Think you're watching high-definition television? Maybe you're wrong. A survey of 1302 United States households, conducted by Leichtman Research Group (LRG), has revealed that 18% of us think we're watching high-def when we really watching standard-definition.
I think that the digital TV transition, just a few months away, has helped clarify the situation somewhat. I'm sure 6 months ago, the number of people watching SDTV thinking they were watching HDTV was much higher. I also wonder if this has had any affect on poor Blu-ray sales. Sure high pricing--which is finally coming down--probably plays the biggest part, but if potential buyers are so clueless as to what they're buying, why would they buy it?
If I was a marketer for Sony or any other Blu-ray manufacturer, I'd be all over this. What better way to educate the general public in the SD/HD difference than a good Blu-ray flick?
Sure it'll cost you a buck short of $7000, but Mitsubishi's 65-inch LaserVue HDTV is the first laser TV to market. That's right, the long-awaited Mitsubishi-made technological wonder is now available at specialty retailers, boasting 1080p resolution, a 120 Hz refresh rate, 500 nits of brightness, and x.v. color. Not to mention the fact that the 10-inch thin LaserVue, built for both floorstanding and wall-mounting, is 3D ready and capable of pushing out high quality sound through its built-in speakers. It's not only easy on the eyes though, it's also easy on the environment. Operating at only 135 Watts, the LaserVue uses about one-third the power of most LCD TV's and one-quarter that of plasma models. Mitsubishi's 73-inch L73A90 laser TV should also be released in the coming months.
It seems that if your home theater gadget doesn't support the DivX codec these days, you're doomed to failure. Pretty much ubiquitous in Blu-ray and DVD players, the next logical step for DivX is to move their codec support right into HDTV's. Earlier this week, the company reached a multiyear agreement with Samsung to do just that. A line of DLNA-compatible digital TV models from Samsung, expected to see worldwide release in early 2009, will support DivX playback either from a direct USB or Ethernet connection. That's the extent of the details available at the moment, but I'll all but guarantee we'll find out more come CES next January.
Verdict: "We'll all be on soup lines soon, but at least we'll have great televisions." Yes, yes, at $7000 it costs about the same as a half-decent used car, but Mitsubishi's 65-inch LaserVue laser TV is nothing less than awesome, according to TIME. Displaying blacker blacks than a KURO plasma, while consuming two-thirds the energy, the 65-inch beast even makes reds look red. An amazing accomplishment since typically reds are displayed at a longer wavelength than our eyes catch, hence the orange-looking reds so typical of many LCD's and plasma's. Granted this isn't really a technical review; it has a repeated focus on Man Cave's, but hey, "It's the best home-entertainment display in America," should be everything you need to know. Still no pricing on the 73-inch LaserVue; we hoped there be some mention. Soon enough.
If you've just joined the HDTV era lately you're probably aware that hooking up a high-def home theater system is a bit more complicated than an analog set-up. LG Electronics has apparently caught on to this fact and launched the Wirewize web tool to help consumers put together their HD setup.
Called Wirewize, the service is designed to simplify the process of connecting multiple consumer electronics, including flat-panel HDTVs, DVD players and other home-theater components by providing a complete list of optimal cables and visual, step-by-step hookup instructions for each component, LG said.
If you head over to LGusa.com, you'll find Wirewize within the "Connection Guide" link on any product page in the "TV/Audio/Video" section. The setup is done in a quick and easy three steps and includes home theater devices from other name brand manufacturers, but when it comes right down to it this whole deal is really about the cables. Understandable. How's the typical HDTV buyer supposed to keep up with all the inputs and outputs available these days?
Tough economic conditions mean absolutely nothing to those who want an HDTV in their living, according to the latest survey results from PriceGrabber. In fact, while 57% of those surveyed already own an HDTV, 73% of those that don't plan to buy their's in the next year. Perhaps the reason economic fears seem to have no bearing is the majority of new buyers aren't particularly concerned with price; they just want the better audio and picture quality now available from widespread HD programming options.
It's also looking like the millions upon millions of dollars spent in a last-ditch effort to educate us about the digital television transition are paying off-73% of the surveyed sample are prepared and another 14% will skip the converter box business and buy a new digital-ready HDTV outright. Unfortunately though, especially because I'm big on web television, is that only 3% stream programs on their computer.
Gary Merson, aka HD Guru, doesn't like to waste time. Which is probably why he chose to review 125 2008 HDTV models, plus a 2009 prototype, in one shot. It looks as if HDTV technology has improved since 2007 as well. 96% of the HDTV's tested properly deinterlaced 1080i television signals and 68 out of 76 1080p models displayed full bandwidth displaying all 1920 horizontal pixels.
There still are some weak areas however. Only 23 out of 125 sets were able to properly split 1080i/24 frames per second broadcasted content and recombine them to produce a 1080p picture. And get this this: out of 28 Samsung displays tested only the LN-46A950 passed. Many of the sets tested also had problems maintaining resolution when displaying fast-moving scenes. Samsung's LN-46A950 was the only HDTV in 2008 that was able to maintain 100% of the picture's resolution when motion was introduced, mainly thanks to its Motion Plus LED backlight control. To see the full test report, hit the read link. (Warning: PDF file)
Philips may have shown off their 50-inch Quad Full Autostereoscopic 3D HDTV first at CEATEC, but straight on their heels was a no-funny-glasses-needed 72-inch display. Created by partners JVC and Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, the 72-inch 3D display featured 1920 x 1080 resolution and a 20 degree 3D viewing angle on both sides. The display uses a set of full HD projectors to project images onto the screen from the back of the set with up to 100 million pixels. By aligning the projectors to coincide with certain images, the lighting is optimized so as to appear to bounce off the screen enabling the 3D effect. Not only do the two companies plan to mass-produce the 3D monster by 2011, they think the technology could be used for 200-300 inch 3D displays!
Panasonic has the go-ahead to stock shelves with tru2way HDTV's before Christmas after receiving certification for a 42-inch and 50-inch set from CableLabs. tru2way if you remember is kind of the next generation of the CableCARD, but enables two-way communication between your set and cable provider without a set-top box. Interactive applications like video-on-demand content can be delivered straight to your HDTV. At the moment the Panasonic sets will however need a cable operator-provided CableCARD even to use tru2way. It'll be interesting to see how tru2way sets sell if they make it into stores by Christmas. We're not so sure the timing is right at the moment, and even though the CableCARD has largely been a failure, looking long-term we're pretty bullish on tru2way.