Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Google TV brings the web to your TV

Seemingly bored with its quest for total domination of the personal computer and smartphone, Google just announced its new and upcoming service called Google TV. Television is a huge ad market with 4 billion users around the globe using it actively and Google plans to revolutionize it.
gsmarena 001 Google TV brings the web to your TV
The concept behind Google TV is to merge the web with your TV so you can enjoy all those videos available online on the largest and best screen in your home – the one of your TV set.Google have partnered with Sony and Logitech on this one. Sony have prepared the world’s first Google TV lineup. That should hit the US market this fall. The lineup includes both a standalone TV model and set top box-type unit incorporating a Blu-ray Disc drive.
Google’s other partners Logitech have been working on a companion box that brings Google TV to existing HDTV home entertainment systems. It should be compatible with any brand of HDTV currently available.
The final notable member at the Google party is Intel, who will be providing the CPUs to power all that hardware. Wait, does that mean there’s an Atom inside that Sony Bravia? Cool!
And as tradition goes with Google-inspired devices, Google TV interface is search-based. Those devices will come with the Chrome web browser and will support Flash 10.1 so almost all kinds of web video will be available for direct consumption. Since Google TV is Android-based you will also be able to use apps from the Android market plus you Android smartphone can be used to remotely control the receiver (and even do voice searches).
Somehow I’m not overly excited about the whole thing and even if I give it a try some day, I probably won’t be canceling my cable subscription any time soon. Internet is already full of nice TV shows, TV series and what-not, but I doubt that all the local TV content I currently follow will be available through the Google TV searchbox. Like ever! But time will tell.

Microsoft Kinect specs revealed, only two players can play at once

Geeks have a soft spot for technical specifications – and now revealed for the first time, the Microsoft Kinect tech specs are bound for some geeky attention. A quick fact, the Kinect controller will be able to track you when you’re between 1.2 and 3.5 meters away from it. How’s that for starters?
gsmarena 001 Microsoft Kinect specs revealed, only two players can play at once

Interestingly, the two cameras on the Kinect have surprisingly low resolution – two video streams with 640×480 pixels resolution at 30 frames per second. I thought they would need higher resolution to do their tracking magic, but it seems they can do it with just VGA.
Kinect’s horizontal field of view is 57 degrees. Additionally, the Kinect has a motor that can tilt it 27 degrees each way to track you, which expands the field of view. The vertical field of view is 43 degrees.
The Kinect does all the tracking computation on its own, so it’s compatible with all Xbox 360 consoles. It has its limitations though – it can track 6 people at once, but only two of them are ‘active players’. However, it can track 20 joints per active player (I didn’t know I had that many).
The Kinect also has an array of microphones besides the cameras – they can capture 16-bit audio at 16 kHz and include echo cancellation and speech recognition for voice commands.