Fast Forward Back: Back to the Future 25th Blu-Ray edition releasing soon

June 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

We all know and love Blu-Ray for its tremendous HD clarity and sound, and now they’re releasing lots of great classic films on the medium. This is a case in point: Back to the Future. It’s hard to believe its been 25 years since the original film came out, and now they’re celebrating with a brand new BR pack.

Along with all 3 films, there’s gonna be two hours of new extra content, with plenty of BD-Live and U-control features included that are exclusive to BR. Back to the reports these should be great looking and sounding, with an all new digital transfer that preserves the original film ‘grain’ and lets viewers hear the “full dynamic range” of the audio as it was meant to be heard.

We like the sound of that already. Late October should be the release frame on this set, probably the 26th or so.

Monday’s Mad HDTV Deals

June 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Panasonic, Sony, TV Brands

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Here once again is our long-awaited HDTV deals segment, for your reading (and hopefully savings) pleasure. Read on:

Sony – How about a super-sharp Sony BRAVIA KDL-40EX600 1080p 40″ LED HDTV for $1080 – $210 off in cart price due to our offer = $990 with free shipping as well. Tough to beat that for a well-reviewed unit suitable for any room in the house. 7 HDMI ports, yes! – Here’s a very nice bundle package: the Panasonic TC-42PX14 42” 720p Plasma HDTV And DMP-BD60 Blu-ray Player, sold together in a great package for $698.00 with free shipping too. One of the better deals we’ve seen anywhere!

There you go, and feel free to check out those offers.

128GB of Joy: Blu-Ray BDXL Spec Released

June 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Technology News

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We all know space is everything in the kind of stuff we can fit on BR discs to make the experience even better, and fit even more special features onto discs, not to mention the possibility of burning more content onto discs (for those lucky enough to have Blu-Ray burners).

Here’s more details about the news from Engadget:

Looks like the Blu-ray Disc Association has published the final specs for the monster BDXL disc, opening the way for manufacturers to start introducing the technology in their optical drives. Not too much here that we don’t already know: aimed at institutions and folks who need to archive lots and lots of… stuff, BDXL discs are available in either triple layer 100GB (re-writable or write-once) or 128GB quad layer write-once flavors. Of course, with all these layers (or layuhs in Brooklyn) the laser in the Blu-ray drive you already own won’t be able to do the trick, so start saving your change for a hardware upgrade once these things become commercially available.

We don’t like the fact it may not be compatible with existing players, but 100GB-128GB on a single disc we definitely like. More to come later.

Thoughts: How much did you spend to get your HDTV?

June 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

Prices, features and sizes are pretty varied in today’s HDTV marketplace, but one thing is for sure: Prices are so much lower than they used to be in the ‘old days’ (read: about 5-7 years ago or so) that it just boggles the mind. Even this writer’s current LG HDTV 42″ is about half of what it was just 2+ years ago (the source of many annoyed conversations in our home).

So we’re curious: what route economy wise did you take with your HDTV? A moderately priced Vizio or Samsung? A larger priced Sony or Pioneer model?  What kind of budget did you start out with, and what did you end up getting? These answers will vary widely, we understand, but hey, that’s the point of polls, after all.

So feel free to leave your comments in our Comments area. What kind of dough did you lay out to get in on the HDTV revolution?

Maybe Not, or Maybe So: $55 million in 3D stuff sold in quarter

June 26, 2010 by  
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We’ve talked quite a bit about the 3D HDTV movement, and whether it will catch on with consumers. Well, if early reports are any indication, perhaps it has a chance after all. Read this blog post from Engadget that discusses the current numbers:

It’s early days yet, but NPD claims that revenue from US sales of 3D TVs and standalone 3D-capable Blu-ray players has exceeded $55 million in the first three months of availability. Mind you, this steady growth comes despite the absence of some major players. While that number might sound big, it’s tiny in comparison to the total number of TVs sold each month in the US and, according to our friend Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD, sales are expected to remain small throughout 2010. Regarding those much maligned 3D glasses, only 10% of those surveyed by NPD cited “looking silly” as a main concern. Instead, the biggest concern was not having enough glasses on hand for everyone looking at the set.

We agree that the numbers are small compared to the overall HDTV units sold, but at the same time, its higher than we thought it would be. We’ll keep an eye on things and see how they develop, but its safe to say that the 3D HD movement won’t just die out any time soon.

Opinions: What size HDTV do I need?

June 24, 2010 by  
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We already know many of you are screaming “Bigger is Better!“, but not always. It can depend on a lot of factors in deciding what size HDTV is the best for you and your life.

The size of your living room/bedroom, your own eyes and their health, what type of content you plan on watching and more can help determine the very best size HDTV for you. Many automatically just buy the biggest one, and sometimes regret it instantly. I bought a 42″ screen, and it works perfectly for our life and living space. A 55″ or 60″ would have been too big, more than likely, due to our living room’s configuration. We’d be so busy scanning the screen with our eyes that it would be uncomfortable.

How about all of you? What size suits you best and what size do you own? Feel free to post your thoughts and comments.

Return: Mitsubishi’s LaserVue HDTV makes its reappearance, and is 3D ready now

June 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Mitsubishi, Product News, TV Brands

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Remember when we covered the wonder that was Mitsu’s LaserVue HDTV a few years ago? Priced at $7K, sales weren’t super brisk really, but hey, it was amazing for its time. It seems based on recent announcements that Mitsubishi is re-introducing the product to the public, and this time its equipped for 3D. Read more here:

To that end, we’re downright elated to hear that the forgotten line has been revived for 2010, with an all new 75-inch model (L75-A91) being introduced for those who just can’t find a television big enough to fill their 8,000 square foot den. The behemoth measures in at 41.7- x 66.4- x 15-inches (so yeah, it’s still got some junk in the trunk), and as you’d expect, it’s fully 3D ready. Mistu’s 3D Starter Pack is being sold alongside of it, containing a 3D emitter, 3D Adapter with remote, an HDMI cable and a Blu-ray Disc with a collection of clips to really show off your new purchase. Other specs include web connectivity (StreamTV can hit up VUDU, Pandora, Flickr, Picasa and more), four HDMI-CEC inputs, a wired IR output, 1080p native resolution

The price, you ask? “Only” $5,999, and that does not include the $399 3D Starter Pack and $99 3D Adapter. And its not a tiny TV either, at 150+ pounds. But hey, with stats and features like the above and a dynamite picture, does anyone care?

HD Channel Launches: Halogen HD

June 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

Yes, we don’t normally get very interested in a new HD channel launching, and we aren’t super sure about this one, but the fact that a sort of established channel aimed at 18-34 year olds is launching an HD feed is cause to perk up a bit, as it means previous dedicated HD channel failures aren’t discouraging anyone.

The company, which made the announcement today, did not say which providers would carry the new HD channel; odds are not many at first. Halogen’s SD channel is now available in 14 million homes, including Verizon homes, so its semi-known already, which can be a good thing.

Halogen’s lineup includes shows titled Healing With Animals, Keep It Green, Angry Planet (storm chasers) and Artland, all aimed at showing people how they can make a difference in their communities and the lives of others. It premiered last Fall.

The real news here: more content. Essential for any growing medium such as HD to thrive, and we’re hopeful this one will grow some wings in the months to come, which should encourage even HD content down the road.

Comcast Is The Greatest – Retraction Edition: 61 HD channels…eventually

June 21, 2010 by  
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Remember when I raved about Comcast finally waking up and adding more HD channels to many underserved HD markets? Well, they did it. Sorta.

It seems that now (according to their recent press release anyway) they’re splitting the addition of the channels into two ‘phases’: one where they add 45 or so channels right now, and adding 16 more channels…in August. In the meantime, there’s two sections of HD, one in the 700′s, and one still left over from its original home in the 900′s. It’s a royal mess, to say the least, and leaving it this way another month+, even more of a mess.

Well, we’ll get our HD, which is a good thing. But i’m personally not crazy about the way they’re implementing it at all. It’s screwy and disorganized, but some new channels is better than none at all.

HDTV Club: When did you join?

June 21, 2010 by  
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We all remember our first…HDTV that is. Most remember when they powered on their wondrous HDTV model for the very first time, and gasped in amazement (at least I did anyway).

It was an LG 42″ HDTV 1080p for me a few years ago, and I couldn’t believe the detail and clarity. Even DVDs just popped off the screen, and it opened a whole new world of late night television joy for me. To this day, I hold a special place in my heart for LG and their products (which you know if you read this blog regularly anyway).

How about you, our cherished readers? When did you get your first, and how did it affect your viewing habits and perspective on TV? Feel free to let us know.

A Year Later: The Digital Transition

June 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Technology News

It seems like the digital switchover was on our pages every other day for a few months, and now its been a year since the changeover officially happened. The good news: many made the switchover pretty seamlessly. Many either bought a new HDTV and/or got cable/satellite, so most were fairly unaffected by the change, and we’re reaping the rewards in terms of more new HD channels and content.

More thoughts courtesy of Engadget:

The electronic shopping site Retrevo has been thinking about it though, and has put a survey out to its users and compiled the results of over 200 respondents. Now you know how much we love consumer surveys about electronics, but in this case the numbers look to be in line with our expectations. Overall people think the transition was a good thing, but that number is exactly 1 percent lower than those who say they were unaffected — figures. 19 percent of respondents bought a new TV and 13 percent just got cable or satellite instead. Seems likely enough. But our favorite is the 9 percent who bought a converter box but then never bothered to even hook it up; real nice use of tax payer funds.

The odd number is that 23% don’t think the transition was a good thing. What a strange thought. Digital is the future of most everything, so you would assume those are just people annoyed at having to get with the times.

Best Ever?: Review of the Panasonic TC-P65VT25

June 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Panasonic, Product Reviews, TV Brands

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We always respect certain reviewers and sites, and CNET usually does a nice job of completely reviewing new HDTV units that come onto the scene. In this case, they’re calling this new Panasonic model ‘the best 2D model we’ve ever reviewed’, which is quite a statement indeed.

Here’s more about the review from a few blog sources:

When it comes to TV reviews, we have to give a node to CNet and its David Katzmaier for being one of the best around; so when he says it is the best TV he’s ever tested, we officially want one. The new Panasonic VT25 line didn’t rule every category though, and of course their are concerns that the black levels will prematurely degrade like last year’s — CNet intends to continuously test the VT25 to keep Panasonic honest. Now we know you’re wondering about how it compares to the legendary Kuro and while it lit up the light meeter at a crazy low .004 ftl, the PRO-111FD Kuro is still the winner at .001 ftl — interestingly the similarly speced G20 line only managed .007 ftl. Whether this difference is noticeable at home is up for debate, but Kuro still reigns king as far as the light black meter is concerned.

We always enjoy a little comparison shopping, so to speak, so keep your ears and eyes peeled for more updates on this review down the road.

One is Good For The Other: 3D growth would help Blu-Ray?

June 18, 2010 by  
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IMS Research has determined, based on their surveys and research information they’ve gathered, that the slowly surging sales of 3D HDTV would also be a huge boost for sales of Blu-ray players, since they would no doubt display all that extra info more efficiently, being 1080p and all.

Home Media Magazine released an eye-opening new survey finding that of the 13% of U.S./West Europe consumers plan to buy a 3D TV in the next 2 years, 62 percent also plan to buy a 3D-enabled Blu-ray player along with that purchase. Big news for lovers of HD movie content.

But there is still dispute over whether consumers will embrace the 3D HDTV technology, but the aforementioned IMS forecasts that 6 million 3D HDTVs will ship worldwide by year’s end…. and 75 million will be shipped by the year 2015. Really? We’re having trouble with those numbers, but we’ve been wrong before (once in awhile anyway). Hopefully, we’re wrong this time too. We’re in favor of any boost to HD in any form.

Rainbow: Colorware brings a little color into your HDTV world

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

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Yes, you’re an electronics genius, but you also enjoy keeping your home color coordinated and stylish as well (at least some of us do). Well, according to a recent announcement by Colorware, now they offer an option to help you do just that. No more plain black HDTV chassis for you.

Colorware started with handheld gadgets, and how they’re offering to sling some color onto an HDTV (model of your choice, no send-in requests, we’re afraid).

No price published (namely because there’s way too many models to quote anything solid), but anyone want to guess what these TVs would start at? We’re imagining dollar signs galore (they don’t do international, sadly) and plenty of them. The room pictured here demonstrates how cool it would be to have a palette matching HDTV in your living room, even if that couch looks mighty uncomfortable.

More details here on their site.

Wednesday’s Wacky HDTV Deals

June 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, TV Brands

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We’re talking amazing prices and deals on all things HDTV, and here we go:

Newegg has the Auria 24″ EQ2488F 1080p LCD HDTV for $200 + $13 shipping = $213 shipped and out the door. Not a super name brand, but you can’t beat the price for the size and 1080p factor. Reviews have been decent too for this price range.

Walmart – A Proscan 47LED55SA 47″ LED 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV for $799 with free shipping too? LED, 120Hz and 1080p for under $800? Unheard of until a few months ago. Grab them while they’re still around!

Thanks for reading!

Roll Your Own: Sony releases 3D Blu-Ray mastering software

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

So you always wanted to make your own 3D BR discs, eh, with full 3D menus and everything? Use the same software the big boys use? We’ll, needless to say it won’t be cheap, but Sony has been gracious enough to release the 3D Blu-Ray mastering software and make it available to the public, sorta anyway. Read on to hear more:

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on Blu-ray 3D doesn’t make its retail debut until next week, but you can get a taste of the tools used to make it right now, as Sony has announced the availability of its Blu-print 6 and Z Depth software packages. The latest version of Blu-print adds “Profile 5″ (read: 3D) authoring compliance to its list of features, integrating all the offset metadata for 3D menus and working with MVC encoded video, while adding a few non-3D features like new DTS-HD encoding support and Windows Vista 64-bit compatibility. Z Depth’s job is keeping subtitles properly aligned in 3D, just one of the new issues that need to be dealt with in these discs.

No announcement of the pricing, but the full private version started around 50K USD, so expect it to empty your wallet. It’s a nice application of the 3D HD format, let’s just hope some pundits assessment of the 3D format doesn’t come to pass.

Widget Wonders: Google Maps and Facebook coming to Samsung HDTVs

June 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Technology News

We’ve often pondered the future of interactive widgets built into HDTV units these days, and if they have any sort of chance in the mainstream marketplace. Here is yet another example of something cool (via Engadget blog) coming to Samsung HDTVs that should merit some notice, yet at the same time set some to wondering: will it really matter in the long haul? Here’s more:

We still don’t know if Samsung will put Google’s Android into its TVs, but it has recently launched Google Maps and Facebook as a part of its existing Samsung Apps platform. There aren’t a lot of details in the press release (included after the break) but buyers of most of the 2010 line HDTVs, Blu-ray players and HTIB systems should have access to them. We’ve seen demos of how Samsung Apps can tie phones and TVs together easily, but can a mere Google Maps app match the Google TVs ability to push info back and forth from device to device? The Facebook app on Xbox 360 is moderately useful if only as a way to browse photo albums on the HDTV, so we’ll also be waiting to find out if it will at least match that functionality.

We like the ‘cool’ factor, but still have yet to decide if the widgets will ever really catch on long term.

Prices Fall: Samsung 42″ Plasma for $539?

June 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Industry News, Samsung, TV Brands

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We’ve witnessed some truly epic price drops on all manner and model of HDTV over the past year or two, but this offer is one of the best we’ve seen yet, courtesy of Amazon (a company that sometimes comes up with some really great deals).

How’s this: a Samsung 720p Black Plasma 42″ HDTV with lots of features for only $539, with (possible) free shipping? Now that really takes the cake. I remember paying $1200 for a HDTV similar to this just barely 2 years ago, now its less than half of that price. So much for Plasma being dead too; its still alive and kicking, and popular among many groups. Ratings for the TV on Amazon are very good too.

Some industry pundits have 42″ sets falling under $500 by years end, which would be truly remarkable. Just a year ago a set like would have ran $700-800 easily, and prices should continue to fall further in the months and years to come.

Here’s the link to the listing: Link

Big HD Changes: Comcast/Xfinity getting into the swing of high-def

June 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

In the coming weeks, the landscape of HD will be undergoing a big change, at least in the world of cable/Comcast. Starting next week, many markets will be adding lots of HD channels to their lineups, using the freed bandwidth from the digital transition.

Talk about changing the game: most markets will add 30-50 new HD channels that don’t have them already, and it’ll be a bright new HD world for many US citizens. We celebrate the courage and forward thinking of Comcast (now branded Xfinity in some markets) to add some much-overdue content to many systems. This writer has endured 2 years+ of a paltry 32 HD channels, with little to no changes. The added 40+ channels will really do me personally some real good, and (in my area anyway) will be added June 16th, as will much of the Southwest.

It should also help push up the market for HDTV sales as well, as more content always leads to more sales.

8K Goodness: NHK Plasma prototype to change the playing field

June 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News, Technology News

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That’s the thing about technology; it’s always advancing, never staying in place very long. Especially these days, it seems. An 8K Plasma HDTV screen, you say? There’s actually a working semi-prototype out there right now. Feel free to read:

NHK has been working on 33 megapixel, 8K Super Hi-Vision displays for quite some time now. As the story goes, in 2005 the group’s Science and Technology Labs estimated a necessary 0.3mm dot pitch for plasma screens in the 100-inch category to achieve the necessary 7,680 x 4,320 pixels for display. At the time, the best plasma could muster was 0.9mm, but now the researchers have created a prototype 58-inch screen with 0.33mm pixel pitch. Ergo, four such prototypes stacked together should create a 116-inch window to the world that just about displays 8K video.

No word on when this will be available in the marketplace, but hey, advances like this are worth waiting for. Kinda makes that 1080p seem sorta puny, doesn’t it?

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