Friday, July 29, 2011

Logitech Financials Crushed by Failure of 1st Gen GoogleTV

Google launched GoogleTV with much fanfare. It was to be a serious competitor in the digital home front backed by a major player. Logitech was one of the big consumer electronics companies backing the new GoogleTV platform with their Logitech Revue set-top-box. Unfortunately GoogleTV hasn't found much success with it's first generation of software and associated devices. This weak performance was amplified this week with Logitech's financials showing the sales of the GoogleTV-powered Revue devices very poor. Matter of fact Logitech experienced more returns of the devices in the first quarter of the year than they sold!

Logitech has now dropped the price of the GoogleTV Revue down to $99 after dropping it to $199 this past May. My guess is they are desperate to just unload these and hope to recover at least some of their costs. Google doesn't seem to be giving up on their GoogleTV platform even though they haven't captured the attention of many consumers thus far. For GoogleTV to get traction they need to do the following - and do it quickly:

1. Make expensive agreements with content providers to get TV/Movie content. Alternatively, aquire a company already doing this with longer-term agreements. Hulu fits this category nicely as long as the purchase includes a deal with the content providers long enough to make the money spent worth it. Given Google's focus on online streaming, this is crucial - more crucial than apps or anything else.
2. Make the TV smart enough to compete with your dumb CableBox DVR. I know many have argued that Google isn't interested in tuning or capturing TV content. I beg to differ - while I do think tuning wasn't high on Google's list of priorities at first, I think they know this is a feaure consumers expect when you have "TV" in the product name. This doesn't HAVE to be CableCard at first - it could be a OTA and open QAM tuner, things SageTV (Google just purchased HTPC/DVR Software Firm, SageTV recently) did very well. Longer term CableCard or the next iteration of CableCard - AllVid.
3. Make mobile an important extension of GoogleTV. I'm thinking of placeshifting (like Slingbox) and media control from any mobile device here. The more features you can put on devices people already own, the more apt they are to be interested in yet another box for the home.

Logitech is taking a major hit here on Google, so much that their CEO, Gerald Quindlen has stepped down and their sales, revenue and outlook are extremely weak now. If Google wants to attract the CE companies likely eyeing Apple's digital home ambitions, they need to act fast and produce something very improved. It should be interesting to see how things turn for GoogleTV.

It sounds like May's price reduction of the GoogleTV-based Logitech Revue to $199 wasn't enough to goose sales of the struggling device because Logitech has decided to reduce the price again this quarter to $99. Apparently, the whole affair has been enough to cause Logitech and now former CEO, Gerald P. Quindlen, to part ways. Even with the new pricing, it's a bit difficult to imagine the Revue taking off in any meaningful way until the GoogleTV platform itself has been updated and considering that several content owners have blocked the device. What do you think? Can a $99 Logitech Revue compete with the likes of AppleTV and Roku?

From the Logitech Press Release:

"Sales of Logitech Revue were slightly negative during the quarter, as returns of the
product were higher than the very modest sales. We believe the significantly lower
everyday price for Logitech Revue, reduced from $249 to $99, will generate improved

Read the full press release here

Microsoft Media Center Add-on Shows Commercial Breaks

Most Home Theater PC users - at least those from BeyondTV, SageTV, GBPVR and a few others take this for granted, but this is a big deal for those using Microsoft MediaCenter. Thanks to some ingenious coding by Mark Terborg - working around Microsoft's restrictions, you will be able to view the commercial breaks detected with commercial detection software right in the Media Center User Interface. This is just one of many features of the Recorded TV HD Plugin for MediaCenter.

Get the beta download at the Recorded TV Website

You can try out Recorded TV HD for 30 days free. A single license is $19.99 and $39.99 for an entire household.

via MissingRemote

Monday, July 25, 2011

Amazon Updates iOS devices with newspapers & Mags – removes store link

Amazon – like Barnes & Noble removed it’s online bookstore link from it’s iOS apps with the latest app update.  This was to comply with Apple’s new rule banning linking to outside stores.  Also updated was access to over 100 Kindle newspapers and magazines directly through the Kindle app.


The complete announcement from the Kindle Team follows:

We wanted to let you know that we've updated our Kindle app for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. The big change is that you can now use the Kindle app to read over 100 Kindle newspapers and magazines including the Economist, as well as share favorite passages from your reading via Facebook and Twitter.

In order to comply with recent policy changes by Apple, we've also removed the "Kindle Store" link from within the app that opened Safari and took you to the Kindle Store. You can still shop as you always have - just open Safari and go to If you want, you can bookmark that URL. Your Kindle books will be delivered automatically to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, just as before.

via Amazon Forums

Netflix Movie Recommendation Engine Misses


Movie Genre Categorization on my SageTV Movie Server always throws in a few movies that don't really “fit in” – for example a children's cartoon movie listed under action-adventure for instance.  Davis Freeburg has a hilarious post with many examples of this using netflix recommendation engine - a great read that will make you at least chuckle:

Netflix Gone Wild

Sunday, July 24, 2011

GeekTonic Giveaway D-Link Media Player

Looking at this photo you’ll see a D-Link DSM-330 media player.  This poor thing has been pretty lonely in the GeekTonic laboratory collecting dust, but it works just as it did when I reviewed it a few years ago.  I’m trying to find it a new home so if you’re okay with an older device that can stream music and video to your TV – even wirelessly and you don’t mind that it will never have it’s firmware updated again I have a deal for you:
Leave a comment to this post telling me you want it.  If I get more than one taker I’ll pick randomly from the list of commenters and I’ll pay shipping.  A free media player for you.  Just comment.  I’ll choose by the end of this week so comment now if you want it.  Otherwise it’s going to a lucky co-worker.
Read the review of this media player here

TV Premieres, Finales & Specials This Week 7/24/2011

The final week of July is here along with more heat.  Read on for the GeekTonic weekly TV update highlighting all the new premieres, finales and specials coming up.


NOTE: All Times are Listed for EST – TV schedules subject to change

Sunday, July 24

Same Name (8:59pm on CBS) New reality series where celebrities swap places with strangers who happen to have the same name.  First up… David Hasselhoff

Top Gear (10pm on History) Season 2 premiere

I Do Over (10pm on WE) New reality series

Entourage (10:30pm on HBO) Season 8 premiere with Andrew Dice Clay?


Monday, July 25

Unlocking the Universe (8pm on Science) New science show

Vanished with Beth Hollaway (10pm on Lifetime) Season 1 finale

Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition (10:10pm on ABC) Season 1 finale


Tuesday, July 26

Unlocking the Universe (8pm on Science) New series

101 Ways to Leave a Game Show (9pm on ABC) Season 1 finale

Deadliest Catch (9pm on Discovery) Season 7 finale

Gene Simmons Family Jewels (10pm on A&E) Season 7 finale

Toya: A Family Affair (10pm on BET) Season 1 finale


Wednesday, July 27

Wonders of the Universe with Brian Cox (9pm on Science) Season premiere.

Meat America (9pm on History) A special/documentary on the history of meat in America.  Strange that this isn’t a food network special, but…


Thursday, July 28

Project Runway (9pm on Lifetime) Season 9 premiere

LA Ink (10pm on TLC) Season 5 premiere

Ancient Aliens (10pm on History) Season 3 premiere


Friday, July 29

Thundercats (8pm on Cartoon Network) New cartoon series with a new take on the original, 1980s animated series.

The Three Chocolatiers (11pm on Food) New cooking series

Hard Rock Calling 2011 (11pm on VH1) Special music presentation at London’s Hyde Park featuring Bon Jovi, Rod Stewart, Stevie Nicks, The Killers and more


Sunday, July 31

American Ninja Warrior (9pm on G4) Season 3 premiere

Against the Wall (10pm on Lifetime) New drama series where a 32-year-old cop accepts a detective position with Internal Affairs, causing a rift with her family of cops.  Starring Treat Williams, Rachael Carpani & Kathy Baker.

The Real L Word (10pm on Showtime) Season 2 finale


Monday, August 1

The Bachelorette (8pm on ABC) Season 7 finale

The Bad Girls Club (9pm on Oxygen) Season 7 premiere


Tuesday, August 2

Billy the Exterminator (9pm on A&E) Season 4 premiere

Take the Money and Run (9pm on ABC) New reality series by executive producer Jerry Bruckheimer & Bertram Van Munster who did the Amazing Race.  It goes like this:  In San Francisco, brothers look to hide a suitcase containing one hundred thousand dollars from local police detectives. If the detectives do not find the money in a set amount of time, the brothers get to keep the money.

Picker Sisters (10pm on Lifetime) New reality series

Born to Dance: Laurieann Gibson (10pmon BET) New dance reality series


Wednesday, August 3

Scream If You Know the Answer (7pm on Travel) A new game show “borrowed” from Britain

Dumbest Stuff on Wheels (8pm on Speed) A new Auto/Reality series

Wonders of the Universe with Brian Cox (9pm on Science) New science series

My Ride Rules (9pm on Speed) New auto/reality series

Café Racer (9pm on HD Theater) Season premiere

Thursday, August 4

Detroit in Overdrive (8pm on Planet Green) New reality series

Jersey Shore (10pm on MTV) Season 4 premiere


Friday, August 5

Iron Chef America (6pm on Food) Season 9 finale


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