Kolin Beats Sony in Taiwan

Big news everyone! Kolin shipped more LCD TVs in August than Sony. Kolin’s number is at 4,000 LCD TVs in August that includes the

#1 Kolin, 4,000+
#2 Chimei
#3 Panasonic
#4 Sony

The surprising thing is that Sony took the #1 spot at all. Sony being a premium brand with premium prices, you wouldn’t expect it to outsell dirt-cheap LCD TVs from Kolin, Tatung, Sampo, Teco, etc. but it did. Sony’s premium brand continues but at less premium prices. Sony has become the new value leader and will continue to offer aggressive prices for top-of-the-line design and technology. That’s hard to beat.

Source: DigiTimes

GfK Sony Commissioned HD Benchmark: Australia Big on HD

Sony commissioned the HD Benchmark study to track “how consumers are adopting these products and taking advantage of the benefits brought about by HD,” according to Carl Rose, Sony Australia’s Deputy Managing Director. According to the first HD Benchmark, 42% of total consumer electronics (CE) spending in the second quarter of 2006 was HD products including LCD TVs, plasma TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes (STBs), personal video recorders (PVRs), camcorders and DVD hardware. This was a significant increase from only 27% in the same quarter in 2005.

Hmmm. I didn’t know DVD was considered HD. Did they mean Blu-Ray and HD-DVD? If that’s the case, a few thousand units sound about right. Game consoles… there’s only one: Xbox 360. HD camcorders? There’s a few models by Sony and Canon. I would need a bit more clarification regarding the definition of “HD products”. With scaling technology so advanced, anything type of device could “accept” HD signals and then scaling it down to display it on “HD Ready” screens. I wouldn’t consider these bastardized CE devices as HD. Is an ED plasma TV considered part of “HD products”? (The answer should be a definite “No”.)

Source: Smarthouse

Sharp LC-42D62U, LC-46D62U, LC-52D62U LCD TVs

Sharp introduced three new LCD TVs during CEDIA 2006. The three are LC-42D62U, LC-46D62U, and LC-52D62U. As the model names imply, they are 42″, 46″, and 52″ in size all all three toute Full HD resolutions of 1920 x 1080. The LC-42D62U has a 6000:1 contrast ratio, a 6ms response time and two HDMI ports and will retail for a really nice price: $2499. Although Sharp is regarded as a premium brand in most markets, because of the recent price slashing competition between the other ‘S’ companies Sony and Samsung, Sharp needed to respond with a bit more aggressive pricing and I am glad that they are in the game.

Sharp LC-52D62U

Both LC-46D62U and LC-52D62U have an improved contrast ratio of 10000:1 and faster response times of 4ms. The 46″ has a MSRP of $3499 and the 52″ $4799. The case design of these three units are nothing new and I am slowly getting a bit bored by them. As in my previous post about stands, I wish these CE brands would make the stands a bit more sturdy in general so they do not tip over accidentally. I am really looking forward to a 42″ Full HD LCD TV with LED backlights for $1999 in the near future.

Source: Gizmodo, LCD TV Buying Guide

LG Electronics 47LB1DA: 47″ Full HD (1080p) LCD TV

CEDIA is the place to have been last week. LG Electronics (LGE) showed off its new 47LB1DA, a 47″ LCD TV with Full HD resolutions of 1920 x 1080. It has two HDMI ports. MSRP is at a cool $3,999. There is a previous blog entry regarding the 47LB1DA in detail but the picture is new. I’m not digging the whimpy-looking stand though…

With some concern over large TVs tipping over, I would like to see CE companies come out with stand designs that are not only functional and sexy, but also sturdy/solid.

Source: Gizmodo

LG Electronics 60PC1D: 60″ Plasma with HD-DVR

I wish I was at CEDIA. There’s a lot of really great technology and designs displayed there. LG Electronics (LGE) showed its 60″ plasma display panel (PDP) TV with an integrated HD-DVR (not your SD types), the 60PC1D. The HD-DVR has a 160GB, which translates into 13 hours of HD content or 63 hours of SD content. The PDP itself has a 7000:1 contrast ratio (or in other sources stated at 10000:1), a brightness of 1200 cd/m2, 60000 hours lifetime, 160+ degree viewing angles, and a 1366 x 768 pixel format resolution. The 60PC1D has two HDMI ports, integrated tuners (ATSC, NTSC, QAM). MSRP is $5399, but there are places that are selling for much less.

The 60PC1D uses LGE’s XD Engine to improve the video images by upscaling lower resolution content to almost HD levels. In general, the XD Engine enhances the brightness, contrast, detail and color of the video source.

HD-DVR, that’s what we’ve been waiting for! Why would CE companies pair a nice HDTV with a SD-DVR? That was just non-sense to me. LGE is on the right track by pairing HD with HD. The only qualm I have with the 60″ 60PC1D is the resolution. 1366 x 768? Can’t we get to 1920 x 1080 resolution at these very large sizes?

Source: Gizmodo, AudioTronic, Barretts

Microsoft Zune: WiFi Enabled iPod Competitor

On November 14, 2006, Microsoft will start selling the new iPod competitor, Zune, at a $299 price. The display is a 3″ TFT LCD with 320 x 240 resolution: the same as most top-end Microsoft OS-based PDAs, although some have increased to 640 x 480, which is great. Back to the Zune: The audio formats that it supports are WMA, MP3 and AAC. Zune also displays pictures in JPEG format and movies in WMV, MPEG4 and H.264 formats. The initial version of Zune will have a 30GB hard disk and come in White, Black and Brown colors. Some websites refer to the Brown color as Chocolate. Unlike the iPods and more like other MP3 players, the Zune comes with a FM radio built-in. There is also a TV output. With the existence of WiFi, you can broadcast what you are listening to in DJ Mode and share files between Zunes that lasts for 3 days and 3 playbacks. A dedicated music download site is available for the Zune as well.

Overall, I like the way the Zune player looks and it seems like the user interface (UI) is a bit more polished than the candy-plasticky-looking one in the iPods. I really like the WiFi and look forward to enhanced WiFi-based connectivity in the future. For instance, with Apple’s iTV announcement, a WiFi-enabled Zune-like player could interface directly with the iTV instead of going through a computer or even a WiFi router. I have heard Microsoft is planning Zune-based cell phones, but I would rather it try to tackle the market where the Sony MYLO is playing first.

FYI: There is already a Zune Video Converter that converts AVI, MPEG, WMV, MOV, RM, RMVB, DivX, ASF, VOB, 3GP, APE to Zune.

Sony KDL-52XBR2 and KDL-52XBR3: 52″ BRAVIA LCD TV

Sony introduced two 52″ LCD TVs on September 14, 2006. One is the $6500 KDL-52XBR2 and the other is the $6800 (just $300 more) KDL-52XBR3. Both units will be available in November and can be pre-ordered through Sony’s site. These have Sony’s Advanced Contrast Enhancer (ACE) that adjusts backlight levels in real-time and boosts the 1300:1 panel contrast ratio to 7000:1 effective contrast ratio. Video is smooth and without much motion blur due to the BRAVIA Engine Pro that processes video at Full HD. There are too many technology acronyms to mention, but for the ~$6000 price, the 52″ XBR models seem to be a bit on the expensive side, even despite the fact that it has a 1920 x 1080 resolution. The backlight has an enhanced CCFL called Wide Color Gamut CCFL (WCG-CCFL) that increases the color gamut from a yawn-inspiring 72% NTSC to a much better number… it doesn’t say.

The KDL-52XBR2 and KDL-52XBR3 features a built-in ATSC tuner, three HDMI ports, a PC input, and other non-HD input ports. The XBR2 unit has a silver bezel while the slightly more expensive XBR3 unit features a glossy piano black bezel. I prefer the black, but without the glossy since I don’t like to see reflections when I am watching TV.

Source: Sony

Sony N Series: 15.4″ Wide Notebook PCs

Sony announced the N Series notebook PCs on September 13, 2006. The N Series is your typical 15.4″ notebook PC but with a bit more attention given to the design. There are three colors available: black, white, and brown. Now, this isn’t the first time brown has been added to the mix, supposedly Microsoft’s new Zune MP3 player has black, white, and brown. Brown is fashionable to wear, but to tote… we’ll have to see.

The 15.4″ wide screen comes with Sony’s XBRITE-ECO LCD technology, is Windows Vista Premium ready (not Ultimate?), has WiFi 802.11 a/b/g, a DVD+/-R DL/DVD+/-RW/DVD-RAM compatible optical drive and DVgate Plus software. The unit is priced at a nice $999 and will be available in October 2006.

I like the price. I hope there will be screen resolution options to at least 1440 x 900 or preferably 1680 x 1050. The standard screen will most likely be 1280 x 800 resolution with glare. I personally don’t like glare, but that’s just my taste. And for it to give us a decent Vista experience, I hope it has discreet graphics instead of an integrated one.

Source: Sony


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Seiko Epson Starts Volume Production of New High-Temperature Polysilicon TFT LCD Panels

High-temperature polysilicon (HTPS) TFT LCD panels are usually manufactured for LCD chips for rear projection implementations. The new thing about Seiko Epson’s HTPS panels is that the company’s hybrid driving technology is incorporated that enhances 3 LCD front projectors and rear projection TVs. The D6 series uses an inorganic alignment layer that has a diagonal size of 0.7″ and has Full HD resolutions of 1920 x 1080. The hybrid technology uses both internal and external drivers to drive the LCD. External driver ICs have superior driving capabilities compared to internal ones. The LCD driving controller IC is incorporated into the panel’s connection tape that result in smoother images, less power consumption and space reduction that will lead to more compact designs. Seiko Epson’s previous model, D5, has only a 1284 x 724 pixel resolution and is slightly smaller than the D6 at 1.8cm (versus Dy’s 1.9cm). Because of the major jump in resolution, aperture was decreased from 59% to 43%, but contrast ratio enjoyed a big jump to 1500:1 from only 450:1 on the D5.


Source: DigiTimes