March 31, 2009
Samsung has announced official pricing and availability of its 2009 home theater and HDTV products today. So here goes:
Samsung 2009 LED HDTV's
The 32-inch model will launch in June, while all other 6000 series models should now be available.
The 46- and 55-inch models should now be available, while the 40-inch model will arrive in April.
Both sets will be available in May.
Samsung 2009 Blu-ray Players
Samsung BD-P1600: $299.99, available now
Samsung BD-P3600: $399.99, available now
Samsung BD-P4600: $499.99, available in April
Samsung 2009 Blu-ray home theater systems
Samsung HT-BD1250: $549, available now
Samsung HT-BD7200: $799, available in June
Samsung HT-BD8200 with HT-WS1 sound bar: $799.99 + $349.99, available in July and April, respectively
Samsung has also added a new home theater to its spring 2009 line. The HT-AS730 sports 5.1 channels pumping out a total of 650 Watts. It can also be upgraded to 7.1 channels by separately purchased speakers. It supports full 1080p video and has onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio sound. Available next month, the Samsung HT-AS730 home theater will ship in April.
Furthermore, Samsung earth-friendly Series 6 650 and Series 7 750 LCD HDTV's are available today.
Read--Blu-ray home theater systems
Read--Blu-ray home theater and sound bar
March 31, 2009
Sony has announced it'll be dropping the price of a Playstation 2 to $99.99 starting April 1. That should definitely get the PS3 predecessor flying off shelves everywhere. Compared to the PS3's $400 price tag, buying a PS2 now is likely buying a 2 x 4 instead of a new house. In today's economy at least. Unfortunately for those that were hoping for a PS3 price cut, an official statement from Al De Leon, PR Manager for Sony Computer Entertainment America, confirms such thinking is nothing more than a pipedream. "As we have stated previously, we do not have plans for a PS3 price drop, and any rumors to that effect are false and are the result of speculation," De Leon said. "SCEA remains focused on the long-term momentum of PS3. With the industry's best software lineup this year, combined with our most aggressive marketing campaign to date, we remain confident in our approach and the value we're delivering with PS3."
Okay, but the only problem with Sony's strategy here is that for the next few quarters, the PS2 and not the PS3 will be the world's number one selling game console.
March 30, 2009
CNET has taken the screws to the Panasonic DMP-BD60 Blu-ray player, one of its 2009 releases announced at CES, and once it was all said and done the player was found to "offer excellent image quality and reliable Blu-ray playback." On the upside, the DMP-BD60 sport compliancy with Profile 2.0, onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, access to Picasa photos and Youtube video, as well as Amazon On Demand access this May. On the downside, the DMP-BD60 doesn't have some of high-end features--Wi-Fi, Netflix video streaming, built-in memory--of newer competing Blu-ray players. Whatever your final decision may be, the Panasonic DMP-BD60 is
available at Amazon for $263.
March 30, 2009
Netflix claims it has increased its Blu-ray catalog to include 1300 titles, but given the expensive price of Blu-ray discs apparently feels justified in jacking up its prices. In a post on its blog today, Netflix says it'll be increasing its prices on April 27, from its 2-disc per month plan all the way up to its 8-disc at a time unlimited plan. The 2-disc plan will increase from $4.99 to $5.99, gradually increasing to a $9 price jack on its 8-disc plan to $56.99. Personally I don't see this as a big deal. Sure, a $1 increase on a $5 initial price is a fairly large 20% increase. But the wallet damage is marginal for most of us. As Netflix says though, "if you don't want to pay the additional charge for monthly access to Blu-ray, simply remove Blu-ray access from your account before April 27, 2009."
March 27, 2009
Hitachi has announced the CP-X2010, its newest 3LCD project targeted at the educational market. Features include 1024 x 768 resolution, 500:1 contrast ration, 2200 lumens of brightness, and 16W of sound through its built-in speakers. The lamp has a regular mode rated for 3000 hours of use, while its Eco mode extends the lamp life to 5000 hours. Inside is a hybrid maintenance filter that lasts almost as long as the lamp, rated for 4000 hours. The CP-X2010 also has a Whisper mode that keeps the fan noise to a maximum of 29 dB, and closed captioning is included for the hearing-impaired. I really like the My Buttons features which allows users to create shortcuts to any of the projector's functions by combining buttons and pressing them simultaneously. The Transition Detector provides security in a public environment, requiring a password to operate the projector if it is moved. There's also a security bar that can be used to simply chain the CP-X2010 down. High resolution isn't supported by the CP-X2010 so there isn't an HDMI port. Instead component, composite and S-video slots are supplied. Hitachi still hasn't announced pricing or availability.
Prices of Samsung's 2009 LCD and plasma HDTV lines have leaked ahead of an official announcement courtesy of the usually reliable HD Guru. The 3 Series sets, measuring between 19 and 32 inches are expected to price between $300 and $550. The 4 Series, ranging between 22 and 32 inches will price between $400 and $650, while the 32 to 52 inch 5 Series will range in price between $800 and $1800.
Things tend to get pricey from here with the 6 Series, measuring from 19 inches all the way up to 55 inches, priced between $350 and $3000. The top-of-the-line 6000, 7000 and 8000 families are even more expensive. The Samsung 6000 line will price at $1300 for the 32 inch model and increase to $3600 for the 55 inch model. With the 7000 line, you'll pay $2500 for the 40 inch model while the 55 inch set will set you back $3800. The 8000 family features a 46 inch LCD TV for $3300 and 55 inch set for $4000.
If you're looking for a plasma, the 42 and 50 inch Series 4 TV's will run between $800 and $1200, while the 50-, 58-, and 63 inch Series 5 models are tagged at $1800, $2700, and $3500. Wrapping up with the 58 inch Series 6 plasma, Samsung has priced that model at $2900.
March 26, 2009
Finally, after what seems like an eternity after the first consumer-ready OLED TV, the Sony XEL-1, launched, Australia has finally got it. Well almost. Expected to launch in mid-April, the Sony XEL-1 with its 11-inch OLED display, 1, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, 960 x 540 pixel resolution, and a thinnest point of 3 millimeters, is said to be priced AU$6000 and AU$8000. I think it's fair to say it won't be competing on price, but then again it's the only OLED TV out there, so what the hey.
Mitsubishi's LaserVue TV's are back in production after featuring a setback last month. In early February the company said it had halted production of the high-end laser HDTV's citing a "problem with manufacturing equipment." Of course, this had nothing to do with the global economic collapse or anything given the near $7000 price tag. But hey, we're not complaining. The supply chain is running smoothly and the LaserVue should be back on store shelves soon.
March 25, 2009
Carl Zeiss, best known as being the brand behind all kinds of camera lenses, is set to launch the Cinemizer Plus video glasses, the first to bear the "Works with iPhone" insignia. The glasses, which will also work with video-capable iPods simply hook up to your iDevice, and playback video equivalent to watching a 45-inch display from 6 feet away.
The Cinemizer Plus uses a pair of LCD displays with individual diopter focus adjustment so they can be adapted for your eyesight. The video glasses also have a built-in battery that lasts for four hours so you don't have to worry about draining your iPhone's battery.
Set to ship in May, the Cinemizer Plus will cost the equivalent of US$449 and will be available in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
I've long thought that Blockbuster would eventually go under, but luckily it was granted a temporary reprieve last week when it was granted an credit extension until September 2010. Given this extension was granted by its two largest lenders means a least a few shot-callers have some confidence in the business, but I'm still not sure. But if the partnership with TiVo, announced this morning, is the first in a long line of moves to revamp its business model them maybe, just maybe, Blockbuster will have a chance.
The once-popular video rental service has signed an agreement with TiVo to deliver its digital movie library directly to the television sets of TiVo owners with a broadband connection. No money will exchange hands in this part of the deal, but Blockbuster says it will sell TiVo's in most of its 4000 US stores for which it'll grab a cut of sales revenue. Unfortunately though, only 800, 000 TiVo owners have a broadband connection to their TV's, limiting the reach of the Blockbuster on Demand content through this partnership. And the company says both it and TiVo will market the heck out of it which will likely cost a fair chunk of change. We'll have to see what happens, but I'm not convinced yet that Blockbuster can turn things around.
March 24, 2009
Pioneer has announced its final four Kuro plasma TV's ever today, along with an exit strategy that will include ongoing customer support. The KRP-500A and KRP-600A, 50- and 60-inches respectively both feature 1080p resolution and external tuners, while the same-sized KRP-500M and KRP-600M keep the tuner inside the frame and offer identical features. Pioneer didn't disclose contrast ratios, though I'm sure they're ample, but all four models include deep color support, four HDMI inputs, USB, component, and VGA slots. The final four will ship April 1 with open pricing in Japan, but I'm guessing they won't be available anywhere else.
As part of its previously announced exit strategy, Pioneer will cease TV manufacturing in May and clear out its remaining stock after that. However the company said it will continue to provide customer support and repairs for 8 years and continue to offer replacement parts as long as supplies last.
When Sony launched its WE5 Eco TV range last month, one of the differentiating features was the Presence Sensor. A motion sensor, Presence Sensor basically detects when you're sleeping or have left the room and shuts the television off. Sony claims that this feature alone can reduce energy consumption by up to 50 percent. I'm inclined to believe this. As a person who rarely watchesTV unless I'm going to sleep, most of my TV-watching time is spent unconscious.
Now it appears that future Sony lines will have incorporate the Presence Sensor in order to become a little bit more "greener". In a conversation with Register Hardware, Sony UK's Senior Product Manager for TV's, Christian Brown, said, "I would hope it [Presence Sensor] will become a standard feature, otherwise it wouldn't have been put on there."
Eco lines are becoming tremendously popular among big-name HDTV manufacturers. Let us hope for our sake--meaning all of humanity--it continues to catch on.
March 23, 2009
Sharp Japan has released details about the upcoming release of its AQUOS A-series LCD HDTVs. Composed of a trio of new models including the 40-inch LC-40AE6, 46-inch LC-46AE6 and the 52-inch LC-52AE6, all three sets include a number of features in common. Included is 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, 120 Hz refresh rate, 15000:1 contrast ratio, 450 cd/m2 brightness, 3 HDMI inputs, a pair of D4 ports, 3 composite inputs, and an S-video port. Also included into each set is a digital and terrestrial tuner, VGA and optical audio inputs, and a monitor output.
Sharp claims the eco-friendly HDTVs are remarkably energy efficient compared to previous models. The 52-inch model uses 175 kW/h annually, while the 40- and 46-inch models use 145 kW/h and 120 kW/h per year, respectively.
The smallest 40-inch model will ship in Japan on April 10 for the equivalent of $2070, while the 46- and 52-inch models will ship May 15 in Japan for $2690 and $4030.
Epoq has announced the HH07 pico projector, a rebranded version of the Beambox Evolution R-1 launched in the UK last week. The pocket-sized projector has dimensions of 100 x 59 x 28 millimeters and weighs an airy 175 grams. Despite its miniature frame it packs in 640 x 480 pixel resolution, 30 lumens of brightness, 100:1 contrast ratio, a 30 to 50 inch display size, and both a built-in MP4 player and SD card slot. Available now the Epoq HH07 costs $339.95.
March 22, 2009
Amazon is hot on the heels of iTunes, apparently set to begin selling HD video downloads via Amazon Video On Demand in the next few days. NewTeeVee's Janko Roettgers did a few Google searches for Amazon VOD yesterday which mysteriously revealed an HD version of the TV show House, though a clickthrough brought him back to the download platform's homepage. So, it appears the Google spider managed to index some HD content that Amazon hasn't announced yet. The pricing for the expected HD downloads are pretty similar to iTunes. $2.99 for HD episodes and up to $53 for a complete season, which, if true, will undercut iTunes by a few bucks. Full seasons on iTunes cost $59 which in my honest opinion is a little too much considering a Blu-ray season package will cost you less in some cases.
March 21, 2009
Let's face it. Not all of us can afford those fancy motorized home theater systems with the disappearing speakers. But most home theater hardcores don't want big speaker clutter, or the less wattage of the typical soundbar either. Sony's RHT-G HDTV stands try to remedy this by having multi-channel audio systems built right in. The RHT-G550 is made specifically for 32 to 40 inch sets offering 3.1 channels and 330 watts of power, the RHT-G950 is built for 40 to 46 inch sets, and the RHT-G1550 is built for 46 to 55 inch displays. The latter two stands pack in 5.1 channels, while all three have a trio of HDMI inputs as well as a digital media port for an iPod or other portable gadget. Sony hasn't alluded to when the speaker stands will be released or how much they'll cost, but the current RHT-G800 costs roughly $600 online with its own multi-channel speaker set.
Marantz looks to be jumping on the universal Blu-ray bandwagon with plans for a UD9004 built upon their SA-7S1 SACD-CD reference design. The UD9004 will be BD Live-ready with Hyper Dynamic Amplifier Module (HDAM) technology, dual-SHARC HD audio processing, a 10-bit Silicon Optix Realta chipset, 36-bit color / 297MHz/14-bit Video DAC and has a SD card slot. Full HD audio support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio codecs is also built-in. Being Marantz and all, expect to pay a pretty pile of green paper for UD9004, though the company hasn't announced an official price tag or release date yet.
March 19, 2009
iTunes fans will be happy to know that movie titles are now available to buy and rent in HD, according to today's Apple announcement. Quantum of Solace and Twilight are the first box office hits available, though the purchase price is a fairly steep $19.99. HD rentals will be available about 30 days after each title is available for purchase for a more respectable $4.99. Select older titles are available for purchase today, while Twilight will launch March 21 and Quantum of Solace March 24. Just remember when Apple says HD, the company means 720p. And if you want to watch the movies on your bigscreen you'll need an Apple TV as well. As for myself, I'd prefer Vudu.
While the plasma industry now seems to be in the death throes, roughly a year after I predicted it would, Bang & Olufsen seem to be staring death in the face. Not only is the company releasing a new plasma HDTV, but an 1100 pound, 103-inch monster.
Announced today, the BeoVision 4-103 includes a motorized stand that can be used to adjust the viewing angle and rotate the display. The stand itself conceals a motorized center channel speaker which can move up and down in order to be concealed when the set isn't in use. All of these functions can be accomplished using the BeoVision's included remote control. The 103-inch plasma panel is actually made by Panasonic, one of the few big names left in the plasma world, and one which has launched its fair share of giant plasma sets as well. Other B & O technologies inherent in the set include the BeoSystem 3 Stage Manager and VisionColor, used to automatically adjust the brightness and color levels every 120 hours.
Available for pre-order now, and shipping this July in Europe, the BeoVision 4-103 boasts an uneconomical price tag of $137000. However--not that this makes it any more affordable--the package includes the BeoSound 5 home theater system, which alone normally costs $5377.
March 17, 2009
Onkyo has spilled the beans on a pair of entry-level home theater systems for 2009--the HT-S3200 and the HT-S5200.
The more minimal of the two systems is the HT-S3200, a 5.1-channel system that cranks 110 Watts out of each speaker. The two-way front and center speakers each have a 3.25 inch woofer and 0.75 inch tweeter, while the smaller rear speakers each settle for a 3.25 inch woofer. The 110 Watt subwoofer has an 8 inch driver. The receiver features Audyssey Dynamic Volume and Audyssey Dynamic EQ, 3 HDMI inputs, 2 component video inputs, two optical inputs, and a single coaxial. Available in black only, the Onkyo HT-S3200 lists at $380.
One rung up the ladder is the Onkyo HT-S5200. This HTIB features 7.1-channels, each with 130 Watts of power. The two-way front speakers each have a 5 inch woofer and 1 inch tweeter; the three-way center channel has a pair of 3.25 inch woofers and a 1 inch tweeter; the smaller rear speakers each have a 3.25 inch woofer; and the 290 Watt subwoofer has a 10 inch driver. The AV receiver opts for four HDMI inputs, Audyssey 2EQ automatic speaker calibration, a minijack MP3 connection, 2 optical and 2 coaxial audio, Sirius satellite radio-ready and compatible with the included UP-A1L iPod dock. Available in black and silver color options, the Onkyo HT-S5200 is a bit more expensive with a list price of $600.
Bang & Olufsen have rolled out a new 40-inch version of its BeoVision 8 LCD HDTV. The 1080p set has the traditionally elegant look known to B & O products with a black and silver cabinet finish, complemented by a down-facing bass speaker and two front units. Specs include a 100 Hz refresh rate, 3000:1 contrast ratio, 500cd/m2 brightness, a 6 millisecond response time, and a 246 Watt power consumption when running. While Bang & Olufsen haven't specified a precise price tag, the company says that it's "attractive". Whatever that mean.
March 16, 2009
Vudu has remained determined to turn its set-top box into a platform to be envied. The company's latest move, still unofficial and mistakenly announced by Crave this morning, is the addition of Pandora internet radio to the Vudu box. The third-party application supports multiple Pandora accounts enabling family members to have their own Pandora playlists. Users can also create custom stations and change their account dynamically from the remote. The Pandora addition comes courtesy of Vudu's Rich Internet Application (RIA) platform which is expected to open to outside developers soon. This will enable anyone to add third-party apps to the Vudu box, turning it into an awesome repository of free internet content. Moreover, Vudu is expected to soon launch "Home Movies". The feature acts as a media extender, siphoning your PC-based media straight to your HDTV.
Sony, under pressure from game developers to lower its price in order to catch up to the user numbers seen by Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360, could cut its price by $50 to $100 this month or next. That's the forecast from Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey who says that without a price cut, game publishers will start putting more development funds toward the Wii.
However Sony is denying planned price cuts. Peter Dille, senior vice president of marketing for Sony Computer Entertainment of America, told Bloomberg that Sony has no immediate plans to reduce prices. "Everybody in the development community would love for the PS3 to be free, so they could just sell razor blades," says Dille.
It's tough to say what Sony will do. The company has always insisted that it's concerned with profitability over massive sales with thin profit margins. Some game developers also believe that reduced pricing wouldn't necessarily be a good thing, as popular PS3 titles often bring a ton of money for game publishers.
March 13, 2009
Toshiba has slated an August release for its Regza SV LCD HDTV series in the UK. Available in 46- and 55-inch screen sizes, the SV series includes an impressive list of features. Included is Toshiba's MetaBrain engine, Resolution+ technology, 10-but Active Vision M200HD picture processing, 2, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, DLNA support, a variety of connections including 4 HDMI and plenty more. Toshiba hasn't made mention of prices yet.
Remember that annoying but fascinating Disney character dubbed Stitch of Lilo & Stitch movie fame? If you don't, your kids likely know exactly who Stitch is, making the new 20-inch Stitch TV perfect for your young one's bedroom. The kinda' baby-blue LCD TV has Stitch crawling up its backside and he even has a moving jaw with the TV controls inside. Its 20-inch display packs in 1680 x 1050 pixels, complemented by a single HDMI port and support for B-CAS Japanese digital TV. Oh right, the caveat. Looks like the Stitch TV will only be sold in Japan for a ridiculously expensive 100000 yen or roughly US$1015. Better off picking up the Blu-ray disc by the looks of it.
March 12, 2009
The HD Guru has always been high on our list of credible sources for HDTV-related info leaks, and he just moved up another rung on the credibility ladder with the official Panasonic HDTV price information being released yesterday. His information and the official press release match up quite nicely, even including the widely priced $5999 Z1.
Panasonic has also released prices for its trio of 2009 Viera Cast Blu-ray players. All three have access to tons on online video content including Amazon video-on-demand, Youtube, weather channels and more. The energy-efficient DMP-BD60 will set you back $299, while the DMP-BD80 with 7.1 analog outputs will cost $399. The DMP-BD70V also costs $399, but strangely swaps out the analog ports for a built-in VHS player! All three Blu-ray players will ship in April.
In the very near future, Sony Bravia TV's may tell you what you should be watching. According to the UK's Pocket-lint, Sony will be drawing on Macrovision's massive consumer database to provide content recommendations from your Sony TV. The stealth project, codenamed Neon, will require you to answer a series of questions when you turn on the Bravia. From your answers, the set will be able to tell who you are, sift through your viewing history and provide suggestions. It'll also be 'smart' enough to adjust itself if, for example, your young child decides to join in your viewing pleasure.
Neon will also be able to pull content from other devices connected to your television such as a PS3 which could mean Bravia's released later this year have a unified PS3 interface. Adding in a social networking component, Neon could also provide recommendations to you based on what your friends are watching, though it's not known how the Macrovision software learns who your friends are.
Neon is expected near the end of 2009, included with an as-of-yet unannounced Bravia line.
March 10, 2009
SunBriteTV has introduced the 3230HD 32-inch LCD TV, its latest addition to the all-weather outdoor LCD TV line it markets. The 3230HD uses an outdoor-rated ASA plastic resin to fortify its exterior to the elements, keeping its 720p display, 1500:1 contrast ratio, filter dual flow air control system, and various inputs and outputs dry and functioning. In terms of connections, the 3230HD includes 2 HDMI ports, a component video slot, VGA, S-video and composite slots, and both RF and IR compatibility. The package also includes a waterproof remote control and removable stand. And what will you pay for the airtight TV that will enable you to watch TV in the rain and snow? Try $2595, SunBrite's new entry-level price tag. Ouch.
Sorry folks, but Sanyo's PDG-DHT100L DLP projector is definitely not for the living room...unless you have an unusually large house. This one's better suited for massive outdoor screens with its dual 330W HP bulbs, 6500 lumens of brightness and a twin color wheel system. Compatible with screen sizes up to 600 inches, the PDG-DHT100L features a sealed optical engine, Active Maintenance Filter, and 1080p resolution. Don't have space for wires? That's fine too. The Sanyo DLP can transit uncompressed 720p or 1080i wireless signals up to 100 feet to a separate wireless receiver. Just expect to pay a fair chunk of change for this professional grade projector. The projector itself costs $21995 when it ships this month, while the wireless transmitter and wireless receiver cost $1895 and $895, respectively.
March 9, 2009
Mere days after Samsung announced its fancy-named Bordeaux LCD HDTV line, the company has debuted the Fabrizio PAVV 450 plasma pair in South Korea. Consisting of 42- and 50-inch display sizes, the PAVV 450 plasmas sport Samsung's Crystal Engine, 0.001 millisecond response time, "Mega Contrast" contrast ratio and a trio of HDMI ports. So far Samsung hasn't outed any prices or shipping date, so we can only hope for a chance to buy them in North America.
Mitsubishi has announced a pair of new LCD projectors built to display detail-oriented applications in the corporate and educational markets.
The HL2750U features SXGA+ (1400 x 1050 pixels) resolution, 3100 ANSI lumens, long and short throw lenses, digital vertical/horizontal keystone correction, and color gamma adjustment to match background wall colors. The 10.8 pound projector, perfect for CAD/CAM projections, geographical and tactical mapping, and virtual simulation, also sports embedded ProjectorView technology and RJ45 connectivity for local area network control of up to 200 other projectors. Finally, the HL2750U has dual computer inputs and DVI for digital signal reception, as well as a 5000 hour lamp life.
Next up is the MH2850U which has the same base model as the HC2750U, but supports DICOM allowing projections of x-ray's, MRI's and other electronic scan outputs.
Both LCD projectors are currently available, priced at $3995 and $7995 for the HC2750U and MH2850U, respectively.
March 7, 2009
Sharp's latest AQUOS line, the DH77, will bring four new LCD HDTV'S to market sometime later this year. Sized 32-, 42-, 46-, and 52-inches, the DH77's will feature 1080p resolution, 100 Hz refresh rate, 50, 000:1 contrast ratio, 3 HDMI inputs and a USB port. Sounds pretty boring until you get to the eco-friendly features. Every model will include a remote control with a green eco-button that with one-click lowers the TV's energy consumption when in use. How exactly it works I'm unsure of. The DH77's will also include Optical Picture Control technology which automatically adjusts backlight brightness according to natural lighting in the room. Obviously this saves a fair amount of energy over time as well. Pricing and availability is a big unknown, but I'm sure we'll see the DH77 line hit shelves sometime this year.
There is something intimidating about Samsung's Bordeaux PAVV 650 line of LCD TV's. Could it be the name perhaps. Newly arrived in Korea, the PAVV line consists of 46- and 50-inch models that sport 1080p resolution, 120 Hz image refresh, a USB port, and four HDMI 1.3 slots complemented by DLNA support. While we're not sure about pricing or the likelihood these two high-end sounding models will end up anywhere outside of Korea, we'll assume the name correlates with expensive.
Finally, after a long delay that played a big part in the digital TV transition delay, the government converter box coupon program is back on track. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said this week that the 4.1 million people on a waiting list to receive their $40 coupon is being cleared, with a completion date within three weeks.
Congress recently approved a further $650 million in funding to the coupon program after it blew through the initial $1.34 billion it had received in late December. Remember that the official date for the DTV transition is now June 12, though many stations across the United States will be shutting off analog signals before that. You can find out more about what you'll need to do to avoid losing TV reception by checking our comprehensive guide to DTV 2009.
March 5, 2009
The other day we got to see a roundup of pricing and release dates for Panasonic's 2009 HDTV line. Unfortunately the 1-inch thin Z1 or TC-P54Z1 was left out of the mix. Well, pricing for the 54-inch plasma has arrived and in today's economy I got to say $6000 seems a little much. I mean, most of us would still drool over the thing but when the 54-inch TC-P5410 sports the majority of the same features for a price of $2700, which one is really more viable? The step-down model is 2-inches thin though. As if you couldn't handle it.
Yamaha has announced its 2009 home theater systems, adding four systems to the family.
The flagship YHT-791BL sports 7.1 channels, a 90W per channel HTR-6250BL receiver with 4 HDMI outputs, HD audio decoding and Bluetooth compatibility. Also included is 2 front speakers with 6.5-inch woofers and 0.75-inch tweeters, a center channel with two 3-inch woofers and a 0.75-inch tweeter, and 4 satellite speakers each with a 3-inch driver and 0.75-inch woofer. Low bass is provided by a 100W, 10-inch subwoofer and the YDS-11SL iPod dock is also packed in the box. The YHT-791BL will set you back $850.
The YHT-591BL is a 5.1-channel system that comes with the HTR-6240BL receiver and a 105W per channel amplifier. Three front and a single center speaker each pack in four 2.25-inch woofers and a 0.75-inch tweeter, while two rear satellite speakers each have 2.25-inch woofers and a 0.75-inch tweeter. The $650 system is finished off with a 100W, 10-inch subwoofer.
Next up is the YHT-491BL which includes the HTR-6230BL AV receiver, pumping 100W to five speakers and an 8-inch subwoofer. The system includes Yamaha's NS-SP7800M speaker package with two front tower speakers and three smaller add-on's, all for $550. The speakers each sport two 2.25-inch woofers and a 0.5-inch tweeter.
Finally, the YHT-391BL is the entry-level home theater out of this foursome. It also uses the HTR-6230BL receiver, but includes two-way satellite speakers, each with 2.25-inch woofers and 0.5-inch tweeters. The center channel has an extra 2.25-inch driver, and the $400 system finishes off with a 100W, 8-inch driver.
March 4, 2009
Just after Sony's 2009 CES product debuts were pinned with some pricing information, the company has gone ahead and added a few more home theater gear to its line at a show in Las Vegas.
First up is the BDP-S560 and BDP-S360 Blu-ray players, both capable of delivering 1080/60p and 24p True Cinema picture output, BD Live-enabled and capable of decoding newer audio codecs. The BDP-S560 adds in 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi so BD-Live content and firmware updates can be downloaded wirelessly. The DLNA-compatible device can also connect to other DLNA products for sharing digital photos and has a front USB port. The BDP-S560 should ship this summer for around $350. The BDP-S360 features all the features of the S560 with the exception of built-in Wi-Fi and will also ship this summer for roughly $300.
Next up is a pair of home theater systems--the BDV-E500W and the BDV-E300. Both systems offer 5.1-channels, BD-Live Blu-ray, a Digital Media port for music playback, an iPod cradle, PC client, Bluetooth and an optional Network Walkman cradle. The BDV-E500W adds in S-AIR wireless audio capabilities while the BDV-E300 is S-AIR ready but modules are purchased separately. Both home theaters will ship in June for roughly $800 and $600, respectively.
Finally, the Bravia W-series LCD TV's includes the 40-inch KDL-40W5100, 46-inch KDL-46W5100 and 52-inch KDL-52W5100. All three models are DLNA compliant and have Ethernet connections for accessing Bravia internet content and internet widgets. No prices for the W-series are available yet, but expect the new models to ship this spring.
We already had a good look at pricing for Panasonic's 2009 Viera line for the Japanese market, but we've been waiting ever so patiently for some US information. HDGuru has a list of pretty well everything we've been waiting for. Panasonic is one of the few HDTV manufacturers still hitting plasma hard, and is a producer of a quality product.
The X1 plasma series replaces 2008's PX80 models, sticking with 720p resolution for its 42- and 50-inch models. Respectively priced $899.95 and $1099.95, the X1 models should already be hitting stores.
The S1 plasma replace the PZ850 series, and add in the high-grade Neo PDP panel. The series runs from 42- to 65-inches, all 1080p, and starts at $1199.95 though pricing for the larger models isn't available. The smaller models will hit stores this month, while the larger models won't be available until May.
The THX-certified G10 plasma series runs between 42- and 54-inches. The three smallest models will ship this month while the 54-inch model will ship in May. Pricing will start at $1399.95 and top out at $2399.95.
The 1-inch thin 54-inch Z1, V10 and G15 models will ship in June though prices haven't been made available yet.
Panasonic offers four LCD lines that aren't nearly as exciting as its plasma offerings, ranging in size from 19- to 37-inches. The entry-level 32-inch C12 LCD is priced at $499 while models like its top-of-the-LCD-line 37-inch G1 model runs all the way up to $1099.95.
March 2, 2009
Imagine a future in which pay-per-view viewing can be paid for on demand rather than clumped into a giant lump sum at the end of every month. The western world's future, in terms of technology anyway, can often be found in Japan's present. Electronic money transfer is already ubiquitous in Japan, and Sony has announced that it's W5 and F5 Bravia's will come equipped with electronic money card readers for pay-per-view via an internet connection. Nice, no more fat monthly bills and no more mistakes entering credit card numbers on the good ol' remote control.
Deal of the Day
Digital TV Transition 2009
Home Theater A/V