Bang & Olufsen today launched the largest BeoVision 7 HDTV yet available -- 55 inches large. The set adds in 120 Hz motion refresh and a built-in Blu-ray player with digital surround sound. The new BeoVision 7 also features LED locally dimming backlighting, two three-way bass reflex speakers, six integrated 125W ICEpower amplifiers, a center speaker, and a motorized floor stand. The set can also be mounted. Color options available include natural aluminum, black, blue, dark grey and red and the price tag runs a high $18700.
Whether or not a company produces a product with any green benefits, spin doctoring the product's respective marketing material to make it seem that way seems to be a must. Though I think many, many consumer electronics products out there today boasting "eco-friendliness" are anything but. Sony's KDL-46VE5 LCD HDTV sports the eco-friendly tag, yet according to CNET, the set is in fact energy efficient and performs well from a quality picture perspective.
The set has a presence sensor which detects a viewer in front of it. When the viewer leaves, the TV set automatically shuts off. Novel, and a reason to up the price, but I'd imagine the feature does save quite a bit of energy. Other positive features according to the reviewers include "relatively deep black levels", solid standard mode dejudder processing, plenty of connectivity options and picture controls. Not so great features include bluish-tinged dark areas, expensive price, and dejudder-dependent antiblur.
CNET ended up giving the 46-inch LCD set a 3.5 out of 5 and a "Good" energy rating.
Samsung and Blockbuster announced yesterday that Blockbuster OnDemand is now streaming to Samsung home theater products.
The agreement, originally announced in July, will enable owners of Samsung Series 650 and above LCD and plasma HDTVs, Samsung Series 7000 and above LED HDTVs, Samsung BDP-1600, BDP-3600, and BDP-4600 Blu-ray players, and Samsung HT-BD1250, HT-BD3252, HT-BD7200, and HT-BD8200 Blu-ray home theater systems to get instant access to thousands of Blockbuster's streaming video offerings. Movies will cost $2.99 to $3.99 to rent (like the TiVo), while purchases will range from $7.99 to $19.99. The service is available now through a firmware upgrade.
Also yesterday, Samsung announced an agreement with Amazon to stream Amazon Video On Demand content to its Series 650 LCD and plasma HDTVs and Series 7000 LED HDTVs. Over 50, 000 movies will be available, for rental or purchase, through a downloadable widget accessible through Internet@TV.
This is interesting: Panasonic is not only in the business of creating 3D TVs, it is also making the "Active Shutter Glasses" that accompany the display technology. As per usual, they are silly looking, don't look particularly comfortable, and won't catch on with mainstream consumers (I'll bet alot of money on this). But at least the 3D revolution has begun.
Akamai Technologies, a company that provides much of the underlying infrastructure powering dynamic video content and enterprise applications online, is looking to bring true HDTV to the internet.
Announced today, the Akamai HD Network is the company's "next generation video delivery offering and the first platform to deliver HD video online to customers using Adobe Flash technology, Microsoft Silverlight, and to the iPhone, at broadcast-level audience scale," according to a press release issued.
The system leverages Akamai's global EdgePlatform of more than 50, 000 servers, and according to Akamai, "enables content providers to deliver more HD content than previously possible--due to its wide-scale distribution in 70 countries and increased throughputs in more than 900 networks.
So what online video delivery features does the Akamai HD Network include and improve upon?
Adaptive bitrate streaming--video streaming process automatically adjusts to the fluctuations in bandwidth, enabling uninterrupted playback at HD bitrate.
Instant response--viewer interactions with the video player including play, rewind, and pause are immediately responded to.
HD video player--open standards-based player enables faster time to market.
HD player authentication--authenticates player for all 3 playback platforms ensuring only authorized viewers can access video content.
When it comes right down to the nitty-gritty, the purpose of Akamai's HD Network is to allow content producers to reach TV-scale audiences online while still providing an HD-quality experience--something thus far lacking on the web. As more television channels and film producers begin to leverage the internet in evermore bandwidth-sucking ways in order to augment their traditional video distribution strategies, an HD platform like this is a big plus.
Sharp is bringing another four high-end AQUOS LCD HDTV models into the Japanese market this November.
The four LX Series models include the 40-inch LC-40LX1, 46-inch LC-46LX1, 52-inch LC-52LX1, and the 60-inch LC-60LX1. All four models are LED-backlit, contain the industry's "lowest level of energy consumption," feature an impressive 2, 000, 000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, an ARSS 6-speaker audio system with duo bass subwoofer (except for the 40-inch model), and the AQUOS Familink II which integrates AQUOS functions with other peripherals enhancing user-friendliness.
Like any other HDTV with quality specs, those belonging to the LX Series will cost the US equivalent of $2800 for the 40-inch model, increasing to a painful $6100 for the 60-inch model. There was no indication of an international distribution plan for the LX Series in today's press release.
Intel will begin selling a form of its popular Atom chip for use in Internet TV. Typically used in low-power electronics such as netbooks, the new Atom, called the Intel Atom CE4100, is actually a full-blown system-on-a-chip design built on a 45nm process. The SoC media processor is the first 45nm CE SoC from Intel, supporting Internet and broadcast applications, and generating the power needed to run 3D graphics on one chip. Offered in speeds of up to 1.2 GHz, the CE4100 is backwards compatible with the Intel Media Processor CE3100, and supports the Widget Channel software framework used to develop TV widgets.
Signifying a possible new trend in HDTV design, Best Buy will soon be releasing a 32-inch Insignia LCD HDTV with a built-in Blu-ray player. For cheap too, at only $599. Of course the Insignia NS-LBD32X won't feature any of the new higher-end features we've seen this year. But it will have a respectable 1080p display, 20000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, and 450 cd/m2 brightness. No word on the Blu-ray specs short of playback, but for $599 you can't really complain.