DTV Primer

Chris Llana, Editor


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June 8, 2006

Toshiba has now addressed problems in its two HD-DVD players with the release of a firmware update (V1.2). This reportedly fixes locking up, skipping, loss of audio sync, and HDMI/DVI issues that have plagued the machines. For more information, go to the Toshiba HD-DVD site and then click on the customer support tab.

Toshiba has also now rebranded its entire digital TV line "Regza" -- from the German "regsam," which supposedly brings to mind "vibrant and dynamic qualities." Toshiba no longer produces CRT or analog-tuner LCD TVs in Japan, where LCD sets now outsell CRT TVs.

Also from Toshiba, word that its impressive SED flat-panel TVs will not to go on sale until 2007. They've been having trouble getting production costs under control.

And while Toshiba is releasing fixes for its flawed HD-DVD players, Pioneer is announcing a delay in the release of its Blu-ray Disc player -- from June until September (or sometime this fall). Waiting for HDMI 1.3? We're still hoping that Samsung will have its player out on June 25 (or thereabouts). Pioneer has also announced that it will stop making plain vanilla DVD players in favor of the Blu-ray flavor.

Mitsubishi has developed a DLP rear projection TV that uses red, green, and blue semiconductor lasers as a light source instead of a white light bulb and spinning color wheel, and instead of the colored LED arrays that other manufacturers are introducing. The "Laser TV" is supposed to be on the market late 2007. What to expect? Thinner (62" screen with 10" depth), lighter, richer colors, better blacks, greater clarity, and a bigger price tag to boot.

At this year's NAB convention (National Association of Broadcasters), Ikegami (a professional-grade TV camera manufacturer) showed off a new CMOS imaging sensor capable of capturing video at 720/120p and 1080/60p. Good news indeed, that this sort of image quality may make it into consumers' homes, well, before we all die.

And finally, in Washington, Senator McCain has introduced a cable a la carte bill -- the "Consumers Having Options in Cable Entertainment (CHOICE) Act of 2006." The proposed legislation would provide regulatory incentives for broadcasters, cable companies, etc. to offer consumers a la carte channel selection. That is, letting consumers pay for only the cable channels they actually want to watch (as opposed to expensive packages of 150 or so channels).

I'm not sure this proposal will go anywhere, but if you want to read more, click on this release .