Several years ago, I was in Florida for a convention and a shuttle launch. I spent a few days with one of my nephews. One night, all discussion stopped immediately after dinner so we could watch a new sitcom he had become enamored with. Suffering from an untimely attack of good manners, I kept my mouth shut and prepared to suffer through 22 minutes of inanity. Instead, I laughed out loud. The show was The Big Bang Theory, and I immediately recognized it was about me, all of my friends, and most of the readership of MaximumPC. Returning to the left coast, I set the DVR to record every episode.
For over half a century, Hollywood has been making computers do whatever they damn well please. Routinely featured on television and in movies, supercomputers, desktop rigs and laptops—and in some cases, the people that use them—are all too often imbued with near-magical capabilities, painting a deceptive picture of what our beloved machines can and cannot do. Not sure of what tech-centric malarky we’re talking about? No problem: We’ve put together a list of our top ten Hollywood TV and Movie myths. We’re betting they’ll be just as familiar and irritating to you as they are to us.
Word on the Web is that Lenovo is talking with several OEMs, including Wistron and Compal Electronics, in hopes of contracting one to build smart TVs. This is new ground for Lenovo, but not uncharted territory for OEMs who also dabble in notebooks, like Samsung and LG. Lenovo's desire to follow them into the living room underscores the convergence of PC technology with entertainment devices.
With the meteoric rise of streaming services like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, and a handful of others, cable and satellite TV providers need to rethink how to best serve their customers, lest they become obsolete in favor of Internet TV. Perhaps for this reason, satellite provider DirecTV just announced the launch of HBO's new authenticated online video destinations, HBO GO and MAX GO, both of which are provided free to DirecTV customers who subscribe to the premium channels.
We're a little surprised that, up until now, NEC hasn't released a large-screen LCD display with LED backlighting, but hey, there's nothing wrong with showing up fashionably late. NEC joins the large-screen LED party with a pair of professional-grade models, the 46-inch X461S and 55-inch X551S. Like nearly all LED displays, both of NEC's new models sport a super-slim profile.
If watching television makes you want to go out and shoot something (preferably something made out of clay and legal to shoot), then Radio Shack might have an offer that's right up your alley. A Radio Shack Super Store in Hamilton, Montana has decided to offer a free gun to qualifying customers who sign up for new Dish Network service.
Your Mitsubishi brand LCD TV is about to become a relic of sorts. In a strange, and perhaps desperate move, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America is reportedly drop kicking LCD TV production as part of a restructuring process that will also include handing out pink slips. Mitsubishi said its goal is to "reclaim [its] position as the large screen company," but without LCD TVs. How exactly does the display maker plan to do that?
More plant closures are coming as a result of the devastating earthquake in Japan. Toshiba, for example, said it is shutting down a liquid crystal display plant in Fukaya for about a month as the firm assesses the damage and goes about making repairs. Meanwhile, Hitachi is stopping production of small panel LCDs at a factory near Tokyo, also for about a month.
Whether or not the closures lead to panel shortages is still up in the air. The plants in question mostly deal with displays for mobile devices, like smartphones and navigation devices, and could affect the auto industry, Reuters reports.
"Given that car production in Japan is down anyway, a one-month stop in production may not be as problematic as it might seem," said Damian Thong, an analyst at Macquarie Capital Securities in Japan. "However, given that the market for smartphones outside Japan is pretty active, supply disruptions there could cause problems for some handset makers of some models."
According to iSuppli, Panasonic's 6th generation LCD fab in Japan was also affected by the quake. That plant produces LCD TV panels for use in Panasonic televisions.
Glasses-free 3D technology continues to gain steam. Later this month, Nintendo will launch its 3DS handheld console, the first of what we hope are many 3D devices that ditch the 3D glasses (assuming this whole 3D fad sticks around). Next up are large screen TVs, and as you read this, Samsung's over in China showing off a 55-inch 3D LCD TV that's able to produce 3D effects without any eye gear.
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?