Archives For HDTV


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Gadget comparison and shopping site Retrevo recently launched a new feature that enables mere mortals to decipher television model numbers. Their HDTV Decoder, found here and linked from individual product pages, breaks down the rather arcane manufacturer labels and product codes – conceivably assisting folks as they prepare for a potentially significant purchase. Additionally, when relevant, Retrevo is also identifying equivalent Costco model numbers. If only they did the same for mattresses… (which go by differing names at each and every retail outlet).

As for me, the sooner we decommission our temporary Vizio bedroom TV, the better. It’s small, with poor sound, and is prone to random reboots. The original plan had been to move our very fine 42″ Panasonic plasma into the bedroom and pick up a 50-52″ replacement for the living room. However, after noticing a slight buzz when the volume is low, as it often would be in a bedroom, I’m reconsidering our strategy. Yet I’m not quite ready to make a move, as we’ve got more pressing home improvement needs.

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As a soon-to-be FiOS TV subscriber, I was disappointed to hear in May that Verizon was putting the brakes on the rollout of its latest guide software update. But today I hear that IMG 1.9 is back on track. I noted a comment in the DSLReports forums yesterday suggesting the rollout would resume and decided to do a little of my own digging. Sure enough, a very reliable source tells me Verizon will start the guide updates again next week, and the new software should be deployed nationally within a few months. As a reminder, here are some of the new features coming with IMG 1.9. Full release notes available here.

Features:

  • 16×9 guide
  • In-home streaming to and from HD DVRs
  • Re-engineered search function
  • More guide data
  • Support for Descriptive Video Service, native pass through, 1080p, and MP3 and MPEG-4 decoding on select devices

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I’d like to suggest an update to this Google TV FAQ, as the schedule has clearly been blown (and by any or most objective measures, Google’s initial foray into television services has been a failure).

Expect many more applications after we open the Android Market on Google TV in early 2011.

“Early 2011″ has obviously come and gone while Google TV has remained largely stagnent. Yeah, it provides a few nifty tricks, like that video overlay, and there’s tons of potential. But the interface remains a mess and a large percent of the web video we want to get at is blocked (by the providers). And then there’s all the apps. Rather, the lack of.

That’s the bad news. The good news, unveiled at Google’s developer conference this week, is what looks to be a significant reboot of the Goole TV platform this summer. Based on Android 3.1 (Honeycomb), and as reported by NewTeeVee, the new experience more efficiently directs folks to the features they’re seeking… including a full blown application Market. As you can tell from the screengrabs, the refreshed UI appears at once both more sophisticated and more streamlined. I only hope early adopters of original Sony and Logitech Google TV hardware and rewarded for their gamble with an update. Continue Reading…

While HDTV Skype video chat isn’t entirely new, Logitech’s joining the fray – bringing their webcam expertise to Skype-enabled 2011 Panasonic Viera televisions. What looks to be the same fantabulous HD USB camera/mic array offered to (the very few) Logitech Revue Google TV customers will ship later this month as the Logitech TV Cam for Skype at $150. While not inexpensive, for what’s essentially an accessory, I found my Logitech video chat experiences on Google TV surprisingly compelling. More so than Apple’s Facetime, even. Yet, it was also a very limited experience in being tied solely to Logitech’s network/community. Whereas the Skype ecosystem is massive. And as we contemplate our next living room TV, Panasonic just inched slightly ahead of Samsung in the hunt.

In an attempt to produce that oh-so-elusive all-in-one “God Box”, EchoStar has introduced the SlingLoaded HDS-600RS to the UK. Not only is it a dual tuning Freesat+ DVR that offers Internet apps (BBC iPlayer is up first), it also provides integrated Slingbox placeshifting capabilities. Allowing one to enjoy those 150 free satellite channels around the home… or anywhere beyond.

The inscrutably named HDS-600RS is available for pre-order from Amazon, ships next week, and clocks in at £350 — which equates to about $575 USD. On one hand, that seems somwhat pricey and you’d think EchoStar might have provided something more than a 500GB drive or thrown in the mobile apps to sweeten the deal. On the other, there’s a lot of functionality to be had here and it’s not like owners will be burdened with box or content subscriptions/fees.

Slashgear went hands on with a company rep and shot video of the box in action (and where I swiped the UI shots from) – check it out!

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