Toshiba Corp. said it planned the launch of the first next-generation, high-definition optical disc recorder based on the HD DVD format on July 14 in Japan as it intensifies competition with rival Blu-ray products.
Toshiba, which already debuted the world's first HD DVD player in March, expects the new recorder, equipped with a 1 terabyte hard disk, to sell for 398,000 yen ($3,466).
Toshiba is a leading proponent of next-generation HD DVD optical disk technology, which competes with the Blu-ray standard promoted by Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., a maker of Panasonic brand electronics.
Yep, just a tad expensive but once the first HD recorder hits the market, we should see a few wallet-friendly models coming out. We'll keep you posted.
If you're ready to be one of the first cool people on your block to own an HD-DVD player, be sure to check out the Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD Player. GlobeandMail has a review that states:
Toshiba's HD-XA1 HD-DVD player represents the first chance consumers have had to go out and buy a next generation DVD player. In case you're in the dark on next generation DVD technologies, here's a quick rundown on HD-DVD and Blu-ray, the two formats that will soon be vying for your DVD-earmarked dollars. The former was developed by Toshiba, the latter by Sony, and both are capable of storing and playing back movies in the highest definition standard currently available, 1080p, as well as lower resolutions such as 1080i, 720p, and, of course, 480p, the maximum resolution of current DVDs.
They also state:
After playing with the XA1 for about a week, my final take was this: HD-DVD players (and Blu-ray players as well, for that matter) are, for the time being, best suited for home theatre enthusiasts who don't mind taking risks. Not only do we not know how the HD-DVD versus Blu-ray war is going to shake out, we also have to deal with the limitations of early generation players and limited availability of content (as of this writing, only about 20 HD-DVD titles were available in Canada, most priced around $35 or higher). The HD-XA1 has proven that HD-DVD can deliver an excellent quality picture. Now we need only be convinced of its practicality and longevity.
I have to agree. Unless you're a bound and determined early-adopter, you're probably going to want to sit on the sidelines for awhile till at least the pricing goes down and the availability of HD movies goes up.
Hopefully by now everyone understands how critical proper calibration is in achieving the best sound and image possible, from your home theater system. If you've never used a calibration disc, you may be missing another level of performance in audio/video playback.
Last week Monster Cable was kind enough to send me their "Monster ISF Series - HDTV Calibration Wizard" DVD and of course over the weekend I gave it a spin.
For those who have never used a calibration disc for your home theater, in essence the disc uses test patterns and or short video clips with reference brightness, contrast and color levels that allow you to calibrate your video display to the NTSC standard. Some disc's even offer surround sound calibration tests, to ensure your speakers are balanced and operating in unison.
Be sure to check out the rest of this pretty decent review.
Looking for a new and cool TV for Dad but you haven't won the lottery yet? Well, VIZIO has announced some great deals on a cool line of Plasma TVs. According to their press release:
VIZIO ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH FATHER'S DAY PRICES ON HD PLASMAS AND LCD TV
Award Winning 50" Plasma Hits $1,999 Price Point
VIZIO 42" Plasma Hits $1,499 Every-Day Price Point
32" LCD Leads with Super-Value $899 HDTV
VIZIO is now the Fastest Growing Plasma Brand
Here's a peek at those TVs:
VIZIO 50" Plasma
Click Image for more details at VIZIO.com
The VIZIO P50HDM employs 1366 x 768 native resolution, 1,000 cd/m2 brightness and Faroudja DCDi motion-adaptive de-interlacing to deliver vibrant, rich images in 231 billion different colors. The P50HDM's video processor features Single Scan Technology for a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, reduced solarization and false contouring-along with improved sharpness, non-linear chroma enhancement, closed color suppression, non-linear scaling and adaptive contrast/color controls. It's array of video connections includes two dedicated HDMI inputs, a VGA-type PC input and two component video inputs. It also comes with built-in speakers, stand and universal IR remote and is protected with one-year in-home warranty.
The VIZIO P42HDTV takes on the attractive piano-black styling and built-in silver speakers of the P50HDM plasma TV. The 1024 x 768 native resolution widescreen boasts the latest-generation glass with Single Scan Technology for a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, high 1200 cd/m2 brightness and 30 bit, 231 billion colors. Its advanced video processor produces reduced solarization and false contouring while offering sharpness improvement, non-linear chroma enhancement, closed color suppression, non-linear scaling, and adaptive contrast and color controls. The 42" VIZIO features dual tuners, including ATSC off air, clear QAM digital cable and NTSC tuners. It offers PIP/POP, 3:2 pulldown, 3D-comb filter and motion-adaptive de-interlacer. Video connections include two component, HDMI and VGA-type PC (up to 1280 x 1024) inputs along with multiple video settings. It comes with easy-to-setup guide, a universal IR remote control, and a one-year in-home service warranty.
The "super-value" VIZIO L32HDTV LCD offers high definition 1366 x 768 native resolution with fast 8 ms response time plus dual tuners including ATSC off air, clear QAM digital cable and NTSC. It comes with built-in speakers and a universal IR remote control while offering PIP/POP, 3:2 pulldown, 3D-comb filter and motion-adaptive de-interlacer. The component, VGA-type PC and HDMI video inputs along with multiple video settings ensure that it will be in high demand by the entire family. The 32" LCD also comes with an easy-to-setup guide and a one-year in-home service warranty.
Sweet! Those are definitely some pretty nice price points for Plasma and LCD TVs. We've heard some good things about VIZIO TVs and we'll see about getting a a review unit so we can share our opinions with you. If you have any feedback on VIZIO TVs, please share with us in the comments section.
I've always been a fan of ViewSonic products, so I was interested to see a review of the ViewSonic N3260W 32-inch HDTV from CNET. Overall, the review is pretty positive and states:
In the lab, we adjusted the ViewSonic N3260W for optimum performance in a darkened room and compared it against a couple other LCDs we had on hand: the Samsung LN-S4051D and the Sharp LC-37D40U. The less expensive, 32-inch N3260W couldn't compete against the other two in terms of delivering deep blacks; the letterbox bars and shadows under the docked ship on the King Kong DVD, for example, appeared noticeably lighter than on the other two. We also saw significantly less detail in the ViewSonic's shadows; the face of the cabbie and the boxes along the dock were obscured by the darkness, while the other two sets appeared more detailed in these areas.
We were impressed, on the other hand, by the ViewSonic's relatively clean image. As the camera pans over the harbor during the ship's departure, the night sky looked smooth and relatively realistic, with natural transitions from lighter to darker areas and little of the noise or false contouring evinced by other sets we've seen.
Overall, the ViewSonic N3260W 32-inch HDTV sounds like a pretty decent TV and a steal for under $1000USD.
Looking for a big honkin' Plasma TV? You'll want to check out the Fujitsu P63XHA40 63in Plasma TV. We point you to a review from TrustedReviews.com that tells you about the P63XHA40. At this point, the P63XHA40 is available in the UK but not the US. We'll keep you posted if and when it's available in the US.
There’s big, and then there’s Fujitsu’s P63XHA40. This plasma monster measures in with a screen size of 63in, making it one of the biggest flat-screen TVs ever to grace (break?!) UK shop shelves. But as any bloke will tell you, size isn’t everything. So has the P63XHA40 got the quality to match its quantity?
It’s nice to find for starters that Fujitsu has tried to make the P63XHA40 as unobtrusive as anything with a 63in screen can be. The screen’s bezel is exceptionally thin, yet it also feels effortlessly robust, as well as benefiting from a subtle silver finish that sensibly eschews the more aggressive looks favoured by many smaller flat TVs.
Probably the biggest drawback to this TV is:
The P63XHA40’s slender frame hides a dirty secret, though: the set doesn’t come with any speakers. Fujitsu does an optional detachable pair, but these will set you back a couple of hundred notes more, and attaching them to the screen inevitably ups the TV’s dimensions. Still, we suspect many people seriously considering forking out £9k on a screen will probably have or be thinking of getting a separate surround sound audio system anyway.
Overall, this sounds like a pricey but really cool TV.
What a deal. LCD TV prices keep getting lower and lower. If you would have told me a year ago that a 40" would be under 2500 bucks - I would have laughed in your face.
The sleekly styled, silver 40-inch Sony Bravia KDL40S2000 is packed with the latest high-performance video features, including a wide viewing angle, blazing fast 8ms response time (great for sports and action movies), and a wide color gamut backlight that provides more natural skin tones and highly accurate overall color reproduction. It also offers integrated HDTV capabilities (with an integrated ATSC tuner), digital HDMI video connectivity, and a bottom speaker design that helps save space. The thin profile of this Bravia TV accommodates VESA compliant mounting systems (separately available). The removable pedestal swivels 30 degrees left and right and also tilts forward 3 degrees and backward 8 degrees for additional placement flexibility.
If you're in the HDTV buying mode, you'll want to check out this decent article from ABCNews.com that gives you some HDTV buying tips:
Dads and grads have one thing in common—they appreciate a reward for a job well done. One gift that is unlikely to be returned or exchanged is a new high-definition TV. The price of HDTVs has never been better, and shopping for a new TV doesn't have to turn into a stress-inducing journey into the bowels of a megastore. Knowledge empowers, and selecting the right HDTV for that special someone requires an understanding of their needs and sticking to your budget.
The article gives a brief synopsis on 5 different HDTV models including:
Panasonic TH-42PX50U ($1999 list)
This affordable 42-inch plasma display performed exceptionally well when displaying standard definition video. Of course, HDTV also looks great on this panel, and the TV's integrated digital tuner offers access to local broadcast channels using a simple antenna. With its simple setup and operation, it is a consumer friendly HDTV at an attractive price.
There's nothing in the article we've haven't told you before, but still a nice refresher if you're thinking about HDTV.