Category Archives: Gadgets

Bhaalu Shows at SITEX 2013 Singapore

sitex-2013Special thanks to Amconics Singapore for displaying to their customers, a sneak preview of bhaalu at the Sitex 2013 Expo event in Singapore this past weekend. Amconics knows the future of television, and can see the potential of bhaalu as a universal set top box in Singapore.

The event was crowded as usual, and interest was strong for Singapore’s newest television platform bhaalu.

Bhaalu Displays at Sitex 2013 Event in Singapore from Jeff Bhaalu on Vimeo.

Amconics Technology Pte Ltd was established in 1987 as an IT manufacturer and distributor. Then in 1999, embarked on a new product line, namely, digital cameras and web cams. In 2002 and 2003, their product lines were further increased to distribute Internet Phones and Electronic Dictionaries. Currently, they specialize in Home Entertainment Portals, Home Media Hubs and Alternative Television Platforms in Singapore.

Bhaalu to Showcase at Chaos Asia Singapore

Right Brain Interface Singapore will provide an overview of bhaalu at Chaos Asia 2013 this November 9th and 10th at St James Power Station and Neverland II in Singapore. Receive a S$10 discount off the already affordable event ticket price by using the promotion code “conton” when registering. You can register here: http://peatix.com/event/20180/right-brain-interfaceThe Facebook page is located here: https://www.facebook.com/events/203531529799167/. Please come say “hi” to me, and I will gladly provide you with much more details than I will be able to fit into my three minute presentation.  Hope to see you there!

Spectacular TV Coverage of Americas Cup

The company behind superimposing informative graphics onto live video feeds for the Americas Cup sailing regatta is called Sport Vision. The purpose of this technology is to make strategic aspects of a given sport easier to see and understand.ac-live-line

The founder of Sport Vision, Stan Honey, provides a behind the scenes interview about their latest incarnation called AC Live Line, specifically designed for the Americas Cup.

STP for OTT and IPTV Projects

ABOX42-NORMALA new player from Germany in the development of Television Set Top Boxes has entered the scene. The company is called ABox42, and their product is an STB platform for IPTV,  OTT and CloudTV projects.

The ABOX42 B and M Series Smart STB product lines offers both, cost effective and high performance STBs for even the most demanding IPTV, OTT and CloudTV services for all kinds of applications, requirements and feature sets.

ABOX42 saw that the convergence of Internet and TV is opening up new opportunities for new business models in the OTT field for already established operators as well as for new market players.

In this changed world of TV and new Internet technologies ABOX42 has become a leading player and experienced manufacturer of next gerneration OTT and IPTV STBs.

ABOX42 has 4 years expertise and knowledge of managing end-user mass-market products. ABOX42 is specialized in developing customized STB solutions for international customers and has already deployed over 100 OTT services.

Google Announces Chromecast

chromecast-hed-2013Less than two months after launching experimental internet balloons into the Earth’s stratosphere, Google is once again taking another step toward dominating the digital world.  Last Wednesday (24 July), the digital media giant announced the release of its video streaming device Chromecast.  Compatible with laptops, tablets, and mobile phones (Android and iOS), the 5 cm-long gadget plugs into an HDMI port on an HDTV and streams video from the mobile device (acting as a remote) to the TV. 

Although Chromecast lacks the breadth of content (it’s currently only able to stream YouTube, Google Play, and Netflix) that other streaming devices such as Apple TV have, it comes at a fraction of the cost.  The thumb drive-sized device has a retail price of US$35 (S$45), compared to Apple TV’s price of US$99 (S$125).  With more streaming content expected to become available for Chromecast – such as Pandora – we shouldn’t be surprised to see it compete with the big dogs of video streaming.

However, Chromecast’s real advantage over other devices is its multi-screen capability, says Janko Roettgers:

“Chromecast synchronizes media playback across multiple devices, making it possible for you to launch the playback of a Netflix movie on your TV with the help of your phone, then turn off that phone and launch the app on your iPad to pause the movie. That’s simply not possible with [Apple TV's] AirPlay today, and it puts pressure on Apple to add more features.”

Google obviously modeled Chromecast’s simplicity after AirPlay, but, naturally, made improvements.  AirPlay only works with Apple products, and even then there are certain software requirements (I know from experience how frustrating it is to find a cool video on a Macbook and not be able to stream it through AirPlay).

Chromecast sold out on both Amazon and the Google Play store within a day of the release, and is still out of stock on Amazon.  However, Amazon will ship the device anywhere, so we Asian consumers must only wait until Amazon gets another shipment to have one of our own.

Referenced from CNN.com, gigaom.com, and asia.cnet.com

Slo-Mo Filming for iOS 7?

1373426908Alongside the anticipation of Apple’s new iOS 7 operating system (still in beta testing) is the widespread expectation of the iPhone 5S’s US release this fall.  And if we know anything about iPhone releases, we know that the months leading up to them are fraught with rumors of the phone’s new features, and this time is no different.

The feature that most people expect to be included in the 5S/iOS 7 is a new camera mode, called “Mogul,” that can shoot video in super-slow motion.  Although slo-mo video apps already exist for current phones and operating systems, Mogul would be integrated directly into the phone’s camera, making slo-mo filming as easy as flicking a switch (so to speak).

John Koetsier says the new feature could be an avenue for Apple to one-up the Samsung Galaxy S4′s existing slo-mo capability:

“Typically slow-motion video capture requires lower-resolution capture — the Galaxy S4′s 13-megapixel camera captures slo-mo at only 800-by-450 pixels, almost certainly due to the massive flood of visual data pouring into the camera, CPU, and Flash memory at 120 individual frames every single second…One way Apple could differentiate itself with a coming iPhone 5S, of course, is allow full-frame slow-motion, which would be spectacular.”

If the new feature does end up on the new iPhone, imagine what kind of implications that would have for Instagram or Vine, especially if the videos are in HD.  If so, I really hope somebody decides to re-create Bo Derek’s slo-mo beach run.

Referenced from VentureBeat and cnet.com

Sony’s 4K TV Media Player

SONY ELECTRONICS FMP-X1

Sony is trying hard to push its new line of 4K Ultra HD TVs, whose 2160p resolution is four times greater than that of regular HD TVs, by revealing that its 4K TV media player will go into US stores on July 15.  As of now, the VOD device will use Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K distribution service, which will offer movies for rent or sale.

However, the player is compatible only with Sony 4K TVs, of which the least expensive model is US$5,000 (S$6,325) and most expensive is US$25,000 (S$31,600).  The player itself will go for US$700 (S$885) and will come with ten complimentary movies from Sony Pictures that have been remastered into 4K.  

Steven Musil doesn’t think that the device or 4K viewing will catch on anytime soon:

“Sony is pushing hard to move the industry to 4K video in hopes of a new upgrade cycle…However, Sony faces challenges in winning over consumers on 4K TVs. There is little video content available that’s shot in 4K, and — by some measurements — 4K resolution is too high to perceive unless you’re sitting close to the screen.”

Even if 4K is much better than regular HD, the technology is too expensive and the content to sparse to gauge its success, at least in the near future.  The success of Sony’s new media player hinges wholly on that of 4K, so makers of other streaming devices have nothing to worry about for now.

Full article at CNET

Consumer Interest in 3D TV Waning

3d glasses

Three-dimensional home viewing used to be the must-have feature on a new television set.  No longer was simple high-definition enough – you had to have the extra dimension.

Now, having bedazzled the general public in recent years, 3D TV seems to have lost its lustre and is rapidly descending into the depths of a “one-hit wonder” technology fad.

In an interview with TrustedReviews, John Lewis spokesperson John Kempner provides the primary reason for 3D TV’s fallout:

“As an experience I think people maybe enjoy it at the cinema, but in the home it’s not quite such a wonderful experience because of the requirement to wear glasses…Wearing 3D glasses in the home was always going to be a reason customers didn’t move to 3D.”

Kempner goes on to stress that interest in 3D is not completely lost, and that his company still sells a lot of 3D TVs.  However, consumers are now more interested in the benefits of Smart TV and view 3D as sort of an added bonus rather than the desired feature.

Full article at TrustedReviews

Facebook Adds Video to Instagram

gty_instagram_video_nt_130624_wgIn an effort to combat the rising popularity of Twitter’s video sharing service Vine, Facebook has added a video feature to its already popular photo sharing service Instagram.  Instagram users will now be able to record video clips up to 15 seconds in length (with a three-second minimum), as opposed to Vine’s limit of six seconds.

The move comes as no surprise to the public considering both the prominence of video sharing on Facebook’s website and that most or all of Instagram users are also Facebook users.

Jolie O’Dell says the added features for Instagram video will drive success:

“…yes, you can filter, filter, filter to your hipster heart’s content. There are even 13 brand-new filters specifically created for video.

Interestingly, Instagram video can also correct camera shake with a feature called “cinema” to provide stabilization. It sounds super minor, but the end effect is pretty amazing. Your whole boring life will look like it was shot by a pro with a dolly.”

It will be interesting to see how this new feature affects Facebook’s revenues, which totaled US$1.46B (SG$1.85B) in the first quarter of this year.  Instagram currently does not include advertisements, and co-founder Kevin Systrom maintains that the company “didn’t design [the video feature] with any advertising in mind.”  That being said, paid advertisements accounted for 85% of Facebook’s Q12013 revenues, so a future in which Instagram doesn’t adopt ads seems unlikely at best.

Referenced from NewsAsia