Walmart looks to be pulling a fast one this Friday when 5 products will be featured at Black Friday-like prices, a full three weeks before Black Friday. One product is confirmed to be a $348 Acer laptop and the other four products are to remain secret until Thursday when they will be featured on the Walmart website, although they won't be available for purchase until the next day. The sale starts Friday at 8 AM on the dot. It'll be interesting to see if there are any leaks on the web tonight, but I'm sure with the anticipated popularity of HDTV's this holiday season, a TV deal will be featured. We'll keep you updated.
This is an absolutely ridiculous deal! Save $1800 off the list price of $4800 for the Pioneer PDP-6070HD 60" PureVision Plasma HDTV and pay only $2999.99! Amazing. The PDP-6070HD features full 1080p resolution, state-of-the-art deep encased cell structure, 10-bit video processing, and a wide viewing angle resulting in an absolutely incredible picture quality, deep blacks, and improved brightness. The model also features a fully integrated media receiver and a wide variety of inputs including 3 HDMI. If you're looking for a bigger, wider screen this deal can't be beaten!
Back at the Consumer Electronics show in January, Microsoft said they would have XBox 360 IPTV functionality in the hands of consumers by the end of 2007. It's looking that may not happen. Originally anticipated to be included with the upcoming fall 360 update, IPTV is the one feature that Microsoft has just announced would not be included with the update. The 360 IPTV will be delivered via a special version of Microsoft's Mediaroom software which will be available to service providers by year end. After that, it's really up to the service providers when the IPTV service will be available to consumers.
Rumors have been flying lately after an Xbox 360 console being serviced somehow revealed some of the the features of the IPTV including onscreen chat while viewing live TV, recorded television, and on-demand movies. Microsoft has stated that the leak is unrelated to the fall update.
All in all, the 360 TV service is obviously in the works and looks to be coming soon. By the end of 2007, probably not. Check out screenshots of the leak below.
For all of you DLP projector fans out there, here is a sweet deal for you! The Mitsubishi HC1500 is selling right now for $867.76, a huge $627 off the list price of $1495! That's a full 42% off, and what's more, if you order today it will be shipped for free and you'll have it by tomorrow. The HC1500 boasts 720p resolution, 1600 ANSI lumens, a 2500:1 contrast ratio, and TI DDP3020 Dark Chip 2 technology with Brilliant Color. Depending on the size of your room, the HC1500 can project images from 40" to 275" diagonally with a crisp, clear picture. Can't get a much better projector deal than this!
HD Guru has an exclusive first review of Samsung's LN-T4081F LED-backlit LCD TV. Measuring in a 40" and priced at $2999.99, the T4081 provides the "highest LCD panel motion resolution ever measured, accurate color and the best black levels and dynamic rated contrast ratio (would you believe 500,000:1) of any flat panel". The guru recommends this set as a definite buy.
JVC recently wowed the world with their 110 inch LCD set at the IFA in Berlin, but they just keep getting bigger. The Japanese company Shinoda announced at a press conference in Kobe, Japan on Friday that by the end of 2008 they will release a 142 plasma panel using "plasma tube array" technology. Manufacturers will have to install the display panels into their own sets and as of yet there are no customers, but just imagine a screen measuring 12 feet from corner to corner sitting in your living room! Not many details yet and no pictures, but the display will feature a high-def resolution of 720p, a contrast ratio of 10000:1 and most likely be priced in the six figures!
Samsung unveiled the world's fastest DVD burner today, the Super-WriteMaster™ SH-S203N, featuring 16X dual layer recording and LightScribe™ technology. The model is a 20X Serial ATA (SATA) DVD burner that supports all CD/DVD discs including DVD-RAM. It can back-up a whopping 8.4 GB of data or video to a disc and offers a 30-40% improvement in recording time for dual layer drives. The Lightscribe technology allows users to add labels, designs, and photos onto CD or DVD discs by either creating their own designs or selecting from pre-designed labels included with the burner. The SH-S203N also includes Speed Adjustment Technology, Tilt Actuator Compensation, Double Optimum Power Control, Buffer Under Run Error, and the Automatic Ball Balancing System. The burner will be shipping across the US and retailing for $79.99.
Sharp will be releasing the Aquos P hybrid LCD series November 22 in Japan. The hybrids are designed to either be used for high-def television viewing or as a computer monitor. To be released in 22", 26" and 32" sets, all three sizes feature full 1080p HD resolution through either DVI, VGA, or one of the two available HDMI inputs. An interesting feature is the picture-in-picture mode which lets the user keep tabs on a TV show while using the the computer! One difference between the models is the contrast ratio which varies from 1200:1 to 2000:1 from the smallest to largest set respectively. This is definitely a product I could use. Sit and blog while watching the newest CSI episode...that's the life!
Save $450 today on a Sharp Aquos LC32D62U 32" 1080p LCD HDTV. Not bad, 1080p under a $1000. Pay only $949 as compared to the usual $1399.99 list price. The Sharp Aquos not only features full 1080p HD resolution, but also a 10000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, a lightning fast 6ms response time, and dual 1080p HDMI terminals. The LC32D62U utilizes the next generation of Sharp's proprietary Advanced Super View/Black TFT Panel with multi-pixel technology meaning enhanced blacks and prime picture quality. Amazing deal, take advantage of it!
NBC/Fox's Hulu video platform has just been released in private beta today, but some early product reviews are in. Most reviews are positive, but Silicon Valley Insider's Henry Blodget gives us a few pointers to remember before we make our final decision regarding Hulu's future success. Most of the positive reviews so far are just based on the ability for the user to watch TV and movies; however, Hulu owns none of this content. Nor do they have exclusive rights to the majority of the content, meaning it can also be found elsewhere. Hulu only gets 20-30% of overall platform revenues as they are responsible for their own overhead costs such as that of streaming video. If they involve a distribution partner at any point, the 20-30% will likely be halved. Because content is not exclusive, Hulu will not become a destination site and will likely have to involve a distribution partner at some point. As I write this, a just-released New York Times article states that the company already has five: Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo, MySpace, and Comcast. Even though NBC pulled their content from YouTube in support of Hulu, rumor is YouTube will probably be Hulu's primary distribution partner and their largest driver of site traffic. Does that mean that YouTube will demand more than half of the 20-30% of platform revenues for their part in Hulu's traffic? One thing that we do know for sure is that Hulu content is absolutely plastered with advertising. Hopefully the advertisers see some success out of this controversial product.
The Sears Black Friday deals are out. Here they are:
Hitachi 42" 720p Plasma HDTV - $599.99 Olevia 52" LCD HDTV - $1,299.99 Sharp 42" LCD HDTV - $799.99 Sharp 46" LCD HDTV - $899.99 Panasonic 56" LCD TV - $1199.99
Panasonic DVD Camcorder With 32X Optical - $199.99
Panasonic Hybrid Camcorder - $449.99
Samsung DVD Camcorder - $199.99
Sandisk 1GB SD Card - $9.99
Select DVDs - $4.99
Sharp 19" LCD TV With DVD Player - $299.99 Sharp Aquos 46" LCD HDTV - $999.99
Singing Machine Deluxe Portable Karaoke System - $49.99
Singing Machine Monitor/Music Video Camera - $79.99
Sony 40" W-Series 1080p LCD HDTV With 3 HDMI Inputs - $1999.99 Sony 800 Watt Home Theater System - $149.99
Sony 8" Portable DVD Player - $179.99
Sony Camcorder - $999.99
Sony Cyber-Shot 5.8 Megapixel Digital Camera - $89.99 Sony DVD Direct MC5 Multi-Function DVD Recorder - $199.99
Sony DVD Handycam Camcorder - $349.99
Sony Fox Or Paramount DVDs - $8.99
Sony Superlight In The Ear Headphones - 50% Off
Sony Wireless Headphones - $29.99 Sylvania 42" Full 1080p LCD HDTV - $899.99
Three Pack Value Games - $8.99 Toshiba HD DVD Player - $169.99
Venturer 19" LCD TV - $199.99 Visio 32" LCD HDTV - $598.00
Zenith Dual DVD VCR Player 57807 - $39.99
Notice the 32" LCD's look to be under $600 this black Friday and I'm curious if the Toshiba HD DVD player for $169.99 is the HD-A2 that has just broken the $200 barrier at Circuit City and Walmart.
Update: It looks like the unknown Toshiba HD DVD model is actually the higher-end HD-A3 for $169.99. Great deal!
News that Walmart was set to sell an HD DVD player for under $200 was great, but now Circuit City has jumped on the bandwagon and is featuring the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player for only $197.99! It gets better though. With your purchase you get 5 free HD DVD's! With this kind of price competition going on, sock some money away for Black Friday because it's beginning to look like there'll be some downright unbelievable deals!
This is one of the most amazing home theater installations I've ever seen. Robb Report's 2007 Installation Of The Year, found in an Austin, Texas home needs three electrical panels just for the media center! Entry into the theater moves you through two bronze doors with cast figures of lions. All of the fabrics found in the theater are hand-screened and hand-embroidered, sconces were cast from original antiques and even the carpet was hand-made. The gilding is composed of 24-karat gold and sound moves through 24 12 inch subwoofers, CAT/MBX speakers and amplifiers. The style of the room is based on early 20th century Parisian opera houses, and the crimson coloration and wood finish were designed to reduce brightness and light reflection. The picture, on an 8 foot screen, is provided by a Runco MBX-1 projector, commercial-grade that can cast images up to 40 feet wide.
The massive main equipment cabinet is cooled by 24000 BTUs of air conditioning, audio cables were cut to their precise lengths, and all RCA connectors were hand-soldered. In total, there are 38 audio zones in this home theater with the cheapest speakers costing $2000. Even the pivots the bronze doors swing on took a year to produce and cost $6000. In the end, the project took about 5 years and cost about $3.4 million. Wow!
In case you're looking to buy an Xbox 360 for Christmas, you may like to know that an Xbox Pro Bundle is appearing for $350 including 2 games: Forza 2 and Marvel Ultimate Alliance. So far the deal has been spotted in one Best Buy and numerous GameStops around the US. With the Xbox 360 still often priced at $350 as a stand-alone product, you may want to wait until this deal shows up at an electronics retailer near you.
I have to admit I'm a big fan of productivity blogs. One of my favorites is the Ririan Project where I found an article entitled "8 Little-Known Ways to Think More Effectively". One of those ways is to learn how to do two things at once. This is where you TV lovers come in, especially if you own two. Check out below how you can be a more effective thinker by watching TV courtesy of the Ririan Project!
"One of the simplest ways to learn how to do two things at once without dividing your attention is to put two TVs next to each other, switch them to different channels, and try to listen to both at once. See how much information you can swallow from each and try not to miss a thing.
Once you’re able to do this well, you can use the TVs to learn how to resist distractions. So, instead of trying to take in everything from both TVs, concentrate on one programme and ignore the other. It’ll be hard at first, but be determined. When you think you’ve mastered it, lower the volume on the set you’re watching and raise it on the one you’re not. If it doesn’t drive you crazy first, this technique is guaranteed to teach you how to pay attention effectively".
DaweVision's BabelTV launches November 6. The set-top box device allows users to watch and listen to all Freeview TV and radio stations combined with personal video recording and internet access capabilities. Basically, the simple-to-use device can be plugged into a Freeview aerial and broadband connection enabling TiVo-like control over television programming, access to internet TV, and even allows you to shop online! Any internet-related process like storing photos, managing emails, downloading mp3's, even making Skype calls can be done through the box. And since it's managed remotely by a Babel technical team, no tech know-how is required to operate it. Enviro-conscious consumers will be happy to know that the Babel box only consumes 15 watts of power rather than the typical 60 watts of most set-top boxes and whopping 150 watts for a computer. The boxes will be made available November 6 at the BabelTV website for 295 pounds. Oh, and by the way, Freeview is a UK-based signal provider which means no Babel TV for us North Americans. Interesting news nonetheless.
For all of you car enthusiasts out there, and for all of you parents out there who are tired of screaming children in the backseat, you may be interested at the in-dash Panasonic Blu-ray player that just debuted at the 2007 Tokyo Car Show. The player supports all of the typical Blu-ray features including BD-Java playback, simply connects to an LCD screen in your vehicle via an HDMI cable. Simple as that. Other than these details though, there isn't much else to report. So far no release date, price, or model number has been announced.
Apparently the king of HD DVD, Toshiba, has launched a new portable DVD player. The SD-P120DT features a 12" screen, digital TV tuner, HDMI at either 720p or 1080i resolution, and a just plain cool design. The player is also compatible with DivX, MP3, and WMA files. This would make a great Christmas gift for someone, but we're pretty sure with availability limited to Japan at the moment, you better save some money for shipping.
It seems Toshiba will be releasing a sub-$200 HD-A2 HD DVD player to be sold in Wal-mart stores. Although the unit is not set to be sold until November 3rd, the picture above seems to be confirmation. Not alot of details yet other than each store is to get 18 units and the item is "non-replenishable" meaning that the low-cost unit could be a one-time special offer. If it is, make sure you're at Wal-mart early on the 3rd, as the HD-A2 will probably move fast!
Wish you had a TV lift but don't have the money to blow buying one? Good news for you then, because we've found a DIY guide to making a TV lift for about $500 and it only takes 3 hours. If you have a dresser you can use, it'll be even cheaper!
Save a huge $455 on the TiVo TCD648250B Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder today. Regularly priced at $800, this TiVo is now $544.99 and comes with a $200 mail-in rebate bringing the price down to only $344.99. Wow! That's not all though. If you purchase this TiVo today, shipping to your home is free. This is the world's first THX-certified DVR, has a recording capacity of 300 hours or 25-35 hours of high-def, and allows you to record two digital channels at once, even while watching a pre-recorded show! Works good, looks good...get up with the times and get one today!
Wired Magazine conducted a test of the 47" Olevia 747i LCD TV and determined it may be worth trading your child in for one. The TV's video-processing chip fixed up the worst videos tested on it, the design is killer, and the functionality from a user's point of view is a piece of cake. This is an HDTV that's actually pretty simple to figure out. A sheet of glass covers the LCD panel protecting it, the sound was deemed to be excellent and the remote can control up to 7 different aspects of your home theater system from your DVD player to your set-top box. This baby sells for $2499 and Wired gave it a final score of 9 out of 10!
Designed by Phillip Schnizer, the Flatlift Diamond TV lift features 25 handpolished layers with 50 carats of diamond dust sprinkled in. The drawers are automated, and in the top middle of the stand is a Flatlift Pop Up Platinum TV lift. The lift can withdraw the TV into the stand and a glossy wood plate covers the top. On the right side of the stand is a Flatlift Hi-Fi Bar lift that can conceal all your accessories such as HD DVD player, sound system, and set-top box. Also, the backside and base of the stand contains LED lights of which you can change the colors. Of course, the best part of this awesome TV lift is the fact that it only costs $142000! Only!
Listen up lonelygirl15 fans. Starting tomorrow and going throughout the weekend, extended episodes of LG15 will air on the front page of MySpaceTV and the lonelygirl15 website at 10 AM PST each day. The show's producers will air a recap video of the phenomenally successful August season finale to go along with the final episode. Rock band "Something For Rockets" will also be debuting their new single "Beautiful Life" during the broadcast.
Save a whopping $800 today on the Samsung FPT5084 50" 1080p Plasma HDTV paying only $2199.99 as compared to the usual $3000 price tag! The FPT5084 features full 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, a 15000:1 dynamic contrast ration, and 18-bit color processing resulting in deep blacks, white whites, and impressive color and sharpness. Enjoy a wide-viewing angle that'll give you a crisp picture no matter where you are in the room and how bright your environment is while at the same time being blown away by theater-quality sound from the FPT5084's SRS TruSurround XT system and 10-watt per channel audio amplifier. Also featuring a game mode and 3 HDMI connections, the FPT5084 is your best buy for all your hi-def video and gaming needs!
CNET TV- a review of MySpaceTV's new original series, "Roommates".
Gizmodo-Netflix considers distributing movies via game consoles and set-top boxes.
NewTeeVee-online animated video startup, JibJab Media, raises $3 million.
CNET News-new information on Samsung's new HD DVD/Blu-ray combo player and the cancellation of the new Blu-ray playing BD-P2400.
Scobleizer-check out this excellent video discussing the future of home entertainment.
The FCC has leaked some details regarding Sling Media's new Slingcatcher. The box features analog, digital, and HDMI audio connections as well as composite, component, and HDMI connections for video. It comes with an ethernet slot to hook up to your network and also 2 USB slots apparently because Sling Media will soon release a USB wireless adapter so the Slingcatcher can connect to your network sans wires. Leaked specs also show an amazing flexibility in the new media streamer with support for WMV, MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264 and XviD video in a wide range of file formats.
AT&T exec Mark Collins says mobile video isn't taking off because the economics of it do not yet work. All the big US cellular carriers are looking at how to monetize mobile video, but there is not yet an intersection between the price customers are willing to pay and the costs of bringing the content to mobile phones. Especially when alot of the content can be found elsewhere for low-cost or in alot of cases, absolutely free. Collins also stated that mobile video is the antithesis of American consumer behavior at the moment, where the bigger the HDTV, the better.
What type of content would you want to see on mobile phones and how much would you pay for it? Leave your answers in the comments.
Today you'll save $610 or 31% on this LCD paying only $1389 compared to the usual $2000 price tag. The Samsung LNT features full 1080p resolution, 15000:1 contrast ration, and 5 different input slots including 3 HDMI. It also features an 8 ms response time for a smooth picture and built-in speakers. So if you're looking for a mid-size LCD that displays rich blacks, beautiful textures, and smooth motion even during the fastest scenes, the Samsung LNT4065F is for you!
The numbers are in for the the Blu-ray/HD DVD battle in the first 9 months of 2007 and so far it's been a blow out for Blu-ray. With 2.6 million units sold between January 1 and September 30, Blu-ray comfortably outsold HD DVD players by a margin of almost 2 to 1. Even though HD DVD players only sold in the number of 1.4 million for the same period, supporters in the HD DVD camp believe the battle will begin to even out before the end of the year with the help of newly-released titles such as Transformers that have web-enabled features. The 18 month exclusivity deal signed by Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation to solely distribute their next-generation discs in HD DVD format should play a role as well. A huge factor in the success of Blu-ray has been the popularity of the Playstation 3 game console which supports the format, but in general experts say consumer confusion regarding the two different formats has decreased sales for both. That's one reason why we will probably see increased sales in dual format players that support both Blu-ray and HD DVD. LG already markets the dual players and Samsung should have a model hitting store shelves sometime during the holiday shopping season.
Electronista-Western Digital releases new version of My DVR Expander hard drive certified for Tivo Series 3 and HD recorders.
Rapid TV News-Apple to release hi-def content on iTunes?
Treehugger-Hollywood huge polluter but making steps in the right direction.
Business Wire-new extreme sport video website, "Shred Or Die" launched; features Tony Hawk.
Register-Transformers sets first day HD DVD sales record.
Earth2Tech-check out emPivot, the "green" YouTube.
According to Colin McGranahan, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, the best HDTV deals this coming Black Friday will probably be in larger plasma sets. He has forecasted that plasma prices will be about 25% lower than a year ago, while LCD's will be about 15-19% lower. That means it will be likely you'll be able to find a plasma set in the 42" range for less than $600! There are expected to be possible supply shortages for brands such as Vizio and Olevea as people are flocking to their lower prices already. This will be seen especially in the 20-32" range. On the other hand, top manufacturers such as Sony and Samsung have been losing market share to their lower priced competitors this year and with excess supply, maybe we'll see some hot deals.
Continuing the "thin is in" trend, Hitachi has announced the Wooo UT Series LCD TV's, that at 35 mm thin are the thinnest LCD's currently in production. One of the reasons Hitachi was ability to achieve such a remarkable level of thinness is externalizing the tuner. It accompanies the TV, but is located outside of the box. The external tuner features 3 HDMI inputs, an iVDR recorder, an Ethernet slot and an SD/MMC slot. The television itself has one HDMI input, two built-in 6 watt speakers, and a wide-viewing angle making for a pleasureful viewing experience. The series will come in three sizes of 32", 37" and 42". Costing $2011, $2886, and $3760 respectively, the 37" and 42" models feature full 1080p HD resolution and the 32" model features a pixel resolution of 1366 x 768. How thin will we go!? Maybe something like this...
Unfortunately, the model will only be released in Japan at the moment, but should hit the US next year. No word yet if the above prices will carry-over to the States, but we doubt it! Oh, and one more thing, the girl in the picture above is NOT included with the TV!
Save $400 today on this 32", 1080p resolution LCD TV. Regularly priced at $1400, today you pay only $999 and that includes free shipping. The Sharp Aquos features 10000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and a blazing 6 ms response time meaning a clear, defect-free picture. The model's design allows for wide viewing angles, includes 2 HDMI inputs and 2 HD component video inputs. So if you're looking to break into the 32" market and want a breathtaking LCD experience with enhanced blacks and no defects, this model's for you!
Panasonic has released two PT-A200 series home projectors. The PT-AX200E aims at the gaming market with a resolution of 720p, a quick response time of 5ms and optimized signal processing for game content. It's Light Harmonizer 2 technology senses ambient light levels and adjusts the picture so the picture display is crisp and clear in any lighting conditions. It also features 2000 lumen brightness, reduced noise amplification, and a 2x optical zoom lens. It's now available in Europe for $1499 Euros.
The second model, the PT-AE2000E features 1080p resolution and is aimed at the "home theater enthusiast" market. It features 1500 lumen brightness, a 16000:1 color contrast ratio, 16 bit processing and 3 HDMI inputs. The projector is available in Europe now although no pricing details have been revealed.
Yes I know, we didn't feature the Snob News links yesterday. I was sick as a dog and was in bed pretty much as soon as I got home yesterday evening. We'll give you a double-dose today to make sure you're up on the recent happenings in the industry.
Okay everyone, the boss is going to be kicking my ass for this one, so this pic is up for a limited time only! After that it'll just be a link. Check out Art Lebedev's Piltius remote control, the remote with as many buttons as there are channels on a TV. While maybe not quite, but at 20 inches or a half meter long, you'll never lose this one!
Sorry Jay, you have to admit this is kinda funny! I'll change the pic to a link later! Oh, by the way, this baby runs on two AAA batteries.
MySpaceTV revealed late last night that today at 4 PM eastern, the first episode of "Roommates" will air on the social network's video platform. The show is the first original series to broadcast on Rupert Murdoch's News Corp-owned site. Produced by Iron Sink Media and sponsored by Ford Motor Company's 2008 Focus, "Roommates" will run through December 21st with new 3-minute minisodes airing each day Monday to Friday at 4 PM eastern.
The series will follow the lives of four female college grads living in Los Angeles and utilize a real-time "polling tool" through which viewer opinions on the characters and plot will influence the show's direction. Characters will have web profiles on which viewers can comment and a chat tool will be available where fans can chat with each other. By the way, the fact that this is an original series means it is scripted. Thank goodness, not another reality TV show!
The TakeTV portion of the SanDisk Sansa TakeTV will debut sometime today as SanDisk will be unveiling the TakeTV video portal, Fanfare, to accompany the USB flash drive. The portal works by allowing users to download television shows and full-length feature films onto their computers (from such partners as Sony, Paramount and CBS), move them to the flash drive which is then plugged into the TV...and there you have it!
Save $800 on this beauty today paying only $1999.98 compared to the usual price of $2800. With full 1080p HD, a 15000:1 contrast ratio, plenty of inputs including 3 HDMI, and excellent blacks, this fantastically designed TV is the ultimate Black Friday purchase on a plain old Monday! Someone you know want an LCD TV this Christmas and you won't be sorry wrapping this one up for that special someone!
We were pretty sure that the FCC was behind Best Buy's decision to remove televisions with analog-only tuners from their shelves, but we were also anxious to hear the rest of the story. No surprise then to find out that the FCC has been cracking down on retailers selling analog sets by handing out a whopping fine of $8000 per model, per store. That brings a whole new meaning to thin profit margins! Stores with remaining analog sets in their inventory can still sell them, but only with accompanying info explaining their limitations in the near future. Apparently only 12 infractions so far; not surprising with such a hefty fine.
TVSnob has received a couple of the best videos so far from the LG "Life's Good When..." Video Contest. If you want to enter, you have until November 10th to submit a video and have a chance to win $30000 in prizes! Check out the vids below; they're impressive.
Pretty deep for a YouTube video, eh?
Just plain hilarious! We'll feature more of the best entries throughout the contest!
Wired mag's Compiler blog did a nice little round-up of "The Future of Video on the Web" presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit is San Francisco Friday. The presentation panel featured Current CEO Joel Hyatt, Joost CEO Mike Volpi and moderator Om Malik of GigaOm. The pressing question: Is television dead?
Absolutely not was the consensus among the pair of CEO's. Hyatt made a good point when he said the only problem with television today is that "most television sucks" and that if TV was dead "people wouldn't spend 4 hours a day watching it, "we wouldn't be spending billions of dollars to bring it to the internet". Good point Joel.
Joost's Volpi stated that the major networks still haven't grasped the fact that "the internet is the best place to put cutting edge and fresh content". Perhaps the most interesting info to come out of the panel was the fact that Joost is apparently working on a browser-based experience rather than just relying on the stand-alone platform they currently use. We should see it sometime "not too far in the distant future".
The speed of development in the television industry is so unbelievably rapid these days. Unfortunately for this writer at TVSnob, there is not enough time in the day to cover all the events, product releases, and news. So starting today, TVSnob will feature a daily posting called Snob News. The posting will consist of interesting links that you will find captivating being the TV afficiondo you are. So for October 20, 2007, here goes.
Buy.com has leaked some info about the Sansa TakeTVTM video player. While not available yet, and no word on pricing either, we're sure it'll be out soon. It makes watching web video on your TV a piece of cake, requiring no burning, encoding, or Wi-fi setups. All you have to do is plug it into your USB port, transport the video files to the TakeTV player, connect it to any standard TV Supported AV Output on your TV, and voila! All you have to do now is sit down and press play on the included remote.
The player works with Windows Vista and XP, supports DivX, xVid, MPEG-4 video formats and supplies a resolution of up to 720x576 (D1) at a bitrate of up to 7Mbps. Very cool!
Even though LCD TV's dominate the HDTV market, plasma TV's still rule the dimly lit home theater experience. The Hitachi P50H401 features 1280 x 1080 resolution, 16-bit/281 trillion color capability, and 3 HDMI inputs. It's sleek industrial design emphasizes the picture to the extent that you don't even notice the screen is in a frame; not to mention, the picture setting and tuning technology that adjusts your picture for whatever lighting conditions you may have. Definitely a wise choice for plasma fans!
If you happen to walk in to a Best Buy store today, don't expect to walk out with an analog TV. As of yesterday, Best Buy removed all analog products from store shelves after being told October 1st to cease selling anything solely utilizing analog transmissions. This is in preparation for the big day coming up, February 17, 2009, when all cable broadcasts will become digital.
If you already have an analog TV, you know, one of those half-ton wood encased giant tubes that's made a permanent indent on your living room floor, early in 2008 Best Buy will begin selling analog-to-digital converters, so don't fret to much.
Marantz will be releasing a new high-contrast 1080p DLP projector mid-November in Japan. With a price tag of 980000 yen or $8471 plus tax, the VP-15S1 features a contrast ratio of 10000:1, 1000 lumen brightness, and minimal sound operation. The 1.45x zoom factor projector exploits 12-bit color processing with dual HDMI 1.3 inputs or analog HD through dual component inputs or a VGA connection. No word yet on any international releases.
Wal-mart also had a scanned ad posted, but the chain store's legal team sent the site a letter demanding it be taken down.
Sam's Club will also be opening their stores nationwide at 5 AM on Black Friday and will serve shoppers a continental breakfast until 9 AM. Just don't take to long to eat or the HDTV deals might all be gone!
Last week at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker announced that in an upcoming two part CSI: NY episode, Mac, played by Gary Sinise would pursue a killer through the online virtual world Second Life. The first episode of the series will air October 24 on CBS. A preview just went up on YouTube. Take a look, it looks interesting!
A Best Buy leaked ad supposed to be released October 21st, claims that the entire Heroes: Season One will be free with the purchase of an Xbox 360 HD DVD player. The Heroes freebie has a retail value of $99. This is on top of the 5 free DVD offer running with the player currently and the King Kong HD DVD included with the purchase. With the Xbox 360 HD DVD player priced at $180, the freebies are worth more than the original purchase. So are you a Bluray or HD DVD fan now?
Viacom's Comedy Central unveiled a web site yesterday for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The site will appeal to the most die-hard fans of the mock news show as it contains over 13000 video clips encompassing all of the shows' content back to 1999. Video clips are organized using tags so it's very simple to find what you are looking for if you can't remember the date of the show in question, though you can search using the date as well.
The web site launch is undoubtedly connected to Viacom's ongoing $1 billion copyright-infringement suit against YouTube. Comedy Central video clips are extremely popular on YouTube, yet the video platform never received permission, nor did they compensate Viacom for allowing users to post the copyrighted video clips. As a result of the lawsuit, Viacom realized the amount of advertising dollars being missed out on from not utilizing their huge database of clips was quite high.
YouTube finally did take a step forward against piracy Monday as they released a beta version of their "YouTube Video Identification" technology. The technology allows copyright holders to upload their video content to YouTube so that if someone uploads identical pirated content, it will be recognized. The actual owner of the content then has the option of having YouTube remove the pirated content or place advertising at the top of the video frames from which the owner would be entitled to full revenues.
Just today, a group of media companies including Viacom, NBC Universal, Microsoft and Disney among others, announced the release of a set of user-generated content principles that outline how both user-generated content sites and copyright holders should act in the prevention of copyrighted material going online from a source other than its owner. The biggest highlight of today's announcement was the absence of Google, owner of YouTube, on the list of companies forming the coalition. I would have to say though, that Google has made a more useful move by implementing technology to prevent pirated content on their platform rather than penning a set of principles on paper obviously pulled straight from the functionality of YouTube's video ID system.
The stylish, new ANPR1000H from Sharp is one of the hottest home theater systems around. There is something awesomely futuristic about its minimalist design. Besides design though, the system boasts up to 300W of power, and uses new "Audistry" sound reproduction technology, DTS, Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II Decoder, all from Dolby. The TV stand/sound system combo also features 2.1 channel surround sound and is energy efficient. It is a little pricey though: $1099.
Innovation has always been the name of the game in Japan and once again they're leading the pack. Nippon BS Broadcasting will be starting 3D broadcasts December 1st in Japan. The broadcaster will launch a Broadcast Satellite HD channel that will air specific 3D programs for at least 15 minutes, twice a day. Users will require a special receiver and glasses to view the programming.
The blog /film has a list of 55 must-see movies of 2008, many of which include trailers! An absolutely awesome list. Nothing like planning your movie-theater schedule six months in advance. So get out your calendar and set aside an hour or two and preview next year's movies!
Oh man, there is a Star Wars TV series in the works. Details are a little sketchy at the moment, but apparently George Lucas has "just began work" on the TV series which will emphasize the minor characters in the behemoth film franchise and will leave the Skywalkers' and Darth Vader out of the action all together. All Lucas would say otherwise is that the series will be about the "life of robots".
It was only last week that TVSnob reported the 9.1 software upgrade for TiVo that allows it to connect to the Rhapsody music service. Apparently users of TiVo's high-def boxes, the TiVo HD and TiVo Series3, already have access to the 9.2 software upgrade which supports external eSATA hard drives so that users will be able to record more hours of TV. While this upgrade hasn't yet been officially announced, there are a couple of official upgrades coming in the very near future.
The upgrades, once again for high-def boxes, are Multi-Room Viewing which allows the transfer of recorded shows to other TiVo's in the home and TiVo To Go which allows the transfer of recorded shows to networked PC's or portable media devices. Both are scheduled for November.
Sling announced today that the Palm OS version of the SlingPlayer Mobile is compatible with the new Palm Centro meaning you can stream live TV on your Centro from members of the Slingbox family. This has been a widely accepted rumor floating around the internet tech community for awhile now as the Mobile is also compatible with Palm's previous two 3G smartphones, the Treo 700p and 755p.
Things are really moving in the mobile TV market lately. USA Today reported earlier today that local broadcasters will be soon broadcasting their programming at low cost or for free to all types of mobile devices equipped with special TV tuners. This is a move by local networks to better position themselves to compete with cable networks, web TV and even gamers. No word on pricing yet, but look for either very low pricing or free main channels as networks will be able to take advantage of the developing mobile advertising market to up revenues.
The TV tuner required to enable local networks to transmit their signals to mobile devices is currently being developed with Samsung and LG leading the way. The tuner will add about $10 to the price of a mobile device in which it is embedded or cost less than $50 as an add-on. Among the technologies currently being developed, one will be chosen as the industry standard sometime next year.
For any Apple TV fans in the Murfreesboro, TN area, a reader of the unofficial Apple weblog, TUAW, found an unbelievable deal at a local Sams Club. Take a look at the receipt above and you will see he bought an Apple TV for only $153.01! Other readers around the US didn't seem to find any comparable deals at other Sams Club's around the country, so if you live in Tennessee, you've lucked out big time!
It isn't always possible to design home lighting solutions specifically for your LCD or plasma TV. It also isn't possible to always prevent your kids from knocking it off its stand or putting a toy car through the screen.
Wolverine Data has developed the ProShield - Plasma & LCD HDTV Glare Killer to help eliminate some of these issues. Developed with Optical Grade Clear View technology, the ProShield not only eliminates all glares, but provides increased screen contrast and more brilliant colors. It's also scratch and impact resistant and can withstand a baseball traveling at more than 150 miles per hour!
The ProShield ranges in size from 37-52" and prices start at $99. You can pre-order now by visiting the Wolverine website and shipments will begin November 1.
Video-sharing network Dailymotion has signed licensing deals with Turner Broadcasting Europe, Next New Networks, Si TV, and Comedy Time that will see programming air over the company's video platform. The deal includes original content from the networks and ad-revenue sharing. These networks are in addition to the deal Dailymotion already has with Warner Music in which the two companies share ad revenue from Warner's music videos featured on the platform.
Dailymotion will be airing featured content from CNN, Adult Swim and Nut for its American and European users. CNN will be updated hourly. Si TV is a Latino network based in the US and will air exclusive uploads of Flow and Tell.
Dailymotion launched back in 2005 and is available in 17 countries.
AU Optronics has announced a trio of advanced commercialized LCD TV technologies to be showcased at FPD International 2007, from October 24 to October 26, in Yokohama Japan. The company will be showcasing its third generation of AMVA technology, a 20 mm TV module, and eco-TV LCD technology that reduces power consumption by up to 50%.
The AMVA technology uses new "bump-less" pixel design to bring a 5000:1 ultra-high static contrast ratio to the screen. Although the technology uses a CCFL backlight, rather than LED, by integrating optimized color resist and integrated backlight structure and optical film, dimmer performance will be enhanced.
Also, in keeping with the "thin is in" trend in HDTV, AUO has developed a new film combination design that keeps the original brightness while thinning the screen to 20 mm and maintaining the brightness of the backlight. The company plans to begin producing the ultra-thin panels beginning early in 2008.
Finally, showing a remarkable amount of corporate responsibility that will hopefully set a trend for other HDTV manufacturers, AUO has improved the CCFL backlight design to reduce power consumption by up to 50% while maintaining brightness and contrast ratio. The eco-LCD technology will start being mass produced early in 2008.
Back in July of this year, Microvision and Motorola signed a deal in which the former company would produce built-in projectors for the latter's cell phones. What has now been developed is the PicoP, a plug-in for smartphones that will be available by year end. Embeddable PicoP that will be built-in to mobile devices will be available by 2009.
The gadget can project a television screen sized image in high resolution on any surface, whether flat or curved. It'll be interesting to see all of the cool uses this gadget will have. Microvision CEO Alexander Tokman has mentioned two: 1)the young demographic, teens and twenty-somethings, will use it purely for entertainment and 2)as a tool for the ultimate elevator-pitch presentation for the business user. What about the guerrilla advertiser randomly popping projected advertisements up in public places or the kid who can't get away with having his TV on at bedtime on a school night, but can project his mobile video on the wall. Imagine the possibilities! Oh, and by the way, if you're mechanically-minded and want to know how the PicoP works, just click here.
Chinese tech manufacturers, rather than relying on the designs of other countries products, are now starting to become innovative in their own right. Take a look at this Reuters report covering the Asia tech fair and you'll see a microwave/TV combo! What exactly you'd cook in a microwave that would warrant watching an entire TV show I'm not sure, but very cool nonetheless.
The rapidly changing home entertainment industry has put the number two video rental chain into bankruptcy. Movie Gallery has succumbed to the Blockbuster/Netflix war, web video and as you know the list continues. Only two years ago, Movie Gallery's stock traded at $33/share. Tuesday the rental chain filed after their stock closed a sad $0.22/share. What a long fall! It will be interesting to see who worms their way out of the woodwork to oust Netflix in the future.
Sony is working on a software infrastructure that will enable the PS3 and PSP to be able to download video and music content, similar to Microsoft's Xbox Live service. It would be done via the Playstation Network, the Playstation's online games system.
Sir Howard Stringer, Sony chief executive said yesterday that the company is "trying to get our devices to talk to each other efficiently. PlayStation Network should migrate from gadget to gadget. But initially it starts with PlayStation devices and then to TV and beyond. That’s the goal".
The joint Japanese-American effort has no date of completion or release yet but Stringer said they should know something by early in 2008. This is obviously another attempt by Sony to ramp up PS3 sales which have been slow in comparison to the Nintendo Wii. However, Stringer said the company is on target to sell the projected 11 million consoles by the end of the year. Also, there should be 200 games available for the system by Christmas.
A new report from the NPD Group says the home theater is fast evolving from a closed system utilizing traditional broadcasting signals and store-bought discs to one that uses broadband access to move digital entertainment content from the web to the TV screen.
According to Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis for The NPD Group, “faster Internet access, new content sources, and the evolution of the PC as a multimedia repository promise to change the features and functionality of devices in the home entertainment center. This in turn will lead to new opportunities and challenges for manufacturers, as well as more choices, and possibly greater confusion, for consumers.”
The report found the 24% of consumers with home networks and 19% overall would be interested in a device that relayed internet entertainment content to a television. When looking for such devices, 44% of consumers look to the manufacturers and 32% look toward PC companies.
The report was based on a survey sample of 15000 US adults.
By the way, does anyone else think this report states the obvious?
The long anticipated battle between CNBC and Fox Business Network finally kicked off yesterday with Fox Business hitting the airwaves for the first time. The Fox Business Network caters to the "middle America" crowd as opposed to CNBC's Wall Street focus and relays news in an easy-to-understand format devoid of technical jargon and Wall Street lingo.
The first episode featured a satellite interview with Hilary Rodham Clinton and one with Times Squares' famous Naked Cowboy, the guitar-playing, underwear-clad fringe superstar. Slightly annoying is the fact that news is relayed with a tone reminiscent of a teenage girl on an excessive dose of Prozac. Every bit of news from the Naked Cowboy interview to the $100 billion fund designed to ease the countries' mortgage woes was delivered with an almost excessively upbeat tone. The New York Times aptly called the station "a blend of CNBC and a fifth hour of the “Today” show— with the underlying political drumbeat of Fox News".
The debut wasn't without controversy making it all the more interesting. CNBC had contracted to run advertisements on both MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal web sites all day yesterday. Instead viewers saw rotating ads, one for the Fox Business Network precisely where the CNBC ads were to be found. CNBC paid about $87000 for the ads and executives at both the station and its parent company, NBC Universal, were steaming. Why this happened hasn't been fully disclosed yet, but it's not totally surprising considering Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has purchased the Dow Jones & Company, owner of MarketWatch and The Wall Street Journal web sites, and already owns the Fox Network. Even though Dow Jones employees do not yet have to bend to the will of News Corp. execs, NBC execs wonder if Murdoch's henchmen played a role in this. I would say most likely.
NBC has not yet canceled their contracts with the two web sites.
In my opinion, everyone should educate themselves in matters of the environment and do everything they can to reduce their energy use and carbon emissions. If not for yourselves, then for your children. Last 100 compiled a list yesterday of the 5 best environmental internet TV channels:
Produced by the United Nations Environment Programme, Green.tv places a special emphasis on climate change. Professionally produced and with excellent picture quality, Green.tv programming can be downloaded in a variety of formats. The channel also has "partner" programs produced by other environmental groups.
This site typically offers sound bites rather than specific programming related to a wide variety of environmental issues. The sound bites tend to be taken from speeches and forums related to the environment. The video quality is average and some videos can only be accessed by paid membership.
This channel, actually made up of 15 separate channels with Environment being one, utilizes many social networking features. The site features an online community, and the ability to comment on videos and email links to videos from within the site. Content is featured from government, public and private organizations.
This channel, like Public TV, doesn't specifically focus on the environment but contains environmental programming. The video quality is good and the content is diverse and global in reach. This site is currently in beta.
This site is a forum for viewer opinion more than an actual internet television channel but uses video clips to stimulate discussion. Not only can you participate via text comments but also by uploading your own videos to the site.
last100 did forget one channel however: Treehugger.tv. Essential viewing for environmental education.
LG Electronics is holding a "Life's Good When" video contest in collaboration with YouTube, and features a grand prize package worth over $18000! In that package is an LG 60" Plasma Integrated HDTV with 1080p resolution and a 3000:1 contrast ratio worth $6000; a 700 watt flat speaker home theater system; and a SuperBlu HD player that plays both Blu-ray disc and HD DVD. The player also upconverts standard definition DVD's.
All you have to do to enter is create a 15-30 second video using either real-life videos, home video footage, photos, or a short specifically staged for the contest that completes the thought "Life's good when...". Then head over to YouTube and upload your video on the contest page. The contest ends on November 10 and voting on YouTube begins November 14.
What a nice Christmas gift the grand prize package would make for someone!
If you're looking for a deal on a behemoth HDTV from a big name company, here it is. The Mitsubishi WD-73733 73" 1080p DLP HDTV, regularly priced at $3300 is currently selling for just under $2600, more than 20% off! That price also includes free shipping.
This huge DLP rear projection television features full 1920 x 1080 resolution with Tru 1080p processing. It's x.v.Color support and its exclusive 6-Color Light Engine uses 6 colors to process and produce images meaning a picture that is 80% more colorful than standard HDTV's. 2 million pixels coupled with stunning design work on the part of Mitsubishi means you will be immersed in a life-like HDTV experience.
This is absolutely amazing. Lumenlab's "Q" computer is the world's first luxury computer. Even cooler than it's state-of-the-art technology is the fact that all the hardware, including Intel Core Duo processors, fits nicely into a 42" 1080p flat-screen only 3" thin! The embedded computing platform, utilizing dual onboard digital video data buses, means that you get 1080p resolution "straight from the chip" and the lack of signal conversion equals a crisp, clear picture. It also features Hotwire PnP networking technology, no fan meaning soundless operation, 2 GB of ram, and 1 TB of HDD storage. All of the components are upgradeable and with a reasonable lifespan of 60000 hours, the "Q" can be used for 4 hours per day for the next 41 years! As for pricing, there are no details yet.
Starting tomorrow, NBC will start airing The Tonight Show With Jay Leno on NBC.com. However, the episodes won't be online until the day after they originally air on TV. This looks to be a good move on the part of NBC as the network reports that Leno-related content brings 3.3 million unique visitors to the the grouping of Tonight Show sites. For what period of time is required for the visits NBC didn't report, but I'm sure that number will increase substantially with online episode broadcasts.
As TiVo and other DVR technologies begin to change the way television advertising is used, more and more product-oriented companies are beginning to develop online TV series' in order to connect with the younger demographic more likely to fast-forward through the commercials on traditional TV.
The newest web series to air is Crescent Heights, developed by Procter & Gamble's Tide division. If you recall (if you're in the demographic the company is targeting with this series you probably don't), Proctor & Gamble was the originator of the soap opera. For those of you who watch Guiding Light, it started out 70 years ago on the radio and first aired in 1955, created by P&G. According to the New York Times, the "light" emphasizes one of P&G's first products the candle; the other being soap, hence the "soap opera".
Crescent Heights focuses on a young college graduate named Ashley who is starting a career in public relation in Los Angeles after moving all the way from Wisconsin. It has the typical "soapy" flair of friendship and romantic relationship drama that forms the basis of all soaps.
Ten 3-minute segments have been taped initially as part of a broad strategy by P&G to assess the impact of online entertainment on product sales with this test emphasizing Tide. While the detergent does make the odd appearance, the company has chosen to focus on clothing in the series as their method of advertising. Kevin Crociata, Tide’s associate marketing director says that the series intends to "speak to people about more than just laundry" as Tide " provides benefits to the fabrics she (Ashley) wears on a daily basis". Not surprisingly, Ashley's first romantic relationship kicks off as a result of being noticed because of the brightness of her yellow dress. This reminds me of the Axe commercials that more than discreetly promise sex in exchange for purchasing their deodorant brand.
Marketers and retailers are finding that in order to reach the younger demographic these days, advertising has to be contextually-based and subtle; basically mixed in with forms of entertainment that young people will view. Procter & Gamble's web initiative follows those of brands and companies such as American Eagle Outfitters, Unilever, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!
Panellists from Discovery, Scientific Atlanta, Motorola and SES Americom agreed during discussions last week at the HD World conference in New York that TV viewers are being denied the very best HDTV signals.
Brian Morris, VP/digital media for Scientific-Atlanta told delegates that he believes "people have never seen it" when asked about HD quality. Charles Myers, VP/distribution & technology for Discovery Communications, compared the current high-definition broadcasting stream to a "meat grinder" as signals are chopped up from origin to destination.
Broadcasting streams aren't the only culprits however. Plasma and LCD artifacts and HDTV sets set to the wrong format on their set-tops (ex. a 720p panel set to 1080i) are also partially to blame for disrupting signals resulting in less than quality pictures. The latter is a matter of consumer education, lacking in the world of high-definition technology.
Finally panellists criticized broadcasters who sometimes reduce signal strength and bandwidth to save signal space, once again disrupting the quality of your HDTV picture.
This isn't really surprising. HDTV is still early in its life cycle and I'm sure picture quality won't be optimized for years yet. Either which way, your HDTV picture quality has got to be better than your standard-definition tube TV!
If you're an avid follower of tech-related news, you've no doubt heard by now of the California class action suit against retail giant Target. Target has been sued by the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and one of its members, Bruce Sexton, under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and under two California state laws, the California Disabled Persons Act and the California Unruh Civil Rights Act.
Sexton and the NFB are arguing that Target.com is not accessible to blind users, breaching the three above mentioned laws. Apparently site images were missing alternative text that blind users rely on to decipher images, keyboard controls did not work and navigational headings were missing.
By law, Sexton has not received full and equal access to goods and services offered by Target. Target has in turn argued that the case be thrown out as they have made some improvements to their site as a result of the claim, but their request has been denied.
Now the point I'm getting to is that if the class action suit succeeds, the case could affect thousands of other businesses in the internet economy. And this is where the case becomes linked to TV. Namely web TV and video.
Robert Scoble, of Scobleizer, wonders whether the accessibility issues in California will have any ramifications in the future for the videoblogging industry. While not TV as we traditionally think of it, tradition is dead. Videoblogging and other forms of video media on the Web and the innovations in advertising they bring will eventually be the driving force for hardware manufacturers to start producing more technologies that will bring web TV to the high-def's sitting in our living rooms. I don't think "lean-in" type viewing will catch on anytime in the near future, but if large networks find efficient ways of monetizing content on the web as opposed to the airwaves, the way our TV's receive content may change entirely.
Scoble points out that virtually every video-content site springing up on the web is inaccessible to the blind. He points to YouTube as a prime example. Scoble's video blog airs on Kyte.tv and he states that if videos had to have transcripts attached to them for the benefit of the blind, videoblogging would no longer be a viable option for him. He would have to pay someone to do the transcribing as would the majority of other videobloggers out there. He wraps his article up by stating the obvious: if such a law were enforced, a technological solution would have to be developed that would automatically add transcripts to video clips. While not a very thorough analysis of the possibility, Scoble does raise an interesting question.
Will the California class action suit against Target affect the web television industry and would it have any indirect effects on the television industry in general? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Pay only $849.98, saving yourself $250 and get it shipped for free! The LNT3253H is a beautifully designed 720p model with an 8000:1 contrast ratio for some of the best blacks found in 720p. With a fast 8 ms response time, you'll enjoy a smooth picture even during fast-moving action. The TV's hidden speakers utilize SRS TruSurround XT audio for an amazing three-dimensional digital sound experience. A wide range of inputs means you can connect this beauty to all of your major digital devices.
Save $200 and pay only $700.44 with free shipping for this state-of-the-art 1366 x 768 LCD panel display. With its PixelPure 14-bit digital video processing, the REGZA creates more than 4000 levels of color gradations for a smooth, natural looking picture. It features a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, plenty of inputs, and Toshiba's StableSound technology for a brilliant 3-D theater sound experience.
Save a whopping $364.45 on this Bravia model paying only $735.54 as compared to the $1099.99 list price. Enjoy crisp, clear images thanks to the Bravia Engine full digital processor that effectively improves color gradations for more picture detail, enhanced contrast, and a dynamic color performance. With a 16:9 aspect ratio and 720p resolution coupled with Sony's S-PVA technology, this Bravia offers you a vivid, colorful viewing experience.
Epson has launched the EMP-TWD10, an HD-ready home entertainment center. The EMP-TWD10 comes with an 80" home cinema widescreen that you can roll up and store out of sight when not in use. The portable device easily connects to your computer, game console, digital camera or USB storage device and can project a 60" image from 1.5 meters away. The base, consisting of a DVD reader and speakers, can rotate 180 degrees allowing for flexibility in its placement and utilizes 3LCD technology, the Epson Cinema Filter and four stereo speakers giving the viewer a sharp picture experience with high-def sound. The Living Room and Theatre Modes adjust to lighter or darker environments and the Game Mode allows for fast transition between the console and the unit so you don't lag behind next time you play Halo 3.
The Sony Bravia line of LCD TV's is extremely popular, but I wonder how many Bravia owners actually know how their TV works. Take a look at this video by Semiconductor Insights as they tear apart a $2700 Bravia and show you how it comes up with that amazing picture.
NEC has recently announced a new line of plasma displays, the PlasmaSync Professional Series XP10 line, to replace its current XM line. The new series is to be used mainly in government and educational institutions.
The line features 3 models: the 42" 42XP10, the 50" 50XP10, and the 60" 60XP10. Pretty self-explanatory naming I would have to say. Pricing is set at $2499.99, $2699.99, and $5999.99 respectively. Interestingly the 50" model is only $200 more than the 42", but $3300 less than the 60". Why that is I'm not sure, but it seems the 50" model would have the best value per dollar spent.
The plasma displays offer a 16:9 aspect ratio and have a maximum resolution of 1366 x 768. They also offer 180 degree viewing angle, split-screening, tiling and size-adjustable picture-in-picture functionality. Each model also has both DVI and HDCP inputs and RS-232 input/outputs for control systems.
Compared to the XM line, the half-life of the display has fallen to 50000 hours from 60000, is a full 22 pounds heavier, but has a similar power usage of 440W.
For all you fans of CBS's Ghost Whisperer, you may be interested to know that the show is holding a YouTube contest where you could win the opportunity to star in a video with Jennifer Love Hewitt and the rest of the cast of Ghost Whisperer. For contest details, take a look at Jay Mohr's video above. Also check out the shows MySpace page and this page here to get you started with your contest video. Meet you in the underground!
Toshiba's HD-A2 HD DVD Player is currently available at Amazon.com for only $219, a full $80 off the list price. If you order it today, shipping is free and you'll have it in your home playing all of your favorite high-def movies as early as Monday, October 15. That's not all though. The DVD player comes with a mail-in rebate for 5 free HD DVD's! This model is currently the #1 selling portable DVD player and #1 selling HD DVD player at Amazon. For those of you who are new to the HD DVD game, the player also upconverts standard DVD's to a higher resolution for your HDTV.
You know how frustrating it is to lose your remote control. I know I do it at least once a day, always when I need it most. Designer Yuta Watanabe has found a "form over function" solution to this annoying problem. Watanabe has designed a ceramic remote based on the thinking that when something is delicate we place a higher value upon it. You'll obviously be a little bit more careful about where you place this remote as to not end up finding it in a million pieces on your next remote search. The "form over function" design has another benefit in that the remote actually looks good sitting on top of the coffee table when not in use.
Aloha Partners purchased 700Mhz spectrum licenses at the US Federal Communications Commission (USFCC) auctions back in 2001 and 2003. Aloha has used the spectrum for the mobile TV network, Hiwire, and MediaFLO, the mobile TV network of Qualcomm. Unfortunately, with mobile TV subscribers well below forecasted numbers, Aloha Partners has sold their spectrum in the 700Mhz band to AT&T for $2.5 billion pending approval by regulatory bodies. The spectrum licenses cover approximately 196 million people.
Analysts believe that AT&T will most likely use the licenses for two-way cellular services and the sale should be a clear sign that investors are no longer convinced of the viability of mobile TV at this time. Opportunities for revenue from mobile TV services are miniscule compared to those from cellular services, and small mobile TV companies no longer have much of a chance at competing with huge cellular networks at USFCC auctions.
It is interesting to note that AT&T also purchased Hiwire, although the company did not commit to using it in future plans.
Lovers of cooking, especially gourmet cooking are in for a special treat. A new internet television channel, Le Gourmet TV, full of premium content contributed by industry experts has been launched. The channel, part of the broadband gourmet network and powered by Brightcove, streams a variety of new videos each week that teach the viewer how to prepare gourmet meals step-by-step and the best way to pair those meals with cheese, wine, and beer. The channel also covers areas as diverse as baking, preserves, BBQ/grilling, fine dining and bread-making emphasizing exploring fully the whole food experience. The broadband gourmet network will also launch two companion channels to Le Gourmet TV. Wineroute.TV, dedicated to exploring the great wine regions in the world will launch in early 2008 and Tourista.TV, an online travel video portal is expected to launch in December 2008.
If you happen to be in the market for a new computer, don't get rid of your old one. Take at look at this article from the Virtual Hosting Blog that lists 100 resources and tools to turn your old PC into a media player. Want to build your own "TiVo"? It's there. Want both hardware and software options? You'll find them there too along with a comprehensive listing of resources, forums, and web communities. Put all 100 resources together and you have a definitive guide to building your own media center.
CNET's Crave blog has a fascinating article covering all of the updates in the various types of high definition televisions. OLED TV, of which the first by Sony is to hit Japanese shelves in December is extremely expensive at the moment. $1739 for an 11" screen expensive. President of DisplaySearch, Ross Young, says that currently yields are poor for OLED screens resulting in high prices. As yields improve, he says OLED TV's may sell for around $1000 next Christmas. For what size screen he doesn't mention, but he says that by 2011, when current high-def variations such as LCD and plasma are forecasted to peak, OLED will come in sizes up to 32". LCD TV's will be around $500 by that time. Chump change compared to today's prices. Other highlights covering plasma displays, LED, and laser-based technologies can be found in the article.
Watch for Joost to start airing live TV early in 2008. They'll be testing out the live TV idea with a focus on sports broadcasts. While content strategy and acquisition EVP Yvette Alberdingkthijm said that Joost has been talking to "everybody that has sports rights", she also acknowledged that licensing sports broadcasts is very expensive but that Joost doesn't "have to play in that league". I don't know what that means, but Gizmodo has suggested that maybe Joost will focus on the "lumberjack/rodeo/dodgeball" sports niches rather than compete with huge networks over rights for hockey, basketball, football, etc.
Live programming will also include a "catch-up option to watch on-demand shows following live transmission". I suppose that maybe this is another ploy to avoid competing as the target market would be those viewers that missed the original broadcasts. Licensing repeats would probably be a whole lot cheaper as well. It doesn't sound particularly exciting to me, but we'll definitely keep tabs on this as we move into the new year.
In other Joost news, the video-content provider has signed a deal with Turner Broadcasting to air CNN and Adult Swim programming online for European users. Adult Swim is the most popular Joost program in the United States currently.
You've got to wonder with Sony's announcement last week that the company's 11-inch organic light-emitting diode display (OLED) TV will be on store shelves in December and yesterday's announcement by Samsung that they've started mass producing ultra thin flat panels and will double capacity by next year, what the future of OLED TV is? Is it a threat to LCD and plasma? And if so, how soon can we expect the battle to begin?
At the moment, with falling prices for LCD, plasma, and especially cathode-ray tube TV's, manufacturers are being forced to find different markets to move in to. For Samsung, they've bet on OLED as it's cheap to produce and consumes much less energy than current HDTV's, an important product feature in our era of climate change. Currently, however, the company's bet isn't on OLED panels overtaking the television market. It's on OLED taking over the mobile phone and portable media player markets. Manufacturers still believe OLED screens will be the future of TV, just not the near future.
Jeff Kim, analyst at Hyundai Securities, says that OLED will be the next-generation display but "we have to be realistic. The LCD and PDP markets are not mature yet and will still grow until 2010-11". Even if the time was now for OLED, he also says that "manufacturers will not be able to meet the break-even point because of price competition".
Just to illustrate how far in the future manufacturers are predicting OLED will take off, take a look at these statistics. The OLED TV market is expected to grow from an estimated $37 million in 2008 to an estimated $884 million in 2011. This massive increase over three years is expected to exceed the 15% increase in LCD demand forecasted over the same three year period. Even though the OLED market is expected to grow much faster than other flat panel markets over the three years from 2008-2011, the estimated LCD market in 2011 is $92 billion. That is a huge difference in market size.
So while we may see OLED screens more often in mobile technologies, it'll be a while before we really see any movement into the world of television.
Exploding TVs: The Big Bang Solution is one of the most hilarious TV-related articles I've ever seen. Written by Mitch Oscar at MediaPost's TVBoard blog, the article is presented as a comical solution to the commercial-skipping phenomenon afforded by technologies such as TiVo that is slowly destroying the traditional ad-supported TV business. The solution: the title should be your first clue. If you fast-forward through a commercial, your TV set will self-destruct. While Oscar does concede that his solution could have a few negative ramifications, it also has its strong points. In tackling the issue of warranties, Oscar points out the an exploding cathode-ray tube TV gives the seller the chance to upsell the buyer into purchasing the HDTV that he's been resisting. Exploding TV's could also pose a threat to children. But Oscar finds an incentive for dealing with this situation as well. The v-chip that enables parents to have control over what their children watch, but which the parents never use, now probably would be used. Disable the fast-forward key on the remote control, give it a generation, and your grandkids will never know that at one time their ancestors could skip through commercials altogether. There are many more gut-busting arguments why exploding TV's are the answer to the ad industries problems, but I encourage you to go check out the article yourself.
Concerns over the energy usage of plasma and LCD TV's have the Australian government concerned. A report commissioned by the federal government has proposed a six-star energy-efficiency rating system for all TV's as well as energy ratings labels to be visible on the models to educate the customer about the TV's energy use. The government also wants to introduce "minimum energy performance standards" in hopes of eliminating the most energy-consuming models. Unfortunately the guidelines they've set would eliminate virtually all current LCD and plasma TV's from Australian store shelves by 2011.
Manufacturers say they support the guidelines but need more time to implement the necessary changes as they have been given only 2 years from the time each guideline is introduced to meet the standards set.
From my point of view, this seems like a small-scale problem compared to carbon emissions and the growing lack of water in Australia. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
Look for an upcoming episode of CSI: New York to be played out in the popular online world Second Life. CSI creator Anthony Zuiker announced yesterday at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo that the two-part episode airing October 24 and February 6 will have Mac, played by Gary Sinise, pursue a killer's avatar through Second Life.
The hit TV show also plans to develop an online virtual CSI: NY within Second Life where viewers will be able to find games for CSI beginners and content for more advanced viewers such as "Murder By Zuiker", a blog game where you try to solve a crime by analyzing evidence found within Second Life. Zuiker evaluates the entries himself.
The Second Life integration is part of an acknowledgment on Zuiker's part that the future of television will be played out largely online.
This one is definitely geared towards all the guys out there. Especially the ones that spend a lot of time in the bathroom. Introducing the Techvision W104, a 10.4 " LCD TV with built-in stereo sound that you can mount in your bathroom on a VESA bracket or directly on the wall. Not only is the TV waterproof but so is the remote, meaning you can lounge in the bathtub with a beer and cigar while watching the football game and have nothing to worry about. You don't have to worry about dropping the remote in the toilet either if that is where you prefer to do the majority of your viewing.
DirecTV's Sat-GO, the mobile satellite TV that would make a perfect companion for your next camping trip has just dropped in price. Originally $1499, the Sat-Go is now priced at a slightly more reasonable $999. The other downside besides the price is that purchases of the Sat-GO are limited to in-home subscribers of DirecTV. But hey, it's convenient. As long as you have a clear view of the southern sky, you're good to go no matter where you are.
Market research firm iSuppli has announced the turmoil in the financial markets mostly as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis in the US may make buyers hesitant to fork out the money required to purchase a high-definition television this holiday season. If this in fact is the case it could result in great HDTV sales after Christmas.
Because the supply of flat-panel glass is strained at the moment, iSuppli says we shouldn't expect the prices of HDTV's to decrease right away. TV manufacturers have to keep the prices high to offset the increased costs of glass. If HDTV sales are low this Christmas because potential buyers are worried about the state of the economy, it could mean an excess supply of HDTV's that no one is willing to pay for. TV makers would then have to liquidate the inventory at a loss. This could mean some hot deals for you.
The possible cash crunch could go beyond TV's however. Products such as the XBox360 and Apple TV rely on HDTV's for their optimal functioning. Slow HDTV sales could translate into slow sales for associated products such as these.
The peer-2-peer file sharing network, BitTorrent, founded by Bram Cohen has always had a bad reputation. Why? Well, piracy of course. But Cohen says he has spent the last 3 years trying to find a way to monetize the network hoping to alleviate its bad rep. In February of this year, BitTorrent began to offer downloadable movies licensed by Hollywood studios at www.bittorrent.com and is now offering the its distribution capabilities to other companies.
Today, BitTorrent announced a new service, BitTorrent DNA, that provides an efficient way to stream videos over the internet. Rather than just allowing the user to download the content, any information being downloaded is also uploaded at the same time to other users looking for the same content. Not only does this work for streaming video, but also video and software downloads.
Because BitTorrent has such an efficient framework, it believes it can push the cost for companies streaming video via DNA to under 20 cents per hour. Most companies spent at least 20 cents per hours currently to stream video over the internet and advertising revenues cannot overcome the costs of streaming, meaning lost money.
Brightcove is BitTorrent DNA's first official customer that will stream video over the new framework. What programs Brightcove will stream has not yet been announced, but they currently air programs on the internet from CBS Corp, News Corp's Fox Entertainment Group, Viacom Inc's MTV Networks and New York Times Co.
You know the landscape of TV is changing when network television channels begin integrating their video and sound content into mobile phone ring tones. The Discovery Channel has 2-10 second video sound clips at Vringo, a ring tone sharing company. You can view the clips for free at the website, but senders and receivers of the video clips via their cell phones both must be subscribers to the Vringo service. Also, only certain phones are compatible such as Nokia and Sony Ericsson devices.
NBC Universal is acquiring Oxygen Media, a female-focused cable network co-founded by Oprah Winfrey. In their attempt to own the female demographic, NBC has also acquired iVillage, a female-oriented content and advertising website and is a backer of Sugar, another female-oriented site. The female demographic has boasted strong growth rates as of late and Oxygen Media has said that its prime-time viewership has increased 19% among its target demographic and 7% among all households. NBC figures the acquisition will mean $35 million in cost savings and revenues next year.
Buyers of the Toshiba portable DVD player Model SD-P1600 who purchased their player in US consumer electronics stores between January 2005 and April 2006 should be aware that Toshiba has recalled the AC adapter that was sold with the unit. “Toshiba” and ADPV16 can be read on the side of the adapter. Apparently their have been 2 cases where the adapters have failed causing damage to the portable DVD players due to overheating. While no injuries have been reported, failure of the adapters still do pose a burn hazard. There are 142000 units out there and if you have one, contact Toshiba Customer Solutions toll-free at (877) 290-6064 between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.tacp.com for a replacement adapter.
Motion blur has been an issue with LCD TV's since their inception into the marketplace. Over time though the problem has improved considerably as manufacturers have gradually developed a variety of solutions.
LCD TV's originally had a 60hz signal. In a nutshell, this means that they flipped through 60 still frames per second or one every 16.67 milliseconds. Because LCD's hold the frame for the full 16.67 milliseconds and have very little time to flip frames in between, your eye interprets this as blur, especially in fast moving scenes such as those you'd see in sports broadcasts or action-packed movies.
The first solution to this problem was introduced by Philips. Philips introduced a backlight technology that flashes off when the frame is flipped and then back on again for a split second, and then back off. By flashing the screen for only a moment and then having black in between frames, this fools your brain into interpreting the action as steady motion, thus solving the "sample-and-hold" problem described above. This is an oversimplistic explanation to be sure, but reasonable enough to illustrate the point. Philips' 42" ClearLCD models utilize this technology.
(Credit: Hitachi) Alternating Dark Frames
The next step on the part of manufacturers was to increase the refresh rate to 120hz or 120 frame-flips per second. The first method utilizing the 120hz refresh rate is to insert a black frame between every picture frame. This will reduce blurring in a similar fashion as the backlight as each frame is on the screen for less time.
(Credit: Sharp) Interpolated Frames
The next step was to outfit LCD models with processors that were able to interpolate a made-up frame between each 2 actual frames. This is a work-in-progress for most of the major manufacturers. Example of models using this method on the market right now are JVC's Clear Motion Drive series and Sharp's Fine Motion Advanced series.
JVC Compares 120hz And 180hz Refresh Rates
Now for the latest step. JVC introduced a 180hz LCD TV at the CEATEC conference in Japan. There hasn't been much in the way of information released about the model; just that it is a 768 line, 720p set and the "LCD panel predicts, produces and inserts 2 additional frames of images every second in a standard video stream at 60 fps".
We'll be watching for updates regarding this breakthrough for sure!
Apple has released three new iPhone ads that you can view via their website. All of the ads are people-based rather than product-based as the previous ads have been. First we have Doug, who believes that one of the greatest advancements in the history of mankind is visual voicemail. Then there is Elliot, who helped his girlfriend avoid an awkward situation by finding her bosse's fiancees name on the internet, via the iPhone of course, just before they both showed up to meet the couple for dinner. Finally there is Stefano, who only needs his iPhone and wallet now thanks to the vast array of features on the phone.
Could this switch from product-based advertising to people-based advertising be a strategy to overcome the whole iBrick debacle?
TiVo has added yet another feature to the mix. Owners of the digital video recorders will now have access to the Rhapsody music service streamed from the internet through their TV's. The feature is the latest added feature to the TiVo as the company attempts to establish itself as a premium service. Other partnerships have included Amazon.com for movie downloads and Yahoo, Inc. for photo-sharing. TiVo has said that their latest partnership is a cross-marketing strategy they hope will increase their subscriber base.
Current TiVo customers will have priority in accessing the new feature and will have the opportunity to try the service for 30 days free. Otherwise, the Rhapsody service will cost $12.99 per month in addition to the $12.95 TiVo already charges for a 3 year monthly plan.
Last week the Al Jazeera English channel signed an ad revenue sharing agreement with YouTube. Al Jazeera English is a legimate news network based in Doha and the first global English-language news network to be based in the Middle East.
This is causing a storm over at the TechCrunch blog where readers still associate the Al Jazeera news network with terrorist activity. Comments indicate that the station is owned by such terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood and while I don't know whether any of us at TVSnob or TechCrunch could make an informed opinion regarding whether such opinions have any basis in fact, everyone remembers Al Jazeera as being the platform that every so often brings Osama Bin Laden's face back to the West.
That is probably why no US-based cable networks will air the channel in either its English or Arabic incarnations-with the exception of Toledo, Ohio based Buckeye CableSystem and the municipal cable suppler in Burlington, Vermont.
From what I've seen of the Al Jazeera English channel on YouTube, it's flavor of reporting seems to be fairly objective for the most part. Even if it's not at times, however, it never hurts to get both sides of the story.
Yet another video startup has launched today, albeit in closed beta. While I've signed up to alpha test French entrepreneur Loic Le Meur's Seesmic video platform, I've haven't been able to gain access yet. However, TechCrunch's Michael Arrington spent last night testing it out and had plenty of good things to say.
Arrington describes it as a video-based Twitter although Seesmic hopes to become "a very open online video/television service where people are constantly interacting around both user generated and professional content".
I won't get into to much detail now until I get to try it out myself, but Le Meur's aim is to develop a platform that builds on established platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube rather than building something new from the ground up straight into formidable competition. In the second stage of the startup, Le Meur's team will create an "open, crowd sourced and community driven online TV" in which topical daily shows will be created using user-generated videos. The most popular content creators will get a revenue share from the shows.
One of the coolest ideas behind the startup is the use of a studio in San Francisco where users can drop in to create content. Apparently there are other cities in future expansion plans.
Look for a future TVSnob review once we get an opportunity to alpha-test the platform.
J.D. Power & Associates released their inaugural "J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Large Screen HDTV Usage and Satisfaction Study" on October 4 with some interesting results. The study separated HDTV models into 3 segments-37- to 49-inch HDTV; 50- to 65-inch HDTV; and rear projection HDTV. The first 2 categories included both LCD and plasma models. The TV's were evaluated according to 4 key factors driving customer satisfaction: picture and sound performance; ease of operation; features; and appearance and styling. Each model was then awarded a point score out of 1000 for a cumulative ranking.
So what models came out on top?
The 37"-49" HDTV's
Not surprisingly, Sony Bravia LCD HDTV's the took the cake in this category. With a score of 815 out of a possible 1000, the Bravia model took the highest segment scores in all four rating categories including overall customer satisfaction. In the 2nd and 3rd spots were the LG LCD series and the LG plasma series respectively. The LCD series scored 799 out of a possible 1000 points and the plasma series pulled off a 794.
Other interesting category findings:
-owners within this category watch an average of 23.3 hours of TV per week with 11 devoted to HD programming
-majority of purchasers believed they got the most value for their money
-91% intend to repurchase the brand
The 50"-65" HDTV's
The Pioneer Plasma series had the highest overall customer satisfaction ranking with a score of 845 out of a possible 1000. The model was number 1 in every category except for television features with the Sony Bravia LCD series taking the number 1 spot in that category. And once again, not surprisingly, the Sony Bravia LCD series took the number 2 spot with a total score of 833. The LG Plasma series finished up the top three with a total score of 814.
Other interesting category findings:
-owners in this segment watch an average of 25.2 hours of TV per week, 12.4 are spent viewing HD programming
-85% say they purchased the best value for their money
-92% of Sony Bravia owners said they would "probably/definitely" repurchase the product
-86% of Pioneer plasm owners would repurchase their brand
The Rear Projection HDTV's
The Samsung DLP series was number one in overall customer satisfaction with a total score of 785. Interestingly, it's picture quality was only ranked "about average". Numbers two and three were the Sony WEGA series and Toshiba DLP series with score of 777 and 776 respectively.
Other interesting category findings:
-category consists primarily of two rear-projection TV types: DLP and LCD projection
-owners watched an average of 25.3 hours of TV per week, with 11.7 devoted to HD programming
-Sony WEGA (at 95%) and Samsung DLP (at 93%) have a brand purchase advantage
Reality show Intervention films an intoxicated woman drive away
As the landscape of television rapidly changes with the internet and convenient new technologies slowly taking over (TiVo, P2P file sharing, etc.), producers are pushing the limits of content more and more every day. And there is no better place to push the limits of on-air antics than reality TV. And "people on the edge make great television" states David Sternbach, counsel for litigation and intellectual property matters for A&E Television Networks. But how far is to far? This is a question that is being asked with more frequency these days.
VH1's Breaking Bonaduce and A&E's Intervention have aired their subjects driving while intoxicated. CBS has been accused of creating dangerous working conditions for children while filming 8-15 years toiling away in the heat of the New Mexico desert. In 2002, a contestant on the show Big Brother who apparently had a criminal record held a knife to another contestant's throat. These are just a few of the examples of dangerous, even criminal, behavior that has aired on reality TV.
But here is the catch that keeps networks in the clear: because producers and cameramen are simply observing the situation, not creating them, they are not legally obligated to intervene. And why would they? People simply love to watch dangerous situations, especially when composed of highly unstable people. Case in point: Intervention is one of A&E's top shows.
While legally, networks and producers seem to be in the clear because reality TV calls for merely observing a situation rather than creating it, this is definitely a moral issue. Is it worth watching someone endanger their life and that of innocent bystanders for a ratings boost? I don't think so. But looking at it from another angle: What would I do if I was under tremendous pressure to produce ratings when the pool of viewers from which to create rankings steadily dwindles? I would like to think I would retain my current position on the issue but in a cutthroat business such as TV things would not be so clear-cut.
Like Robert Sharenow, A&E’s senior vice president for nonfiction and alternative programming, says, "It’s a very, very delicate balance".
What do you think? Leave your opinions in the comments section.
The creative minds that came up with the latest Sony Bravia ad seem to be a little, um...extra creative. The Sony Bravia doesn't need any high-tech advertising though; the TV's performance and style speak for themselves.
The porn industry has always billed itself as being the motor behind technological innovations in the entertainment industry. As the music industry and Hollywood have been busy fighting P2P file-sharing for years now, the porn industry has tried to use file-swapping as a way to portray themselves as more technologically advanced than the mainstream entertainment industry. They figured if they offered some free content on the torrent sites, it would encourage more viewers to subscribe to their premium services. Of course, over time this strategy has failed horribly and now everyone can find paid content on torrent sites as well.
Porn torrent sites such as Epornium, Puretna, and The Pirate Bay all have millions of users and tens of thousands of active porn torrents and are slowly beginning to cripple the industry. With tiny profit margins, small porn companies are beginning to strain with diminishing sales and this worries the industry giants who double as distributors for the smaller companies movies.
Now that the big players are being affected, the porn industry as a whole has decided the time for a crackdown on file-sharers is now. In early September, representatives of 65 porn studios got together in Los Angeles to discuss strategy for their anti-piracy campaign. Some companies have decided to form an association that will go ahead and sue file-sharers. In fact, gay porn studio Titan Media filed 22 lawsuits this week against both file-sharers and porn bloggers to kick things off.
Interestingly, while the porn industry's play on being technologically innovative has got them into this mess, Janko Roettgers from NewTeeVee pointed out that while the music and movie industries have been experimenting with ways to get around online piracy with iTunes, Joost and others, the porn industry has done nothing. It seems the "innovative" label no longer fits. Times are definitely changing in the world of TV and video.
Sharp has developed a prototype 52-inch LCD TV that at only 29 mm thin and outfitted with an automatic pop-up mechanism can conceal itself in your bed's footboard. You can also purchase a TV lift here that enables you to install your TV into your cabinetry as a more inexpensive option. Check out the demonstration below.
unclutter.com has also provided some other options that provide you with eye-catching ways to integrate TV lift technology into custom cabinetry in order to conceal your flat-screen when it is not in use:
If you feel you know your TV shows pretty well, then this contest may be for you. TVBigShot is a fantasy-based online game where you are given $300 million to purchase different shows for your TV network. During the TV season, you can buy and sell shows and compete against other virtual networks composed of real-world television shows. The most popular network, gauged by Nielsen ratings, is awarded $100000 at the end of the 2007-2008 network television season.
Launched by Bravo and sanctioned by Nielsen, competition looks to already be stiff with over 16000 players, so invest your millions wisely. Oh, and by the way, the $100000 cash prize is real money!
If you plan to purchase an HDTV in the next few months, the market is on your side. Prices are expected to be at least 33% cheaper than they were last Christmas. Also expect more added features to upcoming models.
Due to the saturation of the HDTV market, prices are rapidly dropping and that means profit margins are thinning for manufacturers. In order to tack on a few hundred bucks to the retail price of an HDTV, the manufacturer has to add extra features and that has what has been happening so rapidly in the last few months. OLED technology, LED backlighting, and 120-hz refresh rates all come to mind.
The downside of this is that home theatre is becoming a more daunting prospect for potential buyers every time a new technology hits the market. A full 89% of HDTV buyers do not have a full understanding of their TVs and that's understandable. So it would be reasonable to think that a differentiating factor we should see between TVs in the near future will be ease of use.
We hope this means that HDTV will not become a commodity just yet. We at TVSnob don't think so; we think HDTV is just getting started.
Circuit City has some incredible online HDTV deals starting now. The promotions run until October 13. You save up to $650 on select HDTV's and pay no interest for up to 18 months. Don't wait until December for your Christmas purchases. The best deals are now! Take a look at Circuit City.com.
TVSnob has already mentioned that Circuit City has some great deals on HDTV's at the moment. However, if you're in the market for a home theatre projector, they also have huge savings on projectors and no interest or payments for three months. You'll get through Christmas without paying a cent! With some purchases you even get a free leather recliner! Just imagine the possibilities.
Probably every household in North America has heard of TV Guide. Usually thought of by most as a weekly magazine highlighting TV listings, TV Guide is catching up with the times. With television listings easily accessed on the web and in local TV guides, the original TV Guide has had a subscription decline from a high of 19.8 million in 1974 to only 3.2 million this year. In fact, in 2005 TV Guide abandoned the weekly digest format altogether and began emphasizing celebrity interviews and special features in the guide rather that just show times.
TV Guide has realized that the days of the weekly digest are long gone and is beginning to implement some fresh new strategies to revamp their business. Their first move was to develop a website that has shown remarkable growth over the past year, from 2.9 million unique visitors in August 2006 to 4.9 million uniques last month. They've also just launched their online video guide to the public this past Tuesday after being in beta since April. The video guide is designed to enable TV viewers to find the best video clips that relate to their favorite TV shows while filtering out all the garbage.
TV Guide Online general manager Paul Greenberg says, "We’re filling a niche that Google and YouTube are not because they are not strictly TV-focused" while also pointed out that as many as 70% of YouTube users searching for clips related to television shows are searching for professional content rather than user-generated content.
Now TV Guide has launched a new marketing campaign designed to help fans of aired-weekly shows to get through the week before the next episode. The advertising campaign is intended to make viewers aware of TV Guide offerings beyond hourly program listings by pointed them to other TV Guide resources, such as those online, that allow viewers to view content related to their favorite show while waiting for the next episode.
The campaign features ad-spots for 13 hot shows of this fall season, such as House, Ugly Betty, and Prison Break, and each ad spot is specific to the show. The ads are designed in such as way as to count down the days until the next episode, so for example, in the case of House, days are counted down using the sound of heartbeats. The 15 second ads run near the end of each program to emphasize the beginning of the countdown and then direct fans to other TV Guide properties.
(Credit: TV Guide)
The rebranding of the TV Guide name has come at a price however. Gemstar-TV Guide International, owner of the TV Guide brand has had to increase its marketing budget from $1 million last year to $20 million this year. But using the TV Guide magazine as a point of entry to other TV Guide media forms has shown the beginnings of success. With the huge traffic increase on the website to the 28% increase so far this year in ad pages in the magazine, TV Guide seems to be on the right track to become the powerhouse of years past.
Nielsen Media Research's 2007 High Definition Survey has found that 48% of HDTV customers rate the picture quality of HD television as excellent, but only 12% feel the same about HD programming options.
Steve McGowan, Nielsen Senior Vice President Client Research Initiatives stated that "Nielsen's High Definition Survey shows that HD technology is outpacing content, although a few networks do score high in consumer satisfaction" such as sports channel ESPN HD, documentary channel Discovery HD, and movie channel HBO HD.
Sports and movies were found to be the most popular HDTV content with reality programming (ugh!) and music bringing up the rear. Discovery Theater HD was deemed to have the best picture and 20% of survey respondents stated that they watch more TV since purchasing their high-definition TV.
The survey included 511 participants who were interviewed by telephone at the end of June and beginning of July of this year.
This is too funny not to highlight. A ring box with an LCD video screen! The box can display pictures or video with sound, perfect for nervous types looking to propose to the love of their lives. Having gone through the whole engagement and being married for a little over a year now, I know that most members of the fairer sex have the whole perfect proposal and wedding planned by the time they reach kindergarten age and the perfect proposal does require getting down on one knee. Trust me on this one. But if your soon-to-spouse isn't the status quo type, you can purchase this little wonder from Euricase for $198.95.
Another thin-panel display debuted at the CEATEC conference in Japan. Shinoda Plasma Corp. unveiled a 100 x 50 cm display equivalent to a 43-inch panel only 1 mm thick and weighing only 800 grams. Company founder Tsutae Shinoda says that due to the displays thinness, light weight, and flexibility it could be used for displays where typical LCDs and plasmas would not work. For instance, "making an entire tunnel wall into a display or bonding a display to a ceiling". Shinoda also stated that compared to other existing displays, the plasma prototype is far superior in manufacturing cost competitiveness. "Since it doesn't need the clean room required to manufacture existing displays, it is possible to lower manufacturing costs and make manufacturing plants very small," Shinoda said.
Kazuhiro Tsuga, a prominent Panasonic exec, stated to reporters at the CEATEC 2007 trade show in Chiba, Japan that the HD DVD/Blu-ray war will be over by New Year's Day. By the end of the Christmas seaon, or first quarter of 2008 by the latest, Blu-ray manufacturers will have the foundation in place to end the format war within the next year.
Blu-ray manufacturers are set to decrease prices and utilize major promotional efforts this holiday season. Those on the Blu-ray team are also looking at ways to cut prices of "slim Blu-ray drives and recorders to allow the technology to infiltrate notebooks and PCs".
Panasonic also debuted three new Blu-ray video recorder models which will go on sale in Japan on November 1: the DMR-BW900, DMR-BW800, and the DMR-BW700. The DMR-BW900 can record 18 hours of 1080p high-def content onto 1 Blu-ray disc! Previous recorders could only record about 4 hours of content onto the same 50 GB discs via recording the incoming digital stream in MPEG2 format directly onto the disk. Now however, technology has been developed that can compress the incoming stream into a much more compressed, and thus efficient, MPEG4 format.
The DMR-BW900 also sports a 1 terabyte built-in hard drive. This means that with MPEG4 compression, the hard drive can record and store between 160 and 381 hours of high-def video depending on which MPEG4 recording mode you use. The newly announced Sharp Blu-ray model,also with a 1 terabyte drive but only MPEG2 capabilities, can only record and store about 127 hours of video content.
The DMR-BW900 will retail for about 300000 yen or $2600 US in Japan beginning November 1. The DMR-BW800 is similar with the difference of having a 500 GB hard drive and the DMR-BW700 has a 250 GB drive. They will also go on sale in Japan November 1, priced at 230000 and 180000 yen respectively. Panasonic does not plan to sell them overseas in the US and Canada at the moment, but they are examining the possibility.
If you happen to be planning to buy a Blu-ray player for someone this Christmas, head on over to Blu-ray Savings and you can get 5 Blu-ray movies for free. All you need is to print the PDF coupon available at the site and send it in with your proof of purchase. Check out the models that the promotion supports though. They currently accept purchases of 18 different models so take a look at the site to make sure you purchase the right one.
TIOTI, or Tape It Off The Internet, the social TV guide that combines online TV with user-generated content and social networking features has opened to the public. In private beta for almost a year, TIOTI allows you to find your favorite TV shows, favorite them and track them through the whole season. A new feature that has been added in the past year is the ability for users to submit links in wiki format allowing more integration of user-generated content. Before, TIOTI mainly catered to those looking for actual TV shows and movies and still does provide links to torrent sites where video downloads can be found. If you're not so sure whether you're comfortable with the whole torrent experience (it being illegal and all), links are also provided to iTunes and Amazon where you can actually pay for the products. The platform was developed to provide a more user-friendly experience than the torrent sites offer, so if you're in the latter crowd this is the site you'll want to head to. If not, take a look anyways. It's simple to use, easy to navigate and its design is easy on the eyes.
When shopping around for TV and TV tech products, it's always wise to research products, compare prices, and look for deals. You know how it works. If you're considering purchasing an Apple TV, freelance journalist Don Reisinger has compared 5 products that are similar to the Apple in their respective capabilities. What we like here at TVSnob is that a few of the 5 cost a whole lot less!
Do you ever watch TV with someone who has a completely different taste in television content than you? Do you ever just want to get up and change the channel? Well it's time for you to have a little fun!
ThinkGeek is selling a product called a Ninja Remote. It's a small remote that you can basically hide in your pocket and when that hated show comes on, you just press mute and then take over the television. Mess with the volume, change the channel, all that kind of fun stuff. The Ninja Remote only costs $9 and works with most major brand name televisions.
The world's first OLED TV from Sony, the XEL-1, debuted at the CEATEC 2007 electronics and technology show in Japan. At only 3mm wide, the 11 inch model with 1000000:1 resolution will retail for a steep $1750 in Japan this coming December. Despite the steep price and new technology, Sony is confident there will be buyers in the $82 billion flat-panel market.
Reuters Report On The Sony TV
OLED, which stands for organic light-emitting diode, is any LED (light-emitting diode) that is comprised of organic compounds in its emissive electroluminscent layer. This layer is where the light that makes up the colors on your TV screen comes from. The organic compounds are placed on the panel by a printing process into rows and columns. The resulting matrix of organic compounds emits light when an electrical current is passed through it and results in the colored pixels you see on your TV screen.
Because OLED's can be printed on any flat surface, even those that are flexible, OLED TV's look to be much cheaper and easier to produce than the popular LCD and plasma screens of today. Compared to LCD TV's, OLED's enable a greater range of colors, brightness, and viewing angle because OLED pixels directly emit light as they do not require a backlight to function. Because they use a backlight, LCD's cannot show a true black on screen, one of the biggest drawbacks of LCD screens. LCD's also waste a ton of energy because they use polarizers to filter out some of the backlight to minimize the coloration problems that do occur.
The biggest drawback to OLED technology is that organic compounds do decompose. That means that an OLED TV will currently only have about one-third to one-twelfth the lifespan of today's 60000 hour expectation for LCD and plasma screens. Definitely something to consider when looking at the expected retail price.
Mitsubishi debuted a 140 inch LCD TV at the CEATEC conference in Chiba, Japan. The "Resolia" measures a whopping 120 x × 70 x 5.9 inches and is one of the most popular exhibits at the conference. For a closer look take a look at the video above.
Thin is in for television display panels at the CEATEC 2007 conference in Chiba, Japan. Hitachi revealed the prototype of their New Style TV, a 32" LCD display that is a wafer-thin 0.75 inches thick, and will be ready to hit stores sometime in 2009.
Sony also debuted the XEL-1, a 3 mm thick OLED television, to bring in a new trend: thin is in!
A new Adobe Media Player with an iTunes-like interface debuted on Monday at the Adobe Max conference in Chicago. The media player lets you watch shows both online and off in flash format from stations such as Revision 3, blip.tv, PBS, CBS, and MyToons.com, along with many others. I downloaded it and tried it out Monday night and was quite impressed. It's extremely simple to use, has an attractive interface and the picture quality isn't to shabby either (by web standards anyway).
Yesterday I covered the public beta launch for Joost...and predicted Joost would eventually fail because, being in the early adopter stage of internet TV, I don't believe that enough people would be willing to watch TV on their computer screens for the company to go mainstream.
I may have been wrong in my prediction however, because in an interview with NewTeeVee that coincided with the launch, Joost CEO Mike Volpi said that the company is aiming to integrate a set-top box technology with the Joost web interface so that viewers could watch Joost programming on their televisions. This is exactly what Joost needs to do at this point in time if they are to succeed.
Volpi said in the interview that to reach out beyond the younger generation, teens and 20-somethings, into the the 40-somethings and 50-somethings, Joost will need to be able to deliver their video content onto traditional TV's where the older crowd (I said older, not old) is more comfortable watching.
They're in the works of finding a partner to develop the hardware required to deliver internet-based video content to large screen televisions and hope to have something tangible in the next 18 months.
With climate change being a real threat to the existence of the human species, the Geneva-based International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has devised "what may be the world's most boring TV program to measure energy consumption on new-generation televisions".
The 10 minute program has been developed to be a standard way of measuring how much energy LCD and plasma TVs use.
To create the program, broadcasters and TV manufacturers measured the proportion of broadcasting time for each genre of programming and then edited a mishmash compilation of images from different genres into a program that apparently "lacks drama". The reasoning behind the proportioning of genres into different time categories is that some types of programming require more energy than others.
"The images are supposed to be a representation of what we watch, but when you stick it together it doesn't make much sense", IEC spokesman Dennis Brougham told Reuters. He compared it to a test pattern on television that viewers can use to tune their sets.
The program will be used in the development of a new international standard by the IEC to accurately measure the energy consumption by different sets and allow manufacturers to provide accurate energy usage label on televisions for consumers.
The IEC has estimated that reducing energy use per model 25 percent by 2009 could save more than 10 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year in the United States alone.
There are many television afficiondos out there that want to wait for the HD DVD/Blu-ray battle to play itself out before they make a purchase decision regarding a DVD player. Not only that, but many are waiting for prices to come down.
Digital TV & Sound magazine compared three 1080p upscaling DVD players all priced under $300 for those of you who feel this way. The magazine compared the Panasonic DVD-S53K, the Helio Labs H4000, and the OPPO DV-981 HD. The three players were compared on their picture quality, sound quality, look, feel, and ergonomical qualities.
Though it has a picture quality better than the Panasonic model, the H4000 still doesn't have 3:2 detection. In terms of the player's upscaling capabilities, this model wins hands down as it delivers 1080p through both it component and HDMI outputs. The sound options with this model aren't to bad either. There are both optical and coaxial digital audio outputs and its analog output includes both stereo and 5.1-channel sound. The H4000 has a bit of a techish look to it so it should fit into your home theatre setup quite nicely from an aesthetic standpoint. Two small flaws in the player's design are the lack of a removable power cable and an on/off switch that is located in the back of the unit rather than the front. Another neat feature of the H4000 is the "Smart Play" system that allows you to skip trailers, warnings, etc, etc. Not a bad price either at $169.
The Oppo DV-981HD, which we reviewed a couple of days back, blew out the other two models in terms of picture quality with the best detail, smoothest picture and 3:2 detection. HD quality picture is only available through HDMI as this unit has no component output. The model supports both DVD-audio and SACD sound formats and has a complete collection of analog outputs that deliver about the best analog sound you can get. The Oppo DV-981HD is also the aesthetically most pleasing of the 3 player's, heavier and pricier looking by far. From an ergonomical standpoint, the only complaint was in regards to the remote with its tiny buttons and small print. Sounds like a bargain at $229.
The results are in and Digital TV & Sound found that you definitely get what you pay for. The Oppo DV-981HD is the most expensive of the three player's and not surprising had the best picture, sound, look, and feel. It's only defeat was in the ergonomics category with the Panasonic DVD-S53K taking top honors. All in all, your best purchase bet here is the Oppo model. Slightly more expensive at $229, but the one of the best upscaling experiences that you can get in the under $300 price range.
Joost, the peer-to-peer internet TV network, has opened in beta to the public today after being in private beta for over a year. Starting today, you can head over to Joost.com, download their software and watch content from partners such as Warner Brothers, Sony, CNN, PBS, Major League Baseball and the NHL. Some questions must be asked though. Will Joost succeed in developing a successful online television network when the web has become saturated with video content? What about the formidable competition from YouTube and TiVo? Would you rather watch movies and television shows on your regular TV or on the web? These are all tough questions that Joost must look at.
Mike Volpi, Joost CEO, says that Joost has excellent video quality, much improved over the past 6 months of beta testing, as well as an ever-increasing library of content and these are the keys to its future success. Personally, I think this network will fail. The content is not diverse enough at the moment for the site to really take off, and if it doesn't take off now, it won't. Great idea in theory, but not the right timing. The company is just a little to far ahead of its time.
Yes I know it's still 3 months until Christmas, but it's never to early to get started. Last minute Christmas shopping is like long, slow torture so get it out of the way early so you wake up Christmas morning with hair. Televisions and all the related gadgets move like hot tamales during the Christmas shopping season, but with a long list of family and friends to but for the bank balance can sink pretty quickly.
So, if anyone on your list is looking for an HD DVD player, consider the Toshiba HD-A3 player. At only $300, the HD-A3 is the perfect combination of reasonable pricing and high quality product. It's design and reflective black coloring make it look much more expensive and it only requires one HDMI cable connected to your HDTV. If you have standard DVDs, the player also has upconversion capabilities so you can watch them in high definition. Also notable is the player's 2.5" height which makes it the slimmest HD DVD player on the market to date.
This one's for those of you lean-in types that like to watch movies and tv shows on your computer screen. Gizmodo found a product via Sci Fi Tech that warms your rear while you sit at your computer! Great for those long cold winter nights in the basement watching your downloaded movies.
Introducing the Thanko USB Warmer Cushion that connects to your USB port and warms up that chilly backside of yours via a temperature control dial. It can even be washed if you happen to turn up the heat a little high and start sweating! Available from Thanko for only $25.83.
TVSnob: Hayden, could you explain a little about who you are and what you do, for TVSnob readers?
Hayden: I've spent some time in LA in TV marketing, writing/producing promos for the major networks as well as devising syndicated campaigns. Just over a year ago, I decided to pack it in and strike out on my own doing what I came here to do in the first place - write TV and Features full time. Of course, deciding to achieve the impossible in a year was a bold move -
some would even say stupid - but then came the interweb and I saw the opportunity to bypass the networks, agents and producers at their own game and do what I wanted to. So you can now find me developing, writing and producing original content for the new media space that has the legs to cross over to multi-platforms over time (TV, Mobile, Movies, etc).
Hayden: Let me start with what the show's about then tell you how it came to be. Abigail is about a 13 year old girl who vlogs about school, boys, and living with Bloomberger's Syndrome; a genetic condition that prematurely ages the body, bloats it, adds hair where there shouldn't be to the point that she now looks exactly like...a 30-something dude.
The inspiration for and the idea of the show all came at me like a lightning bolt. Last November I was watching some vlogs to see what they were all about and I was struck with how simple and cheap they are to produce. Goodnight Burbank has a combined cast and crew of close to 15 people and I realized how stress-free it would be to have just me and a camera. Within a minute the idea arrived fully formed - what if I played a young girl who had to look like me? How
sad (for her) and funny would that be! But it couldn't just be about me in a dress - that joke would wear thin fairly quick. I wanted to explore the pain and pathos of being "different" in the modern world. Back when I was in school, bullying ended when the bell rang - now it follows kids home via the web, camera phones, etc etc. So I made up a completely fictional disease and Abigail was born.
TVSnob: How long will the series run for? And how did you decide to air 3 minute long clips for week?
Hayden: Because the series is so short, so inherently viral, so easy to write and produce and so much fun, I'm not looking at when this will end because we're right at the beginning. And the reason to go with 3 episodes a week is so people don't have to wait weeks for a new installment; more content equals more satisfied viewers. I'll take a look at how that model has
worked in a month and decide then to either go to 2 a week or keep it at 3.
TVSnob: Is this connected to HBO Online or has this become a solo project?
Hayden: I pitched "Abigail" to HBO's "This Just In" earlier this year and they asked me to do a pilot. However they ultimately closed shop a few months later. It may have been something I said.
TVSnob: Could you explain the monetization strategy behind Goodnight Burbank and Abigail for TVSnob readers?
Hayden: I'm most interested in selling product placement as it's organic and unobtrusive. We have actually already sold some on Abigail and GNB is about to do a 2 month video overlay campaign with HBO (so they didn't go away completely!).
TVSnob: How did you get your start? You seem to be one of the self-made superstars on the web who saw an opportunity and took it. Does that sum it up?
Hayden: You summed it up perfectly. As Steve Winwood once sang - and I don't usually go around quoting Steve Winwood - "when you see a chance, take it". I saw the opportunity - and passion then took over and did the rest.
TVSnob: Here we go: What kind of TV do you have?
Hayden: I have a big, fuck-off, Toshiba 50" plasma HD TV with surround sound and it's brilliant. I don't watch my shows on it because the last thing I need to do is see that face of mine on a screen that large. Painful.
TVSnob: What's the future of TV? (anything goes! I know it's general and open-ended, but I'm sure you have your opinions)
Hayden: Future of TV is rock solid and only going forward. To the naysayers who foretell its end, I say "oh, shut up and sod off" because those same idiots (or their grandparents) said the same thing about movies when TV came along. Besides, with TV technology constantly reinventing itself, we don't have to worry about watching our entertainment on tiny iPods or computer monitors. Those are just portable and convenient. TV is there for you to sit in front of and immerse yourself in. Death by TV...mmmmm!!!
I think in terms of content, the short-term future will include multi-platform shows; projects that have different facets that can survive quite well across TV, the web, mobiles and more - each complimenting the other facets. For example, Abigail could work well as a half hour, single camera TV comedy about a messed up family with an even more messed up teenager at the
core of it; the web would see her video diary, mobile phones could carry her friends' video diaries, etc, etc.
Awesome Hayden! Very much appreciated and very thought provoking. We here at TVSnob look forward to many more hilarious episodes of Goodnight Burbank and are quite anxious for the debut of Abigail's "X-Rated" Teen Diary!