The Windows system tray clock used to be the most primitive and least accurate timekeeper since a caveman stuck a stick in the ground on a sunny day. What Microsoft left undone was an opportunity to developers who rushed in with much-needed improvements such as atomic clock updates and, best of all, colorful, customizable, feature-packed skins and utilities that let you put useful, accurate clocks on your Windows desktop. Unisoft's 3D Tray Clock Ex. is just such a utility, updated with more looks, more features, and more improvements to stay ahead of the much-improved clock on recent editions of … Read more
Tuesday we told you about a slew of new Onkyo receivers that will support 3D content. Thankfully, that upgrade has trickled down to the company's 2010 line of home-theater-in-a-box products. Both the HT-S3300 and HTS-5300--which are follow-ups to the HT-S3200 and HTS-5200--will fully support 3D video pass-through.
Sure, 3D support is a welcome addition; however, perhaps the most notable improvement to this year's models is the capability pass both video and audio via an HDMI cable. Until now, these Onkyo HTIBs required a separate audio connection, but now you can ditch the extra wires.
Finally, the company announced an unconventional 2.1 HTIB, the HTX-22HDX, that is designed to emulate surround sound with just two speakers.
Highlights of the three new models:… Read more
Panasonic has announced its first 3D TV bundle available exclusively at Best Buy stores, featuring a plasma TV and 3D-compatible Blu-ray player. The bundle will cost $2,900 for a 50-inch TC-P50VT20 TV (a $2,500 value by itself) and 3D-compatible DMP-BDT300 Blu-ray player ($400), and also include one pair of 3D glasses (model TY-EW3D10U, $149). The Panasonic bundle and TVs will be "sold exclusively at select Best Buy stores via Magnolia Home Theater," according to Panasonic. The 50-inch model will be followed by 54-, 58-, and 65-inch versions later this year, though pricing has yet to be determined.
If the TC-P50VT20 sounds different from the TC-P50VT25 model that was CNET's Best of CES pick earlier this year, that's because it is--albeit just slightly. The two models are nearly identical: the VT25 has minor external styling differences (different color bezel) and includes an RS232 port and ISF calibration mode not found on the Best Buy version, but it's slightly more expensive. (See an early hands-on evaluation here.)
To drum up excitement for the 3D launch, the companies held a joint press event at the Best Buy store in Manhattan's Union Square. Immediately following the press conference, the first bundle was sold to customers Brad and Ashley, a couple from Manhattan's Upper West Side. (The timing of the sale had been pre-arranged by Best Buy beforehand.) With New York sales tax, the total came to about $3,100. Immediately afterward, they were bombarded by questions and interviews from the large group of media who had shown up to document the event.
In the end, despite the hype, this wasn't the first 3D TV actually sold in 2010.… Read more
Hours before Panasonic's 3D TV bundle launch at Best Buy, HDGuru.com, an independent website operated by reviewer Gary Merson, has published the first review of the company's first plasma 3D TV available for public sale.
In his writeup Merson described the TV as "an excellent HDTV and FHD3D TV." He found some video processing issues but otherwise had few complaints, lauding its contrast ratio and "pop," its color accuracy, and the performance of the company's new antiglare screen. His evaluation of 3D performance noted improvements over previous demos he saw of Sony … Read more
We covered Samsung's 3D TV highlights and pricing bundles in a post earlier today, but put many of the company's other TV-related announcements on the back burner until we could get more information. Now we're back with the details, and it turns out there's more to the story than just 3D.
We threw most of the nitty-gritty into the below slideshow, which contains pricing, availability, and key feature information on 10 TV series, plus a couple of 3D glasses and a touch-screen remote. We'll expand our coverage with reviews and other details as soon as … Read more
The battle for 3D in the home is officially on.
On Tuesday, the same day Samsung unveiled the pricing and availability of its new lineup of 3D TVs for the U.S., Sony revealed that its 3D sets will arrive June 10, at first in Japan and soon after in other regions. Rival Panasonic's first 3D TVs begin selling Wednesday in Best Buy stores in the U.S. LG's 3D lineup arrives in May, while Vizio's is set for August.
Sony's first model will have a 46-inch screen for 350,000 yen or $3,875. That'… Read more
Add Onkyo to the list of AV manufacturers jumping on the 3D bandwagon. The company has unveiled a trio of new entry- and midlevel AV receivers for 2010, all of which boast HDMI 1.4 connections that are capable of passing the 3D signal from a Blu-ray player to a compatible TV. In addition to 3D compatibility, Onkyo is touting the receivers' support for audio return channel (if you want to, say, amplify the audio from a TV's built-in Netflix or Pandora stream) as well as HDMI passthrough (useful when you want to play a game on your PS3 using the TV speakers, while the receiver remains in standby mode). The $600 model even includes a VGA input for PCs--the first such feature we've seen on an AV receiver.
Highlights of the three new models follow:… Read more
The 3D TV hype machine begun at CES in January rolls on Tuesday as Samsung, the world's biggest TV maker, officially announced pricing and availability of its 2010 3D-capable HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and home theater gear.
The initial wave of televisions that can handle the new 3D TV Blu-ray and TV formats won't be cheap. The company's first 3D TV, the UNC7000 series, has been available for the last few days and is currently going for around $2,350 at Amazon for the 46-inch model ($2,600 MSRP). That's a $350 premium compared to Amazon's price for Samsung's closest 2009 non-3D equivalent, the UNB7000 series, while the company's closest 2010 non-3D equivalent, the UNC6500 series, sells for about $250 less.
Samsung's larger 55-inch 3D TV costs about $3,000 at Amazon ($3,300 MSRP) while the 40-incher is being listed by online retailers at about $1,800 ($2,000 MSRP). From the limited 3D TV demos we've seen, we expect screen size to be even more important to enjoying the 3D effect than it is with normal, 2D HDTV. In other words, bigger is better than ever.
Battle of the $3K 3D bundles For a mere $3,000, about what it costs to take a family of 200 to see "Avatar" in IMAX 3D, you too can experience "Full HD" 3D TV at home this month.
To watch 3D on your new 3D TV you'll also need a compatible Blu-ray player, 3D glasses and, yes, a Full HD 3D Blu-ray. Samsung's promotional offer, in conjunction with Best Buy, has you covered. Buy the UN46C7000 (at what we assume will be the $2,600 MSRP) and the BD-C6900 Blu-ray player (conveniently another $400) and the company will throw in a pair of the glasses, model SD-2100AB ($150 MSRP each) and "Monsters vs. Aliens" in the new 1080p 3D Blu-ray format--not to be confused with the old 3D Blu-ray version, complete with cardboard colored glasses, that's been available since September. (If you must buy now, we recommend trying to use your existing HDMI cables, which should work fine, rather than springing an extra few bills for the "high-speed" or "3D-compatible" versions).
(Update March 10, 2010) By way of comparison and more hype, Panasonic will also launch its 3D TV bundle today at Best Buy, charging $2,500 for the 50-inch TC-P50VT20 TV and $2900 for a bundle that includes the DMP-BDT300 Blu-ray player and a pair of glasses. The bundle will be available at select stores beginning at the end of the month. For a bit less than the Samsung bundle you get a larger screen, one pair of glasses and no movie. … Read more
Last year, Pioneer's VSX-1019AH-K was our top midrange AV receiver pick, offering more features for the same price as its competitors, and still serving up solid sound quality. Pioneer has announced its new 2010 lineup for AV receivers, and our first impression is that the company looks like it has a good shot at maintaining its edge in the "features war." Here's a quick rundown of the announced models.
Key features of the Pioneer VSX-520-K:5.1 AV receiver, 110 watts per channel 3 HDMI 1.4 inputs 3D-compatible (able to pass 3D HDMI signal from 3D Blu-ray player to 3D TV) Onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, plus Dolby ProLogic IIz decoding Bluetooth-ready (can stream Bluetooth audio from compatible A2DP devices with $100 AS-BT100 adapter) Advanced Sound Retriever and Automatic Level Control processing $230 | Available in April
Key step-up features of the Pioneer VSX-820-K:4 HDMI 1.4 inputs… Read more
On today's show, Apple wants to wipe all HTC phones from the face of the earth, apparently because Steve Jobs is just grouchy about this whole business. Donald and Molly engage in a nice long talk about the validity of software patents, and then we wonder whether anyone would actually line up to buy a new 3D HDTV. Meanwhile, the well-meaning House of Lords is probably going to destroy the Internet.Subscribe with iTunes (audio) Subscribe with iTunes (video) Subscribe with RSS (audio) Subscribe with RSS (video) Episode 1178
Apple: HTC phones caused ‘irreparable injury’; asks for ban on … Read more