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Friday, January 11, 2008

CES news : The RPTVs

LAS VEGAS(24hoursnews) -television technology in CEs show is really to see the facors of tech compitition, One HDTV trend that I could not overlook at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show was the near absence of rear-projection televisions on the main show floor. Why? Because they're basically dead.

Among all high-definition television technologies, the rear-projection TV (RPTV) continues to offer the best overall value for the biggest HD screen sizes. However, if the 2008 retail predictions hold true, the already steady decline of RPTV retail sales will plummet by more than 50 percent by year's end.

Sony's recent announcement that it will discontinue its entire RPTV line in order to focus its manufacturing efforts exclusively on OLED (organic light emitting diode) and LCD flat panel display technologies was but one sign that the tide was quickly turning for this once popular TV technology.

On the CES show floor, the only manufacturer to announce new RPTV models was Samsung, and a tour through the company's booth space revealed a dominance of LCD and plasma televisions. JVC was another major television manufacturer that announced no new additions to its well-regarded RPTV lineup for 2008, but the company highlighted several new LCD TVs at an off-site showcase setup at a local hotel.

Mitsubishi, along with Samsung, are among the last manufacturers that offer RPTVs based on Texas Instruments' DLP (digital light processing) technology. Mitsubishi's RPTV division decided to pass on making a show floor appearance in favor of a one-day, invite-only event at a Las Vegas hotel where they unveiled an as of yet unnamed 65-inch laser-illuminated model that they claim will ship by the end of 2008, although information about pricing and the possibility of additional screen sizes was not revealed.

While the outlook for RPTVs is indeed bleak, Sony, JVC, and Mitsubishi have no plans to abandoned projection display technology. All have introduced new HD-resolution front projector models intended for home theater or presentation use.

But as flat panel displays increase in size and drop in price, the value offered by RPTV technology becomes less of an advantage. Couple this with the RPTV's narrow viewing angles and poor brightness uniformity, and modern flat panels are poised to put the final nail into this once-cherished display technology.

CES news : HP to Cut PC Power Consumption by 25 Percent

LAS VEGAS—(24hoursnews)hp lounges them commitment accustom With green as the official color of this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES), HP announced today its commitment to implement a 25 percent cut in energy consumption across its entire lineup of volume desktop and notebook PCs by 2010.

When it comes to cleaner, more efficient modules, the PC outfitter is already at the forefront of the industry, having introduced at least 24 Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT™) approved Gold or Silver level products in North America alone.

EPEAT has doled out its most coveted and demanding Gold rating for HP business machines that included Compaq 2510p, HP Compaq 2710p Business Notebook series PCs, as well as all models of the HP Compaq dc7800, dc5750 and dc5700 Business Desktop PC families.

Other HP desktops and notebooks, such as HP Pavilion a6360, dv9700, dv6700, dv2700 and tx1000 series, along with the Compaq Presario A9000, F700 and C700 will receive an EPEAT Silver badge and fall under the U.S. EPA ENERGY STAR® umbrella.

"HP for decades has been integrating environmentally responsible components and processes across the entire product lifecycle," said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. "We are dedicated to meeting our energy consumption goal of 25 percent reduction by 2010, and these additional EPEAT-Gold registrations exemplify how HP leads the IT market in reducing the environmental impact of its products and business processes."

Thanks to its ultra-efficient 80 PLUS® power supplies, low-energy chipsets and other energy-smart systems, HP has maintained a long line of eco savvy products going back to the HP Compaq rp5700 - the first PC to receive EPEAT's Gold certification.

CES news : Bluetooth Headsets Get new looks and use.

LAS VEGAS—(24hoursnews).wireless technology is really a arttract of technology and blutooth reach the tech to the consumer but,How do you like your Bluetooth? Would you like it good-looking, solar-powered, voice-activated or maybe just to sound beautifully clear?

It looks like everybody's wearing Bluetooth headsets nowadays, and headset manufacturers are out in force at this year's CES pushing the state of the art forward with new technologies. There are more than a dozen Bluetooth headset vendors scattered across CES' various floors, each with their own solutions to the problems of the day.

Take battery life. There's a general rule that the smaller the headset, the smaller the battery, and the shorter the battery life. But what if a headset recharges itself? That's the case with the Iqua SUN BHS-603, which sticks a tiny little solar panel on the outside of the headset. While the box says you can get 12 hours of talk time and "infinite" standby time out of this sub-one-ounce, $100 headset, Iqua execs at the show made a bolder claim: you'll never have to recharge this headset ever again. The SUN gets enough juice from the light in your day to day activities to stay topped up for all but the heaviest users, they said. With the Aliph Jawbone becoming hugely popular for its noise cancellation, it isn't surprising that several manufacturers are stepping up with noise-cancelling headsets. The most innovative is the Invisio Q7, from a company which has previously focused on supplying headsets to the military and law enforcement. The $150 Q7 brings Invisio's bone-conduction technology to a consumer headset. It 'listens' to the vibrations in your ear canal coming from your own voice, using that to screen out external noise. Jabra's new BT8040 doesn't have that sort of noise cancellation, but it does have digital noise reduction, another tactic which amplifies quiet voices and reduces noisy ones, and "acoustic shock protection" to prevent sharp jumps in volume from hurting your ears. The relatively tiny 8040 also has A2DP for playing Bluetooth music, a relatively rare feature in a mono headset, and can pair to multiple Bluetooth devices at once.

Jabra's BT8030 is one of the strangest headsets I've seen in quite some time. Coming in at a costly $249, it's a large, thick pair of headphones which double as a deskside set of Bluetooth speakers. If you put it down on your desk and press a few buttons, the earpieces snap wide, the volume turns up and the BT8030 becomes speakers; when you pick it up and snap the earcups back into place, the volume turns down and it's a pair of stereo headphones again. Sound quality will make or break this product, so I look forward to getting it into our labs.

Jabra's new top-of-the-line $179 Pura JX20 Titanium focuses on style: its brushed-titanium look is meant to look like jewelry as much as electronics, and it comes with a necklace so you can actually wear it as an ornament. The on/off switch on this headset is a particularly neat touch: you just twist the earbud a little to turn it on or off. The relatively small headset has 6 hours of talk time and DSP audio quality enhancements.

The Jabra BT3030 and the $100 Iqua BHS-702 also focus on fashion, by using a 'pendant' style design pioneered last year by Plantronics' Pulsar 260. With a pendant-style headset, the actual electronics sit in a little pendant worn around your neck, which has plug-in stereo earbuds that go up to your ears. The BT3030's pendant looks like a metallic dog tag with music controls on it. You plug your own music headphones into the dog tag's 3.5-mm jack on the side. The Iqua's black or white plastic pendant has one big call control button on the front, and music control/volume buttons on the sides. With the Iqua, the earbuds are an integral part of the headset.

If you find Bluetooth headsets too confusing to use—there can be a lot of oddball button presses behind your ear—the $119, new BlueAnt V1 has a major innovation: voice control. Using voice technology from Sensory, the V1 has a single button that you press to issue voice commands to change volume, accept or reject calls, dial favorite numbers and even kick it into pairing mode. Yes, it interacts with voice-activated phones, too: one of the commands lets you talk to your phone rather than your headset, to dial by name from your phone's address book. The V1 has 6 hours talk time and a dual-microphone noise cancellation solution built in.

CES News : New Smartphones to US by MWg

LAS VEGAS(24hoursnews)—Cell phone now a craze of generation,There are a bunch of small manufacturers showing phones at this year's CES, but MWg is one to take seriously because their smart phone, the Atom Life, is already available to U.S. consumers.

MWg is an Asian maker of smart phones who previously made phones under the O2 brand – their stuff was once made by HTC, and still has a lot of similarity to HTC products. They changed their name recently, though, and entered the US market through a distribution partnership with

The Atom Life is a pretty strong debut. It's a moderately sized and very powerful handset. The kicker is a 624 MHz processor – top notch for a Windows Mobile 6 device – and 1 Gbyte of built-in storage. The device also has a MiniSD slot, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera, secondary VGA front facing camera and an FM radio. It works on T-Mobile's EDGE network here in the US, but lacks one of the frequency bands to work properly with AT&T.

The Atom Life doesn't have a keypad – it's a mostly-touchscreen device, with a 2.7-inch, 320x240 touch screen. At 5.1 ounces, it isn't very heavy for a powerful device. The Atom Life sells for $504.95 unlocked, at

The Atom Life is MWg's first U.S. phone, but they're also selling some older Asian models in the U.S., including stuff from the former Ubiquio and O2 brands, which they absorbed. The XDA Flame ($584.95) is a large, high-res Windows Mobile 6 phone with a roomy 3.6-inch, 640x480 touch screen. It has a 520 MHz processor, Nvidia hardware graphics acceleration and 2 Gbytes of built-in storage. MWg said they're marketing that one as a gaming device, though like other O2 and Ubiquio branded devices, it's going off the market soon in exchange for an all-new line of MWg products in 2008.

CES news :AMD Delays High-End Phenoms,now Low-Power Version

LAS VEGAS(24hoursnews)—The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) ADM is not showing their news as expected from them.

AMD was eager to give us a look at their "firing on all cylinders" graphics roadmap at CES—they're on the verge of shipping lower-end Radeon HD 3000 series products and the Radeon HD 3870 X2 (the dual-chip card we've mentioned before). But none of that is really news, and the details are under wraps until they get closer to the products' launches.

How about this, though: Remember how the Phenom only shipped at a disappointing 2.2- and 2.3-GHz, with the Phenom 9700 and 9900 (2.4 and 2.6 GHz) promised for the first quarter of this year? Well, in what looks to be a non-stop string of disappointing news for AMD fans, these two chips have now been pushed back to second quarter.

AMD tells us the delay isn't due to manufacturing problems, but instead because their OEM vendors have requested a low-power version. So AMD will soon release a new model, the Phenom 9100E, running at a conservative 1.8 GHz and drawing at most 65W of power.

Obviously the company tried to put a positive spin on things, but we can't help but think that if they really could produce Phenoms at the right clock speeds in the right quantities, they would have no problem satisfying the markets for both the 2.4/2.6 GHz chips as well as a new 1.8 GHz model. One bit of good news: the "B3" stepping of the Phenom CPU, which fixes the much talked-about TLB errata, is back from the fabs and looking good. Also, the triple-core and dual-core chips appear to be on track.

With Intel announcing a huge suite of 45-nm chips covering the desktop and mobile markets, this bit of news from AMD looks especially disappointing. We heard hints that AMD will unveil some new "stuff" regarding how they manufacture chips, that should give the industry more confidence in their ability to compete head-on with Intel. But that won't happen until at least the end of the financial quarter. We have no idea what this could be, but with the exception of the graphics business, AMD is looking like a chip maker desperately in need of some good news.

CES News :lets see the Best HDTVs We Saw

LAS VEGAS - There were hundreds of new HDTV models announced at the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show and I can't help but say that I was pleased with what I saw.

Among the design trends that consumers can expect to see with the new 2008 HDTVs are thinner bezels and cabinets, wireless video input options, network options for streaming multimedia content, and of course improved picture quality. With so many TVs to see, I thought I'd highlight some of the many models that caught my attention.

Panasonic wowed the CES crowd with a drool-inducing 150 inch plasma television that the company claims will ship later in 2008. The supersized plasma featured "4K by 2K" resolution (about 8 megapixels), and Panasonic was proud to point out that they could carve nine 50 inch screens from the single sheet of glass that was used to create the display.

For the rest of us, Panasonic's new PZ800 and PZ85 series of 1080p resolution plasmas feature a new screen size (46 inches), SD Memory Card slot, support for 24p input, a new screen filter that reduces ambient light by 99 percent, and claimed brightness improvements in the 20 percent to 30 percent range. The flagship PZ800 series adds THX certification, and four HDMI ports. The PZ85 will likely provide a tempting value by dropping the THX certification and offering three HDMI ports. While it is expected to ship in spring 2008, pricing has yet to be determined.

Looking to the near future, Panasonic also demonstrated several 50-inch plasma prototypes that measured just an inch thin. Hinting at a 2009 release, the thin plasmas also featured narrowed bezels for an even more impressive look.

Pioneer Electronics didn't have any new 2008 models on display at CES, but they did present an impressive preview of new plasma display technology that we can expect to see in late 2008 or early 2009.

Dubbed "Project Kuro," an advanced design concept display fronted the Pioneer booth. The current generation 50-inch screen featured 1080p resolution; however, it measured an impressively thin 9mm while weighing only 41 pounds. Behind closed doors at the Pioneer booth was a preview of the company's next-generation plasma panels that the company claims reduces video black to immeasurable levels - effectively zero light output, resulting in an infinite contrast ratio. Pioneer hinted its next generation display technology would arrive sometime in 2009.


Westinghouse Digital also had an impressive assortment of new LCD HDTVs on display at the company's booth. An updated TX series of LCDs included the 47 inch TX-47F450S that will be the company's first television to feature 120-Hz display technology for reduced motion blur with video depicting fast motion. Expected in March 2008, the TX-47F450S has an estimated retail price of $1,599.

Westinghouse also unveiled the 16 inch PT-16H610S widescreen LCD HDTV that featured a clever dual-hinge base that provided flexible mounting options – it appeared ideal for mounting under a cabinet or similar kitchen surface. The PT-16H610S is available with a gloss white finish and Westinghouse also demonstrated an attractive version that was clad in brushed aluminum – the LCDs removable bezel will likely allow for several texture and color options. Other features included 1,366X768 screen resolution, touch sensitive control keys, and HDMI input. Expected to ship in March 2008, the PT-16H610S has an estimated retail price of $329.

The LG Electronics booth at CES featured an impressive 2008 HDTV lineup with new 1080p resolution plasma and LCD televisions that feature Imaging Science Foundation customized calibration configuration (ISFccc) functionality that provides greater control over picture quality as well as lockable presets for day and night viewing modes.

LG's new PG60 and PG70 series of 1080p plasma HDTVs also received THX display certification and will provide four HDMI v1.3 ports. LG also claims an enhanced panel lifespan of 100,000 hours until half-brightness. Each series also incorporates an invisible speaker system, tuned by audio industry guru Mark Levinson, that utilizes actuators around the perimeter of the bezel.

The PG70 series differentiates itself by offering an optional wireless video transmission module that utilizes 802.11n technology that LG claims is functional up to 65 feet. Available in 50- and 60-inch screen sizes, the new plasma TVs are expected to arrive in spring 2008. Pricing has yet to be revealed, unfortunately.

LG's 2008 LCDs lineup starts with the impressive 47-inch LG75 that features a 128-diode LED backlighting system with local dimming functionality for improved picture contrast (darker black levels). The LG75 also features 120-Hz display technology for reduced blurring, and the panel accepts 24p input like that provided by some HD DVD and Blu-ray HD disc players. The LG75 is expected to ship sometime in 2008 for an unknown price.

The LG71 series of LCDs integrates an 802.11n wireless system for cable-free video delivery up to 65 feet, while also providing four HDMI v1.3 inputs that support Deep Color video signals. This series also features 120-Hz display technology as well as the company's invisible speaker system. The LG71 series will ship in spring 2008 with 47- inch and 52-inch screen size options. Pricing has yet to be determined, an unfortunate trend for such early product announcements.


The Sony booth at CES is always crowded and this year was no exception. People were once again drooling over Sony's OLED (organic light emitting diode) television demonstrations, and the company's 11 inch XEL-1 is now shipping in North America for about $2,500. The XEL's 3-mm thin screen was impressive with well-saturated colors and an inky dark black level. Once again, Sony teased the crowds with a 27 inch 1080p OLED prototype - I predict a CES 2009 launch product for this one.

Sony's M4000 series of LCD HDTVs included a 19-inch version, dubbed the KDL-19M4000, that features 1,440x900 screen resolution and two HDMI inputs. Initially available with a black or white gloss bezel, the series may expand into other colors if demand warrants. Expect Sony M4000 series LCD HDTVs to arrive spring 2008 in screen sizes ranging from 19 inches on up to 37 inches. Pricing has yet to be announced.

Sony's new W4100 series of LCD HDTVs feature 120-Hz display technology for minimizing motion blur. The series also features a 3D graphic user interface that is an update of Sony's XMB (cross media bar) interface that was introduced with the PlayStation 3 game console. The W4100's four HDMI v1.3 ports support 24p input as well as CEC (consumer electronic control) functionality that Sony dubs "BRAVIA Sync". Available in 40-inch, 46-inch, and 52-inch screen sizes, the W4100 series is expected to arrive in spring 2008 - pricing has yet to be announced.

A Z4100 series of LCD HDTVs takes things a step further with a narrow bezel design and thin cabinet depth. These 1080p resolution/120-Hz flat panels are also x.v.Color, Deep Color, and 24p input compatible via the series' four HDMI v1.3 ports. The Z4100 series is also DLNA compliant, which supports streaming of multimedia content across a local network.


The folks at 3M had a small booth on the CES show floor to demonstrate a new miniature projection technology that utilizes a single LCOS (liquid crystal on silicon) microdisplay panel and is illuminated using a sequentially-fired RGB LED array. The entire projection package was less than half an inch thick and a little over an inch square in size. Expect the device to be integrated into mobile products such as cell phones and PDAs; the tiny 3M projector was impressing onlookers with its VGA resolution (640 by 480) image.


Among the new offerings at the Sharp booth at the 2008 CES was a "special edition" SE94U line of 1080p liquid crystal televisions. Available in 46-inch, 52-inch , and 65- inch screen sizes, the line features 120-Hz display technology and a 5-wavelength backlight system for an expanded color gamut. Equipped with an Ethernet port, the SE94U models can access RSS-style information for weather, news, and sports updates. A networked attached SE94U can also allow Sharp's AQUOS Net service access the TV to assist customers with issues should they arise.

These 10-bit panels also feature RS-232C ports for custom control applications, as well as a matte finished bezel with metal accents on the frame's corners. I was also pleased to learn these are the first Sharp LCDs that will offer a full selection of white balance and color controls - useful for professional calibrators. The 65-inch and 52-inch versions are expected to ship in January 2008 for $10,999.99 and $4,199.99 respectively.

Sharp also introduced the more reasonably priced D44 series of LCDs. Available in screen sizes measuring 32 inches and 37 inches, the D44 offer a screen resolution of 1,366x768. Input options on the D44's include two HDMI and two component video inputs as well as a VGA input for PC use. The 32-inch LC-32D44u is available in January 2008 with an MSRP of $999.99, and the 37 inch LC-37D44U is expected in February 2008 with a MSRP of $1,299.99.

Unfortunately, these companies often leave critical pricing information out until the last minute, either for economic reasons or to sandbag a competitor. We'll try to provide followup articles with pricing information as warranted.

AVN Adult Entertainment Expo 2008 : Porn Providers thought about Next-Gen DVD Plans

LAS VEGAS—(24hoursnews )Blu-ray could win high-def battle,The two remaining studios backing HD DVD could switch sides soon, ending the high-def format war instantly.
Daily Variety has confirmed that Universal's commitment to backing HD DVD exclusively has ended. And Paramount has an escape clause in its HD DVD contract allowing it to release pics on Blu-ray after Warner Bros.' decision to back that format exclusively

The adult film industry is still taking a wait-and-see approach to the Blu-ray /HD DVD wars. But while Blu-ray's perceived costs have pushed some companies into the arms of the HD DVD camp, Warner Bros.' decision last week to exclusively support Blu-ray has some thinking that the end of HD DVD is nigh.

Executives in the adult-film industry spoke Wednesday during the opening day of the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo 2008, which briefly overlaps with the more mainstream Consumer Electronics Show ending Thursday.

"It could be a real sign that things will shift," Jeff Thill, director of video operations for the Hustler Video Group, said about the Warner decision. Thill said he sees no advantage of one format over the other, but is "leaning Blu-Ray" after Warner's announcement.

The Blu-ray camp, led by Sony, has been fighting Toshiba and its HD DVD format for years in a battle reminiscent of the VHS versus Betamax battle. In that fight, Betamax maker Sony's refusal to work with the porn industry helped usher in a VHS victory when the adult industry capitalized on the burgeoning popularity of VCRs and video rentals.

Hustler had some success recently with the Blu-ray release of Jenna Haze Oil Orgy, said Thill, who was on hand to showcase Hustler's latest releases at the annual AVN Adult Entertainment Expo.

The company packaged the "Jenna" disc with an HD DVD and standard version in case users had trouble with Blu-ray, but has thus far not received any complaints. In March, Hustler will release its latest "Barely Legal" DVD in the Blu-ray format, he said.

Hustler has released two titles using the HD DVD format, Thill said. The company expects to release between 15 to 25 high-definition videos in 2008, most of which will probably be Blu-ray, Thill said.

Blu-ray is "a little bit of a headache" because of royalty fees, but it's "six of one, a half dozen of the other" with the format wars, he said. Blu-Ray also "sounds sexier," according to Thill, and there's "an important base in the gaming world" because the popular PlayStation 3 runs Blu-Ray while Microsoft has released an optional HD DVD drive for its Xbox 360 console, Thill said.

Vivid Entertainment, home to porn star Jenna Jameson, has also released videos on Blu-ray and HD, said David Peskin, Vivid's national sales manager. It currently has two Blu-ray titles and three HD DVD titles on the shelves.

Vivid was initially "conservative" with its high-definition re-order numbers, but is "starting to stock a little heavier" since sales have been promising, Peskin said. Vivid has seen Blu-ray sell more units online while HD does better in retail stores, he said.

The company doesn't yet have a format preference. "Both have surpassed expectations," he said, though Peskin also pointed to the PlayStation 3 connection as a plus for Blu-ray.

Some companies have had to bypass Blu-ray altogether. Jackie Ramos, vice president of DVD production for Wicked Pictures, "looked to Blu-ray" when the company was first exploring high-definition about a year ago, but had trouble finding a provider that would produce Blu-ray discs for the adult industry.

Wicked has since released about a half dozen HD DVD titles, but Ramos managed to track down some porn-friendly Blu-ray producers and is now "aggressively" looking at those options.

With the Warner decision, things are "a little more serious," Ramos said, and, to him, it makes sense to examine Blu-Ray should it become the industry standard.

Ramos also had concerns about the Blu-ray price point. There's a copyright aspect you can't get around with Blu-Ray, whereas HD DVD allows you to choose whether or not you want that copyright protection, he said. "With adult industry, HD DVD was friendlier price wise."

Ramos expects to select a Blu-ray producer in the next few weeks and hopes to release Wicked's first Blu-ray title in the next few months, he said. But he was not convinced that the porn industry was driving the debate as it did with VHS and Betamax.

"What really drives it is the availability of players" and what the consumers want, Ramos said. HD capitalized on that by selling cheaper players, but now that many of the major studios have jumped on the Blu-Ray bandwagon, "we'll have to see," Ramos said.

Albert Lazarito, vice president of Silver Sinema, also believes the consumer is key to winning the DVD battle. "With the Warner Brothers decision, the market will direct the outcome," he said. Lazarito is "more than confident that it won't be the adult realm" that selects a final DVD format.

Silver Sinema has been filming in HD because Blu-ray is too expensive, Lazarito said, but his company is "ready to go depending on how the market shifts."

Pink Visual was also turned off by the cost of Blu-ray, explained director of marketing Kim Kysar. "HD DVD was affordable; it was doable. Blu-ray was too expensive," she said.

Pink Visual will release its first HD-DVD video next week.

"Everybody's going to want to have both options," Kysar said. "Blu-Ray could be the next step, but not if nobody uses it and it stays too cost prohibitive."

Kysar also expressed concern about how much the camera would capture in high-definition, a sentiment echoed by Lazarito.

"Imperfections are modified," Lazarito said.

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