Month: December 2005

Cold News for DirecTV

December 30, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Digital satellite service provider DirecTV came up on the losing end of two major decisions in December. The Federal Trade Commission charged that DirecTV and the companies it hired violated the national Do Not Call Registry rules. According to reports attributed to DirecTV representatives, the violations were made by third-party marketing companies that had since been fired. Still, it will cost DirecTV more than $5 million to settle the charges....

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HDTV Playing Nice: Part 2

December 29, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Last week, I wrote about the two new initiatives to get HD displays and home entertainment equipment to work together. Now there's word about a new display interface for computers that is intended to help them work better with consumer electronics displays such as HDTVs. The interface is called the Unified Display Interface -- UDI -- and it is aimed at replacing the traditional VGA analog 15-pin connector. It will...

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Blu-ray First to Market?

December 28, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
It looks as though the race to be first to deliver a blue-laser, high-definition DVD player to the market may be won by the Blu-ray camp. Toshiba had announced that it was going to ship a drive based on the competing HD DVD standard before the end of 2005, but was unable to make good on the promise. Now Pioneer has announced that it will ship its Blu-ray drive in...

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Reader Question: PC/TV Plasma Bargain?

December 27, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
I just ran across an ad for a 42" plasma TV that has PC input and can double as a computer monitor. When I investigated further, I found that the 42" screen has a resolution of 852 by 480 pixels. Wow! By comparison, a 19" LCD monitor normally has 1,280 by 1,024. The pixels on the plasma TV must be the size of a dime. Is this a VGA input?...

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Look Ma! No Wires HDTV!

December 26, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Digital television promises to bring crystal clear images to your screen. HDTV promises incredible detail. And IPTV holds out the promise of all sorts of new forms of video entertainment streamed across the Internet. And what's wrong with this picture? All this content is delivered to a single location in most homes: a cable box, or a computer, or an antenna feed. So long as your TV-watching takes place in...

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One in Four with HDTV

December 23, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
When you consider that a display company -- Panasonic -- paid for the study, you need to take the results with a grain of salt, but the conclusions are plausible. One of four USA households either owns or plans to buy an HD display in 2006. Pretty impressive numbers, to be sure. But it leaves me asking, how many of these homes will be able to view HD content on...

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US Analog TV Dark Date Set!

December 22, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Okay, it has finally been decided. At least until Congress changes its mind. Yesterday, the Senate approved a spending bill that contained a provision for the date that analog TV broadcasts will cease in the US: February 18, 2009. The government apparently won't wait until then to collect on the windfall of the radio frequencies that will be freed up by the changeover to digital broadcasts. The spectrum will be...

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Making HDTV Pieces Play Nice

December 21, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
As I write in Professor Poor's Guide to Buying HDTV, you need three parts in order to get a true HDTV experience: Display + Signal + Content = HDTV. If you don't have all three, you will get nothing better than your old-fashioned Standard Definition television experience, or maybe even worse. One of the big problems, however, is knowing whether all the pieces you assemble will work together. Two new...

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Beyond HDTV? Plenty of Pixels

December 20, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO) is one of the major Taiwanese producers of LCD panels. The company announced recently that it had created a 56" diagonal LCD-TV panel with "quad full high-definition" -- QFHD -- with 3,840 by 2,160 pixels. Yes, that's the equivalent of four 28" 1080p panels tiled together. CMO says that it intends to produce the panel in volume by the third quarter of 2006. It's clever, and...

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HP Straddles HD DVD Fence

December 19, 2005 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
The competition to become the standard format for high-definition content on DVD discs just got more confused, if that's possible. HP has been a part of the Blu-ray development effort that is led by Sony. Earlier this fall, HP asked the Blu-ray camp to incorporate two features that were part of the competing HD DVD specification, but the group only decided to add one of the two. HP has now...

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