Category: TV, HDTV & 3D

Sony going ‘all out’ to seize 3D market

JCNNetwork: Sony Corp. will start selling 3-D televisions and Blu-ray disc players this summer, part of a plan by Chief Executive Officer Howard Stringer to go “all out” to seize control of the market.

The company will sell nine 3-D models of Bravia televisions and a Blu-ray player in mid-2010. Stringer is betting that 3-D products will generate more than 1 trillion yen (US$11 billion) in the year ending March 2013, not counting content.

Samsung will sell similar products this year. Samsung will begin selling 3-D TVs and Blu-ray players starting this year.

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YouTube redesigned with films, user uploads in mind

Wired: Google is quietly rolling out a new minimalist design for its YouTube video-player pages, which it claims will be more appropriate for a wide range of content from the user-uploaded content that has always been a staple to feature-length films.

By muting the “voice” of the old design, YouTube hopes to make videos stand out from everything else on its pages.

The decision was driven in part by the need to create a unified tone on the site — a subtle but important move, considering that people who are viewing videos of destruction from the recent earthquake in Haiti may not be in the mood to watch skateboarding videos.

You can switch your version of YouTube to the new design now, by clicking a special link.

All YouTube users will notice the changes at some point over the next few weeks.

In the new version, search results, playlists or recommended videos follow viewers around the site depending on how they found a given video.

This makes it possible to check out a bunch of search results without using the “back” button on your browser.

YouTube hopes this will increase viewing time by reducing friction.

 

The stealth strategy behind YouTube’s redesign is to make the site more appropriate for feature-length films — a key aspect of its strategy to court video producers across the whole spectrum, including professional filmmakers and eventually Hollywood studios, as part of its new video rental service.

While the “Filmmakers Wanted” campaign will debut at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, YouTube told us “as we work to iterate and improve our rentals product we will invite a broader set of partners across different industries and geographies in the weeks and months to come.”

“If the user interface was too pronounced, personality-laden, or really even too noisy, it is going to distract, detract and take away from the experience of that video,” said Margaret Stewart, head of design and user experience for YouTube.

“We want the voice that people hear in the design to be the voice of the creator of the video, and not voice of the user interface itself. The palate is more subdued … the container needs to feel like a welcoming home for everything from user-generated content to feature-length films.

It’s an interesting design challenge, but one that we focused a lot on in the past couple of months.” The viewer pages are so stripped down that they no longer feature the “Broadcast Yourself” motto or the site’s familiar five-star rating system, which never made much sense in the first place. In the new system, when you give something a “like” rating, you’re also adding it to your list of favorites.

If you don’t like a video, a more sensible “thumbs down” rating simplifies the process. (Did people ever really dislike a video enough to assign it two stars, but not enough to assign it one?) Also, the comments section is no longer labeled, because “people are smart” and understand that the comments section is the comments section, according to Stewart.

The overall effect of this much cleaner interface will be to help YouTube achieve its goal of directing viewers’ attention to videos, as opposed to other page elements — an important design consideration when people are paying for video, as YouTube and film producers hope they will.

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3D-capable TVs to grow to 64 million units in 2018 – report

DigiTimes: Shipments of 3D-ready TV are expected to grow to 64 million units in 2018, from 200,000 units in 2009, according to DisplaySearch.

Closing out on a year in which average selling prices for TVs are expected to fall for the first time since the flat panel TV transition began, TV manufacturers are building new combinations to re-value their products and retain consumer interest.

LED backlighting and 240Hz LCDs will serve as enabling technologies for new feature developments in TVs in 2010, specifically for 3D TVs, an area of intense interest to TV manufacturers.

“We have passed the first hurdle,” said Paul Gray, DisplaySearch director of TV electronics research. “The critical Blu-ray 3D specification is written, but now comes the hard work of securing interoperability. Consumers will want reassurance that such things as 3D glasses will interoperate between brands. Retailers will also have the same demand to allow a thriving accessory market to develop. The next stage is less glamorous but vital to secure 3D’s long-term value. We have seen 3D crazes before, and sustained attention to detail is important to prevent disillusionment from starting.”

DisplaySearch forecasts that over 70 million connected TVs will be shipped in 2012 – up from around 15 million units in 2009. “The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) demonstrated that Internet-connected TVs have finally come of age,” Gray added. “While in the past connected TV sets have seemed to be a solution in search of a problem, compelling new capabilities such as family video calling not only reinforce the TV’s central position in the home, but also represent a bold move to reclaim some of the tasks swallowed by the PC.”

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Toshiba intros new Blu-ray recorders, BD/TV combos

Electronista: Toshiba today introduced its first products incorporating Blu-ray drives in Japan, including two HDTVs with integrated Blu-ray drives, three models of Blu-ray recorders and one Blu-ray player.

The TVs include the 26-inch 26R1BDP and 32-inch 32R1BDP; each has a side-mounted, slot-loading Blu-ray drive that lets them play HD movies at the sets’ native 720p resolutions.

While the new TVs have no built-in hard drives, they do support recording onto an external hard drive over their integrated USB connections.

The TVs also have support for BD-Live for Internet-based special features. Standard definition video gets a boost through Toshiba’s usual emphasis on upscaling to near HD levels.

The VARDIA HDD recorders, the D-B305K, D-B1005K, and D-BW1005K, record HDTV to Blu-ray and their hard disks. The entry D-B305K has a 320GB hard drive, while the middle gets a larger 1TB drive and the top model gets both a 1TB drive and a VHS tape deck to record to the aging analog standard.

Toshiba Blu-ray

The three recorders have HDMI-CEC support, or what Toshiba calls REGZA-LINK, allowing one remote to control both them and a compatible HDTV. All products are scheduled to ship in Japan in mid-February, though prices have not been revealed.

North American releases aren’t as likely for the recorders as few Japanese companies export those devices; it’s just as unclear as to whether the Blu-ray equipped TVs will reach other cou

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3D development just one highlight of LCD TV market this year, say Taiwan makers

DigiTimes: LCD TV development in 2010 is expected to focus on 3D displays, connectivity to the Internet, 480Hz frame rate and frameless design, according to Taiwan LCD TV makers.

In terms of 3D TVs, vendors including Samsung Electronics, Sony, Sharp and LG Electronics will launch 3D models in 2010. For LED-backlit models, Displaybank expects them to reach 32 million units in 2010, accounting for 20% of total LCD TV shipments worldwide.

LED-backlit LCD TV shipments in 2009 are estimated at 3.6 million units, with Samsung sharing 68%, Displaybank added.

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DivX unveils its new form as online video-to-TV enabler

Engadget: Other than amassing support from seemingly every CE device on the market, DivX’s next step? Online content aggregation.

Announced as a partner with LG during yesterday’s press conference, the company feels it is in a position to give a more TV-like experience to internet video by extending its platform to interested content providers.

The software will allow users to stream not only from the cloud, but also compatible video from their own PCs. Its pitch to OEMs claims IP streaming capability on any hardware, and with it demonstrated ability to cut a deal, expect to see DivX TV on a set-top near you very, very soon.

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Blu-ray’s 3D spec isn’t what it could be

Engadget: While 3D is all the rage at CES this year, we learned today from the BDA that one of the biggest sources of 3D content isn’t what it could be.

The first thing that could, should, be better is the limited support for frame rates. Movies have been recorded at 24 frames per second for longer than our parents have been alive, and for about the same amount of time we’ve had to endure frame rate interpolation to make movies play back on our 30Hz TVs — you know, like 3:2 pull-down.

That changed recently with 120hz LCDs and 72Hz plasmas because those numbers share a common denominator with 24 (so the same frame is just shown three or four times).

When choosing an 3D HDTV it is important to understand how the TV displays 24 fps 3D content, don’t just asume it does it without 3:2 pull down. But honestly the worst part is that some 3D cameras can capture 3D at higher frame rates and even if the director wanted to, the new 3D Blu-ray spec doesn’t support it.

The other issue we take with the new spec is that contrary to early reports, it is possible to create a 3D Blu-ray Disc that won’t play on 2D only players. This next one isn’t a big deal, but still disappointing is that even if the creator goes through the trouble to encode the movie in both formats, depending on the HDTV, you may have no choice but to watch it in 3D — say if you lost your glasses or whatever.

Now don’t get us wrong we’re pretty excited about the new 3D technology, but the way we see it is that anything worth doing, is worth doing right the first time.

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Panasonic’s 2010 plasma line has much better black levels

EngadgetHD: While most HDTV manufactures are focused on being thin and 3D, Panasonic still recognizes the importance of having great contrast and deep blacks.

Hidden away in the Panasonic booth we pulled back the curtain on a contrast demo and walked away impressed.

Now obviously black levels are very hard to compare without being either being very familiar with the content or by having the two TVs next to each other, but one thing is for sure, the 2010 Panasonic plasmas have better black levels than the previous models.

We snapped a few pictures where you can see the difference, and judging by how close the V10 series was to the ultra deep blacks of the Kuro, we wouldn’t be one bit surprised if the new Panny sets make us forget about the discontinued Kuro line once and for all — it might just be wishful thinking.

Panasonic black

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Samsung unleashes app store for your TV, Blu-ray players and more

CNet: Here at CES 2010, Samsung has announced it will be creating its own app store, but unlike its rivals, who offer applications on mobile phones, the Korean giant intends to supply apps that work across phones, computers, Blu-ray players, home-cinema systems and even TVs.

The Samsung Apps feature — essentially an evolution of the company’s Internet@TV concept — will ship on the vast majority of Samsung tellies with screens 40 inches and above, starting with the 55-inch LED 9000 series.

With these, users will be able to search and download applications even while watching TV. Some apps wil be bundled with the sets, some will become available for download over the sets’ integrated Wi-Fi free of charge from this spring, while paid-for apps will start to arrive in the summer.

Currently, Samsung says the style of applications will be pretty diverse. Some will provide basic information like up-to-date weather, sports fixtures and results, picture viewing through the likes of Picasa, plus services such as BBC iPlayer and Twitter.

Several apps will allow interaction betwen your Samsung mobile phone and your Samsung TV. In one example, the company said consumers would be able to play virtual poker using the television as the table, and their handsets to view cards and control the game.

Crucially, Samsung is making its app store an open platform, which should encourage third-party developers to create a decent number of apps and help ensure the system doesn’t become a relic any time soon. Keep your eyes on CNET UK over the coming weeks when we’ll bring you a more in-depth look at the best of these apps and the TVs they’ll feature on.

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Panasonic launches 3D camcorder, television, Blu-ray player and TV channels

CNet: 3D television is the future. We know it’s the future because at every CES we’ve ever been to, manufacturers bang on about it like it’s the cure for cancer. This year Panasonic has turned the hyperbole into reality with its first 3D high definition Viera television, 3D Blu-ray player and 3D video camera, as well as offering the first 3D television channels.

It’s also gone and made an enormous 152-inch 3D telly. Blimey. The 152-inch plasma panel, rather prosaically named the Full HD 3D PDP, gives eye-watering 4Kx2K resolution. It won’t be in shops anytime soon, but that’s OK with us because it wouldn’t fit in our house.

The Viera Plasma V series 3D telly will be on sale this year. It offers a 1080p picture for each eye, flicking between the two high definition images 120 times per second, so fast that our brains build a three-dimensional image.

It comes in 50-inch, 54-inch, 58-inch and 65-inch flavors, and includes Infinite Black Panel Pro technology for deeper blacks, with a whopping 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Each 3D Viera comes with funky-looking Eyewear glasses. But what will you watch? Get yourself a PP-BDT350 Blu-ray player with HDMI 1.4 and Wi-Fi. and you’ll be watching films like Avatar in three dimensions.

The press conference even wheeled out Avatar producer Jon Landau, who compared uptake of 3D to our embracing of stereo sound, and even predicted 3D on mobile devices, the big nutter.

Panasonic has also partnered with DirecTV and will launch two 3D, HD channels and a third, on-demand 3D HD channel. A firmware upgrade to existing DirecTV settop boxes will allow consumers to plug in their new 3D tellies and start watching. US consumers, that is, as these things won’t be in Europe any time soon.

You’ll even be able to make your own 3D movies with the Full HD 3D camcorder. It boasts lenses in one unit and records to SD or SDC card. It’s smaller than professional camera units, and frankly we can’t wait until autumn when it’ll go on sale. We suspect some saving up may be required, however, as it’s made to order and will cost about $21,000 (€14,615).

Panasonic also announced the Plasma G series television and DMP-BD85 Blu-ray player in boring old two-dimensions. The 3D V series and 2D Plasma G series boast Wi-Fi and Panasonic’s IPTV system, Viera Cast. Panny has partnered up with VoIP giants Skype to offer Skype video calling on all Viera televisions, including the 3D V series. Forget 3D, making free video calls on your telly, that’s the future.

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10 questions facing the flat panel market in 2010

DisplaySearch Blog: In December, I wrote about the most important challenges for the FPD industry in 2009. Now we are in 2010, the year of Tiger, which represents a vigorous spirit and a ferocious mind-either positive or negative.

If the energy of the Tiger fuels FPD market growth, then the whole supply chain will have a prosperous year. The downside risk is that panel or set prices fall in a ferocious way.

What are the top questions to be answered in the year of the Tiger?

  1. Panel prices are set to increase in January 2010, and it is likely that they will rise through Q1′10 due to the strong demand to build inventories. How long can prices stay strong?
  2. When will we see new fabs and capacities? Encouraged by strong demand, panel makers are starting to pull in their new fab schedules and capacity additions.
  3. Will there be more consolidation and alliances? If so, who will swallow whom?
  4. Most TV brands are targeting 30-50% LED backlight penetration in their 2010 business plan; will they be able to achieve that? How fast will LED backlight LCD TVs grow?
  5. E-book readers are a promising new application category, attracting new entrants and stimulating technology evolution. However, there are still doubts about consumer acceptance of these devices. Will e-book readers become an accepted consumer electronics device? Or it will be just a fad? Is color required for broad acceptance?
  6. 3D can provide inspiring and thrilling experience, but there are uncertainties about the availability of content, the technological readiness, and acceptance in the living room. Can we move away from the requirement for glasses?
  7. Except for Panasonic and Chinese makers, plasma panel makers have stopped investing in new capacity. Even Panasonic is shifting resources into LCD. What can change PDP’s destiny in 2010? Can plasma survive in the TV market? Or can it find a new niche?
  8. Among the many potential projects for Gen 7/8 fabs in China, which ones will eventually come true? How will they influence the 2011 supply/demand balance?
  9. Panel costs fell sharply in 2009 due to depreciation and changes in components. Will this reduction continue in 2010? How profitable will companies in the LCD supply chain be?
  10. Will the small/medium FPD panel price collapse due to the newly ramped Chinese Gen 4 fabs and the Korean/Taiwanese Gen 5 fabs shifting to the to the smaller-than-10″ production?

Certainly, there are many questions to be answered, such as the mini-note outlook, touch panel development, LCD monitor market maturity, Windows 7 influence, high transmittance technologies, glass substrate capacity constraints, TV specifications and roadmaps, mobile phones, pico projectors, 21:9 aspect ratio, and so on.

You certainly have your own list of questions for 2010: let us know what they are! At DisplaySearch, the most exciting part of our job is to help you explore the answers of all of these questions. Stay tuned, within this year, DisplaySearch will give you definite answers and in-depth analysis.

 

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2010 gears up for explosion of 3D

BBC: If 2009 was dominated by touch technology then 2010 looks set to be the year of 3D.

3D has been one of the biggest hits of the cinemas this year and it is likely to continue its stride into other mediums during 2010, experts agree.

TV manufacturer LG wants to sell nearly half a million 3D-ready TV sets next year as the World Cup kicks off in the format.

Meanwhile laptops and games consoles are also getting a 3D makeover.

Acer has already released what it is claiming is the world’s first 3D-capable laptop, and most agree it will be the first of many.

One critic likened the screen of the Acer Inspire 5738DZG to that of a 1960′s cinema “but in laptop form”.

Others have dismissed the 3D capability as a gimmick, but most agree that it will be the start of a glut of similar machines.

Acer has created its 3D effect by putting a polarising filter over the screen which splits images into separate streams. When combined with a pair of polarising glasses (and the laptop comes with a free pair) it allows users to view content in 3D.

Some movie trailers come preloaded on the laptop, while software called TriDef 3D can add a third dimension to PC games, DVDs and video footage with varying degrees of success.

Microsoft is watching developments in the field with interest. Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft’s vice president of user experience believes the technology will play a major role over the next decade.

“A 3D spatial camera inside a computer will offer a new way to interact with content. It will allow people to spatially organise things with older things farther away,” she said.

Read the full article.

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