Thursday, January 8, 2009

Vizio Connected HDTVs

"Everybody is launching networked TVs it seems, but Vizio's 'Connected HDTV' sounds killer: Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi, with every service you'd want: Amazon, Blockbuster and Netflix VOD, Pandora, Flickr, Rhapsody, plus any other Yahoo widget. Not there, you notice is Hulu. BUT, Vizio says they're in 'deep talks' with them. So Hulu, directly integrated into your TV, looks likely." So another device that connects to the web. Is the Vizio Tru2way compatible also so that it can work without another "converter box" next to it? Or is Vizio trying to create a model to eliminate cable subscription? Not true, according to their release. "VIZIO’s “Connected HDTV” Platform is designed to compliment TV viewing. At a single touch of the VIZIO customized remote control, viewers can access their favorite Internet content from the easy to navigate on screen display, without interrupting the TV program they are viewing. " Unfortunately, the other thing missing is a discussion about a Cablecard. And so while their new remote with qwerty keyboard looks cool, it may have to still share the coffee table with the tradition universal remote.

We seem to be box happy with gaming consoles and dvd players attached to our TVs as well. Can my shelf hold a Wii, PS3, XBox, Blu-ray, Mototola or S-A converter box. Or will it crash under the sheer weight. And while it is nice to hear about a "connected platform", does that connection extend to my own home computer? The average consumer seeks a solution where it is plug and play ready, interactive and interoperable, talking easily to the various devices in the home, and managed wirelessly from a single remote or mobile device. Connecting to the web is nice, but the Xbox and Roku and other devices do that already.

Markey: Feb. 17 DTV Date May Have To Move

There is a digital coupon shortage. Many people, mainly those without cable, aren't thinking about or prepared for the digital conversion. Advertising messages in the beginning were confusing, so that cable customers without a set top box thought they needed to put converter boxes on every TV. And many fingers are being pointed.

Now a major consumer advocate, "Consumers Union (CU) late Wednesday asked the heads of the congressional committees with telecommunications oversight, as well as the current and future administrations, to consider delaying the Feb. 17, 2009 transition date." And Congress may be listening as Ed Markey, the Democratic Representative from Massachusetts and new chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is looking hard at pushing back the February 17 date.

While digital converters cost less than an iPod, Congress does not want to force its citizens to purchase; the coupon could offset the entire price of a low end converter. But with problems moving out enough coupons and the transition date less than 6 weeks away, it is my guess that this delay will occur. But will it be 1 month, 6 months, or a year? "Consumers Union has suggested a move of four months or so, according to a CNBC interview with CU senior counsel Chris Murray, the other signature on the CU letter. Murray told CNBC that he thought there was a 'reasonably good chance' that Congress would push the date back four months or so. "