Month: January 2009

HDTV on the Half Shell

January 30, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
"Ah, is that the Boticelli Venus hanging there in your living room?" "Yes, but let's watch the SuperBowl so wait just a moment while I push this button to make the painting roll up and reveal my flat screen television!" My friend and colleague Bruce Berkoff likes to refer to the WAF of flat panel TVs in the home: the Wife Acceptance Factor. (I adhere to the more context appropriate...

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High-Def Domestic Tranquility

January 29, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
You're in the living room with your "significant other" watching a movie or TV show or sports event on your beautiful big flat panel HDTV, and then one of you decides that you'd like a snack from the kitchen, which is the next room. Do you pause the show (if it's a movie or you've got a DVR or equivalent service that will let you do that) or does the...

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HDTV Owners Don’t Watch HDTV

January 28, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
No surprise here, really. InStat reported this week that 17 million of the more than 39 million U.S. households with at least one HDTV set do not have an HDTV signal source. That's a little more than two out of every five. Now the good news is, I suppose, that a couple of years ago the estimate was that only half of the HDTV households had HDTV, so this does...

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Who’s Not Ready?

January 27, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Well, it looks as though the U.S. Congress is going to delay the transition to digital television broadcasts, and I've already made my position clear on why that's not a good idea. Nielsen reported new numbers last week on about how many households remain unprepared for the end of analog broadcasts, and the results provide support for both camps on the issue. According to Nielsen, 6.5 million households remain completely...

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Reader Question: Pixelated Text

January 26, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Q: Why do HDTV's at major retailers look pixelated, especially on lower third text effects at bottom of screen? Is it just me or is something wrong? Anthony A: There are a number of possible explanations for this. The most likely one is that the retailer is using a distributed signal from a single source to all the sets on display at once. If they cut corners on the signal...

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DTV Transition: The End is Nigh!

January 23, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Due in part to maneuvering by some Republican Senators, Democratic Representative Henry Waxman has postponed a vote on his bill to delay the cut-off of analog television broadcasts for another four months. So the clock continues to tick, and we're now down to 25 days. (You can get your own DTV digital clock at http://www.dtv.gov/dtvcountdowns.html.) Clearly, we're running out of time to try to call a timeout on this one....

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Cable TV: Moving to the Internet?

January 22, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
An article on Sunday in Multichannel News reported on the plans of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox Communications -- the three largest US cable companies -- to allow "place shifting" of their services. The idea is simple; you have a subscription for cable TV service. Why should you be constrained to just watching that programming on your television? Why shouldn't you be able to take advantage of that service...

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Battery Powered LCD TV

January 21, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Two products got lost in the shuffle on the way to the digital TV transition: TV radios and battery-powered TVs. TV radios are handy, because they can receive the audio portion of analog broadcasts for TV channels. Sadly, the audio signal in digital TV broadcasts is encoded along with the video, so it will be much more expensive to create a TV radio for digital channels. As a result, I...

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Don’t Delay the DTV Transition

January 20, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
The news is full of efforts to delay the transition to digital TV broadcasts, with a bill introduced in Congress to postpone the end of analog broadcasts from February 17 to June 12. In my opinion, this would be a big mistake that will cost the taxpayers and businesses in this country hundreds of millions of dollars that do not have to be wasted. Companies paid $19 billion to license...

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RIP: Circuit City

January 19, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Well, the two "highly motivated and interested parties" failed to materialize, and on Friday, the court authorized liquidation of the Circuit City assets. The sales started on Saturday, and according to some reports, business was brisk. There still may be opportunities for bargains, however, as the discounts will increase between now and the end of March when the liquidation sales are to be completed. The sales are being conducted by...

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