The Online Reporter

Research, Trends and Insight into the Digital Media, Consumer Electronics & Broadband Industries

Seiki’s Upconversion-in-an-HDMI Cable Is an Add On

- Uses Marseille Technology’s Smart Upconversion Technology

The availability of made-for-UHD content should not be a factor in whether or not to buy a UHD TV. Good upconversion technology can make most 1080p HD and less content look made-for-UHD. That’s why a UHD TV set’s upconversion ability should be the most important factor for the next few years in selecting which brand of set to buy. Here’s a chipmaker whose upconversion technology enables every UHD TV to produce UHD-like video or better from any source.

Marseille Network’s 4K upconversion chip upconverts HD content to UHD video quality from any source: pay TV, Blu-ray disc, net-top boxes and surround sound systems.

 

HD goes in from any source; UHD (4K) plays on a UHD TV Set

 

The China-based low-cost TV setmaker Seiki has launched a $59.95 HDMI cable that has Marseille’s VTV-122 video processing chip that does UHD upconversion. The chips are the only ones certified as fully UHD compliant by Technicolor, which gave the chip “4K Image Certification.”

 

UHD Upconversion Chipset with Marseille’s Chip in an HDMI Cable
People that we have talked with about Seiki’s UHD sets have said that when showing UHD content, they look great. But it’s not so good when showing non-UHD content. The new Seiki-brand HDMI cable with the upconversion chips ($42.95 at Amazon) should give Seiki’s lower-priced UHD sets the same upconversion ability that higher-priced sets such as Samsung and Sony have.

Here is Seiki’s chart that explains how it upconverts from various resolutions.

 

 

Seiki’s Upconversion Chart

 

It’s the best chart we’ve seen that explains how much upconversion technology can do with various resolutions from 480p up to 1080p. In every case, Marseille’s technology does picture quality enhancement of videos of any resolution, which we translate as massaging each pixel based on its location on the screen so that the overall picture looks best.

Technicolor, which has operations in post-production and creative services for Hollywood studios, has certified the Marseille technology as meeting the rigorous standards of Technicolor’s “4K Image Certified” test suite.

Seiki says its U-Vision upconverter “delivers a near native 4K video experience” and says there’s “no need to wait for native 4K content!” It also says, “Gamers will love the improved look of anti-aliased graphics up-converted from 480p/720p, 60 to 1080p, 60 with contextual edge restoration. Cable audio/video latency is less than 1ms—perfect for gaming.”

 

‘The Art Form Is the Processing That Is Done in Addition to the Scaling’

 

There is upconversion technology and then there is smart upconversion technology, which is what Marseille says it has.

We asked Marseille Technology’s VP of marketing George Alexy about the company’s UHD technology. He said, “Good upscaling is pretty well defined. The art form is the processing that is done in addition to the scaling to enhance the image and not introduce artifacts in the process. This is one of the reasons we’ve had people remark that content processed by us looks better than native 4K. This processing is done by proprietary algorithms that differentiate the quality of a particular solution. This is where Marseille has made significant investment. Our algorithms determine what type of pixel we’re dealing with (edge, field, noise, etc) and apply appropriate processing if needed. That last point “if needed” is critical. Many algorithms execute the same processing on every pixel which introduces unwanted artifacts while our approach is contextual or context aware.”

Alexy’s point seems to be what we have heard from other UHD experts: UHD is not only about more pixels; it’s about better pixels.”

 

Seiki’s UHD Set Prices Are the Lowest


Seiki says its upconversion HDMI cable performs real-time detail enhancement, edge restoration and noise reduction.
Seiki’s UHD set prices are very attractive.

Here are their current prices at Amazon.com:
39-inch        SE39UY04       $339.00   (Note: Samsung’s 40-inch UHD set is $999 at Amazon)
50-inch        SE50UY04       $999.00   ($499 at HH Gregg; Vizio says its 50-inch UHD set will also be $999)
55-inch         SE55UY04       $999.89   HH Gregg (LG’s 55-inch UHD set is $1,799 at HH Gregg)
65-inch         SE65UY04       $1,175.59   (Samsung’s 65-inch UHD set is $1,700 at Amazon)

The $999 price for a Seiki 55-inch UHD is quite remarkable.

Add $42.95 for a HDMI cord that upconverts HD to near-UHD and Seiki UHD TVs are still a bargain.

Seiki has also launched a $99 Blu-ray player with the Marseille Networks’ upconversion chip built in.

Seiki’s UHD sets are sold at Walmart, Sears, Best Buy, Amazon and Costco.

 

The Impact
Seiki’s upconverting HDMI cable and Blu-ray player with Marseille’s upconversion technology will…

 

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Four Major Fallacies about UHD (4K) That Are Holding Back Sales of UHD TVs

by Charles Hall

When setmakers, CE retailers and broadband services ask what’s holding back sales of UHD (4K) TVs, they should go look in a mirror.

There are four major and widespread fallacies about UHD (4K) that are seriously holding back sales of UHD (4K) TV sets. The industry has only itself to blame. We base this on having watched hundreds of hours of videos from multiple devices and services that were in many different resolutions during the last three months on two different UHD TVs (Samsung and LG) and making upwards of a hundred visits to retailers and trade show booths to watch every brand of UHD TV and asking hundreds of questions. Three visitors to my home have confirmed my findings; one was knowledgeable about this industry but had never watched a UHD TV except at trade shows and two were novices about the matter.

Fallacy 1. There’s no point in buying a UHD set until there’s more UHD content. A UHD set with good upconversion technology makes an immediate and easily seen improvement in most every video, whether pay TV, local broadcasts, Blu-ray or from an OTT service. In some cases the upconversion of 1080p to UHD that a UHD TV does is better than the upconversion that Netflix has done to 4K with older movies, “Ghostbusters” being a prime example. I have a perfectly good and wonderful HD TV sitting in a back room but could never go back. I would not ever think of watching a football game at someone else’s house on an old-fashioned 1080p HD set.

Fallacy 2. You can’t see an improvement on a UHD set unless it’s 60 or 70 inches or larger. To that we say “Bull!” after watching on 55-inch Samsung and LG UHD sets. About 85% of what I watch is noticeably better including some, but not all, old black and whites.

Fallacy 3. To sell UHD TVs, stores have to show made-for-UHD videos on the TVs in their showroom. Stores and the setmakers that set up their displays are causing “oohs” and “ahs,” but seriously reducing sales of UHD sets by showing those special made-for-UHD videos but not what customers will see when they get the set home. Instead, they should be demonstrating with local pay TV channels, especially the ones that upconvert well; OTT services, both Netflix’s UHD shows and YouTube; and Blu-ray and DVD discs such as “Stargate” that upconvert well. Then customers could immediately see how much better the content that is currently coming into their homes would look. Stores should take their made-for-UHD videos out and burn them. Sales would go up.

Fallacy 4…

 

 

 

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In This Week’s Edition of The Online Reporter…

THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES

Vizio Brings UHD TVs to the Mass Market

Frenemies Pay TV & OTT Services Look to Each Other for Growth

How to Go About Cutting the Cord

UHD

Four Major Fallacies about UHD (4K) That Are Holding Back Sales of UHD TVs

Seiki UHD & HD TVs Get Toon Google’s Kids Shows

Seiki’s Upconversion-in-an-HDMI Cable Is an Add On

Samsung Not Pushing Low-Cost UHD Sets in the UK, Yet

How to Make 4K Accessible Now Drop Detail You Cannot See

What CEA’s UHD Forecast Means

UltraFlix Lands Its Second Big Name UHD Setmaker: Vizio

UltraFlix Goes On-the-Road with Best Buy

Sky Deutschland Shares Lessons for Live UHD Broadcasts

Technicolor: 4K Is Important, but So Is High Dynamic Range

Another Wired Pay TV Provider Tests out a UHD Set-Top

OTT SERVICES, APPS AND SCREENS

DirecTV Plans to Launch Niche-Audience OTT Services

CanalPlay Signs HBO Content to Stream

AT&T’s Otter Media Buys Fullscreen

How to Catch a Cord Never

ORIGINAL ONLINE VIDEO

Machinima Asserts Itself as Online Entertainment Powerhouse

Warner Bros’ Is Making a Name for Itself in Web Series

YouTube Will Re-Invest in Its Content Creators

CBC’s Online Comedy Network to Stream 2 Original Series

The TV Is a Step Back in Time

BROADBAND BEAT

Nuggets from DSL Prime

Cox Doubles Subscribers’ Broadband Speeds for Free

British Broadband Speeds Decline in the Evening

BT: G.fast Technology Could Provide Fiber-like Speeds up to 1 Gbps

Huawei to Invest $4b in Wireline Broadband Technologies

HOME NETWORKING

Where Now, HomeGrid?

NET-TOP BOXES

Roku, Amazon and Google Push for Regional Apps in New Markets

Microsoft Unveils a Chromecast-Like Dongle for Business and Entertainment

WIRELESS BROADBAND

US Cellcos Are Building Wi-Fi in Secret Like There Is No Tomorrow

LIES, DAMN LIES AND STATISTICS

Game Consoles Are the Most Popular OTT Device in US

Netflix Will Have 100m Subs Worldwide by 2020

Netflix Takes up 10% of Telenet’s Internet Traffic

DIGI GRAMS

Verizon’s OTT Service to Include the Big Four': CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox

What Does Millions of Views’ Mean?

UHD an Important Part of Digital Makeover at NFL Stadium

Apple Adds Its Smart Home Platform to Apple TV

Liberty Global: Netflix Taught Us a Lesson

An Apple TV Set Is Still On the Table

Disney: The Only World They Know Is On-Demand’

Roku: Internet on TV Has Hit the Mainstream

Netgear’s Wi-Fi & Ethernet Extenders Are a Preview of the Future

Consumers have grown accustomed to high-quality, flicker-free video and expect it on every device and in every room. They especially expect it from pay TV and pay OTT services. The biggest fear of pay TV services when it comes to their using Wi-Fi is that HD and UHD streams will flicker on TV sets and mobile devices that are connected wirelessly. Consumers don’t want to install Ethernet wiring to every room where there’s a net-top box, smart TV or Blu-ray player — or for that matter a new stereo receiver that needs to be connected to the Net.

Netgear has developed two new products that allow consumers to watch flicker-free video on every device, mobile and stationary, and in every room. Netgear’s MoCA-to-Wi-Fi extender has the industry’s latest wireline home network technology: the 2.0 version of MoCA that comes in chips from Entropic but, unfortunately, the older n version of Wi-Fi. The n version may be okay because it’s mainly for connecting devices in a room or two but not for the whole house. We would expect a future model to have the 11ac version.

MoCA gets the network to the room over a reliable coax wire that’s capable of 500 Mbps. Stationary devices such as TVs, net-top boxes and Blu-ray players can be connected directly to coax. Mobile devices have a Wi-Fi “router” in the room with which to connect.

Netgear’s MoCA-to-Ethernet extender keeps consumers from having to install Ethernet wires to a room that already has coax. It has coax connectors for the incoming pay TV and outgoing to the pay TV plus an Ethernet connector for connecting such things as a net-top box.

Netgear’s motto for the new products is “More Wi-Fi. More range. More devices.” It says the devices are plug-and-play and set up in minutes. There’s no configuration needed with Internet modem/gateway and no software to install. See: http://www.netgear.com/service-providers/products/in-home-connectivity/moca-bridges

It’s a hybrid configuration we expect to see from pay TV services that’ll need the oomph of a wireline network to deliver…

 

 

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Praise Spreads for UHD

- But HomeTheaterReview.com Cautions Waiting Closer to 2016 to Buy
- We Say Why Consumers Should Buy Now

We’re not the only publication that thinks UHD is in lift-off.

HomeTheaterReview.com says UHD “has the potential to get consumers to buy new TVs for the first time since the mid-2000s.” It cites as reasons, all of which we have reported:

– The Blu-ray Disc Association will start licensing the 4K Blu-ray technology for companies and studios to start making discs and players for the 2015 holiday shopping season.

DirecTV is launching two new satellites next spring to handle UHD’s demand for increased bandwidth, although it cautions that it’ll be 2016 before it starts transmitting in UHD, which is a year later than DirecTV has said — but perhaps the schedule has changed.

– UHD is available now from Netflix for those with sufficient bandwidth. Netflix says that’s 15-20 Mbps.

Sony’s upcoming FMP-X10 4K media server will work with all brands of UHD TV sets, not just Sony’s.

“Is today the day you buy an Ultra HD set?” it asks, then answers, “I wouldn’t, but I would keep an eye on what’s going on with Ultra HD, as the trend is clearly heading toward a world where we can have higher resolution, better color, and better dynamic range in our home theater. That is something to get excited about. It looks like that day may be closer to 2016 than late 2014.”

What HomeTheaterReview.com overlooks are several key points we have been emphasizing about how current UHD sets significantly improve the TV watching experience now:

– Existing Blu-ray discs look great on UHD sets. Anyone with a collection of Blu-ray discs should buy a UHD set now. So do DirecTV’s existing 1080p broadcasts.

– Good upconversion, which Samsung and Sony have in their existing sets, makes existing 720p and 1080p look near UHD and even most black and white look better. Sports, drama, weather and news all look significantly better. Most cable and telco TV services have started upgrading their broadcasts from 720p to 1080p, which looks spectacular on a UHD set that does a good job of upconverting — as Sony’s and Samsung’s do.

Now’s the time to buy a UHD set, we say, because:
1. There has already been one wave of price decreases.
2. The second generation of UHD sets, launched this year, have three very necessary new technologies: HEVC to decompress streamed and broadcast content:
– HDMI 2.0 to enable UHD sets to play video at up to 60 frames per second — which many say is needed for fast-moving events such as sports and action scenes…

 

 

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Roku Targets Pay TV for Potential Partners

-Will Give It a Big Advantage in International Markets
-Apple Is Being Left in the Dust

Roku is looking to expand its relationships with the pay TV providers of the world. It is now licensing its streaming platform technology to pay TV providers that are interested in developing a streaming and on-demand service for their subscribers. The program is directed specifically to pay TV providers outside the US.

The announcement is shrewd for two reasons: First, as the net-top box market becomes more crowded, consumers will place more emphasis on the type of content each box can offer. By partnering with the pay TV providers in markets where Roku is available, the company will be assuredly able to offer viewers content that no other NTB can compete with.

Second, the program aims to integrate linear TV and OTT content services more fluidly, which Roku knows is the next frontier in the NTB market. Apple and Roku (and the other NTBs makers) are quietly competing to be the first to do successfully.

Roku-3-with-Headphones

Roku streaming player plus remote control

Steve Shannon, general manager of content and services, said Roku is “an ideal strategic partner” for pay TV providers looking to bring their TV services into the 21st century. “There has been incredible demand from pay TV providers for a simple way to address the increasing consumer interest in Internet-delivered entertainment,” he said.

Roku first partnered with BSkyB for the launch of Sky’s Now TV box, a streaming video service that offers a slimmed-down Sky pay TV package, available online. The partnership…

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In This Week’s Edition of The Online Reporter…

THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES

NanoTech Lands Its First Big One: Sony

Roku Targets Pay TV for Potential Partners

Correction: HomePlug Is an IEEE Standard

The Cable Show Changes Its Stripes

Sony’s Financial Woes Continue

UHD

6 Things We Learned in Retail Stores This Week about UHD

Everything You Need to Know about Prices of UHD Sets

Cable TV’s Shared Neighborhood Broadband is a Problem

Sony’s Big Screen UHD Display Shows up for Game Time

Sony to Offer Amazon’s UHD Content

Panasonic UHD TVs to Get Netflix’s UHD

Sony’s UHD Player to Play on Any Brand of UHD TV

LG Launches OLED UHD Sets

Samsung’s New UHD Media Player Hits Store Shelves

Praise Spreads for UHD

BSkyB Successfully Tests Live Game in UHD

TP Vision Offers Retrofit for UHD Sets that Lacked HEVC and HDMI 2.0

Samsung Shows 105-inch TVs

Samsung Squeezes Content Industry to Provide UHD Content

The Pay TV Ecosystem Gears Up for UHD

Want More UHD? Make Your Own

Everything Looks Better in UHD (Almost)

CEA Issues New 4K UHD Logos

Studios Didn’t Know UHD Was Coming

NanoTech Lands More UHD Content

OTT SERVICES, APPS AND SCREENS

Netflix Finds Pay TV Partners in France, Germany

More Details and Speculation about Verizon’s OTT Service

Netflix Now Worth Almost as Much as CBS

Disney Hopes to Get New Subscribers with Dish’s Online Pay TV Packages

Moonves: Showtime, CBS Could Go OTT

Starz Eyeing Life Outside the Pay TV Bundle

ORIGINAL ONLINE VIDEO

Netflix Signs Its Version of HBO’s Girls’

BROADBAND BEAT

Storm Brews over US Net Neutrality for Cellcos

HOME NETWORKING

What’s Happening at the HomeGrid Forum?

Netgear’s Wi-Fi & Ethernet Extenders Are a Preview of the Future

Celeno Shows 4X4 MIMO & Dynamic Airtime Allocation

LTE BROADCAST

Verizon: Video Will Explode’ over Wireless with Help from LTE Broadcast

NET-TOP BOXES

Google Tells Broadcasters: We Are Not the Enemy

WIRLESS BROADBAND

Comcast & Liberty Global Agree to Free Wi-Fi Sharing for Subscribers

LIES, DAMN LIES AND STATISTICS

CEA Expects $5bn in US Sales of UHD Sets in 2015

FTTH Communities Have More GDP Growth

Roku Has Sold 10m NTBs over Last 6 Years

Europe Has Bigger Potential for Netflix than the States

DIGI GRAMS

UHD Is Not a Revolution

3D Was Not Ready for the Home

Disc Rental Services to Make a Return?

More Shoes to Drop at Sony?

Wheeler: 4 Mbps Doesn’t Cut It Anymore

Verizon’s Shammo: Wireless Video Will Be Much Different from Linear TV

Blu-ray UHD Videos Will Be Far Superior to Streamed UHD

Content Owners Are Interested in Mobile Video Services

OTT Executive Summit: November 11, New York (Last)

Sony Makes an Announcement about Its Secret Streaming Service

-No Word from Dish about Its Streaming Service, Due Out by Year

-End -Verizon Says Its Online Video Offering Will Appear in 2015

Viacom and Sony have gone public with the online streaming license deal for the streaming pay TV service. Sony announced the “cloud-based pay TV service” at CES earlier this year, but has been silent on the project since then. Sony now has online streaming rights to 22 of Viacom’s pay TV channels, which includes MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET, along with access to Viacom’s TV Everywhere apps and its VoD platform. Rumors of the deal between Viacom and Sony first surfaced a year ago in a piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said Viacom is interested in new distribution platforms for its “young, tech-savvy audiences.” Dauman also said Viacom was one of “many programmers that will help power Sony’s new service and advance a new era for television.”

Sony hasn’t indicated who those other programmers might be. We’re betting Disney will get involved at some point, as it has already broken through the streaming pay TV gate with the online streaming deal it recently signed with Dish Network. Dish also signed up A&E Networks for the service.

Another candidate for both Dish and Sony is Time Warner’s HBO, which would practically ensure the success of either service, if either is able to offer HBO Go bundled with a few other online channels, for a reasonable price.

Time Warner may be warming up to the idea. Earlier this week, CEO Jeff Bewkes said broadband-delivered online video services present a big opportunity for content owners. Pay TV providers have included HBO channels in a number of their pay OTT experiments over the last year.

Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam told investors this week at the Goldman Sachs conference that his company plans to launch an online video service in the first half of 2015. Verizon purchased Intel Media’s OnCue technology for a hybrid linear and OTT video service earlier this year.

McAdam said…

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BDA: There Will Be a UHD Version of Blu-ray Players & Discs

- King Content Exerts Its Power over Technology
- Players & Physical UHD Discs by the End of 2015

Who’d have thought that Blu-ray would still be alive this far into the digital media era? And here it is riding to the rescue of owners of UHD TVs with the promise of enormously increasing the library of native UHD entertainment.

Videos on today’s Blu-ray discs look outstanding on UHD TVs that have decent upconversion capability. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has gone the next step by committing publicly to have a UHD version of Blu-ray discs on the market next year. The resulting surge in native UHD content will serve to increase sales of UHD sets that are already plummeting to affordable prices for the working class — less than $2,000 now for brand name UHD sets and probably less than $1,000 by the end of the year, at the latest by summer 2015.

Until now, UHD set owners have had to rely solely on Netflix and soon Amazon for native UHD content. The BDA promises that its UHD videos will be better than the ones that are streamed.

At the IFA this week, Victor Matsuda, chairman of the BDA’s global promotions committee, said that most of the specifications are done for a UHD version of an optical disc. It’s being developed jointly by a number of its members and that technology will appear in the spring or summer of 2015. He expects the first UHD Blu-ray players by 2015’s year-end shopping season.

Reportedly, the studios have loads of UHD content that’s ready for distribution in the UHD format so there will certainly an immense increase in the amount of UHD content that’s available 14 months from now. The availability of UHD-capable Blu-ray discs mean the OTT services will have strong competitors for acquiring content; they won’t be the only ones distributing UHD to the home.

It’ll be interesting to see how much UHD entertainment is available from OTT services in a year — as well as from pay TV companies.

Matsuda said UHD Blu-ray discs mean viewers won’t have to rely on sometimes balky Internet and home network connections for watching UHD video. Additionally, under the UHD premise of “not just more pixels but better pixels,” the UHD version of Blu-ray (or whatever it’s ultimately called) will dramatically improve the color gamut and provide a higher dynamic range so details in shadows and highlights are visible. It can also support UHD videos at 60 frames per second, which some say is needed for fast-action scenes.

According to CNET, Matsuda said that packaged media and its stable environment will contribute to the UHD Blu-ray disc “being the best of the best” — a clear criticism of broadband delivered UHD video.

UHD-capable Blu-ray discs: we hope the Association selects a more striking marketing name that doesn’t tie it too tightly to the current Blu-ray. From everything we’ve heard, consumers will need to buy a new disc player for UHD discs — unless the Association decides to allow UHD movies to be put on two or more of the current Blu-ray discs because of their large volume of data. Current Blu-ray disc players do not have HEVC and so cannot take advantage of HEVC’s increased compression. That would not be a user-friendly move but neither would it be if they force consumers to buy a new disc player. But that’s what consumers are doing with their TV sets — buying new UHD sets.

The digital media generation believes that, long term, streaming is the way. So did Steve Jobs who stopped putting disc drives in Apple products years ago and with no detriment to sales of Apple products. But there’s a lot of native UHD video that’s not now being made available and the studios may feel more comfortable and secure putting it on physical media. They may also believe they can make more money by having separate release windows for UHD discs and UHD streams.

Matsuda said…

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Apple’s ‘Historic’ Announcement Ignores TVs & Tablets

Apple wooed its fans this week with the launch of the highly anticipated Apple Watch device, and a new slate of iPhones, but failed to impress – or even mention – its iPad tablets or its Apple TV device, much less an Apple TV set.

The new iPhone 6 has a few noteworthy features. It uses carrier aggregation technology with 200 LTE carriers around the world, can support 150 Mbps throughput data, and uses VoLTE. It also has an 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip inside, which Apple said is three times faster than the 11n Wi-Fi chips in earlier iPhones. The new iPhone 6 supports Wi-Fi calling, and Apple said it is rolling out Wi-Fi calling with carrier partners T-Mobile in the US and EE in the UK. Apple said its hand-off from Wi-Fi to cellular is seamless.

We’re betting that 11ac chip is from Broadcom, which is a long-time partner of Apple and just happened to announce a new 5G 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip last week, a few days before the Apple announcement. Broadcom said its new chip, called BC4358, will be shipping in mobile devices available during this year’s Q3, which lines up nicely with Apple’s iPhone 6 release dates later this month.

Broadcom’s 11ac Wi-Fi- chip uses 2×2 MIMO and supports data throughput speeds of up to 650 Mbps. Broadcom says it’s the highest performing Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-combined chip that’s available today.

That’s sure to increase demand for 11ac routers and make 11ac the de facto standard in wireless home networking. 11ac only reaches its top speeds when both devices have it.

The ‘One Last Thing’ Wasn’t an Apple TV
Apple’s CEO Tim Cook used the Steve Jobs line, “Oh, and one last thing” during his keynote address to unveil the Apple Watch, indicating both how important Cook thinks the product will be to consumers, and that Cook wants Apple Watch to be his breakout device as the (relatively) new CEO. We at The Online Reporter were a bit disappointed that Cook wasn’t unveiling an updated Apple TV net-top box, which is sorely needed.

There was in fact only one brief mention of Apple TV, when Cook said the Apple Watch can control an Apple TV box as a remote.

Apple has fallen into a quandary with its net-top box. The field of competitors has grown significantly over the past year. Google entered the market with its popular, $35 Chromecast, and then Amazon launched its own Fire TV box; Microsoft has become aggressive in the living room, too, with its entertainment-focused Xbox One and suite of entertainment-focused services such as Xbox Video and Xbox Music; and Sony has launched a PS TV NTB that connects to its own digital media stores and streaming services. There will be even more competition in the NTB space when Google’s Android TV launches.

Apple has tried to keep its device up-to-date and relevant to consumers by adding more and more content apps to the platform – a little late, if you ask us – but it has largely ignored updating the Apple TV interface. The truth of the matter is that Apple TV isn’t particularly the best NTB available to consumers any more: there are now more alternatives with more content, more features, and for less money.

We’ve read, and in some cases reported on, the countless rumors that Apple is looking to reinvent TV, much the same way it reinvented music: a new device, and a new way to consume the content. The longer that takes for Apple, the more pressure there will be to launch the game-changing device that Apple wants to launch. The longer it waits, the more time its competitors – Google, Amazon, Sony, Microsoft – have to establish themselves as the living room’s primary entertainment devices.

We think Apple’s new TV device will need to do two things to…

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