October 31, 2008
1080p. What's that? So said Samsung with the unveiling of the 63-inch 4096 x 2160 pixel plasma panel they've been showing off at FDP International. They managed to create the mega-resolution panel by halving the typical pixel size found on a 1920 x 1080 pixel display. One pixel on the Samsung prototype measures 0.339 x 0.363mm while one side of a pixel on a 1080p display measures 0.726mm.
Of course halving a pixel size isn't so simple in reality. To achieve the tiny pixels, Samsung had to cut down the barrier rib structure, and revamp the cell structure, transparent and bus electrodes. Unfortunately though, there's no plan for commercial production at this point.
October 31, 2008
France has chosen to incorporate Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Digital sound into the country's new high-definition terrestrial broadcast system, Télévision Numérique Terrestre HD (TNT HD). It's the first use of Dolby Digital sound in a terrestrial HD broadcast platform, and will allow viewers of the five new channels on the French platform to receive audio in both 5.1-channel surround sound and stereo.
Because Dolby Digital sound is optimal for limited bandwidth environments, TNT HD is able to simultaneously deliver high-quality video while still decoding Dolby Digital broadcast bitstreams and delivering high-def sound. In conjunction with the new broadcast platform, all HD-ready TV's sold in France must include Dolby Digital Plus and High Efficiency AAC (HE AAC) audio by December 2008.
October 30, 2008
Sure it'll cost you a buck short of $7000, but Mitsubishi's 65-inch LaserVue HDTV is the first laser TV to market. That's right, the long-awaited Mitsubishi-made technological wonder is now available at specialty retailers, boasting 1080p resolution, a 120 Hz refresh rate, 500 nits of brightness, and x.v. color. Not to mention the fact that the 10-inch thin LaserVue, built for both floorstanding and wall-mounting, is 3D ready and capable of pushing out high quality sound through its built-in speakers. It's not only easy on the eyes though, it's also easy on the environment. Operating at only 135 Watts, the LaserVue uses about one-third the power of most LCD TV's and one-quarter that of plasma models. Mitsubishi's 73-inch L73A90 laser TV should also be released in the coming months.
October 30, 2008
A 1 millimeter thin OLED panel measuring in at 25 inches? Oh yes, we'd love to see that in TV form. Taiwan's Chi Mei EL has the panel part figured out, showing off the OLED panel with 1366 x 768 native resolution and 16.7 million colors at the FPD International expo in Japan. Okay, so it's not 40-inches, nor 1080p like Samsung's recent prototype but it's nice to see some new names competing in the OLED TV space. A CMEL OLED TV next year maybe?
Via Engadget HD
October 30, 2008
NEC Electronics has developed a new connection technology that can reduce the thickness of large LCD TV's even further. Normally individual wires carry the clock signal and image data from the image processing board to the drivers that control the pixels you see. The new technology enable both to be transferred over a single wire, reducing the amount of space overall the TV's wiring occupies. For example, a 37-inch 1080p LCD TV normally requires 21 wires, but with NEC's technology can be pared down to only 8, halving the thickness required to house the wires from 2 centimeters to only 1 centimeter.
Besides saving space, the connection technology triples the speed of data transmission allowing for image enhancements without adding more wires. NEC should begin implementing the new technology in large panel LCD TV's in 2009.
Via Trading Markets (Photo Credit: lazysupper)
October 29, 2008
Onkyo's HT-S9100THX, the company's latest home-theater-in-a-box is available today, and according to Onkyo is the first THX system to be certified THX I/S Plus, plus handle 1080p video and HD sound formats. It's a great addition to home theaters with all the add-ons as it has a four-in-one HDMI 1.3a repeater, enabling it to hook up to your game console, Blu-ray player and anything else you may have laying around. It also has four composite inputs, three S-video inputs, and dual digital audio inputs.
All non HDMI video sources are upscaled by Faroudja's DCDi Edge, and the 7.1 channel speaker system is easily integrated into any room with Audyssey 2EQ Room Correction and Speaker Calibration features. In total, the receiver pumps out 130 Watts per channel and a 12-inch subwoofer is included with a native 290 Watt amplifier.
The pricing on Onkyo's new bad boy HTIB? $1099. BUT...Amazon is carrying it right now for only $935 with free shipping.
While there's been talk of Samsung rolling out a commercially available OLED TV in 2009, it'll supposedly be a 14-inch panel. However, that doesn't mean Samsung hasn't continued tweaking the technology for larger displays down the road. Today Samsung SDI pulled a 40-inch prototype out of its corporate hat with 1080p resolution and a claimed 1, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, of course in part due to self-luminating LED's. Way back in 2005, Samsung was showing a 40-inch OLED prototype but at that time all's the company could muster was 1280 x 800 pixels and by today's standards, a horrible 5, 000:1 contrast ratio.
Right now we're left to dream though, as there of course is no shipping date for the new prototype if it ever hits shelves. But we're looking forward to CES 2009, where we're sure Samsung will be showing off next year's OLED TV release should there be one.
October 28, 2008
NEC will be launching a couple of new DLP data projectors November 12. The NP62J pushes out 3000 lumens of brightness and 220 Watts, the NP52J 2600 lumens and 200 Watts, and both have a contrast ratio of 1600:1. Both models share most features including the exterior design, 1024 x 768 resolution, an efficient cooling fan and pump, BrilliantColor technology, 1.2x manual or autofocus zoom lens, and a maximum noise output of 37 decibels. The defining feature of the new projector is Bluetooth connectivity enabling mobile phones to stream JPEG / PNG / BMP / GIF pictures to the screen. The same can also be done with an included USB cable.
The Japanese translation of the product release isn't so clear about connection options. It appears that both units have composite and s-video inputs, while the NP62J also has an analog RGB output, but we're not completely sure of that. Each unit also appears to have a 0.3 Watt mono speaker output.
The NP62J will be priced at 333, 900 yen (US$3510) while the NP52J will cost a slightly less 281, 400 yen (US$2957). As you can see from the currencies, these two NEC newbies will see an initial launch in Japan.
Via AV Watch
October 27, 2008
If you're looking for true green innovation in the world of HDTV's than you don't have to look any further than Philips. Remember the Eco TV? After Starwood Hotels and Resorts, the name behind brands like Sheraton and Westin, realized that the average user of one its hotel rooms left their TV on for 6 to 8 hours per day, they decided to sign a 3-year deal worth up to $100 million with Philips. To, you guessed it, have over 80, 000 Philips SmartPower2 TV's as the Eco TV is known commercially, installed in their hotel rooms. Estimated to save Starwood more than $12 million over the expected 7 year lifespan of the equipment, the Eco TV installation will also cut energy consumption by 40% compared to the TV models currently in use.
This is supposedly the biggest 'green TV' deal to date, and impressive considering Philips is considered to be a second-tier home theater brand in our consumer world. Looks like the Netherlands-based company may have found a niche where they can be number one.
Via PR, read the full release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Philips Signs Multi-Million Dollar Eco TV Deal, Industry's Largest To Date"
Believe it, a slumping Dow Jones Industrial Average may create a perfect buying opportunity to buy a brand new HDTV. Why? Mainly because retailers and manufacturers alike are scared that you're penny pinching will hurt them bad; leaving them no other viable option than to cut prices. Paul Gagnon of research firm DisplaySearch is predicting HDTV prices to move somewhere around these numbers in the weeks preceding Black Friday:
19-inch high definition LCD: $199
32-inch HD LCD: $399-$499
40-inch 1080p LCD: $799-$999
42-inch HD plasma: $599-$699
50-inch HD plasma: $899-$999
The question is whether it'll be the big names like Sony, Panasonic and Samsung that will lower their prices to these insane deals. Second-tier names are already pricing their sets at the above prices at Amazon and deal sites like SlickDeals or TechDealDigger, but real quality at those prices would be amazing.
October 24, 2008
Blu-ray bashers really have something to work with now. A survey conducted by the Solutions Research Group is forecasting that more of us will cut our DVD buying and switch to rentals in an effort to save dollars. Said one survey respondent, "We could make better use of our Netflix account and spend less buying DVDs". Great for Netflix, but if DVD's are too expensive, what's going to happen to poor Blu-ray? But wait Blu-ray haters. Of all the home entertainment options to be cut, DVD's were mentioned the least, and 54% of those surveyed said the economy won't affect their entertainment spending at all. I guess Blu-ray still has a chance.
Via Video Business Online
(Photo Credit: Du-Sa-Ni-Ma)
This is why we love our TiVo's: now you can download and rent indie flicks from Jaman.com. The rentals are priced at $1.99 for a 24-hour viewing timeslot and the videos are perfect for film and fringe festival types. Next week TiVo users will also be able to download Disney movies via CinemaNow for $2.99 per rental. Unfortunately the service will only work with Series 2 and Series 3/HD TiVo's and the content will only stream in standard definition, but definitely a move in the right direction on TiVo's behalf.
October 23, 2008
OWC's Panasonic-manufactured Mercury Pro is the industry's first external Blu-ray drive with a quad interface, enabling FireWire 400, FireWire 800, eSATA and USB 2.0 connections to your Mac or PC. The Mercury Pro SW-5583, priced at $499.99, burns Blu-ray discs at 4x, or about 1 GB per minute with the ability to transfer 150 MB. Mercury's Pro SW-5583T is a little bit more expensive tagged at $579.99 but also includes the full version of Roxio Toast 9 Titanium for Mac's OS X.
Via Blu-ray Stats
Owners of Samsung's BDP2550 and BDP2500 Blu-ray players can now access over 12, 000 Netflix instantly streamed TV shows and movies, thanks to yet another Netflix partnership. It's the fourth deal in the last while Netflix has set up to enable instant streaming of its content, likely fearing that the increasingly connected home theater will eventually cause damage to their mail-order DVD rental service. Aside from Samsung, Netflix streams content to Microsoft's Xbox 360, Roku's set-top box and LG Electronics' BD300 Blu-ray player. Now we just have to wait for Blu-ray streaming.
October 21, 2008
What could a flat panel manufacturer do with an old plasma production plant that's no longer in use? LG Electronics is spinning off a plasma plant the company shut down in 2007 due to falling profit margins into a solar cell production plant. The foray into the renewable energy business comes after the company acquired a solar cell business from LG Chem in June and will include a $168 million investment to build two production lines in the old plant. Things should be up and running as early as 2010; both lines will produce 120 MW crystalline silicon cells and modules.
October 20, 2008
Lost in the midst of HDX-related discussion, Vudu has achieved yet another industry milestone, squirreling its Vudu XL into the product offerings of 1, 000 custom installation companies. Who knew Vudu was doing such a great job of penetrating the high dollar home theater market?
"HDX is rapidly becoming the solution of choice for HD home theater enthusiasts nationwide. We are pleased that in just seven months of shipping VUDU XL, we have signed up over 1,000 home theater dealers," said Mark Jung, CEO of VUDU. "Their commitment to VUDU means that consumers throughout the US will be able to enjoy the highest quality 1080p on-demand movies on their home theater systems."
Continue reading: "Vudu Blows By Another Industry Milestone..."
October 19, 2008
I don't know what's up with Amazon. They really seem to be trying to get rid of Samsung's BDP-1500 Blu-ray player. But hey, why not when you get 2 free Blu-ray titles (like V For Vendatta with that babe Natalie Portman or Fantastic Four with that babe Jessica Alba) with the purchase of the $214.99 Blu-ray player. Not interested in Blu-ray titles? Fair enough, but you still get a further $50 off the BDP-1500 when you purchase in tandem the Samsung HT-AS720ST Blu-ray home theater system. The global economy is tight people, don't pass up a sweet home theater buying opportunity!
Samsung BDP-1500 Blu-ray Player-At Amazon
October 17, 2008
If you're okay with Blu-ray playback and nothing more, the prices of Profile 1.0 Blu-ray players are dropping drastically and we may see them sitting around $200 or less as we near the holidays. TGDaily did some digging and found that most mainstream Blu-ray players (mainstream equals Profile 1.0) have dropped around 20% in price over the past 45 days. With the vast majority of newer players supporting all the interactive features of Profile 2.0, it's a reasonable assumption that first-generation Blu-ray players soon won't cost much more than a good upscaling DVD player.
According to Digitimes, market sources inside the LCD TV industry have said that 32-inch LCD TV's could drop as low as $200 before the digital TV transition, while 40-42 inch models could sell for as low as $799-$899. Apparently only 6% of over-the-air television viewers have taken advantage of converter box coupons, so the coming months look to be huge for the HDTV market in general. Of course, we're guessing that $799 won't buy you a Bravia or anything, but whatever it nets you it's got to be better than a CRT with rabbit ears.
This one's a little strange people. So strange that I have no idea what it could possibly be good for. LG has prototyped a 15-inch double-side reflective LCD display with a 512 x 384 pixel count and 14:1 contrast ratio. No surprise there; reflection can't be a conducive environment for dark blacks. If anyone has any thoughts regarding what such an invention could possibly be good for, leave your idea in the comments. It might be tough though; given that LG doesn't even know when and if this will come to market, they look to be at a loss as well.
October 16, 2008
Finally, tru2way has officially arrived. The open software platform, based on specifications by CableLabs, will allow TV's to receive all types of interactive services without the use of a set-top box. You'll be able to access features like video-on-demand programming and electronic program guides from your cable provider directly from your remote.
The rollout is beginning in Chicago and Denver, and in partnership with Comcast, Panasonic will be adding a couple of tru2way-enabled sets to its PZ80 series that'll be available later this month at Abt Electronics and Circuit City's in the Chicago area and Ultimate Electronics and Circuit City stores in Denver.
The first set will be the 42-inch TH-42PZ80Q, featuring an integrated tru2way cable receiver, 1080p resolution, 480Hz Sub-field Drive motion focus, 1, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast, VIERA Link and an SD memory card reader.
The second set, the TH-50PZ80Q will be larger at 50-inches, but share the same specs as the TH-42PZ80Q.
Respectively, the two sets will be priced at $1, 599.95 and $2, 299.95.
Via press release (Thanks, Jamie!)
Continue reading: "STB's Beware: tru2way Packin' Panasonic VIERA's Have Arrived"
It seems that if your home theater gadget doesn't support the DivX codec these days, you're doomed to failure. Pretty much ubiquitous in Blu-ray and DVD players, the next logical step for DivX is to move their codec support right into HDTV's. Earlier this week, the company reached a multiyear agreement with Samsung to do just that. A line of DLNA-compatible digital TV models from Samsung, expected to see worldwide release in early 2009, will support DivX playback either from a direct USB or Ethernet connection. That's the extent of the details available at the moment, but I'll all but guarantee we'll find out more come CES next January.
October 15, 2008
Across the pond in Korea, Samsung and LG Display are pulling out all the stops at the International Meeting on Information Display conference that kicked off yesterday. Samsung is busy showing off a 7.9 millimeter thin 42-inch LCD TV as well as a 52-inch LCD display only 9.8 millimeters thin. Meanwhile LG continues on the path toward a 2011 deadline for mass OLED TV production, rolling out a 19-inch OLED panel driven by amorphous Si TFT. Unfortunately Samsung is still carting around the same 31-inch OLED TV they've been talking up since CES back in January, however they also had a 14-inch OLED display on tap. If we recall correctly, wasn't Samsung saying a while back they'd be rolling out a 14-inch OLED TV in 2009?
Remember the Sherwood BDP-5003 we told you about back in August? The lowly Profile 1.1, $300 Blu-ray player supposed to hit stores this month? Of course you don't, who remembers the name Sherwood in tandem with the name Blu-ray. If you are interested in nothing but a Bonus View Blu-ray player, it turns out you'll have to wait another month as the BDP-5003's release has been delayed until November (PDF). The specs still look the same, although we now know that the Sherwood will support lossless audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio which is a good thing. But $300 for a Profile 1.1 Blu-ray player? No thanks.
Via Engadget HD
Mitsubishi was supposedly supposed to hit the market with an LCD TV/Blu-ray recorder/Blu-ray player combo this fall, but it looks like Sharp will beat them at their own game with the new AQUOS DX family, expected to hit Japan November 20. Featuring six models, the AQUOS DX line will include the 26-inch LC-26DX1, 32-inch LC-32DX1, 37-inch LC-37DX1, 42-inch LC-42DX1, 46-inch LC-46DX1, and 52-inch LC-52DX1 all featuring a built-in digital tuner, internal Blu-ray handling and a bottom-mounted speaker.
The 26- and 32-inch models push out 1366 x 768 pixels while the rest boast full 1080p resolution, and a 5X Mode takes advantage of the H.264/AVC standard to ensure identical reproduction of high-def content. The AQUOS DX1 line runs between 200, 000 Yen and 500, 000 Yen from the smallest model to the largest and comes with black, red, and white color options (except for the 46- and 52-inch models only available in black or white).
Despite economic concerns expected to drive down electronics spending for at least the remainder of the year, Sharp fully expects to ship 11 million LCD TV's by its fiscal year-end come March 2009, mainly thanks to the Blu-ray equipped DX1's providing a little differentiation from its competitors. Unfortunately though, Sharp says that while the AQUOS DX line will ship overseas sometime in 2009, the sets will probably only be able to playback Blu-ray discs, not record.
October 14, 2008
Sony Bravia owners who also have an Internet Video Link will be able to rent the Will Smith flick Hancock on-demand between October 28 and November 10, prior to the Sony Picture's title DVD release. It'll cost $9.99 for a 24-hour viewing window and be offered in three different streams: high-def 720p and a couple of standard-def encoded streams for those with lower bandwidth capabilities. As a bonus Sony will throw in a free Blu-ray copy of Hancock which has a retail value of $39.95. The company says it's also in discussions to offer on-demand titles day-and-date with their corresponding DVD release not only on connected Bravia's but other platforms as well.
Via Multichannel News
Looks like the Blu-ray packin' MacBook rumor was a BIG LIE. Thanks Kevin Rose. Yes, there's a couple of new MacBooks sans Blu-ray drive of course. As for reasoning says Steve Jobs,
Blu-ray is a bag of hurt. I don't mean from the consumer point of view. It's great to watch movies, but the licensing is so complex. We're waiting until things settle down, and waiting until Blu-ray takes off before we burden our customers with the cost of licensing.
That's gotta hurt Sony. "A bag of hurt" just sounds rough. Funny stuff though.
Via Gizmodo (Photo Credit: Apple)
Oh man, web TV here we come! Just minutes ago Apple unveiled a new 24-inch LED-backlit Cinema Display designed for the company's MacBook family. The widescreen display is enclosed in aluminum and glass, has a built-in iSight video camera, microphone and speakers, MagSafe charger, three USB 2.0 and a Mini DisplayPort slot.
The display has 1920 x 1200 pixels and is pretty darn green. The LED's are mercury-free, the glass enclosure is arsenic-free and most of the materials are recyclable. Plus the Cinema Display meets Energy Star 4.0 specs, reaches EPEAT Gold Status and even the foam packaging has been reduced by 44%!
Hitting stores in November, the 24-inch display will set you back $899.
via press release (Photo Credit: Apple)
You're probably wondering why we waited so long to start filling you in on weekly Blu-ray releases. Well, I've only lately started to really have faith in the format. Honestly. Anyway, this week's hot title is definitely this summer's hot Indiana Jones flick, although personally my favorite on this list would have to be American Gangster. Some back titles from Warner are also on the list, finally being updated from HD DVD, like The Ultimate Matrix Collection. And finally, there are six IMAX titles on here, like usual pertaining to space and nature, that would probably blow your mind while viewing them in your living room. Enjoy.
American Gangster (Universal)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Paramount)
The Ultimate Matrix Collection (Warner)
Gangsters Giftset (Universal)
Eastern Promises (Universal)
The Jewel of the Nile (Fox)
Romancing the Stone (Fox)
Mongol (New Line)
Standard Operating Procedure (Sony)
Space Station/Mission to Mir (Warner)
Cosmic Voyage/Destiny in Space (Warner)
Coral Reef Adventure (Image)
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag (Image)
The Living Sea (Image)
Great Expectations (ITV)
Internal Affairs 3 (101)
The Universe: Season 1 (A&E)
War, Inc. (First Look)
Victor of Japan, better known to most as JVC, will be releasing the DR-BX500 Blu-ray recorder in Japan come late November. Capable of recording BD-R/RE, MPEG-2 TS, MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, DVD-R/RW AVCREC, the DR-BX500 sports analog and digital terrestrial tuners, a 500 GB HDD, an Electronic Program Guide and allows you to record two programs at once. It also has a SD card slot that allows recording of AVCHD camcorder content to either the hard disk or to a Blu-ray disc. With support for 1080/24p, the DR-BX500 has an HDMI output, D4 video, s-video, composite and analog audio output and has an Ethernet jack so it can be hooked up to a local network. The 430 × 361 × 77mm, 5.4 kg projector doesn't have a set price yet, but we likely won't be seeing it in North America anytime soon.
Via AV Watch
Canon will be releasing a LCOS projector in Japan just before Christmas. The WUX10 is a 16:10, 1920 x 1200 pixel WUXGA projector, claimed to be the world's smallest 0.71-LCD projector with LCOS. Driven by Canon's proprietary Aspectual Illumination System (AISYS), the WUX10 spec sheet also includes 1000:1 contrast ratio and a 275 Watt lamp output pushing 3200 lumens. Connectivity options for the 284 × 336 × 114mm, 5 kg LCD projector include a single HDMI, two DVI-I, and a composite slot for video and an assortment of analog audio outputs. It also features slots for Ethernet and RS-232 control. A rough translation of the price is "1.57 million price of 5,000 yen" which we're assuming is somewhere around $15, 000 US. (Not sure about that one though)
Via AV Watch
Now here's another half decent Blu-ray deal. Acer's newly released AX3200 desktop PC and 24-inch 1080p LCD monitor cost just north of $1000 and with an integrated Blu-ray drive costs less than some standalone Blu-ray players we've seen.
The AX3200 features a 2.1 Ghz AMD Phenom X3 8450 processor, NVIDIA GeForce 8200 chipset, combo Blu-ray/DVD drive, 5.1-channel Dolby Home Theater, nine USB 2.0 ports and a 640GB HDD.
The 24-inch P244W monitor is pretty impressive in its own right. Widescreen with a 1080p resolution, the P244W has a 20, 000:1 contrast ratio, 2 ms response time, 75 Hz refresh rate, and a couple of HDMI slots.
As standalone products, the AX3200 is available at Fry's for $679.99, while the Acer P244W display is priced at $339 and available at most major electronics retailers.
October 13, 2008
Iomega's ScreenPlay TV Link is an ideal solution for those who need to quickly transfer video content from the computer to their television, according to the reviewers at CNET. It's just a simple USB dongle that allows you to simply transfer nearly all popular video, audio, and image files onto the drive, plug it into the TV Link which connects to your HDTV using either HDMI, composite, component or even SCART ports. It'll upconvert standard-definition video content to 720p/1080i, but while there is apparently a noticeable difference between 480i and 480p, it's not nearly as noticeable between 480p and 720p.
The only real issues with the ScreenPlay TV Link look to be a matter of design, not functionality or performance. Because it uses an IR remote, its front-face needs to visible and the USB port is located in back causing a little bit of cable clutter. Other than the placement issues, CNET gave it a 3.5 out of 5, deeming it an effective computer-to-HDTV transfer device not requiring any type of media center hookup.
$87 At Amazon
We all know how annoying it is to be sitting in a coffee shop watching some good ol' web TV on the laptop and having the guy at the next table looking over your shoulder, especially if your viewing choice is something better suited for home. But LG Display has developed a 14.1-inch LCD panel that allows you to alter the 175 degree viewing angle up to 60 degrees with one-touch Viewing-angle Image Control Display technology. The panel will begin mass production this month and there's no details available about when it'll hit the market or where, but hopefully soon us public web TV watchers will be able to indulge in something a little closer to privacy.
LG's Scarlet LG80 will be hitting stores this month...everywhere except for North America and Europe. We're not sure about pricing, but the LG80 LCD HDTV will feature 1080p resolution, 30, 000:1 contrast ratio, a couple of slide-out speakers incorporated into a Mark Levinson 3.1-channel 50 Watt surround sound system, three AV modes, a USB 2.0 port and a couple of HDMI 1.3 slots.
The folks at Gizmodo have been tipped off by a source close to Ultimate Electronics that Samsung's BDP-1500 Blu-ray player will be selling for $149 come Black Friday, November 28. Even though Ultimate Electronics is a Midwestern chain, it seems likely that the deal will be Samsung-imposed meaning the Blu-ray player will be $149 elsewhere as well.
This makes sense. In September, the BDP-1500 was selling for $149 with the purchase of a Samsung LN40A550 LCD TV. And right now it's selling for $180 when purchased with Samsung's HT-AS720ST 5.1 channel home theater system, plus a free copy of The Ultimate Matrix Collection. Now if only Blu-ray prices stayed in this range maybe we'd see a little more mainstream consumption.
October 12, 2008
Blu-ray rumors have been hot ever since the format reigned supreme over rival high-definition format HD DVD. No company has hosted more such rumors than Microsoft and its Xbox 360, but according to Digg founder Kevin Rose the expected-to-be-announced tomorrow new Apple MacBooks will include integrated Blu-ray. If you're a big Apple fanboy (or girl, or course) you'll probably remember that Rose was spot on when be predicted the recently released iPod Nano's, so his Blu-ray guess could very well be true. We'll definitely see tomorrow.
Via Edible Apple
NEC's just released three new plasma models in Australia-the 50-inch PXT-50FHDP1, 50-inch PXT50XD3, and 42-inch PXT42XD3. First off, the PXT-50FHDP1 features 1920 x 1080 resolution, 100 Hz refresh, a 30, 000:1 contrast ratio, multiple HDMI inputs, an built-in HD tuner and an electronic program guide (EPG). The 42- and 50-inch XD3 models have 1024x768 and 1365x768 resolution respectively, 30, 000:1 contrast ratio, built-in HD tuner, 3 HDMI slots, EPG, built-in speakers, and RS-232 control ports. Both also come with a removable stand so they can be wall-mounted as well. When it comes to actually forking out the cash for the new NEC plasmas, the 50FHDP1 will set you back $3, 499, the 50XD3 a more manageable $2, 199 and the 42XD3 $1, 599.
Smarthouse via EngadgetHD
October 11, 2008
Undoubtedly fueled by the massive sales of Ironman, Blu-ray reached all-time market share and revenue highs this week versus DVD. Pitting the top 20 Blu-ray discs with the top 20 DVD's, Blu-ray finished off the past week with a 13% market share and revenues were up a massive 145% bringing in $26.8 million. Back to the Ironman sales, 17% of buyers went with the Blu-ray format and including DVD sales, the flick sold nearly 15 times as many copies as the second best selling title of the week, Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
Via Blu-ray Stats
Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo, is apparently the source of a rumor pinning Apple in the midst of developing a networked television. Of the LCD variety, the Apple HDTV would function like an HDTV with an Apple TV, minus the set-top box. Fully networked, the Apple LCD TV is expected to stream content from iTunes wirelessly, either from a PC or Mac and could even be controlled with an iPod Touch or iPhone with the Remote app. Whether this is true or not I'm not sure, but it would be the next logical place for Apple to extend the reach of iTunes. Problem is, if the Apple LCD TV is closed and proprietary, so typical of Apple, and can't access streams of video content outside of iTunes, who's going to buy it? Not me that's for sure.
Via CNET UK
Video viewers on the web haven't always been entirely comfortable with long-form content, preferring vids of just a few minutes. But YouTube is beginning to feel otherwise, rolling out a "theater view" player that uses a larger screen for longer videos, and hosting a dedicated CBS station for oldies like MacGyver and newer shows like Dexter. While YouTube hosts about 5 billion video streams per month, or 44% of all online video views in the United States, NBC's Hulu is already established itself in the long-form genre. Steadily growing in popularity, Hulu brought in 100 million unique visitors last month, typically viewers of full-length TV shows.
October 10, 2008
Rumors surfaced again this week that Microsoft's Xbox 360 would be getting a Blu-ray add-on sometime in the near future, and of course they've been debunked once again. Blogger Major Nelson grabbed an audio clip with the Xbox 360's product manager Aaron Greenberg at the Tokyo Gameshow reiterating the same stuff he did back in May. Namely that digital downloads are the future making any type of Blu-ray integration a complete waste of time.
Audiovox has officially made an exit from the LCD TV market today, after announcing a $2.3 million second quarter net loss. The company cut 8% of its staff according to president and CEO Patrick Lavelle. Understandable Audiovox, it's not like you're a provider of high-end HDTV's or anything, but don't you think you'd be able to grab at least a piece of market share given that LCD TV's will be the number one revenue generator in consumer electronics come 2012? Then again I'm not a CEO, am I.
The new 52-inch Sony XBR6, announced back in June, has finally been put through the ringer over at CNET and it didn't fair too badly. Sure it's expensive, has a few color accuracy issues and fluctuating blacks in darker scenes, but according to CNET the KDL-52XBR6 "(p)roduces the deepest black levels of any non-LED LCD TV we've tested". Add this to the set's solid video processing, accurate color reproduction, four HDMI inputs, and energy efficiency and it gets a four out of five. I was hoping for better, but if you have some cash to burn the Sony 52-inch KDL-52XBR6 looks to be a solid buy.
Sony Bravia 52-Inch KDL-52XBR6-at Amazon
Verdict: "We'll all be on soup lines soon, but at least we'll have great televisions." Yes, yes, at $7000 it costs about the same as a half-decent used car, but Mitsubishi's 65-inch LaserVue laser TV is nothing less than awesome, according to TIME. Displaying blacker blacks than a KURO plasma, while consuming two-thirds the energy, the 65-inch beast even makes reds look red. An amazing accomplishment since typically reds are displayed at a longer wavelength than our eyes catch, hence the orange-looking reds so typical of many LCD's and plasma's. Granted this isn't really a technical review; it has a repeated focus on Man Cave's, but hey, "It's the best home-entertainment display in America," should be everything you need to know. Still no pricing on the 73-inch LaserVue; we hoped there be some mention. Soon enough.
According to iSuppli, the economy won't keep the LCD TV market down. In fact, the research firm is predicting that not only will OEM revenues nearly double to $110.8 billion in 2012 from 2007's $61 billion, but LCD TV's will be the largest moneymaker in the consumer electronics industry within the next four years.
If this prediction comes true, 2012 will be the first year that consumer appliances haven't topped the consumer electronics industry in dollars generated. While we all watch the global markets dive, this really sounds like a crock. But the fact is, with the digital television transition coming next February, HDTV growth is being forced and LCD TV's are generally the best-value-for-your-dollar option.
Following close on the heels of LCD TV's will be digital set-top boxes, expected to generate $25.6 billion in revenues in 2012. This one's kind of a toss-up. Should tru2way go down the tubes a la CableCARD, maybe, but I think in the next couple of years much of the typical STB functionality will be built right into HDTV's. iSuppli also theorizes that we could see convergence between Blu-ray players and STB's which wouldn't surprise me either, but I'm remaining bullish on HDTV's eventually housing most of today's external home theater functions behind the screen.
If you've just joined the HDTV era lately you're probably aware that hooking up a high-def home theater system is a bit more complicated than an analog set-up. LG Electronics has apparently caught on to this fact and launched the Wirewize web tool to help consumers put together their HD setup.
Called Wirewize, the service is designed to simplify the process of connecting multiple consumer electronics, including flat-panel HDTVs, DVD players and other home-theater components by providing a complete list of optimal cables and visual, step-by-step hookup instructions for each component, LG said.
If you head over to LGusa.com, you'll find Wirewize within the "Connection Guide" link on any product page in the "TV/Audio/Video" section. The setup is done in a quick and easy three steps and includes home theater devices from other name brand manufacturers, but when it comes right down to it this whole deal is really about the cables. Understandable. How's the typical HDTV buyer supposed to keep up with all the inputs and outputs available these days?
October 9, 2008
Netflix has added a $1 surcharge to Blu-ray rentals starting with next months billing cycle. Normally this wouldn't be cause for concern, but with something like $4 trillion disappearing from 401k's in the United States lately, every penny counts. Good thing Blockbuster offers a such a pathetic experience at a higher price.
Comcast seems to be capitalizing on the inconvenient Converter Box Coupon program by offering up free cable for a year. Of course, there is a couple of catches here. Number one being that the free cable subscription only encompasses basic cable channels such as the free-to-air ABC, NBC, and FOX. Number two, the offer's only good if another paid subscription, such as phone or internet service, is agreed too. Really though, for those who still get all of there TV over-the-air and with growing government concern about converter box coupons running short, this isn't such a bad offer. And if you're firmly against paying Comcast for anything other than TV, the basic cable subscription can be had for $10/month for a year for new customers.
Currently it's mainly the big name LCD TV manufacturers like Sony selling LED-backlit LCD TV's mainly because LED's are expensive compared to CCFL backlighting. They also typically use RGB LED's, but manufacturers like Sharp and LG Display are said to be releasing 40-inch plus LCD TV's next year incorporating white LED's. Unfortunately white LED's don't result in the same viewing quality as RGB LED's, but they are cheaper. And as more manufacturers pump out LED-backlit models, supply and demand dictates that we should see prices dropping. Our best bet is to keep our eyes open at CES 2009, as this is the likely place that second-tier manufacturers will debut their new LED-backlit models. But what we really want to know, lower prices aside, is how much lower the picture quality resulting from white LEDs? Will the lower prices really be worth it?
It's been awhile since the last Microsoft Xbox 360 Blu-ray rumor. Still no Xbox Blu-ray player, but the rumor has resurfaced. Apparently Toshiba-Samsung Storage Technology Corp has received a contract from Microsoft to manufacture external Blu-ray drives for the Xbox 360, expected to be priced in the vicinity of $150. As for rumored release dates? Possibly in advance of the holiday season, or if Blu-ray sales are deemed to be too slow, then Microsoft may wait until CES next January in order to maximize the press exposure. Geez, give me a break. Microsoft's been getting all kinds of press exposure for the past year surrounding this phantom Blu-ray Xbox 360, and still nothing to show for it. Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if this rumor pans out.
Via Pocket Lint
October 8, 2008
DVDO's Edge video/A/V processor is built to take your HDTV's built-in processing to an entirely new level. Okay, it's fair to say at $799 it's expensive, but take a look at some of the high-end Anchor Bay technology the Edge uses to optimize your picture:
- 10-bit Precision Video Scaling-optimizes both SD and HD signals
- 10-bit Precision Deinterlacing-smooths image edges
- Progressive Reprocessing-reduces artifacts typically caused by converting interlaced content to progressive
- Mosquitoe Noise Reduction-removes artifacts from text in compressed video
And it gets better. The DVDO Edge has 6 HDMI inputs including one dedicated audio slot and a direct-to-HDTV connection, 2 component inputs, and both an S-video and composite input. Other than the HDMI audio input, there's also 3 optical digital ports, and both coaxial and stereo analog slots.
Yes, you'll pay a hefty price for the technology here, but c'mon now, it could hook up to anything your home theater possibly contains. Oh, and you get an included remote!
Pre-Order The DVDO Edge Video Processor From Amazon
Skeptical about Vudu's new HDX streaming quality? I was too, but according to the fine folks at CNET HDX is "hands-down the best internet-delivered" video they've ever seen. And it's the "first to noticeably outclass DVDs". Of course the trade-off is you won't be able to watch HDX movies immediately. Because it uses a variable bit-rate to improve the picture quality, you'll have to wait while your Vudu analyzes the entire movie to figure out exactly where it has to ramp up the bit streaming. Although there was some graininess in certain scenes of tested flicks, the Blu-ray playback of the same movies produced identical defects. Pretty impressive I have to say.
Every HDTV has its flaws and the Toshiba Regza 42XV540U is no exception. It's blacks are light enough to make it inappropriate for dimly lit environments, its greens are a little on the oversaturated side, and it's standard definition playback quality is subpar. However, the 42XV540U aced the HD HQV benchmark test for high-def video processing, rendering Blu-ray discs and HD programming completely devoid of artifacts. Plus the Regza's 120Hz refresh rate kept even the fastest movie scenes smooth looking. Also of note is that the 42VX540U is PCMag's first ever Greentech-Approved HDTV, sucking back only 195W during operation, good enough to meet Energy Star's version 3.0 specifications coming next month.
Buy The Toshiba Regza 42-Inch 42XV540U LCD TV From Amazon
Olevia's parent company may have kicked it back in July, but the Olevia brand lives on. The company's latest release, the BD-100 Blu-ray player, has been spotted in Target stores for a fairly reasonable $229. Not bad for a 1080p player with DolbyTrueHD support, HDMI and component inputs, coaxial and TosLink digital audio ports and even an included backlit remote. But if I were you I'd wait about a month and net a better Blu-ray player for a cheaper price.
HANNSpree's HT09 28-inch LCD TV seems to be a bit of an enigma. The consensus seems to be that it's a 1080p HDTV, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense considering its size but a look at the overview at the Misco website says its 1080i, while the spec sheet lists its resolution as 1920 x 1200 pixels. Okay, we'll leave that one up to you. Other than that the HT09 sports 500 cd/m2 brightness, 800:1 contrast ratio, 3 ms response, and a pair of 5 Watt built-in speakers. Hookups include a couple of HDMI slots, couple of SCART, and single composite, component and VGA inputs. As for price? £279.99. Hmmm...not so sure about this one.
October 7, 2008
Never mind tinkering with LED backlights to increase the energy efficiency of HDTV's. In our current environmental situation, we're at the point where we need to come up with extreme solutions. Something Sharp is apparently hard at work on, showing off a 52-inch solar-powered LCD TV at CEATEC. The solar panel looks to be mounted to the base of the set, so it doesn't exactly look convenient, nor do we know how this thing ropes in solar energy unless placed right by an open window. But hey, who are we to criticize? At least Sharp looks to be moving in the right direction in order to save HDTV-lovin' humanity.
Tough economic conditions mean absolutely nothing to those who want an HDTV in their living, according to the latest survey results from PriceGrabber. In fact, while 57% of those surveyed already own an HDTV, 73% of those that don't plan to buy their's in the next year. Perhaps the reason economic fears seem to have no bearing is the majority of new buyers aren't particularly concerned with price; they just want the better audio and picture quality now available from widespread HD programming options.
It's also looking like the millions upon millions of dollars spent in a last-ditch effort to educate us about the digital television transition are paying off-73% of the surveyed sample are prepared and another 14% will skip the converter box business and buy a new digital-ready HDTV outright. Unfortunately though, especially because I'm big on web television, is that only 3% stream programs on their computer.
Check out the entire release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Who Cares If The Global Economy Collapses? I Want My HDTV!"
October 6, 2008
Tomorrow both Sony and Walt Disney will launch BD Live reward programs, great news for those who've blown wads of cash on adding Blu-ray to their home theaters.
The Sony Blu-ray Club's launch will coincide with the Blu-ray/DVD release of Adam Sandler's Don't Mess With The Zohan, and grant points each time a Profile 2.0 title is registered on the BD LIve network. The points can be used for items in the existing Sony Rewards program.
Disney's launch will begin with tomorrow's Blu-ray launch of Sleeping Beauty, after which all Disney title's will feature Profile 2.0 interactive elements. Surprisingly though, given the target demographic, you'll have to work a little harder to earn BD Live reward points from Disney. With the Sleeping Beauty release, viewers can log onto the BD Live network and face off in trivia games against other viewers; points can be earned for correct answers. Once enough points are accumulated, items such as ringtones and wallpapers can be redeemed at Disney Movie Rewards Live.
October 4, 2008
The word's out the Ironman has already broken all the Blu-ray records to be broken. At least according to director Jon Favreau, but we'll have to wait until next week to get the official Nielsen numbers. The real question is whether Ironman will be able to stack up against The Dark Knight when it comes out December 9?
There's plenty of good things to say about TiVo's HD XL DVR. Not only does it have all the TiVo functionality many of us are quite familiar with, it's THX-certified, has a massive 1 Terabyte hard drive that'll store up to 150 hours of HD content, is fully internet-connected so you can record content from services such as Amazon Unbox and Rhapsody, and can transfer content to your PC or portable device via TiVo To Go. Rated excellent by the prolific product reviewers at CNET, the HD XL DVR only has a couple of flaws. Because it's a one-way CableCARD device, you won't be able to peruse any interactive content. Basically you can't record video-on-demand. Nor does it record anything from cable provider's using Switched Digital Video without a tuner. Other than that, no complaints. Unless you're a hardcore TV recording fanatic though, the TiVo HD DVR is probably a better choice, because for all the extras found on the HD XL you'll pay a premium-a little under $580 at Amazon.
Gary Merson, aka HD Guru, doesn't like to waste time. Which is probably why he chose to review 125 2008 HDTV models, plus a 2009 prototype, in one shot. It looks as if HDTV technology has improved since 2007 as well. 96% of the HDTV's tested properly deinterlaced 1080i television signals and 68 out of 76 1080p models displayed full bandwidth displaying all 1920 horizontal pixels.
There still are some weak areas however. Only 23 out of 125 sets were able to properly split 1080i/24 frames per second broadcasted content and recombine them to produce a 1080p picture. And get this this: out of 28 Samsung displays tested only the LN-46A950 passed. Many of the sets tested also had problems maintaining resolution when displaying fast-moving scenes. Samsung's LN-46A950 was the only HDTV in 2008 that was able to maintain 100% of the picture's resolution when motion was introduced, mainly thanks to its Motion Plus LED backlight control. To see the full test report, hit the read link. (Warning: PDF file)
October 3, 2008
Philips may have shown off their 50-inch Quad Full Autostereoscopic 3D HDTV first at CEATEC, but straight on their heels was a no-funny-glasses-needed 72-inch display. Created by partners JVC and Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, the 72-inch 3D display featured 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 20 degree 3D viewing angle on both sides. The display uses a set of full HD projectors to project images onto the screen from the back of the set with up to 100 million pixels. By aligning the projectors to coincide with certain images, the lighting is optimized so as to appear to bounce off the screen enabling the 3D effect. Not only do the two companies plan to mass-produce the 3D monster by 2011, they think the technology could be used for 200-300 inch 3D displays!
Panasonic has the go-ahead to stock shelves with tru2way HDTV's before Christmas after receiving certification for a 42-inch and 50-inch set from CableLabs. tru2way if you remember is kind of the next generation of the CableCARD, but enables two-way communication between your set and cable provider without a set-top box. Interactive applications like video-on-demand content can be delivered straight to your HDTV. At the moment the Panasonic sets will however need a cable operator-provided CableCARD even to use tru2way. It'll be interesting to see how tru2way sets sell if they make it into stores by Christmas. We're not so sure the timing is right at the moment, and even though the CableCARD has largely been a failure, looking long-term we're pretty bullish on tru2way.
Via Light Reading
So there's been the odd problem with the American Ironman Blu-ray release, mainly due to its crazy popularity. But Paramount is totally making up for it, integrating Netblender's BD Touch technology into the French release of Ironman on Blu-ray coming November 5. BD Touch allows your iPhone or iPod Touch to communicate back and forth with any BD-Live Blu-ray player, utilizing WiFi and the BD Live Network. The BD Touch application, called "Remote Haxey", will let you download trailers, play games, adjust the position of subtitles on the screen, use your iPhone as a remote control and even allow you to edit the film to make your own version. All on your iPhone or iPod Touch. This is the first BD Touch Blu-ray release so we're excited to see how it fares, and if it's successful we can't wait to see it hit North America.
LG's BD300 Netflix-streaming Blu-ray player is up for pre-order over at Circuit City. Priced at $350, cheaper than the original $400 price tag, the BD300 will begin shipping next Friday. Not only is LG's new Blu-ray Profile 2.0, but it can access over 12, 000 Netflix titles which will stream to your HDTV in less than 30 seconds. Smart move LG. If ya' can't beat digital downloads, then join 'em, right?
Via Boy Genius Report
It's no travel bag. In fact the latest news from Vudu is oh so much better. The IP-based video-on-demand service has come up with a new 1080p/24 video format that they claim eliminates artifacts. Geared at owners of HDTV's larger than 40-inches, the HDX format basically works by analyzing the entire movie and using a variable bit-rate encoding scheme, decreasing the bit rate for simple scenes and pumping out everything its got for complex, action-type scenes. Of course analyzing the entire movie takes a little time, so expect to wait about 3 hours after ordering before you can watch your movie. Right now there are a few more than 50 HDX format films, but every new HD movie release will now be available in the new format in addition to many of Vudu's 300 HD titles that'll be converted. HDX movies will be priced exactly as HD titles, kind of a fair trade-off for making you wait 3 hours for on-demand content.
Aside from the Boxee hack we told you about, the Apple TV just got a little more functional thanks to a simultaneous iTunes 8.0.1 and Apple TV 2.2 update last night. Along with a few security fixes, the 2.2 update allows users to purchase and download high-def television shows straight from the box usually for the price of $2.99. This is a big move as previously all's that was possible with the Apple TV was browsing through iTunes looking for standard-def shows and movies. In addition, the Apple TV now supports the iTunes Genius recommendation engine allowing you to make playlists of songs you like with the press of a button on the Apple TV's remote.
Panasonic's TH-AE3000 LCD projector is coming to Japan November 1. Featuring full 1080p resolution, the TH-AE3000 uses double-speed D7 LCD panels and some sort of lighting control technology to boast the dynamic contrast ratio as high as 60, 000:1. It projects 16:9 as a default but can be switched to 2.35:1 aspect ratio resulting in accurate reproduction of professional films.
It'll project a picture anywhere from 40 inches to 6 meters and sports 2x optical zoom and focus, vertical and horizontal lens shift, up to 120 Hz frame rate and support for a 24p signal. In terms of connections, the TH-AE3000 has an HDMI input with support for Deep Color and x.v. Color, component, composite, S-video, analog RGB, and RS-232 for attachment to external control equipment. With the included remote control, the Panasonic TH-AE3000 will cost about 450, 000 Yen or US$4257.
October 2, 2008
You have to give Philips credit. They're working hard to redefine themselves in a highly competitive high-def television market and by the looks of it they're succeeding. A couple of days back the company unveiled a 56-inch Quad Full Autostereoscopic 3D HDTV in Hollywood. Not only does this remarkable feat of HD engineering not require funny glasses to watch, but the speed of data transfer required to produce the images increases the screen resolution to a crazy 3840 x 2160 pixels! Philips claims that this is 23 times the resolution of any previous 3D HDTV. Unfortunately it won't be in living rooms anytime soon. Initially it'll be sold to commercial buyers at a rather pricey $25, 000.
Early release copies of Ironman on Blu-ray had an authoring problem that caused all kinds of playback problems. So much so that there was talk of a delayed release. But Paramount got the much-anticipated release out on time...only to have a different problem altogether. If you've been getting jammed up trying to download BD-Live material, don't fret as Blu-ray.com got this statement from Paramount:
"The Iron Man Blu-ray went on sale Tuesday and due to the overwhelming popularity of the release an unprecedented demand was placed on the BD-Live connection. The disc represents a truly state-of-the art Blu-ray presentation with a first of its kind BD-Live application. As such, the heavy amount of traffic strained the servers due to so many people heading to the same destination. The bandwidth capacity was increased in preparation for the release but the demand exceeded all expectations so capacity was expanded dramatically last night and local servers were established worldwide to accommodate all the fans. The issue should be completely resolved but if anyone experiences a brief traffic jam, we have provided consumers with a menu option during disc startup that allows them to go directly to the movie main menu or continue to download the BD-Live features."
Hopefully this is true and the recent issue isn't related to the earlier problems. We wouldn't want people ditching Blu-ray for digital downloads now, would we?
You have to admit, this is hilarious. Back at the end of 2007, we wrongly predicted that HD DVD would win the format war with Blu-ray based on price alone. We were wrong as all the major Hollywood studios threw backing behind Blu-ray killing HD DVD in the process...or did they. Thanks to an economic recession, not only in the United States but globally, HD DVD is rising from the dead. Sure, Blu-ray disc sales have increased 53% since HD DVD's demise but with Blu-ray prices still ridiculously expensive and HD DVD player prices dropping as low as $60, people are buying HD DVD again.
In fact Buy.com has sold 1 million HD DVD players since the format officially packed 'er in and expects to sell 2-3 million from now until Christmas. Okay, sure HD DVD doesn't have the recent title releases that Blu-ray does but the players still playback DVD's and until Blu-ray prices decrease the majority of us are happy with good ol' standard def.
Willing to take the chance?
Toshiba's HD-A2 is currently sitting at $84.
Via Financial Times
Some people will do anything to enlarge their TV's screen size, but this is remarkable. Imagine taking your old RPTV, dismantling it so the rear projector is unimpeded by the display...and then putting a bigger screen in front of it. Yes, it's been done, and while some brightness was sacrificed the overall picture apparently wasn't that bad.
Hack A Day via Engadget HD
It's nice to see that wireless transmission of uncompressed 1080p video is coming closer to our living rooms. Over in Japan at CEATEC, Panasonic demonstrated the transmission of content from a Blu-ray recorder to a wireless tuner via HDMI, then to a plasma HDTV wirelessly for playback.
The demo used a 60GHz band milliwave and reached 4 Gbps and worked quite well, but unfortunately they also performed the same demo with a Nintendo Wii to display the lag effects rendered by wireless transmission of video games. Nevertheless, for those of us who prefer a good movie over the latest edition of Soul Calibur, Panasonic plans to commercialize the wireless tech in 2009.
October 1, 2008
Incredible! Thinner, thinner, thinner! Hitachi's been busy demonstrating a 15-millimeter thin 37-inch LCD TV at CEATEC in Japan. With a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, the prototype model features a thinner backlight unit which uses three LED colors for maximal color reproduction, and a thinner power supply unit. Keep your eyes on Hitachi at CES 2009 as the company is gearing up for mass production as early as 2009.
Okay fine, we lied. At times we do like projectors. Not the ordinary run-of-the-mill models, but the kind company's like Runco release. The $20, 000 kind. Runco's VX-8 is the latest member of the VideoXtreme lineup and sports some crazy features. Try Runco DHD with Vivix, three SuperOnyx DMD's, 2.35:1 CineWide technology, seven primary lens options, three CineWide lens choices, and a couple of CineWide with AutoScope lens choices. Geez! Plus the 1080p/24-compatible VX-8 boasts ConstantContrast contrast correction, CorrectColor, ISFccc calibration, a 2500 hour lamp-life, and a bunch of HDMI ports. Of course any projector with sick features like this that costs $20, 000 is a professional install, so if you're planning a big home theater project with a projector hang on until January 2009. That's when the Runco VX-8 will be available- FOR THE PROS TO INSTALL.
Via Electronic House
We're not the biggest projector fans around here, that is unless the projector has a DivX player aboard. LG's HS102 has exactly that, playing back DivX files stored on an attached USB drive. Other than that the HS102 has lackluster 800 x 600 native resolution, 16:9/4:3 interchangeable aspect ratios, and PhlatLight LED illumination kicking out 2000:1 contrast ratio and 160 ANSI lumens. Sure the DivX playback is pretty cool, but possibly the best feature this mobile projector has is a rechargeable battery that'll work for 2 hours fully charged. Yeah that's right, without electricity. Don't get too excited though, as the LG HS102 is only available in South Korea at the moment for US$555. Damn.
When Sony's BDP-S550 BD-Live Blu-ray player was announced back in February we were bitchin' about prices. At the time it was expected to be released this fall priced at "around $500" and that's where the estimated price point remained. But turns out Sony's decided to cut the price to a relatively reasonable $399.99. Definitely great news.
Right now it's up for pre-order at Amazon for the reduced price with an estimated shipping time between 3 and 5 weeks.
Buy The Sony BDP-S550 From Amazon
The great thing about open-source and more so the programmers that know how to utilize it, is that closed platforms like those of Apple can be worked around to add more functionality. That's what programmer Scott Davilla has done, finding a way to add the open-source content platform Boxee to his Apple TV. Not only does Boxee allow you to control and organize all your multimedia content, once on the Apple TV you'll be able to route content off a local area network or the set-top box's hard drive. In short, you'll be able to playback content not downloaded from Apple.
There is one problem though. The installation process is complicated and I'm not going to even try and explain it here. It definitely requires some techie know-how, and you have to be a member of the Boxee alpha which at the moment requires an invite. But if anyone gets this hack working we'd love to hear about it. Get in touch.
Matsushita, formerly known as the parent company of the Panasonic brand familiar to us, has officially changed its name to Panasonic. In some form or another the company has had the Matsushita name since 1918 so this is just cause for celebration. So, this morning Yoshi Yamada, CEO of Panasonic North America, rang the bell on the New York Stock Exchange and the behemoth 150-inch Panasonic plasma TV first unveiled at CES this year, will get its first public viewing outside the Exchange. Hmm, I wonder if this will have any effect on the company's stock price? By the way, if you're an investor you'll be looking for PC rather than MC from now on!
At CES in January, Comcast announced their Fancast IPTV initiative and while we were a little annoyed that they held its vast selection of movie and television content close to the chest (no embeds), nor could you watch anything in full screen, Fancast is now out of beta and rockin' TV's fall lineup.
A couple of days back Fancast launched Premiere Week, allowing you to watch new episodes of all this year's hot shows from the big networks plus exclusive cable channels such as Showtime. The great thing about this is that if you happen to miss a new episode of your favorite show, whether it be CSI, Bones, or Dexter, you can just head over to Fancast and watch it at your leisure for free.
They also provide a little added interactivity that you don't get watching your HDTV. Several celebrity guest bloggers have been added to mix to spice things up including two-time Dancing With The Stars winner Julianne Hough, Hannah Montana's Cody Linley, and the Goth Couple from last year's Amazing Race.
In some cases you'll even have access to content before it hits the bigscreen. In the case of Californication, the season two premiere was on Fancast for 48 hours before it aired on TV. I know I'm planning on catching up on last year's missed Dexter episodes in a few, in fact I have to check out the season premiere I missed as well. Why don't you join me at Fancast and check it out!
Watch Your Favorite TV Shows At Fancast
By the way, if Fancast has saved your ass from missing a key television episode since its launch and there's a wild and wacky story behind it, tell us about it in the comments. The funniest story will get its teller a pair of free movie tickets from Fandango courtesy of RocketXL.