Light Reading

Playing Catchup With CES

Mari Silbey

As ever, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) jamboree in Las Vegas was awash with all manner of device and service launches aimed at the mass market, as our reporting from the event showed:

And as much as we'd like to have eyes and ears in every corner of CES and deliver all the meaningful developments as they happen, sometimes we have to rely on the post-show catch-up to highlight some key developments.

So for those interested in a broader view of the video and TV developments at the show, here are five more stories to set you up for 2014.

Sony announces cloud-based TV service
There have long been rumors that Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE) would launch a web-based video service, and now the company is ready to go on the record. Sony said at CES that it will introduce a TV service for Sony devices this year with live television, video-on-demand, and cloud DVR features. There is no official word yet on any content negotiations for the service, but The Wall Street Journal reported in August that Sony had reached a "preliminary deal" with Viacom Inc. (NYSE: VIA). The company was also reportedly in discussions with Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS), Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX), and CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) (See Sony, Viacom Strike Streaming Pact.)

TiVo partners with Control4
TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) is teaming up with Control4 to make TiVo services available through the home automation company's user interface (UI). According to a blog post, TiVo will initially offer "Now Playing" information and remote control functionality through the Control4 UI. Further services, including TV show details, and information on a user's recorded content, are coming soon. (See also Dish Connects Hopper to Control4.)

Roku coming to Hisense and TCL TVs
Just days after Polaroid announced it would ship new smart TVs with Roku Inc. streaming sticks, Roku itself decided to make the leap into the TV hardware market. The company has said it is working directly with TCL and Hisense to manufacture new television sets with an embedded Roku platform. New TV models will be available in retail stores this fall. (See also Polaroid TV Ships With Roku Stick.)

Dish signs programmers for OTT platform
Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) CEO Joseph Clayton told FierceCable at CES that the satellite company has signed deals with multiple programmers for the right to distribute live TV content over an OTT video platform. While the company's potential over-the-top service wouldn't match traditional TV in its content lineup, Clayton said he sees an opportunity with OTT to offer lower-priced service tiers to younger consumers. A smaller monthly fee would buy fewer channels, but it would also include greater access to TV across connected devices.

Dish dishes up new Joeys
Dish didn't just make the news for its OTT deals: While most of the traditional service providers kept a low-key presence at CES this year, Dish went the other direction and announced: a new media extender called the Super Joey, which allows users to record up to eight shows at once; a Wireless Joey, which supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi; and new "Virtual Joey" apps for Sony PlayStation consoles and LG smart TVs. All of the new Joey products tie back to Dish's Hopper DVR with built-in Sling technology. Dish also announced new Dish Anywhere apps, a Dish Explorer app with voice control, and an updated Hopper user interface.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Blogger
1/13/2014 | 1:09:17 PM
Roku boxes
That's a potentially big move for Roku. Getting embedded in cable STBs is now paying off for TiVo. So getting embedded in TV sets should be even more promising, assuming the TVs are any good to begin with.   
User Rank: Blogger
1/13/2014 | 1:07:01 PM
What's Sony up to?
So Sony is moving forward with its TV plans. God bless them. I wonder what Sony thinks it knows that Intel, Microsoft, and other former pay TV wannabes don't. Mari, do you think this will be an Xbox One-like service on steroids?  
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