Smart TV

Oct 29 2015

News - You Get PLEX, and YOU Get PLEX...

Everybody gets a PLEX* Smile.

*Assuming you have an Android TV or Smart TV. Terms and conditions may apply. Your mileage may vary.

After some quality time with our Plex Pass members as an early preview, our Android TV and smart TV apps are available for free to everyone, joining the ranks of our other free big screen apps like Roku, Tivo, Chromecast, and Xbox 360! The apps include filtering and sorting for rich content discovery, Plex Companion for casting, flinging, and remote control, as well as support for Plex Channels. In addition, you can watch TV show episodes back to back and play trailers before a movie for that genuine theater feel. The apps also support Plex Pass features you already have and love, like parental controls, premium music features, trailers and extras and more!

For a complete list of compatible smart TVs, click here.

Oct 05 2012

News - Rhapsody Aims for Smart TVs with Panasonic, LG, and Samsung

Microsoft isn't the only company looking to conquer the living room with a streaming music service this month. Rhapsody has been quite prolific, developing apps for just about every mobile device ecosystem one can think of, but now the company is looking to engage consumers in their living rooms. Rhapsody has announced that their music app is now available for Smart TVs from Panasonic, LG, and Samsung, with Sharp and the Xbox 360 to come later. This is an unusually diverse mix of Smart TV platforms to launch on simultaneously, so one would assume that the app is pretty similar across the board, but it probably won't mirror the online and mobile device experiences, but will instead serve to complement those experiences. It sounds like the Smart TV version of Rhapsody will be focused more on the company's streaming and subscription service rather than on purchasing individual tracks in the music store. This includes highlighting a radio version of the Rhapsody service that selects songs and editor-curated playlists based on music preferences, a move that suggests that Rhapsody isn't content competing with Spotify and wants to take on Pandora on its turf as well.

 Rhapsody on Smart TVs

Rhapsody's music service is turning your living room into a jukebox, announcing today that its music app is now available on LG, Panasonic, and Samsung Smart TVs.

Though the company provided few details about what the Rhapsody TV app will entail, it said that the technology has been optimized for convenience, fast playback, and a rich visual interface maximized by high-definition displays.

PC Magazine

--Press Release After the Break--

Oct 04 2012

News - LG Google TV Reviewed

 LG G2 Google TV

Google entered the new year with big plans for Google TV. The platform was moving from Intel Atom chips to ARM SoCs, Sony was returning as a hardware partner and throughout the year the list of manufactures kept growing as companies like Vizio, LG, and Hisense announced Google TV products. Although standalone boxes dominate the scene for media streamers, Google TV has, from the beginning, pushed to be added to manufacturers' TV sets. LG is one company that has taken Google up on this offer. The LG G2 Google TV is a 47" LCD TV with an edge-lit LED 1080p panel. It sports the usual collection of connections including HDMI, component, and RGB, but no doubt LG anf Google are hoping you will have little use for these connections as the star of the show is the integrated Google TV. Now, one could go melodramatic and point out that building your media streamer right into the TV may mean no separate box is necessary, but it also means putting your faith in the manufacturer to not only have a great media streamer, but also a great TV, because there is no going back. Obviously there is nothing to stop one from simply adding another, better media streamer, but if the comapnies responsible for the LG G2 Google TV can get both sdes of the equation right, then they might have a winner. I'm feeling pretty good about LG upholding their end of the deal.

All second generation Google TV devices would move to ARM silicon, including SoCs from Marvell (long a player in the video silicon space) and a surprise entrant, LG. Korea’s LG would also play a role in a big software change for Google TV, the first skinned implementation. Skins over Android are rarely something to get excited over, and can often be a detriment to performance, but the reality was that the bar was so low with Google TV that anything that could inch it up would be considered a blessing.


Oct 01 2012

News - FAVI SmartStick Announced

FAVI SmartStickA big part of the appeal of the forthcoming Roku Streaming Stick is the idea of having the power of a full Roku box plugged in and hidden away behind the TV itself. Roku has already begun talking up their Roku Ready branding logo which serves to underscore the reality that the MHL-enabled Streaming Stick is going to be reserved for newer TVs and receivers. For anyone running an older TV or receiver, or not necessarily interested in joining the Roku-verse, then FAVI Entertainment would like to introduce you to the FAVI SmartStick. The FAVI SmartStick is an Android media streamer squeezed up into a small package so that it can be plugged in and hidden away behind the TV. One end plugs into an HDMI port and on the other end is a micro-USB port. The included micro-USB to USB adapter is intended to plug into the TV's USB port to power the device, though the company also sells a USB power adapter in the event one's TV lacks a USB port. The SmartStick will come in 4GB and 8GB capacities for $49.99 and $79.99 respectively and should be available by the end of October. The Wi-Fi-enabled SmartStick will be running Ice Cream Sandwich and have full Google Play Store access and DLNA support. The company has a video of the FAVI SmartStick in action up on their website which suggests that the SmartStick UI is going to be a pretty thin layer, so things will be largely cursor-driven once one gets into an Android app, though is not uncommon among Android-based media streamers. Interestingly enough, the SmartStick comes with an infrared remote control, so using the SmartStick should be fun for anyone who actually takes FAVI up on their offer of installing the SmartStick behind their TV. Good thing the company is also selling a mini wireless keyboard for $39.99.

If you thought smart TVs were only for the privileged few, think again — a technology that once cost hundreds of dollars can now be had for the low price of $50. The FAVI SmartStick is a small dongle that can be plugged into any HDTV, instantly transforming the device into a full-blown Android-powered smart TV with the ability to stream music and movies or browse the Web. The stick runs Ice Cream Sandwich and is equipped with 4GB of storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, DLNA support for media sharing and access to the Google Play Store.

Boy Genius Report

Sep 05 2012

News - Samsung Adds Chrome, YouTube, and Google Play to SmartHub

Samsung Smart TVSamsung's relationship with Google has been on a slow burn for quite some time and Samsung's first Google TV device is still hovering on the distant horizon, but that hasn't stopped Samsung from continuing to flirt with Google. Samsung has added Chrome, YouTube, and Google Play apps to the Samsung SmartHub app store. Collectively, these three apps bring just about all of the Google experience one could hope for to the living room. It will be interesting to see how many of the Google TV apps in Google Play will play nice on Samsung TVs, but either way, it is a surprisingly bold move for Samsung to provide access to such a prominent app store competitor given how hard Samsung has worked to build up its SmartHub collection.

But those three apps arguably make up the entire Google TV experience: Chrome (without Adobe Flash support), YouTube (updated from its previous version to be much snappier and support keyboards), and most importantly the Google Play store (with "most but not all of the Google TV apps," according to a Samsung representative we spoke with).

The Verge

Aug 31 2012

News - LG Announces Smart TV Game Portal, Expands Smart TV Alliance

LG Game World

LG continues to make waves in the Smart TV arena. Earlier this week, the company announced their new Smart TV game portal called Game World. Game World will provide a central app interface for purchasing and launching free and premium games on LG Smart TVs. LG is planning on limiting the selection of games in Game World to family friendly and casual games, some of which are being designed exclusively for LG and the LG Magic Remote motion sensing remote control. In addition, some of the games will be available in 3D.

LG will initially offer games in the action, adventure, arcade, puzzle, RPG, shooter, simulation, sports, and strategy categories. The company didn't mention any specific titles in its announcement, though the promo image suggests Air Penguin 3D, Shadowgun, Cut the Rope, Plants & Zombies, and Frisbee Forever will be part of the lineup.

PC World

Smart TV AllianceWhile Game World will be exclusive to LG Smart TVs, the company is continuing to work on developing cross-platform Smart TV apps as part of the Smart TV Alliance that LG and Philips parent company, TP Vision, announced a couple of months ago. Since that initial announcement, the Smart TV Alliance has added a number of members, including Toshiba and Qualcomm. The first cross-platform apps from Accuweather and Vilanoise, along with other apps being developed by Obigo, should be available for Smart TV Alliance member sets in September. This initial wave of apps are being developed with the Alliance SDK 1.0, but the SDK 2.0 specifications are expected to be published to the Smart TV Alliance website later this year in anticpation of being used to support 2013 sets from Alliance members. Admittedly, even combined, the manufacturers represented by the Smart TV Alliance do not add up to a single Samsung, but it seems like the Smart TV Alliance has gotten off to a good start.

The Smart TV Alliance consisting of LG and TP Vision (Philips) is still hammering away at its dream of platform-independent Smart TV apps, and as IFA 2012 gets under way it has a few new announcements. After promising Japanese manufacturers would join back in June it has welcomed Toshiba to the fold, as well as other supporters like Qualcomm, Mstar, Onigo and YuMe.


Aug 31 2012

News - Sony Unveils 84-Inch 4K TV, Scheduled for Release Later This Year

At 84", the Sony XBR-84X900 is large enough to be impressive in its own right, but making the set even more intiguing is the fact it is a 4K television. With a native resolution of 3840X2160, the XBR-84X900 offers double the number of pixels along both the horizontal and vertical axes as compared to a standard 1080p HDTV. The TV also incorporates a 50 watt virtual surround sound speaker system, WiFi networking connectivity for the Smart TV functionality, passive 3D, and Simulview gaming support for single screen 2-player gaming with the PS3. Sony is planning on releasing the monster television later this year. Pricing details are not available yet, but expect the price tag to be as daunting as the number of pixels on the screen. On a side note, the announcement of the XBR-84X900 is the first time I have noticed a reference to QFHD or "quad full high definition" for describing a 4K TV. I had expected UHDTV, or "ultra high definition television" to take hold.

Sony XBR-84X900

In addition to the usual networked "smart TV" features, the massive XBR-84X900 set incorporates "proprietary upscaling technology," which Sony claimed will "ensure that every frame looks clear and crisp, with a 4K resolution regardless of the content source." We're highly suspicious of those claims, but native 1080p content should scale well since QFHD is essentially "pixel doubling" of 1920x1080. 

Ars Technica

Jul 20 2012

News - Samsung Brings Top-End ES9000 TV to U.S.

Samsung will be launching their top-of-the-line ES9000 Smart TV in the U.S. in August. The 75-inch monster is expected to cost $9,999, which I am sure that many will agree is a mere pittance given that the TV will be launching with a special, Samsung-exclusive, gesture-controlled version of Angry Birds. Integrated into the .13-inch bezel will be a camera for capturing hand gestures and for Skype calling. Obviously TVs such as the ES9000 are not actually aimed at the mainstream consumer, but new features such as Sound Share and Smart Interaction along with the image quality improvements that come with being the showcase piece in a manufacturer's premier line of televisions, are all previews of what will be coming to mainstream sets in the future.

This TV does all things Samsung’s other top-line TVs do: 3D, media streaming, DLNA, built-in camera, dual-core processor, micro-dimming backlight and both gesture and voice control. Samsung is taking gesture control a step further by launching a new Angry Birds app that’s controlled entirely by gesture. To toss eggs at those pigs you just wave your hand - no controller needed. 

CE Pro

Jun 21 2012

News - LG and TP Vision Establish Smart TV Alliance for Cross-Platform Apps

Smart TV Alliance

Every major TV manufacturer is trying to build a Smart TV platform these days, each with their own app store and development tools. The reality is that, for the most part, all of these manufacturers are looking to provide the same apps and access to the same connected services, so it seems silly that we should have all these different versions of the same apps, each with their own look and feel for consumers to adjust to, and each designed on a different SDK that developers have to work with. LG and TP Vision, the company that purchased the TV unit of Philips, have a plan to change things and have formed the Smart TV Alliance to promote cross-platform apps for Smart TVs. The goal is enlist TV manufacturers interested in creating a common development environment that will enable a write once-play anywhere system for developers and greater app interface consistency for consumers. There are rumors that other companies might get involved, but unfortunately,  I can think of a couple of TV manufacturers who are likely to see maintaining their exclusive platforms as the key to maintaining their early leads in the Smart TV market.

Upgrading to a Smart TV is the next step. Check out Richer Sounds for the latest models and deals. 

Philips and LG have activated their Smart TV Alliance today with the intention of creating apps that work across internet televisions built by different manufacturers.

The partnership was first announced back at IFA 2011 when LG and TP Vision (for Philips TVs) promised more details in due course, including the names of other television makers getting involved.

Jun 08 2012

News - E3: Gaikai and OnLive Continue Gaming Push for Smart TVs

As Smart TVs have grown in popularity, we've seen manufacturers expand the capabilities of Smart TV apps beyond streaming music and video to allow for accessing social media, browsing the web, and even some minor gaming. However, at E3 this year, it became increasingly clear that offering console and PC-quality gaming is set to be the next big trend. The two big competitors in the game streaming market are Gaikai and OnLive. 

Gaikai and OnLive

OnLive was at CES in January to announce the inclusion of the their service in new Google TV devices. With LG hopping on the Google bandwagon for some of their smart TVs, OnLive is along for the ride. OnLive was at E3 earlier this week to show off their service on LG's G2 series of Google TV-powered sets.

The LG G2 Series of smart TVs are powered by Google TV and equipped with LG’s new L9 dual-core chipset, along with a custom “user-friendly interface.” The LG Smart TV with Google TV will be the first Google-powered television to come preloaded with OnLive’s on-demand cloud-based video game software.

Boy Genius Report

Meanwhile, Gaikai was in LA to show off their service on Samsung Smart TVs. Gaikai is approaching the Smart TV market in a somewhat different manner than OnLive. While OnLive is offering an app that leads directly to the company's own service, Gaikai is teaming with TV manufacturers to provide the backend for manufacturer-branded gaming services. Gaikai, which is already available on LG TVs via the LG Cloud Gaming service, will be powering the Samsung Cloud Gaming serivce later this summer. SCG is expected to be available for Samsung 7000 TVs and downloadable through Samsung's Smart Hub app store.

But now Gaikai is taking the fight to the TV. Partnering up with Samsung and LG, Gaikai, with the help of video card power house Nvidia, will be powering cloud gaming stores for Samsung and LG Smart TVs.


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