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HDTV Magazine Columns Archive (February, 2012)

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General Interest

HDTV Expert - Guess What Just Froze Over? by Pete Putman

By Pete Putman • Feb 29 2012, 6:31am

The upcoming InfoComm show in June will be most notable for who's not there...

Cable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Comcast Dips Its Toe in the Streampix

By Alfred Poor • Feb 28 2012, 1:00pm

The writing on the wall of every pay-TV headquarters is “Evolve now or die!” Some companies appear to reading this with more clarity than others, and there also seems to be a difference of opinion on what the term “Now!” means.
The latest move in this attempt to switch from gills to breathing air comes from [...]


HDTV Expert - What Do You Do After You Realize LCD’s Glory Days are Gone? – by Ken Werner

By Pete Putman • Feb 27 2012, 9:34pm

Panel makers have just gone through an agonizing period in which making money by manufacturing large LCDs for television has been difficult or impossible.  Panel prices are stabilizing now and may start increasing by April or May, but the specter of significant new Chinese production coming on line does not make for a rosy, medium-term [...]

Cable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Free All-Star Concert in March

By Alfred Poor • Feb 27 2012, 1:00pm

Are you a Dead Head? Or perhaps a fan of Scott and Bryan Devendorf of the National? What would you say to the opportunity to attend a concert featuring the Devendorfs and Bob Weir of the Greatful Dead? They will be performing at a one-time-only event called the “Bridge Sessions” on Saturday, March 24, [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - More Bad News for Sears

By Alfred Poor • Feb 24 2012, 1:00pm

Times have been tough for Sears Holdings, the company that owns Sears and Kmart retail stores. In the fourth quarter of 2011, which is the season that retailers hope to post most of their profits for the year, Sears reported a loss of $2.4 billion. As a result, the company is looking to raise money [...]


HDTV Almanac - Retransmission Saga Continues

By Alfred Poor • Feb 23 2012, 1:00pm

One step forward, maybe two steps back.
One major retransmission dispute is now resolved. After nearly two months, the Madison Square Garden (MSG) channels have been turned back on for Time Warner Cable (TWC) customers. This did not happen until the New York governor and state attorney general weighed in to put public pressure on both [...]

Digital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Expert - Ken Werner at Digital Signge Expo 2012

By Pete Putman • Feb 22 2012, 8:17pm

Ken will be attending DSE in Las Vegas on March 7-8, 2012.

Satellite HDTVDigital Rights Management (DRM)

HDTV Expert - Dish Network Hops Over the Top, by Ken Werner

By Pete Putman • Feb 22 2012, 8:09pm

In World War I, going 'over the top' of your trench into often-withering machine-gun fire took tremendous courage — and ended the lives of millions of soldiers.  The consequences are not as dire for the new management team at troubled Dish Network, and the company is light-heartedly hopping over the top with the help of [...]

Service & Repair

HDTV Almanac - HBO Arrives on Samsung Smart TVs

By Alfred Poor • Feb 22 2012, 1:00pm

Nearly a year ago, Samsung and HBO announced a partnership that would let consumers stream HBO content to Samsung TVs. You would have to be an HBO subscriber to access the service, which meant that you had to be signed up with a pay-TV service.
Since then, you could get this HBO Go content on your [...]

Internet HD VideoService & Repair

HDTV Almanac - More TV for Wii

By Alfred Poor • Feb 21 2012, 1:00pm

There are almost 40 million Wii video game consoles installed in U.S. households. And now a partnership between Nintendo and Hulu has brought Hulu Plus to the Wii. For $7.99 a month, viewers can add the service that provides access to many television shows and movies, and unlike the free Hulu service (which apparently still [...]


HDTV Almanac - The Power of Aggregated Data

By Alfred Poor • Feb 20 2012, 1:00pm

What do people really watch when they watch the SuperBowl? Thanks to the new world of connected entertainment systems, TiVo has a very good idea. By monitoring an anonymous sample of 41,666 households equipped with TiVo DVRs, the company can compile a map of “live and same-day” viewing of content that was watched at “play” [...]

General Interest

HDTV Expert - March is “Read an eBook Month” – If You’re Canadian, by Ken Werner

By Pete Putman • Feb 18 2012, 5:16am

Award-winning Canadian eBook and print author Rita Y. Toews (Prometheus, The Centurion, and The Price of Freedom, among others), convinced the Canadian Parliament to name March 2012 as 'Read an eBook Month.'
How did she do that, HDTVexpert asked in mid-February.  'The effort,' Toews said, 'was two years in the making.  I researched how to go [...]

Politics & Policy

HDTV Almanac - FCC to Revisit “Must Carry” Rules

By Alfred Poor • Feb 17 2012, 1:00pm

I’ve already written a bunch about the problems with retransmission fees and how pay-television subscribers get caught in the squeeze between their services and the content providers. Many people don’t realize that there is a fascinating flip-side to this problem, which is known as “must carry”. It works like this.
Every three years, local television broadcasters [...]


HDTV Expert - Notes From The Desert: The 2012 HPA Tech Retreat – Pete Putman

By Pete Putman • Feb 16 2012, 11:48pm

Once again, this year's program is chock-full of cutting-edge topics and demos.

Service & Repair

HDTV Almanac - Over-the-Top Over-the-Air

By Alfred Poor • Feb 16 2012, 1:00pm

Would you pay for a service that lets you watch over-the-air broadcasts on your tablet or smartphone? That’s what a company called Aereo (formerly known as “Bamboom“) plans to launch just such a service for New York City residents starting next month.
The company is building a system of thousands of tiny television antennas; each [...]

Events & Tradeshows

HDTV Expert - The Flood of USB-powered Monitors is Coming, by Ken Werner

By Pete Putman • Feb 16 2012, 12:23am

At the ShowStoppers show-within-a-show at CES last month, HP was showing what its European distributors call a ”hot desktop” monitor.  (This was new to the company, HP's Jim Christensen told me, but it is apparently an already-defined category in Europe.)  The targeted applications of what HP calls the HP Compaq L2311C Docking Monitor are hotel rooms [...]

Events & Tradeshows

Ed's View: TV Wins Again at CES 2012

By Ed Milbourn • Feb 15 2012, 3:45pm

Having attended consumer electronics shows in various capacities since 1965, I have witnessed the growth and evolution of the CE industry from many different perspectives. Some shows announce revolutionary, even disruptive, technologies; others reflect evolutionary trends.

Although CES is primarily a near-market hardware show, increasingly dominant themes are based on enabling technologies. For example...

Internet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - The Big Three Networks

By Alfred Poor • Feb 15 2012, 1:00pm

Everything seems to come in threes. We had the Big Three Automakers in Detroit. There were those little pigs. And then there were the major television networks: Netflix, Amazon, and Google.
Wait a minute; what happened to ABC, CBS, and NBC?
From where I sit, that is ancient history. The traditional networks are dead men walking, and [...]

Service & Repair

HDTV Almanac - Why TV Subscribers Change

By Alfred Poor • Feb 14 2012, 1:00pm

A new report from Centris indicates that more than one out of five pay-TV subscribers intend to change providers, change their level of service, or cancel entirely in the next three months. About half of these will change the program package that they have, which means that the other half will switch to a [...]

Events & Tradeshows

One Installer's Opinion: CES, by the Numbers.....

By Terry Paullin • Feb 13 2012, 3:43pm

On the odd chance your TV was disabled during the second week of January and you missed the evening news during that half-fortnight, C.E.S. is the Consumer Electronics Show held annually in the city of conspicuous power consumption, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Service & RepairProgrammingDigital Rights Management (DRM)Satellite HDTVCable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Retransmission Fees: Who Is Winning?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 13 2012, 1:00pm

As I have mentioned recently, one of the big topics for 2012 will be the dispute over retransmission fees. Cable and satellite service providers complain that the content producers are holding their customers hostage in order to extort larger fees for the rights to rebroadcast their copyrighted programming. The result has been blackouts of channels [...]

BroadcastPolitics & PolicySports

HDTV Almanac - Shed Some Light on Sports Blackouts

By Alfred Poor • Feb 10 2012, 1:00pm

Last Thanksgiving weekend, the NFL Cleveland Browns travelled in-state to play the Cincinnati Bengals. The game was not a sell-out, and under FCC rules, the Bengals exercised their option to blackout the over-the-air broadcast of the game on local television stations in Cincinnati, Dayton, and Lexington. This decision raised the ire of thousands of Bengal [...]

Internet HD Video

HDTV Expert - Useful Gadgets: Channel Master CM-7400 TV

By Pete Putman • Feb 9 2012, 7:45pm

Channel Master's CM-7400 TV product (yes, that's what it's called) provides both over-the-air (DTTB) reception AND Hulu streaming and apps. How well does it work?


HDTV Almanac - You Can’t Touch This!

By Alfred Poor • Feb 9 2012, 1:00pm

Touch is transforming our entertainment experience. Second-screen tablets and smartphones are programming our DVR services, delivering supplementary and interactive social content to linear programming, and becoming content delivery platforms in their own right. And while there still is a place for keyboard in this brave new world, touch interfaces are playing an increasingly-important role in [...]

HD DVDInternet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - Redbox Rising

By Alfred Poor • Feb 8 2012, 1:00pm

The physical DVD is dead; long live streaming!
That’s the conventional wisdom, but I’ve got a dollar that says rumors of the DVD’s death are premature. Why a dollar? Because that’s what it costs to rent a DVD from one of those big red vending machines that you see everywhere from Walmart to McDonalds (not to [...]

BroadcastCable HDTVDigital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - How Much Time-Shifting Do We Really Do?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 7 2012, 1:00pm

The good old VHS recorder started something that Tivo took to a higher level, and the result has shaken the video broadcast industry to its very foundations.
Or has it?
Conventional wisdom says that U.S. television viewing households hate commercials. It says that they use digital video recorders (DVRs) so that they can skip over the advertisements. [...]

PC & Laptop Technology

HDTV Almanac - A Day Made of Glass: the Sequel

By Alfred Poor • Feb 6 2012, 1:00pm

Were you one of the 17 million who have watched Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass” since it was posted last year? I know that I watched it at least a half-dozen times. And I remember thinking that it was so cool that just about all the technology required to make everything in that video [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - How Low Can They Go?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 3 2012, 1:00pm

Sorry, folks, but I cannot resist this one. I really struggle to refrain from the breathless “Wow! Look at how low this price is!” type of story because it gets old and it’s inevitable that someone can come up with a deal that tops whatever you’ve found. But I have to give in to this [...]

Events & Tradeshows

HDTV Almanac - A Sound Idea

By Alfred Poor • Feb 2 2012, 1:00pm

Futuresource Consulting has just released a free analysis report that highlights their observations about consumer electronics products and trends at CES 2012. One of the points that they made in their announcement press release caught my attention:
Ever-thinner TV displays boosted interest in speakers, soundbars and home theatre systems.
I confess that I’ve been a bit puzzled [...]

General Interest

HDTV Expert - SID’s New I-Zone Gives Free Space to Tout Innovation at Display Week

By Pete Putman • Feb 1 2012, 11:35pm

At Display Week In Boston this year, The SID folks have cooked up a way to help small Labs and Start-ups Show-Off Innovation, in a Big way, with exposure to top industry experts, manufacturers and the press... Read more below:

Satellite HDTVCable HDTVPolitics & Policy

HDTV Almanac - Cable and Satellite Complaints Rise

By Alfred Poor • Feb 1 2012, 1:00pm

The FCC tracks the complaints it receives about various services under is oversight, including television, radio, and telephone. In the third quarter of 2011, complaints about cable and satellite services increased more than 15% over the prior quarter, though it is worth noting that the number of complaints about “billing and rates” issues were essentially [...]