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HDTV Technologies and Trends at CES 2009 Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 January 2009
Article Index
HDTV Technologies and Trends at CES 2009
Page 2

Green TV Technology - MISS

If the empty spaces around the green displays at CES were any indicator, the average consumer just doesn’t seem to be that concerned.  If choosing between a regular HDTV and a Green HDTV at a similar price point, Green may make a difference.  But if CES is any indicator, it certainly doesn’t seem like it’s going to inspire a new wave of HDTV purchases.

LED Backlit LCD -  HIT

Clearly a popular technology, LED backlit displays were everywhere.  Samsung’s fully backlit Luxia series looked nothing short of amazing, with a brightness and vividness that put my poor Sony Wega to shame.  LG also debuted some excellent LEDs touting a 240Hz refresh rate.

Vizio got in on the game as well, with a 55 inch backlit display.  Featuring a 240Hz refresh rate and a million to one contrast ratio, the VF551XVT comes in at just under $2,000.  A note for next year though, the jail scene from The Dark Knight makes for a really good display of the contrast ratio, but boy did the Joker creep me out.  Some images just don’t need to be that clear.


Well, missing anyway.  Weren’t there a ton of these at CES 2008?  Weren’t they larger?  The technology that was to take 2009 by storm is not the technology that might hit high end consumer pricing in the next few years.  They still look amazing, they’re still flexible, and sadly they’re still a few years off.

Integration - HIT

A common theme with new HDTVs was integration.  Whether it was Samsung, Toshiba, Sony or Vizio, it seemed that everyone was out to make the TV a one stop shop for internet based applications.  At the push of a button, different widgets pop up at the bottom of the screen for use.  Checking finances, keeping tabs on a fantasy football team, and hitting up Flickr will soon be as easy as hitting the widget button.

Perhaps more exciting is the announced integration of Netflix with several of the models.  Streaming movies don’t look amazing, but they’re instant and they’re easy.  Having thousands of movies available at the touch of a button for $8 a month?   Expect to see this feature gain in popularity in the future.

Refresh Rates – HIT

To a point anyway, the difference between a 60Hz and 120Hz rate is clear.  The motion smoothing technologies on said displays made it even more evident.  Going 120Hz to 240Hz was less obvious, but side by side there was certainly a difference.  Whether watching action movies, sports, or playing games, there’s definitely a benefit to the rate upgrade.

240 to 480?  Not so much.  Perhaps they didn’t have the best images on display to show it off, but there wasn’t a difference large enough to be truly noticeable to most consumers.  Certainly it’s beneficial, but for now, not really needed.

Gesture Control – MISS

Let me get this straight, rather than the inconvenience of grabbing a controller and hitting a few buttons, I can move into the right spot and make certain hand and arm motions to control my television?  Folks, this isn’t a Wii, it’s a television.  When I sit in front of it, it’s not because I’d rather be waving my arms around, it’s because I want to be sitting and watching.  I will give the gesture control one credit, it sure was fun to watch people try and use it.

Price Point – HIT

The recent economic decline certainly isn’t helping high end home theater companies stay in business, but a great deal of economy televisions certainly will.  With the digital cable change looming in just a month, many households will be getting their first High Def set, and every company wants to be attracting those consumers.

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