Today in Tech: Why the set-top box will be king

January 11, 2013, 10:30 AM UTC

Also: Beats new music service gets a new boss; the holiday PC sales slump. 

In the future of television, the set-top box is king [QUARTZ]

The point is that living-room entertainment in developed economies is reshaping so quickly—and expanding well beyond the living room—that it’s a mistake for consumers to get their streaming media from large electronics that cost $1,000 and more when they can get a broader and better experience from small devices priced to be dispensable. Roku’s latest offering is $99 and the size of a thumb drive.

Schiller: Despite popularity of cheap smartphones, they won’t be the future of Apple’s products [THE NEXT WEB]

“At first, non-smartphones were popular in the Chinese market, now cheap smartphones are more popular and non-smartphones are out,” Schiller added later. “Despite the popularity of cheap smartphones, this will never be the future of Apple’s products. In fact, although Apple’s market share of smartphones is just about 20%, we own the 75% of the profit.”

Brisk Lumia shipments give Nokia a sliver of hope [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]

The company said it shipped 4.4 million Lumia devices in the fourth quarter, bringing its total smartphone shipments to 6.6 million devices.

Investors have kept a close watch on Nokia’s smartphone deliveries to gauge its ability to compete with the likes of Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Thursday’s close, Nokia’s American depositary shares rose 18.7%, or 70 cents, to $4.45 on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 2nd look, few savings from digital health records [THE NEW YORK TIMES]

The report predicted that widespread use of electronic records could save the United States health care system at least $81 billion a year, a figure RAND now says was overstated. The study was widely praised within the technology industry and helped persuade Congress and the Obama administration to authorize billions of dollars in federal stimulus money in 2009 to help hospitals and doctors pay for the installation of electronic records systems.

Microsoft buys R2 Studios, appoints founders Blake Krikorian to Interactive Entertainment business [THE VERGE]

While no details of the deal have been revealed, Microsoft has made it clear that this purchase was made in part to bring R2 Studios founder Blake Krikorian into the company’s fold.

Beats’ new music subscription service gets a new boss: Topspin’s Ian Rogers [ALL THINGS D]

Rogers’s job will be to take MOG, the subscription service Beats bought last year, and build a new company using its technology and licenses, then relaunch it with the help of Beats’ marketing muscle.

There’s no name or firm launch date yet, but for now the company is calling the service “Daisy,” and hopes to have it up and running by next fall.

Holiday PC sales dip for the first time in five years [REUTERS]

It underscores an unspectacular launch for the latest version of the Windows franchise, which Microsoft is banking on to fight off incursions into the PC arena by touch-friendly devices such as Apple Inc’s iPad.

“The sense is that until Windows 8 is fully installed and prices start to come down, we will be in this state of negative dynamics in the PC market,” said Aaron Rakers, an analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co.

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