Vizio has begun shipping its new lineup of "leading edge" XVT (Xtreme Vizio Technology) Series HDTVs with Full Array TruLED LCD HDTV technology, a fancy term that Vizio promises is all that and a bag of the most delicious chips on the planet.
"VIZIO is solidifying its position as a technology and performance leader with the introduction of the new generation of XVT HDTVs," said John Schindler, VIZIO VP New Products. "Our dedication to high performance drives us to use the best commercially available technology. Each of our XVT TruLED sets uses a Full Array with local dimming that produces an unquestioned superior picture. Many competitive manufacturers have decided to use only Edge Lit technology in their flagship products, but edge lighting results in an inevitable compromise in performance."
The way Vizio pitches its new lineup, the company's TruLED HDTVs trump even the competition's most expensive models with uniform brightness across the entire screen, a much better off angle viewing area, and "vastly superior black reproduction."
Other features include 10,000,000:1 contrast ratios (dynamic, of course), dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi, and up to 240Hz refresh rate (55-inch XVT553SV, 47-inch XVT473SV, and 42-inch XVT423SV models).
Prices range from $700 for the 32-inch XVT323SV on up to $2,200 for the 55-inch set.
Netflix announced last week a deal with Epix valued at $900 million to bring more premium content to their streaming service. While this is great news for users, don't expect any of the high-quality shows from Time Warner owned HBO to end up on Netflix anytime soon. HBO Co-President Eric Kessler recently explained, "There is value in exclusivity. Consumers “are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content.”
HBO has plans to launch a streaming service of thier own called HBO Go in the next six months. A Netflix spokesperson expressed their desire to work with HBO saying, "Compete with us or collaborate with us, but we would much rather work with them.” It seems HBO feels they can adequately compete with Netflix, having already secured content deals for their online service with Comcast and Verizon.
No word yet on how much HBO Go would charge, but it's probably going to be more than Netflix's rock-bottom $8.99 per month (the minimum account with full streaming access). How much would you pay to access HBO shows like True Blood and The Sopranos?
All the talk in TV land in recent months has centered around the 3D movement, but according to market research firm iSuppli, 3D TVs are playing second fiddle to Internet-enabled TVs (IETVs).
"Despite aggressive promotions from the industry and intense consumer interest generated by the blockbuster Avatar and other titles, the 3D TV market in 2010 will be limited to a small pool of enthusiastic early adopters," said Riddhi Patel, director and principal analyst for TV systems at iSuppli. "In contrast, IETV is entering the mainstream in 2010. This is because 3D is still dealing with a number of barriers, including cost, content availability, and interoperability, while IETV provides immediate benefits by allowing TV viewers to access a range of content readily available on the Internet."
By the end of the year, iSuppli reckons IETV shipments will reach 27.7 million units. That's a rise of 124.9 percent compared to 2009. By contrast, 3D TVs will see only 4.2 million shipments by the time 2010 comes to a close, iSuppli says.
Over the next few years, IETVs will continue to do well. iSuppli predicts IETV shipments will expand at rates of 50 percent for the next two years, while maintaining double-digit growth rates until the end of 2014.
Chalk it up to successful marketing or a genuine desire to consume 3D content in the home, goofy looking glasses be damned, but according to DisplaySearch, 2010 will come to an end having seen 3.4 million shipments of 3D TVs. And that's just the beginning. By 2014, that number will skyrocket to 42.9 million, more than a 12-fold increase.
"TV manufacturers have managed to launch products very rapidly. We have seen a full range of 3D TVs in sizes from 40 inches to 63 inches already available, and without a doubt, there will be another wave of new products at the IFA show in Berlin in September," noted Paul Gray, DisplaySearch Director of TV Electronics Research.
DisplaySearch feels pretty confident this is much bigger than a passing fad and predicts that the 3D TV market penetration will grow from 5 percent of total flat panel TVs in 2010 to 37 percent in 2014. That's more than a third of all flat panel TV shipments.
"Based on early indications, the launch of 3D TVs is similar to Samsung's rollout of LED LCD TVs at the beginning of 2009, albeit at a slightly slower pace," said Paul Gagnon, Director of North America TV Research at DisplaySearch. "This would be in line with our forecast of just over 2 million 3D TVs shipped in North America for 2010.
Despite all this, DisplaySearch points out that the electronics industry is outpacing content availability, which so far is limited to a handful of movies and sports events on pay TV.
For those of you who watched the World Cup, you got to see some of the worst officiating in the history of sports with lots of blown calls and questionable judgment. So is it really any surprise that Toshiba's World Cup promotion would be equally controversial?
Here's the deal. Toshiba, riding the wave of the World Cup frenzy, ran a promotion that essentially encouraged consumers to buy a Core i5 laptop or Toshiba TV, and if your country wins the World Cup Final, Toshiba promised to refund your money. The promotion was run in Germany, England, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, and as everyone knows by now, Spain went on to actually win the thing.
Ready for the gotcha? A bit of small print on the ad instructed consumers to see Toshiba's site for more details, and it's there that Toshiba listed a requirement that all claimants must register their product by June 17th. As you might expect, a whole bunch of Spaniards are pretty pissed off over Toshiba's red card move.
The questions is, should Toshiba honor the rebates even if buyers didn't register their product? Spanish consumer advocate site Facua.org argues that such a major requirement shouldn't have been tucked away online, but included with the ads.
Do you agree, or this is a case where consumers simply failed to perform their due diligence?
First off, the two point out that the study paid next-to-no attention to studies that have found videogames beneficial to attention and cognition. Apparently, it also overlooks "a number of recent studies that contradict their views on the relationship between videogames and aggression." Convenient, no?
Worse still, the study’s measurement system is fatally skewed, only using reports from teachers and completely ignoring outside factors that could contribute to a lacking attention span like home environment, poverty, and parental education.
"All standardized regression coefficients for children in the study are less than .10. This indicates that the overlap in variance between media use and attention is less than 1%. Even taking these findings a face value (setting aside concerns about measures and control variables), these are weak effect sizes without practical significance, effectively no different from zero," Ferguson and Ceranoglu explained.
"In sum, these findings are unable to support the weight that Swing et al. (2010) attempt to place on them, and give no cause for concern to clinicians, educators or parents."
So basically, it sounds like a few researchers wanted to make a splash, but ended up belly-flopping instead. Turns out, the scientific method isn’t composed of a single step that says “tailor your study to give you whatever results you’re looking for,” and the scientific community isn’t composed of blind idiots. So yeah, don’t expect any “This is your brain. This is your brain on videogames” PSAs any time soon.
Not that we’re too surprised, mind you. Any community that can count grinding for experience points/boar tusks for hours on end as one of its main hobbies has to have developed a pretty serious attention span – probably out of necessity, if nothing else.
You can add short attention spans to the list of ailments that affect frequent gamers, suggests a new study published in the July issue of Pediatrics, Television, and Video Game Exposure and the Development of Attention Problems.
The study, which was conducted by Edward Swing and his team of researchers at Iowa State University, examined two different age groups, including middle schoolers (third to fifth graders) and 2010 college students. They wanted to see if there was any danger in exceeding the 2-hour max limit for TV viewing and videogame playing as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
"Those who exceeded the AAP recommendation were about 1.6 times to 2.2 times more likely to have greater than average attention problems," the study concludes.
This isn't the first study to link screen time with short attention spans.
"There may well be a relation between television viewing and attention problems," said Dr. David Elkind, professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University.
It's turning out to be a banner year for TV makers, who according to market research firm DisplaySearch, will ship more than 242 million TV sets globally in 2010. That number marks a 15 percent on-year growth rate, made even more significant when you consider shipments only grew by 2 percent in 2009.
Not surprisingly, LCD displays are performing exceptionally well with a 29 percent growth rate to 188 million units, but don't go counting out plasma and CRT TVs just yet. DisplaySearch says both have a better outlook in 2010 than previously expected. Plasma TV shipments, for example, rose 24 percent on-year in the first quarter of 2010, driven by demand for high value-per-inch.
On the LCD side, LED-backlit displays are quickly gaining ground. While only 3.9 million LED-backlit LCD TVs were shipped around the globe in the 2009, DisplaySearch expects that number to jump to 37 million units in 2010.
"Most of the top LCD TV brands are strongly emphasizing LED technology in an attempt to offset declining profits and prices fo CCFL-backlit models," said Hisakazu Torii, VP of TV market research for DisplaySearch. "This has led to a shortage of critical LED backlight components, and the lofty goals for LED market share in 2010 have been tempered somewhat by the reality of supply constraints."
By the end of the year, DisplaySearch reckons LED-backlit displays will account for 20 percent of total LCD shipments.
We're still not sold on 3D for the living room (and outside of Avatar, we haven't been super impressed with 3D in movie theaters, either), but one thing we love are large screen displays. Mitsubishi pairs both of these with its latest LaserVue display, a monstrous 75-inch 3D-capable TV.
That's a ton of real estate, and it's not even Mitsubishi's largest 3D display. For those of you willing to roll with DLP technology, Mitsubishi also announced an 82-inch 3D DLP Home Cinema set complete with a 16-speaker array capable of outputting 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.
"3D at the cinema is large, immersive entertainment, and the optimal way to replicate that experience in the home is with Mitsubishi’s mammoth LaserVue and 3D DLP Home Cinema TVs," said Frank DeMartin, vice president of marketing, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America. "We have one of the largest 3D TVs at 82-inches, and now with the addition of our new 75-inch 3D-ready LaserVue TV with Cinema Color, Mitsubishi 3D TV owners can now feel fully immersed in their favorite 3D movies, 3D games and 3D broadcasts at home."
You'll still need to wear a pair of dorky glasses, which Mitsubishi provides as part of its 3D Starter Pack ($400). Inside the kit are two pairs of active shutter 3D glasses, a 3D emitter, 3D adapter with remote, an HDMI cable, and a Disney Blu-ray disc filled with 3D trailers.
Popular video streaming service Hulu is rumored to be talking to both Time Warner and CBS about adding additional content to a possible paid version of the site. The details aren't yet available, but sources say the new content would roll out behind a pay wall of some sort starting in September.
If Hulu could tempt CBS, it would be a major coup for the company. They already have support from Fox, NBC, and ABC. Adding the fourth major TV studio could be a selling point for many consumers. If the September date does hold up, the timing seems perfect for a new season of TV to be available online. We could also see the rollout of the Xbox 360 and iPad Hulu apps at that time. It would make sense for Hulu to make the biggest splash possible when the pay service finally opens up.
It's not clear what benefits a paid Hulu account would provide. What sort of features would you need to see before paying up?