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?
The marketing drum at Microsoft beats on and new advertisements have finally surfaced for your viewing pleasure. The new direction in the campaign features a noticeable lack of Seinfeld and churros, but it finally takes on the damaging Mac vs PC ads which Apple first debuted several years ago. For many PC enthusiasts this is the real kick start of the Vista ad campaign, and in many ways is long overdue. For years Apple has stereotyped Windows user’s as pie chart obsessed corporate stooges who resist the very notion that computing can be fun. The Microsoft ads hope to demonstrate the diversity of the over one billion users across the world who use Windows everyday and are proud proponents of the platform. The campaign also features a new face to represent the PC, which ironically turns out to be an internal Microsoft employee named Sean Siler. Sean claims he was one of many who auditioned for the role of the PC and his duties at Microsoft otherwise involve work on IPv6. His email address (provided at the bottom of the ad) sends back an automated out of office response directed toward curious observers. Try it yourself by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit the jump to read the transcript and see the ads for yourself.
Amazon has armed its subsidiary Internet Movie Database (IMDB) with 6,000 full-length movies and TV episodes. Users can watch the video content without spending even a single penny. Video on IMDB had been long overdue and its absence was perplexing.
Sadly enough, though, only a glimpse of the video feature is enough to tell you that it will take quite a long time for video to be the site’s USP. The list of featured videos is too short to be any good.
Is there no end to the laser's usefulness? From being mounted to frickin' sharks to popping a house full of corn in the 80s, the answer appears to be no. Fast-forward to today and lasers are now going to be found in television sets.
First announced earlier this year at CES, Mitsubishi's LaserVue series is being billed by the company as the world's first laser-power TV. It's also one of the more expensive sets for its size. Set to initially make its debut this month as a 65" HDTV, the LaserVue will carry an MSRP of $7,000, or roughly comparable to that of higher end LCD TVs of the same size. If you can wait a little longer and have an extra $3,000 to drop, a 73" model will be available in the fourth quarter priced at $10,000.
According to Mitsubishi, LaserVue TVs are capable of about twice the color range of non-laser powered LCD TVs, while providing a brightness of 500 nits, 3D viewing capability, and will consume less than 200W of power.
Seagate hasn’t had to hard-sell its products directly to consumers hitherto, as manufacturers and disk drive resellers account for most of its sales. But all that will change in December with the airing of Seagate’s maiden commercial aimed at generic consumers.
Brian Dexheimer, the company’s president for consumer solutions, views the upcoming ad campaign as both an experiment and opportunity. The ad campaign will proclaim the indispensability of Seagate drives and show no gender bias – its Seagate not Gillette; there will be a separate set of ads for both men and women. Seagate’s ad budget has seen a substantial increase of 40% this year.
Earlier reports that Microsoft's new ad campaign would kick off with Jerry Seinfeld as its OS pitchman turned out to be true, and so has the pre-release skepticism. It's hard to imagine being any more annoyed than when watching Justin Long portray the prototypical hipster for the umpteenth time, but like Vista when it first came out, general consensus is that Microsoft has dropped the ball and left eager PC fans more than a little underwhelmed.
How bad was it? Enough so that you won't find any pretense of unbiased reporting in this blog. Not only did the first commercial in Microsoft's $300 million advertising campaign appear to make little sense, but if it was aiming to be funny (and it was), it missed the mark.
"Today, we are kicking off a highly visible advertising campaign," wrote Microsoft's senior VP Bill Veghte in an email to employees. "The first phase of this campaign is designed to engage consumers and spark a new conversation about Windows – a conversation that will evolve as the campaign progresses, but will always be marked by humor and humanity."
Veghte goes on to explain that the first set of ads should be taken as an icebreaker, but if Microsoft was looking to make a good first impression with Seinfeld's debut, well, let's just say it didn't. See for yourself.
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).
Intel unveiled the Intel Media Processor CE 3100, a System on Chip (SoC) for consumer electronics based on Intel Architecture (IA), at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. This particular SoC has been designed keeping in mind internet-enabled consumer electronics products like optical media players, connected CE devices, advanced cable set top boxes and digital TVs. Intel hopes that the CE 3100 will make it easier for people to stay connected to the internet on their favorite CE devices without feeling any vexing technical constraints.
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.
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.