CES 2011, Las Vegas - CES is in full swing and all sorts of announcements and gear is being seen for the first time at the show. Some of the announcements aren't things that will happen right away, but are cool nonetheless. One of the announcements that will happen down the road came from Skype. Skype has announced that its video calling service will be coming to two new HDTV brands.
The new brands that will offer Skype video calling include Vizio and Sony. Vizio is the largest TV brand in the US and the company has a lot of web connected TVs in the market so that will mean Skype will find a lot of new homes. Skype isn't giving a specific date for the service to be offered only stating that it will happen "later this year."
If you don't have a web connected TV, but the thought of video calls in your living room is appealing Skype also announced a new tie in with Panasonic and Sony that will bring Skype video calling to dumb TVs. Skype will also be coming to Blu-ray players made by Panasonic and Sony. The players will need a webcam for the service to work naturally.
Next week marks the start of that wondrous time of year known as CES where all things geeky and electronic take the forefront online. The number of new gadgets and offerings that will be unveiled at the show is overwhelming and we are only days from the start so some of the gear is already being talked about by the manufacturers. One of the products that LG will be showing off at CES is a new 3D TV.
This is no normal 3D TV though, LG claims that the set is the world's largest full LED backlit 3D TV. The screen is a whopping 72-inches and it supports 3D content and HD resolutions as well as 2D TV. The set is called the LZ9700 and LG hasn't offer up all the specs at this time. What we do know is that the TV has a 400Hz TruMotion panel for smooth images.
It also has Smart TV functionality with support for TV apps and streaming of content from online providers. The TV also ships with the LG Magic Motion Remote control. The full details of the set should be made official at CES next week. LG offers no pricing information and no indication of whether the set uses passive or active 3D glasses.
I think it really sucks that there are still very few 3D Blu-ray flicks on the market today and it sucks even more that the really cool 3D flick Avatar can't be purchased at all without buying Panasonic gear to get the flick. If you still want a 3D Blu-ray player despite the lack of content on the market right now and you like the Pioneer brand the company is shipping its 3D players now.
The line includes the new Pioneer BDP-430, the BDP-41FD, and BDP-43FD players. All three of the players are 3D ready with HDMI 1.4a outputs. The devices come with wired Ethernet ports for connectivity and can be fitted with an optional WiFi adapter as well. All three naturally support Blu-ray 3D and use Pioneer PureCinema tech for upscaling standard resolution video to 1080p.
One of the cooler features that all three support is the iControlAV App. This app allows the iPhone or iPod touch to be used as a full function remote control of the players. The devices also support 36-bit deep color. The BDP-430 sells for $299, the BDP-41FD sells for $399 and adds a RS-232 port for custom installs and the BDP-43FD sells for $499 with better components and a rugged chassis.
Any adult male that likes to be known as Tron Guy and wears a homemade replica of the original Tron suit for the 80's flick isn't all there in my book. I bet Jay Maynard peed his Tron Underoos when he heard that Legacy was coming to theaters. As the story goes, Tron Guy called up a local theater in Michigan and told them he was coming to watch Tron: Legacy in his Tron suit.
The theater staff told him that he would not be allowed to watch the flick wearing his suit. Apparently, a middle aged, pudgy dude in a Tron suit is distracting. Who knew? I took my son to see the flick last weekend when it opened and he liked it, though he asked me tons of questions and I didn't get to watch as close as I wanted.
It's a bit ironic that my son is nine and I was nine when the original flick came out at the theater. I still remember going to see it with my dad, maybe in 20-ish years when the third Tron flick comes out my son can take his kid. Legacy has much better visuals (naturally) and it was a cool flick if you haven't seen it you should go.
Deal of the Day: Samsung BD-C7500 Blu-ray DVD Player w/ 1GB Memory & Wireless LAN Built-in for $145.99 with FREE Shipping!
Our Deal of the Day today is the Buy.com - Samsung BD-C7500 Blu-ray DVD Player w/ 1GB Memory & Wireless LAN Built-in for $145.99 with FREE Shipping!.
Offer: Buy.com has a fantastic price on the brand new Samsung BD-C7500 Blu-ray disc player. No one even comes even close to this $148.42 shipped price (next closest is $213). This current model is a stylish, ultra-slim (1.3" thick), player with Internet TV: downloadable widgets and apps like BLOCKBUSTER, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, Pandora and more. It also includes a wireless LAN adapter. The price only shows up at the final stage of checkout (you can still see it before you buy). Good while supplies last, though the last couple times it ran out very VERY quickly.
Move over, iTunes; Sony is coming for a piece of your music sales pie. Music Unlimited by Qriocity has officially been launched by Sony and will offer over six million songs via a cloud based music service.
With current deals in place with music label big dogs like Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and EMI Music, Music Unlimited is looking to become a source of music for anyone with a Sony device from BRAVIA TVs to mp3 players to the PS3 with Android availability in the works as well. Music Unlimited is only seeing a limited launch in the UK and Ireland currently, with availability coming toAustralia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, and the U.S. in 2011 .
Easily the biggest thing hurting 3D today is that you have to wear glasses to see the 3D effects. The need for glasses is why many consumers haven't adopted the tech and the glasses are often very expensive too. There are a few 3D sets hitting the market that use passive 3D glasses that are cheaper than the active glasses often required to watch 3D programs.
Toshiba has announced that it will be showing off new screens at CES 2011 in January that need no glasses of any sort to view. The autostereoscopic screens will be larger than the 20-inch versions that Toshiba showed off this year at CEATEC. Although it has only been three months since the 20-inch screen was seen Toshiba says the tech is already better.
Toshiba plans to make even larger screens next year. The downsides to this sort of screen is that it has worse viewing angles that screens that need glasses and getting the best spot for ideal viewing is harder to accomplish.
"It has been three months, I think we should show [the TVs] with better technology," said Masaaki Oosumi. "Next year is the key year to extend development of the technology and extend the screen size," he added.
Things aren't looking good for Google TV. At first, the new service sounded really good and I wanted to get it so I could watch Hulu and other content on my TV without needing a computer. It didn't take long for the networks, Hulu and other sites to device to block Google TV from streaming their shows making the Google TV products just about worthless.
The NYT reports that Google has approached partners that were set to unveil new Google TV boxes and sets at CES next month and asked them to not unveil the devices. NYT sources say that the partners were surprised by the request. Apparently, Google has asked for the delays to make refinements to the software.
The Google TV software was panned by reviewers for being hard to navigate among other things. One analyst thinks that the delay could be to allow for upgrades to be made to the Google TV software to address the concerns from reviewers. I hope the delay might be something to do with working out a deal with the content providers like Hulu and all major networks that are blocking Google TV users right now.
Sceptre was a brand that was mostly online only for a long time and recently the sets have started to be offered in retail stores like Target as well. You can still pick the Sceptre products up at all sorts of online stores that geeks like such as Newegg. The latest offering from Sceptre has a large screen and some nice features at a good price. The set is the Sceptre X420BV-FHD.
The TV has a 42-inch screen and the 1080p 1920 x 1080 resolution will make for some good movie watching from Blu-ray discs. The screen has a 2500:1 contrast ratio, 5ms response time, and 5.1 digital surround sound capability. The response time should mean the screen has no issues with fast action for gaming or films. The set also has a lot of connectivity.
Sceptre gives the set three HDMI inputs, component, composite, VGA, audio in and a cable input as well. The TV is Energy Star V3.0 certified to save power. VGA resolution is native at 1920 x 1080 making for a nice HD screen for your home theater PC. The TV is available right now for $699.
VIZIO is mostly known for making good quality TVs at affordable prices. I've owned a 42" VIZIO for almost four years now and have nothing but good things to say about it. Now VIZIO is making a jump into the big time market with their 65" Theater 3D Razor XVT3D650SV LED set.
Taking the top spot as the largest television in the VIZIO lineup, this edge-lit LED 120Hz 3D TV comes with SRS TruSurround integrated speakers and access to VIZIO internet apps. VIZIO includes four pairs of the cheaper polarized #D glasses with this set, stating that "Theater 3D technology produces clear, flicker-free 3D images that are noticeably brighter than conventional 3D and eliminates costly and bulky 3D eyewear that requires batteries or charging." This big boy will set you back $3,499 when it hits Sam's Club and Costco Wholesale shelves as well as online later this month.
Paul Walker and Vin Diesel are back in another Fast and the Furious movie - this one is called "Fast Five", it also stars Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and is directed by Justin Lin who has handled the last two F&F movies.
The trailer looks pretty good, of course it's not Oscar-material, but it's a popcorn movie and look like a lot of fun.
LG is teasing two new lines of HDTVs that will feature their Nano Lighting Technology. This technology embeds the LEDs in a thin film behind the LCD screen to take away the disadvantages of edge-lit TVs while keeping the price point reasonable compared to fully backlit LED versions. The TVs will also make use of LG's new Micro Pixel Control, which is an improved local dimming feature to improve darker scenes.
The LW9500 and LW7700 will sport a 480Hz and 240Hz refresh rate respectively and both will have an "Anti-Reflection Panel" that is most likely for glare reduction. Full 3D support is also incorporated via active shutter glasses. Sizes will start at 47 inches and work their way up to 60 inches. No specifics on price or release date at this point.
Netflix is constantly looking to build up the library of streaming offerings that it has on offer to its subscribers. You can bet that the search for more content is at a fevered pitch with the recent addition of a streaming only offering for Netflix members. Netflix has now announced that it has signed a very important new streaming deal with Disney-ABC that will see many of the popular shows from ABC and Disney coming to the streaming service.
The new agreement gives Netflix access to hundreds of shows from ABC, Disney Channel, and ABC Family. The deal has a caveat though, the programs will be offered no sooner than 15-days after they initially air on the network. That means if you miss an episode you will have to wait at least 15 days to see it via Netflix.
Michael Bay's new Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon official teaser has been released.
The teaser is just that, not much footage but there are leaks of news that Buzz Aldrin plays himself in current time, the popular Megan Fox is out (after disputes with the Bay himself), Fergie's husband (Josh Duhamel) reprises his role and of course Sam Witwicky and his parents too.
Hulu is a favorite destination for me and hoards of other people that like to watch older shows that are no longer on TV and those that like to catch up on shows they missed. Hulu and other sites online are helping to change the way that people watch content today with some skipping cable or satellite altogether and going online for all of their favorite shows.
Hulu has helped already to change the way that we watch TV shows and the website is set to change things again with the casting call going out looking for actors for its own entertainment show. The show will be a short five-minute recap show that airs Monday through Friday only on Hulu.com. The show will have two hosts and is going to be a Daily Show meets Weekend update meets Sports Center type of program according to Hulu.
If you have ever watched TV you know that some commercials are about a thousand times louder than the show you are trying to watch. It always seems like the loudest and most obnoxious commercials came on when I would get up to go get a snack late at night when everyone else was sleeping. There are all sorts of gadgets on the market for home theater fans that seek to level that volume out.
Congress and the House of Representatives have both now approved a new bill that is headed to Obama's desk. Obama is expected to sign the bill into law and it will be called the CALM Act. The bill will force commercial makers to make the volume of the ads the same as the volume of the show you are watching .That means no more blaring commercials for the Clapper or other crap no one really wants.
Home theater is built on HDMI for the most part today. The move from multiple cables to a single cable for audio and video was huge for fans looking for an easy way to wire their home theaters and superior sound and video at the same time. Analog Devices has unveiled a couple new physically small and power sipping HDMI receivers for home theater hardware that have some nice features inside.
The new receivers are the ADV7611 and the ADV7612. Both of the receiver chips support HDMI 1.4a 3D connectivity and have full 1080p resolution at 60fps support. The smaller 7611 is very compact with chip dimensions of 10mm x 10mm x 1.6mm and the 7612 measures 14mm x 14mm x 1.6mm. The footprint of the receiver chips is 50% smaller than other similar chips and use 25% less power than other chips.
I live just outside of one of the largest cities in my part of Texas. Even with me so close to a metropolitan area, my house is on a rural power co-op and that means that the power goes out if a dog up the street farts twice in a row. The thing that really pisses me off about the power going to so much is that it always happens right in the middle of something I want to watch. More than power outages though the power will brown out for a bit and make the TV turn off. I really hate that.
Toshiba has unveiled a new TV line that is cool called the PowerTV. This is the first set on the market that has an internal battery. When the power goes out the battery in the TV kicks on immediately to keep your set running and you watching TV. It sounds like a TV with an integrated UPS like the one I use on my computer. That should mean that the battery would keep the set going if a brownout happens as well.
Home theater fans that have multiple 3D sources like cable boxes, Blu-ray players and game consoles might have the need for a converter box that can handle those multiple inputs and shoot them out to a projector. If you are one of these folks a new offering from Optoma called the 3D-XL will ship in December.
The product is called the 3D-XL and the thing is compatible with HDMI 1.4a inputs and supports multiple 3D devices. It can switch between 2D and 3D inputs and only works with DLP projectors. Those projectors don't have to be the Optoma brand, any DLP projector will work.
The Boxee Box is relatively brand new and yet they're smashing out firmware updates for it already - which is a good sign.
It doesn't address all of the issues, but it does fix a few of the issues people have complained about such as 1080i playback problems, WiFi connectivity and issues handling certain audio and video files.
One of my favorite movie news websites is Slashfilm and I just saw a pretty great deal on there that I thought I'd quickly share. The deal goes until midnight for you US residents - so hop to it!
There's even a Sony BDV-E370 5.1 Blu-ray System (3d Compatible) for $239, 40% off list price.