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Trends to watch @ CES!


CES 2012 is just around the corner! Let us look at some trends.

First, according to Ovum,  the ultrabook is shaping up to be a CES 2012 show stopper. It is expected that 20-40 devices will be introduced. There will be more of mobile connecrted devices, which are likely to be more app friendly, have brighter screens and offer intuitive user interfaces. TV manufacturers are expected to  demonstrate capabilities of “smart” TVs.

According to Accenture, another big story is likely to be the TV market. The market is challenged by the fact that consumers are planning to buy fewer TVs next year, according to Accenture’s new survey of 10,000 consumers in 10 countries.

Consumers are also watching TV on TV screens less often, and say they are especially disinclined to buy TV sets until prices decline. The battle is on for consumers eyeballs and attention among the multitude of screens such as desktop and laptop PCs, smartphones and tablets. There will be a push to find more innovative ways to make TV content on TV screens more compelling involving cloud and online services.

Accenture also believes ultrabooks will be a big story at CES 2012. This is a promising product category because these are highly powerful yet thin and portable computers. Tablets and smartphone markets are continuing to grow, but the ultrabook market poses a threat to both.

Among the biggies, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd launched the Samsung AdHub advertising platform for Samsung Smart TV platform. Through the newly-announced AdHub service, brands can deliver 3D, video and interactive advertisements into the living room via Samsung’s market-leading Smart TVs. China’s Haier will display connected televisions as well as key new design features and introduce the expanded line of audio solutions.

Elsewhere, dbx-tv announced Total Cal, an audio measurement and calibration tool that custom-optimizes sound quality from TVs, regardless of speaker size or price point.

VoiceBox Technologies Inc. has entered into a strategic agreement with Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) USA, Inc. to develop innovative in-car voice products and capabilities. Quantenna Communications will showcase 802.11n MIMO technology optimized for service providers and 802.11ac chipset for retail applications. Alereon Inc. is demonstrating high-speed wireless connectivity from Android-based smartphones and tablets to integrated wireless monitors/docks as well as HDTVs.

The Mobile500 Alliance has unveiled a breakthrough end-to-end solution that will enable its member broadcasters to build new revenue streams through Mobile DTV (MDTV). The goal is to make the solution available to Alliance member companies after beta launch and evaluation in Seattle, USA.

Two Bosch Group companies, Bosch Sensortec and Akustica, will be jointly showcasing their consumer MEMS products. While, Qualcomm Innovation Center Inc. (QuIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of Qualcomm, is expected to launch the Snapdragon GameCommand application to the Android market on January 10, 2012, the opening day of the CES.

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) hosts an OMAP4470 processor-based tablet running on a pre-release version of Windows 8 at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, demonstrating how the latest OMAP 4 platform distinctly supports Microsoft’s new computing experience, Windows 8, that reimagines Windows. And, Sensible Vision, the leading supplier of face authentication software, will demonstrate its face recognition app for iOS and Android mobile devices at the CES 2012 Wall of Apps. FastAccess Anywhere securely replaces passwords with a face to quickly and conveniently log in to apps and web sites on mobile devices.

Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc. (TAEC), will be demonstrating the latest additions to its lineup of flash memory offerings – the TransMemory-EX series of USB flash memory products. The new drives are compliant with the new USB 3.0 standards – known as Super Speed USB. Initial storage capacities include a 32GB model and a 64GB model.

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies Inc. and The Shanghai Nutshell Electronic Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of Shanda Networking Co. Ltd, China’s largest interactive digital content provider, announced the first e-reader featuring mirasol display technology, the Bambook Sunflower, to be commercially available in China in the coming weeks.

The latest figures from GfK Digital World, in partnership with Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), reveal global spending on consumer technology devices will surpass $1 trillion in 2012 for the first time, increasing by 5 percent over 2011’s figure of $993 billion.

These are just a few of the multiple trends one can expect at this year’s CES!

View 3D TV, without glasses, today!

November 25, 2010 5 comments

Did you ever want to watch the latest movie or ball game with flawless, immersive 3D images on your 2D LCD screen without using 3D glasses? I sure do! All the time!!

I even suggested to a semicon company recently, which is providing HD media processor SoCs, to highlight a solution, which will allow the man in the street to pick up the DVD of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, insert it into the player, and enjoy the movie on his TV in 3D! All of it, without wearing 3D glasses!

Sounds quite far fetched, isn’t it?

3D TV viewing possible on 2D TV, today!

See the future of 3D TV, with the naked eye, today, says 3DFusion!

See the future of 3D TV, with the naked eye, today, says 3DFusion!

Well, I believe, Stephen Blumenthal, president of 3DFusion, surprised everyone at the Paul Kagan 3D Market Media Conference at Waldorf Astoria Hotel on October 27 last month, when he, along with his partner Ilya Sorokin, invited the audience to visit the 3DFusion business suite, located upstairs in the Waldorf, to experience the picture perfect 3DFMax glasses free 3D ASD, and see a real time, live 3D stereo camera capture display!

Steve was  kind enough to share his landmark speech with me, as well. First up, many congrats to Steve and 3DFusion!

His opening line itsef is very interesting: “This is a historic day for me, as I started out as a TV repair man from Ithaca NY, and now today, we are introducing for the first time, a 3DTV, glasses free Broadcast Quality, Perfect Picture television platform, one destined I believe to replace 2D TV.”

“We are here to introduce a 3D technological advancement, which marries the classical 3D left/ right stereo pair, with a Math augmented, Depth Meta Data (DMD) approach. The addition of DMD to the stereo pair, results in an interactivityy giving the operator mastery over the 3D image. For the first time we can demonstrate an on the fly, real time, intervention with the 3D video signal path.

“What we have is a methodology of video signal integration with PC driven algorithms that support an ability to control signal parameters, which determine depth visuals on a variety of Auto Stereoscopic Displays. The 3DFMax DMD Algorithm approach mines the stereo depth information and converts it to META data which is inserted as the right field of the frame, replacing the right view, as a gray scale mapping.

“This data is auto converted by our Firmware, on the fly into 9 Multiviews as the key to the pixel per pixel orientation for the lenticular lens or lenticule, thereby controlling the depth cues. One 3DFmax video frame is composed of the left field as a full resolution view, with the Right field operating as a lightweight DMD map which may be re-rendered in real time, visible on the 3DFMax ASD screen, thereby providing instant correction and adjustment to the images depth visual cues. Read more…

Philips focuses on how interoperability, content sharing drive CE devices!

August 10, 2010 1 comment

Nataraj Kumar of Philips.

Nataraj Kumar, PIC.

Recently, I had the pleasure of interacting with Nataraj Kumar, director, Consumer Lifestyle, Philips Innovation Campus (PIC), where we discussed things such as Philips technology in interoperability, and the role of this technology in the Philips development ecosystem.

Content sharing platform and consumer behaviour are two key areas of focus for the Dutch electronics giant, Philips. As you know, connectivity and interoperability, as well as certification, play key roles in the overall make up of CE devices as well. To ensure that all devices work smoothly, consumer electronics manufacturers have to be very careful regarding testing and interoperability issues.

Last month, Philips had organized the Philips Connectivity Plugfest-02 at the Philips Innovation Campus in Bangalore, India. It attracted 31 companies who showcased 90 devices focusing on connectivity technologies — HDMI, USB, Bluetooth and DLNA.

As you can see, the focus was on content sharing over multiple devices — all of whom need to operate and function in unison — and that’s where the interoperability factor comes in!

In fact, more than 70 percent of the companies participating in the Plugfest-02 focused on HDMI. According to Nataraj Kumar, there were 42 products related to HDMI, while there were 23 products focused on USB. Bluetooth had 17 products and there were four related to DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance).

In contrast, the Philips Connectivity Plugfest-01, held in June 2009 at the same venue, had attracted 15 companies who showcased 40 devices focusing on technologies such as Bluetooth, HDMI and DLNA!

Strong current focus on HDMI

Obviously, high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) has been gaining in importance. Now, with HDMI 1.4 doing the rounds, the interest naturally has to be on the higher side. HDMI 1.4a, released on March 4, 2010, and adds two additional mandatory 3D formats for broadcast content, which was deferred with HDMI 1.4 in order to see the direction of the 3D broadcast market. It has also defined the mandatory 3D formats for broadcast, game, and movie content, respectively.

As per Nataraj Kumar, HDMI 1.4 supports the audio return channel, provides 3D support, as well as an HDMI Ethernet channel.

Elaborating on the Plugfest-02, he said that there were a range of CE devices, such as TV sets, graphic cards, active HDMI cables, control boxes, products that get into DVD players, etc.

He said: “We made a matrix of every company, and presented each company 45 minutes. Within that period, each company had to pick up its product — or source — and carry it to a synchronization device, which receives and displays data. Then they evaluated a variety of test cases that were already pre-defined by Philips.”

Most of the participating companies at Plugfest-02 were able to test successfully for interoperability and perhaps, also identify problems that could be later resolved.

Just how well is Philips geared up for HDMI is visible from its well equipped Interoperability and Certification Center (ICC) lab (sorry folks, no pictures).

The Philips’ ICC lab has the facility to handle HDMI 1.4 compliance testing. It also offers HDMI 1,4 CEC compliance testing, HDMI HDCP compliance testing, and HDMI and HDMI CEC interoperability testing.

The ICC lab offers interoperability testing with CE devices for Bluetooth, as well as Bluetooth profile testing. For USB, it offers USB interoperability testing, while for DLNA, it offers DLNA interoperability testing for 1.0 and 1.5, respectively. The lab offers RF4CE (radio frequency for consumer electronics) interoperability testing as well.

It must be mentioned here that the Bangalore ICC lab is a unique center within Philips. It ensures the certification and interoperability of Philips’ products before their commercial launch. This center is already involved in the design and development of several products.

Now, I couldn’t find any company showcasing WHDI (wireless home digital interface) capabilities. Perhaps, the technology is still very new! And what about Philips’ interest in this technology?

On inquiring, Nataraj Kumar said that Philips is exploring opportunities as to what the WHDI standard can do for home entertainment. Should Philips participate in this specification, it would possibly look into WHDI’s standardization process as well. Read more…

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