It’s the entire point, really. New smart TVs from Samsung boast video cameras with facial-recognition software and microphones with speech-recognition software. They can tell who’s in the room, understand spoken commands, and be controlled with gestures. That’s great news for those of us who can never find the remote, but made our friends over at HD Guru wonder: is there anyone behind that camera watching us back?
More TVs on the market have the capability to connect online to access apps that stream video and music, as well as hook up to browsers and social networks. Consumers, though, aren’t necessarily taking advantage of the feature. According to research firm NPD In-Stat, half of the TV owners aren’t putting the devices online.
Dust, smudge marks and other mysterious grime can obscure the picture on that TV you’ve made the centerpiece of your living room. But the device is so seemingly fragile that it’s intimidating to attempt to clean it.
Headlines are blaring about the 1.6 million 40″ Sony Bravia TVs getting recalled for fire and smoke risk, but they’re overlooking a key fact. The recalled models were only sold in Japan. No recall has been issued in America. However, there are 400,000 models that were sold in the US that contain the same component that prompted the Japan recall. Here are the Sony Bravia TV model numbers you should check to see if you have.
With seemingly everyone falling all over themselves to buy HDTVs at falling prices, it seems baffling that the number of American homes equipped with TVs dropped for the first time in nearly two decades. But that’s the result Nielsen has derived from its research. The firm announced the 2012 Advance/Preliminary TV Household Universe Estimate (UE) will be set at 114.7 million, slipping from the 114.7 million 2011 figure.
Thanks to steady price drops and ubiquity on store shelves, HDTVs have become the norm in American homes, entering 60 percent of households. Those who have gone the extra technological mile to don glasses and buy 3D TVs, though, are still a tiny minority.
Analysts say HDTV prices will drop like Blockbuster stock as the holidays approach, thanks to a glut of LCDs flooding the market.
Steve’s TV buying experience with Target has not gone well. If he wants to try this a third time, the store is more than willing to let him, but they say he has to pay full price now and there’s still no guarantee a broken TV won’t show up on his doorstep.
DirecTV and Dish Network have both ditched their monthly HD surcharges, cutting about $10 off monthly bills, High-Def Digest reports. It’s a key step to compete with cable for customers.
The next time you go shopping for a new HDTV, keep in mind that the brightness and contrast settings don’t adjust brightness and contrast, and most of the fancier-sounding image quality controls don’t do anything except possibly degrade the image. Also, motion blur in live video is largely imaginary, which is good because advertised response times are highly exaggerated. And hey, that impressive “dynamic contrast ratio” the manufacturer is crowing about? Most of the extra contrasty goodness happens when there’s no image on the screen.
Bad news for those of you who were hoping Blu-ray would become a passing fad that vanished like Betamax, LaserDisc and HD DVD. The high-definition format only continues to pick up steam as giant HDTVs continue to infiltrate households and people decide plain ‘ol DVDs are no longer good enough. High-Def Digest, which admittedly has a horse in the race, reports the Blu-ray format is thriving.
This past summer, Time Warner Cable introduced a new DVR service to subscribers. The New York Observer noted at the time that some of the changes–namely the “Start Over” feature that lets you watch something from the beginning even if you just switched to it–were nice. At least one customer, however, doesn’t agree. In fact, now that he’s given the revamped service a 4-month trial run, he’s ready to list the problems with it, some of which sound suspiciously anti-consumer.
The Fry’s store in Renton, Washington, just played a mean trick on at least half a dozen customers. This morning, Jeff successfully navigated through the crowd outside, the crowds inside, and no less than five different lines in order to purchase a 52″ TV. Everything went remarkably smoothly. Well, until the very end.
Kelli bought an HDTV from Best Buy, and the set broke in June. Now it’s almost November, and despite scads of phone calls and appointments, her TV is no closer to being fixed today than it was way back when.