Following the demise of Circuit City, Wal-Mart's been making a big push into the electronics market, and one of its PR folks let us in on a couple of upcoming "deals" on certain LCD TVs. The sale runs from June 14-20, or while supplies last.Vizio VO420E 1080p 42-inch LCD ($697) Sony Bravia KDL-52S5100 1080p 52-inch LCD ($1,788) Sanyo DP37649 720p 37-inch LCD ($398)
According to information from a lineup sheet first posted on engadgetHD, and confirmed by a Vizio spokesman, the company's highly anticipated VF551XVT, previously scheduled for release this month, will be delayed until September.
The 55-inch HDTV is also going to be $200 more expensive. That new price is likely to provide differentiation between the VF551XVT (now $2,199, up from $1,999) and the current VF550XVT (still $1,999), which we reviewed earlier this year and will remain in the company's lineup.
When it finally arrives, we expect the VF551XVT to handily outperform its less-expensive 55-inch brother. That'… Read more
Every year it seems there's a new catchy spec in the HDTV realm everybody likes to talk about. A few years back it was 1080p resolution. Then we heard about 120Hz, which is supposed to reduce motion blur in fast-moving images on LCD TVs. Well, this year, the latest and greatest spec is 240Hz, which is supposed to do what 120Hz does, but better.
Not too long ago, our video guru David Katzmaier gave his initial impressions on 240Hz in a post titled "Is 240Hz worth waiting for?" When he wrote that piece, he'd just seen his first 240Hz TV in action and wasn't sold on the new technology. Now that he's reviewed four 240Hz HDTVs and has a fifth review (the LG 47LH55) in the works, he's still not sold, but he admits the verdict isn't totally clear-cut.
Part of the problem is that there's a difference between what your eye sees in everyday material you watch and objective testing done with test patterns. As Katzmaier notes in his post, "Standard LCD and plasma TVs refresh the screen 60 times per second, or 60Hz, which is plenty fast enough to eliminate flicker and create the illusion of motion from a series of still images. In fact, most sources sent to your display arrive at the nominal rate of 30 frames per second, and each frame is repeated once by the television to achieve 60 total fps."
For most people, including me and Mr. Katzmaier, it's very difficult to see the impact that "faster" LCD sets have on picture quality. We spent some time in our AV lab watching various source material from 120Hz TVs and 240Hz models and it's really hard to detect any difference (it's hard to detect any difference between 120Hz and 60Hz models, too). To be clear, I'm referring here to motion-blur reduction because of faster refresh rates, not to dejudder processing, which smooths out motion and makes film-based material shot at 24fps look more video-like. When dejudder is engaged, you can easily spot its impact on the picture. (It's also worth mentioning that the dejudder processing on the 240Hz TVs we tested so far wasn't any better--or worse--than than the dejudder on 120Hz TVs). … Read more
The weak economy hasn't stalled the American consumer's flat-panel fix.
Following a decline last year, North American sales of flat-panel TVs surged during the first quarter of 2009, according to a report released Monday from market research company DisplaySearch. With demand often outpacing supply on some models, 7.2 million flat-panel TVs flew off the shelves, an increase of 23 percent from the first quarter of 2008.
Aggressive pricing followed by Circuit City's liquidation tempted consumers in search of bargains, according to the DisplaySearch report titled "Quarterly Global TV Shipment and Forecast Report."
Former small … Read more
The variation of Yahoo Widgets designed specifically for debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show last January. Not to be confused with its PC-centric incarnation, the TV-only widget feature will be available on certain HDTVs from LG, Samsung, Sony, and Vizio shipping this year. The first widget-equipped sets to hit store shelves are members of Samsung's UNB7000 series, and this hands-on review was performed on a UN46B7000--although we expect the widget experience to be similar across brands.
What is a widget? It's basically a gateway on your TV screen to Internet-supplied content in a certain subject area. All TVs with Yahoo Widgets can connect to the Internet, and via that connection can populate the widgets with real-time information and updates. At the time of this review there are only four widgets, all of them available as soon as we turned on the TV, connected the Ethernet cable, and hit a button to activate the feature. The four, namely News, Weather, Finance, and Flickr, were all created by Yahoo.
In the coming weeks and months, more TV widgets will become available. According to Yahoo, more than 300 publishers "are interested in developing" widgets, from individuals to large content publishers, and the company expects TV widgets from Accedo Games, Twitter, Yahoo! Video, eBay, USA Today, Yahoo! Sports, Showtime, CBS Entertainment (CNET Reviews is published by CBS Interactive, a unit of CBS), The New York Times, YouTube, CinemaNow and others. Publishers that have announced plans to develop TV Widgets include Disney/ABC, MySpace, Viacom/MTV, Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, Associated Press, and Joost. Yahoo estimates at least 100 widgets will be available by the end of the year, and its TV widgets website teases with some of the big names, like Netflix, whose description reads: "Browse, find and enjoy great movies with the Netflix widget--a personalized, convenient way to rent and watch movies on your TV."
We also expect advertising to appear on the system eventually, which could make the user experience less consumer-friendly. Yahoo says that "some publishers may choose to monetize their content by the end of 2009," and that the widget engine works with Web-compliant advertising system to enable Yahoo and third parties to advertise. For now, however, the widgets are blessedly ad-free. … Read more
At CES this year, Vizio caused a stir by announcing the VF551XVT, a 55-inch HDTV with local dimming LED backlighting and 240Hz processing for the rock-bottom price of $1,999. The company's CES announcement makes the current VF550XVT a lot less desirable. One digit in a model number means a lot--the current model has neither of those features, although it still costs about $1,999 in stores.
The VF550XVT is among the least expensive 55-inch LCDs on the market, but it has a tough row to hoe at this point in its life span. First off, attentive readers will … Read more
Lots of news in gadgets this week, which is welcome after the usual post-CES lull. If you didn't have time to catch it all in real time, we've helpfully compiled a list of some of this week's best stories. Consider it Crave's Valentine to you. <3
In honor of the holiday everyone loves to hate, we here at Crave compiled a list of the gadgets we've loved and lost, or got so frustrated with we wanted to throw them against the wall. Check out the gadgets that broke our hearts.
The Kindle 2 arrived … Read more
Vizio turned the HDTV market on its head with its low-priced sets, and now the company will concentrate all of its TV efforts on LCD.
The California-based flat-panel maker will no longer produce plasma TVs, according to a report in The New York Times Wednesday. It was the third-largest plasma TV maker in North America as of the end of the third quarter of 2008, with 13 percent of all shipments, according to DisplaySearch.
Vizio co-founder Laynie Newsome told the Times the reasons for the move away from plasma TVs were that they didn't sell as well in big-box … Read more
Despite all the times we've written about how 1080p just isn't that noticeable, especially at small screen sizes, it's becoming a moot point. Just about every LCD is 1080p these days, and with models like the Vizio VO32LF, the price gap between 720p and 1080p is negligible. In fact, this 32-inch LCD replaces the 720p VO32L we reviewed earlier in Vizio's lineup, and costs the same at $599 list.
The hallmark of our VO32L review was the display's accurate color, due in part to the ability to adjust the picture settings and particularly color temperature. The 1080p version improves upon that color accuracy, ditching the greenish tinge we noted in darker areas. When you add in decent black levels, the Vizio VO32LF is among the better small-screen flat-panels we've tested. But those test results have nothing to do with its 1080p native resolution.Read the full review of the Vizio VO32LF
Vizio is best known for its low prices on HDTVs, but the company is branching out into Blu-ray with the new VBR100 player. From the specs, the biggest selling point is the $200 price tag, and we were surprised to see 7.1 analog outputs available too. Here are the details.
Key features of the Vizio VBR100:Profile 2.0 compatible Onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-Master Audio decoding 7.1 analog audio outputs Optical and coaxial digital audio outputs Available in April, $200 list price
Most of the players we've seen here at CES have tried to differentiate themselves … Read more