Pre-Season HD: NFL to stream 50 NFL games in HD

July 31, 2010 by  
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Even the NFL sees the value of HD, and they have released details of a planned pre-season streaming HD plan for all 50 NFL games in the exhibition season, bringing full HD clarity to the NFL experience for those who can’t get enough of the gridiron. More details:

Don’t have the NFL Network but still want to catch every single pre-season NFL game in HD? Well you finally have an option with NFL Preseason Live. It’ll cost you $40 for the over 50 live broadcasts, as well as on demand access, but what is particularly cool is access to either team’s radio broadcast (we assume it is synced up to the video) as well as enhancements like Big Play Markers — whatever that is. If you click through you can get a taste of what it’s like by watching last year’s Super Bowl, looks good up to 3Mbps. Now before you get all excited about the idea that this is a prelude to regular season games coming to the internet, just hold on there. The pre-season games are night and day when compared to regular season when you’re talking licensing rights. While the regular season rights are part of some of the biggest TV deals ever, the pre-season rights are usually sold to local affiliates; which always makes it fun to see the quality of the broadcast with considerably smaller budgets.

We like the move, exposing more fans to the wonders of HD in any medium is something we can always appreciate.

Going HD: Redbox adding $1.50 Blu-Ray rentals this fall

July 30, 2010 by  
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It seems even a big portal like Redbox cannot resist the siren song of BR HD discs, as they have announced plans to add the high-def media to most outlets as of a few weeks or so, and nationwide by Fall or so. More details via Engadget:

It’s really no surprise that Redbox is going nationwide with its $1.50 Blu-ray rentals, at every step along the way of its Hollwood dealmaking, the company has pointed out its aim towards procuring a supply of high definition movies, and now the day is finally here. The high definition disc packing kiosks currently number 13,300, and the plan is to have Blu-ray in all 26,000 locations by the fall. While we spotted plenty of Blu-ray enabled locations with a San Francisco zip code, other areas in the Midwest and East Coast weren’t so lucky.

We applaud Redbox for getting with the HD media revolution, and hopefully this will make the format more palatable for mainstream consumption down the road.

HD Bites: Shark Week arrives with more HD than ever

July 29, 2010 by  
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It’s almost August, which means a man’s annual rite of (TV) passage, Shark Week, on Discovery channel will be chomping at the bit to get onto your HDTV panel.  Check our Engadget’s quick and dirty summary:

Do you really have to check the calendar to know what time of year it is? That’s right baby, it’s Shark Week, and as usual, Discovery’s taking a midsummer break to bring everything shark related to its prime time lineup. This year, Discovery follows up on one of the most-watched Shark Week specials of all time, Air Jaws, with Ultimate Air Jaws August 1 at 9 p.m., with 2,000 fps HD footage of great white sharks leaping out of the water to attack seals. Even if that’s not enough details (and time, with one second of footage expanded to an entire minute) to count every tooth in the shark’s mouth as the press release breathlessly claims, then check out Into the Shark Bite, where they inserted high speed HD cameras — where else — directly into a shark’s jaws.

If you’re a fan of big nasty sea animals (in HD not 3D, mind you), then you have to tune in this week to bite into your favorite species of shark.

Blu-Ray News: BR versions of Disney films coming next year

July 28, 2010 by  
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It seems Disney has a real affection for the Blu-Ray HD platform, as they now have plans to re-release two of its 14 classics every year exclusive to BR. Upcoming trailers on the Blu-ray edition of James & the Giant Peach show that The Lion King (Diamond Edition) and Alice in Wonderland (Special 60th Anniversary Edition) will be coming to stores in BR high-def early next year.

No precise specs yet, but we’d expect to see the same TLC taken in remastering and restoring the audio and video to eye-popping quality that’s been seen on previous releases.

We’re seeing a real surge in companies remastering classic films for Blu-Ray high-def, and we love the trend, we have to say. We’re looking forward to these releases, as (closet) lovers of old-fashioned animated films.

Look at the difference in this preview pic here…amazing.

Perspective: Technology strategist not sold on 3D HDTV

July 27, 2010 by  
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Technology strategist and author Michael Gartenberg has seen various 3D HDTV setups, has disposable income, and is a techhead of the highest order apparently. He posted an interesting thought line on Engadget recently, and it basically slams 3D as not being ready for prime time, and has no plans to buy it anytime soon.

Here’s another choice quote from the article:

I’m surprised by figures, forecasts, predictions and prophecies all showing a rosy outlook for 3D TV beginning as early as this year, because I’ve seen most of the 3D offerings available and I have no plans to buy — not now and not anytime soon. I should be a part of the core demographic for 3D: I like TV, movies and video games. I’m am early adopter. I have reasonable disposable income. I’m not afraid of betting on the wrong standard. And yet, I’m not buying.

That’s not good news, i’m assuming. We’ve been wary of 3D since it came out, as readers of this blog know quite well. It appears more journalists are betting against the technology than with it right now.

Monday’s Manic HDTV Deal-O-Mania

July 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, LG, TV Brands, Vizio

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Alaska is cold, candy is sweet, and Screen Sleuth always has great HDTV deals every week to present to you for your viewing pleasure. Feel free to peruse these:

Dell Home sometimes has some great deals, including this Vizio VF552XVT 55” 1080p 240Hz LED HDTV for $2099.99 – $500 off our special coupon code we supply you with “2$K34TRX3TWV0?” (Expires 07/29/10) = $1599.99 with free shipping as well. How’s about that offer for you?

BuyDig.com – And we finish it off with the always reliable LG 32LD450 32” 1080p LCD HDTV for $439.00 (use the See Price In Cart feature) with free shipping too? Yep, we’re serious. Three 5 star reviews already posted.

Thanks for hanging out with us, and see you tomorrow for more world-shaking HDTV news and views.

#2 in 3D: Sony to release second Blu-Ray 3D disc soon

July 25, 2010 by  
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It seems Blu-Ray 3D is picking up a little steam, as Sony announced a second HD 3D release in September, the animated film Monster House. See below for the full blurb and details:

Add one more to the list of retail Blu-ray 3D discs, now that Sony Pictures has put a date on Monster House. Due September 14, Sony Pictures’ website currently lists the same special features included on the original Blu-ray release back in ’06, which we expect to see included in the package, just like Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and a similar $39.95 MSRP.

It appears past these sorts of releases, the slate for the future of BR 3D of fairly dry for a bit, so this will really test its staying power to the limit. IMAX will be putting out a Grand Canyon disc, and sometimes this year Resident Evil: Afterlife will come out along with Open Season. We remain guarded about its future, honestly.

HD Revolution Coming: 18% of TV households to own a Blu-Ray player by next year?

July 24, 2010 by  
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That stat is going to come to fruition according to a recent study by ABI Research, a stat we really do believe, if recent trends and polls we’ve seen are of any consequence. See this blurb from Engadget:

After successfully predicting shocking trends like Blu-ray player prices heading downwards and the PS3′s continued install base lead on other players, analysts at ABI Research see 62.5 million Blu-ray players shipping next year. Analyst Mike Inouye sees this as a part of the growth potential of TV-centric devices related to price declines, plus new technology arriving like larger displays, internet access and 3D. With market penetration (in TV owning households) expected to rise from 7% in 2009 to 18% next year, we’re wondering what’s holding the format back from even more growth. Prices are relatively low now, full featured players are easy to find, and HDTVs are rapidly taking over.

We certainly hope this comes to pass, or perhaps even a higher percentage as more discover the made in heaven match that is 1080p HDTV and Blu-Ray.

Cheaper is Still Good: Samsung 3D HDTV for under $1,000?

July 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Product News, Samsung, TV Brands

Looks like Samsung’s 3D Blu-ray players aren’t the only ones coming in less expensive versions, as it’s announced plans for a new 680 Series and 490 Series plasma HDTVs, and these could signal a change or shift in the 3D pricing strategy, long considered a lot more expensive than comparable 2D units.

Both were displayed in Korea yesterday, though the US website only features a page for only the 50-inch PN50C680 up until now, boasting its 1080p specs and DLNA access for users to drool over. You will give up a few features typical of higher end plasmas, which add picture-in-picture, a higher contrast ratio and slimmer design to the feature list.

The PN50C490′s setup isn’t as clear, but popular HDTV blog FlatpanelsHD reports it will be the very first 720p 3DTV of this generation. With current series 4 plasmas selling for around $700 or so, it could also be the first flat 3D set to crack the $1,000 barrier at a estimated MSRP of  $1,099, meaning many vendors will sell them under that, more than likely — if the 720p doesn’t bother you (may not at these price points).

Product News (aka We Were Wrong): GPNC to release Android HDTV

July 21, 2010 by  
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Remember in April we reported a bit about Android and its future in TVs, and that South Korean manufacturer GPNC would soon be releasing TVs running Android 1.5 built-in? Yep, sure you do. We were skeptical that the TVs would ever come to market, honestly. Well, it appears our crystal ball was on the fritz that day.

It seems the company has now officially announced the launch of an Google-powered TV code named Smartroi, and it’ll be on shelves (in Asian countries anyway) starting in a few weeks or so.

Other hard specs: The TV will be sold in Korea at first and will be a 42″ Full HDTV LED backlit screen, sport a 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio, 500cd/m² brightness, and USB connectivity too. No real hard details on what version of Android will ship with the unit, but support for OS upgrades in the future has been hinted at, so it’ll at least be upgradeable.

Wednesday’s Wacky HDTV Deals

July 21, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Philips, Sony, TV Brands

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Once again we present some of the finest HDTV offers anywhere on the web:

Buy.com – How about a solid Philips 47PFL6704D 47” 1080p LCD HDTV 240hz  for $999.00 with free shipping as well. Now that’s a few hundred less than even a few months ago. Check it out!

Sony has a Sony KDL-32EX308 BRAVIA 32″ Internet-ready 720p LCD HDTV for $432 with free shipping as well. Great deal! You can look at lots of net enabled functions like Netflix, etc pretty easily and makes this a heck of an entertainment device.

Thanks for joining us and see you all later!

Freedom: Netflix coming to Canada?

July 19, 2010 by  
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Yes, this is only an indirectly related HD article, but since Netflix carries Blu-Ray, it could help establish BR more as a home video medium around the globe. Netflix is currently a US only service, but now news is leaking that Netflix will be slowly moving into Canada as a rental option. See the Engadget news blurb:

Netflix has just announced it’ll be taking its first tentative step abroad with a rollout of its video streaming service in Canada. Specifics are predictably light at the present moment, but interested Canucks can sign up now to be informed as soon as those details drop. So Canada in the fall… and the UK in winter, perhaps? We can only hope.

No word on prices or anything like that, but NF is something we’re hoping spreads far and wide, so that people across the pond can experience the joy of watching lots of Blu-Ray classic movies for a small monthly fee.

Criterion BR Classics: Seven Samurai, others on the way

July 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

Criterion was once quite famous for their impeccable transfers of classic and modern films with tons of special features, and now they’ve caught the HD Blu-Ray fever it seems. Seven Samurai, the classic film, is on its way, along with others. Witness this blurb:

It hasn’t been that long since Criterion collection started shipping its classics on Blu-ray, and one of the most recently announced movies on the way is Akira Kurosawa’s classic, Seven Samurai. A flick which should need no introduction, it will get a three disc set when it arrives October 19 with a $49.95 MSRP, while we’ll have to wait for more specs and features, there will also be a few other incredible movies like The Magician, Paths of Glory, House and The Darjeeling Limited arriving around the same time, so make your preorder choices wisely.

We like the trend, and look forward to more Criterion masters down the road on Blu-Ray.

Saturday’s Satisfying HDTV Deals

July 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Hannspree, TV Brands, Vizio

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Now its time to let you in on some great HDTV offers, starting right now. Read on, HDTV lover:

Dell Home sometimes has some great HDTV offers, such as the Vizio VF552XVT 55” 1080p 240Hz LED HDTV for $2099.99 – $500 coupon code we happily supply you with: “6BP4F82T2VSJ97″ (Expires 07/22/2010) = $1599.99 with free shipping as well. First class deal on a first class set!

Newegg has the Hannspree ST329MUB 32″ 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV for $360 + $2 shipping = $362 shipped. Now its tough to beat this sort of offer, good for any side TV for any room in the house, and with 10,000:1 contrast ratio, it’ll look amazing.

Thanks for reading and please come back for even more amazing offers in the future!

HD in Space: NASA to launch 24 hour HD channel on July 19th

July 16, 2010 by  
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It seems even government agencies are flipping over HD and its possibilities, and even the space-charting organization NASA is getting in on the act by launching (pun intended) its own 24/7 HD network as of July 19th. Read on for more:

Over the years, NASA has, from time to time, piped some HD of shuttle launches and other space related video via its satellite network, but starting July 19 it will be broadcasting 24/7. Beyond exclusive videos like shuttle launches, there will be a daily ISS update and plenty of file footage, all in MPEG-2 encoded HD. Media, cable and satellite providers should all have access so if it’s not yet a channel in your area, you probably know who to call.

Here’s the page with more info about it as well: Press Release

Blu-Ray Goodness: Aliens Anthology shows us what BR can do

July 16, 2010 by  
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Now the Aliens saga of movies showed us what moviemaking was all about, and now HD Blu-Ray is prepared to show us what a movie collection can be as well, with the jumbo sized, ultra-cool Aliens Anthology BR set coming soon to a home theater near you. We’ve covered new BR releases before if they’re noteworthy, and this one is for sure.

It will include a lofty $139.99 SRP (but how about Amazon for preordering at a more reasonable $98 right now), it will fill six discs with more than 12,000 images and 60 hours of special footage including everything from the earlier Quadrilogy and LaserDisc releases too, so you will miss out on nothing at all.

Disc five is all about the making of each film, while disc six holds a treasure trove of production info and featurettes from each movie, so you’ll get the full skinny on all 4 movies, which is the ultimate high for any Aliens fan.

Cheaper is Good: Apple adding HD movies for $10

July 14, 2010 by  
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Buying HD movies from iTunes has always been considered an expensive, trendy choice, if not popular because of its $20 price tag.  Now Apple is trying to change that with their recent addition of a ‘bargain’ area of HD movies now available for $9.99. See the details here:

Apple has added a $10 or less HD movie section for older titles that were previously sold for the new-film premium of $20. The sub-$10 library only consists of 30 titles at the moment (though we assume that’ll grow with time), including 3:10 to Yuma, American Psycho, and The Doors, as well as more appropriate bargain bin specimens like Midgets vs. Mascots, The Midnight Meat Train, and Witless Protection.

We like price drops, but we’d like it even more if 99 cent show rentals, etc. made all of this not even matter. With Apple’s track record, we aren’t too sure about that happening.

Expansion: Samsung (with little fanfare) adds new Blu-Ray models

July 13, 2010 by  
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Growth and expansion can often be good things, and in this case a necessary thing with technology being the way it is these days. Samsung agrees, with the announcement (fairly quietly though) of additional models to their Blu-Ray lineup being released soon. More details:

Samsung Blu-ray players on the shelf at local or online retailers while shopping, as it’s rolling out new 3D capable models in the BD-C5900, BD-C6800 and BD-C7900. The $399 (MSRP) BD-C7900 updates the older BD-C6900 with two HDMI outs, useful for those with an older receiver that isn’t HDMI 1.4 compatible, while the $279 BD-C6800 seems to have all the features of the BD-C6900 except for that porthole on top, and comes in at a lower price. Last up is the BD-C5900 with an MSRP of $229 which puts it within reach of two bills at retail, but means losing the 1GB of internal storage featured by the other two players. The product pages aren’t all fully updated on Samsung’s site yet, but the BD-C5900 has already arrived at Amazon and Best Buy and the others shouldn’t be far behind.

We’re also guessing this will trigger a price drop on regular 2D models as well, though we already feel their prices are already pretty reasonable.

Bundle Action: LG getting in on the 3D package act

July 12, 2010 by  
Filed under LG, Product News, TV Brands

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We reported about Sony offering their 3D bundles recently, now according to recent reports LG is getting in on the bundle action as well with their upcoming release.

Announced just today, the “1-2-3D” bundle (as its referred to) applies to all who purchase a LX9500 or LX6500 series Infinia LCD TV and LG Blu-ray 3D unit, and includes two pairs of glasses in the package as well, PLUS an instant $100 rebate and coupon for the IMAX Under the Sea 3D Blu-ray 3D disc to come with the package to round it out. It’s still not cheap, but a lot cheaper than all of these individually.

The bundle pricing is pretty much equivalent to Samsung’s package bundle, so it really comes down to which 3DTV or player you prefer, or even as basic as a question as comparing getting Monsters vs. Aliens or this IMAX film, whichever way your preferences swing.

Opinion: Should providers not broadcast SD feeds to customers with HD boxes?

July 11, 2010 by  
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Yes, it seems like an obvious question, but think about it: Many people, even with HD boxes and HDTV units, don’t know any better and the HD channels are always in 700′s-900′s and are hard to find. So the question came to us: should people with HD boxes only get HD signals, thereby eliminating this kind of visual waste, as we like to call it? It’s obvious to us, but what do you think?

Now that more providers are stepping up with greater quantities of HD channels (satellite and cable included), is it time to ‘cut the cord’ with more ignorant users so they are forced to get the most out of their setups? Educating people about the digital transition was hard enough, and now this.

Feel free to let us know in the comments area, we’re interested to know what your opinion are.

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