Not to brag, but I think I have discovered the next big thing. Well, myself along with millions of other have discovered it.
It’s GoogleTV. Its a a fairly inexpensive piece of hardware that connects to your TV, internet connection and set top box(cable or sat) that gives you complete & total control over all video material available to you in an easy to use Google style search interface. Google doesn’t make the hardware. At present time Logitech & sony offer google TV systems. I have a logitech so I’ll discuss its hardware. The Logitech Revue $399)comes with a standard keyboard that operates wirelessly. It was very easy to install. I connected it to my TV, thru the cable box via the included HDMI cables. Connected a network jack to it and fired it up. It walked me thru the set up which took all 20 minutes. Once completed, I could access the web thru my TV and it never looked so good. I couldn’t believe how great the electronics2you.com web page looked on this 55″ LED TV. So here’s an example of what GoogleTV does…
Pick a TV show that you enjoy. Lets use one of my favorites for this example, House. So I hit the search button on my google TV keyboard and up pops a seach box overlay on whatever I have been watching. I type House into the box & it gives me a list of results in an order of importance. The first spot is the most current episode of House. If you select it, it asks if you want to setup your DVR to record it or go to whatever is currently playing on that chanel.
The next results is something that takes you to all previous series/episodes of house. It shows it in a grid format with series tabs. So It shows me season 7 episodes and within that, if the episode is free, on the web, or paid via itunes or amazon’s vod services, etc. Theres a small icon to show free or paid. It shows all previous seasons. The next result was for Full House, remember that show? The next result is to search the web for House. That brings up a Google search result as if you typed it into google from your pc. I can’t explain how good the web looks on Google TV. Its completely readable, not like the old WebTV devices. This is like looking at a huge computer monitor.
I’ve only touched the surface of what GoogleTV offers. Theres also a “home” button that allows instant access to your favs like CNBC or Blip.TV or Netflix streaming or Amazon VOD. It’s all customizable. you can link it to your google account and set up video cues to watch.
I know what the next question is…Can I get rid of my cable or sat provider? Well, Almost….
1. You will always need a highspeed internet connection for this to work.
2. Hulu is a website that allows you to watch most TVs shows the day after they come out on TV. That would satisfy most people, but Hulu blocks GoogleTV. When you try to acces the Hulu website, you get a message that says something like “we see that you are using GoogleTV. you can not access hulu at this time, but we are working hard to make this available to you.” So what that means is Google wants to set up an paid service for its users. It will be cheap, currently you can get Hulu premium on your pc for $10/month. I bet Google is telling Hulu to set it up or we’ll take you over and give it out for free.
I think this will succeed because of Google’s biz model for everything. They offer everything free or super cheap & somehow(thru ads) still make tons of money from it. With that model they can focus on the service and not worry about locking in manufacturers or any specific technology. They can make a great user experience & that doesn’t usually happen with new technologies.
I’ve only touched the surface of GoogleTVs capabilities. You really have to see it in action to fully understand it.
This is a term that you’re going to start hearing a lot of soon. This is the day that HD content will no longer be available on analog devices.
So what does that mean?
Basically, you will no longer be able to transfer HD video via an analog cable such as component video.
Some manufacurers are already starting to limit the number of analog jacks on their equipment. Two of Denon’s lower end receivers only inlcude 1 analog video input. So if you have, for example a Wii and a control4 controller, you’re out of luck. This is just the start. Denon may have jumped the gun and started earlier than other manufacturers, by others will follow and eventaully we will be left with only HDMI inputs on equipment. It starts Dec 31, 2010 and is mandatory by 2013.
So what’s wrong with that?
HDMI is not just a cable. It requires software at each component. And they have to sync up to each other. They both have to have the same version of HDMI. There’s many different versions and really no authority to oversee it all. It can get ugly, quick.
So why are they doing it?
Its mainly about copyrights. The Advanced Access Content System (AACS), the governing body, which is made up of content providers, such as movie studios, doesnt want it to be possible to copy HD. I guess they have a lot of power. Unfortunately for them the HDMI coding algorithm was hacked yesterday.
Today we are finishing up a system in a dentist office that should become a model for other businesses. Bluewave Dentistry in Brunswick Forest went beyond what we ordinarily install in a commercial building. Of course we installed a great sounding audio system. Along with the audio system, we installed a couple flat panel monitors set up to play DVDs or Digital advertising. But we went a step further with this project that really should become the standard for business. We installed a control4 automation system. With this system, the last employee leaving the building can double tap a light switch located near any exit and it will shut down the audio system, the TVs, video sources, all lights & other equipment. In the morning, the same switch turns everything on. The peace of mind of knowing that everything is off when your closed and comes back on to the exact way you want your business to look & feel, is reason enough to install a system like this. Then there’s the fun factor, like being able to operate the entire system from an ipad. Each individual light, all of the music sources and TVs & custom scenes can be adjusted from the simple to use Ipad. We included a Sonos music server that allows you to choose Pandora, Last.FM and many other music sources…all accessible from the Ipad or anywhere in world that has an internet connection
This is a large building. We set up a lot of lighting zones, lots of speakers and it was surprisingly inexpensive.
I can see these systems in every restaurant or retail location. In these types of businesses ambiance is everything & it must be consistent day after day. The cost of these systems can range from a few thousand to about 15,000 for a very large system, which is much, much less expensive than it used to be just a few years ago. The benefits of this system will quickly pay itself off.
This season is quickly becoming the worst for lightning strikes that I have seen. We have had at least a dozen or more service calls to assess damage from lighting strikes. We usually see this happen mainly on the beaches where the houses are very tall, but this season its everywhere.
Most people think that adding a surge protector will solve the lightning strike issues. That’s not completely true. It certainly doesn’t hurt to use a surge protector on your TVs, audio equipment & computers, and we do recommend that & install them on all of our systems, but that doesn’t always go far enough. If you really want to be protected, you should consider a whole house surge protection system. When we design these systems, we consider every component that connects from outside of the house to inside. For example, obviously, the power panel, but also the HVAC units, telephone, cable TV, landscape lighting & even exterior speakers. If we install proprietary surge protectors on all of those systems, we are cutting off the feeds between the inside and outside of the house.
These systems range from $1500 to 4 or $5000. Most often when the home is struck, there is enough damage to easily cover the insurance deductible, but many people do not want to deal with the hassle of replacing so many things in their home. Now if only the insurance companies were forward thinking enough to offer a discount for protected homes, but the don’t.
Let me start by saying I am not a fan of the word blog. Im not exactly sure why, but probably becasue it is so over used and the fact that there are so many useless blogs out there in the Blogosphere…Which is another term I dislike.
With that said, this blog does have a purpose and I hope that you find it informative and useful.
My name is Jason Walter and I am the owner of Electronics2You. We have been operating in Wilmington, NC for over 10 years. We provide audio/video, lighting and other technologies to the residential & commercial markets. We are always on the cutting edge of technologies. Some of our projects are extremely large and complex. I plan to discuss these projects as well as emerging technologies on the blog. I’ll even discuss some of the positives and negatives of operating a business in the current economic state.
This is my first blog. If you stay with me, you’ll notice changes to the design layout and other techniques as I learn them. So bare with me & enjoy.