When I wrote about Sherwood last week, the company was releasing a budget Blu-ray player. Now it's its high-end Newcastle line making news with an A/V receiver that costs about six times as much.
Sean Portnoy covers HDTVs, Blu-ray, home theater equipment, and anything else that turns the living room into your media center.
Sean Portnoy is a former executive editor at Computer Shopper magazine and editor at CNET Networks.
It's highly debatable that you can tell the difference between 720p and 1080p HD content in sets under 50 inches, much less in models less than 42 inches, but that isn't stopping HDTV makers from bringing 1080p to sets as small as 32 inches. Vizio continues the trend with two new lines of 1080p LCD HDTVs that are priced to trump the competition as the company almost always manages to do.
LCD TVs with built-in DVD players generally come in smaller screen sizes and are often budget-priced. That may change if you add Blu-ray to the equation, which Sharp is apparently planning to do this December with the U.
The first generation of CableCards was pretty much a bust, as cable companies didn't want anything to do with the devices, which could replace a set-top box by being installed in TVs or home theater PCs (HTPCs). The disinterest was due to the fact that the technology only allowed communication in one direction: from the cable company to the user.
The Sherwood name has been attached to electronics for more than 50 years, but it may get some new visibility with its announcement that it's releasing the $299.95 BDP-5003 Blu-ray player next month.
Best Buy must get some huge margins from its Geek Squad tech support service, because it seems like everyone wants to copy that model of overcharging noobs for help with tech installations and troubleshooting. Circuit City has Firedog, and Office Depot has Tech Depot Services.
Just in case you wanted a new Apple rumor that didn't involve updated MacBooks and building laptops out of aluminum bricks, here's an inevitable-seeming one from tech guru Jason Calacanis, who tells our sister site CNET UK that Apple is planning an LCD-based HDTV that would sport built-in networking and (naturally) Apple TV.Considering everyone is clamoring to stream digital content into the living room (or bedroom, etc.
This one may be just for the Lehman Brothers and AIG execs of the world, because I'm not sure anyone else can afford Game Cabinets' new $3,995 Intellitunes digital jukebox in this economy.What do you get for all that money?
Home theater fans who aren't satisfied with their HDTVs' built-in video processing and/or just can't get enough HDMI ports into their setups may want to take a gander at DVDO's new Edge, which combines technology from Anchor Bay to improve video quality while also doubling as an A/V hub. At $799, it costs as much as some new TVs, but for video snobs it's more affordable than other options (such as buying a whole new set with the latest processing tech).
While we all wait around until January for the Consumer Electronics Show, an event like CEATEC Japan can give us a taste of the future for home theater. And since ZDNet didn't offer to fly me over there to check it out first-hand (cough, next year, cough), I had to do the next best thing: Scour the Internet for the coolest technologies other folks got to stand in front of and drool over.