May 31, 2009
Now that standalone Blu-ray player prices are slowly coming down, the Sony's of the world have to roll out more expensive products to cushion those profit margins. You would think that expensive is a word that doesn't mix with our current economic conditions but sales of HDTVs in the last quarter have proven otherwise. But what about a Blu-ray 'player' that costs as much as a 46- or 50-inch flatscreen?
Sony doesn't seem to worried about it, announcing last week the BDP-CX7000ES Blu-ray changer. The impressive machine will pack in 400 discs or 20 terabytes of HD video content. Of course, for $2250 which is how much the disc changer will cost, only those who own a Blu-ray disc collection amounting to 400 discs will be able to afford it. No word on an official release date at the moment.
May 31, 2009
If you're planning on hitting the theater to see Disney Pixar's new 3D flick, Up, you may be greeted by a screen with 33% more resolution and brightness. That's because NEC is shipping its new NC2500S-A digital cinema projector to theaters specifically for Up. The projector sports full 2K resolution and theaters with older models are eligible for a simple upgrade. Clearview's famous Ziegfeld Theatre will be one of the first to have its NC2500S-A up and running, so that's where you should head if you're in the area.
May 30, 2009
BenQ's new Joybee GP1 mini projector may not be small enough to fit in your pocket but it definitely makes up for its larger size with performance improvements. And it's really not that large; maybe the size of a small alarm clock with a weight of 1.4 pounds.
Despite its small size it still manages to produce 100 lumens of brightness, project an image ranging from 14 to 80 inches in size, and sports a resolution of 858 x 600 pixels. The GP1 will also connect to a variety of accessories (with a separately purchased add-ons) including digital cameras, iPods, iPhones, video cameras, DVD players, as well as desktop and laptop computers.
My favorite feature is the USB slot which allows you to connect a content-packed thumb drive. It's a great feature for business presentations and the like. The only two negatives the Joybee GP1 can be called on are its finicky audio playback and its plug-in requirement. It won't run on batteries which puts a hamper on its portability in some cases.
Even with the cons though, I'd definitely fork out the required $500 for the BenQ Joybee GP1 when it ships in June.
May 30, 2009
Samsung's 2009 B8000 LCD HDTV line is definitely a premium line in terms of features. The HD Guru has already managed to snap up one of the 46-inch LED-backlit sets for review and he dubs it the "top" of all LCD HDTVs he's ever tested. Only the Pioneer Pro-141FD plasma has ever compared. His quick synopsis:
The full motion resolution and overall excellent performance places the UN46B8000 at the top of all the LCD HDTVs tested. We will see if the 8000 can keep its crown when we review the current Samsung and Sony LED rear backlit models currently in queue. Despite our quibbles regarding its "new technology" advertising, this Samsung is the first HDTV to deliver the dream of a thin, light weight, bright, clear 46″ HDTV that you can easily hang on the wall like a painting.
I should mention that "quibbles" the Guru has with the advertising has to do with the "LED HDTV" nomenclature. There is no such thing as an LED HDTV--meaning the display isn't made up of individual LEDs. An LED HDTV simply uses LEDs for backlighting rather than the more commonly used CCFL lamps. Just so you know.
Definitely check out the whole review. It's incredibly detailed and gives you a good look at what you should know about purchasing a new HDTV.
May 28, 2009
Hitachi has announced the UltraVision and Alpha Series' of LCD HDTVs for 2009.
The UltraVision line will be available in 42-, 46- and 55-inch screen sizes, all featuring 1080p resolution, 120 Hz panel speed, Hitachi's Reel120 motion blur control, built-in ATSC/QAM/NTSC tuners for HD channels, up to 5 HDMI slots and Energy Star certification. In terms of design, the displays will be surrounded by a glossy and curved black bezel, and sit on a swivel base. The three UltraVision displays from smallest to largest will launch in June ($999), August ($1299) and September ($1799), respectively.
The Alpha Series will ship in 32- and 42-inch LCD screen sizes and is a step-down in feature quantity from the UltraVision Series. The 720p 32-inch model and the 1080p 42-inch model each have 4 HDMI slots, 2 of those on the side for easy access. There's also an RGB input for direct PC connectivity on both. Both panels will have a 60 Hz panel speed and sport Energy Star certification. The $499 32-inch and $899 42-inch Alpha are both currently available.
HDMI Licensing, LLC unveiled what we can expect from the upcoming HDMI 1.4 standard today and it's some pretty impressive stuff.
First, an extra data channel will be added to HDMI cables for bi-directional communication over Ethernet. Second, an Audio Return channel will be able to send sound signals to any A/V receiver enabling home theater buffs to do away with a cable. Third, 3D over HDMI lists standard 3D formats enabling the standardization of inputs/outputs for 3D home theater devices. Fourth, 4K x 2K resolution support will enable four times the pixels of current 1080p resolution. 3840×2160 at 24Hz/25Hz/30Hz and 4096×2160 at 24Hz resolutions will all be supported. Fifth, sYCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601 color spaces designed for digital cameras will be supported. Sixth, a new micro HDMI connector with 19-pins will be added supporting up to 1080p resolution from portable devices. It'll be roughly half the size of the current mini connector. Seventh, an automotive connection specification will be added specifically for HD content transmission to automotive entertainment systems.
While the new specs are great, they also mean that HDMI cables will become more confusing. Namely that there will be 5 to choose from:
- Standard HDMI Cable - supports data rates up to 1080i/60;
- High Speed HDMI Cable - supports data rates beyond 1080p, including Deep Color and all 3D formats of the new 1.4 specification;
- Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet - includes Ethernet connectivity;
- High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - includes Ethernet connectivity;
- Automotive HDMI Cable - allows the connection of external HDMI-enabled devices to an in-vehicle HDMI device.
May 27, 2009
LG has claimed the world's brightest 3D LCD monitor in a press release this morning. The 23-inch display is said to boast twice the brightness of other 3D LCD displays we've seen. How did LG do this? According to the company, their 3D technology is embedded within the panel enabling a higher brightness. Other companies typically install the technology outside of the panel or in the viewing glass.
3D TV viewing is enabled by basically splitting the display in two vertically and showing two different images on each side at the same time according to a time sequence. This tricks the human eye into seeing a 3D image. While most displays still require specialized 3D glasses for proper viewing, LG says its technology can be used with polarized glasses, a low cost alternative to the usual 3D glasses.
RIght now the 23-inch 3D LCD monitor is a prototype and LG hasn't said whether it'll be commercially available in the future. But it'll be on display next week at the Society for Information Displays conference in San Antonio, Texas if you're in the area and want to check it out. You can also check out a cool video demo after the cut.
Continue reading: "LG claims the world's brightest 3D LCD monitor"
Seiko Epson has claimed to have made an advance in ink-jet technology that enabled the company to mass produce OLED TVs by the middle of next decade. That's a few years off, but Seiko plans to show off a 14-inch OLED display at the Society for Information Display conference in San Antonio next week. The display is said to reproduce the resolution density found in a typical 37-inch plasma or LCD display.
So how does this supposed technical advance work? Seiko says it has found a way to use ink-jets to evenly deposit the organic material that provides the lighting for OLEDs. Previously that wasn't possible, leading to ink-jet-produced OLEDs that produced uneven pictures. The company says that it plans to begin producing ink-jet OLEDs in sample scale beginning in 2012 followed by large-screen mass production around 2015.
May 26, 2009
JVC announced today the Xiview LT-42WX70, a 42-inch LCD TV monitor built for digital imaging enthusiasts and professionals. Featuring a "color space that is wider than a typical HDTV's," the Xiview features a 1080p flat panel encompasses 100% of sRGB.904 color space and 96% of AdobeRGB enabling photographers and video creators the ability to see their images accurately reproduced. Powered by JVC's GENESSA Color Engine, the LT-42WX70 has 52 picture tweaking options, x.v. Color, JVC's Individual Gamma Adjust System for grayscale calibration, 12-bit Deep Color, 120 Hz motion blur technology and 3D noise reduction.
Measuring only 1-5/8 inches thick and weighing 26.4 pounds, the Xiview LT-42WX70 has a bunch of connectivity options including 3 HDMI-CEC terminals, D-Sub 15pin with component video and an audio input jack. The monitor also meets Energy Star 3.0 specifications.
Available now, the JVC LT-42WX70 will set you back $2399.95.
LG has started shipping its LH55 LCD HDTV line to the United States today. First debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, the LH55 line features 1080p resolution, 80000:1 contrast ratio, ambient light sensors that adjust screen brightness depending on room lighting, and 4 HDMI-CEC connections. LG seems to be leaning on the 240 Hz refresh rate as a selling point. While it's technically twice as fast as the best 120 Hz sets on the market last year--and this year--there is some doubt that the human eye can really notice the improvement. So price comparisons would be wise. Available in 37-, 42-, 47-, and 55-inch varieties, the LH55 line is priced between $1400 and $2100 for the three smallest models, while the 55-incher's price is unavailable.
May 25, 2009
Do you have an HDTV in your home yet? According to a February 2009 Nielsen survey (PDF), 33% or officially "slightly more than one-third" of American households now have at least one HDTV. That's up from 29.2% in November 2008 and 19.3% in February 2008. In other words: recession be damned!
Interestingly though, only 28.8% of HDTV actual subscribe to HD programming meaning not everyone is taking full advantage of the technology they've purchased. Other interesting stats include: 67% of HDTVs are located in the family or living room, additional HDTVs are usually in the master bedroom, and the average house has 2.6 TVs. The latter statistic indicates that standard-definition televisions are being reused in different household locations rather than tossed in the local landfill for the rest of eternity.
You would think that after all the preparatory time, not to mention a nearly 4 month delay, that most people would be aware of and ready for the digital TV transition. Apparently that line of thinking is completely wrong. During an analog cutoff soft test, conducted on May 12, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received 55000 calls to its DTV transition help center. The test revealed that while the DTV transition is only a few weeks away, slated for June 12, a ton of Americans still have no idea what's going on. And given there was 'only' 55000 calls and 3.3 million households were still deemed unprepared as of May 10, it's looking like the FCC call center will be plenty busy real soon.
You can find out what you need to do to prepare for the digital TV transition by checking out our comprehensive help guide.
May 22, 2009
Sharp has introduced the world's first 20-inch LCD HDTV with a built-in Blu-ray burner. The AQUOS DX or LC-20DX1 enables users to record digital TV onto BD-R/R DL and BD-RE/RE DL Blu-ray discs, and while it won't write DVDs, it will play them back with support for H.264 and MPEG-4 video. Sporting 720p resolution, the 20-inch AQUOS DX has 1500:1 contrast ratio, 450cd/m2 brightness, a pair of 5 Watt stereo speakers and a pair of HDMI slots. Other connections include a VGA, S-video, D4 or component, RCA, Ethernet and both audio and optical outputs. Shipping in Japan on June 20, the Sharp AQUOS DX will cost the equivalent of US$1590.
Would you pay a premium price for an LED-backlit LCD TV? That seems to be the belief of certain HDTV manufacturers and the doubt of others. While LED TVs are expected to account for 2 million of the 120 million LCD TVs sold this year, and grow from a $163 million market in 2009 to a $1.4 billion market in 2012, not all manufacturers are pinning their hopes on LED backlights.
LG, for one, is entering the market cautiously, worried that consumers won't be willing to pay the price premiums. You see, while cold cathode fluorescent lamp or CCFL-lit LCD TVs continue to drastically drop in price, LED-based models are often between $200 and $700 more for same-sized models. But Samsung, the world's number HDTV maker and an aggressive pursuant of LED TVs, says consumers will pay for quality. And that's what LEDs promise. Typically LED TVs are roughly a third thinner than CCFL models, offer more picture contrast and color range, last longer and consume up to 40% less energy.
But is this enough? Would you pay an extra $500 for these advances?
May 21, 2009
LG's pretty quiet at the moment regarding the details of its new Time Machine plasma HDTV line, but here's what we know. Consisting of two models, the 50-inch 50PS70 and the 60-inch 60PS70, the Time Machine line has a built-in DVR by way of an integrated 160 GB hard drive, 600 MHz dejudder processing and additional storage space on external drives connected via USB 2.0. As for all the other details, including pricing and availability, we're in the dark for the time being.
Researchers at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia have found a way to store 2000 DVDs worth of information on a single DVD. The method to their madness is something. Regular DVDs consist of 3 spatial dimension, but the researchers were able to add a couple more: a spectral dimension and a polarization dimension.
The spectral, or color, dimension is created by inserting gold nanorods onto the DVDs surface. Nanoparticles react to light according to their shape, meaning the researchers were able to record information on different wavelengths of light--in the same location! And it gets even better.
Back to the gold nanorods. When the researchers focus light on the disc, their inherent electrical fields align with the nanorods. Those electrical fields, or the angle of polarization, can be changed and information can be recorded at different angles. Again, in the same physical location.
Obviously commercializing this technology will take some time. Researchers say 5 to 10 years and it may just take that long for a DVD writer to be created that can adapt to the two extra dimensions.
May 20, 2009
A couple of weeks back I told you about the Sanyo PLC-WXU700, the world's first portable projector to feature 802.11n wireless capabilities. It's so fast that 802.11n isn't even a specified standard, but it will be and tons of hardware manufacturers are getting ready ahead of time. That's besides the point though. The real story here is that the newest Sanyo projector will be shipping in the United States next month!
Aside from Wi-Fi, the 7.9-pound PLC-WXU700 also features 1280 x 800 resolution streaming of multiple video formats including WMV, MPEG-1 and MPEG-2, as well as a rather bright 3800 lumen lamp. Despite the brightness, the WXU700 requires no cooldown time. Just shut it off and pack it up.
Keep your eyes out for the PLC-WXU700 in June when it's slated to ship for $2995.
May 19, 2009
LG Display has laid claim to the world's "thinnest" 42- and 47-inch LCD TV panels. The company says that both panels are only 5.9 millimeters think thanks to proprietary light guide sheet technology which cuts the thickness of the light guide plate in half. The light guide plate is what changes the direction of the LED backlights used in both displays. Amazingly, the 42- and 47-inch LCD TV's weigh in at 6.1 and 7.3 kilograms, respectively, and boast 1080p resolution, 80%(NTSC) color saturation, 120 Hz technology to reduce motion blur and an 8 millisecond motion picture response time.
The CLAiR Pink Ribbon LCD HDTV could be the perfect introduction for a young daughter to the world of fancy home theaters. The 13.3-inch set has a bright pink bezel, 1280 x 800 resolution, 600:1 contrast ratio, 300cd/m2 brightness, and, while, a bit of an expensive price tag. Shipping in Japan it costs 34800 yen or roughly US$362.
May 18, 2009
Just the other day I told you that Walmart was the number two Blu-ray seller in the United States behind Best Buy. The two big-box retailers have had a long rivalry believe it or not. Despite being aimed at the early adopter crowd, Best Buy has been hounded by the mainstream Walmart with Blu-ray, the iPhone and soon, the Palm Pre. Mainstream mega-retailers can appeal to early adopters too.
I suppose that's why Walmart has upped the ante and announced it would be selling two more Blu-ray players priced below $200 in the next couple of weeks. Walmart already sells a Magnavox player for $168 and while I know one of the new players will be Philips-branded, the other is an unknown. The key thing to remember though is that Magnavox, Philips and Sylvania are all, in reality, manufactured by Funai so none of the players will be much different in features. In fact, if prices are below $200 we can pretty much expect the new duo to be Profile 1.1 players meaning no interactive internet content.
Walmart is currently in the process of revamping 3500 of its electronics departments after the demise of Circuit City, in order to throw the hammer at Best Buy.
May 15, 2009
I'm a huge Logitech Harmony fan. There isn't another remote control brand available that I've come across that is as easy-to-use, while still offering remarkably comprehensive features. If the Harmony has one downside though, it's that so far it hasn't been able to turn on the Playstation 3. Why? The PS3 doesn't understand infrared signals. But it does offer Bluetooth.
That's what the new Logitech Harmony Adapter for Playstation 3 is for. The Harmony Adapter, which work with any Harmony remote, converts those strange IR signals into readable Bluetooth signals which can be used to manipulate all 51 PS3 controls. The best part is the low price. Right now the Logitech Harmony Adapter for Playstation 3 is only $59.99 from Amazon, or combined with the Logitech Harmony One Advanced remote, an even better $241.
Meanwhile, PS3 and PS2 Guitar Hero-playing gamers might also be thrilled to hear the Logitech Wireless Guitar Controller for Guitar Hero is expected to be available later this month. Featuring a wood neck and body, guitar frets and a rosewood fingerboard, the Wireless Guitar Controller for Guitar Hero is built to work as a typical high-end guitar. It works up to 30 feet away from the PS3 and has hundreds of hours of battery life. The controller will be available this month in the US for $199.99 and will ship to Europe in June.
Read--Logitech Harmony Adapter for Playstation 3
Read--Logitech Wireless Guitar Controller for Guitar Hero
Expensive but definitely cool, the new GegenTV Wireless HDMI extender is a great tool for the wireless home theater enthusiast. Sure it costs an earth-shattering $900, but the Gefen extender also streams 1080p video with Dolby 5.1 channel surround sound up to 100 feet. Sporting Amimon's top class 5 GHz wireless tech, the HDMI extender only supports video up to 30fps. But given the rapid pace at which Gefen spits out new wireless home theater products, a 1080p/60-supporting product for wireless Blu-ray streaming should be in the near future.
HDTV sales seem to be slowly picking up again, but the recession brought the video game industry its worst month since early 2007. Video game console sales saw their lowest levels in 23 months with all 3 big-name manufacturers reporting monthly sales dropping more than 40%. Nintendo Wii sales dropped from 601, 000 in March to 340, 000 in April; Xbox 360 sales dropped from 330, 000 to 175, 000; and the Playstation 3 dropped from 218, 000 to 127, 000. For the 3 manufacturers, it was the worst month since May 2007, December 2007 and October 2007, respectively. Year-over-year, the total unit shipment numbers for the big three are down 40% from 1, 089, 000.
May 13, 2009
Denon has added nine new A/V receivers to its home theater family this Monday. Four of the new receivers are additions to Denon's Retail Home Theater Series and include the AVR-590 ($349, June '09), the AVR-790 ($499, June '09), the AVR-890 ($799, June '09), and the AVR-990 ($1,499, July '09). The other five new receiver include the AVR-1610 ($379, May '09), the AVR-1910 ($549, May '09), the AVR-2310CI ($849, June '09), the AVR-3310CI ($1,499, June '09), and the AVR-4310CI ($1,999, May '09).
All of the receivers feature some changes from last years models. Lower prices is the obvious one, but Denon has also dropped Faroudja video processing in favor of Anchor Bay Technologies chips, and added HD audio on all of its models as well as analog upconversion. No doubt you can tell from the prices that each step up model adds an extra feature or two on top of what is sibling has. But for all the details, and trust me there is a lot of them, check out the release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Denon rolls out 9 A/V receivers in 2009"
High-end home theater equipment maker Denon has announced its 2009 Blu-ray players, the DBP-2010CI and the DBP-1610CI. Both Denon Blu-ray players are Profile 2.0-ready, and each sport and Ethernet port, DivXHD playback, and AVCHD support for HD videos made with camcorders. Each Denon player also has a remote in/out for custom installs, HD audio codec support through an HDMI-connected receiver and all the usual inputs/outputs including HDMI. The premium DBP-2010CI also includes Anchor Bay Technologies VRS processing with 1080/24p IP scaling and upconversion and an RS232C connection for remote control. The DBP-2010CI and DBP-1610CI cost $699 and $499, respectively, and will ship in July 2009. The full press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Denon outs Profile 2.0 Blu-ray playing duo for 2009"
May 12, 2009
NEC has introduced the 46-inch MultiSync X461HB, a professional display intended to be used for digital signage. The display features a brightness rating of 1500cd/m2, 110% brighter than previous NEC displays, and a contrast ratio of 3500:1 making it a good fit for bright environments. The 1360 x 768 WXGA X461HB also features 16:9 contrast ratio, an expansion slot third-party accessories, a carbon footprint meter, ambient light sensor, Ethernet connectivity and a wide range of inputs. Shipping in July with a 3-year parts and labor warranty, the NEC MultiSync X461HB will cost $3899.
Sanyo announced this morning the first projector to stream wireless video over 802.11b/g/n. Called the Sanyo LP-WXU700, the 3LCD projector has a Video Streaming Function and Windows Embedded CE 6.0 software which enables it to network to any Windows Vista PC from which it can grab video. At 3.6 kilograms the LP-WXU700 is fairly light and while it only sports WXGA (1280 x 800 pixels) resolution, 3800 lumens of brightness make up for the single shortcoming. The projector can display a 100-inch image from 2.5 to 4 meters, has 500:1 contrast ratio plus a variety of image correction features, and despite the wireless functionality still have both USB and HDMI inputs. Targeted at schools and offices, the Sanyo LP-WXU700 is expected to ship June 19 for 627900 yen or US$6473. Wow that's expensive!
May 11, 2009
It's perfectly understandable that none of us wanted to fork out the cash for a LCD or plasma as the global economic crash was fresh in the fourth quarter of 2008. According to research firm DisplaySearch though, a whole lot of us didn't care about the cash and credit crunch by the first quarter of 2009. In fact, the 7.2 million flat panels that evacuated shelves in the first quarter was a 23% increase from the first quarter of 2008.
This was helped along by aggressive pricing by second-tier HDTV brands like Funai and Vizio, the again-number-one LCD HDTV seller in North America, as top-tier brands like Sony and Samsung couldn't afford to keep up with price cuts. Not to mention the liquidation of Circuit City, a confirmed victim of the economic crisis, and its dirt cheap pricing of the thousands and thousands of HDTVs it needed to get rid of.
It just shows how unpredictable consumer electronics sales can be in an economic downturn. In the second half of 2008 ever industry analyst out there predicted a huge downturn in HDTV sales, but without knowing who will go bankrupt and what second-tier companies will be able to take advantage of price cuts, none of them could make an accurate prediction. Including DisplaySearch by the way. But what I want to know is this: are you planning on buying an HDTV in the second quarter of 2009?
If you thought Best Buy you'd be right, according to Video Business Online. Citing 'sources', the online publication states that Best Buy currently owns a 40% to 50% market share in Blu-ray sales, followed by Wal-mart with 20% to 30%, Amazon.com with 15% to 20% and Target with a 10% share rounding out the fourth spot.
It's no surprise really. Walk into any Best Buy store and you'll see Blu-ray discs strategically positioned near the door. You can't miss them. And when you head to the checkout, you'll find them conveniently located there as well. Compare that to retailers which appeal to the mainstream consumer such as Wal-mart and you're more likely to find them out of sight and out of mind. Best Buy features Blu-ray discs and related pricing promotions every week in its flyer as well.
But if you look at DVD sales the numbers are reversed with mainstream Wal-mart and Target being the top two DVD-selling retailers while Best Buy sits at number four. Industry analysts believe that once Blu-ray becomes a mainstream video format Best Buy will eventually lose its early adopter market share to low-priced, mainstream retailers.
May 9, 2009
We heard last May that Japan's Sumitomo was looking for possible partners to create a 40-inch OLED panel using technology it had created. Finally, one year later, the chemical company has reportedly teamed up with Panasonic to do just that. By combining resources the two companies believe that a 40-inch OLED panel--not necessarily a TV--could be a reality by Panasonic's fiscal 2010. Let's not hold our breath though. Since Sony released the 11-inch XEL-1 to global fanfare at the end of 2007 we've heard promise after promise of bigger and better OLED TVs. So far nothing has come to fruition. The latest claims? Wasn't it Panasonic that said just days ago that it would have a 37-inch OLED TV on the market within 18 months? Confusing, confusing...
May 8, 2009
Vizio has once again retained the honor of being the number one LCD brand in North America after surpassing Samsung in the first quarter of 2009. The new numbers, from research firm iSuppli, reveal that consumers have flocked to cheaper Vizio sets in the first quarter thanks to a weak economy. However, former number one Samsung and number two Sony weren't far behind. Vizio finished the first quarter with a 21.6% market share, while Samsung and Sony took the number two and three spots with 20.6% and 17.5%, respectively.
Philips continues to struggle along in the United States home theater market despite being fairly popular in Europe. Will it pick up in the pace in the US this year? Who knows. But by announcing pricing and availability this week we know the company is still trying.
First up is the Philips 6000 and Philips 7000 Series'. The 6000 Series will come in 32-, 42- and 47-inch LCD display sizes priced at $799, $1399 and $1699, respectively. All of these models are currently available, while the 42-, 47- and 52-inch variations of the 7000 Series will be available in July. The 7000 trio will cost $1499, $1799 and $2499, respectively.
There isn't too much differentiating these displays from Philips' 2008 family other than they are thinner and more energy-efficient--something every manufacturer on the face of the earth can claim.
Philips is also launching a Blu-ray home theater system and stand-alone Blu-ray player for the US market. The home theater, dubbed HTS5100B, will be available in June for $599.99 but is only Profile 1.1 compatible. For the full BD Live experience, you'll be forced to upgrade to the new stand-alone BDP7310 Blu-ray player which will be available this month for $299.99.
Check out the full press release after the cut.
Continue reading: "Philips kicks 2009 HDTV and home theater products to the United States"
Panasonic has sliced the price of its giant 103-inch plasma HDTV by $20000. First released in December 2006 for $70000, the giant display now sits at a ever-so-slightly more affordable $50000. In all fairness, Panasonic targets the behemoth plasma at commercial markets rather than the living room so we can't complain about the price tag too much. And the company has sold over 6000 of the sets to places as diverse as New York City's City Hall and NBC's Sunday Night Football studio. In my opinion though, if you have the dough to buy a 103-inch plasma TV, I think it's best to go bigger--like 150-inches.
May 7, 2009
Only a couple of weeks ago LG started shipping its 240 Hz LH90 family of LED HDTVs in Korea. Today the HDTV maker has announced its also shipping its LH80 family. Available in 42-, 47- and 55-inch display sizes, the LH80 line is LG's first fully wireless HD LCD flat panel family. This eliminates wire clutter and makes the LH80 perfect for wall mounting. All the guts of the TV including the tuner and connection ports are placed within the included external Media Box. For now we only know the 55-inch price which is roughly US$4000, so expect the US-branded LH85 family to be fairly pricy when it begins shipping in the United States later this year.
A couple years ago Shinoda Plasma impressed everyone with a 43-inch curved plasma tube array display. Last year Shinoda blew its original feat away with a 125-inch display and now the company has rolled out a 145-inch display. The latest prototype consists of six plasma tube array panels, each with 960 x 720 pixels, seamed together to form a 2 meter by 3 meter single unit. Amazingly the massive curved display only weighs 7.2 kilograms or just under 16 pounds, but given each panel is only 1 millimeter thin it should be no surprise. Hopefully we'll see one these hit the assembly lines sometime in the near future.
Samsung has introduced a trio of Touch of Color LCD monitors today--the P2070, the P2370 and the P2370HD. All three displays are quite thin. The first two displays are only 30 millimeters thin while the P2370HD is a bit thicker at 65.5 millimeters. However, the P2370HD also has a few extra features including the addition of an HDTV tuner to the 1080p resolution of the P2370. The P2070 has 1600 x 900 resolution. All three have 50000:1 contrast ratio and 2 millisecond response time with the exception of the P2370HD which has 5 millisecond response time. The P2370HD also includes SRS TruSurround, a remote control, and both an additional HDMI and component port. Samsung also claims that a suite of eco-features reduces the energy consumption by a third in comparison other similar sized monitors.
May 6, 2009
In the market for a 103-inch plasma HDTV? Yeah, we know, who is?! But, if you are, Bang & Olufsen's BeoVision 4 103-inch monster is now shipping in the United States. Packed with features, the BeoVision 4 is being paraded across the US as you read this looking for potential suitors. Available via special order, the BeoVision 4 comes in a bunch of color options including black, silver, red, blue and dark grey. The lead time for orders is a month as this isn't exactly a mass production-type HDTV, but if you choose to purchase one get it in the color red. Because even a month down the road, that's where you'll be. The bottom line? $93, 050 on a wall mount or $111, 805 on a motorized floor stand.
It's astonishing that a huge number of HDTV owners clean their flat panels with commercial cleaning products like Windex. Why is it astonishing? Because such products can do irreparable harm to your expensive investment. Worse yet, if something does go wrong, it's very likely the user manual that came with the HDTV tells you not to do what you just did do to cause the damage. And there goes your warranty.
You'll also see cleaning kits at big-box stores like Best Buy that charge you an arm and leg for a microfiber cloth (like the one's used to clean glasses) and a tiny bottle of cleaning solution. Don't fork out the cash here either. Okay, then how are you supposed to clean your LCD or plasma?
It's really simple and cheap. Go to an office supply store and buy a microfiber cloth, dampen it with water, and wipe down your display. Just don't press too hard. That's it.
May 5, 2009
Remember the funky looking Samsung BD-P4600 Blu-ray player announced a few months back? While I surely do and those lucky CNET folks already have it reviewed. It was unlikely from the outset this player would see a bad review and it didn't scoring a 3.5 out of 5 on the tough review scale. First the bad. The Wi-Fi dongle sticking out of a such a beautiful piece of hardware is a definite design no-no and the price tag--a whopping $500--is way too much given the cost of a Playstation 3. Okay, that's enough. Onto the good. The BD-P4600 is absolutely packed with features including the ability to be wall-mounted, Netflix and Pandora streaming, Profile 2.0 compatibility, onboard decoding for the usual high-def audio codecs and much more.
Vudu is doing something very different from what it's done in the past. Rather than adding third-party content to its own hardware, Vudu will make its 14000-strong movie library available on Entone set-top boxes and DVRs. And while you might not recognize the name Entone, the company serves a large market--regional telco and video providers. Many smaller providers don't offer high-definition content either, but with Entone set-tops providers will have on-demand access to both HD and Vudu's proprietary HDX content. I suppose in this case price will vary depending on the seller, but Entone boxes with embedded Vudu content should be available sometime this summer.
May 4, 2009
This isn't a big surprise in an economy that fails to deliver all kinds of products and services, but Vizio's VBR-100 Blu-ray player has been delayed until August. Originally supposed to launch last month, the sub-$200 Vizio entry into Blu-ray never appeared. So, the enterprising folks from Engadget HD decided to check it out. Vizio's public relations person told them "it looks more like August at this point", though the specs and price tag are supposedly staying the same.
Samsung just keeps cranking out the plasmas with the announcement of the 850 PAVV family yesterday in South Korea. The 50- and 58-inch models are a claimed 40% more efficient that previous generation Samsung PDPs and 20% lighter. The panels run on the company's full HD Crystal Engine, feature DLNA support, USB 2.0 and DivX compatibility. Most impressive is the "Finger Slim" depth of the 850 PAVV plasmas. While we only know the 58-inch model is 50% slimmer than previous generation panels, the 50-inch model is 29 millimeters. That's just over an inch thick!
May 2, 2009
Samsung's 46-inch UN46B6000 LED-backlit LCD TV was recently tested by the folks at CNET and overall it's a pretty solid TV. According to the publication, the UN46B6000 produces relatively deep blacks, accurate color, very good dejudder processing, is energy-efficient and has a slim, 1.2-inch panel. As for the negative, they're mostly little niggles. For instance, dark areas tend to have a bluish tinge and the shiny screen can cause some reflection in bright rooms. Price could be the biggest problem with this set though. The lowest price I've found on the web is roughly $2000 with some retailers listing the 46-incher near $2700. That's a lot of money in this economy, but if you still have some to spare and want a sleek-styled HDTV, the UN46B6000 could be for you.