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Another Black Eye For CBS: Dish Network’s Hopper DVR Wins CES Award As Trade Group Looks For Partner To Replace CNET

UPDATE, 2: 48 PM: Dish Network CEO Joe Clayton weighs in on the award, and twists the knife into CBS. He says that he appreciates International CES’ “decision to stand with the consumer” by granting the “Best of Show” award to the Hopper With Sling DVR. And he adds that he looks forward to “continuing our longstanding relationship with CNET’s editorial staff and hope they are able return to their long tradition of unbiased evaluation and commentary of the industry’s products and services.”

PREVIOUS, 11:20 AM: Here’s yet more embarrassment for CBS from its heavy-handed decision to bar its tech site CNET from giving the Internatonal CES “Best of Show” award to Dish Network’s Hopper With Sling DVR. CBS said the news site’s editors — who designate the CES award winners — couldn’t recognize the Hopper because broadcasters are suing Dish, alleging that the Hopper’s ability to automatically zip past ads on recorded shows violates their copyrights. But today the trade show gave the award to the Hopper anyway, making it a co-winner with the Razer Edge gaming tablet. (CNET editors made that the winner after CBS forced them to take the Hopper off their list.) “The CNET editorial team identified the Hopper Sling as the most innovative product of the show, and we couldn’t agree more,” says Karen Chupka, who’s the Consumer Electronics Association’s SVP for events and conferences. What’s more, the group says it will look for a new partner to replace CNET in running the annual awards. CBS’ corporate policy could “have a negative impact on our brand,” Chupka says. Read More »

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Should The International CES Confab Terrify Big Media?

The annual event winding down in Las Vegas probably won’t, but it should. Electronics manufacturers filled 1.9M square feet with products including many that could lead Big Media off what TiVo CEO Tom Rogers playfully refers to as the “digital cliff.” Instead of developing strategies to deal with the challenges, most companies “kick the can down the road,” he tells me.

He makes a compelling case. For example, several products likely will lead advertisers to wonder how long they should continue to pay big bucks for TV air time. It isn’t just that viewers can automatically zap a message with a device like Dish Network‘s Hopper with Sling DVR. (Or TiVo, for that matter.) People can simply ignore ads by shifting their attention to a smartphone or tablet computer. Cheap and powerful tablets were ubiquitous at this year’s show — sales will be huge this year —  and Nielsen says that 41% of owners use them daily while they watch TV. Read More »

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TV’s “Second Screen” Wins Respect As Ultra-HD Scores The Hype At CES Confab

Never mind the ballyhoo about ultra-high definition televisions that Samsung, Sony, Sharp, LG, Panasonic and other consumer electronics manufacturers will generate this week at the annual International CES gadget confab in Las Vegas. Only a few consumers have the money and desire to buy one of these beautiful but pricey sets which pack four times as many pixels as a conventional HD television: U.S. consumers will buy just 1.4M ultra-HD sets in 2016, accounting for 5% of all sales, the Consumer Electronics Association projected today. But it looks like the more meaningful announcements for ordinary TV viewers will come this week from companies that want to help them harness their small screens — smartphones and tablets. CEA Senior Analyst Shawn Dubravac says that consumers are becoming “digital omnivores,” adding that “the second screen is now robust.” Dish Network, which likes to use CES to unveil its new technologies, apparently agrees: It’s teasing Read More »

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Pay TV And Electronics Companies Agree To Kill “Energy Vampire” Set Top Boxes

By | Thursday December 6, 2012 @ 9:44am PST

The new voluntary agreement appears to delay the cable industry’s previous plan to reduce the amount of energy used by set-top boxes. Last year the National Cable & Telecommunications Association said that “by the end of 2013″ at least 90% of the set-top boxes that its members buy and deploy will comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star 3.0 standards — making them 45% more efficient than most current models. But the NCTA and Consumer Electronics Association now say that they have a broader agreement that will meet the goal with boxes purchased and deployed “after 2013.” Whenever it happens, the groups predict that consumers will save about $1.5B a year with the phase-out inefficient boxes that the National Resources Defense Council refers to as “energy vampires.” The new agreement takes effect on January 1 and includes satellite companies and video services from AT&T and Verizon along with cable. Participants collectively serve more than 90M households. In addition to the terms affecting new boxes, cable companies say they’ll download “light sleep” capabilities to more than 10M existing DVRs. In 2013 telco companies also will offer “light sleep” while satellite providers offer “automatic power down” in 90% of the boxes purchased and deployed. Read More »

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Are You Ready For “Ultra HD” TV?

By | Thursday October 18, 2012 @ 2:54pm PDT

That’s now the official name for the next generation of television sets that will offer so-called 4K images — 8M pixels of resolution — the Consumer Electronics Association just announced. “Ultra HD is the next natural step forward in display technologies, offering consumers an incredibly immersive viewing experience with outstanding new levels of picture quality,” CEA chief Gary Shapiro says. “This new terminology and the recommended attributes will help consumers navigate the marketplace to find the TV that best meets their needs.” The trade organization’s CEA Ultra HD Working Group says that Ultra High Definition TVs, monitors and projectors must offer at least 3,840 active pixels horizontally and 2,160 vertically with an aspect ratio of 16 X 9. To secure an official “Ultra HD” endorsement, devices also must have at least one digital input that can accept 4K video without having to up-convert the signal. CEA says it expects Ultra HD televisions to be prominent at its January trade show in Las Vegas where manufacturers unveil their hottest new consumer electronics gadgets.

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