Tag: smart tv

Android bugs hard to shift from tellies

bugFor a while now security experts have feared that android viruses will find their way into smart tellies and now this is starting to happen quirks in the telly industry appear to be preventing the viruses being fixed.

Software engineer Darren Cauthon found that one of his family members had an LG smart TV infected with ransomware on Christmas day. However, when he rang LG for help, the outfit told him he would have to take the telly into the shop to be fixed.

Based on a screenshot Cauthon posted online, the smart TV was infected with the Cyber. Police ransomware, also known as FLocker, Frantic Locker, or Dogspectus.

The infected TV is one of the last generations of LG smart TVs that ran Google TV, a smart TV platform developed by Google together with Intel, Sony, and Logitech. Google TV launched in 2010, but Google discontinued the project in June 2014.

LG really can’t be bothered with Google TV, and the company’s TVs now run WebOS.

When Cauthon tried to reset the TV to factory settings, the reset procedure available online didn’t work.

When the software engineer contacted LG, the company told him to visit one of their service centres, where one of its employees could reset his TV.

From NFC to artificial brains: Future Horizons' future of chips

As well as looking at the state of the chip industry, IFS2012 saw Future Horizons give some predictions into the application of semiconductors over the coming years.

Starting with what the coming year is likely to have in store, CTO Mike Bryant gave his predictions stretching out into the almost unknown, twenty-odd years hence.

It is expected that Apple will finally get to stick some NFC chips into the iPhoneSamsung is also expected to push the technology this year, according to some IFS attendees.

As expected, Ultrabooks will pervade into mainstream consciousness, though, as Bryant points out, most will want until a generation running on Windows 8 appears later in the year before splashing out.  Windows on ARM is not expected to have much effect, though we imagine will grab headlines when released.

The TV market will carry on pushing 3D and, following the CES show-stealing, smart TVs will see a boost. Whether manufacturers will be able to meet the struggle for profits this year is another question though.  Apple TV rumours were also fuelled, adding to expectations that even larger needless shiny rectangles will make it into our lives by the end of the year.

Just as TechEye has been saying semiconductors will also make an assault on classrooms, with government backing products such as the RaspberryPi to promote computing and programming for a new generation.

Longer term, Bryant gave his predictions on the further evolution of the semi industry, with Intel leading the way with 15nm Trigate development, and larger production beginning possibly the year after.  450mm wafers will begin testing at its Albany site, with low scale production the following year.

Meanwhile TSMC and GloFo will fire up 20nm planar chip development, though whether more advanced process difficulties will be seen is unknown.

ARM’s global takeover, according to its bosses at least, will also begin with the big.LITTLE concept appearing  in its A15/A7 chip combination.

4G should finally arrive in the airwaves of Blighty in 2013 too, some years after others got their hands on it. Though it could be a while still before many people actually get to use it.

2014 should see some exciting developments with production of memristor technology, while 2015 could bring about Intel fiddling around with 11nm process Trigate chips.

By 2016 the LED lighting market should finally move into people’s lives, overcoming current cost issues with larger production levels cutting price, leading to a $30 billion industry by the end of the decade.   Work into self-powering devices should become mainstream this year too, beginning to open up the almost frightening possibilities of the Internet of Things.

Jumping to 2018 Intel will be producing 11nm chips in large scale as Moore’s Law begins to hit a slowdown to a three year cycle. Large scale 15nm production on 450mm wafers should see massive amounts of chips churned aiding to the ubiquity of semiconductors in our lives.

By this point it is entirely possible, Bryant says, that graphene circuits could be rivalling silicon with large scale production of chips based on the material.

Towards the end of the decade 5nm process devices could be demonstrated, with a convergence of memory and logic technologies allowing for the development of artificial brains.

From here on out the roadmap blurs into science fiction, but in the next ten to fifteen years work into 3nm processes should push Moore’s Law to its absolute limits, while we could finally be buying examples of the next step: quantum computing.

Implantable mobile phones will mean that it is truly impossible to be uncontactable, 24/7 telehealth monitoring could allow people to put their life in the hands of NHS IT staff, and quasi-intelligent robots will FINALLY begin to become available.

As for hoverboards though, it appears we will have to wait for IFS2013 at least before we find out.

Smart TV hype suggests Android home invasion

With this year’s CES open for business, it seems that one of the headline products is web-connected smart TVs.

Last year may have seen 3D sets begin to make their mark, but after notably failing to make the desired impact, attention appears to be turning towards smart TVs.

We have already seen LG talk up its Google 2.0 TV, while Lenovo has announced its own Android-based set too, and it’s expected that Samsung will enter the fray.  Apple has also been murmuring about its own web connected TV recently, where it hopes it will win on content.

A report from DisplaySearch also suggests that this could be a sign of things to come.  In many countries, replacing sets is largely pushed by consumer interest in web-connected TVs rather than 3D.  In North America, this means that the million smart TVs sold in 2011 will increase to 24.7 million by 2014.

Just as 3D has struggled to become ubiquitous in the home, it seems that smart TVs will also face some challenges.

While launching of a wide range of sets should see a large increase in numbers shipped over the coming years, the impact is not expected to be huge. As smart TVs become more sophisticated there is increasing functionality, like apps and full browsers.  Indeed, the Lenovo K91 almost blurs the line between TV and all-in-one PC.

In the early days, such features will put device makers in direct competition with themselves, as they sell more accessible products like tablets. It’s on mobile devices that apps and web surfing are more at home, rather than on a screen across the room.

According to DisplaySearch, by 2015 TVs with unlimited web browsing capacity will make up under 10 percent of those shipped in Western Europe.

But as smart devices like tablets and smartphones become even more commonplace in homes there’s likely to be more scope for them to work together.  Watching TV is more suited to larger TV sets, and it’s the ability to wirelessly connect with tablets and smartphones will make smart TVs more useful.

It could be argued smart TVs are a sign that we’re on the way to convergence in the home. Which begs the question – which operating system is going to win out, in the end? It’s hard to see Apple’s locked-in approach winning hearts and minds forever. The nature of Android on a range of devices offers consumers the ability to pick and choose while staying on the same OS, rather than Cupertino’s like it or lump it approach. It was always Samsung’s idea when it originally pushed BaDa.

Companies like Qualcomm are ploughing heaps of cash into R&D, convinced that there will be convergence – eventually tying in with the Internet of Things – where your smartphone will act as the central, personal device for everything else around you.

With some high-profile smart TV announcements made and more surely yet to come, we’re certain the battle for controlling all the screens in and out of your home is going to escalate. No wonder the patent cases are flying.



Google TV 2.0 devices rev up engines

Ahead of the CES 2012 news frenzy, LG Electronics has announced it will be the first out of the PR gate with a new line of Google TV 2.0, Android-based LED LCDs.

After a first round of anaemically-powered Google TV devices failed to hit home, Google has been pushing forward with TV 2.0 based on ARM and Android, as expected, not Intel. LG Electronics is the first of the gang of key electronics manufacturers to announce its Google TV 2.0 devices, running Honeycomb, while adding its own Cinema 3D viewing technology to the mix. The as-of-yet unnamed Google TV devices from LG are to be demoed at the company’s CES 2012 press junket, this coming Monday.

One might be left wondering just how Honeycomb, a touch-driven OS, will translate to the TV screen, but digital TV users, who care little for specifications and codenames, will be happy to use LG’s Magic Remote Qwerty. Couch potatoes will enjoy hours, nay, days of voice activated command happiness or flipping over the remote for extra typing gratification. LG says it will work out for the best.

The company, however, won’t be putting its eggs all in one basket. It will continue to develop Smart TV under its own platform, Netcast.

Google TV 2.0 had recently engrossed its ranks with the likes of LG, Samsung and MediaTek, who’ve joined in on the digital TV frenzy with their vertical integration or 3rd party chipsets for added functionality. Google’s biggest challenge, in fact, isn’t getting support from electronics manufacturers, but overcoming the frowned-upon content streaming activity that promises telecoms and TV networks a pot of gold at the end of the intertube’s rainbow.

You can also expect Samsung to follow on the heels of this LG announcement, as it isn’t one to sit idly by while it’s up-staged by its homeland rival.

LG rushes to become early WiDi adopter

LG and Intel have inked a deal to use Chipzilla’s WiDi technology in LG’s top of the range tellies, but it could struggle to see widespread adoption despite the benefits for ultrabooks.

The pair recently announced a “strategic alliance” to promote the use of Intel’s Wireless Display (WiDi) technology, which provides wireless connectivity for HD content stored in notebooks and other devices.  A recent statement announced that LG’s Cinema 3D Smart TVs would be the first to feature Intel’s wireless, clutter-reducing gear.

The internal WiDi system will mean content can be streamed directly to a TV set, or potentially to a projector or monitor, without needing miles of HDMI or VGA cables. WiDi doesn’t require any internet connection, just a WiDi enabled laptop and screen to stream content.  

On the face of it the system certainly sounds useful, with consumers increasingly accessing content on the big screen from a laptop. Despite Intel and LG’s gusto, there is not quite as much enthusiasm from other corners.

Paul Gray at DisplaySearch believes that despite the joint venture showing “some possibilities” but there are many problems in widespread adoption.  This is at least partly due to LG’s history of quickly picking and dropping projects.

“With other manufacturers you might take it more seriously,” he told TechEye, “but if you look at LG it often jumps on new technology like this, and just because they have made an announcement doesn’t mean that they will push it.”

Gray believes that there are many problems with LG and Intel’s WiDi, which has been attempted in various guises by other firms, too: “I have had reports of terrible latency problems, with a video delay of a couple of seconds, which means that it would be pretty bad for gaming,” Gray said.

Sony has also attempted similar techonology, and as Sony tend to do, it was very well developed.  However it also cost a lot and the public is not interested in spending so much money on getting rid of some wires. Basically it is incredibly expensive to do it properly.

“In this sense WiDi is not a game changer, though it will be interesting to see who manages to lead on the technology in future.  At the moment thought it has limited applications other than in business use.”

One area which Gray flags as useful is doing away with bulky and expensive socket components in laptops.

This fits in line with Intel’s Great Light Hope: the Ultrabook. Intel has already been decking out its Ultrabooks with WiDi, and it certainly makes sense with the two features that Intel is so desperate to reduce: size and, more importantly, cost.

“Intel can get rid of the outputs on its devices, and that means not having to put in expensive socket components that take up a lot of space,” Gray says.  “This could be very good for Intel.”

Dropping unneccessary baggage makes sense as Intel is betting the farm on affordable Ultrabooks. Whether LG is the right partner to bring WiDi into living rooms across the world is another question.

The WiDi-enabled LG set will be on view at CES in Lost Wages next month. 

Apple's iTV set to be a lemon

While the Tame Apple Press  is starting to hype up the Apple TV, which punters are expected to be queuing for in late 2012, it is starting to look like it will be a lemon.

YouGov has been adding up the numbers and dividing by its shoe size and come to the conclusion that not only Apple, but Google and anyone else who is thinking that building an internet enabled smart telly could be be doomed.

Only 15 percent of the UK population are planning to buy an internet enabled Smart TV in the next year and while Cupertino should be able to whip up enough fanboys to buy one or two sets, Apple has not got the chops to compete in this market.

The company considered Apple TV the final frontier and, in Jobs’ biography, he said he thought he finally cracked it. As a result Apple fans are really curious to see what Jobs would do to the television. 

But the rest of the world is not really interested in Smart TVs. At least Apple can be assured that if it gets its telly out in time it will be at least six months to a year before rivals get their versions out.

The report noted that Google would also be in the market then and admitted that might stimulate some interest for the idea.

Google is also said to be in talks with Samsung to launch its Google TV service in specially built sets next year, probably before Apple.

But YouGov said that the biggest driver for both products will be content, as 36 percent of UK respondents aged 18-24 said that they would make a connected TV purchase if they could watch their favourite TV shows on-demand.

This is where you would think Apple has the advantage as iTunes has more content than you can poke a stick at, while Google has YouTube and, er, that’s it.

YouGov hinted that Google could benefit from the growth of social TV, as services such as Facebook and Twitter are already available on connected TV services, enabling users to interact and comment on the action while watching programming.  

Apple, and Google, will point to the sudden appearance of tablets and say that their success is proof that people will want to watch smart tellies.

Sadly the facts don’t match the hype. YouGov said the use of multimedia on tablets was too low to make much of a difference. Apparenlty just four percent of those surveyed own one.

YouGov expects the tablet market to accelerate next year with the arrival of Amazon’s affordable Kindle Fire in the UK and more sensibly priced products appear. 

Web-connected TVs to hit 123 million units in 2014

Despite all the fuss over 3D TVs it seems that web-connected sets are expected to have a bigger impact on the way people watch TV at home.

While people are constantly told to accept that they must fork out a fortune to don the ubiquitous 3D shades and risk throwing up their TV dinners, it seems that it is internet connectivity which is expected to become more prevalent over the coming years.

According to DisplaySearch, the smart TV category is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 30 percent to reach 123 million shipments in 2014, compared with the 91 million shipments forecast for 3D sets over the same period according to similar figures.

But while 3D TVs struggle with a paucity of content, stats show that with 20 percent of all TVs shipped in 2010 featuring internet connectivity, that figure will continue to rise due to growth in emerging markets.

For instance, in Eastern Europe, it is thought the 2.5 million connected TVs will grow to 10 million by 2014, while in 2013 33 percent of China’s flat screen sets will be connected to the web.

According to Paul Gray, director of TV electronics at DisplaySearch, the connected TV market is “developing beyond mature regions like Western Europe and Japan,” with certain emerging markets already having excellent broadband infrastructure.

The actual market for web-connected sets is likely to become fragmented and complex in the functions that it offers customers.

For example some consumers are likely to just want to access video on demand sites like Netflix or Lovefilm, while others will want a more comprehensive and interactive set with configurable apps, sophisticated search and navigation engines and the like.

As Gray points out, such TVs are adding to “what is already a fast-moving and fiercely competitive battleground, with competition appearing in all directions,” including the multitude of mobile PC devices available at the moment such as tablets and “increasingly powerful set top boxes with services accessible anytime, anywhere.”

However as TechEye reported previously, while the speed with which internet connectivity is set to continue to revolutionise the way that we watch television, it is worth giving some consideration to the effect that the quickening pace of the TV replacement cycle has on the sets that are no longer needed.

DisplaySearch Worldwide Connected TV Forecast (Shipments)


BBC's Erik Huggers snapped up by Intel

The Director of Future Media and Technology at the BBC, Erik Huggers, is leaving the broadcasting organisation and joining chip giant Intel.

Huggers is to leave BBC at the end of February and will take on his new role as Corporate Vice Presidence and General Manager of Intel’s Digital Home Group. He will also become a member of Intel’s Management Committee.

Huggers takes the place of Eric Kim, who oversaw the launch of the Intel-powered Google TV. Kim resigned at the beginning of January to take on the position of CEO of Soraa, a semiconductor start-up. This leaves Huggers and his television expertise to work out a way to make the Google TV and similar projects really work for Intel.

Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, said that it was Hugger’s “proven track record” that brought him to the attention of Intel.

Huggers was praised by BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, who said that he was the “arhictect for radical refocusing of BBC Online.” He was also praised for his efforts with BBC Red Button and BBC Mobile, all of which saw high growth since he took office in August 2008. 

However it was the success of the BBC iPlayer that landed him the most pats on the back. It has broadcasted 145 million TV and Radio programme views to over 60 different devices during December alone.

Huggers says the role is a great opportunity to build a new business aimed at “connected media experiences in the living room.”

UMTS Forum predicts a billion connected devices by 2016

With the rise of smartphones, tablets and smart TVs the UMTS Forum predicts that there will be over a billion connected consumer electronics devices by 2016.

A report called Two Worlds Connected: Consumer Electronics Meets Mobile Broadband was prepared by Strategic Analytics for the UMTS Forum, a mobile broadband industry association focusing on 3G and 4G networks.

The findings of the report included an estimated growth of connected devices to a whopping billion units over the next six years, with these devices ranging from phones and cameras to car computer systems and personal health monitors.

The largest growth will be seen in gaming consoles, e-readers, car infotainment systems, home appliances and healthcare, according to Jean-Pierre Bienaimé, Chairman of the UMTS Forum.

The report found that there is a growing “collision” between devices and mobile broadband and that companies in the consumer electronics industry must “connect or perish”, as more and more consumers look for net connectivity wherever they go and whatever they do.

Other findings in the report include Wi-Fi remaining the dominant internet access used in homes, a co-existance of cloud server and media server technologies, that consumer electronics will not be the main driver behind mobile broadband growth for the short to medium term, and that poor business models, spectrum fragmentation and high chip prices are holding the industry back.

Samsung smart remote, Transcend 2TB HDD, VisionTek keyboard

With Google revealing the reasons behind its smart TV delay, this gives manufacturers time to work on paraphernalia for the connected TV market. First up could be Samsung’s RMC30D universal Touch Control TV remote, reported by HotHardware. It’s more like a smartphone, with a three-inch touchscreen, home and power buttons and slide-out QWERTY keyboard for text input. 

TweakTown reviewed the Lian Li PC-V1020B mid tower chassis, which received a rating of 91 percent and a Best Features Award. It was praised as being the best Lian Li case to date, easy to assemble, good air flow, elegantly-designed, and packing plenty of features and a long lease of life.

HardwareBistro brings news of the Transcend StoreJet 35T3 USB 3.0 external hard drive. The 3.5-inch device looks a bit like an Xbox 360, but it offers much more storage, up to 2TB. There’s also several additional features, such as one touch auto-backup and an eco-friendly design that meets with the EU’s Energy Related Products intitiative.

The Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 12GB RAM kit was reviewed by PureOC. It earned major brownie points for stability, speed, flexibility and most importantly its low price of under $200, ensuring it got a Great Value award. It’s probably overkill for most users, however.

BenchmarkReviews took a gander at the VisionTek CandyBoard 900335 Bluetooth keyboard, which can be used with a desktop computer or a smartphone. It was rated 9 out of 10, with songs of praise for its high wireless range (up to 40 feet), long battery life, full QWERTY backlit keys, media centre buttons, embedded presentation laser pointer, universal compatibility and one-year warranty.

The price is just as much as larger versions, however, which lost it some marks, as did the lack of compatibility with radio frequency wireless receivers.