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Video Hardware & Software

Sony & Samsung: An Unlikely Team, But Could This Be the Start of a Beautiful Relationship?

January 7, 2006

Is used to be that Japanese companies only made alliances with each other -- while at the same time fighting tooth and nail for competitive advantage.  But now we have a Japanese company -- Sony, no less -- that has gone outside of "the family" with its alliance with South Korea's Samsung over flat-panel display technology.  (It's also funny how Samsung has passed Sony as a favored consumer brand -- something unheard of just a few short years ago.)

Seems both companies are looking at the bright side of this alliance -- better technology for Sony, better marketing and branding for Samsung.

Ultimately who will be the winner?  Maybe both companies, but ultimately us consumers who will enjoy the fruits of their joint labors, some of which is on display the CES in Las Vegas this week.

Slingbox works with Mobile Devices

January 3, 2006

Slingbox plans on adding a software client to complement their popular Slingbox streaming video content hardware device. According to IP Democracy:

Place-shifting pioneer SlingBox is slated to announce
at CES this week a new software client that allows any Windows Media-capable device to serve as a viewing platform for a customers' multichannel video or PVR service. This is a phenomenal development given that SlingBox is cutting across the top-line business priorities of motion picture studios, TV program producers, cable operators, wireless phone providers and even Apple Computer, which hopes to build a business on mobile video.

IP Democracy hits the nail on the head when it states, "So far, not a peep from the litigious studios, or even a threatened lawsuit from cable or satellite operators. I suspect that it's difficult to come up with a legal rationale against what Sling is doing -- this is not unauthorized copying or transmission of content.

Audio FX Force Feedback Headphones

December 28, 2005

I don't know about you, but when I'm watching a DVD or playing a video game I want full surround sound with the bass cranked way up so I can "feel" the explosions of a frag grenade or feel the footsteps of the T-Rex as he stomps closer. There's only one problem with enjoying lots of bass and high volume - the people around you; husband, wife, neighbors, etc. might not want to hear it or feel the bass reverberating through the floors, especially late at night which is "prime-time" video gaming time! Sound was meant to be felt, especially when immersed in a video game. So what's an bass addict to do?

Well, no worries, just put on the Audio FX Force Feedback Headphones ($49.95) which will let you "feel" every explosion and every impact due to its unique force feedback characteristics - all without disturbing the neighbors or waking up the kids or "significant other".

Pioneer To Unveil First Blu-ray Disc Drive

December 28, 2005

Much buzz yesterday afternoon about Pioneer’s announcement to unveil a Blu-ray Disc drive at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January. According to the announcement, the first Blu-ray Disc format optical disc drive for personal computers will go on sale in Japan at the end of January -- pending licensing issues.

This is the first announcement of a shipping date from any optical disc drive maker.

Muvee: Video Editing Is Dead

December 19, 2005

NEC Monitors Are a Joy to Behold

December 15, 2005

Desktop flat-panel monitors have been the rage, and if you're thinking it's now time to move up substantially from the standard 15-inch variety to something better, then look no further than NEC's excellent new 19-inch 1940CX MultiSync LCD monitor.

Recently introduced as a new "consumer" model along with the 17-inch 1740CX (previewed at DigitalLife 2005), the black 1940CX had the whole family mesmerized -- from word processing and online shopping to PC gaming and even online gaming (athough NEC has other special new monitors for those freaks!) -- we were all impressed with the crispness, clarity and so fast 8 milliesecond response time of the 1940CX.

Controls are designed to be easy-to-read and use, and the On-Screen Manager (OSM) provides simple to understand menus. Other really useful features include:
• No Touch Auto Adjust reduces setup time and provides optimal image settings upon initial
power-on -- no fooling around with setup CDs or driver installation
• Ambix® dual-input technology for digital/analog compatibility with upgraded video cards
and software
• Low power consumption reduces electrical costs and lowers total cost of ownership
• Built-in power supply allows for easy mounting of the display
• Wall/arm mounting capability adds flexibility and comfort, while freeing up valuable desktop space

NEC calls these "performance displays at value prices," and they are definitely worth the price of admission.  With monitors, like so many other things in the gadget world (and life in general), you get what you pay for.  In this case, seeing is believing and these are a pleasure to behold.

The Dish on DISH, Texas

December 12, 2005

The World Is Becoming Flat

December 8, 2005

It’s no surprise that TV sales continue to rise, with sales of flat panel TVs (including both LCD and plasma) more than doubling from last year as prices inexorably drop over time.  At the same time, sales of CRT TVs (what the CE industry is now calling “older model” TVs) dropped by 8%.  All of these figures are from DisplaySearch (, a leader in display market research, which tracks nearly 50 manufacturers in this product category.

What is a bit surprising are the top brands worldwide (by revenue):

  1. Samsung
  2. Panasonic
  3. Philips
  4. Sony
  5. LGE

The order gets juggled a bit when companies are ranked by number of units sold:

  1. Samsung
  2. LGE
  3. Philips
  4. TTE
  5. Sony

What’s notable here is the rise of Samsung to the top spot in both categories – a dramatic acknowledgement of how far that brand has come in just a couple of years.  Can they sustain it?  Quality vs. Price = Value = Sales (QvP=V=S); is that the success formula?

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