Category Archives: TV

How To Buy An Internet-Ready TV

TVs that connect to the Web are evolving. Here are tips that can help you figure out what you need.

Getting your TV to double as an all-in-one set-top box or computer sounds like the Holy Grail of living room entertainment. Why pay $75 per month for cable when Hulu streams TV for free, Netflix streams unlimited movies for less than $10 a month, and Amazon offers 50,000 on-demand titles? Why have a Blu-ray player when Vudu streams 1080p video? Why sit with a laptop when news, social media updates and video chat are all available on a big screen, alongside all that video?

Some of the latest Internet-connected TVs can already do all of that, using nothing but an ethernet cord and a broadband modem. Still, TVs have a long way to go before they become the alpha and omega of living room devices. If you buy a new TV this year, there’s a good chance it will be Internet-connected whether you want it or not (the cheapest models cost less than $1,000), but don’t go throwing away all your set-top boxes just yet.

Here’s what we know right now: Consumers want more media to come through their TVs, especially video content. More than 27% of new TVs sold in January 2010 can be connected to the Web, according to research firm iSuppli, whether it’s through the TV itself, game consoles, specialized boxes like Roku or Vudu, a Web-enabled disc player or through a PC.

It’s expected that 25% of HDTVs shipped this year will be Internet-ready. The best of these sets do an admirable job of integrating Web content like news, social media, streaming audio and video and, soon, video chat. That said, these TVs still aren’t as versatile as the common combination of cable, a game console or disc player and a laptop. Web TV complements a full entertainment system, but it doesn’t define it.

TVs will supplant laptops as the preferred method for viewing Web video, no doubt, and other functions like news, social media and video chat will tag along as well. What remains to be seen is whether connected TVs will become the best method for harnessing the Internet, or if a “killer” set-top box will fill that role instead.

Several developers are working on such a box, a device that would serve both streaming and downloaded content, and work as a platform for other Web content or downloadable apps.

D-Link is set to release this year the Boxee Box, which is basically hardware that runs the intuitive Boxee media library software. Google ( GOOG news people ) is hard at work with Sony ( SNE news people ), Intel ( INTC news people ) and Logitech on Google TV. The companies have a working prototype of their own box, but “the technology might be incorporated directly into other TVs or other devices, like Blu-ray players,” the New York Times reported last month. Apple ( AAPL news people ) TV could also see some sort of upgrade or repositioning–never count Apple out of anything it puts its mind to.

Another issue to consider is that connected TVs, at least those currently on the market, are basically “closed” devices with only a few exceptions. The software, or “widgets,” that come built into TVs are pretty much the widgets you’re stuck with until the manufacturer offers a firmware update. For example, all 2010 LG NetCast-enabled model come with video-chat service Skype (functionality begins this summer). Anyone who owns last year’s models can’t get the upgrade without buying a new TV.

Samsung is trying out an app store on its Internet@TV enabled models, the first of its kind on a TV. It’s the same concept as the smartphone app stores like Apple’s App Store or Google’s Android Marketplace, but it’s still a work in progress. In early April there were fewer than two dozen apps available at Samsung’s app store. By comparison, the App Store had more than 185,000 apps and the Android Marketplace had more than 40,000.

Third-party developers have very little incentive to make apps for TV because they have to make at least a half-dozen versions of them, one for each manufacturer. Services like Yahoo! ( YHOO news people ) Widgets, a cross-platform service available on connected LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio sets, could in theory make app creation more developer friendly, but it’s been around for more than a year and there have been few significant developments.

So what should you take away from this? Basically, don’t buy an HDTV just because it’s a connected model–buy it because it has a fantastic picture. It’ll probably be connected anyway, but you’ll probably want to keep your Blu-ray player and cable TV hooked up, and maybe even look into one of those game-changing set-top boxes when they come out. If you do want to go connected, here are a few new HDTVs with great performance and connectivity.

Samsung UN55C8000: Samsung’s latest and greatest LED (at least until the C9000 appears). This 55-inch, 3-D-ready beauty has a 240 Hz refresh rate and is less than an inch thick. The Internet@TV service includes Yahoo! Widgets for news, weather and the like, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Amazon and Blockbuster ( BBI news people ) on-demand, Netflix ( NFLX news people ), Vudu and Skype is coming this summer. You’ll also get access to Samsung Apps. Price: $3,499.

Vizio VF552XVT: This slick 55-inch LED doesn’t quite match the quality of the Samsung UN55C8000, but it’s pretty close and significantly cheaper at $1,999. You also get access to VIA, Vizio’s robust service featuring Netflix, Vudu, Twitter, Facebook, Twitter and a slew of Yahoo! Widgets. This may be the best Internet TV service out there.

LG 50PK750: Plasma is still the gold standard for picture quality. This mid-range, 50-inch model from LG won’t match the top-tier models, but you’ll still get deep blacks and a smooth picture for $1,399. You’ll also get access to NetCast, one of the most well-rounded connected services available, including Netflix, Vudu, CinemaNow, Yahoo! Widgets, Facebook, Twitter and Skype, which is coming this summer.

via How To Buy An Internet-Ready TV

TVs that connect to the Web are evolving. Here are tips that can help you figure out what you need.


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O LORD – Singapore’s Funniest Home Videos is coming – itsReal

That’s right Mediacorp is Trying to cash in on the Home Video Craze – The winner will get a whopping SGD10,000. I can’t find anything on the Mediacorp site, but I guess you need to catch the promo ads on Channel 5, till something appears

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Last call for beta test on … I,ve Been keeping it quiet !!!

Joost is reaching another big milestone this week.

After months of testing with many thousands of users, they are ready to move Joost on to the next stage of its development.

In preparation for this Joost are closing down applications for the beta testing program on the website at the end of Thursday (GMT).

Between this time and the public availability of Joost, access will be by invitation from beta testers only.

So this is their last call to apply via website!

The good news is, that everyone who applies before they close will get access to try out Joost within the next couple of weeks….

Apply today, now… else who knows how long before it gets to the rest of those that don’t know yet.


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Who is behind THERE.COM & MTV’s Virtual LUGUNA Beach – itSreal

Source: OCRegister
Michael K. Wilson Video

Michael K Wilson

He left retirement and created a virtual Laguna Beach

When MTV and its popular reality show came calling, Michael Wilson’s Makena Technologies had the answer.

The Orange County Register

The first time Michael K. Wilson came out of retirement, it was to help his old friend Pierre Omidyar on a little startup called eBay. Wilson was its fourth employee. He retired again in 2001.

The second time Wilson left retirement, he bought the rights to, a virtual world where people become cartoon avatars and socialize online. As a founding investor, he believed in the social-networking aspect and took over as the company changed focus to government applications.

The Laguna Beach resident, who turns 50 this year, has no plans to retire again soon. His company, Makena Technologies, operates and produced a virtual Laguna Beach for the MTV Networks series “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County,” where the typical resident is young and female. The job keeps him young and he spends hours a day inside the worlds.

“Everybody in there looks better than they do in real life,” Wilson said.

Virtual worlds have existed for decades in science-fiction novels, such as 1982’s “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson, a book that inspired Wilson. These online communities were relegated to sci-fi lovers but paved the way for the popular online game World of Warcraft, population 8 million, and social networking sites like Second Life, which has 3.7 million residents. now has about 750,000 members. Virtual Laguna Beach has around 360,000 registered users.

But it has only been the past year that virtual worlds have attracted a wider audience. New York Law School holds classes inside The Sundance Film Festival held its first virtual screening inside Second Life in January. Episodes of MTV’s “The Hills” and “The Real Orange County” are screened inside the virtual Laguna Beach a day before airing on TV.

“I credit the guys at MTV for this. Before we did Laguna Beach, if I went to any member in There and asked what kind of computer they had, they’d tell me about the BIOS. But in Laguna Beach, we’ve turned this from a techie site to something all people use,” Wilson said.

How the dream began

The Norfolk, Va., native was a smart kid. He took college classes in high school, got good grades. But maybe he was too smart for school. He got a job in Macy’s technical department instead of going to college. And because he knew more about technology than others, he moved far and fast through the tech world, working at Chevron, Oracle and The Well. In the mid-1990s, he was hired as an engineer at eShop, a software company.

That’s where Wilson met Omidyar, who would later ask twice to join him at eBay. Wilson relented in January 1997 and helped build the company’s technology. He retired four years later as eBay’s senior vice president of product development and site operations and moved to Laguna Beach.

In 2005,’s board began talking about shutting down the unprofitable consumer portion to focus on military use. Wilson, an investor since the beginning, wanted to make sure the consumer world lived on. He started Makena, named after a beach in Hawaii, and bought the exclusive license to

Then, last February, MTV Networks came knocking. They were interested in creating a virtual world of their own. In April, MTV placed its order.

“MTV said we want to build an entire world, and we want to build it by August,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s team of developers, artists and designers worked overtime to get the world running by opening week. They designed clothing and characters to look more “California” than’s world. They added details, like the movie theater on the main drag and the lighthouse on the beach. They added video inside the virtual world to screen episodes a day before the TV broadcast. It was a lot of work, but employees didn’t mind too much, said Stefan Dorsett, a software engineer.

Wilson handed out weekly bonuses and hired a masseuse to help the staff relax. But, mostly, Wilson made it exciting to work there.

“He’s like a mentor. We learn so much through him,” said Dorsett, 25. “He’s interested in the same stuff we are.”

Makena delivered the Virtual Laguna Beach in four months, just in time for the new season.

“We think Mike is a visionary, no question about it.” said Jeff Yapp, executive vice president of program development for MTV Networks.

Yapp said MTV Networks is pleased with the results and hopes to continue adding more virtual neighborhoods. Makena supplies the technical and social support by hiring people to organize events in the virtual worlds.

“The target audience we’re going after are viewers of the show. They don’t spend a lot of time in virtual games or Second Life. Now the goal is to get them to want to stay. That’s where Mike’s team does such a great job,” Yapp said. “Once it becomes a community, it begins to develop on its own. There are 1,200 social clubs in Laguna Beach.”

Wilson spends hours each day in the virtual worlds, and if you want an update, he’s easy to reach. Just ask his avatar, listed as “Michael” or “Michael Wilson.”

“Yes, sure, if they run into me in the world, I am happy to talk to them,” he said.

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Forecasts for Video Downloads…whose in the MONEY apple ? – itSreal

Annual consumer spending on Internet downloads of movies and TV shows will top $4 billion in 2011, up from just $111 million last year, according to a study released Wednesday by Adams Media Research.

“The Internet is going to revolutionize the distribution of video,” says Adams Media Research President Tom Adams.

The growth will be fueled by the introduction of hardware devices such as Apple TV, a $299 box that converts videos downloaded from the Internet into signals that can be played on high-definition television sets.

Apple Inc. is selling those boxes on its Web site and says they will be shipped later this month.

Adams Media Research is betting that video downloads will ramp up gradually as Apple TV and similar devices win acceptance among consumers.

The market researcher forecasts that sales of video downloads will total $472 million in 2007, $1.2 billion in 2008, $2 billion in 2009, $3.1 billion in 2010, then hit $4.1 billion in 2011.

It also predicts that advertiser spending on Internet video streams to PCs and TVs will approach $1.7 billion by 2011.

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Afterworld gives a taste of things to come – TV – Web – Mobile. ALL in ONE entertainment ?

Asher Moses – Sydney Morning Herald
February 19, 2007 – 12:20PM

The next generation of TV dramas will let viewers break free from the shackles of the couch and restrictive broadcaster schedules, says Sony Pictures Television.

In a first for the studio, it has acquired all international television, digital sell-through, gaming and mobile rights to a futuristic animated show called Afterworld.

Produced by Emmy Award nominee Stan Rogow (known for his work on Lizzie McGuire and All I Want for Christmas) and written by Brent Friedman (Mortal Kombat 2), Afterworld will be distributed across all platforms including TV, the web and mobile phones.

Accompanying this will be original web-only content to draw viewers even further into the plot.

SPT’s description of the show says: “Afterworld is about life on earth after an inexplicable global event renders technology useless and 99 per cent of the population missing.”

It follows New Yorker Russell Shoemaker as he unravels the mystery of the event and searches for his family.

The announcement of the deal was made by SPT’s international arm, but the Australian division’s managing director, Jack Ford, said he expected the show to launch locally within the next three or four months.

“It’s a visionary program in my view – I don’t think anything like it has ever been attempted before,” he said.

Ford said he was in talks with local broadcasters to determine which would acquire the rights to distribute the show locally.

Episodes of Afterworld will be consumed as 130 two-minute episodes or, in the case of TV, 13 half-hour episodes.

Supplementing these will be the website,, which SPT said would offer “archived back episodes, daily journal entries, community blogs, interactive content applications and online games”.

The result, SPT hopes, will be a far more immersive, flexible experience for today’s “digital consumer”.

In a statement, Friedman said: “As much as I’ve enjoyed working in all the conventional mediums, I believe we have created something that represents a new form of content – the online convergence of television and video games.”

Australian broadcasters are already heading in this direction. Network Ten has just launched its revamped website, which offers sub-sites for individual shows that the network says will include downloadable content and community features.

“For some programs there will be the availability of full episodes, for others it will be highlights and short clips, for other programs it will be additional web-only content,” Ten’s general manager of digital media, Damian Smith, said when announcing the site revamp late last year.

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Australians in virtual world stampede – secondlife the Winner – itSreal

Asher Moses and Stephen Hutcheon – SMH Biztech
January 30, 2007

Telstra and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will announce shortly that they have established, separately, a presence in the cult virtual world of Second Life.

They will join a growing throng of international companies – including Dell, Toyota, Adidas, IBM, and Intel – who have built a base within the virtual world, seeking to test its worthiness as a promotional and commercial tool.

Another local company, interactive TV provider Two Way TV Australia, also has advanced plans to open a shop front in the 3-D world.

Telstra spokesman Craig Middleton said the telco’s Second Life home would be called The Pond, and offer similar features to its website.

“Visitors will be able to do pretty much what they can at – buy songs, watch movies and so on – as well as explore the fascinating online presence we are creating,” he said.

“It will be highly interactive – fly around a scale replica of Uluru or walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.”

Mr Middleton would not give further details on what Telstra was planning, but said all would be revealed when The Pond opened to the public next month.

Over 3 million people from around the world have signed up for a (free) Second Life account. However, it is widely accepted that as few as 10 per cent of those members are active, making this a niche community in the universe of virtual world.

That, however, has not dampened the appetite for commercial enterprises, educational organisations and even governmental ones to dive in and test the waters.

On the weekend, a spokesman for an arm of the Swedish foreign ministry revealed that Sweden would soon be opening an official information outpost inside Second Life.

IBM recently teamed up with Tennis Australia to build and then operate a real-time version of the Australian Open inside the virtual world.

And two Australian educational organisations – the University of Southern Queensland and the Australian Film, Television and Radio School – have already opened for business in Second Life.

There are few details about the ABC venture beyond the fact that the corporation has purchased an island in Second Life. Access to the region is restricted, but the island – in the shape of the ABC logo – is clearly visible from an overhead view of the area.

Earlier this month Abigail Thomas from the ABC’s new media division posted a notice on a Second Life discussion board calling for suggestions for the Second Life project.

“The ABC has a wealth of digital assets that we are considering lending to the development of this project,” she wrote. “But rather than just reflect the ABC back to users in SL, we are looking at creating more of a public space for Australians.”

Two Way TV’s Daniel Barton said his company was well down the track with a Second Life presence that would connect users in its virtual set-up with its website, offering them rewards and incentives.

Jana Gillespie believed so strongly in Second Life’s potential as a marketing tool that she started a business, Big-Bit (http//, which specialises in helping real-world corporations establish a business presence inside the virtual world.

Her progress to date has been limited, but Ms Gillespie said she was close to announcing a deal with one major Australian company, and had recently been in negotiations with Tourism Australia.

“Second Life can be used as a test bed for products for a fraction of the cost it would in real life with the added feature of interactivity,” said Ms Gillespie, adding that its global reach makes for a highly effective distribution tool.

David Holloway, of Wollongong, is another of the few Australians who have used Second Life to spawn a real-world business.

His website, SLOz (, is a news source dedicated to covering Australian movements within the virtual world.

Holloway has monitored Australian companies’ forays into Second Life for some time, and noted that while many had been “not sure whether it was worth putting their brand out in what is a fairly new area”, they had since become more open to the idea.


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Filed under asia, australia, business, collaboration, consumer tech, embassy, Events, executive, experience, government, internet, intranets, iptv, life, marketing,, next generation web, PR, Public Relations, second life, secondlife,, singapore, social networking, social networks, tech,, TV, virtual commerce, virtual worlds…. if you are already a beta tester please send me an invite…i’m begging – itSreal

I have just applied and on confirmation, the team at told me to beg for an invitation ( so I am…Begging release below:

The Venice Project code-named no more

“Joost™” to combine the best of TV and the best of the Web

New York/London – January 16, 2007 – Today, the company formerly known under the code name The Venice Project has revealed its official brand, “Joost™.” Currently available in private beta testing, Joost combines the best of TV and the best of the Internet by offering viewers a unique, TV-like experience enhanced with the choice, control and flexibility of Web 2.0.

Co-founded by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, Joost fills a critical gap in the online video entertainment arena. Joost is powered by a secure, efficient, piracy-proof Internet platform that enables premium interactive video experiences while guaranteeing copyright protection for content owners and creators.

“People are looking for increased choice and flexibility in their TV experience, while the entertainment industry needs to retain control over their content,” said Fredrik de Wahl, chief executive officer of Joost. “With Joost, we’ve married that consumer desire with the industry’s interests.”

Joost is the first global TV distribution platform, bringing together advertisers, content owners and viewers in an interactive, community-driven environment. Joost can be accessed with a broadband Internet connection and offers broadcast-quality content to viewers for free.

“We’ve received positive and constructive feedback from our early beta-testers and are now at a stage where we’re ready to reveal our true brand,” said de Wahl. “The Joost name has global appeal, embodies fun and energy, and will come to define the ‘best of TV and the best of the Internet'”.
About Joost™

Joost™ provides a new way of watching TV that combines the best of full-screen television entertainment with online interactive and community benefits to bring an unprecedented selection of video content to viewers anytime, anywhere. Joost is based on a state-of-the-art, secure, peer-to-peer streaming technology.

To learn more about Joost or to become a beta-tester, visit


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SPH Video News on-demand channel Now Showing on M2Btv Singapore’s First Broadband TV service

SPH Video News on-demand channel Now Showing on M2Btv Singapore’s First Broadband TV service

M2B World Asia Pacific opens signature showroom to service growing M2Btv subscriber base.

Previews Singapore-made HD broadband streaming content; Karaoke on-demand; Hong Kong action serial
and Da Vinci Code premiere before TV or cable.

Singapore | 20 January 2007 | M2B World Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (“M2B Asia Pacific”), a subsidiary of US-listed Amaru, Inc. today unveiled to media the SPH video news on-demand channel on M2Btv – Singapore’s First Broadband TV – at their newly completed signature showroom to service its growing base of subscribers.

M2Btv subscribers can now have first-ever access to on-demand video news content from SPH on their TV screens, with added international coverage from The Associated Press (AP). The SPH Video News channel also provides an interactive new media platform for advertisers to reach broadband-savvy consumers who want to view TV content on-demand, whenever they choose, in the comfort of their living room.

Content on the SPH Video News channel is compiled from AsiaOne, STI (Straits Times Interactive) and STOMP, running on a 7-day archive. This addition significantly enhances the current offering of 55 channels of video on-demand entertainment comprising local and international programming as well as casual interactive games like Suduko on M2Btv. Accessed through the Pony set-box using any high speed broadband connection, Singapore’s First Broadband TV service also provides M2Btv subscribers face-to-face video calls and messaging at no additional charges, along with online on-demand shopping.

Colin Binny, CEO of Amaru, Inc. told the media, “Since the launch of M2Btv last year, we have banked on continually expanding our offering of on-demand programming to deliver an alternative, value-for-money platform for home entertainment, with a rich array of content that has largely not been seen on free-to-air TV or cable.”

Previewed to the media, besides the SPH Video News content, were the following:

• Hollywood blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code” exclusively from Sony Pictures, and Hong Kong action serial “The Eliminators” will be available on M2Btv by end-January. “The Da Vinci Code” was previewed in Super High Quality, but is also available in Standard and High Quality to suit different home broadband access speeds.

• By early-February before Chinese New Year, a Karaoke on-demand channel, with over 10,000 songs of English and Chinese selection will be available to M2Btv subscribers to enjoy in their own living rooms.

• An original full high-definition Singapore documentary series entitled “Facets of a Nation” hosted by Lim Kay Tong and produced by Sitting In Pictures. The series chronicles iconic Singapore institutions like Hajah Fatimah Mosque, Central Fire station and Thien Hock Keng Temple will be available as broadband streaming HD content accessed through an advanced Pony set-top box to be launched in second half of this year.

“The market response has been better than expected, and we are on-target to sign-up 10,000 subscribers by mid-year,” added Colin.

M2Btv subscriber base is growing through distribution deals with major players like Harvey Norman, where each purchase of LCD, plasma or conventional TV’s will come bundled with a 12-month subscription. Meanwhile, AsiaOne subscribers can also look forward to a special subscription offer.

“We have a created a signature `WORLD ON-DEMAND’ showroom to better service and connect with M2Btv’s current and prospective subscribers” said Colin. “This concept store sets the benchmark for M2B World Asia Pacific as it expands into the region to establish our brand presence and a distinct visitor experience into the world of on-demand lifestyle.”

The M2Btv showroom is located at 112 Middle Road, 01-01 Midland House, together with M2B World Asia Pacific.

M2B SPH News Channel IPTV on-demand

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secondlife has a new dedicated newspaper The AvaSTAR- itSreal

A German media company called Bild.T-Online AG & Co. KG is hoping to draw in some ad dollars for its New secondlife Newspaper, currently it is free but they hope to put it on sale after the launch period for L$150 (SGD 0.83), they also promote that-they will pay Linden dollars for actually BIG Linden dollars for your stories. With Reuters as a permanent resident they have competition but I think they are on a winner if they stay the distance.

My review of AvaStar

Have just read almost from front cover to back of Issue 3…its an interesting read but it needs something more….for me maybe a true Business Section instead of play-land SL, needs to be introduced…especially to get the BIG BUCKS from corporate advertisers, there must also be NEW recruitment ( opportunities and business collaborations available with secondlife’s growing importance that could be reported on in detail, AvaStar has enormous potential if it has more real world reporting on secondlife activities – itSreal

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