September 30, 2008
Deal of the Day
Digital TV Transition 2009
September 30, 2008
It's been showcased at a few conferences this year, but it doesn't hurt to once more behold Sony's 0.3 millimeter thin OLED TV (at its thinnest part). This picture, taken at the ongoing CEATEC conference in Japan shows the fantastically thin television, that is identical to the XEL-1 aside from its dimensions.
Photo Credit: Crunchgear
September 30, 2008
When Sony released the BDP-S350 Blu-ray player earlier this year they promised a BD-Live update and sure enough it's now available as a free firmware update downloadable straight off the internet. Of course because the BDP-S350 doesn't have the required internal memory you'll have to use a USB drive to do it, and like many Profile 2.0 add-ons there is some problems with slowness and overall functionality. But don't complain too much because Sony has dropped the price for the BDP-S350 to $300 confirming a rumor we reported in August! That's $100 less than our favorite Blu-ray player to date, the Playstation 3!
Or, if you head to Amazon the BDP-S350 is an additional $24 off, bringing the price down to $276. Definitely worth consideration.
September 30, 2008
Mitsubishi's FL6900U, the company's latest commercial LCD projector, boasts 1080p resolution, 4000 lumens of brightness and three 1.1-inch LCD panels. The combo is perfect for environments with a lot of ambient light and is further complemented by side-by-side imaging, RS232 support for compatibility with third-party control systems, RJ45 networking support, automatic horizontal and vertical lens shift, automatic zoom and focus, and digital keystone correction.
Of course with commercial operation the possibility of a sticky-fingered thief nabbing the projector increases, so Mitsubishi has included a built-in motion-sensitive anti-theft alarm set with a key so when the projector moves it blasts a 120 decibel alarm. Definitely enough noise to deter even the most persistent thieves, but just in case it also has a menu lock and a splash screen that shows ownership and location.
The Mitsubishi FL6900U will set you back $9995 with one-year limited warranty on the lamp and three-year limited warranty for parts and labor.
September 30, 2008
We don't care what anyone says, we think Ironman featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow was one of the summer's best flicks and today you can own it on Blu-ray or DVD. Available in either a 2-disc Blu-ray edition, 2-disc DVD edition or single-disc DVD edition, Ironman is available at Amazon and you'll be hard pressed to find cheaper prices anywhere else.
Ironman Ultimate 2-Disc Blu-ray Edition-$25.95 at Amazon
Ironman 2-Disc DVD Special Collector's Edition-$22.99 at Amazon
Ironman Single-Disc DVD Edition-$14.99 at Amazon
It really seems to us lately that HDTV manufacturers are beginning to focus on designing the funkiest looking TV rather than the best performing. Especially those regarded as second-tier such as Philips.
The company's new Flavor line of LCD TV's, introduced in Italy, are initially available in 22-, 32-, and 42-inch models geared more for bedroom use than anything. Really the key feature of note is that each set comes with two interchangeable frames, attached with magnets, that add some serious color to each set.
The 42-inch model does have some decent specs including 1080p resolution, 30, 000:1 contrast ratio, 5 ms response time, 500 cd/m2 brightness and a couple of HDMI slots. We're not sure about release dates, although you can sign up to be notified when they are, but you'll pay €549 ($803), €799 ($1,168) and €1,199 ($1,754) for the Flavor's in order from smallest to largest.
Sharp has a couple high-end AQUOS XS1 LCD TV's coming to Japan October 15. The 52-inch LC-52XS1 and 65-inch LC-65XS1 both feature a 1920 x 1080 pixel dot-ASV LCD panel with RGB LED backlighting, a 1, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio and 450 cd/m2 brightness. Thanks to an external tuner, both models are extremely thin-2.28 cm at the thinnest point and 6.04 cm at the thickest. The external tuner houses the connection ports by the looks of it including 3 HDMI, 3 D5, and a variety of audio outputs plus ethernet and USB ports. Fully network capable and internet connected, the new XS1's include a Bluetooth LCD remote control which, if my Japanese translation is correct, can be used to control all your home theater peripherals aside from the AQUOS sets. Oh, and when you're not watching TV, the AQUOS XS1's display paintings by the likes of Renoir and Van Gogh! Impressive, and probably pretty expensive too, although no pricing information is available at the moment.
Update: Apparently the model tags are actually LC-52XS1U-S and LC-65XS1U-S and get this-respective prices are ¥980,000 ($9,243) and ¥1.28 million ($12,225). Wow!
September 29, 2008
Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link now has a few modular siblings with the release of the Wireless Link Module, DVD Link Module, and Input Link Module.
The Wireless Link Module can only transit 1080i signal through a receiver that plugs into the back of the set. No 1080p here. The transmitter can be placed up to 65 feet away from the set and has 4 HDMI slots and a component input. A little pricey though at $799.99, the DMX-WL1 Wireless Link will be available at the end of October.
The DMX-DVD DVD Module is a slot-loading upconverting DVD player that fits into the Bravia's back, but it'll cost you $199.99 and surprisingly there's no Blu-ray version. It's currently available at Amazon.
Finally, the DMX-SW1 Input Module, priced at $149.99, adds 4 additional HDMI slots for those of you with multiple game consoles, disc players, and so on. It's also currently available at Amazon.
While we in North America whine and complain about unreasonable Blu-ray player prices, the folks in Taiwan have just been treated to the release of the Pioneer BDP-LX71; only the second Blu-ray player to be released in the country. Understandable I guess with demand for 50, 000-100, 000 players in the market next year, but with a price tag of NT$39,900 (about US$1250) the Profile 1.1 Blu-ray player will only appeal to Taiwanese deep-pockets. Good news is Tatung is expected to release their own branded Blu-ray player in Taiwan by the end of the year, for about half the price.
(Photo Credit: CNET UK)
While most companies these days are trimming down packaging in the name of environmental-friendliness, Warner Brothers has decided to go against the grain with the Japanese release of The Ultimate Matrix Collection. The trilogy actually comes with 7 discs; aside from the trilogy you'll get a copy of The Animatrix on Blu-ray plus 3 DVD's packed with extra's in the 'how it's made' vein, all of which can be stored in the 2-foot-long Nebuchadnezzar that's part of the whole deal. Hitting Japan December 17, The Ultimate Matrix Collection will cost a pricey $375.
As part of a strategy to penetrate the globe, set-top box maker TiVo has teamed up with CD/DVD-burning software provider Nero to bring TV recording to your computer. Nero LiquidTV/TiVo PC will go on sale October 15 in the United States, Canada and Mexico and next year move to Europe, where with the exception of Britain TiVo is non-existent. The package comes with a TV tuner that plugs into your computer and a remote; the interface and functionality is exactly the same as the TV experience. Problem is it'll set you back $199, $99 if you already have a TV tuner, and require a $99/year subscription for TiVo updates. Geez, sounds like Vista might be a better option.
September 28, 2008
A study conducted in the UK will add to the controversy surrounding the link between onscreen and real-life violence. A group of British women were shown one of three clips-either a knife fight from Kill Bill, bitchy bullies from Mean Girls, or a calming seance scene from What Lies Beneath. Afterwards the women were told they'd be competing in an online game where the loser is greeted by a loud blast of noise and then faced with a rude job applicant looking for a reference. In both tests, women who watched aggressive scenes in Kill Bill or Mean Girls were meaner than those that had watched What Lies Beneath. While studies like this don't bode well for the younger crowd who have worried parents monitoring their television consumption, it gives us adults a perfectly reasonable excuse for our anti-social behaviour!
Discovery Channel is going web 2.0, launching nine YouTube channels "featuring a robust collection of clips from Discovery's family of world-class network brands". The new partnership, says the network, will provide deeper engagement with American fans while supplying a little leverage to push content around the globe. In fact, Discovery has plans for "targeted international Channels showcasing localized and native language content for specific regions around the world".
Meanwhile Discovery's consumer products wing, Discovery Commerce, has paired up with Sony to provide Sony Blu-ray player buyers a coupon redeemable for a high-def program sampler, Discover on Blu-ray Disc. The sampler will feature episodes Fearless Planet and Sunrise Earth and the program will begin October 5 in over 11000 US retail locations.
Sanyo's PLV-Z60 home theater projector is now shipping, the first of three new Sanyo projectors we'll see by the end of the year. The 720p LCD PLV-Z60, aimed at the 'budget' crowd, has decent specs for the $1195 you'll pay for it. Featuring 12-bit digital video processing, 10000:1 contrast ratio, 1200 ANSI lumens of brightness, and a 3D color management system, you'll be hard pressed to find higher quality for a cheaper price.
Next month Sanyo will ship its PLV-Z700, a higher-end 1080p projector priced at $1995 followed by the 120 Hz PLZ-Z3000 in December, a pricey $3295.
Buy The Sanyo PLV-Z60 From Amazon
September 27, 2008
Even though Toshiba's HD DVD died earlier this year after a futile format war with HD competitor Blu-ray, the company remains true to its HD DVD fans with a firmware 4.0 update. Devoted to solving playback issues such as 1080/24p jaggies with MPEG-4 AVC-encoded titles and basic operational issues such as fast forward and rewind halting, firmware 4.0 applies to HD DVD's entire lineup. Included models: HD-A1, HD-XA1, HD-D1, HD-A35, HD-A2, HD-A2W, HD-A2C, HD-D2, HD-A20, HD-XA2, HD-A3, HD-D3, and the HD-A30 and believe it or not, if you have any compatibility problems with the update you can always contact HD DVD Concierge for assistance at 1-888-MYHDDVD.
Marantz has added a 'more affordable' Blu-ray player to their disgustingly expensive lineup. The Marantz BD7003 doesn't quite evoke the same raised eyebrows as the $2000 BD8002, but with a price tag of $799 it'll still get more than a few shocked gasps. Especially as the 'high-value' BD7003 is only a Profile 1.1 Blu-ray player that tries to cover up its inadequacies with 1080p DVD upscaling, HDMI 1.3a and Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD Master Audio decoding. $800 seems more than a little pricey for these specs, but if you're not intimidated you'll be able to get your hands on the Marantz BD7003 Blu-ray player in November.
September 26, 2008
The new Carl Zeiss powerdomeVELVET planetarium projector puts all projectors to shame. Designed for use in planetarium's (duh!) and other setups that require full dome projection the powerdomeVELVET utilizes Texas Instruments' DLP technology to produce an internal 30-bit color depth and a sick 2, 500, 000:1 contrast ratio. Of course, absolute blacks are needed in a planetarium to render recreations of distant stars visible. We don't even want to know how much this new Carl Zeiss masterpiece will cost, but expect expensive when it hits the shelves of Best Buy in early 2009.
An leaked Blockbuster memo points to a permanent $360 pricing for the discontinued 40 GB Playstation 3 while supplies last. Okay, so $40 isn't exactly impressive but it is better than nothing. The 40 GB model bundled with an HDMI cable, Transformers game and Spiderman movie will also drop to $400. So if you have a gamer on your Christmas list that isn't too memory-happy, the deal starts Sunday at Blockbuster stores and looks to be for you.
September 25, 2008
If you're still on the Vudu bandwagon and happen to travel a bit, constantly unhooking your entire setup to lug the streaming box on the road, Vudu's Travel Kit has just hit their website. The solution to all your Vudu-related travel problems, the Travel Kit comes with an extra antennae, power supply, HDMI and composite cables so that you can leave the box at home. Packed in a nice travel case as well, the Travel Kit costs $69.99.
Via Vudu Forums
The fine folks from CNET have just finished putting LG's 60-inch 60PG60 plasma set through the gears, and if you solely judge plasma greatness by the depth of its black levels this isn't the set for you. Then again, the 60PG60 is the largest THX-certified flat-panel set of the year and the bottom line states it has a good picture, so it all depends on what you're looking for. The THX mode does put out some super accurate primary colors, though it's a little lax when it comes to color decoding and grayscale. But some nice video processing, plenty of connection options including 4 HDMI, and an impressive external design seem to make up for it.
It must because if you head over to Amazon, the LG 60PG60 almost needs to be restocked despite its $3048 price tag. And judging by the user reviews, most plasma buffs that spend their evenings in front of this set are pretty content.
Buy The LG 60PG60 From Amazon And Save $750!
Excited to see the new Slingbox PRO-HD is now shipping in the United States, and headed for Canada in October. First announced way back in January, the PRO-HD can stream HD content from your HDTV to laptop/desktop computers in and around your home. Plus if you have a broadband connection of 1.5 Megabits per second or higher, the PRO-HD can stream content pretty well anywhere outside the home you can get a fast network connection.
The Slingbox PRO-HD also includes SlingStream 2.0, maximizing audio and video quality in both high and low bitrate network environments, support for both 4:3 and 16:9 screen formats, and compatibility with all sorts of high-def video and audio formats.
You can get yours from Amazon for $299.99, or if you're in Canada wait a few weeks for the $329.99 version to hit Best Buy, Future Shop and London Drugs.
Continue reading: "Slingbox PRO-HD Finally Shipping"
Buy The Slingbox PRO-HD From Amazon
Only a few months since the Panasonic DMP-BD50 showed up in the United States, the DMP-BD55K has a pre-order page up at Amazon.
The BD-Live player adds 7.1 lossless decoding and analog output to similar functionality to the DMP-BD50, and at $400 it has an entry price point similar to our fave Blu-ray player, the PS3. Which is course still has WAY more features and is undoubtedly a better bargain.
We didn't anticipate this, but General Electric has teamed up with display maker Tatung to shake up the HDTV market. And we're not talking about another budget HDTV strategy either-GE's going fully internet-connected.
GE hasn't announced anything specific, but come April 2009 expect to see some eco-friendly high-end LCD HDTV's hitting shelves. Really though, this is a case of Tatung leveraging a well-known brand name. They'll take a 51% stake in the joint venture and control both the design and manufacturing of the new lineup, expected to range in size from 19- to 65-inches and eventually incorporating LED backlighting. Initial models will be fluorescently backlit however.
Unfortunately internet connectivity won't be integrated into the HDTV's initially, it'll involve a separate set-top box that we won't see in April. But it seems GE and Tatung intend to eventually integrate the functionality directly into the TV. NBC Universal and NBC.com will be the initial streaming content partners, but Tru2way and BD-Live Blu-ray playback will work its way into the feature mix eventually.
This will be an interesting development in the HDTV market as it seems GE's interest lies more in using open platforms to conveniently deliver high-quality content to consumers than the TV's themselves. They'll leave that to Tatung, so this has the potential to be a powerful partnership. Of course, given that these will be branded premium HDTV's you can probably expect to pay premium prices which will undoubtedly be announced at CES 2009.
Sony can't be left in the dust when it comes to Blu-ray, so even though Buffalo presented the world with the first internal SATA 8x Blu-ray recorder, Sony isn't far behind.
The company's new BWU-300S Blu-ray writer can burn both single and dual-layer BD-R at 8x speed, polishing off a 25 GB disc in 15 minutes and a 50 GB disc in half an hour, with 6x BD-R compatible media. And of course it'll still burn good ol' standard DVD's at 16x.
With a 5.25 inch form factor, the BWU-300S easily installs into Microsoft Windows XP or Vista PC's and comes bundled with Men In Black on Blu-ray. Interesting....but anyway, the $400 drive is available for pre-order from SonyStyle.com now and will get general distribution next month. Check out all the details after the jump.
Continue reading: "Sony Bundles HD Men In Black With 8x Internal SATA BWU-300S Blu-ray Writer"
September 24, 2008
As the February 17, 2009 digital TV transition date draws closer it seems mass panic is ensuing...among regulatory bigwigs anyway. Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye is calling for the feds to step up their efforts in preparation for the big day, especially as it'll occur less than one month into the next Presidential Administration.
The DTV transition has the potential to cause serious disruption not just to consumers, but to a new President who will just be getting his feet wet
Meanwhile FCC Chairman Kevin Martin continues to push for more battery-powered DTV converter boxes and battery packs that would allow converter boxes to operate with battery-powered TV's. This is important, he says, in case of public emergencies-kind of ironic given that the spectrum opened up by ridding the America's of analog signals is supposed to be used for a public emergency system.
If you're not looking for a battery-powered box, but are needing something with analog pass-through, DISH Network's DTVPal Plus is now available. NTIA-certified, the DTVPal Plus can be ordered with your $40 converter box coupon bringing the $69.99 MSRP down to only a penny less than $30. Pretty reasonable and you can get yours at http://www.dtv2009.gov.
In addition to the usual converter box functionality, the DTVPal Plus has an enhanced tuner that allows consumers in weaker signal areas to maximize the number of over-the-air channels they receive. Plus it has analog pass-through, so those in low-power areas that won't be converting next year can still receive unconverted analog signals. For all the details check out the full release after the jump.
Continue reading: "DTV2009: A Looming National Crisis, Battery Power, And The DTVPal Plus"
Runco's been back at the drawing board and they have some new TV's and new technology to show for it.
First thing first though, we have to tell you about the new OPAL, or optical path alignment, image enhancement technology. First off, OPAL uses Ambient Light Rejection to reduce screen glare up to 20 times, enhancing image clarity in high ambient light environments without additional backlight brightness. Secondly, OPAL's Acute Contrast Enhancement increases contrast upwards of three times, but doesn't lose image clarity in dark pictures even with lots of ambient light. And finally, OPAL's Impact, Shake and Shock increases the screen's durability to dust, condensation and even the odd remote control thrown at it.
Their new flagship LCD model is their biggest yet, the 70-inch Crystal Series CX-70DHD. Some features of note include Imaging Science Foundation's ISFccc calibration suite optimizing the picture even in extreme lighting conditions, Runco's external DHD video controller/processor which incorporates high-end Vivix II processing and houses all the inputs/outputs, and VirtualWide mode which automatically converts 4:3 display to 16:9.
Runco will also be adding the 65-inch CX-65HD and 47-inch CX-47HD LCD display's to their lineup both featuring internal Vivix II processing, 120 Hz refresh, HDMI 1.3a with Deep Color, VirtualWide, and ISF calibration.
A couple new plasma displays are on their way to Runco's CinemaWall collection as well-the 50-inch XP-50 and 65-inch XP-65. Not only are they usable more than 9000 feet above sea level, but both models Vivix II processing, ISFccc calibration and Dynamic Pixel Protection.
Rounding out the lineup is the Climate Portfolio WP-42OPALHD and CX-OPAL47 LCD, both feature OPAL image enhancement.
Pricing & Availability:
- WP-42OPALHD-$8995 shipping now
- CX-OPAL47 LCD-$5995 shipping January 2009
- CX-65HD-$14995 shipping December 2008
- CX-47HD-$4995 shipping December 2008
- PlasmaWall XP-65-$12995 shipping in January 2009
- PlasmaWall XP-50-$6495 shipping in January 2009
- Crystal Series CX-70DHD-$34995 shipping mid-October 2008
Read (via electronichouse)
The Blu-ray Disc Testing Center has certified CyberLink's PowerDVD for H.264 playback support on recordable BD-R 1.1 and re-recordable BD-RE 2.1 Blu-ray discs.
"CyberLink predominately continues to deliver state-of-the-art solutions that are fully compliant with the latest Blu-ray Disc technologies," said Alice H. Chang. "With PowerDVD now certified for BD-RE 2.1 and BD-R 1.1 formats, users are able to enjoy their recorded videos including HDTV programs on the PC with assured playback performance."
This is just the latest expansion into Blu-ray certification for CyberLink's PowerDVD. They're already certified for Profile 1.0, Profile 1.1 with Bonus View, BD-Live, BD+, BD-RE 3.0, AVCHD, and AVCREC.
Get Yours At Amazon!
DivX has done another first, announcing this morning that Panasonic's UniPhier System LSI chip is the first to achieve DivX HD Certification for 1080p Blu-ray playback.
With so many of us relying on the DivX format, Panasonic wants to make sure both its Blu-ray and DVD players will playback DivX content and with the certification customers will know.
"The DivX Certified UniPhier System LSI enables the playback of high resolution DivX® content on Blu-ray and DVD players, which is the most significant advantage of next generation DVD devices," said Akito Miyamoto, General Manager of Software and Solutions, Semiconductor Company, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. "Our solution to support DivX HD and standard definition video playback is of great value."
Earlier this year, Panasonic announced the UniPhier 3 Blu-ray processor, its 3rd generation 45 nanometer chip, that by hosting all BD Live features on a single chip could ultimately reduce Blu-ray player prices.
Panasonic has put together the world's first 3D high-def home theater system that'll be shown off September 30 at CEATEC 2008.
The system uses Panasonic's giant 103-inch, 1080p plasma display and creates 3D images by optimizing an accompanying Blu-ray player for the unique perspectives of the left and right eyes. Apparently 3D video can be stored on a single Blu-ray disc, but Panasonic still hasn't got around the need for those annoying 3D glasses. You'll need a pair of those for this system.
When and if the 3D home theater will have commercial distribution is an unknown at the moment, as are any pricing details but more details should be available come CEATEC.
Via Panasonic Japan
September 19, 2008
Select Sony BRAVIA televisions-mainly Japanese models-are about to become widgetized. Some internet-connected BRAVIA's already feature a few widgets that offer you the likes of weather forecasts and RSS feeds right on your TV screen. But the widget space is about to heat up as Sony has released a BRAVIA App SDK, available to the public so developers can create and share new widgets with others.
The SDK contains all the necessary coding information you'll need and an XMB emulator so you'll be able to test out a widget on a compatible BRAVIA before releasing it into the public sphere. Sony claims validation time will be quick, but apps have to be less than 1.3 MB in size and there doesn't appear to be any Apple-like payment scheme.
However, Sony is offering the incentive of a BRAVIA KDL-40F1 LCD TV to the grand prize winner of a contest for the best application that's running until January 8, 2009.
Via Sony Insider
September 18, 2008
Last time we heard Hitachi was planning to pack in its struggling plasma business, but it looks like the company with a 7.5% plasma market share has come up with another plan. Hitachi is planning on buying fabricated glass panels from Panasonic, joining Pioneer in Panasonic's new roster of plasma part customers. Hitachi will continue to make circuit boards on their own, but the new Panasonic deal isn't the only one Hitachi has cut with the company. Last year, Hitachi also outsourced its LCD panel manufacturing to Panasonic, amid slumping sales in the US and Europe leading to a $383 million loss.
Can Hitachi turn around its dying flat-panel business? We say NO.
We heard rumors earlier this year that Pioneer would be adding LCD's to their HDTV lineup. Sure enough, the maker of the famous KURO plasma launched 32- and 37-inch LCD panels in Europe-but here in North America we got nothing. That may be changing in 2009 though. An unnamed Pioneer representative stated in a Japan Corporate News Network report that the two LCD's recently launched in Europe would be coming to both North America and Asia "in the first half of 2009". The report also stated that Pioneer would be sourcing the LCD panels from Sharp, in line with what we already know about their recent business restructuring. So is the rumor true? That remains to be seen, but we're guessing yes and that we'll know more come the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
(Picture Credit: Crave UK)
If you're looking for an HDTV/Blu-ray combo in an affordable price range, Amazon is featuring a deal until September 28 that prices the Samsung BDP-1500 Blu-ray player at only $149 when you purchase the Samsung 40-inch LN40A550 LCD HDTV for $1080. Not a bad deal at all, considering you'd normally pay $1400 for the LCD display and $400 for the Blu-ray player. That works out to a savings of $800, extra cash we're sure you could use.
Purchase the Samsung LN40A550 and BDP-1500 at Amazon
Sharp has introduced the 65-inch AQUOS LC-65GX5 to its AQUOS GX5 line. Featuring a 1080p, 120 Hz panel, the LC-65GX5 sports a 15000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 450 cd/m2 brightness, and 176 degree viewing angle. Sound is pumped through Sharp's AARS 2.1-channel speaker system with a digital amplifier routing 7.5 Watts to each speaker and 15 Watts to the subwoofer.
Of course, the new AQUOS display boasts both digital and analog terrestrial tuners plus a variety of connectivity options including three HDMI, three composite, three D5, one S-video, one DVI video input and an audio optical output. Internet-ready and connected, the AQUOS LC-65GX5 connects to the internet using two FireWire connectors, something that Sony brands i.LINK. The set is also DLNA-capable and compatible with digital cameras via an infrared port so you can view photos on the TV screen. Headed for Japan on October 23, the 65-inch AQUOS will cost the equivalent of US$6500.
September 17, 2008
Are online video vendors killing Blu-ray? Well, that's actually a topic for another post. The important point here is that companies like Netflix may be the reason for huge Blu-ray player price drops. In the first two weeks of September alone, PriceSCAN is reporting an 8% decrease in Blu-ray player prices, on top of a 14% decrease over the course of Q3. Sony is rumored to be planning a $100 price cut for their BDP-S350 Blu-ray player bringing the price down to $299, right around a mass adoption price point. While the recent pricing trends might not bode well for manufacturers and retailers come Black Friday and Christmas, it definitely bodes well for the end user-that being YOU.
Via AVS Forum
(Picture Credit: PriceSCAN)
In one of the strangest combinations of home theater technologies, Sharp has thrown Blu-ray, DVD, and VHS playback and recording into one device. The Sharp Aquos BD-HDv22 allows you to record television programs to a 250 GB hard drive and supports BD-R/RE, DVD-R/RW and DVD-R DL. But the most interesting feature of the BD-HDv22 is it allows you to record any dog-eared VHS tapes you have packed away in your closet to Blu-ray disc. We're not sure what the market for one of these would look like, but we're guessing small once you factor in the monstrous $1100 price tag. Still sound interesting? It's scheduled to hit shelves October 20.
Via Boing Boing
September 16, 2008
The value of your home may be plummeting, while the cost of driving to work seems to be rising everyday. But according to research firm DisplaySearch, our ongoing economic challenges haven't dulled your craving for the latest in HDTV technology. Growth is still a healthy 17% year-over-year, most likely thanks to big-name makers like Sony and Samsung following the lead of last-year's 2nd-tier big-name Vizio and focusing on cheaper models. With prices for 40- to 44-inch HDTV models expected to plateau early next year, you'll probably see an increased focus on 60-inch plus models where price drops have been slower. This according to Bob Scaglione, senior vice president of marketing for Sharp, who noted the change and focus will probably happen before the end of the year. We'll keep an eye on prices and let you know when things start to change.
September 15, 2008
Amazon Video On Demand movies and TV shows are now accessible through the BRAVIA Internet Video Link. The commercial-free content can be purchased or rented, and streamed to your compatible BRAVIA HDTV after registering the Internet Video Link with Amazon. Sony has also partnered with Dailymotion, a video platform offering both high-def and standard def content in genres ranging from world news to independent film. With the two new partners the Video Link can stream a wide variety of internet-based content to your BRAVIA TV, also from providers such as YouTube, Sports Illustrated, The Minisode Network, FEARnet and others.
The BRAVIA Internet Video Link is available from Amazon for $223.
Sony's new XBR6 and XBR8 lines are now up for pre-order, while the XBR7 models wait in the wings. Ranging from 40- to 70-inches, you'll have to fork out some cold, hard cash for these Bravia's-like $2499.99 to $6999.99. If you have cash to burn, the features are probably well worth the price.
Via Engadget HD
September 12, 2008
The folks from Akihabara News were live on location at the Miyako Hotel Tokyo for the unveiling of two new Pioneer KURO plasma's. The KURO KRP-600A and KURO KRP-500A are sized 60- and 50-inches respectively and feature some impressively deep blacks. So deep that a picture taken of the screen in total darkness shows no differentiation between the display and the rest of the dark room. Both models feature full 1080p resolution, a digital TV tuner, Advanced Direct Color Filter, KURO Link, as well as 4 HDMI inputs, 4 audio inputs, 4 D4 inputs, 3 video inputs, 3 S2 inputs and an RGB Video inputs. Quality is priced accordingly though-the 60-inch KRP-600A will set you back $8, 830 while the KRP-500A the equivalent of $6, 310.
Via Akihabara News
If you're currently in the market to new LCD or plasma display, you may want to wait until the next month. TV research firm Quixel Research is predicting that HDTV prices 'could' drop another 15-20% in the fourth quarter depending on manufacturer inventories and market share competition. Of course this is just a prediction and with HDTV prices currently so competitive it won't necessarily hurt to buy now. Even in smaller screen sizes such as 32-inches, bigger names like Sony have shutdown last year's value name Vizio by introducing low-cost models. No worries though, the best values are to be found online and we'll keep you updated as to where they are.
Via New York Times
September 9, 2008
Yesterday Wilmington, North Carolina became the first US TV market to go all-digital. Never to return to boring old analog, Wilmington is the first American market to make the digital switch in what will be a massive transition February 17, 2009. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was on hand to flip a symbolic switch yesterday morning and was happy with the first day-of the 180, 000 residents affected, the switch only generated a few hundred problem calls, mainly to do with simple issues such as converter box setup and antenna problems.
The digital television transition has been ordered by Congress to be completed by February 17, 2009 to open up spectrum for mobile data transmissions and a dedicated public safety network. Check out our help guide for all the information you need to make sure you're prepared.
Via USA Today
Sony always strives to maintain that innovative edge with their Bravia lineup and continues with a pair of new models just debuted at CEDIA-the 52-inch KDL-52XBR7 and 40-inch KLV-40ZX1M.
The KDL-52XBR7 features Motionflow 240 Hz frame rate technology which quadruples the frame rate of conventional flat panels and interpolates three new frames, dwarfing the effectiveness of 120 Hz technology in comparison. Running on Sony's Bravia Engine 2, the 52-inch LCD display boasts an 80, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and is compatible with all Bravia Link modules including the Bravia Internet Video Link. Digital Media Port compatibility allows video and music to be streamed from other Sony portable media devices and of course the set is fully DLNA-compliant. And inputs? 4 1080/60 24p HDMI, two 1080/60p HD component, a PC-input and an RJ-45 Ethernet port.
The KLV-40ZX1M may only sport a 120 Hz frame rate, but it makes up for any shortcomings by being a remarkable 9.9 mm thin! Weighing in at a feather-like 26 pounds, the new 40-inch Bravia uses Sony's Bravia Engine 2 combined with an edge-lite wide color gamut LED backlight to deliver what we imagine is an excellent picture. The KLV-40ZX1M has only a single HDMI input and compatibility with Sony's Wireless Link, but you can't expect too much hardware to be packed in an LCD TV less than a centimeter thick.
Both models will ship in December, however we're not aware of any pricing details at the moment.
September 8, 2008
Remember those Mitsubishi LaserVue TV's? You know, the one's with the lasers? Yes, they're 10-inches thick and all, but they also boast twice the color gamut of major brand LCD and plasma TV's while using only half the energy. Right now everything is the word of Mitsubishi so we'll have to see if this is all kosher info once the hands-on reviews begin to leak, but with some price info finally becoming public we're pretty satisfied for now. Mitsubishi has priced the 65-inch model at a perfectly reasonable $6999, even with comparable size flat panels of the LCD and plasma variety. As expected, it'll ship in the 3rd quarter, hitting Mitsubishi's Diamond retailers come end of September with a wider release at the end of October. As for the larger 73-inch model, we're still waiting for those details, but we're sure it'll be available in time for Christmas.
September 5, 2008
Pioneer has proven time and time again that they make nothing but the highest quality home theater gear. And their new Elite BDP-09FD BD-Live Blu-ray player is no exception. Boasting the 16-bit QDEO video processor and a video decoder by Renesas Technology, the BDP-09FD features first class video decoding, I/P conversion, video scaling, and video adjustments of both HD and SD content. It will also display DVD's in 1080p/24fps with a compatible display and utilizes Pioneer's Adaptive Bit Length Expansion to reproduce the color of the original studio master.
The BDP-09FD's audio capabilities are just as high-end as its video features. It supports full decoding and bit-stream output for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio audio formats and a devoted Wolfson WM8740 Audio DAC for each analog audio channel. For all these features you'll pay out the ^$% though, to the tune of $2199.99 when the Pioneer Elite BDP-09FD ships later this year. For all the juicy details hit the full release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Pioneer's Elite BDP-09FD Blu-ray Player: BD-Live, QDEO Video Processor...And 4-Figure Price Tag"
Sharp has introduced 16 new LCD TV's to its AQUOS line at the ongoing CEDIA Expo. Some of the more impressive new additions include the Limited Edition Series, SE94 Series and three new sets devoted specifically to gamers.
The AQUOS Limited Edition Series brings a couple of models to the LCD market-the 52-inch LC-52XS1U-S and 65-inch LC-65XS1U-S. Only an inch thick at their thinnest points, the two Limited Edition models incorporate an RGB LED backlight resulting in a 150 percent NTSC color gamut and 1, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Equipped with energy-saving features, the Limited Edition Series brings internet content to the screen via the AQUOS Net web service and features a separate AVC set-top box that connects to the screen via a single HDMI cable (or wirelessly) eliminating irritating cable clutter.
The AQUOS SE94 Series consists of a trio of new LCD models including the 46-inch LC-46SE94U, 52-inch LC-52SE94U and 65-inch LC-65SE94U. The widescreen models sport Sharp's 'Cornerstone' design, AQUOS Net, and Sharp's own Advanced Super View panel. Sharp's proprietary panel design brings 1080p resolution, 10-bit processing, 120 Hz Frame Rate Conversion and a 4ms response time together to produce a high-end picture. The Special Edition Series also uses a 5-wavelength backlight system that provides clearer reds and greens than some previous Sharp models. The LC-65SE94U, LC-52SE94U and LC-46SE94U will be shipping right away for $8,499.99, $3,299.99 and $2,599.99 respectively.
Finally, the AQUOS gaming models- LC-32GP3U-R, LC-32GP3U-W, LC-32GP3U-B-all sized 32-inches features a slim design set on a swivel stand and are available in glossy-finish black, red, or white (actually one model in three color combos). Connection ports are on the side of the set rather than the back to ensure hooking up gaming systems are a cinch, and Sharp's 'Game Mode' optimizes the picture for quick-moving action. Using "Vyper Drive" Game Reaction Speed, Game Mode reduces lag time between the console and TV to almost none. Other features of note include 10, 000:1 contrast ratio, a 6ms pixel response time, a 4-wavelength backlight system, and support for 1080p/24fps. The LC-32GP3U-R, LC-32GP3U-W and LC-32GP3U-B are available now for an MSRP of $1,299.99.
For all the details about Sharp's new LCD TV' and its pair of new Blu-ray players, check out the full release after the cut.
Continue reading: "Sharp Unleashes 16 New LCD TV's Into The World"
September 3, 2008
Westinghouse has launched its first HDTV with a built-in DVD player. The Westinghouse 40-inch VK-40F580D is a full 1080p LCD panel with ATSC/NTSC/ClearQAM tuners, 1800:1 native contrast, an 8 ms response time, 3D noise reduction, an adaptive comb filter, and a pair of front-firing 10 Watt speakers. Rather than placing the slide-out DVD slot on the side of the set, Westinghouse has built it into the front of the set and its SpineDesign places connection ports on the side as an added convenience. Shipping now, the Westinghouse VK-40F580D will require you to remove only $1049 from your bank account.
If you happen to live in 1seg broadcasting territory, otherwise known as Japan, your native Sony has gone below and beyond with the waterproof 4-inch Mini Bravia XDV-W600 LCD TV wonder. The miniature flat panel can not only withhold submersion in 3 feet of water for half-an-hour, it can also record video a la TiVo, has a 23 hour battery life and a 2 GB flash memory.
The 480 x 272 resolution XDV-W600 will be available in Japan October 30 for 40, 000 Yen or about $368 US.
September 2, 2008
Another TV name has jumped on the green bandwagon, though this time not a name we're familiar with. German company Grundig has announced its Vision 6 ECO line at IFA, coming in October in 26- and 32-inch models. The Vision 6 ECO line draws next to no energy in standby mode-only 0.1W-and only 76W when fully operational, 48% less than comparable models. Geared toward the European market, the Vision 6 ECO line features both analog and DMB-T digital terrestrial tuners. Come 2009 and the advent of HD OTA broadcast in Europe, Grundig plans to expand the Vision 6 ECO line to include HD DMB-T MPEG4 sets as well as sets with combo DMB-T and DMB-C tuners.
For those of you who chose to read this article because they thought it was sexually-oriented, we have this to say to you? C'mon, this is a TV-related blog! That said, if you've ever struggled with a clunky LCD TV while trying to mount it on your wall, this could soon be a problem of the past. At IFA in Berlin, Philips showcased a prototype 8mm thin LCD TV. The 32-inch model, which weighs only 5kg, uses a 1mm light guide illuminated from the top and bottom of the set by high-power LEDs. Typically one of the thicker parts of an LCD TV, Philips has turned the light guide into one of thinnest pieces, hence the super-thin design. No word yet on whether Philips is considering mass-producing the HDTV.
September 1, 2008
Digital TV Transition 2009