There's been a big stink made about the power-hogging ways of HDTVs, but something else in the living room -- and something a whole lot smaller -- is probably costing more in electricity bills each month.The humble HD set-top box uses about the same amount of power per year as a desktop computer, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, but add DVR functionality to that device, and it suddenly sucks down more juice than a 21-cubic-foot refrigerator.
Sean Portnoy covers HDTVs, Blu-ray, home theater equipment, and anything else that turns the living room into your media center.
Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.
Despite most critics favoring their picture quality, plasmas were at death's doorsteps a couple of years ago, with Pioneer and Vizio abandoning the technology as LCD sales surged. But after slashing prices, the remaining plasma manufacturers -- LG, Panasonic, Samsung -- have resuscitated the market for the sets, which generally deliver better black-level performance and are cheaper than LCDs at larger screen sizes.
Looking no doubt to boost its Google TV offering, the search giant has purchased yet another company, in this case SageTV, which provides an alternative software option to Windows Media Center. At first blush, it may seem like a redundant exercise, since being the hub for your digital media is the whole point of Google TV already.
Its partnership with Skype to bring video calls to its subscribers isn't the only iron Comcast has in the fire at this week's Cable Show. Tomorrow, the cable giant will detail what it's calling its "next generation television experience" for Xfinity TV customers, including a new set-top box and a revamped and more interactive UI.
Apple may or may not have thought about the Apple TV as a gaming platform when the latest version was released last year, but the makers of Real Racing certainly gave it serious consideration when designing an update to the racing sim. That company, Firemint, has announced that Real Racing 2 HD will be the first game to support wireless gaming using Apple's AirPlay feature (when iOS 5 is released).
One surprise that Sony pulled out of its hat at the E3 expo this week was the announcement of a 3D display specifically designed for the PS3 owners. But at $499, does it represent a good buy for gamers?
Mitsubishi recently jettisoned its LCD HDTV business in order to focus on its rear-projection sets. The last company standing in that department, it has just disclosed the pricing for its new 2011 DLP units, which includes an incredibly massive 92-inch TV.
Comcast may be the 800-pound gorilla of pay TV providers, but that size doesn't help it move as nimbly as smaller rivals and upstarts when it comes to taking advantage of changes in the distribution of its content. The cable giant is now playing catch-up when it comes to delivering video online, planning a trial of IPTV at MIT starting this fall, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Remember how 1080p used to be the "next big thing"? Well tomorrow's HDTV is going to make 1080p look like a fuzzy UHF signal.
TV tuner cards have always been a niche offering for people who want to watch shows on their computers, but Elgato is looking to take things up a notch with its new HDHomeRun device. The box connects to a cable source or digital antenna via a coax connection and to your router via Ethernet.
While far from the highlight of Google's I/O conference keynote yesterday, new Google TV features were announced to help the struggling platform get a second wind. But will they be enough to finally get consumers interested?
YouTube's movie rentals expand by over 3,000 titles, including The Green Hornet, Inception, The King's Speech
I posted a couple of weeks ago about YouTube's impending deal with movie studios to beef up its video rental service, and the first 3,000 or so titles from that agreement are being made available at youtube.com/movies.
Whether you're going to use it or not, the odds are getting better and better that your next TV will be a 3D set. For evidence, look no further than new IHS iSuppli research, which shows that 3D HDTV shipments will jump from 4.
It didn't make a big deal of it in the same way it did with, say, its new 3D transistors, but Intel has quietly updated its Wireless Display 2.0 technology, which allows you to stream content from a compatible laptop to HDTVs with a special adapter (such as Belkin and Netgear offer) attached.
Having revolutionized the DVD industry with $1-per-day rentals via its convenient kiosks, Redbox is looking to expand its media offerings with videogame rentals. Beginning on June 17, those red kiosks will include PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360 titles that gamers can rent for $2 per day.
The best of ZDNet, delivered
- 1 How does Vizio keep its TV prices so low? Lots and lots of outsourcing
- 2 Verizon FiOS plans to eventually kill off set-top box with home media server
- 3 Verizon FiOS conducting trials with new Motorola DVR set-top boxes that are higher capacity, more energy-efficient
- 4 Best Buy previews its 32-inch LCD HDTV/Blu-ray player combo on its Web site
- 5 Time Warner Cable to offer multi-room DVRs, Echostar to deliver Sling Media set-top box