Slow Road to Ruin: Comcast loses subscribers, growing trend

April 30, 2010 by  
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Comcast this morning has announced some rather grim numbers (and shouldn’t shock any who follow the technology trends): it lost 82,000 video/TV subscribers in the first quarter, which follows an even larger loss in last year’s fourth quarter. The issue (seemingly): slow adoption of HD channels in many markets, not to mention growing cost.

The numbers: Comcast lost 199,000 video customers in the fourth quarter of 2009, meaning the company lost 623,000 TV subs for all of 2009, which is a pretty large number and would really hurt most companies. The setback follows a substantial decline in 2008 when it lost 575,000 video subscribers, which together is over 1 million customers. You would think Comcast would get the message (lower rates and more HD would have kept many of those customers, more than likely).

Comcast really needs to step up their HD adoption in many big markets, where it still averages around 50 or fewer channels, including large states like FL, MI and CA, to regain back some of its lost market share.

Now That’s Big: 13 ft. Plasma Graces Japanese Airport

April 29, 2010 by  
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Engadget has spotted a really huge curved Plasma screen been used in an airport in Japan that may signal the beginning of many applications for Plasma screens. The marvel of HDTV engineering is shown in the pic, and discussed a bit here:

Sure, we’ve seen 125-inch and a 145-inch curved plasma displays, but there’s a new size champ in town: the international departure area at Japan’s Kansai Airport was just graced with this 200-inch waterfall of a curved plasma. That’s right around 13 feet by 10 feet in size.

Amazing indeed…and its just the beginning really of some really cool usages of the medium. Due to its design, plasmas tend to be more flexible than LCD designs, and its death is officially premature, we can safely say now.

Reconsideration: Samsung still pondering Android powered HDTVs?

April 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Panasonic, Samsung, TV Brands

New reports are indicating that Panasonic and Samsung were going to pass on Sony / Google / Intel’s Google TV initiative as being too expensive to make, but a report today released by the Korea Herald indicates that may not be the case, and that they’re seriously reconsidering powered by Android HDTV as a very real option.

While LG has stated it “has not considered” producing a Google TV, the newspaper states an executive from Samsung says they are looking into making Android-powered HDTVs at some point in the future. It could signal a new wave of Android powered TVs and a new movement in the industry at large.

We estimate three or four more rumors with varying degrees of reliability before we hear anything official from Samsung or Panasonic themselves.

Tuesday’s Tremendous HDTV Deals

April 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Philips, Sceptre, TV Brands

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Deluxe HDTV deals are coming your way right now:

Newegg – Yes, the deals are really amazing these days at Newegg, witness this Sceptre 46″ X460BV-F120 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV for $650 (not a typo) with free shipping too. 20,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 1080p for 6 hundred+? Amazing, though a small caveat: Bear in mind QC is a bit hit and miss with these at times.

BestBuy has a very nice deal with a solid model: the Philips 42PFL5704DF7 42” 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV for $729.99 – and with free shipping. Deals galore, and this one is very cool indeed.

Thanks for reading, more deals and steals to come in the future.

Blu-Ray News: Avatar destroys BR movie sales records

April 26, 2010 by  
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Avatar, the blockbuster film which was released on HD Blu-ray last Thursday, has already become the best-selling Blu-ray disc ever, surpassing The Dark Knight by a wide margin already in a much shorter timeframe, further strengthening the position that Blu-Ray is still surging and is poised to take over in the home media department.

Fox has stated that Avatar sold 2.7 million Blu-ray high-def discs in the first four days (yes, that’s 4 days, boys and girls), passing The Dark Knight easily which has sold 2.5 million Blu-ray copies – in 16 months. That is fairly mind-blowing, and how about tossing in four million standard-definition DVDs in the first four days too, making it one of the best selling home discs period in the history of the medium.

So much for “no one cares about Blu-Ray” or its overpriced….it seems many do care and are active users of the HD platform, and it should continue to grow from here. Note that many were NOT waiting for the 3D version of the film, indicating a (possible) lack of demand for that sort of thing.

Release Info: Panasonic 3D Plasma lineup details and 65″ model on the way

April 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Panasonic, Product News, TV Brands

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Panasonic will be launching its 2010 3DTV run (along with other companies as we’ve documented) with a very limited Best Buy launch of the 50″ VT20 package, but if want a bigger unit with more juice, this may give you some more info to work with.

With improved black levels and 3D being the highlights, and throw in improved VIERA Cast networked features with Skype built in (now that’s using an HDTV for more than just watching TV).

The big launch starts May 3 with the jumbo 50″ TC-P50VT25 for $2,599 USD, and continues with a monstrous 65″ 3D model in June 2010 for $4,299 USD. That’s a few hundred more than traditional HDTV models of the same size, but extra dimensions cost money, after all.

Packed Set: Toshiba HDTV line to offer HDD and USB storage

April 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Product News, Toshiba, TV Brands

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It seems Toshiba is feeling the heat from competition from various companies, and will soon be upgrading their REGZA line of HDTVs (at least in Japan) to include many new features common to today’s sets, including USB and HDD storage. You can read more about it here:

If you were contemplating a move to Japan (you know, because you’re sick of waiting for all those feature-packed REGZA HDTVs to make it stateside) the idea just got a little more compelling. The new REGZA R1 series (up to 42-inches) and REGZA H1 series (32 and 37-inch displays) sport USB ports for recording and external storage. All but the 32-inch models feature 1080p (the little guys make due with 720p) and the R1 line also feature IPS panels and an enhanced gaming mode. All of the above support DLNA streaming, four HDMI ports, analog inputs, and two 10W speakers. But that’s not all! In addition to USB, the H1 line throws in the 500GB hard drives that are becoming commonplace on other REGZA models lately.

Look for the sets to appear in stores in early to mid June, and estimated street prices will begin at ¥150,000 (about $1,600 USD), while the R1 line is due very soon and will start at ¥130,000 (about $1,400 USD), pretty reasonable prices for sets with this line of features.

It appears Toshiba is in the running as far as feature-packed HDTV sets these days. Hopefully, these will drop in the states sooner or later.

3D Q and A: List of questions about HD 3D you always wanted to ask

April 24, 2010 by  
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Yes, we know 3D is on your list of things to look out for, but how about a comprehensive list of Q&A regarding HDTV 3D and all its faults and strengths? Now there’s one posted by Engadget that answers pretty much everything you wanted to know about it, and more.

Feel free to browse the list, posted here. Highlights of the read include: Is HDMI 1.4 required for 3D to work? Not really, 1.3 will work in many cases, actually, though its hit or miss. Another question is: are there any 3D channels? Nope. ESPN will soon have a 3D channel available, and Discovery/Sony are working on a 3D channel as well.

More questions asked and answered at the link.

Thursday’s Thrilling HDTV Deals

April 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, LG, TV Brands

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Deals and more deals, today is a day of deals for HDTV lovers. Try these out for size:

Walmart – Yes, its not a huge brand, but how can you beat a Viore 22″ LED22VF60 1080p LED LCD HDTV for $198, and with free shipping too? LED for a song? Indeed.

Buy.com – An amazing deal on the LG 42SL80 42″ 1080p 240Hz LCD HDTV for $830, and includes free shipping. 240Hz for $800, yes. It’s still amazing how far prices have fallen, and it’ll only get better.

Feel free to check these out, and join us again tomorrow for even more savings, news and HDTV fun.

HD Tomfoolery: Dish Network ’200 HD Channel’ offer a scam?

April 20, 2010 by  
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We spotted a very interesting article and satellite companies and the number of HD channels they claim to offer, a common sore spot for us in previous articles, posted by the website TVPredictions.com. The author had a very interesting exchange with a Dish Network rep that bears reading, for sure.

Here’s the link: Link

And a very telling quote:

That’s right. Dish issued a press release earlier in the day that it now had 200 national HD channels, but it couldn’t tell anyone what they were because it had to be kept secret. (FYI — I refused to accept the offer of getting the information on background.)

By this time, needless to say, I had come to the conclusion that Dish’s claim of having 200 national HD channels was bogus and possibly the most amateurish attempt at manipulating the media I’ve seen in three decades of journalism.

How awful. HD needs to represented and treated properly, not lied about and treated with marketing speak. First DirecTV and now Dish lying about their HD channel coverage. Hopefully, the proper FCC authorities get wind of this and do something about it.

Reality Check: Samsung 3D set drops $600 already?

April 19, 2010 by  
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Now we’re not ones to brag (openly anyway), but it seems like home 3D HDTV sets aren’t exactly lighting up the sales charts, and price drops on some channels are already happening: Amazon.com is now selling the new Samsung 46″ 3D HDTV for just $1,999, a $600 drop over just last month, not a good sign typically this soon.

The set had been originally priced at $2,599, but sales of the 3D unit have been pretty slow, being ranked #1,400 in Amazon’s electronics category, and Samsung apparently wants to give it a kick start by offering a lower price. We don’t know for how long, but it looks like it isn’t lighting a fire under many consumers…or early adopters. (Note: The lower Amazon price will appear when you click to place the set in your Amazon shopping cart.)

We’ll keep an eye on this trend as it develops, but we’re not holding our breath it’ll get better in the short term.

Dimensions Are Hot: 33% of Box Office Receipts went to 3D Movies

April 18, 2010 by  
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Yes, we’ve bagged on 3D HDTV a bit as being strictly a “trendy” thing, but box office receipts don’t lie, and they say that people really dig 3D in general. In fact, this report from Engadget says volumes about 3D in general, at least as far as theaters go anyhow:

This one is for all of those who wonder why everyone is so 3D crazy, you see while you might think it is a gimmick, people are paying extra to go see movies in 3D at the theater. In fact since Avatar was released, 33 percent of box office earnings are from 3D movies, according to the trade group International 3D Society. Even more reason to get excited is because we’re only talking four movies here. So the next time you wonder why every TV manufacturer, cable company and set-top maker is 3D crazy, you’ll remember it’s because consumers have shown they’ll pay more for 3D, and everyone want to get in on some of that action.

So maybe it isn’t a quick, fading trend, and it may last awhile in the home arena as well, it appears.  Well, we’ve been wrong. Once or twice anyway.

Android and HDTV: GPNC Korea giving it a shot, apparently (with caveat)

April 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

We’ve reported that Android TVs have been flagged as too expensive to produce by some companies already, but some companies overseas don’t see it that way apparently. Witness this story reported by several blogs, including Engadget:

Anyone opposed to another Android packing TV announced by a foreign manufacturer of questionable validity? We figured you weren’t, so say hello to GPNC Korea’s television running Android 1.5 on a 833 Mhz ARM Cortex A8 chip. While it’s claiming NTSC and ATSC support among other broadcast standards, the USA doesn’t appear to have made the cut for availability, with 10 different countries including Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Poland, Australia and Dubai. Practically identical to People of Lava’s effort, it is slated for 42-, 47- and 55-inch LED-backlit versions with no real price or date, and even this promo pic looks very familiar. GPNC managed to keep the screen clear of error messages this time, but its website is flagged by Google as “dangerous” so we’d probably wait for something more official before making any attempts to preorder.

Now that last bit makes us nervous, but we assume its only a matter of time before some mainstream brand in the States releases something similar to this. Android is too flexible and easy to manipulate for widget-conscious HDTV manufacturers to ignore for long.

Saturday’s HDTV Sale Mania

April 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Samsung, Toshiba, TV Brands

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We love us some great HDTV deals, and here’s some more for your review:

Newegg – Now here is a well-reviewed TV with 1080p for (almost) a song: The Toshiba Regza 40XV648U 40″ 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV for $750 – and we even provide you with a $100 off with coupon code “EMCYRZT57” (Expires 4/22), so this bad boy will only run you $650. Who loves you, baby?

ButterflyPhoto – Here’s the best offer on this monster unit we’ve seen: the Samsung PN63B550 63” 1080p 600Hz Plasma HDTV, and they even throw in a Free 5pc TV Hook Up Kit for $1969.00 with free shipping too? Yep, the price is not a misprint.

Thanks for reading and feel free to check out the offers on the page.

TVLogic, Part 2: Debut of 4K x 2K HDTV leaves some drooling

April 15, 2010 by  
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Oh sure, it’s not that a 4K x 2K display is that rare  (we’ve reported on a few here at SS), but not many are this small or include the connectability features this baby has.

Introduced at conference NAB 2010, the LUM-560W is very different from the two OLED sets already debuted that we reported on by TVLogic. With a huge 56″ 10-bit panel, a razor-sharp native 3,840 x 2,160 res (now that’s a resolution, folks), 1,500:1 native contrast ratio, its loaded and ready to go. The rather wide bezel is the only down note in the proceedings.

Want ports? This one’s got ‘em: four HDMI inputs, four DVI-D, four 3G/HD/SD-SDI, and four 3G/HD/SD-SDI outputs. We’re out of breath just talking about it. No price or release date is mentioned, but expect it not to be cheap, or available in very high quantities.

OLED Joy: New models from TVLogic arriving, now including 3D goodness

April 14, 2010 by  
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Hot on the heels of Sony making a splash with its 7.4-inch, $3,850 PVM-740 monitor, a company called TVLogic grabs their share of attention with two professional OLED sets that are each twice as big, with (more than likely) twice the cost as Sony’s model.

Both are 1,366 x 768 res with a 100,000:1 native contrast ratio (cue drooling), and are apparently based on LG’s design for their 15-inch OLED panel, but just the TDM-150W is fully 3D-capable. Perhaps this article may come true yet?

Yes, this does make it the very first 3D OLED display in the marketplace. Pricing? Not yet, but look for 4K+ territory more than likely to start out with, seeing as their 17″ monitors start in the $3K range.

Flip It: More Blu-Ray/DVD Combo movies show up

April 14, 2010 by  
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We’re still not sure if those Jason Bourne DVD / Blu-ray combo discs did well (if you were going to buy the films, you would’ve bought them either way, we think), but Universal is already preparing its second go round of “flip” DVD/BR combos with Out of Africa, Traffic and The Jackal all set to appear in stores April 27. Is this a trend you’re excited about? With the HD 1080p fidelity of Blu-Ray in the package, would you really care if a DVD was included?

With $27 MSRP and below-$20 pricing on Amazon and similar outlets expected there’s not the huge price premium on these catalog releases that there would have been a year ago, but they’ll probably end up in a bargain bin within a few months, more than likely. Any of these interest you to pick up, strictly on the fact it includes both formats separately? Let us know if this trend is something you appreciate.

The Fight Is On: LCD vs. Plasma

April 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

Let’s face it: 2009 was a pretty bad year for Plasma in general. Prices went lower (a good thing), but how else could you describe a year where the ‘king of plasmas’ exits the marketplace for good, purposely?

It was hard enough when Kuro lovers learned that Panasonic would be manufacturing them instead of illustrious Plasma makers Pioneer, and its a good thing Panasonic, Samsung and LG continued on and didn’t hang their heads when Vizio joined the Plasma quitters club  — Panasonic even opened the biggest ever Plasma plant in 2009 which should continue the Plasma tradition for quite awhile to come.

We aren’t sure who will win the HDTV format wars for the next few years, but its looking apparent that LCD has huge favor with many large companies, and Plasma will have an uphill battle to regain its lost market share.

Sunday’s Scary Good HDTV Deals

April 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, LG, Sony, TV Brands

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This writer is celebrating a Birthday tomorrow, so we’re breaking out some really good deals here in this post today. Read on to find out more:

BuyDig.com – How about a fine LG TV for a great price, like the LG 50PK550 50″ 1080p Plasma HDTV for $979, and free shipping. Big, bright and plenty of power to watch anything in the finest detail. Check it out!

Walmart.com – Now Sony’s are finally coming down into the reasonable range price wise, and with this deal on the Sony BRAVIA EX400 Series 46” LCD Flat Panel HDTV – Black for $809.00, with free shipping, it hits a new low in price. Great reviews and well-known quality make for a fine pair.

Thanks for joining us and have a good rest of the weekend!

More, Bigger, Refreshed: The Mitsubishi Unisen LCD HDTVs

April 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Mitsubishi, Product News, TV Brands

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Those are the three keywords to the new Mitsubishi line of LCD HDTVs: More stuff, slimmer profile and updated cool features. Here’s the rundown.

No 3D nonsense here folks: Just straight ahead HDTV goodness. Mitsubishi has refreshed and updated its Unisen LCD HDTV lineup. All the newly updated models have StreamTV (a.k.a. VUDU Apps) built right in, plus playback from a USB device, and edge LED backlighting too for the ultimate in clarity.

While the LT-55154 loses a few speakers (you probably bought your own anyway), the step-up 164 line ranges from 40″ to 55″ including 16 speakers (!!) built in, with WiFi and Bluetooth streaming included and more while the big boy 265 models add two more speakers (as if it needed any more) and upgrade to 240 Hz motion too. Sounds pretty good to us.

Prices range between $1,699 & $3,199, and precise shipping/availability information is still TBA, so don’t get too excited yet. We’ll watch for these, as they look to be definite contenders in the HDTV quality arena.

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