August 28, 2008
US-based Sherwood is taking aim at the growing Blu-ray player market with a couple of new Blu-ray players-the BDP-5003 and BDP-6003. The BDP-5003, with a suggested price of $299, will hit shelves in October. Of course with a price that seems to good to be true, the 5003 is only Profile 1.1 compliant so it won't have BD-Live capabilities. The BDP-6003 on the other hand is a Profile 2.0 player, but you'll be set back $499 for the added features when it's released in September.
Both players upscale DVD's to 1080p, have a front panel USB port, and feature component, composite, S-video and HDMI 1.3 outputs. Other features common to the new Sherwood duo include DivX, JPEG, and MP3 playback plus coaxial and Toslink digital audio outputs, 192kHz/24-bit audio DACs and an Ethernet port for firmware upgrades. The BDP-5003 sports a two-channel analog output, while the BDP-6003 supports 5.1-channels.
Sherwood will also be re-entering the TV market with December release of a 32-inch and 42-inch LCD TV pair under its Newcastle brand. Specs and pricing are an unknown at the moment, but we do know the 32-inch model will have 720p resolution, while the 42-inch model will boast full 1080p.
It'll be interesting to see if Sherwood can maintain the quality they display with their award-winning audio hardware with their new home theater products.
August 27, 2008
Pioneer has introduced a Blu-ray player to kill all Blu-ray players, and according to Gizmodo this one actually outdoes the PS3. Of course, you'll pay $2200 for the superb playback from the BDP-09FD. Fully BD-Live capable and updated and ethernet-connected, the BDP-09FD eliminates the need for an SD card with its 4GB of internal memory.
It actually decodes all known codecs from DTS and Dolby, using a separate digital-to-analog converter for each audio channel and combined with some fancy internal engineering results in a "perfect noise-free signal" using gold-plated RCA jacks. Of course, noise reduction is also helped by the BDP-09FD's steel-reinforced 50 pound body which all but eliminates vibration from pumping sound through 7 channels.
Notable video specs include 16-bit processing and 24p cinema playback plus this high-end Blu-ray player features not one, but two HDMI slots. If you're looking for something a little more mainstream then stick with the PS3, but hardcore home theater junkies will find the most amazing Blu-ray playback around in the form of the $2200 Pioneer BDP-09FD.
August 27, 2008
Panasonic's latest iteration of the plasma monster comes in the form of the new TH-103PZ800, a whopping 103-inches, and showcased with five new siblings ranging from 42- to 65-inches. The 103-inch TH-103PZ800 sports 1920 x 1080 pixels, 10, 000: 1 contrast ratio, xvColor support and Deep Color. It also boasts MPEG noise reduction, 24p film and AVCHD video playback. Priced at $48, 000, the 103-inch beast is significantly cheaper than its like-sized $70, 000 predecessor.
The PZ800 series consists of 58- and 65-inch models boasting 1080p resolution, 30, 000:1 contrast ratio, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 decoding and processing, 24p film playback and noise reduction features. The 58-inch TH-58PZ800 and 65-inch TH-65PZ800 will retail for roughly $5500 and $7800 respectively.
The mainstream-oriented PZR900 series brings three smaller models to market, sized 42-, 46-, and 50-inches. All featuring 1080p resolution and 30, 000:1 contrast ratio, the PZR900 series includes a 1TB HDD allowing about 121 hours of video recording time to go with its Youtube access. The TH-42PZR900, TH-45PZR900, and TH-50PZR900 will set you back roughly $3860, $4410, and $4960 respectively.
All of Panny's six new plasma's will make a Japanese debut.
Read-TH-42PZR900, TH-46PZR900, TH-50PZR900
August 26, 2008
We haven't seen a VHS recorder worth mentioning in year's, but there is a first for everything. In this case a Blu-ray/DVD/VHS recording mashup from Panasonic dubbed the DMR-BR360V. While the addition of VHS does make this video recorder seem pathetic it actually does have some impressive specs. Features include both analog and digital TV tuners and HDMI connections, a 320GB hard drive, second-gen MPEG-4 AVC H.264 encoding, and SD card slot and both USB and ethernet connectivity. Of course, with VHS being somewhat unique in today's marketplace, you'll pay a premium for its addition...to the tune of $1456. Then again, this bad boy looks to be headed no further than Japan.
August 26, 2008
Samsung has unleashed 8 new LCD TV's on Japan that we're already familiar with as Samsung's Series 7/8/9 models. Dubbed PAVV Bordeaux in Japan, Samsung has tweaked the feature set for the country, taking the InfoLink service we know and spinning it as Library TV (basically just YouTube access). Something North America and Europe didn't get in their PAVV Bordeaux iteration is a 40-inch set with LED backlighting, something the 40-inch Bordeaux 780 sports. Samsung says moving local dimming technology to smaller models is a direct attempt to spread LED's to all sizes of LCD HDTV's. We like that thinking Samsung.
August 25, 2008
Vizio is definitely known as a second-rate HDTV manufacturer, but the company has worked hard to incorporate some high-end features in their XVT series while at the same time keeping prices low. CNET has put their 47-inch LCD model, SV470XVT, through the ringer and surprisingly it performs right up there with big boys in some areas of performance. Not only does the SV470XVT feature 120 Hz processing, but its color reproduction is excellent and the user interface is attractive and easy to use. It's no surprise that its black levels aren't quite as dark as models from Sony and Samsung, but overall it's the best performing Vizio model so far.
The HD Guru, citing an unconfirmed report, says Sony will drop the price of its flagship BDP-S350 Blu-ray player by an impressive $100, bringing the price down to $299 as of September 28. Whether or not that's a permanent pricepoint remains to be seen, if the rumor is actually true. Sony will also delay the release of the BDP-S550 until October 8 and price it at $399, $100 below it's initial MSRP.
Second-tier Blu-ray manufacturer Funai, which sells under the names Philips/Magnavox, Insignia and Sylvania in North America, is also rumored to be dropping its player prices to $249 as of September 8.
We've always maintained that your best Blu-ray buying bet is to go with the PS3, but if the rumors are true and you're looking for nothing more than disc playback our feelings may be about to change.
Via HD Guru
August 22, 2008
Both Yahoo and Comcast have called upon Intel to develop an architecture that will bring interactive widgets directly to your TV screen. In Yahoo's case, widgets will be based on the current Yahoo Widget Engine and distributed via a dedicated Widget Channel from which you can view all kinds of interactive and useful internet content such as stock prices and news reports. You'll also be able to interact with your online friends, throwing a bit of a social networking component in the HDTV mix.
Comcast is planning on building the Widget Channel on top of its tru2way platform, a next-generation cable platform that'll bring a whole new level of interactivity into your HDTV viewing.
(Picture Credit: BBC)
CNET recently reviewed Sony's 46-inch KDL-46Z4100 LCD TV, featuring 1080p resolution, 30000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and 120 Hz technology. And while the KDL-Z4100 produces accurate primary colors, reasonably deep (but not the best) black levels, and a generous 4 HDMI slots, Sony's mid-range LCD's DLNA networking capabilities fell short. Only supporting the streaming of JPEG photos over an ethernet connection, Sony eliminates music and video streaming altogether. Why? CNET proposes that Sony may want to sell more Bravia Internet Video Link's, the company's external streaming device. Whatever the case may be, an ethernet port is pretty useless if its sole use is streaming photos to your TV. If you have a USB thumbdrive, however, you can also playback music files for some reason...but not video. Interesting choice of strategy Sony.
August 21, 2008
First Sharp took on AMIMON's Wireless High Definition Interface (WHDI) technology in their X-Series LCD TV's, and now Mitsubishi has chosen AMIMOM to supply their integrated HD wireless link for a few upcoming sets in Japan. Embedded with a wireless chip, Mitsubishi's upcoming LCD lineup consists a two parts-an LCD panel and a separate HDTV receiver unit that streams uncompressed HD video.
So far no pricing or specific availability dates have been released, nor have any model numbers or specs for the new WHDI-enabled line. Mitsubishi has revealed though, that the wireless HDTV's could be available in Japan as early as this fall.
Via Engadget HD
Definitely cool, but only available in Japan. That's the story of the Mac TV, a digital TV tuner from IO-DATA with a B-CAS slot card, controlled using your Apple remote. Looks like Japan's corporate productivity level just went down a notch.
Via Akihabara News
August 20, 2008
According to Bloomberg, the Digital Cinema Integration Partners and Hollywood studios' are close to a huge $1 billion deal that would see 14, 000 theater screens owned by Regal Entertainment Group, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., and Cinemark Holdings Inc., equipped with 3D display technology. Agreements with all of Hollywood's major studios should be reached in a "relatively short period of time", and those close to the deal say the plan is to recoup the funding through higher ticket prices for 3D shows. All 14, 000 screens in question are located in the United States and Canada, so we can look forward to a life-like theater experience in the near future by the looks of it.
Mitsubishi has revealed three new LCD TV lineups in Japan-Real MZW series, Real MXW series, and Real MX series-bringing a total of 7 new models to the Mitsub family. The Real MZW series consists of two higher-end models, the 40-inch LCD-40MZW200 and the 46-inch LCD-46MZW200, both slated for an October 21 release. Prominent features include 1080p, a 10-bit Diamond panel with 120 Hz technology, 15000:1 contrast ratio, 16-bit video processing, and HDMI CEC compatibility.
The 37-inch LCD-37MXW200 and 42-inch LCD-42MXW200 make up the MXW series, hitting Japan September 1. Slightly cheaper than the MZW series, these two models are the mid-range sets, delivering a full HD picture, running on Mitsub's Diamond Engine, and featuring 'auto turn' technology which lets you swivel the TV's viewing angle using the remote control. The MX series consists of the 19-inch LCD-19ATL20, 26-inch LCD-26MX20, and 32-inch LCD-32MX11 and seem to be ideal for a bedroom or possibly kitchen HDTV. These are the three cheapest models of the seven and only display 720p resolution. Japan will see the MX series released October 21.
It also looks like Mitsubishi is working on an LCD TV/Blu-ray player/Blu-ray recorder combo with a development timeline leading to an official release this fall.
Read more-MZW Series
Read more-MX/MXW Series
August 19, 2008
Rumor has it that both Panasonic and Yamaha will unleash new Blu-ray players come the CEDIA EXPO, held September 3-7. Yahama will supposedly announce the S2900, which will only be a Profile 1.1 player. Although it isn't BD-Live compatible, it does have an impressive list of unofficial specs otherwise including 1080p playback, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, advanced features similar to those found on Yamaha's receivers and support for every video and audio codec you can think of.
Panasonic is expected to announce two new Blu-ray players-the DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55. Both will feature an updated version of the advanced UniPhier chip and feature an ethernet port suggesting BD-Live compatibility. Other than that, the only details known is that the DMP-BD55 will have 8-channel analog audio outs, while the DMP-BD35 will only feature 6 channels. No pricing or availability dates have been rumored for any of the three models, but we'd expect to hear more at CEDIA. Think Christmas and too expensive.
Toshiba, obviously still upset about HD DVD's defeat at the hands of Blu-ray, has decided not to support the rival high-def format and do something completely different. In what may in the future be known as the best or the worst attempt at market redemption in the history of home theater electronics, Toshiba has chosen to support...DVD. With a twist of course.
Yesterday Toshiba unveiled upon the world the XD-E500, a DVD player featuring the company's proprietary eXtended Detail Enhancement (XDE) technology. XDE, an upconverting technology with a fancy name, take take plain ol' 480i standard def picture and upscale it to full HD 1080p. What's different about XDE though, is that users have the option of choosing picture mode settings-Sharp, Color, and Contrast-to further improve the picture quality depending on the type of video being viewed.
The XD-E500 will ship this month, priced at $149.99, and in addition to XDE features HDMI-CEC, DivX and JPEG compatibility, as well as MP3 and WMA playback. While at first glance this seems like a laughable move by Toshiba, consumers so far look to be perfectly content with upscaled DVD's given the hefty expense of Blu-ray players and discs. For the week ending August 10, the Blu-ray Statistics News Log reports that Blu-ray disc sales only held in a 7% market share in optical disc sales, a far cry from DVD's 93% chunk of the market.
So what do you think-did Toshiba make the right choose by sticking with DVD?
August 18, 2008
There's something depressing about finding out your Panasonic plasma TV may be still around and kicking after you're six feet under, but Panasonic says that for many of us this is a possibility. The company has decided to find against the lack of knowledge displayed by many salespeople who seem to heavily favor LCD TV's over plasma's by announcing that their entire line of 2008 Viera plasma's have a display half-life of a whopping 100, 000 hours. To put this into perspective, if you watch television for 6.5 hours every day, it would take your Viera display 42 years before it would lose half of its brightness. That's only for 1080p sets though; its 720p plasma's only having a 60, 000 hour rating. Maybe someone will find a coffin-mounting solution so you can be buried with your baby.
It looks like Philips is trying to play catch-up in the HDTV world in the next couple of weeks. Rumor has it that the second-tier HDTV manufacturer will debut an ultra-thin 38mm 42-inch display at IFA in Germany which starts August 27. The new display, dubbed Essence, apparently gets its thin form by housing its picture processing unit externally, allowing to be easily mounted pretty well anywhere. Interestingly it won't be connected wirelessly as you would expect for a high-end TV debut-a single cable will connect the frame to the external processor. We'll keep our eyes open for more details.
August 15, 2008
Brazilians living in Sao Paulo have a real treat in store thanks to a partnership between Philips and Telefonica that's bringing 3D IPTV to the region. Better yet, 3D viewing requires no glasses thanks to Philips' autostereoscopic technology in use on the 52-inch 1080p 3D TV the company will supply. Of course, the big caveat here is the price of the TV. €18,000, making this service commercially-oriented for the time being. You also have to live in the Jardins neighborhood, where they have the fiber optic capacity to transit high-bandwidth 3D signals. "Inside three or four years", the two companies expect that the price will come down enough to appeal to the more mainstream consumer. In the meantime, why not head to theater and check out Fly Me to the Moon. Debuting today, the film is the first ever to be released solely in 3D.
August 13, 2008
Across the pond in Europe, Sony has announced the Bravia X4500 and Bravia W4500 series' LCD TV's. The flagship X4500 series will be available in 40-, 46-, and 55-inch sizes and boast a translucent frame design. Powered by Bravia's Engine 2 Pro, filters actually clean up the image before it hits the screen in full 1080p resolution, and in the case of standard-def DVD's, Digital Reality Creation 3.0 upconverts the image to full HD. The larger 46- and 55-inch models also feature an RGB Dynamic LED backlight to enhance contrast ratio.
The Bravia W4500 series comes in 40-, 46-, and 52-inch sizes and is powered by Bravia's Engine 2. DLNA-compatible, the W4500 series sports 1080p resolution across the board. Motionflow 100 Hz technology ensures a crisp picture even in fast-moving scenes, while the IB reduction features cleans the picture of any defects before it hits the screen.
Release dates and pricing info have yet to be announced.
August 12, 2008
If you happen to be looking for a high-def LCD display a little on the smaller side, consider Sharp's AQUOS E-Series, available in 16- and 20-inch sizes. Featuring 720p resolution, 1200:1 contrast ratio, 450 cd/m2 brightness, and both analog and digital tuners, the E-Series is both DTV2009-ready and the perfect bathroom, bedroom or kitchen companion. If you're really gung ho to spiff up your bedroom theater, the E-Series has the connectivity options to allow it, sporting a pair of HDMI slots, PC input, S-video jack and a couple of composite sockets. Of course, the Sharp AQUOS E-Series is headed for somewhere other than the US though. Look for the pair to hit Japan in the middle of September priced at the American equivalent of $778 and $870 for the 16- and 20-inch models respectively.
Via Engadget HD
Vatata, a Chinese P2P solutions provider, has developed a set-top box solution that brings streaming peer-to-peer video content straight to your HDTV. Right now set-top boxes featuring Vatata's Vakaka P2P streaming platform are headed for China where three providers have licensed the product for use including TV maker Skyworth and set-top box maker Himedia. Not only does the platform allow access to the Vakaka network, but also public P2P networks and protocols such as Gnutella and BitTorrent.
While copyright issues are a potential kink here, Vatata says that the solution itself is perfectly legal and companies licensing the platform would be responsible for maintaining content databases, putting fair use issues directly on them. Eventually the company will incorporate P4P network-aware features into set-top boxes so that content from the user's ISP will be prioritized which will definitely make American cable providers extremely happy if and when the platform makes a debut here. And apparently it will make the jump across the pond sometime soon. Vatata is in talks with some prospective US customers, so definitely keep your eyes open.
August 11, 2008
Mitsubishi is better known as a rear-projection TV maker than an LCD manufacturer, but given the slow death of the RPTV market the company has ventured into new waters with the 52-inch LT-52148. And while the company has to tweak their LCD technology an little bit, the new 148 series' pulls off the incorporation of some high-end high-def technology pretty well. The 1080p, 120 Hz LCD set does have some ringing around objects with the default picture presets, excessively bright green tones, a sluggish menu, and power consumption one can't exactly call "green", but with an impressive native contrast ratio, HD video handling and an effective 120 Hz refresh rate, the Mitsubishi LT-52148 looks to be the first of many quality flat-panels. If you're the early adopter type when it comes to brand names, head over to Amazon where you'll find the LT-52148 for $2380 with free shipping now.
Watching a movie in the dentist's office is nothing new. Displays built right into the roof above the dreaded dentist's chair have been around for a decade or two now, but we've yet to hit a good tooth doctor with InChairTV. Root canal or not, InChairTV will transport you to a place far away from the drill bit, using Vuzix AV230 virtual reality glasses to turn a portable DVD player display into something more like a 44-inch big screen. A small subscription fee keeps new TV shows and movies coming so that no matter how bad your oral health is, your dentist will have plenty to keep you distracted. For $500, your dentist will only be paying a fraction of the cost of your dental work to keep you out of her hair, reducing stress levels on the parts of both patient and doctor. Until you find out there's a problem with your insurance of course.
August 8, 2008
Ever dream of doing nothing more than plop down on the couch, grab the remote and with it play games on your high-def TV? Yeah, yeah, we know, you can but now there's one more way. Internet-connected Sharp AQUOS SE94U LCD TV's will now have a bunch of remote control-controllable interactive games courtesy of Accedo Broadband's Funspot gaming service. These won't exactly be what you call high-end games though. More for the crowd that just wants to tune-out without the use of controlled substances, the Funspot gaming service includes puzzles, board games, arcade games, strategy and card games.
Thanks to massive consumer education efforts, the majority of Americans are aware of the 2009 digital TV transition. But it seems the millions of dollars spent on television advertisements and real-world campaigns are missing one fairly large demographic--seniors. A survey conducted in June by Retirement Living TV has found that 25% of the senior population is completely unaware of DTV2009, increasing to a full 31% among seniors with no college education. Of all the major US demographics, seniors are one of the groups most affected by DTV2009 as many seniors receive OTA analog TV channels. There have been educational campaigns targeted specifically at seniors already, but it looks like it may be time for another one.
Via Broadcasting & Cable
August 7, 2008
Sharp's 52-inch LC-52SB55U, 46-inch LC-46SB54U and 42-inch LC-42SB45U are the company's latest additions to its SB line of LCD TV's. All three sets come in a glossy black finish and sport full HD 1080p resolution LCD displays and Sharp's Spectral Contrast engine enabling deeper contrast ratios and crisper images. The two larger models boast a quick response time of 6ms, while the baby 42-inch LC-42SB45U has a 6.5ms response.
A wide viewing angle allows viewing from virtually any location in the room and like most new HDTV's these days, the new SB models have a power-saving feature called OPC Power Save which automatically adjusts the screen's luminance to provide an optimal picture corresponding to the room's natural brightness. All three models have ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuners built-in, a PC input, and a pair of HD component terminals. The number of HDMI ports vary by model: the LC-52SB55U has 4, the LC-46SB54U has 2, and the LC-42SB45U has a single HDMI slot. Designed with affordability in mind, the 46- and 52-inch models are available now for $1699.99 and $2299.99 respectively, while the 42-inch Sharp will see its release next month priced at $1399.99.
August 6, 2008
Just in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, set to kick off in a couple of days, ArcSoft has announced that ArcSoft TotatMedia 3.5 supports DMB-TH, China's mobile TV standard. With high-def Olympic broadcasts set to break all kinds of barriers in the next two weeks, ArcSoft TotalMedia 3.5 will allow Chinese citizens to conveniently view Olympic events in up to 1080p resolution on their PC's and laptops.
TotalMedia 3.5 also features support for DVB-T, ATSC, analog and hybrid TV tuners, most popular audio and video codecs, and allows you to watch time-shifted TV with the option of editing out unwanted portions. For an extensive list of specs and pricing details, hit the read link.
Hitachi's 37-inch P37-HR02 is set to hit Japanese shelves September 12 and while details are minimal at the moment, the new plasma set looks to have a fair amount in common with its new Wooo UT Series siblings. No the P37-HR02 isn't 47-inches big, nor is it only 35mm thin, but we do know it has 720p resolution, 15000:1 contrast ratio, a 250GB HDD and an iVDR port so memory can be further expanded with Hitachi's iVDR hard disk cartridges. No word on price yet, but we should know more soon.
Hitachi's Wooo UT LCD TV line just got a little bigger over in Japan with the addition of a couple of new models-the 47-inch UT47-XP770 available in black and white and 47-inch UT47-XV700. All 35mm ultra-thin models, the new Wooo's all feature full 1080p resolution courtesy of the Picture Master Full HD engine, 500cd/m2 panel brightness, and a wide 178 degree viewing angle. DLNA-compatible, both the XV700 and XP770 are capable of advanced features such as email retrieval and DVR-recording. In fact, the XP770 model has an exterior TV tuner that sits alongside an included 250GB DVR capable of recording 50 hours of programming. The new models will receive a staggered release this fall and although we couldn't find any pricing details, Newlaunches reports a US$4800 pricetag for the XP770.
August 4, 2008
While the major concern in the western world seems to be texting and driving, they seem to have a problems of an entirely different scale in China. Try watching TV in your rearview mirror. Different models are available that range from basic functioning LCD monitors that allow for nothing more than plain ol' television viewing to advanced models that have integrated Bluetooth for telephone dialling...that requires hands. Over at CnBuyNet you'll find 7 different models running from $50 to $100, a small price compared to the insurance deductible you'll pay for your next rearview mirror-caused accident.
Although they've showed signs of slowing down lately, Verizon has been pushing its FiOS TV network across the United States at lightning speed. Just last week the company rolled out FiOS in all five boroughs of New York City, bringing 100 HD channels to citizens of the Big Apple. And while the fiber-based TV service is a huge threat to the American cable industry, it's facing a looming threat itself.
That threat would be CableLabs' tru2way platform which, Verizon says, isn't compatible with the FiOS network. In fact the threat is so large that Verizon is lobbying the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to "encourage the development of interactive video standards based on a low-cost, universally implementable interface" such as Ethernet so no one cable provider is at a disadvantage.
It might be too late now though; the six largest cable providers in the United States have already signed Memorandum's of Understanding pledging pledging support for the two-way open platform that allows cable subscribers to access VOD services and other interactive features without the need for a set-top box.
Verizon feels the tru2way platform is proprietary and built for traditional cable providers, putting them at a disadvantage. Plus technical standards aren't really standards unless they can apply to all cable providers, traditional or not. We don't think Verizon should worry too much. If the tru2way initiative does take off on a mass scale, it won't be for a couple more years of set-top boxes giving the company plenty of time to figure out its next move.
August 3, 2008
While it's a bit of a disappointment the TVTonic Olympic plugin only works in the United States thanks to NBC's exclusive coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, it looks to be a worthy installation if you want to customize your Olympic viewing schedule. When you install the plugin you get the regular TVTonic functionality that allows you to subscribe to "video podcasts" or web TV shows via RSS feeds, manageable through Vista Media Center. In a nutshell, it automates the collection of new web TV material you like and brings it all to one place where you can view it at your pleasure.
With the Olympics beginning August 8, Vista Media Center now has an Olympic icon under its Online Spotlight. With a simple installation of TVTonic Olympic, which only requires a remote, you'll be able to narrow down your Olympic viewing by sport and even by actual event. Because NBC typically covers the Olympics in 4 hours time slots, TVTonic Olympic can save you all kinds of time and allow you to watch your events of choice whenever you want.
The TVTonic Olympics plugin is free, so if you're a Vista Media Center user, live in the United States, and want a little control over your Olympic viewing you might as well give it a try.
Via Missing Remote
Samsung's PN50A550 50-inch plasma HDTV seems to sit right at the point where reasonable price and reasonable product quality meet. With an MSRP of $2299 you'll definitely find cheaper 1080p 50-inch plasma's, but maybe not one of such quality. Not only does the PN50A550 have an exhaustive array of picture controls including a new feature called Cell Light that helps brighten the plasma's darker-than-LCD image, but the ease of calibrating the picture means even average home theater enthusiasts can tweak their picture. Overall performance was superb with only one significant weakness showing its face. Even with a dynamic contrast ratio of 1, 000, 000:1, the PN50A550 offers black levels and shadow details that are merely average and help put some perspective on those ever-increasing contrast ratios. Aside from the disappointing blacks, the Samsung PN50A550 looks to be a safe bet, the perfect tradeoff between price and quality.
Via Home Theater Mag
August 2, 2008
LG has given a sneak peak of its BD300 Netflix-streaming Blu-ray player to a select few in Manhattan and now we know exactly what to expect when it's available this fall. In a nutshell, using the BD300 is pretty well identical to using Netflix's own Roku player. Any Netflix subscriber with the $8.99/month plan or better can stream movies from the 12000-title-strong Watch Now library just by adding the LG Blu-ray player to their account. Simple and fast. Other networked features include music and photo streaming via PC's or any other device that will connect to the BD300's USB port
The BD300 will be fully BD Live, aka Profile 2.0, compliant so you'll be able to access online and interactive content on compatible Blu-ray discs. No one is clear on the player's audio capabilities so far though. Dolby TrueHD is listed on the BD300's spec sheet but there's no mention of DTS-HD Master Audio, although the two tend to go hand in hand.
Sounds good, but with an "under $500" price tag, probably meaning something like $499.99, don't expect LG to sell the BD300 like hotcakes until the price comes down.
LG's 47LG90, a 47-inch 1080p LCD TV, is the latest fall HDTV release to utilize LED local dimming technology in order to improve contrast ratio over standard compact fluorescent backlighting. Joining Samsung's Series 9 and a couple of Sony's XBR8 models in the LED backlighting category, LG's 47LG90 will use 1536 light-emitting diodes grouped into 128 sectors to produce an amazing dynamic contrast ratio of 1, 000, 000:1. Other features include Trumotion 120Hz, Intelligent Sensor, 24p Real Cinema, LG SimpLink, 4 HDMI inputs, a USB 2.0 slot for music and photos. In the end premium features mean a premium price and LG doesn't disappoint here. When it hits stores in September, the LG 47LG90 will hit your wallet to the tune of $3599.
We have a whole lot of Futurama fans hanging around TVSnob on a regular basis, and while we can't understand your fixation with the TV show we do have some news you might like to hear (yes we know you're actually reading it). At the recent Comic-Con conference, SlashFilm was able to snap a picture of an advertisement for the upcoming direct-to-video Bender's Game Blu-ray release. That's right, come November 4 Bender's Game will be released on both Blu-ray and DVD, becoming the first Futurama Blu-ray release. There hasn't been an official announcement from Fox, but expect the new title to be a rip on anything popular or of cultural relevance lately including Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragon, high gas prices and so on.
The HD Room via Engadget HD
August 1, 2008
Deal of the Day
Digital TV Transition 2009
Home Theater A/V
How to buy an HDTV