April 29, 2010
BIgPictureBigSound had a chance to review the Samsung BD-C6900 Blu-ray player, Samsung's first 3D BD player on the market. For a first-to-market product the BD-C6900 appears to have few problems. The biggest issue seems to be noise as the disc cover on the top of the unit is translucent, eliminating some of the noise protection of a completely solid unit. Other than that problems tend to be related to the newness of the technology. For instance, the C6900 only has one HDMI connection and its version 1.4, leading to compatibility problems with some A/V receivers. No big deal.
And the good outweighs any bad by far. The unit loads just as fast as the fastest units on the market, has a very intuitive user interface, simple 802.11n Wi-Fi connection and a great picture. Worth $400? Not to me, but to the hardest of the hardcore audio/videophiles out there...probably!
April 29, 2010
Sony is the latest company to jump on the Google TV bandwagon. According to a Bloomberg article, the company is looking to produce a Sony HDTV model that will use low-cost Intel processors and a version of Google's Android operating system called Dragonpoint. Logitech is also expected to play a part in the the Android move to TV by producing a keyboard that doubles as a remote control and that will specifically work with Dragonpoint. Sony will apparently be showing off their new Android TV at the Google I/O conference next month.
April 26, 2010
Despite OLEDs head start on the 3D TV revolution, the latter is taking up much of the world's mind share in 2010. However, LG is still bullishly pushing ahead on OLED, investing $226 million in its Korean production lines. Unfortunately the new lines won't be active until at least the third quarter of 2010 meaning we won't see any end user effects until sometime in the second half of 2011. Also of note, we don't necessarily know whether the majority of the new LG OLED displays will end up in cellphones or in HDTVs like the 15EL9500.
April 26, 2010
Back in 2008, Japan's Fujifilm announced the FinePix REAL 3D W1, dubbed the "world's first" digital camera that let users shoot both pictures and movies in 3D. Released last year, the Real 3D W1 is now available internationally.
This week, Fujifilm has announced some added functionality to the camera with the launch of the HDP-L1, an "HD memory card player" that plugs into a 3D TV via HDMI enabling viewing of 3D pictures and movies from the W1 directly on the TV screen. The media transfer is as simple as swapping an SD or SDHC card from the 3D W1 to the HDP-L1. According to the company, the device can also be connected to a Windows PC or Mac using a USB 2.0 connection.
On sale in Japan this coming April 27, the HDP-L1 will be priced at $45. There is no word on international availability quite yet.
April 22, 2010
Walmart's purchase of video streaming service Vudu looks to be a good bet as the
partnership will result in the first available instant HD streaming of the hit movie Avatar. Though it won't be in 3D, it will be the first public availability of streaming HD. The only other service that will offer the title in HD is the Playstation 3, but that will require a download.
Vudu owners will also get special features with the streaming flick, apparently called "Hardware", that are usually reserved for hard disc copies. The price? $25. Too much? You'll still pay $20 for the SD version.
Panasonic has announced the TY-CC10W, a Viera-compatible webcam geared toward the non-techie crowd. Apparently simple to use, Panasonic's Skype camera allows for 720p video and active noise cancellation to over-the-set video conversations via a USB 2.0 plug-in. Once plugged in, a Skype option will be added to the usual onscreen menu with the added ability of browsing your contact list and adding new ones directly from the user interface.
On sale June 11, the Panasonic TY-CC10W Skype camera is expected to price in the neighborhood of 18, 000 yen or slightly under US $200. Unfortunately it'll only work with Viera HDTVs, so don't plan on plugging this one into your Bravia or home desktop PC.
April 16, 2010
Toshiba is set to release its 3D Regza TV lineup sometime this summer. Unfortunately the 3D sets which will be powered by the company's Cell Broadband Engine (developed with IBM) will only be available in Europe and Japan initially. According to the company, the 3D Regza will be able to transform regular 2D images to 3D by using "2D-3D conversion technology".
April 14, 2010
Optoma today announced that it is now shipping its GameTime projectors aimed at the gamer market. The DLP-based lineup consists of the GT720, GT360 and the GT700, the first two of which have 2500 lumen brightness, 3000:1 contrast ratio and a 10 Watt built-in speaker. They differ in their target market. While the GT360 is aimed at Nintendo Wii players and only has a native resolution of 800 x 600 (it can receive HD input and is compatible with PCs and Macs), the GT720 is aimed at 720p consoles like the Xbox 360 and the PS3 and thus sports a 1280 x 800 pixel resolution.
The GT700 features the same resolution as the GT720 but only boasts 2500:1 contrast ratio and a 2300 lumen brightness. All three models weigh 6.5 pounds. The GT720, GT700 and GT360 cost $799, $749 and $599, respectively.
Remember People Of Lava, the company touting the first ever Android-sporting HDTV? A new company out of South Korea called GPNC Korea is advertising a new Android-based HDTV that is practically identical to the People Of Lava offering. Inside is an 833 MHz ARM Cortex A8 processor, support for ATSC and NTSC broadcasting, and more. Furthermore, the LED-backlit HDTV will be available in 42-, 47- and 52-inch display sizes. But will it actually come to fruition? If it does we won't be seeing any of the GPNC Korea models in North America. Despite support for North American broadcasting standards, the models are only said to be headed to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Poland, Australia, Dubai and a couple of other countries on the other side of the pond.
April 12, 2010
Viewsonic has announced the launch of its PGD-150 Active Stereographic 3D shutter glasses, designed to be used with the company's DLP Link 120 Hz 3D ready projector. Not compatible with some of the fancy living room HDTV technology being touted this year, the PGD-150 is unique in that it has classroom and home theater applications. I, for one, know that some 3D learning content would have made school alot more palatable!
Anyway, the PGD-150 has a 50 feet maximum viewing distance for effective use, 1000:1 contrast ratio, a TN Type LCD shutter, 70 hour lithium battery and a water- and dust-proof design.
Viewsonic is now selling the 3D glasses for $99.
As of today, Netflix disc rentals and instant streaming are available on all Nintendo Wii video game consoles. With a Netflix rental plan starting at $8.99 per month, a broadband connection and a Wii, movie aficionados can access tons of movies instantly. The Netflix/Nintendo partnership was first announced in January 2010 and is part of Netflix's goal of being available on every connected home theater device.
April 7, 2010
You're nothing if you don't have a branded iPhone app these days and as such, Bang & Olufsen has joined the party with BeoLink (iTunes link). The application, compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, enables users to communicate with the company's Master Link Gateway over a Wi-Fi connection and control home theater gear. As a value add, BeoLink can also be used to control home automation features such as door locks and outdoor lights. And, unlike the the company's Beo5 remote control, the BeoLink works both indoors AND outdoors.
This is strange. A completely unknown company by the name of StreamTV has two 3D TVs listed on Amazon.com. Sized 37- and 42-inches, the StreamTV 3D TVs each allegedly have a built-in Blu-ray player, 500 GB hard drive, wireless keyboard with an integrated mouse, a web browser, a camera with video conferencing support, and the ability to turn 2D content into 3D without the need for any type of glasses. I must say I'm skeptical.
The 3D StreamTVs can also supposedly download and stream content and have some sort of video gaming capability with an included game controller. Oh, and wait, over 500 free TV channels is also said to be a feature.
Apparently shipping May 7, the 37- and 42-inch StreamTVs will cost $4000 and $6000, respectively. I'll believe this when I see it.
April 5, 2010
Should you buy a demo TV at your nearest Best Buy (or other electronics retailer) or spring out the big bucks for a 2010 model? Well, it depends, according to the HD Guru. If you're looking for a higher-end model or something 3D-compatible, then you're stuck shelling out more for a 2010 model. But if you're okay with last year's features--which aren't all that bad, by the way--then you could probably swing a deal on a 2009 showroom model. But, points out HD Guru, just note how long that showroom TV has been running or you could pay a big price for an HDTV that has only 50% of its lifespan left!
It appears rumors of a Google TV are somewhat true, as Swedish company People Of Lava have announced a new LED-backlit HDTV based on Android 1.5. This is the same operating system used on many cellphones and media tablets, fully open source, and supported by Google.
The People Of Lava set, called the Scandinavia, will first ship in a 42-inch display size followed by 47- and 55-inch units. All of the sets display 1080p resolution, ship with YouTube, Google Maps, a web browser and other web-connected features, run on a 833 MHz Arm Cortex processor, and include a wireless keyboard and optional USB slots.
The Scandinavia will also have access to an app store, much like the one available for Android cellphones, though this one won't be run by Google.
Surprisingly, the 42-inch Scandinavia will cost $2500--a ton of money considering the Android operating system costs People Of Lava nothing to license. Not sure I'd shell out that much money, even though an Android-based TV sounds pretty cool.
April 3, 2010
Home Theater A/V
April 2, 2010
Toshiba's UX600 Cinema Series HDTV line seems to be the first that's officially Windows 7 compatible. In essence, this means that Windows 7's "Play To" feature can be used on a home network-connected PC to send music, video and pictures to the UX600.
Available in 40-, 46- and 55-inch display sizes, the UX600 Cinema Series features ClearFrame 120 Hz refresh rate, 1080/24p Cinema frame rate, 3, 000, 000:1 contrast ratio, 4 HDMI ports, an Ethernet port and a Wi-Fi adapter.
Learn more on Toshiba's webpage.
Halden-Caviglia is attempting to turn the sleek HDTV into an artistic experience with its new Showcases. Basically fancy-looking cases that house a TV set, giving it typically antique look, the Showcases include dual speakers and an integrated amplifier, passive and fan ventilation to prevent heat damage, and an IR-repeater to ensure typical remote controls can access the TV inside.
Also included is a patent-pending wall-mounting system as well as a table-mounting system for those that prefer the tabletop TV-watching methodology. Showcases are able to fit most HDTV form factors between 42- and 65-inches (sized small, medium and large) and can be custom built to specifications. Cost? Between $7495 and $11495.