Daily Archives: December 3, 2009

Televisions were the most popular electronics items over the Thanksgiving weekend in the US, with consumers attracted by cheap prices rather than compelling features.

Vizio, currently the number one LCD HDTV brand in the US, says it sold 280,000 sets last week, up 40 per cent on the previous year’s figures.Retailers cut prices by around 22 per cent for the week – the most promoted TVs were 32-inch LCDs, cut to an average $369 from $490, according to the iSuppli research firm.

The third category in our seasonal look at the year’s essential gadgets is internet-enabled TVs, which do carry a premium, although there are plenty of set-top devices that add the internet to your TV without the need for an integrated set (see a selection of our reviews below this post). Read more

With streaming Netflix movies now available on TV screens through the Xbox, PlayStation 3, Tivo, several Blu-ray players and LG HDTVs, the little Roku set-top box, which became one of the first Netflix streamers 18 months ago, is in need of some differentiation.

That came today with the launch of 10 free channels on the box, which sells for as little as $80.
Pandora radio, Facebook and Flickr photos, FrameChannel feeds, MobileTribe social networking and video from Blip.TV, Mediafly, Motionbox, Revision 3 and TWiT make up the lineup.

(This review was first published on November 23 2009) Read more

While Apple figures out what to do with its languishing Apple TVit quietly dropped its 40Gb model on Monday leaving only the 160Gb version – there are plenty of other contenders scrapping to bring networked content to the big living-room screen.

Among them – FreeAgent Theater+, announced by Seagate today as an improved version of the unit it launched only six months ago.

(This review was first published on September 15 2009) Read more

Another day, another internet box bringing content to the television.

A day after Roku announced it was adding Amazon’s Video on Demand to its $99 box, another Silicon Valley company, ZillionTV,  has unveiled its own device and content partners including the big five Hollywood studios.

(This post was first published on March 5 2009) Read more

Rupert Murdoch is enough of a newsman to know this: if you start a public row, you might as well cash in on it in your own publications.

Today’s Wall Street Journal gives Eric Schmidt the space to defend himself against some of the accusations that Murdoch and his underlings have been hurling at Google recently. Read more

Data centres are the modern version of the original mainframe computers, taking up vast amounts of space, with racks and racks of servers delivering high-performance computing.

As any engineer will tell you, a mobile phone now has more processing power than a room-filling mainframe of old, with its cost and electricity consumption infinitely leaner.

On Wednesday, Intel showed off a new 48-core chip that could crunch the size of data centres down in a similar way, describing it as a “‘single-chip cloud computer’ that rethinks many of the approaches used in today’s designs for laptops, PCs and servers.” Read more