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HDTV Magazine Columns Archive (February, 2008)

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From the Industry - The Big Picture: DisplaySearch's Outlook on the HDTV Market

By Shane Sturgeon • Feb 28 2008, 3:45pm

In 2007, the flat panel display industry reached the $101 billion mark, and it is expected to grow to $131 billion by 2012. While there are many display-centric applications on the rise such as notebooks, mobile applications, digital photo frames, home appliances and navigation systems, flat panel HDTVs continue to comprise 50% of all 10-inch and larger LCD panels shipped on an area basis-a segment that on a revenue basis, hit the $33.5 billion mark in 2007, $11 billion more than in 2006.

DisplaySearch predicts the cumulative number of HDTVs in the US will...

Service & RepairFiber/IPTV HDTVHD DVDInternet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - Verizon Plagued by Success?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 28 2008, 2:00pm

A news story in the Wall Street Journal last week reported that Verizon was having problems with a shortage of HD set top boxes for its FiOS television service. FiOS is the company’s service that provides telephone, high speeed broadband Internet, and television to homes over .
The problem appears to be that Motorola has not [...]

HD DVDGamingBlu-ray

HDTV Almanac - HD DVD for $50

By Alfred Poor • Feb 27 2008, 2:00pm

Blu-ray has won. HD DVD has been vanquished. But did you expect the prices to fall this fast? Check out the Microsoft Xbox 360 Web site: http://www.xbox.com/en-US/hardware/x/xbox360hddvdplayer/default.htm. Microsoft is offering the the Xbox 360 HD DVD player for $49.99. And that apparently still includes five free HD DVD titles.
Microsoft has put a tidy disclaimer on [...]


Newbie's Corner - A Compression Primer

By The HT Guys • Feb 26 2008, 2:20pm

If you're fairly new to the world of HDTV, one word you've probably heard a few times is 'compression.' Typically it's used in a very negative way, taking the blame for all sorts of picture quality issues. Unfortunately, compression gets a bad wrap most of the time, in fact, compression itself is really a great thing. In a nutshell, compression is exactly what it sounds like: taking something big and making it smaller, compressing it down to a smaller size. It's the thing that allows a full HDTV movie to fit on a Blu-ray disk, or for an HDTV program to be broadcast to your home for your viewing pleasure. Uncompressed high definition content is simply too large to be of any use to us consumers. Compression is the thing that allows you to store and transfer audio and video content that otherwise would be way too big.

Think of a beach ball...


HDTV Almanac - How Real is IPTV?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 26 2008, 2:00pm

As many readers are aware, I’m a big fan of IPTV which some people call “Next Generation Television”. I’m convinced that it will reshape how we watch video. In fact, it already has; consider YouTube. But some people wonder if it’s a practical solution.
Well, consider this. According to a recent issue of The Bridge, the [...]


HDTV Almanac - Samsung’s 32″ 1080p LCD HDTV

By Alfred Poor • Feb 25 2008, 2:00pm

I try to explain to people that you need to sit close enough to an HDTV that you get a cinematic experience; a small screen across the room won’t give you the benefit of the fine detail available in the HD image. If you use the screen size calculations in my book, Professor Poor’s Guide [...]

Digital (DTV) TransitionDigital Rights Management (DRM)

HDTV Almanac - Digital Converters, Almost for Free!

By Alfred Poor • Feb 22 2008, 2:00pm

Well, once again I get to publicly proclaim that I was wrong. In an earlier entry in the HDTV Almanac about digital TV converters, I wrote “wait until the end of 2008 to buy one. By then, competition will likley drive the price down to below $50, so you will practically get the converter for [...]

New Products & Equipment

Showdown: Apple TV vs. VUDU

By Shane Sturgeon • Feb 21 2008, 5:09pm

So you've probably read that Apple is getting into the movie rental business, and with high definition even. With the recent upgrades to their Apple TV unit and addition of movie rentals, Apple is now positioned toward the top of the heap when it comes to online high definition movie rentals. Another company that is at the top of that heap is VUDU, who also has a hardware-based player that connects directly to the TV just like the Apple TV unit. I thought it would be appropriate to pit these two against each other and see which comes out on top.


HDTV Almanac - So Long, CRT!

By Alfred Poor • Feb 21 2008, 2:00pm

If you’ve been in any consumer electronics store in the United States within the past year, you may find this next item surprising, but here goes. According a industry-watcher DisplaySearch, LCD TV shipments surpassed CRT TV shipments for the first time in 2007, accounting for 56% of the 28.5 million units. CRT stands for “cathode [...]

Digital (DTV) TransitionPolitics & Policy

HDTV Almanac - The Dark Side of DTV Transition

By Alfred Poor • Feb 20 2008, 2:00pm

We’re now less than a year away from the end of analog broadcasts for local television stations, and we keep finding out little tidbits of information that indicate that the transition may not be as smooth as we might like.
Last week, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin testified before Congress that as many as 5% of users [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Madness for Free!

By Alfred Poor • Feb 19 2008, 2:00pm

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament starts in just one month. Also known as “March Madness“, this marks the 18 days of the year when normal people who have no interest at all in basketball the other 347 days of the year become rabid fans of some little-known Cinderella school. Office pools, heated discussions about [...]

HD DVDBlu-rayCable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - High-Def DVD: It’s Over!

By Alfred Poor • Feb 18 2008, 2:00pm

I was probably one of the first to pick HD DVD as the winning format in the high definition video disc contest. It had the backing of enough of the Hollywood studios to be competitive. Warner Brothers had a clever multilayer design that would play in both DVD and HD DVD players. The Blu-ray camp [...]

Digital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - Reader Question: The Fate of TV Radios?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 15 2008, 2:00pm

Q: I have not been able to find anyone who feels confident with their answer to this question and hope you can help me. I have three radios that receive audio only TV signals. Will I be able to receive audio only TV signals on these radios after the switch to digital? I talked with [...]


HDTV Almanac - Another DVD Format?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 14 2008, 2:00pm

Here’s just what we need: another optical disc format. On Monday, Vmedia Research announced their new miniature Vmedia disc that is only 32 mm in diameter; that’s slightly more than 1.25 inches, or about one-fourth the size of a standard DVD or CD. This new format is designed for use in mobile devices such as [...]

Plasma HDTVs

HDTV Almanac - Plasma Revenues Decline

By Alfred Poor • Feb 13 2008, 2:00pm

Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. — The Red Queen, “Through the Looking Glass” by Lewis Carroll.
The plasma manufacturers must be feeling as though they have fallen through the looking glass themselves. According to a release from industry watcher DisplayBank, plasma panel [...]


Another Opinion - The High Cost of Saving Money

By Terry Paullin • Feb 12 2008, 5:16pm

Look, I'll admit it. I like to find a bargain as much as the next guy. When I walk into "DVDs 'R US", I always slide by the "previously viewed" bin first. When I travel, Budget Inn is high on my list. But experience has taught me that there are times when spending MORE is the smart thing to do in the name of economy. Recently, in the quest to find material to be contrary about (that's my mission here - had you guessed?), I found a significant number of posts on various websites focused on where to find the absolute rock bottom price for this or that piece of A/V gear. It's not unusual to find a subsequent post a week or two later looking for help on how to "fix" that same item.

Here's the thing

HD DVDBlu-rayInternet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - Two More Nails for HD DVD

By Alfred Poor • Feb 12 2008, 2:00pm

Yesterday, Netflix issued a press release stating that “as of now it will purchase only Blu-ray discs and will phase out by roughly year’s end the alternative high-def format, HD DVD, developed by Toshiba.” The press release cited the fact that “the industry now [has] picked a winner,” with four out of six major US [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - What’s Wrong with This Ad?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 11 2008, 2:00pm

Radio Shack has apparently all but given up on their HDTV strategy. The retail chain appears to have returned to its focus on consumer electronic gadgets and accessories. However, their Sunday sales circulars still include the occasional ad for an HDTV, such as the one below that appeared in yesterday’s flyer:

Yes, this is an ad [...]

HD DVDService & Repair

HDTV Almanac - Where’s the HD?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 8 2008, 2:00pm

We know by now that about half the people with HDTVs don’t have HDTV service, even though about half of them think that they do. So it comes as no surprise that the video services are tripping all over each other to claim that they have the most (or best or whatever) HD content. Who [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - SuperReturns

By Alfred Poor • Feb 7 2008, 2:00pm

A report by Dealerscope describes the apparently widespread practice of “wardrobing”, in which customers buy a product with the intent of using it and then returning it for a refund after their need for the item is over. Apparently, this practice has grown in association with a single event: the SuperBowl. Customers “purchase” a large [...]

Environment / GreenDigital Rights Management (DRM)

HDTV Almanac - EPA Adopts New Energy Star Specs

By Alfred Poor • Feb 6 2008, 2:00pm

The Environmental Protection Agency first introduced the Energy Star program in 1992 to encourage the development of more energy efficient personal computers and computer monitors. The program has since expanded to cover more than 50 product categories. Yesterday, the agency released their final version 3.0 requirements for televisions.
In order to qualify for the Energy Star [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - How Many HDTVs Do You Have?

By Alfred Poor • Feb 5 2008, 2:00pm

Just a few years ago, the idea of having more than one HDTV in your home seemed to be reserved for the mega-rich like Bill Gates. Falling prices and changing expectations have changed all that. A survey reported by IDC last month revealed that consumers are adding flat panel TVs in places where they did [...]


Another Opinion - The Case for Outboard Video Processing

By Terry Paullin • Feb 4 2008, 5:45pm

If you haven't already, marketing types everywhere are saying you probably will - buy a large screen TV in 2008 that is. For our purpose here, let's define large as anything north of a 50" diagonal. With the resurgence of a couple good RPTVs, precipitous price drops in both LCD and Plasma large panels and really good front projector/screen combos in the under $5,000 range, many more of you WILL opt for Big Screen nirvana this year. But will all truly be well in Megapixelville? If all you do is replace the monitor, maybe not so much.

Here's the thing. From the beginning...

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - SuperBowl Ads

By Alfred Poor • Feb 4 2008, 2:00pm

Did you miss Stewie duking it out with Underdog for the giant Coke bottle? Is everyone around the water cooler still laughing about the eTrade baby? Want to see Shaq win a horserace? Whether you watched the SuperBowl last night or not, you may be interested in knowing that some of the best parts of [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - New Journalism in the HDTV Market

By Alfred Poor • Feb 1 2008, 2:00pm

A press release arrived yesterday with a headline that was clearly intended to stir the pot: “Audioholics Launches Controversial New Online Storefront”. According to the release, the controversial part of the announcement was that this new online store offers free extended warranties, free shipping, and lifetime technical support. Certainly, these features could be “controversial” for [...]