2010: Predictions, Failure and Blu-Ray

December 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

cs_hdtvTvpredictions.com has been pretty much dead on with many of their predictions about HDTV and high-def media over the last few years, and this year’s predictions were released today, and makes for interesting reading.

We pretty much agree with most of the items listed, especially the bad idea that is the NBC/Comcast merger and the continued success of Blu-Ray as a medium (over set-top boxes that stream content, which is mostly still seen as a geeky alternative). AT&T may very well buy DirecTV next year as well, as their U-verse offering is struggling badly in subscriber adoption. It would benefit both companies in the long run.

They also echo our dubious assessment of home 3D and its probable success; we certainly aren’t seeing huge adoption rates for this technology in the near future.

Read more here.

HD Pie: Sony grabs a piece of new Sharp LCD manufacturing plant

December 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Sharp, Sony, TV Brands

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sakaiimage015As planned and reported among insider HDTV blogs and mags, Sony has grabbed up a small piece of Sharp‘s new 10g LCD plant built a year or so ago, which should allow Sony to grow its manufacturing muscle for LCD panels quite a bit in the next few years.

For now its small piece only equates to about 7%, but will jump to 34% by April 2011 or so, and other companies are expected to bid for space in the highly-regarded plant over the coming year or so, so expect a good number of HDTV units to originate from the Sakai City facility.

Companies rumored to bid on a piece of the pie: Samsung and Panasonic, as well as possibly LG. Times are good for HDTV companies (and consumers), indeed.

Tumbling Prices: 2010 to be the year of falling HDTV prices

December 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

cheapsonyThis article is a personal one: the observation that if this is the case, prices will continue to fall on HDTV sets until reaching a pretty low level, and that includes larger sizes (50″ and up), reaching levels never before seen. As HDTV lovers, we’re thrilled at this prospect.

I personally remember a 40″ Plasma TV selling for around $6,000 about 5-6 years ago. It was only 720p, and it looked amazing. People predicted price drops, but not to the levels they’re at now, especially so quickly. It’s a testament to the fact that technology marches on, and as it does, prices drop further and further, and will continue to do so. Experts are predicting record price drops in the next year or two.

See here for how prices have fallen: $780 for a 50″ LG Plasma? Simply amazing.

Alert: The HDTV Deals of the Day Returns (Limited Engagement)

December 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Deals, Samsung, Sharp, TV Brands

hot-dealsHark, the return of the HDTV deals, for a limited time only! Here they are:

AbesofMaine – Here’s a nice deal on a top-rated model: The Samsung LN32B460 32” 720p LCD for $479.18 – $15 off coupon code we have nicely supplied you with: “LOYALTY15″ (Expires 12/31) = $464.18, and it includes free shipping. Now you’re talking.

6ave.com has a very nice offer on the Sharp Aquos LC-40E77U 40′ 120hz 4ms 1080p HDTV for $749.00 and we even include a $53 off coupon code “AFLSHP696″ (Expires 01/05) = $696.00 and they throw in free shipping too. How can you turn that down?

Enjoy the fruits of our labor and no need to thank us….we at Screen Sleuth are always looking out for you.

Chime In: Any HD fans get love on Christmas?

December 28, 2009 by  
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2wee986Christmas Day (for some of the world anyway) has come and gone, and we’re interested to hear: what did you get? Anything HD related?

Let us hear about your new TV, new Blu-Ray set, or surround sound system that will make viewing your HDTV even more enjoyable. We always love feedback from our readers regarding stuff like that, and we can compare the loot with each other.

Personally, I received 4 new Blu-Ray movies to add to my collection, so needless to say, i’m quite a happy fellow indeed. More and more older mainstream titles are being added to Blu-Ray’s library every week, and so it grows even more attractive to own a BR player. Prices for BR players were at all-time lows this holiday season.

Feel free to leave comments about your haul; make us all jealous!

Not Dead Yet: Panasonic opens largest ever Plasma TV plant

December 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Panasonic, TV Brands

panasonic_plasma_plant_121209We’ve reported that Plasma as a technology for HDTV is slowly dying, but perhaps someone should tell Panasonic. The electronic giant’s latest big time investment in the technology should keep its elite Plasmas shipping to stores for quite awhile. Perhaps Plasma isn’t dead quite yet.

About 5 days ago it opened the doors on its biggest plant in Amagasaki, and reportedly when full strength it’ll be capable of over a million TVs per month or so, which should keep us in Plasma screens for the foreseeable future.

Still think LCDs are cheaper to run and easier on the environment? You’d be right, but future Plasmas (according to Panny anyway) will be more cost-efficient and not skimp on the brightness and color clarity that Plasma has always promised.

Inside Stuff: HDMI 1.4 spec getting refreshed in prep for HD 3D

December 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Technology News

hdmiThe march for HD 3D to gain steam keeps on going, it seems, with broadcasters around the world wanting to bring 3D HD home for 2010 or so.

Even the HDMI standard 1.4 spec is being updated as we speak to make sure 3D compatibility between sets and receivers/players remains at the top of the list for importance, something we can appreciate, but we still aren’t sold on 3D HD as something as all that important to the future of the medium.

As a side note, some broadcasters are rallying for HDMI and the spec to fully msupport “Top/Bottom” 3D transmissions that are in the wind waiting to be used, which give up resolution to save bandwidth by placing left/right images into a single frame.

Will 3D be supported on generally available commercial hardware anytime soon at a reasonable cost? We’re thinking 2011 or so for that to happen, but who knows. With the pace of things today, anything is possible.

Worst of: HD faces in 2009

December 23, 2009 by  
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courichandsWe all know that HD can project all kinds of detail, sometimes good, and that fact is sometimes not as good, especially with stars with obvious flaws or “facial work”. The list from HD Predictions highlights the worst that HD had to offer in terms of stars you wouldn’t be in a hurry to see in HD.

Topping the list is Katie Couric, once one of the cutest girls in a newsroom or host chair. Now smoking and age have taken a toll, and she isn’t quite as perky as she once was. Nicole Kidman is next: lots of procedures and botox work have made her face like a mask. Why can’t some stars just age gracefully?

The whole list is a hoot to read; feel free to look here.

Sales Race: Wal-Mart and Best Buy Battling in Blu-Ray Sales Share

December 22, 2009 by  
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Walmart-Best-BuyWalmart and Best Buy (if reports are to be believed) are locked in combat over market sales share in overall Blu-ray disc sales, The NPD Group is indicating. A war over HD content is a good thing, in our opinion; better prices for the consumer and better quality for everyone, as we’ve espoused many times.

Wal-Mart has grabbed a 30% market share in Blu-ray sales in the last three months, with Best Buy close behind at 29% or so. The mass retailer had been trailing behind Best Buy previously at only 20% of share, but has stepped up their marketing of the HD format greatly over the holiday season, and with their power and distributing muscle, it’s no shock the gap closed pretty quickly.

As long as the praises of Blu-Ray are being sung, we’re a happy bunch indeed.

Wire Thin: LG to claim “world’s thinnest LCD HDTV” with new release

December 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Product Reviews, TV Brands

12-21-09lgpanelCES 2010 is gearing up to be quite the big show indeed, and its only about 2 weeks away.The race to the thinnest LCD  TV is still going on, but LG appears to have to taken the lead with the release of their 42-inch 1080p panel that’s just 2.6mm (.1 inch) thin. That’s 1/10 of an inch, boys and girls. I don’t see anyone beating that anytime soon.

The prototype LED-backlit unit is super-light too, weighing in at just 8.8 pounds. No other specs release, but those alone are enough to set our mouths drooling. For now, with the release of this unit, they can claim the title of the “World’s Thinnest” LCD HDTV. We’ll have to sit back and see if anyone else at CES can best this record, and it won’t be from lack of trying, no doubt.

3D Dreams: AU to produce their own HDTV 3D monster in 2010

December 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

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auo_42inch_slimtv_051508Did you think only the big names were placing their cash to get on the 3D HDTV train? Think again.

Taiwan company AU Optotronics has released plans for a massive 65-inch 3D LCD panel, coming out mid-2010 or thereabouts. Exact dates, release territories and price ranges haven’t been released, but expect it to be hard on the wallet early on.

Our take: the more, the better. Competition always improves quality and prices for everyone, so we say “Go for it, AU!” and may your HD 3D TV give the big boys a run for their money. We await the flood of 3-dimensional goodness to flood the stores in 2010 and 2011.

HDTV Funnies: Jon Stewart and Colbert to go HD in 2010

December 19, 2009 by  
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dailyshow_a_220Waiting for your favorite political funnymen to go HD? The wait will be over soon, as these two popular shows go HD, and yet another institution to cross over to the “light side”: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (of Comedy Central) are set to go HD next year.

Apparently the control rooms of both shows had to be upgraded to allow for the 1080i production to happen, and the march continues towards a TV world of all HD programming, and networks (even smaller ones) believe enough in the concept of HD to spend a lot of money on it, so we feel secure about its future.

The switch is due to happen early next year, possibly as soon as March or so.

Opinion: Will you trade your DVDs for Blu-Ray?

December 18, 2009 by  
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upgradeprograms121009Disney, Warner and some other companies are getting into the swing of Blu-Ray high-def by offering exchanges of DVD for Blu-Ray discs for selected movies, at a discount from the detail price…and you can keep your DVDs as well. It’s been a hit in some techie circles.

So how about it: Are you up to doing this sort of thing, oh HD lovers out there? In some cases, people are saying they can beat the $8 off MSRP discount offered by the Disney program with venues like Amazon.com to choose from, a very valid point. The Warner trade in is better, you can get most discs for only $8 each, and people have reported fast turnarounds with the program.

Feel free to speak up about your thoughts/experiences.

3-D Bonanza: LG predicts almost 4 million 3-D HDTVs sold by 2011

December 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Product News, TV Brands

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15dec9buibce3D HDTV is becoming (slowly) a big buzz word among HDTV makers right now, even if a real working model isn’t available in the marketplace yet. LG, one of the companies that could actually make something like this happen, has predicted a big sales explosion of 3D HDTVs in the next few years.

We’re LG fans, but even we’re not too sure about the splash 3D tech in TVs will actually make, given the investment many have made in their existing HDTV units. It will take a number of years for enough content to appear to make it worthwhile to pay the premium 3-dimensional TVs will fetch early on.

They’ve also announced a “wide range” of 3D sets to come in next few years, measuring between 42 and 72 inches wide, to really flex the muscle of the 3D world properly. We’re not one to bet against technology these days, its moving too fast. But we’ll take a “wait and see” approach for now.

Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray set to debut in April 2010

December 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

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lotr_box_041709Fans of the Lord of the Rings series have been waiting with great anticipation for the series to come to Blu-Ray and really revel in the series in true HD. Well, wishes do come true, and its coming (according to numerous sources) in April of 2010 (precise date not announced as of now). And we can’t wait to really see what happens to the classic fantasy series in HD, and its been a long time coming.

The set will include three discs of extra features, all 3 movies in Blu-Ray format, as well as digital copies of all three movies included as well. It should be noted these are the priginal versions, NOT the extended versions (the cause of much hand-wringing among the Ring purists.

April 16th or so: the series will debut at iTunes, Amazon VOD and Xbox/Zune Marketplace, so you can download the adventures anytime you want.

Best Buy and Deals: Some breakthrough HDTV prices being posted

December 14, 2009 by  
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best_buy_logoBest Buy hasn’t always been identified with the greatest prices in the world really, but hey, now they’re trying, at least when it comes to HDTVs. Their latest offers are pretty darn solid, as posted by HDguru.com.

They wrote about the Dec. 13th circular released with some of the lowest prices on some models ever posted, something we heartily approve of here at Screen Sleuth, being ones who always love to get the latest HDTV units and save money too. Feel free to check it out.

Feel free to look here to see all the deals, bundles and even Amazon comparisons too.

ESPN HD News: 2 Talk Shows to debut in HD next fall

December 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

21547_logoTwo of ESPN’s most prominent daily talk shows, which up until now have been aired in SD sadly, will now have that rectified in the Fall of 2010, as the show will move to a new studio to accomodate the HD format.

Around The Horn and Pardon the Interruption have both been staples of ESPN’s afternoon sports talk show lineup since 2001-2002, and the lack of HD has been a bit of a sore spot, since most of the other networks show are now HD. As an avid watcher of the shows, we’re personally excited about the transition.

No news about exactly when the transition will happen date wise, but sometime in the Fall should be a happy occasion for sports/HD lovers who follow sports proceedings rabidly.

We’re Drooling Already: HDI selling 100″ laser-HD 3D TV for 10-15K

December 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

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hdi-3d-hdtv_tinyRemember Mitsubishi‘s LaserVue set we profiled, and how expensive it was? Well, that’s nothing next to the brainchild of HDI, a California startup company with blueprints of a soon-to-be-made 100″ 3D HDTV with laser power, has come out with a possible price, and its not cheap, as expected.

The set has (according to reports) had its first batch made over in China, and we’re told that a few of them here and there will be available by May 2010. It’ll be 10″ thick, and should be in full production mode by the holiday season of next year, which isn’t soon enough for some of us.

It won’t use TOO much power, thankfully, but the $10-15,000 price tag is bound to cause sticker shock for many of us. More about the TV is available here.

HDTV Joy: Costco announces 50% increase in Blu-ray stock

December 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Industry News

blu-ray_logoCostco has said it will begin increasing Blu-ray merchandise in its retail stores by up to 50 percent, while also offering big time discounts on discs – and players.

Additionally, Costco has highlighted the format in its Costco Connection, and giving it prominent placement in stores.

Based on a statement released by an official at Costco:
“Blu-Ray Disc movies are now the focus of our department.
Members will always find at least 100 titles. But for the holidays, we’ve brought in more than 150. We pride ourselves on offering the newest releases at great savings.”

Blu-ray films will also now be lowered or priced down to $9.99, which may represent a turning point for mass acceptance of the format and celebration by HDTV lovers. Also because of the lowered player prices, player sales are up 450% over last year, which is a huge statement, indeed. Good times ahead for BR, we think.

Keeping Tabs: Rallycast promises “tabbed browsing” on HDTVs

December 10, 2009 by  
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tvapps_121009CES brought out a lot of the TV widget people with a ton of fanfare, but little except a squeak has slipped out surrounding the HDTV widget movement so far this year. Rallycast aims to change that, going from app developer to announcing its own TV App Store, which will launch in 2010. We like it so far; hopefully, it will come out with few bugs or hitches, which are pretty guaranteed to kill something like this.

When asked about the product, CEO Jeff Allen says it will allow multiple programs running at once similar to “tabbed browsing” on a computer, a pretty cool thought if we ever heard one.

We’re hoping they continue to refine and engineer it before its release next year, as a slow, buggy widget isn’t going to help it get any market traction.

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