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HDTV Magazine Columns Archive (December, 2008)

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HDTV Almanac - LG Tops 120 Hz

By Alfred Poor • Dec 30 2008, 2:00pm

LG Display announced today that it has developed a “Trumotion 480Hz” LCD HDTV panel. Yes, Virginia, that’s four times faster than the current 120 Hz specification offered by some of the top-of-the-line models from various TV makers. The point of the higher refresh rate is that it helps reduce motion blur on LCD panels. By [...]

Blu-rayHD DVD

HDTV Almanac - Do You Blu-ray?

By Alfred Poor • Dec 29 2008, 2:00pm

Last Friday, CompUSA.com ran a one-day special on the Sylvania NB501SL9 Blu-ray DVD player, selling it for just under $180. This is about a 10% discount over the $200 price that you can find from lots of sources. My question is this; is this price low enough to entice you to switch to Blu-ray? Keep [...]

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

HDTV Almanac - Inventory Management

By Alfred Poor • Dec 26 2008, 2:00pm

What happens when people stop buying your product? Early numbers indicate that 2008 was one of the worst holiday shopping seasons on record, when you compare with the prior year. And as anticipated, inventories are still high at the retailers. From sweaters to flat screens, retailers have been slashing prices in efforts to try to [...]

Cable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Happy Holidays!

By Alfred Poor • Dec 25 2008, 2:00pm

I’m celebrating Christmas today, so I’ll under the tree instead of in front of the keyboard this morning. Let me take this time to wish all of you a happy holiday season. Even in these difficult times, I hope that you find many reasons to be thankful. Whether this is your first visit to the [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - The CE Retail Carnage Continues

By Alfred Poor • Dec 24 2008, 2:00pm

Here’s another name to add to the list: Theater Xtreme. The Delaware corporation ceased operations at the two company-owned stores in early December, as well as laying off all corporate employees, but took the next step of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week. It is possible that the company could regroup, but it is [...]

Internet HD VideoHTPCs & LaptopsHD DVDPC & Laptop Technology

HDTV Almanac - Roku Adds HD

By Alfred Poor • Dec 23 2008, 2:00pm

Okay, now there’s one less reason to roll your own Media Center PC in order to watch movies from the Internet on your HDTV. Roku announced yesterday that their $99 Netflix Player will now support streaming HD content. The company does not specify what “advanced compression technology” it uses, but I’m guessing that it’s some [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Polaroid: Out with the Tide?

By Alfred Poor • Dec 22 2008, 2:00pm

One of my favorite sayings is that “a rising tide raises all boats”, which I view as shorthand for how cooperation between competitors for the good of the industry help all involved. The current economic situation looks more like ebb tide in the Bay of Fundy, where the water level can drop as much as [...]

Cable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Big JVC HDTV for Times Square

By Alfred Poor • Dec 19 2008, 2:00pm

Just in time for the big ball to drop, JVC has installed a new giant display in New York City’s Times Square. The company claims that it’s the first “true 720p high definition display” in Times Square. The installation includes a main screen and two tickers, one of which wraps around the globe. The screen [...]

OLED HDTVsPC & Laptop TechnologyPlasma HDTVsSports

HDTV Almanac - No OLED TV For You!

By Alfred Poor • Dec 18 2008, 2:00pm

When it comes to OLED HDTVs, I’m as big a cheerleader as you’ll find. What’s not to love? They have super-thin panels, the emissive technology looks better than a CRT, and it has none of the problems faced by plasma and LCD panels, such as image retention or motion blur. There’s just one small problem; [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Shoe Drops for Best Buy

By Alfred Poor • Dec 17 2008, 2:00pm

Tweeter, Circuit City, CompUSA, and other consumer electronics stores have fallen by the wayside. And now we learn that Best Buy is not immune to the financial woes of a weakened economy. The company announced third quarter net earnings yesterday, which were down 77% from a year ago. That’s huge. And the company is not [...]

Digital (DTV) TransitionDigital Rights Management (DRM)Events & TradeshowsPolitics & Policy

HDTV Almanac - Preparing for the DTV Transition

By Alfred Poor • Dec 16 2008, 2:00pm

It appears that others share my concern that the transition to digital-only television broadcasts, scheduled for February 17, 2009, may not go off as smoothly as the federal government would like to predict. The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF) announced yesterday that it was opening DTV Assistance Centers in seven U.S. cities [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - And the Emmy Goes to…

By Alfred Poor • Dec 15 2008, 2:00pm

Molex. What’s a Molex, you may ask. No, it’s not some one-name action star from Hollywood. It is one of 10 companies that will share in an award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) in recognition for their contribution to the development of the HDMI interface. Molex is one of the [...]

HD DVDService & Repair

HDTV Almanac - Nielsen: 23.3% Have HDTVs

By Alfred Poor • Dec 12 2008, 2:00pm

Nielsen announced yesterday that a bit more than 23% of U.S. households have at least one HDTV as of November 30. This includes “HD capable” sets that are not receiving HD service. Unfortunately, Nielsen did not report on what percentage do not have HD service, but recent figures from other sources have indicated that it [...]

PC & Laptop TechnologyHTPCs & Laptops

HDTV Almanac - HDTV Almanac Added to Alltop

By Alfred Poor • Dec 12 2008, 1:59pm

Alltop is an “online magazine rack” that aggregates RSS feeds about popular topics. For HDTV, it includes feeds from PC World, PC Magazine, HDTV Magazine, Engadget, and AVS Forum. And now it includes HDTV Almanac as well. And so we now proudly include the Alltop badge in the right-hand column of this page. (I was [...]

Digital (DTV) TransitionDigital Rights Management (DRM)

HDTV Almanac - Truth Patrol: Digital TV Misinformation Abounds

By Alfred Poor • Dec 11 2008, 2:00pm

Okay, the fact is that I could probably write every entry from now until February 17, 2009 finding errors in what’s being written about the digital TV transisition. Some of the errors apparently are made out of ignorance, and some are cases of the writer over-simplifying. But the fact remains that there’s a lot of [...]

Digital (DTV) TransitionBroadcastProgramming

HDTV Almanac - Big Transition for NBC

By Alfred Poor • Dec 10 2008, 2:00pm

The transition to digital broadcast of television programming is not the only big transition scheduled for TV in 2009. On June 1, 2009, Conan O’Brien is slated to take over from Jay Leno at the big desk on NBC’s late night “Tonight Show”. But few were prepared for the big news that broke yesterday. NBC [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Sony Sharpens Its Ax

By Alfred Poor • Dec 9 2008, 2:00pm

One of the assumptions about a slow-down in consumer electronics sales is that the prime brands will be okay, and it’s the smaller companies that get hammered. Well, as a measure of just how bad the situation is, Sony announced today that it intends to trim about $1.1 billion in annual costs. One way to [...]


HDTV Almanac - Blu-ray Built-In

By Alfred Poor • Dec 8 2008, 2:00pm

When I was in a Costco last week, I looked for some smaller LCD HDTVs with built-in DVD players, but couldn’t find any. I asked one of the store staff, and he told me that they used to carry such models but don’t anymore. (I did notice that Best Buy and Circuit City both had [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - WalMart Up, Others Down

By Alfred Poor • Dec 5 2008, 2:00pm

November retail sales figures are coming in for the discount chains, and according to a report by TWICE, the news is a bit grim. WalMart posted a 6.5 percent gain over last year, with consumer electronics, clothing, and home goods doing well.
So much for the good news. Costco was down 3 percent, and sales were [...]

3D HDTVBroadcastEntertainmentSports

HDTV Almanac - More on Broadcast 3D

By Alfred Poor • Dec 4 2008, 2:00pm

It has been widely reported that Fox announced plans to broadcast the college football BCS championship game in 3D at select movie theaters in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. The plans were announced this week by Fox Sports CEO David Hill at the 3-D Entertainment Summit.
Perhaps more important were the comments made by Hill [...]

Digital Rights Management (DRM)

HDTV Almanac - Tweeter Closes its Doors

By Alfred Poor • Dec 3 2008, 2:00pm

Already liquidating under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan, Tweeter threw in the towel and abruptly closed all of its 70 stores nationwide on Tuesday. More than 600 employees lost their jobs, and the company has petitioned a Delaware court to convert the Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. Many customers have paid some or [...]

Digital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - Another Transition Exception

By Alfred Poor • Dec 2 2008, 2:00pm

I just knew that there would be more. KTVH in Helena, Montana, has joined the ranks of the early converters to digital broadcasts. Their transmission tower is located above 8,000 feet on Hogback Mountain (no kidding!) can be a bit difficult to work on in February weather, so they decided to make the switch on [...]

Internet HD VideoHTPCs & LaptopsDigital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - Blockbuster Goes Online

By Alfred Poor • Dec 1 2008, 2:00pm

Netflix has a huge head start in delivering rental movies over broadband Internet, but Blockbuster is making an attempt to catch up. The company announced their 2Wire MediaPoint digital media player last week. The device is nominally free; all you have to do is buy 25 movie rentals for $99, which works out to $4 [...]