New TV options coming to a screen near you

Updated 6/17/2011 5:22 AM
  • Motorola Mobility's new Televation can stream subscription TV to your Internet devices on your home wi-fi network.

    Motorola Mobility's new Televation can stream subscription TV to your Internet devices on your home wi-fi network. Image courtesy of Motorola Mobility

  • Larry Robinson, general manager of Home Devices at Motorola Mobility.

    Larry Robinson, general manager of Home Devices at Motorola Mobility.

The way you watch television will be changing in coming months with more Internet-based technology.

The cable industry continues to be in transition -- from analog to digital and now to Internet-based technology -- to enhance how and where you'll watch your favorite shows. And it won't necessarily be with your traditional TV screen anymore, but likely partnered with your smartphone, tablet or other devices.

"Consumers will be seeing the delivery of more compelling web-based applications and complemented by multi-screen experiences, anytime, anywhere," said Larry Robinson, general manager of the Home Devices business of Libertyville-based Motorola Mobility.

Motorola Mobility, Comcast Corp. and many others debuted their new products and services at The Cable Show, a trade show, this week at McCormick Place in Chicago. While many of the devices were behind the scenes, some likely will show up in your home soon as part of your cable subscription.

For instance, Motorola Mobility is launching Televation in the next few months. The device complements video services and can distribute your video stream around the home using your wireless router to connect with your tablet or other device, Robinson said.

Televation uses a 1 GHz digital tuner and other technology to access broadcast TV channels directly from a coax outlet. Motorola will provide software kits for both Android and iOS platforms. It likely will be used by Comcast customers, Robinson said.

Another device is the a video gateway referred to by the very unsexy name of DCX3600M. While it's a collaborative effort with Time Warner, it could be used by other cable operators in the future, as well, Robinson said.

It creates an Internet-protocol home network without having to install new wiring and allows you to share content on other compatible devices in the home. Motorola Mobility plans to hold trials later this year and then roll out the product sometime in 2012.

"We want to take that viewing experience and really continue to drive it across multiple screens," Robinson said.

Comcast, which has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg, is touting its new partnership with Skype to bring you Internet calls right to your TV screen.

Subscribers will be able to rent a kit, so far at an unknown price, that includes a webcam and adapter you can plug into your TV. The new remote will feature a keyboard on the back so you can write text messages that will appear on the screen. And an included user guide will aim to help you learn how to use it, said Catherine Avgiris, senior vice president of Comcast Communications and Data.

"We don't want customers to go out and purchase all kinds of new equipment," said Avgiris. But she couldn't say yet what the new service would cost per month.

The device will work like a caller ID, allowing an incoming call number or name to pop up on your screen. When you press the "accept" key, the video call will start on your screen with a live shot of your caller. The service also could connect your phone, email, text and video call services.

Comcast plans a trial of the new service in coming months and then may offer it early next year.

"We want to make viewing TV into a social experience," Avgiris said.

Surfing: Downers Grove-based Comptia, an association for information technology professionals (, is planning its first Tech Summit Aug. 4 in Washington, D.C. It aims to focus on cybersecurity and health care IT, just in time for health care reform.

• Elk Grove Village-based Etymotic Research, which makes hearing devices, has launched the mc2 universal noise-isolating headset with earphones. It fits on any smartphone or tablet, including BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices. It costs $99 and is available from InMotion, Microsoft stores, and ... just in time for Father's Day. Just sayin'.

Great Clips hair care salons now have online check-in. Just check your PC or mobile device also to see the wait times at a salon near you.

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