3DTV, fad or future?

On September 2, 2011 by

Firstly, I am unsure whether it is actually correct to call 3DTV a fad as the popularity of the technology in the market place is rather low at the moment.

However if the price decreases, will it become the norm?

In my opinion – No. 3DTV seems like a (desperate?) marketing ploy. Wearing glasses is a pain and the overall effect seems to be a questionable improvement at best. Also statistics already show people are opting to watch films in 2D if given the choice.

HDTV was a big improvement on standard resolution, barely anyone disagrees.(it is essential on sets above 40 inches). However 3DTV is a luxury if not a gadget to impress your friends. Submit some comments to let me know your opinion on the topic, I have opened a forum also.

The BBC explain how to make HD copies to Blu-ray

On May 1, 2009 by

HD and Blu-ray are two devices currently being enjoyed by those keen on their gadgets. But one day soon they’ll be the norm and one of the ways this might happen is if the ability to watch something when you’ve missed is there. As consumers we are quickly getting used to media at our convenience, which is why the BBC have just revealed some technical secrets from the world of High Definition.

Following the release in May of the very expensive (around a thousand pounds) Panasonic’s Freesat Blu-ray recorders, which will be the first Blu-ray recordable personal video recorder available in the UK, the BBC have outlined their plans to allow their HD content to be transferred to a Blu-ray disk on such a device for viewing again and again. But there’s a catch.

The Digital Rights Management (DRM) – which is the way in which manufacturers and broadcasters control the viewing and sharing of their content and devices – currently in place with the BBC’s HDTV content means one cannot make Blu-ray copies of the programmes. However, the corporation have just announced their plans to change that… sort of.

It’s very complicated but what will happen is the Panasonic PVR will be able to make one copy of an HD programme and then burn only one copy to a Blu-ray disc. That disc can be viewed as many times as you like, but you won’t be able to make any copies of that copy. It’s hoped this will prevent pirating. Don’t think you’ll be able just to rip the Blu-ray to your PC either in order to make more copies, as that function will be disabled too.

So the BBC are really protecting themselves with recording HD content. They say it might one day be possible to rip the Blu-ray onto another portable device but only if the manufacturer has built in the ability to do so.

New research says public not ready to buy HDTVs

On April 24, 2009 by

New research has come out from Buckingham Research, which provides some interesting insight into the HDTV market in the UK.

One of the most important facts to be established was that although nearly all the people questioned (99%) were aware of the existence of HDTV (hardly surprising), only 11% of them were looking to purchase an HDTV of their own during the course of 2009.

A total of 695 people participated in the survey, which took place online, and the questions were geared towards issues to do with HDTV and their feelings towards it.

14% said that although they were aware of HDTV, they did not understand it. Also worrying was that, of the 99% who were aware of HDTV, 53% of them have no intention of taking out a subscription, with only 19% either having a subscription or intending to take one out.

However, on a more positive note, 48% of the interviewees said that HDTV made watching TV more enjoyable. However, 45% of people said that there were not enough HDTV channels currently available.

Paul Nola, the managing director of Buckingham Research, said that although awareness levels are high,

Samsung develop new, more energy efficient edge-lit LED HDTVs

On April 17, 2009 by

Is it a painting or a television? It’s a hard one to answer sometimes, isn’t it? No longer is the box in the corner encroaching on half the room. Now the clever people at the big electronics manufacturers are finding more and more ways to hide the things we love the most. Samsung are the latest to show off something new and exciting in the world of HDTVs, as they launch their brand new edge-lit LED LCD flat screen panels.

Where Samsung stand out is with their edge-lit technology. In normal flat screen TVs there’s a direct-lit LED LCD display. But the brains at the Samsung HQ have found a way of making the screen much thinner and lighter, which allows them to be hung on the wall just like a painting. The other big bonus is that the LED backlit displays in the new Samsung screens are mercury-free, which means they consume much less energy, roughly 40% less, and therefore are much better for our electricity bills and, more importantly, better for the planet.

Slice a regular LCD panel into four and you will see the thickness of the new Samsung screen. It measures in at a minuscule 10.8mms. The technology behind the edge-lit method for lighting is quite different from that of the direct-lit found on most LCD screen. This method bends light away from the centre of the screen and then reflects it forward through a light-guide plate. This makes the light perfectly focused and consequently provides a perfect picture quality too.

Sony present their new Blu-ray disc to the world

On April 3, 2009 by

Now that the dust from the format war between Sony’s Blu-ray and Toshiba’s HD DVD has settled, it’s time for Sony to conquer the whole market with its army of HD ideas. The Blu-ray format was supported by many companies in the industry during the great war of 06/07, crucially top Hollywood studio Warner Brothers. With success in their camp, Sony will soon be launching their new disc: the micro-BD.

On first glance the major difference between the two discs will be the actual size. Unlike the Blu-ray, it’s new brother the micro-BD, will be about half the size, which will mean it’s the same as Sony’s UMD disc used in the gaming world. The other difference is in the wavelength. The micro-BD will again be a little smaller but only by 30 nanometres. This is more important than you might think because one of the big selling points of the new disc is that this wavelength difference means it can store up to 75GBs on just two layers, and maybe even 25 extra GBs if another layer is added at a later date.

The new, more advanced disc differs from the Blu-ray, so they won’t be compatible with current Blu-ray players. However, new micro-BD players will be able to play Blu-rays when they come out, so it’ll be worth buying one of them too. For those of you who are keen on the gaming world then you’ll be pleased to hear that the micro-BD is being planned for use on Sony’s new portable PSP2, which is due in our shops in the next year or so in order to compete with the Nintendo DSi.

It will be interesting to see how the two brothers from the same family will fare in their own little format war. It’s not something Sony will be worried about, but they’ll certainly be intrigued. When the public decide whether they prefer the Blu-ray or the micro-BD, then Sony are likely to put the other one to bed.

Power saving TV released from Sony

On March 4, 2009 by

With global warming becoming an increasing problem, it’s about time that TV manufacturers got their act together to produce devices that use as little energy as possible, and eco-conscious consumers will be pleased to hear that Sony has now done just that with the latest addition to its Bravia line: the WE5.

One of the biggest problems with modern TVs is that they use up huge amounts of power even when in standby mode, so it is reassuring to hear that the WE5 has a switch that can take the power usage in off mode to nothing. It also has a backlight, indeed the world’s first micro-tubular Hot Cathode Fluorescent Lamp (HCFL) backlight, that claims to be able to cut power by 50%.

But perhaps the most fancy feature is the Smart Presence Sensor, which detects whether there is anyone in the room watching the TV through detecting body heat and movement. If it doesn’t find anyone then the TV switches itself to ‘picture off’ mode, keeping just the sound on. However, if there has been no change after 30 minutes then it switches itself to standby.

This technology will be great if it catches on and becomes standard, but is it really going to make much of a difference at the moment? The people that buy it are likely to be more eco-minded, and will therefore be more likely turn off the TV when they leave the room anyway. As well as this, there are fears that the WE5 may make people more lazy and forget to turn off their TVs more often, leading to an overall greater use of power.

Whatever the criticisms, this has to be considered a step in the right direction, with Sony saying that overall it has a 20% to 30% power reduction over the other TVs in the Bravia line. It will be available in both 40-inch and 46-inch models, and will be coming out in the UK in the spring.

HDTV to reach 170 million households in Europe by 2013

On February 25, 2009 by

Europe is on the verge of an HDTV revolution, according to a new report from Euroconsult and MPA.

At the moment, 59 million households across the continent have an HD-enabled TV set. This seems a considerable number, but the figure is set to go through the roof in the next few years.

According to the report, by 2010 the figure will double to 116 million, meaning HDTV will reach over half of all the households on the continent. But the figures are set to continue their rapid upward trend. By 2013 the figure will have tripled to around 170, rising even further to a massive 220 million by 2018.

There are a number of factors that will lead to this huge uptake in HD-enabled TVs. The most obvious is that more areas are now able to pick up HD channels, and this will go hand-in-hand with the uptake of the sets. After all, it’s no use having a set if you can’t watch any HD content on it.

The other factors include the increasing practice of television manufactures to include a built-in HD compatibility in preparation for the next generation of home viewing. The fall in prices for flat-screen TVs over the last few years has also had an effect and will continue to do so.

The report also highlights the increasing number of HD channels on offer across the continent. There were 130 such channels available last year, but this is set to rocket to 600 by 2013, which will help to add to the huge demand in HDTV sets.

Broadband HDTV from LG

On January 29, 2009 by

TV and the Internet have merged even closer together after the announcement by LG that the company will be releasing a new HDTV TV set that is to be fully broadband enabled.

This exciting news is the result of a joint venture between LG and Netflix, an online movie rental company in the US, and will mean that movies will be embedded in the TV, which can then be streamed by the user. According to Teddy Hwang, the president of LG USA, it is an

All about OLED TV

On January 14, 2009 by

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) technology is helping electronics companies all over the world overcome one of the most taxing problems faced by modern industry. Namely, how to make your TV set look better than your neighbour’s.

OLED technology was first used in 1987 by Kodak. It was not adopted widely, however, due to the astronomical costs and complicated manufacturing processes associated with it.

In 2008, the Japanese government asked the hundreds of Japan-based electronics companies to devise a way to mass-produce OLED technology, and the system was thrust back into the spotlight.

Sony unveiled an OLED TV set for the first time at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

This device, named the XEL-1 for no obvious reason, comes bundled with millions of clever molecules that can turn electricity into light, forever consigning clunky backlights to the history books.

The company claims that future OLED TVs will be able to resist being beaten, rolled up, thrown around, and folded in half without sustaining any damage whatsoever.

Scientists are already inventing marvellous new uses for Sony’s indestructible television. Implanting OLED substrates into t-shirts features quite high on their list.

The versatility of the OLED system should not be underestimated. Sony’s XEL-1 box is a mere 3mm thick and weighs just 2kg. It has a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and is capable of producing super-luminous colours.

If you are feeling particularly extravagant this year, consider visiting Sony’s official website for more information. But be warned – at almost £2,000 per set, the XEL-1 is likely to upset your bank manager!

Upscaling TV to boost standard definition

On by

Couch potatoes have a reason to celebrate this year, because Japanese electronics company Toshiba has come up with an innovative way of ensuring that the obligatory re-runs of Home Alone and James Bond look even prettier than they did last year.

The new Regza ZV range of LCD TVs come bundled with upscaling technology, a piece of hardware that Toshiba claims can boost standard definition images to near-HD quality.

Sales of HD-ready TVs are on the rise, but a recent survey conducted by Toshiba’s marketing division revealed that only 1% of all content is viewed in high definition. The technology used in the Regza range -– the Resolution+ system -– is therefore long overdue. Fans of high-definition programming have been starved of content by broadcasters, and the persistently unpopular Blu-Ray format has done little to satiate popular appetites.

Toshiba’s new TV was released on the 27th of November. It boasts a 1080p resolution over a 42-inch or 46-inch screen, and is capable of improving both the refresh rate and the overall quality of most standard-definition signals.

For more information, you can visit Toshiba’s website here.

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