The BDP-S780 slots into the 2011 Sony range above the already-announced BDP-S380, BDP-S480 and BDP-S580.
The BDP-S380 delivers Full HD 3D images from Blu-ray discs, has bult-in wi-fi and Skype, includes 2D to 3D upconversion and has Advanced IP Content Noise Reduction Pro technology to improve picture quality on low-quality web content.
The player can be operated via a smartphone using the Media Remote application.
Also joining Sony’s 2011 range are the BDV-L600 (above) and BDV-EF200 (below) Blu-ray in a box systems.
Both are 3D compatible, and include Bravia Internet Video with YouTube, BBC iPlayer, Sky News and LoveFilm.
Virtual surround sound is delivered courtesy of Sony’s S-Force Pro 3D technology, and like the BDP-S780 standalone player the 2.1 systems incorporate IP picture noise reduction.
The Sony BDV-EF200 comes with a built-in iPod dock too. Prices on all three models to be confirmed.
Übergizmo: Onkyo has just announced that they will be replacing their two current home theater receivers – the HT-RC270 and HT-RC260 with two new models: the HT-RC370 and HT-RC360. The new home theater receivers will be among the first AV receivers equipped with the new Marvell Qdeo 4K video upscaling processor. This allows users to upscale video to 1080p and beyond to as much as 4k of horizontal resolution, regardless of the source resolution. With 4K video display technology not yet on the market, you can be sure that you’ll stay future-proofed with one of these babies. (more…)
Engadget: Of course, it’s not all about new TVs, as Panasonic also took the opportunity today to bust out MSRPs for a slew of other home theater products. As it mentioned at CES, the connected features of its 2011 Blu-ray players are taking center stage, with Skype access through Viera Cast, while they also claim to feature the industry’s fastest playback, measuring at half the booting and loading time of the 2010 lineup. One other key feature is the ability to use an iPhone as a WiFi connected remote and load movies, music or pictures onto the phone then play them on the HDTV. The top of the line DMP-BDT310 should arrive in May while the rest are already making their way to store shelves.
What HiFi: Was 3D the hit the manufacturers wanted? How are music streaming products selling compared to classic hi-fi separates? Are we still going headphone crazy?
Stand by for a snapshot of what has – and hasn’t – caught the attention and loosened the purse strings of the tech-buying UK public in the past 12 months.
Stats whizzes at GfK have been crunching the numbers they get from retailers great and small (both online and High Street), and it provides a fascinating insight into our buying habits.
Snow caps a tough year
The appalling weather in December saw consumer electronics sales dip by 16% year-on-year – contributing to a year when overall consumer electronics sales fell by 7.6%.
With 2010 being a World Cup year, it was expected that 10 million TVs would be sold in the UK – topping even 2009′s record flatscreen sales. But despite a higher-than average buying TV buying frenzy just before the football kicked off, England’s early exit and a long hot summer conspired to see television sales miss that sales goal.
In fact UK TV sales fell by 4 percent last year – though that still means 9.479m sets were sold (down from 9.847m in 2009), with a market value of £3.6 billion (down from £3.8bn).
The UK was the only country in Europe where TV sales fell – but then we have the highest penetration of flatscreen sales; many UK households are now upgrading their older flatscreens (and adding sets to other rooms), rather than making the plunge for the first time.
What size set? Plasma or LCD?
This upgrade move is backed up by the more detailed stats on the UK’s favourite screen sizes. The fastest-growing size sectors are the 20-25in bracket (up 25% to 1.8m sets sold) and 37in+ sets (up 18% to 2.88m sets). The biggest sales (just) still come in the 26-32in sector, where 2.9m sets were sold (down 10% on 2010), while sales of the smallest, sub-19in sets have fallen to 1.8m (down 31%).
That rise in larger-set sales has also been boosted by technology factors – LED backlit LCDs (up to 60% of LCD TVs sold in December), Smart TVs (internet connectivity is now available on more than a third of sets sold, on average), Freeview HD (a must-have for most buyers of 37in+ sets) and 3D (of which more shortly).
The shift upwards in size and feature-set also helped plasma to a sales renaissance – although LCD continues to grab the dominant share of the TV market.
Comparing December 2010 to December 2009, 19% more plasma TVs were sold, whlie LCD TV sales shrunk by 13%. This wasn’t just down to cost-cutting, either: LCD TV prices fell by almost 15% on average, while plasma TV prices rose by 9.4% as tech-packed premium models tempted buyers.
3D or not 3D?
So, onto 3D TVs. Of those 9.5m TV sales in the UK last year, a mere 125,000 were 3D or 3D-ready sets.
This peaks in December with 39,000 sales at an average price of £1376 – boosted by cut-price 3D plasma deals. Average selling prices of sets when 3D TVs launched last Spring were over £2000. We’d expect prices to fall still further as more 3D sets – including smaller screen sizes – emerge in 2011.
With 3D sets accounting for just 1.3% of all TVs sold, it’s certainly a slow take-up for the technology – but the acceleration of sales towards the end of the year (while general TV sales were falling) gives manufacturers hope, as do sales of compatible products.
3D Blu-ray boost
For example, 116,000 3D Blu-ray players were sold in the UK last year – a sizeable chunk of the 840,000 HD disc players sold. By December, more than a quarter of all BD player sales were of 3D-capable players (such as the Award-winning Sony BDP-S570 above), with an average selling price of £165.
Blu-ray in general had a decent year – seasonal sales were up 21% on the previous year, while the market value fell by only 2.2%, despite the prevalance of sub-£100 deals.
Home cinema amplifiers and receivers is another area where 3D capability was key to boosting market figures – giving users yet another technical reason (along with enhanced network/streaming support) to upgrade their surround sound.
No less than 104,600 new receivers were sold in the UK in 2010 (3% up from 2009), at an average price of £426. The market is now worth £44.5m – slightly down from last year’s £45m, due to the increased popularly of sub-£500 receivers.
Headphones, docks and clocks
Another sector bucking the CE sales decline were accessories for the booming Smartphone/Tablet market. While sales of dedicated portable media players (PMPs) fell by 23% (and market value dropped by 16%), sales of devices like the iPhone and iPad have soared – and are poised to sell even more in 2011 as Android-based tablets take off.
Add in the fact that more than 5 million PMPs were sold last year and it’s easy to see why everything from headphones to docking stations and even the (dock-equipped) clock radio market is looking healthily – we can’t bear to be parted from our devices, even at bedtime…
Headphones continue to break sales records: 8 million pairs were bought in the UK last year; more than a million additional pairs compared to 2009. And we spent more than 10% extra on them,too, with (literally) the biggest growth area being traditional over-ear ‘hi-fi’ headphones – up 32% in volume and 41% in value.
Just shy of a million pairs of headphones were sold in December 2010 alone – defying the general seasonal sales dip. 665,000 were in-ear designs; 156,000 smaller over-ear models (eg folding/portable) and142,000 pairs of the larger, over-ear headphones.
The market for docking products of all shapes, sizes and prices continues to grow (up 4.3% YoY) and outsell the entire hi-fi separates market (including speakers) by some margin.
The higher-end speaker docks – such as B&W’s Zeppelin (above) – are up in value, too. More than 140,000 docks were sold costing £150+, making this a £37m sector last year.
More traditional systems, meanwhile, had a tough year, with hi-fi systems sales down 10% and home cinema systems down 2.6%.
Music streaming boosts hi-fi
However, new technologies helped the hi-fi market outperform the average CE decline – though the sector fell 2% further in 2010, shrinking from £188m to £185m.
The market for music-streaming products – from the Logitech Squeezeboxes and Sonos products to systems such as the Naim Uniti – rose from £19m to £23m, boosted by significant growth in both the sub-£500 sector (where sales rose 37%) and £1000+ market (up 46%).
Internet radio sales also rose, by 19%, with 127,000 units sold in 2010 – most of them portable.
Moving across to video streaming, sales rose (from a very small base!) no less than 12,000%. Products like the Asus O! Play and Apple TV reached sales of 118,000 units, making this new market worth £9.4m.
CD player sales slump
It’s a less happy tale for traditional separates sales. CD players were unsurprisingly hardest hit, with almost 30% less units sold in 2010 than in 2009. A mere 36,600 CD players were sold last year, at an average price of £339 – making the market worth £12.4m. Sales of high-end players were particularly badly hit; £1000+ players now account for 15% of sales – that figure was 31% in 2009.
And while AV amps flourished, stereo amplifiers also fell – sales dropped 13% to 62,000 units, at an average price of £335. The stereo amp market is now worth £20.7m.
Speakers and speaker packages, meanwhile, continue to dominate the separates sector. Sales rose by 3% in volume and 5% in value – that translates into 407 million units sold and a £97.1m market.
The average selling price of a pair of speakers is £240 – almost spot-on the price of our 2010 speaker Product of the Year, the Monitor Audio Bronze BX2 (above).
Where did we buy?
Finally, a quick look at where we bought all these goodies. Supermarkets – selling both in-store and online- had a bumper year, doing particularly well in the World Cup build-up, with consumers seemingly chucking a TV or two into their trollies alongside their matchday beer supplies.
Online sales of consumer electronics did increase in 2010 – up from 16.4% to 18%, peaking at almost 20% of all sales in December – but online ordering (well, specifically delivery of those orders) was badly hit by the poor weather conditions, and it’s unclear whether consumers will put as much faith in online ordering come this Christmas.
So, that’s the stats summary. Does it reflect your buying, or are you bucking the trends?
Pioneer.eu: Mid February, Pioneer introduces 2 digital media receivers, made to enjoy music and movies on the road without having to take CDs or DVDs into your car.
The MVH-7300 and MVH-8300BT are specifically designed for the sources which are used most – whether that’s iPod, iPhone, USB, SD or other portable video and music sources via Aux-in. Now, the MVH-7300 also supports DivX video playback from SD and USB.
Both are single DIN receivers that feature an elegant 3-inch full-colour TFT Display. To add a personal touch, the display’s background and screen colours can be changed. As well as providing great video playback quality, it gives full access to all the playlists, album art, videos and more on a connected iPod or iPhone.
A new App mode even enables listening to music or watching video and navi content from various iPhone and iPod touch Apps, including games, video, internet radio, musical instrument simulators etc., provided the App supports analogue audio or video output.
With SDHC compatibility (32GB), it’s easy to take your whole library of film and video entertainment along on a journey.
Pioneer’s highly regarded 7-way rotary commander enables straightforward navigation and control. It allows you to browse or search through lists and quickly jump to new functions using just one handy dial.
USB and SD card slot on front panel
Detailed video playback is complemented by excellent audio quality. Both units play MP3, WMA and iTunes AAC music files via USB and SD memory card.
For easy access, the USB port is located directly on the front panel and the SD memory card slot is positioned discreetly behind the partially detachable front panel.
Pioneer equipped the receivers with its Advanced Sound Retriever (ASR) to enhance the listening experience, particularly for compressed digital formats. This patented technology helps to restore the musical details lost when compressed music files are created.
With the 8-band graphic equalizer you can adjust the sound of the system to suit your vehicle and preference, while dedicated hi-volt (4 V) pre-amp outputs for front, rear, and subwoofer allow for flexible system building.
For hands-free safety and convenience, the MVH-8300BT integrates a Parrot Bluetooth module, enabling you to hear the conversation through the vehicle’s speakers while your voice is broadcast through the included external microphone, which guarantees optimum speech quality.
TG Daily: Ask someone in America if they have a 3D Blu-ray player and they’ll probably either say they can’t afford one, don’t have a 3D TV, or – the most likely – they have no idea what you’re talking about. But ask the same question in Japan, and your response is likely to be very different.
The technology-forward country now has more 3D-enabled Blu-ray players than non-3D players, according to a report from local research firm BCN.
The firm says about 57% of the Blu-ray players shipped in Japan are now 3D-ready. That’s an enormous increase from just 6.7% last September.
In Japan, Blu-ray players without 3D cost around the equivalent of $600. Those with 3D technology are at least 30% more than that, or $900. Here in the US, it’s possible to get a Blu-ray player for around $100, while 3D players will run as high as $300. So unlike in Japan where the premium is about 30%, in America it’s more like 300%. That would explain why the adoption rate is so sluggish over here.
Japan is latching on to 3D at a faster pace than us, but not overwhelmingly so. The country has the same concerns as everyone else, including the lack of comfort in wearing 3D glasses and cost associated with buying those glasses.
Nevertheless, the market seems to be doing well enough over there such that the 3D side of things is overpowering the non-3D side. That’s encouraging for manufacturers that have poured countless resources into making the leap to 3D.
Gizmag: From keeping the kids amused to giving you something to do while stuck in a snow drift, in-car video entertainment systems are becoming an increasingly important component of the modern automobile. For videophiles who demand the very best in onscreen visuals, news that the Audiovox Corporation is set to release the industry’s first automotive Blu-ray Disc player will no doubt be very welcome indeed. The compact device can be connected to any in-vehicle monitor, comes with an infrared remote and also has wireless streaming capabilities.
As you might expect, in addition to allowing users to choose from the 1,600 or so Blu-ray titles currently available, the player can also read from DVD and CD disc format. The unit can be horizontally or vertically mounted under the seat or hidden away inside a storage compartment and connected to any in-vehicle monitor from the unit’s HDMI, composite or component output ports.
It’s powered from a 2-pin, 12-volt connector to the vehicle’s accessory power source and the disc slot is illuminated by a blue accent light. There’s an infrared remote control with an extension included, for when the device is hidden away. The player is also Wi-Fi capable to cater for wireless media streaming.
The AVDBR1 Blu-ray player carries a suggested retail price of US$349.99, with a Q2 availability window. Product details will appear on the company’s mobile product site nearer to release time.
Gizmag: Retailers, hotels and real estate agents have been using aromas to entice us to part with our cash for years now and there have even been a few attempts to transmit smells via the internet and mobile phones. California-based company Scent Sciences is now looking to bring an olfactory dimension to computer games with its ScentScape personal digital scent delivery system.
Scent Sciences’ President and CEO, Bill Wiles, told Gizmag the ScentScape system uses a combination of hardware, software & algorithms and chemistry – all covered by patents – to produce the smells. The system consists of a unit that plugs into a PC or gaming console via USB and generates smells using scent cartridges.
Each cartridge provides 20 basic scents and last about 200 hours, depending on personal use. The scents come in standard, which produce a range of more general smells, or media-specific versions to suit particular games, with smell strength controlled via a “volume control”.
Wiles says that gamers will also be able to use the company’s SDK along with the ScentEditor application to create their own scent-enabled games. Players will even be able to share the code they have created with other gamers who have their own ScentScape system to allow them to enjoy their creation.
Similarly, the ScentScape system and ScentScape Editor can be used to add smells to home videos. Specific themed cartridges such as holiday, summer, ocean, etc. will also be available for this purpose, along with special cartridges for aromatherapy and other applications.
Scent Sciences was showing its ScentScape system at CES 2011 and will be introducing the ScentScape Gaming Suite at the Game Developers Conference 2011 in February, where it will be continuing talks with game and game platform developers regarding building ScentScape capabilities into games. Wiles says the company will also work with the game developers to develop scent cartridges to suit their particular games.
Scent Sciences plans to begin shipments of the ScentScape Gaming Suite later this year at a price yet to be announced.
msnbc.com: The economic woes and innovation sparseness that brought a pall to the Consumer Electronics Show in 2009 and 2010 seemed to have been forgotten, and overall there was a more upbeat spirit in Vegas this month. Tech companies actually had something to talk about that meant something to consumers, after years trying to drum up excitement for products that nobody really cares about. (more…)
Engadget: One-upping yourself, eh Samsung? Just a year after the BD-P4600 claimed the title of world’s slimmest Blu-ray player, the outfit has introduced the BD-D7500 to take that crown and waltz all over Las Vegas. Introduces here at CES, the D7500 measures just 1.1-inches deep, and also includes 2D-to-3D conversion capabilities, 1080p upscaling, inbuilt WiFi, touch sensor control, DLNA streaming and support for Samsung Apps / Hub. (more…)
Techradar: At CES in 2008, Pioneer was one of the most exciting brands at the show.
It launched new world-beating 9th-generation Kuro plasma TVs and showcased some staggering PDP tech that’s still to be matched by any of the other big brands three years on.
But however much we don’t want to believe it, Kuro is dead. And Pioneer’s press conference at this year’s CES show concentrated solely on in-car mobile products.
Some journalists abandoned the queue for the press conference when they heard it was mobile products only, but they missed the launch of some fairly nifty in-car systems.
Possibly the most intriguing of Pioneer’s new in-car products are two in-dash car stereos which come with Aha Radio integration. The AVIC-Z130BT and AVIC-X930BT both sport touchscreen interfaces and allow you to keep in touch with your favourite social networking sites while you’re driving your car.
Yeah, sounds pretty dangerous to us, too. However, rather than having to read your Twitter or Facebook feeds off the screen, these stereos will actually read them out to you through your car’s stereo system.
So now, instead of driving to work listening to [your favourite feel-good album here], you can listen to a robotic Microsoft Sam-style computer voice reading out your mum’s tweets about baking soda and nail polish.
The system will also download and play your podcasts and all manner of other social web features, all of which require the use of your phone’s 3G connection.
During the press conference, Ted Cardenas, director of marketing for the car electronics division at Pioneer, also announced the new Pioneer SPX-SC101 SmartCradle for use with the Apple iPhone.
It’s designed to turn the iPhone into a more usable device for in-car satellite navigation. It’s a lot like a standard sat nav cradle, and is similar to many already released in that it has its own external GPS receiver, a gyroscope and an accelerometer to boost the iPhone’s GPS performance.
It includes video and audio-out functionality, which means you should be able to use a compatible in-dash screen instead of the one on your iPhone. Helpful if you’ve got a nifty in-dash stereo with a big and sexy display. No, we don’t have one either.
And finally, Pioneer also announced the expansion of its in-car Pandora internet radio range of products – there are now twelve Pioneer systems that support the service, although as Pandora is still blocked in the UK, don’t expect to see these features our side of the pond.