Neato HD Thing of the Week: New Sharp exhibit displays the power of HD in fish form

April 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News

We always appreciate really cool applications of the HD medium, and this is such an example: the 5D Miracle Tour launching Friday in Japan. Read more about it from our friends at Engadget:

….this “5D” cube opening on Friday. Constructed from 156 Sharp 60-inch HD displays, the 5D Miracle Tour can only be found at Huis Ten Bosch, a “residential-style resort built after a medieval 17th-century Dutch town” located in Sasebo City, Japan. The unique attraction accommodates 32 guests at a time, and consists of one main front screen, surrounded by additional panels on the top, bottom, left and right. Lasting eight minutes, the tour presents the story of a mermaid named Sirena, though content will occasionally change — given the transient nature of mermaids, of course.

Very cool indeed….brought to you by your friends at Screen Sleuth. We’re only hoping an exhibit like this would come to US shores at one point.

End of an era: Philips sells out its HDTV division

April 23, 2011 by  
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Philips has been a major player in the HDTV industry for awhile now, but it seems even that couldn’t save it or make it turn a profit. After 80 years, the new CEO has decreed that history will end as of very soon.

Philips stated that their HDTV division lost the company €87 million in the first quarter — Philips will be selling the majority stake in it to Hong Kong manufacturer TPV Technology, but keeping a 30 percent ownership part and royalty payments of €50 million per year from 2013 onwards, making it a win-win deal for Philips all the way around.

It’s a sad end to a era of solid quality HDTV units, but the economy has spoken and dictated a change in strategy, and we’re here to cover it, as usual. We’ll update this as it becomes final.

Reader Opinion: Need a new HDTV?

April 23, 2011 by  
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Sometimes we like to let our users and readers speak out and help each other out. In this case: what if your HDTV broke tomorrow and it couldn’t be repaired (usually a dicey thing if its a little older with how cheap HDTVs are these days)? What brand would you want or consider?

Would you do 3D? Plasma or LCD or LED? There’s always a minefield of choices to make, and each has their plus and minus bullet points, but the good news is: prices have rarely been lower than they are right now, so now’s the time to jump on the deals.

So it’s up to you, dear readers: any suggestions for anyone who’s searching in the HD wilderness? A model that you own and enjoy that you would recommend to a friend? Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments area for the benefit of others, and pass on your wisdom.

B and O strikes again: 85″ Plasma HDTV launches, and we wish our bank accounts were larger

April 21, 2011 by  
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It seems our friends at Bang and Olufsen have struck again with yet another high-priced delight for the senses with their 85″ Plasma HDTV soon to launch in Moscow (and then around the world soon after we assume). Our brethren at Engadget will explain this marvel in detail:

Bang & Olufsen’s new BeoVision 4-85 isn’t just another run-of-the-mill 3D TV for the unwashed masses. It’s a really pretty 3D TV, for the refined and the opulent. The 85-inch plasma screen comes encased in a high-grade aluminum frame, and combines anti-reflection coating with automated image controls, to guarantee crystal clear, Full HD viewing at any time of day. B&O’s first foray into the 3D/Full HD realm also features a BeoLab 10 central loudspeaker, which uses Acoustic Lens Technology to deliver consistently high-frequency sounds, regardless of where you’re sitting in relation to the speaker. And, much like its 103-inch brethren, this 85-incher comes with a motorized stand, which automatically elevates and tilts the screen to ideal viewing position whenever the system is turned on. Once you’ve finished marveling at the BeoVision 4-85′s robust design, you can turn it off and watch in awe, as the display magically lowers itself to “within inches” of the floor (where, incidentally, you’ll also be able to find your jaw).

No word on price ranges, but we’ll just assume your wallet will be quite empty after getting ahold of this thing.

Deals, Returned: Thursday Edition

April 21, 2011 by  
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We present the return of our great, almost famous HDTV deals, and without further ado, let’s kick it off with a great deal:

Walmart – How about a great deal on a Vizio 42″ E420VL 1080p 120Hz LCD HDTV for $548 – free in-store pickup included (option is $20 for shipping). With a 120Hz refresh rate, 100,000:1 contrast ratio, and 3 HDMI inputs, tough to beat this one! – You know we love LG: how about a 55LV5500 55″ 120Hz LED HDTV for $1619 and $30 off with our special coupon code “BUYDIG30” = $1589 – and with free shipping? How can we do it?

Thanks for joining us and have fun!

Good News: Earthquake in Japan not hurting LCD production very much

April 16, 2011 by  
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Earlier we reported on the tragic events regarding Japan’s devastating earthquake and following tsunami that we thought may really ramp up LCD prices and reducing production for quite awhile. Well, that may not be as true as we thought.

According to research firm iSuppli, the Japanese earthquake has not had an impact on prices for LCD HDTV units, according to an article by Home Media Magazine published last week. While the research firm notes that prices for LCD sets are expected to decline again in April (by 0.8 percent, which is a healthy drop), it says the drop is due to the ongoing abundance of back-stock LCD panels and the global economic downturn which is still going on.

They even note that production is slowly beginning to ramp upwards again, so there may be no shortage of units as feared at first. We as HD lovers heave a sigh of relief collectively.

New Stuff Galore: Toshiba shows off its 2011 lineup with lots of goodies

April 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Product News, Toshiba, TV Brands

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Press for new lineup announcements is always a fun thing for us, as we marvel at companies and all of their evolutionary advances, and such is the case for Toshiba’s HDTV advances announced recently via reports on blogs and tech publications. Engadget HD has a nice little roundup of the line coming soon to a store near you:

Toshiba’s focus at CES was glasses free 3D displays, but it highlighted more conventional HDTVs today at an event in Rome. Its new TVs and laptops all tie in to Toshiba Places, which sorts out access to different types of apps for video, social networking, music and other areas and is ready to launch this month. Separating Toshiba from the competition is a slew of new technology and the top of the line 55ZL1 model checks all the boxes: Seven core CEVO CPU for image processing, a Pro-LED512 panel that is the world’s first with 512 zones of dimming among 3,072 LEDs, Personal-TV facial recognition that picks up on which user is watching then personalizes to their preferred settings and active shutter 3D glasses. The edge lit LED VL863 series will come in 47- and 42-inch versions featuring LG’s FPR passive glasses 3D and four pairs of glasses, while the 32- through 46-inch UL863 drops 3D for built-in WiFi and Personal-TV. The SL863 series is the final step down, nixing built-in WiFi.

Prices? Nope, not part of the story here, but we expect fairly competitive prices considering Toshiba isn’t usually any higher than most of the comparable technologies from other companies. The Pro-LED512 panel in particular excites us as leading edge LED technology that should bleed into other designs in the future.

A First: Samsung to produce transparent, no-backlight 22″ HDTV LCD soon

April 1, 2011 by  
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This we’re getting from a trusted source and blog Engadget is also reporting this: Samsung is about ready to produce a breakthrough product that could be the first in a wave of “transparent” HDTV LCD monitors with very high resolution and low power requirements. Read on:

They said they would do it, and by golly it’s nearly here — Samsung just revealed that its assembly lines are starting to churn out see-thru computer screens that don’t require power-sucking backlights to function. Unfortunately, it looks like the amazing AMOLED variety is still on the drawing board, but ambient light-powered LCDs are on the way, with Samsung offering a 22-inch, 1680 x 1050 resolution panel with a 500:1 contrast ratio to begin with. Sammy suggests we’ll see it in HDMI and USB-compatible monitors and suspects it’ll be used in advertising and teleconferencing first — which suggests this display won’t come cheap.

Price and exact availability aren’t out yet, but we’re thinking late this year/early next as an estimate.

Article: List of 10 most wanted HDTV things

March 29, 2011 by  
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Comments Off 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. 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.

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  
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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  
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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.

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

March 17, 2011 by  
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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.

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.

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, 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 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 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.

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