Archives For HDTV

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…

The Day The HDTV Died

Davis Freeberg —  January 5, 2007

As a die hard HDTV aficionado, I normally love reading about anything that has to do with the HDTV experience. With it’s crisp picture and it’s unmatched sound quality, HDTV has the power to make even bad television entertaining. Even when I’m not watching TV, I still love researching and learning about the technology, but when I came across a recent post by the Technology Evangelist, it sent shivers down my spine. (warning: link is not safe for TV enthusiasts)

It’s New Years eve. My wife and I are snuggled up on the couch watching the ball drop. 10! 9! 8! 7! KABLAM!!! Our micro-projection HD set turns off with a loud popping noise. Immediately I fear the lamp has shattered, but I think that maybe I just sat on the remote and shut it off. Looking at the remote on the table I realize my fear came true.

As someone who watches my fair share of TV, I worry about the day when my tube finally does give out. Reading through the post, I can’t help but imagine how horrible it must have felt to suddenly know that you can’t watch anymore TV without spending the time and money to get repairs done. Right now I’ve been living without my Xbox 360 for a few weeks while repairs are being made and that has been bad enough, without my daily fix of HDTV, I’d be a raving lunatic. (or at least more raving than normal ;) ) Continue Reading…

Digital Media Bytes

Dave Zatz —  December 29, 2006

A periodic roundup of relevant news…

  • Pay for TiVo Series3 or settle for cable company DVR: Mossberg, WSJ
  • XBox up on downloads: Variety
  • HD-DVD AACS probably not cracked: Chris Lanier
  • Hands on with the Venice Project: GigaOm
  • Transfer DirecTV TiVo Lifetime service to Series3 (for $200): Weaknees


I realize that even among the people that celebrate Christmas, few celebrate it the way my family does. We have a particular gene in our DNA that leads to obscene levels of spending on Christmas presents. Yes, you could view it as rampant commercialism, but we prefer to think of it as extreme generosity.

Below is Part 1 of a list of gadgets that made it under our tree and the current status of each one:

Wheee… The Wii!

Verdict – Thumbs Up


A family friend kindly stood in line till 3 AM so my parents could provide my brother with a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. It didn’t get set up till the 26th, but it has since provided non-stop entertainment. (Too bad we don’t have a Roomba…) I’ll limit my comments to saying how much I like the feature that lets you create an avatar in your own image for Wii Sports. Here’s a thankfully-not-true-to-life rendering of my brother’s girlfriend:


Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick

Survived the Set-Up


I’ll admit, the set-up for the Pro Stick took a very long time. This was a Woot daily special and I think they were giving away old ones because the device needed several software updates. Nonetheless, the Pro Stick is awesome. I don’t have an HDTV, but I can now get free, over-the-air HD on my laptop. Plus DVR functionality. Way cool. Look for a full product review in a future post.


Still in the Box


The iRecord was a present for my husband. Think we’re into video this year? The idea here is that the iRecord will transfer video from your set-top to a portable device, like a Neuros. According to iRecord’s site, the gadget is the “world’s first H.264/AVC recorder for iPod & PSP.” I’ll let you know how it works when we get it back home.

Stay tuned for Part 2… highlighting the Dash, Squeezebox, eStarling digital photo frame, and DigiMemo.

Toshiba’s SED TV Derailed

Dave Zatz —  December 22, 2006

Wanna guess what Mari and I won’t be seeing at CES next month? Toshiba’s new SED TV. SED (surface-conduction electron-emitter display) TVs are hyped as LCD/Plasma replacements — similar cost and form factor, but with CRT picture quality. Unfortunately Toshiba’s partner in this technology, Canon, is involved in a licensing dispute with Nano-Proprietary. (Is their name a giveaway, or what?) So we’ll all wait while the lawyers and accountants get paid sort it out. According to CNET:

“The reason is neither a technical nor business issue, but we are not allowed to disclose details due to confidentiality obligation,” the note read. “Toshiba further believes that the issue will be resolved soon, and then we will be able to come back to the U.S. for a 55-inch SED demo.”


While I often live on the bleeding edge of technology, there are occasions when I’m content to wait. As a casual gamer, I didn’t pick up the Xbox 360 last year and I waited to try all three next gen systems before making a purchase. Now that I’ve some experience with the various consoles, I decided on the 360. Many factors led to this choice including price, online offerings, controller comfort, and visual quality (Wii doesn’t make the cut). Sony’s integration of a Blu-ray drive into the PS3 is compelling, but the downloadable high definition movies makes it nearly a wash and Microsoft beats them in the other areas… Not to mention I could actually find an Xbox and for significantly less cash.

So now let me tell you how I’m (theoretically) getting the 360 for half price… Micro Center is running an in-store deal to promote their Gaming Department. Buy an Xbox (Core or Premium) by December 5 and get a $100 rebate by mail. That brings the Premium unit down from $399 to $299. But wait… there’s more! If you get their credit card (and potentially lower your credit score in the process) and make a $399 purchase you’ll receive 13,000 points redeemable for $100 check. For a twenty dollar rebate I wouldn’t bother jumping through these hoops, but $200 makes it worthwhile… assuming it works.

I’m still between projectors, so the 360 will live with the TiVo Series3 and Slingbox Pro attached to a 30″ Panasonic HDTV. My classic Xbox and Moviebeam are headed to ebay (to join my former Gamecube and PS2). I’ve enjoyed playing the online demos of Rainbox Six and Modern Warfare the last two nights, and I’ve loaded up on Points to make my first purchase once Superman Returns HD arrives. If you’re interested in kicking my butt online, my gamertag is Zatz and I look suspiciously like the creepy Burger King.

UPDATE: Turns out Micro Center has extended the $100 rebate dealio through 12/31! That should give you enough time to get to one of their 19 locations.

Dave’s Holiday Shopping Agenda

Dave Zatz —  November 23, 2006

It’s that time of year again! No, not the season of giving… Rather, it’s the season of trampling your neighbors to get the best deal for yourself at the Walmarts of the world.

I’ve put together a small list of what I want, where to get it, and at what cost. The odds of my succeeding are very low due to massive competition and the fact that I’ll be driving across several states to two different locations over the next four days. My top priority, based on need and attainability, is the LCD.

Xbox 360 @ $100
66% savings

42″ Vizio Plasma HDTV @ $1000
17% savings (off already great price)

samsung.jpg19″ Samsung LCD @ $130
48% Off
Best Buy

APC UPS 350VA @ $20
50% savings

Nintendo Wii @ $250
Full Price
Nintendo Store, NYC