June 30, 2008
In an era where "connected" defines the best of the best home theater technology, D-Link's DSM-330 DivX Connected HD media player fits squarely into niche of connected devices that every home entertainment enthusiast must take a seriously look at. Not only is the DSM-330 capable of streaming HD video from your PC to your TV wirelessly or by way of a home ethernet connection, it's the first DivX Connected home entertainment device to hit the North American market. Intrigued? You should be, and if so, should consider taking a look at our hands-on review after the jump.
Continue reading: "Hands-On Review: D-Link's DSM-330 DivX Connected HD Media Player"
June 30, 2008
Most Americans are aware of the upcoming digital TV transition now, even though some numbers estimate that half of those that need to prepare for it have no plans to. If you have an older TV and receive over-the-air analog channels, you will need to prepare sooner or later unless you like the idea of watching a screen full of fuzz. The simplest way to do that is by purchasing a digital converter box and with the $40 Converter Box Coupon Program paying for a good chunk of that purchase you could be looking at only forking out $10 to $20 to keep on watching all of your favorite shows.
That said, it's hard to decide what converter box to buy. Sound & Vision mag has pitted the Digital Stream DTX9900, the RCA DTA800, and the Zenith DTT900 against one another and come up with some interesting results. These three boxes are probably the most popular on the market right now and with the $40 coupon, you'll probably only pay a maximum of $20 for either of these models. While the three converters feature similar specs which you'd think would result in similar performance, they all performed very differently. From usability to interface to picture quality, differences were apparent. So if you want the biggest bang for you converter box buck, maybe give that article a little look-see.
Via Sound & Vision
June 29, 2008
Google has turned its famed search engine biz into a full-fledged media company and their latest move into that area is the debut of Google Media Server, a Windows app that locates multimedia files on your computer and enables them to playback on your TV via any DLNA device. The new media server is a simple Google Gadget plugin that you download onto your computer, which then uses Google's Desktop Search technology to locate video, music, and picture files. All's you need is a UPnP-enabled device such as a Playstation 3 hooked into your home theater, and voila, Google TV!
June 29, 2008
Despite news reports over in Japan earlier this week that said Panasonic was ready to crank out 37-inch OLED displays en masse within the next three years, Panasonic has blatantly denied the rumors. According to Tech-On, Panasonic told them, "We are currently advancing research and development in view of OLED production at IPS Alpha's Himeji Plant for the future, but nothing specific has yet been decided on the commercialization of our OLED TV at the moment." A typical response to a rumor from a publicly traded company whose product announcements are timed in such a way to benefit their investors, but not necessarily meaning much. The company's President Fumio Otsubo said back in January that OLED TV's wouldn't really begin penetrated the TV market until 2015, but no matter what Panasonic says, we don't believe for a second that this rumor isn't true especially when competitors such as Sony and Samsung have big plans for their OLED TV businesses in the next couple of years. Oh, and remember that interview with Panny's Toshihiro Sakamoto back in January? Didn't he put the release year at somewhere around 2012?
June 28, 2008
In addition to Vizio's new XVT line of LCD and plasma sets, they've also announced a couple of new plasma sets that bring the HDTV price barrier down to a new level. The 42-inch VP422 and the 32-inch VP322 plasma TV's will be sold at all 3400 US Wal-mart's, part of Vizio's strategy to penetrate the US HDTV market with low-price models. The two 720p displays offer 30000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, picture optimization controls, and a 60000 hour half-life. Despite being entry-level plasma's, the VP422 and VP322 also have an impressive variety of inputs allowing virtually any high-def home theater device to be attached. On the back you'll find a component video port, RGB PC connectivity and a couple of HDMI slots. Look on the side and you'll find an additional HDMI input, part of the HD Game port, and easy access connection panel for gamers. The two Vizio sets are already available in US Wal-mart stores and online for $799 (VP422) and $599 (VP322).
Mitsubishi has roadmapped the release schedule for the 65- and 73-inch LaserVue laser TV's, something we've been anticipating since they unveiled the new models at CES 2008 back in January. The 65-inch LaserVue will be the first to ship sometime in the 3rd quarter, followed soon after by the 73-inch set. What's so great about Mitsubishi's LaserVue TV's? Well, the big advantage of laser technology is that it can deliver roughly twice the color of major brand LCD and plasma sets at only half the energy cost, running at 200 Watts. They're fairly bright too, with a brightness measurement of 500 nits and also feature 120Hz refresh and x.v. Color technology. The big downside with the new LaserVue sets is that they're 10-inches thick, fat as all hell in an industry where thin is in, but not entirely surprising given Mitsubishi's DLP-based TV background. As for price, there hasn't been official word yet, but expect them to be similar to those of comparably sized LCD and plasma sets.
Via Widescreen Review, (picture credit: engadget hd)
The folks over at CNET have put the Samsung LN46A750 46-inch LCD TV through the ringer and it looks to be a top-of-the-line performer. A member of the Red Touch of Color series, features include a 1080p, 120 Hz display, 50000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, a 6ms response time, picture-in-picture, and a pair of built-in 10 Watt speakers that pump out SRS TruSurround sound. Put all of these features together and you get a set that has a superb black level and highly detailed picture. Plus a host of handy extras like network streaming, built-in interactive content access, and even real-time stock price and weather feeds and you have a flat panel definitely worth purchasing. Oh wait, purchasing if it was a little cheaper. CNET's reviewers don't think the $1882 price tag for the 46-inch Samsung LN46A750 is quite worth the features the set offers.
June 26, 2008
Vizio will continue its mission to offer feature-packed HDTV's at aggressive prices to the US next month with the release of a trio of LCD and plasma displays--the 42-inch SV420XVT, 47-inch SV470XVT, and the 50-inch VP505XVT. The first three models of the XVT line all boast 1080p resolution, 120 Hz processing and a sleek, industrial design minimizing the bezel.
In addition to 1080p resolution and 120 Hz Smooth Motion technology, the SV420XVT and SV470XVT both feature a 6500:1 contrast ratio, picture presets for different content types, SRS Labs' TruSurround XT audio processing, compatibility with the Vizio SV5.1 upgrade kit for adding 5.1-channel surround sound, side access HD Game ports including a couple of HDMI v1.3 inputs in addition to another couple on the back. Both sets include the VUR8 Universal Learning Remote with picture-in-picture keys and will be sold from the likes of Circuit City, Sears, Sam's Club and Costco. The 42- and 47-inch displays are expected to retail for $1499.99 and $1899.99 respectively.
The 50-inch VP505XVT plasma TV features Silicon Optix's REON HQV processing, an integrated, DTV-compliant HD/QAM tuner, a dynamic contrast ratio of 30000:1, and a panel half-life of 100, 000 hours. Like the LCD XVT models, the VP505XVT uses SRS Labs' TruSurround XT audio processing, is upgradeable to 5.1 channels, includes a VUR8 remote, and has all of the usual inputs and outputs include a side access HD Game panel. When Panasonic's 50-inch XVT plasma hits shelves next month, expect to pay about $1699.99.
A couple of years back when Panasonic first announced their 103-inch plasma we had dreams of a world of super-immersive home theaters. While that hasn't quite happened yet, the displays did well enough in their first year of sales to justify an upgraded "10 Series", and now we know why. According to a Panasonic press release, the 103-inch monster plasma display has been installed over 3000 times, pretty well all in commercial settings. Popular spots include casinos and nightclubs; Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Vegas has installed 15 of them, and Jay-Z's 40/40 club also in Vegas has installed a couple as well. Other popular uses include sports playback, educational, and board room use. It's lack of popularity in the home theater sector is understandable though. After all, the giant plasma does cost upwards of $70, 000.
Via Engadget HD
June 25, 2008
3D is going to be big. It's already catching on in a big way in Hollywood with 40 3D titles coming up in theaters, thanks to 3D film ticket sales at times doubling those of the standard film version. To make 3D really big though it has to find its way to the home theater, especially because 3D films cost studios more to make and home video accounts for three-quarters of Hollywood's $35.5 billion in annual revenues.
Thanks to the 3D@Home Consortium, consisting of Disney, Universal, Philips, Samsung, Sony, Thomson and IMAX, this could soon be a reality. The consortium banded in order to rapidly advance the technologies required to make 3D home theaters a reality and several signs are pointing to that reality. 3D HDTV's will be found in more than 1 million US homes by the end of this year, manufactured by the likes of Mitsubishi and Samsung. Earlier this week Mitsubishi also announced a content deal with Nvidia and Aspen Media Products that'll bring a bunch of 3D computer and video game titles to consumers. And Philips just unveiled a 52-inch 3D display that doesn't require those pesky 3D glasses for viewing.
Now that many more 3D titles are planned for theaters, you can bet they'll be released in 3D when they come to Blu-ray and DVD. In fact, the first 3D Blu-ray disc is coming August 19. Unfortunately it's Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds 3-D Concert, but c'mon now, it comes with the 3D glasses and all.
Finally a tech company known as TDVision is working on a way to make regular Blu-ray discs appear in 3D when played back. Now just sit back for a moment and imagine a home theater world that's almost more real than the one you live in everyday. Bizarre, eh? It's coming soon.
Via USA Today
Back in February, LG Display had plans to ramp up a test line for OLED TV panel production in a new plant built exclusively for OLED manufacturing. By late April, LG was confident it would be producing 32-inch OLED panels by 2011. Now the Korea Times is reporting that LG Display will be dumping a good chunk of their 3 trillion Won in expected operating profits this year into their OLED business.
Just days ago Samsung Electronics publicly admitted interested in combining OLED production with Samsung SDI in order to boost its OLED business. Whether or not LG's decision has anything to do with this we're not entirely sure, but LG says it's not related. June 12, LG set up a dedicated department to AM OLED displays in its Gumi, North Gyeongsang Province plant, separated its Mobile Business Division into four dedicated OLED divisions and may be moving its 3.5-generation AMOLED line to Paju, Gyeonggi Province.
Via OLED Tech News
June 24, 2008
Japanese rag Sankei Shimbun reported this morning that Panasonic will have 37-inch OLED TV's ready for sale sometime in the next 3 years. Amazingly, the 37-inch sets are expected to retail for around 150, 000 Yen when they hit Japan which equates to only $1390, nearly half of what Sony's 11-inch XEL-1 currently costs. Panasonic's OLED TV's will be produced at the IPS Alpha Technology factory in the Chiba Prefecture and could be the first mass produced OLED TV's over 30 inches although Sony recently invested $210 million to begin churning out 30-inch and larger panels by next year. This isn't just a bid by Panasonic to challenge Sony for domination in the young OLED TV market. The company says it's part of a strategy to challenge Samsung for domination in the overall flat panel market.
Via OLED Display (Thanks, Erik!)
Rear-projection TV's may not be too hot for living room use these days, but when it comes to DLP cubes, they're all the rage. Check out the Planar Clarity Margay II DLP Cube, display at InfoComm 2008. It features 8 50-inch DLP rear projection displays, 2 across and 4 down, each 1920 x 1080 pixels, displaying a total pixel count of 3840 x 4320. All of the screens work in tandem with one another and the displays are close enough together so the edges don't irritate the eyes. Look for these DLP cubes to feature prominently in commercial displays.
Via Display Search
If you're still looking for a DTV converter box in preparation for DTV2009, the digital TV transition, coming February 17, 2009, you may have absolutely no idea where to start. First off, we recommend checking out our homegrown info guide if you're really in the dark. Second off, we recommend heading over to Consumer Reports if you know you need a converter box, but aren't sure which one. The reviewers over there have tested and rated 14 converter boxes according to their picture quality, and have a breakdown of each boxes pros and cons. If you're looking for the absolute best picture, your best bets are the TIVAX STB-T9,LASONIC LTA-260, SANSONIC FT300A, and the MICROGEM MG2000. Unfortunately if you're still in an area where you have access to some analog channels after the switch, none of these boxes have analog passthrough. Time's running out!
Remember Sharp's monster 108-inch LB-1085 LCD TV? Of course you do, how could you forget? If you have some cash to burn and plenty of room, the 209 pound display will be hitting the US this September. It's already available in Japan and a few European retailers have started to sell the LB-1085 priced at about 120, 000 Euros or about $185, 000 in the US. Apparently we can expect the set to cost about $150, 000 when it arrives in December but it'll only be available through special order; you won't find this one sitting on store shelves. If for some unexplained reason you're planning on spending six figures for the LB-1085 you should remember you're paying for nothing more than its size. Its features are nothing special: 1080p resolution, 1200:1 contrast ratio, 400 cd/m2 brightness, and a 6 ms response time. If you're still taking the dive, please send us some pics. We'd love to see this giant actually sitting in someone's living room
Via TG Daily
Although HD DVD died as a format earlier this year, today it'll officially see the end as the last HD DVD's will hit shelves in the US. Disco Pigs, an Irish flick, and Freedom: 6, an anime collection will hit shelves today; the last HD DVD's you'll ever see released in the US. If you're looking for a couple extra high-def DVD's to stick with your Beta collection, head over to Amazon where you'll find Disco Pigs for $21. The real question now is whether or not Blu-ray will ever hit the mainstream?
June 23, 2008
The Hello Kitty phenomenon continues, this time in the home theater industry, with a couple of new 19-inch Uniden Hello Kitty LCD TV's. Available in red or pink, the Uniden TL19TX1 features 1440 x 880 resolution, 1000:1 contrast ratio, and a brightness measurement of 300 cd/m2. Surprisingly the Hello Kitty display have a fast response time of 5ms, but only features a digital tuner. No analog tuner at all with the TL19X1. It also features a duo of built-in dual-channel 3 Watt speakers and HDMI, component, and composite inputs, and an analog audio output. Come July 4, Uniden's TL19TX1 Hello Kitty LCD TV's will be available in Japan for 69, 800 Yen, about US$648.
Via AV Watch
The only hope the movie theater has of existing in any fashion in the future is to go 3D in our opinion, and Dolby Laboratories is making that a whole lot easier with their Dolby 3D Digital Cinema technology. The technology enables cinema operators to use standard white screens to playback both 2D and 3D films when using DLP projectors, nixing the need for separate and expensive silver screens. Now they've announced a new Dolby 3D playback compatibility program that'll simplify and standardize the technical requirements for digital cinema manufacturers. Dolby 3D technology uses dual channel, real-time color correction technology, and to be Dolby compatible servers/projectors will be tested for their accuracy in this area. XDC's CineStore Solo G3 server line has been the first to receive approval from Dolby.
June 20, 2008
Despite the claim by ESPN that its Ultimate Remote is just that, the reviewers over at PC Mag think otherwise. First of all though, what makes the Ultimate Remote so different from the rest? It features 802.11g WiFi compatibility so you can surf the web and check your email from your home theater. Great, definitely a handy feature and it's pretty cool looking too and that really makes a difference. However, take a closer look and you'll see clustered buttons that aren't "finger-friendly", and once you actually press the buttons when it comes time to configure the remote to your home theater setup, you'll find the usual list of codes that make remote setup's a pain in the ass.
Once it is all setup it does have some useful features such as a learning mode that remembers button sequences for certain tasks you may perform and you can also program the remote to perform multiple button tasks with one button push. The problem is, devices such as the Logitech Harmony One are much easier to setup, better designed and, perhaps most importantly, cheaper. In fact, PC Mag says the Harmony One still reigns as the ultimate remote. Time for a name change ESPN.
Buy the ESPN Ultimate Remote or Logitech Harmony One From Amazon
Via PC Mag
Sony has always been a prolific company, but 11 new projectors debuted at one time brings a whole new meaning to the word prolific. The first thing you need to know is that nearly all the projectors feature Sony's BrightEra imaging technology "designed to produce a higher aperture ratio, deliver brighter images than previous High Temperature Poly-Silicon (HTPS) LCD-based systems and allow the projectors to achieve high resolution and quiet fan noise." Secondly, these projectors are all intended for commercial use and are pretty expensive, ranging in price from $1050 to $40, 000. And thirdly, if you're still interested, check out the press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Sony Dishes Out 11 New LCD Business Projectors"
June 19, 2008
Sanyo's CE52SR1 52-inch LCD monitor is built for commercial applications rather than the living room home theaters, but it has some cool features we just have to tell you about. Some of the usual features include 1080p resolution, a 6.5 ms response time, 16:9 aspect, and inputs including a DVI-D, VGA, S-video, five component slots, a stereo mini jack, and RCA inputs and outputs. That's pretty boring in inself, but the CE52SR1 is actually built with a marine-grade construction making it fully waterproof and dustproof and features a super bright 1500 cd/m2 screen, easily viewable in direct sunlight. Plus if 52-inches doesn't quite cut it for whatever you're trying to display, the 52-inch toughie can be put together with up to 24 others in a 5 by 5 array creating a movie theater-like screen that receives the picture signal through a single input. Amazing eh? And being a commercial-grade LCD monitor and all, so is the price--$13995 when it hits the public in October 2008.
JVC unleashed a few new lines of LCD HDTV's on the US yesterday, including a new super-slim line. The first new line, the P-Series, brings four new sets to the market--the 32-inch LT-32P679, 42-inch LT-42P789, 47-inch LT-47P789, and the 52-inch LT-52P789. All of the P-Series' displays, with the exception of the 720p 32-inch set, feature full 1080p resolution, come with a universal remote with direct input, ATSC/QAM tuning, a USB photo viewer, and a new on-screen menu system. The usual inputs are their including three HDMI, two component, one S-video input, an SPDIF input, and an analog audio output for blasting sound through a home theater system.
The feature unique to the P-Series is the built-in iPod dock controlled using the included remote. When an iPod is placed in the dock, an on-screen menu pops up letting users navigate through their tunes right on the TV screen. The song title and artist's name are displayed on-screen when a song is played, and images can even be set up to display during playback. Plus, whether or not the TV is on or off, the iPod will charge when docked. The 32-inch LT-32P679, 42-inch LT-42P789, and 47-inch LT-47P789 are all available now for $999.99, $1599.99, and $2199.99 respectively, while the 52-inch LT-52P789 will be available in August for $3199.99.
The second line is the Procision 899 Series featuring the 42-inch LT-42X899, the 47-inch LT-47X899 and the 52-inch LT-52X899. All three models use JVC's high-def Clear Motion Drive III engine with a sixth-generation Genessa 32-bit processor. The Clear Motion Drive III engine is impressive, moving the screen beyond 10 bits, actually converting 8 bit images into 12 bits. Other features include a 120fps frame rate, full HD 24/30p, nine video aspect modes, ATSC/QAM tuning, a USB photo viewer, and three HDMI v1.3 (two CEC) inputs. The 42-inch LT-42X899, 47-inch LT-47X899 and the 52-inch LT-52X899 are all available now, priced at $1999.99, $2599.99, and $3699.99 respectively.
Finally, next month JVC will release a line of 1.5-inch thin LCD TV's with built-in TV tuners. The line, part of the Procision Series, will only feature a couple of models-the 42-inch LT-42SL89 and 46-inch LT-46SL89. Both sets features 1080p resolution, a CCFL backlight 40% smaller than the conventional LCD backlight, and only consume 145 Watts of power. Both will hit shelves next month for $1899.99 and $2399.99 respectively.
Via AVS Forum
June 18, 2008
Sony claims their latest BRAVIA 32-inch LCD flat panel is the greenest of all green 32-inch LCD TV's. The new BRAVIA KDL-32J1 uses only about two-thirds of the power a similar screen would use, culminating in a 70% savings in energy use over the course of a year. It's done using more efficient fluorescent backlights and screen filters that allow more existing light to pass so less tubes are needed to create the same level of brightness as a similar LCD set. Interestingly, the KDL-32J1 is also made of predominantly recycled materials including leftover plastic, styrofoam, and optical film, making the new Sony set almost completely recyclable once its life is over.
As for specs, the Sony KDL-32J1 features 720p resolution, a 2500:1 contrast ratio, 24p True Cinema, analog and digital terrestrial tuners, a couple of both HDMI and component video ports among others, and both pink and silver color options. This LCD set will hit Japan first of course, on July 25, priced at 150, 000 Yen. This would be a ridiculously expensive set if were ever to hit the US at this price--it's equivalent to about $1390 is US currency.
Via Sony Japan
Yet another product TV fanatics have patiently waited for since CES 2008 back in January, HP's MediaSmart Connect receiver is finally up for pre-order. Connect the MediaSmart Connect to your HDTV and desktop or laptop PC through ethernet (HDMI or component vid) or a wireless 802.11a, b, g, or dual-band draft 802.11n connection, and you're set to easily playback HD digital media files from you computer on your HDTV screen. The MediaSmart Connect uses Extender for Windows Media Center to enable computer users with Windows Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate to access a whole range of online video services including Vongo, MovieLink and FOX Sports, and Microsoft Media Center Internet TV beta featuring over 100 hours of programming from A&E, Bio, CNBC, DIY, Fine Living, Food Network, FOX Sports, HGTV, History Channel, iFilm, MSNBC, National Geographic, NBC News and StupidVideos. And if your PC has a TV tuner you can stream broadcast TV straight to your HDTV as well.
The HP MediaSmart Connect receiver also plays back a wide range of other multimedia codecs including MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DiVX, XVID, DVR-MS, WMV and WMV-HD; MP3, WMA, WMA Pro and AAC (unprotected); JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF and PNG. Regularly priced at $350, the MediaSmart Connect is available for $326 from Amazon and will be released July 31.
Preorder the HP MediaSmart Connect Receiver from Amazon
Via Electronic House
NEC Display announced a couple of new commercial projectors today--the 3000 lumen NP905 and 2000 lumen NP901W. Developed for conference rooms and classrooms, NEC's installation projectors feature Windows Network Projector functionality from within Windows Vista so users can share info using their laptops or PC's via either a wireless or wired area network. As if that's not a great feature in itself, the NP905 and NP901W both feature a remote desktop connection so they can actually control a remote computer as long as it's wired to the projector via its USB connection along with its keyboard. Other features include:
- Silicon Optix HQV (Hollywood Quality Video) enabling high-end processing for both standard def and HD content
- a geometric correction tool for shape projection minus the distortion
- advanced color management which adjusts depending on whether movies, images, or graphics are being projected
- HDMI inputs and an audio input for every video input
- closed captioning
- direct off for quick shutdown
NEC's NP905 and NP901W projectors will be hitting the streets next month for $1999.99 and $1299.99 respectively.
LG Electronics, the biggest provider of HDTV's to hotels in the world, is collaborating with Control4 Corporation to co-develop an integrated automation system that'll allow hotel guests to control pretty much everything in their hotel room right from the TV screen. Everything includes lighting, draperies, heating and air conditioning, and other home theater components. The two companies feel this solution is better than going the ol' set top box route, not only eliminating the box, but enabling the system to have more handy features. The system will be nothing more than a card that will be placed in an integrated interface port of LG's HDTV's. There hasn't been any mention of a "release" date, but we're guessing you'll be able to see the system in action on hotel room TV's everywhere in the next year or so.
Via Business Wire
June 17, 2008
Energy conservation is a big topic these days, with global warming being on the world's mind, but blaming big TV's for a country's energy usage woes? Wow. We all know that flat panel TV's can suck up energy like the world's strongest vacuum, especially if we go the plasma route, but when Irish national broadcaster NTEreported the Irish national energy use rose 62% between 1990 and 2006, we never thought that large-sized TV's would take such a big share of the blame. But a report by Sustainable Energy Ireland, to be released sometime today, pins a lot of the responsibility on big TV's. RTE says the report states that the Irish have "bigger TVs and more of them, and that Irish people are watching TV more often, leading to a massive rise in energy consumption". The end result? More pollution and a little bit of a contribution to the global warming trend. So watching too much TV on our big flatscreens really is killing us!
Via Earth Times
Sony Europe's announced the Sony Bravia S4000 series, available in 26-, 32-, 37-, and 40-inch screen sizes. All of the new Bravia LCD's feature Sony's 'draw the LINE" design concept, using a simple piano black design that's meant to emphasize what's on the screen rather than what's around it, and all sets come with a swivel base so you can easily view the S4000 from anywhere in the room. The S4000 sets up to, and including, the 37-inch model are HD-Ready, have an DVB-C/DVB-T tuner for pulling in standard-def TV broadcasts, feature Bravia Theater Sync for one remote button whole home theater control, Bravia Engine processing and 3 HDMI slots for plugging in all your HD gear. The flagship 40-inch model is a full HD 1080p set, with 33000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, Bravia Engine 2 processing, an integrated standard-def tuner, Bravia Theater Sync, Bravia Sync for on-screen control of devices such as Sony's Handycam connected to the set via HDMI, 24p True Cinema, and 3 HDMI ports.
Via Sony Europe
June 16, 2008
Dell's Del 1609WX DLP WXGA projector, suitable for both home and commercial uses has been announced in Japan. The Del 1609WX projector features 1280 x 800 pixel resolution, 2500 lumens of brightness, 1900:1 contrast ratio, and a load of connectivity options including DVI, S-video, composite, and PC inputs. The 1609WX also features Dell's proprietary BrilliantColor technology and an 8 Watt speaker. It'll cost 105, 000 Yen in Japan, about the equivalent of US$969.
Via Dell Japan
About as simple as they come, the Green House GH-DV100S DVD player does nothing more than enable DVD ± R / RW and CD-R/RW recording and CD-DA playback. The 1.8 kg DVD player comes with component video, S-video, coaxial digital, and analog audio ports. Set to be released at the end of June in Japan, the GH-DV100S will retail for 3980 Yen, or US$37. Dirt cheap!
June 15, 2008
Steve Moore, a London-based installer, has come up with a reasonably low-cost way to turn an iPhone into a universal remote. Using an application called AirRemote, which will be available via Apple's App Store after July 11 for $99, and a Global Cache communications box ($120-$150) that converts the iPhone's IP commands into infrared signals that can be read by home theater products, the iPhone remote is the latest iPhone hack lending itself to home automation. The setup will also work with the iPod Touch, a slightly more expensive route given the media players $299 price tag. The AirRemote application also enables the iPhone to control AMX or Crestron home automation systems, letting you control pretty well any home electronic system from the iPhone. Moore says support for more devices is on the way, so keep your eyes peeled for this one.
If Hitachi's UltraThin LCD TV's don't appeal to you, maybe their 2008 plasma line will. Fully making their way onto US shelves by August, Hitachi's plasma line come in Japan black and crystal frames with the option of manual or remote controlled swivel stands. Available in 42- and 50-inch screen sizes, the plasma line makes use of a bunch of proprietary Hitachi technologies--UltraBlack Panels use a boxed cell structure to produce deeper blacks, improved phospor formulations produce richer colors, a PictureMaster VI digital video processor and Reel60Hz result in a smooth picture, and Cinema48, which works with 24p HDMI inputs to produce the same visual timing as films would playback in a movie theater. All of Hitachi's 2008 plasmas are Energy Star-certified, have an ambient light sensor, deep black stripe filters, an anti-reflective panel, game mode, and a TV Guide On Screen interactive program guide. Check out the pricing and availability below:
- 42-inch A-Series (model P42A402): $1,399 in July
- 50-inch A-Series (model P50A202): $1,799 currently available
- 50-inch A-Series (model P50A402): $1,899 currently available
- 50-inch S-Series (model P50S602): $2,699 currently available
- 50-inch V-Series (model P50V702): $3,199 in August
- 50-inch X-Series (model P50X902): $3,699 in August
The first time you caught a glimpse of Hitachi's 1.5 UltraThin line of LCD TV's, they were headed for shelves in Japan. In early May, we were thrilled to hear that the 1.5 family was hitting the US this summer and Hitachi has now confirmed this, releasing an availability and price schedule for the new UltraThin lineup.
Only 1.5-inches thin as you may have guessed, the UltraThin line will be available in 32-, 37-, 42-, and 47-inch sizes and broken into two categories--the Director's Series and the UltraVision-V Series. A few of the models have already seen their release dates, but here is the info for this summer's upcoming releases:
UT47X902--47-inch, 1080p, 120Hz Reel120, $4699 in September
UT32X812--32-inch, 720p, 120Hz Reel120, $2299 in August
UT47V702--47-inch, 1080p, 120Hz Reel120, $4499 in September
UT42V702--42-inch, 1080p, 120Hz Reel120, $3499 in July
UT37V702--37-inch, 1080p, 120Hz Reel120, $2799 in July
UT32V502/UT32V502W--32-inch, 720p, 120Hz Reel120, $2099 in August
UT32A302/UT32A302W--32-inch, 720p, 60Hz, $1799 in August
June 14, 2008
The prolific CNET reviewers are at it again, this time taking a look at the LG 50PG60 plasma TV. The 50-inch plasma set is a 1080p, 33000:1 contrast ratio beauty that's THX-certified. However that certification lies at the root of all of the sets drawbacks. While the THX mode does result in highly accurate primary color reproduction, it actually reduces the accuracy of color decoding and grayscale when compared to using the set without the THX enabled. The one thing everything looks for in plasmas as a measure of quality is the black level, and the 50PG60 doesn't quite measure up, projecting lighter blacks than the best plasmas on the market. It does, however, feature some solid video processing, tons of opportunities to tweek the picture, 4 HDMI slots, and a sweet design. So, while the THX certification actually takes away from the review, the LG 50PG60 is actually a decent buy with a good picture and an overall 7.6 out of 10 score from CNET.
The LG 50PG60 is available from Amazon, with several special offers.
June 13, 2008
The boys over at Ars Technica recently got their hands on a D-Link MediaLounge DSM-750 Wireless HD media extender and put it through the gears finding that while it has potential, it's still not the best solution on the market. The DSM-750 makes use of Windows Media Center to move HD video content from your Windows PC or media center to your television, and Ars Technica found the overall D-Link experience to be fairly standard right from the moment of unboxing. About the same size as an Oppo DVD player, the DSM-750 features all the usual connectivity options: HDMI, component, composite, S-video, digital coax audio, digital optical audio, an ethernet port and an included antenna to make use of the D-Link's 802.11n or 802.11g wireless connectivity. Easy to setup, the extender allows you to use Windows' Home Server Media Center Extender interface which will lead you directly to a huge amount of free online content, yet you won't find a dedicated online store where you can buy or rent digital downloads.
A couple of major problems with the MCE interface include poor design forcing you to use sideways scrolling and slow loading times. Video playback on the interface is quirky and slow as well. Ars does point out that this may be a Microsoft issue rather than a D-Link issue; after all it's Microsoft software and similar problems are found on the Xbox 360. The DSM-750 interface suffers from some of the same problems though that could also stem from Microsoft's problems. In the end Ars Technica recommend the Xbox Media Center on an old Xbox as a better choice.
We'd like to point out that while this is a somewhat unfavorable review, to be fair to D-Link it's not a complete review. First of all the testing was done on the tester's wired ethernet home network and the wireless connection wasn't even tried. It's entirely possible that the problems with slowness stemmed from the tester's network and not from either the D-Link or Windows Media Center. Second of all the transmission of HD content wasn't even touched upon and for the record, try streaming HD content via a first-generation Xbox. Good luck with that. This is an interface usability review rather than a functionality review, so it only covers a small part of the overall puzzle. Stay tuned for our hands-on review of the D-Link DSM-330 in the next bit for a more comprehensive look at what D-Link's wireless HD media extenders have to offer.
Buy the D-Link MediaLounge DSM-750 Wireless HD Media Extender from Amazon
Onkyo's WAVIO GXM-2.1HD is a 2.1-channel home theater system, expandable to a full 5.1-channels with the addition of center and rear speakers. Consisting of an amp with 5.1-channel support capable of outputing 30 W per channel and 60 W from the subwoofer, and a couple of side speakers, the GXM-2.1HD features Dolby Surround Sensation and supports both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It also is HDMI 1.3-compatible with a couple of inputs featuring 36-bit DeepColor and xvColor support. Slated for release in Japan, no official price has been set yet, but it's expected to be around 54, 800 Yen, about US$506.
We've been anxiously waiting for Sharp to bring its 108-inch LCD TV to the Japanese market for a while now and we can finally breath; the wait is over. Sharp is now accepting commercial orders for the world's largest LCD TV, the LB-1085, with its first delivery scheduled for June 19 to Shinjuku Piccadilly, one of Toyko's hottest multiplexes. It'll look down from the 3rd floor of the theater's open lobby so those on the first floor can view movie trailers and ads, and impressively, is bright enough to display an ultraclear picture down three floors in an area filled with exterior light.
The Sharp LB-1085 features a 108-ASV widescreen 1080p LCD panel, 400 cd/m2 brightness, 1200:1 contrast ratio, 6 ms response, and a 176 degree viewing angle. The massive 430 pound behemoth utilizes a fanless design and is looking blessed connectivity-wise with 3 HDMI, 1 DVI-I, 2 component, 1 S-video, 2 composite, 4 RCA analog auido, and 1 Stereo-mini slots. Although the set is built-to-order contract by contract, Sharp has set an expected price of around 11 million Yen for the LB-1085, equivalent to a little over $101, 000 in the United States. Wow!
June 12, 2008
The prolific reviewers over at CNET have put Panasonic's DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player through the ringer and were definitely impressed. In fact, they've deemed it the "most recommendable standalone Blu-ray player to date", but added the Playstation 3 is still better and cheaper. The DMP-BD50 is the first standalone Profile 2.0, or BD Live, Blu-ray player on the market so far; only the Playstation 3 offers similar features. This means you'll be able to access internet-enabled features on some Blu-ray discs, but a lack of built-in memory means you'll need an SD card to do it. It's image quality when playing Blu-ray discs is excellent and it can decode all high-res soundtrack formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, plus output them in bitstream format if you want to let your AV receiver handle the decoding process.
The DMP-BD50 also has solid connectivity options including multichannel analog outputs for enjoying high-def audio with older receivers without HDMI. Speaking of HDMI, the DMP-BD50 is HDMI equipped so it'll playback 1080p picture resolution and high-def audio this route as well. It also features a component video output and and SDHC card slot that'll playback MP3s, JPEGs and even AVCHD video from high-def camcorders.
Sounds good so far, but what are the downsides of the DMP-BD50? A couple of performance issues include sub-par DVD playback and a slow operational speed when compared with the $400 Playstation 3. And probably the most important downside? The pricetag: $700.
SRS Labs, the company behind the TruSurround XT surround sound technology, will be featured in Sharp Aquos LCD TV models in Asia and Europe as well as in all the Series 2 and Series 6 Olevia-brand LCD TV's. The partnership with Sharp will see TruSurround XT embedded in models ranging from 32 to 52 inches, appearing in 25 Asian models and 16 European models. The Olevia sets featuring TruSurround XT will be shipping to North America this summer in sizes ranging from 26-65 inches.
TruSurround XT audio technology can process up to 7 channels of audio over 2 speakers, creating "phantom" speakers for multichannel audio that simulates a surround sound experience for the TV viewer. Because the Consumer Electronics Association states that 76% of all flat panel TV owners don't have a separate audio system, TruSurround XT is ideal for HDTV's with built-in speakers because it can take advantage of surround sound capabilities in TV shows and movie discs without the need for a full blown, separate audio setup.
Read-Sharp Partners with SRS Labs
Read-Syntax-Brillian Partners with SRS Labs
How much TV do you watch? The latest study conducted by Solutions Research Group found that the average American with web access watches 6.1 hours of video-based entertainment per day. About 4 of those 6 hours are taken up by traditional TV including DVR, video-on-demand, and live viewing. The other 2 include video games, web and PC vids, DVDs, and video played on mobile devices. But it doesn't end here.
By 2013, the average American consumer is expected to watch 8 hours of video-based entertainment per day, probably more time than the average American sleeps per day. Thanks to the rise of video playback in mobile devices and the growing popularity of web video, if you live in the US you'll spend nearly 2.9 hours per day viewing video on these platforms by 2013. And the time spent watching traditional TV will remain around 4 hours per day pretty well confirming the home theater won't die anytime soon. However a greater amount of traditional TV time will be spent watching time-shifted programs.
These numbers must be making TV hardware manufacturers and distributors incredibly happy. This just means more money in their pockets. The funny part is if the amount of time Americans watch TV in a day continues to grow at the same rate it's expected to between now and 2013, by 2023 it'll grow to about 14.5 hours per day, leaving time for sleep and maybe eating. Looks like no one will have time to work to pay for all the hardware required to actually watch TV!
Via Solutions Research Group
Swisscom Hospitality Service, the hospitality industry's provider of broadband internet-based services, and Tangerine Global, an HDTV programming provider to the hospitality marketplace, have teamed up to deliver HD programming to hotels in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Swisscom Hospitality is providing an HD over IPTV platform over which Tangerine Global will be able to deliver popular HD content in hotel chains including Hyatt, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Intercontinental and Marriott. Hotel guests will also be able to use the URL-based system to access the web on their room's TV screen, as well as their email, news and local information, manage their hotel account, and even manage features such as the ambient lighting in their room.
Via Business Wire
June 11, 2008
An entirely new concept in home theater systems, Yamaha has integrated a speaker stand lighting system from Koizumi Lighting, YST-001, with their home audio systems, providing additional ambient light behind your TV screen to easy eye strain during long periods of viewing. The speaker stands are placed on either side of your TV, and using a remote control you can adjust the amount of light the YST-001 emits as not to interfere with the picture quality. The YST-001 speaker lighting system costs 134, 400 Yen in Japan, about US $1251.
If you like a little bling in your home theater and you live in Korea, set your eyes on LG's Canvas Crystal X, aka 47LB90FD, a 47-inch LCD TV featuring 1080p resolution, 50000:1 contrast ratio and a base studded with 1000 Swarovski crystals. Now you may be thinking this set is ridiculously expensive, being laden with crystals and all, but Swarovski crystals are really just pieces of glass with high lead content, so first of all they don't really contribute to a ridiculous price, and second of all, you'll want to make sure the young 'uns don't swallow these. The set also features EyeQ which automatically adjusts the screen's brightness according to the surrounding ambient lighting conditions and costs the equivalent of about $3200 US. Of course, there's no telling if we'll ever see it in the US.
Via Reg Hardware
Pioneer's 60-inch KRP-600M 9th generation KURO plasma TV is set for a Japanese release this month. With a 64 mm thin body and sleek black design, the KRP-600M only gets more impressive once you look inside. The KRP-600M KURO plasma features 1080p resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio, a variety of inputs including a couple of HDMI, one component, on PC, and an ethernet slot, noise reduction features, a built-in ambient light sensor, and KURO Link. You'll pay dearly for this KURO though: when it goes on sale later this month it'll cost 850, 000 Yen, the equivalent of $8500 US. Pioneer also plans on releasing a 50-inch KRP-500M KURO model later this year.
Via Pioneer Japan
Satellite dishes can be a real pain in the ass. Apartment landlords make it impossible to put them up, birds love them as nesting spots, and they are really just plain ugly. The Sqish is the solution to all of the above problems. Basically the Sqish is a satellite receiver that's built to blend in with its surroundings and it's a flat square rather than the concave, circular shape typical of most receivers. All's you have to do is decide where it should be located on your property, take a picture of that location, and the Sqish will be supplied to you with a matching finish. So far its only available in the UK for £149 and you'll pay an extra £25 for the matt-finish camouflage sticker. This looks like the type of product that'll be a hit though, so here's to hoping we see it hit North American shores soon.
Via Daily Mail
Here's some DTV2009 humor for you: apparently the TV Converter Box Coupon Program, being headed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, is looking at the possibility of running out of funds to mail out all of the $40 converter box coupons. Says Bernadette McGuire-Rivera, associate director of the NTIA, the converter box program will "have to get more money, basically to buy more stamps to send out coupons." What? How could the NTIA make such a financial miscalculation? Well, they didn't really. The problem is that only 42% of the 800, 000 converter box coupons that have expired in their 90 days so far were redeemed. The unredeemed $40 coupons will be returned to the program coffers, but due to expected reapplications, the NTIA is looking at a shortage of postage stamps to send out the extras. Wouldn't that be something? After all the hoopla about consumer education, a quarter of the US loses their TV service come February 17, 2009 because the NTIA ran out of stamps.
The February 17, 2009 digital television transition is slowly creeping closer. Are you ready yet? Here's the latest numbers detailing how the nation's preparation is fairing.
- 84% of Americans are aware of the digital TV transition
- 50% of those that watch analog over-the-air channels don't have plans to address the problem
- 50% of Americans are aware of the TV Converter Box Coupon program
- 17% of those that are aware of the coupon program know how to get the boxes
- 33% of those that don't need converter boxes are applying for them anyway
- 464, 000 of the 800, 000 coupons that have already expired were never used
- 15.8 million households need a converter box or new digital TV to maintain service after the switch
- adding in multiset households with one or more sets that receive analog over-the-air channels, the number that needs to take action is closer to 39 million households, 34% of all households in the US
It's interesting to note that all of the consumer education campaigns seem to be doing a good job of reaching those with only over-the-air analog reception, but failing to reach those with multiple TV's in the same household, one or more of those set to lose service come DTV2009.
Read-More Mixed DTV News From GAO
Read-Analog Turnoff Could Affect 34% of US Households
June 10, 2008
Another media streamer designed to bring video content from your computer to your HDTV, the ZeeVee ZvBox simply connects to your computer monitor output at one end and your home's existing coaxial cable wiring at the other end and you're ready to go. The ZvBox will then localcast the web video content to an empty channel on every HDTV in your home. It'll also access any computer application, allow you to view photos and listen to music from your home computer, check your email, and browse the web sans any extra receivers. The unit costs $499, requires no subscription fees and comes bundled with a ZvRemote and Zv Receiver, as well as all the necessary connecting cables.
Preorder The ZeeVee ZvBox From Amazon
Looks like tru2way has gotten quite the backing with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Cablevision, Charter and Bright House Networks, which together serve over 80% of the American cable market, all verbalizing their commitment to rolling out tru2way in their systems.
Panasonic Hails Cable's Tru2Way Agreement with Major CE and IT Companies
Holds D.C. Demo of HDTV, Enabling Consumers to Receive High Definition Interactive Digital Cable Service Without Using Cable Set-Top Box
WASHINGTON, D.C., June 9, 2008 -- Panasonic, a leader in the development and application of the next-generation cable TV technology known as tru2way™, hailed the agreement between the nation's top six cable providers and leading Consumer Electronics (CE) and Information Technology (IT) companies regarding the roll-out of tru2way™ in their systems. The cable system operators involved are Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Cablevision, Charter and Bright House Networks, which together serve more than 80% of all cable subscribers.
Panasonic also reaffirmed its own longtime commitment to tru2way technology leadership through the agreement, and by demonstrating a Panasonic VIERA Plasma HDTV that can receive HD interactive, digital cable service without using a separate cable set-top box. The tru2way demonstration, to be held in the National Press Club, is part of a presentation by National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) President & CEO Kyle McSlarrow, themed "Cable's Broadband Platform: Innovation for the Consumer."
"Together, with this landmark agreement, multiple innovative industries are expanding choice, convenience and confidence for cable consumers," said Robert Perry, Senior Vice President, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. "At January's International Consumer Electronics Show," he continued, "Panasonic was the only company to announce plans to launch tru2way products in 2008, including two models of HDTV with tru2way digital cable capability built in--42- and 50-inch class flat panel Plasma HDTVs--which we expect will be available through multiple retailers this coming holiday season."
In addition to tru2way HDTVs, Panasonic has developed and will be able to supply next-generation all-digital cable set-top boxes to all cable MSOs (Multiple System Operators) whose networks support tru2way specifications. Panasonic has also developed a tru2way-based Portable DVR (P-DVR) model which will let cable customers record programming at home and take it with them wherever they go. It incorporates full digital HDD video recording functionality into a Panasonic portable DVD player platform and allows playback of cable programming anytime anywhere. Both interactive digital cable devices will be supplied to Comcast for their subscribers.
For more than two years Panasonic has been working closely with cable operators and the cable industry's research and development consortium, Cable Television Laboratories (CableLabs®), to complete the technical specifications and help test the operation of tru2way technology. "Our OpenCable™ development activities have gained from the beginning with the active participation and input of many contributors, and tru2way development owes a great deal to their ingenuity and assistance," said Dr. Richard R. Green, President & CEO of CableLabs. "We have been especially glad to have Panasonic's help in designing test and verification suites for tru2way technology; and we look forward to continuing to work together with them, and other companies, to advance these systems."
"The announcements by both CE and IT companies of their support of tru2way indicates that the industry finally recognizes that tru2way provides the wide range of options that consumers desire for next-generation interactive, digital cable entertainment," said Dr. Paul F. Liao, Chief Technology Officer of Panasonic Corporation of North America.
"Panasonic is proud to have played a key role in what we expect will be a rapid rollout of tru2way in cable systems throughout the country."
Thank Jennifer for sending this in!
As you probably know by now, Steve Jobs unveiled the 3G iPhone at the Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco yesterday. The new phone has some pretty awesome specs, and with its built-in GPS should spawn some hot location-based applications. But what affect will the new phone have on the mobile TV industry?
According to Analysys Mason, the new iPhone "could become the mobile video delivery device of choice for many consumers, by providing a compelling mobile TV and video proposition before mobile broadcasting networks, such as DVB-H become widely available". And although 3G video streaming has some drawbacks, it has enough going for it to push the mobile TV market forward with the help of the video-friendly 2nd-generation iPhone.
Not only does the iPhone has a large, high-quality display, but it has a suitable amount of internal memory and a bunch of energy saving features that drastically reduce the battery drain typical of mobile TV playback. Apple is also plowing content optimized for the iPhone into its iTunes platform like crazy-as of May, iTunes had a catalog of over 600 TV programs and 1500 full-length movies. Plus the iPhone supports a bunch of different methods of video content delivery including sideloading, indoor WLAN and of course high-speed 3G data access over cellular networks worldwide. One of the drawbacks of 3G video streaming is that it can only support a minimal amount of mobile TV users, but with sideloading and WLAN support, the strain put on 3G networks is greatly reduced.
With the first generation iPhone, Apple put a strangehold on its worldwide availability, but the new 3G iPhone will be available in 22 countries July 11, another 24 countries by the end of the summer and eventually available in 70 countries. Says Dr. Alastair Brydon of Analysys Mason, "If the iPhone is able to achieve significant worldwide market share, it will be well-positioned to have a significant impact on the way mobile subscribers purchase and watch mobile TV and video content".
June 9, 2008
If you're a home theater buff we're guessing you're probably a general gadget geek as well. Given that, you're probably frothing at the mouth in anticipation of the expected 3G iPhone announcement by Steve Jobs at the Worldwide Developer's Conference this morning. And while that'll be absolutely amazing should it come true, there's another development happening this week at WWDC. Sling Media, the people that brought you the Slingbox time and placeshifting set top box are working on a SlingPlayer for the iPhone and iPod Touch. It won't be ready to ship anytime this month, but three Sling Media developers will be at WWDC to get a feel for the latest Apple developer tools that'll bring the SlingPlayer closer to release.
It'll eventually be available in two versions-one for the current iPhone using "jailbreak" tools to write the software and another that'll run in a iPhone simulator actually using Apple's proprietary development tools. Although Sling is working on a "jailbreak" version, the iPhone SlingPlayer will only be available at the iPhone app store when it's ready to ship.
We're expecting to hear more about the iPhone SlingPlayer as the week moves ahead.
Assuming their are about 40, 000 cinema screens in the US and Canada and it costs between $60, 000 and $100, 000 to replace each screen and celluloid film projector with digital equipment, it'll cost between $2.4 trillion and $4 trillion to convert the entire American and Canadian cinema industry to digital. And Hollywood feels that this is a small price to pay to pull home theater fanatics away from their flatscreens and back into the theater to see everything digital cinema offers, from 3D animated film features to digital renditions of the latest NBA game.
Several Hollywood studios-Disney, 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Universal-have already to finance the digital conversion of 10, 000 cinema screens they're so convinced its crucial to the survival of the film industry. Several other industry groups have banded together to finance a majority of the remaining screens. And despite the fact that fewer employees are required to maintain a digital cinema and its equipment is quite reliable, you can bet you'll pay more for a 3D movie ticket.
This summer will be the initial test with the release of a couple of 3D titles: live-action film Journey to the Center of the Earth coming July 11 and the animated Fly Me to the Moon coming August 8. Will you leave the comfort of your home theater for a digital cinema experience? Hollywood is betting trillions on it.
Via Boston Herald
If you're into the whole "make your home theater as ugly as possible" trend, not that there is one or anything, the retro m21 Flat TV Console from Wilkerson Furniture. Showcased at the Dwell on Design conference in LA this past weekend, the m21 is made from walnut hardwood and houses a 42-inch flatscreen. The beige material at the bottom of the console is Fender amp screen designed to house a center speaker. It was out this weekend to judge consumer interest, and if it's a hit Wilkerson Furniture may offer a 42-inch flatscreen and the m21 as a combo package. In the future, we can also expect a shorter, wider version with storage compartments for all of your home theater junk.
Bloody hell! The rumors are flying around again. CrunchGear received a tip yesterday from a "close friend" of a Microsoft employee hinting that the company is planning to issue a press release today at 9 AM PDT confirming that the "Xbox 360 will get Blu-ray before Christmas". As for pricing, it'll be supposedly "under the current Elite".
Given that these rumors have flown before, only to be denied by Microsoft each time, this is kind of tough to believe. I guess we'll find out later this morning, but judging by a SFGate article also from yesterday, if this one's true Microsoft is holding its cards close. In an interview with Robbie Bach, president of Microsoft's Entertainment & Devices Division, SFGate reports Bach as saying that the company believes Xbox Live is an effective way to deliver high-definition content to consumers and when it comes to the Blu-ray format, "most people look at it and say, "I am not going to pay extra for that."" And Blu-ray in the next-generation Xbox? "There is nothing to even talk about right now with regard to the next generation. That is so far out that there isn't anything to talk about."
I'm going to go out on a limb here and call the CrunchGear tipster a fake. Keep your eyes out for a press release at 9 AM PDT and feel free to give me a hard time if I'm wrong.
June 8, 2008
Blu-ray prices skyrocketed after rival format HD DVD called it quits, but they've been showing signs of coming back down to earth lately. Case in point is Samsung's BD-P1400 Blu-ray player, seemingly stuck at the $400 price point ever since it came to be. Head over to Amazon now and you'll find it for only $299.98. Now that's progress, and there should be some given the BD-P1400 is only a Profile 1.0 player. If that's okay with you, the BD-P1400 is a decent player featuring a dead simple setup, attractive user interface, 5.1 channel discrete outputs, TrueHD and DTS-HD bitstream output, and internal decoding of True HD and DTS-HD HR.
Buy the Samsung BD-P1400 Blu-ray player from Amazon
Photo Credit: Ben Drawbaugh
If you've got some seriously deep pockets and are looking for picture resolution well beyond 1080p, the Sapphire 4K may be of interest to you. Another member of the so-called quad HDTV family, the Sapphire 4K is a 56-inch 2160p display, translating into a pixel count of 3840 x 2160, four times that of a 1080p display. Unveiled at Computex in Taiwan last week, the Sapphire is short on specs at the moment but rumor has it that it'll cost you at least $60, 000. Better start working overtime.
June 7, 2008
Mini-projectors seems to be popping out left, front, and center these days. Lately you've seen the Earth Trek 90-805R and an ASUS laptop with an embedded projector. Now Aiptek's unveiled the PocketCinema V10, which utilizes 3M projection technology to output a 50-inch image wherever you go. Usable for projecting both images and video, the PocketCinema V10 supports JPEG, ASF, AVI, and MPEG-2 image/video codecs and has 1 GB of internal memory, a built-in speaker, and a 3-in-1 multicard reader compatible with SD, MMC, and MS Pro cards. If you happen to have images or video on your cellphone or iPod, you can transfer them over to the V10 and it'll project those too. Pricing details and availability dates? No can do yet, those details haven't been released. But stay tuned and we'll let you know as soon as we do.
PC Magazine's Brian Neal tested out Vudu's new wireless kit over a period of a few weeks and was impressed to find the wireless version functioned as seamlessly as the wired version. Consisting of two 802.11g adapters, one which connects to your home ethernet network and the other to either your Vudu or Vudu XL's ethernet or USB port, the wireless kit automatically configures itself and you're ready to go. According to Neal, movie playback was flawless, with "no lags or interrupts, as if it were attached by ethernet". With such a dead simple setup, and a reasonable price of $79, Vudu's Wireless Kit looks to be one of the techiest ways we seen to clean up a home theater setup yet.
Buy the Vudu Wireless Kit from Amazon for $79
The world's first portable media player with a built-in pico-projector is in the news again. This time it's headed for Taiwanese shelves in the 3rd quarter of this year, not quite the "head for North America" news we've been waiting for. The Sunview PMPP is a Windows CE portable device with a pretty weak 5 lumen pico-projector with VGA resolution. But there has to be a tradeoff between portability and picture quality somewhere. Powered by a 400 MHz Samsung process, the Sunview PMPP features a 3.5-inch QVGA LCD screen and an SD/MMC card slot to give its meager 64MB internal memory a boost. If it does hit North American shores in the future, we hope its US $500-$600 pricetag comes down a little.
Via CNET Asia
We told you about SanDisk's TakeTV PC-to-TV USB device and its accompanying Fanfare video portal back when it was first launched but it hasn't really been on our radar since. It seems it wasn't on anyone else's radar either, as SanDisk has announced it's closing down the service a mere 8 months after it first came to market. The TakeTV was a simple USB flash drive that carried content from the computer to the television, but with SanDisk's lack of experience in the content distribution market and only a couple of Fanfare deals with NBCU and CBS, the service never really got off the ground. If you already own a TakeTV flash drive, it'll still work, but you'll have to find your web video from other platforms than Fanfare.
Nobody likes looking at a mess of tangled A/V wires, and only the sickest among us like tripping on them. That's why BlueLounge has come up with a low cost way to get rid of this pesky problem. The BlueLounge CableBox is just a simply designed rectangular box with outlets at either end that'll let you thread your various wires through. They'll still be all tangled up and ugly looking, but now they're in a box which you can pop a lid on and instantly your home theater will look neat and tidy. At only $30, you'll be hard pressed to find a cheaper, more effective solution for wire clutter.
If you've built your home theater system right into your wall, but don't particularly like the look of it when it's not in use the VisionArt system might be the solution for you. VisionArt uses museum-quality art prints in designer frames to conceal your wall-integrated flat panel TV when not in use. If you've stuck your speakers in the wall too, you'll probably want to hide those as well, so VisionArt has teamed up with speaker company Triad to incorporate the right, center, and left channel speakers into the area the motorized canvas will cover. Once you want to use your home theater, the art is mechanically moved out of the way and you're ready to go.
Via Born Rich
June 6, 2008
You'll easily spend well over $2000 at best for the latest 52-inch models from names like Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony and you'll probably find your purchase well worth the money. But some are touting the Westinghouse TX-52F480S 52-inch LCD set as dishing out the best bang for your buck. Not only is it stylish with a glossy black bezel and 6-inch thin design, the Westinghouse and its 1920 x 1080 pixels display remarkable picture clarity, aside from the need to tweak the green a little bit. Plus if you have a ton of home theater gadgets, the TX-52F480S has 4 HDMI slots and a couple of component video inputs so you should have no problem hooking everything up. Once hooked up, the set auto-switches to whatever device you turn on so you're not constantly having to fiddle with inputs using the remote. And for the treehuggers amongst you's, the set has an energy saving feature that consumes less than one Watt of energy when in standby or turned off.
Interested? Head over to Amazon where you'll find the Westinghouse TX-52F480S currently priced at $1700.
If you happen to be in Vegas between June 18-20, consider checking out Philips' 52-inch 3D display at the InfoComm conference. Perfect for gamers, the 3D display requires non of those pesky glasses thanks to its auto-stereoscopic WOWvx technology and the LCD screen features full 1080p resolution, 700 cd/m2 brightness, a 2000:1 contrast ratio, and a 8 ms response time. Look for it to hit the market sometime in the fourth quarter of 2008.
June 5, 2008
Blu-ray really is a tough one. Yes the format won the war over HD DVD, but it hasn't really taken off yet, one reason being that standalone Blu-ray player prices haven't come down to the mainstream buyer realm yet. If you're willing to either watch Blu-ray discs on your computer or stream computer Blu-ray playback to your HDTV, Sony NEC Optiarc has forecasted a big breakthrough for Blu-ray this Christmas when Blu-ray combo drive prices come down to the $100 mark. Laptop drives, about $150. And if you're interested in burning disc, you'll be looking at paying about $150-$200. However, until this prediction pans out we're sticking by our recommendation to buy a PS3 if you're looking at Blu-ray.
Via Tom's Hardware
It's seemed in the last year or so that the big trend in the projector industry has been portability. And by portable we mean ultra portable, with projection technology being integrated into cellphones, shrunk to a size that easily fits into your pants pocket, and now built right into a laptop. That's right, at Computex over in Taiwan ASUS has unveiled a new notebook with a built-in projector mounted on the top of the display which rotates and swivels so it can be tucked in when it comes time to close the lid. Definite business applications here.
Via PC Perspective
There has been huge interest in Sony's Bravia XBR lines we first told you about back in mid-April, so a lot of people will be happy to know that Sony has announced 7 more models will hit the XBR6, XBR7, and XBR8 lines this fall. The XBR6 line will now get 40-, 46-, and 52-inch models, all featuring 1080p resolution, a bottom speaker, and a floating-glass design. The XBR7 line will now feature a 40-inch model and a whopping 70-inch model; both feature 1080p resolution, 10 bit processing, a 10 bit panel, a CCFL backlight, 120Hz refresh and Advanced Contrast Enhancer circuitry. The XBR8 series will feature two new models, one 46-inches and the other 55-inches. Both feature Sony's Triluminos three-color LED backlight with local dimming, a 10 bit processor and panel, 120Hz refresh, 1080p resolution, and a bunch of other high-end features that you can read more about in the press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Sony's XBR6, XBR7, XBR8 Lines Get 7 New Models Up To 70-Inches"
As your home theater sound keeps getting better, the size of the speakers pumping out that high quality sound seem to keep getting smaller. Sony's HT-IS100 Bravia Theater Micro System is about as small as you can get; the 5.1-channel surround system features 450 Watts of audio power through five speakers each roughly the size of a golf ball and includes a subwoofer with a 32 bit S-Master digital amplifier. The system includes three 1080p HDMI inputs with repeater functionality and support for eight channels of uncompressed audio. If you want to go wireless, you can actually extend the system to multiple rooms using Sony's S-AIR Air Station speakers, sold separately of course. You can also get a wireless speaker kit that delivers audio sans wires to the rear speakers eliminating any pesky wires running the length of the room. Sony's HT-IS100 will be available in July for $700. Check out the press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Sony's HT-IS100 Golf Ball Sized Speaker System"
If you have a 2007 or 2008 Sony Bravia and a Bravia Internet Video Link, you'll now be able to watch millions of YouTube videos on your LCD TV without a computer. Wired magazine fans will now be able to access Wired.com on their Bravia's and Crackle's C-Spot which plays short episodic comedy series' such as "Hot Hot Los Angeles," "The Writer's Room," "Penn Says," and "The Roadents". Given the garbage found on YouTube, this announcement adds little value in my honest opinion to the Bravia line, but then again we all know given YouTube's ridiculous traffic numbers that you'd be sitting on your computer watching YouTube vids the next time there's nothing on TV.
If you're not familiar with the Bravia Internet Video Link, it's just a little module that attaches to the back of your Bravia streaming on-demand video content including news, weather, and traffic updates directly to your TV screen without a computer. You do however need an existing ethernet connection with a broadband speed of 2.5 Mbps. Check out the press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Sony's Bravia Line Gets YouTube, Without The Computer"
Some people can't get enough of the bathtub, my wife included, and that's why the Panasonic Viera SV-ME70 would make the perfect gift for her. The SV-ME70 is a miniature 5-inch LCD TV, available in both white and pink, that is completely waterproof. Splash it or drop it in the tub and you have nothing to fear; in fact, you can even watch TV underwater if you want. A built-in lithium ion battery, fully charged, is good for a full 2 hours and 30 minutes of in-bathtub television viewing, definitely enough to get you good and wrinkly. Panasonic has a companion mini-LCD TV for the SV-ME70, this one dubbed the SV-ME75, but the only difference is the SV-ME75 comes with a 1GB SD card slot where you can plug in an SD card for up to 30 minutes of video recording. Hitting Japanese stores June 20, the SV-ME70 will retail for US$380, while the SV-ME75 will make a US$450 dent in your bank account.
VMJ, Inc., a Japan-based company only launched in February will be mass producing a 65-inch 3D LCD display for commercial applications. This one won't require any pesky glasses to see the 3-dimensional picture, which is kind of a must given that the display will be located in public places. Ever been in an airport full of people wearing 3D glasses?
The 3D image is produced using Parallax barrier technology, developed by Sharp, that easily enables the picture to switch from 2D to 3D and back. When in 3D mode, the picture is filtered through the Parallax barrier sending to unique images to your right eye and left eye. These differing images give the picture its 3D effect, sans funny looking glasses. What about specs? 65-inch LCD widescreen, 1920 x 1080 pixels, 6ms response time, and DVI-D Digital / Analog RGB input signals.
Exactly how much the VMJ 3D display will cost we don't know. We do know it's the world's largest 3D display so far, and even more impressive is the fact that VMJ is producing other 3D screen sizes as well. Aside from the 65-incher, other screen sizes run all the way from 8.4-inches to 40-inches.
Sometimes innovation results from one's misfortune. In this case, the innovative idea was a direct result of the crack made in a 47-inch LCD TV the moment a flying toy firetruck made contact. TV Armor, a cool new product developed by Michael Cunningham, is designed to make sure your brand new HDTV doesn't end up on the curb because it was nailed by a flying object. Made of optical grade acrylic plastic, cut precisely using a computer, TV Armor fits around the frame of your TV shielding the screen from contact with anything that might do it damage. Felt spacers are placed in between the protective screen and the TV, not only to protect your set from scratches, but also to allow TV Armor room to flex and absorb any impact from a flying remote, beer bottle, etc.
If TV Armor sounds like it might belong in your household, it's currently available in five sizes and suited for both plasma and LCD models. Just head over to the website to order.
- 30-32 inches-$129
- 36-37 inches-$139
- 40-42 inches-$149
- 46-47 inches-$159
- 50-52 inches-$169
Have a larger set? TV Armor is also custom manufactured for larger screen sizes.
High-end projector maker, projectiondesign, will be showcasing an impressive array of DLP projectors at the upcoming InfoComm show in Las Vegas. The definite showstopper will be the F10 AS3D single-chip DLP projector, so far the only high resolution active stereoscopic 3D projector on the market. The F10 AS3D has SXGA+ 1080p compatibility, a 120 Hz refresh rate, BrilliantColor and RealColor technology and IR remote control. The brand new F80 WUXGA 3-chip DLP projector is set to be the highest resolution 3-chip projector available, with a 1920 x 1200 pixel count and projectiondesign's new Advanced Color Optical Processing technology that calibrates images for the best picture quality possible The F80 also features an enhancement to the projector's dynamic contrast that the company claims surpasses all other 3-chip projectors as well.
Two more WUXGA projectors, the F10 and F30, will see North American shores for the first time. The F10 not only has a choice of WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution, but also 1080p, plus a range of lens options and RealColor. The F30 has both resolution options, or an SXGA+ option, plus six different lens options, and both BrilliantColor and RealColor technologies.
June 4, 2008
So you just moved into a new home and it's time to set up the home theater. It's then that you realize you don't have the ideal setup for your dream theater, understandable given that your wife or girlfriend picked the home, not you. And while there are infinite potential problems you could run into, we'll just focus on the audio aspect of things. If you've got tough deal setting up your audio system, you may want to take a look at JBL's Control NOW loudspeakers, available now.
Available in both indoor and outdoor versions, the Control NOW speakers feature a quarter round curved shape that allow you to mount them pretty well anywhere. JBL says they're suitable for placement "corner-mounted between a ceiling and wall or between two walls, or placed either horizontally or vertically on a shelf". They can even be joined together to create half-round, three quarter round, or a circular speaker configuration and hung straight down from the ceiling using a pole-mount bracket and ceiling-fan hardware.
The speakers feature a tweeter in a JBL Bi-Radial horn, designed to output smooth and even sound even in horrible audio setups. The tweeter has 4-inch woofers computer-designed to optimize output and minimize distortion and even the casing is designed using a high-strength composite material with sound clarity in mind.
How much will JBL's Control NOW speakers set you back? Not to much if you don't have to many audio options in your household. $249 each for the indoor speakers, and $279 for the outdoor set.
You can find them at Amazon, usually at a reduced price.
This is interesting: the Digitable, a creation of UK designer Peter Lea, is a modern looking glass coffee table with an integrated DVD/CD player and a spinning carousel for disc storage sitting nicely at the bottom. Too bad it's just a concept design for now. The day may come though, when the coffee table is an integral piece of your high-tech home theater setup!
Via Born Rich
Japanese news outlet Yomiuri Shimbun has reported that Toshiba is working on an upscaling extension to current DVD technology which will produce a DVD player that'll produce picture quality comparable to Blu-ray and the now-defunct HD DVD format. Details are minimal at the moment, but Toshiba's new high-def DVD player (for lack of a better term) should be available in the next 6 months, "relies on a newly-developed large scale integrated circuit chip to rapidly convert the stored video", and is backwards-compatible with standard DVD's. We're guessing we'll be keeping you updated on this one, just because it seems to ridiculous.
June 3, 2008
If you think back to CES 2008, you may remember the Philips ECO FlatTV, awarded the top TV of the show ahead of Panasonic's giant 150-inch plasma and an impressive display of OLED TV's from Sony and Samsung. Technically known as the Philips 42PFL5603D, the 42-inch flatscreen LCD underwent some testing over at CNET and is actually the most energy-efficient flat-panel display they've ever tested. And while that's impressive, and possibly the most important feature for the growing treehugger crowd out there, the Philips ECO TV has its share of picture quality issues. Black levels are best described as "light", the set's energy saving mode causing all kinds of black level fluctuations, dark areas tend toward blue, dejudder processing brings artifacts to the screen, and the off-angle viewing isn't so great. Verdict: buy the Philips 42PFL5603D 42-inch LCD TV if your home theater interests lie with saving the earth or perhaps money on your energy bill, but if you're looking for a high-quality home theater experience this probably isn't the set for you.
Television remote controls fall into the same class as car keys, your wallet or purse, and cell phone. That class being known as perpetually missing. That's where the Whistle And Find Remote Control Finder comes in. All's you do is attach a "caddy" to your remote that flashes and beeps when it goes missing...when you blow a special whistle. Trouble is the whistle is tiny, much tinier than the remote. Too bad you can't use the remote to find the whistle.
Via Oh Gizmo!
We usually just focus on TV products here at TVSnob, but in a high-def world sometimes we have to move outside the boundaries and show you something a little different. The Weather Channel is in the midst of putting up a $60 million state-of-the art HD studio for their weather broadcasting which will totally change the way you look at weather. They've been working with Cisco over the past year to build an infrastructure capable of supporting a 24/7 HD broadcast, utilizing the company's Catalyst 6500 switches which play a big part in the backbone of the new network and security systems for keeping out would-be intruders. Not only will those with televisions supporting HD content see a big difference as of June 2, but so will those with standard definition sets. The Weather Channel and Cisco have put together a virtual tour of the new HD studio at Weather.com where you can visit 21 "points of interest" where you can find out more info including Cisco's tech role in putting the whole project together.
Each year CEPro does a survey of the top 100 American consumer electronics installation companies to find out what the top 5 favored brands are in a bunch of CE categories. They run the gambit from central vacuum to DVR's, and for the best run-through of everything we suggest you take a look at the slideshow at CEPro's website. But if you just want a little free advice from the pros, here's the favored brand in a variety of home theater categories from America's best installers.
- Acoustical treatments--Acoustic Innovations
- A/V receivers--Integra
- Bookshelf speakers--B&W
- DVD players--Sony
- Floorstanding speakers--B&W
- Front Projection TVs--Runco
- Home theater amps--Integra
- In-wall/In-ceiling speakers--SpeakerCraft
- Remotes & IR--Xantech
- LCD TVs--Sharp
- Lighting control--Lutron
- Media servers--Kaleidescape
- Multi-channel amps--Crestron
- Plasma TVs--Pioneer
- Projection screens--Stewart Filmscreen
- Rear projection TVs--Sony
- Seating--Acoustic Innovations
- Two-channel amps--Rotel
- Whole-home automation--Crestron
We definitely recommend checking out the slideshow linked to above, but if you have some cash to burn and are looking for the hottest names in home theater equipment, the above brands should be exactly what you're looking for.
Samsung's BD-UP5000 Blu-ray/HD DVD combo player has firmware update v1.3 all ready for you to download if you happen to own one, and it looks to be a big improvement on the v1.2 update which was little more than a giant fix for a bunch of compatibility issues and network connection problems inherent in the BD-UP5000 from the beginning. Update v1.3 upgrades the BD-UP5000 to Blu-ray Profile 1.1, adds an HD audio bitstream output function, changes the user interface to Profile 1.1, and improves the playback compatibility in some movies. That last point there makes it seem like v1.2 didn't fix all the problems with the Samsung player, so if you're looking for the latest fix you can download v.13 here.
Via Engadget HD
Japanese public broadcaster NHK has been working on a Super Hi-Vision (SHV) technology since 2002, a technology they feel will eventually be HDTV's successor. Up until last week NHK's Super Hi-Vision tech was able to produce a television picture with a resolution roughly 16 times finer than today's 1080p standard, but only in black and white. A 33 megapixel image sensor the company recently developed in their Tokyo research lab has moved that high-res picture into the colored world. The sensor in combo with a new signal processing circuit, ultra high-resolution lens and thinner optical cable were able to display a single SHV image with a 7680x4320 pixel resolution, equal to 16 tiled HDTV screens. The sensor enable the picture's primary red, blue, and green colors to display in full resolution as standalone colors thanks to each color having a devoted chip. This enable the picture to be so bright and sharp that a viewer can read the details on a shirt tag when the camera captures the image from several meters away! No actual hardware has been developed yet, and if it was manufactured right now it would be too big to be of practical use. We'll keep an eye on this, because with NHK being an early HDTV innovator as far back as 1964 we suspect Super Hi-Vision technology will be big in the future.
Via PC World
June 2, 2008
Who would have thought Toledo, Ohio would be so ahead of its time in the high-def department. The Toledo Free Press reported today that the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library is freshly stocked with a 200 Blu-ray disc collection featuring everything from blockbuster titles to nature documentaries. Patrons can rent up to 6 titles at a time, making us wonder how long the Blu-ray offering will last. If we could offer the Toledo library some advice, it would be this: Jack up the late fees before it's too late!
If you're looking to save a little cash, or more accurately, gain a little cash by buying a Playstation 3, just head over to Walmart.com where you'll receive a $100 gift card with your purchase. You'll still pay the full $399 price tag for the console but an extra 100 bones could net you a couple of new games. Interestingly between June 8-15, Walmart will add on select Blu-ray players to the deal which will still include the PS3, so if you're looking for sole Blu-ray playback, just wait until next week.
Another LCD TV from LG's Xcanvas line has hit the Korean market. The LG Xcanvas David LED, model 47LG90QD, is a surprisingly quick update to the Scarlet and its huge advertising campaign, improving the response time to a lightning quick 2 ms and sporting 1, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. The 47-inch LCD set features a 120Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution, and uses an Aurora LED backlight with eyeQGreen to not only enhance the set's brightness picture quality, but to also reduce its energy consumption by up to 70%. Following the unique design trend of other Xcanvas models, the David has a wood grain pattern on the front panel which hides invisible speakers from Mark Levinson. The David would easily hook up to all your HD home theater components with a full four HDMI ports. If you happen to be hanging around Korea, the LG Xcanvas David will set you back 4 million KRW, or about US$3912.
Adding a DivX Connected device to your home theater system is about to be one of the latest and greatest ways to turn your plain ol' TV set into the digital multimedia center of you home. It hasn't arrived in North America quite yet, but it's close, and will come in the form of the D-Link DSM-330 HD Media Player. This handy little media player won't take up a whole lot of room in your home theater setup and while it can be hooked up over your wired ethernet network, the DSM-330 will stream content from your PC to your TV wirelessly as well, with 802.11b/g support. Hooked up to your high-def set via HDMI, the DSM-330 will stream DivX video content and online video (which it'll convert to DivX) up to 720p, and if you want to listen to music or look at your latest family vacation pics using your TV rather than your computer it'll easily stream those as well. Probably one of the coolest features of the DSM-330 is its support of 3rd party plugins and add-on services making it one of the most customizable and scalable media player's around. Easy-to-setup, the DSM-330 has an attractive user interface which you can navigate with an included remote control while you sit back and relax on the couch.
We're excited to tell you we'll have a hands-on review of the D-Link DSM-330 HD Media Player in the coming weeks, and even though it won't be hitting North American shelves until July, if we've piqued your interest and got you all excited you can pre-order it from Amazon for $249.99.
Time Warner Cable's chief exec Glenn Britt was talking up a new wireless cable modem that'll easily move web video to their cable subscribers' TV sets at the recent Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York. Britt said that the modem's ability to move internet video to the traditional TV is only a small part of its overall function of integrated the entire home network. He didn't give out a whole lot of details about how the service would work other than involving the wireless modem being made available to subscribers, nor did he say when it would be available. All's he said was that "within a relatively short time" streaming internet video to bigscreen's would be simple and would achieve mainstream popularity within one to two years.
June 1, 2008
The massive $1 billion consumer education campaign put together by major broadcasters and the American government in hopes that come February 17, 2009, better known as DTV2009 around these parts, no TV set will lose its service when over-the-air analog signals officially hit the deadpool, still hasn't reached everyone. A study conducted by Nielsen Media Research has found that although most, or about 75%, of household are prepared for the digital TV transition, 10 million households or about 9.4% are "completely unready" for DTV2009. Among those unready households, a high proportion are African-American or Hispanic in ethnicity, and TV's in either bedrooms or kitchens face a greater chance of going dark. An additional 12.6% of households were labeled "partly unready" and surprisingly, given the uproar regarding seniors' rights in this whole analog mess, those above 65 years old are among the most prepared for DTV2009.
If you're a user of over-the-air TV signals and aren't sure what DTV2009's all about, check out our guide to see what you need to do to get prepared.
Via The New York Times
Only a few days back we first told you about the aTV Flash Drive from AppleCore, a handy little flash drive that allows you to "hack" your Apple TV to add a bunch of new functions without all the work of searching the web for how-to's and tutorials. It turns out now that AppleCore is pulling the aTV for the time being citing "questions arising regarding the fair use of a particular file present on the aTV Flash, and conflicting opinions as to whether or not it falls under the fair use category". Apparently the product withdrawal was completely voluntary; not due to pressure from Apple. The company says that in their "interpretation of the fair use doctrine, (their) software does not cross any lines, but since this is a grey area issue, (they) have taken a proactive approach and decided to seek clarifcation directly from the rights holder before (they) offer the product again." All those who have already order the product will have their orders canceled and refunded, but we hope we'll see the aTV Flash Drive available again in the near future.