black red

The bewildering success of OITNB also makes way for streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu to become successful in actually producing media content, rather than just streaming it. These competitors are giving cable networks a run for their money, especially since Netflix doesn’t have the FCC guidelines that cable networks like FX or TNT do.  They can produce more “risqué” content and have no consequences, except maybe from the fans of these shows or movies. More and more, Netflix and Hulu are releasing original entertainment and audiences are eating them up, just like OITNB, House of Cards, and Daredevil. Even comedians like Aziz Ansari and John Mulaney are collaborating with streaming services like Netflix to release their own comedy specials via that platform. What does this mean for cable television, or even premium networks like HBO and SHOWTIME? They better step their game up, because OITNB is living proof that streaming services are beginning to take over.

orange is the new black prisoners

Netflix vs. VIDGO: Who Will Prevail?

Netflix launched in 1997 with its DVD-by-mail service, and expanded to online streaming in 2007. The company has revolutionized the way people (particularly millennials) consume media and entertainment. At the click of a button or mouse, an entire catalog is at a user’s fingertips. However, Netflix has presented a problem — no one is watching live television anymore. What’s the solution, a happy medium?

netflix fundamentals of caring

VIDGO will launch sometime within the back half of 2016, and we are incredibly excited. VIDGO will offer everything your typical streaming service does, but it will also include streaming of live television networks. Yep, users will be able to browse on-demand, and if choosing gets too tough for them (as many Netflix users experience daily), they can simply switch on their favorite cable channel or watch a sporting event live. VIDGO aims to revolutionize streaming, and streaming live TV hasn’t been achieved before by services like Netflix. Sling TV and PlayStation Vue began to set the bar for streaming television, but VIDGO will add more than just local channels – cable channels too!

VIDGO vs. Netflix User Control

One of VIDGO’s huge selling points is the ability to build packages based on user’s wants and needs. VIDGO can essentially be described as an a la carte service – users don’t have to pay for hundreds of channels they won’t watch just for that one premium channel they can’t live without. Users can pick and choose the cable/local channels they wish to have access to. A larger selection of channels will make the price go up, obviously, but VIDGO’s service will still be cheaper than the cable competitors. Users scrolling through channels they have no interest in will be a thing of the past. In addition, they’ll still have access to the vast on-demand library of entertainment, similar to the Netflix platform.

Netflix offers three different packages, but no options to control what is included in these packages. Granted, Netflix doesn’t really need to include control over its packages, since everything is pretty cut and dry: “here are the movies and shows we can offer, do what you will with them.

vidgo television

 

VIGDO vs. Netflix Accessibility

VIDGO will allow users to stream on computers, phones, tablets, and game consoles. As of now, a television app has not been created for VIDGO, but the service hasn’t even been released yet. When the service takes off, only time will tell when a Smart TV or Roku app will be released for VIDGO. Additionally, since VIDGO’s live TV service will be streamed, rather than through a cord, there’s no more need to wait for a cable guy who’s three hours late.

Netflix does offer apps for television, in addition to the other device streaming options. However, it seems most people using Netflix stream via game consoles or computers anyway.

netflix smart tv

 

VIDGO vs. Netflix Sharing

VIDGO will offer the opportunity for users to share plans between friends and family. All VIDGO packages will offer 5 streaming screens at once, and will offer 5 more screens for only $2 added to the monthly package.

Netflix does offer the ability to share screens with friends and family, but its basic package only allows 2 screens to stream simultaneously, which can be frustrating.

 

Netflix vs. VIDGO Pricing

The standard Netflix account begins at $10 per month, and includes HD, the entire catalog of TV and movies, and allows for 2 screens to watch at the same time. If 2 people are splitting the cost of a standard account, it’s $5 per month.

As for VIDGO, users will find it’s slightly less costly if they take advantage of all the options. VIDGO will offer multiple pricing packages that will prove to be a bargain in comparison to other services. For example, let’s say one VIDGO package is $20 per month (packages are customizable and set cost will depend on the amount of cable channels they decide to include). Add $2 for 5 more screens (in addition to the 5 already provided). That means each user on that account will only pay $2 a month for everything Netflix provides PLUS live television streaming. Most importantly in regard to pricing, VIDGO also knocks out the need to pay for cable service if users already do.

vidgo stream tv

Google Quietly Kills Nexus Player. What Does This Mean for Android TV!

Google recently confirmed that it has finally stopped selling Nexus Player on its own store. Also, it does not have any plans to revive the product later on, or release another version of it. In other words, Nexus Player now rests in peace. Most consumers recognize the Nexus Player as just another set top box. For many, it was never in their list of preferred choices. Granted, at the time of its release, it was nothing more than a showpiece. It did not have some of the most important streaming services such as Amazon Prime and HBO. However, in the recent times, Nexus Player had turned into something that had the potential to give the top streaming devices a run for their money. Yet, Google pulled the plug on it. This is not some haphazard corporate decision. There is a lot more to it.

Google Nexus 9 Review a Forgettable Showcase for Fantastic Software

First of all, Nexus Player wasn’t Google’s first attempt to invade our living rooms. It followed the remarkably abysmal performance of the much-touted Google TV. Faced with such a huge disappointment, Google decided to revamp the whole thing, and then released the Nexus Player. The puck shaped Nexus Player looked quite nice for living rooms. But, it did not have a lot to offer to the consumers. It did not have some of the critical streaming services, which made it less appealing. There was no development support for the device initially, but that was soon to be fixed. But, there was one aspect of Nexus Player that pushed its sales, even when it did not offer much.

The set top box became the default device people used to retrofit their non-smart TVs with Android TV OS. This way, people could enjoy quite a lot of functionalities and features of smart TVs without actually owning one.

However, all of this changed dramatically over the past couple of years. The Android TV OS has attracted an amazing level of development. A dizzying array of apps have been released on the OS, exclusively for the TV viewers. The overall experience of Android improved dramatically with this. Despite all these changes, Nexus Player never tasted the same success as Chromecast. It isn’t hard to understand why. The level of convenience offered by Chromecast is truly exceptional. You hook this stick into the back of your TV, and stream content from your Android phone or tablet. All of this with a device that costs less than $40.

Google Nexus calendar app is over

As for Nexus Player, it lost its relevance pretty soon. The friendly user interface, and the familiarity of the platform, were the USPs of Android TV OS Nexus Player. But, Google made Android TV available for everyone from the beginning. Eve NVIDIA Shield TV sports the same operating system. Thus, Nexus Player was offering nothing that was unique to its customers. Moreover, TV manufacturers soon began to incorporate Android TV within their TVs itself. When the Android interface was already available internally in the TVs, it made no sense for the customers anymore to buy an additional device for that. People could use the Android TV OS on their smart TVs to do everything that they could do with the Nexus Player, including download their favorite apps, and enjoy their choice of content. Even the TVs, which did not incorporate Android TV OS in them, had other platforms of their own, as decided by the manufacturer.

All of this indicates that the Nexus Player from Google was a huge failure. But, is it though?

Well, the thing with any of Google’s Nexus devices is that Google never intended to develop them into full-fledged product families. These flagship products are Google’s way of showing the manufacturers what their “OS” is capable of doing, and how to do it. For instance, Google’s Nexus range of phones highlighted the simplicity, efficiency, friendliness of the UI, and raw power of the operating systems, which they were running on. Because people loved those devices, other phone manufacturers began to keep the Android OS on their phones as much stock-like as possible. Google did this to the tablets as well with its Nexus 7 and Nexus 9. Now, it was the turn of Nexus Player in the TV industry.

Google Nexus gets android TV

By effectively showcasing the manufacturers how super-efficient its user interface is, and how much the consumers love its familiarity, Google managed to get a permanent home for Android TV among the TV manufacturers. In other words, Google’s main goal, which was to invade our living room, has been a spectacular success, just like the internet giant wanted. But of course, Google was never going to stop at this, right? Or did you think it would?

If you thought so, then here is some news for you. Google is releasing another gadget later this year, the Google Home smart speaker. With this product, Google is attempting to match Amazon Echo. The new device will be equipped with Google’s latest intelligent assistant. It will probably sport voice activation and control features, and will connect to various smart home products. It will even enable you to stream music via Google cast. Sure, the product itself is offering a whole bundle of slick features. But, will Google put all of its weight behind this product? If you understand Google strategy for consumer products, then you already know the answer to this question is – No, it won’t. The reason is pretty simple. Whether Google Home smart speaker tastes the same level of success as Chromecast or not is practically immaterial to Google. It has a bigger agenda here. With this new product, it will do to the audio equipment industry what it has previously done to smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs. In the end, Google will end up ruling the audio equipment industry too.

Google terminates Nexus

By the way, just because Google isn’t selling any Nexus Players right now, doesn’t mean you can’t get hold of one. All major retailers have run out of their stocks of the Nexus Player for months. But, Google has confirmed that many of the smaller retailers still have a limited number of stocks left. So, if you wish to buy one, you may find it with a small retailer.

Top 6 Best TVs for Gaming in 2016

The next generation consoles, Xbox One and PS4, are impressive gadgets for playing games. They pushed the bar for what games could do, and how they look. Games are getting more and more realistic with each passing day. So much so that, an average TV doesn’t simply do justice to console gaming. The high definition, high frame rates, and real lifelike environment in games are all lost if there is not an equally capable TV to capture all of that. That’s why, here is a list of top TVs in 2016 that are best suited for gaming.

 

Vizio P Series 2016

Vizio P Series 2016

This is one of the most inexpensive 4K television you will find in the market right now. But, don’t let it fool you. The quality of the product is as extraordinary as it can be. The picture quality is great, although it isn’t OLED. That also means that it does not suffer from brightness issues that are typical of OLEDs. Thus, the TV really brightens up the entire living room in the dark. You will experience the magic of 4K in the most wallet-friendly way. However, you should know that neither Xbox One, nor PS4 are capable of rendering 4K video. Therefore, the television upscales the lower resolution picture quality to 4K, and this is one area in which the P Series suffers. Its upscaling is very low quality, and does not match that of its pricier competitors. That being said, it has a refresh rate of 120Hz, and a very low input lag of 17.7ms. Needless to say, despite all the shortcomings, it is a magnificent choice for gaming. You even get to enjoy high quality 4K content, when it becomes mainstream.

 

Samsung JU7500

Samsung JU7500

If you don’t mind shelving out slightly more money, then Samsung JU7500 is a great option as a gaming television. It features 4K UHD capability, which is great for TV viewing as well. But, the good thing about this television is that it upscales the video output from your console just perfectly, without any compromise in quality. In fact, you will hardly notice that the video is upscaled. Another factor that makes this well suited for gaming is its motion handling capabilities. Whether you are playing an RPG game, a sports based game, or something else, you will not notice any blur or input lag. At 21.1ms input lag, it is surely among the TVs with the lowest lag. The only problem is that the picture quality is compromised at viewing angles other than directly ahead of it.

 

Vizio D Series 4k 2016

VIZIO 4K LED TV Ultimate Gaming & Budget TV

The Vizio D Series 4k 2016 is one of those TVs that won’t win you with its looks. If sleek, sexy, and attractive TV is what you want, then you might want to skip this TV completely. On the other hand, if you want raw performance at mind-blowing price, then Vizio D Series 4k 2016 is here to rock your world. The television is fully equipped with 4K technology, and is boasts of a rock bottom price tag. At that price, it does come with its bunch of issues. For instance, the picture quality is good only from direct front angles; the TV does not play cable TV and DVDs very well, and there is loss of quality with them. However, when it comes to gaming, it transforms into a beast. It has a truly remarkable input lag of only 13.5ms, something that most TV manufacturers drool over. The upscaling to 4K is smooth, and satisfying.

 

Sony KDL-50W829

Destiny PS4 - Sony BRAVIA KDL50W829

If you think you would rather not invest in a 4K TV yet, then Sony KDL-50W829 will give you everything you ever wanted out of your television. With an input lag of just 19ms in game mode, this TV is ready to take your gaming experience to the next level. Its response rate is not anything to brag about, but is decent for its price. Then, there is the color rendition capability of this set, which is simply superb. The motion reproduction is quite good, and there is no compromise to your gaming experience.

 

LG 55EC930V

LG 55EC930V

This television allows you to class it up a notch or two. Firstly, the LG 55EC930V is a curved screen TV. Let that sink in. Now, coming to the second bit. It is an OLED TV, which is far superior to both LED and LCD TVs. You will have crystal clear, vivid pictures playing on the screen every time you switch it on. The color rendition, the contrast ratio, and refresh rate are all good enough to deliver a great gaming experience for you. The response time is 33ms which is not great, but not bad either. Then there is the resolution. LG 55EC930V is a 1080p screen, and at 55-inch size, you might notice some pixilation when you sit too close. But, the picture quality will make the game highly immersive. If that is not enough, then the curved design will make you feel that you are in the game.

 

Sony X810C

Sony XBR55X810C 55' 4k Ultra HD LED TV Review

What most people don’t realize is that when you are playing games, the audio experience is as important as the video quality. But, not many TVs are capable of producing excellent quality audio, even if they are capable of producing great pictures. Sony X810C delivers impeccably on all fronts. Firstly, the 4K television produces impressive picture quality that is not surprising for 4K TVs. It also upscales the video output from consoles fairly decently. The only downside to this is that the colors are degraded when the TV is viewed from side angles. That being said, an input lag of 35.7ms and response rate of 12.1 pretty cool too. The TV handles motion very well with no noticeable lags or blur.

Top 7 4K TVs of 2016

4K TVs are still in the nascent stage, and it will be a few years before they become mainstream. As such, they are quite expensive today. Yet, over the last few months, they have dropped in prices by a large margin, and many of them have made it into the mid-price segment. Sure, 1080p TVs rule the lower end of the price spectrum, and they will get a lot cheaper as 4K TVs are more competitively priced in the future.

So, you might land a better bargain if you wait it out on your 4K TV purchase. Moreover, terms like 4K, Ultra HD, UHD Premium, and so on can be confusing to an average buyer. So, you have to research quite a lot to ensure that your significant investment into a 4K TV is future-proof. That being said, if you love to be an early adopter, and have a good knowledge of 4K technology, then here are some of the top 4K TVs for 2016.

LG 65EF950V

LG 65EF9500 2016 new tv technology

LG has decided that OLED is going to be the future of TV technology, and it is hard to argue with them after watching the quality of pictures on its 65EF950V television. The 65-inch TV produces the absolute perfect contrast that is unparalleled in the industry. At a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, you have a cutting edge technology to cater to your entertainment needs. Although there are some lighting issues that still need to be addressed, the brilliant contrast and shadow detail more than make up for it. Add to it the highly affordable price tag attached to it, and you have a clear winner in front of you.

Panasonic TX-65DX902B

Panasonic CX802 Series - TX50CX802B TX55CX802B TX65CX802B TX40CX802B 4K Ultra HD 3D LED Television new technology tv

This 65-inch 4K television runs on Firefox Smart OS. The interface is pleasantly simple to use, yet very effective. Everyone from a newbie to a seasonal user can operate it and will find plenty of options to choose from, and not get confused by them. The picture quality is excellent, although there are quite a l ot of local dimming issues with the technology. The TV is quite expensive too. But, the HDR feature on it is an added advantage. The LCD TV produces much brighter colors than OLED, which is the highlight of this set.

Samsung UE55KS9000

Samsung UE55KS9000 4K TV LED 55' 4k new technology tv

If curved television is your thing, then you will love Samsung UE55KS9000. This 4K television is equipped with HDR capability, and produces stunning quality HDR pictures that are unbelievably lifelike. What makes your experience even better is the curved screen. Samsung UE55KS9000 is one of those TVs that exude upscale quality. The attention to detail that Samsung has given to the exterior is simply praiseworthy. Although it has no 3D support, it is still one of the best 4K television sets out there, purely because of the quality of pictures it produces. The OS on the TV, Tizen, is probably not familiar to most consumers, but shouldn’t be too difficult to use for them.

Sony KD-75X9405C

Sony KD-75X9405C new television technology

Sony, as an electronics brand, is always known best for its outstanding cameras and awesome sound quality of its devices. The Sony KD-75X9405C is a testament to Sony’s commitment to these factors. At 75-inches, this TV is a beast. But, there is more to this TV than just a huge size. This is one of those very few 4K TVs, which actually make you feel the full impact of the high resolution. The picture quality is sensational, and so is the sound quality. Perhaps, the only complaint against this is its size. Its body does not make it any less bulky either. Then again, much of that bulk is a product of powerful speakers that deliver sound quality that you have never heard before on a television.

Vizio P-Series 2016

Vizio P-Series 4K HDR Home Theater Display

Vizio P-Series allows you to taste 4K in all its glory, without having to sell one of your kidneys. It is priced at an unbelievably affordable $999.99, which makes it a must-have even for those who are still not sold on the whole 4K hype. If you are wondering how they could keep it so cheap when all other competitor products are so highly priced, the answer could be inside the TV. Vizio has simply done away with antennas and tuners for their newest range of TVs. So, if you wish to catch some free OTA broadcasts, then you will have to buy a third party tuner or an OTA DVR. That being said, the picture quality on the screen is befitting a 4K TV and it is worth every penny. If the TV doesn’t cut it for you, then perhaps its remote control will. The remote control is basically a fully functional Android tablet.

Anyone who has ever used Android on any device, will find it highly intuitive and easy to navigate the menus and options. However, some people might find the remote to be a nuisance, compared to the onscreen menus.

Panasonic TX-50CX802B

Panasonic DX902 (TX-65DX902) New TV technology 2016

This is another Firefox OS TV from Panasonic in this list, and it is not by coincidence. The Firefox OS on the television is appealing to say the least. It is a pleasure to use the interface. Further, the 50-inch 4K TV produces very natural images that have incredibly high detail in them. The color rendition is impeccable, and the grayscale nuances are out of this world. With the firmware updates installed, the TV supports both HD and Freeview Play functionalities too.

Samsung UNJS9500

CES  Samsung SUHD 4K Smart TVs Lineup  New Nano Crystals  Ultra HD UHD  JS9500 new technology

When Samsung was designing UNJS9500, it probably gave future-proofing the highest priority, because the TV certainly has quite a lot of features to compete with products that will be released in the next one year or so. Firstly, the sleek TV is a sight to behold in itself. Then there is its performance. The color rendition is great, the picture quality is good too, but it is the brightness of this TV that puts it ahead of the OLED TVs. However, it lacks the contrast and overall picture quality that OLED TV, which are priced in the same range or less, deliver. Moreover, it is priced at quite a steep price, raising questions as to whether the value it offers is worth the money it costs.

New TV Technology

TVDetailsPrice
1. Samsung 65" 4K SUHD Smart TV Exceptional color. Authentic images. Dynamic brightness reveals hidden details. Remaster your non-SUHD content. See small details come to life. Designed to excite the senses. Looks great from any angle. Easily connect, share and play your favorite content. UHD Dimming optimizes color, contrast, and image detail by processing the image characteristics prior to them being displayed on the screen $2,297.99
2. Samsung 55" 1080p LED Smart HDTV Full HD 1080p. Wide Color Enhancer. Smart TV, Smart Apps. Screen Mirroring. Motion Rate 120. DTS Premium Sound | 5.1™ decoding with DNSe+. Eco Sensor. $598.00
3. LG 43” 4K Ultra HD webOS 3.0 Smart TV 8.3M Pixels for 4x the Resolution of Full HD TVs. HDR Pro Supporting High Dynamic Range Content. Any seat becomes the best in the house with IPS. True Black Panel. ENERGY STAR® Qualified. 43" Class 4K Ultra HD Smart TV. UHD. TruMotion 120Hz. $597.95
4. LG 55" 1080p LED Smart HDTV Full HD 1080p Resolution. Triple XD Engine. Smart TV. ENERGY STAR® Qualified. LED with Full HD 1080p Resolution. Audio: Mono/Stereo/Dual (MTS/SAP). $599.99
5. Panasonic TH-98LQ70U Digital Signage Display In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology. Portrait Capable. Screen Saver. High resolution of approximately 8,290,000 pixels. It can safely be used in public spaces where a lot of people pass by, such as commercial facilities, train/bus stations and airports. $ 30360 .99 / each
6. Planar UR9850 Professional 4K 98" Display 98" Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160) professional LCD displays. With a native 4K resolution, Planar UltraRes Series displays have four times the resolution and pixel density of comparably-sized Full HD displays. produce resolution and picture quality not before seen in large format LCD displays. $ 33258 .99 / each
7. Samsung UN65KS9800 64.5" screen (measured diagonally) Ultra High Definition TV with 4K screen resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels). HDR 1000 (High Dynamic Range) for extended picture contrast and brightness with streamed and external HDR sources. full array multi-zone LED backlight with Supreme UHD Dimming and Precision Black Pro local dimming for exceptional contrast and black levels. Peak Illuminator Pro for enhanced brightness. Quantum Dot Color nanocrystal backlight technology for increased color range and brightness. 10-bit panel can display over one billion colors. Supreme Motion Rate 240 blur reduction (120Hz refresh rate plus backlight scanning). UHD Upscaling upconverts high-definition and standard-definition video content. HEVC/VP9 decoding for watching streamed 4K video sources like Netflix®, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube (requires Internet speed of at least 20Mbps). DIRECTV 4K Ready — DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver. tuner receives over-the-air HDTV broadcasts (antenna required). QAM cable TV tuner (subscription required to receive cable channels — contact your local service provider for details). built-in down-firing speaker system (20 watts x 2, plus 10 watts x 2 for woofers). Bluetooth® wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker or set of headphones. Smart Touch remote with built-in microphone for voice control. detachable stand. wall-mountable (bracket not included). 56-13/16"W x 32-13/16"H x 4-5/8"D (36"H x 14-1/2"D on stand). weight: 69 lbs. with stand; 62.2 lbs. without stand. warranty: 1 year parts & labor — in-home service or pick-up for service. $4,499.99

New TV Technology