3rd and 4th Place: Sony and LG respectively, LCD sales

February 27, 2011 by  
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You know the market is pretty topsy-turvy when Vizio is so dominant with LCD HDTV sales, and a company like LG is in 4th place (and very far behind indeed). Curious is the word we’d use.

Now we know the raw reasoning behind this number: Vizio is prominently featured at Wal-Marts across the country, and their prices are pretty tough to beat. Never mind their pure stats with contrast ratio, etc are inferior to Sony and LG. Marketing and decent technologies have combined with low prices to make a juggernaut the other companies cannot ignore.

Raw numbers: Vizio captured a 27.6 percent market share, shipping roughly 2.9 million units in the US last year, a huge number. Samsung was second (kind of a surprise) with a 20.6 percent market share, shipping about 2.1 million sets total. Sony was third with 10.1 percent market share while LG was fourth with 9.4 percent.

Price Slash: $169 top line LG Blu-Ray player?

February 27, 2011 by  
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It seems even the high-end Blu-Ray players are getting a generous price reduction, meaning nothing but good news for the future of HD and the BR media format, moving it closer to eclipsing DVD as the home format of choice.

Amazon.com is now selling the LG BD 570 Blu-ray player, which comes with wireless video and audio streaming built in, for only $169. That’s 25% off the retail price, and its got very good ratings from users as well. Not a surprise, given the high ratings we’ve given many LG products in years past.

We assume this item will be gone quickly, so follow the link above to grab it up while its still in stock (which it was last we checked).

On The Comeback Trail: Plasma?

February 23, 2011 by  
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We’ve been on and off supporters of the Plasma HDTV format for awhile, and for awhile thought it may be dying, but pre-Super Bowl sales would tell a very different tale, as the numbers suggest.

View the rather obvious numbers: Research firm NPD Group states unit sales of Plasma sets skyrocketed 45 percent during the 1 week period leading up to this year’s Super Bowl, which was played on February 6, and real revenue from Plasma sets jumped 11 percent this year compared to last year’s big sports week, which is a statistically significant number indeed.

We have been a little cautious about the future of Plasma, but it appears buyers are deciding the format’s future for us, and we like the guts of buyers right now in pulling out their wallets for what is considered underdog technology right now.

Early Party: Vizio celebrates its reign as LCD champ?

February 23, 2011 by  
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All of the numbers are not in, but early indications are that Vizio is once again the HDTV sales champion for last year, 2010. It’s the first place sales king for LCD’s, and no real surprise: their presence in Wal-Mart, low prices and decent technology have allowed it to ascend fairly easily, in reality. Read on:

Industry analysts will reveal all the numbers later this week but according to Vizio its LCD HDTVs have outsold all others, again. Specifically, it has again rated as the #1 seller of LCDs in North America according to DisplaySearch and #1 seller of LCDs in the US according to iSuppli by carving out a 27.6% share of the market, the largest for any seller since 2004.

Among some of us in the home theater community there’s still, deserved or undeserved, a perception of the company as simply a cheap, low end manufacturer that’s not as reliable as others but with results like these it looks like the rest of the market will be the ones with something to prove in 2011.

Our early gut feeling tells us 2011 won’t be that different really, as Vizio’s solid quality/low price combo continues to dominate the marketplace in sheer units moved.

Sales on the Up: 40″ and up HDTV sales jumped in 2010

February 19, 2011 by  
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In earlier reports, we were not quite as rosy about sales for big-screens last year, but as of the latest data compiled by Quixel Research, and reported by Twice Magazine.

The straight numbers: Quixel states big-screen set sales increased 56 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to the third quarter. From 2009 to 2010, overall sales rose 17 percent, which is a very nice jump indeed, especially given the economic climate of late in many locations around the globe.

The obvious first reason: declining prices. Prices above 40″ have rapidly declined due to improving manufacturing costs and cheaper technology overall. It’s nice to see that lower prices is propping up the market far more than we thought late last year, and we hope it continues.

Big Target: LG and Samsung want to sell 15 million 3D HDTVs this year

February 19, 2011 by  
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Yes, we’ve frequently spoke about the limitations and low expectations of the 3D HDTV format, but LG and Samsung (two companies we appreciate and admire) plan on trying to aim on selling 15 million combined HD 3D units this year, if a recent projection report is accurate. Here’s more scoop for your reading pleasure:

Here’s one way to solve a chicken-and-egg dilemma: crank out 15 million chickens. That’s seem to be the plan for Samsung and LG, anyway — Samsung plans to sell 10 million 3D TVs this year, up five times from the two million it sold last year, while LG plans to sell some 5 million. Now, it’s unclear whether this increase in sales will come as a result of consumer demand for 3D or simply because almost all new TVs will be 3D-capable, but we’re hoping that pesky 3D content problem will get a lot better once more people can actually view it — assuming anyone actually wants to wear the glasses, that is.

We really like LG, but given the sales of 3D over the holidays (read: poor), we aren’t optimistic about their projections.

3D Gamble: LG betting big time on 3D HDTV with new units

February 16, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Product News, TV Brands

LG is taking a huge gambit: betting that 3D HDTV will hit it big as the experience evolves and prices go down. We’re usually big LG fans, but this move we aren’t too sure of really in the long run.

The flat-panel company announced at the most recent CES that it was separating from other TV makers to implement its own FPR technology for 3DTVs and now they’ve started shipping in Korea, starting with the LW5700 pictured here. Here’s a quick breakdown of the technology, and it could mean a bit of a new approach for the 3D medium at home.

Their new approach involves putting a special film over the LCD screen (sorry, no plasmas, Panny fans) which allows users to grab up their cheap “flicker free” passive 3D glasses and not the much more expensive active shutter 3D glasses. This could cut the cost of owning a 3D TV quite a bit.

LG’s gambit will migrate to the US in mid-March or so, and we’ll see how well it does. No prices or details released as of yet.

Online Price Dip: $440 for a 40″ Toshiba 1080p HDTV?

February 14, 2011 by  
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Prices are continuing to slide downwards for new HDTV units, seemingly hitting new lows every few weeks now.

Amazon has, for example, a really cool deal on a 40″ 1080p Toshiba HDTV with a USB connection and loads of good features, well-rated on the site as well: $440, brand new? Pretty amazing indeed, as our predictions of pricing sliding downwards is coming true pretty rapidly. We only hope this spurs slightly lagging sales into the new 2011 model year, as technology and TVs are looking better overall than they ever have.

It’ll be curious how many more deals like this will pop up as vendors seek to clear inventories following the big Super Bowl push.

New Channel: 24/7 HDTV 3D channel to be added soon, 3net

February 11, 2011 by  
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We have frequently lamented the future of HD 3D, but yet another seeker of 3D fortune has sprung up, and we aren’t sure what to think really. It could be a huge success, or with its limited viewership (DirecTV only at first apparently), it could crash and burn. Read on:

The number of 24/7 broadcasting 3D channels in the US will go from one to three next week, now that Sony, Imax and Discovery have announced the launch of their channel, 3net, on DirecTV alongside its existing n3D channel and ESPN 3D, which will start looping its sports videos 24/7 on Valentine’s Day. Scheduled to go live at 8 p.m. Sunday night on channel 107 it promises fresh debuts all month with a new show added to the rotation every night at 9 p.m. It’s big promise is to “offer viewers the largest library of native 3D entertainment content in the world by the end of 2011″ although any 3D TV owners who don’t have DirecTV would probably just be glad if it got added to their channel lineups anytime soon.

We’ll keep you updated as this goes along. No predictions yet, so we’ll where it leads.

Legal Battles VII: LG vs Sony?

February 9, 2011 by  
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It appears LG is on the warpath a bit, and now they’re going after Sony according to recent reports (after Sony filed its own case). Accusations include patent infringement regarding the Bravia and the PS3, so this one will be duked out with a lot at stake. Read on:

Late last year, Sony smacked LG with claims of patent infringement, and now the Korean company is swinging back with complaints of its own. LG reportedly filed two claims with the ITC on February 4th, accusing Sony devices — including Bravia and PlayStation 3 — of stepping on eight separate LG patents. We knew something like this couldn’t be far behind Sony’s ITC filing and accompanying federal court case, and we’re equally unmoved to hear LG is firing back with its very own civil suit, recently filed in California. Last year we saw patent infringement suits spread like meningitis in a college dorm, and if this dispute is any sign, we can expect to see more of the same in 2011.

Lawsuits ar becoming the norm in the HDTV industry unfortunately, but hey, in the long run, innovation and competition is what makes better tech and prices for all of us.

Big and Cool Department: Mitsubishi shows off a huge curved OLED display

February 7, 2011 by  
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Yes, Mitsubishi loves to show off their wares and muscle via cool large displays that aren’t available in homes (and probably wouldn’t fit in the average living room anyway), and here’s yet another case of that principle at work with this latest creation, a huge OLED screen meant mainly for large gatherings, malls, etc.

Display companies like Mitsubishi still don’t make a big-screen OLED we can buy, yet look at this, a curved display created by the company that looks to be about four feet tall and maybe 10 feet around. Okay, so a 3mm pixel pitch wouldn’t look too great standing anywhere within about 20 feet of the thing, but that’s why it’s designed for malls and big stores, places where its 1,200 nit brightness can shrug off ambient light. It was unveiled at ISE 2011 and surely it won’t be long before they’re all over Las Vegas.

Good points raised by the report, but then again, this won’t be something you’ll be 1 foot from anyhow. It’ll be neat to see how this gets used.

Surprise, Not Quite: Glasses-free 3D HDTV selling slowly in Japan

February 7, 2011 by  
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Yes, we’re all truly shocked indeed….glasses-free 3D HDTV units released by Toshiba, their GL1 line, is selling pretty slowly in Japan right now. We weren’t super jazzed about it at release time when we covered it, but there you go. More here:

In truly surprising news, it appears that a combination of high prices, small sizes and a somewhat questionable viewing experience have caused Toshiba’s new GL1 line of glasses-free 3DTVs to sell more slowly than the company expected. In their first month of availability the 20-inch set, priced at 240,000 yen ($2,940), sold around 500 units while its 12-inch cousin sold even less than that, despite projections both would sell at least 1,000 units. Don’t think Toshiba’s letting its hard work go the way of the old Sony XEL-1 OLED TVs just yet, as we saw at CES, it’s still committed to bringing autostereoscopic 3D in larger screen sizes to the masses despite the potential technological hurdles like providing more viewing angles for the 3D effect.

Once larger units come out at reasonable prices, that will be the real test, we think.

More HDTV ‘Problems’: Actress says HDTV reveals too much

February 4, 2011 by  
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In yet another article about the ‘dangers’ of actors and TV performers about HDTV, actress Kelli Williams of Lie to Me states that due to the detail of HD, actors should actively avoid getting plastic surgery. She says actors can start to look ‘freaky’ in HD because of too much cosmetic work.

It’s yet another report like this that stirred our thoughts and imagination (and a little chuckle as well) about the impact of HD. Who knew years ago when TV was first released to the public that one day, actors would need to change how they dressed and presented themselves due to the intense detail of the medium they worked in.

As HD lovers, we appreciate and can marvel at how the medium has changed the way we watch TV and movies at home, and its even changed the way our performers and special effects people make film today, due to the fact they need to consider how it will look on HD home theaters.

Blu-Ray News: Tron Legacy to be released in fancy editions

February 4, 2011 by  
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We like to cover fancy new releases of current movies, where there seems to be a big boom in ultra-slick releases for the HD format, and this one is no exception. Take a read on this special edition of  Tron: Legacy (and check out the cool pics as well) and mention of release day 3D version too:

Looks like Disney’s going all in on that promise to offer Tron:Legacy on Blu-ray 3D day-and-date with the standard release, while it hasn’t been announced officially Amazon already has three separate editions available for preorder. Pictured above is the five disc limited edition with Tron: The Original Classic Special Edition and special identity disc packaging, while the others are a five disc set minus the special case and a four disc combo pack that drops the 1982 original. No word on price or release date, but DiscDish mentions the original will also be available in its own two-disc pack if you’re not a Daft Punk/Olivia Wilde fan.

Personally we liked the ’82 version a bit better in terms of actual filmmaking, but hey, this new one looked awful good as well.

Panny Parcel: Panasonic 2011 HDTV line debuts in Japan

February 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, Panasonic, Product News, TV Brands

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Panasonic usually releases new lines and news about upcoming models first in Japan, and the latest news has been released to great anticipation with news of fabulous Plasmas and HDTV recording to USB drives, among other developments. Read on:

Panasonic’s found time to show off its latest series of HDTVs in Japan, including the new top 3D-capable VT3, GT3 and ST3 generation plasmas, and DT3 LCDs, . As one might expect, the feature list is predictably similar to the US models with the next iteration of 3D panel technology, including a few Japan-specific features like VOD services and recording TV to USB drives.According to AV watch it looks like the starting prices have gone down slightly YoY as well, with the new 50-inch VT3 predicted to arrive March 18 for 380,000 yen ($4,654) down from 430,000 yen ($5,267) last year. The lower end GT3 series and new DT3 3D LCDs should arrive a week earlier on March 11, though we’ll probably have to wait until much closer to launch again to find out precisely what the predictably lower US pricing will be this time around.

We’ll of course cover any new notable releases individually if warranted. These new models look pretty cool overall.