Report: Consumers average paying $10 more for Blu-Ray than DVD movies

December 31, 2008 by  
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buy_blu_ray_300In a report done by the NPD group, they report that on average consumers pay $10 more for a Blu-ray movie then for a DVD. That’s a fair amount of cash if you’re buying a lot of movies. The interesting part is that they say that’s too much…at least for some titles anyway.

The report continues that while consumers have no problem paying $10 more for titles like The Dark Knight (big ticket movies in other words), old movies or small run comedy kind of films aren’t worth the extra cash, which we can almost agree with. (Being lovers of true HD, which DVD is not, blinds our judgement just a little bit.)

Of course this also points out that also according to the report, if prices were more comparable to DVD, more people would buy them. The blind, early-adoption lemmings are much fewer in number than the entertainment industry would like these days.

I don’t really blame them and Hollywood for getting what they can, while they can, but the fact remains they could be moving many more units, even with a small price drop, and they’d still be making a lot of cash.

The only other (minor) noteworthy fact is that 3X more men are into Blu-Ray than women. There’s no big mystery to this really: men tend to be a little more “gadgety” in nature and more early adopters of fancy new tech tend to be men overall. Most women seem to feel that the movie is just as enjoyable on DVD than Blu-Ray, according to many of the comments they recorded.

Samsung 42″ Plasma HDTV for $800, free pick-up

December 31, 2008 by  
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ecsampn42a450cnThe prices of even Plasma HDTV’s have come way down of late. I still remember seeing a 42″ plasma HDTV for $4-5,000 four years ago, so it boggles my mind that you can now get a bigger one for $800 with free in-store pickup from Circuit City.  20,000:1 contrast ratio and 3 HDMI hookups highlight this model, which has received a good number of positive reviews so far.

It’s been complimented on its picture and clarity. It has lots of little built-in picture improvements, such as FilterBright (reduces glare, which can be an issue with some Plasmas), a contrast enhancer and motion optimizer.

It seems as though the low prices that were around on the holidays are still very much in effect, even more so with some vendors, such as Circuit City. With their issues lately, prices should remain low for a little while yet.

You can grab it here. Expires 1/03/09.

The big lie of HDTV capacity and satellite/cable providers

December 30, 2008 by  
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directv20lg20colorSatellite and cable providers promised us a paradise of 100-150 HDTVchannels to be available by the end of this year, and we would be awash in HDTV options.

On July 31, 2008, Dish Network promised to expand its high-def lineup to 150 channels by year’s end. In November 2007, Verizon released a press statement saying it would have 150 HD channels by the end of 2008. Wouldn’t that be great? DIRECTV also promised up to 150 national HD channels before the year was over, in several long glowing press releases.

So now that the year is over, why is it that NONE of those companies kept their promises? That’s right, none of the companies have come close to the 150 channels promised months and years ago.

Here’s the count as of today: Dish Network: 100 high-def channels, including PPV channels which reduce that actual count even more. Verizon: 100 HD channels in several markets, but that’s not close to 150. DIRECTV: 130 HD channels, including PPV and a few rather dubious “channels”.

When asked by a national blog why the companies did not provide the channels, they generally evaded the question and glossed it over with marketspeak, which is what you’d expect.

Cable is guilty too: Comcast last February said most markets would carry between 50 and 60 HDTV channels by year’s end. They’ve expanded a little (Chicago has more than 80 HD channels now), most Comcast markets are still very much under the 50 mark, which is poor given their high prices.

Hopefully, companies will take a loser look at their broken promises and remember that some customers have a longer memory than they give them credit for. Read more

DTV Conversion Coupon program nearly at the breaking point

December 30, 2008 by  
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dtv_converter_couponBy Congressional standards (and those aren’t really high standards, mind you), the Digital Converter Voucher program has been a huge success. Maybe too successful.

In fact, they may actually run out of the coupons nearly a month before the February 17, 2009 transition deadline, which would be a pretty big public relations disaster after all the ads to switch before the deadline and the importance of the digital/DTV transition. It will mean better picture and sound, improved HDTV quality, and its long overdue, so it won’t be delayed more than likely.

Congress grabbed $1.34-billion for converter box vouchers to help absorb the cost of the mandatory digital changeover. There were over 1.5 million requests for vouchers just last week, so its not a huge shock coupons are running low.  The rules of the coupon offer are such that once they’re all gone, they’re gone and that’s it, unless any go unused. This means that those waiting until the last minute to make their request are either going to have to give up TV, pony up the money to buy their own converter boxes, get cable or satellite, or hope some of the coupons go unspent.

With the multiple bailouts and the dire financial straits of the country right now, it’s unlikely they’ll direct any more money towards this program, so if you’re one of those that need this device, it might be best to get your request in ASAP.

Deals of the Day Lineup

December 30, 2008 by  
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hot_dealsHere’s some more gems in our Deals of the Day lineup. Just doing our part at Screen Sleuth to offer you the very best prices and deals out there for HDTV goodness. Subject to dealer stock and expiration, as usual, of course. Deals aren’t earthshattering today, but still a few really nice items to consider for your entertainment needs.

Here they are:

How about a TOSHIBA REGZA 42in 16:9 8ms 1080p LCD HDTV 42RV535U for only $899.99 + free shipping = $900 shipped. 4 yr extended warranty. Tax added in CA, NJ, TN. With the warranty, great deal!

$10 price drop. The Samsung LN32A450 32in 720p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV for only $579 w/ free shipping.

$30 drop! Dell Home has a Vizio 37in VU37L 720p LCD HDTV for only $649 w/ free shipping. Expires 12/31.

There they are for today. And you’re welcome!

Inside Info: Samsung’s 2009 HDTV lineup/features leaked

December 30, 2008 by  
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b650Yes, this sort of thing does happen nowadays. The modern information age has many perils, and this is one of them: leaked corporate info and plans for the coming year. And its happened to Samsung.

Their 2009 complete HDTV plans have been leaked onto an official forum,, where sound and videophiles gather to talk about the latest in media gadgetry. Included are lots of pictures, diagrams and full names of all their upcoming HDTV models and new features, including internet widgets by Yahoo! included, added support for various codecs, and lots of new built-in custom adjustments for 120hz models. It all looks pretty good, actually.

It’s a wealth of info and all of it is available for your perusal here.

Cool deals rundown, Screen Sleuth style

December 28, 2008 by  
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icon_hot2Here’s some great post-holiday deals on some great HDTV’s, brought to you by Screen Sleuth. All subject to expiration, so grab them up soon:

Sharp LC-65D64U AQUOS 65in Widescreen 1080p LCD HDTV w/ HD Tuners for only $3,199 and free shipping. Brightness 450 cd/m2, 2000:1 contrast, Response Time 4ms. Great TV and a really good deal for a huge monster of a screen.

$100 drop, and a nice deal indeed. BuyDig has a Sharp LC-46D85U AQUOS 46in 120Hz 1080p LCD HDTV for only $1295 and free shipping too. Tax in NJ. Brightness 450cd/m2, Response Time 4ms, Contrast ratio 2000:1. Good stuff.

Best Buy has the Dynex DXLCD3209 32in Class 720p Flat-Panel LCD HDTV – Matte Black for only $400 + shipping, or free in-store pickup. Amazing price…and pretty cool the way TV’s this size are dropping. This is what tube TV’s in this range used to cost.


Blu-Ray: Article says they need to cut prices or it will fail

December 28, 2008 by  
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blu-ray_logoThere’s been a controversy stirring about videophile circles for awhile now: is Blu-Ray worth the price? Most who own 1080P HDTV’s swear by the technology, yet there are some who say its a small incremental improvement at best.

Not owning a BR myself but owning a 1080P HDTV, i’m curious about the difference myself. Is it that much of a difference? The discs are basically double what a comparable DVD costs, and many say that market cannot sustain itself for too much longer. It’s a fact that DVD’s are 720p technology and older really now, so is it getting long in the tooth for the newer TV’s out there? Many say yes, but undeniably the prices are very high compared to DVDs.

Read this article and decide for yourself.

LG to take the covers off the slimmest LED LCD TV at 2009 CES

December 27, 2008 by  
Filed under LG, Technology News, TV Brands

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lg-lh95-led-lcd-tv_i2llk_54One of the top dogs in the consumer electronics world now (and it seems to have snuck up on some people as a company), LG, has further stretched the limits of LCD with this latest, soon-to-be-unveiled master stroke of LCD technology.

Exploiting to the maximum possible till date, LG will unveil the “LH95,” the world’s slimmest LED LCD TV at the biggest consumer products stage,  CES, in January.

The LG LH95 will be only 24.8mm thick (wow!), good enough to back the manufacturer’s claim that they hope the LED LCD TV to win the CES Innovation Award in the Display category. These stats almost assure they will: the LH95 will flaunt a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and also come with 240Hz TrueMotion Drive technology, which will almost eliminate blurriness with action scenes.

It sounds dreamy, we can’t wait. Hopefully, the price won’t be too crazy, and it’ll sell like hotcakes.

Bargains galore as post-Christmas sales and glut lower prices even more

December 27, 2008 by  
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hdtvThink HDTV prices have hit the floor this holiday season? Some industry analysts are predicting even lower prices next year, which is amazing to think about.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune Tech column has lots of tidbits about the future of HDTV prices, and how the inventory glut from the poor holiday season and lowering production costs will reduce prices even more in the near future. Prices are already so low, it’s tempting even for the most tight-fisted of shoppers.

“It’s really astounding that you can buy a 32-inch LCD TV right now for what a similar size CRT tube [a.k.a. that old boxy technology] cost three years ago,” said Paul Gagnon, director of  TV research at DisplaySearch, a TV industry following company. And that’s true; a few years ago a 32″ LCD was pretty steep, now they’re even cheaper than some tube TV’s were. And they’re actually cheaper to produce, so they have room to move down.

Article makes interesting reading, so check it out here.

Deal of the Day: ViewSonic N3252W 32in 8ms 720p LCD HDTV $390

December 22, 2008 by  
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89-107-012-15This one takes a bit of explaining: NewEgg has the ViewSonic N3252W 32in 16:9 8ms 720p LCD HDTV for only $400 – $50 rebate (exp 12/31) + $40 3-day shipping = $390 shipped. Whew, that wasn’t that hard, perhaps.

So you can get it in time for Christmas with this offer, and it’s one of the better prices we’ve seen on a model with this size and stats. Very cool indeed. We’re glad once again to be bringing you one of the best deals on a nice HDTV on the internet, and this one expires soon, so get in on this and give your loved ones an HD holiday season.

Stats and specifications include: 1000:1 contrast ratio, 8ms response time, 720p, 20W sound system, and 2 HDMI connections. Very solid for the price (never thought we’d see this size of HDTV for under $400 shipped).

Happy holidays!

Report: HDTV prices have hit bottom

December 22, 2008 by  
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sony-braviaBeen on the fence about purchasing a new HDTV? Waiting for just one more price drop, thinking you might get ripped off by buying now? There probably won’t be another price drop, so you might as well get it do it. Go ahead and buy the TV of your dreams, according to a new report published by firm DisplaySearch.

Prices have dipped as low as they’re going to go for awhile, based on production numbers, the slowing economy, and factories starting to lower their quotas a bit. Asian factories started cutting production in late summer and are running at around 80 percent capacity, DisplaySearch reported.

So this is the time to go and grab that huge HDTV of your fantasies, at some of the lowest prices since they came into the marketplace. We imagine prices will even rise slightly in response to the buying frenzy that accompanies the Super Bowl, so now might be the perfect time.

USA Today article: The economy may hurt HDTV and Blu-Ray adoption

December 21, 2008 by  
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ap_hdtv2_070428_mnThe sense of fear that’s suffocating much of the nation’s economy is creeping into what was supposed to be one of this shopping season’s cheeriest places: stores that sell digital televisions and accessories. Once considered immune to the economic doldrums, even these places are feeling the pressure.

Consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, Hollywood studios and satellite and cable companies bet big that this would be a HD Christmas. They thought that consumers would load up on large-screen HDTVs, Blu-ray players and discs, and HD channels in the last shopping season before Feb. 17, the date when the federal government will require local broadcasters to stop transmitting analog signals and just offer digital signals.

Yet their HD dreams could be dashed by an economy that has millions of consumers simultaneously fearful for their livelihoods and unable to get credit. In some cases, some have suggested delaying the switch to digital signals, until the economy stabilizes a bit more. It’s a radical suggestion, but one that may have to happen, some analysts suggest. Our own thought is that this won’t happen, but there’s no doubt: This sector is taking a hit.

More thoughtful analysis here.

Circuit City Bundle Deal: Sony KDL46Z4100S 46in 1080p LCD HDTV + Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player $1500

December 21, 2008 by  
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ecsonkdl46z4100scnHere’s a great bundle deal from Circuit City for high-end entertainment firepower: The Sony 46″ Full 1080p 120hz HD bundled with their high-end Blu-Ray player, the BDPS350, which comes BD Live ready. Both units have received high marks on many sites and are ready to go in this cool package deal.

Deal expires on the 27th, so get in on this while you can. You can get it delivered to a store for free, so that might be the best option. $1,500.

Circuit City has recently starting doing these bundle deals (usually the domain of Best Buy) in the wake of their recent financial difficulties, so they need cash. It might be best to steer clear of any service plans for the time being though, until their standing changes or improves. Just a word of caution.

Grab it at this link.

Casting Blame and Goodbyes: Voom HD shutting down

December 20, 2008 by  
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voom_logo-1Rainbow Media, a division of Cablevision, has announced that it will shut down the domestic operations of the 15-channel Voom HD programming lineup, effective in January.

It’s a sad event for a set of channels that were once the very first set to grace airwaves when the HD TV revolution started. They were once the first complete set of HD channels available on satellite.

A Rainbow spokesman confirmed the decision yesterday in a statement published on several sites.

Cablevision was the only TV provider that carried the 15-channel package, following a contract dispute with Dish Network, which dropped Voom earlier this year. (Rainbow and Dish are engaged in a legal battle over the action still, which won’t be settled for a long time, no doubt.)

Multichannel News reports that Cablevision will replace the Voom channels with other high-def channels when they officially go off the air in early January. The statement adds that Rainbow CEO Joshua Sapan blamed Dish Network’s decision to drop Voom as the reason for today’s action. You can’t make money when no one carries your content.

Despite the shutting down of Voom’s domestic operations, its two channel international division will continue to operate and will not be affected by the shutdown.

Netflix having an issue with HD Blu-Ray disc supply

December 20, 2008 by  
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emptymailNetflix added Blu-ray to its option list just a year or so ago, and subscribers were pretty excited to be able to grab HD discs for the same price as their traditional DVDs. Then they added $1 to prices of people who rented Blu-Ray discs. Not great news, but if the service was good, it was worth it.

Now there are rumors and reports of a pretty bad backlog problem with Netflix regarding Blu-Ray disc rentals. now reports that Netflix is not only aware of the backlog problem, but they are just fine with it and have no plans to change things or do anything about it.

Steve Swasey, Netflix’s spokesman, stated straight out that the company simply doesn’t have enough Blu-ray discs to distribute. When asked why Netflix doesn’t buy more Blu-ray copies — perhaps with the $1 a month fee they are charging its 500,000 Blu-ray subscribers — Swasey said the company believes that wouldn’t be “efficient.” We all know what that means: we want to keep more money.

“There is an expense to that,” Swasey told the site. “These things cost money. We deploy money where we think it’s going to be most efficient to keep subscribers and investors happy. It’s always check and balances.”

Swasey added that the studios have been slow to release enough Blu-ray discs for rental services such as Blockbuster and Netflix. But the Netflix spokesman said his company isn’t necessarily interested in buying them when they are available because of the cost. They do cost more, but then, that’s why they’re charging that $1 extra per BR subscriber. Right?

Swasey also confessed that frequent renters are penalized for watching so many films in a short timeframe, which they’ve never confirmed was the case.

Their competitor, Blockbuster Online, is looking better and better.

Combine A Computer And LCD Television To Get The Allio 42” MediaCenter HDTV PC

December 20, 2008 by  
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42″ HD TV/PC

You’ve probably been waiting years for the day when computers and televisions would truly become a single device. Well, that day has come and you can now have a 42″ flat screen television that also happens to be a full-on computer as well. Cast your aspersions aside about this HDTV-PC, because this is not some under-powered computer married to an over-priced television as you can choose your memory and storage capacity with the default configuration available for around $2000.

The PC half is powered by an Intel Pentium Dual Core E5200 processor with and integrated Intel GMA X4500HD video card with an HVR-950Q TV Tuner. As you can customize the Allio TV-PC like any other regular computer; you have the option of 1GB, 2GB or 4GB of memory and hard disk options of 250GB, 500GB, 750GB or a massive 1TB of storage as well as Dual Layer 8X DVDRW to play and burn DVDs. Need to connect to a computer network? No problem, thanks to the Gigabit 10/100/1000 ethernet card and the 802.11b/g wireless card. What kind of computer would this be if it didn’t come with a Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse as standard equipment. Again, you’re getting full computing technology with this LCD television and comes with Microsoft Vista Home Premium installed, so you can use your computer as a television or vice versa.

The television specifications are decent as well, as you’re getting a 42″ LCD wide screen with high definition 1080p resolution, so you’re prepared for HD television in 2009. Along with the 2000:1 contrast and 176 degree viewing angle, you’ll be able to watch a crisp picture from almost anywhere in the room. Easily connect other digital devices and A/V components through the multiple connection points that include 6 USB 2.0 ports, 2 HDMI ports and 1 x S-Video among others. As well as a great picture, you’ll get great sound from the two 12 watt speakers or connect this Dolby certified TV to a home theater system for 7.1 channel surround sound. With all of these features, you can see that the Allio 42” MediaCenter HDTV PC is more than just a television and more than just computer.

If this sounds like the ideal computer and television for your home, then buy it here starting at $2000.

Yahoo’s handy tips for setting up your new HDTV

December 20, 2008 by  
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hdtvMany dream of the day they get their new HDTV beauty home, hook it up, and be prepared to be wowed by amazing, sharp clear picture they only dreamed possible previously. But what if it doesn’t look quite right, or as good as it could be, perhaps? Yahoo has a new article out that covers the possibilities, and what to do should this happen. There’s a bit to remember if you’re new to it, and this article may help a lot.

The basics are: make sure you have HDMI or composite cables to hook your TV up with, make sure you have an HD stream ready to go from your satellite or cable carrier and that the box you use is an HD box, make sure you’re on the “HD” channels (commonly high up in the cable list number wise) and make sure your set is calibrated properly (many aren’t out of the box). All of these will assure the best possible picture on your HDTV.

See this article for more details: Link

Many homes ready for HDTV and DTV (or are they?)

December 19, 2008 by  
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big-changeIt’s rather difficult to believe, but the big switch in the US to all-digital TV is less than two months away.

Nielsen released its December update on the national readiness status and found that the number of U.S. households completely unprepared for the DTV switch dropped to 6.8 percent from 7.4 percent in November. That’s roughly 7.8 million homes completely that aren’t ready for the transition, and that’s still a lot when you think about it.

The adoption rate improved quite a bit from November to December. This acceleration comes along with projections that sales of flat panel sets will be down this quarter and 2009 is expected to be one of the worst yet for TV makers.

This increased preparedness is reinforced by a recent Leichtman Research Group survey that found 95 percent of adults were aware of the DTV transition. That’s significant, but still 5% of people aren’t aware of the change, when its been advertised on many stations repeatedly?

But while most people know about the upcoming switch, there is still a lot of confusion about what it actually means. In its fourth-quarter Research Notes, the research company writes that “37 percent of current HDTV owners, and 48 percent of those interested in getting an HDTV believe that all TV programs will be in HD after the transition.” Which is not the case at all. This is easy to believe, for as LRG points out, 18 percent of people with an HDTV think that they are watching HD programming but are not (reported here awhile ago in sad detail).

From the FCC web site: “On February 17, 2009 all full-power broadcast television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting on analog airwaves and begin broadcasting only in digital. Digital broadcasting will allow stations to offer improved picture and sound quality and additional channels.”

CES News: Sharp Aquos HDTV with built-in Blu-Ray coming soon

December 19, 2008 by  
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ces-sharp-dx-blu-rayCES will be the platform where Sharp shows off their brand new Aquos HDTVs with integrated Blu-ray player. This isn’t anything groundbreaking as a similar Aquos range has already arrived in Japan a couple of months ago, but it should be arriving on other shores very soon.

You will be able to bring one home in many parts of the world soon after CES 2009 is over, choosing from 32″ and 42″ models (that’s all? Curious).

Do you think there is a sizeable market for HDTVs that come with integrated Blu-ray players? If they’re sold at a reasonable price, sure, but if they come out at a large premium (Sharp Aquos TVs already aren’t the cheapest models in price to begin with), they’ll more than likely sell poorly, given the rather dire economic situation in most parts of the US and Europe.

It’s only a matter of time before other companies follow suit, assuming this does reasonably well.

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