The revolution will be television

While CES_nextgen_ledeimage640the remote control is certainly a big step up from the days of manually changing the channel, the technology is starting to feel a bit dated.

Today’s televisions are like patients in a hospital, hooked up to several devices feeding them content, each with its own remote, which can get confusing real fast. Universal remotes can only do so much — and some people find them too complicated to program.

Read more at Daily Variety

Set-top box vampires

There are roughly 160 million set-top boxes in homes around the U.S. – that’s more than 80 percent of the country’s domiciles. And every last one of them is a vampire.

Not the Bela Lugosi or Robert Pattinson kind, of course – but the kind that suck power from your walls and money from your wallet.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Xbox factor

Microsoft is closer to turning Xbox into the everything box.

Sticking with a strategy to promote the Xbox 360 console as more than just a videogame player, Microsoft used its pre-E3 presser on Monday to reveal that the device will start offering live TV in the U.S. and integrate YouTube and search engine Bing as part of a relaunch this fall.

(Co-written with Marc Graser)

Read more at Daily Variety


Law & Order LA gets a video game

While “Law & Order: Los Angeles” faces an uncertain future on the air, it’s ramping things up in the gaming world.

Universal Pictures has partnered with Telltale Games to create an episodic gaming series based around the Dick Wolf production. Due this fall, the title will see wide distribution, appearing on the PC, Mac, consoles, tablets and mobile devices.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Behind The Scenes: Microsoft’s Attempt To Woo Conan O’Brien For Xbox Live

[In exclusive comments made to Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris, the executive producer of Conan O’Brien’s talk show discusses how Microsoft tried to woo the comedian to take his show onto Xbox Live – and why it was ultimately too much of “a leap of faith” for the Conan team.]

U.S. talk show host Conan O’Brien has been a familiar face on late-night TV for the past 18 years, and even when he had his nasty falling-out with NBC in early 2010, most people expected he would wind up at another network – which, of course, he did.

But before TBS came calling, Microsoft did its best to entice the comedian to bring his show to Xbox Live to help launch an original content channel on the console. The company and the performer have never addressed the reports of the conversation.

Read more at Gamasutra

Will Kinect replace your TV’s remote control?

As Microsoft gets people used to the idea of controlling their Xbox 360 with Kinect, its hot selling motion sensor peripheral, the company behind that technology is aiming at a bigger market.

PrimeSense Ltd, which built the technology behind Kinect, says it expects at least one U.S. cable company to release a product this year allowing subscribers to change channels, access video on demand and more through hand gestures.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

The app revolution is well underway at Samsung

At this year’s CES, television manufacturers shined the bulk of their spotlight on connected TVs and the variety of apps that were on the way for the sets. At Samsung, though, customers are already embracing those apps in a big way.

The company has announced that 2 million apps have been downloaded from its marketplace since it launched last year. And the rate of adoption is escalating fast.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Pac-Attack: The desecration of a gaming legend

It’s rough being a video game icon in the transmedia age.

With titles like “Red Faction” and “Halo” starting to expand beyond their gaming roots into novels and television, some of the rights owners for the games that made the industry big in the first place are exploring their options. And it’s not a pretty picture.

Read more at Yahoo! Games

Google TV suffers another setback

First it was Hulu, then the major networks. Now, Viacom has blocked Google TV units from accessing its content, including all Comedy Central programming.

It’s the latest in a series of hindrances for the latest set-top box competitor and couldn’t come at a worse time. With the holiday season approaching and shoppers debating whether to splurge for the device, there is less and less programming to watch via Google TV.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

Hulu Plus comes out of beta, gets price cut

Hulu’s subscription service – taking the Web-based operation beyond the PC – has moved out of its beta period and is welcoming all who are interested. Hulu Plus officially launches today – and, even better, it’s getting cheaper.

The company has scaled back the $9.99 monthly fee it has charged since late June to $7.99 – and says it will issue refunds for the difference to early adopters who were in the beta. The price cut is a welcome one, but still higher than the $4.99 figure many people were expecting.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog