Some thoughts: What HD needs to do to really succeed

October 30, 2008 by  
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HD will take over as the de facto standard for TV broadcasting, but a few things still need to click for that to happen.
There are three critical factors that will support the successful migration to HDTV in the marketplace:
- Market penetration of HD-ready units (that’s happening as we speak, as prices plunge)
- Supply of HD content and HD channels increasing (getting better and will continue to get better as companies evolve and migrate), but this still needs to get better
- Availability of HD broadcast on a variety of television platforms, especially HD adoption by mainstream network stations like NBC, CBS, etc. which is steadily accelerating now
In the next five years, HDTV will primarily develop as a pay TV product in Europe, and mostly a satellite product. Cable will expand as well (Comcast’s On Demand now has over 1,000 HD choices available for viewing anytime of the day or night), but adding stations and bandwidth seems to be a little easier for satellite avenues.
After analog signals are completely shut off between 2010 and 2012 (and next year it’ll happen in February in the US, which has introduced a whole new set of issues), and digital free-to-air platforms are upgraded to better technologies, they will end-up with more bandwidth capacity and become more widely accessible to more users. Accessibility is the key to the adoption of any new technology, and that includes HD.
It’s been predicted that HD will be the standard form of television around the middle of next decade or so, and in 20 years, it will be mainstream and supported by 80-90% of broadcast channels, so people won’t even refer to HD any longer.

The Sanyo DP52848 Is A Big 52″ LCD HDTV With A Surprisingly Small Price

October 30, 2008 by  
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Sanyo DP52848 52″ LCD HDTV

It’s an inevitable fact that the longer you wait, the less you’ll pay for a big high-definition flat screen television, but you could be waiting forever especially when bigger and better televisions are continually making their way to market. If you’ve been looking for a full HD LCD television that is large as well as affordable, then look no further than Sanyo. With a 52″ diagonal screen size, this LCD television is on the larger end of available TVs and it can be yours for just around $1600 at Walmart. You can be sure that your getting more than just a big TV with the Sanyo DP52848, because this is a full HD 1080p LCD with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080 that ensures you’ll be seeing the best that digital broadcasting has to offer. Having built-in digital and analog tuners you’ll have no problem watching today’s television while being totally prepared for the future of television. As well as being prepared for digital television, this Sanyo has all the necessary connection ports to create an awesome home theater system with your DVD player, stereo and surround sound speakers. You could wait another year to see if prices keep dropping while you miss out on the best television picture available or you can get a great deal on the Sanyo DP52848 52″ LCD HDTV at Walmart and watch it now.

Philips 42″ LCD 1080P HDTV – free shipping – $899

October 28, 2008 by  
Filed under Industry News, Philips, Product News, TV Brands

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Holy price drop, Batman! This is probably one of the better deals we’ve seen: The Philips 42″ LCD with 5ms response time, 29,000:1 Contrast Ratio, and 1080P Full HD built in, $899 shipped. Limited time thing, no doubt.

Link here:
Philips 42PFL3603D/27

More proof that prices are sinking lower and lower as the holidays approach.

Westinghouse 37″ 1080P LCD HDTV – $599

October 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News, TV Brands, Westinghouse

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In the really nice deals department:
Westinghouse LVM-37W3SE 37

A Westinghouse 37″ 1080P HDTV for $599, free shipping? That’s a big drop even over the last few months. Limited stock, so grab it while its there.

$600 coupon for 46″ Sony Bravia HDTV from Dell

October 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News, Sony, TV Brands

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Here’s a pretty cool coupon you may not see everywhere; the Sony Bravia 1080P 46″ LCD HDTV (very highly rated by many) is $600 off with this coupon at checkout: DV3X5W8JCP3640

Makes it $1,899, which is about as cheap as any store on the internet. Free shipping too. Expires 10/30, and it’s only good for 50 uses, so get in on it quick.

Here’s the link to see more about it and buy it: Link

Never Miss Another Show With The TiVo HD XL DVR Connected To Your TV

October 24, 2008 by  
Filed under Tivo


TiVo HD XL DVR

Having a brand new HDTV is great, especially when you plan to spend hours on-end watching everything in high-definition. Realistically, you won’t always be able to just sit around and wait for all of your favorite shows, so you’ll need an alternative way to watch all the best HD programming on your time schedule. TiVo solved the television time scheduling problem years ago by allowing your to easily record television programming to watch later with their innovative DVRs. This revolutionary feature from TiVo is available for HD programs that come from your digital and analog cable as well as digital and analog antennas.

TiVo has improved their DVRs to work seamlessly with HD programming thanks to the HD XL. You’ll be able to record up to 150 hours of HD programming, including two shows at the same time with the TiVo HD XL, because of it’s extra large capacity. You’ll still get all of the functions that you’ve enjoyed from TiVo in the past by viewing in slow-motion, pausing, rewinding and fast-forwarding through your favorite cable programming. As well as recording HD video, the HD XL DVR is THX certified for premium audio and video quality, so you’ll always get the highest audio and video experience. Having TiVo with your high-definition television will make your HD cable programming that much more enjoyable to watch on your time. When you buy the TiVo HD XL DVR, the best HD programming will never escape your viewing time.

HDTV shipments pass standard TVs

October 23, 2008 by  
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Shipments of HD televisions this year passed that of standard-def TVs, a leading market researcher said this week, a fact that shouldn’t be shocking, but according to research, it’s the first time its happened yet and the trend is expected to continue into the future. 

Among the big culprits in the turn of events is huge recent price reductions and the increasing availability of content from cable and satellite systems. As a result, HDTV shipments are expected to increase at a annual growth rate of 20% from 97.1 million units last year to 241.2 million by 2012, which means 1 out of 6 homes (roughly) will have an HDTV in it in some form or another. Amazing when you think many pundits weren’t sure if HD would “catch on” enough to be a success.

More stats here: Link

HDTV: Prices are coming down, down, down

October 22, 2008 by  
Filed under Technology News

Here is a site with some great online deals on HDTV’s of all kinds: Dealspl.us

The key thing to look at is how far prices have come down, especially on the smaller sizes. 32″ can be had for $400-500 (shipped) now, with decent specs. There’s a 37″ there for $499. Or even a 42″ spotted for $679 (an off-brand admittedly, Dynex, but still..). These prices would be unheard of even 2 years ago.

And the trend is pointing towards even bigger bargains for the holiday season. $199 for 32″ HDTV’s? On the day after Thanksgiving, rumors are it could happen from a major big-box store.

New model looking good: LG 32LG60 Scarlet 1080p

October 21, 2008 by  
Filed under LG, Product News, Technology News, TV Brands

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Trademark looks characterize this new model from LG. In the TV world, LG has added to this tradition with the LG60 series of models. All of these TVs feature an elegant red and black design, and have the technical goods too, with 1920 x 1080p images, a 50,000:1 contrast ratio, 24p Real Cinema mode, and an AV mode, make this LCD HDTV a fabulous addition to your entertainment center.

The 37LG60 serves can also house and support all of your external components, like a Blu-ray/DVD player, MP3 player, and a TiVo/DVR. 4 HDMI V1.3 inputs means great support for any type of external goodie.

The 1920 x 1080p native resolution in the 32LG60 is considered excellent, as previous LG models have sported outstanding detail as well. Plus it does have the built-in light adjustment feature, so the screen will automatically adjust itself, ensuring that it looks great in all viewing conditions including those with a large amount of ambient light.

LG has even integrated the speakers into the shiny black bezel so you can’t see them, which makes the sleek design really pop.

It’s priced mostly in the low-mid $800′s for the 32″ model. One to look out for (and if you’ve read the previous article, you know how much I like LG’s personally).

Personal Experience: My LG LCD 42″ HDTV Purchase

October 20, 2008 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Product News, TV Brands

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This is a bit of a departure for this blog: My own personal experience with a 42″ LG LCD HDTV we bought about 6 months ago. One word review: Excellent. Read on for something a little more detailed.

I had already always wanted to own a LCD flat-panel HD TV. In their very early days, they were just too darn expensive, so I was left to drool from a distance at various electronics stores. $3000 for a TV? Not in my budget. Run up a huge credit card tab at 22% interest at a big-box store to get one? I’ll pass, thanks.

So there it was on QVC. You’ve heard of them, the shop at home thing where you can follow the yellow brick road of bankruptcy one Flexpay at a time if you aren’t careful? But this was pretty good, 6 payments of $208/mo, and it would be ours. Not super cheap, but easier than laying out $1200 all at once. It had a decent size, full HD 1080p, and 3 HDMI connections. We’d be good to go.

We ordered, and it arrived about 2 weeks later. We unpacked and connected it (easy enough), and prepared to oogle. The standard def picture was actually very decent (unlike many of these early models of LCD’s, where the standard definition pic was crap), and the HD is sharp and breathtaking (we’re using Component cables for connecting to the HD cable box, so that holds it back a bit i’m sure). Upconverted DVD’s were fairly amazing too. Not a hiccup or problem in 6 months.

I’d recommend it heartily to anyone looking for a solid, reliable LCD TV with a great picture.

Surprise of the Day: Samsung HDTVs dominate Amazon sales chart

October 19, 2008 by  
Filed under Samsung, Technology News, TV Brands

Now this is a stat you wouldn’t expect: There are 11 Samsung HDTVs in the top 12 bestselling TVs on Amazon.com. Other major companies should be a little disturbed, to say the least. Amazon is one of the largest online vendors on the internet, so this success means millions extra for Samsung, at the very lowest estimation. Sony is actually one of the lowest selling TV’s overall (due mostly to price, more than likely).

It looks like Samsung has hit the customer sweet spot with features, image quality and pricing. The user reviews on the listed Samsung TVs are strongly positive. Additionally Amazon heavily supports the Samsung models with detailed product descriptions and purchase advice, which no doubt helps.

As of Sunday, this TV is the best seller on Amazon, which is a very nice TV.

Panasonic announces Tru2Way HDTV line

October 18, 2008 by  
Filed under Panasonic, Product News, TV Brands

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Panasonic and Comcast, one of the largest cable providers in the United States this week announced the launch of the first Tru2way HDTVs in the US, the Panasonic TH-42PZ80Q and TH-50PZ80Q models. Tru2way is the name for a technology from CableLabs that its marketers say will eliminate cable set top boxes completely; it will be built into the TV itself.

Comcast customers in the Chicago and Denver regions will be the first in the U.S. to have access to tru2way digital cable service with additional cities expected to be added in the coming 3-6 months. No cable company in Canada has announced that it would participate in the Tru2way technology for now.

According to both companies, the Panasonic tru2way HDTVs will allow cable subscribers to access all the services they currently receive through their set top box including all on-screen guides, and on demand services. The main purpose for consumers is the removal of the bulk and cables associated with a traditional external cable set-top box.

The Panasonic TH-42PZ80Q and TH-50PZ80Q will be add-ons to Panasonic’s VIERA series of Plasma HDTVs. The TH-42PZ80Q and TH-50PZ80Q plasmas will sell for $1,599.95 and $2,299.95 USD respectively.

The DTV/HDTV Transition – How messy will it be?

October 17, 2008 by  
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The Federal Communications Commission has now publicly stated that despite numerous ads littering the airwaves, people are still not totally sure what it means, and what they need to do.

The statement comes three weeks after Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, warned that the next administration may have a “communications crisis” on their hands because of the DTV conversion.

Broadcasters, the party he identified as having the most to lose in the transition, were urged to step up their informational campaigns and to tailor the info to local markets in the months leading up to the transition (something this writer’s area, Sacramento, has done a lot of already, including a soft test of a DTV only signal during a recent newscast). As an example, he said that differences technically between local markets may require campaigns that urge consumers to also purchase a new antenna to get their DTV converter boxes to work properly.

To understand McDowell’s statement, he’s referring to the fact that, even if consumers buy a converter box and hook it up to their existing antenna, they may get fewer channels after the transition. Digital TV signals use a completely different transmission method from analog, and people need to be aware of the differences.

The following is food for thought: The conversion to DTV must be done, period. It will make existing HDTV look even better than it does now (the link and why this story is relevant to the HDTV scene). People need to climb out of the dark ages and realize that its 2008, and its the broadcasters and local market stations responsibility to get the message out to their viewers and make sure they can still receive stations after the transition.

There are many programs that hand out certificates for free or discounted digital converter boxes that (for the most part) can just hook up and receive all the same channels with little to no tech knowledge.

The Vizio VP422HDTV10A Is An Affordable 42″ Plasma HDTV

October 17, 2008 by  
Filed under Vizio

Vizio 42″ Class Plasma HDTV with Built-in Tuner, VP422HDTV10A

If you’ve been waiting years for plasma televisions to become more affordable than they once were in years past, then you’re in luck. Vizio has a stylish 42″ plasma television that can be yours at an amazingly affordable price of just under $700, and it’s available online at Walmart. Even at such a low price, this HDTV still delivers the deep dark blacks as well as the bright and vibrant colors that you expect from a plasma television and achieves a 30,000:1 contrast ratio for crisp and clear images. As well as providing great picture quality at a price anyone can afford, the VP422HDTV10A also comes with a built-in digital tuner so you’ll be ready for digital broadcast television in February of 2009 without the need of an additional set-up box. You’ll be able to make great use of this plasma television with your other digital entertainment devices thanks to its 3 HDMI connections and 2 component inputs for full-on digital entertainment. The Vizio VP422HDTV10A is a great television bargain that you’ll enjoy no matter what you watch. You no longer have to wait for plasma HDTVs to become an affordable luxury when you can buy the 42″ Vizio VP422HDTV10A for under $700 now.

Sharp to release new HDTV line – with built-in Blu-Ray players

October 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Product News, Sharp, Technology News, TV Brands

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Both Mitsubishi and Funai were negotiating and debating terms to release the first HDTV with a built-in Blu-Ray player, but talks have been just that so far: talk. Meanwhile, Sharp has gone beyond talk by announcing the world’s first HDTV with built-in Blu-Ray DVD players.

The Sharp AQUOS DX LCD HDTV Series will have six models in the line; these are the LC-26DX1, LC-32DX1, LC-37DX1, LC-42DX1, LC-46DX1 and LC-52DX1. All six will come with an integrated HDTV tuner as well as bottom mounted speakers with pretty decent stats too.

The line will debut in Japan in a month or so, and should follow in other territories as sales and manufacturing capacity permits. It should be very popular, indeed. Pricing details were not announced.

It’s assumed that more companies will eventually follow suit now that Sharp has broken the ice.

The Sony XEL-1 11″ OLED Makes Small Spaces The Best Place To Watch TV

October 15, 2008 by  
Filed under Sony

When it comes to televisions, most of the time we’re looking for biggest HDTVs we can afford, to use as the centerpiece of the entertainment center in our living rooms. However we don’t always get to spend as much time as we would like relaxing on the couch in the living room watching television. We often spend a good portion of our time in the kitchen, home office or other rooms that have limited space which usually don’t allow for larger screen televisions. A smaller screen television makes much more sense in these rooms of your house, whether it’s on your desk in the office or on the counter top in your kitchen. Even with a small screen you won’t have to give up picture quality when you have an OLED television.

If you’re not sure what OLED television technology is, it’s an Organic Light-Emitting Diode that is the televisions light source which allows for ultra-thin televisions that use less power and provide better color control, brightness and contrast. Although you may never have heard of or seen an OLED television, Sony already has one on the market that will fit perfectly in any of your less spacious rooms. Sony’s current OLED TV is the XEL-1 which has an 11″ widescreen that measures only 3mm deep at it’s thinnest point making it perfect for an office desk, kitchen counter or small bedroom. With this television you won’t be making any sacrifices in on-screen image quality because it achieves a crystal clear 1080i resolution with an astounding 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. With an OLED TV you’ll never have color wash-out from backlighting, but you will see increased color depth and brightness control that plasma televisions can’t offer. If you happen to need a small television for a small space and want the best picture quality possible then consider buying the Sony XEL-1 11″ OLED Flat Panel TV

Stumbling economy to hurt HDTV sales?

October 14, 2008 by  
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Unless you’ve just walked out of a cave the last few weeks, you’ve heard the struggles the economy all over the world has had of late, mostly in the US, but the UK and Japan have been having their troubles as well. Typically, discretionary spending on luxury items usually is the first thing hit in these types of situations, and that includes spending on fancy TV’s.

According to recent reports from various sources, the last few weeks has seen a rather sharp drop in HDTV sales. This is due to several things: people gearing up for Christmas spending, and the time of year (not a huge time of year typically for high end electronics sales), but its due to a very important thing that might not be so temporary: people are scared to spend (and justifiably so in some cases) large amounts of money on a purely luxury item like an LCD or Plasma TV due to having less money on hand due to the economic crisis, layoffs, company resizing, retirement income lost from broker closures, etc.

We’ll keep an eye on things and the sales numbers as they come in, but for now: the outlook for the holiday season might be none too rosey. Lower prices will hopefully balance out this trend over time.

The new Toshiba 52-inch REGZA may have the total package

October 13, 2008 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News, Technology News, Toshiba, TV Brands

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Toshiba’s 52-inch REGZA 52RV535U LCD model was released a bit ago, and delivers a seemingly great package of features: 1920x 1080 pixels resolution, SRT Super Resolution Technology upconverts and enhances lower res signals to make them look better (something LG has had for awhile now), progressive scanning, PixelPure 4G (how many names can they come up with these?) 14-bit internal digital video processing keeps things smooth even with lots of action going on, and ColorMaster color control for a dynamic range of colors and seemingly to make black and grey ranges better. 

The more interesting feature that hasn’t been totally taken from other sets is called AutoView. This innovative technology uses an external light sensor to monitor ambient light levels, and adjusts the picture to optimize the picture based on the light in the room. Early reviews indicate it works pretty well.

Audio is usually an area most LCD’s skimp in, but this one’s SoundStrip speaker system uses a thin-line speaker design with reportedly better range and sound than most sets of its ilk.

One thing I love: the StableSound feature keeps commercials from blowing eardrums after a typical broadcast, something that should be standard on TV’s from here on out, in this writer’s humble opinion.

Best Buy to sell XBox/HDTV bundles

October 12, 2008 by  
Filed under Panasonic, Product News, Technology News, TV Brands

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Starting today, Best Buy will begin selling various HDTV/XBox 360 Arcade packages together, where you basically get the XBox 360 for free, more or less. It appears to be a gear-up for the big holiday season to kickstart sales, and it actually sounds pretty good.

The first package: Best Buy will sell the Panasonic 32″ 720p HDTV LCD and the Xbox 360 Arcade package for $699.98. The HDTV normally sells by itself for $699.99. Bundle #2: How about the Panasonic 42″ 720p Plasma HDTV and the same XBox 360 Arcade package for $899.98? The TV normally sells for $899.99 separately.

It appears retailers are getting aggressive very early in the season to lure customers to open their wallets, and this should only be the beginning.

An Apple HDTV with integrated iTunes on the horizon?

October 12, 2008 by  
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In an telling and interesting interview with CNet UK, Jason Calacanis, who is the founder of several tech sites/blogs, revealed that Apple is planning to release an Apple LCD HDTV very soon with lots of Apple-themed integrated goodies included. Since LG-Philips provides LCD panels/internals for the company’s current mammoth 30″ monitor, it could mean that the new HDTV product will use larger size LG-Philips LCD panels, which could be a huge boon for the electronics company.

According to Calacanis, the HDTVs will come integrated with Apple TV functionality built-in. The iTunes store will be a integrated part of the Apple HDTV, offering services such as HD movie rentals and other iTunes related services, built right into the set. It’ll be a mover retail wise, for sure, if and when it does happen. An iPod touch or iPhone will be used to control the HDTV via Apple’s Remote, of course.

Apple is making some bold moves in the market right now, and asserting itself as a strong force in the media world.

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