The Battle Rages On: Vizio vs. Funai, Chapter 3 (or is it 4?)

May 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, TV Brands, Vizio

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20090107-viziologoYes, it’s like watching two bruised prize fighters swinging away in a blood-soaked ring by now, but Vizio has struck back again against Funai, suing them for patent violations and trying to stop Funai from selling and importing their TVs.

They recently claimed the title of “#1 shipping HDTV panel company in the US”, and perhaps that has them thinking they’re the big boy on the playground.

Vizio’s co-founder Laynie Newsome even stated for the record that unlike Funai, Vizio’s patent line has not previously been rejected by the USPTO. We’re sure that made Funai’s boardroom a lively place to be that day.

Funai ships Sylvania, Philips, Magnavox and other big-brand name products (“declining market share” names, according to Vizio…ouch!), so odds are it’ll get settled somehow or another, and we can all get back to marveling at our HDTVs and leave the courtroom to other sectors of the consumer market.

More about the lawsuit in their press release here.

Forever Lasting: DuPont creates high-longevity OLED materials

May 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Technology News

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dupont-oled-display-1DuPont has been dipping their toe into OLED waters for awhile now, and their hard-working engineers have come up with a fascinating development (and one that could echo with importance down the road for OLED and HDTV fans).

For the OLED TV scene, getting this sets to last for a while has been one of the biggest drawbacks, and concerns. If this newest advance pans out, it won’t be an issue any longer.

DuPont has created a green light-emitting material that can operate for over a hundred years… without shutting it off at all. Yes, that’s very cool, indeed. And those same scientists have engineered a new blue light with a glow half-life of 38,000 hours along with a red-light material with a life of 62,000 hours. In other words, it’ll pretty much generate a TV that will last for many years before any repair attention needs to be paid to it.

The only bad side: This tech probably won’t be very affordable for awhile, so put away the party hats, HD fans…for now. In the long run though, this is huge for the future of HD, as it will make TVs more practical for everyone.

The Saturday Deals and Steals

May 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, LG, TV Brands

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hot_dealsWe’re coming back with even more deals for your viewing pleasure. Take a gander at these:

Walmart.com – It’s not a huge brand name, but the price is right. The Viore 32” LCD HDTV Bundle+ Philips 5.1 Home Theater With DVD Player for $489.00! Now that’s a total steal, regardless of the badge on the item.

BestBuy.com – How about one of the best names in the HDTV biz – the LG 32” 1080p LCD Flat Panel HDTV – Black for $619.99 + in-store pick-up is free too. That’s yet another steal of a deal from SS.

We hope you enjoyed the savings, and we aim to bring you even more great deals tomorrow.

HDTV Listing Highlights: May 30th

May 30, 2009 by  
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cupfinalslogo2009There’s plenty of HD content on the major networks of late, and tonight is no exception. There’s plenty of sports, new series returning, and a sprinkling of nature.

Sports: NHL finals game (Red Wings vs. Penguins) is going to start, Cavs/Magic NBA Eastern Finals, and some college baseball too. Plenty for any discerning sports fan, and all in HD.

Returning series: Pushing Daisies is returning, and now in HD at 10PM Pacific Time.

It’s a good time to be an HD lover, and times should only get better as more and more stations hop onto the HD train. You can catch even more programming by going here.

The Friday Deal-O-Rama Showcase

May 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Philips, TV Brands

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hot-dealsIn this special Friday edition of HDTV deals, we explore some more great offers for your enjoyment:

Dell Home – They’ve been here a lot lately, and for good reason. Good quality TVs at good prices. Take this deal: The Philips 52in 52PFL7403D 120Hz 2MS 1080p LCD HDTV with free shipping for only $1,499. With lightning fast response times and 120Hz tech, this one is a steal for the size and feature set. Expires 6/3/09.

NewEgg – Yet another great deal from a company that makes a lot of electronics: The Honeywell Altura MLX 42in 16:9 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV MT-HWJCT42B2AB for only $849.99 – $100 off via coupon code we provide for you: “TV5291″ (code expires on 6/1) = $750 shipped. Free shipping too? Yes!

Enjoy our latest deals, and we hope they brighten up your pre-weekend day.

Choices: Ruling prevents Cable companies from exclusive agreements

May 29, 2009 by  
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20090528-dad_throwing_tvThis is slightly related to HD, but could impact choices in the HD programming arena down the road: cable companies wiring up apartment buildings in advance and signing them to exclusive agreements, to keep away competition and make residents go with them for their internet/TV needs, which often governs what type of HD selection they end up with.

Well, those walls are coming down as a the Court of Appeals in Washington has upheld the 2007 FCC ruling that prevented companies from doing things like this. Choice is a good thing, whether it be internet, TV or HD.

This new ruling should enable FiOS and U-verse and other alternatives to find it easier to compete in denser, apartment-covered cities, and make cable companies more accountable for rising prices and lowered customer service expectations that seem to have set in there of late.

Tech News: NEC comes up with new upconverting 1080p chip for TVs

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under NEC, Technology News, TV Brands

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necc2b5pd9280gm_052809Technology is always moving forward, and that includes the HDTV arena. Improvements on older tech are happening all the time. Take NEC: they’ve developed the µPD9280GM chip designed which can expand and upconvert older pics to 1920×1080 resolution with significantly less blurring, which may impact how upconverting is handled down the road.

Beating the old uPD9245GJ chipset by running at 150Mhz clock speed instead of the previous 108Mhz speed (so it processes images much more quickly, improving action scene processing) and expanding color quality from simple 24-bit to 30-bitcolor (almost at the edge of human color range), it also promises to do its super-res sorcery based on just one frame of picture data instead of needing multiple frames and more addon memory, which will make it faster, more efficient and cheaper to produce.

The chip will start being made in July, and should open the door for more devices with lower-cost, higher quality image upconversion.

LCD Sales Stats Update: On the Upswing

May 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Samsung, TV Brands, Vizio

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450hdtv_rgbEven the struggling economy can’t keep HDTV sales down for long, according to iSuppli, a national TV supply company. Many people are staying home, and what do some do when they stay home? Watch TV, and they want bigger and better TVs to do that with.

According to their stats, sales of flat panel TVs in the $600 – $999 price range are rising the quickest, while Wal-Mart is very close to catching Best Buy in sales share. With their prices, we expect this trend to continue. Sears (?!) is in third place for LCD sales, a little bit of a surprise given their struggles in recent years.

Samsung sustains the overall sales lead with their LCD/Plasma sets holding their ground, but upstart (and LCD sales leader) Vizio is giving them a run for their money, big time. No surprise on either front.

Shop HD Style: QVC now 100% Pure HD

May 27, 2009 by  
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4-30-08-qvc-logoFormerly upconverted shopping channel QVC is now 100% HD, according to several sources. I admit I look at this channel once in a awhile, sometimes for the SO and sometimes for the gadgets on there. Yes, some of it is marked up a bit to allow for the “Easy Pay” feature, but they do have some good prices on stuff at times.

The native HD signal for the channel, which went earlier this month — and we didn’t catch the change, which the network didn’t publicize very much for some reason. We’re certain the station will start to leverage the HD to its advantage to sell things at some point, maybe giving all those fancy rings more polish and glitter, something HD does very well.

It should migrate to various satellite and cable services over the next year or so.

3D Preview: The LG Ultra-Bright 3D HD Monitor

May 27, 2009 by  
Filed under LG, Product News, TV Brands

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lg-3d-full-hd-displayWe’ve spoken about the 3D “revolution” with respect to HDTVs a few times, but now LG is giving it a shot, so maybe it might turn into something worth looking at (and investing in).

LG’s been known to dip their toe in the 3D pool a little bit, and while we’re still waiting to see the 3D panels they said were shipping this year possibly, we now know they’re pretty close to doing so.

In South Korea, the company has put on display a new Full HD 1080p 3D panel with what it says is the most brightness of any panel in its class. The company says glasses are still required, but this design allows the glasses to be thinner and less bulky than previous designs, which is a good thing to hear.

No firm date on any releases, but it looks to be sometime this year.

Making a Fine Thing Better: LG launches LH55 Series

May 26, 2009 by  
Filed under LG, Product News, TV Brands

lg_lh55_seriesLG has been on the ball with great products for awhile now, and they continue their streak with their latest line release, the LH55 series.

The highlights: built-in razor sharp 240Hz technology to make response times during action scenes almost nothing, making for a smoother picture overall. Other specs: a very nice 80,000:1 contrast ratio, 4 HDMI inputs, and ambient light sensors that adjust for room light automatically. Sounds good to us. LG already makes very nice units, and these sound even better.

These will come in 4 sizes: 37″, 42″, 47″ and 55″ models which will cost you $1,399.95, $1,799.95, $2,099.95 and $3,899.95, respectively. That price jump at that last size made our eyes go a little wide too, but really big costs extra, as purveyors of fine HDTVs know already.

Colors and More Colors: The JVC 42″ LT-42WX70 LCD HDTV

May 26, 2009 by  
Filed under JVC, Product News, TV Brands

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jvc-lt-42wx70-small2Back at CES time, JVC seemed quite proud to show off the rainbow of its LT-42WX70 back at CES, with its huge color palette and ultra-bright screen. Graphics professionals will more than likely flock to this new model.

Colors seems to be the area that JVC is targeting with their recent models, along with bringing panel brightness to new levels of eye-searing joy.

Titled the Xiview LT-42WX7, its a 42″ flat panel with built-in 120Hz dejutter stuff and 1080p panel which, as we said, targets image junkies and those where color clarity is vitally important.

This display can show an amazing 96%of the Adobe RGB color spectrum, making it great for pro level image editing. All you need is $2,399.95 to get on the big color train.

Another Nail In the Coffin?: LG shuts A1 Plasma TV plant

May 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, TV Brands

5-20-07-lg_plasmaSome were shocked when Sony and Vizio decided to cut back or eliminate their Plasma TV production, but it appears LG may be the 4th major TV company to cut back on their Plasma manufacturing, with the recent announcement of their A1 plant closing.

Reportedly, LG is shutting down its oldest plasma manufacturing plant in South Korea, hoping to reportedly: “increase operational efficiency and reduce costs.” Sounds good from a business standpoint, but it bodes rather poorly for Plasma as a medium down the road.

The closing of the A1 plant will reduce its plasma production capacity from 430,000 to 360,000 panels, but on the converse side, it will save the company dollars: to the tune of $22 million and $32 million per year or so.

LG is second in moving Plasma units overall, but we can’t say that life in the Plasma world is looking too great right now.

Call Overload: FCC logs 55,000+ calls after test analog shutoff

May 25, 2009 by  
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dtvcountdown011909It appears June 12th may be quite the nightmare for the FCC, based on a recent analog signal shutoff test performed, to test the readiness of the general public to the digital transition.

The test was reportedly performed May 12, and it spurred a staggering 55,000 calls to the FCC’s helpline.

It’s safe to say that June 12th will shatter even more call records, as the few million or so still unready will be calling in, trying to figure out what happened. It’s simply amazing that after all the ads, promos and spots run for this transition, detailing the ins and outs and what you need to be ok, people still are clueless. We can’t understand it at all.

Hopefully the call logs won’t be overflowing that day, but we won’t count on it.

The Sunday HDTV Deals

May 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Panasonic, TV Brands

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Here at Screen Sleuth, we pride ourselves in scouring the ‘net and finding some of the better sales out there on great HDTVs, and today is no exception to this mission.

Here’s some Panasonic Plasma quickies for you:

BuyDig.com – Here’s a nice deal on a huge Plasma: a Panasonic VIERA TCP54G10 54” Widescreen 1080p Plasma HDTV for $1799.95 with free shipping too. Great specs (Infinite black panel and 40,000:1 Contrast Ratio) and a nice price to boot.

Newegg.com – Yet another nicely priced Plasma goodie: a Panasonic TCP50X1 50” 720p Plasma HD TV for $932.99 with free shipping as well.

Either of these models will deliver great picture and enjoyment for a lot of years.

Opinion: Have any interest in a “widget-connected” HDTV?

May 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Technology News

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widgetYes, we wrote about how underwhelming the latest Samsung Yahoo-Widget connected HDTV was a few days ago, and from reading other opinions on various forums and blogs, it appears not many are interested in this feature right at the moment, which isn’t shocking given its lagginess overall right now.

It appears to be a technology that’s cooler on paper than it is in real world execution, at least right now in its current state. But then again, this was true of many technologies we take for granted now.

But we’re interested in your opinion, readers…anyone here interested in these widget TV’s, or buying one in the next few months or so? Feel free to leave comments.

Saturday HDTV Deals

May 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Philips, TV Brands

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hot-dealsHello and welcome to the weekend edition of the HDTV Deals. Read on:

Walmart.com – It’s no shock, but Wal-Mart has some of the best deals on TVs anywhere. For example, how about a Sansui 26” Widescreen LCD HDTV W/ Built-In DVD Player for $412.00 (and you can pick it up In-Store for free). Now that’s a killer deal, indeed.

Dell Home – Great (if limited time window) deal here: The Philips 47PFL7403D 47” 1080p LCD HDTV for $1699.00 – $400 instant savings – $150 off coupon code we give you which is “79DZZXQL$?PPDZ” (this coupon expires 05/26/2009) = $1149.00. And the shipping is free too. Yep, that’s a nice deal for a fine TV. But it’s only good ’til Tuesday.

Happy shopping, HD lovers!

Saturday Joy: All WNBA basketball games to be broadcast in HD

May 23, 2009 by  
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wnba_logo_195We know there are some WNBA fans out here somewhere. Well, those fans will be treated to even more visual splendor than before, as all future WNBA games broadcast on ABC and ESPN2 will be in full HD glory all summer long.

Not near an HD TV when the games are on? No biggie; the games will be broadcast on ESPN360.com, ESPN Australia HD and ESPN Brazil HD too.

Things already got kicked off with the HD WNBA draft and while there won’t be much in the way of dunking, and a player with double-digit rebounds in a game is cause for celebration, we know there are fans out there who watch every game religiously.  Every game. I guess the league wouldn’t be around otherwise, right?

Penetration is Good (No Pun Intended): At least 1 HDTV now in 33% of US homes

May 22, 2009 by  
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nielsensurveyfebruary_052109Acceptance of HD as a medium is steadily on the rise, and now Nielsen has official figures that back up that theory: Over 33% of homes in the US now have at least 1 HDTV in it, and over 28% receive HD programming regularly. Over the holiday season, the figure was 23%, so that’s a pretty big jump.

Whatever the reason for the jump, we’re happy indeed. There’s still too big a gap between those that own HDTVs and receive HDTV broadcasts, but that can be bridged with education and an improvement in the economic climate.

How many TVs on average does the HDTV owner own? That number is 3 (its sort of assumed if you own an HDTV, you watch a fair bit of TV).  Plenty of other fun figures on the subject here.

In the “Wait a Second” File: Sharp HDTV with built-in Blu-Ray, but no 1080p

May 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Product News, Sharp, TV Brands

sharp-aquos-dx-20_smallYes, this is one of stranger releases in recent memory; a LCD HDTV from Sharp with a built-in Blu-Ray player (very nice), but its only 720p, not 1080p. So you won’t get to see your discs in full resolution. May we ask… why?

For reasons unknown, the Sharp set only has a 1,366 x 768 resolution, which in our book, is a deal-breaker for this kind of gadget.

This will be mainly released in Japan at first, with releases elsewhere to possibly follow (and hopefully they rethink the 1080p thing for a US release). Other specs include a digital tuner, 1,500:1 contrast ratio and 450? brightness. You can choose between black and white colored models for retail ¥150,000 ($1,593 USD) near the end of June or so.

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