Thursday, April 09, 2009

New Mitsubishi TVs Rolled Out

The last DLP manufacturer unveiled its 2009 models at its line show this week, TWICE reports. New for this year is the Unisen sub-brand that includes a premium 5.1 channel surround-sound audio system built into the television.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Time Warner Renews Outdoor HD, Talking to HDNet

Time Warner Cable said yesterday that it has re-upped its carriage agreement with The Outdoor Channel, a deal that includes the Outdoor HD high-definition feed.

On a perhaps more interesting note, Time Warner appears to be continuing its negotiations with HDNet after notices were posted online to customers telling them that Mark Cuban's two HD channels would be dropped on March 31st. According to Multichannel News, the plan was to replace HDNet and HDNet Movies with Smithsonian HD and MavTV HD.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

MLB Network Schedule for Thurs. Night Games

MLB Network today released the first part of the schedule for its weekly Thursday night games that will debut the week of Opening Day in April, all of which should be in HD. If your hometown team is slated for one of these games, you'll either get a different game or some other alternate programming. Drum roll, please:

April 9, 7 p.m., Brewers at Giants; Called by Matt Vasgersian, Joe Magrane
April 16, 1 p.m., Indians at Yankees; Called by Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Jim Kaat
April 16, 8 p.m., Blue Jays at Twins; Called by Victor Rojas and Dan Plesac
April 23, 8 p.m., Dodgers at Astros; Called by Vasgersian and Magrane
April 30, 7 p.m., Red Sox at Rays; Called by Rojas and Magrane
May 7, 7 p.m., Phillies at Mets; Called by Costas and Al Leiter
May 1, 4, 8 p.m., Orioles at Royals; TBD
May 21, 8 p.m., Cubs at Cardinals; TBD

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

G.E. HDTVs Delayed

The much-anticipated line of HDTVs from General Electric have been delayed by as much as three months due to marketing issues, perhaps associated with the stagnating economy. G.E.'s HDTVs are being developed in conjunction with Taiwanese manufacturer Tatung and are being positioned as something of a premium brand, which the company may have some troubles with given current consumer sentiment. More from the NY Times.

Amazon, iTunes Unveil New HD Offerings

It's a busy week for online HD offerings: yesterday Apple's iTunes launched its HD movie download service, while according to the NY Times, Amazon is about to kick off its own HD television show download capability. Both iTunes and Amazon price their TV episodes in high-def at $2.99 while the iTunes HD movie download service costs $19.99 per movie or $4.99 to rent them.

Sharp Outfitting NY Mets' Citi Field with 800 LCD TVs

Sharp Electronics said today that it has inked a multi-year deal with the New York Mets baseball team to outfit the new Citi Field with more than 800 LCD TVs. The highlight is a 108-inch LCD TV in the main lobby of the stadium.

California May Ban Some Big-Screen TVs

The State of California's Energy Commission is considering banning big-screen TVs that don't meet certain energy efficiency requirements. The Orange County Register reports that as part of the CEC's ongoing offensive against greenhouse gas, as many as one-quarter of TVs bigger than 40 inches may be taken off the market starting this summer because the CEC believes they consume too much energy.

Keep in mind that the federal government's Energy Star program already monitors and regulates the energy efficiency of most major appliances such as TVs. 

Monday, March 16, 2009

Panasonic's 2009 HDTVs Unveiled

TWICE reports on the Panasonic line show from last week in which the company rolled out its new Z1 flagship series of ultra-thin (1-inch) plasma TVs. TWICE does an excellent job recapping the show so check it out to see the new stuff from Panny.

Programming: HD vs. SD

Broadcasting & Cable runs an interesting piece today about the economics of selling content shot in high-def vs. standard-def. Some cable channels like National Geographic and Discovery are only buying HD programming while most reality shows are still in low-def to keep costs down. A key factor is the ability to rerun programming to spread the costs out over time and recoup more in advertising revenue, something that is fairly difficult with competition-based reality shows.

DISH Picks Up 4 New HD Channels

DISH said last week that it has added Showtime Too HD, Showtime Showcase HD, TMC HD & BET J HD. This spring it will add the HD feeds of BET, Comedy Central, CMT, MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike TV and VH1.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Verizon FiOS Adds MLB Network HD, Extra Innings

Verizon said today that FiOS TV customers now have access to MLB Network HD along with the MLB Extra Innings package that shows up to 10 baseball games a week in high-def. MLB Network will air 26 live games this season. More from TV Week.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Reviewed: Sony 32" Bravia XBR6 LCD TV

Earlier this week I told you that Sony had its line show in Las Vegas, unveiling its 2009 models that should hit stores soon. As such, there are sales on a number of the 2008 models, and being in the market for a smallish LCD TV for my office, I decided to see what I could find. I wound up buying a 32-inch Sony Bravia KDL-32XBR6 for $749.99 at Best Buy (just marked down $250 from $999.99). I've always liked the XBR series but found it overly expensive, which is why I never bought one.
I decided to spend a little extra and go with the 1080p XBR even though conventional wisdom says that at 32 inches you won't be able to see a difference between 1080p and 768p/720p. That may be true but I'll probably use this as a [very large] computer monitor from time to time, a task for which 1080p is better equipped.

My initial impressions of the 32-inch XBR are very positive. I'm watching the Denver-Portland NBA game on TNT HD right now and it looks absolutely fantastic. Interestingly, when I watched a college game yesterday on ESPN HD, it didn't look as good as I thought it should -- but the TNT HD feed for NBA games looks great. The TV's color is very nice, contrast ratio is outstanding and lack of motion blur is a welcome sign. Even the black levels look good, something for which LCD TV's aren't generally known.

I'll post more thoughts as I log more viewing time but I am so far quite pleased with this TV.

UPDATE: I just checked and the price for this model has gone back up to $999.99. I wouldn't worry too much if you really want it at $749.99 because the new XBR9 models are coming out in a little over two weeks (March 22) and are marked at a pre-sale price of just $100 more than the old XBR6's. I'm sure the XBR6 will go on sale again very soon.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

AT&T U-verse Now Up To 100 HD Channels

AT&T said yesterday that its U-verse IPTV service now offers 100 HD channels in every market in which it is available with the recent additions of ESPNEWS HD, ESPNU HD, ABC Family HD, Disney HD and Disney XD HD. AT&T U-verse TV ranked "Highest in Residential Television Service Satisfaction in the North Central, South, and West Regions," according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Study.

I ordered U-verse on Monday and the installation is in two weeks so I'll report back on how the IPTV HD channels compare quality-wise to DIRECTV and Time Warner Cable.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sony Uses Line Show to Unveil New Models

CNET has full coverage of Sony's line show in Las Vegas that included a new group of LCD TVs with Yahoo Widgets and another line of power-friendly green TVs that turn off when no human presence is detected within a certain radius of the TV. Very cool.

TWICE also has the story.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Consumers Want Their 3-D TV. Or Do They?

A study co-authored by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and released on Friday finds that 3-D TV may be the next big thing. According to the group, 41 million American adults said they've seen a 3-D movie in theaters in the last 12 months (which seems high to me), although interestingly only 40% of those say they'd prefer to see a movie in 3-D over the standard 2-D.

There are some other interesting stats here (thanks to TWICE), but I want to focus on that 40% number above because it seems a bit underwhelming. I'm guessing that when HDTV was first introduced, something close to 100% of the people who saw a show, movie or sporting event in HD preferred it in high-def over standard-def. That seems pretty obvious. So when only 40% of the people who have seen a 3-D movie prefer it in 3-D, that says to me that the technology has a ways to go before it will be adopted in any large scale. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Unofficial DTV Transition Going Down Tonight

As we discussed last week, one of the odd side effects of the recent legislation extending the digital TV transition from Feb. 17th to June 12th is that Congress gave many of the nation's broadcasters the option to cut over on the original date anyway. There's now a confirmed number on how many exactly we're talking about and it's not small -- 421 stations nationwide will cease analog broadcasting at 11:59PM tonight. When you add in the 220 that have already done so, 641 of the nation's 1,800 local broadcast stations will be digital-only at midnight tonight, or about 36% according to the FCC and TWICE

At first glance, this seemed odd to me. The justification for delaying the DTV cutover was that some percentage of U.S. households aren't ready yet. But by letting some broadcasters shut off the analog signals today, what is the message from the FCC? Apparently what the Commission has done is try to have at least one of the "Big 4" network affiliates (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) in each market continue to broadcast in analog so that households not yet ready for all-digital will still be able to get local news and emergency information. This explains why here in San Diego, four of the five major networks (counting The CW) will go digital-only tonight while the local NBC affiliate will continue its analog broadcast.

This whole thing is a bit of a mess, especially considering there are still boatloads of people on waiting lists for the government's DTV coupon. Here's hoping this thing gets sorted out in the next couple of months so that we're not in this same position the week before June 12th...

Friday, February 13, 2009

'The Simpsons' Premiers in HD This Sunday

Long-running animated comedy 'The Simpsons' is set to make its high-def debut this Sunday night and I for one will be sure to set the DVR. More from TV Week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's Official: Pioneer to Quit TV Biz

Rumors of the demise of Pioneer's unprofitable TV business were spot-on, as the company this morning announced it will quit selling plasma TVs by March of next year. About 10,000 workers will be laid off as a result.

Pioneer always seemed to me to be searching for its identity in the flat-panel TV industry. At the low end are manufacturers like Vizio (which coincidentally announced today that it will quit making plasma displays to focus exclusively on LCD TVs), in the middle are behemoths like Panasonic and Samsung, and at the top are high-end makers like Runco. Pioneer sought to be at the higher end of the spectrum but particularly once it started buying its plasma panels from Panasonic, it had trouble justifying the premiums it was charging.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

DTV Delay Signed by Obama

The most interesting thing about President Obama today signing legislation to delay the digital TV transition from Feb. 17th to June 12th is that something in the neighborhood of 500 local broadcast stations nationwide have already said that they plan to proceed with their own DTV transitions next Thursday as originally mandated by law. Apparently they need FCC approval for this but we could very soon be in a patchwork situation where a large percentage of the country's TV stations require a digital converter to view while others wait until June.

Here in San Diego, four of the five major local broadcasters want to transition to DTV next week while the lone holdout for June is the NBC affiliate.

What a mess!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pioneer to Dump Plasma Biz?

There were various reports yesterday in both the U.S. and Japan that plasma TV maker Pioneer is mulling an exit from the flat-panel TV business. Pioneer's plasma operations are unprofitable for the company, even though it decided last year to stop manufacturing its own plasma display panels and buy them from Panasonic instead. More from the Wall Street Journal.

Time Warner NYC Up to 100 HD Channels

Multichannel News is out today with a story of the positive benefits of competition for HD consumers. Now that Verizon has rolled into New York City, key rival Time Warner Cable has increased its high-def channel count to over 100 in each of the city's five boroughs. 65 of those are part of the regular cable package that's available to all customers with an HD box, while the remainder are various incarnations of premium movie channels from the likes of HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz.

New York City's other primary cable company, Cablevision, offers about 70 high-def channels.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

DTV Delay Passes Congress, Awaits Obama Signature

Legislation to delay the digital TV transition on a one-time basis from Feb. 17th to June 12th passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by a largely party-line 264-158 vote.  The bill, which had already cleared the Senate, was sent to the White House for President Obama's signature, which will occur today or tomorrow. TV Week has the full story.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

DISH Adds Fox News HD, Testing Fox Business HD

Without fanfare DISH Network has added the high-def simulcast of Fox News Channel and is testing Fox Business Network HD, MCN reports. There have been past distribution disputes between DISH and News Corp. that have led to the delay in getting both channels' high-def feeds on DISH's satellites.

Cox Cable Inks Deal for FX, Speed & Fuel TV in HD

Cox Communications has reached a distribution agreement with Fox Cable Networks that will allow it to carry the high-def feeds of FX, Speed & Fuel TV. 600,000 Cox homes will have access to FX HD and Speed HD immediately, with more to come as Fuel TV HD is included in the mix. More from Multichannel News.

Panasonic Losing Billions, Cutting Back

The slowdown in HDTV growth caused by the recession has hit all of the manufacturers, with Panasonic today becoming the latest to forecast a multi-billion dollar loss for this fiscal year that will result in a reorg with job cuts. All told, about 15,000 employees will be laid off and 27 plants shuttered across the globe. Panasonic expects a $4.3 billion loss for the fiscal year ending March 31st.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

AT&T Hooks Up With DIRECTV

AT&T yesterday officially announced its new partnership with DIRECTV. Having made public the termination of its relationship with DISH Network last fall, yesterday's announcement marked the beginning of the new AT&T | DIRECTV co-branded satellite service, which the telco giant will market in areas where its U-verse IPTV service is not yet available.

DIRECTV now has partnerships with the three largest U.S. telcos -- AT&T, Verizon and Qwest.

Panasonic Plasmas Getting Thinner, Greener

Reuters is out with a story today from Panasonic, which in April will launch a new line of plasma TVs in Japan that are much thinner than the company's standard plasmas and will require only half as much energy to operate. The skinny, green plasmas will hit U.S. store shelves sometime this summer. In Japan the 50-inch model will set you back a cool 600,000 yen, which sounds only slightly better in greenbacks -- $6,685.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Circuit City Liquidation Moving Along Quickly

The four firms conducting the going-out-of-business sale for all Circuit City stores across the country report that 25% of the inventory has sold in the first two weeks of the liquidation. All told there is $1.8 billion in merchandise to be sold, with $450 million gone already.

More discounting starts today, with all plasma TVs being sold for 25% off their original retail price and certain LCDs going for 20% off. Be careful though, because according to this TWICE article some customers have reported that prices were actually higher at Circuit over the last two weeks due to the discounting coming off of the original MSRP rather than sale prices.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: DTV Delay Fails in U.S. House

Just in from Washington: A measure to delay the digital TV transition from Feb. 17 until June 12 this afternoon failed to pass the U.S. House of Representatives, coming up short of the two-thirds majority it needed for passage. The Senate had already unanimously passed the bill, which was supported by President Obama. More from TWICE.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Circuit City Going Out of Business Sale -- Not All That?

BusinessWeek has an interesting piece about the liquidation process surrounding the Circuit City bankruptcy. The short version is that many shoppers are expecting great deals but the reality is that 10-30% off retail is the extent of the discounting, with most major electronics falling at the 10% end of that spectrum. From a consumer perspective, the discounting will ramp up as the weeks pass but on the flip side, the good stuff will be the first to go. And obviously you won't be able to return anything. Caveat emptor, to be sure, but happy shopping if you go!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cablevision Adds HD Premiums to Replace VOOM

When Cablevision announced last month that it was terminating its carriage relationship with the VOOM suite of 15 high-def channels, it said that it would immediately replace them with new HD nets so that its high-def channel count would stay the same (almost 70). This week the New York City cable company has done that, although customers have to subscribe to all the premium movie channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz) to get the newbies.

The new HD premium channels Cablevision customers can now receive are: Encore HD, Starz Kids & Family HD, Starz Edge HD, HBO Signature HD, HBO Family HD, HBO Comedy HD, HBO Zone HD, HBO2 HD, HBO Latino HD, Action Max HD, More Max HD, @Max HD, Outer Max HD, Showtime Too HD and Showtime Showcase HD.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Rainbow Pulls Plug On Voom HD Service - MCN
Rainbow Media Holdings, blaming a loss of carriage on Dish Network and the expected lengthy litigation stemming from that drop, is shutting down the domestic operations of its beleaguered Voom HD, its suite of 15 HD networks. Dish Network had been the largest distributor of the Voom HD services, but it dropped them in May in a contract dispute with Rainbow. That left Voom HD with only one U.S. distributor, Rainbow parent Cablevision Systems Corp., which will replace the HD services, reportedly in late January when they go off.

YouTube Launches HD Video Page - CNET
YouTube announced Thursday that it has launched a new landing page to corral all the high-definition video uploaded to the site.
Along with the new page, YouTube's HD player now launches in a widescreen window that takes up the majority of the browser window. YouTube posted an FAQ on how to how to encode HD videos and how to avoid "windowboxing"--images that are surrounded by black bars.

Time Warner Cable Pumps Up HD Volume in Manhattan - MCN
Time Warner Cable has added more than two dozen new high-definition basic channels to some of its 600,000 subscribers in Manhattan in New York City, and a full range of premium outlets’ HD multiplexes too. By a reporter’s observation, the Northern Manhattan system’s 700 (and upper 600) channel region, containing the basic HD channels, has added: NBC Universal-owned USA, Sci Fi Channel, CNBC, Bravo and The Weather Channel; MTV Networks’ Palladia; Turner Broadcasting’s Cartoon Channel; Comcast’s E! Entertainment, Golf Channel and Versus (separately), Style and G4; Liberty Media’s QVC; Fox Cable Networks’ FX and Speed Channel; Walt Disney Co.’s ABC Family, Disney Channel, Toon Disney, ESPNnews and ESPNU; Fox Business Network and Fox News Channel; A&E Networks’ A&E, History and Bio; Discovery’s Discovery and Science channels and Planet Green, all in HD.

Sales Growth of Flat-Panel TVs Is Expected to Slow - NY Times
Sales of flat panel TVs are going flat. In a reversal of fortune, television sales in the United States are predicted to drop in 2009, according to a new report from DisplaySearch, a market research firm. It would be the first sales decline in at least a decade, said DisplaySearch, and the first decline in revenue since 2000.

Panasonic To Buy Sanyo - TWICE
The boards of Panasonic and Sanyo officially signed off on a capital and business alliance Friday through which Panasonic will acquire controlling interest in Sanyo from major shareholders for around $9 billion to become one the world’s largest electronics manufacturers. Panasonic said it will aim to acquire the majority of the voting rights of Sanyo assuming full dilution (which takes into account conversion of Class A preferred stock and Class B preferred stock into common stock) by means of a public tender offer bid.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Fox To Go All HD, All the Time - MCN
Within two years, Fox's television network group plans to distribute its broadcast network and all of its cable services exclusively in high-definition — eliminating standard-definition feeds — with an infrastructure upgrade the company expects will double its satellite capacity. The change will require all cable, satellite and telco distributors to install new satellite receiver/decoder devices from Motorola, although Fox for the time being will continue to offer the HD feeds in the widely used MPEG-2 encoding format.

DirecTV Adds Five More PBS HD Locals - MCN
DirecTV Wednesday launched five more local HDTV public broadcasting stations, raising the DBS provider's total to 29 markets that are now receiving local PBS HD. The nation’s largest satellite provider added the public-station HD services in Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, Omaha, Neb., and Savannah, Ga. DirecTV also added a Fox local HD station in Lincoln-Hastings, Neb.

TV One Brings HD Channel to Five Markets - MCN
TV One Wednesday announced it is offering a high-definition simulcast of its African American-targeted, analog cable channel on several Time Warner and Comcast Cable systems. TV One-HD has launched on Time Warner Cable's NYC Region system, as well as on Comcast systems in Boston, Chicago, Portland, Oregon and Seattle, with additional launches expected in early January 2009, according to network officials.

Comcast Hits HD 'Triple’ - MCN
Comcast unveiled a handful of new HD packages at an industry conference aimed at consumers affected by the sluggish economy. HD Starter is priced at $114.89 per month (including 80 digital cable channels, 6 Megabit per second to 12 Mbps high-speed Internet and digital phone). HD Plus is priced at $139.99 per month (150 digital channels, 8 Mbps to 16 Mbps high-speed Internet and digital phone). HD Premium is priced at $179.99 per month (including HD DVR service; 200 digital channels; high-speed Internet at 16 Mbps to 22 Mbps per second; premium networks HBO, Starz, Cinemax and Showtime; and a Sports Entertainment package.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

HD: A Mixed Bag For The Holidays - MCN
This year’s holiday season looks to be a mixed bag for high-definition TV. The slumping economy is likely to have a chilling effect on HDTV set sales, but the stakes for operators promoting their high-def offerings remain high — and the opportunities still loom large. According to two recent studies, HDTVs are now in about one-third of all homes, making it increasingly important for pay TV operators to deploy a strong high-definition offering if they wish to retain current customers. And the Consumer Electronics Association predicts that some 27.7 million new HD sets will be sold in 2009.

How to Buy a Flat-Screen HDTV - Washington Post
Before you drop hundreds or thousands of dollars on the wrong flat-panel HDTV, read our comprehensive breakdown of everything you need to know. Our advice might just help you save some money. LCD and plasma screens may look similar, but the underlying technologies are quite different, as are, consequently, their strengths and weaknesses.

Sharp To Ship Aquos LCD/Blu-ray Combos - TWICE
Sharp will ship in January a pair HD Aquos LCD TVs with integrated Blu-ray Disc players, according to Mike Troetti, Sharp Electronics Marketing Company of America (SEMCA) president. The first sets slated to arrive next month and will have screen sizes of 32 and 42 inches. The 42-inch model will feature 1080p Full HD resolution and 120Hz frame-rate processing. Both will include a multi-slot loading mechanism for Blu-ray, DVD and CD discs.

Tee Time For Golf Channel HD - MCN
After sharing channel space with Comcast Corp.-owned Versus, Golf Channel will tee off alone in high-definition Dec. 8. With commitments from its parent, as well as DirecTV, Dish Network, Cox Communications, Verizon's FiOS TV and Cablevision Systems Corp., Golf Channel HD is expected to be in 12.5 million homes by January. Officials for the service said other operator deals are pending that could add another 3 million homes to that total.

Creative Intros Vado HD Camcorder - TWICE
Milpitas, Calif. — Creative introduced a high-definition version of its Vado pocket video camera today, ratcheting up the competition in the burgeoning market for inexpensive flash camcorders. It follows on the heels of Kodak’s Zi6 and Pure Digital’s Mino HD. Like those models, the Vado HD records 720p video at 30 fps but it includes an HDMI cable for outputting 1080i video to HDTVs.

DirecTV Adds PBS HD Channels - TWICE
Delivering on a previously announced arrangement with the nation’s public television stations, DirecTV said it will begin offering local Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) TV stations in high definition to 14 markets across the country starting Wednesday. DirecTV said it will continue to roll out PBS HD channels in additional local markets through the end of the year and in 2009 — ahead of the Feb. 17 digital transition deadline, when high-power analog TV broadcasting is mandated to end.

TV's Next Big Things - WSJ
Television makers, whose products went from big and bulky to sleek and flat in a matter of 10 years, are looking for the next breakthrough. Industry leaders Sony Corp., Sharp Corp. and Panasonic Corp. are all developing new displays designed to stand out on store shelves increasingly filled with similar-looking products. The effort is especially important as the economic slowdown hammers average selling prices on the latest flat-panel televisions and as value brands close the technology gap with the top-tier companies.

Tribune Co. Weighs Filing for Chapter 11 - WSJ
Tribune Co. is preparing for a possible filing for bankruptcy-court protection as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter, in a sign of worsening trouble for the newspaper industry. In recent days, as Chicago-based Tribune continued talks with lenders to restructure its debt, the newspaper-and-television concern hired investment bank Lazard Ltd. as its financial adviser and law firm Sidley Austin to advise the company on a possible trip through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter say.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

U.S. Households Watch More Than 8 Hours of TV a Day - L.A. Times
The U.S. is a nation of even bigger couch potatoes than previously realized. Nielsen Co. left little doubt Monday when it reported that television use is at an all-time high in the U.S., with home TVs turned on for an average of 8 hours, 18 minutes a day. A decade ago, American households watched an average of 7 hours, 15 minutes a day.

Hulu Begins HD Programming Push - B&C
Hulu has long had an HD gallery as part of its site, but it was largely relegated to trailers for upcoming films, rather than feature length movies and television shows. That is changing this week, as Hulu begins adding full length 720p high definition content to its HD gallery. The move is part of Hulu's "Hulu for The Holidays" push, which features new movies, TV shows and features every day until Dec. 26.

HD or Standard Def? One in Five HDTV Owners Don't Know the Difference - PC World
If it's flat and has a big-screen, it's high-def, right? Apparently, a lot of HDTV buyers think so. A recent survey by the Leichtman Research Group (LRG) shows that 18 percent of HDTV owners think they're watching high-definition shows, when in fact they're viewing standard definition programming.

HDTV Buyers Could Rush MSOs on Feb. 18 - CED Magazine
The literal disconnect between first-time HDTV buyers and HD service providers appears to be widening, and it may be due to false expectations of what will happen with the digital transition – yet another reason pay-TV providers should prepare for a spike in demand after Feb. 17. Twelve percent of all U.S. households purchased a new HDTV in the past year; of that group, 41 percent still need to arrange for HD service from a cable or satellite provider, according to a new report.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

It's Bargain Season for HDTVs - L.A. Times
It's not easy to find a silver lining to the economic meltdown, but here's one: cheap high-definition televisions. Bargains on consumer electronics goods, especially TVs, have become a tradition for the holiday shopping season. But this year prices for HDTVs are expected to plunge as fast as ratings for the new "Knight Rider."

Sharp Pushes LCD Leadership, Innovation In Ad Campaign - TWICE
Sharp Electronics today said it is rolling out the third phase of its national marketing and ad campaign tomorrow that will focus on its leadership and innovation in LCD and feature the Limited Edition Aquos LCD TV. This phase highlights the Limited Edition Aquos LCD TV series, which represents the culmination of 35 years of Sharp’s LCD innovation, and positions this series as part of Sharp’s complete line of LCD TVs that feature 120Hz technology.

Comcast Boosts HD Programming - Baltimore Business Journal
Comcast Corp. said Thursday it has beefed up its lineup of high-definition programming to customers in Greater Baltimore. The Philadelphia-based cable giant will now begin airing the Fox News Channel, FX and Speed in HD. Comcast, Baltimore’s largest cable provider, has now added more than 15 new high-definition networks to its lineup in the last year.

NFL Looks at 3-D - WSJ
With sports fans still getting used to their high-definition television sets, the National Football League is already thinking ahead to the next potential upgrade: 3-D. Next week, a game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders will be broadcast live in 3-D to theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Boston. It is a preliminary step on what is likely a long road to any regular 3-D broadcasts of football games.

Retail Execs Expect Slim Gains On Black Friday - TWICE
Even the prospect of steep savings on Black Friday will fail to rouse shell-shocked consumers, retailers fear. Merchants are now projecting a slim 1.2 percent increase in sales on Black Friday, compared with the 8.3-percent spike enjoyed last year, a new survey of retail executives shows. Of the 100 chief marketing officers queried on behalf of Chicago consultancy BDO Seidman, 68 said Black Friday sales would be flat, 16 predicted an increase, and 16 forecast a decline.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Time Warner Cable L.A. Delivers 24 New HD Channels - MCN
Time Warner Cable’s West Region is launching 24 new high-definition channels beginning this month, a programming change the operator is positioning as an early holiday gift. The new channels include: HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax eastern feeds, The Movie Channel, ESPNU, NHL Network, The Tennis Channel, Speed, INDemand Sports 1 & 2, Cartoon Network, Toon Disney, FX, The Weather Channel, Lifetime Movie Network, Hallmark Movie Channel, Fox News, Fox Business Network, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Science Channel, Planet Green and BIO.

Vizio Expands LCD Lineup - TWICE
Vizio used a press preview here Wednesday to introduce a new 55-inch screen size to its a high-performance XVT LCD TV line, and revealed shipping plans for several high-resolution, smaller-screen LCD TV offerings, timed for holiday distribution. The company also presented an add-on speaker bar designed for any flat-panel TV, featuring virtual surround sound enhancement developed by SRS Labs.

Netflix Makes HD Strides - TV Week
Netflix took two big steps in the area of high definition this week, officially moving to HD streaming and tying up loose ends with HD DVD. Going live on Wednesday via an upgrade to the Xbox 360, Netflix entered the arena of HD streaming with nearly 300 titles including “Heroes,” “La Vie en Rose” and “Flawless.” The service allows for streaming of nearly 12,000 standard-definition titles.

Panasonic Centralizing Plasma Display Production - TWICE
In an effort to improve its cost efficiency and price competitiveness, Panasonic said Wednesday it will consolidate all plasma panel production in Hyogo Prefecture by the end of the year, the Nikkei news service reported. Panasonic currently manufactures 65-inch plasma panels at a plant in Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, and produces all other sizes at two factories in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture.

Holiday HDTV Shipments Could Fall - TWICE
A slumping economy and woes in several large retailers could produce the first ever drop in sales of high-definition TV sets during the fourth quarter, according to Paul Gagnon, director of North America TV market research at DisplaySearch, which tracks shipments to retailers. That prediction highlights how quickly the economy has gone south in recent months. In August, when DisplaySearch was updating its fourth quarter estimates, the company was still projecting a 1% to 2% increase.

Sony Execs Discuss Economy, Circuit City - TWICE
Sony sees opportunities for itself in the bleak economic environment and spoke bluntly about the condition of Circuit City, as well as consumer confidence during this troubled holiday season. Stan Glasgow, Sony Electronics president, and Jay Vandenbree, Sony consumer sales president, did not provide gloom and doom about the current market but were frank in reaction to questions posed during the company’s biannual media roundtable, held at the Sony Building in New York on Nov. 20.

Dish Network Expands Local HD Markets - MCN
Dish Network has added local HDTV channels in eight markets: Charleston-Huntington, W.Va.; Cincinnati; Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, Pa.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Lexington, Ky.; Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.; Louisville, Ky.; and Wichita Falls, Texas and Lawton, Okla. Dish Network now offers local channels in 84 markets reaching 76% of U.S. TV households, the satellite provider said Thursday.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Blu-ray Earns High Marks From Consumers - THR
A new industry-commissioned study shows bright prospects for such high-definition media as HDTV and Blu-ray Discs, based on respondents' familiarity with and preference for the products. The SmithGeiger survey of 1,600 HDTV owners in the U.S., U.K. and Japan was commissioned by the home entertainment trade organization Digital Entertainment Group. Its results were summarized for analysts and press at a briefing Friday in Century City. Respondents were asked to assess their overall satisfaction with HDTV, related programming services and Blu-ray, a next-generation home-entertainment format promoted by DEG.

Circuit's Prospects Seen As Mixed - TWICE
Industry observers are forecasting several scenarios for a post-Chapter 11 Circuit City, and none of them are good. Projections range from a radical downsizing to a complete liquidation of the ailing chain. The rosiest projection, by Banc of America Securities' David Strasser, envisions a vastly smaller multiregional Circuit City with 200 to 300 stores at best. In a research note, Strasser said he expects the company will look to close "significantlymore" than the previously announced 155 stores and that it will be able to "more aggressively market parts of the business to a variety of buyers" once it enters bankruptcy.

Pioneer CEO Kawabata Looks Upscale - TWICE
Despite the economic gloom, Masao Kawabata, chairman/CEO of Pioneer North America, believes his company’s strategy of moving its brand and products upscale will work during these tough economic times. In this exclusive interview with TWICE, his first since becoming chairman/CEO here in the U.S., Kawabata addressed issues concerning the Kuro brand, Pioneer’s partnership with Sharp, the HDTV market, its leadership in car electronics as well as the economic downturn and recent changes at retail.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Circuit City’s Prospects Mixed: Analysts - TWICE
Analysts are spinning several scenarios for a post-Chapter 11 Circuit City and none of them are good. The rosiest projection, by Banc of America Securities’ David Strasser, envisions a vastly smaller multiregional chain, with 200 to 300 stores at best. In a research note, Strasser said he expects the company will look to close “significantly more” than the previously announced 155 stores, and that it will be able to “more aggressively market parts of the business to a variety of buyers” once it enters bankruptcy.

Circuit City Files for Bankruptcy Protection - Reuters
Circuit City Stores Inc, the No. 2 U.S. consumer electronics retailer, filed for bankruptcy on Monday just weeks before the start of the holiday shopping season, becoming the largest retailer to file for Chapter 11 since Kmart in 2002. Circuit City fell victim to tighter credit terms from vendors, a dwindling cash position and decreased consumer spending amid a deepening economic crisis.

Flat Panel TV Shipments Begin Their Decline - CNET
One of the hottest products in consumer electronics is finally cooling off. A report released Tuesday confirms that flat-panel television shipments to retailers are beginning to tail off. Specifically, LCD and plasma TV shipment grew just 21 percent, and 20 percent, respectively year over year during the third quarter of 2008, according to DisplaySearch's Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report.

CTAM: HD Panel Tackles Recession Marketing - TV Week
With economic bad news dominating headlines, high-definition television executives are betting TV’s comfort factor will keep increasing demand for HD programming, according to a panel of industry powerhouses. The Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing kicked off its 2008 convention in Boston with a TelevisionWeek panel on whether the financial crisis will slow down the HD market. Moderator Chuck Ross, TVWeek publisher and editorial director, surveyed the panel which said the industry tends to ride through hard times as a comfortable, inexpensive form of entertainment.

MGM HD Ink’s Carriage Pact With AT&T’s U-verse - MCN
MGM HD is marking its first anniversary by landing a carriage deal with AT&T’s U-verse service, and by picking up distribution on cable systems that have been carrying Mojo HD, which is going dark next month.With its new AT&T pact, MGM HD now has affiliation deals with all the major distributors, namely DirecTV, Dish Network, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Bright House Networks, according to Lee.

Vudu Cracks 1,000 HD Titles - B&C
Online movie service Vudu says it is now offering over 1,100 HD titles for instant, on-demand viewing, which it says represents the largest library of HD content available on-demand today. Santa Clara, Calif.-based Vudu, which uses a proprietary Internet-connected set-top box to facilitate on-demand viewing of 10,000 movies and TV shows, ramped up its HD offerings dramatically this fall. In September it introduced a new 1080-line progressive format called HDX that dramatically improved the picture quality it delivers for select HD titles, and overall, it has been adding some 150 new HD titles a week ranging from new release like Journey to the Center of the Earth to classics like Cool Hand Luke.

DirecTV Adds Six More Local HD Markets - MCN
DirecTV Thursday launched local HDTV service in six new markets, offering such service now in 109 DMAs. The latest launches are Boise, Idaho; Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas; Macon, Ga.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Traverse City-Cadillac, Mich.; and Fort Smith, Ark.

Panasonic Begins Sanyo Takeover - TWICE
Panasonic and Sanyo officially acknowledged Friday that the two companies will start discussions “for a capital and business alliance between the two corporations,” with the aim of making Sanyo a Panasonic subsidiary. The boards of each company met separately on the proposal Friday. According to a statement issued by Panasonic, both companies will start discussions “with the aim of maximizing both companies' corporate values by pursuing synergies between both companies and further strengthening initiatives to achieve potential revenue and profit growth through this alliance”.

Shopping for TVs With the Experts - AP/WashPost
Technological advances have made giant flat-panel TV screens with intensely detailed pictures affordable to the average American consumer. But which one to choose? Home theater enthusiasts say you can get the biggest bang for your buck with a system that uses a digital projector. They can easily be hooked up to your computer, video game system or DVD player, or cable signal, and they display images at a variety of sizes.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Double the Viewers, Double the TV - Hollywood Reporter
Here's a classic dilemma: You are home for the evening. You wish to watch, say, a comedy, on TV, but your family member would rather watch something else. Texas Instruments, the maker of the DLP Cinema chip, is developing technology that might reduce the common problem by allowing two people to simultaneously view two different programs -- on the same TV.

Sharp, Panasonic, Toshiba Step Up CE Recycling - TWICE
Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba said Thursday they will join a nationwide recycling initiative designed to give purchasers of each companies’ products the ability to have those items recycled at a growing list of collection centers around the county. The companies said their nationwide consumer electronics recycling program, which is being coordinated by Electronics Manufacturers Recycling Management (MRM), will provide a free means of recycling old televisions and other consumer audio and video products.

Plasma Panel Shipments See Q3 Growth - TWICE
Plasma panel makers continue to report strong growth with third-quarter 2008 plasma panel shipments rising 18 percent quarter to quarter and 37 percent year to year to nearly 4.2 million units, the second highest quarterly shipment total ever and 6 percent higher than expected, according to the latest DisplaySearch Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report, Plasma and LCD TV Panel Shipment Module. Demand continues to be strong for plasma TVs worldwide due to attractive price points and increasing availability of high-definition content, and the 2008 shipment target of 15.5 million units is on target.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

AT&T Revs Up HD Lineup With 30 New Nets - MCN
Trying to outdo cable’s HD offerings, AT&T Monday said it was adding more than 30 new HD channels to its U-verse TV lineup, as well as new international programming packages for Chinese, Polish, Russian, French and European-sports audiences. Beginning Nov. 3, U-verse TV customers will receive up to 30 new HD channels at no additional charge as part of their existing HD service subscription, depending on their programming package. With the additions, U-verse TV offers more than 75 HD channels—exceeding the HD channel lineups offered by the major local cable providers in every U-verse market.

Verizon Adds HD Mass In Boston Market - MCN
Verizon has taken its high-definition lineup in Massachusetts into triple digits, announcing that FiOS TV customers there now have access to more than 100 HD channels compared with Comcast’s lineup of 66 HDs. The telco recently added 16 HD channels to its Massachusetts TV lineup, including Animal Planet, TLC, Science Channel, Smithsonian Channel, FX, The Biography Channel, Superstation WGN HD, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, MGM HD, the Hallmark Movie Channel, QVC, the Travel Channel, Planet Green, Disney Channel, Toon Disney and ABC Family. Verizon also launched three new HD sports channels: ESPNews HD, The Tennis Channel and Speed HD.

HDTV Prices May Be As Low As They Can Go - PC Magazine
The price OEMs are paying for the panels used inside LCD TVs is approaching the cash cost the panel makers themselves pay for them, a display industry report said recently. What this means, essentially, is that TV OEMs are paying just about cheapest possible price for the panels, which in turn make up about 70 percent of the cost of a typical LCD TV.

Mitsubishi LaserVue Arrives in Stores - Dealerscope
Mitsubishi's LaserVue 65 laser-powered television, introduced in January at International CES, has arrived in stores, the company announced Tuesday. The product, which the company says boasts a crisper picture while losing less energy, will be available "select speciality stores," with a price tag of $6,999.

TV Pricing Promos To Drive Holiday Sales - TWICE
The stock market and banking industry may be on a roller coaster headed for a crash of 1929 proportions, but the flat-panel television market appears to be entering the holiday season in relatively good shape, vendors and analysts told TWICE. Vendors noted that TV sales have softened somewhat since Labor Day, but not enough to warrant many unplanned price cuts. Yet, display market analysts told TWICE they are still calling for very aggressive holiday price promotions, whether planned in advance or forced by the recent turn of events, starting as soon as early November.

September TV Pricing Down 22% - TWICE
Global TV internet pricing for television sets declined an average 22 percent at the end of September from the year-ago period, according to the new DisplaySearch Monthly Global TV E-Tail Pricing & Specification Database. According to the study, average PDP TV e-tail prices fell 27 percent year over year in September 2008. CRT TV e-tail prices, on the other hand, rose 4 percent year over year.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

MSNBC Sees High-Def Debut Next Spring - MCN
MSNBC, having missed the window to launch in HD for this year’s election season, expects to have its high-definition simulcast ready for affiliates in the second quarter of 2009. The news network had been aiming to launch its HD offering in the fourth quarter of 2008. That turned out to be “a little aggressive,” MSNBC president Phil Griffin said.

Comcast Launches MSG HD in New Jersey - MCN
Comcast is adding MSG HD and MSG Plus HD for its digital cable customers in Northern New Jersey, officials said Thursday. Sports fans can now watch more than 300 live sporting events in high definition annually on MSG HD and MSG Plus HD, including exclusive coverage of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders and New York Liberty.

DirecTV Adds Three Local HD Markets - MCN
DirecTV Wednesday began offering local high-definition programming in Colorado Springs-Pueblo, Colo., Davenport, Iowa-Rock Island/Moline, Ill. and Dayton, Ohio. The nation’s largest satellite provider now offers local HD programming to nearly 85% of U.S. TV households.

Ion Media Promises HD by First Quarter - TV Week
Coupled with a rebranding in May, Ion Media Networks announced Monday the network is going HD beginning in the first quarter of 2009. Ion Media encompasses Ion Television, formerly Pax TV, as well as qubo and Ion Life. Ion Television will be the first to jump to HD in first quarter ’09, with qubo and Ion Life following later in the year, the company said.

DisplaySearch Sees Flat-Panel Maturity - TWICE
Shipments of panels used in flat-panel TV sets (LCD and plasma) are likely to continue to slow down beyond the current economic crisis as the HDTV market begins to mature, DisplaySearch warned Wednesday in its latest Quarterly Worldwide FPD Forecast Report. From 2001 through 2008, flat-panel display shipments grew at a compound annual rate of 10 percent. From 2008 to 2015, the compound annual growth forecast is 4 percent due to market maturity, as flat-panel displays have captured most of the market previously served by cathode-ray tubes (CRT), the report indicates.

DISH Adds 21 MPEG-4 Markets - TWICE
DISH Network said Thursday it has expanded the transition to its MPEG-4 platform by 21 markets, to a total of 52 markets in the eastern half of the United States since the transition began in August. New customers in 52 designated markets in the eastern half of the U.S. who sign up for any DISH Network HD package will receive the system on all televisions connected to DISH Network service, the company said. This includes all standard- and high-definition programming broadcast in MPEG-4 via the service provider’s MPEG-4 HD and HD DVR receivers.

Samsung BD Update Brings Netflix Access - TWICE
Samsung said Wednesday that the Netflix and Pandora online entertainment content services are now available for current Blu-ray Disc player models. Access to the Netflix streaming movie/TV program service is made possible through a firmware update available starting today to current owners of Samsung models BD-P2500 and BD-P2550.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Comcast Expanding Its Stable of HD Networks

Comcast is the nation's largest cable company and as such it's easy to forget that it's also a major programmer. The company's family of networks is in the process of making the leap to high-def, beginning with the E! channel, which launches today in HD on select cable systems. The company's other networks, including Style, G4, Tennis Channel and Versus/Golf, have high-def plans of their own: Versus and Golf Channel will separate into two distinct HD channels in December, while Tennis Channel is already in HD. Style and G4 will launch HD simulcasts later this year as well. More from MCN.

More HD Channels for Cablevision in NY

Cablevision this week is adding five new high-def channels to its lineups in the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut region. The new additions are CMT HD, Fuse HD, MTV HD, NHL Network HD and VH1 HD. More from MCN.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

DIRECTV, DISH Add More Local HD Markets

DIRECTV and DISH continue to roll out local HD broadcast channels in smaller markets around the country. Yesterday DIRECTV added Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo and Evansville, Ind. to its roster while DISH today added five: Florence–Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Fort Myers–Naples, Fla.; Greenville–New Bern–Washington, N.C.; Madison, Wis.; and Wilkes Barre–Scranton, Pa.

DIRECTV now offers HD locals in 100 U.S. markets while DISH is in 70.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Stick a Fork in Mojo HD

Confirming weeks of industry speculation, the nation's major cable companies said today that Mojo HD will soon be shut down. Formerly known as INHD when it launched back in 2003, the channel was rebranded when sister channel INHD2 went dark in early 2007. Mojo featured a variety of high-def programming that served a useful purpose in the early days of HD when there was little HD content available. Now that there are nearly 100 national high-def channels, the market for standalone high-def variety programmers without a specific genre like Mojo appears to be lessening.

I don't normally like it when we lose high-def channels but in an era of limited bandwidth, I'm all for separating the wheat from the chafe to free up space for better HD programming.

More on this story from TV Week.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Versus/Golf HD Now 2 Separate Channels?

Versus HD & The Golf Channel HD have shared a single high-def channel since they were launched almost two years ago. We know that parent company Comcast's plans have been to split them up into their own separate HD feeds; it was just a question of when. Well it looks like "when" is now. Today I was on the website of RCN, a mid-size cable overbuilder that serves major markets like New York City, Boston and Chicago (welcome to my world) and I noticed Versus HD is now channel 691 while Golf HD is channel 693. I'll see if I run across this anywhere else, but if it's showing up in the lineup of RCN Chicago, odds are good we'll be seeing it elsewhere very soon.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

MLB Network to Launch in 2009 - NY Times
Major League Baseball does not believe there is enough baseball on television. Not on local and regional TV. Not on Fox, ESPN, TBS or It wants ubiquity, a 24/7 home, so it is building its own cable channel, the MLB Network, in Secaucus, N.J., with opening day scheduled for Jan. 1.

DirecTV's Chang Dishes Out the High-Def - MCN
Satellite-TV provider DirecTV roiled the high-definition market in early 2007 when it disclosed plans to offer over 100 HDTV channels, touching off an arms race to add new content. More recently, it has continued to raise the competitive bar by launching a VOD service with HD content and setting plans to offer Blu-ray quality 1080p movies. DirecTV executive vice president of content strategy Derek Chang recently talked with HD Update’s George Winslow about the operator’s plans for HD and the role it plays in the competition between satellite, cable and the telcos for new subscribers.

Bright House Uses Switched Digital to Expand HD Content - MCN
Cable operator Bright House Networks has completed the switched-digital rollout in its Orlando, Fla., system and is now installing it in Tampa, Fla., and Indianapolis, with BigBand Networks providing the products and services for the upgrade. By using the bandwidth-saving technique, Bright House will be able to significantly increase its HD lineup and better compete against the telco video offerings available in various parts of its Florida footprint.

Comcast SportsNet Northwest Launches in Seattle Area (press release)
Comcast Cable and Comcast SportsNet Northwest, home of the most comprehensive local sports content, today announces the network is launching to sports fans in the Seattle region with coverage including 55 Portland Trail Blazers NBA games and 60 NHL games featuring the Vancouver Canucks or the San Jose Sharks. Comcast SportsNet is the 24/7 home of Northwest sports featuring live game coverage of 55 exclusive Trail Blazers games, including 33 in HDTV; approximately 60 NHL games, including 50 featuring the Canucks or Sharks; and college sports including the University of Washington, University of Oregon, and more.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Vudu Takes High-Def Movies Higher - MCN
Startup Vudu this week will begin offering 65 feature movie titles in 1080p high-definition video format via its Internet-connected set-top, in a bid to peel home-theater aficionados from cable and satellite video-on-demand services. The movies, priced for a la carte rental, include Chronicles of Riddick, The Spiderwick Chronicles, In Bruges, Speed Racer and classics such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Chinatown, and Saturday Night Fever.

Matsushita Renamed Panasonic Worldwide - TWICE
Matsushita Electric Industrial (MEIC) celebrates its 90th anniversary today in an unusual way — by changing its long-vaunted Matsushita name (which honored its iconic founder) to that of its better-known brand, Panasonic, to leverage a digital network product strategy to address the global market.

DirecTV Adds Local HD To Four Markets - MCN
DirecTV Wednesday added local HDTV programming in Charleston, S.C., Norfolk-Newport News, Va., Savannah, Ga., and Springfield-Holyoke, Mass. With the addition of those markets, the satellite provider now offers local HD broadcast channels in 98 cities, representing more than 83% of TV households.

Thin Still In At CEATEC - TWICE
Flat-panel TV designs at the 2008 CEATEC Expo, here, are compressing almost as fast as the banking industry, as virtually every major Japanese television manufacturer used the show to unveil their latest skinny flat-panel technologies. Many of the sets being unveiled here as breakthroughs were seen three weeks earlier at CEDIA Expo in Denver and the IFA Show in Berlin.

FiOS, U-Verse Tops In Customer Satisfaction: J.D. Power Survey - MCN
Verizon Communications Inc.'s FiOS and AT&T Inc.'s U-verse video services have jumped to the top of the regional customer satisfaction rankings, according to a J.D. Power survey, supplanting direct-broadcast satellite services as the traditional leaders and pushing incumbent cable providers further down the list. According to findings of J.D. Power's "2008 Residential Television Service Satisfaction Study," AT&T came in on top in three regions: north central, west and south. In the east, Verizon was the top scoring provider.

Senate Analog Nightlight Bill Introduced - B&C
A bill was introduced in the Senate that would allow broadcasters to continue broadcasting in analog for 30 days after the Feb. 17, 2009, date for TV stations to transition to full-power digital TV. Broadcasters would still transition their primary channel feeds to digital Feb. 17, but they could continue to broadcast DTV-education information and emergency information for that 30-day period. The analog cutoff is currently set, by statute, for Feb. 17.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Panasonic Shows 3-D Plasma, 150” PDP - TWICE
Panasonic highlighted what it called “the world’s first 3-D full HD plasma theater system” and a 150-inch 1080p plasma display, billed as the world’s largest, at its CEATEC Show booth, at CEATEC in Japan on Tuesday. Panasonic, which officially will change its global corporate name from Matsushita Electric Industrial to Panasonic on Wednesday, the consumer electronics' company's 90th anniversary, used an enclosed theater setup in its booth to present 3-D images, viewable wearing special glasses, from a specially modified Blu-ray Disc player. The system presented movies and video sequences with dramatic high-resolution pictures and 3-D special effects.

Time Warner Adds HD Channels - Business First of Buffalo
For the second time in the past week, Time Warner Cable has added five new HD channels to its local system. With the additions, Time Warner has added 20 new HD channels in the past few weeks. The new HD channels are: The Learning Channel (Channel 736), Toon Disney (Channel 748), ABC Family (Channel 749), Sports New York (Channel 731) and National Geographic (Channel 734).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New High-Def Slingbox Available for $300

Slingbox, the EchoStar subsidiary that lets you access your home TV signal over the Internet, today said that its high-def box is now available for $300, roughly $100 less than what was expected. Initially announced in January, the Slingbox PRO-HD streams cable and satellite HD content in 1080i format remotely over the Internet as long as both ends have at least a 1.5 Mbps broadband connection. More from Multichannel News.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios' MGM HD signed an agreement to be carried by Bright House Networks, giving the high-definition movie channel access to an additional 2.4 million U.S. households. The agreement with Bright House expands MGM HD’s reach to central Florida, Indianapolis and Detroit, among other regions.

Sony Ships Link Modules For Bravia TVs - TWICE
Sony Electronics said it is now shipping a trio of previously announced “set-back” link modules for its Bravia televisions including, the wireless link, DVD link and input link modules. Circuitry in the TV attachments integrates directly into the television’s menu system to deliver a variety of add-on applications, capabilities and services that are said to be easy to set up, find and use. Sony’s wireless link module (DMX-WL1), which ships in October at a street price of about $800, is a two-piece system that wirelessly transmits high-definition video (up to 1080i) and audio to compatible Bravia TVs.

DirecTV Expands Original Content Offerings - TWICE
DirecTV is expanding its role as a content provider this fall through its 101 Network, offering a selection of top-quality programming including the premiere of the third season of “Friday Night Lights” and its new companion show, “Live From Dillon.” The 101 network is also delivering a new season of returning shows, including “Supreme Court of Comedy” and “Rock & A Hard Place,” and a sneak preview of the new original series from Starz! Entertainment, “Crash.” All programming is presented commercial-free and in HD.

Dish, AT&T Agree To One-Month Extension On Reseller Deal - MCN
Dish Network and AT&T have agreed to extend their deal, under which AT&T markets the satellite operator’s services in certain regions, until Jan. 31, 2009. In July, the direct-broadcast satellite operator said the five-year-old agreement with AT&T would expire Dec. 31, 2008. Previously, the telco said it would offer Dish in all territories to customers where its U-verse TV service is not available, including the nine states where BellSouth had resold DirecTV.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

GE, Taiwan Firm Plan HDTV Venture - WSJ
General Electric Co. is getting back into the television-set business by forming a partnership with a Taiwan company to launch GE-branded high-definition TV sets. GE and Tatung Co. of Taiwan said they had formed a joint venture, General Displays & Technologies LLC, that plans to make two million HDTV sets annually, or 1% of the 200 million units sold world-wide, when it begins production in 2009. The companies hope eventually to capture 5% to 10% of the roughly $200 billion global TV-set market.

New Suite Of HD Nets Will Premiere on Verizon’s FiOS - MCN
Six start-up HD networks—with original programming about cars, comedy, pets, travel, food and entertainment—will debut later this year with launches on Verizon’s FiOS video service, according to officials. The new HD channels Cars.TV, Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, MyDestination.TV, ES.TV and Recipe.TV have been created by Entertainment Studios, which bills itself as the largest independent producer and distributor of first-run syndicated shows for TV stations.

Verizon Communications nearly tripled its high-definition lineup in the Philadelphia area, adding 56 HD channels to offer a total of 86 to FiOS TV customers in Comcast's backyard. The telco on Monday launched 76 new channels -- including the 56 high-def channels, which are mostly premium services -- for customers in parts of southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. Verizon noted that its HD offerings, which include more than 500 HD video-on-demand titles per month, are more than either Comcast or RCN.

The head of Circuit City Stores Inc. was forced out by the company's board Monday after months of lackluster sales and an aborted takeover effort by Blockbuster Inc. that cast doubts on the future of the nation's second-largest electronics retailer. Philip J. Schoonover, who served as chairman, president and chief executive officer, was brought in from industry leader Best Buy Co. four years ago to turn around Circuit City.

WiHD Products Expected At CES - TWICE
The chairman of the WirelessHD (WiHD) consortium expects suppliers to announce plans for products incorporating WiHD at International CES in January. WiHD technology is an in-room wireless technology that replaces wired HDMI connections among audio and video components. The technology, which delivers uncompressed copy-protected high-definition video at resolutions up to 1080p, would enable HD streaming among different-brand components within a room up to 10 meters away. The technology isn’t designed to penetrate walls to deliver multiroom video.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

AT&T CTO Banks On Better HD Compression - MCN
AT&T chief technology officer John Donovan stayed the course on the telco’s video-over-copper strategy, telling attendees at an investment conference here that more efficient MPEG-4 compression will allow it to boost the number of high-definition channels it can pipe into customers’ homes. Donovan, speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference Thursday, said improvements in video-encoding equipment will allow AT&T to deliver three live HD streams in 2009.

DirecTV Adds Local HD in Six Markets - MCN
DirecTV has added local HD service to six new markets, namely Syracuse, N.Y., Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio, Mobile, Ala.-Pensacola, Fla., Richmond-Petersburg, Va., and South Bend-Elkhart, Ind., officials said Wednesday. With the addition of these markets, the satellite provider now offers local HD broadcast channels in 91 cities, representing 81% of U.S. TV households.

DisplaySearch Retail Panel Expresses HDTV Concerns - TWICE
Retailers voiced concerns about consumer confusion and other issues revolving around HDTV during a panel at DisplaySearch’s sixth annual HDTV Conference in Hollywood on Wednesday. Increasing confusion over newer technologies coming to market, the inability of the industry to properly communicate the HDTV experience to end users, and the increasing commodity status of big-screen flat-panel TVs that is stifling the differentiation of A/V specialists were some of the issues addressed by panelists.

Panel: Analog TV Shut-Off Test Succeeded - TWICE
The recent analog TV shut-off test in Wilmington, N.C., provided valuable insights into how to prepare for the national DTV transition planned for Feb. 17, 2009. That’s what panelists said during the DisplaySearch HDTV Conference session on the digital television transition.

Today's High-Def Headlines

Despite the struggling economy, the U.S. flat-panel TV industry continues to flourish, according to research released at the DisplaySearch HDTV 2008 Conference in Hollywood. Paul Gagnon, DisplaySearch North American TV research director, said TV unit sales will continue to grow through the remainder of 2008, although a slightly lower pace than in 2007, causing the research firm to revise its forecasts slightly upward. However, accelerated declines in average selling prices (ASPs) will challenge dollar volume growth.

Hitachi to Clip Plasma Panel Production - Washington Post
Japan's Hitachi Ltd. said it will shrink production of plasma panels and buy them from Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. in a bid to cut losses on its flat TVs in a market dominated by rival LCD technology. The world's No. 4 plasma TV maker will buy fabricated glass panels -- the high-end part of a plasma TV -- from Matsushita in a step that some analysts say could be part of a slow withdrawal from the business.

New TiVo DVR Records 150 Hours of HD Fare - MCN
TiVo has launched a new digital video recorder, the TiVo HD XL, which can record up to 150 hours of HD content — the largest recording capacity of any DVR currently in the market. The new box, which retails for $599.99, works with CableCard technology in digital cable and telco households and in homes receiving digital over-the-air signals but does not currently allow satellite subscribers to record content in HD.

Obama And McCain On 60 Minutes, In HDTV - CBS News
America's most-watched news program takes a hard look at the presidential candidates on its 40th anniversary broadcast much as it did when its very first edition on Sept. 24, 1968, featured Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Forty years later, however, 60 Minutes will debut a vivid, new look thanks to digital technology that would have been science fiction in 1968. 60 Minutes' 40th anniversary program - a special broadcast in high definition and devoted entirely to interviews with Barack Obama and John McCain - will be broadcast this Sunday, Sept. 21, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Changes Seen In HDTV Adoption - TWICE
As penetration of HDTV sets reaches half of all homes in the United States, the second half of the adoption phase is likely to look a lot different than the first half, according to The NPD Group. Ross Rubin, The NPD Group industry analysis director, said this to attendees at the DisplaySearch HDTV 2008 Conference here Tuesday. Rubin said HDTV penetration levels are now at about 46 percent of U.S. households, with 34 percent of homes having only one HDTV and 13 percent owning multiple HDTVs.

Comcast, HDNet Strike Carriage Deal - MCN
Comcast Cable will offer Dallas-based HDNet on its high definition programming lineup as part of a carriage agreement announced last week. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement enables Comcast to provide both HDNet and HDNet Movies in many of its systems, according to HDNet.

CES Continues Courting Content - B&C
The Consumer Electronics Association announced Wednesday that major content companiesNielsen, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, MTV Networks and Buena Vista Home Entertainment all secured exhibition space for the 2009 International CES, which runs Jan. 8-11 in Las Vegas. For the past few years, the CEA has been pursuing major programmers, studios and cable companies to take a larger role in CES, which has traditionally been a tech-focused showcase for HDTV sets and other electronic gadgets.

DirecTV Buys More Harmonic Gear for HD Expansion - MCN
DirecTV has expanded the deployment of Harmonic’s video-processing systems to support its high-definition national channel service. DirecTV upped its national HD roster to 130 channels in August. The satellite operator cited the high-definition service as driving subscriber growth in recent quarters: DirecTV had 17.16 million subscribers as of June 30, a 5% increase from 16.32 million a year earlier.

RCN To Roll Out All-Digital Cable In NYC - MCN
RCN will begin switching its New York City video service to all-digital starting next month, officials said Monday. RCN executives said the change, which the company has already enacted in Chicago and Boston, will enable it to reclaim existing analog channels, improve picture quality, make the network easier to maintain, and dramatically increase the number of standard and high-definition channels it can offer to subscribers, to more than 75 in HDTV.

Digeo Looks To January Rollout Of Retail STB - TWICE
Cable TV set-top solutions manufacturer Digeo said it is preparing two Moxi digital set-top boxes for market including a version intended for retail distribution early in 2009. Greg Gudorf, Digeo president, said the first device to reach the market will be distributed through cable operator Charter Communications later this month to be followed shortly by "a second MSO." The device will incorporate an HD DVR and the Moxi integrated user interface.

MASN Steps Up With HD Channel - MCN
Regional sports network MASN will step to the plate with a full-time high-definition channel next March. Building on the 40 Baltimore Orioles and 40 Washington National Major League Baseball games it offered this season in the high-definition format, MASN’s HD channel will air up to 200 of the clubs’ contest in the enhanced format next year. In addition, the HD service will present preseason Baltimore Ravens National Football League games, select college football, basketball and lacrosse contests, and ESPN News fare.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Verizon Brings 98 HD Channels to Seattle Area

People who have Verizon FiOS TV tend to rave about it -- and now, those in the Seattle area can join in the fun. Verizon has launched its fiber-based TV service in Washington State and boasts 98 HD channels there, on par with what it offers in New York and New Jersey. 80,000 homes in Washington State can sign up for FiOS TV immediately with additional neighborhoods to come online in the next few months. More from Multichannel News

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wilmington is All-Digital Today

The nation's first cutover to digital TV broadcasting occurred today in Wilmington, N.C., on schedule after Hurricane Hanna proved to be less destructive than some had predicted. Five full-power TV stations have ceased their analog broadcasts in a test to help the federal government uncover any issues that may crop up prior to the entire nation switching to digital TV next February 17th. More from Broadcasting & Cable.

Sony Lines Up Athletes for Latest TV Ad Campaign

Sony's new HDNA ad campaign for its Bravia LCD TV line will feature NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr., CBS sportscaster James Brown and the San Diego Chicken (ed. note: huh?). More here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Charter, Big Ten Network Come to Terms

A wise man once said that there's nothing that makes a person more productive than the last minute. The cable industry and the Big Ten Network are apparently taking that credo to heart, as Charter Communications yesterday became the latest cable operator to ink a carriage deal with the Big Ten Network. That deal only covers Charter cable customers in Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois but it does come before the Big Ten football season kicks off this Saturday. More from TV Week, including the joint statement.

As we reported yesterday, the Big Ten Network just signed a carriage agreement with Time Warner Cable on Monday, following its deal with Comcast that was reached in June.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Big Ten Network Finally Gets Time Warner Deal

After nearly two years of negotiations, the Big Ten Network has come to terms with Time Warner Cable, following a similar agreement with Comcast in June. TV Week reports that the Comcast deal pays the Big Ten Network 70 cents per subscriber in Big Ten markets and places the network on the a la carte digital sports tier in the rest of the country -- an arrangement that set the bar for the Time Warner Cable deal.

The Big Ten football season kicks off this Saturday.

ESPNU HD Launching This Week

As we reported back in May, ESPNU will this week become the next network in the ESPN family to offer a high-def feed when it broadcasts the Vanderbilt vs. Miami (OH) college football game this Thursday at 7:30PM EDT. According to Multichannel News, ESPNU HD has carriage agreements in place with five service providers: Time Warner Cable, Verizon FiOS, RCN, Atlantic Broadband and Broadstripe.

ESPN is in negotiations with Comcast for distribution of ESPNU HD.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Comcast to Carry FX & Speed in High-Def

Comcast has reached a deal with Fox Cable Networks to carry the HD versions of FX and the Speed Channel, Multichannel News reports. Comcast already offers FX HD and Speed HD to its customers in Chicago and south-central Pennsylvania (Hershey and Harrisburg) and expects to make the two HD nets available to all of its basic high-def customers by the end of next year.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Pity the Los Angeles residents who lug home pricey high-definition television sets only to find that most of their shows don't look much better. The entertainment capital of the world ranks last among the five biggest U.S. markets in the number of high-definition channels available to cable-TV subscribers. New York, Chicago, Houston and Philadelphia all get far more, as do such smaller cities as San Diego and Charlotte, N.C.

AT&T has shifted into overdrive on subscriber acquisition for U-verse TV, shooting to nearly double its midyear count to end 2008 with 1 million customers. A compelling high-definition lineup is a crucial part of meeting that goal, says Dan York, AT&T’s executive vice president of content. But he notes that the telco needs to balance channel counts with programming costs. York recently spoke with Multichannel News technology editor Todd Spangler about the HD arms race, as well as multiplatform content distribution and the challenges of cutting deals in a business driven by volume discounts.

It appears the TV industry's self-prescribed medicine of pushing smaller flat-panel sets is working. The second-quarter check-up is in, and the industry is in far better health than a year ago. DisplaySearch's Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report was released Thursday, and worldwide TV shipments increased 11 percent from the same period in 2007, but just 3 percent from first quarter of 2008.

Paramount Home Entertainment revealed a special Blu-ray Disc promotion Wednesday that will give consumers a $10 upgrade rebate for upgrading their Paramount and DreamWorks DVDs with Blu-ray versions of the same titles. The promotion, which begins with the Sept. 2 release of “Transformers,” will enable purchasers to mail-in promotional certificates located in the packaging of the Blu-ray products, along with the proof-of-purchase tabs from both the DVD and Blu-ray versions.

Worldwide Microsoft has become the leading provider of IPTV services to some of the world’s largest telcos, including AT&T in the United States. Jim Baldwin, senior director of engineering, at Microsoft Mediaroom talks about some of the advantages that IPTV offers the telcos in the race to add more HD content.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Comcast Adds 15 New HD Channels in Chicago

Comcast cable customers in the Windy City have reason to be happy today with the news that they now can get 15 more high-def channels. The new additions are: Bravo HD (channel 278), CNBC HD (266), Fox News Channel HD (265), FX HD (267), QVC HD (282), The Weather Channel HD (270), Encore HD (263), Fox Business Network HD (264), Fuse HD (279), IFC HD (280), WE HD (281), Hallmark Movie Channel HD (227), NBA TV HD (235), NHL TV HD (234) and Speed Channel HD (237). H/t to MCN for the news.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

After losing out in the battle to define the high-definition successor to the DVD, Toshiba Corp. has turned its attention to the next best thing: the DVD player. Today, the Japanese electronics company is releasing a DVD player that it says does more than previous models to improve the look of standard-definition DVDs on high-definition TVs. The XD-E500 will sell for a suggested price of $149.99, twice as much as regular "upconverting" players, which also improve the look of a DVD, but less than half the price of a Blu-ray player.

TV shipments for North America hit record growth levels in the second quarter, despite a weaker U.S. economy, said DisplaySearch. TV shipments rose 28 percent compared to the same quarter last year to more than 9.3 million units, according to preliminary DisplaySearch findings, marking the strongest quarterly results since the research firm began tracking TV shipments in 2004, it said.

Comcast customers in suburban Harrisburg and Hershey, Pa. will have 10 more HD channels and four more standard-definition channels to choose from Friday when the cable operator completes its latest channel expansion in the area. Additional HD networks that will be added to the Comcast lineup in Hershey and Harrisburg’s suburban areas include: AMC HD, Animal Planet HD, Big Ten Network HD, CNN HD, Fox News Channel HD, FX HD, The History Channel HD, NHL Network HD, Speed Channel HD and The Weather Channel HD.

Panasonic claimed its entire 2008 line of 1080p Viera plasma HDTVs are rated to last 100,000 hours before reaching half its original brightness. The claim is based upon the U.S. average daily viewing time of 6.5 hours; Panasonic 1080p plasma HDTVs could on average take more than 42 years to reach half of their original brightness level.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

MTV Networks’ high-definition music channel MHD will change its name to Palladia effective Sept. 1. Palladia will offer more exclusive programming as part of its evolution, kicking off with “Outdoor Music Week” the first week of September. The lineup of outdoor music concerts will feature Madonna, Usher, Dave Matthews Band, Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Who, Green Day, Genesis, Jay-Z, Amy Winehouse, Foo Fighters, Kanye West, David Bowie, Snoop Dogg, Sugarland, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dierks Bentley, Hank Williams Jr., Queen, Will Smith and the Rolling Stones.

Verizon said today that it has added 23 new channels, including 18 in high-definition (HD), to its Pittsburg-area lineup. With the recent additions, Verizon said that its FiOS TV service now offers more HD channels than Comcast in the Pittsburg area. FiOS TV customers in the area now have more than 440 HD choices available at any time, with a total of 45 HD channels and more than 400 HD video-on-demand (VOD) titles offered each month.

Fujifilm bolstered its holiday line, due to ship in September, with its first digital camera to record HD movies. The S2000HD In a shift, two of three new cameras announced by Fujifilm today will accept only SDHC memory cards and not xD Picture Card memory. Previously, the company had incorporated dual memory card slots into all of its cameras.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Encore HD is looking for some encores. The enhanced simulcast version of the channel had its first launch on DISH Network on Aug. 1. Encore HD, which became available July 15, has also been rolled out on Insight Communications systems serving the Bowling Green, Ky., market. Starz Entertainment executive vice president of sales and marketing Ed Huguez said Comcast has made a commitment to launch Encore HD, “hopefully by year-end.”

Hitachi Releases New Blu-ray Camcorder - TWICE
Hitachi will ship a new Blu-ray Disc camcorders to dealers in September. The new DZ-BD10HA replaces Hitachi's previous Blu-ray disc camcorder. The new model will be 20 percent smaller than the previous BD7HA model and offer a new 7-megapixel CMOS sensor along with the ability to record HD video to Blu-ray disc, a 30GB hard disc drive or an SDHC flash memory card.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Today's High-Def Headlines

Sharp said Tuesday it has expanded its SB series entry line of high-definition LCD TVs. Models in the series include the 52-inch LC-52SB55U ($2,299 suggested retail) and the 46-inch LC-46SB54U ($1,699), both of which are shipping now, and the 42-inch LC-42SB45U ($1,399), which ships in September. All are Full HD 1080p capable and feature glossy piano-black bezel cosmetic styling.

NBC Universal said it has reached agreements with a run of cable operators to offer video-on-demand coverage of the Olympics, including replays of events. After the Games launch Friday, VOD offerings--which are updated daily--will include some five to 10 of the top events in a particular day, as well as highlights from some 15 sports.

Versus sports network is expanding its schedule of televised college football games, increasing its coverage to 23 games from the Mountain West Conference, Pac-10, Big 12 and Ivy League this year. Last year the network broadcast 19 matchups, including two major collegiate upsets (Stanford over No. 2 USC and Oregon State over No. 2 Cal). That was an increase from nine games in 2006, when the network first began carrying college football.

Monday, August 04, 2008

DisplaySearch HDTV Conference Coming to L.A. September 15-17

One of the best HD industry confabs around is coming up next month in Hollywood, as DisplaySearch's annual HDTV Conference hits Tinseltown from September 15-17th. I went last year and can vouch for the thought-provoking lineup of speakers and panel topics. One of my favorite industry gurus, ESPN HD honcho Bryan Burns, will again be providing his insights at this year's DisplaySearch gathering, among many other notable VIPs.

More info here, including how you can register. See you in L.A.!

(In the interests of full disclosure, DisplaySearch isn't paying me to say any of this, although I'd gladly take their money if they wanted to throw some my way.)

Today's High-Def Headlines

Big Ten Network Ready for '08 Season - MCN
It’s August and for football players that means the grind of two-a-day workouts. For those trying to secure Big Ten Network carriage deals with Time Warner Cable, Mediacom and Charter Communications, it hasn’t gotten to that point — yet.

Plasma is dead. Front and rear projection? Fuggeddaboutit. LCD has a few good years left, and then it's sayonara, baby. TV technology's future lies in tiny phosphorescent molecules. Organic light-emitting diodes--OLEDs--employ a thin layer of organic material that emits light when electricity passes through it. OLED displays need no backlight, so they're ultrathin and flexible.

LG Electronics unveiled at its summer line show Thursday night its first LED-based LCD TV and a third-generation Blu-ray Disc player that will be compatible with the Netflix instant-streaming video service. In addition the company showed the latest additions to its flagship Scarlet LCD TVs — a pair of 1.8-inch deep 1080p LCD TVs, and revealed plans for a new nationwide TV recycling program.

After seeing an ongoing slowdown in customer growth, Charlie Ergen’s Dish Network actually lost 25,000 subscribers in the second quarter, the satellite company reported Monday. DISH Network, which ended the quarter with roughly 13.79 million subscribers, set an ignominious mark in the process.

VIZIO, America's fastest growing HDTV company, is launching a new media campaign tied to its HD Sponsorship of NBC's 2008 Olympic Games broadcast. The ad campaign is designed to fuel VIZIO's meteoric growth by introducing feature-rich products, rivaling or outperforming their competitors' premium lines, while maintaining the company's commitment to value pricing.