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HDTV Magazine Columns Archive (March, 2009)

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Digital (DTV) TransitionPolitics & Policy

HDTV Almanac - FCC Enlists AmeriCorps for DTV Transition

By Alfred Poor • Mar 30 2009, 1:00pm

The FCC apparently has decided that it would be helpful to have “boots on the ground” in 49 major metropolitan areas to help residents make the transition to digital broadcasts by the June 12 deadline. According to a press release from AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) on Friday, its members “will focus on groups [...]

Politics & PolicyEvents & TradeshowsDigital (DTV) TransitionPC & Laptop Technology

HDTV Almanac - CEA Rides Again: We’re Ready for DTV

By Alfred Poor • Mar 27 2009, 1:00pm

I get it. CEA stands for “Consumer Electronics Association”, and in addition to hosting the CES conference in Las Vegas every January, the organization provides “representation from the voice of the industry, CEA, promoting and advancing member needs and interests.” And those 2,200 members are companies within the consumer technology industry. So I get it; [...]

Broadcast

Ed's View - Better Broadcast HDTV

By Ed Milbourn • Mar 26 2009, 3:49pm

I am sure most of you have experienced the superb HD picture offered by Blu-ray discs, and wonder why over-the air (OTA) HD broadcast do not exhibit the same quality. The answer to this question is compound and has been discussed in similar blurbs on this subject. However, one of the broadcasters' limitations to optimizing HDTV is inherent in the ATSC standard itself, and that is the obsolete MPEG-2 compression system.

When the digital (HD or SD) signal is originally digitized...

Internet HD VideoService & RepairHD DVD

HDTV Almanac - NetFlix Bogs Down

By Alfred Poor • Mar 26 2009, 1:00pm

Apparently there has been a flurry of complaints about the Netflix streaming video service. Some users have encountered problems just with HD streams, while others have had problems with choppy performance even on SD titles. The company responded with considerable candor in a blog entry last week in which Neil Hunt, Chief Product Officer, [...]

Deals & DiscountsPolitics & PolicyCable HDTVDigital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - NTIA to Replace Expired Converter Coupons

By Alfred Poor • Mar 25 2009, 1:00pm

In a press release yesterday, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it had cleared the backlog of rebate coupon requests for digital converter boxes, and is accepting new applications. For the first time, the agency is also accepting applications from households who received rebate coupons, but who failed to redeem them before [...]

Digital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - More Homes Prepare for DTV Transition

By Alfred Poor • Mar 24 2009, 1:00pm

Nielsen has posted their latest estimate of how many U.S. households remain unprepared for the end of analog TV broadcasts in June. With just over two months left to go, the number of households has been cut nearly in half from December to now, leaving only 4.1 million homes still not ready according to Nielsen; [...]

Broadcast

Ed's View - HDTV Broadcast Wish List

By Ed Milbourn • Mar 23 2009, 3:47pm

As mentioned in my prior wheezes on this subject, the present US economic climate would appear to present over-the-air (OTA) television broadcasters with fantastic possibilities. With the tremendous opportunities offered by digital production and transmission (i.e. HD and SD multi-channel and mobile and IP capabilities all at the same time), and most of it "free" to viewers, one would think that the time is ideal for OTAs to take a big chunk of penetration from their pay brethren. However, as an undying cheerleader for success of OTA, I feel there are a couple of wishes that must be granted before broadcasters have any hopes of stopping and successfully reversing their 15% household penetration ratio. First...

LCD HDTVs

HDTV Almanac - LCD TV Shipments: Turning the Corner?

By Alfred Poor • Mar 23 2009, 1:00pm

DisplaySearch tracks the production of flat panel displays, and in a press release last week, the company released statistics for the LCD TV panel shipments in February. They report that 7.7 million panels shipped in February, compared with 6.9 million in January; this amounts to an 11% gain from month to month. The rest of [...]

LCD HDTVs

HDTV Almanac - More 12 Volt DC LCD TVs

By Alfred Poor • Mar 20 2009, 1:00pm

TWICE ran a story this week about “a new start-up LCD TV brand, Naxa Electronics“. None of the sets mentioned in the company’s new line-up are larger than 26″, and some are as small as 13″ which gives new meaning to the concept of a “personal” HDTV. The sets have some strange panel resolutions, such [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Circuit City is Gone; Wattles Remains

By Alfred Poor • Mar 19 2009, 1:00pm

Investor Mark Wattles bought a sizable portion of Circuit City, and tried to influence the company’s direction. One of those steps included lobbying to support Blockbuster’s abortive effort to buy Circuit City last year. There’s a little irony here because Wattles founded Hollywood Video, one of Blockbuster’s competitors, and the sale of that chain to [...]

Satellite HDTVService & RepairCable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Dish-ing Out Movie Tickets

By Alfred Poor • Mar 18 2009, 1:00pm

One reason to get satellite or cable TV service is so that you can watch movies at home. Many people pay these services lots of money each month for premium channels in order to watch recent releases on their TV sets. But here’s an interesting twist; Dish Network is launching a channel that uses Fandango [...]

Global & Worldview

HDTV Almanac - Hitach Hits Hard Times

By Alfred Poor • Mar 17 2009, 1:00pm

What do you call a company that has more than 900 subsidiaries? You might call it “enormous”, but you could also call it Hitachi, one of Japan’s largest conglomerate corporations. And the global recession has hit the company just about as hard as many of its competitors around the world. This week, Hitachi announced new [...]

Internet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - Growing Demand for Web-Enhanced TVs

By Alfred Poor • Mar 16 2009, 1:00pm

Parks Associates recently released a white paper about U.S. consumer interest in broadband services delivered to their TVs. Nearly 50% of the respondents expressed interest in getting premium services (for a fee) such as streaming movie rentals and video on demand using a set top box connected to their TVs. Interestingly, about 40% would like [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Wal-Mart and Best Buy Dominate CE Shopping

By Alfred Poor • Mar 13 2009, 1:00pm

Where do you shop for your consumer electronics? According to a new study by market analyst BIGresearch (as reported by TWICE), a survey of shoppers in the first week of March revealed that 35 percent shopped most often at Best Buy for their electronics, and another 20 percent picked Wal-Mart. Third place trailed far behind, [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Reader Question: How to “Rescan”?

By Alfred Poor • Mar 12 2009, 1:00pm

Q: I am at my wits end trying to find a site that will provide me with easy to understand instructions on how to do a rescan! Do you have any idea how I can find a source for this? Your site (after searching for an hour and fifteen minutes is the closest to anything [...]

LCD HDTVs

HDTV Almanac - Hitachi Takes a Fall: $31 Million Fine

By Alfred Poor • Mar 11 2009, 1:00pm

Hitachi is the fourth defendant in the U.S. Department of Justice’s campaign against price fixing in the LCD panel market has pleaded guilty to a single felony count of conspiracy to fix prices. The complaint stems from the company’s deal with Dell to supply panels for notebook and desktop monitors from 2001 through 2004. The [...]

Internet HD VideoLED (LCD) HDTVs

HDTV Almanac - U.S. Consumers Staying Connected

By Alfred Poor • Mar 10 2009, 1:00pm

According to a new study published by In-Stat, most U.S. households will continue their television, cell phone, and Internet access subscriptions without a change. Only about 15% indicate that they plan to cut back, a change that is more common among households with annual incomes less than $35,000. Even though this is a relatively small [...]

Internet HD VideoService & RepairCable HDTVDigital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - Does ZillionTV Have the Formula?

By Alfred Poor • Mar 9 2009, 2:00pm

One of the hot Web-based TV services getting a lot of buzz these days is ZillionTV. Currently in beta testing, the service has the backing of major content powerhouses such as Disney, NBC, Universal, Sony Pictures Television, and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. The company will provide streaming video content over broadband Internet connections, partnering with [...]

HD DVD

HDTV Almanac - Ready for Your Close-Up?

By Alfred Poor • Mar 6 2009, 2:00pm

The annual PMA convention was held this week in Las Vegas. This is probably the most important event in the photography industry. For HDTV fans, there’s a new development worthy of note. Just a few years ago, we were amazed with the first HD resolution camcorder price less than $1,000 appeared. Up until then, only [...]

Digital (DTV) TransitionPolitics & PolicyLED (LCD) HDTVs

HDTV Almanac - FCC to Investigate DTV Licensing Fees

By Alfred Poor • Mar 5 2009, 2:00pm

Vizio led the charge in creating “CUT FATT“, the Coalition United to Terminate Financial Abuses of the Television Transition. (It is not clear, but it appears that only Westinghouse has joined this “coalition”.) The group complains that they are being charged too much by the patent holders for licenses to use certain technologies that are [...]

Internet HD VideoService & RepairSatellite HDTVCable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Is Roku the Next Settop Box?

By Alfred Poor • Mar 4 2009, 2:00pm

Forget cable. Forget satellite. If you’re a movie lover, maybe all you need is a broadband connection and the Roku Digital Video Player. This is the $99 box that made waves when it was introduced as a gateway to the Netflix streaming video service. Then came news yesterday that you can purchase or rent movies [...]

Internet HD VideoService & Repair

HDTV Almanac - Netflix May Offer Streaming Subscription

By Alfred Poor • Mar 3 2009, 2:00pm

According to widely-reported comments by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the company could offer a subscription that only offers streaming movies, and this could become available by the end of this year or early next year. Currently, the company only offers the streaming as a free service to the more than 10 million subscribers who [...]

LCD HDTVsCable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Free HDTVs in March!

By Alfred Poor • Mar 2 2009, 2:00pm

“If it’s free, it’s for me.” How about a Samsung 52″ LCD HDTV, with a wall mount and a starter package from Belkin with a surge protector and an HDMI cable? How about 31 of these sets? That’s what Newegg is giving away this month: one every day in March. The company that has been [...]