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Today's Show:
For today's show we'll talk about CNet's listing of the 5 best HDTVs they have reviewed. Then we get into a discussion on Hulu.com - a new video streaming site with a lot of potential.

CNet's Best 5 HDTVs we've reviewed:
Best HDTV 32-inches and under
Samsung LN-T3253H (Currently unavailable, get the LN-32A450C instead)

Best HDTV between 33- and 42-inches
Panasonic TH-42PZ700U (Buy now)

Best HDTV between 43- and 47-inches
Sony KDL-46XBR4 (Buy now)

Best HDTV between 48- and 52-inches
Pioneer PDP-5080HD (Buy now)

Best HDTV 52-inches and up
Panasonic TH-58PZ700U (Buy now)

You gotta check out Hulu.com!

Here's a description from the Hulu.com website:
"Hulu's ambitious and never-ending mission is to help you find and enjoy the world's premium content when, where and how you want it."

Background
Hulu.com opened to the public on March 12 of this year. They provide online video content from over 50 different content providers including Fox, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, and Lionsgate. They stream everything, but it isn't just a bunch of video clips and trailers, they have full length television shows and feature films. The library includes current prime time hits like Hell's Kitchen, Lost, Heroes and Chuck as well as classic shows like Starsky and Hutch, Miami Vice, Diff'rent Strokes and McHale's Navy. New shows are even made available the morning after they air on network TV.

The movie library is just as impressive. They've got great movies like the Usual Suspects, Three Amigos!, and the Big Lebowski. There may not be too many new releases available, but any movie collection that includes Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Hercules in New York, and Cheech & Chong's the Corsican Brothers is sure to have something for anyone and everyone. There's no information on the site on how long it takes for movies to be released. We'd assume it's sometime after DVD and VOD, but we don't know how long. In time we expect this delay to get shorter and shorter.

The whole site is ad supported, so it's totally free to viewers. You can watch whatever you want, as much as you want, whenever you want. Occasionally you'll see a brief ad before a show or clip starts, then ads will be inserted throughout the video, but not nearly as many as you see on TV. You can't fast forward through them. For a 45 minute TV episode we saw 3-4 commercials. Not a bad deal for the money.

What's the big deal?
First of all, streaming current TV shows on the Internet is pretty cool. It isn't necessarily new, but it's one site with content from a ton of different sources. You don't have to go to NBC's website for one show, then jump over to ABC, then to FOX and so on. Just hook a computer up to the TV and you eliminate the need for a lot of what you pay a Satellite or Cable company for.

But it doesn't stop there. Hulu has started to play with HD content. There's an "HD Gallery" on the site that currently holds 20 movie trailers. According to Eric Feng, chief technology officer of Hulu, each HD clip is encoded in full 720p. We weren't able to analyze it, but for online video it looked and sounded pretty darn good. If it is 720p, and it's capable of Dolby Digital audio, it might start to make a pretty serious argument for web based television as an alternative to classic broadcast TV.

System Requirements for viewing HD videos at Hulu

  • Flash Player 9.0.115.0
  • 2.5Mbps Internet connection or greater
  • Windows: Intel Pentium 4 3GHz processor (or equivalent), 128MB of RAM, 64MB of VRAM
  • Macintosh: Intel Core Duo 1.83GHz or faster processor, 256MB of RAM, 64MB of VRAM
  • Linux: Intel Pentium 4 3GHz processor (or equivalent), 128MB of RAM, 64MB of VRAM

Posted by The HT Guys, April 10, 2008 11:45 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.