Entries for the ‘Players’ Category

My Impressions of CES 2013

Posted in Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Players, Technology on January 9th, 2013 by Dave

While CES 2013 is going on for another couple of days, I figured I would use my time at the Las Vegas Airport to summarize my observations.

There are a few hot topics this year, including some close to my heart.

One such topic is high resolution, and pretty much all the majors were addressing this in one form or another.

Whether you are talking 4K (4096×2160) or UHD TV (3840×2160), the ‘4K’ label was being applied liberally.

Big names including JVC, Sony and Panasonic were promoting 4K capture in consumer or pro-sumer camera systems.

Even the latest GoPro Hero 3 is capable of delivering 4K, albeit at a less than desirable frame rate.

Displays were everywhere too, including screens in the 84 – 85 inch range from Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic.

4K TabletSony and Panasonic were both showing early versions of OLED screens at 4K with a 56 inch diagonal, and Panasonic had prototypes of a 20.4″ 4K screen – in a massive high resolution Windows 8 tablet!

The big question though is perhaps the most pertinent to Blu-ray lovers – how is the content going to be delivered?

So far there has not been a lot of information available, though if you buy the Sony 84″ LCD you will get a ‘free’ 4K media server included with 7-8 4K movies on board.

In order to add new content, there will reportedly be a service available in the summer time frame, though it is not clear what it might be.

I have heard rumours of special Blu-ray data discs with the 4K content on them, or even content delivery in non-real time via a fast net connection.

Either way it will be the media server that plays back the content – no packaged media per se seems to be on the horizon.

Sony does however plan to launch a range of regular Blu-ray discs that are certified as ‘Mastered in 4K’.

While they will be 1080p discs, the high quality of the mastering chain means that this label would be akin to the THX certified DVDs or Superbit CDs.

Blu-ray players are evolving also, with many offering new features, mainly in the ‘smart’ or ‘connected’ category.

Panasonic and LG are talking about Miracast, where your tablet or smart phone could connect to the player via WiFi and playback videos and pictures to the big screen via the connection.

Samsung Blu-rayThe likes of Samsung and Panasonic are also including the smart features of their latest TVs into their new Blu-ray players, so that users can enjoy the same streaming and content searching that the TVs offer, with the less expensive Blu-ray player upgrade.

A number of vendors also have 4K upscaling included in their top of the line Blu-ray players.

Another topic that is getting a lot of attention is the second screen, where it has been recognised that viewers are increasingly using a smart phone or tablet while watching TV and movies.

Sometimes it is related content and sometimes unrelated, though the content providers are increasingly looking for ways to enhance the second screen with a view to enriching the overall experience or monetize it.

Something else that I have noticed is that the scope of my blog has become too narrow, and while I will continue to talk about Blu-ray on this site, I will likely start a new site soon that discusses a wider range of interesting technology… so stay tuned!

Sony Refurbished Blu-ray Disc Smart Player for $44.95

Posted in Deals, Players, Sony Style on June 7th, 2012 by Dave

Right now you can save an extra $35 on the Sony refurbished Blu-ray Disc smart Player BDPS185 now only $44.99.

Use the coupon code OUTLETPS185 when you check out to get the savings.

This is more than a basic player, offering Internet streaming from Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, Hulu Plus and more.

The unit also has a front USB slot for playback of music or pictures on a USB thumb drive.

Sounds like a pretty tidy player, especially for less than $50!

This sale price is valid while stocks last or until June 12th 2012.

Free Blu-ray Player with Purchase of Select Sony HDTVs

Posted in Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, Players on May 18th, 2012 by Dave

Looking for a new TV and wouldn’t mind a Blu-ray Player as well?

Right now Sony is offering a free Blu-ray player with purchase of select Sony HDTVs.

These are all internet TVs, with sizes from 46″ up to 64″, and some also come with a free wall mount.

The offer is valid until May 22nd or while supplies last, so shop now for your free player and/or wall mount.

Refurbished Sony Blu-ray Player for only $39.99

Posted in Blu-ray, Players on May 6th, 2012 by Dave

Need an extra Blu-ray Player for the kids room, bedroom or guest room?

Save an extra $55 on the Sony refurbished BDPS280 Blu-ray Disc Player.

Be sure to use code OUTLETS280 to get the player for only $39.99.

There are limited quantities available, and the offer is only valid while supplies last or until May 12th.

So if you want one, get in quick!

Sony Blu-ray Home Theater Clearance Sale

Posted in 3D, Players on May 13th, 2011 by Dave

sonyht.jpgIf you are looking for a cheap Blu-ray player or Home Theater System you might want to consider the 2010 Home Theater Clearance.

Here you will find big savings on last year’s Blu-ray players, home theater systems and more.

If you are looking for a 3D HDTV, you can save up to $1,000 on select Sony BRAVIA 2010 HDTVs while supplies last.

Prices as low as $1799 for the 46 inch 3D Bravia with LED backlight.

These promotions will run until the end of May.

Blu-ray News and Pictures from CES

Posted in 3D, Commentary, News, Players, Technology, Writable Discs on January 13th, 2011 by Dave

panasonic-3d-full-hd.jpgWell CES 2011 is finally over and I am almost back to normal.

There was certainly plenty to see there and the industry feels a little rejuvenated this year with 140,000 people attending the show.

Probably the biggest topic at the show was 3D, which showed up in many guises from capture to display.

sony-vegas-3d.jpgBoth Panasonic and Sony were showing off their professional rigs for 3D film production – Sony even had the car from The Green Hornet on display to demonstrate their system.

Both companies were also showing off their solutions for consumer 3D, with 3D camcorders on display and Sony showing 3D editing with their Vegas software package.

sony-vaio-fullhd-3d.jpgOn the playback side, Sony was showing off a full resolution 3D capable VAIO laptop using active shutter technology.

Corel was also showing off their WinDVD software playing back Blu-ray 3D on an Acer laptop at the Showstoppers event.

Autostereopic displays, or ‘3D without glasses’, was also demonstrated in its infant form, with displays from relative unknowns like iPont through to the big boys like Toshiba and Sony.

sony-portable-blu-ray-3d.jpgSony perhaps had the most convincing display, with a 4k2k display that probably had the best performance, but in all honesty I found that the experience tended to make me feel a little nauseous.

Sony was also demonstrating a portable Blu-ray 3D player prototype with no glasses needed to see the 3D effect on the little screen.

samsung-bd-d7500-bd3d.jpgAs for regular Blu-ray players, pretty much all of the future models are 3D capable players and companies like Samsung and LG are taking style to another level with the products on display.

Samsung was showing off their slick new Home Theater in a Box, and the wall mountable BD-D7500 Blu-ray3D player will look great with a nice new wall mounted flat screen display.

bdxl.jpgBlu-ray drives were not forgotten either, with Plextor demonstrating new 12x external drives with the new USB3 interface and Verbatim showing samples of the new 100 GB triple layer BDXL writable Blu-ray Discs.

This extra high capacity technology will not likely be compatible with older players, though we should be able to take advantage of the extra space for video once the players catch up.

lg-bp40ls20-drive.jpgLG was also showing an external Blu-ray drive that is compatible with this extension of the format, claiming writing capability for 100GB and 128GB discs.

This brings up an interesting point.

Blu-ray will probably be the last disc media, though with that said this media will likely be extended in capacity and speed, to handle higher bitrates, multiple streams as with for 3D and higher resolution like 4k2k images.

lg-lhb976-home-theater-in-a-box.jpgAs we have seen with the roll out of picture in picture, BD Live networking and 3D capability, the Blu-ray format continues to evolve to dangle carrot after carrot to keep us hungry for a new player.

As such the format has a lot of life left in it yet, though as solid state memory gets cheaper, there will likely be a time where it just makes sense to abandon rotating media for good.

Watch for more CES related stories over the next few weeks.

Panasonic Portable Blu-ray Player Deal at Amazon

Posted in Players on January 11th, 2011 by Dave

panportable.jpgHave you always wanted a portable Blu-ray Player but been shocked by the sticker price?

Right now Amazon has a great deal for you, with a Panasonic portable Blu-ray player for less than $180.

The unit is has an 8.9 inch screen with 1024×600 screen resolution.

While it seems a little lacking, is actually equivalent to tablets like the iPad for 16:9 ratio movies and Panasonic’s current 10 inch player has no more resolution.

In addition to playing back Blu-ray titles, the unit can also display AVCHD off discs or SDHC cards, so if you have a camera that shoots AVCHD, this player seems ideal.

On the downside, there are no connections for an external display, though it does come with a car charger for use on those long road trips.

No BD Live on this unit either, but it does support profile 1.1 picture in picture.

With a retail price of $499, the $179.44 pricing represents great savings!

Blu-ray Stats at CES 2011

Posted in Players, Technology on January 6th, 2011 by Dave

vbd-ma1.jpgI am down in Las Vegas at CES 2011, checking out all the new tech gadgets that we will be seeing in stores in 2011.

There is certainly a lot of buzz already around 3D products and there are still a number of new Blu-ray related products coming out.

One such product is the external Blu-ray writer, the VBD-MA1, pictured here from the Pepcom Digital Experience event last night.

This unit can write video Blu-ray Discs, DVDs or AVCHD discs using an array of inputs that include Memory Stick and old style analog video.

It can also be used as an external BD-ROM over USB.

While I will be posting from time to time, the best way to see new pix of things I see is to ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

Should be a fun show!

Sony Refurbished Blu-ray Player for Only $79.99

Posted in Players, Sony Style on April 15th, 2010 by Dave

sonybdp360.jpgRight now you can save an extra $40 on the Sony Refurbished Blu-ray Disc Player (BDPS360) – now only $79.99.

I think that this is a new low for a Sony player from Sony Style.

Certainly a nice deal, even if it is a refurb.

Savings will be reflected in order total and there is a limit of 2 per customer.

This promotion runs just a couple of days, until April 17th.

The BDA Announces Blu-ray Format Extensions

Posted in Players, Technology on April 9th, 2010 by Dave

bluraylogoinv.jpgI read over at PC Magazine (via Format War Central) that the BDA is planning to issue specifications for two new versions of the Blu-ray Disc.

The first is a higher capacity writable format while the second is an interesting combination of pressed and writable disc.

The higher capacity writable disc is no surprise since we have seen prototypes of these at CES for the last several years.

The BDXL will have capacity options at 100 GB and 128 GB in writable forms and 100 GB in rewritable form, going beyond the traditional dual layer disc stack to achieve these new capacities.

The hybrid IH-BD will feature a 25GB pressed layer for pre-recorded data and a second 25GB layer that can be written without disturbing the original content.

This will no doubt allow for either the addition of new supplements after the disc has been released or the addition of personalized media to the disc.

Needless to say, current players will not be compatible but as the specifications are finalized, expect future players to be capable of the new formats as well as having backwards compatibility to all 12 cm optical discs that have gone before.

While some may boo and hiss, I think that this is not the last we will see of Blu-ray Disc extensions – watch for faster, higher capacity discs to support 4k2k video in the next couple if years too.

After all, there always has to be something new to make the new Blu-ray players a worthwhile investment.