Vizio Settles FTC, N.J. Consumer Affairs Data-mining Investigations

February 6th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services

 

Vizio revealed Monday that it has settled an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs (NJ) into alleged data-mining practices through its smart TVs.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it collected customers’ TV-watching habits. It also must delete all data gathered through its TVs’ data-mining software before March 1st, 2016.

Further, the action establishes a new best practices procedure consumer electronics manufacturers should employ before gathering viewer-specific data through their products and services. This will include clearly notifying purchasers in advance that the product they purchase will be used to gather viewing data and the manufacturer should obtain the permission of viewers before the data is gathered and used.

The lawsuit alleged that in 2014 Vizio began using software built into more than 11 million smart TVs to gather “highly-specific, second-by-second information about television viewing.”

Vizio then allegedly worked with another company to associate demographic information with each household, so that viewing habits could be paired with information about a viewer’s sex, age, income, marital status and other lifestyle specific details.

Although Vizio admitted to no wrong-doing, the data-mining practices worried some consumer watchdog groups that data would be sold to advertising and marketing agents, who could use it to solicit the sale of products and services and send spam to telephones and email accounts.

Vizio denied that they gathered the names or contact information of its smart TV customers through the data-mining software.

Read more on Vizio’s data-mining settlement after the jump:

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CTA Objects To Possible ATSC 3.0 TV Tuner Mandate

February 6th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, HDR, laser projectors, News, UHDTV

 

The Consumer Technology Association Friday called out what it called “troubling language about a TV tuner mandate” included in new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on voluntary adoption of the next generation ATSC 3.0 television broadcast system.

Gary Shapiro, CTA president and CEO, (pictured at top) commended the spirit of Pai’s intention to quickly move the country forward on adoption of the new technology but added: “However, while well-intended, this initial version includes troubling language about a TV tuner mandate. We stand by our initial joint filing supporting a voluntary, market-driven transition. We also support the Commission’s tentative agreement that a TV tuner mandate is unnecessary.”

Pai circulated the NPRM Thursday morning as part of a pilot project to let the public see items the FCC plans to vote on. The NRPM would allow TV stations to start rolling out the ATSC 3.0 advanced TV transmission standard on a voluntary basis, with the goal of authorizing the new standard by the end of the year.

Read more on the controversy over a possible ATSC 3.0 tuner mandate after the jump:

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LG’s 2017 OLED Prices Leaked!

February 3rd, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, Amazon, Connected TVs, electronic program guides, HDMI, HDR, height channels, LG Electronics, News, object-based audio, OLED, OLED, Surround Sound, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

 

LG revealed its new and improved 4K Ultra HDTV OLED TV lineup, including the “wall paper-thin” W7P series (pictured at top), last month at CES 2017, but it didn’t mention prices. Thanks to leaked information we can now let you know what to expect to pay in unilateral pricing policy (UPP) terms on all but the entry B7 series.

Eligible LG dealers around the country will begin taking preorders on the 2017 LG OLED models beginning February 26th with shipments to begin shortly thereafter.

Learn the OLED pricing and features after the break:

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Calibration For HDR Evolves Through Challenges

February 2nd, 2017 · 2160p, 3D Blu-ray player, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, Blu-ray Titles, Curved Screen, HDMI, HDR, News, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV, Ultra HD Blu-ray Players, Video Processors

 The following blog was written by HD Guru editorial consultant and contributor Kevin Miller, a founding member of the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), professional video display calibrator and product reviewer, following CES 2017.

High Dynamic Range video (HDR) is the big buzz in the home theater industry at the moment. It is, in my humble opinion, the biggest leap in picture quality and display performance the industry has seen since the introduction of HDTV broadcasts in late 1998, which slowly but surely replaced the 480i SD pictures we had been used to since the inception of television.

Beyond the UHD (3840 x 2160) pixel resolution, HDR UHD content brings us far more noticeable and therefore more important improvements such as the specular highlight details in bright objects, the additional shadow detail in dark areas of the picture, and the wider Digital Cinema or P3 color gamut.

The question then is how do we calibrate our displays for HDR and can we calibrate a given display separately for all of the different HDR formats; HDR10, Dolby Vision, and the Technicolor/Philips format, which are all competing HDR formats?

Read more on the evolving nature of HDR television calibration after the jump:

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ATSC Slowly Moving Toward HDR Broadcast Solution

February 1st, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Blu-ray Players, Connected TVs, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, UHDTV

January has now passed, and the Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC), which is developing the next ATSC 3.0 over-the-air broadcast TV system, revealed it has made a selection in the highly competitive HDR technique selection process that embraces several possible approaches and leaves open the door for additional ones to be added later.

Mark Richer, ATSC president, told HD Guru this week that “ATSC Technology Group 3 has approved a ballot to elevate A/341 Video-HEVC as a Proposed Standard.  The document includes support for (Hybrid Log-Gamma) HLG, (Perceptual Quantization) PQ transfer functions and optional static metadata for PQ (HDR10 metadata). Additional HDR technologies are under consideration for inclusion in future revisions of A/341.”

Read more on the ATSC’s HDR format selection for ATSC 3.0 after the jump:

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Xfinity TV App Available For Beta Trial On Roku Devices

January 31st, 2017 · 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Cable TV, Connected TVs, Digital Media Receivers, DVR, electronic program guides, Full HD 1080p, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services, UHD (4K) Media Players

Roku said Tuesday that it is releasing a beta version of a new Xfinity TV app for U.S. Roku players, bringing Xfinity cable TV subscribers the ability to access programming they have subscribed to without the need of a cable box.

The app is said to feature an immersive guide with rich graphics, imagery, personalized recommendations and detailed information for tens of thousands of movies and TV shows. It will give Xfinity subscribers with Roku devices the ability to watch live and on demand programming, including local broadcast and Public Educational and Governmental channels, as well as cloud DVR recordings from Comcast’s secure private managed network.

Read more on Roku’s new Xfinity TV beta app after the jump:

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Super Bowl LI Brings Options For HD, VR Viewers

January 31st, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, 720p HD, Amazon, Connected TVs, HDMI, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services, UHDTV, Virtual Reality

 

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock since election day, Super Bowl LI kicks off this Sunday and viewers have more options available to them than ever to watch the big game in high definition splendor.

As you are hopefully aware, the game this year pits the New England Patriots against the Atlanta Falcons live from NRG Stadium in Houston. Coverage is being carried by Fox Sports and should be shown on a local Fox affiliate broadcast station near you.

Although the coverage will run on various channels all day, the primary Fox pre-game coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET with the game itself following at 6:30 p.m. This year’s halftime entertainment will feature a performance by pop diva Lady Gaga.

Viewers around the country will have the ability to catch the HD action on their big screen TVs for free from an over-the-air broadcast signal, if available in your area, or via a pay-TV platform, such as one offered by a national, regional or local cable, satellite or telco TV service provider.

Sorry, 4K Ultra HDTV owners, no live 4K broadcasts have been announced this year, although there will be plenty of 4K and 8K cameras on site recording the action for VR.

But if you are among the growing ranks of cord cutters, you’ll have a few options to get the game via streaming services as well, including a free feed supplied to Roku TVs or Roku set-top streaming adapters courtesy of the Fox Sports GO app channel.

Read more on how to make sure you can catch Super Bowl LI in HD resolution after the jump:

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LG 4K LCD TVs Continue Controversial RGBW Tech

January 27th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, HDR, LED LCD Flat Panels, LG Electronics, News, UHDTV

Although LG garnered a lot of attention at the recent CES 2017 for its new 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs using Nano Cell technology, lost in the marketing buzz was the fact that the majority of LG Electronics’ lower-cost 2017 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs now use the company’s controversial RGBW technology that arrived to much debate two years ago.

Tim Alessi, LG Electronics home entertainment marketing director, told HD Guru prior to the show that RGBW panels will be used this year in all but two series of 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs, encompassing 14 core-line models.

“That’s everything except for the SJ8500 and SJ9500 series,” Alessi said.

LG has yet to announce model pricing for the 2017 TV lines, so we can’t point out specific price savings the use of RGBW will bring this year, though its use last year resulted in more affordable entry to mid-range 4K UHD price points in LG’s assortment.

The 2017 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV series using RGBW panels include: the UJ6300, UJ6500, UJ7700 and SJ8000. The SJ8000 is part of LG’s premium Super UHD LED LCD assortment offering its advanced new Nano Cell LED LCD technology.

The distinction is made here because the RGBW technology’s purported benefits and shortcomings have been hotly debated, primarily between LG and rival Samsung. Importantly, LG Electronics has elected over the last two years not to formally identify in literature, packaging or signage which of its LED LCD TV models use RGBW panels. However, the company generally identifies panels using In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels and other technologies.

Read more on LG’s 2017 RGBW LED LCD TVs after the jump:

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