Like it or not, 3D is destined for your living room, and there's a race to get there first (just ask Panasonic and Best Buy). But how much can you expect to plunk down on a fancy new 3D television set?
Samsung answered that question today by announcing the availability and pricing info for its next-generation lineup of LED HDTVs, including several 3D-capable units. The least you can expect to pay for 3D, at least for a Samsung set, is $2,000, which buys you a 40-inch HDTV. Pricing goes up from there, all the way to $7,000 for a 55-inch set due out in April.
"Our commitment to innovation has always been strong. We’re not only delivering elegant design and eco-friendly energy consumption, but we’re adding a new dimension to superior home entertainment through a broad lineup of 3D LED TVs," said John Revie, vice president of Home Entertainment for Samsung Electronics America. "We are passionate about this year’s LED TV lineup as we once again raise the bar on technology innovation by delivering a superior TV experience and leadership in the HDTV space."
While Samsung announced 27 new models in all, 8 of them will come with built-in 3D (C7000, C8000, and C9000 series). All of these include Samsung's Real240Hz refresh rate technology and are compatible with major 3D format standards, the company said.
See here for a full list of details and new models.
LED manufacturers are having a tough time keeping up with demand, says market research iSuppli, who warns that the market might be on the verge of a shortage.
"It is clear that demand is outstripping supply," said Jagdish Rebello, senior director and principal analyst for wireless research at iSuppli. "With LED market growth forecasted to rise by double-digit percentages for at least the next three years, including 2010, a drastic undersupply situation could occur this year unless additional capacity is brought online to meet the increased demand."
The shortage mostly applies to LED LCD TVs, which employ anywhere from 300 to 500 LEDs per panel. Notebooks use about 50 LEDS, while monitors require about 100 LEDs.
"On the demand side, the shortage is being spurred by strong consumer desire, given the growing popularity of LED-backlit LCD TVs due to their super-slim form factors and improvements in pictures quality," said Sweta Dash, senior director for LCD research at iSuppli.
Still, LED manufacturers have a little bit of wiggle room, but not much. Total consumption of LEDs climbed to 63 billion units in 2009, up from 57 billion in 2008, while the industry's total capacity sits at about 75 billion.
Super bright LED flashlights are already pretty awesome, but slap an integrated video recorder into the mix and it's all over, man. This might be the coolest gadget James Bond never had.
It's called the LED Spy Light HD. The HD nomenclature might be a little ambitious, but you can shoot video in 1,280 x 960 at 30fps. You can also snap photos of your nemesis' secret plans in 1,600 x 1,200, And if all that weren't enough, there's also a voice recorder tossed into the mix.
The Spy Light doesn't come with any internal memory, but you're welcome to shove your own SD/SDHC card into the Spy Light.
OLED displays are widely accepted to provide some of the best image quality money can buy. The problem is that it does take a lot of money to buy them. The current generation of manufacturing tech means that small OLEDs, like the one found on the Nexus One, are really at the upper limit of cost effectiveness. A start up called Kateeva wants to change that. They are developing a system for printing OLED displays.
Kateeva’s manufacturing process has been shown to be capable of printing 1.8 by 1.5 meter OLED displays. They estimate the costs to be roughly 60% of current methods. Don’t get too excited yet. The OLED printer is set to be tested by display manufacturers next year. Just imagine, in a few short years you may be tossing out your tired old plasma or LCD HDTV and buying an OLED version.
We love finding uses for old hardware seeing as we go through so much of it. The hard drive clock is a classic. We’ve seen it, and like it, but it’s getting old. However, one intrepid modder at the Hacked Gadgets site has reaffirmed our faith in the concept of the hard drive clock.
The modder, known as NatureTM, created a clock made from a still spinning hard drive. The hands are actually created by a single line of LEDs in the spinning platter. With mad scientist level math skills, NatureTM programmed the controller to flash at intervals to make it appear that there were moving hands on the clock. He used an open hardware prototyping platform called Arduino to control the time display.
NatureTM plans to release code at some point. So before you know it you’ll be ruining hard drives trying this yourself. Hit the jump to check out the full video.
Bill Watkins, the ex-Seagate CEO who served 12 years with the hard drive maker, jumps out of the unemployment line to serve as CEO of LED lighting company Bridgelux. Not by accident, Watkins has been researching green technologies ever since cutting ties with Seagate and became fascinated with the LED sector.
"There's a $100 billion opportunity, a whole new disruptive technology with LEDs, and an installed base that owns the market but doesn't have good solutions. You don't see that very often, but that's how new technology can make an impact," Watkins said this week.
Watkins is thinking on a global scale with his new position and said he plans to help his company grow by developing its manufacturing and expanding internationally, CNet reports.
"The whole world is basically going to embrace this technology," Watkins added.
Quick, what color comes to mind when you think of LEDs? If you said blue, you're in the majority, and there's a good reason for that. Blue LEDs happen to be the most energy efficient of the bunch, which might explain why there's not a ton of color variation in the LED world. Jason Hartlove, CEO of Nanosys, thinks that's about to change.
Hartlove was on hand at CES to talk about a type of nanotechnology that could ultimately lead to LEDs with more vivid colors and a wider range of hues, all without sacrificing energy efficiency. So how does it work?
As Hartlove explains it, the technology involves taking a blue LED and adding a phosphor material built out of nanomaterials to create warm white lights. This special coating would allow LED makers to choose from a spectrum of colors.
"We use the same process nature has to architect nanomaterials that provide greater wavelength range," Hartlove explained.
The best part about this approach is that it should be relatively cheap to implement. Companies can easily add the material to their existing process line, Hartlove says, negating the need for costly new factories or significant hardware upgrades.
Look for products using Nanosys' technology to debut this year.
There's been a lot of fuss about LED backlighting the past year, but even so, LED-backlit LCD monitors won't make a major push into the mainstream until much later this year and into 2011, DigiTimes' "market sources" say.
Part of reason for this is because notebooks and LCD TVs are gobbling up most of the current LED inventory. There just hasn't been enough LED inventory to fulfill demand from monitor panel makers.
The other barrier comes down to price. Sources say the price gap between an 18.5-inch LED-backlit and CCFL-backlit monitor panel comes down to about $5, and while that doesn't sound like much, it translates into a retail price difference of about $30 to $50. That's enough to turn consumers' heads in a different direction.
You've probably seen a handful of big screen LED-backlit LCD televisions the last time you strolled through the TV section in your local electronics store, and in 2010, you'll be seeing a lot more of them, says iSupply.
More specifically, the market research firm says global LED-backlit TV shipments for 40-inch and larger models will jump nearly 8x in 2010 to 18.8 million units, up from 2.5 million units in 2009. iSupply attributes the nearly eight-fold increase to consumer demand, a push for green technologies, and a willingness by various parts of the TV supply chain to oblige on both of these accounts.
"Panel makers have been investing heavily in LED chip makers or have been developing their own internal technologies in order to take advantage of what they believe LED-backlit TVs bring to the table: differentiation, innovation, low power consumption, and of course the potential to reap the benefits of higher revenues," said Riddhi Patel, principal analyst for TV systems at iSupply.
Looking beyond next year, iSupply says LED-backlit LCD TVs in the 40-inch or larger category will explode to 112.1 million units in 2013, by then claiming 83.2 percent of the market. By comparison, large screen LED-backlit LCD TVs claim just 6 percent of the market currently.
Most vows to sport a thinner frame don't begin until everyone starts making out their New Year's resolutions, but LG is already off and running with what it claims is the world's thinnest LCD TV.
Not that the company's previous ultra-thin LCD was flabby, but at just 2.6mm (0.1 inches) thick, LG's new 42-inch model is a full 50 percent thinner than its predecessor. It also one-ups the model it's replacing by incorporating an LED backlight system.
Other specs include full HD (1080p) with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. And as for weight? Just 4 kilograms, which converts to about 8.8 pounds.
No word yet on price or availability, though LG said it plans to display the ultra-thin set at CES next month.