More LG Goodness: Really Big HDTV, 3D style to debut at CES

December 30, 2010 by  
Filed under LG, Product News, TV Brands

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To continue our LG theme, here’s yet another nugget about a really BIG 3D HDTV to debut for a peek at CES 2011, how’s 72″ grab you? Read on:

LG swore up and down that it would be bumping its smart TV investment to kick-start 2011, and lo and behold, it looks as if this is one New Year’s resolution that’ll be kept. The aforesaid company has just revealed that it’ll be bringing the planet’s largest LED-backlit 3D LCD HDTV to CES 2011 next week, with the LZ9700 handling both 2D and 3D content and offering TruMotion 400Hz to smooth out Cam Newton’s faster-than-fast evasion techniques. As you’d expect, this set is also outfitted with the company’s Smart TV functions, giving owners access to TV apps, games, language classes, etc. The company’s also talking up its Magic Motion Remote Control — a diddy we’ll definitely be anxious to put to the test once we land in Vegas. There’s no mention of an expected price, but it’ll be available starting in “early 2011″ for those who passed on HDI’s 100-incher.

Now this looks like it could pretty neat news for those of us who like our HD experience really large.

LG Goodness: Maker to release flicker-free HD 3D set at CES?

December 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Product News, TV Brands

We’ve always touted the goodness that is LG in terms of quality and being ahead of the pack much of the time, and this is just another example of this at work: It seems they’re going to be making a big 3D HDTV splash at the upcoming CES 2011 with a major development in 3D hi-def. We’ll let Engadget fill us in:

Oh LG, you infernal tease. Instead of politely revealing its full set of plans for CES 2011, the Korean company keeps gently peeling away the layers of ignorance, with today marking its pre-announcement of a new Cinema 3D TV set. The LW6500 opts for passive 3D glasses, in place of the currently popular active shutter goggles, which has garnered it a couple of industry certifications to say that its 3D is guaranteed, definitely, totally flicker-free. Aside from that, you get a neat brightness booster to ensure that switching on the third dimension doesn’t dim the picture unduly, while the rest of the specs and extras on this 200Hz panel seem mostly unremarkable. We’ll be casting our eyeballs over it at CES next week, which will be followed, we’re told, by a rollout in select markets shortly thereafter.

We like the news, mainly because one of the major issues with some sets has been flicker or inconsistent image performance with 3D stuff.

Long Time Missing: HDTV Deals for a Tuesday

December 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals, Hannspree, Sharp, TV Brands, ViewSonic

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It’s been ages since we did our deals segment, so we’ll give you an extra dose of savings on HDTV goodness. Here we go:

B&H Photo Video – It’s a fact: smaller HDTV sizes are as cheap as they’ve ever been, and the Viewsonic VT2430 24” 1080p Widescreen LCD for $229.00 with free shipping is proof of that fact. Nice deal on a pretty nice unit.

Dell Home – Dell has good deals at times, such as this Sharp AQUOS LC-55LE620UT 55” LED LCD HDTV for $1799.99 – $600 instant discount from our link = $1199.99 with free shipping too. Tough to beat that, from what we’ve seen.

Walmart – Now it isn’t a top name, but the deal is exceptional: a Hannspree ST42DMSB 42″ 1080p 120Hz LCD for $449 – with free shipping? Crazy talk.

Thanks for joining us on this jumbo sized edition of deals, and have an HD day.

More HD in Homes: 61% of homes now have at least 1 HDTV set

December 24, 2010 by  
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HDTV fever is spreading, and every new report we read confirms what we already knew: HDTV is slowly gripping the home entertainment world and won’t be stopped anytime soon. Read on:

A new Leichtman Research study says that a whopping 61 percent of American homes now have at least one High-Definition set. The number is a bit higher than recent estimates done by rival research firms which have pegged HDTV penetration in the U.S. at 50 percent or less. But Leichtman adds that 26 percent of U.S. homes also have more than one HDTV.

The increase in HDTV ownership has accelerated in the last several years thanks to declining prices. While some large-screen HDTVs often cost more than $5,000 roughly five years ago, now they can be found for under $1,000.

Leichtman says that only 12 percent of U.S. homes had at least one HDTV in 2005 with just one percent owning more than one.

It’s amazing that the market penetration of HD has been this quick and sudden, but its like we’ve always said: there’s nothing that can replace the value and clarity of an HDTV for bringing you into the world of any movie. The survey was based on a phone compilation of 1,308 people 18 and older in mid-November.

Elite Hi-Def: Pioneer’s new line of Blu-Ray players finally available

December 24, 2010 by  
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Pioneer is recognized as one of the leading voices in the plasma/hi-def revolution, and releases of their Elite equipment are always highly anticipated by the gadget geeks out there. So its with great pleasure we bring you this news:

After debuting quietly at CEDIA Pioneer’s 2010 line of Blu-ray players is finally available for purchase, including the low end BDP-430 and its two Elite cousins, the BDP-41FD and BDP-43FD. Other than the obvious addition of Blu-ray 3D compatibility, key upgrades from 2009 include WiFi readiness with optional dongle, streaming from YouTube (after a firmware update), Netflix and Pandora, an expanded continue mode to make sure you start The Twilight Saga: Eclipse right where you left it and the return of Pioneer’s iControlAV remote app for iOS devices. Starting price? $299 for the BDP-430, $399 for the BDP-41FD and its home automation-friendly RS-232 port, while $499 is required to bring home the “armored chassis” of the BDP-43FD.

Not cheap, but sometimes the old adage “you get what you pay for” really is true.

Next Gen Goodness: Panny’s next Plasma line records to SDXC memory cards?

December 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Panasonic, Product News, TV Brands

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We have talked glowingly about Panasonic’s Plasma line of HDTV units, and with good cause: they’re among the most advanced and cool plasma sets out there right now. Even more so with this latest news:

Panasonic’s plasma sets get most of the attention, and perhaps rightfully so, but it’s actually the company’s new LCD lineup for Japan that can help you make use of your woefully neglected SDXC cards. In addition to compiling terrestrial HDTV footage on a standard external hard drive, the Panasonic Viera G3 and X3 can record to a new SD card slot as well, archiving up to five hours of 1080p footage on a ‘standard’ 64GB SDXC card. We put ‘standard’ in quotes because while that’s presently the typical capacity for that particular designation of flash, it’ll still cost you upwards of $200 to get in on the ground floor, and that’s a pittance compared to what Panasonic’s charging for its own. Who said magnetic storage was dead? If Tokyo’s where you hang your hat, expect both the G3 and X3 series to hit stores near you in February of next year.

We’re always a little sad the best items always usually start in Japan vs. US shores, but assuming it does well, it’ll arrive here too at one point.

Glasses-Free: No glasses needed for Toshiba GL1 3D screens to be released soon

December 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Product News, Toshiba, TV Brands

We’ve spouted about 3D and possible limited future in the limelight, but one thing that may change the equation is the rise of glasses-free 3D viewing, such as the soon to be announced Toshiba GL1. More here:

The panacea of glasses-free 3D displays (or content) might not yet be upon us, but Toshiba’s doing its best by putting the two models in its Regza GL1 family up for sale in Japan. Tomorrow marks the debut of the smaller 12GL1, spanning a 12-inch diagonal and offering the unconventional resolution of 466 x 350. That’s expected to be priced at ¥120,000 ($1,431), exactly half of the ¥240,000 ($2,863) asking price of the 20GL1, which will follow it swiftly with retail availability on December 25th. The latter display has the decency to come equipped with a more civilized 720p resolution and 550:1 contrast ratio, although, as you can see above, neither panel can be accused of being unnecessarily thin or space-efficient. Still, this parallax barrier stuff is the best we’ve got for the moment — and as usual the best we’ve got resides in Japan only.

While not cheap, this could be where the future of 3D HDTV rests. We’ll keep an eye on it of course.

Comcast Hi-Def Expansion: Even more HD on the way?

December 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

We applauded Comcast’s efforts to expand their HD lineup a few months back, and now they’re looking to do even more, it appears from recent reports.

Comcast reports it added 50 new High-Definition channels in Philadelphia, making it the first Comcast area to offer 150 HD channels, and the new channels include BBC America HD, DIY HD, Ovation HD, PBS Kids Sprout HD and Smithsonian HD, all channels with niche content, but more HD is more HD, and we welcome it with open arms.

Comcast’s Xfinity promotion says it will dramatically boost the HD lineup in more cities in 2011, and that is long overdue and welcome news, indeed. Many markets got by with 30-50 total HD channels for years now, and now it seems they’re making up for lost time.

3D Fever (Not Quite): CE Exec says 3D HDTV is ‘overhyped’

December 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

Now we’ve rung the death bells for 3D HDTV a number of times, but even many in the industry whose opinions are quite respected don’t have a lot good to say about the 3D revolution sweeping over the land (and theaters as well).

See this article for his pointed (and in our opinion, somewhat accurate) observations, including this: “In an interview Thursday, Shapiro argued that the technology has been over-hyped compared with more fundamental developments like high-definition TV, a huge driver of industry sales for much of the past decade. Giving those digital TVs the capability to simulate 3D images, by comparison, is more of an enhancement than something altogether new, he says.”

We agree its probably little more than a fad unless the technology improves, and rapidly. Even 3D sales during the holidays so far has been lackluster to say the least.

See here for more commentary on the subject.

Monster 3D: Vizio 65″ 3D HDTV announced for release this month

December 18, 2010 by  
Filed under Product News, TV Brands, Vizio

We’ve heard of big 3D HDTV units, but this is one of the largest of the consumer units we’ve reviewed (and about the cheapest for its size as well and it comes with four pairs of glasses) and its from Vizio. More details for your reading pleasure:

If the current crop of active shutter 3D televisions isn’t your style and you’d prefer some cheaper specs, say hello to VIZIO’s new 65-inch Theater 3D Razor XVT3D650SV LED set, its biggest TV yet. Previously spotted lurking about on the manufacturer’s website, this set uses cheap polarized glasses like the ones in most movie theaters unlike the more expensive (and, according to the press release, more prone to dimming and flickering) active shutter glasses used on most televisions today, including a few of VIZIO’s own. Beyond that, it’s a 120Hz edge lit LED LCD set that comes with four pairs of glasses and also includes VIZIO Internet Apps and SRS TruSurround integrated speakers. The downside for the cheap glasses however, is that most of the cost is in the display itself ratcheting the price up to $3,499 when it arrives on Sam’s Club shelves this month.

We’ll attempt to cover this monster unit in a review when it gets released later on.

Ads everywhere?: Advertisers fighting for HD SD commercial side space

December 16, 2010 by  
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Yes, advertisers want to be everywhere it seems, and the battle has taken to the black bars on the sides of HD channels where the commercials are in SD. Some ad people are wanting to put ads there; ads inside of ads so to speak. More here:

Surprisingly, even in 2010 not every commercial on high definition channels is actually in HD, and for channels like TBS that fill in the sides of 4×3 content with their own branded bars, advertisers are suddenly finding issue with competing for screen space. Things reached a head when TBS used its bars to promote the new late night Conan show, and now the Association of National Advertisers has come out with a statement indicating the sidebars belong to the advertiser, not the network, while the ad is running unless otherwise agreed. Of course, simply making commercials in HD (if they’re going to be on, they should at least look good) would fix this, but until then well see who has the upper hand in this battle of wills.

It’ll be good to see this one end once the majority of ads are in HD, so until then we can all stand back and be amazed at the gall of advertisers.

Dropping: Best Buy reports dropping TV sales

December 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

The (sorta) bad news continues for LCD and HDTV TV sales, as Best Buy reported a double-digit drop in HDTV sales over the holiday season, as people held off on buying TVs in a very big way, and as we predicted, lower shipments = lower sales. More to read:

Best Buy’s stock took a 14.8 percent beating today on news that it earned $217 million in the third quarter — a 4.4 percent decline year over year — and felt compelled to revise its fourth quarter forecast downwards. The reason? Seems folks are holding off on buying televisions in a big way: the company suffered a “low-double digit’ decline in boob tube sales, even worse than an industry average in the single digits, which would suggest that 2010′s 3D revolution hasn’t attracted the kind of consumer attention manufacturers (and content providers) would’ve liked.

We’re pretty sure it’ll rebound, but right now the market is experiencing a “correction” of a sort, and we’ll ride it out.

First Time For Everything: LCD shipments to decline for first time ever

December 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

No, it isn’t the end of the world, just a sign of the times: According to iSuppli, a shipping research firm, shipments of LCD HDTVs in the U.S. will drop for the first time ever, and this is confirmed by The Wall Street Journal.

iSuppli states that LCD shipments this year will be 31.9 million TVs, a 1.2 percent drop from 2009. The reasons are obvious: The economic troubles and a slightly slower drop in prices than originally expected.

In other interesting notes, iSuppli also indicates that Plasma makers have done a much more effective job of communicating the benefits of their hardware versus the LCD makers, which we sort of agree with. Many inside analysts think Plasma offers a better picture than LCD overall. That’s subjective of course, but even so, many critics also feel the same way as a whole.

But the Wall Street Journal states: LCD’s recession “represents a shocking reversal for a U.S. LCD TV market that has expanded robustly during every year since volume shipments commenced in 2006.” But iSuppli thinks that LCD will rebound in 2011, when the economy improves, which we also agree with.

The Top 25 HD Gift Guide – all $300 or less

December 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Deals

It appears that TVpredictions.com has released their all-encompassing top 25 HD related gift guide for the upcoming Christmas holiday, and it’s filled with tons of Blu-Ray movies, equipment and other goodies for the HD lover in your family or circle of friends.

And best of all, nothing is over $300, with most under $100. It can be tough to stick to a budget with HD fans, but this list should help guide your way this season. Most of the gifts can be found through the hallowed halls of Amazon quite cheaply. Note the many inexpensive HDTVs in the list, we’d recommend any one of those for a cheapie HDTV thrill.

See here for the complete list: Link

No Glasses Ma?: Eizo releases first glasses-free 3D LCD

December 13, 2010 by  
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Technology marches forward at all times, and in the world of HD 3D, it marches pretty darn quickly, it appears. Eizo has given us a glimpse at a glasses-free 3D future, and we like it so far. Read onward:

Eizo has released a spec sheet confirming the 1920 x 1080 resolution and 23-inch size, also detailing how it works. The monitor uses a directional backlight and a time lag to effectively hit each eye individually through the same pixel, enabling that high resolution in a small panel but still delivering glasses-free performance. Eizo pledges no moiré, color distortion, or other issues typically seen in glasses-free displays, but this tech will surely not come cheap when it ships in the second quarter of 2011. How do we know? Anticipated applications for the FDF2301-3D include scanning electron microscopes and semiconductor inspections.

Yes, it will mostly be used for scientific applications, but no law against it being used by those with thicker pockets for fun.

HD Explosion: Blu-Ray sales brisk during Black Friday

December 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

It seems low prices and hi-def content go hand in hand quite well, as sales of Blu-Ray and related devices exploded 50% during the recent Black Friday extravaganza event. Here’s the whole scoop from TVpredictions:

Research firm NPD says more than 400,000 Blu-ray players were sold during Black Friday week (ending Nov. 28), a 50 percent increase over last year’s Black Friday sale. That’s according to an article by Home Media Magazine.

Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis for NPD, said shoppers sought out discounted Blu-ray players that featured Internet services. Many Blu players now offer wireless connections that enable users to download content from Internet services such as Netflix and Vudu.

Baker added that the medium price per Blu-ray unit sold this Black Friday week was $113, a 23 percent decrease from last year.

“It was a boom time for Blu-ray players,” Baker said, according to Home Media. “The real difference this was that the stuff promoted was relatively current product with current features.”

We’re overjoyed that lower price points has made this technology more accessible to the masses, as that will do nothing but expand HDTV’s dominance in today’s entertainment landscape.

Forest of Hi-Def: Bambi to arrive on Blu-Ray next year

December 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Product News

The much-beloved classic Disney masterpiece Bambi will finally be getting the full 1080p treatment in March of next year, it appears, if rumors are to be believed. We always try to keep an eye on noteworthy releases on Blu-Ray, and here’s the skinny on one:

Disney’s officially put a date on the Diamond Edition release of Bambi, which will arrive March 1, 2011 in Blu-ray/DVD combo pack edition HD download, or SD download — DVD only packages arrive April 19th. There’s plenty of exclusive Blu-ray features, including never before seen deleted scenes, 7.1 audio track, a deleted song, a peek inside Walt Disney’s meetings where the concept of the film came to be, and an interactive game. The biggest addition is that this disc will debut Disney’s new “Second Screen” feature on computer or iPad which promises to sync with the film and pull in even more interactive features.

We applaud this effort to move animated classics like this into the hi-def world, so that future generations can enjoy them with increased clarity.

More Less Than Rosy 3D News: Retailers reporting ‘light’ interest in HDTV 3D

December 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News

Uh oh: This is not good. Recent reports released by retailers indicate a decided lack of interest in 3D HDTV as an overall medium, with sales up until now of the units being described as ‘light’ in assorted reports.

Twice Magazine states that Best Buy Home guru Adam Zwickler says interest in 3D TV was “light” during the big Black Friday weekend blowout.

A Sears official also stated the same, saying that the new 3D sets drew very little attention, according to Twice’s article. If they can’t sell them this time of year, what future can it honestly have?

It goes to show you: we can sometimes be right, and sometimes be wrong, but the customer is the final judge, and if these numbers hold up this holiday season, HDTV 3D as a medium will be in a world of hurt. It may rebound, but it doesn’t look good so far.

HDTV 3D Review and Roundup: Engadget’s Guide to the 3D Units

December 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product Reviews

Engadget HD recently published a complete roundup of the major glasses and HDTV units that can do 3D, and it makes for a very nice read, even if its about as cynical of its future as we have often been. Four brands face off in this competition: Panasonic, Sony, Mitsubishi and LG.

This round up includes this great segment: “Right now, there’s barely enough 3D content to support more than a couple of hours viewing per week, much less support a full viewing conversion to all-glasses, all the time..” – which is the truth. If its a growing medium to be compared to a lifeform, it’s barely out of the womb and taking its first breaths really.

See the article right here: Link

Stream of News: Vizio to examine HDTV move streaming options next year?

December 6, 2010 by  
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Yes, we all know movie and content streaming is probably the next big thing, but it appears even HDTV makers are thinking along the same lines. Witness this tidbit of interesting news from Vizio:

As if we didn’t already know that video on demand was the hot new ticket, the Wall Street Journal is today reporting that a couple more companies are ready to throw their hats into the ring. OnLive, the cloud gaming upstart, has confirmed its intention to offer up a subscription-based movie streaming service at some point next year, while HDTV vendor Vizio is said to also be looking at its options. What makes these new guys intriguing (aside from the fact that Vizio sells a lot of TVs in the US) is the general feeling among media companies that Netflix is growing uncomfortably big and should be diversified away from.

We actually disagree; big means standards, and this is an industry aching for standards to be established. Still, big HDTV companies getting into the race can mean only good things for its future.

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