Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  0 comments

Vizio is getting on the widget bandwagon with Vizio Connected HDTV, a feature set that will be added to all XVT models this fall. With 802.11n WiFi and an Ethernet port, it can run various widgets to access online weather, news, and so on, and new widgets can be downloaded from the company's website into the TV's Widget Gallery shown here on the left of the screen. Also included is a new Bluetooth remote that slides open like a smartphone to reveal a QWERTY keyboard.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  1 comments

After its meteoric rise in the flat-panel business, Vizio is expanding into the realm of Blu-ray players with the VBR100. It's BD-Live with 1GB of internal memory, it has 7.1 analog audio outs, and it can bitstream and decode all the advanced audio codecs. It should be available in April for—get this—$200, the magic price point. Mainstream, here we come!

Barb Gonzalez  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  1 comments
Panasonic showed a prototype of a TV remote control that works on technology like that of a mouse touchpad on your laptop. Actually, it is equipped with two touchpads and is motion sensing. A point and click technology, the secret is in the onscreen navigation and onscreen virtual remote. Turning it sideways you can thumb-type—like you would for texting—on the onscreen virtual keyboard. The cartoon thumbs that appear onscreen to show you what you are clicking on definitely add a comic personality to this interface.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  3 comments

The 55-inch VF551XVT is Vizio's first LCD TV with LED backlight and local dimming. Slated for June, it also operates at 240Hz and offers a USB port and five HDMI inputs. The price? Only $2000! For that little, I could certainly tolerate the garish red soundbar grille below the screen.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  7 comments

When I heard that Samsung has a new Joe Kane-designed single-chip DLP projector, I had to check it out. The SP-A900B boasts 35% better contrast than the SP-A800B, mostly due to lower blacks thanks to the DarkChip 4 DMD and other refinements. To help Samsung sell the projector—which it has been unable to do in any volume with previous models—Kane is helping to set up a real distribution channel that will make the projector available only through dealers who install and calibrate it. The SP-A900B should be available next month for $15,000. The demo is using the new Da-Lite Affinity screen, which Kane also helped design, and the result is spectacular—the best video image at the show in my view.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  0 comments
This diminutive speaker (about as high as the water bottle sitting beside it), uses two 3.5", full-range drivers. While it may be used as a surround, its real purpose is as the first speaker specifically designed for use in the new Dolby height format, Pro Logic IIz (discussed in an early blog). No price as yet; this was an early prototype.
Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  0 comments

Dolby has been working on an LED local-dimming system for LCD TVs for a couple of years, but now it's finally finished and ready for manufacturers to use in their products. It comes in two flavors—Dolby Vision is intended for prosumer, commercial, medical, and industrial applications, while Dolby Contrast is intended for consumer TVs. Pictured here is a 47-inch prototype implementation of Dolby Vision from SIM2. I also saw a demo of Dolby Contrast next to a Samsung 950 LCD with local dimming, and the difference was clear—the set with Dolby Contrast had better contrast and lower blacks, and the colors popped more.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  0 comments

I've always liked Optoma's 1080p DLP projectors, except for one thing—no lens shift, which makes placement difficult. I guess the company listened, because the new HD8200 takes lens shift one step beyond normal. Called PureShift, the Optoma shifts the entire light engine up to 20% left/right and 30% up/down, keeping the light path in the center of the lens. It'll be available only through custom installers for $5000 starting in February. The similar HD808 will be available at retail for $3500 in March; the 808 uses the DarkChip 2 DMD, whereas the 8200 uses the DC3 chip for greater contrast.

Scott Wilkinson  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  0 comments

New to Dish Network's lineup of HD DVRs is the ViP 922 with Slingbox built in, which lets you watch any recorded program from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. To store all the HD programs you can't live without, it houses a 1-terabyte hard disk. Also new is the remote, which sports half the number of buttons as the previous design and a little touchpad that moves an onscreen cursor around a much more graphical menu system. As if that weren't enough, the 922 also offers RSS widgets, and it even recommends shows you might like based on what you select to watch.

Tom Norton  |  Jan 11, 2009  |  0 comments
We've seen the Meridian 810 Reference Video System before; it's the first 4K x 2K video projector available to the consumer. It won't come cheap a just a few thou south of $190,000 for the projector, video processor (needed to scale available 1920x1080 material up to 4800 x 2400. It looked fabulous, even though even better images are possible from it with native 4K program material (essentially non-existent to you and me). They had to settle for a 10' wide projection screen (a curved, 2.35:1, Stewart Studiotek 130), and were claiming 48 foot-Lamberts! Clearly the projector is intended for a much larger screen.