January 27, 2010
MvixUSA has launched the ULTIO Pro MX-880HD, its latest PVR-based media player. The feature-packed player include 1080p media playback with support for H.264, MKV, Dixv HD, MOV, VC-1 and FLV media codecs. The MX-880HD also includes an optional 2TB hard drive for storing movies, music and pictures, or alternatively for supporting an included Torrent client with NAS features. The unit will record TV shows from cable or satellite and supports time shift and scheduled recording.
Other features of note include optional 802.11n capability, samba server support, and a UPnP implementation. Available for pre-order now, the ULTIO Pro MX-880HD will cost $169 without a hard disk drive or $389 with the 2TB drive. The units are expected to ship in the first week of February.
January 27, 2010
Samsung has announced it will start producing 3D HDTV panels for LCD and LED TVs in the 40-, 46- and 55-inch display sizes. The panels will utilize True 240 Hz technology and a 20 percent improvement in response time rendering smoother 2D performance and more natural 3D renderings. Of course, all of the panels will required the use of active shutter glasses--one of two things (the other being price) that are currently holding the advancement of the 3D HDTV market back.
January 25, 2010
High-end HDTV maker Bang & Olufsen has announced the BeoVision 10-46, basically a 46-inch version of its 40-inch BeoVision 10. With edge-lit LED backlighting, the BeoVision 10-46 features a 200 Hz refresh rate and a brushed aluminum frame. Look for it to hit Europe in April likely priced between $10, 000 and $20, 000.
January 25, 2010
Oppo isn't known for low-cost Blu-ray players, but today the company released its lowest-cost Blu-ray player yet in the BDP-80. Successor to the higher-end BDP-83, the new Oppo player eliminates the secondary video processor, 24p DVD upscaling, IR and RS-232 networking ports.
However, for $289 the Oppo BDP-80 does offer BD-Live support with an Ethernet jack, 1 GB of built-in memory, 24p Blu-ray playback, an HDMI 1.3 output, AVCHD H.264-compressed video compatibility, and more.
January 18, 2010
Panasonic has announced the VIERA G2 and S2 plasma series in Japan today. The G2 family includes 3 42-inch plasma displays with brown, silver and black bezels, plus 46- and 50-inch displays. With Panasonic's new PDP Black panel, the VIERA G2 series manages a 5, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio with 1080p resolution. It also includes an ambient light sensor and motion sensors that automatically adjust screen brightness in order to both improve picture quality and save energy.
Connection options include 3 HDMI, 3 composites, an S-video, VGA and D4 input, and 4 RCA slots and an Ethernet port. All the sets also have an SD card slot for playing back AVCHD camcorder video and JPEG photos and are capable of streaming web video content from the acTVila service. Shipping February 5 in Japan, the VIERA G2 series ranges in price from $2400 for the 42-inch display to $3530 for the 50-inch model.
The Viera S2 series includes 42- and 46-inch displays that have similar features to the G2 family but scrap both the VGA connection and the PDP Black display which reduces the S2's contrast ratio to 2, 000, 000:1.
Oh my gosh! Xbox Live and ESPN together at last. According to a leak in The New York Times today, Microsoft may be soon streaming ESPN through its Xbox Live service. In the article, Microsoft's middle-to-long term growth strategy for Xbox Live is laid out and could include live, interactive games that complement ESPN sports events. The company is said to be in talks with Disney regarding the deal but no other details are available at this time.
January 14, 2010
This year at the Consumer Electronics Show, LED TVs were all the rage. Really a type of LCD TV, manufacturers have been spinning the term LED to mean a more effective and energy efficient set, and usually that is actually the case (however misleading the marketing). But in the future, LPD could be the initials describing the type of display we watch the Super Bowl on.
Short for laser phosphor display, LPD is the product of San Jose-based Prysm, a startup that appeared out of the woodwork yesterday, but has been around since 2005. LPD displays only use 1/4 of the power LED or LCD displays use, can be manufactured in any size or shape, have higher resolution than LED/LCD and don't suffer from motion blur.
From a technological perspective, LPD displays are similar to CRT TVs. Cathode ray tube TVs have use an electromagnet to to control an electron beam that runs across an electo-sensitive phosphor field. LPD display use a laser that turns on and off as the beam runs across a field of phosphor stripes. However, LPD displays are much more energy efficient.
The company says it'll have more announcements soon, but let's keep on eye on LPD. It could be the future of HDTV.
January 11, 2010
I'm still flipping through CES 2010 home theater coverage on the web and something has really caught my eye tonight. Sharp, one of the world's bigger names in HDTV, didn't spend CES pushing 3D technologies like most of its competitors. Instead Sharp is introducing something called quad-pixel technology, or the addition of yellow to the usual red, green and blue color scheme. Sharp says that the color addition will allow for (surprise, surprise) better rendering of yellow-colored objects.
The new quad-pixel technology will be integrated into all of Sharp's new HDTV lines which include the main LE920, LE820 and LE810 series'. The LE920 series includes a 68-inch (LC-68LE920UN), 60-inch (LC-60LE920UN) and 52-inch (LC-52LE920UN) model. All are 1.6-inch thick 1080p panels with Sharp's UltraBrilliant edge-lit backlighting and feature 240 Hz refresh, a USB media player, Ethernet port, 4 HDMI ports with quick-switching InstaPort technology, RS-232C inputs, and a PC input. The Ethernet jack can be used for Netflix movies, web-based content, and Sharp tech support. Expected to ship in May, the LE920 series has yet to be priced.
The LE820 and LE810 series' include 120 Hz refresh, a 1.6-inch thick form factor and most of the connectivity options found with the LE920 models. Both series' have the same-sized models and the prices are attached.: 60-inch LC-60LE820UN will ship for a suggested price of $3,999.00, while the 60-inch LC-60LE810UN will be priced at $3,499.00. The 52-inch LC-52LE820UN and LC-52LE810UN will be priced at $2,999.00 and $2,599.00, respectively. The 46-inch LC-46LE820UN and the 46-inch LC-46LE810UN will be priced at $2,399.00 and $2,099.00, respectively, while the 40-inch LC-40LE820UN and LC-40LE810UN will be priced at $2,199.00 and $1,799.00, respectively. Both the LE820 and LE810 series models will be available in March.
Sharp also announced the standalone 60-inch LC-60E88UN that isn't backlit but includes Sharp's OPC technology that detects ambient lighting and adjusts the panel's brightness accordingly. The set features 240 Hz refresh, UV2A technology, and 10-bit processing, all targeted at the football fan. According to Sharp, this 60-inch set is built for the Super Bowl and will be shipped in February for an unannounced price.
Finally, the 32-inch LC-32LS510UT and 22-inch LC-22LS510UT round out Sharp's 2010 HDTV offering. Both will have 1080p resolution, a USB jack and a headphone jack. A smaller 19-inch LC-19LS410UT will have the same features but only 720p resolution. All models also feature edge-lit backlighting. The 32-inch model will ship in June, while the 22- and 19-inch models will ship in May. No prices have been announced.
Sharp has announced a pair of Blu-ray players and a 5.1-channel home theater in a box for 2010, as well.
The BD-HP70U and BD-HP24U include Netflix steaming, an Ethernet port, BD-Live, Deep Color HDMI, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and more. The BD-HP70U also includes a second USB port for attaching a Wi-Fi dongle for connecting to a home wireless network, and an anti-vibration feature that reduces noise and improves picture quality. The BD-HP70U ships in the 2nd quarter for $499.99, while the BD-HP24U will ship in 1st quarter for $279.99.
The 5.1-channel BD-MPC41 supports Blu-ray playback, Netflix movie streaming, iPod and FM radio audio via its included Ethernet port. Three speakers are included in the sound bar which supports Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio codecs and pumps out 1020 Watts of power. Shipping in the 2nd quarter, the BD-MPC41 will cost $749.99.
Even Viewsonic is jumping on the LED TV bandwagon this year. At CES 2010, the company introduced four LED TVs including the 18.5-inch VT1900LED, 23-inch VT2300LED, 32-inch VT3200LED and the 42-inch VT4200LED. The 18.5- and 32-inch models feature 720p resolution, a 5 millisecond response time and Energy Star 5.0 certification. The 23- and 42-inch models both feature 1080p resolution, and the larger model also features 120 Hz refresh rate, a 4 millisecond response time and a 100000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.
The VT1900LED, VT2300LED and VT3200LED will ship in Q1 2010 for $299, $399 and $599, respectively. The 42-inch VT4200LED will ship in Q2 2010 for $1199.
January 10, 2010
Vizio is making an entrance in to the nascent mobile TV market, not with a cellphone application, but with 3 new mobile Razor LED TVs.
First off is the 10.2-inch VMB100 and 9-inch VMB090 mobile Razor LED TVs. Other than touchscreen size, both are pretty well identical in specifications. LCD panel resolution sits at 800 x 480 resolution with a 350 nit brightness and both have a tuner not only capable of receiving ATSC and NTSC signals, but also ATSC-MH signals. Ports include one HDMI 1.4, composite video, stereo audio, USB 2.0 and a headphone jack. Both mobile TVs are shipping later this year for $229.99 and $199.99, respectively.
The smaller 7-inch VMB070 still fits 800 x 480 pixels on its LCD display although the brightness is 250 nits. Unfortunately, it appears the VMB070 doesn't have the ability to receive ATSC-MH signals, though it does have an ATSC/NTSC tuner. Ports include auxiliary audio and video inputs and a headphone jack. Also shipping later this year, the Vizio VMB070 Razor mobile LED TV will cost $149.99.
I really doubt I'd ever fork out $1799 for an A/V receiver, even if it included an integrated Profile 2.0 Blu-ray deck. But if this sounds like a cool idea to you, you might be interested in Denon's new S-5BD BD/Receiver, introduced at CES 2010. The 5.1-channel unit includes the following features:
2-source, 2-zone distribution
BD Live connectivity
3 HDMI 1.4 inputs and 1 output
SD card slot
USB port for iPod connection
support for Dolby Pro Logic IIz, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master audio
RS-232 networking support for custom installations
The Denon S-5DB receiver will ship in March 2010.
Along with Vizio's 37 LED HDTVs announced at CES 2010, the company has also made a big effort this year to service home theater enthusiasts looking for audio/video gear. Here's the rundown of its CES announcement.
VHT200 and VHT212 HD sound bars
The VHT212 sound bar is the premium of the two with a 32-inch design, 2.1-channel configuration, wireless subwoofer and iPod dock. It has four 3-inch high efficiency mid/bass drivers with two 0.75-inch neodymium tweeters. The wireless subwoofer has one 5.25-inch long-throw high-excursion driver in a solid wood cabinet with frequencies down to 35 Hz. Its 2.4 GHz wireless connection synchronizes with the sound bar from up to 60 feet. Its wireless iPod dock can be located anywhere in the home as it uses High Definition Wireless Audio (HDWA) to communicate over Wi-Fi with other A/V components. The VHT200 sound bar has support for Dolby Digital as well as SRS TruSurround HD and SRS TruVolume. Other A/V components can be connected through one S/PDIF digital audio input and two RCA stereo analog inputs. Both sound bars are shipping April 2010 with MSRPs of $249.99 and $149.99 for the VHT212 and VHT200, respectively.
VHT512 sound bar
The 5.1-channel system is completely wireless and has front left, center and front right channels with four 3-inch mid/bass speakers and two 0.75-inch neodymium speakers. The wireless subwoofer includes a 6.5-inch long-throw high-excursion driver that produces bass down to 35 Hz and can connect to the sound bar from 60 feet. The rear channel speakers connect to the subwoofer and have two 2-inch drivers and a 1.2-inch tweeter. The system also includes an iPod dock and onboard decoding for Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic II playback and SRS CircleCinema HD. Wired inputs include an S/PDIF digital audio Input and a pair of RCA stereo analog inputs. Shipping in May 2010, the VHT512 will cost $399.99.
VSB200 and VSB201WS sound bars
The 2-channel VSB200 and 2.1-channel VSB201WS are both 40-inch sound bars with Dolby Digital decoding and a new remote control. Both have four 3-inch mid/bass transducers, two 3/4-inch aluminum dome neodymium tweeters, and a 32-bit 150MHz DSP audio engine producing 90 dB SPL @ 1W/1m. The VSB201WS also includes a wireless subwoofer with a 6.5-inch driver producing frequencies between 35 and 80 Hz. It can be placed up to 60 feet away from the sound bar. Both sound bars will ship in January costing $349.99 and $199.99 for the VSB201WS and VSB200, respectively.
January 9, 2010
Vizio's XVT Pro line may be hard to beat in the feature category, but sometimes price and value mean more. That's where Vizio's TruLED and Razor TV families come into play. Announced and updated at CES 2010, both TruLED and Razor lines have many new additions.
In the TruLED category, Vizio has announced sets between 42- and 55-inches, all with 1080p resolution, 240 Hz refresh rate, LED backlighting with Smart Dimming, 4-5 HDMI 1.3 inputs, Bluetooth, and shipping dates in January or May. Prices range between $1199.99 and $2199.99.
In the Razor TV category, HDTV sizes range from 16- to 55-inches. Features include refresh rates of usually 60 Hz, but sometimes 120 Hz and LED backlighting. Some of the larger Razor models include Smart Dimming and Bluetooth but most models don't. Shipping dates range between February and November 2010 with most models being released in spring or early summer. Prices range from $199.99 and $1799.99.
Vizio has announced the XVT Pro series at CES 2010 this year, a trio of new LCD HDTVs complete with built-in Wi-Fi and 3D capabilities--though the latter will require Sensio XpanD shutter glasses. Shipping in 47-, 55- and 72-inch display sizes, the XVT Pro series will feature 480 Hz refresh, LED backlighting with local dimming, Via interactive capabilities with access to streaming content from Netflix, Amazon on Demand, Vudu, Twitter and more, 3D and an optional wireless base station that eliminates both wires and interference. The models are supposed to be available in August 2010 for $1999, $2499 and $3499 for the smallest to largest models, respectively.
Sling Media has been busy at CES 2010 debuting a whole slew of new and impressive home theater products. Here's the rundown:
Slingbox 700U--the smallest Slingbox yet, the 700U enables existing, internet-connect set-top boxes to have Slingbox functionality. For those of you that aren't familiar with the Slingbox, it allows you to 'placeshift' your living room TV content to any device, anywhere. The 700U connect to your existing set-top box through a USB connection, decrypting and then transcoding incoming video to be sent to a device. This is obviously aimed at service providers who don't want to put the time and money into developing their own placeshifting technology.
Sling Touch Control 100--a "next-generation, touch-screen device with an interface based on Sling Media's popular SlingGuide electronic program guide." Also known as a touchscreen remote control, the Touch Control 100 features a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen display with 272 x 480 resolution, IP control of HD DVRs and other SlingGuide-enabled devices over 802.11 Wi-Fi, non-IP control over IR with the latter including most gadgets on a home theater rack. The Touch Control 100 is also aimed at television service providers as an alternative to the typical electronic program guide.
Sling Receiver 300--a companion product to SlingLoaded set-top boxes, the Receiver 300 lets users replicate set-top box functionality from their main TV to a secondary HDTV without running wires or purchasing a second set-top box. The Receiver 300 simply hooks up to the second TV via HDMI, component or composite inputs from which content can be transmitted up to 1080i. Audio is also transmitted via inputs on the second TV. The Receiver 300 is small enough to be placed behind a TV and is aimed at television service providers.
Sling Monitor 150--a 15.6-inch, 720p portable display that includes built-in speakers and a folding stand for wall mounting and countertop use. The Monitor 150 accepts content from your main DVR via 802.11n wireless. Inside the monitor is dual-band 2.5 GHz/5 GHz, 802.11n networking capabilities with an internal MIMO antenna and WEP, WPA and WPA2 security support. Like Sling Media's other new products, the Monitor 150 is aimed at television service providers.
Adobe Flash Platform support--a partnership with Adobe means that the Slingbox Solo and Slingbox Pro-HD will both natively support Adobe Flash Player and Flash streaming for H.264 video and audio.
Epson has released the PowerLite Z8050WNL, a large venue-oriented projector that is the company's brightest to date. The 7000 lumen, 3 LCD projector has 1280 x 800 resolution, 5000:1 contrast ratio, network connectivity via HDMI or DVD, message broadcasting capabilities for sending alerts or images over the network, customizable lens options such as motorized zoom, focus and lens shift, and user control via remote, IP and RS-232. The PowerLite Z8050WNL is available now through resellers for $19000 including a 3-year warranty.
According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, streaming Netflix movies could be coming to the Nintendo Wii in the very near future. His exact words, in an interview with All Things Digital's Peter Kafka, were that the chances of the service launching on the Wii are "excellent" and should "work out over time." Other interesting Netflix tidbits coming from CES 2010 include:
- an agreement with Warner Bros. that will see Netflix waiting for 28 days before new DVDs will be rentable. In exchange, Netflix will be able to buy the DVDs for a lower price.
- the company expects to ship physical DVDs until about 2030.
- Netflix will not be a global company anytime soon. Maybe 30-50 years out. However we will see the service launch in one country outside of the United States this year.
January 6, 2010
Samsung has completed its home theater gear downpour at CES 2010 in Las Vegas today with the HW-C700 and HW-C500 A/V receivers. The former is a 7.1-channel system while the latter is a 5.1-channel system, both designed to complement Samsung's 2010 Blu-ray players. Both come with a bunch of Samsung sound technologies and include a certified iPhone/iPod dock. The standalone receivers don't include speakers (hence the standalone!) but can be purchased as the HW-C770S and HW-C560S A/V receivers which include speakers and a subwoofer.
Read--2010 Samsung A/V receivers
While Samsung is a formidable world competitor in the LCD HDTV industry, it still hasn't given up plasma like so many of its colleague companies. At CES 2010 today, Samsung announced the 8000, 7000 and 6500 Series plasma HDTVs.
Each includes Internet@TV, compliance with Energy Star 4.0 standards, and both the 7000 and 8000 Series are capable of 3D processing.
The Samsung 8000 Series has a brushed titanium bezel and a variety of proprietary picture-enhancing technologies such as Real Black Filter, Motion Judder Canceller and CinemaSmooth.
The Samsung 7000 Series has a brushed black bezel and its 58-inch variant won the "Innovations Honoree" award at CES 2010.
Finally, the Samsung 6500 Series is the entry-level family that includes Touch of Color design.
Read--2010 Samsung LCD HDTVs
Samsung has introduced four new internet-connected Blu-ray players at CES 2010--the BD-C550, the BD-C6500, the BD-C6900 and the BD-C7500. All of the 2010 Blu-ray players are web-connected to Samsung's Internet@TV service with Samsung Apps so owners can access web content and apps even if they don't have a Samsung HDTV. All 4 Blu-ray players also include built-in Wi-Fi.
The BD-C7500 is a "nature-inspired" player is the "world's slimmest" Blu-ray player at 1.1 inches, features 1080p/24fps playback with improved disc load and boot up times, and a wood design.
The BD-C6900 is Samsung's 3D Blu-ray player, compatible with 3D Samsung HDTVs and the recently approved 3D Blu-ray industry standard. The cover is transparent so a playing disc can be seen to spin.
The BD-C6500 has quick 15-second boot up and disc load times, and finally, the BD-C5500 is the eco-friendly Blu-ray player and requires a separately purchased USB dongle for Wi-Fi.
Read--2010 Samsung Blu-ray players
Toshiba's showing at CES 2010 in Las Vegas today was impressive. The company announced the Genesis ZX900 Cell TV line with 55- and 65-inch models, and three new Blu-ray players. All of Toshiba's new gadgets are 3D playback compatible.
The ZX900 line uses Toshiba's Cell Broadband Engine (like the one in the Playstation 3) which, Toshiba claims, features 143 times more processing power than other TVs on the market. Combined with Kira2 LED panel technology, Net+ Resolution with Compression Noise Canceling, AutoView RGB powered by an ambient light sensor, and a few more proprietary company technologies, the ZX900 line has the "best possible picture in any lighting condition."
Other features include 802.11n Wi-Fi, Wireless HD (enabling the set to connect to a separate set-top box eliminating wire clutter), a ClearScan 480 Hz frame rate, 3D playback, a built-in Blu-ray player, a 1 TB HDD for content storage, and Net TV streaming including content from Vudu, Pandora, CinemaNow and Netflix.
The sets are expected to ship with a brushed black aluminum bezel sometime in 2010 for an undisclosed price. There is also an Illusion line that will include 46-, 55- and 62-inch models available later in 2010.
Toshiba's new Blu-ray offerings include the BDX2500, BDX2700 and BDX3000. All three are capable of playing back 3D content and have internet access with streaming support for services such as Vudu. Other common features include 1080p/24fps playback, BD Live, and onboard decoding for Dolby True HD or DTS Master audio through analog 7.1 channel outputs or HDMI. The BDX2500 will be "wireless ready" via an optional USB wireless dongle. The BDX2700 includes built-in wireless connectivity out of the box and the BDX3000 "features a fresh new design, 3D capabilities and a wide range of added features, with details to follow closer to launch date."
The BDX2500 and BDX2700 will ship in spring 2010 priced at $199.99 and $249.99, respectively. The BDX3000 is expected to ship in the third quarter.
January 4, 2010
There are a few apps and gadgets available currently that allow you to use your iPhone and iPod Touch as a universal remote control. But they all have some sort of hitch that restricts their use in a way that doesn't really make them universal. The L5 Remote, which is set to debut at CES 2010, aims to take the market by being truly universal. The $50 app/dongle bundle doesn't require a dock and even allows you to create a customized user interface. I'm sure we'll find out just how well the L5 Remote works in the coming days, but for now I think I'm comfortably saying I'd shell out $50 for this level of remote control functionality.