The folks from PCMag took LG's 47LG90 LED-backlit LCD TV for a test run and were pleasantly surprised. The 47-inch set has an attractive design and a few rare features including both optical and coaxial digital connections and the ability to pass 5.1 Dolby Digital audio from any source to an outside A/V receiver. The only downside to the 47LG90 is the picture presets out of the box are a bit too bright, resulting in the odd artifact. But, the LCD set provides a simple-to-use calibration interface so you should be able to make any adjustments without having a computer engineering degree. The 47-inch LG 47LG90 was the first LED-backlit set to market and sports the best picture LG offers. Of course it's also a little on the expensive side. Amazoncurrently ships it for $2000 with free shipping.
While the RC-25SP Universal Speaker Remote may through design convention out the window, it will make your TV louder. The square remote includes a built-in speaker in its flip-top lid that integrates with your TV's receiver, bringing the beautiful sounds of TV right to you. It may be unusual looking but you can bet your last dollars none of your friends will have one of these. The RC-25SP is available from Japan's ELPA for roughly $40.
The plasma death watch is on. Not only has Pioneer and Vizio cut out of plasma production, but LG's vice president Lee Gyu-hong has apparently stated his company is also considering its future in plasma--or lack thereof. It seems unlikely LG would turn back on a public statement like this, so given it's likely that'll be it for LG plasma's, that leave Panasonic and Hitachi as the only major players left in said market. How much longer do you give the plasma HDTV?
Sony hasn't officially released pricing and availability dates for its 2009 HDTV line unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but HDGuru.com has received information ahead of time. Here's what the site says:
The 2009 Sony L series, all 720p sets ranging between 22- and 37-inches will be priced at $499.99 at the lower end and $799.99 at the higher end. Expect the L series to begin hitting retail shelves at the end of February.
The 2009 S5100 models will range between 32- and 52-inches, all 1080p and very similar to the 2008 S4100 line with the exception of an added USB input. Priced between $799.99 and $1799.99, the S5100 series will be released in late March.
The Sony V5100 line will be available in 40-, 42-, and 46-inch display sizes with 1080p resolution, 120 Hz refresh rate and 50, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. The V5100 line will also be available in late March priced between $1499.99 and $2299.99.
The VE5 green line, with low power consumption, will be available in 40-, 42-, and 46-inch screen sizes and while prices aren't available, the line should be released in early June.
Next up is the 32-inch XBR9, the 2009 update to last years 32-inch XBR6, and will sport a price tag of $1099.99 for similar specs to the S5100 models.
The 2009 W5100 series with the new Bravia Series 3 signal processor will be available in July, with four models ranging between 40- and 65-inches that haven't yet been priced.
The Z5100 series with three models ranging between 40- and 52-inches also boast the Bravia Engine 3 and add 240 Hz refresh rate. While pricing aren't available, the Z5100's will be available in early May.
And last but not least are the 40-, 46-, and 52-inch XBR9 models that update the 2008 XBR6 line. With 240 Hz refresh rate and the Bravia Engine 3 signal processor, the three XBR9's will range in price from $2799.99 and $3699.99 when shipped in late April.
Panasonic has extended upon its CES Viera announcements with the go-ahead for its 2009 United Kingdom line-up. The UK line this year will feature both LCD and plasma sets including the V10, G15, G10 and S10 ranges, as well as the flagship Z1 line.
The extremely thin Z1 plasma sets feature full wireless HD signal transmission, THX certification, DLNA compatibility, plus DivX playback. The V10 line, which includes both LCD and plasma displays, sports a dynamic contrast ratio of 2, 000, 000:1 in its top-end plasma set, while the G15 line has Viera Cast internet TV, DLNA and Viera Link. The G15 line also features both LCD and plasma sets.
While prices and availability haven't been officially announced, the 2009 Panasonic Viera's should be available in the United Kingdom soon. All of the UK releases will have region-specific features including a built-in Freesat tuner.
Not sure about forking out mad cash for a Harmony 1100 remote AND an RF add-on so it crashes through walls? Here's an even more expensive solution that'll work with your existing remotes. The Gefen Wireless HDMI Extender works over ultra wideband sending up to three HD sources to one location--like your HDTV--without the clutter of HDMI cables or other wires. The extender can transmit 1080p video 30 feet within your line of sight, and while it will penetrate walls, don't count on a 30 foot range. Also doubling as an HD video switcher, the Gefen extender sports 2 HDMI and 1 component input, all user-selectable. The one major downside? Try the $999.00 price tag. But at least you won't have to buy a new remote if it's any consolation.
Sony Japan's GXD-L65H1 65-inch LCD TV might not be the most economically display around, but it'll definitely take a beating. The display boasts an IP54 protection rating rendering impenetrable by the likes of dust and water. Might be a good choice for homes with young kids, or tree-lovin' hippies that live 50 feet in the air, but with an American equivalent price tag of $19300 it might just be better to grab a screen protector!
There are quite a few movie download services these days that allow HD movies to be rented. But none offer Vudu's HDX video format, and none offer HD movie purchases. Yep, that's right. Vudu has announced that a limited number of HD titles will be available for purchase, instantly over the set-top box. The initial rollout will consist of 50 titles from Firstlook, Magnolia and Kino, and Vudu hopes to get the major Hollywood studios on board in the future. Of course, you'll still be able to rent and if you're willing to wait for a longer download you can still purchase movies in the much greater HDX format.
Future internet-connected TV's, set-top boxes and Blu-ray players using Broadcom chips will feature Chumby widgets in the future. What's a Chumby you say? If you're a pure gadget geek you'd know what a Chumby is--basically a cross between a digital picture frame and alarm clock radio. Definitely not a mainstream device. But with this new deal, Chumby's 1000-odd content widgets including CBS, The New York Times, Pandora and The Weather Channel, will definitely bring Chumby a bigger user base. And the best part? If you can't find a widget you want, you can create your own.
Epson has announced its PowerLite G5000 installation projector is available for purchase today. The 3LCD projector is built for easy installation and portability so it can be quickly set up for educational and boardroom use. Features include XGA resolution, 4000 lumens of white light output, 4000 lumens of color light output, flexible lens position with vertical/horizontal lens shift and 1.8x wider zoom standard lens, closed captioning, Quick Corner image corner manipulation, 30-degree tilt, a 1000:1 contrast ratio, and RJ-45 network connectivity. The Epson PowerLite G5000 is available now for $2499 or buy from Amazonand save $100!
You have to admit the Philips Cinema 21:9 Dream HDTV is something that anyone would lust after. But with a just announced 4000 euro price tag, it may have just become a little less desirable. Yep, the 21:9 cost the American equivalent of $5135 rendering it to just a dream after all. In fact, all the way to June 2009 when Philips says the 56-inch Dream will officially see the light of day.
There is no doubt in our minds that while Netflix is powerful now, it must get the video streaming aspect down pat in order for continued success in an era of internet-connected high-def televisions. According to Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings, that is exactly what Netflix is doing, and could offer streaming-only subscriptions late this year or in early 2010. We look forward to it.
This, my friends, is what happens when the government delays the DTV transition, some stations go ahead with it anyway and a 70 year old man loses his cable while drunk. Yep, a senior man in Missouri, drunk, ticked off about the fuzz on his old TV and his inability to set up his converter box, pulled a gun on the innocent analog set and blew it away. The old hog--meaning the man rather than the TV--was arrested and charged with unlawful use of a firearm.
If you think Honeywell's 300-odd-pound 82-inch monster TV is enough to cave your floor in, the addition of JBL's K2 S9900 floor-standing speakers will turn that hunch into a guarantee. The 3-way behemoths weigh in at 180 pounds a piece thanks to an attractive mahogany casing and have a frequency response of 33 Hz to 50 Hz. The speakers have a heavy price tag too. Try $44650 a pair.
The folks at CNET have put the new Logitech Harmony 1100 remote through the ringer this time around and true to the Harmony name it's a winner. The successor to the Harmony 1000, the new guy on the block is quicker, more responsive, and capable of controlling up to 15 devices via its high resolution 3.5-inch touch screen. The docking station for charging is a big plus as is compatible with both Windows and Mac computers for software setup. Which is, of course, also a breeze. While it's a great remote overall, the Harmony 1100 does have its niggles. Among them its price tag--between $400 and $500 depending where you get it--and its lack of functionality in more than one room without a separately purchase RF module. But if you have the cash to put together a 6-figure home theater, the Harmony 1100 could be for you.
Philips revealed today that it's adding Net TV to its 8000, 9000 and Cinema 21:9 high-end HDTV lines. Net TV connects viewers to the internet right from the TV screen. Navigation is accomplished using the remote and certain partner websites will be optimized for the respective display. Some of those partners include TomTom, YouTube, eBay, MeteoGroup, Funspot, MyAlbum and Netlog, all of which will have a simplified layout and larger text that can be seen from a distance. The internet in general will still be accessible through Net TV, but you'll likely find many sites that don't format probably to the TV screen.
The Philips 8000 series will require a wired connection to use Net TV, but the 9000 series and Cinema 21:9 lines will both be able to connect to a wireless router over Wi-Fi. The company says the service will launch in April and over time more formatted content will be added including location-specific channels for non-English speakers.
Holy smokes! When most of the big name HDTV makers are cutting back production and in some cases leaving the TV market altogether, two companies have announced intentions to move INTO the United States.
Honeywell has tapped Taiwan's Soyo to make, market and sell Honeywell-branded LCD TV's running from 19 to 82 inches. Did you get that? 82 INCHES! Yep, Honeywell will have four separate lines--which we partially heard about in January--the top-end of which is the Altura LE series. The LE series will include 47-, 57-, 65-, 70-, and 82-inch LCD TV's, all with 1080p resolution, a 120 Hz refresh rate, a 178 degree viewing angle, a trio of HDMI inputs, picture-in-picture, SRS audio and a glossy black finish. The 82-inch features a 120, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and weighs a massive 303 pounds. Honeywell will begin shipping the new lines soon in all the usual places.
Meanwhile, GE and Taiwan's Tatung have created a joint venture called General Displays and Technologies and will begin shipping GDT HDTV's this April.
Despite a tough 4th quarter in 2008 for most retailer, flat panel maker Vizio did just fine. A recent report by iSuppli revealed that the company shipped its most HDTV's in one quarter ever, and increased its year-over-year sales by 15%. The growth placed Vizio as the number two bestselling HDTV brand in the United States, with its overall growth being the fastest of every manufacturer. While the study didn't specify LCD versus plasma shipments, Vizio's choice to cut its plasma production for good recently indicates that LCD sales accounted for the majority.
Sony has announced a whole bunch of new Bravia models for Europe including the W5500 series, E5500 series, E5300 series, V5500 series and S5500 series.
The W5500 series includes 5 models ranging from 32- to 52-inches with a Line design concept and piano black finish. Powered by Sony's Bravia Engine 3, the W5500 series features Live Color, DLNA, AppliCast and an integrated MPEG 4 AVC HD tuner.
Sony E5500 series features 32- and 40-inch Bravia LCD's available in black, aluminum and walnut finishes. Powered by the Bravia Engine 3, the E5500 series sports features similar to the W5500 with the addition of a USB media player.
On to the E5300 series with includes a single 22-inch Bravia in black or white color options, and featuring 4 HDMI inputs allowing for an excellent bedroom home theater experience.
The V5500 series has 5 model ranging in size from 32- to 52-inches and has features akin to the W5500 albeit with a different design.
Finally, the S5500 series includes 4 models ranging from 22- to 40-inches. The two smaller models feature 720p resolution, while the larger 37- and 40-inch Bravia's option for full 1080p.
It's true! Over in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress, French news service France 24 was promoting its new iPhone application with TV jackets. Models made their ways around the conference floor with 4 x 4 x 2 inch rear-mounted TV's in their coats, powered by circuitry that could pick up local live streams and show it on the jacket display. Unfortunately this won't be hitting shelves anytime soon.
Sony has announced what it claims is the "greenest ever TV range" in the form of a Bravia WE5 Eco TV. Built in 40- and 46-inch LCD display sizes, the WE5 uses micro-tubular HCFL backlighting to cut power consumption by more than 50% compared to its 2008 models. Other "eco" features include a Smart Presence Sensor that automatically turns off the TV when not being watched, an Energy Saving Switch that reduces power consumption to zero, and even an Eco setting menu. Furthermore, the WE5 utilizes Sony's new Bravia Engine 3 and Motionflow 100 Hz technology with Image Blur Reduction to keep the picture clear and smooth.
Now that President Obama has signed the bill delaying the digital TV transition until June 12, everybody is sitting back, once again waiting to get their old analog beaters into working shape. But if that's you, you still have to worry. Many stations are saying screw it and going ahead and shutting of their analog signals anyway. The FCC has put together a full list of us to look at, so if your TV set has rabbit ears and suddenly your picture goes fuzzy come the 17th, you may want to hit the read link.
I don't know if you've ever tried watching standard YouTube videos on a big screen, but it's bad. Now that the Google-owned video platform has enabled HD videos, LG has gone ahead and released the promised YouTube streaming update to its BD300 Blu-ray player. Enjoy!
Bye, bye, KURO. Pioneer has confirmed it's exiting the television business as of March 2010 to focus on car electronics. Unfortunately that means that not only are we losing the best plasma TV's in the world, but 10, 000 Pioneer employees will lose their jobs. Just yesterday Vizio announced it would kill off its plasma production to focus solely on LCD TV's.
In another deathblow to the plasma HDTV industry, Vizio has pulled out of the plasma business and will focus solely on LCD TV's going forward. A Vizio spokesperson said in speaking to the New York Times that plasma sets don't show as well in big-box retailers which typically use very bright lighting and it wanted to use its shelf space to stock the products that sell the fastest, or in other words, LCD TV's. Just days ago we heard that Pioneer, maker of the world's finest plasma TV's, would be pulling out of the TV business altogether.
The folks over at EngadgetHD have confirmed via a Mitsubishi rep that the company has temporarily suspended production of the LaserVue HDTV. Citing a "problem with manufacturing equipment used to produce" the laser-based set, Mitsubishi says it is "taking the necessary action to ensure that the company resumes production as quickly as possible" and expects to resume production early in the year. Let's just hope all those LaserVue's shipped so far don't end up displaying a fatal fault somewhere down the line!
LG has launched its Xcanvas LH30FD LCD HDTV series in Korea today. The alter-ego to the bobos plasma line, the LH30FD comes in 32-, 42-, and 47-inch screen sizes and offers a host of environmentally-friendly power-saving options. Its 4 eco-modes cut energy consumption up to 70% compared to other LCD TV's, according to LG, and while we don't know much about the exact specs, the line features Cinema Color which boosts color and contrast, an ambient light sensor and LED-backlighting. The three new LH30FD's priced from smallest to largest cost 1,120,000 won ($870), 1,650,000 won ($1,196), and 2,400,000 won ($1741) respectively.
Panasonic has always taken 3D seriously, but by next year it expects to bring "3D Full HD" to Blu-ray. It'll be helped along by its own 3D authoring lab opened today at the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory in California. Dubbed 3D FHD, Panasonic seems to be hinting that the format or whatever you'd like to call it will be an official 3D standard. And if that's the case, I can't wait until 2010 to see what kind of products roll out to accompany it.
Now this is a deal! CompUSA is selling the 52-inch Vizio VX52LF for only $999.99! It is refurbished and only has a 90 day warranty, but in a time of economic despair, why not take the chance and save $1000. The VX52LF is a 1080p set with a trio of HDMI slot, a pair of component inputs, and a universal remote. Not bad!
Rumor has it that Pioneer may be exiting the TV business. Producer of arguably the world's best plasma high-def TV's, Pioneer has been evaluating and restructuring its business since last spring, and with the economy in turmoil, the company is undoubtedly having trouble moving its plasma inventory. At the beginning of 2008 I thought plasma was in trouble as more manufacturers and consumers were moving to cheaper LCD's. If Pioneer leaves, the plasma market will belong to Samsung and Panasonic, and maybe, just maybe, 2009 will be the year plasma dies.
In 2008, LED-backlit LCD TV's were just starting to hit the mainstream, but only among high-end manufacturers. 2009 is a little different, with lesser known names getting into the game...and pumping out products with devastatingly high quality specs. SIM2's Solar Series LED-backlit LCD TV is one of these products. It's 47-inch set is the first to use Dolby Vision to control its 2200 LED's which only light up behind darker parts of the picture. With its high dynamic range technology, the Solar Series' contrast ratio hits 1, 000, 000:1 and its 16-bit video processing doesn't really compare to any other LCD TV on the market. And did I mention it's damn bright? It is, peaking out at 4000 cd/m2. Unfortunately, unless you want a very pricey professional model, don't expect to get a SIM2 in your living room anytime soon. The company won't be releasing a consumer model until CEDIA this fall.
I'm absolutely sure that anyone who has used a Logitech Harmony remote in the past will likely put up the $500 for the now-shipping Harmony 1100. Why? Because if you have a home theater that uses five remotes or any other part of your home automated, everything--and I mean everything--can be synced to the Harmony 1100. Sporting a 3.5-inch color touchscreen display, the Harmony 1100 can take the place of up to 15 remotes, whether it be for TV, Blu-ray, or DVD player. It's compatible with something like 225000 devices so it's unlikely you'll get your hands on anything it doesn't work with. Additionally, it comes with a charger stand which you slip the remote in to recharge its battery and for an extra $100, you can get an RF extender that'll allow you to use the remote through walls, doors and so on.
All 13 Panasonic Viera plasma and LCD TV's debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show now have release dates and prices...for the Japanese market. We'll have to wait this side of the pond, but at least we know they're coming. All five G1 Viera's, the 32 and 37 inch LCD's, and 42 to 50 inch plasma's will launch March 1 along with the 42 to 50 inch V1 plasmas. The 32 and 37 inch V1 LCD's will pop April 15 and the entire Z1 series will launch April 20. Hit the read link for pricing info...in Yen of course.
Likely we won't see the Panasonic Viera WirelessHD Z1 series hit American shores until summer at the earliest, but folks in Japan have a much earlier April 20 release date to look forward too. The 46-, 50-, and 54-inch plasma displays have a digital tuner separately housed from the display, enabling the sets to be under 1-inch thick. Sans wires, they're super simple to mount pretty well anywhere and with 1080p resolution, 40000:1 contrast, VieraCast, DLNA support and a mess of other features, the WirelessHD Z1 series is sure to be a popular choice in 2009. From 46 to 54 inches, the Z1 series is tagged at 550, 000 yen ($6,156), 600, 000 yen ($6,715), and 700, 000 yen ($7,835) respectively.
The digital TV transition is being delayed until June 12. In a 264-158 vote, the House of Representatives voted to approve a four month delay in order to allow all Americans to get up to speed, and prepared for the loss of analog TV signals. President Obama has promised to sign the legislation which passed through Senate last week.
While TV broadcasters will be forced by law to continue broadcasting analog signals until June 12, stations can seek federal approval to switch to digital before that. In a nutshell, this means that TV stations will likely be shutting off their analog signals in a staggered fashion between February and June, causing even more confusion for everyone.
Also, because not all people who've purchased converter boxes have a model with analog pass-through, broadcasters with both analog and digital signals will cause a hassle for viewers. Some channels will require the converter box, others won't.
Lucky for anyone who's still confused, we've put together an digital TV transition guide to move you through the entire preparation process without a hitch.
And now for futuristic speakers. Fujitsu Ten has announced a pair of uniquely designed speakers also uniquely named, the TD712zMK2 and the TD712zMK2-S. Both feature the same sound specs including 35Hz-26kHz (-10dB) frequency response, 84dB sensitivity, 35W to 70W output and 6Ω impedance. The 12 cm speakers only differ in size with the MK2 measuring 347 × 989 × 431mm and the MK2-S 347 × 601 × 431mm. My mistake, the two speakers also differ in price. The MK2 and MK2-S cost the equivalent of $3600 and $3900 respectively, but there is no info yet regarding whether the space age speakers will ever leave Nippon.
Sony's AQUOS D series is getting an update with a trio of new models, sized 20-, 26-, and 32-inches. The 720p models will feature 450 cd/m2 lumens of brightness, analog/digital TV tuner, ambient light sensing, and contrast ratios of 1500:1 for the two smaller models and 3000:1 for the 32-incher. Sony is also doing its part to save the Earth, claiming that the new D AQUOS' use 50% less energy than comparable LCD TV's. Set for launch in Japan February 20, the three models from smallest to largest will cost the equivalent of $1000, $1200, and $1500.