HDTV is a big ticket item and it is such a heavy behemoth that replacing or moving it is something you want to avoid. To reduce the probability of such an event happening is it best to buy the highest end model or go with a brand that is voted by users to be the most reliable?
PC World has an annual Reliability and Service survey that lets its readers rate leading HDTV brands. More than 16,000 readers responded to the survey with their likes and dislikes. This is a rather good sampling and it is a good guide to follow. Respondents rated each brand and its HDTV relative to competitors by 9 measures. It is pretty comprehensive and includes criteria such as customer satisfaction, quality of phone service, severity of hardware problems, and ease of use. It is good to note that HDTV reliability has improved considerably as compared to models released before 2006.
Below is a chart of the survey result.
Sony is Voted the Most Reliable
The winner by a wide margin was Sony. It was ahead in seven of nine categories. The Japanese electronics powerhouse earned praise for hardware reliability and customer service. It received average marks in ease of use and phone hold time. Sony’s HDTVs may be well made, but seldom are they a bargain. However, respondents noted that higher end and more expensive models are generally more reliable. Take for example the top of the range Sony XBR-55HX929. It is top notch in every aspect and has garnered many positive reviews at Amazon. It has even garnered buzz in various tech forums and even by players on sites such as Partypoker.com
Other major manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, and Vizio had two above average scores each. Overall, readers reported greater satisfaction with the reliability of Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony sets. They also gave credit to LG, Sharp, and Vizio for making TVs with fewer serious issues. For example the Samsung UN65D8000 is well received for its ease of use.
Mitsubishi fared the worst, with four below-average scores. Readers reported a higher-than-average incidence of severe problems with the TVs, and lower-than-average satisfaction with the sets’ reliability and ease of use.
Source: PC world
The ugly duckling of the lot, the Viera is considerably less attractive on the outside but makes up for it with a fleet of USB and SD slots, distinguished black levels, and natural colors on the NeoPDP panel. While the Infinia and Series 8 may pack some fearsome firepower on the Blu-ray front, it was Panasonic’s Viera VT25 which left them sitting in the dust when it came to 3D performance.
The Infinia LX9500 is one of the more polished sets we’ve tested from LG by far. Its sophisticated borderless styling and attractive interface were undeniable, while its NetCast platform also acts as a functional enticement. We were encouraged by its HD upshot, more so with local dimming features enabled. While LG might have some minor 3D crinkles to iron out, let’s not forget its pair of 3D glasses is conveniently rechargeable.
Samsung UN55C8000 Series 8
If there was a double-edged sword in this shootout, Samsung’s Series 9 would be it. The C8000 knocked our socks off in many ways including its sexy looks, PVR perks, solid HD performance, and delectable Internet@TV content platform. What eventually let it down however was its uninspiring 3D execution and crosstalk tendencies which we experienced with the third-generation Series 7 recently. Even a less discerning eye would find it hard to sit through a 3D movie on this one.
When it comes to buying their next TV, consumers are leaning towards goggle boxes that turn plain 2D content into 3D eye candy.
9 out of 10 3D TVs sold in the second half of last year were models that can convert regular 2D content like TV programs into 3D content.
These TVs are simply more practical, as they allow users to enjoy the stereoscopic effect from their existing movies and games. However, such converted content may not be as immersive as full-fledged 3D movies and the video games.
Conversion is done by a processor in the TV that converts the video on the fly, including TV programs.
Not all the brands have this feature. Sony and Samsung champion it, but not LG, which offer only native 3D capability. Other makers, like Panasonic, include the feature in some of their TV models.
It makes sense for consumers to get models that can convert 2D content to 3D as the price difference between the two types of 3D TVs is not very significant.
The use of conversion technology to turn regular content into 3D is not new and has been used by Hollywood recently.
For instance, movies like Clash Of The Titans and Alice in Wonderland were filmed with conventional cameras before being converted to 3D.
With the current lack of original 3D content, it is no surprise 3D conversion technologies are getting hot. Such technologies are also expected to spur 3D TV sales which have not exactly taken off in a big way since the format entered homes a year ago.
According to research firm DisplaySearch, 3D TV sales worldwide accounted for only 3 per cent of all flatscreen high definition TVs shipped as of the end of last year.
When it comes to comparing converted 2D content with 3D content, the differences have to do with the details.
Converted 2D content has a sense of depth but the depth is not a seamless one. Instead, you can easily pick out three zones: foreground, middle area and background.
For instance, take a scene showing a house on a hill with a mountain as the backdrop. After conversion, you are likely to get a house atop a three-dimensional hill and can perceive that the mountain is some way behind.
With an original 3D scene, there will be more details to the house so you are likely to be able to easily see pillars and roof extensions and also pick out the bushes and trees on the hill. For the mountain, you should be able to perceive the gradient of its slope.
Since the beginning of 2010 we have seen a significant increase in the number of 3D HDTVs from major manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic. But to have full 3D video playback in your home is not as straightforward as splurging on the latest 3D HDTV. To help you get your setup up to speed we have listed below all the items you need to enjoy 3D playback:
- A 3D HDTV, 3D projector, or 3D computer monitor. These displays usually have a higher processing power as they need to display one image for each eye to create a 3D effect.
- A source to deliver 3D content. This source can be a cable box with a subscription to a 3D channel or a 3D blu-ray player.
- Content – In order to watch 3D, you will need to get some 3D content. This 3D content will come from the source mentioned above in the form of a 3D program, movie, or game. Please ensure that your 3D movies are in the Blu-ray 3D format, as this new format will provide the best 3D experience. Here are the some of the latest 3D blu-ray movies.
- 3D Glasses – All 3D HDTVs on the market require 3D Active Shutter glasses to create the 3D effect. You will need one pair of glasses for each viewer. Also make sure that the Active Shutter glasses you buy are compatible with your display. It is best to buy the glasses from the same brand as your 3D HDTV. Most HDTVs are sold bundled with a pair or two of these 3D glasses.
- HDMI Cable – To connect your source (such as a 3D Blu-ray player) to your display, you’ll need a high-speed HDMI cable that is ver 1.4 or later. Cables with this designation will be able to carry the 3D signals without any loss of quality.
- 3D AV Receiver – The AV receiver that you buy for your home theater setup will also need to have HDMI ver 1.4 (or later) inputs and outputs to allow 3D signal pass-through. Most of the newer Onkyo AV receivers are already 3D compatible.
There are also 3D starter kits that will give you some cost savings.
A multi-platform advertising and sponsorship campaign deal between ESPN and Toshiba has recently been announced by the latter. Signalling a different direction in Toshiba’s marketing strategy and their corporate ambition to broadcast the Toshiba brand, Toshiba’s “It’s a Game Changer” commercial will be shown on EPSN, ESPN2 and ABC through 2010. The highlight of the commercial will be on the highly rated Toshiba REGZA LED TV series and will feature sports fans undergoing changes in the way they watch sports with the objective of connecting ESPN fans to the Toshiba brand.
Apart from the television commercials, viewers and fans will be able to participate in digital contents on both ESPN.com and SportsCenter.com. Viewers will be able to cast their vote for the “Innovative Play of the Week” as well as the “Innovative Play of the Year” online to win prizes from Toshiba as well as an ultimate grand prize of a trip to ESPN’s Studios. In sponsoring the prizes, Toshiba is tying their leadership in innovation with unique sports plays. Also, Toshiba will be adding other social media components into the campaign in bid to engage more consumers.
The stylish design of Toshiba’s LED TV and more importantly, their cutting-edge technology will be the spotlight of the commercial to showcase their perfectness for sports viewing. Featuring superior technology like the FocaLight Full Matrix LED with Local Dimming and ClearScan 240 motion enhancement, amazing deep blacks and brighter whites will be produced for a vibrant, crystal-clear picture even during fast motion scenes, which is typical in a football game.