LED-backlit televisions are all the rage, but plasma displays aren't dead, folks. Far from it, in fact. According to DisplaySearch, who always has a finger on the display industry's pulse, plasma TV panels finished off a "great year" by hitting a record high in the fourth quarter of 2010. What the bezel?
LCD TV makers know where it's at, but do you? If you said "3D," deduct 200 geek points for jumping the gun (guess again when glasses-free 3D displays become commonplace). For those of you who said "Internet connected TVs," you're getting closer. The real answer? Smart TVs.
According to DigiTimes, LCD TV makers will focus on smart TV technology in 2011, adding built-in processors and software with advanced user interfaces, fast content search, and connections with other mobile devices. DNLA interfaces will also become commonplace.
Samsung expects to sell 45 million TVs in 2011, a 12 percent increase from 2010, with 10 million of those equipped with smart technology. LG, meanwhile, is adding a new Media Link function to its LCD TV line. This will allow viewers to tap into content onto their home network.
Passive 3D has never impressed us, but Vizio’s new Theater 3D HDTVs have managed to reopen our minds about the technology.
Passive 3D offers numerous advantages: Passive glasses don’t reduce brightness nearly as much as active-shutter glasses do, they’ll never give you a headache, they don’t rely on batteries, they’re lighter, and they’re a whole lot cheaper. And Vizio’s technology is RealD compatible, so you use the same glasses at the theater that you do at home.
But none of that matters if you don’t get a great 3D experience, and what we saw at Vizio’s booth yesterday really impressed us.
Here's something a little different - a new HDTV that isn't 3D capable. We'll let you decide whether that's a good or bad thing, but what Westinghouse's new 46-inch LD-4655 LED HDTV does have going for it is a thin profile.
"Our new LD-4655 hits a perfect sweet spot for home theater lovers," says Rey Roque, Westinghouse's VP of Marketing. "Its low profile lets it stand or mount seamlessly in any sized room, but at the same time, its generous 46-inch screen gives consumers the big picture feel that's so vital to a true home theater experience. It's very exciting for us be to able to offer this kind of styling and performance at such an accessible price point."
Roque says the LD-4655 will go on sale later this month for $900. That buys you a 46-inch panel in a super thin form factor measuring 1.7 inches for the screen and just over 2 inches for its high-gloss black bezel. Other features include edge-lit LED technology, 120Hz refresh rate, 6.5ms response time, audio chip and tuning by Yamaha, and low energy consumption (80W normal, 1W in standby).
If you're one of the few to have a new 3D HDTV, it's about to feel a little smaller. LG has announced they will be bringing their LZ9700 3D HDTV to CES. This beast is going to be 72-inches of three-dimensional glory, making it the world's largest consumer LCD 3D TV. Not only that, but this will be an LED backlit LCD panel with local dimming. That means much better black levels in dark scenes.
The LZ9700 will also support DLNA, USB storage, and Media Link. It will also have LG's 400Hz "TruMotion" motion smoothing technology as well. We've always felt these technologies make images look almost waxy, but they can be good for high motion content. LG says in the press release the set will be on sale in early 2011, but neglected to even ballpark a price. We assume it’s going to be selling somewhere in the neighborhood of 'more money that you have'.
Vizio's latest 3D display trades in those heavy active shutter glasses for polarized specs, which are both lighter and cheaper to produce. They're the same kind you get at the movie theater, so if you pocket a pair rather than tossing it into the recycle bin on your way out of the theater, they should work with Vizio's new 65-inch XVT Series Edge Lit Razor LED LCD HDTV.
Four sets of eye-gear come with the display, and according to Vizio, its 3D tech is up to 50 percent brighter than conventional active 3D systems, has one half of the visual crosstalk distortion, handles fast action motion without annoying blur, has a wider horizontal viewing angle, and isn't affected by eye-strain inducing flicker.
Vizio's display also ships with a handful of Internet apps baked in, including Amazon Video On Demand, Facebook, Flickr, Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, VUDU, and Yahoo TV Widgets, with more apps available.
Several days after details about the WD TV Live Hub surfaced on the internet, Western Digital today launched the set-top-box that boasts a few additional features over previous WD TV devices. It is a network media streamer, DLNA-compliant media extender and 1TB hard drive all rolled into a single $200 package.
You can not only use this networked media player to view media content, whether it be locally stored or Internet based, on your TV, but also stream local content to any DLNA/UPnP compatible device, including game consoles, Blu-ray Disc players and other WD TV Live media players.
Despite its versatility, the WD TV Live Hub is missing something very basic -- Wi-Fi. Perhaps Western Digital was hoping that the Hub’s other features would offset its lack of Wi-Fi.
Dr. Raymond M. Soneira, President of DisplayMate Technologies, has never been one to mince words when it comes to holding display maker's feet to the fire. He's made a name for himself by shattering myths perpetuated by those whose jobs it is to hype and market LCD panels of all shapes and sizes, an attitude that meshes well with our "Minimum BS" motto. So when Dr. Soneira told us he wrote a lengthy piece on why existing brightness controls and light sensors in today's displays are effectively useless -- particularly on the iPhone, Android devices, and HDTVs -- we took a coffee break to read what he had to say.
"Although consumers currently don't pay much attention to them, the Automatic Brightness control and LIght Sensor on smartphones and HDTVs has a major impact on displayed image quality, screen viewability, and readability, as well as preventing eye strain and headaches when the screen is too bright or too dim for the current level of ambient lighting, which varies considerably," Dr. Soneira explains.
According to Dr. Soneira, "most smartphones and HDTVs run with the screen considerably brighter than it should be, which wastes a lot of power in addition to causing eyestrain." Throwing some hard numbers into the mix, Dr. Soneira points out that HDTVs use as much as 75 percent of the total TV power, which oftentimes translates to over 200 watts. With 330 million TVs in the U.S. alone beaming content 600 billion hours per year, "that adds up to a considerable amount of wasted energy, money, and oil."
Because of this, one would think smartphone and HDTV makers would pay particular attention to automatic brightness schemes, but according to Dr. Soneira's extensive lab testing, that isn't the case. Not by a long shot.
Hit the jump to learn more about what Dr. Soneira has dubbed "brightnessgate."
Initially, mobile handset vendors will have to embed a special chip to enable WHDI connectivity, but Amimon hopes to change that by adding a small logic to Wi-Fi’s MAC, paving the way for a “WHDI in software IP” solution, offering vendors “low-cost, low-power, virtually zero-latency, high-range wireless video capability for free.”
Recent surveys suggest that one of the biggest barriers to adopting 3D technology into the mainstream is cost. Even if consumers are willing to put up with wearing 3D glasses, most are just not willing to pay a premium for 3D technology. But is the premium as high as you think?
According to the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), the price difference between 46-inch and 55-inch 3D and 2D LED TVs is just $150, which is certainly a much lower number than we would have expected. ITRI says 120MHz 46-inch 2D LED TVs sell on average for $1,143.8 in the U.S. compared to $1,284.9 for 240MHz 46-inch 3D LED TVs.
In the 55-inch territory, 120MHz 2D LED TVs run $1,539.90 on average, compared to $1,697 for 240MHz 3D LED TVs, ITRI said. That's not a huge price difference, though the ITRI doesn't factor in the cost of additional 3D glasses, a necessary evil until glasses-free 3D displays come into their own.