Black Friday HDTV: So what did you buy?

November 30, 2010 by  
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We’ve been reporting on the Black Friday news, updates and goings-on recently, but now that it’s come and gone: what did you buy? We’re asking out loyal readers to give us the skinny on their newest, sweetest and most amazing gear they picked up, and did you save a lot?

Ourselves, we thought this BF was pretty good, even though prices were low as they’ve been, early sales releases have this BF pegged as pretty average numbers wise. $298 for a 40″ HDTV at Target? $198 for a 32″ unit? Simply amazing.

So feel free to comment: Tell us your HDTV Black Friday story!

Most Reliable HDTV: Panasonic?

November 30, 2010 by  
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Based on a recent large survey published in PC World Magazine, Panasonic is the big reliability winner with HDTV units – and that’s even with their consumer service being just about average. However, the mag said the results are clear: readers call the sets “very reliable” with few if any serious problems, if stats are to be believed.

PC World recently asked that consumers grade their units on a variety of “reliability” stats including whether the set had any problems right away and its ease of daily use. Panasonic finished #1, with “better than average” grades on “overall satisfaction with reliability,” “significant problems” and “severe problems.”, which should make Panny quite proud indeed.

The remaining top five in order: LG, Sony, Hitachi, Olevia (the last two are a bit of a shock really). The LG part certainly is not a shock, as we’ve always praised LG for their quality and reliability.

The bottom five of shame: View Sonic was the worst. 2nd to worst: Mitsubishi (a surprise), then comes JVC, Westinghouse, and Toshiba, in reverse of order of badness.

Big Time: Toshiba Power TV runs on integrated battery

November 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Product News, Toshiba, TV Brands

It seems the world of big screen LED HDTV has merged with the world of built-in batteries in a very nice marriage indeed, according to Toshiba. A 32″ LED HDTV running on a battery? Yes indeed. Read on:

Toshiba just announced its new Power TV family of battery-powered LED TVs. Mind you, these aren’t tiny portables. Toshiba’s PC 1 sets are pushing 32- or 24-inches and are the world’s first (according to Toshiba) to integrate a rechargeable battery good for about two hours of power. Why? Because even people lacking clean, consistent power desire the mind-numbing escape afforded by a large televised football match. The sets feature “auto signal booster” tech to enhance viewing in areas with weak signal coverage and “auto view” to optimize the picture based on ambient lighting conditions.

Now these have many uses, including areas with spotty electric service, or even to take along on a very modern camping trip of some sort.

More Google TV Fun: Toshiba and Vizio to jump on the bandwagon next year

November 26, 2010 by  
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It appears Google TV has been a moderate success, at least with TV execs. It appears (according to Engadget and various other blogs and sites) that HDTV makers Toshiba and Vizio will be joining the G-TV parade in January or so of next year. Read for more info:

Content providers might be banning Google TV left, right, and center, but hardware partners don’t seem to be losing any enthusiasm. After Samsung openly admitted to contemplating a HDTV with Google TV hardware and software built right in, Toshiba and Vizio are now said to have firm plans to introduce such new products at January’s CES 2011. While neither manufacturer would be drawn into confirming this latest bit of insider info, Toshiba’s American GM, Jeff Barney, is quoted as saying, “Google certainly is a key partner for us on the PC side and will likely be key for us on the TV side as well.” How else could Google function as a key TV partner than with its web-connected TV experience?

Hopefully, this will convince content providers that GTV is worth supporting and lift their embargo of the service. We aren’t holding our breath to be honest, but we can always hope.

Discounted: Vizio 3D HDTVs showing up with slashed prices

November 26, 2010 by  
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We always like price surprises, and this time is no exception as Vizio’s 3D HDTV line is appearing on US shelves, with a several hundred dollar price reduction over the MSRP, a welcome sight indeed. Read on via Engadget:

Right on cue, VIZIO’s latest XVT 3D LCDs have been spotted on retail shelves. One reader noticed this 55-incher at Costco with a $1,999 price tag, a few hundred bucks off the initial MSRP. We’d still like to see some of those 3D specs thrown in, but with a pretty significant price advantage over similar TVs from other manufacturers like Sony we’re thinking there’s some room in there to snatch them up separately if one is so inclined.

Now all we need is a more complete detailing of the specs of the unit, and we’ll be all set. Anyone want to volunteer to check them out for us?

The Ultimate Black Friday HDTV guide

November 24, 2010 by  
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Black Friday, the unofficial christening to the Christmas shopping season is only a few days ago, and where would you go to get a overview of all the great deals being offered in the HDTV world? Well, here of course. We’ll point you in the right direction, courtesy of our friends at TVPredictions.com.

It’s common knowledge that there will some really unheard of deals being offered this year. A 40″ HDTV for $298? Target will be offering that. A internet connected Blu-Ray player for $65? Ridiculous! A 50″ 720p plasma for $499? Plain crazy. They’ll all be offered this season by the likes of Target, Wal-Mart, Sears, Costco, Dell and more.

Go here to see all the links to all the great deals, and make sure you let us know if you find a deal you can’t refuse.

Opinion: Motion processing on HDTVs – On or Off?

November 21, 2010 by  
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There are many names for it: TruMotion, Auto Motion Plus, MotionFlow, and more are commonly referred to with regard to the 120Hz / 240Hz / 480Hz motion processing technology that speeds up the refresh and mixes alternately scanned frames for a smoother video experience, but sometimes it can cause undesirable visual issues.

It can vary according to the content and the exact technical implementation, but with the “triple ball effect” and one too many films that look “too clean” like soap operas, disabling the effect is one of the first things we learned how to do on many HDTV units these days.

So what do you, our readers, think? Do you disable it? Is it a technology that still needs more work? Our opinion is it needs to be refined a bit, but we’d like to hear what all of you think.

Top 10 Tips: Scoring the Best Black Friday Deals

November 19, 2010 by  
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Top HDTV blog site TVpredictions.com has posted a very informative and cool article about getting the most out of the upcoming Black Friday holiday. Here’s a part of their top 10 list:

1. Read the Ads — In Print & Online
Consumer World suggests that you carefully review your local newspapers on Thanksgiving Day. Usually, they will be stuffed with Black Friday ads and coupons. Bring them with you on the big day. Plus, many retailers are offering special Black Friday deals at their web sites. Don’t forget to check them out 24-48 hours prior to the big day. (Also see Rule #6)

2. Evaluate the Deals
Don’t assume every “deal” is a deal. Compare the “Black Friday” special price with the HDTV’s normal price before buying. You can do that at various e-commerce web sites such as Amazon.com and BestBuy.com. You may even find a lower price online.

3. Buy a Good Product

A low price doesn’t guarantee a high-quality television.  Do some research and read product reviews at sites such as CNET.com. If you’re not familiar with the product’s brand name, check out its customer service record with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau.

4. Look For More Discounts
Some stores issue coupons or rebates on high-def sets and other products such as High-Definition DVD players. Find out if the discounts apply to the Black Friday specials.

Go here to read more great tips about how to score some nice HDTV deals the day after Thanksgiving.

Vizio Update: New 3D HDTVs and 3D Blu-Ray player announced

November 19, 2010 by  
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With the race for holiday dominance already begun, Vizio isn’t standing pat, it seems. They announced a gaggle of new products today, including a new 3D Blu-Ray player and 3D HDTV models (mega-slick box for one seen here in the picture). Check it out:

Say hello to the new VIZIO XVT 3D series, while the XVT Pro line announced earlier this year (and that 72-inch model we were drooling over) were not to be, these 42-, 47- and 55-inch HDTVs are real and on sale today through Amazon, Sam’s Club and Target’s online shops and should be on shelves later this month. Features like the number of LED backlighting zones (for the 47- and 55-, the 42-inch features edge LED lighting), claimed contrast ratio, WiFi N and VIZIO Internet Apps are consistent with existing models, so the big addition this time around is 480Hz refresh rate and obviously, 3D readiness (active shutter glasses not included). VIZIO’s also announced two new 3D compatible Blu-ray players to match for $189, plus a new router and some high priced HDMI cables to fill out the lineup.

All prices were not announced at the time, but expect value price points if we know Vizio pretty well.

Mitsu News: Mitsubishi unveils its all-in-one monitor solution

November 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Mitsubishi, Product News, TV Brands

Sometimes all-in-one can be a good thing, especially when it comes to electronics. Mitsubishi has announced the upcoming release of its 120hz 23″ monitor/HDTV combo unit, and the specs sound pretty cool indeed. Check it out:

Sometimes having a computer monitor and a separate HDTV are just too much for your feng shui to handle, and Mitsubishi is here to enhance your qi with its MDT231WG all-in-one monitor. No, not an all-in-one in that it has a PC built in there, but rather it’s intended to serve double-duty as a computer monitor and an HDTV. Its 120hz refresh rate and 5.5ms response time mean it’ll keep up with Call of Duty, while its 178-degree viewing angle, 5000:1 contrast ratio IPS panel, and integrated 2.1 channel sound system means it should do a decent job at movie playback. And, with a combined power output for all three speakers of 11 watts you won’t even have to worry about waking the neighbors. Right now this is looking like it’ll only be hitting the Japanese market and, while Mitsu hasn’t announced a price yet, we found one for pre-order at ¥118,000 — just over $1,400 and a small price to pay for finding your perfect spot.

That isn’t cheap, mind you, but hey, perfection and clarity for multiple uses has its price.

Good News/Bad News: Growing HD ownership, low HD view rates

November 15, 2010 by  
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It’s a fact: HDTV units are at one of their lowest price points in history. They’re everywhere, and they’re cheap to buy. Despite all of this, there is a bad side to the story: people are owning HDTVs, just not using them to their full potential.

The good news first: TV firm Nielsen said that 56 percent of U.S. households now have at least one HDTV. Wonderful! Now the bad (really bad) news: they say only 13 percent of total daily viewing on cable/satellite TV is in HD. This is a tragedy, as far as the hi-def world goes anyway.

The number jumps to 19 percent when viewers are watching the 4 major networks: ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC. But this shows a lack of subscriptions to HD packages and/or lack of education regarding what HD really is.

It’s one of our main missions: to educate everyone about the wonders of HD, and show them great ways to enjoy the medium more every day. Hopefully through our efforts and those of others, those dismal numbers will move upward.

Black Friday Deluxe: Wal-Mart sets the standard

November 15, 2010 by  
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It’s time for Wal-Mart’s Black Friday leaked details, and these are enough to make us drool for real. A 32″ HDTV for $198? Blu-Ray movies for $5? That’s just crazy talk – but it’ll be headed to a WM near you the day after Thanksgiving.

Here’s a larger list of goodies to be headed your way at Wal-Mart on Black Friday:

Emerson 42″ LTDN42V68US 1080P 60HZ LCD HDTV – $398
LG 42″ 42LD400 1080P 60HZ LCD HDTV – $478
Element 55″ 1080p LCD HDTV — $799
Emerson 32″ LCD HDTV — $198
Samsung 40″ LN40C500 1080P 60HZ LCD HDTV – $498
Samsung 32″ 720p LCD HDTV — $328
Samsung 46″ 1080p LCD HDTV — $798
Samsung 52″ 1080p LCD HDTV — $998
Sanyo 50″ DP50710 720P 600HZ Plasma HDTV – $498
Vizio 37″ 1080p LCD HDTV — $378

Odds are, these prices will lead the way for pricing standards next year, if rumors are correct.

Adapter-Less 3 Dimensions: Mitsubishi to prepare HDTV line for freeform 3D

November 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Mitsubishi, Product News, TV Brands

Previous Mitsubishi HDTV models required an adapter to support 3D HDTV, but Mitsu is (as we speak) preparing to launch a new update for the feature. We applaud their efforts, even if we aren’t too sure how 3D will do in the future. Read on:

While its older 3DTVs will still absolutely require an adapter, Mitsubishi is rolling out a software update for its 2010 line of 3D-ready HDTVs that will allow them to process additional forms of 3D video supported by HDMI 1.4 devices. The TVs shipped with only support for checkerboard or side-by-side format 3D, while the new update adds top-bottom (ESPN 3D) and frame packing (Blu-ray 3D) support without requiring an adapter passthrough. Owners of 738 and 838 TVs that are hooked to the internet should start seeing the update soon automatically, or it will be avialable for download from the website. You’ll probably still want to grab a starter kit with IR sync and glasses if you want the Samsung-compatible specs, but DLP-link active shutter 3D glasses should work without any additional hardware at all.

Mitsubishi also updated various sources to state that the software update will launch officially on 11/16.

More Madness: Best Buy’s Dark Friday Sales Unveiled

November 13, 2010 by  
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How does a Toshiba Blu-ray player for $59 sound? Or how about a Panasonic 50″ 1080p Plasma HDTV for just $699? Sound like something you’d wait in line at 5am for? That’s just a sample of the Black Friday deals at Best Buy based on leaked info available on the web.

Here’s even more insanity available for your perusal:

Coby 15-Inch LCD HDTV — $99.99
Dynex 24-inch 1080p LED HDTV — $189.99
Insignia 42-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV — $369.99
LG 32-Inch 1080p LCD HDTV — $379.99
Panasonic 46-Inch 720p Plasma HDTV — $499
Panasonic 50-inch 1080p Plasma HDTV — $699.99
Samsung 32-inch 720p LCD  HDTV — $329.99
Samsung 55-inch 1080p LCD HDTV — $1499.99
Sony 46-inch 1080p LCD HDTV — $698.99
Toshiba 55-inch 1080p LCD HDTV — $969.99

It’s clear this holiday season that retailers are slashing to (pretty much) the bare bones, and will take few prisoners to grab your HDTV dollar.

Deluxe: Blu-Ray treatment of Inception is out of this world

November 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

We appreciate that companies want to dress up the HD Blu-Ray releases of films nowadays, but this treatment looks to be really something else entirely. Check it out:

For a moment it appeared that the sweet Limited Edition release of Christopher Nolan’s Inception on Blu-ray would be a European only thing, but Warner Bros. has made it available for US customers as well, exclusively via its WBShop.com website. Located by a few Blu-ray.com forum posters, it looks to have all the fixings, with art cards, totem, PASIV instruction manual and of course the metal briefcase itself with Inception Blu-ray and DVD held inside. Preorders are $49.95 and ship December 6, so don’t forget to figure in overnight shipping.

That price tag is something else as well, but if you’re a 1080p fan and a big follower of the box office hit, this is the way to go, no doubt about it.

Price Plunge: Analysts predicting $199 32″ LCD TVs?

November 10, 2010 by  
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It appears the deep price cuts we reported awhile back expected for HDTV LCD units are coming sooner than we thought: this holiday season, to be precise.

Many analysts who study pricing trends and patterns are making many educated (and slightly scary) guesses about where prices will drop to this Black Friday and Christmas season: for example, 32″ LCD HDTVs may drop as low as $199 at some stores, which is an unheard of price point for TVs of that size. A 40-inch LCD HDTV for just $298? Recently leaked Target BF sale literature shows just that being available.

The reason, you may ask? Retailers and TV manufacturers are anxious to clear their inventory, particularly with reports that there is a huge amount of unsold LCD panels on the worldwide market, just sitting there with few buyers. So their loss can definitely be your gain this holiday season.

Black Friday HDTV Fever: Sears reveals big time deals

November 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Industry News

We’ve covered Sears BF previews a few times now, but this time we’re bringing out the big guns: the official Black Friday of HDTV deals scheduled to go up on that fated day. There’s some really nice prices, including a 42″ Zenith HDTV for $399 (!!). It seems Sears wants to really get your attention if you’re in the market for a TV, and these prices might just accomplish that.

Here’s some more prices:

LG 60″ 1080P 600HZ Plasma HDTV – $1,499.99
Panasonic 32″ 1080P 60HZ LCD HDTV – $399.99
Panasonic 37″ 1080P 60HZ LCD HDTV – $469.99
Panasonic 46″ 720P LCD 600HZ Plasma HDTV – $499.99
Panasonic 50″ TC-P50S2 1080p 600Hz Plasma HDTV – $799.99
Samsung 32″ 720p 60Hz LCD HDTV – $329.99

Samsung 40″ 1080P 60HZ LCD HDTV – $497.99
Samsung 50″ 720p 600Hz 3D Plasma HDTV – $899.99
Samsung 55″ 1080P 120HZ LED HDTV – $1,499.99
Samsung 55″ 3D 1080P 240HZ LED HDTV – $2,199.99
Sony 40″ Bravia 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV – $549.99
Zenith 42″ 720P 600HZ Plasma HDTV – $399.99

A 46″ Plasma for $499? Insane. A 60″ LG Plasma for $1499? Pretty cool indeed.

Big Panel News: AUO to make large LCD 3D units

November 7, 2010 by  
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It seems even the ‘smaller market’ players are joining the 3D HDTV fray: AUO Optronics will be releasing several huge (huge meaning 71″ mind you) LCD 3D panels in the next little while. Read on for more details:

In case you haven’t noticed, FPD International 2010 is just about ready to hit full-swing, and AUO is on hand with a stockpile of new kit. AUO Optronics just so happens to be a fairly substantial panel maker in the grand scheme of things, so people tend to pay attention when they roll out the planet’s largest Cinema Scope (read: 21:9 aspect ratio) 3D LCD TV. A 71-inch version of the aforesaid device is on hand for the public to gawk at, as is a 65-inch QFHD 4K x 2K lenticular lens 3D TV. The former boasts a 240Hz double frame rate, LED scanning backlight and optimized parameters for better motion flow, and unlike most three-dee televisions these days, this one works with polarized glasses — you know, the ones that are dirt cheap, don’t require batteries and haven’t been known to give people headaches. The latter is a glasses-free solution, but unlike the company’s next generation 3D notebook panels, you’ll need to be located in one of eight viewing spots to dig the effect.

We like the specs, but no prices released as of yet. We’re anticipating the ‘not cheap’ range, but glasses-free and/or huge will always have a hefty price tag.

Hulu News: Coming to a BRAVIA HDTV near you

November 5, 2010 by  
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We love Hulu and think its the next logical step to content of all kinds, HD and otherwise. News that it will be leaking into HDTV models (and the PS3) very soon makes it even better. More details:

Hulu has just revealed a movement to get Hulu Plus stocked with more content and onto more devices, STAT. Making sure those words aren’t empty, we’re learning that all 2010 Sony BRAVIA HDTVs will today have access to the subscription programming service, with it bleeding over to Sony’s various Blu-ray players, home theater systems, network media players and even the Dash — yeah, that Dash — in due time. In related news, Hulu will be soon yanking the invite requirement to get Hulu Plus on the PlayStation 3, and as of next week, any ole PlayStation Network member (as opposed to PlayStation Plus, as it stands today) will be able to grab it. ‘Course, even those freeloaders will be forced to pony up $9.99 per month if they’re interested in using it.

Easier accessibility is the key to any product’s success, so we’re quite happy with this development.

HD Learning: Local Dimming, and what is it?

November 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Knowledge Base

Here’s some knowledge regarding HDTV and local dimming. What is it really and how does it benefit HDTV performance? Here you go, a condensed lesson courtesy of Engadget HD:

One thing that makes covering LCD TVs so interesting is that the technology is always advancing and one innovation that might be the biggest in LCDs yet, is local dimming. But you’re probably wondering, what is it exactly? Well in non-edgelit LED LCDs TV, there’s an array of LED lights behind the liquid crystal pixels, and local dimming is when sections of the LED array are turned off or dimmed to help produce the deep blacks — like Kuro deep. But while this tech can produce very deep blacks and fantastic contrast, there’s a catch, it also create an artifact referred to as a halo around bright objects. Of course we don’t exactly watch movies with flash lights or star fields every night, and dark scenes that expose the artifact caused by local dimming (we have to point out that cameras can sometimes make it more drastic than it appears in reality). So while we wouldn’t buy an LCD without local dimming, there’s still a lot to look forward to in the next generation when the dimming is sure to become more local, and thus the artifact will be minimized.

Don’t say you never learn anything here on our friendly blog, we always aim to increase the knowledge of HDTV at home and abroad.

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