HP released two new high definition notebooks today, adding to a variety of model releases from the company this year. The notebooks were designed for high-def entertainment purposes, with one model boasting a full 1080p display while the other has 780p.
Both notebooks are packed with hardware, including an Intel Centrino 2 processor, an Nvidia GeForce 9600M GT graphics card, and up to 4GB of RAM. The HDX18 (which has an 18” screen) and contains dual HDD bays with 250GB SATA drives in each and a LightScribe Blue-Ray ROM with SuperMulti DVD±R/RW Double Layer. The HDX18 costs $1550, while the HDX16 costs $1300. Both models contain two headphone jacks, HDMI and VGA plug-ins, and a remote control.
If Samsung is to be belieived, the future for Blu-ray doesn't look so bright. Despite burying its rival, HD-DVD, and gaining market penetration thanks to Sony's Playstation 3 console, Samsung sees the high definition format as being on life support.
"I think it has 5 years left, I certainly wouldn't give it 10," said Andy Griffiths, director of consumer electronics at Samsung UK.
With such a pessimistic outlook, Samsung must be looking towards digital downloads as the next big thing, right? Surprisingly, no. According to Samung, the successor to Blu-ray will be OLED displays. Huh? Odd as it sounds, the company is touting high definition displays while downplaying a media format that could show off the new displays.
"We will launch the OLED technology when it's at a price that will be appealing to the consumer, unfortunately that's not yet," explained Griffiths.
Griffiths went on to say that OLED could be become a mainstream technology by as early as 2010.
The external drive does have some limitations when used over a USB 2.0 connection – understandably so, and can only manage write speeds up to 6.5x. You should set aside anywhere between $350 to $400, if you want this drive. However, very few people might have a craving for a Blu-ray burner at this point in time. The prices are still uninviting, though gradually waning, and Blu-ray is far from inheriting the ubiquity enjoyed by its predecessors.
Blu-ray may have won the high-definition format war, but the spoils haven't exactly been anything to brag about. Saddled with high prices, consumers have been turning the other cheek in favor of upscaled DVDs and an increasing emphasis on movie downloads, which looks to get even more popular this fall. But that could all change if 3D movies prove popular for home setups.
Leading the charge is Philips, who will demonstrate 3D on Blu-ray later this month at IFA 2008.The demo is expected to show how Philips' 2D-plus-Depth content format can be applied to Blu-ray, which would open the door for 3D movies to be shown on a variety of displays. Whether or not that matters to home theater buffs remains to be seen, but with a growing amount of 3D movies released on the big screen, those that missed the theater debut would still be able to relieve the experience at home, minus the ginormous screen.
Does this give Blu-ray the edge it needs to gain popularity points?
We expected LG’s new 6x external Blu-ray burner to perform similarly to the company’s GBW-H20L, what with the two having identical read/write speed ratings, but we were wrong. The external drive is a bigger, more expensive letdown.
Hit the jump for the reason we're crying into our corn flakes.
Like everyone, Microsoft hates to back a loser. There comes a time though when you have to lick your wounds and suck it up. With the demise of Microsoft backed HD DVD, they are now working on incorporating the new storage option into Windows.
Microsoft is developting a “Windows Feature Pack for Storage” for both Windows XP and Vista. On the Microsoft Connect website they highlight three new technologies each in their own installer for the prerelease beta: Active Storage Platform: This pre-release package enables the Windows platform to restrict access to portable devices (such as a USB Flash Device) via a certificate or password authentication based on the IEEE 1667 standard specification. Image Mastering: API update for Blu-Ray media: This feature enables the Windows platform to do master style optical burning on Blu-Ray media.
Smart Card Drive:: This release provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID smart cards.
Maybe official Microsoft and Windows support for Blu-ray will help speed adoption rates for the new storage media.
Since Blu-ray won out on the high-definition format war over Toshiba’s HD DVD, high definition on disc has just languished. Blu-ray’s victory has been a hollow one with few people rushing out to replace their trusty old DVD players and DVD collections. The initial assumption that it was the format war that kept adoption of the new standard slow. It turned out to be customers being perfectly happy with standard DVD quality.
Toshiba has been considering it’s next move and has decided DVD is good enough and is jumping on the "upconverting" DVD player bandwagon. They are releasing the XD-E500 DVD player that they says does more than previous models to improve the look of DVDs on high-definition TVs. At a MSRP of $149.99 it is twice as much as regular "upconverting" players, but it is less than half the price of a Blu-ray player.
An Associated Press report said that the XDE player produced a noticeable sharpening of the image over a standard, $70 up-scaling model on side-by-side LCD HDTVs. Toshiba didn't demonstrate the XDE against a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, however. Toshiba did stress that it's not meant to compete with Blu-ray.
Toshiba is playing up to Blu-ray’s marketing weakness, they can’t seem to convince users that there is enough of a difference in between regular Blu-ray and Standard DVD to warrant the expense of upgrading. The appearance of “upconverting” DVD players is only going to further hinder Blu-ray adoption. It might be an inevitability that someday we will have to upgrade. The big question is who will hold out the longest, Blu-ray’s high prices or consumers not wanting to pay those high prices and holding on to standard DVD? Who do you think will win out? My money is on the consumers.
Not to be outshone by Lenovo’s recently announced W700 uber laptop, HP has launched a new Elitebook business notebook line, anchored by another 17” stunner, the 8730w mobile workstation. This seven and a half pound powerhouse, like the W700, is packed with the new Intel Quad-core mobile CPU and next-gen Nvidia Quadro FX 3700 GPU (with 1GB of video memory). And even though it doesn’t have a built-in Wacom tablet or color calibrator, it differentiates itself from the Lenovo with an incredible DreamColor display. The Elitebook line also sports several new innovations that cater to the business crowd. We might not be the target user base, but with so much technology crammed into the device, we couldn’t resist checking it out.
Click through for our hands-on impressions and a high res photo gallery!
What good is winning the war if there's no one to celebrate with afterward? That's the dilemma the Blu-ray camp has found itself in after having whipped HD-DVD out of contention in the high definition DVD market. According to a new consumer survey from ABI Research, there exists a widespread reluctance among consumers to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon, with over half of the 1,000 respondents saying they have no plans to purchase one citing "other priorities."
DISH network became the first satellite provider to offer video in a full 1080p or 1920x 1080 progressive resolution on August 1st. The first movie they are offering in 1080p is I Am Legend on their Video On Demand service. DISH will use 1080p in place of 1080i or 720p whenever the content is available. The upgrade in resolution won’t be available for everyone. It will however, be available at no additional cost for any subscriber who has an HD DVR.
DISH will also greatly expand the number of HD channels that it can carry to 150 by this fall.
With cable and satellite companies to begin offering content in the higher resolution 1080p format closes the distance between TV and physical media such as Blu-ray and leaves the competition from download services like Apple TV and Xbox 360 movie rentals out in the cold.
It remains to be seen just how high a resolution do we need to be able to enjoy our movies or TV in. Is 720p really so bad? Many people just cannot see any reason to throw out their old DVD player and movie collection in favor of the slightly sharper picture available on Blu-Ray. The slow adoption of Blu-ray reflects this trend. For truly wide spread adoption to take place rapidly, we will need to see Blu-ray undercut DVD prices across the board. VOD and download services moving to 1080p may only hinder Blu-ray’s already sluggish adoption rate.
Have you already jumped over to 1080p or plan to soon? Sound off and tell us what convinced you to make the switch.