LCD flat panels may be the hot ticket in the TV market these days, but plasmas shouldn't be counted out by any means. For example, they offer superior off-axis viewing and generally better black levels. Not only that, large plasmas are often less expensive than LCDs of similar size.
When it was introduced at the 2006 CEDIA Expo, Sony's VPL-VW50 redefined the entire front-projector price structure. Of course, a few other manufacturers were ready with their own new projector announcements at that show, but the VW50—which came to be widely known as the "Pearl" after the company's code name for the project—generated the most buzz.
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.
Founded in Worthing, England in 1966 by the late John Bowers, B&W (more formally known as Bowers and Wilkins) is now one of the best-known names in the industry. While the average man in the street might wonder when the car manufacturer started making speakers if you mention B&W, it's one of the first names that comes to an audiophile if asked to make a list of the top speaker companies in the business. And unlike many of its competitors, B&W makes only loudspeakers—unless you count its new iPod speaker system as a major departure.
Dome in this case doesn't mean a tweeter diaphragm, but rather Focal's new "Lifestyle Luxury" speaker package, consisting of small, two-way satellite speakers in a rounded enclosure together with a small, separate sub. The satellite is shown here. It's used for every channel, including the center. The tab is $1475 for a 2.1 channels and $2495 for a 5.1-channel system. The "Dome" satellite speakers themselves are available separately for $750/pair. Available in April.
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.
Rear projection sets aren't getting as much attention as they did even a year ago. They aren't sexy. You can't hang them on the wall. But the secret is that you can get performance that can come close to or even match, size-for-size, most flat panels on the market for a lot less money.
With the growing popularity of flat panel TVs, rear projection sets aren't getting as much attention as they did even as recently as a year ago. They aren't sexy. You can't hang them on the wall. If you buy one, your friends, the Joneses, won't have to worry about you keeping up with them and their 103" plasma.
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?