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HDTV Magazine Columns Archive (April, 2011)

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Service & RepairFiber/IPTV HDTVProgrammingSatellite HDTVCable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - EPIX Multi-Screen Strategy

By Alfred Poor • Apr 29 2011, 1:00pm

EPIX is a a movie channel for subscription TV services including cable, satellite, and telco (such as Verizon’s FiOS). It boasts recent releases from major studios, including Paramount, Lionsgate, and MGM. But you aren’t just limited to watching the movies and other programming on your TV service when they are scheduled; EPIX is also a [...]

Events & Tradeshows

One Installer's Opinion - The Boys are Back in Town (The 2011 CES Report)

By Terry Paullin • Apr 28 2011, 2:12pm

Regular readers know that we (several from this publication and hundreds from others), flock in the first week of January to that mother-of-all-things-that-light-up, the Consumer Electronics Show held in the city that is never un-lit, Las Vegas, Nevada.

The big news in Las Vegas this year wasn't a new app. for the next i-Trinket that prints money in eleventeen different languages, nor was it a 175 in. flat panel, or even the announcement of Smell-o-Vision as a 3D accessory - although there's a joke in there somewhere. It was, in fact, the attendance itself. By some counts...

Cable HDTVBusiness & InvestmentDeals & Discounts

HDTV Almanac - Wanna Buy a Cable Business?

By Alfred Poor • Apr 28 2011, 1:00pm

An article in Multichannel News reports that Charter is looking to sell its cable business in Los Angeles. It appears that the normal way these deals go down is to swap subscribers with a competitor, but Time-Warner Cable apparently turned down a deal to trade for its business in parts of Wisconsin where Charter already [...]

Internet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - Netflix is #1

By Alfred Poor • Apr 27 2011, 1:00pm

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! It’s just little ol’ Netflix, doing it’s little streaming video thing. Nothing to see here, move along, move along. At least, that seemed to be the message on Monday when CEO Reed Hastings announced the company’s first quarter financials. All they did was about double worldwide [...]


One Installer's Opinion - 3D..isappointment, Chicken Little is screaming ...and other matters

By Terry Paullin • Apr 26 2011, 2:50pm

No, this isn't the I-told-ya-so column ... yet. Events have moved much faster than I predicted when I wrote a column on this topic about a year ago, but it seems we are headed for the same forecasted result. In that column I pointed to lack of standards, lack of content, the glasses nuisance and the problematic usage model in the home as probable deterrents to wide (or any) adoption of 3D in your living room. Press releases received over the past few months from various independent surveys have "leaked" reports of disappointing sales from even the most conservative manufacturers estimates. Last week, an article in reuters.com confirmed "3DTV hasn't caught the imagination of consumers". Reasons cited later in the article were ... uhh ... lack of standards, lack of content and, yup, those pesky glasses. To make matters even worse, in an almost unbelievably inept marketing move, studios partnered with specific manufacturers to offer "exclusive" content packages - as if wanting to spend a ...

Internet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - Dark Friday

By Alfred Poor • Apr 26 2011, 1:00pm

If you’re planning on relying on the Internet to get work done on Friday – especially if you’re on the East Coast — you may want to think about working unplugged. William and Kate may spoil your day.
Not even the HDTV Almanac is a Royal-Wedding-Free zone. But rather than focus on bridal trains and the [...]


HDTV Expert - James Cameron Says Passive 3D Is ‘Good Enough’ for the Home

By Pete Putman • Apr 25 2011, 7:50pm

Yep, the perfectionist who spent four years making 'Avatar' thinks half-resolution 3D is just fine for home viewing.


HDTV Almanac - CALM Act: Your Tax Dollars at Work

By Alfred Poor • Apr 25 2011, 1:00pm

If you watch television programming that has commercials, I’m sure you’ve experienced it more than once. Your program winds down to a sensitive, thoughtful stopping point, and then there’s a commercial break. And the very first commercial BLOWS YOUR EARS OUT!!! You lunge for the remote and mash the Mute button, wondering “why doesn’t someone [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - DisplaySearch: TV Replacement Cycle Shortens

By Alfred Poor • Apr 22 2011, 1:00pm

According to a press release from DisplaySearch, the company’s new study reports that consumers worldwide continue to replace their televisions more frequently than in the past. Traditionally, consumers replaced a CRT TV with another CRT TV every 10 to 15 years. That cycle is much shorter now, and not just in the U.S. but worldwide.
Clearly, [...]

Service & Repair

One Installer's Opinion - You Want It To Last HOW LONG?

By Terry Paullin • Apr 21 2011, 2:34pm

I recently got an E-mail from a regular WSR reader (Greg) who, apparently satisfied with our product reviews in other areas, complained that we fell short in commenting on "serviceable life expectancy". Although Greg's comments were aimed at front projectors, I want to expand his Q and attempt to answer for all display devices.

So on these "service" topics, here's the thing...

Business & InvestmentMarketplaceCable HDTV

HDTV Almanac - Philips Quits the TV Business

By Alfred Poor • Apr 21 2011, 1:00pm

Once a worldwide leader in the television industry, Philips has thrown in the towel and is exiting the business. The company has been headed in that direction for some time. In 2008, they licensed their brand name to Funai for sales in North America. (Funai also makes televisions under some other familiar brands, including Emerson, [...]

BroadcastHTPCs & LaptopsInternet HD Video

HDTV Expert - NAB 2011: It’s All About Streaming, Displays, and Connectivity

By Pete Putman • Apr 20 2011, 5:25pm

The recent National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas was loaded with new media demonstrations, and there were some cool broadcast and professional monitors to check out, too.


HDTV Almanac - More on Bigger OLED Displays

By Alfred Poor • Apr 20 2011, 1:00pm

This is totally propeller-headed, but a company named Cymer, Inc. made an interesting announcement in a press release last week that said, in part:
Cymer, Inc. (Nasdaq: CYMI), announced today that TCZ, its display equipment product division, has received a volume order for the TCZ-1500B, TCZ’s new Gen 5.5 crystallization system, from a leading Asian flat [...]

General Interest

One Installer's Opinion - (another) Terry's Top Ten

By Terry Paullin • Apr 19 2011, 2:23pm

Before we get to the meat, let me first thank this readership for putting up with my rants and occasional insight all this time. It's been a genuine labor of love, I promise you.

Over the years I've offered "TOP TEN reasons to invest in a Home Theatre", "TOP TEN mistakes made by DIY theatre installers", "TOP TEN things that tick me off about this business", "TOP TEN pieces of mis-information likely to be heard from Sparky down at Big Barn A/V" and more recently, "TOP TEN Blu-Ray concert videos". Having completed my 1,000th theatre installation this year, allow me to offer what I think have been the TOP TEN contributions to our collective enjoyment of our various theatre experiences.
As they say on DWTS, "In no particular order...

Mobile HDTVDigital (DTV) TransitionBroadcastLCD HDTVs

HDTV Almanac - New Hybrid Portable TVs from RCA

By Alfred Poor • Apr 19 2011, 1:00pm

At the NAB show last week, RCA demonstrated three new portable LCD TVs. All run on battery or AC power, and both can pick up standard ATSC digital television broadcast signals. What makes these two models particularly interesting is that they also can receive the new Mobile DTV signals (that I discussed last week).
Two models [...]


HDTV Almanac - Walmart Shrinks CE Store Space

By Alfred Poor • Apr 18 2011, 1:00pm

Walmart recently announced that it was expanding the number of HDTV models that it will offer, but that apparently will be primarily for online sales. The company has announced plans to actually shrink the display space allocated to consumer electronics products in their brick and mortar stores.
Part of the move is due to their perception [...]


HDTV Almanac - 3DTV Prediction Coming True, Part II

By Alfred Poor • Apr 15 2011, 1:00pm

Earlier this week, I pointed out that the price of active glasses for 3DTV has plummeted, now that Samsung has announced that it will sell them for less than $50. Now it appears that another point has been proven. I have contended for a long time that adding 3D support to a typical HDTV from [...]


One Installer's Opinion - This Changes Everything ... (About Calibration)

By Terry Paullin • Apr 14 2011, 2:14pm

Readers of this magazine have long been about examining the best of audio and video ... ... if not for their own consumption, then just to better understand how various Home Theatre products get to be "the best that they can be". Regular readers of video product reviews in these pages have come to understand that NO display product can fully realize its potential until it has been calibrated in the environment in which it lives - perhaps your living room.

Clearly, not all display devices calibrate equally well. There are several factors that impact the end result...


HDTV Almanac - Coming to You Live on YouTube!

By Alfred Poor • Apr 14 2011, 1:00pm

First, YouTube extended the limits on uploaded content; some partners are now able to post feature-film-length videos. But it seems that Google has even bigger plans for YouTube to become not just the video network of the future, but the whole broadcast system as well. Last week, the company announced that YouTube Live is now [...]

Satellite HDTVBusiness & InvestmentHD DVD

HDTV Almanac - Storefronts for Satellite TV?

By Alfred Poor • Apr 13 2011, 1:00pm

Last week, DISH Network successfully outbid others to buy the assets of bankrupt Blockbuster for about $320 million. (The company reportedly owes its creditors more than $1 billion.) Does DISH intend to go into the DVD rental business?
It’s not likely. Already, it appears that the company will continue to close many of the remaining Blockbuster [...]

Mobile HDTVDigital (DTV) TransitionWireless HDMI/HDTVProgrammingInternet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - More Mobile DTV on the Air

By Alfred Poor • Apr 12 2011, 1:00pm

According to the Open Mobile Video Coalition, 76 stations in 32 U.S. markets are now on the air with Mobile DTV signals that let consumers receive station programming on mobile devices without needing to access the Internet through WiFi or data wireless broadband networks.
According to Anne Schelle, Executive Director of OMVC, “Mobile DTV will reach [...]

3D HDTVMarketplace

HDTV Almanac - 3DTV Prediction Coming True

By Alfred Poor • Apr 11 2011, 1:00pm

Remember how I said that the price of the $200 active glasses would come down sooner or later? I was expecting that to come from the third-party vendors, but it looks as though the top brands are willing to make pre-emptive price cuts in order to increase 3DTV sales.
Samsung has announced that it will start [...]


HDTV Almanac - PBS Loses Major Affiliate Station

By Alfred Poor • Apr 8 2011, 1:00pm

Another dot got connected in the broadcast television picture. Earlier this week, WMFE-TV in Orlando, Florida, announced that it was to be purchased by a Christian broadcaster based in Dallas, Texas, and would be leaving the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). The viewer-supported station was unable to raise enough in donations to meet the annual PBS [...]

Internet HD Video

HDTV Almanac - What Can We Learn from Internet Radio?

By Alfred Poor • Apr 7 2011, 1:00pm

A news release from Futuresource indicates that the number of people listening to streaming music over the Internet has remained about the same over the past year and a half — about 38% in the U.S. — but those people are listening more. The study reports that U.S. listeners increased the number of hours by [...]

Satellite HDTV

HDTV Expert - Blockbuster And Dish Network: A Marriage Made In Bankruptcy Court

By Pete Putman • Apr 6 2011, 3:55pm

Surprise! Blockbuster has been saved from an ignonimous ending by – Charlie Ergen?

LCD HDTVsDigital (DTV) Transition

HDTV Almanac - See-Through TV?

By Alfred Poor • Apr 6 2011, 1:00pm

News from Korea indicates that Samsung Electronics has started the commercial production of 22″ transparent LCD panels. The panels are capable of 720p had images without scaling (they have 1,680 by 1,050 pixel resolution) but they are really intended for digital signage applications.
Still, it’s intriguing to think about what you could do with a transparent [...]

Internet HD VideoMarketplaceDigital (DTV) TransitionBusiness & InvestmentHD DVD

HDTV Almanac - How Much Would You Pay?

By Alfred Poor • Apr 5 2011, 1:00pm

The major studios are scrambling, trying to figure out how to make money from their movies now that DVD sales are dropping. Blockbuster is on the verge of disappearing, and Netflix is trying to transition to streaming services. One possible replacement is to boost the video on demand (VOD) part of the business. It has [...]

General Interest

HDTV Almanac - Sony Closes 11 U.S. Stores

By Alfred Poor • Apr 4 2011, 1:00pm

The “Sony Style” is changing. According to a report from TWICE, the company closed 11 of its retail stores last month. Perhaps more interesting is that the remaining stores will be renamed from “Sony Style” to “Sony Factory Outlet.”
The closings seem perfectly reasonable. The last few years have been difficult ones for retail stores, and [...]


Ed's View - THE HARVESTER - A Miracle Power Source

By Ed Milbourn • Apr 1 2011, 2:06pm

Sounds like the title of a Steven King novel. Not quite. The term “power harvesting” has long been given to the process of acquiring useful power from otherwise wasted energy sources. However, in this particular application it is the name given to a uniquely innovative system that provides power to electronic devices virtually free. The theory has been known for years: a vast amount of energy flows in the ether simply from the existence of random RF radiation over a vast spectrum. The engineering challenge, of course, has been...

4K (Ultra HD)

HDTV Almanac - SMPTE Develops New HDTV Format

By Alfred Poor • Apr 1 2011, 1:00pm

It seems that as soon as we get settled with our 720p and 1080p HDTV displays, talk started up about even higher resolution images. Demonstrations of 2K and 4K display technologies have knocked viewers’ virtual socks off. Is there a limit to how high “high definition” can become?
One problem that doesn’t get discussed much, however, [...]