A little less than a year ago, a predecessor to this TV competed in one of our Face Offs with five other RPTVs. It didn't do well. Despite the fact that it posted some of the best measurements of the group (including the most accurate color points and the best contrast ratio), it came in fourth place out of six sets. The reason was a video processing "enhancement" called DNIe, which two-thirds of the reviewers flat-out hated. It couldn't be disabled. Just the fact that the same processing on this HL-S5679W is defeatable would make it worth a review. (In fact, you can't enable DNIe at all in some modes.) As it turns out, this isn't even the most interesting feature on this RPTV—not by a long shot.
In a grand-scale, universal sort of way, January 1st means nothing. We ugly bags of mostly water view the start of each year as a new beginning. To some, it's in a Neil Finn "I'm not the old girl, I'm someone new" kind of way. To others, it's the first day of many where we promise we'll start that diet tomorrow. To most people, it's a day to nurse hangovers and the start of a month-long repetition of curses as we keep writing 2006 on checks. Let's concentrate on somewhere between the extremes and look at new technology that's coming...someday.
In the February issue, the Samsung HL-S6188W was derided, and rightly so, for it’s staggering light output of almost 170 ft-Lamberts. For a 61-inch display, this is way to bright to watch in a dark room. It’s the kind of light output that hurts, literally.
JVC showed off a new LCD panel that uses LEDs as it’s backlight source. With no model number, price, or potential availability, it isn’t much of a story. What is, is the prototype 2.35:1 aspect ratio RPTV they were showing in the back. They wouldn’t let us take pictures, though, so you’ll just have to imagine it. Hate those black bars on the top and bottom when you’re watching movies? This is your answer, a rear-projection TV with a really widescreen aspect ratio. I hope they make it as I imagine a lot of people would love to get one despite the fact that if you watch anything with less than 2.35:1 aspect ratio, you’ll have bars on the sides. Oh well.
Shipping in April the TX-42F430S (42-inch $2,000) and the TX-47F430S (47-inch $2500) have a subtle but classy black and gray metal aesthetic. They also sport 4 HDMI inputs (capable of 1080p), integrated tuners, and a claimed 5000:1 contrast ratio.
While the idea of data storage may not seem that exciting, this product actually is. At its simplest, the HP MediaSmart Server is storage and data backup. But from there it gets more interesting. It can backup all the computers in your home (to a max storage space of 8 terabytes). Still not interested? You can give the Sever it’s own IP address so you can access any of your content from anywhere in the world. You, your kids, grandma, anyone you want to give access to can log onto the server and see what content you want them too. Share full rez pics of your vacation with your friends, have your friends share their pictures with you. It is very cool.
Although they are more famous for their massive copper heatsinks, Zalman showed off a 19-inch LCD that is capable of a real 3D mode. All you need is a fairly current Nvidia graphics card and special polarized glasses (not the red and blue ones of yore). The effect is incredible. Because most games are rendered in 3D already, letting us see it isn’t as difficult as you think. We will definitely be getting one of these in for test.
Meridian showed off an iPod video dock (MV-D1) that upconverts the 320-by-240 or 640-by-480 video to 1080p via HDMI or 1080i via component. For either video when you’re on the go or on the go video in your home. A neat idea, though admittedly odd coming from a ultra-high-end audio company like Meridian.