This is the first in an upcoming series of articles from the HDTV Technology Review 2006 Report by Rodolfo La Maestra, published in March 2006. If you are interested in purchasing the full version of this report, it is currently available for purchase from our HDTV Technology Review page.
As with every year, this report reviews the state of H/DTV technology and the industry behind it. The information is up-to-date as of March 2006 and includes future products announced at January's International CES (Consumer Electronics Show).
If you are looking for a particular piece of equipment or technology that is not mentioned in this report, please consult earlier CES reports. These reports include previously released equipment that may still be available to consumers. Previous CES reports are available on the HDTV Magazine website at the following address: www.hdtvmagazine.com/reports/hdtv-technology-review.php.
These reports also provide the historical background of government mandates, industry agreements, satellite/cable plans, definitions, and descriptions of some technologies introduced at that opportunity. Together with this 2006 report, readers are able to use this series of CES reports to better understand the past, present and future of recently released products and technologies.
When applicable, I will provide a brief summary to give an historical perspective of a given subject so that the reader can be familiar with the background before getting into the detail of this year.
During the year, prior to CES, many announcements are made and industry events occur (such as dealer meetings, or conferences like CEDIA every September) which manufacturers leverage to introduce new products.
For these cases, I will mention the month of product introduction to provide a perspective of its maturity in the market. In addition,
Most publications only show current DTV products with few specifications. They exclude equipment expected in the medium-term future, and they do not analyze the market to guide the reader in making the right choice. Hundreds of products are included in this report, with specifications and features intended to facilitate comparisons with other models, brands, and technologies.
Many people attend CES to plan future purchases and start saving for products that could be released months or years later; or rather decide to buy now a current product because CES helped confirm that it might not be worth the wait.
In this report, I highlight industry trends, the adoption/abandoning of H/DTV technologies, the remarkable increase in number and variety of flat panel displays, the growth of LCoS, the 1080p Holy Grail, the Hi-def DVD format war, ED in all its variances (SED, NED, OLED, FED), etc.
This report assumes that the reader has a basic understanding of H/DTV. The technical information provided might seem overwhelming to readers
All types of H/DTVs and technologies are covered in this report: RPTV (rear projection TV), FP (front projectors), Direct-view (CRTs, CRPs, etc), Plasmas (PDP), DLP (Digital Light Processing), LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), LCoS (Liquid Crystal on Silicon, including JVC's D-ILA and Sony's SXRD), and SED, OLED, FED, NED, etc.
This report also reviews DTV related equipment such as Hi-def DVD for playback and recording, HD tuning set-top-boxes (STB) for small-dish satellite, digital cable, and over-the-air (OTA) w/antenna reception, HD DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), and the implementation of digital video connectivity (DVI, HDMI and IEEE-1394 Firewire).
As always, this report makes more emphasis on H/DTV displays over 40" diagonal (except for a smaller few mentioned in the CRT and LCD-TV groups to round up the introduction of a new line). It excludes computer related HD-tuner cards, computer Hard Disk Drives (HDD) for HD video storage (a computer DVR), C-Band (big dish) satellite equipment, and some after-market modifications to HD-Set Top Boxes (HD-STBs) for DBS small-dish satellite HD recording (www.169time.com).
All the information about models, prices, and specifications has been researched and confirmed with product demonstrations, lab tests, industry press releases, technical material, and my manufacturer interviews at CES. Prices are consistently shown as MSRP (rounding the 999s to the next dollar to make for easier reading). Product availability is stated as TTM (Time to Market) or TBA (when unknown).
As the industry grows in complexity, variety, and number of products, the effort to research, analyze, review products, and wrap with a full H/DTV coverage at CES with my projections is becoming an overwhelming task year after year.
Most people refer to this effort as a "CES report". The truth is: CES is just one piece of the industry perspective offered in this document. In most cases, I already know what will be appearing at CES beforehand because I follow the industry on a daily basis. CES permits me to see (and in some cases test) those ground breaking H/DTV products and talk to the engineers that participated in their creation. No press release can provide that, and you have it here.
Nevertheless, I still make the effort because maintaining the broad scope allows me to link all the pieces together, which facilitates a deeper analysis from a wider perspective across manufacturers, technologies, and the industry in general.
The readership benefits from a unique report, a historic and summarized statement of a year of the H/DTV industry, which also becomes a research tool, rather than just showing the photographs of selected new products with modest background information, as most publications do, when they do.
Although considerable effort was made to consolidate and verify the correctness of all the complex data included in the report, I cannot assume responsibility for omissions or errors.
Posted by Rodolfo La Maestra, March 27, 2006 12:51 PM
About Rodolfo La Maestra
Rodolfo La Maestra is the Senior Technical Director of UHDTV Magazine and HDTV Magazine and participated in the HDTV vision since the late 1980's. In the late 1990's, he began tracking and reviewing HDTV consumer equipment, and authored the annual HDTV Technology Review report, tutorials, and educative articles for HDTV Magazine, DVDetc and HDTVetc magazines, Veritas et Visus Newsletter, Display Search, and served as technical consultant/editor for the "Reference Guide" and the "HDTV Glossary of Terms" for HDTVetc and HDTV Magazines. In 2004, he began recording a weekly HDTV technology program for MD Cable television, which by 2006 reached the rating of second most viewed.
Rodolfo's background encompasses Electronic Engineering, Computer Science, and Audio and Video Electronics, with over 4,700 hours of professional training, a BS in Computer and Information Systems, and thirty+ professional and post-graduate certifications, some from MIT, American, and George Washington Universities. Rodolfo was also Computer Science professor in five institutions between 1966-1973 in Argentina, regarding IBM, Burroughs, and Honeywell mainframe computers. After 38 years of computer systems career, Rodolfo retired in 2003 as Chief of Systems Development from the Inter-American Development Bank directing sixty+ software-development computer professionals, supporting member countries in north/central/south America.