Monday, January 30, 2006

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SnapStream announced launch of aimed for software developers who like to extend the functionality of SnapStream products. The web site is based on wiki and, as expected from any wiki, is open for the community to add information. The convenience for this type of web site is that programmer can lookup information, add information for followers, and leave notes for others to respond without relying on already busy developers at the company to respond. At present, web site has downloads for Beyond Media and BeyondTV APIs, Beyond Media SDK, article on best practices, and third party guide. As software engineer, I applaud SnapStream's effort to centralize the development and make terms such "lack of information" or "undocumented" obsolete. Also, it is really great to see an engineer be a part of a company blog.

Source: SnapStream Blog

Posted by Mike at 1:54 PM
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NEC HR-1100A HD-DVD Preview

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CDFreaks mentions C'T magazine[German] whose folks got their hands on a preproduction HD-DVD reader from NEC. HR-1100A lacks AACS and write support. While promised to be fixed, preproduction sample could not recognize high-jitter DVD-R, baldy pressed DVD-ROM, and had not support for hybrid HD-DVD/DVD layers. The issue is due to a single laser used to pick up CD, DVD, and HD-DVD thus making error correction a tougher task to accomplish. C'T also ran a listening test where only 4 out 8 copy protected CDs were read by HR-1100A. On the positive side, the unit showed high access times of 142 ms for CD-R, 370 ms for HD-DVD and even 1057 ms for a DVD-9. Transfer speed read at 2x HD-DVDs average at 8.7 MB/s, whereas DVD-9 stands at 7.4MB/s, DVD-R at 7.4 MB/s, and CD-R at 3.7 MB/s. According to C'T values are acceptable but not excellent.
As you can see, there are still many problems surrounding this particular model and is behind recently tested by same folks Samsung Blu-Ray drive which is built with a 2 lenses( one for CD/DVD and another for BD ) and does not have as many compatibility problems as HR-1100A.

NEC HR-1100A will first be launched for OEMs and later this summer will hit the retail stores for a steep price of €400 ( about $483 ).

Posted by Mike at 1:15 PM
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Paradigm Reference Millenia 200

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Paradigm is ready to ship an addition to its Reference Series - Millenia 200 floorstanding loudspeakers. These are contemporary styled 6-driver 2 1/2 way offerring, according to the press release:
... six state-of-the-art drivers: a 1-inch SPAL™ satin-anodized pure-aluminum dome tweeter; two 4.5-inch MLP™ mica-loaded-polymer bass/midrange cones with Paradigm’s trademark AVS™ airflow ventilation system cooling, and a die-cast heat sink chassis on each driver; three 4.5-inch mineral-filled polypropylene bass cones, also with AVS™ cooling and die-cast chassis; a high-velocity low-noise aluminum port; composite MDF/aluminum baffle; and a sleek, acoustically inert extruded-aluminum enclosure.
Millenia is available for $1000 a pair in chrome or black finish.

Read full press release

Posted by Mike at 8:46 PM
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Sunfire Theater Grand Processor-5 Introduced

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Sunfire announced a natural replacement for their Theater Grand IV Processor. The new Grand 5 processor adds 2 HDMI inputs and an HDMI output and ability to input and output 1080p signal. TGP-5 is claimed to be audiophile grade and can deliver multitude of encodings such as 7.1 Dolby Pro Logic IIx, Dolby Digital, DTS, etc. It also includes Sunfire's Side-Axis 9.3 output and includes Bob Carver's Sonic Holography Imaging soundstage enhancement. Did I say audiophile grade? This thing has 8 XLR balanced outputs so you don't whine. And one more thing - for party animals - TGP-5 has a mode where it can take the stereo signal and output it on every speakers you have connected. Cool feature to make the neighbors happy. Will ship in the 1st quarter of 2006 for $3995.

If you are interested AVRev has a review of the predecessor - Theater Grand IV - so you get the idea where TGP-5 is coming from.

Source: AVRevolution

Posted by Mike at 6:01 PM
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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Toshiba Might Purchase Westinghouse

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Toshiba announced that it was selected as a preferred bidder to "take over" Westinghouse. Toshiba seems to be happy about all of it:
This is an exciting opportunity for Toshiba that will enable the Company to take advantage of a number of strategic opportunities in a sector which we believe has tremendous growth potential. We are confident that this transaction is a win-win situation for Toshiba and Westinghouse, through which both companies will enjoy enhanced growth opportunities in the nuclear industry. Together with Westinghouse's dedicated workforce, we intend to grow the business, to retain Westinghouse's U.S. identity with Pittsburgh at the center of Westinghouse's U.S. and European activities, and to make continued investments for further growth.
Noticed the nuclear industry growth? Not just flat panels, eh.

Source: Toshiba

Posted by Mike at 1:10 PM
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Friday, January 20, 2006

Marantz ZR6001SP / ZC4001 Multi-Room Audio System

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Marantz has presented their implementation of multi room audio distribution system with its DAvED (Digital Audio via Electrical Distribution) components that utilize existing electrical wiring to "stream" music to other rooms. On display were ZR6001SP 7-channel amplifier that also can "serve" music over copper to ZC4001 "clients". The technology behind this is called PLAC (Power Line Audio Communication) that provides plug-n-play functionality between components as soon as plugged in to the electrical outlet and guarantees 44.1kHz/16-bit CD-quality audio. The client side has the ability to take full control over the server using the remote thanks to bi-directional capabilities of PLAC communication. The 2-pieces system - ZR6001SP and ZC4001 - will be available in Spring at $1299 with the option to purchase addition ZC4001 components for $329 each.

Source: Sound&Vision

Posted by Mike at 12:45 PM
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Thursday, January 19, 2006

LED Light Source - Revisited

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Apparently, Samsung was not the only company at CES to present a DLP display with LED light source. Akai and Sanyo have had their share of a show but without bells and whistles of a press release so I missed it. Thanks to people at Audioholics for the coverage. According to them Sanyo's prototype LED DLP rear projector and according to Audioholics:
... boasted a high quality, wide color gamut that exceeded NTSC color values by an average of 120% for red, green and blue - resulting in an exceptionally well-saturated picture (the perception was one of oversaturation at times since we're not used to seeing this much color in a display).
The best part of Sanyo's LED technology besides the missing color wheel and no warm up times, is the "no lamp replacement" policy since LED would be good for the life of the product.
Akai demonstrated a native 1080p DLP LED TVs - PT-52DL27L 52-incher and PT-46DV27L 46-incher that will be available in March and May of this year.


Posted by Mike at 9:59 PM
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Gefen Fiber-Optics DVI / HDMI Cables

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Gefen announces new DVI and HDMI All-Fiber cables. Obviously, with fiber-optics cable there is no interference and what will come out on the other end is basically the same as what enter the input with no change in quality. With copper cable, the higher the frequency the shorter is the distance signal will travel without visible distortion. Running a fiber cable is also much easier due to its miniature sizes ( connector and the cable itself ). But all this goodness does not come cheap. Fiber-optics cable will make you shell out more than you can expect even with balancing in 150ft worth of copper DVI or HDMI cables and couple of repeaters. With that in mind, Gefen is not marketing its All-Fiber cables for home theaters. Rather they mainly shoot for a government or medical contract but are not against sales to businesses and studios. So, to wrap this up, let me mention that the pricing starts at $399 for a 33ft and hits the sky for the 300ft at $2078. Gefen also sells extender for fiber cables to run it right around the block up to 1640ft.

Source: eCoustics

Posted by Mike at 7:23 PM
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Proton Re-Enters North America with LCD TV Sets

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Proton has announced that it reenters North America Market with Puriti LCD TV sets. Puriti LCD TVs include 55-inch and 47-inch LCD TVs, the 42-inch LX-42A6C2, the 37-inch LX-37A6C2(B), and the 32-inch LC-32B6C2. All LCD TVs except the LC-32B6C2 offer an ATSC digital tuner along with an NTSC analog one even on the lower end models.
According to the press report, 55 and 47 inchers are native 1080p only by special order however Proton's web site specs those out with 1920x1080 panels. Going from 42-incher down, resolution is dropped to 1366x768. All units offer wealth of inputs including an HDMI, RGB ( D-Sub ) Component, S-Video, and Composite.
Pricing and availability as follows:
Proton’s 37-inch LX-37A6C2(B) and 32-inch LC-32B6C2(B) LCD TVs are available now from authorized Proton dealers at suggested prices of $2,799 and $1,699, respectively. The 55- and 47-inch Puriti LCD TV, due in Second Quarter 2006, and the 42-inch LX- 42A6C2(B), due in First Quarter 2006, will be available at suggested prices still to be determined.

Product Page: Proton AV

Posted by Mike at 4:53 PM
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Monday, January 16, 2006

Pathos Endorphin CD player

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Pathos Acoustics is an Italian company specializing in high end audio obviously by usage of tubes. The latest product to come out is named in a bit an unorthodox manner - Endorphin. Seems like Pfizer expanding into audio market. But there is an explanation what Endorhpin is:
Endorphin is a neurochemical occurring naturally in the human brain. It promotes more dopamine to be released, providing feelings of enjoyment and pleasure.
The same enjoyment and pleasure as you can now experience when playing your favorite music with Pathos' newest CD player Endorphin™.
The tech specs are top notch: Endorphin uses dual, fully balanced tube, class A zero feedback analog output that is preceded by dual differential 24-bit delta-sigma DACs with conversion rate of up to 192Kz. Dynamic range is 120Db with THD of -100Db. Output connectors give you a choice of a pair of balanced XLRs or pair of RCA, or SPDIF digital coax or optical. This beauty is expected in April for 4500 Euro ( about $5454).

Source: AVReview UK
Product Page: Pathos Endorphin

Posted by Mike at 12:17 PM
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Thursday, January 12, 2006

PRESS RELEASE: Pioneer's PRO-FHD1 1080p Plasma HDTV Announced

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1080P HD PureVision Plasma Doubles Pixel Density for Amazing Flat-Panel Picture

Four days into the new year, Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. brings new meaning to the New Year Resolution with one of the world's first 50" 1080p plasma displays, a technological innovation that doubles pixel density and resolution to deliver the best flat-panel picture quality. Pioneer's Elite PureVision PRO-FHD1 plasma with 1920 X 1080 resolution is capable of displaying the entire range of HD broadcasts including 720p, 1080i and 1080p.

"Whether consumers are watching the football game or the big parade, Pioneer's PRO-FHD1 will literally make them part of the action. Great HD quality captivates viewers who will experience the difference that comes with Pioneer's best-in-class products as they hear the roar of the crowd and see each individual flower petal on the parade floats," said Russ Johnston, senior vice president of marketing and product planning for home entertainment at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

Behind the emotional appeal of a PureVision plasma is the technology that creates a 1080p native resolution with more than 2 million individual pixels. The PRO-FHD1 combines the higher pixel count of 1080i with the faster refresh rate of 720p allowing for a smooth, accurate picture for fast-moving content such as action films or sports with the amazingly sharp, bright, accurate picture quality for which Pioneer is known. The PRO-FHD1 is leading a new dimension in HD from Pioneer with a trio of superior products. In concert with high-resolution amplifiers and speakers, as well as Pioneer's first Blu-ray Disc player, this new plasma creates the ultimate home theater.

"Our new 1080p plasma is a milestone achievement that represents Pioneer's relentless pursuit of excellence. Achieving a 1080p native resolution has been a goal since Pioneer began plasma R&D in 1991. The proprietary technologies developed since that time now enable us to achieve the engineering feat of doubling the pixel density and resolution in a 50" plasma monitor," said Johnston.

In addition to displaying 1080p signals, the PRO-FHD1 can up convert all other sources for improved HD image detail, color accuracy and fast moving image clarity. This Pioneer Elite PureVision 1080p plasma will accept sources from 720p and 1080i to DVD and Blu-ray Disc, and will automatically smart convert it to deliver the highest resolution picture possible.

Pioneer proprietary technology that makes 1080p possible includes:

* Deep Encased Cell Structure makes each cell deeper to increase overall phosphor area for a brighter image. By casing each cell with horizontal ribs, Pioneer diminishes light leakage from neighboring cells for sharper, more accurate images. A new T-shaped electrode prevents misfiring of individual cells despite the fact that each individual cell is half the size as previous generations, enabling Pioneer to maintain its sharp, bright accurate images when reproducing at a native 1080p resolution.
* The Pure Crystal Emissive Layer sandwiched between the plasma glass and the individual light cells conducts energy more efficiently so each cell is charged and discharged at a faster rate, improving contrast and brightness while using less energy. Swift charge and discharge of individual pixels results in an extremely smooth transition from color to black for blacker blacks and increased detail in dark scenes.
* High Quality Up Conversion to 1080p minimizes interlacing motion artifacts of 1080i and increases the resolution of a 720p signal.
* New PureDrive II Signal Processing delivers low noise, high contrast and natural color images. The High Precision Video Scaler receives and displays 1080p HD native resolution.
* The First Surface Pure Color Filter reduces ambient light reflection and heightens color reproduction through the elimination of an extra layer of glass for sharper, crisper and more vivid images.
* Enhanced ISF C3 capability allows a certified calibrator to perform advanced color calibration with never-before-achieved simplicity, accuracy and reliability. It includes a detailed gamma selection with eight steps.
* Terminals on the monitor include Digital HDMI, DVI (HDCP), component and composite inputs.

An optional tabletop stand and wall mount bracket will be available. The Pioneer Elite PureVision PRO-FHD1 will be available in June for a suggested price of $10,000.

Pioneer's Home Entertainment Division is a leading manufacturer of plasma televisions and monitors, DVD players and DVD recorders, A/V receivers, CD players and CD recorders, speakers and other audio and video accessories. Its focus is on the development of new digital technologies including Digital Network Entertainment. The company markets its products under the Pioneer and Pioneer Elite brand names. When purchased from an authorized dealer, consumers receive a limited warranty for one year with Pioneer products and two years with Pioneer Elite products.

Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc. is headquartered in Long Beach, Calif., and its U.S. Web address is Its parent company, Pioneer Corporation, is a leader in optical disc technology and a preeminent manufacturer of high-performance audio, video and computer equipment for the home, car and business markets. The company focuses on four core business domains including DVD, display technologies, Digital Network Entertainment� and components.

Posted by Mike at 11:35 AM
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PRESS RELEASE: Sony Announces New Home Theater Systems

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Feature Ability to Create Custom Home Entertainment Environment

Sony Electronics unveiled three home theater systems that help simplify integration into the home. They include an integrated home theater system and two component-based systems.

Every room is not created equally and in order to get the best performance from a home theater system, speaker set-up takes on an important role. With this in mind, Sony's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration (DCAC) helps simplify the set-up of a new home theater system while providing optimal performance.

This simple auto set-up feature uses the included microphone to measure speaker distance, level and frequency, automatically calibrating the listening environment to accurately optimize the sound field.

"Many people do not realize the importance of setting up a home theater system correctly," said Philip Abram, vice president of marketing for Sony Electronics' Home Products Division. "The DCAC eliminates the guess work while helping to compensate for acoustic deficiencies in the room."

Integrated System Provides Form and Function
The DAV-DX255, a five-disc, slot loading DVD 5.1 surround sound system provides a flexible way to set-up the system to achieve optimal performance. With Sony's multi-speaker formation function, you can select from seven different speaker formations.

Whether all of the speakers are kept in the front of the room or in a more traditional surround sound system formation the DAV-DX255 system can be adjusted to conform to the listening environment. All of these speaker formations are selectable from an on-screen display detailing speaker placement.

The DCAC technology ensures that speakers are optimized for the room configuration providing a rich and enveloping sound.

Additionally, this powerful 1000-watt home theater system includes an audio input for connecting and listening to digital music stored on portable audio players. For improved compressed audio clarity, Sony's digital signal processing circuitry and 32-bit S-Master� digital amplifier technology helps achieve a more accurate sound. Another feature is a music/movie mode that automatically optimizes sound quality for music or movies by adjusting bass levels and cross-over frequencies.

The DAV-DX255 system will be available in March for about $300.

5.1 Component Home Theater Systems
The new HT-DDW700 and HT-DDW900 component home theater systems offer the versatility of separate components with the convenience of having a receiver and speakers in one package. The receivers offer 800 watts and 900 watts of power, respectively. They come replete with five satellite speakers and 8-inch subwoofer. Both models also offer DCAC technology (microphone included) to automatically calibrate the speakers to the listening environment.

The HT-DDW900 system also offers dual HDMI connections so it can pass-through high-definition digital video signals from HD cable and satellite boxes, as well as HDMI-capable cutting edge DVD players like Sony's DVP-CX995V 400-disc DVD changer.

According to Abram, "this one cable, all-digital high-resolution video and multi-channel audio interface offers the best digital connection possible."

Additionally, the HT-DDW900 system offers two optical, one coaxial digital, two component, and 5.1 multi-channel inputs.

The HT-DDW700 and HT-DDW900 systems will be available in March for about $200 and $300, respectively.

Posted by Mike at 11:30 AM
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PRESS RELEASE: Yamaha Introduces XM-Satellite Radio-Ready Connection MusicCast Server

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MCX-2000 Streams Music Wirelessly or Wired, Sends up to 16 Independent Music Programs to 16 Different Locations, Is XM Satellite-Ready and Can Play Back Music from a PC

Yamaha Electronics Corporation, the leader in digital audio production and reproduction, will show the MCX-2000, a new powerful and versatile music server for MusicCAST, a wireless music storage and distribution system, at CES 2006.

MusicCAST can store a family�s entire music library on its hard disk and distribute individual audio selections to as many as 16 different locations. Allowing do-it-yourself installation, MusicCAST is the simplest way for homeowners to enjoy the benefits of a high-quality, multi-room music throughout their homes.

The MusicCAST MCX-2000 music server sends music to the user�s choice of an external desktop music access client, the MCX-A10, which can be conveniently be placed anywhere in the house; or the in-wall mountable music access client, the MCX-C15, which can blend into any room.

The next-generation MusicCAST server offers XM Satellite Radio-ready tuner to enjoy high quality radio channels. The MCX-2000 allows users to plug in the XM Connect-and-Play home antenna and activate the XM Satellite Radio service to receive more than 150 news, sports and entertainment digital radio channels. The XM Connect-and-Play home antenna is capable of receiving XM�s satellite and terrestrial signals as well as channel tuning, decoding and audio transmission. It will be the only accessory needed to receive XM Satellite Radio through the MCX-2000. Along with its XM-Ready connection, the MCX-2000 also incorporates FM tuner reception and Internet radio compatibility.

The MCX-2000 is planned to support DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) digital interoperability, giving it the ability to connect with and play music stored on a PC via the MusicCAST server and distribute it to 15 client units, increased from seven in the previous version.

Using computer network technology, the server streams audio sources to all client locations, allowing music to be played from one central location to any location in the home or outdoors. The server-to-client communication system can combine up to five wireless connections, or 15 wired connections and the server to make up to a total 16 discrete locations for music playback. Each client can be sent a different song, or all can listen to the same song simultaneously, even at different points in that song. For additional versatility and extended range, clients can connect to existing home computer networks using CAT-5 wiring. An RS-232C serial port allows interactivity with the Yamaha AV receiver features of automatic DSP selection, radio tuner selection and volume adjustment.

The server incorporates a CD-R/RW drive that allows users to transfer music to and from the hard drive. Music is saved in its original form to the 160 GB hard-drive at a fast speed (CD approximately in 3� minutes). The recording format is PCM and/or MP3, which allows the user to record about 2,000 CDs in MP3 format or about 200 CDs in PCM format. By using the external inputs on the rear of the unit, the server has the ability to store or stream real-time audio to a client from XM Satellite Radio, FM, LP, tape, or any other source.

Other features include an extremely user-friendly interactive on-screen GUI (Graphical User Interface) that allows users to create playlists or access other on-screen functions, such as retrieving music information from the database. The MCX-2000 comes with a built-in CD recognition database provided by Gracenote�, and will automatically display and save information from an audio CD from an artist, album, track and music genre. With a simple Internet connection, the latest CD recognition information (track, artist, album) can be accessed through Gracenote�s CDDB online service and easily updated.

The MCX-2000 (MSRP $2,199.95) is currently available.

For more information, write Yamaha Electronics Corporation, P.O. Box 6660, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9105; e-mail; or visit

About Yamaha
Yamaha Electronics Corporation (YEC), USA, based in Buena Park, California, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yamaha. YEC offers Home Theater components and systems, featuring A/V Receivers, Amplifiers, DVD/CD, Speakers, Mini-Systems, Video Projection, as well as A/V & IT Convergence Products

The XM Satellite radio service is only available in the 48 contiguous United States (not available in Alaska and Hawaii).

The XM name, �XM Ready� and related logos are registered trademarks of XM Satellite Radio, Inc.

Posted by Mike at 12:12 AM
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More CES Goodness

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TrustedReviews posted their roundup of CES 2006 electronics they were amazed about. Interestingly, most of them are in home theater category such as Optoma's new HD81 1080p projector,M&K CS-22 rear speaker, or a Hush HTPC. An interesting read with most of the devices not covered my mainstream gadget/electronics sites.
Read ...

Posted by Mike at 12:04 AM
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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Windows Media Center to Go Mainstream in Vista?

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Will Vista ship with Media Center built-in? That is what analyst are talking about and pretty confident that it will. I say no. It won't. The only reason Microsoft might go for it is when sales of MCE machines slow down or even stop which is not the trend at the moment. I think it would be smart if Microsoft makes Media Center functionality available as a standalone software capable of running on any Windows machine, that is Vista and later.

Posted by Mike at 11:54 PM
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2006: Year for LCD or Plasma?

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PC World reports that Samsung is seeing 2006 as a year for huge growth in LCD TV market. Specifically in 40" market. They expect to sell somewhere from 25 to 30 million units this year in compare with 15 million of 2005.
The prices for 40" LCD are at about $3000 and do not very much differ from that of plasma screens. My only question is why LCD and not plasma. Is it the burn-in factor or power consumption. Does Joe the consumer even know about those factors. Maybe the burn-in and half-life but not the power consumption. So what it is?

Posted by Mike at 11:44 PM
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HDTV and Gamers

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Here is a bad argument in my opinion that claims that gamers will force the move to HDTV. How many gamers make the total percentage of all TV viewers again? What you think? Is the move to HD will be driven by games or content( such as sitcoms )?
Just an opinion. Share.

Posted by Mike at 11:39 PM
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Reports On Samsung HL-S5679W

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Here is a list of other reports on the Internet about new DLP TV from Samsung with LED light source: David Katzmaier of CNET shares his thoughts on Samsung's new HL-S5679W DLP TV with LED light source. There is a video report as well in case you need to see it in action.

Posted by Mike at 11:24 PM
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Monday, January 09, 2006

Denon to Upgrade AVR-5805 and AVR-4806

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Denon announced at CES 2006 a $500 software upgrade for AVR-5805 and AVR-4806. After the upgrade, AVR-5805 receiver will be able to switch analog video signals to HDMI output and upscale those signals to 1080i. In addition, HDMI inputs and outputs will be able handle 1080p. One thing I do not see clearly is the fact that HDMI inputs and outputs can handle 1080p but analog signal can only be scaled up to 1080i. On AVR-4806, the upgrade provides additional scaler capabilities and the ability to pass through 1080p video.
In addition to video processing both receivers get the Ethernet firmware upgrade that will ensure devices can play WMV format files, be compatible with Microsoft's PlaysForSure program which means you can subscribe and download music. Another addition in Ethernet upgrade will provide seamless connectivity for streaming music from DLNA devices, such as Windows XP PC, Escient FireBall, etc. Internet Radio is also thrown into the package so you can listen to them. So far, Denon AVR-4306 was the only device to have all the connectivity features that Ethernet upgrade provides.
The full upgrade will available in March, but if you decide to go for the Ethernet upgrade only, it will cost you only $200 an will be available in January for download on Denon's web site. Denon claims that you can install it yourself using a PC via the Ethernet port.

Source: Denon USA

Posted by Mike at 1:57 PM
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Saturday, January 07, 2006

All-Channel Recording

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Last year Promise of UK showed off a prototype of a HTPC device that would record a month of programming on 3.2 terabyte of storage. At the moment, as you can imagine, storage is the bottleneck in such endeavor thus the technology of all-channel recording is expected to be a fact of life by 2010. Sharp announced a system capable of recording 2 channel HDTV. With all channel recording, brain-dead people like me will have one less problem to worry about. But wait, this will introduce another problem: too many of programs that will make brain-dead people like me very confused. I think it is about time for Google to start making PVR Searching software.
The article at Nikkei Electronics goes over storage size vs bandwidth and comrepssion ratios calculations and I suggest you take some time to read.

Sources: HDBeat, eHomeUpgrade

Posted by Mike at 12:54 PM
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Tivo Series 3 HD - Finally

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Tivo should have done this a way back. Here is the scoop of the new device: up to 300 hours of recording - presumably HD with external SATA drive. 2 ATSC, 2 NTSC tuners, and 2 CableCard slots, up to 1080i HDMI output, redesigned backlit remote. What sucks with this prototype is it does not have any video inputs other than mentioned tuners. But there are plenty of output such as component, s-video, composite, and HDMI. Reports indicate the Tivo Series 3 HD will ship in mid-2006 but no price is set yet.


Posted by Mike at 12:21 PM
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CES 2006: Samsung HL-S5679W DLP TV with LED Light Source

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TI announced their support for LED light engine a day ago merely to make way for Samsung to announce the first product based on it. It is a rear projection HL-S5679W 56" DLP TV. The big thing about this TV is lack of a color wheel due to usage of 3 distinct color laser LEDs - Red, Green and Blue - and no more rainbows. Instead of color wheel spinning, laser leds fire a beam in sequence to "emulate" the color wheel. On the 3-chip models there would be no LED "blinking" thus creating even more brightness. The lifetime of the light engine is said to be 20,000 hours and it will not suffer any brightness degradation. Power up time of lamp is 7 seconds.
HL-S5679W features a 1080p (1920x1080) DMD chip, an HDMI input capable of accepting 1080p signal, and ATSC and NTSC tuners all for $4,199 in black glossy finish.

Read the press release...

Source: Engadget

Posted by Mike at 11:55 AM
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

CES 2006: TI to Offer DLP Chipsets for LED Light Engine

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TI announced at CES 2006 in Las Vegas a new generation of their DLP technology that supports LED light source. DLP Chipsets are integrated circuits that drive the Digital Micromirror Device ( DMD ) panels. They are also responsible for the color wheel and lamp operations. Announced technology will support LED light source which has benefits of lower power usage and ability to instantly power on and off the display. Also, LED light will provide about 130% wider color gamut for NTSC sources. Samsung will be the first to ship such display in 2006. Along with the new LED technology, Texas Instruments also unveiled 2 new chipsets: .45" 720p DLP and the .65" 1080p DLP with BrilliantColor technology that extends the color processing from 3 colors to 6 colors.

Read the full press release ...

Posted by Mike at 8:08 PM
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Sharp CES 2006 Announcements

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Sharp has announced the newest model of their XV DLP projector line - XV-Z20000 featuring a 1080p DMD and will be priced above $10000. My initial guess is about $15000 when it comes out.
Another news from Sharp is the 57" rear projection LCD TV with 1500:1 contrast ratio and 176 degree viewing angle. Unfortunately, at this moment there is no info if TVs are native 720p or 1080p. I doubt these are 720p. With increasing drop in RPTV sales, I do not think Sharp would go for "old" technology.

Source: Engadget

Posted by Mike at 12:01 PM
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CES 2006: Sony BDP-S1 - First Blu-Ray Player

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Sony presents their very first consumer Blu-Ray Player - BDP-S1 which will be available for grabs in summer of 2006. This is not just a player but also will let us record high-def material onto BD-R and BD-RE Blu-ray discs or on traditional DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/+RW discs. Another great feature is 1080p output. You just can't wait to have one, don't you.

Source: Engadget via fosfor

Posted by Mike at 10:33 AM
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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Sanyo PLV-65WHD1 and PLV-55WHD1 LCD TVs

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Sanyo presents 2 rear projection LCD TV sets- a 65" PLV-65WHD1 and 55" PLV-55WHD1 with 3x 720p (1280x720) panels. Both feature digital ATSC and CQAM, and analog NTSC-M tuners. Contrast ratio for both of the sets is 1000:1. The neat feature is that 150-watt lamp featuring sealed metal reflector (SMR) design is promised to be maintenance free for 10000 hours whereas most lamps top the number at 3000 to 4000 hours. Another marketing remark from Sanyo points out a 15 second startup time and a 4 minute standby time meaning once turned off the unit is ready to powered up again in 4 minutes.

Source: Yahoo News

Posted by Mike at 12:45 PM
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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Kapsel MCE

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Look at this picture and guess what it is? A Next Gen Linux running highly hackable Roomba? No, it is a Media Center PC from Swedish company Kapsel that will be one of the first to use Intel Viiv dual-core processor. It cannot suck dust but it surely can record shows and spit out HDTV and 7.1 channels of surround sound. The shell of this device is made of ceramics so dropping it is highly discouraged. Kapsel MCE can be installed vertically, horizontally, or wall-mounted [right next to your Roomba].
The MCE will be available from IKEA in the first quarter of 2006. No price is know but don't expect cheap stuff. Just the ceramics will cost you a price of a regular PC.

Source: Dexigner
Product Page: Kapsel

Posted by Mike at 11:19 PM
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Designtechnica: Denon S-301 Review

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Designtechnica review Denon S-301. They are happy with every aspect of it but the price and a little glitch that freezes the device when iPod is disconnected. Here is what they say:
At $1,599, the S-301 is very expensive for a compact music system. Yes, it sounds terrific and yes, it does what it promises to do very well. It's a great solution for anyone who wants convincing surround sound without the hassle of rear speakers. At that price, though, I'd like to see HD Radio and satellite radio compatibility along with the SD card slot. The iPod bling is a big plus but maybe not worth what it cost Denon to license. The S-101, a lower-power, non-iPod-ready version, lists for $999. But without the power features of the S-301 it'?s just not the same.

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Posted by Mike at 5:47 PM
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Denon AVR-5805 Review Roundup

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AVR-5805 is the flagship AV Receiver from Denon that does not really have a competitive component from any rival. This top of the line monster is packed with every feature AV Receiver can possibly offer. It makes me think that it offers too much for the brain to actually remember and use. Of course, you got to pay the price - $6000 ( street/internet price is a K and a half less if you are ok with it ) for the device and couple of hundreds for delivery of this 97 pound beast. Make sure it is delivered to where it is going to be setup. You do not want back problems.
AVR5805 features Faroudja DCDi video processing that upscales up to 1080i. It sports all possible video inputs and outputs including DVI, HDMI, and FireWire.
Audio "department" of AVR-5805 consist of 10 170 Watt ( 20Hz-20Khz, 8 Ohm ,0.05% THD ) amplifiers that can power 2 separate 5.1 channel setups or do 9.3 surround sound. Analog sound is converted from digital domain by high-quality Burr-Brown PCM-1792 24-bit/192 KHz DACs with prior upsampling to 24bit by Denon's very own AL24 technology.
One of the best features of AVR-5805 is Audyssey MultiEQ XT room correction that has been praised many times by almost every review.
So, if you got the money - here is the list of "homework" assignments that you must read before pulling the trigger:

Posted by Mike at 4:59 PM
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OQ, a company from Germany, came to CES 2006 with a line of LCD TV set that have a full Media Center PC built-in. They have a 32, 37, and a 40 inch models ranging from €1500 to €4000. TV sets running on a 1.6GHz Centrino with 512MB of RAM, 250GB and ATI Radeon 9800 128 MB graphics. OQ spec says that TVs are HD ready with 3 digital DVB tuners as well as an analog one. All models sport a dual layer DVD burner and have FireWire and USB ports for you to dump those home videos on the DVD. On the downside there is no mention of an HDMI or DVI inputs or any inputs whatsoever. I guess they are shooting for a true standalone device that does not need anything external. Oh, and not to forget about 20-in-1 media reader. What else do you want?
Source: Engadget and I4U
Product Page ...

Posted by Mike at 12:46 PM
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Humax introduced at CES 2006 32" and 20" LCD TV with a built-in DirecTV tuner. 32-incher is a wide screen set with DirecTV HD ( new MPEG-4 module )and an ATSC tuner and will be available by the end of the year. The 20 inch model is a 4:3 set featuring a modem, USB port, 2 component inputs, composite video ins and outs. This TV will be available in first quarter of 2006 priced at $750.
Source: I4U
Read Humax's press release ...

Posted by Mike at 12:01 PM
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