Month: September 2009

Who Will Pay for TV?

September 30, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
This is a recurring theme for me, which will be familiar to Almanac readers; if everyone is skipping the commercials, who will pay for TV? The subscription fees you pay for cable or satellite do pay something back to the content producers, but without advertising, the major networks can't get enough money to pay for the enormous production costs for their prime time programming. (That's why they're all in a...

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Truth Patrol: Best Buy Explains “LED TV”

September 29, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Most of the Truth Patrol tips are sent in by readers, but this is one that I found myself, thanks to a lead from TWICE eNews Daily. They published a link to a YouTube video that was apparently created by Best Buy to train its staff about the Samsung "LED TVs". As I and many others have pointed out (including the New York Times), the name is misleading because it...

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A Remote Rant

September 28, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
The title doesn't mean that I intend to phone it in today. No, instead I want to take a moment to complain -- okay, maybe even whine -- about remote controls. To quote Chef of South Park, most remotes have "more features than the Space Shuttle." I've got one with 50 buttons. 50! And most of them have multiple functions depending on the context. It's amazing that I can remember...

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HD in a Cell Phone?

September 25, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
It was bound to happen. Cell phone designers have been putting multi-megapixel cameras in their phones, so why not use them to capture video as well? With all those pixels, what the heck; let's make them HD video clips! And that's exactly what Sprint is offering in its Samsung Instinct HD smart phone. No, it can't play them back in high-def on the little touchscreen display, but you can hook...

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Hit the Road, Kid!

September 24, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Earlier this month, Nielsen published their "A2/M2 Three Screen Report" for the second quarter of 2009. (You can download it for free at http://en-us.nielsen.com/forms/report_forms/A2_M2_Three_Screen_Report. This overview report has some fascinating information about America's viewing habits, and I was particularly interested in online viewing. The graph doesn't show direct TV watching; those numbers are more than 100 hours for all age groups, and graphing that would obscure the other information. I...

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Where Is Blockbuster Headed?

September 23, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Netflix is off to see to Oz (see yesterday's post), but where is Blockbuster headed? The company has announced plans to close up to 960 neighborhood stores and install thousands of kiosks (presumably in an attempt to cut costs and compete with Redbox). But wait, it is has an online rental service that can stream movies to customers, which has more current titles but costs more than the "all you...

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We’re Off to See the Wizard

September 22, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
"The Wizard of Oz" is 70 years old this year, and Warner Brothers is celebrating by performing a digital restoration of the original film. And you can watch it for free, thanks to Netflix. For 24 hours, starting at 9 AM Eastern on October 3. All you have to do is go to www.netflix.com/wizardofoz to view the streamed movie on demand. If you have a current unlimited Netflix subscription, you...

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California Pushes Energy Savings

September 21, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
It used to be that a 35" TV was about as big as you'd get for home use. Now many people are buying rear-projection and flat panel displays that are much larger, and there are concerns that these sets are more power hungry than the TVs that they replace. As is often the case, California is trying to get out in front on this issue. While the federal government has...

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Get Connected!

September 18, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Last night, I attended a "Holiday Spectacular" press event hosted by Pepcom in New York City. I saw all sorts of new sparkly shiny things there, some of which I will probably end up buying because they are just too cool and do exactly what I want and are priced right. For example, I'm due for a new digital camera, and I saw a lot of choices that include the...

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It’s Not a TV, But…

September 17, 2009 | Author: Muneeb Mannan
Okay, they don't have tuners. Their Wide VGA (800 by 640 pixel) screen is not HDTV resolution. But the new DreamScreens from HP fill an interesting hole in the home entertainment landscape. The HP product manager doesn't like it when I say it, but these are the next logical step up from an LCD photo frame. The DreamScreen comes in two models: the 10.2" Model 100 and the 13.3" Model...

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