Article: List of 10 most wanted HDTV things

March 29, 2011 by  
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TVPredictions.com is a blog we feature occasionally on Screen Sleuth, mainly because its written by a guy who knows and follows HDTV closely, and his views are usually right on the mark for the most part. Such is the case with his latest list, the 10 things HDTV owners want most.

We agree with pretty much everything, especially 1, 4 and 10 (bargains are good, more channels are always welcome, and better picture is the whole point of HD to begin with). Compression is frequently used by many cable and some satellite providers, and deprives us of the kind of visual wonder that HDTV can create.

Number 5 we aren’t so sure of (many new techs turn out to be not much better than the status quo nowadays) and number 3, eh. TV providers are in the business to make money, and will always act in their own best interest.

Enjoy the list!

Here They Come: Chunk of LG and Sony 3D HDTV units get prices

March 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, Product News, Sony, TV Brands

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This is the typical time of year when activity with new unit releases start to pick up greatly, and this year is no exception it appears. Sony and LG have jumped into the arena with lots of upcoming release news, and they mostly involve new 3D HDTV units, something we have mixed feelings about, but their basic specs sound pretty good too.

CES’s premium 3DTV crop is preparing to ship out, with Sony’s HX929, HX820 and HX720 series of LED LCD screens and LG’s Infinia PZ750 plasmas now priced at Amazon for pre-order and they look really good.

3D-Display-info.com reports that Sony’s local dimming Bravia TVs start at $2,099 for a 46-inch HX720 with the famous Gorilla Glass we’ve written about, all the way up to $3,799 for the monster 55″ XBR-55HX929 with a LED backlight. Quite drool-worthy.

Meanwhile, the 50″ LG PZ750 with built-in Smart TV tech starts out at a decent $1,599, while a gigantor 60″ version of the same set will go for $2,100 or so (also reasonable). Watch for these to appear for purchase quite soon.

Opinion: Do you get enough HDTV channels?

March 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

Many are of the opinion that HD lineups with cable and satellite providers around the US and the world will continue to expand as time goes on, and that’s a good thing in our opinion. But we also know that in many remote parts of the US, HD channel selections are mighty sparse, and we very much mourn the fact it may not change anytime soon.

How about you, dear reader? How many channels in HDTV do you receive, and do you wish you had had more? Do they only supply the big time channels in your area, but ignore the smaller channels you still may watch once in awhile (BET, AMC, etc)? Feel free to leave your experiences, thoughts and contents of your local feed in our comments area, and we may nuse the info in a future post.

Thanks for reading and happy HDing!

Limited Edition: Scarface Blu-Ray coming in September

March 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

We do love to cover the great classics coming in HD Blu-Ray sometimes, and now we bring you the joyous news of yet another great classic film coming to BR: Scarface.

Brian DePalma’s gangster epic of a cuban immigrant’s coming to the US, rising to become a huge drug lord and slow descent into greed and self-destruction is one of the great guy opus films of all time, and it’s coming this fall when Universal releases the Scarface Limited Edition Blu-ray.

It’ll be be slick too: Steelbook packaging, 7.1 DTS-HD audio, art cards from the film, and even the 1932 original version of Scarface on DVD is included.

Universal’s packed in lots of extras on the disc too, including a couple of add-ons that keep track of both F-bombs spoken and bullets fired during the film, plus picture-in-picture analysis with director Brian De Palma, Al Pacino, Screenwriter Oliver Stone (now that should make some extra time viewing for any Scarface fan).

Blu-Ray discs: Shortage later this year?

March 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

Possible bad news for the Blu-Ray/Hi-Def revolution: there could be actual supply shortages due to infrastructure issues with disc makers. Hopefully this doesn’t come to pass, as it could dent the adoption of HD discs in homes, something we’d hate to see.

Home Media Magazine is reporting this possible sad news: research firm Futuresource Consulting says Blu-ray disc copying companies are reaching max capacity due to various internal problems, and if it isn’t dealt with, it could get ugly. And if the studios don’t get on the ball, it could delay studio releases until next year, which could be devastating for the BR market.

Many experts are hoping it gets dealt with this year, and we’re crossing our fingers, indeed. Being aware there’s an issue is the first step, then dealing with it is next. We’ll keep you updated as things progress.

Mitsubishi changing course: No more LCDs?

March 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, Mitsubishi, TV Brands

All things must end, but some things make more sense when they end, and this is just such a case: Mitsubishi, knowing their focus on LCDs was based on losing ground at a fairly steady pace, has abandoned the LCD market for their huge projection TVs they’re known for, along with some downsizing of their TV operations. See this excerpt from Engadget:

That we didn’t spot a successor to Mitsubishi’s well-received line of Unisen LCD HDTVs at CES 2011 should have been a signal, but now the company has made it official — it is downsizing TV operations, closing some offices and leaving the LCD TV business entirely. As the only company still selling rear projection sets to consumers, a letter from senior VP Cayce Blanchard (included after the break) indicates the plan is to focus on selling DLP and Laservue TVs in sizes above 73-inches where its flat panel competitors rarely reach.

We like the fact they’re focusing a bit more, it should help them dominate the huge rear projection market they’re shooting for pretty easily.

Real Life: Toshiba and Hitachi plants damaged by quake, will shut down for a month

March 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

Yes, we discuss the joys of HDTV on our articles here, but every so often, real life intervenes, and such is the case here after the massive 9.0 quake in China apparently damaged some plants the produce some of the marvelous LCD screens we marvel at every day.

It appears Toshiba and Hitachi assembly lines will shut down for a month or so to deal with ‘damages’ cause by the quake and following tsunami that recently ravaged China, the hub of operations for many of our HDTV producing friends. No firm estimates have been given for full operations to resume for either company.

Who knows if this will affect supplies of HDTV screens in the near future, but some mild shortages are likely according to a number of blogs and sources, but that’s the least of the problems facing that country we suppose, in the big scheme of things.

Fancy Utility: Evoluce to release 46″ HDTV with 3D ‘sensor’

March 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

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Every once in awhile we like to cover a story about fancy unique uses of HDTV from off-the-wall companies you may or may not have heard of, and this is just such a story. How about a high-res 46″ screen with a 3D spatial sensor built into it? Evoluce (a company known for their high end utility displays) is releasing just such a unit.

You say it sounds like a Wii or Kinect repurposing for a really high price? Well, the company claims that’s not what this is, and we have to take their word for it.

It’s obviously not designed for mainstream home use, but Evoluce does see lots of potential for the unit in public spaces like museums for example, as well as in office and education settings.

Cheap? As we stated earlier, not so. Look for prices to start at €3,995, or about $5,600 USD, which puts it pretty firmly in the business use arena.

TruTV HD is suddenly…hot?

March 17, 2011 by  
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Yes indeed, a channel that had limited interest from carriers is suddenly hot stuff these days, and that channel is TruTV HD. It’s a channel consisting of mostly reality court and cop shows, with some silly ‘Dumbest’ shows in between. But suddenly they’re airing the NCAA basketball tournament?

Feel free to read this description from TVpredictions.com:

Until recently, TruTV was struggling to persuade TV providers to carry its HD edition. But with the tournament starting this week, DIRECTV, Time Warner, Bright House, Verizon, Comcast, Charter, Cablevision, RCN and AT&T have all announced deals to either offer TruTV in HD 24 hours a day, or at least, show the network’s 13 NCAA games in high-def.

We think its a great gimmick to encourage companies to add their channel, and wish them luck in their sudden growth.

No Glasses, Ma: Samsung shows 55″ glasses-free 3D HDTV prototype

March 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

Samsung hasn’t been at the forefront of no glasses 3D HDTV as some other companies in recent years, but they’ve come out in favor of it in a big way at the FPD China trade show recently — or a test model of one, anyway, and in the next few years, it could be a game changer.

According to Tech-On!, which is a leading Chinese tech blog/news service, the 55″ monster is able to do nine different viewpoints for glass-free 3D viewing (that’s 9, folks), and it can be switched into 2D mode at any time as well for those of you non-3D scrooges, which works by changing the optical refraction index of an LCD panel that sits on top of the main LCD that’s actually used to display images. It’s a big potential step forward for a technology we’ve had our doubts about.

Right now, the demo model uses a direct-lit CCFL backlight, although Samsung indicates that would be replaced with an LED backlight before it actually hits the market, and Sammy is saying that a full-blown market version of this one is around 2-3 years away as of now.

Plasma News: Could the Kuro’s days be numbered?

March 15, 2011 by  
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We’ve said it before: the Pioneer Kuro line of Plasma HDTV units are among the best in the industry, but the industry is rapidly closing the gap with small leaps in technology being seen recently. Now Panasonic advances have possibly dethroned Kuro from the king of plasma screens.

At an event in New York City last week they announced a breakthrough in dark levels on Plasma units, telling the press that Panasonic’s new VT30 line will match the black levels of the 2009 (that’s 2 years ago!) Pioneer Kuros. The key (after reading through all the mumbo jumbo) is the new and improved louver structure of the filter that blocks reflective light from coming in, which in turn blocks ambient light — and Kuro fans around the globe moan in sadness as its king possibly falls.

We’ll have to wait to see if this indeed comes to pass, with the odd note that it took 2 years before a company caught up in this category to where Pioneer was previously.

Study: HDTV prices drop for 3rd straight month

March 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

It’s a fact: HDTV prices are about as low as they’ve ever been, and now its even more obvious: the bottom hasn’t been reached yet.

The numbers according to iSuppli, a firm that tracks sales trends for various companies: prices fell 2.3% in February, the 3rd straight month they’ve dropped. Prices averaged $1,108 per unit, down from $1,134 in January. The biggest drops came with the monster sizes, 50″ and up, which seems to make sense as they’re the highest priced overall.

The company speculates its because retailers are selling off the back models before 2011 models are released, which also makes a lot of sense, along with the still sluggish economy in many parts of the globe. The bottom line: more HDTV for your money right now, so its a good time to buy if you’re in the market.

New News: Sharp pushing out 3 new Blu-Ray players

March 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Product News

Sharp hasn’t been standing pat lately, as they’re jumping into the new release fray with 3 new Blu-Ray players soon to be released, with tons of the very newest features, including the much valued 3D. Read on with this section of the features from Engadget HD:

Each one is Blu-ray 3D ready with currently standard features like DLNA, Netflix, VUDU, Pandora and YouTube access built in, but are priced a step above the average deck these days. The lower end BD-HP25U lacks the included WiFi and IP control of the higher end models (dongle optional) while the BD-HP35U (pictured above) lacks only the RS-232 control port of its BD-HP75U counterpart. The BD-HP25U ($249) and BD-HP35U ($299) are shipping now while the BD-HP75U ($329) is due to arrive March 14.

Price and feature sets are fairly competitive with Sony, LG and other companies, though maybe slightly higher in terms of MSRP, so make sure you shop around if you end up considering these.

Release Meter: Samsung puts out prices on new 3D HDTVs

March 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, Product News

CES brought us early details of these models, and we’ve been tracking the progress of these 3D HDTV displays from Samsung ever since, first they were TVs, then they turned into monitors, then it turned out they were monitors with optional TV tuners built-in — and now their first pricing and availability announcement, which has not brought any big surprises.

South Korea is the debut market for the 950 and 750 Series, both 27-inchers with differing designs, which in the 950′s case is asymmetric and in the 750′s is all about the super thin bezel.

A 1,000:1 contrast ratio, super fast 2ms response, 1080p resolution, and a whole bunch of input ports await the buyer of either one, but not cheap: the 27TA950 will go for 890,000 KRW (almost $800 USD) and the 27TA750 sports a 840,000 KRW price tag (over $750). Not exactly super value types, but MSRPs have a habit of changing rather quickly once they’re released on the open market.

LOTR EE Blu-Ray to be released soon

March 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

We remember when the original BR editions of LOTR were released, we said it was a quick cash grab in advance of the EE releases to come in months (or in this case even longer) later on. Turns out we were correct, as you can see by reading on.

Years later the release of the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-ray disc set is finally drawing close, and now the set is available for preorder on Amazon.com, and adding a couple of hours of footage to the epic fantasy trilogy, they include an MSRP of $120 (but currently selling for $83.99) and a video trailer is on the page as well for your viewing pleasure.

These are modern classic films, and Blu-Ray is the only way to view them, in our opinions. We can’t wait til their (as yet unannounced) release date.

Good List of Bad Things: 10 Dumbest HDTV Ideas

March 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

Now on occasion we like to read the lists provided by TVPredictions.com, and this one is a doozy of a read: The 10 dumbest things to happen in the world of HDTV over the last decade or so. It’s an amusing and all too accurate list, in our opinion.

The ones we agree with in particular: 3D HD it appears, Voom (decent idea, poor execution), and the quick fall of HD DVD from Toshiba (Blu-Ray clearly had the upper hand when they released it, meaning instant doom for the format and those who chose it, of which I personally know several).

Read the whole list here in all its glory, and marvel in the dumbness.

Bite of the Apple: Apple to launch HDTV next year?

March 4, 2011 by  
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Reports are filtering out the Apple is preparing to possibly launch an HDTV model next year sometime, based on rumors dripping from various offices around the world. It could be a huge lightning rod for Apple users and non-users alike to become Apple-disciples.

The maker of the iPhone and the iPod are readying their manufacturing partners to prepare for the equipment demand, and once its announced, ripples could quickly follow. Here’s a quick note from TVPredictions.com regarding this news:

The New York Post writes today that investment firm Piper Jaffray has alerted clients that Apple has invested $3.9 billion in companies involved in LCD panel manufacturing. Piper Jaffray says Apple is likely gearing up to introduce its own branded TV.

Apple has targeted the living room with its $99 Apple TV set-top box which streams movies and TV shows over the Net to the television. However, the company has yet to make a substantial investment in TV-related projects. At least, until now.

Now we haven’t seen any solid reports regarding this, but the chum is in the water, so to speak.

List: 10 things about HDTV we adore

March 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

We’ve sung the praises of HDTV many times on these pages and posts, after all, we couldn’t write about it if we didn’t love it. The popular HDTV site TVPredictions.com has compiled a pretty cool list of things they really love about the format, and they include: Blu-Ray (we agree), sporting events in HD are eye-popping, Vudu (we also agree about the potential of this), and the rapidly dropping prices of high-quality HDTV units.

Read more about their reasoning here at this link: Link

It’ll really get you thinking about HDTV’s present, past and future and why we (and hopefully you) love it so much. Read and enjoy.

Best Seller this week: LG 32″ 32LD350 HDTV

March 4, 2011 by  
Filed under Deals, LG, Samsung, TV Brands

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LG has a sterling reputation with us at SS, and now comes a major sales courtesy of Amazon on a very nice 32″ unit perfect for any bedroom or spare room in the house: how’s a nice 32″ unit for $309? That’s 31% off the normal list price, and its currently the number 1 HDTV seller on the site for a very good reason.

We’ve seen some interesting patterns among the top sellers of late. Mostly LG and Samsung (the former title holder for Amazon top seller) have jockeyed for the top position on the popular merchant destination on the web, and its only this week that finally LG has claimed the crown for top seller.

Here’s the link to the site to check out the sale, grab it while its hot!