Let's hope there's no insidious plot to take over the world brewing behind the scenes of Netflix, because if there is, we're all screwed. Netflix's streaming service is already being streamed to everything from Tivo boxes to the Xbox 360 console, and starting this spring, LG will integrate Netflix streaming capability into some of its plasma and LCD HDTVs.
The move has the potential to significantly boost Netflix's subscriber base, as consumers in the market for a new television would no longer need to add a separate set-top box, be it a Roku player or one of the compatible Blu-ray players, to take advantage of the more than 12,000 streaming movies and TV shows. It also puts the pressure on the competition to catch up if they have any hopes of contending in the living room.
No word yet on price or availability, though we imagine more information will be made available this week at CES.
There's been a bit of hype as of late concerning OLED technology, leading to a cautious optimism in the consumer electronics industry. Back in June, Plexitronics, with funding provided by the U.S. Display Consortium, announced a breakthrough in OLED manufacturing that could lead to low cost OLED displays, and just one month later Matsushita cranked the hype machine by saying it had set a goal of selling 40-inch OLED displays by 2011. Could we be on the verge of an OLED revolution?
Not everyone is as optimisitc, including Panasonic, who casted a ray of reality on the situation during the opening day of Ceatec 2008. Panasonic AVC Networks president Toshihiro Sakamoto squashed that idea that we might see OLED televisions in sizes of 30 inches or more anytime soon, saying th technology is not suitable for mass manufacturing. Earlier this year at CES, Sakamoto said that because "you won't be able to beat the cost and price performance of LCD and plasma for a long time," we likely won't see OLED start to grow as a market until 2015, but now feels even that estimate might be overly optimistic. The biggest irony here is that Panasonic is a brand name of Matsushita's!
Is Sakamoto's pessimism warranted, or will we see affordable 30-inch+ OLED displays before 2015?
Sony just announced a new LCD television so thin that it makes even sickly looking Hollywood stars appear chunky by comparison. The 40-inch LCD TV in Bravia's ZX1 series measures just 28mm thick, and that's at its fattest portion. The thinnest portion measures a scant 9.9mm.
In order to build a chassis so thin, the new display utilizes an edge LED backlight. White LEDs come arranged on four sides of a light guide plate, boasting a contrast ratio of 3,000:1. A wireless connection to bridges the separate display and tuner components. To go with the ultra-skinny television, the company developed a dedicated wall-mounting unit 19.5mm thick. When hung on the wall, the distance between the front surface of the TV and wall is less than 50mm.
The KDL-40ZX1 will launch in Japan in October for about ¥490,000 (roughly $4,507 USD).
Go on a weekend getaway with a Playboy model, or take the 60-inch plasma TV and go home alone? A new reality TV show will put contestants in a position to answer this and other similar questions to find out what guys find more important - high tech gadgets or hot women.
It's part of a new series to air on Playboy TV called Gadget or the Girl in which one lucky bachelor will be introduced to three women, one of which he'll eliminate right off the bat. After going on a date with the other two, the guy will choose just one to spend the evening with, and then decide whether to continue the one-on-one time during a weekend getaway, or opt for a high tech prize instead. Gadgets will range from high-definition big-screen TVs to arcade machines and everything in between, but the bachelor won't know what he stands to get (or lose) until after he makes a decision. If he does choose the girl, she'll score a mystery prize instead.
The new show will premier on Playboy TV on September 1 at 7:30 PM, which might not be a problem if you're single. But for those of you that are married, you might be better off opting for HBO rather than trying to convince your missis that you need a subscription to Playboy TV.
In just two more years, your swank high definition television might be obsolete, or at least the technology behind it. That's the time frame Matsushita has given for when it plans to start selling an OLED television with a screen size of 40 inches.
If you haven't been following the HDTV landscape, OLED technology promises thinner displays, a better looking picture, and lower power consumption, making it the frontrunner to succeed both LCD and plasma. Cost continues to be a prohibiting factor in the here and now, but Matsushita hopes to tackle that problem by investing several dozen billion yen into a prototype production line for 20-inch OLED panels, while also doubling the personnel involved in developing larger screen OLED displays.
While Matsushita's 2011 deadline might appear to be overly ambitious, the company already has a head start on the technology. Earlier this month a report from Japan's Nikkei BP said Matsushita and Toshiba were ready to begin mass-producing 2.5-inch organic screens by the fall of 2009. Meanwhile new breakthroughs continue to drive down the manufacturing cost of OLEDs, so if even we don't see OLED televisions by 2011, the writing will at least be on the wall.
CNet reports that Adobe has rolled out a new version of Adobe Media Player. Despite the modest .1 increment in the version number (Adobe Media Player 1.0 users are offered the update the next time they start the player), Adobe Media Player 1.1 has undergone substantial changes in this new release, with improvements in speed, user interface, and content.
To learn (and see) how Adobe has made it easier and faster to watch your favorite TV shows and movies on your PC, and to find out how much TV AMP 1.1 provides, join us after the jump.
LCDs and DLPs and plasmas, oh my! Choosing a television used to entail picking out the biggest sized screen you could afford, and then convincing your significant other that she too will appreciate the extra real estate. Those were simpler times, and today there exist a myriad of technologies to wade through before purchasing your next high definition television set. Even if you've kept up with the fast paced HDTV arena, there's one more type of display you might never have heard about but could be worth waiting for. Keep reading to see what it is.