Orbitsound unveils new all-in-one SB60 airSOUND™ Base

Following the success of the recently launched ‘M series’, the award-winning British audio technology brand Orbitsound launches the SB60 airSOUND™ Base, a one-box TV sound solution with an integrated subwoofer, to deliver a natural and immersive sound experience without the need for additional speakers.

The SB60 airSOUND Base is powered by patented airSOUNDTM technology, which delivers rich quality sound at high or low volume settings, thereby enhancing dialogue, music, action and sound from everyday programming wherever the listener is in relation to the speaker. The technology is the latest evolution of sound reproduction from Orbitsound and represents over 40 years of experience in sound engineering acquired in professional recording studios.

Measuring a compact 60cm x 30cm x 8cm (width x depth x height) the SB60 airSOUND Base is built to unobtrusively sit beneath TVs. Suitable for 32”- 42” screens and many TVs up to 55”, the design blends effortlessly into the background and makes sound its main focus, yet its design caters for style-conscious consumers alike.

Underneath the hand polished, high gloss piano black exterior comes a cabinet produced from engineered wood and constructed from no fewer than 20 individual wooden components to create minimal distortion. The removable front grille can be replaced in seconds with a silver grille (included) to offer users a design alternative.

The easy set-up requires just one optical cable to connect to a television, plus one addition electrical plug to the wall, and removes the need for any additional equipment, wiring or adjustment. Other devices can be connected using the 3.5mm jack input.

The SB60 airSOUND Base features 2x2” front speakers that deliver most of the sound definition. In addition, the 5” down-firing subwoofer pumps the volume and power of the bass frequencies. The 2x2” side-firing speakers create a wide and engaging soundscape that envelopes all the listeners, wherever they are in the room. 

Orbitsound’s MD Peter Eckhardt comments: “The SB60 airSOUND Base has been developed for the love of TV. As flatscreen TVs become thinner, the sound tends to become inferior, leaving a gap in the market for consumers who want to enjoy premium sound from their TVs without sacrificing on convenience, simplicity and ease of use. The SB60 airSOUND Base not only fills that gap but also brings to life the Orbitsound vision of reproducing sound as though the artist, actor or musician was in the room. The SB60 airSOUND Base, powered by our patented airSOUNDTM technology, is a perfect solution for anyone looking for an all-in-one sound solution for their TV’s with superior sound quality.” 

The SB60 airSOUND Base will be available in John Lewis stores retailing at £299 from 26th August 2013

Apple in Negotiations With Content Providers for Internet-Based Subscription Television Service

Apple is involved in high-level negotiations with television content providers, including ESPN, HBO, and Viacom, to provide programming through 'apps' instead of channels, reports Quartz -- a relatively new business publication with a number of former Wall Street Journal reporters on staff...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Apple Could Still Be Planning Television-Related Announcement for Late This Year

Back in February, former TechCrunch writer and Google Ventures partner MG Siegler reported that he was hearing "chatter" about Apple making a significant push into television in the fall of this year. While Siegler was unable to say whether the push would include an actual television set from the outset, he believed that something was indeed happening, whether it be opening up the existing Apple TV up to third-party developers or launching a new Apple TV set-top box with expanded capabilities...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Chromecast: Google's best weapon to breach the TV biz

When it comes to its ambitions for television, Google's hoping that the third time's the charm.

This morning the company unveiled Chromecast. Google's latest foray into the television is a low-cost stick that plugs into a HDMI input to let a wide swath of smartphones, tablets, and devices using the Chrome browser seamlessly fling what they're playing onto the TV.

Google argues that it is solving a unique problem, but it really isn't. In fact, a myriad of devices already exist to do just that. But by coming out with a cheaper, more innovative offering, Google fired its loudest shot across the bow of Apple TV and all of the other streaming TV peripherals with the Chromecast. And at $35, it claims to have a winner.

The television is "the most immersive experience in the house," said Sundar Pichai, Google's head of Android, Chrome, and apps at the breakfast unveiling Wednesday in San Francisco. He noted more than 200 billion online videos are watched globally by users every month, and Netflix and YouTube combined represent nearly half of peak downstream Internet traffic in North America.

"It's very difficult to get your online media onto your television in your house," said Pichai.

True enough. It has been difficult, but largely only for Google...

Read the full story here. Source: CNET

BBC Worldwide to offer first-run TV to Australia through Foxtel in mid-2014

Australians have long had access to the BBC, although a current four-channel lineup on Foxtel won't completely satisfy fans of British TV when it's just a sliver of the content they know. BBC Worldwide should be closing some of that (figurative) distance, though, with plans to offer a premium channel through Foxtel's network. The as-yet-unnamed service will give Aussies a chance at first-run BBC shows about a year before they'd broadcast over the air there. and without ads. (Pretty good for not having a UK TV license.) The BBC content will naturally be available in HD, as well as for mobile streaming through Foxtel Go. About the only drawback to the channel outside of its premium nature is the mid-2014 start date, but that may be a small sacrifice for determined Anglophiles and ex-pats.

[Source: Engadget]

YouTube lets you relive the old-school look of VHS -- in HD

Sure, watching YouTube videos in HD is great when you want clarity, but maybe you've been yearning for that grainy, tape-recorded look. Marking what's apparently the 57th anniversary of cassette-based video recording, the YouTube team has snuck a VHS tape-shaped button on select videos. Clicking it will the throw a filter over the content, providing a highly distorted and nostalgic feast for the eyes. There's no official list of compatible content, but the option seems to be available on most of the videos on YouTube's native channel. We have a feeling at least one VCR enthusiast will be quite pleased.

[Source: Engadget]

Sony unveils 30-and 56-inch professional 4K OLED monitor prototypes

The 56-inch OLED TV Sony trotted out at CES may not be headed to the consumer market, but it is becoming a reality, at least in the professional sector. The company showcased a pair of 4K OLED prototypes at NAB 2013, outing a 4,096 x 2,160 30-inch model as well as a 3,840 x 2160 56-inch display. Both panels boast of wide viewing angles and low color shift, promising accurate signal reproduction for industry professionals working with 4K content. No word yet on pricing, but professionals can look forward to upgrading sometime in next year. Sony also announced a refresh for its existing line of professional OLED displays. The A series will replace seven older skus, again promising better viewing angles and color shift than the previous generation. Hit the break for the official press release, item skus, and a quick break down of what products the A series will be replacing.

Update: The 30-inch 4K OLED prototype is looking at a 2014 release date, while the A series monitors will be available in May.

[Source: Engadget]

4G will disrupt Freeview TV in fewer homes than expected

Fears have been allayed over whether the 4G networks that'll launch this summer will interfere with Freeview telly signals.

trial conducted by at800 found that a makeshift 4G network using the 800MHz band only affected Freeview reception in 15 out of the 22,000 homes surveyed, The Register reports. at800 originally predicted 120 households would experience problems. Those that did have trouble were remedied quickly with a cheap filter.

The trial was held in Cradley Heath and Rowley Regis, near Dudley.

When operators join EE in rolling our their 4G networks this summer, they'll need to use the 800MHz band, which is the same as Freeview (EE uses the 1,800MHz). Hence concern that your viewing would be interrupted because someone upstairs is browsing on their blower. Campaigners claimed up to 2 million households could be affected.

The operators chucked £180 million at the problem, but will get that back, seeing as it looks like at800 will have nothing to spend it on. Unless it throws a massive party.

All 15 homes that had reception issues featured a signal booster. The filters that come to the rescue have to be fitted between the aerial and the booster -- easy-peasy if the booster is near the back of the TV, but a pain in the backside if it's on top of a tower block, serving a lot of flats. So some households could still have issues.

Bigger trials are needed for a better grasp of the problem, but for the moment it looks like the vast majority of us will be able to watch telly while browsing the Web at super-fast speeds.

[Source: CNET]

Apple Working on 4K 'Ultra HD' Television Set for Late 2013 or Early 2014 Launch?

Apple's rumored television set project has a long history of claims from various sources, and while the "iWatch" has taken on a more prominent place in the rumor mill in recent months, an Apple television continues to be on the radar of a number of industry watchers. 

Digitimes now reports on word from unidentified supply chain sources that Apple is working on an "Ultra HD" or "4K" television set that would carry a resolution of 3840 x 2160. The report claims that Apple's Internet-connected television set will support voice and motion control and is targeted for launch late this year or, perhaps more likely, early next year.

The sources said that Apple and Foxconn Electronics have been in discussions for quite some time in terms of the TV's mass production schedule, but that Apple has been considering where panel supply for the TV will come from, as Ultra HD TV panel makers, most of whom are based in Taiwan, are expected to be producing at nearly full capacity in 2013 in order to meet demand from China-based TV vendors. 

Additionally, other panel makers in Apple's supply chain that may have the ability to produce Ultra HD TV panels are expected to allocate most of their panel production to the company's iPhone, iPad and iPad mini products instead, as ultra-mobile devices are expected to be popular in the market during 2013, the sources noted.

Pricing is a major issue on the first Ultra HD televisions announced so far, with price tags generally starting around $20,000, although Westinghouse is planning to launch a line of"budget" Ultra UD televisions this year starting at $2500 for a 50-inch model. Additional equipment will, however, be needed to take full advantage of the 4K capabilities.

But unlike Sony and LG, Westinghouse’s models will be barebones displays with no on-board Smart TV features and no elaborate 4K up-conversion video processing technology. 

Instead, [Westinghouse senior vice president of marketing Rey] Roque said, Westinghouse expects viewers to use the 4K video processing converters that come built into select Blu-ray Disc players, A/V receivers and other devices to handle that load. To present pictures from regular sources, the sets will have only simple 4K up-scaling circuitry and 120Hz refresh rates.

The most recent Apple television set rumor from a mainstream news source came last December when The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple and Foxconn have beentesting prototypes, but a source noted that the effort was still in the early stages and wasn't yet a "formal project" for Apple.

[Source: MacRumors]


BBC Two HD launches today, Freeview HD reaches 3.5 million

BBC Two HD launched today, bringing high-definition versions of Auntie's second-best programmes to millions of high-def homes.

BBC 2 shows to be broadcast in extra-crisp detail include The Great British Bake OffLater... with Jools Holland, and, of course, Top Gear.

Previously, BBC HD showed highlights of BBC shows from across the Beeb board. But BBC Two HD is just the same as BBC Two only with more pixels stuffed into Jeremy Clarkson's increasingly gravity stretched face.

By my reckoning, that means only BBC One and BBC Two shows will be broadcast in high def, which means no more HD for programmes that live on BBC Three or other BBC channels.

From today, BBC Two HD is on channel 102 of your Freeview box, directly replacing the previous BBC HD channel. It's also in the same place on other TV services, except Sky, where it's been shunted to channel 142 to sit next to BBC One HD.

The BBC is also experimenting with its HD channels. For example, the 50th anniversary episode of Doctor Who will be broadcast in 3D on the HD channel on Saturday 23 November.

Freeview reckons the appetite for high definition is large and growing: Freeview HD is now in the main television in 3.5m living rooms, the second biggest HD service after Sky+ HD. Freeview hopes to see another ten high definition channels in the coming year.

[Source: CNET]

Google starts a TV white space trial in South Africa to wirelessly link schools

Google has been a strong advocate of white space wireless as democratizing broadband access: its long-range nature can bring people online when the local internet framework isn't always reliable, if it exists at all. The company is about to illustrate that potential through a new trial in South Africa. A trio of base stations at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town will supply ten nearby primary and secondary schools with internet access to prove that white space access can work without affecting TV signals. To make sure it won't, Google is picking the safest frequencies from a database and is measuring the results for the sake of both nervous broadcasters and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa. If all goes well, it (and similar efforts from Microsoft) should make a case for full approval of white space use across the country and deliver internet access to remote areas that risk being left by the technological wayside.

[Source: Engadget]

BBC vows to make six iPlayer-only films in next two years

The BBC has vowed to make six online-only short films over the next two years, that will live online service rather than being broadcast on TV.

The films themselves will be drama-based, and will be streamed exclusively over the Beeb's popular iPlayer catch-up service, viewable on all manner of gadgets from tablets, smart phones, smart tellies and laptops.

"Audiences will be able to discover, share and enjoy these dramas whenever and wherever they chose," the BBC's Hilary Salmon stated. It's not clear when the short films will air, but as they've just been commissioned we could be waiting a little while.

The move is a joint venture between BBC Three and BBC Drama, so I wouldn't be surprised if the films themselves are focused on those perennially pesky young people that the Beeb's third channel is aimed at.

The BBC's decision to produce streaming-only video follows subscriber service Netflix's release of House of Cards, a high-profile TV show that's only available online via the red-hued service.

It's less unusual for the BBC to make streaming-only TV of course, as it's already in the business of producing programmes. The Beeb's plot to "showcase more exclusive content" on iPlayer is more evidence however that television is increasingly moving online.

Unlike Netflix, the BBC allows iPlayer programmes to be downloaded, so if you have a compatible device like a laptop or iPhone, you could store these upcoming mini-movies to watch offline. Android devices are yet to get offline downloads, sadly.

[Source: CNET]