With HDTV prices dropping drastically this year and Black Friday coming very soon, HD is the buzz once again. By the end of 2007, it's expected that over half of American households will own a digital TV set (of which not all are high-def), compared to 26% at the end of 2006, and forecasted to be 67% by the end of next year. Not only is price pushing sales along, but the upcoming transition of broadcast signals from analog to digital is helping fuel the fire as well. So far HD DVD and Blu-ray players, though the focus of much attention due to their ongoing "format war", have not had much affect of digital TV sales although that's expected to change over the next couple of years. Most interestingly though, retailers who sell HDTV's cite increased picture clarity on DVDs as the number one reason consumer's purchase high-def boxes!
HDTV expert Gary Merson tested 74 HDTV's ranging from 19 to 67 inches for their ability to correctly deinterlace 1080i signals and also whether they correctly converted 24 frames-per-second film-based content to the TV's respective native display rate without sacrificing picture detail. Overall this year's HDTV's did a whole lot better than last year's with a 64.86% pass rate for proper deinterlacing compared to last year's woeful 45.91%. The failure rate for proper 3:2 processing is a horrible 81.09%. Plasmas as expected displayed the best motion detail with flat-panel LCD's bringing up the rear with a disturbingly low score. Check out the entire review and explanation behind it here, with a helpful chart included.
A new study by the Leichtman Research Group has revealed the following stats for the United States that we at TVSnob find disturbing:
-nearly 40% of HDTV owners are not watching HD content on their TV's
-about 20% of HDTV owners think that they are watching HD content when they are not
-40% of HDTV owners think they own HD DVD players when the actual number is less than 5%
Can you say consumer education anyone? It's funny how when a new technology reaches the "tipping point" where it becomes mainstream, people flock to either use or purchase it when their only reasoning for doing so is market mania. It's the same principle behind "booms" and "busts" on the market indexes. This is something I'll never understand, but TVSnob does want you to have the best home theater experience you can, so we'll make sure to feature some "consumer education" articles over the holiday shopping season. In fact, if you have any questions now just leave them in the comments section.
Sony's XEL-1 OLED TV may hit the US before the end of the year! Engadget HD reported today that at a New York meeting of the Sony Club, Sony Electronic president Stan Glasgow reportedly said that "OLED could come [here] before the end of the year". Whether or not this happens depends on foreign demand and panel supply. With panel supply a little worrisome this holiday season, we're not sure yet whether this will happen, but it's definitely better than the original news: that the model would only be released in Japan this year.
For any Apple TV fans in the Murfreesboro, TN area, a reader of the unofficial Apple weblog, TUAW, found an unbelievable deal at a local Sams Club. Take a look at the receipt above and you will see he bought an Apple TV for only $153.01! Other readers around the US didn't seem to find any comparable deals at other Sams Club's around the country, so if you live in Tennessee, you've lucked out big time!
It isn't always possible to design home lighting solutions specifically for your LCD or plasma TV. It also isn't possible to always prevent your kids from knocking it off its stand or putting a toy car through the screen.
Wolverine Data has developed the ProShield - Plasma & LCD HDTV Glare Killer to help eliminate some of these issues. Developed with Optical Grade Clear View technology, the ProShield not only eliminates all glares, but provides increased screen contrast and more brilliant colors. It's also scratch and impact resistant and can withstand a baseball traveling at more than 150 miles per hour!
The ProShield ranges in size from 37-52" and prices start at $99. You can pre-order now by visiting the Wolverine website and shipments will begin November 1.
This is absolutely amazing. Lumenlab's "Q" computer is the world's first luxury computer. Even cooler than it's state-of-the-art technology is the fact that all the hardware, including Intel Core Duo processors, fits nicely into a 42" 1080p flat-screen only 3" thin! The embedded computing platform, utilizing dual onboard digital video data buses, means that you get 1080p resolution "straight from the chip" and the lack of signal conversion equals a crisp, clear picture. It also features Hotwire PnP networking technology, no fan meaning soundless operation, 2 GB of ram, and 1 TB of HDD storage. All of the components are upgradeable and with a reasonable lifespan of 60000 hours, the "Q" can be used for 4 hours per day for the next 41 years! As for pricing, there are no details yet.
Panellists from Discovery, Scientific Atlanta, Motorola and SES Americom agreed during discussions last week at the HD World conference in New York that TV viewers are being denied the very best HDTV signals.
Brian Morris, VP/digital media for Scientific-Atlanta told delegates that he believes "people have never seen it" when asked about HD quality. Charles Myers, VP/distribution & technology for Discovery Communications, compared the current high-definition broadcasting stream to a "meat grinder" as signals are chopped up from origin to destination.
Broadcasting streams aren't the only culprits however. Plasma and LCD artifacts and HDTV sets set to the wrong format on their set-tops (ex. a 720p panel set to 1080i) are also partially to blame for disrupting signals resulting in less than quality pictures. The latter is a matter of consumer education, lacking in the world of high-definition technology.
Finally panellists criticized broadcasters who sometimes reduce signal strength and bandwidth to save signal space, once again disrupting the quality of your HDTV picture.
This isn't really surprising. HDTV is still early in its life cycle and I'm sure picture quality won't be optimized for years yet. Either which way, your HDTV picture quality has got to be better than your standard-definition tube TV!
CNET's Crave blog has a fascinating article covering all of the updates in the various types of high definition televisions. OLED TV, of which the first by Sony is to hit Japanese shelves in December is extremely expensive at the moment. $1739 for an 11" screen expensive. President of DisplaySearch, Ross Young, says that currently yields are poor for OLED screens resulting in high prices. As yields improve, he says OLED TV's may sell for around $1000 next Christmas. For what size screen he doesn't mention, but he says that by 2011, when current high-def variations such as LCD and plasma are forecasted to peak, OLED will come in sizes up to 32". LCD TV's will be around $500 by that time. Chump change compared to today's prices. Other highlights covering plasma displays, LED, and laser-based technologies can be found in the article.
Concerns over the energy usage of plasma and LCD TV's have the Australian government concerned. A report commissioned by the federal government has proposed a six-star energy-efficiency rating system for all TV's as well as energy ratings labels to be visible on the models to educate the customer about the TV's energy use. The government also wants to introduce "minimum energy performance standards" in hopes of eliminating the most energy-consuming models. Unfortunately the guidelines they've set would eliminate virtually all current LCD and plasma TV's from Australian store shelves by 2011.
Manufacturers say they support the guidelines but need more time to implement the necessary changes as they have been given only 2 years from the time each guideline is introduced to meet the standards set.
From my point of view, this seems like a small-scale problem compared to carbon emissions and the growing lack of water in Australia. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.