It's already a month into 2008, but never too late to make predictions for the coming year or so—predictions of things that probably won't happen in the way we expect. If anything is certain, it's the uncertainty of the future. The volatile world of consumer electronics is no exception.
The bombshell dropped yesterday, the day before I was to drive to CES. And I don't mean the deluge that hit LA and tested the leaks in my roof (they still work!). It was Warner's decision to go Blu-ray exclusive starting this coming May. Why they aren't doing so immediately is a bit of a puzzle, but is likely due to contractual obligations and to keep from scrapping product already in the pipeline.
With Sony's recent announcement that it is discontinuing production of all rear projection sets, both LCD and SXRD, in favor of its flat panel LCD Bravia line, the video display landscape is becoming noticeably thinner. Yes, many major companies—Panasonic, Samsung, and Mitsubishi among them, continue to turn out rear projection televisions. But is the handwriting on the wall for this type of display?
Judging from the DVD section in my local Costco, the hot items to put under the Christmas spruce this year are boxed sets of a television series. Not just single seasons, but the whole magilla. You can get everything from the <I>X-Files</I>, complete with a Sing Along (the writers are on strike, but not the songwriters), to <I>24</I>, with a Day Timer (11:00PM: Whip terrorists’ butts; 11:59PM: Leave on hiatus).
Sponsored by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment but involving all the major studio supporters of the Blu-ray format, a so-called "Blu-ray Festival" was held in Hollywood over the past two days (October 29th and 30th).
DisplaySearch is a company that produces technology assessments, surveys, studies, and analyses of the current state of video display technology. Every year for the past four years they organize a two-day HDTV event. This year's, the DisplaySearch 5th Annual HDTV Conference, was held at the Hilton hotel at Universal City, CA.
Back in late July I blogged about a demo kiosk at my local Best Buy. You can scroll down and read about it. It was set up in a DirecTV promotion kiosk, but it wasn't clear whether or not it was also intended to promoting Best Buy's new video calibration services.
While I have decidedly mixed feelings about big-box consumer electronics retailers getting into the TV calibration game (see the following story on Best Buy, and an earlier story that also touches on Circuit City's calibration promotion) the commercial pull of these giants is already having at least one unanticipated benefit.
I'm not exactly sure what a sugarplum is—probably a Christmas treat in Victorian England. But I do know that for those of us in the AV game, it comes early every year. September is time for the CEDIA Expo, to be held this year in Denver.
According to one industry source with whom I spoke recently, the odd communication problem reported on in <I>Part 1</I>, below, is an artifact of CEC. CEC is a new feature offered by many manufacturers that allows the user to control various components through their HDMI connections. Often, these operations are automated.
What we have here is one of those HDMI "features" that drives both consumers and reviewers crazy. I discovered it after my reviews of both the Samsung BD-P1200 Blu-ray player and the Toshiba 52HL167 flat panel LCD display had been turned in, ready for publication.
We've been, and continue to be, big supporters of getting a video display properly calibrated. We do it in our reviews because it shows us best that a set is capable of. Just as significant is the fact that if you just present only the out-of-box result in a review, you're trying to hit a moving target. Different samples will differ, perhaps significantly, because manufacturers can't perform anything more than a rough setup on the production line. The average consumer won't notice the difference in the store, and it takes too long (and costs too much) to perform a tight calibration for everyone just to satisfy the discerning customer.
It's been a busy, hot, sad, exciting, confusing, jumble of a month here at <I>UAV</I>, and there's a lot to catch up on. Rather than post several separate, shorter blogs at once, I'll mash them all together.