February 22, 2010
Samsung is launching 20 new 3D-compatible home theater products in the United Kingdom in March, according to the company's president. Included in the new product releases will be Samsung's 3D HDTVs which will range between 19 inches and 65 inches, the latter in its flagship 9000 line. The TVs will be released with the required active shutter glasses and content from Dreamworks and the capability to watch World Cup soccer in 3D! Samsung hasn't announced prices yet other than to say that they are "very reasonable."
February 22, 2010
Walmart has reportedly purchased Vudu, the Hollywood video streaming service accessible from most major home theater hardware. Vudu, which used to produce its own set-top box, began to offer its software to major home theater manufacturers late in 2009 and as of now, only Panasonic and Sony haven't incorporated the fairly popular service. Though it was never profitable, Vudu did raise $60 million in venture capital and was apparently purchased for around $100 million.
Walmart likely made the acquisition to complement its leadership in DVD sales. While the company has attempted to introduce a movie and music download service in the past, it never caught on. The Vudu purchase is an attempt to cover this weak spot and to help sell more internet-connected home theater products.
February 18, 2010
Sony has introduced 4 new A/V receivers today, one of which is the company's first 3D-capable receiver. The STR-DN1010 supports 3D pass-through from connected devices to a compatible HDTV through HDMI 1.4 (4 supporting ports), has 7.1 channels, supports all the HD audio codecs, upscales content to 1080/24p, sports a further 3 component ports, and supports Sony's S-AIR technology so with the addition of a few separately purchased components can stream wireless audio to over 10 rooms. It's a bit pricey at $500 but given the relative newness of the 3D market, what can we really expect?
Sony's other 3 A/V receivers announced today don't have the same 3D support but similar features on a declining scale according to price. The STR-DH810, STR-DH710 and STR-DH510 will cost $400, $300 and $230, respectively, when released in March. The 3D STR-DN1010 won't ship until June.
February 17, 2010
1080p resolution isn't as good as it gets, folks! We already kind of knew that as we've seen the odd 4K products on the market, especially in Asia, but none of them really work with current home theater products. Mitsubishi is looking to change this with a new 4K2K scaler which can apparently upscale 1080p video to 4096 x 2160 pixel resolution with the new HDMI 1.4 standard. Still, at 4 times the resolution of 1080p, the upscaler still won't mean compatibility with Blu-ray for the time being. The company is expected to announced a new line of HDTVs sporting the 4K2K upscaler in the near future.
February 17, 2010
Contrary to what some believe, plasma TVs are still alive and well. Especially over in South Korea where today LG announced a pair of Skinny Frame plasmas, 50- and 60-inches big. The Skinny Frame refers to bezel thinness, of course, which is a paltry 25mm. Not the skinniest around by any means but skinny nonetheless. The new LG plasmas also offer a 600 Hz refresh rate, ambient lighting adjustments, and the ability to playback pictures and music from a plugged-in USB drive. No word on whether the Skinny Frames will ship internationally, but for now South Koreans can pick up the 50- and 60-inch sets for 1.7 million (US$1150) and 3.8 million won ($3325), respectively.
February 16, 2010
LG's 15-inch OLED TV, the EL9500, is the world's largest commercially available OLED display--at least in South Korea as of the end of 2009. But no one knows when it will ship globally...make that no one knew. According to the Oled-display.net blog, LG staff at the ISE-2010 conference revealed that the EL9500 will be shipping stateside by the summer of 2010. Just months away. The 15-inch display is the second OLED TV to hit shelves after the Sony XEL-1 arrived way back in 2007. The price for the LG model is said to sit between $2500 and $3000--but at least this model is large enough to push out 720p resolution.
Sling Media has announced today that Apple has approved an updated version of its SlingPlayer Mobile app (iTunes link) for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The update is notable because the app, which streams video from your home theater to virtually any mobile device (and in this case the iPhone), now works over AT&T's 3G network while previously it was limited to Wi-Fi connections. Unfortunately you'll have to fork out $29.99 for the application plus more money for the actual SlingPlayer purchase so the app can communicate with your home theater, but if you have alot of time on your hands when you're out and about in the real world, it just might be worth it for you.
February 10, 2010
Now that things are so complicated and feature-packed as a norm in the home theater world, it's always refreshing to me to see something that does one thing, keeping it real simple. JVC's new CU-VS100 HD media player is just that--real simple. The only thing that it does is accept SD/SDHC cards, enabling users to view stored HD content on their HDTVs. That's it--for real.
The media box supports MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (mts/m2ts/mov), MPEG-2 TS(tod), MPEG-2 PS (mod/mpg) formats for playback, as well as AVCHD, JPEG photos and MP3/WMA music files. Just connect it to your TV via HDMI 1.3a and you'll be ready to roll.
The box with its included remote will only be released in Japan when it goes on sale next week. The US equivalent price will be $220--maybe a bit much for its limited feature set, even if that latter part is refreshing!
Sony announced today that its 3D BDP-S470 Blu-ray player will be shipping in February for $200. The Blu-ray player won't get its 3D capabilities until this summer with an expected firmware upgrade, but until then it'll feature all the usual goodies expected these days including SACD high-res music support, an iPhone app for remote controlling, and Wi-Fi with the use of a separate adapter.
Also this month, the BDP-S570 which has Wi-Fi built in will launch. It'll be a bit more pricey at $250, but nothing crazy considering it'll have 3D Blu-ray playback capabilities (come summer) and web TV streaming right off the bat.
Sony will further provide the 3D firmware upgrade this summer to its BDV-E770W and BDV-S570 Blu-ray home theater systems.
February 9, 2010
InFocus has announced its SP8602 home theater projector is now shipping. The projector, originally supposed to have shipped in 2009, features a Texas Instruments DLP DarkChip with BrilliantColor, a 10-bit Pixelworks DLX video processor with 120 Hz refresh rate, 1080p resolution, 30, 000:1 contrast ratio and 1300 lumens of brightness. The InFocus SP8602 also has both vertical and horizontal lens shift as well as a variety of picture controls to adjust the up-to-300-inch wide picture. InFocus hasn't specified a suggested retail price for the projector.
February 8, 2010
BenQ is releasing 9 new LCD monitors ranging in size from 18.5 and 24 inches and boasting an extreme dynamic contrast ratio of 10, 000, 000:1. The V series will consists of 4 21.5 inch monitors, 2 18.5 inch and 2 24 inch monitors and 1 23 inch monitor. The first monitor to be released (initially in Taiwan) will be the 21.5 inch V2200, sporting features like 1080p resolution, 5 ms response time, a 160 degree viewing angle and an extremely thin 15 mm form factor. Connectivity options will include a VGA and DVI slot, as well as HDMI 1.3 and headphone jacks on others. All of the monitors will ship in Taiwan this month and next with the exception of the 23 inch model which will ship later this year. All monitors will ship internationally in June. BenQ still hasn't announced pricing for any of the models.
Netflix will add 1080p video streaming along with 5.1-channel surround sound audio streaming to its Netflix Watch Instantly service in 2010, according to ZDNet. The video streaming service already streams 720p content to a variety of devices including game consoles, Blu-ray players, PCs, laptops and virtually anything else with an internet connection.
February 4, 2010
As Blu-ray content becomes more popular in the average household, loose discs present the same messy problem as do DVDs and video games. A disc removed from the player never seems to end up back in the proper case. With the S1Digital BDC 100 Blu-ray Disc Changer the problem is moot. The unit lets you store and playback up to 100 Blu-ray discs via a connection to any digital media center running Windows 7 or Vista. The unit, which ships with My Movies software, enables you to browse through movies and their respective cover art as well as rip movies to Windows Home Server. It connects to your PC via USB 2.0. Shipping now, the 100 Disc Blu-ray Changer costs $1500.
If you're looking for an ultra-portable pico projector, consider the AAXA L1, a laser-diode pico projector measuring 4 by 2 by <1 inches. The new laser-based pico projector doesn't require manual focusing because it doesn't utilize a lamp for brightness, though the laser pumps out 20 lumens. It also can project images on curved surfaces and will push out a 50-inch image at max with 800 x 600 pixels.
Inside is 160 MB of storage space with full media playback capabilities. A port for a USB-based external drive is also available and a 2 GB thumb drive is included with the $599 purchase price. Other features of note include a 90 minute battery life and a 6 ounce mass.
The AAXA L1 laser diode pico projector is shipping February 12.
February 3, 2010
Home Theater A/V
PVR & DVR