LG and Netflix announced the fruits of a previously inked partnership: the new LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player that’s the world’s first Blu-ray disc player to be able to instantly stream movies and TV episodes from Netflix (if you have a Netflix subscription).
Blu-ray was a big part of Sony’s press conference and their new ES flagship player was definitely the highlight. The player features top notch build quality along with full support of all Blu-ray profiles.
I arrive in Denver, Colorado – the city still awash with Democratic campaign paraphernalia (much of it for sale in a tent outside the convention center) – to attend the umpteenth CEDIA convention in my long and storied career. I came with visions of large, flat-panel HDTVs hanging everywhere, including in my hotel room as befits such an esteemed member of the press as I. But, alas, all I found waiting for me in the Sheraton was this lowly Philips 27 (or thereabouts)-inch, definitely low-def, analog TV sporting a CRT that’s almost as curved as my stomach after a late-night drink-laden press dinner. The only consolation is that at least there are plenty of channels for me not to watch since I’ll only see this room for maybe six hours a night (well, “see” the room is a generous term).
Sony shattered the quasi-content-free tradition of pre-CEDIA press events with an awesome exhibition of exhibitionist tendencies. The Bravia Internet Link will host the premiere of the blockbuster Sony Pictures film Hancock with Will Smith and Charlize Theron. The Blu-ray release of same will have Digital Copy. Wait, there's more. Sony attacks lazy liquid crystals with 240Hz Motionflow, which quadruples the refresh rate and interpolates three new frames. Blu-ray has gone from 18 to 32 manufacturers in a year, including Sony of course, which will bow the BDP-S5000ES (pictured) in November for $2000. It has an HD Reality Processor that selectively enhances sharpness in areas of the picture that need it -- not unlike what Toshiba is doing. With rigid frame & beam construction and isolated circuits, this will be the Blu player to beat. Oh, and when the floor opens tomorrow, Sony will be showing a prototype of a 400-disc BD mega-changer to make its debut in 2009. Two new ES receivers will have Faroudja video processing. SACD not dead, judging from intro of XA5400ES player. Huff, puff. If other manufacturers have this much news, I'll be dead by the end of the show.
Toshiba's Scott Ramirez went all Bono on us to celebrate this year's autumnal partial TV-line overhaul. Having already announced a DVD player with advanced upscaling several weeks ago, Toshiba introduced SRT (Super Resolution Technology) upconversion for its fall LCD HDTV lineup. Must be important -- it was embedded in the backdrop. But what'll really get value-oriented consumers salivating is the new RV525 series, which includes a 40-inch 1080p for just $999.
Panasonic has a new LCD video projector, the PT-AE3000. While it looks identical to its predecessor, the PT-AE2000, it includes a number of new features and enhanced specs. It now claims a dynamic range (peak contrast ratio) of 60,000:1, a light output of 1600 lumens. Features include 120Hz operation with the added frames interpolated (hopefully the interpolation can be turned off!). The most exciting feature is a Lens memory that can save different settings for zoom and focus so that you can do constant height projection on a 2.35:1 screen without using an anamorphic lens. $3500, in October.
At CES last January, LG announced a strategic partnership with Netflix, but no details were revealed. Now, it can be told that LG has been working on the BD300, the world's first Blu-ray player that can stream content directly from Netflix. There are currently 12,000 movies and TV episodes available for streaming, out of over 100,000 DVD and nearly 1000 Blu-ray titles. All streaming content is standard-def, and the final resolution depends on the speed of your Internet connection.
Panasonic announced a new A/V receiver, the SA-BX500 ($799) with three HDMI inputs, a bi-amp/bi-wire capability for its 7.1-channels of 130 watts per channel of amplification, and so-called 7.1-channel Virtual Surround mode in a 5.1-channel system.
Hot on the heels of its DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player, which was (it seems, just introduced), Panasonic launches its newer DMP-BD35 and DMP-BD55. Even the less expensive DMP-BD35 (no prices or availability dates were announced) is full Profile 2.0 (BD-Live), will decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, and has an SD card slot. The DMP-BD55 adds a number of features, including enhanced audio circuits.