By Alfred Poor • Dec 29 2006, 2:00pm
A report by China Daily on Wednesday indicates that some Chinese TV manufacturers may be banding together to negotiate lower royalty rates for the patent licenses required to build televisions with digital tuners for the United States Market.
All TVs must have digital tuners starting next March.
According to the report, the Chinese government claims that [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 28 2006, 2:00pm
Q: I am an amateur radio operator and I want to get a flat panel TV that will be in the same room as the radio transceivers.
I am concerned about the new TV producing any interference for the radio.
I do not get any noise from the LCD monitor on my computer in [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 27 2006, 2:00pm
Toshiba has released a statement indicating the the company will not be showing the SED HDTV displays at CES next month in Las Vegas.
CNET reports that a company spokesperson said that the reason for the cancellation is neither “technical or business”.
While this does not seem to leave much much room for other [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 26 2006, 2:00pm
Circuit City reported its third quarter financials last week, for their third quarter ending November 30th.
The net loss was $16 million.
That’s a lot of money to lose, but it’s even larger when you compare it with the $10 million in profit the company posted for the same period a year ago.
What happened? [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 25 2006, 2:00pm
I’m off enjoying a high-definition holiday today, so I’ll just take this moment to thank all of you for your tremendous support in the past year, to wish you warm greetings of the holiday season, and to hope that you and yours enjoy a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.
By Alfred Poor • Dec 22 2006, 2:00pm
Q: I’ve heard that in the near future, only those who have HDTV will be able to receive a tv signal and all the old tvs will be obsolete.
This can’t be true, can it? Please advise.
A: This is probably the question that I am asked second-most often.
(The most frequent question [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 21 2006, 2:00pm
A friend sent me a link to a product called “PCShowBuzz” that promises to give you access to more than 1,000 movie, news, sports, and music channels on the Web.
My friend wanted to know if this product was for real, or was it a scam of some sort.
The answer is that it’s a little [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 20 2006, 2:00pm
Of all the sources of comparitive reviews of consumer products, I hold Consumer Reports in very high regard.
This is the company that essentially established the field, and they generally are careful and precise in their testing and reporting.
I discovered when I was deeply involved in personal computer testing over the past 20 years [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 19 2006, 2:00pm
I’ve been testing a bunch of different IPTV services, and some of them leave me unconvinced that they’re an improvement on traditional broadcast.
In some cases, I’m not even sure that they are as good.
But there’s a new effort underway to make IPTV work: The Venice Project.
According to its Web site, this is [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 18 2006, 2:00pm
One of the reasons that people prefer LCD and plasma flat panels over rear projection models is that you can “hang them on the wall“.
Never mind that fewer than 25% of buyers ever do that.
For a 42″ or larger screen, you could be dealing with hanging 100 pounds or more: not your [...]
By The HT Guys • Dec 17 2006, 3:17pm
If you remember back in March of this year (Episode 76), we reviewed the Mvix 5000U multimedia player.
We really liked it, but were hoping for the release of a wireless version.
Well wait no longer, the wireless version has arrived.
But not only is it wireless, it also fully supports high definition, so it's right up our alley...
By Alfred Poor • Dec 15 2006, 2:00pm
Sharp has announced that they will release a 32″ LCD HDTV with 1080p resolution in Japan next week.
It will come in two models: one with side speakers and one with bottom speakers.
It’s interesting to see that 1080p is starting to take over the LCD world.
Unlike with plasma displays, it’s really not that difficult [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 14 2006, 2:00pm
A new study by the McLaughlin Consulting Group predicts that “personal viewer” sales will reach $1 billion in 2010.
That’s just four years out from now.
The group also picks Apple Computer as one company in a good position to benefit from this growth, as it plays off the success of the iPod family of [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 13 2006, 2:00pm
A Sony executive has already gone on the record that flat panel TV prices have fallen too fast this year, and while it has been great for consumers, the low prices will make it difficult for manufacturers to fund expanded production and technological innovation.
Now we hear from a retailer on the subject.
In a [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 12 2006, 4:05pm
If you buy a Panasonic plasma HDTV, you gain access to the company’s Concierge program.
A toll free number gives you access to experts who will answer basic and technical questions, and can even help you pick the right model for your needs.
You can also use the service to get help with connecting your [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Dec 11 2006, 3:54pm
Dell today introduced Blu-ray Disc technology into its product line, offering the next-generation optical disc format as an option on the extreme-performance XPSTM M1710 consumer notebook computer.
Configured with Blu-ray technology, the XPS M1710 supports...
By Alfred Poor • Dec 11 2006, 2:00pm
Okay, the best buy in high-definition DVD players has been released: the Sony PlayStation 3 that includes a BluRay DVD player.
Sadly, a severely limited product supply meant that they sold out in hours (often to speculators hoping to finance their holiday gift giving).
So with PS3 models reselling for $700 or more, the HD [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 8 2006, 2:00pm
The fact is that you don’t need a special antenna to receive digital TV transmissions, though one designed specifically for the job is likely to do better.
But say you live in a strong signal area — within 15 miles of the transmitter or so — and don’t want to put an aluminum monstrosity on [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 7 2006, 2:00pm
A report from the McLaughlin Consulting Group (MCG) predicts that the “Personal Viewer” market could reach $1 billion in sales by 2010, just four years from now.
A Personal Viewer is a small, head-mounted display that creates a virtual image of a screen many feet wide.
The same technology that is making low-cost high [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 6 2006, 2:00pm
One problem with satellite service is getting local programming.
(EchoStar is an a major tussle with broadcasters and content producers for distributing “distant” network TV programming on its system.) Cable and over-the-air are great sources for local news including weather reports, but how can satellite services match that? Well, the Dish Network has found a [...]
By Alfred Poor • Dec 5 2006, 2:00pm
Okay, this gets a bit techie so feel free to skip ahead to tomorrow if this is more than you want to know.
ADS Tech has announced the release of Instant Video To-Go, a USB 2.0 device that provides hardware conversion for H.264 video.
H.264 is also known as MPEG 4 (because it is included [...]
By Dale Cripps • Dec 4 2006, 8:55pm
Still a mystery ...
USA Today said last week that a Frank N.
Magid Associates' Report confirmed that consumers are still "confused over what HDTV is and whether it costs extra to get programming" (in the HD format).
The study found that 47% of consumers buying an HD set now planned to watch TV programs in HD, versus 63% two years ago.
Moreover, 30% of HDTV owners have yet to add HD service through their cable or satellite provider, and those that have, complain that HD stations tend to occupy the farthest reaches of the channel range (Channels 800 and up, etc.).
The success of DTV has always depended upon a voluntary cooperative between government, consumers, the consumer electronics industry, broadcasters, cablers, satellite operators, and retailing with each faction pulling their own weight at just the right time.
If the confusion that is cited in the Magid report is left unchecked...
By Alfred Poor • Dec 4 2006, 2:00pm
Ambilight is the feature that Philips has added to some of its flat screen displays.
It essentially frames the image with a faint glowing light, and is designed to enhance the viewing experience.
It also may help reduce eye strain and fatigue by decreasing the contrast between the image and the immediate surroundings in your [...]
By The HT Guys • Dec 1 2006, 8:51pm
Today we take a look at the Samsung HL-S5687W 56" Widescreen 1080p DLP ($2100 at a Big Box Retailer)).
The TV has the newer color wheel that is supposed to be faster, bigger, and quieter.
According to Samsung this will provide a smoother picture, even with fast motion, with more accurate color.
The TV's main features are...
By Alfred Poor • Dec 1 2006, 2:00pm
CBS launched the CBS Brand Channel on YouTube in October, and within one month, reportedly has become the number one content channel on the service.
The network has posted more than 300 clips, which have been viewed more than 29 million times.
One of the most interesting facts is that a number of the clips [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Nov 30 2006, 6:01pm
In Volume 1 of this dissertation regarding various factors that threaten the viability of HDTV, I discussed those that, in my view, are the top three: Compromised Production Values, Bandwidth Conservation, and Spectrum Super Packing.
The next three are somewhat less critical, but nonetheless threaten to compromise DTV in general and HDTV in particular.
Much of the enjoyment of HDTV depends on...
By Alfred Poor • Nov 30 2006, 2:00pm
Wal-Mart is one of the most successful brick-and-morter retailers out there.
Still, it’s a bit surprising when the company is in the vanguard for electronic retailing.
They recently announced that they will be offering download versions of DVD movies.
The interesting wrinkle is that you have to buy the physical DVD as well; only then [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Nov 30 2006, 4:31am
If one could pick an actual date for the arrival of winter in Indianapolis, it is November 15.
It is then when the cold, constant rains begin, followed by three months of intermittent clouds.
However, this year, November 15 was greatly brightened by the firstregularly scheduled live, locally produced HDTV broadcast.
WTHR (DT), the Indianapolis market's NBC affiliate, started broadcasting local news programming in HDTV.
And did they do it right!
Several segments of the inaugural evening news production originated from a large...
By Alfred Poor • Nov 29 2006, 2:00pm
Just two days ago, I wrote about how the newest LCD plants were making it possible to product large numbers of enormous LCD HDTVs.
One of the questions is whether or not there is a market for all those panels.
Apparently, some Taiwanese LCD manufacturers think that there may not be, at least in the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 28 2006, 2:00pm
Okay, this headline speaks volumes about the biggest problem with the whole field of HDTV: all those acronyms.
Here’s another one that describes why it’s a problem: MEGO.
(That stands for My Eyes Glaze Over.) But this alphabet soup is news of interest.
AT&T has been testing its Internet-based television system called U-Verse, and has [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Nov 27 2006, 2:32pm
DirecTV is now offering local HD programming to customers in the Green Bay, Wisc., Greensboro, N.C., Grand Rapids, Mich.
and Providence, R.I.
With the addition of these four markets, DIRECTV now offers local HD broadcast channels in 49 cities, representing more than 65 percent of U.S.
DIRECTV plans to launch an additional eight HD local markets...
By Alfred Poor • Nov 27 2006, 2:00pm
Samsung announced last week that it intends to produce 70″ 1080p LCD HDTVs starting in February.
This is made possible by the fact that they have their second Gen 7 plant running, which is capable of producing 1 million 70″ panels per year.
We could see these new models on the market as early as [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 25 2006, 2:00pm
Recent reports have highlighted Motorola’s ability to create carbon nanotubes as emitters for a field-emitter display (FED).
Motorola was very active in FED research in the early 90s, but withdrew when it appeared that semiconductor emitters could not be manufactured at competitive prices.
FEDs remain enticing, as they are thinner and lighter than an LCD [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 23 2006, 2:00pm
No news today.
Just a simple wish of happiness to you and yours, and all others fans and supporters of the HDTV Almanac.
May your day be filled with high-definition food and friendship.
And be sure to rest up, if you’re planning to go for some of those incredible Black Friday deals tomorrow!
By Alfred Poor • Nov 22 2006, 2:00pm
A vice president from ESPN spoke at a Samsung conference last week, and reportedly gave some interesting statistics about the viewing habits of HDTV owners.
He said that 22% of sports fans with HDTVs said that they watched events that they probably would not have watched if they didn’t have HDTV.
And of the HDTV [...]
By Dale Cripps • Nov 21 2006, 6:27pm
For those of you keeping up with the rest of the world this article just in from IMS Research should prove interesting.
Shanghai, China (November 21, 2006) - Interactive digital set-top box shipments to the Chinese market increased by an estimated 563% in 2005 to 212,000 units, according to a new report published by IMS Research.
This market segment is forecast to grow strongly and to reach about 5.3 million units in 2010.
To digitize current analog cable TV households in urban areas, the Chinese government has...
By Alfred Poor • Nov 20 2006, 2:00pm
Q: I have a 24″ diagonal analog tv in my den.
I want to buy a LCD HDTV widescreen to replace it.
What size 16:9 aspect ratio widescreen HDTV will equal the screen size of my standard TV? I sit about 6 feet away from my TV.
What is the largest [...]
By Dale Cripps • Nov 17 2006, 10:44pm
SECAUCUS, N.J., November 16, 2006 - Panasonic, the market and technology leader in Plasma TV, is turning the dreams of many consumers into reality this holiday season thanks to technological advances, lower pricing and $200 installation rebates1 which are making its best selling line of Plasma HDTVs more attainable than ever during this peak buying period.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association2, sales of flat panel TVs are expected to top $7.3 billion this year, up 85 percent from a year ago.
Half of consumers surveyed said...
By Dale Cripps • Nov 17 2006, 9:52pm
SECAUCUS, NJ (November 16, 2006) - Panasonic, the market and technology leader in Plasma TV, announced today that it is offering all consumers access to its Plasma ConciergeTM toll-free information service this holiday season.
This Panasonic Plasma Concierge program, normally open exclusively to Panasonic HD Plasma owners, will, for a limited time, be accessible to any consumer who would like to learn about HDTV flat panels from a live expert beginning today.
By Alfred Poor • Nov 17 2006, 2:00pm
New research sponsored by CEA and Yahoo reveals that most people research their consumer electronics purchases online before buy anything.
71% of purchases were not made online, yet nearly three-quarters of those were researched online first.
The average amount of online research was 12 hours per purchase.
The average time for television purchases was even [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 16 2006, 2:00pm
One of the big myths of HDTV is that your new set will arrive from the factory with all the image adjustments at their optimal points.
In general, this is not the case.
And you can get in big trouble if you set about trying to adjust them on the fly, trying to judge “what [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 15 2006, 2:00pm
Okay, I’m blowing the whistle and throwing the flag on this play myself.
Am I the only one who noticed the ads for Ford’s “Ultimate Tailgate Sweepstakes“? It’s a cool promotion, in which someone will win a new Ford F-150 pickup truck that has been tricked out for tailgate parties.
According to the ads, it [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 14 2006, 2:00pm
Last week, I mentioned Wal-Mart’s preemptive strike on Black Friday HDTV pricing, with low prices on major brand models.
Well, another shoe has dropped as sources are publicizing the specials that Best Buy will reportedly be offering on Black Friday.
How about a 50″ plasma for $1,699? That’s not some off-brand model, either; it’s a [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 13 2006, 2:00pm
A news item in DigiTimes last month didn’t make the waves that I thought it might have.
The senior vice president for LCDs at Samsung Electronics gave a speech at the FPD International 2006 conference in Yokohama, Japan.
In the speech, he stated that Samsung aims to reduce the production costs for LCD panels from [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 10 2006, 2:00pm
No, it’s not capable of HDTV, but with an SVGA resolution (800 by 600 pixels), it is capable of showing widescreen EDTV (Enhanced Definition TV, 848 by 480 pixels) with just minimal scaling.
Wide format DVDs should look great on this.
And because it’s a front projector, you can make the image as large as [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 9 2006, 2:00pm
The major networks continue to throw spaghetti at TV over the Internet in hopes of discovering that sticks.
While ABC has experimented with selling episodes on iTunes, ABC, CBS, and NBC are all providing free downloads of episodes from some of their hit shows.
According to reports, NBC has delivered more than 5 million episodes, [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 8 2006, 2:00pm
You may not have heard about RoHS (pronounced ROW-hass), but you will.
It’s a set of laws passed by the European Union that restricts the use of hazardous substances in consumer electronics.
Since we live in a global economy, most manufacturers will end up making their entire product line conform.
One of the big problems [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 7 2006, 1:00pm
Inventories of flat panel HDTVs have declined since midsummer; actually, they have increased, but unit sales have increasd much more, so the net effect is that the supplies are tighter.
The net effect, however, is that this has eased the pressure on manufacturers and retailers to keep cutting prices.
And so my earlier predictions that [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Nov 7 2006, 10:45am
Beginning on its first anniversary, November 22, Xbox 360 will become the first gaming console in history to provide HD TV shows and movies directly to gamers in their own living rooms.
Xbox 360 gamers will be able to download full-length TV shows to own, and will be able to rent movies via download from the Xbox Live® network.
By Ed Milbourn • Nov 7 2006, 6:34am
As more and more digital television systems are destined for consumers' homes an increasing number will be sold with the designation, "HDTV." In a comparatively short time virtually all television sales will technically meet the "official" CEA HDTV definition.
As we progress up the growth curve, however, there are certain threats to the viability and fidelity...
By Alfred Poor • Nov 6 2006, 1:00pm
If you get all the news you want from USA Today, just go ahead and skip today’s entry.
We tend to think of television as a uniquely American phenomenon, and until the advent of cable and satellite service, we rarely got a chance to see video programming from other countries.
It still is rare on broadcast [...]
By Alfred Poor • Nov 3 2006, 1:00pm
One of the biggest challenges with home entertainment systems is what to do with all the wires.
HDMI is one attempt to create a data chain to simplify connections between devices, but the potential remains largely unrealized at this point.
Wouldn’t it be great if all the components could just talk to each other without [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Nov 2 2006, 5:15pm
For those of you who just don't get enough High Definition from your local provider, here are a few more sources of HD content and information to satisfy your craving.
I've scoured iTunes and plucked these gems to highlight for your viewing (and listening) pleasure.
The first group are podcasts about high definition technology: news, reviews, analysis, etc.
The second group are podcasts that feature high definition video.
Shot in either 720 or 1080 lines of resolution, these are hefty downloads, but should help ease the pangs of your high definition hunger.
By Alfred Poor • Nov 2 2006, 1:00pm
What do you get when you take 70,000 liters of colored paint (that’s about 18,500 gallons), load it into firework mortars, and set them off? You get one of the most memorable TV commercials for HDTV that I’ve ever seen.
Sony created the ad for its BRAVIA line, with the slogan “Color like no other”.
By Alfred Poor • Nov 1 2006, 1:00pm
Television is getting more complicated.
It used to be that the hardest part was carrying it in and getting it into your media center furniture.
Now we have have flat panels and surround sound systems, and a zillion different types of cables and connectors and remote controls.
The tech-savvy buyer can still put all the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 31 2006, 1:00pm
Q: I’m interested in picking up over the air HDTV indoors.
Do I need a special antenna or can I use rabbit ears ? Radio Shack sells some antennas that are listed as UHF, VHF, and HDTV but are more money then the rabbit ears.
I have heard of picking people up HDTV with just [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Oct 31 2006, 12:25pm
LG Electronics Inc., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
(Panasonic), NEC Corporation, SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS, CO., LTD, SiBEAM, Inc., Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation today announced that they are working as a special interest group called WirelessHD to develop a specification for a wireless high-definition digital interface (WirelessHD™ or WiHD™), that is intended to enable high-definition audio video (A/V) streaming and high-speed content transmission for consumer electronics (CE) devices.
In addition to actively promoting the new format throughout the industry, WirelessHD will...
By Alfred Poor • Oct 30 2006, 1:00pm
Peter Steiner drew a now-famous cartoon for The New Yorker that was published in 1993; a dog types at a computer and tells another dog that “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” This has interesting implications for the rise in user-posted videos on sites such as YouTube, and it is appropriate that we [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Oct 27 2006, 7:29pm
HDMI Licensing, LLC, the agent responsible for licensing the High-Definition Multimedia Interface™ (HDMI™) specification, next week will kick off a series of briefings and technology demonstrations for media in Asia, the United States and Europe, previewing key technologies enabled by HDMI 1.3.
The demonstrations will preview high-definition (HD) video and audio technology that will begin hitting the consumer market in November and continue rolling out in 2007.
According to announcements by manufacturers, among the first consumer products with HDMI 1.3 features to reach the market will be the PLAYSTATION®3 (PS3) from Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
in November, the HD-XA2 HD DVD player from Toshiba America Consumer Products, LLC in December, and the EMP-TW1000, a 3LCD 1080p projector from Epson in December.
By Shane Sturgeon • Oct 27 2006, 6:09pm
The results are in.
From August 22nd, 2006 through October 1st, 2006, HDTV Magazine conducted and sponsored The Fall 2006 HDTV Study.
This article focuses on several key questions related to HDTV technology and how the results came out.
The charts and data below reflect the preferences, buying habits, and general demographics of 1281 study respondents.
These respondents took the survey either as a subscriber to our services, or by navigating from a link featured on our home page.
As such, the audience for this survey are primarily either owners of HDTVs or those in the immediate market (within 3 months of purchase) for an HDTV.
By Alfred Poor • Oct 27 2006, 1:00pm
Last week, a story in USA Today cited a report from the Leichtman Research Group that revealed — among other things — that 63% of the U.S.
households with one or more HDTV had an annual income of $75,000 or more.
I don’t find that at all surprising.
The fact that 6% of households with [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 26 2006, 1:00pm
Where did you watch the latest episode of Lost ? If you were like one out of 10 of those surveyed by The Conference Board for their “Consumer Internet Barometer” service, you were probably seated at your PC instead of on a living room couch.
The study found that 10% of the respondents watched some [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 25 2006, 1:00pm
How real is IPTV? As I’ve pointed out before, the definition of IPTV varies depending on who you talk to, but in general it means the distribution of video content over the Internet.
YouTube is a limited type of IPTV, but there are services out there that look just like a typical cable TV broadcast [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 24 2006, 1:00pm
Last week, Toshiba announced their TDP-FF1AU projector.
(Where do these companies get their model names? Imagine if Detroit were to name their cars this way!) It has 800 by 600 pixel resolution (SVGA) so it can display EDTV images without a problem, making it suitable for DVDs.
It uses a DLP imager, and it [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 23 2006, 1:00pm
A report in today’s DigiTimes Display News cites industry sources that claim LG.Philips LCD is cutting its price for the 42″ LCD TV panel to $10 less than rival Samsung’s 40″ panel.
According to the report, this places the price about $200 below the company’s production costs.
While this can be seen as good news for [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Oct 21 2006, 8:42pm
I have read several on-line comments about the HR20, most concerning the user interface and/or the software instability.
My first HR20 finally suffered a fatal brain injury indicated by a failure to turn-on, except after initiating the dreaded "reset" cycle.
Perhaps its demise was exacerbated somewhat after I threw it across the room, but alas, I don't believe anything would have helped except a complete unit transplant.
The new unit is somewhat more stable (at least it turns-on).
But, even after the latest shot of DirecTV software downloads, the new unit is as bug-ridden as an Alabama basement.
I won't bore you with a litany of its problems, but, suffice it to say...
By Alfred Poor • Oct 20 2006, 1:00pm
Okay, so maybe it’s pushing it to talk about “habits” in something as new as mobile TV in the U.S., but Telephia provides detailed research on mobile TV viewership, and they’ve discovered some interesting results.
The one I find most fascinating shows when people are most likely to be watching TV on their cell phones [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Oct 20 2006, 12:46pm
Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) today announced more than 30 games in development for the PLAYSTATION®3 computer entertainment system.
When the system launches in November, EA will deliver some of the world's most popular game franchises including Madden NFL 07, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 07 and Need for Speed™ Carbon.
EA will release eight to ten games on the PLAYSTATION®3 by late March including EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3 and Def Jam: ICON™.
Paul Lee, President of EA Studios commented on the launch of the PLAYSTATION®3...
By Alfred Poor • Oct 18 2006, 1:00pm
People are understandably hesitant to spend a lot of money on unfamilar technology.
Buyers should find some comfort in a statement contained in the November issue of Consumer Reports:
With more consumers buying flat-panel TVs, there’s a growing amount of data on reliability, and the news is good.
During the first year or two of use, [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 17 2006, 1:00pm
It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No, its DIRECTV 9S, the latest satellite in the DirecTV constellation, one of four launched in the last two years.
It supports both standard resolution and HDTV programming, as well as interactive services.
The company plans to launch two more birds in the coming year, which will more than [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 16 2006, 1:00pm
Long-time readers may realize that I avoid links and references to posts on other sites; I feel that you deserve some original research and original thought when you take the time to read the HDTV Almanac.
But today, I’m breaking that rule to make you aware of some outstanding work that has been done by [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 13 2006, 1:00pm
Lots of sites have picked up on the fact that Sharp demonstrated an “ultra high-definition” display at the CEATAC show in Japan last week.
Yes, the 4,096 by 2,160 pixel display looks impressive with incredibly fine detail; Westinghouse demoed a display with the same resolution at CES last January.
Some folks are getting all excited [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 12 2006, 1:00pm
How can you tell who the pioneers are? They are the ones with the arrows sticking out of their backs.
Let’s face it, the arrival of new technology is rarely easy, and when you have a conflict such as the one between HD DVD and Blu-ray, it gets tougher still.
So it should come as [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 11 2006, 1:00pm
Okay, by know you’ve probably heard about Google’s purchase of YouTube for $1.65 billion.
Yes, that’s a lot of money, especially for a company that apparently has yet to make a profit, and really especially while the excesses and failures of the DotCom Bust are still fresh in the minds of so many investors.
By Shane Sturgeon • Oct 10 2006, 5:43pm
Already leading the satellite TV industry in the delivery of local HD programming, DIRECTV will offer local HD broadcast networks in 67 markets, representing approximately 74 percent of U.S.
TV households, by year end when it rolls out 25 more local HD markets in the fourth quarter.
Local news, sports and popular primetime programming from ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC will be available in HD to customers who subscribe to any TOTAL CHOICE(R) programming package that offers local channels.
There is no additional charge for local HD programming.
The 25 local markets to receive HD programming from DIRECTV include ...
By Alfred Poor • Oct 10 2006, 1:00pm
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced that the company is releasing three new Blu-ray discs today: Click, Black Hawk Down, and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.
The significance of the announcement is that the discs can hold up to 50GB, which is enough capacity to hold all the “bonus” material that is often found [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Oct 9 2006, 4:03pm
Instant Media (I'M) today announced that a new version of its software is now available for download.
Instant Media 1.2 adds an integrated commerce engine, allowing users to purchase, rent or subscribe to premium content on I'M's free high-definition Internet TV player.
The commerce function was added in anticipation of the launch of I'M's premium content channels.
By Alfred Poor • Oct 9 2006, 1:00pm
I’m a Philadelphia Eagles fan.
I’m also a fan of “free”.
So I was thrilled last week when the local ABC affiliate broadcast Monday Night Football over the air, because I don’t have cable or satellite service so I don’t get ESPN.
The local station also broadcast the game in HDTV on their digital [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 6 2006, 1:00pm
“Piracy” is such an ugly word, but it seems more romantic than “stealing“.
The fact is illegal copies of electronic information — audio CDs, DVDs, and computer software — are churned out by the millions every year.
I’m the first to admit that not every recipient of an illegal copy would pay the full price [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 5 2006, 1:00pm
Have you heard about SED? It’s the new display technology developed by Toshiba and Canon that has all the image quality and viewing angle of a CRT in a panel that is thinner than an LCD.
Prototypes have been demonstrated at shows over the years, and the ones shown at CES last January had people [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 4 2006, 1:00pm
3D displays capture the imagination of a lot of people, but do not seem to capture many dollars from consumer pockets.
But that doesn’t keep manufacturers from trying.
Years ago, Sharp developed an LCD technology that could present a different image to each of your eyes to create a three-dimensional image without goggles or special glasses.
By Shane Sturgeon • Oct 4 2006, 11:53am
HDTV Magazine, Affinity Marketing and The HDTV Expo have announced today that their companies joined together and made official comments to the Department of Commerce and NTIA in response to their Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) concerning details involving the conversion from analog to digital TV; a consumer awareness of this "watershed" event in TV history; and, a proposed converter box Coupon Subsidy Program for U.S.
By Alfred Poor • Oct 3 2006, 1:00pm
News item: Ausustek is the company that makes Asus motherboards, which are a familiar staple among the DIY personal computer set.
The company has just launched a 42″ LCD TV in Taiwan, hoping to expand sales into China and Europe in 2007.
We’re still in an expansion stage for HDTV brands.
Companies are buying up existing [...]
By Alfred Poor • Oct 2 2006, 1:00pm
“Professor Poor” will be speaking at the October meeting of the New York Amateur Computer Club on Thursday, October 12th, at 7 PM.
The meeting will be in Room 806 of the Silver Building at New York University, 32 Waverly Place.
He will be discussing “Will Your Next Computer Be an HDTV?” which will include [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 29 2006, 1:00pm
The conflict between BluRay and HD DVD as the new blue laser standard format for high definition DVDs is rapidly evolving into a religious conflict similar to the one between the Mac and the PC.
You can find heated debate and impassioned defenses for both sides all over the Web.
The staff at HDBlu.com decided [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 28 2006, 1:20pm
I'm still gathering details on this new box from Sling Media.
It will allow for HD input, but due to bandwidth and processor demands, will not stream HD.
The end signal does benefit from supporting widescreen aspect ratio, better performance and better bit-rates, but is not HD.
Another major benefit is that you no longer need to down-convert your HD signal prior to sending it through your Slingbox as this will now be handled by the Slingbox PRO.
More information to follow ...
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 28 2006, 1:07pm
DirecTV is now offering local HD programming to customers in the Austin, Texas, Cincinnati and Las Vegas DMAs.
With the addition of these markets, DIRECTV offers local HD broadcast channels in 42 cities, representing 62 percent of U.S.
DIRECTV will launch additional HD ...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 28 2006, 1:00pm
Okay, this is not HDTV, but it’s too cool to miss.
The Next Big Thing in front projectors is really something small: pocket projectors.
A number of models are available, but the newest arrival is the BumbleBee from Boxlight.
This projector is small — 4.75 “x 3.9″ x 1.9″ — and weighs less than a [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 27 2006, 6:51pm
Arriving at retailers in North America, the U.K., France, and Germany in mid-November 2006, the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player will retail for $199.99 in North America (ESRP) and €199.99/£129.99 (ESRP) in the U.K., France, and Germany.
The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player comes with ...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 27 2006, 1:00pm
It seems that competition in the courts is as important as what takes place on the store shelves these days.
Pioneer filed a suit against Samsung on Monday, claiming patent violations in their plasma panel technology.
Samsung reportedly will file a counter-suit.
This is a newsworthy development, but not shocking.
There is a lot of valuable [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 26 2006, 1:00pm
A report from Nielsen Media Research states that the average American home has 2.73 televisions, but only 2.55 people.
The Nielsen also reports that the average person watches about four and a half hours of TV each day.
Okay, let’s do some math about HDTV watching.
Let’s assume that someone pays $2,000 (to pick a round [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 25 2006, 8:08pm
DirecTV has opened its fourth owned-and-operated call center to further strengthen its ability to provide technical support for its customers as it continues to expand its advanced products and services, including the roll out of hundreds of local and national HD channels next year.
DIRECTV's Missoula, Mont.
Customer Contact Center will have the capacity to employ up to 1,000 customer service professionals dedicated to providing technical support to DIRECTV's more than 15.5 million customers.
DIRECTV will be among the largest employers in the state and said it expects to hire more than 600 agents by year end.
The new 74,000-square foot call center ...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 25 2006, 1:00pm
To paraphrase the Stones, you can’t always watch what you want, especially if you’re an HDTV customer of DirecTV.
As reported by Phillip Swann in TV Predictions, the service has selectively shut down certain HD channels on a temporary basis in recent weeks.
First TNT HD, then HDNet, and most recently Universal HD.
The reason for [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 22 2006, 1:00pm
Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right up! See the big screen of your dreams right here in our store! Take home an HDTV today!
Sure, we expect to find HDTVs for sale in the major big box consumer electronics chains such as Best Buy and Circuit City.
We even look for them in the discount clubs like [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Sep 21 2006, 6:21pm
Finally, DirecTV has decided to release to "secondary markets" their HR 20, the HD DVR unit that receives (some) local HDTV channels.
While not quite the disaster that was my experience with the HR 10 (see my previous article published last year), it's a close second.
Both of these units come under the heading of "don't buy version/1.0 of anything." But I couldn't resist, needing to retain my "early adopter" license.
First of all, please keep in mind these units are true...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 21 2006, 1:00pm
One of the mysteries of rear projection HDTVs remains why consumers continue to favor LCD and plasma for large screens, even though the rear projection models of the same size cost hundreds or thousands of dollars less.
A number of Japanese companies have banded together to form the Micro Device Display Consortium (MDDPC) to promote [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 20 2006, 1:00pm
October 10th, Warner Home Video will release a dozen new high-definition DVD titles.
The actual titles are not nearly as interesting as two other facts.
First, 10 of the 12 new titles will be on HD DVD format, leaving only two on Blu-Ray.
And the HD DVDs will list for $28.99 while the Blu-Ray titles [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 19 2006, 1:00pm
One of the knocks against rear projection HDTV is that you have to replace a lamp every few years to maintain the brightness.
That problem is being addressed through the use of solid state lighting, using high-brightness LEDs such as the PhlatLight from Luminus Devices.
The other major problem is that rear projection HDTVs are [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 18 2006, 1:00pm
CEDIA is the Consumer Electronics Designer and Installer Association show, which was held last week in Denver.
The exhibit hall was filled with high-end products for the custom install market, such as motorized mounts for large plasma HDTVs, plush seating for home theaters, and gorgeous wooden housings for 7.1 channel surround sound speaker systems.
So it [...]
By Dale Cripps • Sep 16 2006, 7:20pm
As most know, we have been at the forefront of the HDTV movement for more than 22 years.
From the inception it was recognized by me and a slew of others that the end of the transition to digital television would be more difficult than its start.
My hope is that our long-standing dedication and attention to this view can now pay dividends.
The press release below is being distributed widely.
The ambition of the release is to initiate a spirit of unity in a sustained cross-industry supported educational campaign of American consumers about HDTV and the digital transition.
I look forward to any comments you may have.
By no means have we concluded just how this educational campaign will be fully fleshed out, nor should we be so set at this stage.
For now any preconceived notions that go beyond the essential concept should be set aside in order to make room for the most advanced thinking that can be applied to the mission.
- Dale Cripps
By Alfred Poor • Sep 15 2006, 1:00pm
At the CEDIA show this week in Denver, one hot topic has been the new wave of 1080p front projectors designed for HDTV applications.
Until now, these typically cost $10,000 or more, and were destined for high-end home theater installations.
Then on Wednesday, Sony announced its new VPL-VW50 that uses the company’s acclaimed SXRD version of [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 14 2006, 5:56pm
As we approach the 2006 holiday season, Samsung will make a running line production improvement to BD-P1000 Blu-ray disc players destined for the U.S.
This production line improvement is slated to begin in the last week of October, and will add...
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 14 2006, 5:21pm
We will include the press release text as soon as it is available.
Check this link again later today for more information.
The new 2nd Generation HD DVD players from Toshiba will support 1080p output and HDMI 1.3 compliance.
The HD-A2 will be available...
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 14 2006, 2:24pm
Sharp is rounding out the company's line of "full HD" home entertainment products at CEDIA 2006 with the unveiling of new AQUOS(R) 1080p LCD TVs and its first 1080p DLP(TM) front projector, a new flagship product.
Sharp's "full HD" product lineup is highlighted by the first AQUOS models to come out of the company's brand-new Generation 8 factory, Kameyama No.
These 46- and 52-inch large-screen AQUOS HDTVs, together with a new 42-inch model, mark the introduction of three new screen sizes to the brand, all of which feature...
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 14 2006, 2:16pm
Continuing to stretch performance and design boundaries, Sony Electronics today announced its largest BRAVIA™ flat-panel LCD televisions: the 52-inch KDL-52XBR2 and KDL-52XBR3 models.
Both feature native 1920 x 1080 full high-definition resolution panels, HDMI™ inputs with 1080p capability, and Sony’s unique floating glass design.
The company also added two new 1366 x 768 resolution models...
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 14 2006, 1:58pm
Sony Electronics expects to break another barrier in the home theater category with its latest front projector.
The new VPL-VW50 model, based on the company's exclusive Silicon X-tal Reflective Display (SXRD) technology, offers native 1920 x 1080 lines of resolution bringing the cinematic experience to consumers.
Pairing Sony’s critical eye for performance with the growing mass interest in the front projection market, the projector offers...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 14 2006, 1:00pm
My position on whether or not to choose 1080p over 720p has always been tempered by disclaimers about how much of a premium you should pay to get the extra resolution of 1080p.
If the prices are the same, then I definitely would get the 1080p model (assuming all else is equal, such as the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 13 2006, 1:00pm
TiVo – the company that put “digital video recorder” on the map and became a verb just like Google — has announced a new model this week.
It’s designed from the ground up to handle HDTV program recording, and this beast has the specs to prove it.
For example, it has a 250 GB hard [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 12 2006, 2:41pm
Over the last couple of years, Silicon Image is being doing efforts to help manufacturers test and deliver HDMI compliant equipment so consumers would experience the minimum of connectivity and compatibility problems.
As you might be aware by now, some people are having problems with the way HDMI has been implemented by some manufacturers.
The problems are sometimes related to HDCP, sometimes related to limitations in the audio channels (we covered that), sometimes in the HDMI repeating ability of certain pieces of equipment, some related to the new Toshiba HD DVD player, some people with 1080p equipment using the wrong cable (and not necessarily that means a cheap cable), some due to the construction of the cable (and that could be a number of things), some plugs disconnect themselves from the back panels, some cable set-top-boxes not activating the HDMI outputs, etc.
By Alfred Poor • Sep 12 2006, 1:00pm
Pop quiz, cousin: You’ve just spent $4,000 on a 108 pounds of glass and electronics, and you’re going to hang it on the wall, and you don’t want it to fall down, and you want all the wires to run to it neatly, without having to tear huge holes in your living room drywall.
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 12 2006, 12:52pm
TiVo Inc., the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), announced today the launch of the high end TiVo® Series3™ HD Digital Media Recorder - the first stand-alone TiVo product that is HD compatible.
Available beginning mid-September, the TiVo Series3 HD box is the world's first THX®-certified, digital video recorder, delivering audio and video that truly maintains the fidelity of the original broadcast.
Once again, TiVo is
By Alfred Poor • Sep 11 2006, 1:00pm
The latest delays for the Sony PS3 are reportedly caused by problems with getting parts for the Blu-Ray DVD players that are to be part of the package.
And now Sony says that they are only going to ship 100,000 units for the entire USA in November.
How many stores will be carrying it? If [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 11 2006, 9:53am
Memory-Tech Corporation and Toshiba Corporation today announced the latest advance in DVD disc technology: a jointly developed, single-sided, three-layer ROM disc supporting high capacity storage and playback of both DVD and HD DVD formats.
The newly announced disc is the latest addition to the DVD TWIN format, discs that support both DVD and HD DVD content and that are fully compatible with both formats.
The new disc boosts capacity and expands versatility with a three-layer structure offering support for...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 8 2006, 1:00pm
If you have an older home, running wires to your HDTV from the various components can be a hassle.
Cabling is costly, but the real expense comes in trying to route those wires through walls in a way that can be repaired or hidden.
Gefen has announced a new product that may be a cost-effective [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 8 2006, 10:35am
Blackmagic Design Inc.
today announced Intensity, an ultra low cost HDMI capture playback card.
For the first time, low cost consumer cameras with HDMI video connections can move beyond the quality limits of HDV compressed video to a new world of uncompressed editing and design.
Intensity is an incredibly small HDMI capture and playback card that instantly switches between 1080HD, 720HD, NTSC and PAL video standards.
Once Intensity is plugged into compatible PCI Express Windows or Mac OS X computers...
By Dale Cripps • Sep 7 2006, 11:51pm
Did you ever wonder why fierce battles take place within the broadcast crowd? Does the margin in your business stack up with that of broadcasting?
Yes, the Internet is siphoning away chunks of the free TV audience according to the generally reliable Paul Kagan organization.
"Advertising sales in the broadcast network upfront ad sales market fell 0.4% in Spring, the second consecutive annual decline.
Despite those woes...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 7 2006, 1:00pm
Looking for a unique gift this year for that special HDTV-loving someone in your life? Check out the Yalos Diamond from Keymat Industrie of Italy.
Those little sparkly dots around the black bezel in the photo are diamonds.
160 of them, for a total of 20 carats.
And in case you’re concerned about [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Sep 7 2006, 12:09pm
Sony is expanding its high-definition camcorder line with the introduction of the HDR-FX7 1080i HDV camcorder, a model with three-chip ClearVID™ CMOS Sensor technology to deliver exceptional high-def video and the utmost in creative control.
For videographers on the move, the new model sports a compact body design, weighing in at about three pounds.
It is approximately 40 percent smaller and 25 percent lighter than Sony's first prosumer HDV model.
Like previous HDV models, the HDR-FX7 can record...
By Dale Cripps • Sep 6 2006, 5:31pm
Katie Couric, the $15 million a year news anchor, did her best last night to earn her keep and launch a new era in CBS network news.
The reviews for the highly anticipated effort have been decidedly mixed.
But how, I ask, could a new era in network news be declared without the addition of HDTV? Why didn't CBS add HDTV to their network news at this most auspicious time?
"My goal," said CBS's Vice President, Advanced Technology/Engineering, Robert Seidel to HDTV Magazine, "has always been ...
By Alfred Poor • Sep 6 2006, 1:00pm
Okay, so it’s not surprising to hear that one of the world’s largest retailers has inked an advertising deal with ESPN.
Even less surprising is the fact that the deal is for time on (the new) Monday Night Football that starts next Monday.
And given the strong links between HD and sports, there’s no surprise [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 5 2006, 2:40pm
In March 2006, I provided in my 2006 HDTV Technology Review annual report some statistics showing the increasing adoption of HDMI by manufacturers, for example, according to market researcher In-Stat:
"More than 300 makers of consumer electronics and PC products worldwide have adopted HDMI.
More than 17 million devices featuring HDMI were shipped during 2005 and 59 million more are expected to be shipped in 2006."
By Alfred Poor • Sep 5 2006, 1:00pm
It’s been said that the power of the press belongs to the person who owns one.
Starting with Gutenberg, technology designed to disseminate information has had the ability to change the world.
Look at the effects of broadcast television: not just news but the cultural impact of entertainment and sports programming as well.
The World [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 4 2006, 1:00pm
Today is a holiday in the USA, in part to honor the working men and women of the country.
And instead of taking the day off (well, not the whole day), I got to thinking about working folks and HDTVs.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage in June 2005 was [...]
By Alfred Poor • Sep 1 2006, 1:00pm
The display market tracking firm WitsView announced that the number of LCD TV panels shipped in July increased 2.0% over June’s shipments.
The company also reported that the total square footage of those panel shipments increased 4.2%.
That can only mean one thing; the average LCD TV is getting bigger.
Another data point appeared yesterday, as [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 31 2006, 9:09pm
Panasonic, the market and technology leader in Plasma displays, today announced that it is supplying NBC Universal with two 103" full high definition professional plasma displays (TH-103PF9UK) to be integrated into the set of NBC's "Football Night in America" studio show, premiering Sunday, September 10 at 7 p.m.
The Panasonic TH-103PF9UK, which recently made its worldwide debut, is the world's largest plasma television available.
NBC Universal is the first commercial customer to purchase the 103" plasma display.
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 31 2006, 8:51pm
ICE AGE: THE MELTDOWN Is First Day-and-Date Release on Blu-ray and DVD in North America, Australia and Europe.
Continuing its unwavering and exclusive support for the Blu-ray Disc format, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment President Worldwide Mike Dunn announced today the Studio's first wave of highly-anticipated motion pictures to debut on Blu-ray Disc (BD), which is the only high-definition packaged media platform broadly supported by the film, music, gaming, computing and consumer electronics industries.
Representing more than $2 billion in box office and 90 million DVD units sold worldwide, the studio's first eight BD releases are right on target with the BD early adopter and Playstation 3 purchaser.
Taking full advantage of the next generation format's high definition technology ...
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 31 2006, 6:43pm
Sharp is advancing beyond the competition once again with the introduction of the first models ever produced in a generation 8 LCD factory.
Today, Sharp announced two new widescreen, full-HD 1080p AQUOS® sets in new screen sizes, 46-inch (LC-46D62U) and 52-inch (LC-52D62U), produced at Sharp's groundbreaking new LCD plant, Kameyama No.
The Kameyama No.
2 plant began production operation in early August and will enable Sharp to build the most advanced flat-panel televisions in the world, and also help to meet the growing demand for competitively-priced large-screen high-definition (HD) LCD TVs in the U.S.
Sharp's new D62U models feature a dramatically enhanced black level, producing a breathtaking picture quality that is second to none, and an elegant, new, fluid design that redefines the standard for flat-panel display.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 31 2006, 1:00pm
If you’re a frequent reader of HDTV Almanac, you probably know that I’m a big proponent of the concept of “command and control” for video entertainment and information.
By this I mean that you can watch what you want, when you want, and where you want.
I believe that is the driving force behind change [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 30 2006, 10:45pm
Warner Home Video -- continuing to take the leadership role in the introduction of next generation home viewing -- debuts 10 High Definition titles, the most any studio has released on a single day.
Coming to Blu-ray will be "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," "Swordfish," "Space Cowboys," "Lethal Weapon 2," "The Fugitive" and "House of Wax." Making their HD DVD debuts are "The Dirty Dozen," "Grand Prix," "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood." All titles will be available for $28.99 SRP.
All bonus materials on the Standard Definition versions of these titles will be included on the HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc versions.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 30 2006, 1:00pm
According to a story on chinapost.com.tw, the German consumer magazine Test advises that you should sit no closer to an HDTV than three times the screen’s diagonal measurement.
So for a 32″ model, you should sit at least 96″ away, which is eight feet.
Now, I’ll admit that this is a second-hand reference, but the facts [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Aug 29 2006, 2:39pm
Now this is a sensitive area, isn't it?
The purpose of this article is NOT to justify or reject the concept of spending a dollar more for "claimed" cable quality while other people rather want to save that dollar any time the term cable is mentioned.
People take all kinds of corners on this matter, and many confrontations still happen with or without blind tests, with or without factual data.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 29 2006, 1:00pm
OLEDs are one of the most promising novel display technologies, especially for HDTVs.
They have the brightness, and viewing angle of a traditional CRT, but also the fine detail from the physical pixels like an LCD.
And the OLED panels can be a fraction of the thickness and weight of an LCD or plasma panel.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 28 2006, 1:00pm
New jargon alert: downconversion.
You may have heard of upconversion; this refers to the process that some DVD players use to take standard definition DVD content and expand it to high definition resolution.
This is a form of scaling that essentially fills in the “missing” data when the number of pixels is increased.
Of course, [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 25 2006, 1:00pm
On long road trips, I used to get so tired of finding new radio stations every hour or so as I drove in and out of range.
Now satellite radio makes it easy to listen to one music station (or an entire sporting event) without ever losing the signal.
I expect that some drivers would [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 24 2006, 1:00pm
Selling HDTVs online is a challenge.
Buyers want to see the televisions in person, and want to be able to compare the image quality of different sets side by side.
Amazon is trying to address buyers’ concerns by launching a new “Click-to-Call” HDTV call center.
The idea is to provide a 24/7 live service where [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 24 2006, 12:00pm
DisplaySearch, the worldwide leader in display market research and consulting and part of The NPD Group, has released Q2'06 worldwide plasma TV shipments and revenues by brand, region, size and resolution for over 30 different plasma TV brands as part of its Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report
By Alfred Poor • Aug 23 2006, 1:00pm
A press release by InStat projects that the number of households receiving HDTV services – cable, satellite, over the air, and IPTV — will swell from 15 million in mid-2006 to more than 20 million by the end of 2006.
That’s a one-third increase in just six months.
91% of these homes will be in [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Aug 22 2006, 2:38pm
There are several TVs that already support 1080p60 on HDMI (using Type A) and there are quite a few other video processors, projectors, etc.
that have been out for years that support 1080p60 on HDMI (Type A).
1080p60 was supported since HDMI 1.0.
There are no products with Type B connectors, and there is no relationship between 1080p60 (148.5MHz speed) and Type B.
None of the Primary or Secondary formats...
By Alfred Poor • Aug 22 2006, 1:00pm
The arms race of “mine is bigger” continues unabated as Samsung has announced that it will sell a 70-inch LCD HDTV in 2007.
The company has announced that it will show the new display tomorrow, Wednesday, August 23, at the International Meeting on Information Displays in Daegu, South Korea.
The new 1080p display incorporates 120 [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 21 2006, 6:36pm
Enjoy new ways to watch major sporting events plus the new fall prime time TV season on your PC thanks to new solutions from ATI Technologies Inc.
Available today in North America, TV Wonder™ 650 and TV Wonder™ 200 offer new easy-to-use features for Personal Video Recording (PVR) on the PC.
With TV Wonder 650 you can receive free over-the-air high-definition broadcasts and improved quality analog TV programs enhanced with amazing Avivo™ image quality.
TV Wonder 650, with a manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) of USD$129, includes an easy-to-use High Definition PVR to record content in a variety of formats: DivX, H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 and WMV9.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 21 2006, 1:00pm
Almost every HDTV maker provides a rating for each model’s contrast.
Contrast is simply a measure of how different the “blackest” black compares with the “whitest” white that the display can produce.
Contrast is one of the most important performance factors for an HDTV, or any TV for that matter.
Good contrast helps make the [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 21 2006, 12:08pm
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world's largest provider of thin-film transistor, liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels, has developed the first 70-inch LCD panel for use in the consumer TV market.
Currently, the largest LCD TV screen size is 65 inches.
The company will unveil its 70-inch LCD HDTV at the International Meeting on Information Displays (IMID) 2006, which will open in Daegu, Korea on August 23.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 18 2006, 1:00pm
Times are changing rapidly in the home entertainment market.
We’re seeing all sorts of wired and wireless solutions being developed to bring audio and video entertainment, as well as telephone and information services to your home.
But this raises the question of what happens to all this once it gets delivered there.
In the really old [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 18 2006, 7:58am
DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service today announced the launch of Food Network HD.
This addition brings DISH Network's total national HD channel lineup to 30 channels -- the most comprehensive in the pay-TV industry.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 17 2006, 1:00pm
I’ve read Jon Peddie’s writing for years, and he’s one of the top experts I know on computer graphics.
His areas of interest now collide with HDTV, as the personal computer may be poised to become the central hub for television and other forms of home entertainment.
His company is conducting an online survey about [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Aug 16 2006, 6:43pm
By now, I'm sure you've read a dozen articles like this one.
In fact, I debated about whether or not to title it as such, as I was afraid most of you would skip it over.
Obviously that is not the case if you are now reading these words.
If you are withholding your Next-Gen DVD player purchase until this so-called format war has a winner, it won't help ...
there likely won't be one ...
and there definitely won't be one any time soon.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 16 2006, 1:00pm
I’ve reported here already about Radio Shack’s plans to bring HDTVs into its stores.
The question now is whether or not they will be in financial shape to make the transition.
The company has already closed 480 stores, leaving about 6,000 stores.
And last week, they announced that they will be cutting as many as [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Aug 15 2006, 2:00pm
Although the 1080p capability exists since version 1.0, 1080p is not mandatory in the HDMI spec, in any of the versions.
It would be difficult for Silicon Image to require TV makers (especially those with non-SiI chips) to indicate the chip's 1080p feature to end-users.
It is not too different from how consumers know whether their component analog input can handle 1080i, 720p, or 480p.
It was not too long ago that 100% of component inputs handle 480i only.
Then shortly after that there was 480i and 480p, etc.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 15 2006, 1:00pm
According to a post on TVPredictions, Disney CEO Robert Iger stated last week that neither Cars nor Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest would be released on BluRay this year.
This is potentially embarrassing for Sony as Disney is a member of the BluRay camp.
According to the report, Iger predicted that “adoption of next-gen [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 14 2006, 1:00pm
I read a press release today in which the president and CEO of D2Audio claimed “We have long understood that improved audio leads to a perception of better video.”
I won’t argue.
In a past life, I was active in the flight simulation community: people who fly airplanes on their computers.
In my studies of simulations [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 11 2006, 1:00pm
Dell recently announced that it will make its offers simpler for its PC, peripheral, and consumer electronic products.
Over the next year and a half, they intend to reduce the number of rebates, special discounts, and other promotional offers by 80 percent.
The net price is expected to remain about the same, but it will [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 10 2006, 1:00pm
Syntax-Brillian announced Tuesday that they will be assembling Olevia LCD TVs in California starting later this month, and their LCoS rear projection TVs starting in September.
According to the company, this will cut down on shipping costs and import duties.
Presumably, the company also hopes to trade on their products’ new “made in the USA” status.
By Alfred Poor • Aug 9 2006, 1:00pm
Today, the US government hopes to have a little sale and raise $15 billion.
What are they selling? Air.
Well, to be more precise, they are selling the right to use radio waves in certain frequencies that travel through that air in certain parts of the country.
According to the laws of the land, the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 8 2006, 1:00pm
Over the next five years, the number of IPTV subscribers will grow, according to the market research firm iSupply.
Now, it would be nice if the market would double by 2010.
Tripling would be better.
Growing six times larger would be impressive.
But iSupply forecasts that there will be 12 times as many subscribers in [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Aug 8 2006, 12:19pm
While the multichannel audio industry keeps creating more formats for newer equipment, it also creates the need of compatibility with existing equipment.
And being the digital connectivity solution that the industry says it is, HDMI has to meet the challenge of that "evolution".
When HDMI 1.1 came out, it added to the spec a new packet to carry some DVD-Audio content protection-related data.
All audio capabilities of DVD-Audio were part of 1.0 but the CPPM/CPRM license (used for DVD-Audio encrypted disks) required some additional data to be transmitted.
Then, when HDMI 1.2 came out...
By Alfred Poor • Aug 7 2006, 1:00pm
If you’re a frequent reader of the HDTV Almanac, you’re probably aware that I don’t do product reviews.
However, I will highlight new product announcements when I think they have some relevance beyond the individual model.
And that’s exactly why you should know about the EP1690 from Optoma.
This is a DLP front projector.
Yes, I [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 4 2006, 1:00pm
One of my standard comments about IPTV is that it will have to be at least as easy to use as regular broadcast, cable, or satellite TV.
Five major HDTV manufacturers agree, and have announced plans to develop a standard user interface to get video content from the Internet.
Sony, Matsushita (parent corporation of Panasonic), [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Aug 3 2006, 6:32pm
This part concentrates on the video capability of 1.3 for backward compatibility; multichannel audio capability is covered in Part 5, the next article in this series.
As mentioned before, version 1.3 adds the capability of 30-bit, 36-bit, and 48-bit pixels, which in 4:4:4 (the primarily target) means 10-bit, 12-bit, and 16-bit per component...
By Alfred Poor • Aug 3 2006, 2:17pm
Here we go, foks.
At least one manufacturer has not waited until September to make some big cuts in their product prices, and this is not one of the third tier brands, either.
Sharp announced price drops for their line of AQUOS LCD TVs, according to TWICE:
By Alfred Poor • Aug 2 2006, 1:00pm
An interesting event happened about two weeks ago.
Yahoo Music started selling Jessica Simpson’s “A Public Affair” for $1.99.
No, the extra $1 about the standard $.99 price for a downloaded song is not the news.
Nor is the curious feature that if you happen to have one of the 500 names that Jessica and [...]
By Alfred Poor • Aug 1 2006, 1:00pm
When I’m at a seafood restaurant, I often order the “Fisherman’s Platter” because I can’t make up my mind and I like variety.
Maybe that’s why I’ve always been a fan of LG’s “Super Multi” DVD drives; they support DVD-RAM, DVD+R/RW, and DVD-R/RW (as well as all CD formats).
You don’t have to pick a [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jul 31 2006, 1:45pm
HDMI 1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth from 165MHz (4.95 gigabits per second) to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) to support the demands of future high definition display devices, such as higher resolutions, Deep Color, and high frame rates.
The foundation has been set for even higher bandwidths over a single-link.
With double-link, if implemented, the 10.2 Gbps could virtually be doubled, if ever needed.
How the possibility of several 1080p/60fps running simultaneously over HDMI for future applications sounds to you?
By Alfred Poor • Jul 31 2006, 1:00pm
I know that this makes two Dell items in a row, but this one is on a different subject.
You may be having a hard time deciding which HDTV to buy, but what if you were buying nearly 500 HDTVs at once? This was the problem faced by the folks who run the American Airlines [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jul 28 2006, 5:57pm
Over the past few years, I maintained technical discussions and exchanged ideas with Silicon Image and the related organizations on a regular basis since DVI was implemented, but more specially during the life of HDMI, as versions evolved, and as the industry adopted the digital connectivity standard for uncompressed HD video (and multichannel audio).
I anticipate that some of our readers would be interested in my notes and analysis from those exchanges.
The material is complex and is long; as I mentioned in Part 1, I am covering the subject in 10 parts.
The material is the product of many exchanges between Paul Wolf (Chief of Engineering HDMI Licensing, LLC), Joseph Lee (Director of Marketing for Simplay Labs, LLC), Leslie Chard (President, HDMI Licensing LLC), and me; it was intended to cover all the angles, and was summarized here to single statements to facilitate reading.
In other words, is a teamwork brainstorming of a variety of technical issues, an exclusive of HDTV Magazine.
By Alfred Poor • Jul 28 2006, 1:00pm
You walk into a store.
You find a product that you like.
You ask the salesperson for one.
You’re told that they don’t have any in the store.
In fact, they don’t have any of the products on hand for sale.
It sounds crazy, but that’s exactly what Dell has done in opening its first [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 27 2006, 1:00pm
This week, AU Optronics (AUO) announced that it’s cutting back on its capital expenditure plans.
Taiwan’s largest LCD manufacturer, AUO said that it will cut the expansion budget by about a third — from about $3 billion to $2 billion — and is postponing additional capacity on its Gen6 and Gen7.5 production lines.
Different manufacturers are [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 26 2006, 1:00pm
Is there any money to be made in downloading television shows from the Internet? Multiple choice: How many videos have been bought and downloaded from iTunes so far? (A) 1.5 million (B) 3.5 million (C) 15 million (D) 35 million.
And the answer is (D); at $1.99 a pop, that works out to nearly $70 [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jul 26 2006, 4:57am
Ever wonder what HDMI specs came along with which versions? Or why HDMI came along at all when there are so many connection types already from which to choose? Get all the details in this article, the first of a 10-part series on HDMI ...
and which standards & devices you should have in your home theater.
By Alfred Poor • Jul 25 2006, 1:00pm
I’m the first to admit that the alphabet soup of television technology and organizations is one of the main reasons that people’s eyes glaze over when we start to discuss the subject.
Even HDTV is an FLA (four-letter acronym).
But we need to use the abbreviation today in order to discuss news about HDMI.
HDMI is [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jul 25 2006, 11:26am
A video recording mode optimized for the video iPod®, 16:9 widescreen still picture mode and easy, convenient in-camera video editing.
The SANYO Xacti HD1a features an ergonomic, one-handed operation.
It can record both 720p high-definition video and 5.1 megapixel digital still images to a standard SD flash memory card.
It will be available in the U.S.
in September 2006 at a very competitive $699.99** MSRP.
By Alfred Poor • Jul 24 2006, 1:00pm
You may have read some of my posts here where I make the case where the cut-off of analog over-the-air broadcast signals will be a non-issue by the time February 2009 finally rolls around.
My contention is that there will be plenty of low cost ATSC digital tuners available as add-on products by then.
By Alfred Poor • Jul 21 2006, 1:00pm
Panasonic has made it official.
The company has announced that it will start shipping its 103-inch plasma HDTV in December.
The 1080p TH-103PZ600U will reportedly be built to order, and will be covered by a three-year warranty.
Better measure your wall to make sure you have room; it will be about 90 inches wide by [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 20 2006, 1:00pm
Q: I’m looking to buy a 32″ LCD HDTV within the next six months.
The model I’m considering costs about $1,600 in stores and $1,200 online.
What will it cost six months from now? Should I wait for a higher resolution 32-inch model?
A: I also would like to know what that LCD will cost in [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 19 2006, 1:00pm
Kagan Research held an audio conference last week explaining why unbundling of cable and satellite programming won’t work.
Many groups have been calling for “a la carte” pricing of television programming, so that consumers don’t have to pay for channels that they don’t watch.
Kagan makes some good points as to why this won’t work.
By Shane Sturgeon • Jul 19 2006, 3:16am
Sony Electronics today unveiled its first internal Blu-ray Disc™ (BD) rewritable drive for the computer aftermarket.
The new drive(model BWU-100A) supports up to 50 GB of data on BD-R (write once) or BD-RE (rewritable) discs or up to four hours of high-definition video using HDV 1080i on a BD-RE 50GB disc.
The new drive ...
By Alfred Poor • Jul 18 2006, 1:00pm
NBC did an about face this month when the company announced plans to make promotional clips of the network’s shows available on YouTube.
Previously, they had demanded that clips (posted by others) be taken down due to copyright violations.
Now, in addition to posting their own clips, NBC apparently will also start advertising on the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 17 2006, 1:00pm
According to a report in TWICE magazine, Samsung has started shipping their HL-S5679W rear projection DLP HDTV.
This is a significant product, because it is the first to market with an LED light source instead of the conventional UHP lamp.
The conventional lamp needs to be replaced every 3,000 to 4,000 hours, and can cost about [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 14 2006, 1:00pm
It’s hardly a flood, but a few new Blu-ray titles are starting to trickle out now that the Blu-ray player from Samsung has started to ship.
Warner Brothers has announced plans to ship four titles on August 1, at prices ranging from $28.99 to $34.99: “Good Night and Good Luck”, “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang”, “Rumor [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jul 14 2006, 4:02am
Panasonic and Sony Corporation announced jointly today the commencement of licensing for "AVCHD," the high definition (HD) digital video camera recorder format, as well as expansion of the format's specifications.
Panasonic and Sony announced basic specifications for "AVCHD" on May 11th this year, and since then have extensively promoted the format throughout the industry while preparing for licensing.
By Alfred Poor • Jul 13 2006, 1:00pm
The movie studios continue to throw spaghetti at any wall they can find, in hopes that something will stick.
Now it’s Sony inking a deal with GUBA.com to distribute feature films from the Sony catalog.
The films will be available for download to own, and Sony expects to have 500 titles available within the year.
By Alfred Poor • Jul 12 2006, 1:00pm
LCD panel inventories are piling up around the world, creating headaches for LCD panel manufacturers.
One of the largest — LG.Philips LCD — just blinked after reporting a second quarter loss of $392 million (compared to a $31 million profit for the same quarter a year ago).
With four week’s of inventory sitting in warehouses, [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jul 12 2006, 6:12am
HDNet is excited to announce today that one of the most accomplished news journalists of our generation, Dan Rather, will produce and host "Dan Rather Reports," premiering exclusively on HDNet this October.
A weekly news program, "Dan Rather Reports" will feature...
By Dale Cripps • Jul 11 2006, 5:23pm
One of the more reliable sources in television technology information and history is Mark Schubin.
From his perch in New York City this renowned television engineer and historian administers a number of important consulting and advisory assignments here and abroad.
His much sought-after views and wisdom can also be found in numerous publications, including his own e-mail distributed "Mark's Monday Memo" (while generally available his "memo" is directed to the professional ranks).
By Dale Cripps • Jul 11 2006, 5:13pm
While all market studies can be skewed to produce a "desired outcome" it does no good to ignore even the most blatant of them.
Below is a summary of the latest consumer survey from one of the key market trend spotters in the nation.
They say HD DVD is the value winner in the format war between it and Blu-Ray.
This report comes on the heals of the formation of the HD DVD Promotion Association, a group vitally interested in the success of the HD DVD format.
As a new owner of a true 1080 X 1920 display (Sony's SXRD 60" rear projector) I can attest to the fact that the old DVD format is now past its useful life.
By Alfred Poor • Jul 11 2006, 1:00pm
If you don’t want to spend $500 to $1,000 or more for a drive to play HDTV content on high-density blue laser discs, you now have an option.
The AVeL LinkPlayer2 will go on sale at CompUSA on August 1, with a $249 list price.
Yes, this is a red laser device that plays standard [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jul 11 2006, 5:57am
DIRECTV is stacking the lineup with more HD sports programming by delivering Major League Baseball games produced in HD by regional sports networks (RSNs) in 19 major markets.
DIRECTV is now broadcasting all MLB games produced in HD from the following RSNs...
By Alfred Poor • Jul 10 2006, 1:00pm
AU Optronics is one of the largest LCD panel producers in Taiwan, and according to a report from DigiTimes, the company has announced plans for new widescreen models for the second half of 2006.
Sizes will include 19-, 20-, 22-, 24- and 26-inch models, some of which will also come with LED backlights instead of [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 7 2006, 1:00pm
At least one major display company sees a tie between HDTV and video gaming.
Samsung is a worldwide sponsor of the World Cyber Games, and has signed an agreement to provide displays and other devices for all WCG events in the US.
Clearly, the company sees these as worthwhile opportunities to show off their HDTV [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jul 6 2006, 1:00pm
A recent article in Business Week raises the issue of blogs and other commentaries receiving payments from corporations to say nice things about them.
And in some cases, this financial “encouragement” is not disclosed by the writer.
Maybe it’s my 60s upbringing, but I don’t read anything in print or online without questioning the source, considering [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Jul 5 2006, 11:22pm
You proudly have your new wide-screen HDTV set delivered to your living room; the little man hooks up your cable box to the set's back; turns it on, and you see a wonderful picture, bright and clear, but it doesn't fill the screen.
The little man hits a button on the remote, and, viola, there it is! "Man," you exclaim, "I didn't realize HDTV was so good!" "Yeah," he hesitantly replies, "It's good, ok, but it's not HDTV." Then, after much prying, you surprisingly discover that your cable company does not have an HDTV service, and/or your satellite alternative does not offer local network channels in HDTV.
What's even sadder is that in many instances the little man does not go past the "Yeah," and the customer remains convinced he is receiving HDTV, especially when he plays his DVD's
By Alfred Poor • Jul 5 2006, 1:00pm
BenQ has announced that it will start shipping a Blu-ray recorder starting next month.
The drive will read and write CD, DVD, and Blu-ray formats.
Perhaps the most startling feature is that it will sell for about $1,000, which is about the same price as many of the announced read-only Blu-ray drives from other countries.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 30 2006, 1:00pm
CORRECTION: When the federal government makes a decision, that doesn’t mean that the decision is final.
Still, I should have gotten this one right.
A year ago, the FCC changed the timetable, and the deadline for 25-inches or larger televisions was moved up to March 1, 2006.
So that has already passed.
And the deadline [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 29 2006, 1:00pm
Rear projection HDTV sales continue to defy logic.
When you get up to the larger sizes — especially 50-inches and larger – rear projection models enjoy a huge price advantage over the more popular plasma and LCD models.
Why are buyers so interested in spending more for the flat panels? Only about one in six [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jun 29 2006, 5:43am
DIRECTV Adds Nine More Local HD Markets; Now Offers Access to Local HD Programming in 36 Markets Representing 57 percent of U.S.
HD Local Channel Service Activated Today in Baltimore, Cleveland, Charlotte, N.C., Denver, Hartford, Conn., Miami, Orlando, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., and West Palm Beach, Fla.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 28 2006, 1:00pm
It comes as no surprise that people are confused to varying degrees by the whole process of moving to HDTV, from researching the choices, making the purchase, installing it at home, and then getting the most from it.
Earlier this month, Panasonic announced a new service, Plasma Concierge, that is intended to help customers throughout [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 27 2006, 1:00pm
Earlier this month, TiVo announced TiVoCAST, a new service — free to TiVo subscribers — that provides access to video content on the Web.
The service includes content from the NBA and WNBA, the New York Times, CNET, and iVillage.
It also has content for extreme sports, hip hop and other music, and the Rocketboom [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 25 2006, 9:14pm
Maybe you already know that HDMI is the digital interface that lets you connect HDTV devices to transfer image and audio signals.
Early HDTV models didn’t include it, but most recent models have an HDMI connector and sometimes even two.
But did you realize that there’s now a new version of HDMI?
The companies that founded [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 23 2006, 1:00pm
Twice Magazine reports that Radio Shack has chosen LG and Panasonic as brands of flat panel HDTVs the stores will carry, starting in September.
And contrary to what I reported here last month, they plan to carry models as large as 42-inches.
These plans apply to the 5,000 company-owned stores.
The company also offers an [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jun 23 2006, 11:58am
HDMI Founder companies (Hitachi, Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
(Panasonic), Royal Philips Electronics, Silicon Image, Inc., Sony Corp., Thomson, Inc.
and Toshiba Corp.) today released a major enhancement of the High-Definition Multimedia Interface™ (HDMI™) specification, the de facto standard digital interface for high definition consumer electronics.
HDMI 1.3 will enable the next generation of HDTVs, PCs and DVD players to transmit and display content in billions of colors with unprecedented vividness and accuracy.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 22 2006, 1:00pm
Bad joke alert: What did the Buddhist monk ask the New York City hot dog vendor? “Please make me one with everything.”
Okay, not too Zen perhaps, but it’s right in line with DirecTV’s new offer: the Titanium Package.
Talk about an “all you can eat” plan! This is clearly designed for the viewer who can’t [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jun 22 2006, 12:30pm
Toshiba Corporation today unveiled the future of home video entertainment in an age of digital, high definition content: the world's first digital hard disk video recorder integrating a recordable HD DVD in combination with a 1-terabyte (TB) hard disk.
The new "RD-A1" can record and store up to 130 hours of high-definition (HD) broadcasts on its high capacity hard disk and record up to 230 minutes of HD content to a single HD DVD disc.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 21 2006, 1:00pm
The first Blu-ray high definition DVD drives have finally started to ship, and at last, we are starting to see comparisons between Blu-ray and HD DVD based on actual products instead of just published specifications and supposition.
But why do we have this major battle between two competing high definition, blue laser DVD standards?
You might [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 20 2006, 1:00pm
One of my recurrent themes has been the question of who is going to pay for downloaded content from the Internet.
iTunes has already shown that many people are willing to pay to download commerical-free television episodes.
Now the returns are in on ABC’s experiment with free downloads of prime time episodes that include commercials.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 19 2006, 1:00pm
So you’ve got a big, gorgeous HDTV set in your living room.
It looks great when you’re watching TV or movies, but it just sits there taking up space when you’re not watching.
Sure, you could hide it behind the doors of an entertainment center, but Panasonic and GalleryPlayer figure you might want to use [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 16 2006, 1:00pm
The first Blu-ray high-definition DVD player was launched in the U.S.
last night, with an event at the Samsung Experience showcase store in the Time Warner Center in New York City.
Actually, first shipments to dealers won’t be made until June 25th.
The drive will support 1080p output through the digital HDMI connector, but [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 15 2006, 1:00pm
At the Society for Information Display conference in San Francisco last week, Symbol showed a prototype of their pocket projector engine, which only takes up 4.3 cubic inches (without its heatsink).
Think of a deck of cards; now think half that size.
At this point, the projector only puts out 10 lumens of [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 14 2006, 1:00pm
LCD fabrication lines have been designed to handle larger and larger sheets of glass.
Each time a plant is built to handle a larger size, the manufacturers refer to that as the next generation.
Gen 5 plants handle glass that is more than one yard long on each side.
This is impressive until you realize [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 13 2006, 1:00pm
At the Society for Information Display conference in San Francisco last week, manufacturers were showing off some big displays.
I mean really big!
A 100-inch LCD HDTV from LG.Philips
A 102-inch plasma HDTV from Samsung
These are certainly impressive displays, but why do they build them? Certainly, they aren’t commercial products (though I’ve been told that a few [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 12 2006, 1:00pm
One of the most dramatic improvements for LCD HDTV I saw last week at the Society for Information Display conference in San Francisco was a technology demonstration by a company called Brightside.
Like many other companies, they have replaced the typical fluorescent backlights for an LCD panel with LEDs.
The big difference, however, is that [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jun 9 2006, 5:13pm
DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service announced today the roll-out of four new high-definition channels - HGTV HD, NFL Network HD, National Geographic Channel HD and Starz HDTV - bringing its total HD channel lineup to 29 channels - the most national HD channels offered by any pay-TV provider in the United States.
In addition, EchoStar announced a price reduction on its MPEG-4 receivers and a bonus offer for its DishHD(TM) programming packages.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 9 2006, 1:00pm
The dominant technologies for HDTV are LCD and plasma flat panels.
Other novel technologies are under development, but none are close to becoming commercial products any time soon.
One of the most promising approaches is organic light-emitting diodes, or OLEDs.
These have the promise of an emissive screen that looks like a standard CRT — [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 8 2006, 1:00pm
Just when you thought you had HDTV figured out, here comes another wrinkle.
Many companies at the Society for Information Display conference in San Francisco this week were showing panels that can display 3D images.
Some were like the ColorLink designs that use polarized light and required special glasses to see the 3D image.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 7 2006, 1:00pm
For years, Japan dominated LCD production.
Then Korea took the top spot, on the strength of two juggernauts: Samsung and LG.Philips.
Now, according to at least two market tracking services, Taiwanese companies have overtaken Korea, and produce more LCD panels — larger than 10 inches diagonal — than any other country.
Almost all the major LCD [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 6 2006, 1:00pm
The Starz channel is a familiar component of many cable services, but the company has also been beta testing a new Internet-based service since January.
The Vongo service offers subscribers access to more than 1,600 movies and other programming content for $9.95, which can be viewed on a computer, television, or portable media device.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 5 2006, 1:00pm
It’s a busy week in HDTV this week.
On the East Coast, in Orlando, Florida, the annual InfoComm conference is happening, where all the major display vendors show what is happening in the HDTV industry.
But if you want to know what’s going to happen in the future, you need to be on the West [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jun 2 2006, 1:00pm
Reports have been showing up from users who say they have problems with their Dell 2007WFP LCD HDTVs.
Apparently there are banding problems on smooth gradients when using the Desktop mode.
According to a Dell source, the problem is with the Faroudja video processing, but there is no trouble with the Multimedia or Gaming modes.
By Alfred Poor • Jun 1 2006, 1:00pm
A study by Parks Associates predicts that annual U.S.
sales of home media servers will reach 50 million units by the end of 2010.
What is a media server? Essentially, it’s a device with storage that lets you access media content – audio and video — on displays such as televisions, often using a local [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 31 2006, 1:00pm
According to a report by Associated Press, the major networks want Congress to prohibit cable systems from “downconverting” their HDTV programming signals.
This means taking high-definition digital signals and converting it to standard definition digital signals.
They don’t mind conversion to analog standard definition, in order to maintain service for those customers.
Lowering the resolution [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • May 30 2006, 5:31pm
Taiwan's Forward Versatile Disc (FVD)
Over the past couple of years, I have written on these reports (as well as in the pages of DVDetc and HDTVetc Magazines) about the four Hi-def DVD formats in the China/Taiwan market, three from China (EVD, HVD, and HDV), and one from Taiwan (FVD).
On this opportunity, I met at CES 2006 with Mr.
Job Liu, Managing Director of POSO (Power Source Group Limited), who was representing the FVD format at CES.
Liu introduced also Margaret Fan, General Manager of Idar Electronics Co., a company involved with the FVD players and format.
They showed the player, the movies, ...
By Alfred Poor • May 30 2006, 1:00pm
LCD manufacturers have been busy building new production lines capable of handling large glass substrates.
As a result, production capacity is increasing.
And lately, inventory levels have been increasing as well.
Panels sitting in a warehouse don’t make any money for the manufacturer, but these companies need to run the plants at capacity to get [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 29 2006, 1:00pm
Q: Is it true that it is too expensive to repair plasma TV?
A: There are parts of a plasma television that can fail and be replaced at a reasonable cost.
For example, the electronics are typically designed as separate modules that can be replaced fairly easily.
I suspect, however, that your question is prompted [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 26 2006, 1:00pm
DigitTimes reports today quoting the executive vice president of AU Optronics, which is one of the largest LCD makers in Taiwan.
Hsing Hui predicts that the 50″ LCD HDTV will become a mainstream segment, as increased production results in lower costs, which in turn will make LCDs competitive with plasma in this size range.
This is [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • May 25 2006, 4:01pm
In this article, I will introduce some of new 1080p front projectors with full 1920x1080p resolution, one from JVC D-ILA, another from Sony using similar LCoS technology (named SXRD) breaking the ground at $10,000 with high reviews (Ruby), and to wrap up, I will introduce four DLP front projectors implementing Texas Instruments' new true 1080p DLP DMD with 2 million plus mirrors (not "wobulated" as the earlier 1080p solutions).
Some of these products are not yet available.
Affordable 1080p front projection is finally here, the time might be right to start that Home Theater HD project of your dreams.
Projectors with 1080p inputs can now be paired with Blu-ray players with 1080p outputs, which transport the 1080p content of Blu-ray discs.
Hopefully, that feature would also be implemented in 2nd generation HD DVD players, the other format, in the near future, according with Toshiba.
By Alfred Poor • May 25 2006, 1:00pm
On Wednesday, March 29, I wrote about Cablevision’s plan to let subscribers “record” shows to a central server, and then watch them when they want.
At the time, I pointed out that some analysts thought that this might lead to lawsuits by the content producers.
Well, the show has dropped.
An Associated Press report indicates that [...]
By Dale Cripps • May 25 2006, 12:25am
DisplaySearch has released Q1'06 worldwide LCD TV shipments and revenues by brand, region, size and resolution for over 40 different LCD TV brands as part of its Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report.
LCD TV shipments jumped...
By Alfred Poor • May 24 2006, 1:00pm
Last week, Panasonic announced plans to include DivX support in two DVD video recorders: the DMR-EH55S and the DMR-EH75VS.
Both will have HDMI connectors, and are capable of up-converting output to a 1080i resolution signal.
Both have hard disk drives, and have red laser DVD burners.
The new recorders are expected to ship end [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 23 2006, 1:00pm
I’ve been watching as CompUSA keeps giving more floor space to LCD and plasma and rear-projection TVs, but the latest news is that Radio Shack is jumping on the HDTV bandwagon.
This reverses the move in 2002 that dropped televisions in favor of smaller consumer electronics devices.
Radio Shack plans to phase in the new [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 22 2006, 1:00pm
I’ve written here often about the question of who is going to pay for published video content.
The traditional broadcast commercial model breaks down as people shift to other distribution sources, and use recorded video to time- and place-shift their viewing of the content.
One of the biggest challenges is the fact that TiVo and [...]
By Ed Milbourn • May 20 2006, 3:06am
One of the most exciting DTV transmission technologies emerging within the past few years is IPTV (Internet Protocol - Television).
IPTV is a modification of the standard TCP/IP (Transmit Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) adapted to transmit "streaming" video.
It may be considered the video version of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).
The reason for recent emphasis of IPTV is...
By Alfred Poor • May 19 2006, 1:00pm
The DISH Network satellite television service announced Wednesday that they are adding local HDTV channels in 11 markets, which nearly doubles the number of cities and now reaching a total of 24.
The new cities are Dallas; Houston; Miami; Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; and Spokane.
They plan to [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 18 2006, 1:00pm
Plasma and direct-view LCDs use glass substrates.
Glass is relatively fragile, and the sheets used in LCD panel production are special and expensive.
So manufacturers are searching for alternatives.
One problem for LCDs and OLEDs is that they require a semiconductor layer on the substrate in order to create the transistors that will switch the [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 17 2006, 1:00pm
Are you confused enough yet by HDMI and DVI and composite and component video connections? Brace yourself; here comes DisplayPort.
It’s the new digital interface standard developed by VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association.
Already backed by HP, Lenova, and Dell, the standard is designed to carry digital video and audio signals, and supports digital [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 16 2006, 1:00pm
Sony hopes that you’ll take your HD movies on the road with you, and view them on the new VAIO AR Premium notebook computer.
It is scheduled to ship this summer for about $3,500, and will have a 17-inch wide display, analog TV tuner, and a Blu-ray drive with both read and write capabilities.
By Alfred Poor • May 15 2006, 1:00pm
An Associated Press story raises the question of whether or not the Internet can handle widespread adoption of IPTV.
The system is designed to handle the occasional download of information, such as email, or a music file, or a Web page.
But to watch full-resolution television programs – not to mention video in HD format [...]
By Dale Cripps • May 12 2006, 6:42pm
Stan Glasgow, president/COO of Sony Electronics, held his first press roundtable since taking the helm April 1 and outlined his goals for the U.S.
operation at the company's landmark building, here, this morning.
While many of the questions fielded by Glasgow revolved around Blu-ray and HDTV, the new Sony president and first American in the post for 9.5 years, Glasgow outlined a four-part strategy for Sony Electronics...
By Alfred Poor • May 12 2006, 1:00pm
An announcement from CyberLink describes their new PowerDVD 7 Deluxe software package for DVD playback that makes it easy to watch movies on your notebook or desktop computer.
One interesting feature of this latest version is that it supports MPEG4 AVC compression, also known as H.264.
This provides higher compression rates with improved image [...]
By Dale Cripps • May 11 2006, 7:30pm
Source: Displaybank - Samsung Electronics, Next generation BLU is white OLED - Plan to Invest 50 Billion won for production equipment development
Samsung Electronics on 7th of May established a detailed strategy for development and mass production of amorphous silicon(a-Si) based white OLED for next generation LCD BLU by utilizing its existing Gen.5 (1100x1300mm) TFT LCD production line in Cheonan.
By Dale Cripps • May 11 2006, 7:12pm
USTIN, TEXAS, May 11, 2006 – DisplaySearch, a part of The NPD Group, today announced the agenda for its 4th Annual HDTV Conference.
This year’s event, entitled "The Future of Television", will take place on August 15-16 and return to The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.
DisplaySearch's HDTV Conference, which was broadcast on HDNet in 2005, brings together industry leaders and insights from the entire TV industry supply chain covering TV and cable networks, movie studios, content developers, satellite and cable providers, retailers, set top box manufacturers, TV brands, TV panel and imager manufacturers, display electronics suppliers, game developers, industry/financial analysts and more.
This event is highly regarded due to the broad mix of attendees and speakers and value of the data and insight which is sure to benefit from The NPD Group's acquisition of DisplaySearch.
By Dale Cripps • May 11 2006, 4:22pm
Alsea - May 11, 2006 - Pacific Media Associates (PMA), the large-screen display watchdogs, reported today that unit sales for rear-projection televisions in North America rose a surprising 10% last month.
Their March 2006 RPTV Sell-Through Tracking Service also shows that sales revenues increased a scant 6%, as average street price dropped 4%.
By Alfred Poor • May 11 2006, 1:00pm
“Peer-to-peer” networks are almost synonymous with “piracy” in many people’s minds.
The infamous Kazaa and BitTorrent networks are known as havens for people who want to swap copyrighted content like audio CD tracks.
The BitTorrent technology has gained a big leg up toward clearing its reputation, however.
Warner Brothers has announced that it will use [...]
By Dale Cripps • May 10 2006, 5:55pm
Pacific Media Associates Reports that flat panel HDTV sales resumed growth in March.
The 40 to 45 inch plasma and 30 to 35 inch LCD were the most popular.
Unit sales for flat panel televisions and business displays in North America grew in March by more than 12% over February.
Sales revenues increased almost 5% for the same period.
By Alfred Poor • May 10 2006, 1:00pm
Back in February, I reported on Toshiba’s announcement of the Qosmio notebook that could display 1080p HDTV.
Well, they’re ready and will be available on Toshiba’s Web site this week.
The Qosmio G35 has a pair of 100 GB hard drives, but the really interesting feature is the HD DVD drive.
At about 10 pounds and [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 9 2006, 1:00pm
The display market research firm WitsView has reported that the average wholesale cost of a 42″ LCD panel for HDTV use has fallen to $860, down from $890 last month.
The company is predicting that prices for LCD HDTV panels will start to stabilize this summer, after fairly steady declines.
Predicting the future prices in [...]
By Dale Cripps • May 8 2006, 9:46pm
Calls on Retailers to Help Educate Consumers About DTV Transition During PARA Management Conference Keynote
Arlington, Va., May 8, 2006 - Sales of digital televisions (DTV) grew more than 100 percent during the first quarter of 2006, announced Consumer Electronics Association (CEA®) President and CEO Gary Shapiro during his keynote Saturday at the 2006 PARA Management Conference.
Shapiro addressed specialty audio-video dealers attending the conference held in Hilton Head, S.C., May 3-7, 2006.
According to new figures released by CEA, the industry sold 3.4 million DTV units during the first quarter of 2006, equaling a 101 percent increase in unit sales over the same time last year, and $3.6 billion in dollar sales.
Unit sales of flat panel displays also rose dramatically during the first quarter with a 201 percent jump, bringing to life the findings of a recent CEA survey which showed that 49 percent of consumers say their next television purchase will be ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • May 8 2006, 6:50pm
Although I have been following the Hi-Def DVD development since 1996 when DVD was introduced, it was since January 2002 that I have started to provide details on my reports and articles about the several hi-def DVD formats.
Not only about Blu-ray and HD DVD that are now at market war trying to attract the consumer in the US, but also about the Chinese DVD HD video industry, which has now 4 formats (and we thought 2 were more than we needed).
By Alfred Poor • May 8 2006, 1:00pm
CBS has jumped on the bandwagon of providing free online video.
The network now offers “innertube” which includes a variety of broadcast, special, and behind-the-scenes programming.
There’s even a Pearl Jam concert from a David Letterman show available.
The content segments are interspersed with short commercials (or spots promoting CBS shows).
Segments range from a [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 5 2006, 1:00pm
Surprised? I’m not.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced that even though they will have their first Blu-ray high-density DVD titles ready to ship on May 23rd as planned, they will hold off on releasing them until June 25th.
Why? Because Samsung has delayed the shipment of their first Blu-ray DVD player until then, and [...]
By Alfred Poor • May 4 2006, 1:00pm
“Residential AV” reports that Envision Peripherals has announced plans to ship a 50″ plasma HDTV next fall with a list price of $2,395.
This means that the model could well sell at a street price under $2,000.
Prices have been falling for plasma and LCD, but this is a dramatic price point to break through.
By Alfred Poor • May 3 2006, 1:00pm
Last week, LG.Philips celebrated the completion of its 7th generation LCD panel manufacturing plant.
LCD plants are described by generations to denote the size of the glass substrates that are used.
Larger substrates mean that larger displays can be made more efficiently, which manufactures (and consumers) hope will result in lower prices.
This new plant uses [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • May 2 2006, 7:55pm
DIRECTV named 14 more markets where it will offer local HD programming later this year.
When the markets are added, DIRECTV will offer local HD programming in 50 major metropolitan areas, representing more than 65 percent of U.S.
The rollout is scheduled to begin in the third quarter.
By Alfred Poor • May 2 2006, 1:00pm
HDTV is great; the detail compared with standard television is amazing.
But is there life after HDTV? To paraphrase Mel Brook’s Two Thousand Year Old Man character, “there’s something bigger than HDTV.” The Japanese public broadcaster NHK brought their “Super Hi-Vision” — or SHV for short — demo to the U.S.
this month, broadcasting images [...]
By Ed Milbourn • May 1 2006, 7:03pm
An interview with Brian Smith on the status of the Cable/CE negotiations to establish a fully open interactive digital Cable Ready standard
Brian Smith is a both good friend and a former business colleague of mine at RCA/Thomson.
Brian presently is VP of Technology Policy and Standards for Philips N.A.
and, of special significance to us, is the Chairman of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Video Division Board of Directors.
The CEA Video Board addresses many CE common issues, chief among them being that of representing the CE industry in the ongoing "Interactive Cable Ready" standard negotiations.
The objective of this standard is to ultimately replace the unidirectional CableCARD cable interface with a system that downloads a plethora of interactive services for digital Cable subscribers.
But developing this standard, based on Cable's OCAP (Open Cable Applications Protocol) system, is proving to be one of the most daunting tasks, both technically and commercial ...
By Alfred Poor • May 1 2006, 1:00pm
Germany’s Deutsche Telekom has been stringing fiber optic cable throughout ten cities, as part of a $3.7 billion build-out that will eventually cover 50 cities.
Test operations are starting this month, with select customers enjoying about 100 channels, both from cable and satellite feeds.
Other services include movies on demand and VOIP.
One key component is [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 28 2006, 1:00pm
It’s almost the opposite of HDTV – at least at this point — but television and other video content on mobile devices including cell phones has become a hot topic.
According to many reports (including one from Internet World) , mobile video was the major buzz at the National Association of Broadcasters — NAB [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 27 2006, 1:00pm
Syntax-Brillian won the “LCoS RPTV of the Year Award” at the Annual China Digital TV Award 2006 event held last week in Beijing, China.
The award was for the Brillian 65-inch 1080p rear-projection LCoS HDTV.
Syntax-Brillian has also entered into a partnership with a company owned by the Chinese government to manufacture the LCoS imagers [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 26 2006, 1:00pm
Jack Valenti is the former head of the Motion Picture Association of America, a group that was very concerned about protecting their copyrighted content.
At the National Association of Broadcasters meeting in Las Vegas, his keynote address called for government “hands off” when it comes to censoring that content.
Valenti is heading a consortium of TV [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Apr 25 2006, 2:12pm
The DVI (Digital Visual Interface) 1.0 specification was introduced in April 1999 by the Digital Display Working Group integrated by Silicon Image, Intel, Compaq, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and NEC for the purpose of creating an digital connection interface between a PC and a display device.
It is a connection with enough bandwidth for uncompressed HD signals.
IEEE1394 is a digital interface conceived by Apple Computer in 1986, and it was called "Fire Wire" for its fast speed of operation.
In 1995, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) adopted the serial bus as its standard 1394.
Sony trademarked their name iLink for their implementation of the 1394 bus as a 4-pin connector.
On December 9, 2002, the seven founders of HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) announced the 1.0 specification of this connectivity standard, the enhanced, more robust form of DVI.
The seven founders are Hitachi, Matsushita, Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson, and Toshiba.
By Alfred Poor • Apr 25 2006, 1:00pm
Word is out that LG Electronics has started shipping their new MW-71PY10 plasma HDTV.
The 71-inch 1080p resolution display weighs nearly 200 pounds (plus another 70 if you include the stand).
What does it cost? Well, as the saying goes, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Perhaps it helps to say that [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 24 2006, 1:00pm
At the Trenton Computer Festival on Saturday, I gave a talk about “Will Your Next Computer be an HDTV?” Many of the audience members were interested in what I had to say about IPTV and some of my favorite sites for free video over the Internet.
At their request, I’m listing the links that I [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Apr 21 2006, 2:35pm
We had not planned on releasing this for some time, but the recent questions about HD DVD audio prompted Rodolfo and I to get this out to the public while it was most useful.
I hope you find it so.
Topics covered include:
- Hi-bit Dolby Digital Formats - Connectivity
- Legacy Discrete Surround Audio Formats for Hi Def DVD
- Hi-bit Surround Audio Formats - Summary
- Hi-bit Audio Application to Hi-def DVD Formats
By Alfred Poor • Apr 21 2006, 1:00pm
Philips made news this week with a U.S.
patent that is intended to prevent users from skipping commercials.
It’s not clear whether this is aimed at “realtime” broadcast, or at recorded content as you’d have on a DVR.
According to a company statement, the point is not to force viewers to watch commercials; the technology [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Apr 20 2006, 2:14pm
announced today that it has begun offering local HD channels via satellite to customers in the Minneapolis, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Nashville, Kansas City, Columbus, Ohio and Birmingham DMAs.
By Alfred Poor • Apr 20 2006, 1:00pm
This Sunday, April 23, you can hear about HDTV and “Professor Poor’s Guide to HDTV” on Dave Graveline’s “Into Tomorrow” radio show.
Jamie Bsales is a former Senior Editor with PC Magazine, and he edited the book, so he knows the content inside and out.
You can listen to the show on the Web using [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 19 2006, 1:00pm
Well, a high-density DVD target deadline has finally been met, and the Toshiba HD-A1 went on sale for $499 this week in the U.S.
Reports indicate that supplies were slim and sales were brisk, in spite of the fact that there are only three movie titles available for the players.
This news means that we can [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Apr 18 2006, 3:02pm
With the introduction of the AstroScope, Electrophysics has introduced the most advanced night vision solution available and proved its dedication to the videography and photography markets giving users the ability to transform dark, moonlight or starlit nights into bright, high-resolution imagery.
By Alfred Poor • Apr 18 2006, 1:00pm
A story in the Washington Post today reports that USA Network will start broadcasting coverage of Major League Gaming events later this year.
The league organizes professional video game competitions, and now they will be televised.
Professional video gaming? According to the Post, top players earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, so this [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Apr 17 2006, 3:08pm
What are 1080p manufacturers doing on their current 1080p sets? Are they really implementing all that 1080p can and should do? Do people need all that 1080p can do? When? How could one find out if a set is actually suited to be ready for near future 1080p media, such as Hi Def DVD coming in a few months?
I will cover all those subjects gradually in short articles, but first let us mention a couple of key points.
By Alfred Poor • Apr 17 2006, 1:00pm
Q: I’ve been told that plasma TVs are better at up-scaling to their native resolution than LCDs.
But after reading your book I’ve learned that both technologies use fixed pixel addressing.
So how can plasmas have an advantage over LCDs in up-scaling?
There’s nothing inherent in the plasma technology that gives it an advantage over [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 14 2006, 1:00pm
I just realized something strange.
I used to use PIP – picture in picture — all the time.
Now, I almost never use it.
I started wondering what made the difference, and it hit me; we bought a DVR, a digital video recorder.
The subscription-based TiVo has defined the market, but we use a no-fee [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 13 2006, 1:00pm
ABC made headlines when the company started selling popular TV show episodes on iTunes.
Now they will be offering the same episodes for free on the ABC.com Web site, as part of a two-month trial.
Like the iTunes offerings, the shows will be available the day after they air on broadcast.
Unlike the iTunes versions [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 12 2006, 1:00pm
We’ve now seen 30-inch LCD HDTV models advertised for under $1,000.
One big reason for the lower prices for LCD HDTVs is competition.
The market is slowly changing, however, and we’ve recently seen a number of interesting announcements.
None are really earth-shaking on their own, but they add up.
For example, Sony will be buying some [...]
By Dale Cripps • Apr 12 2006, 5:49am
I had planned on bringing you the details of the new Mitsubishi line tonight but this story (see below) broke today and it is important enough to preempt the product discussions.
I am working on an expanded version of this press release which will be posted on our site tomorrow.
The reason that this story is important is not because they consumer electronics industry cannot meet the demands, but the trade offs for doing so can backfire in several ways.
First, the people needing these final transition boxes may be unhappy with the performance of lower power schemes and secondly the clock it ticking.
It is hard to redesign and bring to market in time to accommodate the February 17, 2009 deadline for bringing an end to analog broadcasting.
So, tomorrow, all things willing, I will bring you both my comments and research done on this story and then a discussion of the products from Mitsubishi. _Dale Cripps
By Alfred Poor • Apr 11 2006, 4:00am
When people are putting together their budget for a new HDTV, they include the TV, naturally.
As I point out in my book, they should also include the price of cables.
If you’re using an analog connection – such as composite, S-video, or component connections — you will want to buy good quality cables from [...]
By Dale Cripps • Apr 11 2006, 1:30am
Mitsubishi Electric Digital Television presented their annual "line show" for the press who cover consumer electronics.
The event this year fell on the 7th of April and was held at the elegantly appointed Hyatt Huntington Beach Resort and Conference Center in Orange County, California.
It was tough duty but I was there for you! The Mitsubishi dealers gathered the following day for the same presentation.
Our afternoon led off with a brief economic report: "We will end this year with $31 billion in global sales," said Cayce Blanchard, VP of Corporate Communications.
"The company," she emphasized," is in good financial health." Indeed, they posted a nifty $819 million net profit (Gee, just inching ahead of HDTV Magazine!!)
Following on the heals of that report a "simulated" broadcast of the new MTV HD channel was cued up-a channel which Mitsubishi is co-sponsoring.
It's clearly not your grandfather's TV any more.
Nor will pops admit to watching the bare midriff programming.
By Alfred Poor • Apr 10 2006, 3:17pm
On Friday, Mitsubishi announced a new line of HDTVs.
These include 1080p DLP rear-projection TVs in 57- and 65-inch sizes that have with a six-color wheel that increases color response.
New 52- and 62-inch rear projection LCD TVs offer 720p in the 531 Model series.
Direct view-LCD panels have 1080p resolution, and come in 37- [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 7 2006, 1:00pm
Recently, we have had more announcements about the use of lasers as light sources for rear projection HDTVs.
Last month, Epson announced plans to develop one using polarized lasers and LCD imagers.
And now comes word that Mitsubishi is looking to build an RPTV using lasers with a Texas Instruments DLP chip.
The advantage of using [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 6 2006, 1:00pm
“This is Ground Control to Major Tom, we have you on screen in high definition.” And thanks to an agreement between HDNet and NASA, Americans will be able to watch coverage of Space Shuttle launches and landings through 2010 in HDTV detail.
HDNet is the high-definition network launched in 2001 by Mark Cuban, owner of [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 5 2006, 1:00pm
Source: BuyMagazine article — The 4-1-1 on HD DVD (no author attribution)
Quote: “Two new pre-recorded disc formats are coming this spring — the HD DVD and Blu-ray — which will be able to play conventional DVDs by trying to extract hi-def info from them.”
Hooboy! Let me start by saying that most of this article starts [...]
By Alfred Poor • Apr 4 2006, 1:00pm
Samsung sent out an announcement yesterday stating that the hardware for their Blu-ray high-definition DVD drives is ready for production, but they’re waiting to complete “compatibility testing.” They assert that the test discs will be available “in late April“, and that they will launch the drive in the United States on June 25, 2006.
By Alfred Poor • Apr 3 2006, 1:00pm
It is widely reported today that six major movie studios have signed up with MovieLink to provide movies for sale by download, starting on the same day that the DVD version is released.
Warner, Universal, Sony, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and MGM will offer older titles as well as first-run movies.
Sony, MGM, and Lion’s [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Mar 31 2006, 7:29pm
In the vary wee days in television history, back in the late 1800's, one of the first concepts devised for a means to electrically transport images was via parallel wires.
In this scheme an image was focused on a small array of crude selenium sensors.
Each sensor represented one pixel.
The varying current caused by the changes in resistance of the each sensor when excited by light was coupled to a respective lamp at the receiving end.
Each pixel, therefore, had its own wire.
Obviously, an image with any reasonable degree of resolution would require at least several hundred very small sensors and lamps and a like number of wires.
Clearly, this was not practical, and the "parallel pixel" scheme for television was abandon.
Then, first mechanical then electronic scanning was invented, and the rest is history.
(By the way, sequential scanning represents the first application of video compression, albeit in the time domain.)
Now comes a very interesting development by...
By Alfred Poor • Mar 31 2006, 1:00pm
TheStreet reported yesterday that SpatiaLight’s stock on NASDAQ was up 20% on news that the company has shipped LCoS imagers to LG Electronics and Thinktek Optronics.
According to the report, company representatives promised two weeks ago that they would ship 1,000 imagers within 30 days.
It’s now two weeks later, and they say that they’ve [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 30 2006, 1:00pm
On Tuesday, I was in New York City for Panasonic’s consumer electronics product line show.
One of the announcements that they made was that before the end of this year, they will start shipping a 1080p plasma display that has a diagonal screen size of 103″.
Yes, that’s one hundred and three inches: more than [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 29 2006, 1:00pm
Digital video recorders — DVRs — have changed the way we watch broadcast television.
TiVo is one example, but there are other products you can buy that will do much the same thing.
It’s like a VHS recorder on steroids: enormous capacities, easy to access the recorded shows quickly, and you get to watch what [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 28 2006, 1:00pm
Q: Is the [name omitted] 37-inch LCD HDTV any good? Should I buy one?
A: This is a reasonable question to ask, but it’s one that I can’t answer.
In order to be able to tell you how good a given HDTV model is, I’d have to be able to compare it to everything else [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Mar 27 2006, 8:51pm
As with every year, this report reviews the state of HDTV technology and the industry behind it.
The information is up-to-date as of March 2006 and includes future products announced at January's International CES (Consumer Electronics Show).
Most publications only show current DTV products with few specifications.
They exclude equipment expected in the medium-term future, and they do not analyze the market to guide the reader in making the right choice.
Hundreds of products are included in this report, with specifications and features intended to facilitate comparisons with other models, brands, and technologies.
By Alfred Poor • Mar 27 2006, 1:00pm
Europe looks to be the bellwether in digital entertainment once again.
Both Universal Picture and Warner Brothers have announced plans to make major movies available for download at the same time as the DVD version is released for retail sales.
The studios hope that this approach will help stem the tide of piracy, just as [...]
By Dale Cripps • Mar 25 2006, 6:41am
THAT'S WHEN I DISCOVERED WWW.YOUTUBE.COM
Without notice my HDTV died.
What is there to do but turn misfortune into good so I decided that I would bite the bullet and 'YIPPY YAHOOO!' get a new HDTV with all those new goodies, like HDMI (and a bigger screen)and 1080p.
I'm excited again!
So, I went shopping ...
on the net.
I soon tired from the confusions that all consumers now face and for relief punched up the news.
After the usual disheartening reports about Iraq I sought refuge and went to www.movies.com
to see what was showing locally.
Nothing tempted me so I extended my search for some light entertainment on the net.
That's when I discovered www.Youtube.com
Now we are not talking HDTV here, but the future for HDTV programming is more than likely incubating there.
So, it's more than a worthy side trip that I hope you will take with me in this piece.
By Alfred Poor • Mar 24 2006, 1:00pm
Microsoft made the news this week over a new deal with Germany’s Deutsche Telekom.
Starting this summer, Microsoft TV software will be used to deliver television programming and video on demand over a VDSL Internet Protocol network.
According to a Reuters report, the service is scheduled to be available in 50 German cities by the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 23 2006, 1:00pm
Sony recently made it official and announced delays in their Blu-ray drive shipments.
Now the other shoe has dropped, and the HD DVD camp has a delay of their own.
Warner Home Video was supposed to ship the first HD DVD titles last week, but that’s now put off until April.
And only three of [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 22 2006, 1:00pm
Who says that there’s not enough HDTV programming out there? VOOM HD Networks has an HD channel just for gamers.
Gameplay HD is available on the DISH Network, and features original programming, coverage of gaming tournaments, and news about the gaming world that include a show produced by CNET Network’s GameSpot.
This leads me to [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 21 2006, 1:00pm
Will 1080i sources look a lot better on the 1080p TV? Will DVDs and SD TV actually look better on the 720p TV? While I will watch some HDTV and DVD movies, the majority will be SD, as that is what is currently available.
1080i should look better on a 1080p display than on a [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 20 2006, 1:00pm
Earlier this month, a company named Microtune announced a new chip.
The MT2131 actually incorporates three separate tuners on a single chip just 7 mm square: analog NTSC, digital ATSC, and Digital Cable Ready.
NTSC is the standard analog broadcast signal, ATSC is the new digital broadcast signal, and Digital Cable Ready means that you [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 17 2006, 1:00pm
Flexible displays remain an elusive but appealing concept.
Universal Display Corporation is one of the leading developers of OLED technology, and they recently demonstrated a display fabricated on metal foil.
OLEDs emit light like a standard picture-tube CRT television, so there are no viewing angle limitations or pixel response speed problems that you get with [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 16 2006, 1:00pm
VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association, came into being to solve some thorny compatibility problems in the computer display business.
Over the years, the group has managed to create standards — and make them stick – in a variety of areas from resolutions to cable connectors to flat panel testing.
One quiet standard is the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 15 2006, 1:00pm
CORRECTION: I made an error and said it was JVC dropping their LCoS, when in fact it is LG (as I correctly wrote about before).
I have fixed this post, and appreciate all the messages from the readers who caught my mistake.
Last week, I wrote about LG dropping their new LCoS rear-projection televisions from [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 14 2006, 1:00pm
A survey of Internet users shows that they are interested in getting video content from the Internet.
A third expressed interest in Google Video and more than 40 percent found Yahoo! Go to be appealing.
Most wanted to view content on a computer or laptop, but nearly as many wanted to use a television.
By Shane Sturgeon • Mar 13 2006, 4:08pm
DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service announced today it launched local high definition TV channels via its satellite TV service to customers in Kansas City and its 30 surrounding counties.
The following local TV channels will be available: ABC Ch.
9 (KMBC), CBS Ch.
5 (KCTV), NBC Ch.
41 (KSHB) and FOX Ch.
By Alfred Poor • Mar 13 2006, 1:00pm
Do you want a really big HDTV image? If you’re in Las Vegas this week, maybe you can get into the NEC exhibit at the ShoWest 2006 conference at the Bally’s and Paris Hotels.
The company will be showing their STARUS line of projectors.
The top of the line unit is capable of displaying an [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 10 2006, 1:00pm
LCoS is the technology that Raymond Soneira of DisplayMate Technologies has picked as the new gold standard for display quality.
The success of Sony’s SXRD rear-projection models certainly indicates that a lot of people agree with him.
JVC’s D-ILA and Syntax-Brillian’s LCoS displays also look great.
But the road is not smooth for LCoS technology.
By Alfred Poor • Mar 9 2006, 1:00pm
I’ve said before that improved compression such as MPEG4 H.264 make it possible — even practical — to put high-definition full-length movies on a standard red-laser DVD.
The complaint from the movie houses is that this doesn’t leave enough room for all the other things (that I don’t watch) such as director’s commentary, alternate [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 8 2006, 1:00pm
Okay, I know it’s not polite to gloat, especially in a setting such as this where I control the content.
But something happened last Saturday that made me very happy.
As I walked down to the mailbox, I saw two big trucks out on the street, with a giant spool of cable between them.
I asked [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Mar 7 2006, 7:41pm
I continue to be amazed at the growing number of input jacks one finds on the back (and front) of today's HDTV sets.
This all started in the mid 1980's with the advent of the first audio/video components such as VCR's and early videodisc players.
These devices gave rise to the "monitor/receiver" with one or two sets of composite (Right, Left, Video) RCA jacks.
With the introduction of S-Video, another jack was added along with audio output jacks for the rising audio receiver market.
The final addition to the analog complement was the "component" inputs (Y, Pr, Pb or YUV).
This interface allowed the coupling of the wider bandwidth video information
By Alfred Poor • Mar 7 2006, 1:00pm
I’ve been one of the skeptics about television on cell phones.
A big one.
And once again, it appears that the world is only too happy to prove me wrong.
Insight Media’s Ken Werner reported in last Friday’s “Daily Outlook” that a Nokia-sponsored in England shows that people love to watch the telly on [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Mar 6 2006, 5:09pm
DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service announced today it will launch local high definition TV channels via its satellite TV service to customers in the following seven cities including: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Washington, D.C..
By Alfred Poor • Mar 6 2006, 1:00pm
A number of sources are reporting on an internal memo from LG Electronics that cites plans to drop the BD199 Blu-ray DVD player from the company’s list of products to be released this spring.
The memo reportedly indicates that the company may develop a dual-format high-definition DVD player, but that would be much later in [...]
By Alfred Poor • Mar 3 2006, 1:00pm
The word is that the new high-definition disc players are not going show HD content over a component video connection.
The problem is that this is an analog connection, and there is no way to provide digital copy protection.
In other words, the movie studios are afraid that you’ll capture the HD stream and burn [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Mar 2 2006, 4:12pm
DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service announced today it will launch local high-definition TV channels via its satellite TV service to customers in Denver and its 61 surrounding counties.
The following local TV channels will be available: ABC Ch.
7 (KMGH), CBS Ch.
4 (KCNC) and FOX Ch.
By Alfred Poor • Mar 2 2006, 1:00pm
…if you can complete this sales slogan that you’re showing your age.
The Westinghouse banner in the TV market is being carried by Westinghouse Digital, a company with close ties to Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), a leading Taiwanese LCD manufacturer.
A recent report by a market research firm puts two Westinghouse models in the list [...]
By Ben Drawbaugh • Mar 1 2006, 4:12pm
Everyone knows that it's possible to watch TV with an antenna, but most people today don't understand why anyone would want to.
We have all read the horror stories about how difficult it can be to receive a good OTA (Over the Air) signal, especially with DTV.
There are a few benefits to OTA today that we didn't have before the US started the DTV transition.
Some of the best picture quality possible can be obtained with an antenna, at least until High Definition DVDs are released.
It's FREE, it's recordable on some computers like Windows Media Center Edition and it works sometimes when cable and Satellite doesn't.
By Alfred Poor • Mar 1 2006, 1:00pm
Don’t get your hopes up too high, yet, but Sony Pictures has announced a release date for the first Blu-ray HD movies.
These will include 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, and House of Flying Daggers.
The magic day is May 23, 2006.
Why that day? That’s the day that Samsung’s Blu-ray player is due [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Feb 28 2006, 6:12pm
Many of you are eagerly anticipating the arrival of HD packaged media.
While HD media has been available for purchase in one form or another for many years (D-VHS/D-Theater and WMVHD), HD DVD promises to be the largest distribution to date within months of its release.
This article will cover the basics of HD DVD audio and video, gives a brief overview of the two Toshiba models arriving in March, and concludes with a listing of HD DVD movies that will be available upon release (and soon thereafter).
By Alfred Poor • Feb 28 2006, 1:00pm
With broadband and cable and satellite and digital terrestrial broadcast and IPTV making HD content available, who would think we need another method of transmission? Apparently, the Walt Disney Company does.
They created MovieBeam, a new service that takes advantage of unused portions of analog television station transmissions.
It’s available in 29 major markets in [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 27 2006, 1:00pm
A number of news sources have reported the results from a new survey by Harris Interactive on the subject of IPTV.
More than half of the Americans polled said that they had heard of IPTV, and nearly one in five said that they’d sign up for it right away if they could send the images [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 24 2006, 1:00pm
SED – Surface-conduction Electron-emitter Display — is a new technology being jointly developed by Toshiba and Canon.
The panels are thinner than an LCD because they create their own light and don’t need a backlight.
The light comes from phosphors at the front layer of the panel, so the picture looks a lot like a [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 23 2006, 1:00pm
According to a report on the NewYorkBusiness.com site, NBC reports that their NBCOlympics.com Web site has had 261.1 million pages hits since it opened.
More importantly, it has delivered 6.4 million video streams totalling 72,000 hours of video.
This is double the amount of video streamed during the Athens Olympics.
At a time when Olympic broadcast [...]
By Dale Cripps • Feb 23 2006, 6:59am
Just around the corner is the long-awaited launch of the HD DVD, one of two competing high-definition formats for the DVD optical disk.
The stakes could not be higher for the movie business, less so for the manufacturers, and a hair pulling nightmare for the ones asked to finally pay for it all - the consumers.
I interviewed Mark Knox last week.
You will find below my lead-in.
Mark has the task of explaining to you, as well as the motion picture industry, why the Toshiba-backed HD DVD is the right choice.
The current backdrop for this launch ...
The movie business needs a smashing success using a new distribution format to restore expansion and youthful vigor to all parts of the business.
They are presently plagued (in good economic times too) by a sagging box office returns and a flat-to-declining packaged goods business.
I will not speak of the gamming side of entertainment here for while some ownership is common it is not entirely integrated with the movie culture.
The "collap ...
By Shane Sturgeon • Feb 22 2006, 8:58pm
Continuing to widely expand its local high-definition (HD) programming services, DIRECTV, Inc.
(NYSE: DTV), the nation's leading digital television service provider, today named the next 24 U.S.
markets that will receive local HD programming.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 22 2006, 1:00pm
Terrestrial Digital has released its new Lacrosse digital TV antenna.
Designed for mid- to long-range reception — up to 40 miles – and available with an optional signal amplifier, the antenna is designed for multi-directional applications across a 135-degree range.
The unit looks like a pair of books stacked one on the other, and is [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 21 2006, 1:00pm
I recently read a report from a Merrill Lynch analyst, who makes a strong case for suspicions that Sony may miss its target launch of the PlayStation 3 this summer.
The Merril Lynch estimate for the bill of material costs this summer will total $900.
Those are the component costs; it would have to sell [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 20 2006, 4:19pm
Q: I bought your book and read the section on how far to sit from an HDTV.
According to your example, I should sit closer to a 53-inch HDTV than the distance recommended by another site suggests.
I realize that you take the resolution of the HDTV into account and the others don’t.
Does that [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Feb 17 2006, 7:51pm
A quiet revolution is taking place in the digital corner of the Consumer Electronics Industry.
That revolution is the rapid adoption of the MPEG-4* based AVC (Advanced Video Coding) standard.
Driven by the increasing commercial demand for more channels of programming at the same or improved video quality in the limited bandwidth available to service providers, AVC is the natural solution.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 17 2006, 1:00pm
Our youngest child is almost a doctor, so it has been a long time since we’ve had Saturday morning cartoons playing at our house.
Yet I confess that I’ve always had a fascination with animated programming.
As they have progressed from Crusader Rabbit to Yogi Bear to Rug Rats to Digimon, there have been interesting [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 16 2006, 1:00pm
I’ll be the Featured Technical Speaker at the Trenton Computer Festival on April 22, 2006, at the College of New Jersey in Ewing Township, New Jersey.
The show started in 1976, making this the oldest computer show in the country.
There are two days of programs and an enormous computer and electronic flea market [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Feb 16 2006, 12:18pm
Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: DISH) and its DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service announced today it will launch local high definition TV channels via its satellite TV service to customers in Chicago and the surrounding counties.
The following local TV channels will be available: ABC Ch.
7 (WLS), CBS Ch.
2 (WBBM), NBC Ch.
5 (WMAQ) and FOX Ch.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 15 2006, 1:00pm
Dish Network customers in New York City and Los Angeles can now receive local station programming in HD from the service.
The service plans to increase that to a total of 50 markets by the end of this year.
HD programming packages start at about $50 per month.
In order to increase the number of HD [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 14 2006, 1:00pm
Warner Home Video has announced that it’s taking orders for the first three titles to be released in HD-DVD format: Batman Begins, Million Dollar Baby, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
These are slated to ship at the end of March and early April.
Pricing has not been announced, as far as I [...]
By Alfred Poor • Feb 13 2006, 1:00pm
A number of sources have reported that Toshiba will start shipping the new Qosmio G30 notebook computer this month.
It appears that it will initially ship in Japan, but German sources indicate that it will be sold there with a promotion that includes a pair of FIFA World Cup tickets.
The notebook has a 1,900 by [...]
By Dale Cripps • Feb 11 2006, 7:18am
There are those among us, even here at HDTV Magazine, who feel an injustice coming from the "draconian" copy protection measures being imposed upon us by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
We tend to think of the reason for those measures as not real and certainly disassociated from ourselves.
The following MPAA press release from Asia dated February 7, 2006 illustrates the piracy problem in that region of the world.
The problem is not shrinking.
With cheaper home use equipment pirates plunder.
Not until the problem withers away through our collective self/social-discipline will copy protection measures be slackened.
I know we will not argue over the value to an economic system of copyright laws.
We may bicker over the length of a copyright grant and the language governing "fair use," but no thinking person would seek the end of copyright laws.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 10 2006, 1:00pm
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) announced last week that it will be offering a “short course” on how to measure flat panel displays.
The courses are three-days long, and will be held in Boulder, Colorado.
The fee is $2,000.
Why do I mention this? The first point is that it is difficult to [...]
By Dale Cripps • Feb 9 2006, 5:55pm
ALSEA, OR - February 9, 2005.
1080p content or not, many consumers decided to take the "future proofing" route when selecting an MD RPTV in the Q4 2005, providing the momentum for another annual increase in sales for 2005.
This trend represents a distinct reversal of the one expressed at the DisplaySearch conference held last year in Beverly Hills.
At that time most manufacturers were writing off the rear projector business.
Quixel Research's MicroDisplay Rear Projection Market Review for the fourth quarter 2005 reports, however, that 1080p resolution MD RPTVs accounted for...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 9 2006, 3:00pm
The following article originally appeared in HDTVetc magazine in their April 2004 issue.
For your convenience, and to facilitate the understanding of the reading of this complex subject, please refer to page the end of the article where you will find a graphical representation of the application of the DTV Rulings and Agreements.
I would like to indicate that the content has an historical value dated back to April 2004, but is still very close to the current situation, except for some events that have taken place after the article was published.
One of which was the over-turning of the "Broadcast Flag" FCC mandate, where the court ruled that the FCC had over-stepped its authority.
This subject has been covered by the press and other magazines over time in bits and pieces.
In order to provide you with a complete perspective, I have prepared this simplified analysis of the approved FCC rulings, the areas not ruled on yet, and how their integration could affect you as an HDTV adopter.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 9 2006, 1:00pm
1080p is the higher resolution for HDTV (with 720p being the other choice), and is my pick for future-proofing your HDTV purchase.
Most content is already in 1080i format already, which should show better on 1080p displays than 720p if the data is handled properly.
Most HDTV plasma panels are only 720p resolution (or worse, [...]
By Dale Cripps • Feb 9 2006, 12:30am
ALSEA OR-February 8, 2006 - President George Bush signed legislation into law today that set February 17, 2009 as the date when U.S.
broadcasters must end their transmission of analog television signals.
Some in the press have called it the "end of television as we know it." Others see it as a dawning of a new era.
The legislation also allocates up to $1.5 billion to reimburse consumers who purchase digital-to-analog converter boxes, so their analog TV sets continue to work after the shut-off.
The legislation excluded a provision that would have allowed cable operators to degrade a broadcaster's HDTV signals to "standard definition," and in doing denying consumers the means to see the highest-quality digital programming.
"With today's action" said Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro, "President Bush set...
By Alfred Poor • Feb 8 2006, 1:00pm
Verizon is making news by rolling out its Fios TV service in various test markets around the country.
But many people don’t realize that IPTV — television over the Internet – is already well-established in some places.
“now Broadband” is a service based in Hong Kong that serves more than 500,000 subscribers, mostly in southeast [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 7 2006, 3:00pm
Some people like to know the HDTV subject in detail before making their purchase; they research an overwhelming volume of technical background and specifications, they feel as earning a PhD in HDTV.
However, if you are among the majority of people that want a modern TV and are confused when trying to understand HDTV, you could always apply the simple approach of going to the corner store, amaze your eyes, and sign the check.
Is it worth to know well what are you buying? Let us look at both approaches.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 7 2006, 1:00pm
Organic LEDs — OLEDs — hold the promise for inexpensive, thin, low-power displays that are emissive and fast, so you get an image like a CRT with no viewing angle or response limitations.
The technical hurdles are not small, however.
Blue-emitting materials don’t last as long as red or green, so displays shift toward yellow [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Feb 6 2006, 6:39pm
I first saw a DLP (Digital Light Processor)* demonstration in 1989 at a Society for Information Display (SID) conference in San Jose.
The domo was given by Texas Instruments, Inc., the inventor of the DLP.
Demonstrations at SID conferences represent the very cutting edges of new display technologies.
Therefore, the demos are comparatively crude exhibitions of concept prototypes.
However, in this instance the DLP demo was particularly crude.
It exhibited a comparatively dim, low-resolution projected monochrome image with several black areas caused by "stuck" pixels.
Of all the prototypes shown, DLP seemed to have the least promise.
A few years later, at the urging of Dr.
Jim Carnes, then Director of the David Sarnoff Research Center, I traveled to Washington, DC, to see another DLP demo at a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) conference
By Dale Cripps • Feb 6 2006, 6:02pm
EchoStar Communications Corporation (Nasdaq:DISH) announced today that its DISH Network(TM) satellite TV service is teaming for the second year with NBC Olympics to create the NBC Interactive TV (ITV) mosaic, a multiple picture-in-picture showcase designed to deliver an array of NBC Universal's network assets, including the channels that will carry the 2006 Olympic Winter Games coverage from Feb.
10 through Feb.
New to this year's mosaic is the NBC Olympics Showcase, providing viewers with access to information such as medal counts, updated television listings and select athlete biographies.
DISH Network also announced today that it will broadcast the NBC Olympic coverage in high definition available to all DISH Network HD viewers.
By Dale Cripps • Feb 6 2006, 5:18pm
November and December 2005 digital television sales to dealers rose 35 percent to 2.3 million units over the same period in 2004, according to figures released by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
By Dale Cripps • Feb 6 2006, 4:55pm
Menlo Park, California - February 6, 2006.
Pacific Media Associates (PMA), the global market information experts on large-screen displays, reports that December 2005 sales for flat panel televisions in North America rose 22% from the prior month's levels, and 112% compared with December 2004's sales.
Their Flat Panel Display Tracking Service also shows that revenues rose 17% compared with November, while the average street price fell 4%.
Compared with the previous December, 2005 showed a revenue increase of 57%, along with a dramatic 26% decline in average street price.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 6 2006, 1:00pm
Steve Berger has been a TV technician for 34 years, so when he wrote to respond to my article last week about “Satellite Built-In?“, I listened.
I’ve condensed his remarks here:
I noticed you thought that including a satellite receiver inside a TV was a good idea.
Adding decryption hardware to a TV makes the set [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 3 2006, 1:44pm
The following article originally appeared in HDTVetc magazine in their August 2004 issue.
It contains product information that is likewise, dated to mid-2004.
The products in this article were "New" when originally published and should obviously not be considered as such when reading today.
Although this article has some historical value, the primary value is the analysis to reach a forecasted vision of future market conditions (which eventually came to pass).
This assisted many consumers in making more informed purchasing decisions.
Reading the Analysis and Conclusions section is almost like time-travel: The historic vision has now transformed itself into current events and conditions ...
mostly (we are still waiting for some of them to happen).
By Alfred Poor • Feb 3 2006, 1:00pm
Interference from other devices can be a problem with electronics, including HDTVs.
When you run a varying electrical current through a wire or circuit, it can make radio waves.
(Just hold a transistor AM radio near a computer if you want proof.) And these waves can create electrical currents when they hit other wires.
By Thomas Fletcher • Feb 2 2006, 1:50pm
This final part of Tom Fletcher's three-part series (begun Monday) highlights the HD Acquisition Television Show Productions of 2005.
The easy-to-read table contains the Network, Show Name, and Camera/Recording Format used.
Most of these entries may be known by you to be in HD, but your almost guaranteed to discover a few new ones.
There are a few more shows I'll be watching now that I know they're in HD.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 2 2006, 1:00pm
I recently wrote about televisions that will have satellite service receivers built-in.
A company named Digitrex is taking a different approach, and one that I think may ultimately be more successful.
They are building network support into their LCD HDTVs.
They come ready to connect to both wired and wireless (802.11b/g WiFi) networks.
They are [...]
By Dale Cripps • Feb 1 2006, 8:46pm
"Olympic Ice" debuts on Universal HD providing a daily all-access pass inside the Olympic Winter Games' most popular sport - figure skating
Burbank, CA, February 1, 2006 - NBC Universal Cable will be featuring over 100 hours of the Winter Olympics from Torino, beginning Friday, February 10th and airing through Sunday February 26th.
Universal HD will feature Men's and Women's Ice Hockey coverage and "Olympic Ice" - all in High Definition and 5.1 Dolby surround sound.
By Thomas Fletcher • Feb 1 2006, 1:51pm
This second part of Tom Fletcher's three-part series (begun yesterday) highlights the Feature Films Shot or Released in HD in 2005 (in-whole or in-part).
The easy-to-read table contains the movie Title, Director, Director of Photography, and Recording Format used.
Put these at the top of your HD-DVD and Blu-ray lists this summer, as they'll be some of the best money can buy in terms of picture quality.
By Alfred Poor • Feb 1 2006, 1:00pm
To paraphrase the wine ads of many years ago, we will serve no books before their time.
But at last, our next publication is ready.
As of today, Professor Poor’s Guide to Buying HDTV is available! This ebook is for sale online at http://hdtvbuyguide.com/BuyGuide, and you can download it immediately after buying it.
We’re even [...]
By Thomas Fletcher • Jan 31 2006, 10:00pm
In this article, the first in a three-part series, Tom Fletcher gives us a comprehensive overview of "HDTV in 2005".
It places on the calendar those events which have left an historical echo in our national transition to superior television.
Highlighting this progressive report on the health of HDTV are new HD channel launches, increased HD movie production, 1080p TV's, new HD cameras (both consumer and professional), and the arrival of HD console gaming (Xbox).
The year-end numbers for Digital Cinema and HDTV penetration are sure to impress those who still think that HDTV is slow to catch on.
A must-read for those with a careful eye on the HDTV phenomena.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 31 2006, 1:00pm
Earlier this month, Humax announced its intention to develop a line of LCD TVs that will include tuners compatible with the DirecTV digital satellite service.
This means that these TVs will not require a separate “set-top box” in order to receive the satellite service signal.
The compact displays will open up new opportunities for DirecTV [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 30 2006, 1:00pm
Last week, CBS and Warner Brothers announced that they will combine the UPN and WB broadcast networks to create a joint venture that will be called CW.
The new network will start broadcasting in the fall of 2006, at which time the other two networks will shut down.
CW programs will include some of the [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 27 2006, 1:00pm
IPTV – Internet Protocol TV — holds out the promise of “what you want to watch, where you want to watch it, when you want to watch it.” And it continues to be the hot topic of the year.
The latest development is a new dramatic series developed by CBS and sponsored by Pontiac.
By Ed Milbourn • Jan 26 2006, 4:37pm
Plasma should not work! At least it should not work as a TV display system.
At best, it should provide a nice, even light surface - suitable for decorative effect, and maybe, with a strong south wind, work as some type of test display.
That was the thinking about thirty years ago.
But today, "Plasma" (a.k.a.
Gas Discharge) is one of two technologies presently being employed for flat panel TV displays - the other being LCD.
Although plasma displays have been around for several years, only relatively recently has this technology been applied to television.
Earlier Plasma uses were relegated to flat alphanumeric displays, but other, more efficient technologies such as LCD, LED et al have replaced Plasma in these applications.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 26 2006, 1:00pm
I don’t report on it much here because it gets pretty esoteric, but I’m fascinated with the new display technologies that are under development in the labs.
I’ve met with researchers who have found out how to eliminate the polarizing layer from LCD panels (which in turn makes the panels much more efficient), and I [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jan 25 2006, 3:00pm
The cable and consumer electronics industries are moving towards integrating over-the-air (OTA) and cable HD tuners into HDTV sets.
It is certainly good news that the cable industry is finally getting on board of HDTV.
Since about 70% of TV viewers subscribe to cable, this has the potential of accelerating the adoption of HDTV in general, at a pace we have not seen over the last 5 years.
The integration of tuners into TVs seems to be an attractive proposition for everyone.
This article analyzes the subject to help you decide what is best for you.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 25 2006, 1:00pm
Digital satellite service providers Dish Network and DirecTV have both come out with “family-conscious” programming plans.
DishFamily will have 32 channels, and DirecTV Total Choice Family offers more than 40 including local broadcasts.
These offerings may have been accelerated by Congressional hearings into possible legistlation that could regulate programming content.
The industry also is going to [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 24 2006, 1:00pm
Okay, CES 2006 ended more than two weeks ago, and I’m finally getting to this story… which should give you some sense of how important I think it is in the grand scheme of things.
But here goes: Panasonic showed a prototype 103″ plasma 1080p HDTV.
Yes, this is gigantic, and an impressive feat.
The panel [...]
By Dale Cripps • Jan 24 2006, 1:22am
BURBANK, CA - ESPN Zone, the nation's top sports dining and entertainment concept, has kicked off a multi-million dollar conversion of all eight restaurants to bring in the High Definition (HD) viewing experience.
ESPN Zone restrauants can be found in New York, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
The good news is that they will be converted to HD in time for Super Bowl XL, which ABC-TV carries on Sunday, Feb.
5 at 6 pm ET.
The remaining ESPN Zone locations in Chicago, Anaheim, Atlanta and Denver will be converted to HD by the end of 2006.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jan 23 2006, 3:00pm
Following with the subject of 1080p, this is the second part of the series of articles about the technology.
Today we will look behind the curtain of how Brillian had implemented their 1080p magic into their recently released LCoS rear projection set.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 23 2006, 1:00pm
There’s a new voice in the conflict over competing high-density blue-laser DVD standards.
The HD Disc Consumer Advocacy Alliance has weighed in with a manifesto that declares that supporters of HD-DVD and Blu-ray “must set their differences aside and work to find a compromise for a single, unified high-definition optical disc format.”
I find this demand [...]
By Dale Cripps • Jan 23 2006, 6:16am
The month marks both the fifth anniversary of the National Geographic Channel as well as the birth of NGC-HD, the much anticipated high-definition version.
You can now receive all NGC in HDTV...
well, you can if you do your part in calling both local cable and satellite operators with a demand that they carry it.
(Call 1-877-77-NGCHD for more information).
It's been our tradition to interview the network brass who have had the courage to launch a HD channel.
For the second time in our history we called upon Mr.
John Ford, Executive Vice President NGC-HD programming.
John shouldered much of the responsibilities as he engineered the launch of NGC-HD.
I say "for the second time" because he is in the rarefied class of people who have launched more than one HDTV network, his first being the Discovery HD Theater back in 2001.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 20 2006, 1:00pm
The Consumer Electronics Association is the group that puts on CES — the Consumer Electronics Show — every January in Las Vegas.
And the group just released the results of a study conducted along with the Sports Video Group.
The results weren’t earth-shaking, but it’s interesting to see numbers that support the conclusions that many [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 19 2006, 1:00pm
A 50″ TV takes up a lot of space, no matter what technology you use.
And they get pretty heavy; a plasma panel that size can weigh 100 pounds or more.
Imagine an HDTV that disappears when you’re not watching it.
It can be done.
Instead of using glass substrates to create the panels, you can [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jan 18 2006, 3:55pm
What are 1080p manufacturers doing on their current 1080p sets? Are they really implementing all that 1080p can and should do? Do people need all that 1080p can do? When? How could one find out if a set is actually suited to be ready for near future 1080p media, such as Hi Def DVD coming in a few months?
I will cover all those subjects gradually in short articles, but first let us mention a couple of key points.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 18 2006, 1:00pm
The HDTV market is a boom town.
When a market grows this large and this rapidly — with every indication that it will continue to grow — then there will always be new players drawn to the action.
Some will be big companies that are already well-established in other segments who want to expand into [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 17 2006, 1:00pm
One of my favorite jokes goes something like this:
Q: How can you make a small fortune in the HDTV business?
A: Well, first you start with a large fortune, and ….
Given the steep competition between technologies, and between manufacturers within the same technology segment, many business strategies seem to be a race to see who can [...]
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jan 16 2006, 9:09pm
You have been hearing about HDTV and decided to start looking for one.
A friend of yours reminds you that the general knowledge about buying regular TVs is not quite enough for selecting this type of product, so you quickly review what you read about widescreen, black bars, digital tuners and resolution, and hope things would clear out at the store.
You get into the store and suddenly see a dozen HDTV demo sets staring at you.
A salesperson is approaching you, the person's face is familiar; the salesperson is the one that sold you the new dishwasher two weeks ago, now the person is selling HDTVs with authority.
At that point you start feeling worried, but you hang in there.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 16 2006, 1:00pm
[And Why Should You Care?]
In order to fit a typical 90-minute movie on a single DVD (plus all those director’s commentaries, out-takes, deleted scenese, alternate endings, and other bonus material), the sound and images had to be compressed.
MPEG2 is the name of the standard used to compress the video and audio on movie DVDs.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 13 2006, 1:00pm
Wow — where did this week go? I’ve been digging through all the information I picked up at CES in Las Vegas (plus catching up on all the work that accumulates when you’re away from your desk for a week).
And I still haven’t given a summary of the HDTV Business Conference that was held [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 12 2006, 1:00pm
One of the big themes at CES 2006 was IPTV.
Digital TV transmissions already take digitized image data and send it out as packets, so it’s a small step to apply the Internet Protocol — IP — to the process so that you can use standard Internet and network transmission systems to move programming from [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 12 2006, 2:22am
Sometimes a little rejection is a good thing.
And sometimes a lot is even better! While traipsing around the various mammoth exhibit halls at the Las Vegas Convention Center, I passed the DNP exhibit.
DNP is Dai Nippon Printing, and is one of the leading makers of display screens for front projectors.
I got [...]
By Ed Milbourn • Jan 11 2006, 9:21pm
The International Consumer Electronics Show (a.k.a.
CES) certainly lives up to all of the superlatives attributed to it.
The CES is arguably the largest commercial trade exhibition in the world by any metric applied.
Virtually every consumer electronics device that may be marketed in the near future is displayed.
It addition, and equally important, powerful commercial agreements are consummated, deals are brokered, and carriers and reputations are established or diminished.
It is a wonderful and wondrous example of international capitalism at work and in full bloom.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 10 2006, 2:49pm
Traditional DVDs using a red laser and MPEG2 compression do not have the storage capacity for a full-length movie in HD format.
Using a blue laser with shorter wavelength light allows designers to use smaller pits and thus store more data on a disc the same size as a standard DVD or CD.
Two camps [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 9 2006, 1:00pm
I just got back from a week at the Consumer Electronics Show, which is a mammoth annual conference on a scale that is only matched by its location: Las Vegas.
I saw and learned tons at the show, and will be sharing some of the highlights over the next week or so.
It’s clear that the [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jan 9 2006, 5:02am
Toshiba is set to ship its HD DVD laptop.
Available in March with a HD-DVD option, they expect it to sell in the $3000 range.
LG is working on an STB to be used in the government subsidy program.
The target price point currently is $50, of which $40 would be subsidy with a $10 consumer co-pay.
Audio Authority is showing the first in its new line of HD components: the 1166.
This is a 6x1 DVI w/HDCP switcher with component video, digital audio, and stero audio.
By Shane Sturgeon • Jan 9 2006, 4:08am
DirecTV has a new line of receivers hitting the market.
Among them is an HD DVR with dual tuners, capable of buffering 90 minutes of live TV, or recording 30 hours of HD in MPEG-2, or up to 50 hours of HD in MPEG-4, or up to 200 hours of SD.
This will be available "mid-year".
Current Local HD channels are available in 12 markets, with 24 more coming in the April/May time frame.
By Shane Sturgeon • Jan 8 2006, 8:36am
Windows Vista Media Center is coming, and there will be an upgrade path ...
Also, it will support HD-DVD AND Blu-Ray?
TDK is highlighting their array of Blu-Ray products, including a 100GB disc.
By Shane Sturgeon • Jan 6 2006, 5:39pm
The Sony Blu-Ray products, when they do finally reach the market, will be fully backward-compatible (DVD, CD, etc ...
all read/write formats supported).
There will be 20 titles available initially and will be available for ordering in March.
Dish announced that it is adding 5 new Voom channels to its HD lineup as well as 2 additional HD channels: ESPN2 and Universal HD.
So as of February 1st, there will be 25 HD channels available on Dish Network with an expected price point of $20 per month.
By Alfred Poor • Jan 6 2006, 1:00pm
CEO and Vice Chairman of LG Electronics, S.S.
Kim, recently stated that he intends to make his company first in the worldwide television market.
According to a press release by SpatiaLight, LG will use SpatiaLight’s LCoS imagers to create a 71″ rear-projection HDTV.
This is interesting news, but SpatiaLight’s release contained a startling statement: “LG expects [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 5 2006, 1:00pm
Now that TiVo has become a verb in the English language — “I’ll TiVo that show because I have meeting that night.” — the other company that helped launch digital video recording (DVR) is rarely mentioned.
As a result, Replay TV has restructured its operations, and is focusing on DVR software instead of hardware.
The company [...]
By Shane Sturgeon • Jan 4 2006, 3:24pm
Even though the CES doesn't officially start until tomorrow, the day before is typically a day of press conferences, and today was no exception.
We did not have the opportunity to cover all of these conferences, but here are some items of note from those that we were able to take in:
By Alfred Poor • Jan 4 2006, 1:00pm
Instead of connecting the televisions in your home to a cable or satellite service, or to a rooftop antenna, you may soon just connect them to a computer network.
ED Digital is a new company that is introducing its Digitrex line of HDTVs that work with Microsoft’s Windows Media Connect technology so that you can [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 3 2006, 1:00pm
EchoStar announced on New Year’s Day that they were dropping Lifetime’s channels from its DISH Network satellite service after 10 years.
According to the press release from EchoStar, Lifetime “demanded an exorbitant price increase of 76 percent” and Echostar responded by saying “NO to Lifetime’s strong-arm tactics.” Lifetime’s Web site doesn’t discuss the contract or [...]
By Alfred Poor • Jan 2 2006, 1:00pm
Every year, January gives journalists a fat pitch over the plate, and they can’t resist swinging at the chance to declare that the coming year will be The Year of The Whatever! This is especially true for technology topics.
One year it was networks, then it was WiFi.
For some, last year it was the [...]