Best Selling HDTVs

May 17, 2008

New Pioneer Stores Opening On North America's West Coast

PioStoreFront-reg.jpgPioneer is planning on opening at least three new Pioneer Store outlets running along North America's west coast. President Tamihiko Sudo says its part of Pioneer's restructuring plan that they hope will boost sales of the company's key products such as plasma sets and upcoming LCD TV releases. There is already one Pioneer Store open in Los Angeles that's been in operation for almost 2 years now and its been performing well. But don't plan on heading to any of the new Pioneer Store's looking for LCD TV's just yet. Although there'll probably be a European release in August, and Asia a little later, Pioneer's LCD TV's won't be hitting North American shores until spring 2009 at the very earliest.

Via JCN

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May 13, 2008

Toshiba Using Cell Processing In Upcoming HDTV Release

7573-ibmcell.jpgGiven Toshiba's failure putting up HD DVD against Sony's Blu-ray, it's an interesting turn of events to hear that Toshiba will be using Cell processing in an upcoming TV release. The Cell processor is the powerful CPU used in the PS3, in my opinion the best Blu-ray player on the market right now, co-developed by Toshiba, Sony, and IBM back in 2005. Not to many details have been released yet, but Toshiba says the Cell CPU will enable high-quality upscaling of standard-def content, playing and recording multiple TV programs at once, and HD decoding. We'll be waiting for awhile to see what Toshiba's Cell TV can do however, as it's not expected to ship until late 2009.

Via Trusted Reviews

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April 27, 2008

Rumor: Matsushita May Be Merging With Sanyo, Trading Suspended In Japan

logo_s.jpge-logo.jpgRumors has it that trading of both Matsushita and Sanyo shares have been suspended on both the Tokyo and Osaka Stock Exchanges after newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the two companies are considering a "possible capital and business tie-up". The possible merger is apparently an option Sanyo is considering to turnaround its struggling business, quite apparent after the company was investigated for cooking the books near the end of 2007.

How would this affect the two companies' respective TV businesses? Sanyo could definitely augment the Panasonic HDTV line, bringing its respectable global market share over to Matsushita, who in return would give Sanyo the backing it'll need to turnaround its overall business.

So far the problem right now is to figure out exactly whether this rumor is true or not. Both companies have denied they've ever discussed such a move and trading is set to resume on both Stock Exchanges tomorrow morning.

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LG And HP Coming With "Over 80" DivX-Certified Digital TV's

logo_divx-black-blue.jpgLook for more and more digital TV's shipped with a DivX-certified sticker on them this year, as DivX has signed agreements with the likes of LG and HP to release over 80 digital television models that simply allow you to plug in a USB device into your TV enabling DivX video playback. We know of at least a couple of LG Time Machine LCD TV's already DivX-certified down in South America. DivX is also working with chip makers AMD, Chips and Media, Broadcom, and Trident to further extend DivX capabilities into the digital TV market. Earlier this year, we found out that AMD will use DivX in digital TV's using certain Xilleon processors such as select models from Samsung, Mitsubishi and Westinghouse.

The company has been spreading through the digital entertainment industry like wildfire, available on a variety of DVD and Blu-ray players, the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Via Engadget HD

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Matsushita Looking To Jack Up Panasonic HDTV Sales 40%

222-viera1.jpgMatsushita, the maker of Panasonic HDTV's, aims to ramp up flat-panel TV sales big time this year, aiming for a 40% increase in sales for the year ended March 2009. That equates to 11 million plasma's or LCD's sold, an increase in sales of 40% in the plasma sector and over half in LCD TV's. If the company hits its targets this year, it'll be a huge move, taking them from the 6th largest global HDTV market share globally, jacking them up all the way to number 3, just behind high-def kingpins Samsung and Sony.

How do they plan to achieve such an accomplishment? According to the company, by expanding production lines in Russia and China, and focusing on the US for big sales increases. And with their hot new Viera line-up, big sales this year wouldn't surprise us at all. Something we're wondering though (any accountants can feel free to jump in and explain this one to us)--is it possible for Matsushita to cook the books a little bit, and include Matsushita panels used in Pioneer plasma's to jack up their sales numbers?

Via Reuters

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April 26, 2008

Dolby, THX Want To Improve Your HDTV Picture

sony-xel-1-contrast.jpgWhile blacks and brightness levels are improving exponentially every year with new LCD and plasma TV releases, cathode ray tube TV's are still the industry standard for both. But a couple of companies are working on technologies at the moment to solve the problem-Dolby and THX. Dolby, better known for its sound expertise, has bought a company called BrightSide Technologies with the intent on improving just one aspect of the HDTV experience-black levels. Through the acquisition, Dolby has developed Dolby Contrast, an LED backlighting system that allows LED lights located in dark parts of the picture to be switched off, enhancing contrast ratio. The company hopes that manufacturers will license the product and, if they do, we could start seeing Dolby Contrast used in new TV releases in the next year.

THX, also known for their sound technology, has a couple of projects on the go. THX Media Director simplifies HDTV calibration, automating it so that the TV's owner doesn't have to fiddle around with a boatload of different settings in order to tweak the picture. The company is also working on a licensing program that would lend their name to sets they've reviewed and deemed to be satisfactory under their standards. The program, the company believes, would not only help ensure consumers they're buying the right HDTV, but also lend a little extra credibility to the THX brand.

While some second-tier companies such as LG Display are considering the technologies, top-tier manufacturers will be tough to crack for the two companies as most are working on their own proprietary technologies addressing the same problems. "It may be more useful for companies that don't have the kind of expertise we have", said Matt Chang, product manager from Sony.

Via BusinessWeek

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April 24, 2008

5.5 Million HDTV's Purchased During Christmas 2007 And Super Bowl 2008, Gamers Driving Growth

LQThumb_11963875685568511.jpgNew numbers from Frank N. Magid Associates showed growth in HDTV adoption, as 25% of households now have an at least one HDTV up from 20% in September 2007. That's an impressive growth rate for such a short period and pushed by 5.5 million first-time HDTV purchases during the 2007 holiday season and 2008 Super Bowl run-up.

Of the 28 million US households that now have an HDTV, 3 million purchased a second HDTV during the same period bringing multiple HDTV households to 10 million. Don't think for a second that HDTV adoption is driven by solely HD television programming and video though. 18% of new HDTV buyers in the last year bought their high-def set specifically to take advantage of the HD graphics used in Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 games. And expect further growth in the next year to be driven by current owners of HDTV's of whom 40% will buy another.

Via GameDaily

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April 15, 2008

$9 For An HD VOD Movie Rental? I Don't Think So

vodmenu.jpgWould you pay $9 for an HD video-on-demand movie rental released in the same timeframe as the standard-def DVD of the same title? Personally I wouldn't do it, I have a hard enough time spending 4 or 5 bucks on a pay-per-view title that 90% of the time sucks too bad to justify wasting 2 hours of my time watching it. Apparently though, a lot of people out there would opt for the former and dish out $9 for HD VOD.

This coming from a survey of 2000 US consumers conducted by Oliver Wyman, an international strategy consulting firm, that did indeed reveal that people were willing to pay $7-$9 for an HD VOD or HD movie download released in DVD window. This is great news for Hollywood studios as Oliver Wyman figures that HD VOD combined in combination with other offerings from cable companies would encourage viewers to watch an additional 3 movies per year, generating $5-$10 billion in additional VOD spending by 2010. HD movie rentals on demand would also decrease DVD cannibalization by a full 40%.

Releasing VOD titles simultaneously with the like-titled DVD release has some interesting effects, as tests last year by Warner Bros. showed an increase in VOD purchases by 50% when DVD titles were released at the same time. The DVD's also showed a 10% increase in purchases. Why this is I'm not sure. Maybe the double advertising exposure. Or maybe a lot of us prefer to check out titles via rental before purchasing. Whatever it is, this simultaneous release window will also grow the internet movie download market to $2.5 billion by next year.

Ultimately Oliver Wyman concludes paying $9 for an HD VOD rental is in the best interests of the consumer, but I think I'd rather have $5 billion in the bank than an HD movie on my widescreen for a couple hours. But to each his own.

Via Video Business

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April 11, 2008

44 Million HD Homes Worldwide By End Of 2008, 180 Million By 2012

51hjo3CwNOL._SL500_AA280_.jpg44 million households worldwide will have a HD signal received and displayed on an HDTV by the end of 2008. That's 4% of worldwide households, double that at the end of 2007, but only a quarter of the expected 180 million HD homes by 2012. All this thanks to dropping HDTV and set-top box prices according to the London-based research firm behind the new numbers, Informa Telecoms & Media. Not surprisingly, HD penetration has been the highest in North America, due to the growing availability of HD content and the poor quality of analog signals. The research also found the HD subscriptions rose dramatically once 20 HD channels are available in any given area.

Via marketwatch

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2008 Beijing Olympics Will Be The Biggest HD-Broadcasted Event Ever

beijing-logo-small.jpgWhen this summer rolls around, and the torch is lit kicking off the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, networks such as NBC who paid $5.7 billion for exclusive US broadcast rights to the games, hope to see a return on their money. And they just might, as the Beijing games is being touted as the biggest HD broadcast ever, featuring more HD footage and broadband coverage than any other sporting event in the history of televised broadcasting.

The Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Corp. which will handle the main production operations come the torch-lighting August 8 will have 1000 HD camera and 60 HD mobile units set up at the various Olympic venues, and hooked up to fiber optics suitable for HD transmission. Not one standard-definition camera will be used at this year's Olympics. Just 4 years ago at the Athens Olympics, NBC only managed to broadcast 396 hours of HD coverage, compared to the expected 756 hours this year. Plus, with broadband broadcasting now playing a greater role in television, we can expect to see 3600 hours of exclusive content at NBCOlympics.com.

Via Variety Asia

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