Mystery No More: Samsung releases official details on new LCD line

March 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News, Samsung, TV Brands

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mini-samsung-series-8-8000-led-hdtvs-right_600No more mystery of Samsung’s new line edge lit LED HDTVs, now that the official schedule and price list has been released for everything between now and June.

The new Samsungs have already begun showing up all over the place; Best Buy’s website, several other stores, etc. and the company has made plenty sure to mention how “green” the LED design is compared to the old power gobbling CCFLs and dimming methods in other company’s screens. Power savings of 20-40% are common, according to several reports, which could add up to real money every year.

Read this for the latest details about pricing and release timeframes.

Report: This is a great time to buy an HDTV

March 31, 2009 by  
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200A perfect brew of the sluggish economy and seasonal timing of the retail market: new models coming in while older 2008 models still sit without owners makes for perfect timing for HDTV purchases, based on analysis from the L.A. Times newspaper.

The report basically says if you’re in the market for an HDTV, this is the perfect time to pounce on some really good deals, in a pure dollars sort of way. Now until the start of June or so will yield some really good deals, as many retailers clear their shelves for new 2009 models to be received.

So bargain hunters rejoice! Now is the time to get the HDTV of your dreams, and at a great price. Clearances should be more abundant than at any other time this year (except for Super Bowl time, and that’s a ways off, to put it mildly).

Vizio VF550XVT CNET review verdict: Not impressive

March 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Product Reviews, TV Brands, Vizio

11-20-08-vf550xvt1aCNET’s review on the 55-inch Vizio VF550XVT1A LCD hit the online stratosphere,  and overall it got a rather middling thumbs down, in one of the surprises (and disappointments) of recent big company releases.

Complaints include poor side angle visibility, light black levels, weird soundbar and motion juttering issues. For $2,000, we’d expect a bit better, especially since their recent other models have fared pretty well. Menus on-screen were also harshly judged, with complaints that too much scrolling was necessary to see everything.

A step backwards overall, according to the review, so you may want to invest your 2 grand elsewhere for best effect. As usual, we’ll keep a lookout for new reviews posted about other TVs in the future. Yet another service we offer you, our reader, at Screen Sleuth.

The Cost of Adoption: Netflix to raise Blu-Ray rental rates 20%

March 30, 2009 by  
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netflix-shipping-center-1In a move destined to stir the rental masses (and they’ll settle down once they realize its still not a bad deal), Netflix is again increasing their rates for those that rent Blu-Ray discs 20% on average. Uh oh. Here come the cries of “I quit Netflix forever!”.

Existing 1 out at a time-unlimited customers will stay at $8.99/mo.

We still remember the furor when Netflix added $1 to rates last October for BR users, and now company says that the increase (to begin April 27th) is due to more people renting on BR, which is a good thing for the HD revolution indeed.

Fact: According to Netflix, nearly 10% of customers now rent mostly on Blu-Ray, which is a huge number for the BR adopters everywhere, and we suppose with the increased costs of stocking more BR discs, the costs had to be supplimented from somewhere.

Here’s a chart of the increases by tier:

netflix-blu-ray-pricing-chart

Shattered Dreams: Pioneer plasmas showing up with cracked screens

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Pioneer, TV Brands

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6-25-08-krp600mPioneer needs to hire a new shipping company perhaps? It seems that way, as a high amount of complaints have been pouring in about Pioneer plasma TVs showing up with cracked screens. There’s even threads on several AV sites complaining about the issue, which isn’t a good thing for a high-end product such as this.

The Pioneer KRP-600M is the culprit right now, and on one thread 11 responders have seen their plasma TV arrive with a cracked screen, while 18 received their model in good shape — a really poor ratio to say the least. Hopefully it isn’t the materials or a defective lot, which could really take a bite out of Pioneer’s bottom line.

No big alarm necessary yet, but has anyone else had this trouble?

The Power of Nature, HD style

March 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

1puuoofromaboveFor anyone that doesn’t appreciate the power of nature, this show, shot all in HD, will instill this into your brain. The show is called Kilauea: Mountain of Fire, and it details the history and unpredictability of the volcano in glorious HD. This is the kind of TV show HD was really made for.

Never mind the NCAA basketball tournament or any man-made spectacles; this is the thing to show off your HD set to its full glory.

It’s on Discovery HD channel, who is also running a Planet Earth marathon on some feeds right now, and this show is a great example of what HD content should be. Take a look and do yourself a huge favor.

Check it Out: Saturday Quickie Deals

March 28, 2009 by  
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0079288522105_215x215Here is yet more great deals from your friends at Screen Sleuth, which we are now striving to bring to you every weekend at least (if not during the week, which we also try to do). Subject to out of stock or ending of course, per usual.

Here’s two really good ones we found:

Newegg.com – How about a fine Sharp AQUOS 37” 1080p LCD HDTV W/Vyper Drive Game included for $849.99 – $50 off coupon code we supply: EMCLPNR58 (Expires 03/30/09) = $799.99, and free shipping too! Great deal.

Walmart.com – Wow, have prices come down on non-main brands of TV’s. How about a Viore 42” Full-HD 1080p HDTV W/ Digital Tuner for $678.00 + free In-Store shipping too? Who can pass that up? Not to mention reviews so far as pretty decent.

Two more great deals for any avid HDTV fan to investigate, and its our pleasure to bring them to you. Have a great weekend!

Knowledge: How to bring HDTV content into a hotel room

March 28, 2009 by  
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hacking-hotel-tvSome hotel chains are finally realizing how important HDTV or HD on Demand is to a happt guest experience, but there are still a number stuck in SD/old-school hell. For those moments, Gadling‘s how-to guide describes how to bring HD and high-quality content to a hotel TV with the least amount of trouble.

There are options for those unlucky hotels with ancient setups. Firstly, bring a PMP and all the different connections you can think of, wire-wise (these days, won’t take up much suitcase space). Furthermore, solutions like Slingboxen and other place-shifting gadgets allow you to pipe laptop content onto a TV, turning any set into an experience all your own.

If you’re looking for more nuggets of HD travel knowledge, read here.

DTV Readiness Update: Only 4.1 million not ready for the DTV switchover

March 27, 2009 by  
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3-26-09-busted-tv-bikeJust a few days ago, we reported to you, our faithful readers, that the DTV voucher waiting list was empty, and now that they’re available again, the number (according to research and numbers drawn up the government program), the amount of people unready for the DTV transition is now 4.1 million, which is a huge improvement based on just a month or two ago.

Two months ago: the number sat at 6.5 million, which was a fair amount, though at the time, we here at SS felt it wasn’t enough to justify delaying the DTV transition.

Hopefully officials realize that this rate will eventually flatten out, with people counted amount the unready that probably won’t ever bother to be ready, for many reasons (resentment, lack of money, lack of TV interest, etc) and they won’t think about delaying it past the current June 12th date. We can only hope.

OLED “Mainstreaming” Delayed?: Samsung changes their tune

March 27, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Samsung, TV Brands

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10-30-08-samsung-40-oledWell, according to one company, OLED in the mainstream might not be as close as they first thought.

Last April, Samsung asserted that affordable larger sized OLED TVs would be available in 2009 / 2010 or so. Now they’re changing their tune a bit.

Now, Samsung Europe’s new President and CEO telling several sites that “mainstream, affordable” OLED units are still 5 or maybe even more than 5 years out. The exec was quoted as saying: “when it comes to OLED, we have several issues to overcome in terms of technology and production cost,” and it would be “at least four to five years before we see OLED in the market place.” Surprising, but not exactly a groundbreaking announcement. OLED is still expensive to make and research, and with companies struggling, they may not want to invest the money right now.

Such a comment is liable to make HDTV fans a little sad, but Samsung has invested a lot of time and cash in LCD, so they aren’t about to throw it overboard just yet. Maybe some enterprising company would want to jump the gun and invest in a company making OLEDs? Might be the perfect time.

Deadpool Report: Sony FET to close its doors

March 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

fed-with-closed-doors-rm-engField Emission Displays may be the future according to some industry pundits, but not for Sony apparently. Add their unit to the deadpool.

Sony’s spin-off unit Field Emission Technologies, whose main purpose was to develop the high-tech displays that some have hailed “the future of television”, has closed its doors due to lack of interest and funding for making them.

After years of press releases, teasing and a real demo unit released to the public just a few scant months ago, it’s a bit sad to see a new approach to the techonology close. With the economic climate around the world the way it is, this has become a recurrent theme nowadays. Sony stated that the spin-off would be closed effective immediately, and some of the tech discovered with the unit would be brought in-house for future development.

Down Under OLED Joy: Sony XEL-1 headed to Australia

March 26, 2009 by  
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sony-xel_1_oled-tv-sideSony’s XEL-1, the first consumer taste of OLED TV to hit shelves, has been distributed pretty much everyone by now, and it ain’t cheap but it’s literally the bleeding edge for flat panel TV displays. It hasn’t made to Australia, for some odd reason…until now.

That sad deficit changes in the middle of next month, as CNET is reporting that Sony will launch its 11″ bundle of HDTV joy in Aussie territory in “mid-April,” or so, with pricing ranging from AU$6,000 ($4,209) to AU$8,000 ($5,612; estimates only at this point).

Call us strange, but prices for OLED displays are just too high at this stage to be really feasable for any but the deepest pockets. Hopefully, as the tech develops, prices will head downward soon.

Play Ball: New York Mets’ Citi Field to use AQUOS HDTVs

March 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Sharp, TV Brands

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sharp-hdtvs-citifieldWho knows if the New York Mets will crash and burn like they have the last few seasons, but one thing is for sure: Citi Field will have fans excited to ‘Go Mets!’ this coming baseball season.

Sharp has released a statement where they will fill up Citi Field with over 800 AQUOS HDTVs, which will be installed around the new venue. All of this should make baseball look and sound excellent around the stadium.

Also present will be a gargantuan 108-inch Sharp LCD in the venue’s central lobby, the perfect partner to the huge 12,000 square-feet of Daktronics signage that will be displayed there.

This is definitely a big win for Sharp and their exposure among the many baseball fans who would love to view the game on Sharp TV’s if they can’t be there in person.

Government in Action: California considers ban on energy sucking HDTV models

March 25, 2009 by  
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11-7-08-vizio_eco_tv_320_450Given the big movement towards “green” in various areas of the country and globe, this kind of legislation was only a short time in coming. HDTV owners are up in arms in the Golden State about the proposal, which targets energy-intensive HDTV sets on shelves and would prevent them from being sold.

The California Energy Commission proposition could remove up to 25 percent of current TVs from shelves, which needless to say, doesn’t make electronics companies, already struggling with hardships of their own, very happy.

The CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) and its backing are rather upset at the proposal, with most companies now starting to voluntarily comply with the Energy Star 3.0 guidelines. We honestly don’t expect this to pass, but you never know these days; “green” folks have a much louder voice than they once did, and “green” is a very hot topic right now.

Breaking Transition News: DTV Voucher waitlist cleared again

March 24, 2009 by  
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dtv-answers-delay-logoVery good news for those of you still waiting on those DTV converter box vouchers: the waitlist has been cleared, and people can now reapply who held expired coupons, or had ones that were no good due to running out.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has announced they’re accepting apps again, so those of you still not on the DTV bandwagon have no excuse now not to get your gear and be ready in June (hopefully) when the big transition is scheduled to take place.

Many of you informed readers probably already have your DTV solutions in place, hopefully, as this time lawmakers are unlikely to change the date, considering the uproar that happened the last time they did it.

Best Laid Plans: GE line of HDTVs delayed with little fanfare

March 24, 2009 by  
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ge-aviationWe reported that GE was considering strongly getting into the HDTV business with a premium line of sets in the near future. Well, those plans have been put on hold due to the lackluster economy.

They were planning to release a new line of Tatung-built sets, but now those plans are delayed by 3 months, or maybe more. They claim its “marketing issues”, which translates into “we don’t think we could sell them right now with the climate the way it is”. The high-end TV market has dried up a bit right now, along with the fact they may be taking the time to work in the incorporated “widgets” that was so hot at this year’s CES, but that’s just rumor.

Oh, yeah…is anyone that excited that GE is getting back into the big time consumer electronics biz? GE itself has had many problems over the last few years, so who knows how good these TVs may be anyway.

New Models in Japan: Sharp AQUOS Series A Line

March 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Product News, Sharp, TV Brands

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sharp-aquos-a-seriesAt CES this year, Sharp already proudly demonstrated its new BD and E series, but their new A series recently debuting in Japan are some pretty serious TV sets as well.

This threesome is made up of the 52″ LC-52AE6, 46″ LC-46AE6 and 40″ LC-40AE6, all of which include Full HD and digital tuner built in, and 120Hz joins in the fun, 15,000:1 contrast ratio, 450N brightness and all the way around viewing angles, a common LCD complaint.

Built in decent stereo speakers and anbient light adjustments are also included, to make this a pretty full featured set. Delivery dates are early April for the 40″, and mid-May for the two larger models, and pricing is expected to be ¥390,000 ($4,048 USD), ¥260,000 ($2,698 USD) and ¥200,000 ($2,076 USD) for 52″, 46″ and 40″ respectively, which are pretty competitive market wise. The sets are expected on these shores by the end of year, if rumors are accurate.

“Monster HDMI” scam still going on in various stores

March 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Knowledge Base

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monster-hdmi-composite-scamYes, there are companies that still prey on ignorance and fear, and this is one of those instances…this scam was reported today on Engadget, and it’s a pretty sad one.

It shows a display of HD connected two different ways: one via composite cable, which is an SD quality and rather poor connection for an HD set, and one using HDMI monster cables, which is a whole world different quality wise. The display indicates they’re BOTH HD, just connected using different types of cable, which isn’t exactly true.

Why do companies do this? Probably to sell more (overpriced) Monster Cables, but still…if they’re going to put up a display like this, there has to be full disclosure about the specs/cables involved.

More about this scam, with pics (shown here) in the eye-opening brief article, and the comments that follow mostly confirm customers contempt for this practice.

Sunday Savings: Special Dell Coupon Code

March 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Philips, TV Brands

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j0430654Helping you save money on a great HDTV is our mission at Screen Sleuth, and once again we’ve scoured the internet for the best deals out there right now, and now we have a pretty nice deal to report.

Every once in awhile we feature special coupon codes that can add up to big savings, and this one from Dell Home is no exception.

They’re featuring the Philips 47PFL3603D 47” 1080P LCD HDTV for $1399.99, which isn’t bad, but then we have a $400 off coupon code: G08?43$LG3ZZF$ (Expires 03/26) and free shipping too. It’s one of the best deals around on a very cool HDTV.

No need for thanks; it’s our duty to supply our readers with the best deals around. Happy viewing!

Article: HDMI 1.3 Primer

March 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Knowledge Base

3-20-09-hdmi-cable-endTo get the most from your HDTV, using HDMI is essential, especially for the newest and fanciest audio formats to sound their best. Much has been said about the benefits of HDMI (among them eliminating the cable clutter that commonly plagues complex home theatre setups), and now there’s an article that brings these features into focus.

Version 1.3 of HDMI was released a bit ago, and its supposed to really up the ante with sound and picture quality. The geeks at HomeTheaterMag have broken everything down: HDMI’s upside, downside, and everything in between, in exquisite detail.

Soak in the article here, which is must reading for home theatre enthusiasts.

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