hdtv Archive

Techie Speculations for 2011 and CES 2011 Preview

apple-ipadWhat will the year 2011 bring in terms of tech and technological advances in our lives? No one really knows with a 100% certainty and that in itself is a 100% certain thing! In order to clearly see into the future of the year 2011 we have to look back into the year 2010 and wait for the upcoming CES 2011 (Consumer Electronics Show of 2011).

In the year 2010 we saw Apple release their first tablet in the form of the Apple iPad and they even released a new iPhone 4 with a revolutionary ‘retna display’. Microsoft put themselves back into the mobile device game with Windows Phone 7 while Android managed to steal some of the thunder away from the Apple iPhone. Blu-ray disc sales volume has gone up while Netflix streaming members has also. Social media is chugging along with over 500 million Facebook members and no competition in sight. 3D HDTVs are attempting to be a big hit among those with the monetary means. The new Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf aim to change the way we consume massive amounts of gasoline each year. Each of these stated technologies, at one point and time, had its fair share of doubters but they all seemed to prevail.

Now on with 2011 and we have 2nd generation products speculated to be introduced in the coming months such as the Apple iPad 2. 2011 is not such a mystery after all because we already know that these tech items are going to be naturally upgraded in some fashion. If 2010 taught us anything about the advancements of technology it is we cannot put anything in stone based off of some rumor although many of the techie rumors of 2010 proved to be very accurate. So now let today’s rumors shape tomorrows dreams. Start saving your money now because from what I hear (another rumor), 2011 will bring us some of the most advanced and revolutionary tech devices and software we have ever seen.

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Check out Cnet’s CES 2011 preview video below.

Stay tuned for our update during the CES 2011 (Consumer Electronics Show of 2011) which is set to kick off January 6, 2011. This should give us a clear indication as to what specific tech devices we will see throughout year 2011. Happy New Year!!!

Popularity: 30%

Best Tech Gifts for 2010 Holiday Seasons – Gift Guide

It is that time of year again. You have to figure out what to get your loved one or a close friend and you don’t mind footing the bill to buy them some new tech gadget. So which one do you choose? We have a few top-tech-gifts to choose from for this year’s holiday season.

Some of the new tech gadgets out this year are simply amazing. You have everything from the new Apple iPad to new Flat-Screen HDTV sets. So what are some of the best rated tech gadgets to choose from for holiday gifts?

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Best Tech Gifts for 2010 Holiday Season

Apple iPad
A great gift for those who do not mind using iTunes and the App Store to purchase apps. Great for someone who is already familiar with Apple’s iOS and who may already have an iPhone. Pretty much the number 1 rated tablet on the market in terms of portability and ease of use. Prices start at $499.

Samsung Galaxy Tab
Available on Sprint, T-Mobile Verizon and AT&T. An excellent alternative to the Apple iPad. Runs off of the Android OS and has a starting price of $399

Amazon Kindle
Great e-book reader that has the largest library of e-book readers so far. Excellent screen for reading in bright sunlight with built-in Wi-Fi. Prices start at $139.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W350
An excellent pocket digital camera with a fast shutter. If you are sick of that shutter delay then the Sony Cyber-shot line-up may be your answer. Prices start at $150

Garmin Nuvi 3790T GPS
One of the best GPS units on the market currently but comes at a higher price point starting at $440. Great function and super slim. Has an excellent touch-screen and software is easy to use compared to many other GPS units in this class.

Apple iPhone 4
Obviously one of the hottest items on the tech market period. An excellent buy if you are upgrading that old flip phone. The iPhone 4 is getting some serious competition with Android powered phones lately and now the introduction of Windows Phone 7 OS. Prices start at $199 with a 2/year contract via AT&T.

HTC Evo 4G
Sprints best smartphone and one of the most talked about Android OS phones on the market. 4G speed is awesome but coverage of 4G connectivity is limited right now in the US. Prices start at $149 with a 2/year contract.

Roku XDS Streaming Player
The Roku XDS is a great media device allowing Netflix streaming and a very wide range of media playing abilities. If you are not an avid iTunes movie goer then the Roku XDS may be your choice over the Apple TV. The price is $99.

Panasonic Viera TC-P46G25 Series HDTV
Panasonic is still sold on their plasma technology in flat-screen HDTV as are many avid TV consumers. Picture quality is among the best in the industry providing the deepest blacks you can find on virtually any flat-screen HDTV on the current market. Has built-in streaming abilities such as Netflix. Prices start around $990 at various stores. Shopping around for this one with some patients will save you some money.

Panasonic HDC-SD60K HD Camcorder
Camcorders have come a long way now offering High-Definition recordings in just about every model currently available. The new Panasonic line has great quality and records great Hi-Def video. Shop around and look at the whole line before you drop the starting price of $350 on this one.

Apple Macbook Air
If you have the cash, pick one of these up! This is by far one of the best laptops in the smallest factor form you can get on the market. The downfalls of it is its memory is not upgradable limiting you to either the 2gb Ram/64GB flash drive version on the 11-inch or up to the 4gb Ram/256GB flash drive version on the 13-inch. Prices start at $999 for the 11-inch 2gb Ram/64GB flash drive version and go up to $1,599 for the 4gb Ram/256GB flash drive version on the 13-inch.

HP Envy 17
A great looking laptop with an Apple-ish feel to it. Big clear screen and customization options. Good price for a big laptop full of power. Prices start at $1,299.

Apple iPod Touch, iPod nano, iPod Classic
Among the best mp3 players around. Although not truly classified as an ‘mp3’ player, the vast iTunes library turns the iPod Touch and Classic into a great portable media machine. New iPod nano offers the smallest size of most mp3 players yet packed full of audio functionality. Prices start at $49 for the iPod shuffle, $149 for the iPod nano, $229 for the iPod touch, and $249 for the iPod classic.

Playstation 3 slim & Xbox 360
Gaming is on a new level this year with new systems from both Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. It all comes down to preference for which system you want. The PS3 Slip sports great multimedia features and bluray disc playback. The Xbox 360 has been upgraded to a slimmer and sleaker case with 1080p HDMI output and the optional Kinect system. The Nintendo Wii continues to offer unsurpassed interactivity. Nintendo Wii bundle starts at $195, Xbox 360 slim starts at $299 and the PS3 Slim starts at $299.

Dell UltraSharp U2711
If you are looking for the Mac-Daddy of computer monitors, then go no further than the new Dell UltraSharp U2711. This is the first monitor, aside from the new iMac 27inch built-in screen, to offer 2560×1440 resolution not to mention its 27-inch size. Prices start at $899.

Apple iMac 27-inch
If you do not know about the new iMac then you must come from under your rock. The latest iMac is the best looking desktop there is if you do not mind it’s all-in-one form factor. Pimped out with the Intel Core i5 2.8GHz and marvelous 2560×1440 27-inch LED backlit screen, the new iMac is a monster that can also run Windows 7. Prices start at $1199 for the 21.5 inch version and $1,699 for the 27-inch Core i3 version.

What items will you buy this year for the holidays?

Popularity: 44%

Sony Internet TV Rolling Out First HDTVs Powered By Google TV

sony-internet-hdtv-google-tv-1Cable and Satellite TV better watch out because there seems to be a new sheriff and deputy in town by the name of Sony and Google. Sony is finally rolling out details on the first HDTV sets that will support a new Google TV (internet TV) platform. The new ‘Sony Internet TV’ comes in 1080p LCD and LCD LED flavors under $1,500 and will be available later this month around October 24 at local Best Buy stores to start off.

The new Sony Internet TVs will have built in Wi-Fi and an included keypad remote with integrated mouse and keyboard for navigating the Google TV interface.

There will be a starting line of 24-inch ($599) Sony Internet TVs along with 32-inch ($799), 40-inch ($999) and 46-inch ($1,399). LED (LED backlit) models will also be included in the lineup with a slightly higher price of course. Each TV will have pre-installed apps including Netflix, Pandora, Twitter, YouTube and Sony’s Qriocity streaming-video service. The Google TV integration may be the forefront hit of these new TV sets. There will also be apps available to control your Google TV through an Android powered phone.

In the world of ‘Internet TV’, we have yet to see anything ‘sure-shot’ thing to stick and take off. Google TV may be the answer to cutting the cord but we won’t really know until we see these new Sony TVs on the market, faster and not-so-expensive ISP (Internet Service Provider) support and a large library of available TV programming and movies available.

Due to this news the question arises, would you dump your current cable or satellite subscriptions in place of Google TV/Internet TV service offered on one of these new Sony Internet TVs if the price is ‘right’? What would it take for you to leave your current cable or satellite TV? Is this the wave of the future?

Popularity: 14%

About 800,000 TV Cable/Satellite Subscribing U.S. Households are ‘Cutting the Cord’

tv-cable-disconnected-1Sure you have seen all of the Cable TV and Satellite TV commercials and how crafty they are by explaining to you how they offer a better deal than the other. But what about Cable and Satellite TV put up against Antenna, Netflix or the Internet? According to recent reports from the Toronto-based Convergence Consulting Group, these old and new services may cause trouble for the big cable providers such as Comcast, DirecTV, Cablevision and even Time Warner Cable.

It has been reported that nearly 800.000 households in the U.S. have “cut the cord”, leaving their cable, satellite or even Telco TV (AT&T, Verizon FiOS) service providers. That means these people are resorting to using a digital Antenna, Netflix and other forms of streaming over the internet such as iTunes.

Of course 800,000 is really not that many U.S. households considering that it only accounts for 1% of the estimated 100 million U.S. households that currently subscribe to cable/satellite TV type services. I am going to guess here but in a few more years that number could grow exponentially creating a big dent in the number of cable/satellite service customers. With the way the economy is slowly swinging back, Americans are being a little smarter about how they spend their money and that includes home entertainment.

If Netflix continues to offer a service that allows you to stream movies for around $9 a month plus whatever high-speed internet access you have to pay for, then it could easily replace those $130 cable packages. What about your sports and local news you may ask? Well, what about it? That’s rather simple, install a digital antenna to that new HDTV set that you purchased on sale. The airwaves still offer “Free” programming only now it is digital and mostly offered in HDTV formats which is a plus for you if you still like “quality” entertainment.

The 800,000 figure is a rough estimate of the number of U.S. TV households that actually cut the cord by the end of year 2009. Just think, in 5 years that may be over half of all cable, satellite and Telco TV service providers making the switch to a less expensive alternative. Maybe the cable company will finally lower the price on their packages. Maybe that is wishful thinking but what do you think?

Popularity: 8%

Are We Ready for 3D TV?

3D TV
My grandparents use to tell me stories about the first time they saw a TV color screen and I remember the very first time that I stepped foot into a local SoundAdvice store and witnessed the beauty of an HDTV. I even remember the first time that I saw Jaws in 3D. These were all moments that technology stapled a permanent image in my mind. Now that the new hype is 3D TV, I wonder if it will be as prominent as those other moments in history. Those were the good old days. Now, we are going back in time to relive that 3D experience all over again but are we really ready for it?

Sure, Hollywood can pump out some amazing 3D movies, Avatar is proof of that concept. The major drawback would be the availability of viewing 3D movies in your home without buying a new relatively expensive 3D TV. Not to mention, when you put on a set of 3D glasses it diminishes the light output that you would actually pick up through your eyes. I don’t think that is the direction that we want to head in.

Why use a 5 cent pair of 3D glasses to watch a billion dollar movie on a $5 thousand (or more) 3D TV set, let alone, at the movie theater?

3d-tv-glassesThen there are those movies that were turned into a 3D movie after it was shot normally without the intent on making it officially 3D. These can be very distracting to the viewer and if done poorly, can just mess up your viewing experience altogether. Avatar, on the other hand, is a nicely done movie that the flaw of the glasses filtering out light was overlooked because the over-all experience is good and the directors were savvy enough to pull it off.

Have you ever watched a 3D movie at the theater, or anywhere else, and you felt the need to pull of the 3D glasses every minute or so to see if your view would “clear up”? Well, chances are, that was a fake 3D movie that was processes into 3D after it was shot. It is a rather complicated process and you would call out every little “fake” detail that you saw just like you did in those horrific CGI clips in certain movies that we have seen in the past… cough cough “XXX 2 State of the Union”.

What it comes down to it is just plain expensive to do 3D right and it is plain expensive to have a good viewing experience at home. Just think, you have to purchase one of these new 3D TV sets (if you can find one), a nice pair of 3D glasses, a blue ray player capable of playing the 3D blue ray disc and a killer sound system if you want to hear as good as you can see. I just do not see 3D TV catching on right now. Maybe give it a few years. Hollywood is already shelling out a lot of cash in making 3D movies but can the public match them in those efforts for watching the movies? Just because they can do it (make 3D movies) does not mean that they should. Give me a good IMAX theater screen to watch a normal 2D movie or pop in “The Dark Knight” Blue Ray on my Panasonic Plasma HDTV and I am a happy camper, for now.

What are your thoughts on 3D TV?

Popularity: 26%

No Need to Spend $50 or More for a HDMI Cable

Do you need to spend $50 or more for an HDMI cable or will a cheap one do? If you spent all of your money on a new HDTV for the holidays, then you are probably trying to save as much as you can when it comes to hooking up your Blu-ray player, cable/satellite box and maybe PS3.

You may be wondering if there is such a thing as a cheap HDMI cable. The simplest answer that I can give you is, yes and no. If you shop at the local electronics retailer, then you have probably passed up an opportunity to purchase a relatively expensive HDMI cable at one point and time.

What many people fail to realize is the expensive HDMI cables are no better at doing their job than the ones that cost a fraction of the price or “the cheap one”.

HDMI cables transmit data digitally so the chance for interference to interrupt the data transmission is very unlikely. That means that a 10 foot HDMI cable that costs $50 does not do any better of a job than a 10 foot HDMI cable that costs $10. Digitally transmitted data is either on or off and buying a cable that supposedly offers better picture quality over another is absolutely absurd. This is usually used as a common selling point.

There is a big misconception among local retail stores when they try to sell you cables to go along with your high-priced flat panel TV. They attempt to make you think that you must buy the “premium” accessories to go with your new “premium” TV. Do not fall for this trick.

Where do you buy cheap HDMI cables?

Cheap HDMI cables are mostly available online instead of your local retail or electronics store. Some of the sites that I have purchased inexpensive HDMI cables from include Monoprice.com, Newegg.com and Cablesunlimited.com. Many of the cables can be had for under $15 which will help you recoup the money that you just spent on your new HDTV.

How much have you spent on HDMI cables? $50, $60 or too much to admit?

Popularity: 5%

Pick your HDTV Poison: LCD, Plasma or LED LCD

HDTV Choices

With all three of these HDTV technologies readily available at your local electronics store, what factors does it come down to for your decision on choosing a new Plasma, LCD or LED LCD HDTV?

I have to admit, after spending about 45 minutes in the local Best Buy store I came away a bit confused after the sales-person, who made it apparent that he does not get paid commission, attempted to explain the differences in all three types of HDTV’s that they had on display. I already knew the basics about each type of TV, I just wanted to hear it from the horse’s mouth so I could make a decision of what type of TV I wanted to purchase in 2010.

Really, what is the difference in Plasma, LCD and LED LCD?

All about Plasma

To start off, the biggest difference would be found in a Plasma TV when compared to LCD technology. Although each of the technologies do offer 1080p native resolutions and the prices are very comparable right now, Plasma is set off from LCD in the way it produces an image on the screen. Plasma uses a Plasma Gas, hence the name “Plasma”. Plasma screens contain a gas that is excited by an electric charge (negatively charged electrons). Once they are charged it releases photons of energy in the form of ultraviolet light photons to produce visible light to humans through phosphors. The photos react to phosphors that give off light. The whole process can be rather confusing and complex if you decipher the whole process that a plasma screen goes through to display a picture. The process actually happens fast, so fast that we don’t realize what is actually happening. All we see is a fluid color image being displayed on a panel of glass.

Other factors that set plasmas apart from other HDTV technologies is the fact that plasma TVs use more energy and generate more heat than LCD TVs. Burn-in has always been a concern among older Plasma sets but on newer models it is not much of an issue. Plasma TVs are also heavier than LCDs and tend to be more reflective to ambient light due to the glass (glossy) screen. Plasma TVs are very comparable in price to that of LCD HDTVs.

All about LCD

LCD technology has been around for a very long time, even since the first LCD screen calculator. The acronym “LCD” stands for Liquid Crystal Display in case you are wondering. Basically, LCD screens are made up of a liquid crystals that are more like a liquid that is sensitive to temperature variations. The pixels are made up of the usual three colors and dependent on the filter level of each pixel it releases light. The light for and LCD screen is provided by a backlight, or in the case of a CCFL LCD TV, an array of florescent type lights that stay on. LCD screens never reach a deep black level because the backlight is always on.

In newer LED LCD screens, they use LED lights, or Light Emitting Diodes. Some newer LED LCD TVs have the ability to darken or lower the light output of areas of the screen depending on the picture. This will yield a better black level in the picture quality. LED backlighting has been used in the past in cell phones screens and where it first started, in small lights usually found in indicators or control panel buttons on electronics. Today LED is widely used in electronics and is growing by leaps and bounds.

So what is your poison? Will you choose a new LED LCD HDTV or will you save a few bucks and opt for the traditional LCD or Plasma screen?

Popularity: 7%