Short-throw projectors are one thing, but ultra-short throw projectors are another thing altogether. Take a look at Sanyo's PLC-XL50 XGA ultra-short throw projector. Featuring 2000 ANSI lumens of brightness, the PLC-XL50 can project an 80-inch diagonal image when placed only 3 inches away from the projector screen. Headed for Korea, the PLC-XL50 is built for small conference rooms and applied uses such as department store displays.
We've long thought that the real winners in the web video revolution would be the hardware makers that created the most innovative and usable streaming devices so web TV viewers could actually watch internet content on their big-screen TV's. Turns out we may be wrong.
A report from Integrated Media Measurement Inc. says about 20% of all traditional TV content is viewed online. Nothing really new there, but what's really interesting is that 50% of online viewers classified their web video watching as a complete replacement for TV. And what do these web video hardcores that have ditched the big screen for the small screen look like? IMMI says they're most likely between the ages of 25-44, bringing home upwards of $80, 000, and tend to have an extensive post-secondary education.
While most of us think that the younger generation, those between 13 and 24, make up the majority of online viewers, that's just not so. In fact, this demographic lagged making up only 19.1% of web video viewers compared to 29.1% of traditional TV watchers. Check out the thumbnails below to get a closer look at the findings.
While Blu-ray struggles to steal market share from good ol' DVD, digital distribution of TV shows and movies via pc-to-TV streaming devices, video-on-demand services, and even gaming console communities seems to be the silent but deadly threat. In fact, within a few days of HD DVD calling it quits many industry insiders and consumers alike predicted digital content would kill off Blu-ray in the not-so-distant future.
LG seems to be taking the best-of-both-worlds approach, announcing the BD Live-enabled LG BD300 Network Blu-ray player, the first player to instantly stream over 12, 000 Netflix offerings to the TV for subscribers at no additional cost. The BD300 is capable of upconverting standard DVD's to 1080p, features LG's SimpLink technology allowing control of other SimpLink home theater products via on-screen menus, and can playback Netflix video in about 30 seconds. Look for it early this fall.
With all the hoopla surrounding Samsung's new LCD lineups last week, we somehow forgot to tell you about the new Series 6 line. Featuring 3 new sets-the 40-inch LN40A630, 46-inch LN46A630, and 52-inch LN52A630-the Series 6 trio sports Samsung's red Touch of Color bezel, 1080p resolution, 120Hz refresh, 3 HDMI v1.3 ports and a USB slot. From smallest to largest, the 630 models are expected to cost $1,699.99, $2,099.99, and $2,699.99 when they hit stores in August or you can purchase them from Amazon now.
Yesterday we pointed you to a GOOD magazine article that fingered plasma TV's as being energy hogs even when in standby mode. In fact the article stated that the average plasma set would tack on about $160 annually to your electric bill, just from standby energy consumption. These numbers were compiled in 2005 and plasma models have become a great deal more energy-efficient since then, but Ben Drawbaugh from Engadget HD still thought $160 was a little high. So he measured the standby energy draw on a 60-inch Pioneer plasma and found it to be only 20 Watts. When all the math is said and done that works out to about $20 per year. That's a huge difference and while GOOD mag's calculations could be off, we wonder if plasma TV's in 2005 really sucked up that much energy?
LG Electronics and Funai Electric are the latest TV makers to jump on the tru2way bandwagon, both signing the tru2way Memorandum of Understanding and officially pledging their support for the CableLabs-developed platform that allows delivery of two-way interactive digital cable services without a set-top box. Most of the premium name TV brands have already signed on including Sony, Panasonic, and Samsung as have the six biggest cable operators in the United States. Funai Electric-produced home theater devices are sold under the names Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania, and Emerson in the US.
LG is a rapidly growing flat panel brand in the US and the pact with American cable operators could make it even bigger. Starting with LG's 2009 HDTV models, cable subscribers with Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, CableVision, Charter and Bright House Networks will no longer need a set-top box. The tru2way technology platform will be built into LG's 2009 HDTV models so that cable subscribers will be able to access video-on-demand services, interactive games, and even shop right from the TV screen. Maybe you can buy something that'll fit nicely right where that set-top box used to be.
It's no secret that plasma TV's are huge energy consumers when they're actually turned on, but how much do you think they consume when in standby mode? According to a GOOD Magazine article from earlier this year, they consume so much that you'll pay on average $159.76 annually for your plasma TV's standby energy consumption. That amount of money equates to 1452.4 kilowatt hours, roughly 5-6 times as much money as the second and third worst offenders-game consoles and computers-will cost you. Click on the thumbnail below to see the chart in full and check out the related video above.
We're totally not surprised to see another bigscreen OLED TV rumor making its way across the world with the help of Japanese rag Nikkei Daily. Only a month after Panasonic denied rumors that they would begin pumping out 37-inch OLED TV's within three years, Matsushita (parent company of Panasonic, soon to be renamed Panasonic Corporation) is apparently set to test produce 40-inch OLED displays starting early next year, with mass production planned for 2011. The company has invested somewhere around $2.8 billion in the production plant which will mainly produce LCD displays, most likely raising part of the money from the Japanese government whom earlier this month stepped in to hasten the development of OLED technologies. Matsushita has declined to comment on the rumor in any detail so far, only verifying that they are working on OLED technology at the rumored production plant.
If we respect anyone's opinion it's the boys over at Engadget HD, but this time maybe not so much. While they feel Sony's new Bravia T series LCD models are unsightly, we have to give Sony kudos for stepping outside of the design box. While the past year has seen a shrinking bezel trend, Sony throws a curveball and sticks the Bravia's built-in speakers on the side of the set. Granted they're just asking for criticism doing something so crazy and all, but it's nice to see something a little different.
The Sony Bravia T series will be launched in the Asia Pacific region at the end of August and features six new LCD HDTV's sized from 19 to 32 inches. The 19-inch models feature 1680 x 1050 resolution while the larger 26- and 32-inch models feature 1366 x 768 resolution. All of the models feature the Bravia Engine 2, Advanced Contrast Enhancer, MPEG Noise Reduction, and a variety of screen formats and picture modes. So far no pricing details have been released, but if you want to take a closer look at the specs just hit the read link.
The National Football League has been more than a little slow in moving into the internet world. But according to the LA Times, that move is finally about to happen. Starting September 4, when the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants, the NBC network will broadcast their television feed on their website and that of the NFL. That game happens to fall on a Thursday, but after that all of NBC's Sunday Night Football games will be streamed over the web, complemented by blogs, highlight clips and other interactive features.
The NFL receives about $3.7 billion per year in fees from networks for exclusive rights to broadcasts and this has been the main reason the football league hasn't gone digital in the past. With that kind of money exchanging hands, the NFL has been fearful of ticking off their broadcast partners and losing valuable television time. The project will run as a "one year experiment" for the time being.
After all kinds of hurdles and red tape, Verizon's FiOS TV is finally rolling out in New York City today. And it will be big, including a giant press event at Grand Central Station that will be webcast on the interwebs if you find yourself located somewhere else in the world. On July 16, Verizon was approved by the New York State Public Service Commission to provide FiOS TV service to all of New York's five boroughs, the final step in a long process that included fighting for approval from the New York Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications and the city's Franchise and Concession Review Committee. The first telecommunications company to offer broadband internet, telephone and TV service to all five boroughs, Verizon will finally bring some competition to Time Warner Cable who has dominated the New York telecommunications scene for some time now.
In related news, Verizon is also beta testing web video streaming via their own set-top boxes, initially partnering with the likes of YouTube, Blip.tv, Break.com, and Veoh. The test service uses Verizon's proprietary Media Manager PC software as an intermediary between the internet and the TV. All's you would do is select a video from the DVR and then the Media Manager software will transcode and stream the web content to your TV. The Media Manager PC software will also allow streaming of video podcasts and support RSS feeds of video sites for added convenience. So far things are looking good for an official release later this year or early next as part of Verizon's top-tiered package, though those who aren't subscribers right now can try it out.
CNET as put another Kuro plasma to the test. This time it's the 50-inch Kuro PDP-5020FD and not surprisingly it impressed...in some ways. The Elite Kuro PRO-111FD had the deepest blacks HD Guru Gary Merson had ever seen, but CNET says the same for the PDP-5020FD. While this is a definite pro along with an excellent antireflective screen, accurate color decoding, network connectivity and plenty of HDMI inputs, there are a few problems. The primary colors are inaccurate, especially the reds and greens, and if you like to tweak the picture there isn't much in the way of advanced picture controls. Oh, and one more thing. The PDP-5020FD is expensive, running you just under $3000 from Amazon. In the end, despite the fact the PDP-5020FD has its shortcomings it still stands among the top in terms of plasma picture quality.
Buffalo has hit an industry first with the announcement of a couple of 8X Blu-ray drives headed for Japan next month. The external BR-816U2 and internal Serial ATA-based BR-816FBS can both record dual-layer 50GB discs at 8X speed meaning a single-layer disc can be recorded in around 15 minutes. The external drive is unique with both a USB 2.0 interface and an external Serial ATA connection that loses no bandwidth despite the fact that it's external. The two drives both come with Cyberlink software to guide you through disc authoring and can burn rewritable Blu-ray discs at 2X, as well as both CD's and DVD's. Buffalo has hinted at an international release, but when the BR-816U2 and BR-816FBS hit Japan next month, they'll cost the American equivalent of $435 and $382 respectively.
Pantel is the world's premier maker of outdoor HDTV's, but as of late the company has found that the need for waterproof, rugged TV's with a high-quality picture is moving indoors. If you've ever dreamed of building an HDTV right into your shower wall or over top of your bathtub, Pantel's new MirrorTV line is the answer to making those dreams come true. At early September's CEDIA Expo in Denver, Colorado, Pantel will launch three MirrorTV models-in 20-, 32-, and 42-inch sizes-that feature all the trimmings of a typical home theater HDTV, plus a few extras. The MirrorTV line delivers a 720p picture for the two smaller models and 1080p for the 42-inch display when in use but actually functions as a mirror when turned off making it aesthetically perfect for, uh, bathroom use. You'll pay a premium for the Pantel MirrorTV extra's however. The 20-, 32-, and 42-inch models are priced at $1200, $2755, and $5800 respectively.
It's a rare occurrence to find a 42-inch LCD TV for under $1000. It's even rarer to find one for under $800, but over at Costco.com that's exactly what you'll pay for AOC's L42H861. For $799.99, the 42-inch L42H861 features 1080p resolution, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 8 ms response time, wide viewing angle, built-in speakers and all the inputs and outputs you could possibly need including 3 HDMI ports. Take advantage while you can because the offer's only good until August 3.
TV makers must consider web video content these days when designing a television from a consumer point of view. As so-called "lean-in" media consumption continues to grow in popularity the TV maker who builts the most "connected" TV set will win the flat panel wars. Samsung's already on top and their latest announcement confirms they have no plans on losing the flat panel crown anytime soon.
The company's new MediaLive media center extender, available next month, enables Windows Media Center users running Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate operating systems on a PC to quickly and easily stream digital content from the computer to 2008 model Samsung HDTV's using an HDMI-CEC connection via either a wired or wireless home network. The MediaLive extender supports all types of multimedia codecs including AC3, H.264, JPEG, MPEG2, MPEG4, WMA, and WMV bringing virtually any audio, video or photographic content straight to your bigscreen.
MediaLive simply mounts onto the back of your 2008 Samsung HDTV with an included bracket, connects to an HDMI-CEC port and then to your PC with a RJ45 connected LAN cable for wired home networks or via a wireless 802.11 a/b/g/n receiver built right into the extender. Navigation is simple thanks to a Windows Media Center interface on your TV screen and an included remote, or thanks to CEC, your HDTV's remote.
MediaLive also gives users access to a bunch of online entertainment services including Vongo, MovieLink, Showtime TV, XM Radio, and FOX Sports and current news updates from Reuters and NPR. Sound interesting? Samsung's MediaLive media center extender will cost around $200 when it comes out next month.
So we've seen Samsung's summer rollout schedule for both the Series 7 plasma and Series 9 LCD lines, but isn't there a Series 8 lineup too? There sure is and come September it'll feature a pair of new LCD models sized 46- and 52-inches. You could say 4 new models actually because the Series 8 line is actually split into an 850 series and 860 series with slightly different features. Once again, the Series 8 LCD lineup utilizes Samsung's Touch of Color design. The 850 series features rose pigmentation injected into the jet black bezel, while the 860 series has a new Deep Blue Touch of Color. Other than this design difference and the extra USB 2.0 port on the 860 models, all features are pretty well identical.
What kind of features are we talking about? Try 1080p resolution, 50, 000: 1 dynamic contrast ratio, Auto Motion Plus 120Hz, Ultra Clear Panel technology, Wide Color Enhancer 2, InfoLink, DNIe Pro video Processing and DLNA-certification to name a few. When the new Series 8 LCD models hit shelves in a couple of months they'll set you back as follows:
If you're in the market for a new plasma TV, Samsung has three new Series 7 plasma models coming out next month. Announced this past week, the new Series 7 plasma lineup includes 50-, 58-, and 63-inch models packed with cutting-edge features and boasting Samsung's unique Touch of Color design. Not only are all three models full HD 1080p displays, but they sport up to 1, 000, 000 dynamic contrast ratio, feature Ultra Filter Bright anti-glare technology, DNIe Pro video processing and 18-bit Natural True Color resulting in a crisp, clear, and detailed picture.
All the sets also have day/night calibration mode, enabling you to easily choose a professionally preset calibration setting for optimal viewing during both bright and dark viewing environments. Samsung's InfoLink service, powered by USA Today, brings all of the day's relevant news and weather from the internet to your TV screen enabling a whole new level of convenience for the television viewer, and a flurry of connectivity options including a total of 4 HDMI CEC ports make the DLNA-Certified Samsung Series 7 plasma line an impressive looking home theater hub.
The 50-inch PN50A760, 58-inch PN58A760, and the 63-inch PN63A760 will all hit shelves August 2008 priced at $2799.99, $4499.99, and $5499.99 respectively. Read the full release after the jump.
Next month Samsung will be delivering its 2nd-generation Series 9 LED-backlit LCD TV's to the US. Available in 46- and 55-inch sizes, the 2008 flagships Series 9 models features LED SmartLighting backlight technology, deliver a 1080p resolution picture and feature a whopping 1, 000, 000 dynamic contrast ratio. Featuring Samsung's Touch of Color design, you won't see any funky red bezels with the two new Samsung's, but a simple charcoal gray. 120 Hz refresh, both InfoLink and WiseLink connected technologies for bringing digital PC content to the bigscreen, and compliance with the EPA's EnergyStar Rating system round out the Series 9's feature set. Sound good? The 46-inch LN46A950 will set you back $3200, while the 55-inch LN55A950 will make a $4200 dent in your wallet. Check out a full list of specs after the jump...
Onkyo has unveiled a couple of new home theater receivers and a couple home-theater-in-a-box (HTiB) systems for summer release. The Onkyo TX-SR806 and TX-SR706 receivers are highlighted by THX Ultra2 Plus and Select2Plus certification respectively and both feature THX Loudness Plus audio processing. Both receivers pump out 130 Watts per channel, Faroudja DCDi video processing for 1080p upconversion, and the TX-SR806 can also upconvert to 1080i if necessary. In terms of connectivity options, the two receivers have five and four HDMI 1.3a repeater inputs respectively. Both also feature an AM/FM tuner with connection options to Sirius and XM satellite radio, Audyssey room acoustics correction, Dynamic EQ, Onkyo's Music Optimizer, as well as bi-directional RS-232 ports and RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI) for home automation systems. Onkyo's TX-SR706 is available now for $899 while the TX-SR806 will be available in August for $1099.
The HT-S7100 and HT-S6100 HTiB's each output 130 Watts per receiver channel, have a 7-channel speaker system, subwoofer and even an iPod dock. Both upscale to 1080i, have 4 HDMI inputs, DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD audio processing, Audyssey 2EQ room acoustics correction, and Audyssey Dynamic EQ loudness correction. The only real difference between the two systems is that the HT-S7100 includes two speaker stands. The HT-S7100 and HT-S6100 are both available now priced at $899 and $799 respectively.
SIM2's high-end but high-priced projectors are among the best on the market and the new DOMINO D60 DLP front projector is no exception. Oh, but wait, it is. Because at $4995, SIM2 has finally introduced a projector into the sub-$5000 category reaching a whole new group of potential customers with their amazing projection technology.
The D60 features a Texas Instruments DarkChip3 0.95-inch DMD chipset with BrilliantColor and Dynamic Black technologies, enabling a wide range of colors, greater than 10000:1 contrast and full 1080p imagery projection. Depending on what you're projecting, the D60 has three preset modes-Cinema, Dynamic, and Standard-and three customizable memories that can be calibrated for three more specific projection environments. Available in a Black Shadow matte finish, the SIM2 D60 sports dual HDMI inputs, component, RGB-HD, vertical lens shift, variable Iris, and a 50-200 inch picture size. Apparently the DOMINO D60 is now shipping, although a quick look at their website yields no info regarding this projector.
Been shopping for a flat-panel TV lately? Chances are that if you have, you were helped by a salesperson without much knowledge of LCD or plasma TV's but still steered you toward an LCD model. According to a study by J.D. Power & Associates which used 2000 mystery shoppers over 6 months to compile data, more than 75% of the time salespeople will recommend an LCD TV over a plasma. Interestingly, more than 37% of salespeople say a big downside of plasma TV's is picture "burn"-in onto the display, a problem that hasn't been around for years. Another oft-mentioned plasma problem was light reflections from its glossy surface, a problem of relevance at least. Well aware of so-called problems with plasma displays, customers were steered toward more expensive LCD displays even though less than 25% of the time, salespeople pointed out advantages of LCD's such as being brighter and less power hungry than plasma's. Something to keep in mind next time you go TV shopping.
Forget LCD and plasma displays--the real future of display technology may lay with "telescopic pixels". A report in Nature Photonics, compiled by researchers from Microsoft and the University of Washington, says that telescopic pixel displays can outperform today's popular display technologies, especially in smaller display sizes used for mobile devices and laptops.
Telescopic pixels use a design known as the optical telescope. This type design uses two opposing mirrors per pixel. The primary mirror can actually change into a parabolic shape when the pixel is on, focusing light on the secondary mirror, which in turn reflects the light back through a hole in the primary display and onto the display screen. When the pixel is off, the mirrors are parallel and reflect any light back to the light source.
Not only is the manufacturing method used to produce telescopic pixels low cost, but it's also compatible with LCD infrastructure. And while LCD's only move 5-10% of the total backlight to the user and use up to 30% of a laptop's battery, telescopic displays move 36% of the backlight to the user reaching 56% with some design mods, efficient enough to add 45 minutes to a 5 hour laptop battery.
Telescopic pixel displays also have a lightning-quick response time, measured at only 0.625ms. This allows for sequential color processing, improved gray scales and color shading. The one major problem right now is contrast. Experiments have it sitting at only 20:1, a far cry from the 800:1 contrast ratio needed to put telescopic pixel displays on par with LCD's. Remember though, this is a prototype design. Major improvements will be made in the future.
The real question is whether telescopic pixel displays have any chance against up-and-coming OLED's. Right now we'd have to say no.
Pioneer let us know at the beginning of April that they would be spinning out a couple of Kuro LCD's in Europe come June, sized 32- and 37-inches, followed by a 46-inch model at a later date. The LCD panels will be produced by Sharp, but other than that we don't know a whole lot, not even pricing details. The two smaller models will now see an August release date and the 46-inch enigma is still an unknown, but no matter where you are in the world there are now live pics of the 32-inch KRL-32V and 37-inch KRL-37V over at Crave UK. Click the read link to see the whole package.
We've told you about New Jersey-based TV Armor before and this past weekend we finally got to try out TV Amor's like-named TV screen protector this past weekend. At first look we weren't so sure about its design. Basically a 1/4-inch thick sheet of Lucite (a type of acrylic glass), TV Armor is molded at the top end at a 90-degree angle to snuggly fit the top of your TV with two oval cut at either end and at the bottom so two Velcro straps can be wrapped around your TV set to secure the screen protector. Felt spacers are included to stick on the corners of the TV Armor to ensure it never actually touches the TV screen. At first glance before actually placed on the TV set it looks clunky and definitely not something you'd want to ruin the design of your home theater.
Another initial concern we had was that acrylics aren't completely clear. Because of this TV Armor reduces your screen's brightness by about 5% however you can compensate by simply adjusting the TV's brightness level manually. Secondly, there is no antiglare solution on the market for acrylic plastics either simply because the sheet isn't 100% clear, it's actually a matte finish. So if your set is in an area where there is alot of brightness or natural light you'll get a somewhat distorted picture if the TV screen protector is more than 1/16-inch of the surface of the flatscreen.
Okay, now that we've addressed our initial concerns we can tell you what we found once we actually attached TV Armor to a Toshiba 42-inch LCD HDTV. Once unpacked from the box, all's you have to do is attach the felt spacers to the corners of the TV Armor, feed the Velcro straps through the appropriate hole, place it on your screen and secure it. It takes all of 2 minutes from boxed to completely setup. Once the TV was actually turned on, without adjusting the brightness controls at all, any difference in picture quality was unnoticeable to human eye. However it was tested in an area where both natural and artificial lighting was fairly low. This could be different in a brighter area, but once again that can be fixed by manually adjusting your screen's brightness.
Now as you may have guessed from the name TV Armor, or if you read the previous article, you can probably figure out the TV screen protector is designed to protect your TV screen. Genius, eh? Protect it from what? Mainly the types of objects your small kids will hurl across the room such as small toys or remote controls. It also works equally well to protect the TV screen from splashes or artistic kids who like to play with felt markers. Anything we happened to toss at the TV once protected within the realm of reason (meaning short of bricks and bullets) was absorbed by the TV Armor, which remained scratch-free, successfully protected the fragile LCD screen. We should also mention that once attached to the TV, TV Armor is virtually unnoticeable. The matte finish of the Lucite panel actually gives the set a nice look.
Overall we definitely give the TV Armor TV screen protector a thumbs up. If you have small kids, or host parties where drinks tend to fly this is the perfect solution. Available for screen sizes between 30 and 52 inches, TV Armor runs between $129 and $169 plus shipping fees. Head over to TV Armor's TV Screen Protector website to purchase yours.
If you've wandered around the electronics section of any of 3400 US Wal-mart's lately you may have seen the 42-inch Vizio VP422 LCD TV sitting on the shelves. The low-cost set, priced at $799.99, is about as cheap as a 42-inch set can possibly get currently but we wonder whether or not the performance of the VP422 makes the dollar savings really worth it. The fine folks over at CNET have put the Vizio set through the ringer and were actually quite impressed with its performance given it's pricetag. Obviously not Kuro-like or anything but good enough for the average home theater user. On the upside the set has tons of connectivity options, accurate color decoding, and a crisp picture with little noise. On the downside is the VP422's lack of aspect ratio control for HD sources and noticeably inaccurate color reproduction thanks to inaccurate greens and poor grayscale tracking. Overall the problems aren't enough to say that "you get what you pay for" with the VP422--you definitely get more.
3D movie playback is a growing trend thanks to new digital cinema installations across the United States, but as we've said before 3D won't really catch on until it's easily transferred to the home theater. Several different groups are working on quickly advancing the technologies necessary to make this a reality and there are already 3D-ready HDTV's on the market, but there has remained one major problem until now.
Standards. That's right, right now several different companies produce 3D home theater technologies, but all tend to have their own technical methods that result in different file formats and compatibility with select devices. This is a big brick wall to consumer adoption. No one wants to read every product box to see if a particular device will work with their home theater setup. Enter the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) who've launched an initiative to develop a set of international standards that'll run across all 3D devices and delivery methods.
The establishment of 3D standards will take some time; the SMPTE estimates it'll be up to a year-and-a-half until the final standards are actually set in stone. The group's first meeting is set for August 19.
Both Verizon and AT&T will bring the Beijing Olympics to multiple broadcasting platforms next month, granted permission by US exclusive-rights carrier NBC Universal to stream NBC Olympic coverage via mobile, IPTV and broadband. Verizon will offer coverage via its FiOS TV service through both live streaming and video-on-demand programming. They'll also offer two dedicated HD channels for soccer and basketball coverage. Mobile video fans will be able to view NBC daily highlights as well as up-to-date news and results on their mobile devices.
AT&T will air similar NBC content via their U-Verse service including both live streaming and video-on-demand content. U-Verse subscribers will also have access to NBC's Olympics Interactive, a dedicated channel on their TV's where they'll find live programming, news updates, multiple feeds and even bios of some of America's medal hopefuls. Internet video fanatics will have access to live streaming, on-demand video and interactive widgets courtesy of NBCOlympics.com. Probably thanks to their spot as an official Olympics sponsor and telecommunications provider, AT&T has exclusive rights to broadcast live Olympics coverage on its MediaFLO mobile video service 24/7. The dedicated channel is to be dubbed NBC Olympics 2Go.
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and an opinionated HD fanatic, has long thought web video to be dead when others think it's just a baby. But maybe it's not dead after all, as his latest online rant chronicles the strategy he believes could be the saving grace for internet TV. In a nutshell, scrap your computer, let the satellite and telcos handle it (and charge you for it) and bring it straight to your HDTV. How does this work? "Move the video cloud to the node and encode and insert into the traditional video distribution systems", says Cuban. That's right, video can be sent straight to a service provider's set-top box from where you can create custom playlists right from the comfort of your TV screen. TV distribution systems as they are work, so why not just move internet TV to traditional distribution systems and let your service provider handle it? Here's one reason why not: maybe we don't want an even bigger cable or satellite bill!
Hotels everywhere are jumping on the HD bandwagon, bringing high-def programming and giant flatscreens in-house to spice up the visitor experience. In fact, research firm iSuppli expects hotel TV sales to increase by a factor of 11 in the 5 year period between 2007 and 2012 as more people travel for both business and pleasure. 9.7 million units are expected to ship in 2012, up from less than 900, 000 in 2007 as an industry that once brought big money to CRT TV makers upgrade to the likes of LCD and plasma sets.
Tired of the typical TiVo offerings? Good news, the choice of content available to broadband-connected TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD DVR owners just hit the moon as the company has just announced with YouTube, bringing hundreds of millions of user-generated videos (some good, some bad) directly to your TV screen.
TiVo users will be able to browse and play YouTube vids using the TiVo interface while seated comfortably on the couch. And very soon YouTube users will also be able to logon to their accounts using the TiVo granting access to their personal favorites and playlists. All of this without ever touching a computer.
Whether or not this is a better deal for TiVo or YouTube is hard to tell. Is this really the type of content that TiVo users want? If anything, this is another huge deal for YouTube, enabling their giant video platform out of the interweb and into the real world.
Look for a software update in the next few weeks that will enable this new feature.
Amazon seems to be making some smart moves in the digital video market, moving beyond their Unbox service and unveiling Amazon Video On Demand yesterday. The new VOD service currently has over 40, 000 TV shows and movies available to be streamed directly to your HDTV, without any file downloads to your computer's hard drive a la iTunes.
The company has also struck a deal with Sony to directly integrate the new VOD service right into Bravia TV's via the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link. Of course, right now the requirement of the Internet Video Link adds a $300 expense to the partnership paid by the end user, but in future Bravia models the service should be embedded directly into the TV's.
Amazon says the partnership with Sony is only the beginning of many. The company ultimately would like to partner with every company that offers "connected" devices now that they offer support for both streaming and downloading. Pretty much all major studios offer content on the new service aside from ABC and parent company Disney who are in bed with Apple at the moment.
While this is a great new service from Amazon, the company doesn't expect it to make them much money. Developing the massive infrastructure to support the service plus big bucks paid to Hollywood to license content will make margins tight. The real hope in the end is that with the video-on-demand service integrated into everyone's TV, it'll pump up sales in Amazon's store with nothing more than the click of a remote.
While Sony's busy busting out the next-generation of Blu-ray players, Onkyo seems perfectly happy upconverting plain ol' DVD's. To be fair, the company has a Blu-ray player of their own on tap for later this year, but until then you'll just have to settle for the Onkyo DV-SP406 upconverting DVD player. Capable of upscaling standard-def content to 1080p via HDMI, the DV-SP406 offers playback of all the usual file formats including JPEG, MP3 and WMA files plus video CD's. It also features coaxial/optical digital audio ports, a 108 MHz/14-bit video DAV, Dynamic Range Control, DTS/Dolby Digital/Digital Audio output, and a USB port for multimedia file transfer. Available in black and silver, the DV-SP406 is available from Amazon for $125.
Sony's BDP-S350 BD-Live Blu-ray player is now shipping in the United States. Aside from its BD-Live capabilities, the BDP-S350 is packed with some high-end features. Its startup time is only a few seconds thanks to a new quick-start mode, it's capable of upconverting standard-def content to full 1080p resolution, and utilizes Sony's proprietary Precision Drive HD can detect and correct wobbling discs for perfect playback of scratched or bent Blu-ray discs or DVD's. BD-Live updates, one of which is planned for later this year, are easily downloaded via a built-in ethernet port, also used for accessing interactive features on next-generation Blu-ray discs.
The BDP-S350 offers support for 7.1-channel Dolby TrueHD and Dolby Digital Plus decoding and bitstream output as well as DTS-HD and Master Audio bitstreaming. Most popular file formats are supported by the new Sony Blu-ray player including BD-R/RE (BDMV and BDAV modes), DVD+R/+RW, DVD-R/-RW, CD, CD-R/RW (CD-DA format), JPEG on DVD/CD and even AVCHD discs with x.v. Color technology which expands the data range of video 1.8 times allowing playback of a color spectrum close to what the human eye would see in the real world. Sony's BDP-350 is priced at around $400 and is available from Amazon.
Just days after Microsoft announced Netflix would be coming to the Xbox 360, Sony has announced a new video service for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable that has already kicked off with 300 full-length movie titles and 1200 TV shows. That's just a start-Sony claims that they have signed seven movie studios to the service including Disney, Fox, MGM, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Lions Gate. Both HD and SD movie rentals will be available priced between $2.99 and $5.99 and TV shows will set you back $1.99 per episode, and you'll be able to purchase standard-def movies with the exception of those from Disney.
Renters will have a full 14 days to press play on their rentals though once the play button is pushed, you'll only have 24 hours to watch the entire movie. You'll also be able to share content with other PS3 or PSP users thanks to Sony's use of Marlin DRM technology.
If you thought Sharp's LB-1085 108-inch LCD HDTV was a monster, you'll be absolutely stunned by Toshiba's new 880-inch LED HDTV dubbed Toshiba Vision Times Square. Okay, so you won't be seeing this in any living room in the near future-it looks over New York City's Times Square from 285 feet above the ground-but with high-def resolution and support for over one billion colors it's definitely worth mentioning. The 51.2 x 52.5 foot LED display integrates 1280 x 1248 LED's outputting a HD image using Toshiba's TECHNOVIRTUAL technology, pixel-sharing technology that uses adjacent pixels to create virtual pixels with a 12.5 mm pitch. The Godzilla of high-def outdoor displays is environmentally friendly thanks to its use of LED's and will be used to market Toshiba products to New York's giant population of gadget geeks.
Japan's NEC Corp. seem to be throwing themselves into the Blu-ray market with force, announcing they expect to double sales of its own Blu-ray products in the next couple of years. And not necessarily because Blu-ray is guaranteed to double in popularity, but because they plan to bring down the price of Blu-ray players thanks to their new BD Live-capable superchip. NEC forecasts that they'll own 40% of the Blu-ray chip market by March 2009, and grow that market share to over half by March 2011. With the new superchip pretty much guaranteed to bring down manufacturing costs of Blu-ray players, and trickling its way down the supply chain to result in cheaper Blu-ray players for us, NEC expects sales of about $378 million in the Blu-ray category by March 2011. The real question is whether or not NEC's new chip and competing superchips such as Panasonic's UniPhier will bring Blu-ray player prices below the $200 mark anytime soon. Until then, Blu-ray will remain nothing more than a niche product bought by only the most dedicated home theater fanatics.
Summer is always a time of internal conflict for TVSnob's. We have a certain responsibility to spend time with our home theaters but at the same time we have the beautiful weather trying to tug our heartstrings into the outdoors. But here's one possible solution: Open Air CineBox Home. Get the best of both worlds by turning your backyard into a mini drive-in theater with this nine-foot inflatable movie screen with its own dedicated A/V system. Easy to setup and takedown, the CineBox Home is small enough when not in use to fit in a backpack so you can even bring it somewhere other than your own backyard. The whole CineBox Home theater kit includes the 9 x 5 foot inflatable screen suitable for both front and rear projection, a 2300 lumen Sanyo LCD projector, DVD player, audio mixer, an LED light for night time operation, the usual adapters and cables, a couple of speakers, and a muffled air blower to keep the screen constantly inflated. Available July 25, the Open Air CineBox Home outdoor theater will set you back $1499.
Xbox Live Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers will be able to stream Netflix movies to their Xbox 360's this fall for no additional costs besides those they already pay for their existing subscriptions. The partnership was announced yesterday at the E3 gaming conference and will bring over 10, 000 TV shows and movies to members when it launches. Combining the new Netflix offerings with other Xbox Live content means the Xbox 360 will be home to more content than any other "connected" device on the market at the moment.
Users simply add TV shows or movies to their instant Queues on the Netflix website, which will then automatically display on the Xbox Live interface. Flicks will take as little as 30 seconds to begin playing and users will be able to stop, fast forward, and rewind using the Xbox 360 remote.
Over in Japan there's no messing around with the future of OLED TV. Last week a flurry of Japanese OLED panel manufacturers including Sony, Toshiba, Panasonic, Sumitomo Chemical, Dainippon Screen, Shimadzu, and Hitachi Zosen formed a coalition with the country's government to develop key technologies needed to make large next-gen displays while at the same time cutting manufacturing costs. The company's have teamed up in order to better compete with Korean manufacturers such as LG and Samsung who both look to be big players in the future OLED market. The Japanese government will pitch in slightly less than US$33 million to the massive project which is set to run through 2012.
Mark Levinson's No502 Media Console is a little bit of design thinking applied to a typical A/V processor/receiver that apparently justifies a ridiculous price. Yes it has some impressive features including an Faraday chassis that doubles as an RF shield, two separate power supplies to reduce noise, Harman International Logic 7 technology, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio, auto-calibration, and 6 HDMI inputs and 2 outputs (though only v1.1), but do these features really justify the $30, 000 price tag. We don't think so. Must be the Mark Levinson name.
Klipsch is known for their high-end speakers in more than one way--design, sound, and price. If you want a unique look and incredible sound quality, Klipsch is a sure bet but bet you'll pay. Now it looks like the company is aiming at the more "budget-conscious" market with the addition of six new speakers to their Palladium lineup. A couple of new floorstanding main channel speakers, the P-37F and P-38F, will set you back $12, 000 and $8, 000 respectively, or you can settle for the P-17B bookshelf speakers priced at only $4, 000. The P-27S surround sound, P-27C center channel and P-312W subwoofer speakers will flesh out the rest of your audio setup, priced at $3, 500, $4, 000, and $4, 000 respectively. Budget-conscious? Not really, but you get what you pay for and give it to Klipsch for making their speakers at least a little more affordable.
Via Engadget HD
While we don't think anyone's too happy with the affordability of Blu-ray players these days, things look to be improving. Back in May, Panasonic announced their UniPhier 3 processor, a chip that fits all of Bluray's BD Live features. Announcements like this mean inevitable price decreases on end products thanks to cheaper manufacturing costs, and inevitable price decreases are further reinforced when competitor's come onto the scene.
NEC has now announced they've begun producing their EMMA3P chip for Blu-ray players that fits all of the BD Live features on one chip. Including H.264/VC-1/MPEG-2 compression, USB/ethernet/HDMI peripheral controls, picture-in-picture, Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD audio playback, and even DivX on a single chip, NEC and Panasonic looked to have primed the Blu-ray "guts" market to set the base for cheaper Blu-ray players for none other than us.
Syntax-Brillian, the Tempe, Arizona-based maker of Olevia HDTV's, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after struggling in the past year with weak sales and a failed restructuring attempt. Like nearly every major flat panel maker in the world, Syntax-Brillian has struggled with narrow profit margins thanks to plummeting flat panel prices, but being a second-tier TV maker hasn't fared well with its partnership attempts and executive changes.
The only company under Syntax-Brillian that wasn't under the Chapter 11 filing was their digital camera arm, Vivitar, which will be sold. But a newly formed company called Olevia International Group LLC will take on $60 million of the company's secured debt by purchasing certain assets. Which in the end makes us wonder--is the Olevia TV really dead?
Microsoft has cut the price of its 20GB Xbox 360 Pro model from $349 to $299 as of today , according to CNET. Rumors had been flowing around the interwebs over the past few days after snapshot of ads from retailers such as Kmart, Radioshack, and Target showed off the 360 Pro selling for $299 and it turns out for once that a rumor in the home theater industry is actually true. The confirmation was made at the E3 video gaming trade show in Los Angeles and was followed by another announcement by Microsoft that they will soon be releasing a 60GB Xbox 360 in early August for $349. The new model will debut in both the United States and Canada.
Many wondered after the Xbox rumors started if Sony's PS3 would see a similar price drop, but it seems that Microsoft's price decrease was a response to the PS3's increasing popularity lately rather than a proactive decision. In fact, Sony has vehemently denied any plans to reduce the PS3's price, saying the company is focused on profitability rather than units sold.
With wired home theaters it's always a hassle to find the perfect place for your HDTV, but with the Belkin FlyWire it'll no longer be an issue. The FlyWire is a simple box that transmits 1080p video and audio wirelessly over a 5 Ghz band to your HDTV and is capable of connecting Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, receivers and set-top boxes. Belkin claims that interference is minimal and because the FlyWire doesn't compress video it will transmit sans latency. It comes with an transmitter that connects to your A/V components, whether or not they're analog or digital and has an SD card slot that allows for upgrade and expansion. The FlyWire has plenty of connection options including a trio of HDMI inputs, a couple of component and a composite input plus the accompanying audio inputs and an HDMI output. It also supports all IR and universal remotes. Sound good so far? You have a bit of a wait. The Belkin FlyWire comes in two different model. The first, AV69003, will set you back $999.99 and will come out come October. It's meant as a multi-room solution. The second, the FlyWire R1 or AV69000, will set you back $699.99 is meant to be a single-room device and will hit shelves in Q1 2009.
FyreTV will be releasing a set-top box this fall that will enable DVD-quality porn to be streamed from the internet to your TV, and you don't even need a PC. The box will be free, but users will have to pay for content of course. 100 minutes of porn will set you back $9.99 per month, pretty expensive, but company founder Estefano Isaias Jr. says that the average porn consumer only watches about 4 minutes at a time. And to make it easier not to waste those precious minutes, 25, 000 movies have been tagged and sorted by scene so that you can find exactly what turns you on, so to speak, and jump to that particular act.
The box features component, composite, ethernet, optical audio, and HDMI-out ports and actually has 802.11g WiFi support. It'll be interesting to see if FyreTV succeeds where others have failed. Companies such as ITVN went bankrupt after unsuccessfully trying to bring on-demand streamed porn to the masses, so FyreTV is in tough but they seem entirely confident that this time around the business model will work.
Kodak, better known for their photographic technologies than home theater products, has unveiled the Kodak Theatre HD Player. But here's the catch: this home theater is all about the memories, moving beyond the bounds of television programming and bring HD pictures, music, video, podcast, and web-based content to your HDTV. Rather than being a typical media streamer, the Kodak Theatre HD Player "turns consumers into the directors of their own show with a wireless remote control pointer in-hand", in 16:9 aspect ratio and up to 720p resolution.
Rolling out in stages, the Kodak home theater will roll out in stages with a market trial starting this September and feature partnerships with Flickr, YouTube, RadioTime, and Kodak Gallery. It'll also be able to pull content off of USB sticks and SD cards. Come September, head to Amazon, Best Buy or Kodak.com to get your Kodak Theatre HD Player for $299.99.
Got some money to blow and are interested in nothing more than the best high-def projection technology around? Mitsubishi's FL7000U projector is now available in the United States and with a $15000 price tag, you damn well better have money to blow. With a high-end price tag comes high-end features including full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, 5000 ANSI lumens of brightness, 1000:1 contrast ratio, a built-in 10 Watt speaker system, a split-screen display mode for videoconferencing and anti-theft features including an alarm and password menu security.
If you're big into foreign programming, WhereverTV, sold by a company of the same name and repurposed from Neuros' OSD will probably be right up your alley. The new receiver and service announced at the SINO Consumer Electronics Show today allows users access to hundreds of live television channels in more than 40 languages from 100 countries around the world with no activation fees or recurring service charges. The WhereverTV receiver delivers programming from the internet directly to the TV without the need for a direct PC connection, simply hooking up to your router. Controlled via remote, WhateverTV uses a Global Interactive Program Guide to manage international internet TV content in an easy-to-use right on the TV screen. WhereverTV is available from Amazon or the company's website for $199.99.
Pioneer's 8th-generation Kuro plasma line was touted as the best plasma sets of 2007. But are the 9th-generation 2008 models as good? HD Guru Gary Merson put the Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD 50-inch plasma to the test to find out and in terms of performance the answer is a definite yes. Not only does the PRO-111FD have the deepest black levels of any plasma Merson has ever tested, it was "simply the best" HDTV he's ever had the pleasure of putting through the ringer. Fair enough, but at $5000 you'll pay a premium for its superb features, and another recent review by the Guru of Panasonic's TH-50PZ850U places its features not to far behind and priced $1500 cheaper, you'll have to make a decision between price and ultimate quality.
If you're the owner of the much-talked-about Popcorn Hour A-100 media streamer and have the finger mobility to use a small screwdriver, you might be interested in this handy mod put together by Jeremy Jones. Apparently the tiny circuit board you see in the video above leaves enough space within the device to install a standard PATA hard drive. Install it (Jones chooses an 80GB HDD), the Popcorn Hour can be used as a BitTorrent client that can save files locally. Look cool to you? Then grab that screwdriver and check out the video above.
Pioneer, maker of the famed KURO-brand plasma TV's, plans to have Blu-ray recorders on Japanese shelves before this year's holiday shopping season followed by overseas launches hopefully early next year. Pioneer will team up with Sharp Electronics, a big stakeholder in Pioneer and already an experienced maker of Blu-ray recorders. No prices or details regarding the new model or models have been released, but being from Pioneer we expect something impressive.
Blu-ray recorders are a big business in Japan. According to the Fuji Chimera Research Institute, demand for Blu-ray recorders in Japan is expected to be 3.6 million units in 2012, 18 times that of today.
As a wearer of contact lenses and a person that has a wild imagination I've often wondered what it would be like to have some type of display in the lens sitting on my eye. Sitting on the bus home from work, I could just sit there, tune out, and watch a movie and no one would know the difference. An engineering professor at the University of Washington named Babak Parviz is doing just that, embedding electrical circuits on a contact lens and now working on adding LEDs. If he's successful in adding the LEDs, he'll have created the tiniest "personal display" in history.
There are some tough problems to overcome though. First off, the tiny display has to be powered some way. Second off, your eye can't actually focus on something that close so light rays have to be manipulated by the lens itself to enable you to see a clear picture. Plus Parviz has to make sure that the electronics making up his invention don't do any harm to the eye. The engineer behind this feat has his detractors too, but in the future we'll keep our eye on Parviz because who wouldn't want a little TV basically embedded in their eyeball.
To get the picture quality resulting from watching a Blu-ray disc, one of the overlooked but important variables is the amount of storage space on the disc itself. 25 GB is a heck of a lot to fit on one optical disc, but thanks to Pioneer it's now next to nothing. The company has just announced that they've produced a 16 layer, read-only optical disc with an astounding storage capacity of 400 GB. In the past it's been tough to obtain a clear signal from multi-layer discs but with Pioneer's new creation, the amount of noise has been reduced significantly. What might be of significance in the future is that the new discs have specs that are very similar to those of Blu-ray discs signaling possible compatibility. Pioneer plans to make a more formal announcement around the middle of July.
While most of us think OLED and "networked" home theater products when looking at the future of Sony, they have yet another television technology up their sleeve. The company recently took over an old Pioneer plant where they plan to start mass producing FED panels in 2009. What is FED? Short for field emission display, FED is a next-gen display technology that takes all of the benefits of cathode ray tube TV's and crunches them into a super-thin display. Think about the deep blacks and total lack of motion blur in old CRT TV's and you have a worthy competitor to LCD and plasma, and OLED since FED panels are much easier to make.
Sony plans to peddle the so-called "dream panels" to big broadcasters and the medical industry first and then slowly work their way into the mainstream consumer market with a 60-inch FED TV debut.
The Niles iRemote TS is an attractive looking wireless remote from Niles Audio, designed to control super-featured home theater systems and whole home distributed A/V systems. Featuring large buttons and a color touchscreen, the iRemote TS uses Zigbee 2-way wireless technology to "provide users with the metadata to scan, select and play program material from menu-based digital sources". Non-Zigbee equipped devices can be controlled by the remote using the usual infrared means and it even comes with its own charging station. The only problem with the iRemote TS is its price: $1300.
A couple days back at a dinner with reporters and industry analysts in San Francisco, Sony Electronics president and COO Stan Glasgow spilled all kinds of juicy details regarding the goings-on inside the company's home theater business. Perhaps most interesting was Glasgow's comment that Sony's 27-inch OLED TV is "awfully close" to becoming available commercially. First unveiled at CES back in January, the 27-inch OLED TV will be the successor to the 11-inch XEL-1, the world's first commercially available OLED television. The 27-incher is expected to be followed by a 40-inch model which will be impressive, but first Sony has to find ways to better automate OLED panel production, currently very labor intensive. With their recent $210 million investment into OLED production, we're sure this won't be an issue for too much longer.
OLED TV's weren't the only topics of interest discussed though. Here's a few more tidbits from Glasgow:
90% of Sony's products will be wired or wireless by 2010
Expect more video services for Bravia LCD TV's by 2010
In the standalone Blu-ray player market, Sony has a 46% market share in units and 44% market share in dollars without the PS3. With the PS3 included, the company's Blu-ray market share sits somewhere between 95%-98%
The boys over at Format War Central have decided its time to really dig into the guts and soul of some of the standalone Blu-ray players sitting on shelves right now. A new series, appropriately named "Dissected", has chosen as its first victim Panasonic's DMP-BD30K. Featuring a UniPhier processor, this Profile 1.1 player features 24p video output, Dolby TrueHD bitstream output, and DTS-HD Master Audio among those features that stand out. Interestingly, the internals of the DMP-BD30K are pretty minimal which usually signifies the device's design and engineering are super-efficient, hopefully meaning price drops in the near future.
It's no surprise that DTV2009 is bringing scammers out of the woodwork. You know, those that take advantage of the lack of consumer awareness surrounding the digital transition in order to make a few bucks. The latest crooked company, Ohio-based Universal TechTronics, has recently been running a campaign offering a "free" digital TV converter box.
The United States Deptartment of Commerce is preparing everyone for the switch to digital television by authorizing payment coupons for certified brands of these special TV boxes.
But the government process has us all tied up.
That's why Universal TechTronics is providing these Miracle ClearView TV boxes immediately to the general public for free for everyone who gets the 5yr. warranty.
The premise behind the offer is that the US government if having trouble pulling through its end of the $40 converter box coupon program and Universal is providing a public service by offering its free Miracle ClearView boxes. The only problem with this is that the box is free with the purchase of a $88 5-year warranty and a nearly $10 shipping charge. The company also claims the Miracle ClearView converter box is certified by the NTIA, but not so. This same company has used questionable sales tactics in the past and has been deemed "unsatisfactory" by the Better Business Bureau. Word to the wise: sometimes it's just better to wait on your $40 coupon.
Roku has made the Netflix Player's source code available on their website so we should be seeing all kind's of new and interesting hacks and features available in the next few days. The Linux-based box, which allows users to order Netflix movies on demand rather than through the mail, is also set to receive an update later this year that'll allow streaming of video content from other "big name" providers. Netflix chief exec Reed Hastings figure DVD sales will peak as early as 2013, being why Netflix is now working on becoming a little more connected and on-demand. Look for Netflix movie rentals incorporated in products by LG Electronics and maybe even the Xbox 360 in the future as well.
The folks over at CrunchGear managed to get their hands on the newest prototype of Texas Instruments' DLP pico projector, crammed into a stripped down Blackberry Curve. Despite the fact the Curve was gutted, the newest rendition of the DLP Pico is the smallest yet, less than half the size of previous prototypes.
Projector's can display images on curved surfaces? Run on water? No way. But wait, yes they can. Just ask Panasonic whose PT-D12000 and PT-DZ12000 get a big checkmark on both counts. Both projectors can display images on curved surfaces thanks to dedicated LSI. Unlike other models that display on curved surfaces, the new Panasonic models require no extra external components. Believe it or not the PT-DZ12000 is cooled by water too. Not entirely surprising given some of the projectors' heat-generating specs. Both projectors run on three DLP chips, and feature four 300 W built-in lamps resulting in a combined 12, 000 lumen brightness rating. Amazingly the PT-DZ12000 features 1920 x 1200 resolution and can project a massive 600-inch image from a minimum distance of only 12.4 meters. Both projectors are looking at an August release, both carrying a rather large $69, 000 price tag.
Panasonic's DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player, highly anticipated since CES 2008, and boasting some high-end features such as BD Live and internal DTS-HD audio decoding is finally starting to show up on shelves in the US. Nothing from any of the big box outlets yet, but it is available from 6th Ave from which you can order the DMP-BD50 through Amazon. You'll pay a high-end price for the enhanced features though. The anticipated $700 price tag was actually a little on the low end. 6th Ave has the BD Live player pinned at $749.
Early in June we got word that Toshiba was working on an HD-enabled DVD player that featured enhanced image scaling capabilities resulting in a picture quality similar to that of Blu-ray. Apparently it's no joke, as the DVD Forum, chaired by Toshiba, has released a new logo that's rumored to be directly related to the super-powered DVD player. It's also now widely believed that the player will use Toshiba's SpursEngine 1000 CPU and judging by the 'Download DL' portion of the new logo will feature interactive and connected capabilities similar to those of Blu-ray's Profile 2.0. What's really surprising is that at the same June 11 meeting that produced the new logo, Toshiba continued talks regarding the now-dead HD DVD format!
The first test run of Orlando's analog shutoff has gone off successfully. The 12 stations that participated cut their analog signals for 10 seconds last Wednesday affecting 365, 000 households. Those that weren't ready for the February 17, 2009 switch saw a black screen and those that were ready saw a message confirming they passed the test. Given that the test affected such a great number of household, it was impressive to see that only 501 viewers called in to complain. It wasn't entirely a surprise though, only 7% of viewers affected receive their broadcast signals over-the-air.
Mitsubishi isn't a flat panel maker that pops up with something new every second day, but when they announce a product you can guarantee it'll be good. Case in point-the upcoming LaserVue laser TV's. But today they've announced something new and innovative again, a couple of new ultra-thin LCD TV's with something called integrated sound projection (iSP). The iSP 149 line features a couple of new models, the 46-inch LT-46149 and the 52-inch LT-52149, both of which will ship in the United States this month.
What's unique to the new Mitsubishi models is of course the iSP, which actually simulates 5.1 surround sound from a single speaker cabinet found at the bottom of the screen that house a 16-speaker array. By using a simple on-screen setup you can input the room dimensions, where your going to be sitting to watch the TV and the set will bounce sound waves at different angles and output it at intervals through the 16 speakers. With some of the sound hitting your ears indirectly, you get the feel of real surround sound. The TV's are also CableCard-ready, have HDMI and PCM audio support, and feature Smooth 120Hz Film Motion that ensures you won't have to see 24Hz artifacts in slower-moving film scenes. The LT-46149 and LT-52149 will set you back $3299 and $3699 respectively when they hit shelves this month.
byd:sign's new 19-inch LCD TV's, a black model DC-1902DWB and white model DC-1902DWW, will be the first DivX Certified HDTV's to hit the Japanese market when they're released later in July. DivX has been super aggressive in sticking their brand on the face of seemingly ever piece of home theater equipment coming out lately and has been big in seamlessly moving PC video content to the living room home theater. The byd:sign LCD's feature a DVD player, 1440 x 900 resolution, 500:1 contrast ratio, a USB 2.0 port, SD/MMC/ Memory Stick slot, ATSC/NTSC tuners and HDMI connectivity.