BenQ describes its MP512ST projector as "designed for the Nintendo Wii," and by that we assume they mean white, inexpensive, and standard-definition. All the more reason for us to be surprised when this little unit produced a decent picture, albeit not quite at the level found on more-expensive high-definition projectors. Still, for less than $600, or about the price of a bargain-brand 32-inch flat-panel LCD, it's tough to complain.
In the contest for "best LCD," the main combatants for the last couple of years have been Sony and Samsung. We reviewed Samsung's LN52A650 earlier this year and liked what we saw enough to award it our Editors' Choice. Sony's latest contender for that award is the subject of our latest HDTV review, the KDL-52XBR6.
First things first: this Sony ain't cheap. But its ability to produce a deep shade of black is unmatched in our experience by any non-LED-based LCD or non-Kuro plasma, and many other aspects of its performance, especially its video processing, were definitely impressive. On the other hand, for that much cash we expected better color accuracy and screen uniformity.
Those picture quality issues swayed our decision making enough to keep the EC award in Samsung's camp for this round, although both scored the same overall and the argument can definitely be made that the Sony has the better overall picture, price notwithstanding. If black levels are your bag and you don't want a plasma, you can't do better than the XBR6 without shelling out gobs more money for an LED model.
Read the full review of the Sony Bravia KDL-52XBR6.… Read more
That's the dog-sized Bluetooth headset you can buy to go with today's real news item, the new BlackBerry Storm: announced but not released. Until it comes out, though, it's basking in the warm glow of the "meeting and maybe exceeding expectations" judgments coming from the media. In sum, it sounds cool. And Google decides it's high time they made some money on that whole YouTube thing.Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 826
BlackBerry Storm 9500 hands-on http://www.engadget.com/2008/10/08/blackberry-storm-9500-hands-on/ http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10059498-1.html
YouTube adds … Read more
A PriceScan report entitled "LCD TV Prices Fall Fast in Advance of Holiday Shopping" has found that prices for 40-inch 1080p LCD HDTVs fell 12 percent in the third quarter of 2008, including eight percent in September alone.
According to Jeff Trester, PriceSCAN Co-CEO and Chief Economist, "This is a fairly stunning drop in the price of state of the art high-definition televisions of a size sought by many households. One would have to consider 40 inch 1080p LCD televisions a bellwether of the consumer electronics market, so this current accelerating price decline may be indicative of … Read more
Earlier this year we awarded the 50-inch Panasonic TH-50PZ800U our Editors' Choice among 50-inch plasma TVs, and now that we've reviewed the newly released 58-inch version, it predictably gets a similar review, with an identical score and Editors' Choice award. Part of the reason has to do with its color accuracy, for which the TV's THX Display Certification deserves credit.
The bigger Panasonic still didn't perform as well as our new reference standard, the Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD--which we assume will perform as well, in turn, as the 60-inch Elite PRO-151FD--but those Elite models are just too expensive to earn our Editors' Choice. The 50-inch Elite, for example, costs more than the 58-inch Panasonic, and the 60-inch Elite is off the charts.
If you're shopping for a massive-screen plasma, the other high-end option is the 60-inch non-Elite Pioneer, model PDP-6020FD. Too bad it's significantly more expensive than the 58-inch Panasonic itself, and judging from our review of the 50-inch version, its color accuracy is a big issue. Couple that with the fact that, according to our observations, the 58-inch Panasonic delivered even deeper black levels than the 50-inch model, we feel the EC and higher rating compared with the non-Elite Pioneer is justified, again.
For folks just looking for a massive screen, regardless of form factor, it's still difficult to justify the higher cost of plasma over rear-projection. Our current rear-projection EC is the 61-inch Samsung HL61A750, a superb-performing LED-based DLP model that can't quite match the overall picture quality of any of those plasmas, but costs a dark sight less.
What's your take? Let us know in the comments section.
Vudu is adding high-bitrate 1080p downloads and a $200 credit for new customers to its Internet video-on-demand box.
Starting October 2, Vudu owners will be able to download a small but growing roster of movie rentals at high-bitrate 1080p resolution--dubbed "HDX" by the set-top maker. The initial 65 titles available include such movies as The Spiderwick Chronicles, Speed Racer, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Chinatown, Saturday Night Fever, In Bruges, The Chronicles of Riddick, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. The 1080p HDX versions will co-exist with the "Instant HD" 1080p ones, and will be available for the same price ($4 to $6). Going forward, Vudu is planning to make any new movie available in Instant 1080p to also be available in 1080p HDX, and the company will backfill update older HD movies in its catalog to HDX as well.
The catch:… Read more
HDGuru.com has published a survey of the resolution capabilities of 125 high-definition televisions.
The survey was conducted by HDGuru's sole proprietor, Gary Merson, who subjected the sets to a variety of test patterns and recorded the results in a handy PDF table. The patterns tested for 1080i de-interlacing performance of both video and film-based sources, still resolution (bandwidth) and motion resolution.
The results of the tests make interesting reading for people who follow the evolution of HDTV technology.… Read more