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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Pioneer Again: Disguised as a Sharp?

January 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, Pioneer, Sharp, TV Brands

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It seems coming back from the dead is pretty popular these days, and Pioneer is doing a reappearance once again – but as Sharp rebadged HDTV units, if reports are to be believed. We were quite sad when Pioneer closed their Kuro brand, but good news could be coming. More here:

It was a dark day when Pioneer announced its mighty Kuro HDTVs would be no more, but the Pioneer Elite brand still has significant cachet and will return in 2011 on new high end TVs. The bad news? They will be LCDs, not plasmas, manufactured by its partner Sharp, a not entirely surprising move since this was actually the original plan for the Kuro brand back in 2008. Apparently both see potential as Sharp will gain access to higher-end AV salesrooms and integrators for its products, while Pioneer will have TVs to match its continuing Pioneer Elite Blu-ray player and receiver lines. Despite an impressive local dimming demo at CES we’re still not sure Sharp can create enough new pixels to replace what we once had, but we should find out for sure when the new models arrive the end of the year.

We’re unsure if Sharp can make a TV like Pioneer could, but seeing is believing. We’ll report if the Sharp models are up to snuff.

Super Bowl HD: Best Buy starts up HDTV specials for pigskin epic

January 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Deals, Sony, TV Brands

Every year, it seems many companies put HDTV units on sale for the big sports day, the Super Bowl, and this year is no exception.

It will feature 14 Sony TVs, and its good from January 23 to January 29, 2011. Prices are decent for the type of units they are, indeed. Here’s more info from the source:

During the promotion, Best Buy is offering discounts on 14 different Sony sets, including:

* Sony Bravia 60-inch, 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV for $1,998 ($1,001 off the regular price)
* Sony Bravia 55-inch, 1080p 120Hz LED HDTV for $1,499 ($800 off the regular price.)
* Sony Bravia 55-inch, 1080p 3D 240Hz LED HDTV for $1,798 ($1,401 off the regular price.)
* Sony Bravia 46-inch, 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV for $763 ($86 off the regular price.)
* Sony Bravia 46-inch, 1080p 3D 240Hz LED HDTV for $1,499 ($1,000 off the regular price.)
* Sony Bravia 40-inch 1080p, 60Hz LCD HDTV for $599 ($50 off the regular price.)

We always appreciate sales, so we thought we would pass this one on to our fair readers.

Lawsuit Settled: Vizio vs. LG

January 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Industry News, LG, TV Brands, Vizio

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After several years and lots of legal wrangling, the ITC was just about to rule on the lawsuit between Vizio and LG when they suddenly announced a settlement between the two parties of their own accord. Settling usually ends up being the least expensive and tenuous option, and it’s good to see to two HDTV giants getting back to business as usual.

The agreement was apparently a (as of now undisclosed) cross licensing agreement of some sort, and both parties are saying they’re happy with the results. This isn’t even the first patent related lawsuit with Vizio and another party, and may not be the last either, if reports are accurate.

LG and Vizio fall on the same side of the fence when it comes to glasses-free vs. traditional 3D, so perhaps it isn’t a huge shock it turned out the way it did.

Busting Out: Sony announces 27 new HDTV units to be released

January 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Product News, Sony, TV Brands

We like big line announcements, and this one from Sony is a doozy. For a time when HDTV shipments are actually down, Sony is upping the ante with their recent release of info for 27 new or modified HDTVs being released to a store near you in 2011. Witness:

The 2011 lineup of Sony Bravia HDTVs is quite extensive with a total fo 27 models spanning nine lines. All but the five most inexpensive models feature internet streaming services while 16 of the higher end models being 3D capable. Most of the great streaming services we’ve come to expect are there, but in addition you can now watch Time Warner Cable VOD without a set-top-box as well. A few of the lines are compatible with a special Sony 720p camera (CMU-BR100) for use with Skype, while others feature Gorilla Glass. The XBR-HX929 Series sits at the top with a new local dimming technology called Intelligent Peak LED Backlight, and is also one of the lines that supports the new Media Remote application for iPhone, iPod Touch or Android, which includes full remote capabilities as well as a keyboard. The 929s will be available in April in 46, 55 and 65-inches, with the others hitting the street sometime between February and May.

That 65 incher will be something to behold we’re quite certain. We look forward to reporting on these as they’re released.

HDTV 3D Newness: Vizio to release passive-glasses HDTV 3D model line

January 3, 2011 by  
Filed under Product News, TV Brands, Vizio

Vizio is jumping into the fray of the 3D HDTV battle with their newest line release, The Theater 3D lineup. Its Vizio’s attempt to stay up with the current HDTV trends, and it looks pretty good, we have to say. Here’s more details:

We doubt we’ve seen all of Vizio’s 2011 product lineup yet, but the latest information is that it’s expanding upon the one Theater 3D TV model currently available with an entire line — promising to offer 3D with passive glasses in sizes from 22- all the up to 71-inches. There are 21 models detailed in the press release after the break including LED edge lit LCDs, direct LED backlit models, ones with the Yahoo! Widgets VIA package and a couple of the new Google TV-powered models. No word on price or ship date yet, but the company is quick to point out that putting the 3D processing into the screen means cheaper movie theater-style 3D glasses with ostensible greater brightness and less flicker, plus compatibility with Oakley’s “optically correct” specs.

Advancements are good, even if they are being geared towards a technology that isn’t exactly lighting up the shelves around the globe.

Fresh HDTV Deals for the New Year

January 1, 2011 by  
Filed under Deals, Samsung, TV Brands

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Why not ring in the new year with some really great HDTV deals designed to make any hi-def fan swoon? Here we go:

Abes of Maine has a very nice Samsung PN58C550 58″ 1080p Plasma HDTV for $1285 and we include a $15 off with coupon code “LOYALTY15” = $1270 with free shipping too? Yes, indeed, only here will you see this great price.

Walmart.com has a great deal on a huge TV from a relatively unknown brand: a Proscan 55LC55S240V69 55” LCD 1080p 240Hz HDTV for $999.00 with free in-store pickup. Amazing price for the size and features, decent reviews too.

Thanks for joining us and have a happy new year!

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.

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.

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.

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