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.

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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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  
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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.

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.

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  
Filed under Industry News, TV Brands, Vizio

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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  
Filed under Deals, Industry News, Toshiba, TV Brands

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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.

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