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Hillcrest Labs takes its TV motion control system to China, becomes TCL's new best friend

Hillcrest Labs takes its TV motion control system to China, becomes TCL's new best friend
Richard Lai
Richard Lai|@richardlai|May 23, 2012 12:01 AM

It's only been a few days since Hillcrest Labs open sourced its Kylo web browser for TVs, and now the company's back with yet another announcement. Well, this time it's more about TCL who's just declared its top TV market share in China. Much like the Roku 2 and LG TVs with Magic Motion remote, Hillcrest's Freespace engine has been outted as the enabling technology behind TCL's recently announced V7500, a 3D smart TV series featuring a heavily customized Android 4.0.3 and a 7.9mm-thick bezel. This means users can interact with and play games on this slim TV via motion and cursor control on the remote (there's also voice control here but it doesn't look like Hillcrest has anything to do with it). There are no dates or prices just yet, but TCL better be quick as Lenovo's got something very similar ready to ship soon.

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Hillcrest Labs Selected by TCL to Bring Motion, Gesture and Cursor Control to Android™-Powered Smart TVs

- Hillcrest's Freespace® MotionEngine™ Used in TCL's First Domestic Android-Based Smart TVs and Motion Sensing Remotes -

Rockville, MD – May 23, 2012 – Hillcrest Labs today announced that TCL Multimedia ("TCL"), one of China's leading TV and consumer electronics brands, is using Hillcrest's patented Freespace® motion software for TCL's Android™-based Smart TVs, including its flagship V7500 Android 4.03 Smart TV, and motion sensing remotes. The Smart TV system will be available in China this month and in other markets later this year. TCL and Hillcrest have entered into a worldwide license agreement for TCL to use Hillcrest's Freespace in-air pointing and motion control solution in current and future products.

TCL Android Smart TVs and motion remotes feature Hillcrest's Freespace MotionEngine™ Smart TV software and Freespace Gesture Recognition Engine, which enable motion, gesture and cursor control to be used to navigate and interact with an array of Smart TV content. This includes the TV menus, Web browser, games, and a wide variety of Android applications. The Freespace MotionEngine Smart TV software provides precise motion data for mouse-like point-and-click functionality, and motion gaming applications. The Freespace Gesture Recognition Engine allows users to perform simple gestures to accomplish various tasks, which can include virtual controls such as twisting the remote to adjust volume, as well as alpha-numeric in-air gestures to change channels, switch applications or function as passwords to login to individual user accounts.

"As China's market leader in Smart TVs and consumer electronics, we are proud to work with TCL and contribute to its line of Android-powered Smart TVs," said Chad Lucien, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Hillcrest Labs. "Together, we are providing more compelling options and a simpler user interface for Smart TV users. Our collaborative efforts are a concrete example that high-precision, inertial motion technology is the ideal choice for Smart TV user interface navigation, motion gaming, gesture control, and more."

"Our flagship TCL V7500 Smart TV and our Android Smart TV product line have set a new standard for innovation in the Chinese market," said Warren, Wang, General Manager of LCD Business Unit at TCL. "As a world leader in motion software and products, Hillcrest's Freespace technology and expertise exceeded our high standards for both quality and innovation. We are proud to collaborate with Hillcrest to provide revolutionary yet intuitive user experiences for our Smart TV users."

Advantages of Hillcrest's Freespace MotionEngine Smart TV

Hillcrest's patented MotionEngine software is a fully featured motion processing software product that can be added to a wide range of devices, including Smart TVs, Blu-ray and streaming media players, smartphones and tablets, game controllers, and more. The MotionEngine software interfaces with an array of MEMS sensors, including accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnetic sensors, to produce high quality, application-ready motion data for a variety of use cases. TCL's new Android Smart TVs utilize Hillcrest's Freespace MotionEngine Smart TV software and Gesture Recognition Engine to provide the most advanced motion, gesture and cursor control capabilities. System benefits include:

· Simple Navigation of Smart TV User Interfaces: Advanced motion processing provided to the TCL Android Smart TV motion remote by Hillcrest's MotionEngine Smart TV software translates natural hand movements into precise onscreen actions, replicating computer mouse-like functionality on the TV. This allows users to easily select icons and control objects placed anywhere on the screen.

· Relaxed User Experience: TCL Android Smart TV users do not have to point the remote at the screen to control the cursor, and there are no "line of sight" requirements. This allows the user to sit, stand, recline, lie down, or move around the room while maintaining full control of the Smart TV user interface.

· Comfortable Controls: The TCL Android Smart TV can be controlled by small movements of the wrist and simple button clicks. Hillcrest's patented features, including orientation/roll compensation and adaptive tremor removal, create a more comfortable and less fatiguing user experience.

· Motion Gestures for Improved Navigation: High precision motion data from the MotionEngine software combined with the Freespace Gesture Recognition Engine enable approximately 50 unique gestures to be used, increasing the level of interactivity in the TCL Android Smart TV user interface.

The Freespace MotionEngine is the same software embedded in the new line of Roku 2 streaming media players and LG's Smart TVs. Other companies that have licensed Hillcrest's technology for use in their products include: Eastman Kodak, Logitech, SMK Electronics, Sony Computer Entertainment Inc., Universal Electronics (UEI), and others. Hillcrest's global intellectual property portfolio includes more than 60 issued patents, with more than 200 applications pending.

Hillcrest has received numerous awards and recognitions including the prestigious CES Innovations Honoree Award multiple times, EE Times' ACE Award, PC World's 100 Best Products and Greatest Tech Designs, Popular Mechanics' Editors Choice, ECN's Reader's Choice Tech, and many others. Additional information about Hillcrest's broad portfolio of natural motion control products is available at: www.hillcrestlabs.com. Follow Hillcrest on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HillcrestLabs or Twitter at @HillcrestLabs.

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TCL Multimedia Surged to Top Five Global LCD TV Market Share, and Expected to Further Benefit from the Latest Energy-saving Home Appliance Subsidy Program

HONG KONG, May 20, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- TCL Multimedia Technology Holdings Limited ("TCL Multimedia" or "the Group", HKSE stock code: 01070) announced that according to the latest DisplaySearch report, as of the first quarter in 2012, the Group's global LCD TV market share increased from 4.9% to 5.6%, bringing its ranking up to No. 5 from No. 7 in 2011. Its TV market share in the PRC Market was 18.1%, driving its ranking up to No. 1 from No. 2 in 2011. Its LCD TV market share in the PRC Market was 17.5%, pushing its ranking up to No. 2 from No.3 in 2011. It is the first time a Chinese TV enterprise has been ranked in the top five in terms of the global LCD TV market share.

The improvement in market share was attributable to the Group's continuous focus on enhancing "speed and efficiency" of its operations and marketing strategies and to its dedication in the optimization of its products, marketing strategies, sales channels, costs and brand image, which resulted in satisfactory increases in sales volume in both the PRC Market and the Overseas Markets, especially the Emerging Markets. The Group's monthly sales volume of LCD TVs in the first four months of 2012 amounted to 4,630,009 sets, up by 70.4% year-on-year, of which the sales volume of LCD TV in the PRC Market and the Overseas Markets increased by 29.5% and 163.7% year-on-year, respectively, to 2,444,947 sets and 2,185,062 sets, respectively, far exceeding the average growth of the industry.

In addition to the rapid sales growth, the Group continued to improve its product mix and the proportion of high-end products continued to increase. In April 2012, the Group's sales volume of LED backlight LCD TV as a percentage of the total LCD TV sales volume was 72.0%. The sales volume of smart & internet TV and 3D TV in the PRC Market reached 339,279 sets and 145,064 sets, respectively representing 45.9% and 19.6% of the total shipment of LCD TV in China.

Furthermore, the Chinese government has just announced a new energy-saving home appliance subsidy program with subsidy amount of RMB 26.5 billion to promote the consumption of five types of home appliance that fulfill the energy-saving standards, including LCD TVs, air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and electric water heaters. In this regard, TCL Multimedia is committed to the development of energy-saving and environmentally friendly products. All LED backlight LCD TV products the Group launched this year have satisfied the National Level 1 Energy Consumption Standard. More than 200 models of TV products have been accredited with the standard. Also, its entire range of LCD TV products will be designed in line with the standard in the future. Since the Group owns both TCL and Rowa brands in the PRC Market, it is expected that the Group will benefit considerably from the implementation of the energy-saving home appliances program, which will further boost the growth of the Group's high-end TV sales.