Got a new TiVo series 3 box and you're having trouble with the remote? Well according to Engadget, your Plasma TV might be the problem:
As many home theater aficionados know (first-hand, unfortunately), plasma TVs emit a significant amount of EMI and RFI signals from their surfaces that can confuse nearby IR sensors and render them useless, especially if your home theater gear juts out in front of the display. Well this problem has been happening in spades to new Series3 owners, as the box's IR receiver seems especially sensitive to other frequencies, so much so that they often need to press a button 10 to 15 times for a command to actually register.
TiVo seems to be aware of the issue, but has not yet offered a solution, which is why the good folks who frequent the TiVo Community forum have put their heads together and come up with several effective workarounds.
While there's a lot of debate among readers what the real issue is, you'll want to check out some work-arounds at Engadget's site.
Here's a sweet little deal on an HD Ready TV for the bedroom. According to Amazon:
A great addition to your kitchen, home office, or child's room, the 17-inch, HD-ready Hisense TL1700 LCD TV includes a built-in TV tuner and can also be used as a PC monitor (via its VGA and DVI connections). You'll be able to watch all standard broadcast and cable channels with its built-in, 181-channel NTSC tuner, but you'll need an optional high-definition receiver to pick up HD broadcasts.
The sleek TL1700 comes with a table stand. It has a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, perfect for watching movies the way they're meant to be seen, and a 1280 x 768-pixel resolution. It also offers a 450 cd/m2 (candela per square meter) brightness rating and a 400:1 contrast ratio. It has such TV features as closed caption, MTS/SAP audio, picture zoom, V-Chip parental controls, and four-language on-screen display. It features the following connections:
Composite AV In: 1
S-Video In: 1
Component In: 1
DVI In: 1
VGA In: 1
Not too shabby for around $400, This is also a great deal if you want to see what all the big deal about HDTV is before you invest a lot of money. Just remember, this is "HD Ready" which means you'll need an HD cable or satellite box to watch HDTV.
Don't you just love lawsuits? It looks like Pioneer is going after Samsung for Patent infringements. According to News.com:
Japan's Pioneer has filed suit in the United States against Samsung SDI and Samsung Electronics for what it says are patent violations of its plasma display-panel technology.
South Korea's Samsung SDI, the world's top plasma display-panel maker, said it plans to file a countersuit, although no date has been set.
Pioneer's move, announced Monday, is the latest in a series of intellectual property suits and countersuits between Japanese companies and their Asian rivals as they seek to maintain a technological edge.
The article continues:
Pioneer is asking for a court order to stop Samsung SDI's sales of plasma display panels and compensation for alleged violations of a patent for electrode configuration boosting display quality and another patent for a manufacturing step that increases display brightness.
The problem with these types of lawsuits is they're awful expensive and of course we know someone has to pay. Betcha it won't be the lawyers!
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It's no secret that the new High Definition DVD formats haven't done much but to confuse consumers. So what's the solution? Well it's possible that we may see one disc that plays on both Blueray and HD-DVD players in the near future. According to MSNBC:
LONDON - A patent application has been filed for a disc that would play two competing high-definition DVD formats which, if successful, could help resolve a battle that has divided Hollywood and confounded consumers.
The patent application was filed by three Warner Bros. employees, two of whom are engineers for the company.
The "multilayer dual optical disk" would have one layer of data in the standard CD or DVD format, a second layer able to play one high-capacity format and a third layer for the competing high-capacity format.
The article goes more in depth but I'd imagine this type of technology won't be too popular with the DVD hardware manufacturers.
If the "multilayer dual optical disk" does make it to store shelves, we expect it's quite a ways down the road but we'll keep you posted when more details come out.
I've been using MobiTV on my PDA for quite awhile so I was pretty pleased to hear that MobiTV was the engine that was running the new AT&T Broadband service. According to the press release:
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) and MobiTV, Inc., the global leader in television and music services for all things mobile and broadband , today announced an agreement to offer a mobile television service to broadband users in the United States, including AT&T Yahoo!? High Speed Internet and AT&T WorldNet subscribers. The browser-based service, which will be called AT&T Broadband TV, will enable subscribers to use a computer to access a wealth of live programming while at home, at work, or on the go using wired and wireless broadband technologies.
Through the deal, AT&T becomes the first U.S. broadband provider to offer a live TV subscription service with MobiTV to consumers through any broadband connection. The service expands upon an earlier agreement that enables AT&T to offer MobiTV to customers who use thousands of AT&T Wi-Fi hot spots.
The AT&T Broadband TV service will initially have approximately 20 channels of live and made-for-broadband television content spanning national news, sports, entertainment and full-length music videos from top artists. Among the channels included in the initial channel lineup is Fox News,* Bloomberg, Oxygen, History Channel, Comedy Time, Toonworld, Maxx Sports and the Weather Channel.
The service is $19.99 a month which is a little higher than I'd like to see. You can check out the service for yourself with a 14 day trial at https://att.mobitv.com/do/welcome.
So yesterday, we told you that you could now order the TiVo Series 3 box now. Can you believe that the guys over at WeakKnees have already upgraded their Series 3 from a 250GB drive to a 750GB drive? Wow! It's pretty impressive how fast they got that done.
WeakKnees will be taking preorders for the upgrade sometime next week. Be sure to stop by their sites for more information:
It's amazing how fancy remote controls are getting (and yes a bit expensive too!). Logitech has just announced their newest remote today, the Harmony 1000. According to the press release:
DENVER — Sept. 12, 2006 — CEDIA — Logitech (SWX: LOGN) (NASDAQ: LOGI) has reinvented the Harmony® remote control. Adding a touch of luxury to its award-winning family of Harmony advanced universal remote controls, the company unveiled its new flagship Harmony 1000 remote, which includes a striking, color touch-sensitive screen. While it looks as expensive as traditional high-end, custom-installed remotes, the Harmony 1000 remote is more affordable, is easier for consumers to set up, and sets a new standard for ease of use.
“The Harmony 1000 remote delivers affordable luxury — it simplifies control of today´s complicated home-entertainment systems at a fraction of the price of traditional custom-installed remotes, and it´s luxurious in its sophisticated design, which adds an element of prestige to any living room,” said Bryan McLeod, vice president of Logitech´s remote control products. “The Harmony 1000 remote is the interface that people crave for their home-entertainment system — it´s sleek, it´s easy to use with its one-touch activity based control, and it comes without a prohibitive price.”
The Harmony 1000 remote´s touch-sensitive screen makes the renowned Harmony activity control even easier by displaying the important controls when they are immediately relevant. And unlike some of today´s high-end universal remotes, the Harmony 1000 remote controls any device with an infrared receiver — including VCRs, digital video recorders, high-definition televisions, and many household appliances. Using radio frequency (RF) technology, the Harmony 1000 remote can also control multi-room entertainment systems and high-end components hidden behind closed doors, when used in combination with the optional Logitech® Harmony® Wireless Extender (sold separately). Meanwhile, its stunning brushed-chrome and piano-black finish makes the Harmony 1000 remote an aesthetic complement to today´s most sophisticated living rooms
Some of the basic features include:
3.5-inch color screen
Nine fixed buttons
Activity-based control by using patented Smart State Technology
Optional Logitech Harmony Wireless Extender
Discrete codes and infrared commands of the more than 175,000 devices from more than 5,000 manufacturers
As far as pricing and availability:
The Harmony 1000 remote is expected to be available in both the U.S. and Europe later this fall for a suggested retail price of $499.99 in the U.S. The Logitech Harmony Wireless Extender will be available at the same time for $149.99 in the U.S. and Europe.
Very Nice! We look forward to checking the Harmony 1000 out and we'll be sure to let you know what we think. For those of you who dig fancy remotes, also be sure to check out our full review of the Philips RC9800i Touch Screen Remote
Here's a nice little bonus for TiVo Users according to PVRWire:
The New York Times reports that TiVo and CBS are set to announced a partnership today to make 4 new shows available to TiVo subscribers a week or two before they're set to air on television.
The deal includes a preview episode of The Class, and creates an option for TiVo users to record the premieres of a bundle of 4 shows, The Class, Jericho, Shark, and Smith, with the single click of their remotes.
Okay, so they're not the top rated shows on CBS, it's still a pretty neat extra for TiVo owners.
Here's a really great deal at Amazon on the Logitech Harmony Remote 628 Universal Remote Control. The Harmony 628 is a pretty loaded remote that retails for $149 and is currently on sale at Amazon for under $50. Wow! You can't beat that deal:
The Harmony Activity Remote Control is the only remote with Smart State Technology Activity Control. Just press an Activity button such as "Watch TV" or "Watch a Movie", and the remote will automatically set up your entertainment system in seconds without you ever having to program a 'macro'. It supports most infrared-controlled devices made by any manufacturer, including TiVo, HDVCR, HDTV, plasma displays, monitors, projectors, DVD players, fireplaces and more.
While the Harmony 628 may not be as stylish or powerful as the Philips RC9800i Touchscreen Remote Control that we recently reviewed, it's a pretty powerful remote and is currently at a price that won't break the bank.
One of the downsides to LCD TVs (or any flat panel for that matter) has to be that unless you're sitting directly in front of the TV, you may experience some screen "darkness". Of course we're seeing more manufacturers trying to solve that problem by adding backlights to LCDs. Samsung has just introduced a 40" LED Backlit TV and according to the press release:
Samsung announced the release of a 40" LCD TV with high powered LED Backlight technology, which received Europe's prestigious "Innovation Award" from the EISA (European Image and Sound Association) for its superb features including LED light source, 146% wide colour gamut and industry leading contrast ratio (10,000:1).
At the same time, 40" and 46" LCD models that support full HD resolution (1920x1080p) - double the previous best HD performance (1366x768, 1080i) - and provide high contrast (6000:1) are also introduced.
The new 40" with LED light source realises far richer colour reproduction, based on a wide colour gamut that is 46% improved from previous models and enables unprecedented sound volume. High Dynamic Contrast Ratio, Samsung's proprietary technology, provides deeper and more refined images with the highest contrast in the industry.
The LED LCD TV also brings a new level to the clarity of moving images, based on Samsung's exclusive LCD 100 Hz video quality enhancement technology. A TV screen displays about 50 frames per second, which can create drag in fast-moving videos. Samsung's LCD 100 Hz inserts a frame between each two frames, considerably reducing motion blur. The inserted frame maintains the detailed motion characteristic of the video, and goes through motion estimation and compensation processing. Therefore, compared to a mere duplication and insertion of frames, more natural motion can be realised without undermining other characteristics such as clarity, brightness and colour.
Very nice! Of course there's no pricing or availabilty information yet but we'll keep you posted.
If you're looking for a great deal on a sweet looking TV, be sure to check out the Philips 42" Widescreen Plasma TV:
Amazon.com Product Description
Save space and enjoy a wonderfully vivid picture with the stylish, 42-inch Philips 42PF7320A widescreen plasma TV, a great choice for your full-featured entertainment center. It has a built-in 181-channel NTSC tuner for standard television broadcasts, and you can receive high-definition TV right out of the box with the optional, removable CableCARD, which picks up HD (ATSC) broadcasts from your digital cable provider (digital cable subscription required). This set includes a tabletop stand, but it's also wall-mountable with optional kit (VESA compatible). This plasma TV includes an anti-ageing circuit to help prevent screen burn-in and an anti-reflective coating on the screen.
This set uses Philips' exclusive Pixel Plus video processor to increase the number of lines and the number of pixels. The result is razor sharp pictures with incredible detail and dept, every time from any source.
The 42PF7320A has a 1024 x 768-pixel resolution, 160-degree viewing angle, a 1500 cd/m2 (candela per square meter) brightness rating, and a 10000:1 contrast ratio. (The higher the contrast ratio, the greater a TV's ability to display subtle color details and not get washed out by ambient room light.) Other features include picture-in-picture display (via component and HDMI connections), auto volume leveler, adjustable color temperature and sharpness, sleep timer, and V-Chip parental controls.
The 3D comb filter separates brightness and color signals better in 3D domain to eliminate cross-color, cross-luminance and dot-crawl distortion. It performs field-by-field comparisons of the television image to accurately separate the color from the black-and-white information and remove both horizontally and vertically hanging dots, as well as dot crawl, resulting in a razor sharp image. This set also performs 3:2 pulldown detection and reversal, too--a handy feature for watching progressive-scan movie programs in their native 24-frame format. To adapt 24 frames-per-second movies to 30 fps video, frames in the original movie must be duplicated; 3:2 pulldown digitally corrects this duplication by removing the redundant information to display a frame-accurate picture.
What a great TV for under $2000 so you might want to jump on this price while you've got the chance.
I noticed this comment on an old post here and this other comment HD Beat claiming that TiVo will announce the Series 3 formally on 9/12 and have it for sale the next day. Both are unsupported rumors that I'd rate up there with year 2000 doomsday predictions, but I'm posting these pointers because I really hope it is true.
Even though there's nothing to back up the rumor, you might want to mark the 13th on your calendar. We'll also be sure to let you know when we get a firm date.