We've talked about DVD upscaling in the past, and in it's simplest form, upscaling is a way to get maximum pixels from a standard DVD onto your HDTV. Our friend Robert over at HomeTheater.About.com has a nice article that really explains upscaling:
With the advent of high definition television, the development of components to match the resolution capabilities of HDTV are becoming more important. As a solution, more and more DVD players are equipped with "upscaling" capability to better match the performance of the DVD player with the capabilities of the today's HDTV's.
He goes on to say:
Upscaling is a process that mathematically matches the pixel count of the output of the DVD signal to the physical pixel count on an HDTV, which is typically 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080i - and, some cases, 1080p).
720p represents 1,280 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 720 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 720 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line displayed following another.
1080i represents 1,920 pixels displayed across a screen horizontally and 1,080 pixels down a screen vertically. This arrangement yields 1,080 horizontal lines, which are, in turn, displayed alternately. In other words, all the odd lines are displayed, followed by all the even lines.
1080p, on the other hand, represents 1,080 horizontal lines displayed sequentially. This means all lines are displayed during the same pass. 1080p is the highest quality HD display format.
So if you're not ready to invest in HD DVDs or Blu-ray, you might want to consider an upscaling DVD player to get the most out of movies on you HDTV.
Mitsubishi Electric has completed construction of the world’s largest high-definition video screen at a horse track in Tokyo. The screen employs Mitsubishi’s Aurora Vision LED technology and measures 11.2 meters (37 feet) x 66.4 meters (218 feet), giving it a surface area of 744 square meters (8,000+ square feet), or the equivalent of 3 tennis courts.
Don't you just love when the latest and greatest tech toys cost you a fortune and don't even work right? Well, it appears that the Samsung BD-P100o Blu-ray Player has issues and a fix won't be available for a few more months. According to Gizmodo:
Samsung's just released a statement that the softness in video playback that some reviewers noted was due to an incorrect setting in the noise reduction chip. This setting, unfortunately for early-adopters, isn't user accessible. That means their only choice is to wait until September—says Samsung—to download a firmware update that they can burn to a CD to update their players. The softness turns the HD sharpness that is supposed to put Blu-ray way above regular DVDs into almost DVD-level quality. You're paying $1,000 for that?
Hopefully we'll see some pressure on Samsung to get a patch out quicker. We'll keep you posted if we hear anything.
The OPPO DV-970HD is a DVD player that will upconvert signal output to either 720p/1080i via its HDMI output. If you own an HD-compatible TV with HDMI (or DVI) input, you can watch DVDs in higher resolution. This works well with Plasma/LCD monitors and DLP video projectors. This unit has all video outputs and features you would expect, and then some, including: CD/CDR/CDRW/MP3/JPG playback and the addition of DVD-Audio, SACD, and DIVX playback.
Overall, Robert really liked this player:
The OPPO DV970HD is a "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing". This DVD player delivers great video and audio. HDMI connectivity and upscaling enables the DV970HD to deliver an excellent picture on an HDTV. Other features, such as DVD-Audio, SACD, and Divx playback add great audio and video flexibility.
If you are looking for a new DVD player to use with that new flat panel HDTV and surround sound system, make sure you check this one out. The OPPO DV970HD is a great DVD player for under $200.
So if you're looking to get the most out of DVDs on your HDTV, be sure to check this review out.
Looks like Olevia has some pretty awesome LCD TVs coming out. According to their press release:
Syntax-Brillian Corp. (Nasdaq: BRLC), a manufacturer and marketer of LCD and LCoS(TM) HDTVs and digital entertainment products, today announced the launch of a new line of cutting-edge LCD TVs under the company's award-winning Olevia brand.
The impressive new collection of Olevia LCD TVs -- consisting of the "3 Series," "5 Series" and "7 Series" -- features world-class technology, state-of-the-art image processing and video quality that far surpasses any comparably priced product in the market, and has been designed and engineered to elevate the Olevia brand to top-tier status among its peers. Led into the market by the Olevia 5 Series, Syntax-Brillian's latest line of TVs is the company's first complete product offering since the completion of its merger in late 2005.
"The new Olevia 3, 5 and 7 Series TVs feature the latest in video-processing technology and handpicked, state-of-the art components from world-class suppliers," said Vincent Sollitto, CEO of Syntax-Brillian. "Syntax-Brillian's expertise in TV technology, supply relationships and focus on quality in design and production have combined to create new Olevia LCD TVs that stand out as among the best in their class in the world."
Yesterday, we mentioned that the new Sony NHS-3020 has a 400 Disc DVD player. The problem is that the NHS-3020 is out of most of our price range. So if you want a Sony 400 Disc player, be sure to check out the Sony DVPCX995V at Amazon:
Amazon.com Product Description:
Conveniently store your entire DVD library (or all your favorite CDs and Super Audio CDs) in the Sony DVPCX995V 400-disc, progressive scan Mega Changer--the perfect tool for organizing your media library as well as providing extraodinary high definition sound and video to your home theater. It up-scales video to high-definition (1080i/720p) resolution and transmits high quality audio through a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI). It also features a redesigned Disc Explorer on-screen graphic interface, providing intuitive and easy access to the expansive disc library. With the ability to conveniently house and sort through 400 media discs, this cool player can eliminate the need for racks and racks of CD and DVD storage.
It features Sony's Precision Cinema Progressive circuitry, Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 channel outputs, and also offers coaxial and optical digital outputs. It's compatible with DVD-RW/-R/+RW/+R, MP3, JPEG, CD-RW/-R, VCD and SVCD formats--so it can play just about any disc you have from movies and video to music. Other convenience features include multi-disc resume (40 discs), custom parental controls (on all 400 discs), playback memory (400 discs), background graphics that display on your TV while music plays, and a multi-brand remote control.
The great thing is DVPCX995V is currently under $300. You might want to jump quick on this one if you're a storage freak.
Unless you're a Columbian Drug Lord or you win the big Powerball jackpot, you won't be buying this really cool entertainment system from Sony. Still we're pretty impressed with the details on the NHS-3020. According to MobileWhack.com:
The NHS-3020 (that’s what its called) would feature support for controlling audio and video content for a 7.1 surround sound home theater and will also support 12 supplementary rooms of audio and video. It features 5 sources which is can also operate independently including a 400-disc DVD changer, a 400-disc CD changer, a combination DVD recorder and VCR, a 5-disc DVD player and an AM/FM tuner. Users can also add some extra sources including current favs like HD cable or satellite box and Blu-ray Disc(TM) player.
Sony has already pre-wired and programmed these systems so they can just be operated out of the box, so to speak. It’s built into a Middle Atlantic(TM) rack and can also support devices like BRAVIA(TM) LCD TV, Grand WEGA(TM) rear projection TV or the VPL-VW100 SXRD(TM) based projector. One can for some extra bucks can also opt for the pre-programmed LCD touch-screen remote which help in operating the home system. This system has started shipping and prices start from $20,000 and go up to $40000!
What I really like is the component section just to display the 8 million cables it takes to hook the system up. Sony, you're just a big ol' tease!
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When you have to reinforce your walls to hold your big-ass TV, that's livin'. According to Reuters:
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., the maker of Panasonic brand electronics, said on Monday it hoped to start selling the world's largest plasma television by early next year.
Measuring 2.4 metres by 1.4 metres and weighing 215 kg, the 103-inch panel is bigger than a double-sized mattress and almost as heavy as an upright piano.
The world's largest consumer electronics maker has yet to set the price but Matsushita's 65-inch plasma TVs, its largest available now, sell for about $7,500 in Japan.
The plasma panel used in the Matsushita TV will be just one-inch larger measured diagonally than a 102-inch model developed by Samsung SDI Co. Ltd. (006400.KS: Quote, Profile, Research). The South Korean company has not launched the model commercially.
For you non-metric types, over 450 freakin pounds for a TV. Yowza! Since this baby will probably run close to $20,000, I'm not going to worry about reinforcing that wall just yet.
I just love fancy made-up words like Miravision. Yep, it's just like it sounds, a mirror that doubles as a flat-screen TV from Philips. We gave you a sneak peek of Modea Mirror TV with Miravision technology in a video back in May and now Philips has more details on their website. Philips says:
Philips Modea Mirror TV with Miravision technology is a unique product that combines the practical qualities of a stylish mirror with the benefits of a high-resolution LCD television that will continue to delight you.
Slim, stylish design to complement your interior
Unique Miravision concept: A mirror when off, a TV when on.
Compact and slim design that fits in every room
A customisable frame to match your interior design
Breathtaking natural pictures
High definition LCD WXGA display, resolution 1366 x 768p
HD ready for the highest quality display of HDTV signals
Split screen for dual video/PC display
Progressive Scan for razor sharp and flicker free images
PiP allows watching a second source simultaneously
Advanced connection to your audio/video products
DVI-D provides the best digital picture
Convenient for custom installation
RS232 interface for remote management
Prepared for recessed installation
My wife better watch the next time she tells me we need a new mirror!
This week is a little light on releases but I'm pretty excited about the third season of "Reno 911", one of the best adult comedies on TV. For those who want a little nostalgia, be sure to check out the first season of Perry Mason.
We've already talked about how much confusion the new Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats are causing. Now we're starting to see various opinions on whether you should upgrade or not. According to JSOnline.com:
Phillip Swann, a TV technology analyst who runs tvpredictions.com, says betting on one or the other this early could be a waste of money.
"Look, you've got a situation where the industry has said, 'We've got two formats.' They've even hinted that both of 'em can't survive, one will survive. So if you pick the wrong one, you'll have an obsolete machine and obsolete movie titles.
"So why on earth would anybody do that?" Swann said. "There's no reason, unless you've got money to burn, you just go out and buy new devices regardless of whether you'll use them a year from now or two years from now, and you just do it because you like to be the kid on the block with the new toy."
He says the viability of one system over the other may not be apparent until next year.
I can't say I really disagree with his opinion but as always, it's not the technology that will decide if people jump on these new formats, but price. Consumers are a lot more willing to take a risk on a new format if it doesn't break the bank. So I'm guessing we'll see very little buzz on Blu-ray and HD-DVD until we see the prices of the players go down by about 2/3rds.
ABC HAS HELD DISCUSSIONS ON the use of technology that would disable the fast-forward button on DVRs, according to ABC President of Advertising Sales Mike Shaw, with the primary goal to allow TV commercials to run as intended.
"I would love it if the MSOs, during the deployment of the new DVRs they're putting out there, would disable the fast-forward [button]," Shaw said.
While MSOs risk losing some of their DVR customers if fast-forwarding were blocked, Shaw said the cable operators--who are beefing up their own local ad sales operations--"are in the same business we're in." "They've got to sell ads too," he said. "So if everybody's skipping everybody's ads, that's not a long-term business model for them either."
Of course ABC says that's what consumers really want:
Shaw also threw cold water on the idea that neutering the fast-forward option would result in a consumer backlash. He suggested that consumers prefer DVRs for their ability to facilitate on-demand viewing and not ad-zapping--and consumers might warm to the idea that anytime viewing brings with it a tradeoff in the form of unavoidable commercial viewing.
Wow, I glad to know that ABC knows what I really want. Maybe ABC should get Mike Shaw a muzzle.
Yeah, we know advertising will never end but we also know it's a necessity. What if the commercials become a lot shorter but shown more often? Well, some advertisers are trying that according to USAToday:
It may take longer to read this sentence than to watch one of Honda's recent mini-commercials. In just five seconds, the TV ad shows features of its new Fit hatchback, followed by a computer-type voice saying: "The Fit is Go."
Honda's TV tidbit, along with a five-second AOL commercial earlier this year, are examples of one concept marketers are trying to get more bang for the ad dollar in a crowded, on-demand media environment. Done a few times in the past as mainly a stunt, mini-ads placed at the end of commercial breaks are now being tried as a strategic tool against ad-zapping on digital video recorders (DVRs). They take advantage of the fact that when a user stops fast-forwarding on many DVRs, the machine backs up a few seconds to compensate for the user's reaction time.
Clear Channel created a one-second McDonald's ad with its "I'm Lovin' It" jingle and a Mini Cooper ad with a honk and a voice that says, "Mini." McDonald's and BMW did not create the samples, which haven't aired. And Cook insists the company won't overwhelm listeners with wee ads. "We have limits on how many and how often any of these shorter ads will appear."
I like the concept but I'm sure we'll still have to watch 20 of these mini ads in a row, defeating the whole purpose. Who knows?
I just love products that help maintain my high degree of laziness. It's important to me that when I change the channels on my TV that I use a few muscles as possible, so I'm deeply intrigued by the InVoca Voice Activated Remote. According to OhGizmo:
The InVoca remote will accept up to 54 different voice commands and can recognize up to 4 different voices. It even allows you to setup macros and execute them with a single command. (ex. Power on DVD player, switch to component input then play.) It also includes rechargeable batteries and a charging base so you hopefully won’t ever need to scramble for fresh batteries.
Although I know nothing about this remote, I'm guessing it's probably easier and faster to use a regular remote than a voice activated remote but who knows. We'll try to get a hold of the InVoca and let you know what we think.