Comcast HD Channel Expansion: It’s About Time

November 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

084_comcastThe rumor mill is flowing, and its been confirmed: Comcast plans on almost doubling the HD channel lineup in Maryland in these coming weeks, to about 90. About 46 new HD channels in Baltimore County, Maryland, which is something Comcast customers have been complaining about for some time now.

Channels will include Bravo HD, Hallmark Movie Channel HD, HSN HD, MGM HD, Nick HD and The Weather Channel HD (??), mostly useful and solid channels. Now we’re hoping this is a successful, easy launch, so that they’ll think about making this expansion spread westward and all over the US.

Some areas are still stuck with minimal selection of channels, and that more than anything is contributing to people not being too excited about HD in those areas.

We wait and watch anxiously.

Black Friday Savings: Adventures in the Amazon

November 27, 2009 by  
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amazon_craveAmazon has some amazing HDTV and Blu-ray deals going on for Black Friday. Yes, this is officially the busiest shopping day of the year, and we’ll just say it: It’s shaping up to be a good one for HDTV camp, folks. HDTVs (albeit discounted ones) are reportedly jumping off the shelves, and we couldn’t be happier.

Now back to Amazon, and their cool B-Friday deals: Blu-Ray movies for $10-15? Check. 20-40% HDTV prices? Check. We consider Amazon one of the coolest and most professional sites on the web to deal with in terms of buying stuff, so feel free to check out the deals, starting here: Link

Happy Black Friday to all shoppers from us at Screen Sleuth, and may your holidays be HD quality.

Amazing: New Survey Indicates 13% Never Heard of HD?

November 25, 2009 by  
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210956333A follow up survey from Frank N. Magid Associates is pretty eye-opening, even if we doubt the accuracy of it.

Believe it or not, over 13 percent of the people surveying said they’d never heard of Hi-Def. I’ll repeat this: they’ve never heard of HDTV. It’s amazing with the amount of information available to the general public these days, even if you aren’t an internet junkie, there’s simply no way someone wouldn’t at least have heard about it, even if they don’t have it.

One thought: how was this question phrased? We’ve love to know this, because the phrasing of something like this can make all the difference sometimes. It makes us hang our heads as HD lovers and wonder how the message isn’t reaching anyone and everyone in US how really HD can be.

New Study: Cable/Sat companies failing HDTV miserably

November 24, 2009 by  
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kdl-52A new Magid (a thinktank for techie stats) study says cable and satellite TV companies don’t let subscribers know how cool HD really is, and thus are failing the adoption of HDTV quite badly.

We find out that about 40 percent of consumers have an HD set in their homes, and it also details the other sad truth: Only about 66% of those people subscribe to HD services. Now that’s a crying shame indeed. They aren’t taking advantage of those expensive TVs by feeding it a proper HD signal.

Even more sad: Those are about the same levels of subscribers that were present in 2008, where it stood at 64%. Over 18 million homes with HDTV sets don’t get any HDTV programming. This needs to be corrected, needless to say.

Theories mostly range from lack of knowledge (thanks to cable/satellite companies not letting people know about existing packages) to many who bought HDTVs for the DTV transition, not knowing the other wonders that come with owning one.

These stats were culled from a national sample of 1,373 adults (21 years or older) who have an HDTV set.

Ultra HD: Missing In Action or Next Big Thing?

November 23, 2009 by  
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ultrahdA new article by TVPredictions.com (and high-tech research firm InStat) has Ultra HD (a newly emerging HD standard with 4-16X the res of current HD) taking over the marketplace within 16 years or so. Yeah, ok.

Seeing that HD itself is just barely reaching a critical mass of customers right about now (with 3 and 4 digit prices being spent on TVs), we’re sure about the validity of this prediction. They predict 40% of US Homes will have Ultra HD by 2025. Also consider: no companies are currently offering TVs with the format, and no channels are planning UHD content right now. Other than that, things are full speed ahead for the adoption of UHD.

Read the article here and try to keep your cynical meter in check.

Pro Definition: The Philips 9704 Pro Line LED LCD TV

November 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Philips, Product News, TV Brands

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philipsledpronovember09Philips hasn’t always been associated with extreme specs as far as their HDTVs have gone up until now. They’re reasonably priced, middle of the road equipment for the most part, and perhaps this new line bound for the UK first will change that perception.

Philips unveiled their new 9704 LED Pro line of TVs bound for the UK, coming with an eye-popping 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio, a 200Hz refresh rate, and a ultra-quick 1-ms response time. Drool-worthy to be certain, but the next feature will make them even more attractive.

Philips claims that both models — the 40″ 40PFL9704 and the 46″ 46PFL9704 are 40-50% more energy-sipping than previous models with lower specs, another fact we very much appreciate. Get a load of the 5 HDMI ports too.

Philips Pro models will be available in early December, with the 40″ model going for around £1,799 (around $2,969 USD) and its big brother, the 46″ model will run you some coin: £2,499 (about $4,124 USD).

Going Green in CA: New HDTV energy efficiency rules to go into effect in 2011

November 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

large-tv-20091120-600We know many of those older, large HDTVs are energy hogs, and now the state of California in the US plans on doing something about it: after Jan. 2011, sets will need to meet a new energy standard to be sold there.

The exact specs: a maximum of 1 watt of consumption when “off” and, when on, a maximum of .2 watts per inch of screen area plus an arbitrary 32 watts as well. That’s a tough standard, but these days, we think it can be met. Engineering is at a point where the 300 watt days should be over, so overall, we approve.

Another note though: in 2013, things get even stricter: going to .12 per inch with a 25 watt base modifier instead of 32. Some smaller HDTVs already meet this standard, so it isn’t impossible, and CA is even willing to lose a little tax revenue to go green and save the planet, which we like.

It should be noted that any TV larger than 58″ is exempt from these rules, so go crazy if you don’t want to keep track of this sort of thing down the road and you live in California.

Holiday Savings: Vizio first company to fire in holiday HDTV price wars

November 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Industry News, TV Brands, Vizio

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vizio_logoVizio is already known for pretty low prices, but they’ve put out an announcement that confirms what we already knew: they’re lowering their prices even more for the holiday shopping season, mainly at big box retailers.

Among the highlights: How about its VBR-110 Blu-Ray player for $99 at the mega-store Costco (and probably other places too), November 27-November 29 while supplies last. That’s $40 off the regular price, and is among the cheapest out there at this price. A cheap easy way to join the 1080p revolution.

Or how about the Vizio LV32M 32″ 1080p LCD HDTV for $399 from November 27-29, $50 off the normal price?

Wal-Mart is getting in on the savings too: a 19″ LCD HDTV for $178? Amazing!

There should be a company press release coming soon regarding these offers, but you’re hearing them first here at Screen Sleuth.


Competition: Wal-Mart to begin offering HDTV install services soon

November 18, 2009 by  
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wal-martWe all know Wal-Mart has the cheapest prices on HDTVs for the most part, but what about install services for those who might not be of the tech persuasion?  Best Buy has offering their Geek Squad services for a few years now, and certainly has stolen their share of business from WM as a result. Now WM is striking back, it appears.

Wal-Mart announced a week or so ago that it’s offering a installation service in partnership with the NEW Customer Service Companies Inc. Reuters is reporting it’ll be activated and available in time for the holiday season or a few weeks beforehand.

The plans themselves range from $99 to $399, depending on what you need to get started and what you need connected, from just a HDTV to a whole Home Theater system.
We like it; the more people that experience HDTV and don’t have to fiddle with wires, the bigger the market share.

HDTV Deals Roundup

November 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Toshiba, TV Brands

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T24-5230-main03a-amWe haven’t featured our HDTV deals in awhile now, so here’s a few to make up for lost time:

TigerDirect.com – Now this is a bundle we can get behind: The well-rated Toshiba 52XV645U 52” 1080p HD LCD TV, with included Blu-Ray Player for $1299.98 – with free shipping. How about that for instant entertainment center goodness?

Best Buy – Want some Plasma in your life? Best Buy is featuring a solid price on the Insignia NS-P502Q-10A 50” 1080p Plasma HDTV for $999.99 and free shipping too. Amazing price and really good customer reviews so far!

Thanks for joining us and see you all tomorrow.

BRAVIA HDTV Update: Sony gets Netflix streaming

November 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Sony, TV Brands

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bravia-netflix-1Own a fancy Sony BRAVIA HDTV, but still don’t have Netflix streaming on it? Well, the wait is over according to a number of sources, as Netflix streaming has now been released for the Sony line of HDTVs.

The net-connected Sony Bravia finally got the much-awaited upgrade via the latest software update. Bear in mind this was promised back in July, so many owners of these models are probably (rightfully) pretty peeved at a 4 month delay, but as the old saying goes, better late than never.

The PS3 still requires a special CD to be sent from Netflix to update those machines to use the streaming feature, which seems a little unfair to some, but again, better to have the ability than not.

HD Goodness: YouTube to begin streaming 1080p HD video

November 14, 2009 by  
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YouTubeHD-verticalAcquired a new Full HD camera and want to post your masterpieces to YouTube, but they don’t support the Full 1080p experience? Now it will (starting next week), because YouTube has announced the move from 720p to 1080p video support, and now you can watch HD on those great essays and insightful video commentaries YouTube is famous for.

It’s been a long time coming, as many users have clamored for the feature to be supported for awhile now, and they’re finally listening and allowing 1080p videos to be posted. Not a ton at first, but within a few months we expect half the videos posted to be HD, always a trend we support here at Screen Sleuth.

More details on the change here (along with pics).

Leaked Info: Sony has some OLED goodness up its sleeve

November 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Sony, TV Brands

sony-new-hdtvs-oledSony has some plans for a new OLED television, but be ready to pay through the nose, it appears.

Pictured are some ‘leaked’ Sony documents are showing a new “KDL-ZX Series OLED” on the 2010 / 2011 schedule/roadmap, enough to make any HDTV fan’s pulse quicken. All these on here are prototypes, reportedly, so their chances for making it to market are up in the air.

But with Sony’s 2-year old 11-inch XEL-1 OLED TV now made to look midget-like by LG‘s new 15-inch OLED TV we reported about and a new 20″ OLED projected for 2010, Sony realized they needed to step on the gas pedal a bit with development, lest they be beaten in their own backyard.

Lots of new TV models abound in the document, including a planned 60″ 240Hz model coming possibly next year and UV2A technology which has us pretty excited.

Video: Director Scorsese gushing over Blu-Ray’s potential

November 12, 2009 by  
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hdnation_blu-conBlu-Con is a celebration of everything Blu-Ray, and if you didn’t catch it, there’s video of the con about transferring classic older movies to BR that’s a great listen, and really shows how excited the old guard is about the opportunities presented by BR to improve upon the look and sound of existing great classic films on the moving them to the BR revolution.

Acclaimed director Martin Scorsese gave an interesting talk about transferring classics to Blu-ray, including changing up the sound and pic for Taxi Driver on its move to Blu-Ray, and how excited how was at the chance to bring the movie into a new era. His voice and the words pouring out: he’s clearly pretty jazzed about BR as a format, and the rest of us should be too.

View the video here.

Sexy + Useful: The Samsung P2370 HDTV Monitor

November 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Product News, Samsung, TV Brands

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nov11sam843buiaoweWant a huge PC monitor that doubles as a he Samsung P2370HD monitor? Well, this one is a monstrous 27″, and it doubles as a HDTV as well for the best of both worlds.

This wonder comes with a built-in TV tuner and a HDMI input along with full HD capability, tethered with a super quick 5ms response time and 50,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Built-in 3 watt stereo speakers that can actually simulate 5.1 Dolby channel sound for those that think speakers are nothing but clutter round out this impressive package nicely. Pic-in-Pic too? Certainly.

The uber-monitor/HDTV combo sells for 549,000 Won (about $473 USD) in Korea, though it’ll be distributed everywhere fairly soon so be patient and your chance to drool on this in person will come quickly enough.

Legal Blow: ITC rules Samsung was bad, bans import of some LCDs

November 10, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Samsung, Sharp, TV Brands

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8-7-07-sharp_samsungWe love us some legal dirt, so witness the latest legal blow struck by Sharp in the TV wars: Samsung was found to have violated some patents, so has barred Sammy from selling LCD TVs in the US (a least importing them from here on out) until its corrected.

The US International Trade Commission already ruled in mid-June that they had violated 1 patent from Sharp, but this ruling says they actually violated 4 in total, and handed down the import ban.

Samsung has said they will comply with the ruling, but also saying there will be “no impact on our business and our ability to meet market demand., and has also said they plan no meetings to negotiate with Sharp for now, so a workaround is probably the plan for now. We’ll see how deeply this impacts Samsung’s bottom line in the long run.

Early ‘Black Friday’ Action: Wal-Mart fires first shot in HDTV war

November 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Industry News, Panasonic, Sharp, TV Brands

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hdtvwalOn Saturday November 7th, Wal-Mart fired a huge early shot in the prequel to Black Friday with some pretty amazing HDTV deals on certain models that will definitely set a huge bar for other chains to beat, and many of them won’t be able to, to be frank.

The 1-day deals included a 42” Sharp LCD, the LC42SB45UT for $498. Its a 1080p television that offers a 2,000:1 contrast ratio and 4 HDMI inputs that’s about $200 cheaper than many online retailers such as Amazon sell it for. Or maybe a 46” Plasma from Panasonic (TC-P46U1) for $788 is more your style? With a eye-popping 30,000:1 ratio and $300 or so off the usual price, it was a huge bargain.

Let the HDTV pricing wars begin!

Same Day Service: Comcast promising more ‘Same Day as Shelf’ VOD HD releases

November 8, 2009 by  
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12-11-07-comcast_logoThose of you who are lucky enough (or unlucky, depending on where you are in the US) to have Comcast cable TV may find solace in their very nice On-Demand services, and now they’re promising even quicker VOD delivery to their systems, in some cases the same day as it comes out on video, which is quite a promise.

This week for example, Angels & Demons and Bruno are among their releases “same day” on their VOD system, almost making up for the $5-6 price tag for 24 hour “rentals” on their system. Their HD  does look very nice admittedly, and for 99 cents we’d be all over them.

That being said, some consider the convenience worth it. Your mileage may vary.

Saturday’s Screaming HDTV Deals

November 7, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Toshiba, TV Brands

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89-253-164-02We aim to please here at SS, and here are some great deals on some HDTV units:

Newegg.com – Nice deal on a good sized unit for any room of the house: the Toshiba 46RV525U 46” 1080p LCD HDTV in Piano Black for $899.99 – and free shipping? Yes, don’t thank us….it’s our job.

RadioShack.com has a nice deal on a solid, semi-name brand TV: The Envision L32W961 32” LCD HDTV for $349.99 with free shipping. The Shack is back, and posting some decent deals after a long time out of relevance in the electronics scene.

Thanks for joining us, and see you again tomorrow for more news and deals!

Wii HD: Existence Denied (Once Again)

November 6, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

reggie-screencapIt appears Nintendo wants little to do with the future of entertainment (read: HD, 1080i/1080p, etc), as their president has come out again to deny any existence or plans for a Wii HD. It’s a shame, as Nintendo continues to lose ground in terms of their game platforms to the iPhone and other avenues. People are ready for a change.

And it looks like Nintendo is not ready for one.

Rumors surfaced a week or so of a rogue Wii HD being tested secretly, but Nintendo head PR honcho Reggie Fils-Aime strongly denied any plans for a Wii HD console of any kind. Who knows if its true or not, but it certainly looks like the big N is content to sit on their current platform until they’re forced to change.

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