television

Sarah Mishkin

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

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Like all things to do with Las Vegas, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), which arrives in town next week, is loud, flashy and over the top. But, as a guide to what will soon be appearing in your living room, the show’s record is patchy.

Take the hot trends in televisions, as seen in Las Vegas in recent years. From the arrival of internet-connected sets in 2007 to the first ultra-high definition OLED screens in 2008 and then 3D TV in 2010, there has been no shortage of ideas for reinventing the medium. None of these has yet gone mainstream, though.

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David Gelles

Social television startup GetGlue — which lets users “check-in” to TV shows — has raised another round of funding from existing investors, including Time Warner, and a new lead investor, RHO Ventures. Read more

Over the past decade, technological advancements have made televisions thinner and thinner, with giant cathode ray tube sets replaced by flatscreen TVs whose thickness are now measured in millimeters.

Starting next year, however, ‘fatter’ flatscreen TVs may be making a comeback in emerging markets, according to one screen maker.

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Last year, 23m flat-screen television sets were sold in Japan. This year, according to AU Optronics, the third biggest flat panel maker in the world, there may only be 12m unit sold.

Impact from the earthquake and tsunami? The spirit of jishuku, or self-restraint, sweeping through Japanese consumers? Neither, says Paul Peng, executive vice-president of AUO. Rather, it is the end of the Y290bn ‘eco-point‘ stimulus programme that is threatening TV demand in Japan. Read more

Joseph Menn

Apple is making a more serious bid for the set top box market with 99 cent TV and $4.99 new movie rentals that are streamed through a smaller version of AppleTV.

Chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the new device at an event in San Francisco. It will cost $99, down from $229, and is available for pre-order today, arriving in about a month.

The new AppleTV will offer rentals exclusively, no purchases. This will eliminate storage issues. First-run HD movies will rent for $4.99 on the day of the DVD release. Read more