smart tv

Sarah Mishkin

Alibaba, China’s ambitious internet conglomerate, has spread its reach from e-commerce to finance, and now to internet television. Read more

There are few better views in Las Vegas than the neon-sparkling Strip by night from the panoramic windows of a 64th floor restaurant, but Toshiba diverted eyes on Sunday to an equally engrossing sight, with its unveiling of an 84-inch “Ultra HD” TV atop the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Dancing models, luscious foliage, scenes of natural beauty dazzled like a Vegas show on the huge screen. The clarity of the picture was amazing; the colours were rich and vibrant. But the price was unmentionable.

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Chris Nuttall

We pick our highlights of the product unveilings, bringing you the essential news from the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas (January 6 -11).

What it is: More devices with Google TV

Key points: More set-top boxes and TV models will feature Google TV with Asus, Hisense and TCL joining the party and existing partners like LG, Vizio and Sony showing new products featuring the Google TV 3.0 platform. Partners will also be showing the latest apps, such as an improved YouTube experience, voice command capabilities and the “Send to TV” feature that allows video to be switched from an Android device to the bigger screen. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Roku and Vizio are the battling underdogs of the US TV industry, surviving and even prospering against bigger players thanks to their aggressive pricing strategies and rapid innovations.

Roku’s set-top box for streaming internet content has held its own against Apple TV, while Vizio has duelled effectively with Samsung over TV sales leadership. Now Roku has earned fresh legitimacy with a $45m investment led by News Corporation and its part-owned broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple disappointed some in failing to provide any news on Apple TV at its developer conference this week, with attendees at the TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) show – a short walk from Apple’s event in San Francisco – noting this would have given a boost to the industry.

Instead, much of what was discussed at TVOT – second-screen activities, automatic content recognition (ACR), T[elevision] commerce – still represented the TV of tomorrow in terms of scaling and reaching a mass market, according to speakers. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Intel has quietly ditched its Digital Home Group, which had championed the Smart TV category of internet-connected televisions – a target market for its Atom microprocessors. The company made the high-profile appointment of Erik Huggers from the BBC in January to head what was described at the time as a “key strategic business for Intel”. An Intel spokeswoman said on Wednesday that Mr Huggers was remaining at Intel but Digital Home was not now considered a core business. Read more

Chris Nuttall

The latest LED-lit televisions offer amazing thinness and shimmering edge-to-edge pictures. But despite their outer beauty, the Smart TV interfaces inside that link to web-connected apps and services could use a little plastic surgery. This week’s Personal Technology column in the FT’s Business Life section looks at the smarts of the Samsung D7000. Read more

Chris Nuttall

With big companies like Google and Walmart wanting to provide the TV interface of the future, it makes sense for the smaller players in the living room to pool their resources. Hence, Rovi’s announcement that it will acquire Sonic Solutions for $720m, after Sonic itself acquired DivX in June. Read more

Chris Nuttall

Apple TV is the best set-top box out there for streaming movies, music and photos to your TV, from my first impressions of trying Apple’s new device.

But it also has the potential to be much more and, contrary to Steve Jobs’ assertion that users don’t want a computer by their sets, Apple TV might just become one. Read more