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CES pulse: What's hot, cold and in between

Posted: 14 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:consumer electronics? Wi-Fi? USB 3.0? processor?

LG's Full-HD Wireless TV, pitched as "wireless freedom"

Wireless video still far from hot
Once again, how to deliver wireless HD video between digital consumer devices at home remained an elusive target at this year's CES as more new variations of wireless video technologies hit the market, including ProVision Communications, Qualcomm and Quantenna with versions of the current 802.11n spec with multiple antennas targeting similar uses.

Nonetheless, with the second-generation chip sets rolling out from two leading competing wireless video camps one from SiBeam-led WirelessHD (60GHz approach) and another from Amimon-led Wireless Home Digital Interface (using 5GHz unlicensed band), a few big-name TV vendors made their choices public: Vizio with SiBeam's WirelessHD chip set for its LCD TVs; and LG with Amimon's WHDI chip using Amimon's wireless video modem technology.

Taeg Il Cho, VP and director of digital TV research lab at LG Electronics, told EE Times that LG selected 5GHz wireless video because the company wanted an "inter-room solution" through walls with no requirement for line-of-sight.

It's a big win for Amimon, because LG will offer Amimon's WHDI-based wireless video option not just in a single, high-end model but in a majority of LG's new flat-panel TVs launched this year.

But the flip side is that it's still "an option." By coming up with this "wireless-ready concept," LG can now afford to give consumers a choice to plug a wireless module in the back of their TVs.

Other leading CE vendors were mum on their wireless video technology decisions. Toshiba's highly coveted Cell TV, however, is "more likely" to use 60GHz HD solution from SiBeam, according to Atsushi Murasawa, president and CEO of Toshiba America Consumer Products.

Apps stores heat up
Leading CE manufacturers are determined to emulate Apple's success with its Apps Store. Samsung and Sony are rolling out their own stores selling applications that will work across their product lines, including cellphones, TVs, Blu-ray players, computers and other personal digital devices.

Samsung TV customers can search and download Samsung apps via the TV sets integrated with Wi-Fi. The concept is basically an evolution of the company's Internet@TV scheme. The Samsung app feature will ship on the vast majority of Samsung TVs with screens 40 inches and above.

Meanwhile, Sony is launching what it calls "evolving TVs" that can download and run third-party applications. Using its new Sony Online Service (SOS), which is based on the existing server infrastructure, billing and login systems of its PlayStation Network, Sony will let its customers download apps, video and music.

The concept is evolving around two trends: proliferation of widgets on the Internet and a growing number of features and functions that are now enabled by apps. Sony's Dash personal Internet viewer, although not initially connected to SOS, is driven by more than 1,000 free Internet apps, including news, calendars, weather, sports, social networking and e-mail.

- Rick Merritt, Junko Yoshida
EE Times

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