Here's a little bit of proof that pro-activity is a good thing. Back in February, Oppo picked 350 people to buy the Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player with pre-release firmware installed. But another 27000 wanted to know where the B-ray player was. While guess what? Those 27000 get first dibs on the Oppo BDP-83 with BD-Live, 7.1-channel surround sound, VRS de-interlacing, scaling, DVD audio and SACD compatibility. Oh, and the usual connectivity ports and and an included backlit remote. All for $599 for those who weren't proactive, but $499 for those who were. Lesson learned?
Sony keeps rolling out more Bravia HDTVs, today announcing the Z5500 series. Available in 40-, 46-, and 52-inch display sizes, the Z5500 series runs on the Bravia Engine 3, has a 1080p resolution, Motionflow 200 Hz technology, DLNA compatibility, a CI Plus interface, an integrated MPEG4/AVC HD tuner, Bravia Sync, an Energy Saving Switch, auto shut-off, and Applicast--a feature that allows access to internet content through an Ethernet jack. Sony said the Z5500 series would be available in late June, with prices presumably starting at £1800 in the United Kingdom. Whether we'll see the Z5500 LCD sets on this side of the big pond remains to be seen.
Despite early promises of an OLED TV from Panasonic, a commercially available set never materialized. According to Panasonic that's because the company wasn't happy with the current lifespan of OLED technology. However, the company is confident that new technology in development will allow it to extend the current 30, 000 lifespan of Sony's XEL-1 to at least 50, 000 hours. Using a newly developed metal membrane that can move light more efficiently, Panasonic has reached lifespans of more than 60, 000 hours with some of its plasma TVs. If things keep going at this rate, Panasonic, in collaboration with Toshiba, could release a 37-inch OLED TV in the next 18 to 24 months. We'll believe it when we see it.
Who knows if this is actually true, but apparently this 23-inch OLED TV from Sony will be available--yes, to actually buy--sometime in 2010. At 1.6 centimeters thin, it seems like Sony opted to build the tuner into the set rather than supply it as an external component like the XEL-1. Other known specs include 2, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, HDMI and DVI inputs, and 40% less energy consumption that a similar-sized LCD monitor. No actually availability dates have been mentioned, nor has there been any mention of price, but we'll keep our eyes open.
Eizo Nanao's new business-centric 20-inch EV2023W and 23-inch EV2303W LCD monitors pack in some new features that are both user and environmentally-friendly. The monitors both have "EcoView Sense", a feature that automatically shuts off the display if, using built-in motion sensors, it detects no movement in front of it for 40 seconds. Not only does it help you save energy and reduce environmental damage, but the monitors TCO Displays 5.0 certification means that user-friendliness isn't sacrificed. Also, these are the first products from Eizo to boast EPEAT Gold status and both have built-in ambient light sensors to adjust the native 250 cd/m2 brightness depending on room lighting.
The 20-inch EV2023W has a 1600 x 900 pixel VA panel, a 178 degree viewing angle, and 3000:1 contrast ratio. The 23-inch EV2303W monitors opts for a 1920 x 1080 pixel TN panel, a 160 degree viewing angle, and 1000:1 contrast ratio. Both monitors use less hardware than previous Eizo monitors enabling lighter and thinner form factors, and presumably less packaging required in the shipping process. As for connection ports, both monitors come equipped with one VGA and one DVI-D input, but lack an HDMI slot due to their business orientation.
Philips, not particularly known for success in HDTV circles, has decided to scrap entering the OLED TV market and opted to debut an OLED wall instead. The wall, which can only be described by the above video, displays shadows of objects in front of it. Definitely looks like something that would be loads of fun at a bar or drunken wedding reception.
It's interesting that while the OLED TV market is moving pretty slowly--the only commercially available model is the Sony XEL-1 and the rest are prototypes like Sony's recently unveiled 21-inch model--OLED displays are becoming very popular in smaller, mobile devices and now...walls.
If you're living in the United States and had the misfortune of betting on HD DVD way back when Warner decided to jump ship for Blu-ray and destroy the red team entirely, we have some good news for you. Warner, apparently suffering a crisis of conscience, has launched an online Red2Blu program that offers reduced prices for Blu-ray discs in exchange for proof of owning the identical HD DVD title. You'll just have to send in the original HD DVD sleeve, $4.95 for the Blu-ray title and shipping. So, yeah, you'll still have to pay about $10 for each title, but it's better than the $30 you'd pay otherwise.
Samsung has announced a pair of B9000 series LED HDTVs to complement its previously announced 2009 HDTV families. The 46-inch UE46B9000 and 55-inch UE55B9000 both utilize LED backlighting with localized dimming to improve contrast ratios and energy efficiency. Each model also sports YouTube and Yahoo widgets and connects to an external media box enabling the sets to be extremely slim. A USB port enables content such as pictures and music to be streamed to the TV for playback and any PC connected to your wireless network can also stream content directly to the TV. Samsung hasn't released pricing or availability information, but I'm guessing they'll launch sometime this fall.
LG has announced the availability of the LH90 LED HDTV series in Korea. Available in 42-, 47-, and 55-inch screen sizes, the LH90 trio sports Trumotion 240 MHz technology, 2, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, an ambient sensor that cuts energy use by up to 70% by adjusting the LED backlights to room conditions, THX certification, a USB port that supports DivX files, and integrated speakers. Shipping in Korea now, the LH90 series from smallest to largest is priced at the equivalent of $2449, $3116, and $4749 respectively. While LG has confirmed the LH90 series will ship internationally, the company didn't provide dates.
For a month now, a rumor has been floating around about Amazon's plan to add high-definition movie rentals and TV shows to its Amazon Video On Demand service. The company is starting off by adding over 500 HD TV shows and movies to its catalog including new movie releases like Twilight and Frost/Nixon. Added TV shows include popular titles such as Smallville and The Tudors. Not only will HD content be downloadable to computers, but also to compatible devices such as Panasonic Viera Cast HDTVs, the Roku digital video player, certain TiVo models and the Sony Bravia Internet Video Link. HD movies will cost you $3.99 to $4.99, and as expected, HD TV shows will set you back $2.99.
The new Dallas Cowboys football stadium, scheduled to open in June, will boast an impressive in-house TV network made up of more than 3000 Sony LCD TVs. The displays, ranging between 19 and 70 inches, will display game content and video and advertising produced the Cowboys organization. The 3000 Sony's will all be linked through a RS-232 interface to a Cisco IPTV network and controlled from the stadium's HD control room, packed with a Sony MVS-8000G production switcher and BVM and LUMA LCD displays, with Sony HDC-1450 cameras, XDCAM HD PDW-700 camcorders, and PDW-HD1500 fitting in as well. So, I wonder how much a setup like this would cost?
Washington, DC will be the first American city to get free mobile TV from local broadcasters, according to the Associated Press. The city has been chosen as a test market by the Open Mobile Video Coalition mainly due to its tech-savvy population, not to mention the local political support. The affiliates involved are expected to begin broadcasting in late summer and include PBS, CBS, NBC, Ion and Fox. While it's not entirely clear which devices will support the initiative--devices will need a mobile DTV receiver--LG, Samsung, Kenwood, and Dell are all supporters of the initiative and will create mobile phones, laptops, and in-car technologies with the needed receivers. Broadcasters hope to launch in more than two dozen other US markets this year, ultimately covering 39% of the American population.
Adobe Flash, the web technology behind Hulu and YouTube videos, not to mention thousands of applications on the web, is expected to come to the television later this year. Both TVs and set-top boxes supporting Flash should start selling later this year. If the technology becomes standard for video across computers, televisions and mobile phones, content creators will only have to create for one format. For viewers like you and me, Flash could bring the promise of instant video on any screened device to fruition. However, Microsoft's Silverlight technology is a potential competitor, and according to the company can display video at a higher resolution than Flash.
Pioneer has announced the launch of a trio of BD-Live Blu-ray players in Japan--the BDP-LX52, the BDP-320 and the BDP-120. All three players deliver 1080p/24 output, BD-ROM(BDMV), BD-R/RE, BD-R/RE DL, DVD, as well as AVCHD. The flagship LX52 uses Pioneer's Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS) on multiple channels, supports 48-but Deep Color, and can playback WMA9, MP3 and JPEG files from both CDs and DVDs. The BDP-320 has similar features but only manages the Precision Quartz Lock System on two channels. The BDP-120 is the entry-level player and doesn't have the Precision Quartz Lock System and only supports 32-bit Deep Color and JPEG playback. All of the models have LAN and USB ports and will be available in Japan this May.
Mobile TV has grown both from technology and user adoption standpoints since I've been with TVSnob. Substantially. But I don't think I've ever since a TV that looks strikingly like a cellphone. Enter Ultmost Technology's 42-inch oval LCD TV. Officially dubbed the Fuss LC-4212B, the display is being showcased at the Hong Kong Electronics Fair. Unfortunately we know nothing about the specs, but cool design nonetheless.
YouTube is ready to announce new content including full-length videos and movies as well as premium content, according to the Wall Street Journal. While it's not clear where the premium content is going to come from, sources close to the matter say YouTube is attempting to showcase longer form content without losing focus on the user-generated short video clips that have made the video-sharing site famous. Earlier this month it was reported that YouTube is in discussion with Sony Pictures to offer premium content on the site, though it's unclear whether it would be ad supported or paid. After roughly half a decade of offering almost all free content I'm not sure if users would be willing to pay for content, even if it is premium. At the same time, ad clickthrough rates aren't all that successful when used in tandem with online video, so advertising probably isn't a legitimate business model either.
Samsung has announced a data projector octuplet broken into four new families--the P Series, the D Series, the L Series, and the A Series.
The A Series is the home theater line, made up of the A400, A800 and A900. The entire family utilizes a DLP optical engine that increases brightness 50 percent over previous models. The A800 and A900 are part of the Joe Kane Signature Series and sport 1080p resolution. All three models include a pair of HDMI ports, a pair of component ports, as well as VGA, S-video, composite and PC slots. The trio also features RS-232C controls, and feature 2500:1, 10000:1, and 12000:1 contrast ratios, respectively.
The P Series consists of the P400 portable projectordesigned for mobile applications, weighing in at under 2 pounds. The DLP projector pumps out 150 ANSI lumens from an LED light source, has a 30000 lamp life, and has built-in speakers, as well as composite and VGA slots.
The L Series consists of the L300and L220, both 3LCD projectors, that boast respective brightness levels of 3000 and 2200 lumens. Both have built-in speakers, RS-232C controls, VGA, composite, and PC slots. The L300 also has an HDMI input. The L Series is designed for larger venues like classrooms or conference rooms.
Finally, the D Series, which consists of the D300and D400, is another DLP family. Designed for very large venues like auditoriums or conference halls, the D300 and D400 both have 3000:1 contrast ratios, and HDMI, VGA, composite, component, and PC ports. Both also have RS-232C network controls, and the pair boast respective brightness levels of 3000 and 4000 lumens.
All eight new Samsung projectors are now available.
Blu-ray disc writers have come down in price drastically in the past year. The latest from Pioneer, BDR-2203, is no exception with a price tag of $249.99. The Blu-ray writer can write 25 GB of data to a single-layer Blu-ray disc in 15 minutes according to Pioneer, and can handle double-layer discs at 8x speeds. The BDR-2203 can also write to DVD and CD and comes with software for authoring Blu-ray discs.
JVC has announced the GD-463D10, a 46-inch monitor intended for professional use. It wouldn't be worth mentioning if it wasn't a 3D display though. That's right--the 46-inch LCD panel uses polarizing filters to display 1080p 3D images with the use of "circular polarization glasses". Furthermore the 3D images display with no flicker because the left and right displays are simultaneous. The GD-463D10 is 39 millimeters at its thinnest point and only 75 millimeters at its thickest. It supports 1080/24p, 1080/50p, 1080/60p, 1080/50i and 1080/60i video signals although the latter two can only be represented in 3D if they're signals compliant with the side-by-side picture format. There are also 3 HDMI slots. Expected to be released in July 2009, the JVC GD-463D10 hasn't been priced, but given there will only be 2000 units produced this year, think expensive.
Remember when you were young and your mother told you not to look directly at the Sun? Now Sanyo's latest laser projector will have to be added to the list of eye-damaging sights. Yep, all 7000 lumens of brightness, the brightest rating ever available for a projector. The ultra short throw projector, as yet unnamed, produces 150 inch images in full high-definition from only 94 centimeters, a throw ratio of 0.28. The 2370 × 510 × 630 millimeter laser projector also hasn't been priced or given an availability date, but you won't find anything better than this for projecting an image in small spaces.
Sharp and Pioneer are reportedly pairing up and creating a joint venture that both companies hope will dominate the optical disc industry--specifically the Blu-ray segment. The companies have reached a basic agreement, which was announced today in Tokyo, and will likely transfer their respective optical disc divisions in their entirety to the new venture. An official contract is expected to be signed by June 25, and if all goes well the Sharp-Pioneer JV should be up and running by October of this year. Pioneer recently discontinued manufacturing HDTVs despite being known as the best plasma producer via the Kuro brand, in the world.
Hitachi has unveiled a flurry of Wooo brand LCD and plasma HDTV's in Japan this morning. The "Wooo UT800" LCD series features a 35 millimeter thin design combined with an external tuner unit. Sized in 32-, 37-, 42-, and 47-inch screen sizes, the UT800 line sports 1080p resolution, a 120 Hz frame rate, and an eco-friendly power consumption level. The external tuner packs in a 250 GB hard disk drive, an iVDR-S slot for iV Pocket equipment, and an SD card slot. The 2.6 kilogram Wooo UT800 LCD sets will be available in October.
Next up is the Wooo 03 series which consists of four plasma models and three LCD's. The plasma line consists of one 720p 42-inch model plus 42-, 46-, and 50-inch 1080p models. Other features include a 40000:1 contrast ratio for the 1080p models, a 250 GB hard disk drive, automatic image quality adjustments, and internet access with Yahoo Japan support. The LCD lineup features a 720p 32-inch model and 37- and 42-inch 1080p models with similar specs. The Wooo 03 series will be released starting at the end of April.
Mitsubishi has introduced two new families of Home Theater DLP rear projection HDTV's today, all featuring 1080p resolution, EnergyStar 3.0 compliance, 6-color 120 Hz image processing, an Advanced Video Calibration mode, an improved DeepField Imager, SharpEdge video noise reduction, an activity-based user interface, and 3D readiness.
Unlike Mitsubishi's LaserVue laser TV's, the new DLP families are UHP lamp-based and require source devices to support the checkerboard display formats for 3D gaming or 3D cinema content.
The first family, the Mitsubishi 737 Series includes 60-, 65- ($1799), 73- ($2499), and 82-inch ($4199) display sizes priced. The flagship Mitsubishi 837 Series will be available in 65- ($2199), 73- ($2999), and 82-inch ($4999) display sizes. The 837 Series also adds Mitsubishi's PerfectTint system, Dark Detailer circuitry for enhanced blacks, a NetCommand home networking system, as well as four HDMI 1.3a inputs, a USB media input, and an RS-232C control interface.
All of the new Home Theater DLP models are available now.
Mitsubishi has announced the Unisen family of LCD HDTV's as part of its 2009 flat panel lineup today. The Unisen sub-brand is defined by its built-in 16-speaker, 5.1 channel surround sound system, ideal for smaller environments not suited for a full home theater setup. Called "immersive sound televisions" by the company, the sets use an algorithm to delay sound beams in order to project them at varying intervals through the 16 speakers. The company claims the sound setup is simple, using an onscreen graphical interface, and each sound channel can be adjusted to an acceptable direction, location and sound level. Moreover, the subwoofer can be controlled directly from the remote control.
All the Unisen models are under an inch thick, feature 1080p resolution, 120 Hz processing, and advanced color. The three families include the Unisen LT-249 Diamond series in 46- ($2799) and 52-inch ($3299) display sizes; the Unisen LT-153 series in 40- ($1999), 46- ($2399), and 52-inch ($2899) display sizes; and the Unisen LT-151 series, also in 40- ($1799), 46- ($2199), and 52-inch ($2599) display sizes. All models will ship in May.
Sanyo has unveiled yet another projector, this one the short throw PLC-WXE45 LCD projector designed for classroom use. The 2000 lumen projector features a 1280 x 800 resolution, 500: 1 contrast ratio and 16:10 aspect ratio. Given that classrooms tend to be relatively small spaces, the WXE45 is capable of displaying an 80-inch image from a distance of 34-inches, and a built-in network interface can connect to a wired network for remote operation. Moreover, a color correction feature enables the projector to display clear images on a variety of surfaces including blackboards and whiteboards. Unfortunately there is no built-in speaker, but closed captioning is supported, and built-in VGA, S-video and composite connections are included. Security features are also built-in, including a PIN code lock and an alarm triggered by movement. The Sanyo PLC-WXE45 LCD short throw projector is available now for $1795.
Blockbuster has, in my opinion, been on death row for some time now. Opinion is one thing, but we haven't seen any facts supporting my opinion...up until this week. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing this week, Blockbuster revealed that a credit extension granted a couple of weeks ago may not work out after all. The lenders may not fund the loan unless Blockbuster meets conditions it may not be able to. If it can't, Blockbuster said there is "substantial doubt" about its business future.
Blockbuster has spent the last year playing catch-up to rivals like Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon Video on Demand. But it's too little to late I think.
You gotta love it when products launch with no specs attached. It drives me nuts...really! Samsung announced the SyncMaster 70 Series of LCD monitors today over in Korea. Available in 20- and 23-inch display sizes, all we know at this point is that they're developed with the environment in mind as Samsung claims they use one-third less energy than regular panels of the same size. Furthermore, both monitors features Samsung's Touch of Color bezels, 50000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and 2 millisecond response time. But sorry folks, that's all we know for the time being.
Samsung has announced the availability of the 460UT Series, a line of 46-inch professional displays. The 460UT series features a super-thin bezel--2.3 millimeters on the right and bottom of the display, and 4.3 millimeters on the left and top. The thin bezel allows multiple displays to be tiled with very little space in between to create a video wall with Samsung's Interlocking Display Solution. The 460UT Series features 1366 x 768 resolution, 3000:1 contrast ratio, 700 nits of brightness, an 8 millisecond response time, and a removable back panel allowing access to connection ports.
The 460UT Series also includes a pair of modified models. The 460UTn features a built-in network PC running Microsoft Windows XP-embedded and Samsung's MagicInfo content management and software delivery system. The 460UTn-UD includes a software solution for video wall creation, allowing up to 250 displays to be run and synchronized in real-time from a single PC. The 460UT Series is available now from Samsung and its distribution partners.
As video streaming continues to veer mainstream, so do network attached storage devices. The Promise SmartStor NS4600 is one such device, doubling as a DLNA-supported digital media server. The NS4600 packs in four hard drives and supports SMB, CIFS, NFS and AFP file sharing protocols. Possibly even more important is support for Xbox 360, PS3, Popcorn Hour, Sony DLNA TV, Samsung HDTV's, Apple's Time Machine, and iTune's music and video. Ports include a 1 Gigabit Ethernet, pair of USB 2.0, and an eSATA slot. Furthermore, the NS4600 has a fanless, removable power supply, one-touch backup, and web server capabilities. Shipping in May 2009, the Promise SmartStor NS4600 will cost $500.
Panasonic has announced the Viera SV-ME850V, a 1-seg portable model that's completely waterproof. Features include a 5-inch display, a pair of built-in 280 mW speakers, an SD/SDHC card slot with support for AAC, MP3 and WMA file playback and JPEG image viewing, 1-seg digital TV and recording, an AM/FM radio tuner, 3.5 mm audio jack, and a USB 2.0 port. Panasonic will also offer the SV-ME750V and SV-ME700. The former will lack the radio tuner while the latter will scrap the 1-seg TV recording. I wouldn't mind having one of these, but of course, they won't be available in North America.
Introducing the Heimweh Loge multimedia lounger. Built for both residential and commercial applications, the Heimweh Loge lounger integrates a 22-inch LCD, DVD player and CD player into the roof of of its wraparound base unit. By the looks of it, removing the side panels would make this lounger ideal for those pesky dentist appointments. By we're guessing the price tag of the Loge lounger probably wouldn't justify pulling it to pieces.