September 30, 2007
The iPhone/iBrick verdict has been given, but what do you do if you've ended up with an iBrick with a voided warranty?
Head over to BuyMyBrokeniPod.com where they promise to send you cash for your used or broken iPhone or iPod. Prices are competitive with those you'd find on ebay for a used product. Furthermore, if you've got a bricked phone this is pretty much your only way to get some cash for it.
The only real downside here is that you have to pay for shipping the product to Colorado, so if you have a lower-end model it might not be worth it to you.
September 30, 2007
Another new web show following the success of lonelygirl15 is beginning tomorrow. Called Abigail's "X-Rated Teen Diary, the show is being produced by Hayden Black, creator and star of Goodnight Burbank, the nightly news satire.
Originally supposed to be produced for HBO, the show will debut tomorrow. The show chronicles in video format, the life of a 13 year old girl with Bloomberger's Disease which prematurely ages the body. It will be released in three one-minute segments per week. Check out the preview clip above.
September 30, 2007
Check out this article from Podcasting News to learn how to rip your DVDs (even encrypted ones) to your iPod Video by using an open-source application called Handbrake that will convert your DVDs to MPEG-4 format. Or you can download the program here and find a user guide on the Handbrake website.
September 30, 2007
September has been an exciting month for both TVSnob and the television industry. With the continuous move by industry giants and startups alike into the so-far harsh terrain of web TV, there seems to be new products and innovative business models debuting on a weekly basis. But, of course, the industry isn't there yet so let's begin in the present.
We started off the month with Vizio become the number one HDTV seller in the United States. Also in the first week Apple released its new generation of iPods and the long awaited Touch Screen iPods.
We saw evidence that the set-top box market will continue to explode, at least for another 3 years or so until after the end of analog signals.
Sony continues to be innovative with announcements of the PlayTV tuner and the enigmatic Drive. PS3 prices are also rumored to be lowering.
The HD DVD/Blu-ray battle rages on and Sharp Corporation made a move by announcing the upcoming release in Japan of a Blu-ray recorder with a whopping 1-terabyte hard drive!
In the second half of the month, things got really interesting as Samsung was named the top manufacturer of HDTVs in the world. Apple blundered with the first software update for the iPhone which disabled thousands of phones belonging to users that had either used an unlock hack to access other cellular networks than AT&T or installed third-party applications. This drama will play out well into October, if not beyond.
TVSnob also saw a new editor jump on board and begin to cover not only the world of home entertainment television technologies, but also the developing world of web and mobile TV.
October looks to be a fresh start for TVSnob. We'll have a greater mix of informative content covering all aspects of the television industry while still maintaining our up-to-date product reviews. We'll also begin to unleash some great stuff to get you all prepared for Christmas and it's inevitable TV tech buying needs.
Please come with us as TVSnob attempts to move into position to be one of the premier TV tech blogs on the web. Consider subscribing to TVSnob.com!
September 29, 2007
We've mentioned some of the flaws with the Apple TV before at TVSnob, but we've never gone so far as to call it a flop.
Forbes.com has gone that far however, renaming Apple TV the iFlop. After promising the Apple TV would revolutionize television, the TV has only sold about 250000 units, one quarter that of iPhone sales which have been made in less than half the time at a price that is double that of the TV. Forbes pointed out that no official numbers have been released regarding Apple TV sales, in contrast to the releases of sales numbers for Apple's hotsellers, the iPhone and various types of iPods. He also seemed much more casual about the product at a conference two months after the March release of the TV calling the Apple TV development "a hobby".
So what has led to such a poor reception for the Apple TV?
1. Hollywood has not been willing to give up control of their business by being "iTunized" by a powerful company such as Apple. When the Apple TV debuted in March, only Disney and Paramount had jumped on the bandwagon to offer not only TV shows, but also movies over the iTunes platform for prices ranging from $10-15. The four other major Hollywood studios, 20th Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., and Sony all refused to such price cuts when DVDs regularly sell for a minimum of $20 elsewhere. All in all, Apple made a poor decision in trying to wield their power to dictate prices.
2. Apple is revered for their product design. The company is absolutely masterful in integrating form and function. Most of the time. Not so with the Apple TV. First of all, the Apple TV doesn't have the ability to record shows. This convenience is critical and shows in the success of products such as TiVo. Also, when first released the Apple TV didn't accept content from platforms such as YouTube although Jobs later changed this.
3. To keep the price of the Apple TV at around the $300 mark, Apple had to cut costs somewhere and that somewhere is all the hardware inside the box. Older chips and smaller hard drives were the end result. Forbes.com reported via research firm iSuppli that even with cheaper, and weaker components, the costs of manufacturing an Apple TV still sit at about $237. That leaves only a 20% gross profit margin to be split between Apple and retailers selling the TV. Once sales didn't take off, the low margins for retailers meant the TVs ended up at the back of the store in a corner somewhere, effectively ending any change of turning the sales numbers around.
4. Finally, worsening relations between Apple and Hollywood continue to make the situation worse and eliminate any chances for a future revolutionary TV product from Apple. Near the end of last month NBC and Apple went splitsville as NBC wanted to increase its TV show download prices on iTunes by $3. Once again Apple tried to dictate prices, and eventually cut NBC from iTunes altogether after the network announced it would be pulling its shows off iTunes at the end of the year. Not a week later, NBC partnered with Amazon.com.
What's your guess?
All the techies on the web are trying to figure out what this is. Sony has unveiled a mystery product on their Japanese website of an upcoming product release (picture above) and that is all we get. A picture and a product title: SonyDrive. What could it be? Engadget figures it might be an all-in-one PC. It definitely looks like that could possibly be the case. What do you think?
I've been waiting for the internet buzz regarding the iPhone update to cool down before I made a judgement on the validity of Apple's warning about possible "bricked" phones. Especially since the day of the update there was those saying they had no problems and others saying they did. Today the New York Times reported that Apple's warning was indeed true. Some were spared, but everyone who had third-party applications on their phones lost them and at least one person who had a book contract to write about third-party hacks lost the book contract as well! Those who had just installed third-party programs were the lucky ones though. Most didn't have their phones rendered competely inoperable, but those who took the risk of unlocking their phones to access other cellular networks besides Apple's exclusive partner, AT&T, found that their chances of ending up with a so-called iBrick were pretty good.
Apple definitely had the right to do this. iPhone users are not authorized to install third-party apps by contract (though Steve Jobs of all people should have known this would happen) and AT&T is the exclusive provider of network coverage for the iPhone. By unlocking phones, users threatened the Apple-AT&T partnership and the phone networks business. Many Apple fans though are disappointed at the lengths the company took to prevent people from hacking the phone. Many questioned why it wasn't enough simply to relock the phone via the update and erase the installed applications. Rendering a phone inoperable and forcing users to purchase a new one has been deemed going a little to far by users.
It'll be interesting to see the future drama that I'm sure will unfold in iPhone circles. Will this move on Apple's part affect iPhone sales in the next quarter? What'll be the future of third-party apps for the iPhone? We all know someone will figure out a way to get around the update. It seems only time will tell.
Let us know your iPhone update experiences in the comments section. Also a couple of days back I questioned Apple's honest and transparency in this matter, so I'd encourage you to check out the activity over at Gizmodo. Question of the day yesterday: Are iPhone update problems malicious or unintentional side effect? The debate is still going strong so go check it out!
September 28, 2007
Logitech Harmony 1000 Remote
As home entertainment systems grow more complex, the majority of us are finding ourselves with more and more remotes and more complicated button-pushing sequences to accomplish all of the task our system do. My wife and I are house-sitting for her parents at the moment and their bedroom TV requires a whopping 6 remotes! Who wants to fiddle with 6 remotes while trying to relax in the comfort of their bedroom? Not me and probably not you either.
Logitech International has come up with a solution that is infinitely simpler than the traditional universal remote. The Harmony 890 and Harmony 1000 remotes reduce the button-pushing sequence for an activity such as watching a DVD to 1. The setup is very easy as well. While the traditional setup method for universal remotes requires looking through a thick manual to locate codes form electronic models and then pushing a million buttons to configure, the Harmony models simply require hooking up the remote by USB cable to your Mac or Windows PC. You then input the device you are configuring the remote to and the accompanying software automatically configures the remote for you by searching through a database of over 200000 devices. It has been reported that it only takes about 15 minutes to set up these remotes as compared to the hours and technical support lines required for the traditional variety.
Via All Things Digital
EngadgetHD ran a fantastic article yesterday showing us how to run power to a wall mounted TV without violating any fire codes or having a mass of visible wires. Using a power-inlet called PowerBridge, engadget shows you step-by-step using plenty of visuals how to install the power source.
, an MA in industrial design, has found a way to utilize the polystyrene packing material used to protect TVs during the shipping process. Rather than throw it in the trash to sit around littering the earth for 100s of years, Ballhatchet has designed a new form of packaging in such a way that it can be used for a TV stand after the TV is taken out of the box. What a great idea! It actually doesn't even look to bad as you can see from the picture above. I could see this taking off with the young bachelor crowd that is typically low on cash.
Our recommendation is - don't. Buy a nice low table to put it on. But in the past we were totally into mounting our LCD TV flat on the wall. How to: Wall mounting a LCD or Plasma provides a pretty in depth analysis and experience with just how tough it is to mount an LCD TV. Remember - mounting something that weighs 50lbs on the wall is not trivial, but it can be done.
Before you tackle wall mounting a LCD or plasma, you need to ask yourself one question. Is this something best left to a professional installer? If you’re not sure then the answer is yes. I’m not implying that self installation is for everyone. If you doubt your abilities then by all means it’s worth hiring a professional. However if your reasonably competent with minor home improvement tasks and follow my instructions carefully, this shouldn’t offer you much trouble at all.
At How to: Wall mounting a LCD or Plasma
September 27, 2007
So the DEMOfall 2007 conference is over and many neat launches took place. Not surprisingly, many of the startups and product launches had some sort of video-related quality to them. Since I mentioned what I feel are the best of the best a couple of days back, I'll let you check out the videos of all the presentations yourself at the DEMO website!
Do you want to watch your regular old DVDs in high-definition? The latest
Oppo player will let you do just that. The Oppo DV-981HD Universal DVD Player also has HDMI, DivX and SACD playback capabilities. While this player doesn't work with your typical analog set, if you have 1080p resolution capabilities and want to wait for the HD DVD and Blu-ray wars to settle, this is your player. It uses a technology called DCDi Farudja from Genesis Microchips that not only upscales regular 720x480 interlaced video but also "detects content that has gone through 3:2 pull down to convert film content to NTSC for video, and recreates the original frames by blending the fields back together" in order to free the images from motion problems typical of high-def. And just a reminder: make sure to purchase your HDMI cables.
Plus if you order it on Amazon in the next 4 hours, you'll be watching high-def by tomorrow with their one-day shipping policy!
Microsoft is apparently announcing today that the company will be releasing a new internet TV system for free for Windows Vista Home Premium and Vista Ultimate Editions. The system will include over 100 hours of content from programming also found on MSN and can be hooked up via your Xbox or the new Media Center Extender device. Windows users should receive the software update this week that will allow for full-screen viewing on your computer and clear picture.
Microsoft's aim with this release is to gain more insight into whether TV watchers' would rather lay back on the couch while watching TV or lean in towards their computer screen. The company's focus will be on longer viewing periods. I would like to know how much money Microsoft is spending on the project because I think the answer would be fairly obvious judging by the failure of so many web TV startups in the past couple of years.
Personally I think this is more of an examination of viewer behavior in advertising interaction. The company YuMe has been put in charge of selling and programming advertising across the system. For 6 months the ad company out of Redwood City, California, will compare user interaction and engagement levels with the videos on all of the devices and see if a difference is made when users hook up the system through their Xbox. It seems like a lot of work to me, especially because I don't believe Microsoft will have to much success moving into online advertising. Stick to the operating systems Microsoft!
Via New York Times
Samsung Electronics was the top maker of televisions in the second quarter of this year with a share of 12.4% of the global TV market. Second, third, fourth and fifth place were taken by LG Electronics, Philips, Sanyo Electric and TCL respectively. Samsung's dominance has had a lot to do with the strong sales of LCD TVs this year.
Research firm iSuppli has forecasted that as flat-screen LCD TVs and plasma TVs gain in popularity over the next year, cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs will account for only 38% of TV sales next year compared to 56% this year. Samsung was trailed closely by LG Electronics with only a 1% market share separating the two companies, so it will be interesting to see if this competition heats up as CRT's lose popularity over the next few years.
Halo 3 fans probably know by know that the game smashed first-day entertainment industry sales records by racking up $170 million in sales. With that many games sold, there must be some knowledgeable gamers out there that would know what the best TV is for maximizing the Halo experience. Not surprisingly, Jay Brewer, owner of Blogpire Productions has looked into this before. Check out his article.
The Slingbox is one of the coolest TV tech gadgets on the market today. Developed by Sling Media, the Slingbox allows you to watch cable, satellite, or programs recorded on a DVR from a remote location provided you have an internet connection. So for example, you could watch your home satellite channels on your wireless laptop while you're having your morning coffee at the local wi-fi hotspot coffee shop. Amazing, eh?
While this technology has been on the market for a couple of years now, Sling Media has been the topic of many a tech conversation the past couple of days as EchoStar Communications announced a couple of days back that they would be purchasing the company for a cool $380 million. While the Slingbox hasn't really taken off yet (the company has stated it has sold "hundreds of thousands" of the boxes and my opinion is a completely subjective one), EchoStar will provide an already established market of 13.6 million DISH satellite users and already developed DVR technology.
Given the purchase on the part of EchoStar Communications, allowing new market opportunities for the amazing technology developed by Sling Media, I think we'll be hearing more about the Slingbox and its related applications in the future.
But guess what. The future is already here as the new Slingbox Solo is going on sale today in the US, Canada, the UK, and the Netherlands. It will be sold for $179.99 in the US. Interestingly, this is the first time the Slingbox hasn't been first offered in the US before expanding internationally. It seems the Sling Media crew is already taking advantage of the reach of EchoStar.
The new Solo, which Sling Media hopes to market as their premier product, is similar to the previous models in design except it is apparently colored black. It is also HD-capable as opposed to previous models that only had standard definition capabilities.
Also watch around year end for the release of the Clip + Sling software that allows users to send live TV clips to anyone, not just Slingbox users.
Watch the Slingbox in action on the Sling Media website! Or if you're not convinced about the usefulness of the Slingbox, watch Sling Media CEO Blake Krikorian watch football while at a horrible play!
In a previous posting I told you about Apple's announcement of potential problems for iPhone users who unlocked their phones to access networks other than AT&T. The latest software update for the phone could possibly render your phone completely unuseable and by unlocking it you've voided your own warranty.
There is a possible solution for those of you that have unlocked your phones. Macnn shows you how to relock your phone. However, as of this posting the relock process outlined is currently in flux and is to be used at your own discretion. You've got nothing to lose though if Apple is serious about the warning.
Fall football and TV viewing is upon us and so is the higher cost of electricity. Want to find out how 54 LCD TVs' compared to each other with power consumption, and help reduce your power bill and go a bit green? CNET has a very interesting set of charts showing you the cost of owning and operating an LCD TV. We really liked the "Basics of TV Power" article as well.
At 54 TVs' consumption compared
September 26, 2007
Sharp Corporation announced that they will be releasing a Blu-ray HD DVD recorder with a 1-terabyte hard disk drive. Sharp hopes to pull ahead in the race with HD DVD rivals Microsoft and Toshiba.
The model, which can record 127 hours of digital high-definition programming, will go on sale December 1 in Japan for 300000 yen, the equivalent of $2616 US. Unfortunately for the rest of the globe, Sharp does not plan to release the model elsewhere at this time.
The fall 2007 DEMO Conference started yesterday in San Diego where some of the hottest up and comers in the tech industry have a chance to launch their products, startups and services in front of a connected audience. Chris Shipley, described as "one of the top trend spotters in the personal technology product industry" hand picks presenters for the conference, all of whom are expected to be key players in the tech marketplace in the coming year.
Every tech conference has its TV-related startups or product launches, so over the next few days we'll cover some of the expected hot TV-related players featured at the conference.
Here are the TV-related highlights so far from the DEMO conference:
Filmaroo-yes, this is another video-sharing content site, but there is a significant differentiating factor when compared to other players in the video-sharing niche. Filmaroo is mainly aimed at families or others who require some form of privacy when sharing video content. When you upload video on Filmaroo, you can share it with those close to you via a P2P system and an email address. So say you wanted to upload pictures of your kids on the site, but are scared of online creeps finding a deviant use for the pictures. Using Filmaroo, the content is only available to those you share it with so unwanted viewers become a non-issue. The platform is also incredibly easy to use as it automates the "collection, conversion, publication and distribution of content" so it doesn't require the knowledge that say, uploading a video clip onto YouTube takes.
Graspr-This site isn't even online yet, but I will definitely be checking it out once it goes live. Graspr is a social networking site specifically geared towards how-to video content. This will be a place to look for TV-related how-to's in the coming days. The site contains an online video editor making it easy to use and will debut with over 10000 videos already on its site.
Both startups are taking advantage of unmet needs in small niches of a huge market. We'll keep an eye on these sites in the year to come.
Are you an avid fan of YouTube and other video content sharing platforms? Do you spend hours each week browsing through and watching online video? Well, if you're that interested stop wasting your time watching videos and start creating them because Samuel Dean from Web Worker Daily shows us how to monetize our own web video by using platforms such as Brightcove, Current TV (of Al Gore fame), and Metacafe!
Via Web Worker Daily
September 25, 2007
Up here in Winnipeg, the fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are famous for their tailgate parties. Or perhaps infamous might be a better choice of words since the city attempted to ban them altogether for our Labor Day Classic with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
I haven't seen anything like this showcased at any of our local tailgate parties though. uncrate reported today that a company called Gameday Customs has released the Gameday Customs Ultimate Tailgate. By ultimate, we mean ultimate.
A little pricey at $13900, the Gameday Customs Ultimate Tailgate includes a 26" LCD TV, satellite dish, CD/DVD player, 1000 Watt generator, 10 gallon fresh water system, 5 gallon holding tank, complete draft beer system and even a toilet!
If you're like most people you probably leave your TV on all day long, a perpetual background of color, movement and sound to the action of everyday life.
If you're in the mood for something a little more soothing, Oh!Gizmo has pointed us to a Colorlight DVD product offered by Charles & Marie that you just pop into your DVD player which then illuminates your flat screen with a rotating selection of soothing colors. Kind of like a computer screensaver.
You can pick up the DVD online at Charles & Marie for $25.
Frustrated with the amount of HDTVs returned last Christmas season, as well as the number of customers entering stores equating flat-panel TVs with HDTVs, Best Buy recently commissioned a study that shed light on the lack of consumer education available for potential buyers of HDTVs and how that has affected Best Buy's sales.
Best Buy estimates that it takes in around 70% of its annual profit during the Christmas season and they expect to rely on flat-panel HDTV sales to fuel much of that profit. So, they must have found it shocking that the study, conducted in the form of a survey of 1012 consumers nationwide in early August, revealed that "89% of people lack a complete understanding of HDTV technology" and 48% completely underestimate the costs of buying one.
What's the reasoning behind the high numbers? Well, you must remember that if you're looking for a flat-panel TV you're not necessarily looking for an HDTV. Purchasing an HDTV isn't just a financial committment that ends once you purchase the TV. You must upgrade to an HDTV service provider and consider additional costs for cables, audio equipment and other related products.
Best Buy has moved to correct this by launching an "HD Done Right" education campaign on its website where the company provides resources that allow you to design the best HDTV package for your needs. They also provide links to a wealth of home entertainment information on CNET.com.
Obviously the majority of the education program is meant to increase awareness of Best Buy products, so we'll be offering in anticipation of the coming Christmas season a whole line-up of articles solely devoted to increasing your knowledge of HDTV so you can make the perfect purchase this holiday season.
As you all know it's the time of year for season premieres! In fact I enjoyed the first episode of CSI Miami tonight. Who knew Horatio had a son? If genetics play any role in criminal behavior it seems the good Horatio has some bad blood in him after all! I'm a big believer in environment playing a key role in developing anti-social personality characteristics and his son didn't have the greatest upbringing, so I suppose I should cut him a break.
I must admit too that I was forced against my will to watch the pilot episode of Gossip Girl by my dear wife. Marriages are all about give-and-take though and geek is the new chic when it comes to this fall's prime-time line-up, so you can bet your lucky stars that when Bionic Woman debuts tomorrow I'll be sitting there watching.
Here are today's season premieres:
The Unit (CBS)
Reaper (The CW)
Boston Legal (ABC)
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC)
Oh and by the way, if you're looking for a CSI Miami refresher, a package of seasons 1-4 are available here and season 5 will be available on October 30.
Via Wired, TVBLEND
We think this article on LCD TVs on a Budget is pretty solid. Though the reviewer picks out some 15" LCD TVs, we think you can even get a 20" on a shoe string budget.
LCD TVs are no doubt the Cadillac of televisions. They bring us a crisp, clear view of our favorite movies and shows the way a plasma or regular old TV can never do. They are designed so that you can watch television from any angle and the view won’t be distorted. You get less glare with your LCD TV, and they are the lightest and most compact televisions on the market. Not to mention the fact that your husband drools when you say, ‘LCD TV.’
At LCD TVs on a Budget
September 24, 2007
Apple warned iPhone users today that a new software update to be issued later this week could make hacked iPhones completely inoperable. Recall that since the iPhone's North American release in June, several hackers have posted methods online that show users how to unlock the phone's cellular network so it can be used on networks other than AT&T.
How exactly the new software will disable hacked phones hasn't been reported, but Apple has said that the network hack can apparently cause software damage to the phone. They have also stated that this software update is not a proactive attempt to prevent users from switching cellular networks, though I find the fact that this statement has been publicized to be kind of suspicious.
Apple is an amazing company though, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. Not that they don't have the right to prevent the issue, but transparency and honesty is something I believe every public company should espouse.
On a final note, I should mention that the software update is in preparation for the Apple-Starbucks partnership commencing in early October as well as access to the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, among other features. Also for those of you who have hacked your phones and are planning on using your warranty in case of software damage, you've voided your own warranty and are out of luck!
Check it out for yourself!
I know I've been pretty heavy on the web TV lately, but I'm one to always be looking ahead and despite its many detractors, I feel that it will catch on sooner or later. Not only that, but with the TechCrunch40 conference just past and the DEMO conference starting tonight in San Diego, web TV is a hot topic of conversation at the moment.
DEMO has been one of the world's premier launching pads of hot startups, products and technologies for the past 17 years. In the past few years well-known companies such as Six Apart, Feedster, Kosmix and kaboodle have been showcased at the conference. And as you ay have guessed by now, I'll be following the TV and video-related startups and products being launched at the conference.
Most of the talk pre-conference is focused on Your Truman Show. Your Truman Show is a video platform aiming to basically take the original personal journal focus of the written blog and move it into livecasting terrain. Yes, very much like a video blog or personal podcast but Your Truman Show aims to take user-generated content from single video to multi-episodes series'. The video platform hopes to accomplish this feat by using something called a "V-link interface" to chronologically order video content.
Tonight, the startup is taking thing a step further, by showcasing a Video Map Widget that can be placed on popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace and be accessed by anyone who wants to see your video life story.
Stay tuned for more television and video related launches at the DEMO conference.
We're big fans of Andru Edwards and Gear Live TV. If you want to see real people dealing with tech gadgets and other cool stuff you'll really want to watch a few episodes.
At Gear Live TV
September 23, 2007
Samsung must be on to something. Oh, wait, I know what it is...quality. Samsung is absolutely blowing away the competition in Amazon television sales with 8 of the top 10 best-selling models. Another contributing factor to the brands hot sales is definitely the European style design of the newer models. I'm a big believer in innovative product design being a key to successful sales numbers, especially in a saturated market like that of televisions.
Here are the top three selling Samsung televisions at Amazon right now. Remember Christmas is coming and it's never to early to get your shopping started!
Samsung LNT4065F 40" 1080p LCD HDTV
Customer reviews are notoriously harsh, but of 124 reviews on Amazon customers rate the Samsung LNT4065F an average of 4.5/5. Pretty impressive. The 1080p resolution and 15000:1 dynamic contrast ratio mean this model "will display finer gradients of shading making for more detail in darker scenes" meaning blacker blacks. The 10 bit video processor means sleek, smooth motion in faster moving scenes. SRS TruSurround XT audio technology means a thrilling surround-sound experience with speakers built right into the TV. Definitely something to consider!
Samsung LNT4671F 46" 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV
We still have the full 1080p resolution with this model and of course a larger screen. And you know what they say about TVs: bigger is better. This model uses Auto Motion Plus 120Hz technology that reduces motion blur by doubling the frame rate from 60 to 120 frames per second and then intelligently guessing what each image looks like between frames. That means no 2 frames are alike and you have a smooth picture with little blur. The Samsung LNT4671F also utilizes SRS TruSurround XT audio technology, but boasts a 25000:1 dynamic contrast ratio meaning shades and blacks like you have never seen before.
Samsung LNT3253H 32" LCD HDTV
This is your best choice if you want Samsung quality and design at a cheaper price. While it only boasts a 720p resolution and a 32" screen, the Samsung LNT3253H is the 2007 update of the hugely successful 2006 Samsung LNS3251D. With an 8000:1 contrast ratio and hidden speakers, this model also uses a Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer to enhance both analog and broadband picture varieties. This is definitely a bargain.
We'll be doing plenty of TV tech reviews covering all of your Christmas gift needs in the upcoming months, so stay tuned!
Allan Leiwand of NewTeeVee questioned today what would make Hollywood consider the internet a suitable channel for video distribution. His answer: a rise in one Nielsen ratings point. A rise of one Nielsen ratings point would require a rise in viewers in the number of one million at the same time.
Why? Because Hollywood's bottom line is generated by current advertising revenues and future advertising sales. Obviously a one million viewer increase simultaneously on the web would contribute to this bottom line. Om Malik of GigaOmNET pointed to a study release by Cisco Systems last month on NewTeeVee that stated that the 9% of internet traffic coming from online video content would increase to 30% by 2011. Leinwand states that some service providers have indicated that they expect an increase to 30% by next year and a whopping 90% by 2011! Personally the latter numbers seem high to me, but the Cisco report seems reasonable.
The Cisco report also stated that by 2011 there is expected to be 20 trillion hours of video content distributed via the internet monthly. It would seem reasonable to me to expect a rise in one Nielsen ratings point with this volume of content.
It remains to be seen if web TV will become mainstream or continue serving a niche segment of the TV-viewing population. It still hovers in the realm of the early adopters, but I expect we will see some huge developments in this area within the next few years.
For all of you Nintendo Wii owners, you may find this interesting. For those in the market to buy one, this may be some added incentive.
Moowee.tv allows you to view internet television on your TV via your Nintendo Wii. Their web page FAQ states that the "moowee.tv user interface is currently optimized for TV with Nintendo Wii remote control buttons mapped to the application". Digging further into their web page I found that not only can you view content, but you can also create your own custom station and share content with other users as well.
The service also recommends stations you may like based on your current content views using none other than tag words. The company also maintains a blog which is full of tips and tricks for users, as well as detailed explanations regarding common hook-up issues.
So what do you need to get started?
1. Nintendo Wii with one Wiimote
2. Television set (if using a plasma screen, read this)
3. Internet Broadband Connection with a minimum bandwidth of 384kbps
4. Internet Browser on the Nintendo Wii Game Console
Simple enough and if you have problems check out their FAQ.
September 22, 2007
Would you pay to watch TV on your iPhone or Blackberry? Do you have the time to watch TV on your mobile device of choice? I know I would answer with an emphatic "NO" to both questions. Apparently though a report by Jupiter Research has stated there is a growing number of people out there who do have the time and would pay to watch TV on their mobile communication device.
The study has predicted that mobile-broadcasting revenues will exceed $6.6 billion annually by the year 2012 as the market for the service grows ten-fold in the next decade with 120 million viewers in 40 countries. Rather generous estimates considering mobile-broadcasting hasn't really been able to get off the ground for the past 20 years. Virgin Mobile, which began to offer mobile-broadcasting services last year has already suspended its operations (back in July) after only signing up about 10000 subscribers.
Some say that Virgin did have some service-related drawbacks and there are companies such as 3 italia, launched less than a year-and-a-half ago, that have been able to attract 500000 subscribers in less than a year.
Mike Masnick from TechDirt also pointed out that using available tools such as TiVo and Slingbox, people can watch TV when it's convenient for them at no cost. So while this is an interesting market to watch in the next few years, will anyone actually pay for mobile broadcasting when you can already get it for free? That remains to be seen.
Via Techdirt, CNET News.com
As a former competitive runner, I know how hard it is to keep motivated. Living in Winnipeg, Canada makes it all the tougher. Who wants to go outside and run 2, 5, or 10 miles when its 40 degrees below 0? Not the majority, that's for sure, and that's why so many opt for the treadmill. Boring!
Not anymore. A company called Life Fitness is offering a pre-order right now of its Platinum Club Series Treadmill. Yes, I know this is a TV blog and you're wondering how this is related. Well, it is.
Continue reading: "Get Some Exercise While Watching Your iPod-Compatible LCD TV"
September 21, 2007
For those of you who have your desktop computer or laptop all setup for television viewing, the LA Times has reported today that Fox Broadcasting will be offering seven network season premieres for FREE on iTunes beginning next week. These will include such hits as Prison Break and Bones. Fox hopes this will act as an incentive for viewers to either tune in to Fox for follow-up episodes or download them for a fee at the iTunes store.
This is following similar announcements by Walt Disney Company and NBC Universal who stated they would be offering free downloads of select primetime shows through AOL and NBC Direct respectively.
Why are they being so generous? What's the catch? I'm sure that's what you're probably thinking. No catch, it's more of an act of desperation than anything. Thanks to services such as TiVo, networks are losing heaps of viewers who would rather watch their shows when its convenient for them. Networks are now trying out different Internet delivery systems with the hope that they will once again regain the number of viewers of past years.
This is definitely an exciting development in the television broadcasting world and one we'll look more at in the future.
I've been wondering how to get an LCD screen on my wall without having to string it up or have nothing on the wall. Italian design brings together a slick wall shelf system and integrated projection screen you simply pull down. A great use of space and an amazing idea.
Via The Red Ferret Journal at Livit
So you're sitting at the local coffee shop trying to get some work done, but you're just spinning your wheels and feeling in need of a break. Stay in your seat because come Halloween you'll be able to purchase Pinnacle's
PCTV HD Ultimate stick, plug it into your laptop's USB port, then sit back and watch some high-definition television on your laptop. The stick has a small antennae that picks up both high-definition and analog broadcasts from the airwaves so you'll have quite the choice in programming to choose from. There is no software installation required for use and the stick has about 2 hours of flash memory so you can record you're favorite shows.
Continue reading: "Pinnacle's PCTV HD Ultimate: High Def Solution For TV-Watching Laptop Afficiondos"
The date: February 17, 2009. The significance: the end of analog television. In approximately a year and a half, television will be digital-only. What better way to prepare for this than to start looking at digital televisions now. If you want to be sure that your TV has the right technical specifications for "the big switch", your best bet is to look at a premium brand such as Pioneer. Because they target the top-end of the digital market, they tag their products with premium prices. Keep in mind though, that when it comes to digital television you definitely get what you pay for!
Definitely take a look at the Pioneer PDP-5080HD 50" 720p Plasma HDTV
(picture above). This is first high definition television out there that has been truly able to capture the artist's intended image on screen. The 1365 x 768 high-definition resolution and a newly developed cell structure with improved crystal emissive layer means for the first time a high-def TV is really able to capture blacks and darker colors on screen. This has been one of the downfalls of high-def TVs since they hit the market and higher end models such as those produced by Pioneer are the first to get a handle on the issue. Clear digital sound capabilities, a screen that automatically adjusts to lighting conditions in the room, and a simplistic but sleek design that looks great but isn't distracting all add to the value of this product.
Here are some related products you may find interesting:
Pioneer KURO PDP-6010FD 60" 1080p Plasma HDTV
Pioneer KURO PDP-5010FD 50" 1080p Plasma HDTV
Pioneer PDP-4280HD 720p Plasma HDTV
Back in May, Sony unveiled a revolutionary new type of screen for electronic devices. Called organic electroluminescent display (OLED), the screen is paper-thin and is actually flexible as it is made of a malleable glass substrate. The screen, which uses TFT technology to maintain picture clarity and screen thickness when bent, has now been utilized by designer Yeon-shin Seung to create a rather futuristic looking portable DVD player.
Because the screen is flexible, the player is very thin and shaped more like a chocolate bar than the usual thicker, boxy designs typical of portable DVD players up until now. The DVD player is split into two halves much like the typical models, but rather than flipping the screen up you twist the top layer so the two halves are perpendicular to each other and the screen unfolds. The DVD slips into an open tray in the back and there you go. Hard to visualize I know, but take a look at the pictures below for some guidance.
While this product is a prototype at the moment, look for portable DVD players to be the next step in the utilization of OLED technology. There have been prototypes of OLED TVs for three or four years now, but screen life has been a major drawback to putting these products on the market. However, technologies with smaller screens such as MP3 players have been using OLED for awhile. Pay attention to this technology. As engineers learn more about it, look for it in the television screens of the future.
Via Yanko Design
At just 32 inches, Sony Bravia XBR KDL-32XBR4 32 inch LCD HDTV is selling like hot cakes and want to know why? Like larger sized '07 XBR models, this model includes key XBR picture quality features such as Motionflow 120Hz for smoother motion and exceptional resolution in fast moving scenes 10-bit panel and processing with 64 times gradation expression over current 8-bit panels and Live Color Creation featuring the WCG-CCFL backlight for an awesome range of vivid colors. Okay - that was mouthful, but you get the idea, for much less money you get all the high end XBR features.
Additionally, the 32XBR4 features our BRAVIA Engine EX to reduce digital artifacts and improve overall picture clarity and color performance. So, if you're looking at a 32" sized set - this one is for you.
At Sony Bravia XBR KDL-32XBR4 32 inch LCD HDTV
September 20, 2007
Sure it's more a gaming PC, but come on - look at it! It's a monster media center for watching TV in the making. The Blackbird features an aluminum casing, liquid cooling, LED lit interiors and back panels, an open BIOS to allow overclocking, and can be customized to include an array of various CPU,GPU, and RAM options. We think just playing some PC games on our 40" LCD TV has to happen with this thing. Wow.
Via acquire at HP Blackbird
September 19, 2007
We aren't big fans yet, and prefer to watch ER, but you can now get Grey's Anatomy - The Complete Third Season on DVD. We may pick up one, two and three just to get in with these uber cool Grey people - or maybe not. It’s "all pleasure and no guilt," lauds USA Today. So maybe we are missing a great show in Grey's.
At Grey's Anatomy - The Complete Third Season
September 18, 2007
Want 3D color management system, a contrast ratio of 15,000:1, an advanced lens shifting function, and full HD resolution? The Sanyo plv z2000 projector delilvers this and more. Video input includes two HDMI 1.3 ports, component inputs, composite, and S-Video. It is capable of projecting a 100" diagonal image from 10 to 20 feet away, making this suitable for those who have small home theater. The Sanyo PLV-Z2000 will hit US shores sometime in October at a retail price of $2,995.99.
Via Ubergizmo at Sanyo PLV z2000 LCD Projector
September 17, 2007
Want to get the weather and sports scores on your remote? Acoustic Research has announced a new Wi-Fi remote that can do just that. Available in October, the gadget's built-in Wi-Fi technology allows you to use your connection to get the latest weather reports, sports scores, headlines and what's playing on your favorite channels right to the color LCD display on your remote control. The ARRU449 can handle everything from your DVD player to your DVR to a satellite receiver, and it's only going to cost you $399.99.
Via Gizmodo at Acoustic Research
Continue reading: "Get Weather and Sport Scores on Acoustic Research's WiFi Remote"
September 14, 2007
Shiny Shiny has a really amazing article on the current state of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. From what they've found the stats are a nightmare - there are enough out there for each format to pick some stat and make it look like they're winning. For instance: Blu-ray discs are outselling HD-DVD discs 3:1. But, HD-DVD players are outselling Blu-ray players 3:1. Are the Blu-ray player owners buying a hell of a lot more films? Nope, it's all about the PS3. Because the PS3 has the Blu-Ray player - it's already got a huge installed base.
And, there's no doubt that you're going to have to invest somewhere - by 2011 it's predicted that 60% of homes will have an HD ready TV, but only 20% will receive HD from their television provider. So, this missing 40% are going to have to get their HD content from somewhere - and it's likely to be players, either standalone, laptops or games consoles.
Our answer is to buy a dual format player or just stick to DVD. Trust us - you're in no rush, and if you have a premium cable package the majority of good films show on the HD channels anyway. And if you have to rush out - get a PS3 or the Xbox HD-DVD option for your Xbox 360.
Via Shiny Shiny
September 13, 2007
This is an instant competitor to the Apple TV and here's why: the compact box has a choice of 80GB or 250GB hard-drives and a plethora of connectivity including HDMI (outputting 720p Hi-Def), WiFi, USB 2.0 and ethernet and plays a ton of formats out to your TV. It also seamlessly integrates with the Archos portable media player, and has support for Flash. It's available now, priced at £179 ($361) for the 80GB and £259 ($523) for the 250GB.
Via SlashGear at archosfunctionality
September 12, 2007
Opposable Thumbs is reporting that the PS3 will re-emerge with two SKUs this holiday season: a $499 80GB model and a $399 40GB model. The $100 cheaper 40GB model would be a great move and perfect to cannibalize Xbox 360 and Wii sales. If this goes official, it'd be the best news we've heard about the PS3 in a while, but still not the $350 dollar price point we'd like to see.
September 11, 2007
There are more details emerging all the time for the new PlayTV tuner and DVR announced for the PS3. The unit will apparently be coming to Europe "early in 2008" with other territories to follow. The new box will feature two 1080p tuners, which utilize the European Digital Video Broadcasting system (DVB-T) -- so that makes a US version unlikely. The system will allow you to store recorded broadcasts on your PS3 drive, and also transcode and transfer the saved files to your PSP. Additionally, you'll be able to use the PSP's "Remote Play" feature to program and watch your PlayTV away from home.
What we don't like is the amount of storage - we're talking maybe 5 hours or so of recording time. And why no US version? I'd really like to have this for my PS3 - besides Heavenly Sword or the upcoming games - it's just sitting there.
September 10, 2007
The Meivo E4300 was designed to offer a total solution for those who want to watch television, browse the Internet, manage DVDs and other encoded media and of course act as a full-blown PC, it's a good indication of the sort of combo product we can expect to see in every home within the next decade. The entire unit is enclosed within the LCD screen's casing, sandwiched between two 3W speakers to accompany the built in 6W sub-woofer. It features a 22 inch screen and it comes with Vista Home Premium preloaded, along with a wireless mouse and keyboard and remote control to access and control the Media Center functionality.
Step on over to Pocket-lint.co.uk for the full review and specs.
You can watch TV just about anywhere you want to go with the Coby TF-TV705 7" Portable Widescreen LCD TV. We like the multiple input types, and think this is perfect for the family truckster that's missing the DVD on the go.
The small portable LCD TV includes:
- Rechargeable Battery
- AC Adapter - DC Car Adapter
- NTSC TV Tuner / AV Input for optional Game Console or DVD
- Easel Stand for Viewing
- Headphone Jack for Private Listening
- High-Output Stereo Speakers Integrated Viewing
- Full-Function Remote Control
At Coby TF-TV705 7" Portable Widescreen LCD TV
September 7, 2007
Tired of killing your remote when you spill your coffee or try and use it in the hot tub? The universal remote from Remote Technologies Inc. is completely waterproof and has a slew of new features you'll want in your remote. The remote features RF transmissions so you won't have to be in the line of sight as you clean up that coffee spill. The bummer? It's going to set you back $500 to get it, but after you realize you've purchased 10 remotes in the past due to total spill destruction, it will be well worth it.
Via OhGizmo! at TV Remote
A new study shows that the set-top box (STB) market will grow steadily through the end of the decade, fueled by interactive features, PVR functionality and the possibility of retail STB channel. Hell - we have a TIVO, TIVO HD, Comcast HD-DVR, Xbox 360, Wii, and a PS3 in our house - all streaming set-top box wonders. The ”Worldwide Set-Top Box Market Analysis,” conducted by market research firm ABI Research, predicts that the spike in sales will subside by 2010 when consumers complete the upgrades to their home entertainment systems, and perhaps like us - own 6 already. :-)
“There’s a war going on in the trences for TV customers,” says ABI Research vice president and research director Stand Schatt. “In an effort to lock in customers, cable operators are migrating to newer STBs that offer features such as personal video recorders [PVR] and high definition support. Meanwhile, telecom operators are leveraging IPTV technology to support interactive services.”
At Set-Top Box Market to Thrive, Research Shows
September 6, 2007
Thanks Apple. We're actually kinda excited about the new models of iPods and Touch Screen iPods you've put out this week. After a week trip recently with our 8gb iPhone, we realize on a trip or plane, train, or automobile, having something to watch podcasts or Frisky Dingo can be a plus. The new models have better screens, a mix of storage sizes, and the prices are better.
Finally a touch screen iPod for TV viewing and listening to tunes.
Also - if you want to finally get the "One-Pod" or the "Pod to Rule them All" - the iPhone has been reduced to $399 for the 8gb model. I can't say I'm not a little bummed I paid over $200 more, but the last few months have been amazing with my iPhone and it's the best $200 for portable TV, music, movies, and weather I've ever spent.
Check the new iPods out.
Mirror mirror on my wall, who's the fairest kid of them all? The one who owns a Disney LCD TV. Disney will release a set of this fall and the list will include: a Disney Flix Video Camera and a 15" High School Musical LCD TV using LCD panels from Sharp. The latter also comes in Disney Princess, Hannah Montana, and Pirates of the Caribbean styles. There are also Disney iPod-compatible speakers that feature AM/FM tuners and alarm clocks to keep your iPod-toting disney crazed kid happy. The Disney Flix Video Camera, LCD TV, and Disney iPod speakers retail for $100, $300, and $70.
September 5, 2007
Vizio is now the biggest seller of HDTV sets in America. We've got a Vizio ourselves - the 42" model and we love it. Just last Christmas we purchased it over the more expensive Sony or Sharp because it had all the features we wanted - HDMI, good sound, and a big picture. You won't find Vizio everywhere, but you will find them at Costco or your local Walmart and don't be scared - they're really solid and a great set.
For current deals on two sets that were big last season check out below.
Via I4U News
We know we've declared this the year of the soundbar, but you have to give Yamaha credit - they are making that call very easy. Yamaha's single unit surround sound bars have come a long way since the Yamaha Digital Sound Projector YSP-1000 made its debut, and the company's latest entry, the YSP-4000, continues this trend. With 1080p HDMI compatibility, analog video upscaling to 1080i / 720p, XM Neural Surround compatibility, optional iPod dock, and a host of calibration modes, including one designed to make compressed audio sources sound better, Yamaha is poised to dominate this market. They'll be out in October in the same price range of the older Yamaha Digital Sound Projector YSP-1000 model at $1799.
September 4, 2007
We love using our Mac-Mini for all things IPTV or streaming. We're really excited to see that Elgato has released the EyeTV 250 Plus. This is the first solution available on the Mac that contains a hybrid television tuner and a video converter with hardware encoding. In addition to containing a flexible television recorder, the successor model to EyeTV 250 includes a high quality solution for digitizing video cassettes and other analog video material. The package also includes Roxio Toast 8 Basic CD/DVD recording software, so that recordings can be burned to DVD-Video with one simple click of the mouse.
Via eHomeUpgrade at Elgato
Continue reading: "EyeTV 250 Plus Released Record TV and Convert Video on your Mac"
September 3, 2007
Engadget has a pretty amazing sneak preview of the new line of Toshiba LCD TVs that can be as large as 57 inches. YIKES! The features are pretty amazing too like:
- 120Hz / 10-bit IPS panel with 3x HDMI (1080/60p and 24p) supporting x.v.Color / DeepColor, 2x Firewire
- 3x Ethernet jacks for surfing the internet (browser built-in)
- streaming DLNA and DTCP-IP media from Tosh's own VARDIA recorders, Qosmio PCs, or your local NAS server
- 2x USB jacks and you've got an instant DVR
Prices start at ¥360,000 ($3,123) and run up to ¥950,000 ($8,242) for the 57-inch model.