July 27, 2010
This September, Apple fans will be able to get their hands on a 27-inch LED Cinema Display, the latest size upgrade from the company's 24-inch model. The larger display sports 2560 x 1440 resolution, 16:9 edge-to-edge aspect ratio, an iSight video camera, USB 2.0 port, an ambient light sensor, in-plane (IPS) switching, a 178 degree viewing angle, microphone, speakers and a MagSafe connector.
Apple boasts that the Cinema Display also uses mercury-free LED technology, arsenic-free glass, recyclable materials, no brominated flame retardants and PVC-free cables and components. The company also claims Energy Star 5.0 compliance and EPEAT Gold status.
Coming in September, the 27-inch LED Cinema Display will cost $999 and can be hooked up to any Apple product with a Mini DisplayPort.
July 22, 2010
A couple of years ago, many companies thought mobile TV was about to take off. Qualcomm was one of them and it heavily pushed its Flo TV service, buying up spectrum, building out infrastructure and pushing to get its own TV-compatible chipsets into mobile phones. Fast forward a couple of years, and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is now saying the company is looking to sell its expensive, unprofitable Flo TV service. While a wide variety of suitors could be interested, look for Flo TV to be picked up by another mobile entertainment provider or a company looking to shut down the service and take advantage of the valuable spectrum for another service.
July 22, 2010
Panasonic Japan has added a couple of new sets to its 3D Viera RT2B family. The 42- and 46-inch sets sport the usual 3D functionality requiring active shutter glasses when viewing, but also packs in a Blu-ray player/recorder and an HDD from which TV shows/movies can pulled onto Blu-ray disc at a later date. While pricing is a bit of an unknown, the 46-inch set is rumored to be priced around the equivalent of US$5100. Release date is a confirmed August 27.
July 21, 2010
The next time I'm looking around for a laptop, I'll make sure it has the guts to handle one of these. The Plextor PX-B120U is a BD-ROM drive not only capable of playing back Blu-ray discs from your laptop, but also burning blank DVDs and CDs. The impressive bit is that it's 100% USB-powered and when connected to the upcoming Plexmedia, the PX-B120U can be converted into a living room-based Blu-ray machine. Did I mention it's only a completely (it seems) reasonable $99.99?
Check out the full press release after the jump.
Continue reading: "Plextor PX-B120U BD-ROM only $100!"
July 20, 2010
Redbox, the company that places DVD rental kiosks in dark corners of grocery stores and other such places, is reportedly working on the development of a web strategy to take on the likes of Netflix. Now's probably a good time. Redbox may have upwards of 24, 000 kiosks out there, but the company only offers around 200 titles. Compare that with the 100, 000 mail order titles and 20, 000 online titles that Netflix offers.
Likely Redbox will tie up with a technology provider like Sonic Solutions to make it to market faster. But is it already too late. With competition from Netflix, Apple, Best Buy, Walmart's Vudu and even to some extent, Blockbuster, is Redbox coming to the game too late? It remains to be seen.
Yet another Google Android-based HDTV has appeared out of the woodwork. This time from GNPC, a South Korean company, and dubbed the SmartRoi. Seemingly only available in a 42-inch display size currently, the SmartRoi sports support for Android upgrades in the future (not sure what the current version is), an LED backlit panel, 5, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, 500cd/m2 brightness, and a handful of USB ports.
July 19, 2010
I've been waiting a long time for this. According to a tweet from the Netflix Twitter account, the video rental/streaming service is launching in Canada this fall. The company has launched Netflix.ca, a Canadian website version, where you can sign up to be notified when the service launches. Details are minimal at the moment, but since the word comes from Netflix itself, I think we can call it official.
July 16, 2010
Logitech has outed an affordable 5.1-channel surround sound boxed speaker set dubbed Z506 priced at only $100. At that price point there is no excuse to avoid upgrading to a 5-channel system. Designed to work with a variety of devices from traditional Blu-ray players to portable media players, the Z506 speakers have color-coded connections for easy hookup and 75 Watts of RMS power.
Sharp has unveiled some new high-capacity Blu-ray discs that work according to the BDXL specification. Originally designed for application such as medical imaging, BDXL, in this case, allows 100GB to be stored on 3 layers of the Blu-ray disc and 128GB on 4 layers. Landing in Japan on the 30th of July for 5000 Yen, the BDXL discs will initially only work with the Sharp BD-HDW700 Blu-ray recorder/player. The 128GB discs will be available in BDXL-R and BDXL-RE versions while the 100GB discs will only be rewritable.
July 15, 2010
As part of its continued emphasis on Watch Instantly, Netflix has signed another deal with Warner Bros. to add more streaming video content. This deal nets Netflix all 100 episodes of Nip/Tuck, some Veronica Mars, Pushing Daisies and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
This adds to a deal Netflix signed with Warner Bros. earlier this year that resulted in the latter's new release titles being held for 28 days from the former's DVD-by-mail service. Netflix was given access to more streaming content in exchange. This week's deal also lengthened Netflix's existing license for Warner Bros. streaming content through 2011.
Netflix continues to make the transition to the web and de-emphasize its popular DVD-by-mail business. While some business, such as Blockbuster, have had trouble with this transition, Netflix seems to be doing okay with its web traffic exploding last month.
IFA 2010, one of the world's most popular consumer electronics shows, will be all about 3D TV. LG, according to I4U, is going to be showing off a new 3D technology it calls Nano Full LED. According to LG, the technology enables it to enhance the direct backlighting behind its 3D panels with a micro lense-carrying nano screen. The nano screen makes the backlighting much more granular resulting in a sharper picture.
It makes sense that a nano screen would be slim and the Nano Full LED 3D TV being shown off this weekend at IFA is just that. At 7.8 mm thin, it's one of the skinniest TVs around. And with its 10 mm bezel, it'll be nothing but crisp, clear 3D picture.
I'm looking forward to hearing more about this TV.
July 14, 2010
Way back when I predicted Hulu wouldn't be much of a success and I was way off. Last month the video streaming site served up more than 1 billion videos, second only to YouTube in popularity. But it has some competition, according to new numbers from ComScore, in the form of Netflix. The prominent DVD-by-mail business has been steadily working over the past few years to move its business to the web and its traffic is growing quickly with its large library of streaming movies.
Netflix web traffic is up 15% since April and 46% year-over-year, and while this trails Hulu, Netflix's plain-jane June web traffic was actually higher - 20.2 million unique individual visitors to Hulu's 19.7 million. Of course, visitors use Netflix's website to look for DVDs to rent as well, but the trend is clear. Netflix is gaining ground on the video-streaming web.
July 13, 2010
Over the weekend, DirecTV, Cox, Verizon, FiOS, Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner Cable and a few regional services broadcast the first 3D major league baseball game in the New York and Seattle areas. Popular HDTV pundit Gary Merson from HDGuru.com reviewed the broadcast and while it wasn't perfect (and I hear some movies are just horrible), it does demonstrate the potential of 3D TV.
The telecast gave a new perspective to the game, highlighting the physical space and interaction of the fielders as well as the pitcher to the batter like no other prior broadcast. You need to see it to appreciate it. My perspective shifted from distant spectator in a 2D HDTV broadcast to an umpire's eye view and "you are there" immersive feel.
Of course there were a few technical glitches, but it seems real 3D TV is on its way.
July 12, 2010
3D will be "installed in everyone's living room in three year's time," according to gaming company Ubisoft's head of marketing. Yeah, I can't see this. By 2013, most North Americans will own a 3D TV? Maybe 2D television stops working entirely and we're all forced to upgrade to a 3D set...But even then, how many of us can afford the technology at this point in time. I can't, that's for sure.
With the digital TV transition barely behind us, many people have just bought a brand new HDTV in the past couple of years. Are they really seeing the necessity of shelling out for 3D technology at this point in time? Especially when it's nascent and full of glitches? Unlikely.
I suppose Ubisoft is just trying to drum up some publicity for its own new 3D gaming titles by issuing such a bold statement. It's definitely a smart business move. But a reasonable statement? Not in my eyes.
July 5, 2010
Way back when I predicted that Blockbuster would go bankrupt as it struggled against businesses such as Netflix and Apple's iTunes and their better business models. The bricks-and-mortar video rental chain has repeatedly failed to move its business online or into a similar, lower-overhead type business.
Now, Blockbuster will likely be delisted by the New York Stock Exchange as its share price has fallen below the $1 minimum. The company was made aware of the issue back in November of 2009 and attempted to remedy the problem by combining its Class A and Class B shares. Unfortunately that required a vote which went bad due to a "low vote turnout". Not good.
Hopefully the 960 stores Blockbuster closes this year will lower its expenses enough to allow the company to begin paying off some debt. Unlikely. I stick by my prediction.
The new Xbox 360 managed to sell 15, 000 units in Japan during its first four days on the market. The previous Xbox 360 managed to sell 2, 370 units during the same period. The previous full week saw only 2, 060 units sold. The launch was assisted by the popular new game, Monster Hunter Frontier Online.
Despite the new Xbox 360's initial success it was still outsold for the week by both Sony's Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii. The two game systems sold 19, 578 and 19, 115 units, respectively.
July 2, 2010
According to the New York Times, the failed Apple TV could be headed for a major overhaul and Apple could be making a play for your living room. As one of the last "disconnected" devices in the home, the television set is an important market. Sure, there are sets that allow internet connectivity. But no company has really revolutionized how we watch TV. Having the web on our living room TVs is cool, but not that important. With Google now making a play, Apple is looking to step in and offer some competition. Unofficial sources have told the times that the new Apple TV may use the same iOS operating system used by the iPhone, iPod and iPad. The hope for Apple would be that people access iTunes or a similar interface in order to purchase movies and TV shows. It could be lucrative for Apple if they get it right this time.
. Brite-View today has launched a new media hub called the CinemaGo BV-5005HDThe new hub is primarily built as a movie player capable of pumping out 1080p picture, and supporting a variety of file formats including AVI, MOV, WMV, MKV, RMVB, DVD (VOB) and raw Flash. Furthermore, the BV-5005HD will play ISO disc images, and can pull video from its local storage or from DLNA or UPnP sources. Furthermore it now supports BitTorrent downloads and will play Muzee internet radio stations. For expansion it has both eSATA and USB ports on the front. Brite-View is now taking pre-orders for $110 though the list price when it ships (an unknown) will be $150.