Monthly Archives: August 2006

Nintendo Wii cheaper than PS2

Nintendo has finally released pricing details about the Wii. According to Bernd Fakesh, Nintendo’s head of German operations, the console would have a price tag of about £150 (220 euro). That’s even cheaper than Sony’s recently discounted PS2.
The Nintendo Wii, Nintendo’s 7th generation video game console, is expected to hit the European market, in the fourth quarter of 2006.
(source: T3.com)

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Falling prices force LG to close UK LCD factory

AV Zombie: LG will close its LCD monitor production facility in Newport, Wales by the end of the year.  The company blames the falling retail prices and increased competition of LCD computer monitors.

The closure will come with a loss of 315 jobs. It is thought likely that the company will switch production to its operation in Poland.

The factory opened in 1996, and involved an investment of 1.7 billion UK pounds.

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Xbox 360 gets Pioneer surround sound

Pioneer has released a new 5.1 surround sound system designed for exclusive use with the Xbox 360 – it even shares the look of the games console.

Pioneer's HTP-GS1 

The HTP-GS1 has a total output of 600W, a sub-receiver, 5 satellite speakers, separate display and a remote that pretty much lets you control both systems.

Source: Exclusive Surround Sound System for Xbox 360: HTP-GS1 [Pioneer]

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Europe leads conversion from analogue to digital TV

AV Zombie: The number of digital TV homes in Europe and the US will top 187 million by 2010 according to a report by market research firm Datamonitor.

Europe leads the conversion from analogue with 65 million European homes expected to be able to receive digital TV by the end of this year.

The UK is the most developed digital TV nation with more than 50 percent penetration. Datamonitor suggests that by 2010 this will have risen to 95 percent, with Freeview replacing Sky as the dominant digital TV source as early as 2008.

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Dual-layer 50GB Blu-ray disc this year

HD Beat: Sony Pictures will release at least two movies on dual layer 50GB Blu-ray disc this fall.

The company haven’t specified any additional features, titles, prices or advanced codec support as yet.

They also commented on the criticism of the quality of some Blu-ray releases, noting that newer movies and more recent releases have received better reviews, while also putting some blame on the decisions of filmmakers and the monitors used during the mastering process.

Movie houses are also waiting for more players to hit the ground to be able to test compatibility before they start including highly interactive features. At least so far, HD DVD has been able to take advantage of their lead time on the movie side with (currently) larger discs, more efficient compression and some interesting bonus features.

The real Blu-ray launch is coming this winter as several new players will be greeted by these much improved discs, we’ll see how the format war stacks up then.

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Europe’s own GPS satellite by 2010

Guardian Unlimited: The UK Government is to invest another £21 million (around €30 million) in a European space mission to build a new satellite navigation system.

The investment forms part of a £2.4 billion scheme to provide Europe with its own independent system by 2010.

Surrey Satellite Technology built a test satellite which was successfully launched from Kazakhstan late last year.

And Astrium UK and LogicaCMG are major partners in Galileo Industries, the consortium of European companies building the first four test satellites

In-car direction terminals and other tracking technologies rely at present on the US military-based Global Positioning System (GPS).

Galileo will be a civil system, run by a private consortium and offering guaranteed levels of service.

The full constellation of Galileo satellites is expected to be in operation by the end of 2010.

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100-inch LCD from LG

BornRich.org: LG has presented its 100-inch TFT-LCD at the IMID (International Meeting on Information display) in Korea – the largest of it’s kind… this month. 

The mammoth display features a maximum contrast ratio of 3,000:1 and a 180-degree viewing angle.

LG are yet to announce prices and availability.

LG's 100 inch LCD

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Sony PSP with Sat Nav, Camera

Stuff: Ahead of the Tokyo Game Show in September, news has been leaked of Sony’s plans to release GPS receiver and camera accessories for their PSPs.

The add-on GPS receiver will be most likely designed for car use, but there would be no reason why you wouldn’t be able to use it on foot as well.

Here’s an unofficial first look:

Sony PSP with GPS, camera

 

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Sony’s smooth sliding speaker

Men.Style.Com: Here’s one of Sony’s newest Bravia LCD TVs with a smooth, space-saving feature – a motorised sliding speaker panel.

Sony's TAV-L1/R

The TAV-L1/R functions as you’d expect – but with the touch of a button, the speaker slides up to cover the screen and it becomes a full-blown, free-standing stereo system.  The unit has a built-in CD/DVD player, twin vibration-canceling subwoofers, a digital amplifier and front speaker virtual surround-sound processing.

Sony even lets you personalize your set with green, gray, burgundy, orange, or silver speaker covers.

The TAV-L1/R retails for around $4,000 (around 3,000 Euros), and is available now.

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Global plasma market growth – Panasonic still leads

DigiTimes: Worldwide plasma shipments rose 95% on year to 2.2 million units in the second quarter of 2006.  Plasma screens now hold 5% of worldwide TV shipments, according to DisplaySearch.

Panasonic was the top plasma brand for at least eighth consecutive quarters. Its share surged from 22% to 28% by growing more than 70% in shipments, which was nearly three times faster than any other top five PDP TV brands.

PDP TV revenues increased with a more modest 23% on quarter and 57% on year to US$4.9 billion last quarter, as the range of price reduction outpaced that of the increase in average size. PDP TVs accounted for 20% of the global TV revenues, up from 18% in the first quarter of 2006.

North America overtook Europe and became the top region in PDP TV shipments for the first time on stronger demand for larger-size models, resulting in a 32-34% share advantage. North America dominated the 50-inch PDP TV market, accounting for 63% of all 50-inch PDP TVs sold worldwide in the second quarter of 2006.

By size, the 42-43-inch category remained dominant although the share of the segment fell from 78% to 73% on gains by 37- and 50-inch PDP TVs.

Global Top 5 Plasma Suppliers: Unit Share and Growth, 2Q06

1. Panasonic: 28.3%
2. LGE: 17.1%
3. Samsung: 13.6%
4. Philips/Magnavox: 10.3%
5. Hitachi: 7.4%
6. Others: 23.2%

Source: DisplaySearch, August 2006.

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Plasma & LCD sales could triple – survey

EDA Geek: Less than a quarter of the world’s population will own a flat panel TV by the end of this year, according to a global survey from market research firm IDC.  This paints a bright picture for the industry.

Consumers say high quality video is the main force driving demand for digital TVs. Over half of IDC survey respondents consider high definition (HD) compatibility as an extremely important factor influencing their decision to replace their current TV.

Surprisingly, a majority of respondents say they do not currently subscribe to HD programming.

Pricing is also a significant issue. In fact, TV price concerns towered over all others on the list including display technology, screen size, and even brand. “Cost is critical in my decision,” writes one survey respondent. “I know what I want, but am waiting until the price suits me.” More than 60% of respondents (all who fell into a high income demographic) say they expect to pay less than $2,000 (around 1,500 Euro) on their new TV.

While price points have dropped over the years, they remain somewhat high for a large part of the TV-buying public.

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EU’s DVI tax on LCDs not fair for foreign makers

AV Zombie: The tax imposed by the EU on large screen DVI monitors will seriously damage the LCD industry and is really designed to protect local projection and plasma makers, like Phillips.  So says market research firm, WitsView.

Since January this year, the EU has added a 14% import duty on large-sized LCD monitors (above 19-inches) which feature expansion slots or ports for video or DVI cards, and that are not manufactured within the Union. 

WitsView argues that the law is already affecting Asian LCD exports to Europe, and will stifle demand for larger monitors with the DVI interface.

The company says: “Monitor merchants may choose to set up a factory in the EU to evade the tax, but [...]  a 5 percent import tax on LCD components is still inevitable as most panels are made in Korea, Taiwan and China. Through the new tax regulation, the EU is trying to create harsher conditions for LCD TVs makers abroad, in order to protect its own projection or plasma panel makers in the EU, such as Phillips.”

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