How the Consumer Technology Industry Was Almost Never Born

What we now call the consumer technology industry was born November 30, 1920, when the first consumer electronics product, the two-piece RA-DA, the first commercially produced radio designed for the mass market, rolled off the Westinghouse assembly line in East Pittsburgh. After a two-year period of hectic technological, business and legislative/regulatory developments following the end of World War I, the Westinghouse RA-DA and the entire radio industry emerged, becoming the dominant consumer technology product for three decades. On the centennial of our industry, let’s take a look at the events of 1919-1920 that cleared the way for the future.

Read the rest of this arresting historical post at CTA’s home page here.

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Should You Care About Facebook’s Libra Cryptocurrency?

What is cryptocurrency and, by extension, Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency, announced earlier this week? And should you care?

The whole idea of cryptocurrencies is a bit alien, just like once upon a time credit cards and paper money were. But cryptocurrency is important in that it is the future of money, whether that currency ends up being bitcoin, Libra or another cryptocurrency.

Read the rest of the analysis at Techlicious.com here.

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New Viable Video Codecs on the Way? Maybe

Dissatisfaction with video codec royalty rates, lack of licensor transparency and complicated licensing terms have been perpetual complaints of many commercial video content purveyors. Not surprisingly, some would like to see a shake-up in the current system of how intellectual property (IP) owners are compensated for their standards-building contributions.

The latest iteration of this tug-of-war is being waged over the HEVC standard. It features simmering tension around licensing and has prompted, in part, development of potential alternatives such as AV1, VVC (Versatile Video Coding) and MPEG-5, aka EVC (Essential Video Coding)—all of which are striving for better performance and more favorable licensing terms.

Read the rest of this analysis at Digital Technology Consulting’s Digital Riff here.

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Will 8K Dampen 4K TV Sales?

“This industry loves to eat its young” is an observation often attributed to Dave Workman, president and CEO of the ProSource buying group. With TV makers and retailers yearning for higher margin 8K TVs, could slim margin 4K sets be the next item on Workman’s industry cannibalization menu?

Read the rest of this analysis at TWICE.com here.

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25 Years Ago Today: DirecTV Is Born

On a sweltering Friday morning, June 17, 1994, Lemoyne Martin strode past a queue of around 150 other potential buyers and a phalanx of media at Cowboy Maloney’s 1-55 North store. He handed over nearly $1,000 to tuxedo-clad salesman, Ty Carney, and became the first DirecTV owner and first all-digital TV service subscriber.

Read the rest of this anniversary story at Sound & Vision here.

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14 Incredibly Useful Double-Duty iPhone Cases

Considering how exquisitely Apple’s signature device is designed, slapping on a case over an iPhone seems an aesthetic misdemeanor. On the other hand, considering how much you pay for an iPhone, protecting your elegant steel-and-glass investment in rubber or plastic armor seems only sensible. Therefore, if you’re going to encase your iPhone’s exterior artistry, said case ought to do more than just protect.

Fortunately, there is a plethora of cases for the iPhone X models that provide both artistic form and protection-plus function.

Read the rest of this roundup at Techlicious.com here.

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How Will Apple OS Upgrades Impact Industry?

As usual for its annual June World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple dumped a massive number of function and feature upgrades for its collection of operating systems for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Watch and Apple TV.

But what impact with this variety of these upgrades have on the industry?

Read the rest of this report at TWICE.com here.

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Review: Schlage Encode Smart Deadbolt with built-in Wi-Fi is a solid no-frills option

A new generation of smart locks that has built-in Wi-Fi for remote operation —instead of forcing you to buy an add-on module — is a positive step forward for consumer convenience. Yet when you buy a lock that includes Wi-Fi, you expect to get a raft of advanced features that take advantage of this upgrade. That’s the promise of the new Schlage Encode Smart Lock. We’d hoped for more.

Read the rest of this review at Gearbrain.com here.

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Solving The Mobile Payments/POS Dilemma

Apple Pay. Samsung Pay. Google Pay. Walmart Pay. Alipay. WhatsApp Pay. Retailers still recovering from the trauma of updating to mandated EMV chip-reading POS terminals are now being pestered to accept an increasing number of mobile and contactless payment systems – including the upcoming Apple Card – their still shiny chip-reading terminals might not be able to accept.

Read the rest of this report at TWICE.com here.

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Sleep Number Uses Sleep Data to Automatically Adjust Your Bed

Sleep Number has combined its 360 adjustable smart bed with its SleepIQ sleep tracking app to create a new kind of automated sleeping experience.

Read the rest of this news report at Techlicious.com.

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‘Game of Thrones’ Exposes HDR, Video Compression Issues

“The night is dark and full of terrors” was never truer than in the Game of Thrones installment Season 8, Episode 3, “The Long Night” (aka “The Battle of Winterfell”). While viewers rapturously recapped and reviewed the episode’s heroes and villains, action scenes, thrilling climax and consequences, one complaint was constant and continuing: because the battle action took place during Westeros’ pre-dawn hours, with an added magical obscuring blizzard, it was often difficult, if not impossible, to tell what was going on.

Read the rest of this report at DTC Reports here.

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