As much as we love plasmas' image quality here at CNET, there's no denying that they're power hogs . However, at CES 2009 we've seen several plasma manufacturers showing off new energy-efficient panels. Like Panasonic's NeoPDP plasmas, the Samsung PNB550 series of plasmas claim to consume nearly 50 percent less energy compared to past models. Here are the full details.
Key features of the Samsung PNB550 series:Nearly 50 percent less energy consumption compared to past models Ultra FilterBright antiglare screen Real Movie (24fps mode) Real 600Hz processing Energy Star 3.0 compatible 50-, 58-, and 63-inch … Read more
If you've been put off by Blu-ray's changing Profiles, varying audio decoding compatibilities and prohibitive pricing, Sony's BDP-S550 represents a lot of what is right about the latest crop of Blu-ray players coming out. The BDP-S550 has a strong feature set, including Profile 2.0 support, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and 7.1 analog outputs. Sony also goes the extra mile on this player and includes a tiny 1GB USB drive, so the BDP-S550 works out of the box with BD-Live features, as long as you're connected via Ethernet. We were also impressed … Read more
Logitech has stealthily released the Harmony 510, a new entry-level $100 universal remote that slightly reworks the design seen on the company's previous 500-series models. It's almost an exact copy of the Harmony 550, except for a different color scheme and slight reworking of the keypad. There are two fewer keys, and some buttons are relabeled. For instance, the bottom four buttons on the 550 are Sound, Picture, A, and B; on the 510, there are just four unlabeled colors (red, green, yellow, and blue). In fact, those color keys are actually borrowed from the European versions of the Harmony remotes--note the very similar Harmony 525.
To confuse matters further, there's a third remote--not counting the now (presumably) discontinued Harmony 520 and the Europe-only 525--in the line that's also a near-doppelganger: the awkwardly named Logitech Harmony Advanced Universal Remote for Xbox 360 (which we dubbed "AURX360", strictly for expediency's sake). Even for non-Xbox 360 owners, that model may actually be the pick of the litter, because it has a couple of extra buttons over the 550--and controls 12 devices, rather than just the 5 the 510 does. All four U.S. models can be found online for under $85 dollars. … Read more
Sony will be dropping the prices on its standalone (non-PlayStation 3) Blu-ray players by $100 in September, according to an anonymous source cited by CE insider Gary Merson on his HD Guru Web site.
Around the same time, the source claims that budget players manufactured by Funai and sold under the labels Philips, Magnavox, Sylvania, and Insignia could drop as low as $249. Specifically, the Sony BDP-S350 would drop from $400 to $300, and the as-yet-unreleased step-up model, the BDP-S550, would be introduced at $400, instead of the $500 price that was previously announced.
Now, anonymous sources are a dime a dozen on the Internet, but our normal degree of "beware stuff you see on a blog" cynicism is tempered by two points. First: Merson's had a good track record on getting the inside scoop on forthcoming price drops in the past (example). Second, the fact that prices are coming down as we approach the all-important holiday buying season just makes sense--we'd be more surprised if the prices didn't fall. … Read more