LG is one of several display manufacturers showing some type of wireless HD transmission system. The new LG71 Series includes 47- and 52-inch 1080p LCDs with built-in wireless capability. All of the video connections reside in a set-top box, seen here in the lower right corner of the photo. Connect your sources to the box, and it will transmit the signals wirelessly over a closed 802.11n network to the receiver embedded in the TV, reportedly from a distance of up to 65 feet. Not to show favorites, LG also offers this technology in their new PG70 plasma line.
I, too, saw Pioneer's Extreme Contrast demo today and completely agree with everything Shane says in his earlier post. Now, just imagine an image that striking in a cabinet this striking? Another Project Kuro concept design, this 50-inch plasma measures just 9mm thick and weighs 41 pounds. Pioneer's goal is to combine these technologies in future models, but don't expect to see a real-world product until late 2009 or perhaps 2010.
Sharp is showing off their second-generation Blu-ray player, the $700 BD-HP50U. This player supports BD-ROM Profile 1.1, which means that it has secondary audio and video decoders to exploit interactive BD features like the ability to watch a picture-in-picture commentary track while the film plays in the background. The player can output 1080p/24 or 1080p/60 through its HDMI 1.3 connection, but it lacks an Ethernet port. The booth rep said it does have onboard Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS HD decoding, and it will include 2- and 5.1-channel analog audio outputs; however, the press release was vague on this, and the booth samples didn't have real back panels. You definitely get AQUOS Link (HDMI-CEC) for intuitive control through an AQUOS LCD, plus RS-232 for integration into an advanced control system. The BD-HP50U will be available in May.
Hitachi is very excited about their new statement product, the Ultra Thin LCD. "1.5" is both the brand and the depth (in inches) of these new LCDs, available in screen sizes of 32, 37, and 42 inches. The 37- and 42-inch models have a 1920 x 1080 resolution, while the 32-inch model has a 1366 x 768 resolution. In traditional Hitachi form, the line is divided into three series: The Director's Series and V Series are HD monitors only, with HDMI 1.3 and RGB inputs but no internal tuners. The S Series comes with an outboard Audio Video Center that includes ATSC/NTSC tuners, three HDMI 1.3 inputs, and two component video inputs. The Audio Video Center can be purchased separately, as well. All of the models use Hitachi's In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel to improve viewing angle and Reel120 120-Hz technology to reduce judder.
Following up the release of their ultra-sleek Zeppelin iPod system, Bowers & Wilkins is continuing their push into the lifestyle audio arena with the new wireless Liberty audio system. At the heart of the system is the CP1 console, which has a built-in DVD player and touchscreen control panel. The speaker line features powered tower, bookshelf, and center-channel models, as well as a distinctively curvy subwoofer, that you can mix and match. The main console communicates with the speakers wirelessly over a closed, proprietary 2.4-gigahertz network, and the system's designer claims a low latency of 12 microseconds to ensure that the integrity of the soundfield remains intact. The Liberty system sports eight channels of amplification and provides the freedom to configure those channels however you please, whether it’s a 7.1-channel HT setup, a 5.1-channel setup with second-zone stereo, or even four stereo zones. The Liberty is scheduled for release in the summer of 2008, for an estimated price of $15,00 to $18,000.
We keep hearing that direct movie downloads are the way of the future. The question is, how much are people willing to spend right now for a set-top box that lets them download movies without a computer? The $399 VUDU, on display at last night's Digital Experience event, can store about 100 hours of movie content, which you can rent or buy from the company's online catalog of about 5,000 movies. Most of the current downloads are available at DVD quality, but the company is adding HD downloads to its repertoire and plans to offer 70 HD-quality films by the end of January. The player can output up to 1080p/24 through its HDMI connection, and it’s not too hard on the eyes either, with a glossy black case and matching remote. There are no activation or subscription fees; you can rent new HD releases for $5.99 and classic HD films for $3.99.
Sony's press conference. Somewhere out there, Sir Howard Stringer is announcing the release of the XEL-1, an 11-inch-diagonal OLED TV that's just 3mm thick. The XEL-1 sports two HDMI inputs and a MemoryStick slot for photo viewing, and it's available now for the wee little asking price of $2,500.
Since every post must include at least a passing reference to HD DVD's plight, here's mine: Toshiba's morning press conference began about 15 minutes late; and, as the press waited eagerly to see how the company would respond to the big Warner Brothers/Blu-ray news, I couldn't help but imagine the poor presenters huddled backstage, chanting "We're not going to cry. We're not going to cry." To their credit, they addressed the issue candidly and immediately, as Shane recapped in an earlier post.