Microsoft announced Tuesday that it is releasing an XBox 360 Elite Holiday Bundle. The bundle features and XBox 360 console, wireless black controller, and copies of Lego Batman: The Videogame and Pure, an action sports game. Shipping Tuesday, the XBox 360 Elite Holiday Bundle will retail for $299.
Also in time for the holiday season, Microsoft will release the XBox 360 Wireless Controller Game Pack. The package comes with a black wireless controller and 4 XBox Live Arcade title including Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved 2, Lumines Live, Bomberman Live and Ms. Pac Man. Also included is a free 48-hour XBox Live Gold trial enabling buyers to try out XBox online. The Wireless Controller Game Pack will ship in November for $59.99.
I'm a minimalist by nature and therefore not a huge fan of consumer electronics gadgets that try to pack in too many features at the expense of aesthetics and core function quality.
Epson has created one of these modern day, manufactured Frankenstein's with its newly announced dreamio EH-DM30 projector.
Somehow Epson manages to package a DVD player and a pair of 10 Watt speakers within the projector housing. The DVD player supports JPEG/MP3/WMA/DivX/DivX Ultra files, and the projector itself can output 720p resolution, 3000:1 contrast ratio, and 2500 lumens of brightness. It'll also playback your USB stick-stored movies via its USB slot as well.
It's doubtful we'll see the Epson dreamio EH-DM30 in North America anytime soon, but if you're in Japan you'll be able to buy it October 29 for US$1300.
Epson also announced a variety of other dreamio models today, ranging from the 540p EH-DM3, also with an integrated DVD player, to the 1080p EH-TW4500 with 200000:1 contrast ratio.
Akamai Technologies, a company that provides much of the underlying infrastructure powering dynamic video content and enterprise applications online, is looking to bring true HDTV to the internet.
Announced today, the Akamai HD Network is the company's "next generation video delivery offering and the first platform to deliver HD video online to customers using Adobe Flash technology, Microsoft Silverlight, and to the iPhone, at broadcast-level audience scale," according to a press release issued.
The system leverages Akamai's global EdgePlatform of more than 50, 000 servers, and according to Akamai, "enables content providers to deliver more HD content than previously possible--due to its wide-scale distribution in 70 countries and increased throughputs in more than 900 networks.
So what online video delivery features does the Akamai HD Network include and improve upon?
Adaptive bitrate streaming--video streaming process automatically adjusts to the fluctuations in bandwidth, enabling uninterrupted playback at HD bitrate.
Instant response--viewer interactions with the video player including play, rewind, and pause are immediately responded to.
HD video player--open standards-based player enables faster time to market.
HD player authentication--authenticates player for all 3 playback platforms ensuring only authorized viewers can access video content.
When it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, the purpose of Akamai's HD Network is to allow content producers to reach TV-scale audiences online while still providing an HD-quality experience--something thus far lacking on the web. As more television channels and film producers begin to leverage the internet in evermore bandwidth-sucking ways in order to augment their traditional video distribution strategies, an HD platform like this is a big plus.
Sharp is bringing another four high-end AQUOS LCD HDTV models into the Japanese market this November.
The four LX Series models include the 40-inch LC-40LX1, 46-inch LC-46LX1, 52-inch LC-52LX1, and the 60-inch LC-60LX1. All four models are LED-backlit, contain the industry's "lowest level of energy consumption," feature an impressive 2, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, an ARSS 6-speaker audio system with duo bass subwoofer (except for the 40-inch model), and the AQUOS Familink II which integrates AQUOS functions with other peripherals enhancing user-friendliness.
Like any other HDTV with quality specs, those belonging to the LX Series will cost the US equivalent of $2800 for the 40-inch model, increasing to a painful $6100 for the 60-inch model. There was no indication of an international distribution plan for the LX Series in today's press release.
We're beginning to see more and more Blu-ray notebooks appear on the scene as we near the end of 2009. But with netbooks with thin, lightweight form factors and even lighter price tags, being the big seller this year, not one company (Dell, Asus, Acer, Toshiba) has really pushed Blu-ray notebooks too hard through their respective marketing channels.
By the second half of 2010, thing could see a bit of a reversal, according to Taiwan-based optical device manufacturers sourced by Digitimes. While a typical Blu-ray drive costs about $100 right now (compared to about $20 for a DVD drive), relegating Blu-ray notebooks to a high-end market price point during a recession, prices are expected to drastically drop by the second half of 2010.
Once this happens, we may see a proliferation of Blu-ray notebooks similar to this year's netbook phenomenon.
Prolific home theater manufacturer BenQ has announced will begin shipping three new home theater projectors in the next few weeks. All powered by DLP front projection chips from Texas Instruments, the W600, W1000, and W6000 all appeal to the home theater buff looking for high-quality gear at a reasonable price.
The entry-level W600 can reproduce 720p video, has a 3000:1 contrast ratio, and 2000 ANSI lumens of brightness. The unit also has a 6-segment color wheel, dual HDMI inputs and a $794 price tag when it ships on November 1.
The mid-range W1000 ups the video reproduction resolution to 1080p, but dumbs down the brightness and contrast ratio to 1800 ANSI lumens and 2700:1, respectively. It has the same dual HDMI inputs, but a few more analog outputs than the W600. It is also scheduled to ship on November 1, priced at $1590.
Finally, the most feature-packed of the trio, the W6000, features 1080p video resolution reproduction, 24 fps support, 50000:1 contrast ratio, 2500 ANSI lumens of brightness, horizontal and vertical lens shift, 1.5:1 zoom ratio, 2.35:1 aspect ratio via an optional Panamorph lens, 10 bit processing, and video upconversion from 480p. Shipping in the next few weeks, the BenQ W6000 is slated to cost $3970.
3D HDTV is alltheragerightnow despite the fact that the entire home theater industry niche consists of prototypes. But Panasonic says it is well on its way to developing a 50-inch 3D plasma HDTV as part of a "full HD 3D system" that will consist of a line of 3D-capable Blu-ray players as well. The electronics maker believes that the 50-inch display size will become the most popular in living rooms around the globe, and the 3D plasma set could be released in North America, Europe, and Japan as early as 2010. The set will also be on display as a prototype at CEATEC in Japan on October 6.
Panasonic's 3D technology uses "crosstalk reduction technology" which minimizes on-screen ghosting, in addition to active-shutter glasses which alternate left and right eye images in sequence and in line with the system's refresh rate. Active-shutter technology enables viewers to see 1080p resolution in both eyes, while most other 3D glass technologies split the resolution equally between each eye.
Recently I had the chance to review the Cirago CMC1000 Multimedia Center and to tell you the truth, it's an odd duck. It seems stuck in between the analog age and the digital age, featuring many of the capabilities of today's home theater PCs and network-attached storage devices, but without certain features that make it either.
It can record live TV if it is connected to your cable box, but given its other uses, it doesn't really qualify as a DVR/PVR in the TiVo sense and doesn't offer the ease of use a DVR from your cable provider could provide. The model I reviewed has 500 GB of storage space, and a 1 TB model is available, but it's not a NAS because it can't be accessed as an external drive from a home network. Surprisingly really because it can connect to your home theater via 10/100 LAN Ethernet or via a 802.11b/g Wi-Fi connection. In essence, it's kind of a mutant that does a lot of things pretty well, but nothing great.
Out of the box, the CMC1000 Multimedia Center is sturdy, fairly attractive, and has attachable feet to stand on. A big upside is that the unit contains all of the connections it needs to function in the box as well, minus the optical cable digital video or coaxial cables it has slots for. Connections included are an HDMI cable, composite cables, analog audio/video cables, and a USB cable for your PC connection. Also included is a 12V AC/DC power adapter, a wireless USB dongle for your Wi-Fi connection, and a simple remote. The box also a a slot for SD and/or CF cards for photo storage, etc.
Setup is pretty simple. Before I set up its TV connection, I packed it with video, audio, and photo files from my PC via the USB connection. From that perspective, transfer was simple and quick. It was only then that I performed the home theater attachments, video via the HDMI connection to a Samsung 42-inch LCD HDTV model, and due to the complicated overall setup, used analog audio outputs to an older home theater and speaker set. This part of the test was easy, and once I turned the CMC1000 on was greeted by a light blue horizontal menu controllable from the included remote.
Anything stored on the multimedia center can be accessed from the HDD menu. Other menus include LAN for pulling media from your PC to the box over Ethernet or wireless USB, Card for inserted SD or similar card-stored media, Playlist for pre-defined playlists, and USB. All of the menus lead to a simple, organized sub-menu populated by Video, Audio, etc. This menus are again sup-populated by whatever your various stored files are. Mine played back without problems. The video and audio files were replayed to the quality of their respective sources, up to 720p/1080i video. The lack of 1080p output was confusing as was the lack of support for H.264 codec video variants. That was a pretty big downside for me, though some sort of software included on a CD that comes with the device can convert H.264 video from your LAN to MPEG on the fly so it can play. I didn't bother to try it because so much video, especially HD video which this device can't record anyway, is H.264-based. It should just plain be supported--built-in. Speaking of video recording, the CMC1000 really is a standard-definition video recorder working like a VCR. Set a time and it'll record analog video at that time.
I should also mention that later on I tried to transfer media over Wi-Fi. Don't bother, it's way to slow. Furthermore, the unit is pre-formatted to FAT32 and while it can be formatted to NTFS or both, FAT32 limits the size of files that can be copied to 4 GB and NTFS forbids recording. Therefore we have a problem. Any large files have to be copied/transferred via USB.
Overall, the Cirago CMC1000 Multimedia Center performs according to its specifications. If you're looking for a basic HTPC to transfer simple media files from your PC/Mac/Linux desktop to your home theater, it'll work just fine. Mainly over its LAN connection though rather than Wi-Fi.
Intel will begin selling a form of its popular Atom chip for use in Internet TV. Typically used in low-power electronics such as netbooks, the new Atom, called the Intel Atom CE4100, is actually a full-blown system-on-a-chip design built on a 45nm process. The SoC media processor is the first 45nm CE SoC from Intel, supporting Internet and broadcast applications, and generating the power needed to run 3D graphics on one chip. Offered in speeds of up to 1.2 GHz, the CE4100 is backwards compatible with the Intel Media Processor CE3100, and supports the Widget Channel software framework used to develop TV widgets.
Toshiba has confirmed to Australian publication Smarthouse that the 2160p Cell LED TV will hit shelves soon in both Japan and Australia. First tipped at CES 2009, the Cell TV uses the same 64-bit Cell Broadband Engine used by the Sony Playstation 3, can record 6 HD TV channels at once to its built-in 1 TB storage unit, and includes a Blu-ray player. 2160p resolution is actually 3 times greater than 1080p, and the Cell Regza can in fact scale 1080p content to 3840 x 2160 pixels. As for a full list of specifications, Toshiba says they will be released "within days", and not surprisingly, the TV will be fairly expensive. The Cell TV will begin selling Japan in December 2009 and Australia in 2010. It will also be on display in Las Vegas at CES 2010.
Signifying a possible new trend in HDTV design, Best Buy will soon be releasing a 32-inch Insignia LCD HDTV with a built-in Blu-ray player. For cheap too, at only $599. Of course the Insignia NS-LBD32X won't feature any of the new higher-end features we've seen this year. But it will have a respectable 1080p display, 20000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and 450 cd/m2 brightness. No word on the Blu-ray specs short of playback, but for $599 you can't really complain.
Reuters recently had the chance to talk with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings after he awarded the $1 million prize to a team for improving its movie recommendation engine. During the interview Hastings gave some insight as to the future plans of his DVD-by-mail giant. In the future, he hopes that Netflix streaming will be integrated into every internet TV, game console, and Blu-ray player. He also sees the possibility of working with Apple to integrate Netflix into the iPhone, though he concedes the company isn't focused on mobile yet. As for DVD? He figures that the DVD-by-mail service will peak for Netflix in 5 years or so, though he also said that people will still be buying DVDs in 15 to 20 years, giving them a much longer lifespan than most of us would have thought.
3D HDTV seems a little closer to fulfilling its promise more and more everyday. The latest company to make a market bid is California-based startup HDI, currently previewing a 100-inch laser 3D HDTV. Though the company doesn't have current plans to commercialize the prototype, the claimed specs are worth mentioning. Along with its 1080p resolution, its refresh rate is a remarkable 1080 Hz, much faster than the 240 Hz frame rates used in top-of-the-line 2D HDTVs. While I'm sure all of us home theater buffs would to see this laser 3D HDTV hit store shelves, there are two things that are certain and will greatly reduce its market potential (and the potential for us to actually acquire one): one, it'll be extremely expensive, and two, it'll require those darn 3D glasses that'll hopefully one day disappear entirely.
Epix, a new premium online video channel from Viacom, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate, has told NewTeeVee in a recent interview that it would deliver 3000 movies to subscribers via EpixHD.com. The Epix Megaplex segment will also offer many films previously un-digitized including crime dramas, musicals and mob movies (my personal favorite). This, according to the company, will make Epix the "largest HD film library online," even beating out Netflix's 17000 titles. The web component will match its TV channel though distributors have the option of not including an online offering. Right now the only distributor, Verizon, hasn't made the service available through FiOS, but maybe that'll happen when Megaplex launches in the first quarter of 2010.
The Washington Post has a great write-up about the evolution from the tube TV to the flatscreen--and why you can't even give away your tube TV once you upgrade.
Carroll offered his TV free on Craigslist and got some interest, but no solid taker. If nothing clicks for Carroll and Johnson, their options include the dump, which neither prefers, and Goodwill, which still accepts donations of TVs if they are digital-ready. Goodwill no longer takes models lacking a coaxial cable connection. And there is recycling. In Montgomery, where Johnson lives, the government pays e-Structors, an Elkridge company, 7.2 cents a pound to pick up clunker TVs and strip them for parts. The recession has driven commodity prices so low that the material inside the TV is worth less than the cost of recycling it.
Of all the fantastic remote controls we've seen over the years, the Kymera Wand is definitely the most interesting in appearance, application, and even in the method by which it is marketed. Looking to be straight out of a Harry Potter fantasy world, the Kymera Wand can be assigned specific motions--specifically 13 pre-defined gestures--to perform different actions whether they be changing the channel or adjusting the volume. To be perfectly honest, the Kymera Wand won't integrate with all of your high-end home theater equipment simultaneously and the range of features it can control is fairly basic. But no other infrared-detecting, universal remote control on the market that I know of comes in a "faux dragonhide" presentation box, either. For all of you animal rights activists out there, you'll be comforted to know that no dragons were harmed in the making of these cases--mainly because they don't exist, but still. The first batch of Kymera Wands is shipping out on October 1st, so order quickly before they sell out.
Denon has introduced the AVR-4810CI audio/video receiver, a 9.3-channel receiver outfitted with 9 built-in amplifiers configurable to a plethora of system designs. Features include 6 HDMI inputs/2 outputs, all certified for HDMI 1.3a, support for Dolby Pro Logic IIz with Front Height Effects Channels, as well as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master audio. Video-specific features include 2.35:1 CinemaScope, Anchor Bay Technologies-powered 1080p/24 analog upscaling, and more. An Ethernet port and Wi-Fi connectivity are also provided for audio, video and photo streaming. Shipping now, the AVR-4810CI AV receiver is a great companion home theater piece for the DBP-4010UDCI Universal Blu-ray Disc Player, and costs $2999. Definitely pricey, but seemingly worth it for the features bought.
Denon's DBP-4010UDCI Universal Blu-ray Disc Player, announced yesterday, is the company's latest premium Profile 2.0 Blu-ray disc player geared for the custom installation market. The unit features an onboard Ethernet port enabling internet access, firmware updates, BD Live interactivity, IP control for third-party controllers, and CI remote access. The 4010UDCI also features AVCHD and DivxHD playback, Anchor Bay Technologies VRS processing, and decoding for all the newest HD and digital audio formats. Shipping in October 2009, the Denon DBP-4010UDCI Universal Blu-ray player costs $1999.
Panasonic introduced an interesting screen this year in its G10 series--54-inches--occupying a middle-ground between the typical 50-inch and 56-58 inch screen sizes. CNET recently reviewed the 54-inch TC-P54G10 and (no surprise here really) it performed quite well, netting an overall 4/5 score. On the good side, the P54G10 showed "superb black-level performance with excellent shadow detail," accurate primary colors and grayscale in THX mode, great color saturation, VieraCast internet connectivity, and excellent energy efficiency. On the not-so-good side, inaccurate secondary magenta and cyan coloring, poor lighting in THX mode, a lack of picture controls, and more power-consuming than comparably sized LCD HDTVs. Overall though, it appears that the 54-inch TC-P54G10 is a solid buy. You can grab it for $1558 here. It comes with a $20 Amazon Video on Demand credit if you make the purchase by September 30, 2009.
LG's 15-inch OLED TV, which will launch in South Korea this November, will cost in the vicinity of $2500 to $3000. That's according to OLED-info.com and the publication claims the number came from an LG senior manager. Also remember that the number quoted isn't set in stone, and it's an equivalent price. Hopefully that means what will be the world's largest on-the-shelf OLED TV will be a little cheaper if, and when, it ships globally.
Viewsonic has launched six new LCD HDTVs today, though they're nothing to write home about. The 32-inch VT3245, 37-inch VT3745 and the 42-inch N4285 make up the real HDTV half of the line. The smaller pair both feature 1980 x 1080 pixel resolution, 5 millisecond response time, 4000:1 contrast ratio, 3D video processing, SRS TruSurround XT audio, and a variety of image scaling modes. The VT3745 will ship this month for $799, while the VT3245 will ship in October for $649. The larger NT4285 features a 10000:1 contrast ratio, an Eco panel, and all the features mentioned above. Shipping in October, the NT4285 will require you to shell out $999.
The VT2042, VT2342, and VT2645 are built to function as smaller HDTVs though they'd typically be better suited to a computer monitor environment. The VT2042 and VT2342 feature 1600 x900 and 1920 x 1080 resolution, respectively, as well as 10000:1 contrast ratio, 5 millisecond response time, 3D video processing, SRS TruSurround HD audio, and a tilt base. The VT2342 also adds in 3 HDMI slots for gaming and Blu-ray viewing. The VT2645 has similar features but only manages 1366 x 768 resolution. All are available this month priced at $299, $349 and $449, in order of mention above.
Projector specialist Epson has introduced the new EH-TW5500 and EH-TW4400 3LCD home theater projectors. The mid-range 4400 model features 1080p resolution, 130000:1 contrast ratio, 1600 lumens of color brightness, 10 bit video processing, x.v. Color, a pair of HDMI slots, 2.1x optical zoom, vertical and horizontal lens shift, and a ceiling mount. The step-up 5500 projector adds in a D7 panel, 12 bit HQV video processing, 200000:1 contrast ratio, ISF calibration for installers, and a few other higher-end specs. Shipping in November, the EH-TW5500 and the EH-TW4400 will ship for €3299 ($4723) and €2799 ($4002), respectively.
Sony chose today to announce its BRAVIA ZX5 wireless HDTV line in Japan, the update to its ZX1 series. The 46- and 52-inch wireless models each come with a TV Station hub that contains all of the physical inputs. This allows the displays to be completely wireless. While the ZX1 could only stream 1080i resolution video, the ZX5 bumps it up to 60 Hz wireless HD format or 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second. The display also manages the newer 240 Hz refresh rate and LED-backlighting. The TV Station hub has four HDMI slot, a pair of D5 component equivalent ports, a pair of RCA jacks, and single S-video and VGA slots. An Ethernet connection is also built in, enabling DLNA streaming and internet video streaming. Both models should ship in the United States sometime in the future, but for now it's a sure thing both models will ship in Japan for $4937 and $5581, respectively, on November 20.
Philips intends to clean up your home theater cable clutter with the Wireless HDTV Link, a small box capable of transmitting 1080p/30 content to any major brand HDTV from up to 30 feet away. Small enough to fit behind a standard wall mount, the Philips Wireless HDTV Link also has 2 HDMI ports and 2 component slots. Costing the equivalent of US$850, the Wireless HDTV Link is expected to ship soon (probably in Europe).
Toshiba, the former voice of high-def optical disc format HD DVD, announced earlier this summer that it would jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon. Sure enough, this week the company announced the BDX2000 Blu-ray player. The 1080p/24fps player is Profile 2.0-compliant with Bonus View, features AVCHD playback, and supports DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD audio playback. It also features REGZA-LINK enabling it to be hooked up to a Toshiba REGZA HDTV with an HDMI connection, with control for the whole package possible using a single remote control. Extra storage is available via and SD card expansion slot, and to top it all off, the BDX2000 is Energy Star-certified. Shipping in November, the Toshiba BDX2000 has an MSRP of $249.99.
Sharp has introduced a pair of 46-inch LCD HDTVs that boast the world's greatest energy efficiency--both members of the new LE700E and LE600E AQUOS families. Both models use "white full LED backlighting" enabling the consumption of only 89 Watts at full power, while the larger 52-inch models manage to consume less than 100 Watts. Both ranges will also be available in 32- and 40-inch models. Features common to all the sets include 1080p resolution, 2, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 90% "constant screen illumination", and a 100Hz refresh rate, common to Europe. While launch dates haven't been set, prices will range from US$1324 for the 32-inch LE600E to US$3385 for the 52-inch LE700E.
Mitsubishi has announced it is now shipping its VUDU-integrated Diamond Unisen Immersive Sound LCD HDTVs. Comprised of the 46-inch LT-46249 and the 52-inch LT-52249, the new Diamond line features 1080p resolution, integrated 18-speaker Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound with Dual Driver Extended Range Sound, a 240 Hz refresh rate, and a 1-inch thickness. Both sets also feature wide color gamut backlight technology and Energy Star 3.0 certification. The VUDU integration provides 2200 HD titles and 16000 titles in total. Plus, later this month, VUDU will also provide video, music and photo streaming from YouTube, Pandora, Flickr, Picasa, and "On Demand TV" which provides 80 channels. There is also a limited time offer available that will net new owners $50 worth of free SD, HD and HDX movie rentals. Available now in the United States, the new 46- and 52-inch Diamond models are priced at $2599 and $3099.
The third generation of the Philips Aurea edge-lit LED HDTV was announced on Thursday. The 40-inch 1080p LCD model utilizes Philips' Active Frame with Ambilight Spectra technology which lights up the display with 250 LEDs surrounding the display. The new Aurea display also includes Net TV which allows it to connect to home ethernet or wireless networks in order to stream YouTube and other video content from the web. Other features include DLNA compatibility, 80, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 100 Hz refresh rate, a 2 millisecond response rate, and 450 cd/m2 brightness. There's also a ton of connection options on this model including 5 HDMI 1.3a slots, S-video, USB, component, composite, VGA, and digital coaxial audio input. Philips hasn't announced pricing or availability for the Aurea, however it'll most likely only ship in Europe.
Add YouTube video and MKV file support to the growing list of capabilities that Samsung's 2009 Blu-ray players and home theater systems offer. Blockbuster support was announced earlier this summer and is still on track to debut this fall, but a free firmware upgrade available now enables BDP-1600, BDP-3600, and BDP-4600 Blu-ray owners to start streaming SD YouTube videos now. MKV file support (often used for torrents) is also included in the update. Blockbuster and YouTube support will also be available later this year for the HT-BD1250, HT-BD7200, HT-BD8200, and HT-BD3252--Samsung's 2009 Blu-ray home theaters. The company hasn't specified an exact date that the home theater firmware update will be available.
Philips has added the BDP9500 and BDP7500 Blu-ray players to its high-def roster, while continuing to mull over the future of 3D HDTV. Both Blu-ray players feature 1080p Blu-ray playbacks, DVD upscaling and 7.1 analog outputs, while the flagship BDP9500 adds in a Qdeo video processor and Burr-Brown analog-to-digital converter. Both units are housed in a thin aluminum shell. No word on pricing or release dates just yet.
Okay fine, the Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player is a universal model, capable of Blu-ray, DVD, SACD, CD, and DVD-Audio playback, but the expensive price has always turned me off. But it just received a 4.5 out of 5 from CNET, a nearly impossible score to achieve, so there must be something good about it. The reviewers say it's amazingly quick and responsive, Profile 2.0-compliant, has 7.1 analog outputs, and compatibility with the latest HD audio codecs. But it also lacks Wi-Fi and streaming video from Netflix and Pandora, a must-have for me these days. If the price point was lower, this seems to be a must buy for most home theater fanatics. But for $500, I'm not so sure.
Philips is busy showing off a 3D version of its 21:9 Ambilight HDTV off at IFA, but the company still isn't sure when, and if, it'll enter the 3D market. First of all, the company still hasn't decided which 3D technology to use--apparently there are three separate methods of displaying 3D picture. Only one of the three methods doesn't require those ridiculous 3D glasses, something I'm almost positive would slow the adoption process (I'm sure price would be another issue). Second of all, Philips thinks that OLED or possibly quad-HDTV (quadriple the current 1080p resolution standard) could be the next big think in HDTV. Personally I think OLED is the best of the three for the time being, should production costs come down. The good news is that Philips will support the Blu-ray 3D Standard once it's actually down on paper and ratified. Just don't expect too much, too soon.
Sony has confirmed its entry into the 3D HDTV space, issuing a formal statement regarding a line of Bravia HDTVs in that are in the works. The 3D LCD displays will be based on sequential frame display and an active shutter glass system with those compatible funky, yet horribly annoying, 3D glasses. Even cooler is the fact that Sony plans to incorporate said 3D technology into the Playstation 3, its Vaio notebook line, and its Blu-ray disc products. Check out the official video above.
Now that the Harmony 900 is available, it stands to reason that Logitech should pump out another universal remote control. This morning, the company did, announcing the Logitech Harmony 700. Its features are similar to the Harmony 900 and the original One with a rechargeable battery, endless product compatibility, software-based setup and a color display. But unlike the previous two Harmony model, the touch display is missing. The buttons also appear smaller which should be a boon to sausage-fingered folks or those lacking fine motor control and manual dexterity. On sale now, the Harmony 700 will retail for $150.
Panasonic has updated its V10 plasma line this morning over at IFA. Added are the 58-inch TX-P58V10E and the 65-inch TX-P65V10E, the larger siblings to the 42- and 50-inch V10s already available. Spec-wise, Panasonic decided to remain consistent: NeoPDP 1080p panel, 2, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 600 Hz sub-field drive technology, VIERA CAST internet content, and THX certification. Still waiting on pricing and availability.
What happens when DVD sales decline $850 million in one year and YouTube can't find a business model that'll lead it to profitability? Hollywood studios and the Google-owned video streaming site tie up together to mutually benefit. That's what the Wall Street Journal is reporting today. YouTube is said to be in negotiations with Lions Gate, Sony and Warner to offer new movie releases on the video site, most likely as fee-based rentals. The rumored price point is $3.99 for new releases, the same as Apple iTunes rentals, of which just under $3 will head back to studio coffers. Currently, some studios offer older movies for free on YouTube supported by advertising. Once negotiations wrap, Google employees will test the service for 3 months before we see anything on the consumer end.
$30, 000 for an HDTV? That's a little much for me, but if you want something the size of four 42-inch plasmas put together, you have to pay. Next month, Panasonic is debuting the 85-inch TH-85PF12U plasma, which the company says is the "industry's first 85-inch, full HD, 1080p panel." It employs Panasonic's fairly new NeoPDP picture enhancement technology which has had some good reviews so far, so hopefully this giant puts out a better picture than some of the mammoths we've come across before.
The day may soon come when you come blog or tweet directly from your TV remote. A patent filed by IBM appears to display a remote that does just this. The network-enabled remote lets users tweet, update Facebook or blog what they're watching with either a pre-installed text message or a customized message. The remote will also be able to attach a screenshot of the show being watched to the message. Finally, the remote would have a display that would show the replies from friends and followers on the social networks. Check out the full patent application here.
Looking for a universal remote control that will work with your PS3 that doesn't require a Bluetooth-to-IR adapter? Until now, it's been impossible, but with the debut of SMK's new Blu-Link remote, gamers can now find what they've been looking for. The $49.95 remote combines a Bluetooth PS3 controller with a standard IR universal remote control and is compatible with support for over 400 HDTV brands, 200 satellite receiver models, 50 DVR models, 200 home theater systems, 100 cable TV receiver brands, and 150 VCR (what's that?) brands. The Blu-Link PS3 remote is available now.
NEC Display has recently announced the MultiSync EA190M display geared for offices everywhere. The 19-inch monitor features 1280 x 1024 resolution, 900:1 contrast ratio, 250cd/m2 brightness, a 5 millisecond response time, a Dynamic Video Mode with 5 presets, DVI and VGA inputs, a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, a 4-way stand, and built-in speakers. It also has an ECO Mode which NEC claims is twice as energy efficient and uses half the mercury of traditional LCD displays. Shipping this month, the MultiSync EA190M will cost $259.