Archives For HDTV

Doing The 1080p

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I was wrong. Just a few weeks ago I speculated that we wouldn’t be able to purchase a next generation hybrid disc player in 2007. Heck, I even saw a glass enclosed model at CES but refused to believe it would make it to retail any time soon. But the rumors started that LG Blu-ray HD-DVD hybrid players (BH100) would be available at Best Buy 2/4, then a unit showed up in someone’s home, and yesterday Gizmodo posted a hands on review.

I had figured this project (and others like it) would be derailed, that to sell a device like this a vendor would need endorsements from both consortiums — something I didn’t see happening this early in the game. However, it looks like the player is in stores despite the lack of support for many HD-DVD interactive features. I suppose Toshiba’s HD-DVD camp could try to block this, but I dont’ see them stuffing it back into Pandora’s box.

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SED Back On Track?

Dave Zatz —  January 12, 2007

Reports today indicate Canon will buy out Toshiba’s stake in their joint SED flat panel display business. The hope is that this will clear the way in a patent dispute with Nano-Proprietary, who asserts their technology is licensed solely to Canon. The ongoing tiff prevented SED sets from making an appearance at CES this week.

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Dave and Mari watch wheel well TV.
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Yesterday, we took a look back at 2006 and concluded high definition reaching a critical mass was the story of the year. For 2007, instead of forecasting the obvious (everyone gets HDTV – for less, digital media is everywhere) or making a bunch of wild predictions (Comcast buys TiVo), Mari and I wanted to focus on two notable dates.

March 1

Come March 1, all televisions and “TV receiver equipment” produced must include a digital (ATSC) tuner. The reason this date is more significant (and more intriguing) than last years deadline to include digital tuners in large TVs is because it encompasses DVRs and placeshifting devices. In 2002 the FCC first proposed staggered tuner deadlines as we transition to DTV and published the final order (PDF) in 2005:

By this action, the Commission is modifying its rules to advance the date on which new television receivers with screen sizes 13-24″ and certain other TV receiving devices such as VCRs and digital video recorders must include the capability to receive broadcast digital television signals from the current date of July 1, 2007 to March 1, 2007. The Commission is also amending its rules to apply the digital television reception capability requirement to new receivers with screen sizes smaller than 13″ on this same schedule. The DTV reception requirement, which also often is termed the “DTV tuner requirement,” is being implemented under an approach that applies it first to large screen receivers and then progressively to smaller screen receivers and other devices over a period of several years. The modifications made herein affect the final step of this phase-in plan. With these changes, the scheduled implementation plan will provide for all new TV receiver equipment to include digital reception capability as of March 1, 2007.

Now there may be some wiggle room in this mandate… Continue Reading…

Obviously the consumer electronics industry is huge and quickly evolving, so there are numerous products, services, and trends to reflect upon for 2006. Sure we could talk about Apple adding movie downloads from iTunes, the various mergers and acquisitions, PDA phones for the masses, etc… But for me, the real momentum was in the realm of high definition. (And “You” are not the person of the year.)

The major development was the plummeting cost of large screen HDTVs. Plasmas, LCDs, and DLP rear-projection sets all dropped while we simultaneously grew more comfortable with higher price points. When non-geeks have larger, better units than I do (as observed in 2006), it’s safe to say this technology has gone mainstream. (Although, not everyone knows how to get HD programming.)

Also in 2006, the next generation of optical disc technology was released in the form of Blu-ray and HD-DVD. However, neither supplanted DVD last year and it isn’t likely they will in 2007 — due to high prices and a fragmented market. Perhaps hybrid disc technology, such as Warner’s Total HD or LG’s offering, will change the landscape… but not last year and probably not this year. Continue Reading…