You have to give Philips credit. They're working hard to redefine themselves in a highly competitive high-def television market and by the looks of it they're succeeding. A couple of days back the company unveiled a 56-inch Quad Full Autostereoscopic 3D HDTV in Hollywood. Not only does this remarkable feat of HD engineering not require funny glasses to watch, but the speed of data transfer required to produce the images increases the screen resolution to a crazy 3840 x 2160 pixels! Philips claims that this is 23 times the resolution of any previous 3D HDTV. Unfortunately it won't be in living rooms anytime soon. Initially it'll be sold to commercial buyers at a rather pricey $25, 000.
Some people will do anything to enlarge their TV's screen size, but this is remarkable. Imagine taking your old RPTV, dismantling it so the rear projector is unimpeded by the display...and then putting a bigger screen in front of it. Yes, it's been done, and while some brightness was sacrificed the overall picture apparently wasn't that bad.
It's nice to see that wireless transmission of uncompressed 1080p video is coming closer to our living rooms. Over in Japan at CEATEC, Panasonic demonstrated the transmission of content from a Blu-ray recorder to a wireless tuner via HDMI, then to a plasma HDTV wirelessly for playback.
The demo used a 60GHz band milliwave and reached 4 Gbps and worked quite well, but unfortunately they also performed the same demo with a Nintendo Wii to display the lag effects rendered by wireless transmission of video games. Nevertheless, for those of us who prefer a good movie over the latest edition of Soul Calibur, Panasonic plans to commercialize the wireless tech in 2009.
The value of your home may be plummeting, while the cost of driving to work seems to be rising everyday. But according to research firm DisplaySearch, our ongoing economic challenges haven't dulled your craving for the latest in HDTV technology. Growth is still a healthy 17% year-over-year, most likely thanks to big-name makers like Sony and Samsung following the lead of last-year's 2nd-tier big-name Vizio and focusing on cheaper models. With prices for 40- to 44-inch HDTV models expected to plateau early next year, you'll probably see an increased focus on 60-inch plus models where price drops have been slower. This according to Bob Scaglione, senior vice president of marketing for Sharp, who noted the change and focus will probably happen before the end of the year. We'll keep an eye on prices and let you know when things start to change.
If you're currently in the market to new LCD or plasma display, you may want to wait until the next month. TV research firm Quixel Research is predicting that HDTV prices 'could' drop another 15-20% in the fourth quarter depending on manufacturer inventories and market share competition. Of course this is just a prediction and with HDTV prices currently so competitive it won't necessarily hurt to buy now. Even in smaller screen sizes such as 32-inches, bigger names like Sony have shutdown last year's value name Vizio by introducing low-cost models. No worries though, the best values are to be found online and we'll keep you updated as to where they are.
Remember those Mitsubishi LaserVue TV's? You know, the one's with the lasers? Yes, they're 10-inches thick and all, but they also boast twice the color gamut of major brand LCD and plasma TV's while using only half the energy. Right now everything is the word of Mitsubishi so we'll have to see if this is all kosher info once the hands-on reviews begin to leak, but with some price info finally becoming public we're pretty satisfied for now. Mitsubishi has priced the 65-inch model at a perfectly reasonable $6999, even with comparable size flat panels of the LCD and plasma variety. As expected, it'll ship in the 3rd quarter, hitting Mitsubishi's Diamond retailers come end of September with a wider release at the end of October. As for the larger 73-inch model, we're still waiting for those details, but we're sure it'll be available in time for Christmas.
Another TV name has jumped on the green bandwagon, though this time not a name we're familiar with. German company Grundig has announced its Vision 6 ECO line at IFA, coming in October in 26- and 32-inch models. The Vision 6 ECO line draws next to no energy in standby mode-only 0.1W-and only 76W when fully operational, 48% less than comparable models. Geared toward the European market, the Vision 6 ECO line features both analog and DMB-T digital terrestrial tuners. Come 2009 and the advent of HD OTA broadcast in Europe, Grundig plans to expand the Vision 6 ECO line to include HD DMB-T MPEG4 sets as well as sets with combo DMB-T and DMB-C tuners.
It looks like Philips is trying to play catch-up in the HDTV world in the next couple of weeks. Rumor has it that the second-tier HDTV manufacturer will debut an ultra-thin 38mm 42-inch display at IFA in Germany which starts August 27. The new display, dubbed Essence, apparently gets its thin form by housing its picture processing unit externally, allowing to be easily mounted pretty well anywhere. Interestingly it won't be connected wirelessly as you would expect for a high-end TV debut-a single cable will connect the frame to the external processor. We'll keep our eyes open for more details.
Brazilians living in Sao Paulo have a real treat in store thanks to a partnership between Philips and Telefonica that's bringing 3D IPTV to the region. Better yet, 3D viewing requires no glasses thanks to Philips' autostereoscopic technology in use on the 52-inch 1080p 3D TV the company will supply. Of course, the big caveat here is the price of the TV. €18,000, making this service commercially-oriented for the time being. You also have to live in the Jardins neighborhood, where they have the fiber optic capacity to transit high-bandwidth 3D signals. "Inside three or four years", the two companies expect that the price will come down enough to appeal to the more mainstream consumer. In the meantime, why not head to theater and check out Fly Me to the Moon. Debuting today, the film is the first ever to be released solely in 3D.