skip to Main Content

Measuring The Real Impact Of Smart TVs

Skype-For-TVSince the introduction of “Smart HDTVs” a couple of years ago I’ve been wondering just how much impact the built-in applications have on the purchase process, and the user experience. A new report from NPD Group sheds some much-needed insight into this area.

The headline of the report states very plainly that, “Internet Connected TVs Are Used To Watch TV, And That’s About All.” Beyond the traditional role of TV the leading role of the smart HDTV seems to be for using “Over-the-top” services like Netflix. Fully 60% of smart TV users report taking advantage of this feature.

The next most common use of the Smart TV is for listening to OTT music services, but that’s only reported as used by around 15% of the installed base. All other applications, including “video calling” services like Skype and Google Chat see use by less than 5% of users.

Read More

Telestream’s Wirecast 4.2 Integrates with Google Hangouts, Skype & GotoMeeting

Wirecast-logo-200pxFor quite some time I’ve been looking for a way to leverage things like Skype video calling, Google Hangouts or Citrix GotoMeeting with HD Faces. However, I don’t want to use a webcam as the video source. I want to use a real, high-quality video source….preferably an HD-SDI video source.

Clearly I’ve got my own reasons for this sort of requirement. I work with equipment that outputs production grade video. By “production grade” I mean entirely uncompressed video. That’s 270 Mbps for SD and 1.459 Gbps for HD. It’s very clean video.

There are times when I need to be able to stream this kind of video to a remote site. Of course it’s not practical to send the uncompressed stream wholly unaltered. Well, it could be done, but for a hefty price.

Since the far end is typically an ad hoc location what I really need is a way to use an uncompressed HD-SDI source, but deliver a decent quality, sensibly compressed stream to something handy at the far end. It would be most ideal if it didn’t require an installed app to receive the stream. Finally, it should handle firewalls and NAT without flinching.

Read More

Revisiting Video Calling To The Living Room, Yet Again

This is a topic that seemingly will not go away, yet it’s not clear that there’s much uptake by customers. Going back two years, the first wave of “Smart HDTVs” were capable of running an embedded Skype application. With the addition of an optional camera/microphone module HDTVs from Samsung, Panasonic and others were able to provide 720p video calling from point-to-point.

While a curiosity, this capability was initially limited to the high-end models that priced around $3K. Then you had to add the optional camera module, which cost an additional $200-300. In addition, there were reports of interoperability issues with other types of Skype clients. Your pricey HDTV might not be able to call a Mac or  PC-based Skype client.

To be sure, the cost of smart HDTVs has been falling, making such capability available at prices closer to $1K. Even so, it’s just not clear to me that embedded video calling in smart TVs was the revolution that some expected. Asking around I’ve yet to find anyone who found the Smart TV apps a compelling argument for replacing their existing HDTV.

Read More

Invoxia’s AudiOffice Now Delivering

Invoxia AudiOffice Facetime 300pxInvoxia’s NVX 610, which I reviewed not long ago, is an ambitious device, tackling various communication and entertainment functions all by way of an iOS host. With the NVX 610 selling for $599, it’s many capabilities come at a price.

Earlier this week Invoxia announced that they have started to deliver their new AudiOffice device. Announced at CES earlier this year, AudiOffice looks nearly identical to the NVX 610. The device is more targeted in its feature set, acting as a hardware dock for the purposes of desktop telephony applications.

Like the NVX, AudiOffice supports cellular calls, one SIP account and one Skype account. HDVoice support remains in the form of G.722 via SIP and SILK with respect to Skype calls. Compared to it’s larger sibling AudiOffice has fewer microphone (2 vs 8) and speaker (4 vs 8) elements.

Read More

Review: Invoxia NVX 610 Speakerphone

Invoxia-Desk-Phone-Logo-300px Invoxia’s NVX 610 is a curious device. In some ways it defies description. Is it an iPhone/iPad dock? Is it a desk phone? Or is it a conference phone?

In truth, it’s all of these things. The question is, can it very good at all those functions? Or any of them?

These questions are what prompted me approach Invoxia for an evaluation unit. This review arises from the my experience with that device over the past eight months.

Let’s begin by considering a little bit about the company. Invoxia are a French company with strength in design and engineering. Amongst their team you will find considerable experience in telecom. In the past they have been involved in projects for BT and the French multi-national Thomson, including the SIP/DECT hardware that Comcast rolled out as part of its HomePoint offering.

Read More

Hey, Mr Podcaster! Audio Quality Matters, M’kay?

ibm-podcast-galaxy-nexus While I travel I like to listen to podcasts. While there are a variety of podcasts that are routinely found on my cell phone, I also try new things from The Conversations Network and similar sites.

This evening as I’m on a flight to Raleigh-Durham NC I happened to give a listen to a short podcast from IBM. It was The IBM Institute For Business Value podcast entitled, “The Changing Face Of Communication.” It’s an older podcast, from June 2009.

While this file had been on my phone a while I had thought that it still might be interesting. IBM certainly knows a thing or two about communications. I was at Astricon 2009 when IBM had a keynote address. They also announced a partnership of some sort with Digium.

However, I was startled to hear the audio quality of this podcast. It’s simply atrocious. Seriously. It’s really bad.

Remember Marshall McLuhan? The medium is the message. In this case the medium, poor quality podcast audio, completely destroys the message…and along with it the credibility of the participants.

Read More
Back To Top
%d bloggers like this: