Techwatch: The IFA show took place over the last week in Berlin, as you’ve probably noticed from the flurry of TechWatch news stories relating to the event.
But for those of you who’ve missed some (or all) of our coverage, or indeed the articles splashed liberally around other tech sites, here’s a quick round-up of the hot topics at this year’s IFA. (more…)
Engadget: Toshiba’s focus at CES was glasses free 3D displays, but it highlighted more conventional HDTVs today at an event in Rome. Its new TVs and laptops all tie in to Toshiba Places, which sorts out access to different types of apps for video, social networking, music and other areas and is ready to launch this month. Separating Toshiba from the competition is a slew of new technology and the top of the line 55ZL1 model checks all the boxes: Seven core CEVO CPU for image processing, a Pro-LED512 panel that is the world’s first with 512 zones of dimming among 3,072 LEDs, Personal-TV facial recognition that picks up on which user is watching then personalizes to their preferred settings and active shutter 3D glasses.
The edge lit LED VL863 series will come in 47- and 42-inch versions featuring LG’s FPR passive glasses 3D and four pairs of glasses, while the 32- through 46-inch UL863 drops 3D for built-in WiFi and Personal-TV. The SL863 series is the final step down, nixing built-in WiFi. Prices weren’t listed but the new models should be shipping soon, until then you can find more details in the press releases linked below — no word on the US-bound models yet.
T3: Blu-ray players should be big sellers this Christmas, helped by increased availability of films and lower prices – a state-of-the-art deck now comes in at under £300. With cutting-edge features such as media streaming, web access and 3D compatibility these ones are future-proofed and offer a genuine alternative to a PS3.
See below for our pick of the best decks available this festive season.
Best: Value for money
Love: Cheap. Easy to use. Fast disc loading
Hate: Light on features
Read the full review
Best: High-end features
Love: Very strong picture quality. Quick disc loading. N Wi-Fi built in. 3D ready. Easy to use
Hate: Not cheap
Read the full review
Best: Media streaming
Love: Well designed. N Wi-Fi. 2D picture quality. Extensive file support
Hate: Sluggish menus. Limited Net Cast content
Read the full review
Best: 3D deck
Love: 3D ready. Picture quality. Ease of use.
Hate: No built-in Wi-Fi. Limited Viera Cast content. Expensive
Read the full review
Best: Sound quality
Love: Very good picture and sound quality
Hate: No Wi-Fi or 3D mean it feels expensive
Read the full review
Samsung releases Galaxy Tab: The hype has finally ended as the Samsung Galaxy Tab was unveiled this morning at IFA. All eyes were on the stage as Samsung ran the press through the Tab’s many (already leaked) features, for the full experience check out T3’s hands-on images. Next on its agenda was the Samsung UN65C8000 the world’s largest 3D LEDTV which was also released today boasting a near £5000 price tag. Ouch. Finally Samsung have also released its HD HMX-T10 1080p camcorder with a 20-degree lens angle which is designed to making shooting that glorious HD footage less strenuous.
Philips gives customers the ‘cinema’ experience: Philips today announced its Cinema 21:9 Platinum 3D TV, which although having a very long name, is actually incredibly cool. Boasting a cinema-esque 21:9 aspect ratio and Full HD 3D this TV was the flagship among Philips many 3D releases of the day.
Loewe enters the 3D market: German company Loewe has unveiled its 3D concept TV at IFA, and what a concept it is. Looking quite simply like a piece of high art rather than a LED HD 3DTV the concept was just one of three new products launched by Loewe.
Sharp adds a pixel to 3D: Sharp’s HD Quattron series has been given the 3D treatment in the form of their first 3D HDTV the Sharp 3D Quattron TV. Utilising an extra yellow pixel Sharp is able to make images seem brighter and clearer, which can only be a good thing in terms of 3D. We like.
Toshiba launches iPad rival: Toshiba has released the Folio 100 Tablet which it hopes will give it a firm stake in the tablet market. Running Android 2.2 and measuring 10.1 inches the Folio is larger than the other Tablet rival the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Toshiba has also released another first for the company in the form of the REGZA WL 3D series; its first 3D HD LEDTV. REGZA series also now includes the VL range which is a high-end HD LED range based around the WL 3D TV’s but without 3D compatability, instead aiming for high spec 1080p display quality.
Tech-on: Toshiba Corp developed a headphone that is equipped with a brain-wave sensor and designed for consumer use.
The company exhibited the headphone at a press conference of the Continua Health Alliance, of which Toshiba is a member, Feb 17, 2010. The company expects the headphone to be used in the field of healthcare as a “device to visualize brain waves,” it said.
The headphone has a built-in Bluetooth unit and can be connected to a PC equipped with the Bluetooth dongle that comes with the headphone. By using accompanying software, “Brain-wave Visualizer,” measured data can be visualized. Specifically, it shows a diagram of brain waves and meters of a brain-wave level, concentration level and meditation level.
With the software, it is possible to check the user’s brain waves in real time and record them while he or she is listening music or watching video as well as to play a game by using brain waves. Read more…
Engadget: The year’s 2010, yet we’re still leering at the dusty pile of cables behind our AV equipment and wondering, “O UWB, where art thou?”
Well, the folks at Tech-On have got a little update for us: Hitachi, Panasonic and Toshiba are reported to be delivering products donning 60GHz wireless chips — which sip little juice but churn out 7GHz of colossal bandwidth and 1.5Gbps of data rate — in the second half of this year.
While none of the manufacturers are directly pimping either WirelessHD or WiGig, it appears that Hitachi and Panasonic are siding with WiGig’s extra functionalities like media access control (MAC), and the latter even envisions “embedding the functionality into portable gear” for downloading digital content from kiosks.
Either way, it’s nice to see some progress here — we don’t want things to drag on any longer, do we?
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.
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
EngadgetHD: Just in case there was any doubt, Toshiba has confirmed plans to launch its halo product, the Cell (for Cell Broadband engine, similar to the one in the PS3) TV, with all the LED backlit 3D GUI, 3840×2160 resolution, and DLNA streaming capabilities one could want, in Japan by the end of the year.
Thanks to the company’s new religion, it will also feature a Blu-ray recorder to go along with the 1TB hard drive, though we can bet that will be axed before making its way stateside in 2010.
Of course we’re still looking forward to the Media Center Extender packing display expected here some time soon, but when an executive promises the “ultimate entertainment machine” we can’t help but wonder what’s in store. More detailed specifications and any pricing info other than “it will be fairly expensive” are still unavailable.
CNet: Toshiba didn’t want to adopt Blu-ray any more than the UK wants to adopt the Euro. But while our impenetrable economic skin has so far shielded us from the threat of the standard European currency, Toshiba hasn’t fared so well.
In fact you could say that it’s looking rather tender. Sorry, that was uncalled for. Anyway, Toshiba’s doing Blu-ray now and it’s got its first standalone player — the BDX2000 — on show here at IFA.
We just planted our gaze down upon it, poked it with a stick and can confirm it is, in fact, real. Features include support for BD-Live Profile 2.0′s Ethernet-happy features, DTS-HD Master Audio Essential and Dolby TrueHD audio formats, 1080p/24p playback, and it’ll upscale DVDs, play DivX video files, and there’s a built-in card reader so you can play MP3 and WMA audio files.
It’s an alright-looking piece of hi-def kit as well, with a panel on the front that folds down to reveal an LCD display and the disc tray. For those of you with compatible Toshiba TVs, you can pair the two devices via Regza-Link.
But now, some opinion from our own home cinema expert, Ian ‘I’m-going-on-a-honeymoon-during-IFA’ Morris. A devoted supporter of Toshiba’s HD DVD format until its dying day, it’s his belief that Toshiba’s entry into the Blu-ray world is ultimately futile.
“We just don’t need another generic Blu-ray player,” he said in an article back in July that we just went to read again. “The one thing the world really could use is better non-disc-based entertainment.”
With those insights in mind, the unveiling of the BDX2000 has certainly made him entertainingly cross, and we anticipate we’ll see record numbers of frown lines on his face when he’s sent one to review. Expect to read that before the player launches in the UK towards the end of the year.