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Hulu Plus Finally Available on Apple TV

Do you have an Apple TV within your TV lift cabinet?   If so, you may be interested to learn that the Apple TV is now offering Hulu Plus as part of their available paid VOD streaming services.

It took Hulu Plus many years before finally making their services available on the Apple TV.  Why did it take so long to become available?  It stems down to two main reasons.

In order to offer Hulu Plus app onto the Apple TV, Apple insists new Hulu Plus subscribers register through Apple’s in-app purchasing and subscription renewal.  Apple therefore gets a percentage of the $7.99 monthly subscription fee and also gets ownership of new member’s billing information.  Having customer’s personal information is valuable intellectual property.  Hulu Plus was reluctant to lose their hold on customers’ information and see profit margins cut.  However, with rumors of the latest Apple smart TV underway, it became more important than ever to get Hulu Plus streamed on Apple devices.

The other reason why it took so long for Hulu Plus to be added as an app to the Apple TV is that Hulu needed the Apple TV able to support viable ads.   Most streaming apps offered on the Apple TV are ad-free until fairly recently.  Being ad-free would not work with Hulu Plus’ business model, where most of their revenue comes from selling ad space.  Hulu Plus wanted to wait until the Apple TV’s platform became mature enough to serve their viable ads. Fortunately, the Apple TV ad platform has matured enough to now support Hulu Plus.

While this partnership took a while to come together it looks to be a win-win situation for both companies.  Apple can now offer their customers stronger programming content thus increasing their Apple TV sales.  Hulu Plus now has the opportunity to reach more subscribers through Apple’s existing customer database.

What’s that Computer Doing on ‘Jeopardy!’? It’s Doing Well

The big buzz already this year in the world of game shows was not figuring out who was smarter than a middle-schooler, or which shiny briefcase held the most money, or even which contestant could look the silliest running, jumping and falling over an obstacle course. No, the real buzz was summed up in one word, “Watson”. And if you happened to catch an episode of Jeopardy! in front of your TV lift cabinet during February 14-16, you saw an IBM-built, artificial intelligence computer system capable of answering questions (in the form of a question) posed in natural human language.

Beyond what IBM’s Deep Blue did in 1997 to trounce world chess champion, Garry Kasparov, in a game with finite possibilities (as staggering as those possibilities were), Watson was able to process nuances in human language, calculate possible meanings, rank itself on how confident it was in his answer and buzz in – all in less than three seconds.

IBM and Jeopardy! producers joined together to pit Watson against the game show’s two most-winning, most well-known champions – Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Jennings holds the record for longest championship streak, winning 74 straight games. Rutter is the all-time money champion, earning $3.25 million and never losing a single Jeopardy! match – until now.

Watson broke that streak and bested both of the former champions in a two-day match that aired over three days. The first day was a “practice round,” and then the two-day match was split between the Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy rounds. The final results were Watson in first (winning $1 million), Ken Jennings in second and Brad Rutter in last place (with both human competitors winning $300,000 and $200,000, respectively).

Over five years in the making, Watson is a machine constructed of 90 different servers, 2,880 POWER7 processor cores and 16 Terabytes of RAM. It can understand slang, plays on word, double-meanings and phrases previously thought to be only understood intuitively. Watson did stumble on some clues (having a harder time with short clues), and he made a few missteps in game play, such as guessing an answer that was already answered by an opponent and incorrect. It also thought Toronto was a U.S. city.

However, it dissected questions (actually, answers) into keywords and sentence fragments until it could formulate the most-correct response. Programmers “fed” Watson millions of documents to ready him, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, and other reference material that it could use to build its knowledge base. Watson was not connected to the Internet during the game, so it could only rely on what it already “knew”.

IBM has stated that Watson’s future could unleash a world of potential good, especially in the medical fields where doctors could consult with Watson to find cures, diagnose ailments and prescribe remedies. Until then, we may just be watching Watson on our flat-screen TVs in our pop-up TV cabinets making his way through the game show circuit.

Can You Watch 3-D without 3-D Glasses? Toshiba Thinks So

Toshiba Glassless 3-D TVsFounded on an idea Reiko Fukushima had nine years ago, coming back to work after maternity leave, Toshiba is now leading the charge on supplying the world’s first “naked-eye” 3-D TV. Recently covered in an interview with Fukushima in The New York Times, the progress of these developing technologies has done two things in Japan – sparked new heights for high-tech women researchers in that country and given confidence to all who were skeptical that a “naked-eye” technology could ever be developed.

Toshiba itself was skeptical when Fukushima first presented them the idea, but now last October at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the prototype of the 3-D TV was unveiled. It was always clear to Fukushima that 3-D glasses would have to go in order for the technology to truly take off, and her approach to the problem was to develop an algorithm that drew on a Toshiba imaging processor, named the “Cell,” to display nine different images for each frame. A sheet on the TV screen, called a “perpendicular Lenticular Sheet,” angles each image so the right eye can only see images intended for the right eye and the left eye can only see images for the left eye. The TV “screen” is actually an HD LCD display and completely unlike any 3-D TV display that has come before it.

The major hurdle for this new technology, however, is making the 3-D images work when viewed from wide angles. This issue is still being thought out, and the current models being released work best when viewed from within a 40-degree zone.  (Again, noting Walter Murch’s recent thoughts on 3-D technology)

There are only two Toshiba “glassless” 3-D TVs available now, a 12-inch screen for $1,200 and a 20-inch screen for $2,400. Toshiba claims that both TVs are for “personal usage.” The way the 40-degree viewing zone works out for these two models is a viewing distance of 35.4 inches for the 20-inch model and 25.6 inches for the 12-inch screen. Neither of these 3-D TVs would likely work well for a TV lift cabinet simply based on the small screen size and close viewing proximity, but with Fukushima and Toshiba clearly on the right path, perhaps it won’t be too long before affordable “glassless” 3-D TVs hit the shelves and you can bring one home to your pop-up TV cabinet.

ImportAdvantage: A Company Profile

ImportAdvantage has made its mark in the TV lift industry by hard work, maintaining a deep commitment to their customers and overseeing every element that goes into their fine TV lift cabinets.

Established in 2003, ImportAdvantage draws on over 25 years of designing and building quality furniture. The company makes every single element that goes into their pop-up TV cabinets, from the TV lift mechanism to the Infrared Relay System.

ImportAdvantage uses over 20 in-house inspectors who watch every step of the manufacturing process and ensure that the company’s highest standards are met.

A leader in the industry, ImportAdvantage is a proud member of the following associations: Consumer Electronic Associations, National Home Furnishing Association (NHFA), Florida Home Furnishings Association (FHFA), Consumer Electric Design and Installation Association (CEDIA) and the Interior Design Society (IDS).

ImportAdvantage is also very passionate about their community involvement, and the company and staff work closely with several foundations and non-profit organizations, including Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Habitat for Humanity of Lee County, Florida, and Feed the Children.

What is ImportAdvantage’s “White Glove” Delivery?

One of the advantages of shopping for TV lift cabinets directly from the factory is that not only
can you save up to 50% off the retail value on the product itself, but you can receive drastic
savings on shipping costs. At ImportAdvantage, all products we sell are shipped the same day
they are ordered and include our signature “White Glove” Delivery.

The concept of ImportAdvantage’s “White Glove” placement service is that each customer
should have their pop-up TV lift cabinet placed exactly where they want it in their home without
a hassle—that is what our customers deserve.

Sent direct from the craftsman’s bench to the customer’s home, ImportAdvantage’s “White
Glove” Delivery includes scheduling a delivery date and time 24-48 hours in advance of the
cabinet’s arrival. The TV lift cabinet you ordered will be delivered by two qualified trades-people,
who work with the customer for the best placement in their home. The two professionals will
unpack your fully-assembled pop-up TV cabinet and double-check that everything meets the
customer’s satisfaction. All this at no charge to you!

You won’t find this high-quality offer at most box stores, even if you’re just shopping for a new
TV for your new beautifully-crafted TV lift cabinet. It’s just one of the many commitments to
customer service we value at ImportAdvantage.

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