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1080p for the Masses: Olevia 52-inch High Definition LCD Television

Olevia 52-inch LCD TVEveryone wants high definition. But no one wants to invite the neighborhood over to check out their smallish, 20-something inch LCD. It’s just not a “conversation starter” anymore. Don’t get me wrong, anything that counts as High Definition is cool with me, but if you’re a bargain hound and want to get over 50 inches of true HD display, you should check out the Olevia 252TFHD LCD. It’ll have your friends grumbling about how much they paid for 1080p.

1080p is the buzzword in HD these days. 720p sets are the affordable alternative to one of these ultra-crisp, ridiculous resolution televisions. 720p TVs look great. In fact, a friend of mine has a 720p set by Samsung, and it’s still one of the top 3 flat panels I’ve ever seen, 1080p or not. (In fact, go check out this Samsung LCD while you’re at it. It’s a bit smaller, but around the same price and both companies are top-notch.) But with Blu-Ray finally mopping up Toshiba’s ill-fated attempt at blu-laser technology for the masses, you’re going to want a television that has a 1080p screen.

This gets confusing, so I’ll put it out there quick and dirty: 1080p means that there’s 1080 pixels (or more) on the vertical side of the screen. When you hear someone say a signal is 1080p, what they mean (even if they don’t know it) is that the signal contains separate bits of data for 1080 vertical pixels at once. For comparison: a 1080i signal has the same amount of data coming at you, except that half is sent right in front of the other half. When both signal waves are received, a single screen image (read:frame) is generated. 1080i is still high definition, but not as crisp as 1080p.

Currently, all BROADCAST television (sports, television shows, nature programs) are 1080i at best. 1080p is reserved for the Blu-Ray big dogs. But you’ll need those bragging rights even if you don’t have a Blu-Ray. Besides, in 5 years everyone’s going to be on 1080p and you don’t want to be hiding your massive flat panel in the garage in shame.

Back to the Olevia! This is a 52-inch diagonal TV. That’s big. Seriously, if you’ve access to a tape measure, get it out and measure a space on the wall. See? That wall’s too small. Go out to the hallway and measure. Damn. That’s a big television, isn’t it? And it’s under 1500 bucks—way under. Alright, that was a plug…but next time you’re at a large electronic store, go look at the price tag of a 50-plus inch TV. But not if you’re on blood pressure medication. Send a younger generation of the family (the one you brought with you to carry the TV to the car). Want to see it? Check out this video review with Logan. Just so you understand the size of this set, Logan is not a short man, and this television takes almost the entire screen. Give it a look!

This LCD has a 8ms response time and is packed with picture-improving technology exclusive to Olevia. Olevia sets feature all kinds of stuff like Big Picture, which uses pixel-filling algorithms to make analog images 37% larger on screen and digital images 11% larger on screen. This is great if there are still standard definition programs and channels you want to watch.

Olevia 52-inch LCD connections Top and BottomAnother goody is Director’s Image, which ensures you see the movie exactly as the director intended. There’s a fully adjustable range of brightness, contrast, color, tint, and screen mode controls. These aren’t those pointless little wheels under your parent’s cathode ray, either. On a 52-inch 1080p LCD display capable of over 6500K colors, you really will find the absolute perfect setting for your viewing.

Okay, I’ve posted the complete specifications for this after the link. There are HDMI connections for HD components, Composite and Component connections, VGA, a slew of digital audio support, and much more. If you want to obtain wall spanning fully 1080p high definition LCD goodness, consider the Olevia 252TFHD 52-inch LCD TV. And if you want to save money, this is the best deal you’re going to find. You won’t find a better television for the price.
Believe me.

Related Links:
Olevia 252TFHD 52-inch 1080p native LCD Television
Samsung LN-S4695D 46-inch Refurbished 1080p native LCD Television
Blu-Ray Titles, Available at TigerDirect.com!
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Additional Resources

Olevia 252TFHD Complete Specifications:

  • Display Area: 52″
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080
  • Response Time: 8 ms
  • Input Video Signal: ATSC
    NTSC
  • Speakers: 2
  • Inputs: S-Video
    Composite
    15 pin D-Sub
    Component In
    Firmware Mini USB
    HDMI – HDCP
  • Outputs: Optical Audio
  • Output Terminals: Headphone
  • Power Consumption: 325W
  • Dimensions With Stand: 51.2″ x 33.8″ x 13″
  • Unit Weight: 132 lbs.

Lite-On Blu-Ray Drive: Blu-Ray Playback For Cheap

lite-on-blu-ray-playback-drive.jpgThe format wars are over, and Blu-Ray has won. For those of you who got an HD DVD player (Get one! They’re fun, soon-to-be nostalgic, and under 100 bucks!), I’m sorry. Kudos to those of you who bought a Playstation 3. So now the question is, are you going to go out and buy an expensive Blu-Ray player? I’m not. In fact, this is possibly the one thing that could trigger me to finally, finally build a multimedia center PC. You see, there’s a trick: the Lite-On DH-401S-08 Blu-Ray Playback Drive costs a bit less than a Blu-Ray Player. A few hundred dollars less.

Blu-Ray and MultiMedia PCs: A Cost Effective Combination

200801007_11.pngThis isn’t a Blu-Ray burner. Those will cost you a pretty penny, although the ability to make your own Blu-Ray discs might be priceless to some people out there. No, the Lite-On does burn DVDs, just not Blu-Ray discs. But it DOES PLAY THEM. If you were to install this drive in a Media Center PC, you’d be able to play Blu-Ray Discs for 200 dollars or less. And you get some other nifty Dual Layer and regular DVD and CD burning abilities at the same time.

lite-on-in-the-box.jpgThere are a couple of key conditions that you’ll have to take into account. This drive requires that you’ve got a HDCP-compliant motherboard and Graphics card. Those aren’t so terribly expensive, especially if you’re not building your media center PC from scratch. Odds are, at least on of these two components is already in your computer. If not, go with a good motherboard over the I-Found-it-Behind-the-PC-Store variety. The Lite-On drive will still function for lower tasks, but the Blu-Ray playback won’t work without HDCP compliant parts.

One Stop Cheap Blu-Ray Capability Shop

Once the drive’s installed, you can play your Blu-Ray movies to your heart’s content. You’ll just have to use either the DVI or VGA connection on the back of your television (Or PC monitor. It’s a lifestyle choice only you can make) or use a HDMI converter at the Media PC end and connect ‘em up in that fashion.

lite-on-from-the-front.jpg

You may have to consult somebody’s tech support. along the way, but that’s a small price to pay for saving yourself a couple of hundred bucks! I’ve listed the complete specs for the Lite-On DH-401S-08 Blu-Ray Playback Drive after the link below. If you’re trying to get Blu-Ray on a budget, adding a Blu-Ray drive to a Media PC just might be your best option.

Related Links:

Lite-On DH-401S-08 Blu-Ray(Read Only) Internal Drive

Lite-On DH-401S-08 Blu-Ray Playback Drive Specifications:

  • Cache Size: 8 MB
  • BD Read Speed: 4X
  • DVD+R Write Speed: 12x
  • DVD+RW Rewrite Speed: 8X
  • DVD-R Write Speed: 12x
  • DVD-RW Rewrite Speed: 8X
  • DVD Access Time: 160 ms
  • CD Read Speed: 32x
  • CD Access Time: 160 ms
  • Length: 7″
  • Width: 5.7″
  • Height: 1.6″
  • Weight: 2.6 lbs.
  • Load Type: Tray
  • Interface Type: SATA
  • Enclosure Type: Internal
  • Supported Formats: CD-ROM
    DVD Dual layer
    DVD single layer
    BD-R, BD-RE, BD-ROM

Toshiba Satellite X205-SLI Notebook: Built for Games and Movies

Want to see an impressive Laptop? Toshiba wipes the HD DVD egg of it’s face and blows a hole in your nearest gaming arena with the Satellite X205-SLI NotebooksSatellite X205-SLI Notebooks. Aside from the Core 2 Duo 2.1GHz T8100 45 nanometer processor, I’d like to direct your attention to the part of this Laptop’s name that spell S-L-I. This Toshiba Satellite comes running dual-GeForce 8600 GT graphics cards. How do you even fit two graphics cards in a laptop? Let’s find out.

Okay, don’t think for a moment that the Powers that Be around here trust me enough to let me open a Toshiba Satellite gaming PC. At least not one that hasn’t been purchased yet. By me. And paid for in full. But what we can learn about this PC from the outside is enough: it’s build for multimedia and games. Mostly games. But also multimedia. And those GPUs I mentioned? They’ve got 512MB of DDR3 discrete memory and up to 256MB of shared memory. That’s enough to play some of the toughest games out there.

Toshiba Satellite X205-SLi4 Notebook (red cover showing)
We’ll bet Toshiba cast the molds for a PC like this before, um, last week. This is why the Toshiba Satellite X205-Sli4 has an HD DVD Optical Drive. Who knew that the ‘other guy” in the High Definition Format Wars would be dead before April? Not I. I was actually rooting for Toshiba’s HD DVD, but what can you do? (Buy a Blu-Ray fast before Sony realizes they’ve got a monopoly in the industry, for one thing.) But there’s plenty of other great parts included too: From the integrated webcam to the full-sized number pad on the keyboard to the Fingerprint reader, for Pete’s sake.

toshiba-keyboard.jpg
This particular incarnation of the X205-Sli4 comes with 3GB of PC2-5300 DDR2 memory. This is enough to turn your laptop into a multimedia monster. Toshiba backs this up by putting an HDMI output on the side, along with your typical goodies like S-Video, USB and FireWire ports. This means you can play your HD DVD (or just plain old HD) content on a big, fancy HD flat panel display or TV. Or you could just watch it on the 17-inch 1680×1050 resolution LCD screen. And as for audio, forget about it: Integrated Harman Kardon speakers will keep you knee deep in the action, whether it’s a movie or your favorite game.

Toshiba Satellite X205-SLi4 NotebookYou can store your music and movies on the 320GB hard drive. There’s also all kinds of ways to take your digital files and films with you without taking the X205-Sli4 with you, and the notebook supports them all. With a flash media reader and 802.11n-integrated wireless, you’ve got more options for connectivity and storage than before. And with an operating system like Windows Vista Ultimate Edition, you’ll browse through your files with ease. If you’re in the market for a really, really awesome Notebook PC, consider the Toshiba Satellite X205-Sli4.

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Burying the Hatchet: Sony Sells Toshiba a Chip-Manufacturing Plant

r.jpgSony Corporation plans to sell it’s Western Japan-based Microchip plant to it’s erstwhile rival Toshiba. This is a bit surprising as the two companies have been battling it out over the high definition disc market, which some were calling the “Format Wars.” As you probably know, the format wars are over, and Sony’s Blu-Ray has won. But that was yesterday…apparently the companies are good buddies again.

Sony, which is focusing on image sensor chips for digital cameras and pulling away from heavy investments for cutting-edge chip production equipment, said in October it would sell production facilities for making key microchips used in the PS3 to Toshiba, but the price has been unavailable.

The sale is part of a refocusing on Toshiba’s Semiconductor joint venture (presumably with Sony) aimed at manufacturing high-performance cell chips as well as RSX graphics chips. Both processors are used in the Playstation 3 game console. They plan to start at the beginning of April.

Shares in Sony were up 2.8 percent at 5,150 yen in afternoon trade while Toshiba fell 2.8 percent to 801 yen. The Tokyo stock market’s electrical machinery index was down 2.1 percent.

Related Links:
Sony Blu-Ray Devices

Source:
Reuters: Sony to Sell Chip Facility to Toshiba for 835 million

Image Credit: Reuters

Format War is Over: And Blu-Ray Has Won

200801007_11.pngHere’s the press release that confirms it: Toshiba Corporation has decided to throw in the towel. With earlier defections from Warner Bros., Disney, and a few other key video production giants, the end has been in sight for a while now. Interesting note: Toshiba intends to review and possibly retain the use of HD DVD players in Notebook Computers. Um…why?

19 February, 2008

Company Remains Focused on Championing Consumer Access to High Definition Content

TOKYO–Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD and has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders. This decision has been made following recent major changes in the market. Toshiba will continue, however, to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.

HD DVD was developed to offer consumers access at an affordable price to high-quality, high definition content and prepare them for the digital convergence of tomorrow where the fusion of consumer electronics and IT will continue to progress.

“We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called ‘next-generation format war’ and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop,” said Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation. “While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality.”

Toshiba will continue to lead innovation, in a wide range of technologies that will drive mass market access to high definition content. These include high capacity NAND flash memory, small form factor hard disk drives, next generation CPUs, visual processing, and wireless and encryption technologies. The company expects to make forthcoming announcements around strategic progress in these convergence technologies.

Toshiba will begin to reduce shipments of HD DVD players and recorders to retail channels, aiming for cessation of these businesses by the end of March 2008. Toshiba also plans to end volume production of HD DVD disk drives for such applications as PCs and games in the same timeframe, yet will continue to make efforts to meet customer requirements. The company will continue to assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives within the overall PC business relative to future market demand.

This decision will not impact on Toshiba’s commitment to standard DVD, and the company will continue to market conventional DVD players and recorders. Toshiba intends to continue to contribute to the development of the DVD industry, as a member of the DVD Forum, an international organization with some 200 member companies, committed to the discussion and defining of optimum optical disc formats for the consumer and the related industries.

Toshiba also intends to maintain collaborative relations with the companies who joined with Toshiba in working to build up the HD DVD market, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation and major Japanese and European content providers on the entertainment side, as well as leaders in the IT industry, including Microsoft, Intel, and HP. Toshiba will study possible collaboration with these companies for future business opportunities, utilizing the many assets generated through the development of HD DVD.

Related Links:

Source:
Engadget: Official–HD DVD Dead and Buried, Format War is over

WestingHouse TX-47F430S HD LCD TV: Big Performance, Little Price

A lot of people are in the market for new TVs these days as we have less than a year to make the switch to HD. I couldn’t help but take notice of this 47-inch stud from Westinghouse. The price friendly TX-47F430S HD LCD TV may be just the television for you.

A TV is only as good as it’s features, and this one has something for everyone. You performance junkies won’t be disappointed. Its vivid 1080p razor sharp image is a pleasure on the eyes. It boasts a resolution of 1920 x 1080, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a healthy 5000:1 contrast ratio. Connectivity? Got it covered with an impressive 4 HDMI ports, a VGA port and a S-Video port. You’ll have to look hard to find another LCD for $1499.99 that can match this.

For the environmentally conscience, or those who want to reduce their electricity bill, this TV features Westinghouse’s E.Saver mode. In order, to reduce the amount of time it takes an LCD to power up, it constantly draws power, even when turned off. Westinghouse’s E.Saver mode allows you to reduce the amount of power the TX-47F430S draws when turned off, but it’ll take a few extra seconds to power up. With the E.Saver mode you’ll waste less energy, and reduce your electricity bill by up to $25.00 a year.

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For those looking to simplify, the TX-47F430S has a feature called Autosource. This makes operating your home entertainment center so easy; your grandparents could do it! With the tons components available in today’s market, your home entertainment center can become quite complex. I mean, is that your Wii coming through input 1, or is that your blu-ray player? Maybe it’s your X-Box? Who knows? Westinghouse erases this headache. With Autosource, all you have to do is turn on your component. Yes, that’s it! Just turn on your component and Autosource will automatically detect the proper input source and switch to the corresponding channel. It’s that easy!

For those looking to reduce cable clutter, Westinghouse didn’t forget you. Most manufactures opt to run their inputs horizontally along the lower back of the television, with four or five running vertically along the side (I know this can be an inconvenience. My DVD player is sitting on the far left of my TV; the DVD player’s inputs are on my TVs far right. I don’t have the space to rearrange my home theater system so for my HDMI cable; I had to lay down extra cash on a 6-foot rather than a 3ft.). Westinghouse has evenly divided this LCD’s inputs vertically along both sides of the television’s spine, keeping them all at the television’s center. In addition to reducing arrangement issues, this also reduces clutter by dividing the input cables along the left and right sides of the TV.

side-by-side-connections-westinghouse.jpg

Overall this TV has some features you’ll only find on some higher-end models. I’d say it’s a really good value purchase. If you’re looking for a budget friendly LCD, check out the Westinghouse TX-47F430S.

Related Links:
Westinghouse TX-47F430S 47-inch HD LCD TV

Feeling Blu-The Proliferation of Blu-Ray

200801007_11.pngThe competitive friction. The dollar signs. And the high profile endorsements.

No, I’m not talking about any of the recent Democratic and Republican primaries. I’m talking about the heretofore everlasting battle between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD.

The war waging between the two brands to become the “VHS” of the high definition disc format has been steaming hot and extraordinarily heavy. Just a couple of months ago there seemed to be no end in site. But since this year’s CES in Las Vegas, and a couple of key endorsements from Warner Bros and National Geographic, it seems that the blueprints are being drafted for the eminent tombstone of the HD-DVD format.

The buzz around the industry has been increasing and everything seems to be headed towards “all things Blu-Ray”. Rightfully so. Take a look at the following articles pulled within the last two days from various newswires:

Post CES Advantage: Sony Blu-ray

…The so-called DVD “format wars” earlier this month shifted in favor of Sony Corp.’s Blu-ray disc when Warner Bros. Entertainment announced it would exclusively release high-definition movies in that format. The loss of Warner’s support does not bode well for HD DVD, the competing high-definition offering made by Toshiba in Tokyo. But it does for Sony, also in Tokyo. And it also bodes well for retailers…
Schenectady Gazette: ’Warner Bros. support for Blu-ray deals blow to HD DVD

Nat’l Geographic Jumps Ship

…Warner’s move to Blu-ray exclusivity has swayed yet another distribution partner to follow suit, with National Geographic confirming that it too will drop HD DVD support in favor of Blu-ray. Distributed under the Warner umbrella along with New Line Home Entertainment, HBO Home Video and BBC Home Video, National Geographic had been format-neutral, releasing only one title thus far, ‘Relentless Enemies,’ on both Blu-ray and HD DVD…
HighDef Digest: National Geographic Makes Move to Blu-ray Exclusivity

Woolworth’s Dumps a Dog

…Woolworth’s has pulled its support for HD-DVD and will no longer stock videos that feature the next-generation, high-definition DVD format. The U.K. retailer made the decision based on the strength of sales of Blu-ray DVDs during the holiday shopping season, when discs that use Sony’ Corp.’s high-definition video format outsold HD DVDs by a 10-to-1 margin…
ComputerWorld: Woolworth dumps HD DVD, focuses on Blu-ray

Microsoft Double Talks

…As for possibly supporting Blu-ray, [Corporate Vice President of Global Marketing for Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business] Jeff Bell’s answer actually revealed a bit of insight into Microsoft’s general interaction with Sony at a competitive and even cooperative level:
“You know, interestingly, we have a long history of partnership with Sony. Obviously, they run our software on their personal computers and other devices, so we have a ‘coopetition’ — a word I learned at Microsoft when I joined. We’ve been talking to Blu-ray all along because we have the best piece of software in the business, called HDi. It is the backbone that powers interactivity in HD-DVD and we have that available to potentially partner with others,” he explained…
GameDAILY Biz: We’ve Been Talking to Blu-Ray All Along

And to the Victor Go the Spoils

…NPD, which broke from policy to comment on its weekly share data, confirmed that dedicated HD DVD player share dropped precipitously compared to dedicated Blu-ray models during the week ending Jan. 12, after being only slightly ahead of HD DVD the week ending Jan. 5. Video game consoles were not part of the study. According to retail point-of-sale data (sell-through to consumers) that NPD would release publicly for the week ending Jan. 12, Blu-ray player sales accounted for 90 percent of unit and dollar share, compared with 7 percent unit share and 4 percent dollar share for HD DVD players. The remaining share went to Blu-ray/HD DVD combo players…
BroadcastNewsroom.com: NPD Confirms Huge Blu-ray Share Jump

The news of Blu-Ray’s recent momentum has been well received by many industry insiders and consumers alike. However, the strongest criticism on the net seems to fizzle down to forums and blogs consumed with die-hard Xbox 360 fans (also, apparently known as fanboys) who won’t play into any reports of Microsoft giving in to Blu-Ray’s (a.k.a PS3’s) eminent victory in the HD format wars.

While the battle seems to be drawing down to an end, don’t miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of low-priced Blu-Ray Players and even HD-DVD products right here.

Sources:

Related Links:
High Definition Disc Format Products, Available at TigerDirect.com

HD Capable Graphics Cards: Good Things come to those who wait

ati-radeon-logo.jpg Last summer, ATI began to ship their mid-range Radeon HD 2400 & 2600 cards. The trend towards full 1080p theater systems caught steam and Early Adopters (bless their hearts) scooped up this affordable full 1080p solution by the truckload. Prices ranged from less than $99 for Radeon HD 2400 Pro, to as much as $199 for a Radeon HD 2600 XT. Now (2008), the opportunity is here to take advantage of the price drops and build a lower cost system with an HDMI output, a nice (some say vital) option for your home theater/media center.

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LG 42LC7D 42-inch LCD High Definition TV – Hot!

l49-4218.jpgSo I’m web surfin’ the other day, and I couldn’t help but notice this gem from LG, the 42LC7D HD LCD TV. It ‘s priced fairly, and packed with tons of features. My favorite? Glad you asked. I’m really diggin’ LG’S Exclusive XD engine. This awesome technology enhances your analog signal, improving brightness, contrast, detail and color as well as reducing signal noise. The result? A Movie Theater like High-resolution viewing experience right in your living room!

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CES 2008 Predictions

What does CES hold in store?CES 2008 should have some of the best products we’ve never seen – and you won’t see available on TigerDirect.com or any other site or store for at least several months. According to a CNN report, the blogosphere is going crazy with their own presumptions and expectations about the upcoming Consumer Electronics Mecca.

While most are already hearing about new and innovative uses and extensions of wireless technologies, like wireless USB and wireless HDMI, Kleer being used in headsets and more – there are other things to consider.

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