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avatar-3d-blu-ray-thumb.jpg3D film fans will finally be able to own James Cameron's epic Avatar on 3D Blu-ray. Fox just announced the Avatar Blu-ray 3D Collector's Edition will debut globally October 15th, with a release in North America following on October 16th.

Until this announcement, Avatar's 3D Blu-ray release had been part of an exclusivity deal which saw the movie bundled in with Panasonic 3D Blu-ray player hardware and 3DTVs. That exclusivity deal has now ended, meaning that all fans can now grab the 3D version if they've the right gear to play it with.

The 2D version of the Blu-ray has been widely available since April 2010, with the rarity of the 3D edition leading to it being sold for extortionate prices on eBay.

"3D television is the future of home entertainment," said James Cameron, the movie's Oscar winning Director.

"I'm a huge proponent of the technology and very pleased that AVATAR can be viewed in the living room the way it is meant to be seen."

"As the number of homes with 3D televisions continues to grow, we thought it was important to bring the biggest 3D film ever right into your living room," continued Jon Landau, producer.

"This is the only way fans should experience the world of Pandora and this release offers the highest picture quality possible. "

lg-cinema-smart-3d.jpgLG's Cinema 3D Smart TVs are to get a range of downloadable 3D games.

The Korean manufacturer has pulled together fives games designed to work best with their LG Cinema 3D passive screens, ported from 2D smartphone and tablet devices.

"We are excited to be able to bring 3D gaming to Smart TVs for the first time so family members can enjoy the immersive fun together," said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG Home Entertainment Company.

"With the arrival of established games as well as original titles developed exclusively for LG CINEMA 3D Smart TV, we are fulfilling our commitment to realizing the potential of Smart TV as a genuine 3D gaming platform. LG CINEMA 3D Smart TV owners will be amazed as they become fully engrossed in the large screen, 3D environments of their favourite games, and at how easy it is to be in control with the Magic Remote."

The five titles slated for release are Air Penguin, Frisbee Forever, Burn The City, Downhill Bowling 2 and Diversion from Unity Technology. Each will work with LG's Magic Remote motion sensitive controllers, with more games expected to land throughout August.

FIRST LOOK: LG 55-inch 55EM9600 OLED TV

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LG-55-inch-oled-monaco.jpgWe've been big fans of OLED TV tech at Tech Digest and HDTV UK for many a year since first setting eyes upon a prototype Sony screen at CES a few shows ago. Incremental updates to the tech have wowed us at subsequent trade shows, but high prices for screens no bigger than 15 inches have made OLED televisions a ludicrous luxury for only the most demanding of AV enthusiasts.

That's all set to change this year however as LG and Samsung go head-to-head with stonking 55-inch OLED models, due in stores later this year. Tech Digest and HDTV UK were invited this week to LG's glitzy Monaco launch event for their 55-inch OLED TV offering. Make no mistakes; if you're in the market for a new TV, this is what your cash should be splashed on.

OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) televisions offer some key advantages over LCD or LED screens. Faster refresh rates and wider viewing angles can be paired with deep contrast ratios and lavish colours. As OLED sets don't use backlights, this can all be achieved with far lower power consumption levels, in bezels almost invisibly thin.

LG's 55EM9600 OLED TV made its first appearance at the start of the year in January's CES 2012 show, and while little has changed with the set in the subsequent months, it's still massively exciting to see.

The latest headlining feature of LG's OLED TV detailed at this week's launch is its use of WRGB technology. Adding a white sub-pixel to the standard red, green and blue set-up, LG claim WRGB panels will "perfect" colour output and make the image displayed feel "natural and colourful to the human eye". It's a similar technique as was used by Sharp in their Quattron televisions, which added a yellow sub-pixel with impressive results.

Even without the WRGB technology, the screen would attract attention purely based upon how thin it is. At a ridiculous 4mm thin, it's half the thickness of your average smartphone, weighing just 10kgs thanks to its being built from carbon fibre reinforced plastics. Those who like to wall-mount their displays will instantly fall in love, with the LG5EM9600 sitting almost flush against the wall.

It's a real treat for the eyes, with the display delivering vibrant, bold colours. Close-up footage of rain-soaked plant petals felt crisp enough to reach into the TV and touch. If anything, LG's rainbow-like showreel ran the risk of making the screen seem overly saturated, but as with all showroom settings you'll likely be able to tone the colours down a bit for a more natural, accurate calibration.

Superb viewing angles afforded by OLED technology mean that there will be no duff seat in a home cinema that has this screen as its centrepiece. We experienced no noticeable dropout in contrast or colours no matter where we placed ourselves, whether at a wide horizontal angle or a low vertical position.
LG-55-inch-oled-monaco-2.jpgThe inky blacks of the display and strong brightness levels deserve extra credit. LG's launch event was held in the Salle des Etoiles, famous for its mechanical opening roof. Halfway through the event the roof opened, bathing what had been a dimly lit hall with Mediterranean sunlight. Even with the dramatic change in ambient lighting colours remained vivid, and shadow detail bold and legible.

Though we've yet to see the display handling 3D video for ourselves, all reports so far have been incredibly positive. Indeed, our own prior experience with smaller 3D OLED displays has seen the technology deliver smooth, ghost-free 3D images of the highest quality. With 3D always working better on a larger screen, the results with the 55EM9600 would presumably be remarkable. A 0.02s response time will lead to super-smooth 3D visuals, as well as being a boon for gamers looking for a display as quick as their trigger fingers.

Pre-orders for the LG OLED sets will kick off in July, ready for a "Q4 2012" release.

So how many pennies will you have to drop in order to get one of these beauties in your home? Around the 9000 EURO mark, or roughly £7,300 if the UK pricing reflects direct exchange rates.

That is of course an astronomically priced set, but LG's OLED giant is poised to represent the very best that money can currently buy for home cinema fans. While the false promise of 3D TV left many frustrated, OLED TV sets offer genuinely luxurious 2D viewing while still delivering the very best in 3D visuals should you still be looking for eye-popping entertainment.

Local pricing is likely to be the big deciding factor as LG's flagship battles it out with Samsung's in stores. Regardless as to which proves the victor, the stage is set for one of the most exciting years for home cinema fanatics for a while, and LG are well placed to dominate.

sony-3D_Display_copy-580-75.jpgSony's PlayStation branded 3D TV has finally made its way to UK shops.

Originally meant to land back at the tail end of 2011, the 24-inch TV uses active-shutter 3D "SimulView" technology to allow two gamers to each view a fullscreen when playing what would otherwise be a split-screen experience.

The 1080p, 240Hz display also comes with two pairs of active shutter glasses and two games; Killzone 3 Platinum and Gran Turismo 5 Platinum.

Other specs for the set include a 1 contrast ration, 176-degree viewing angle, two HDMI inputs and a component input, perfect if you want to hook up an old PS2 or rival Wii console.

Available now, the bundle will set you back £449. But hurry - Amazon have already sold-out due to pre-order demand alone.

sony-thumb.jpgSony have confirmed rumours of major restructuring plans that will see 10,000 jobs lost and TV production slow 40%.

The news of job cuts was leaked last week, and now Sony CEO Kaz Hirai has confirmed that downsizing plans are in place, vowing that "Sony will change".

It's been a rough time for Sony of late, with a strong yen putting pressure on their exports, especially when compared to the growing Korean market. It's lead to a forecast from Sony of losses of around $4 billion for 2011, meaning that the 6% cut in their global work force was somewhat inevitable.

Sony will now shift focus onto gaming, mobile and digital imaging sectors. In terms of gaming, more emphasis will be put on downloadable titles through the Sony Entertainment Network, while in the mobile sector Sony will "launch new mobile products and establish new business models". Though they were less precise on their plans for digital imaging, it appear Sony may be looking to expand their reach into the medical sector.

Sony will still look to innovate in the TV market though, with the intention to advance the development and commercialization of next-generation display technologies such as OLED and Crystal LED Display", as well as looking to expand its 4K offerings.

panasonic_3dtv_2.jpgIt's an acquired taste for many, but the magic of 3DTV may be being spoilt before consumers can try it in its optimal state, according to a key executive from Twentieth Century Fox.

Speaking at the PEVE conference in London, Danny Kaye, executive vice president, Global Research and Technology Strategy at Fox, said that while his team believe 3D will still grow to be a thriving format, those who have experienced poor quality glasses-free 3D and real-time 2D-to-3D conversion will be turned off.

"As long as a film is made in high-quality, you may never tell the difference between a true 3D movie and a post-converted one," said Kaye.

"But, what is harming the idea of 3D [for consumers] is real-time conversion. Whether it is 2D to 3D conversion in real time on a TV set or versions of no-glasses 3D TVs... we do not need [these technologies] yet as they cannot match the quality of professional conversion services or the filmmaker shooting it in 3D to begin with."

Kaye also suggested that unless studios and manufacturers push to show 3D content shining at its best, it could damage the uptake of the technology

"3D is a very complicated technology to get right, it's not so hard to get wrong. We shouldn't stunt the growth of 3D at this early stage by introducing techniques that do not show off 3D in the best light."

Via: Tech Radar

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LG's fancy 55-inch OLED sets are lining themselves up for a red carpet launch at the Cannes film festival in May, according to new reports.

LG's 55-inch 55EM9600, first revealed at CES 2012 back in January was first expected to launch in July to coincide with the London 2012 Olympics. However, with LG eager to get their display out into stores before rivals, the decision was made to push for an earlier release date and to bump the speed of production up significantly.

A beauty of a screen, the 55EM9600 is only 4mm thick and weighs just 7.5kg thanks to a WOLED-CF design on an Oxide-TFT backplane.

Expected to retail at around 9 million Won - or about £4,950 - LG will gauge interest in their first OLED offering until July before deciding whether or not to make further investment in OLED technology.

Via: OLED Info/ The OLED Association

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Sony are looking to expand their 3DTV offering in 2013 by shipping Passive 3D TVs as well as the Active 3D sets they've championed since the dawn of the 3DTV push, according to a new report from The Register.

Expected to make their debut at September's IFA technology show in Berlin, Sony's Deputy President of home entertainment products, Noriaki Negishi, stated that:

"Our engineers don't really like [passive] because it has half the resolution of active shutter 3D, but consumers appreciate the convenience of passive."

With that in mind, Sony are now thought to be preparing an aggressive Passive 3D push over the next year, with 3D tech overall still not reaching the sales heights AV companies had hoped for.

With Sony entering the Passive 3D fray, it leaves Samsung as the only manufacturer still exclusively pushing Active 3D TV sets.

The Passive 3D sets will also be accompanied by Sony's next generation of OLED TVs, with Negishi stating that "2013 will be the year when we will really fight back with new technologies."

Via: The Register

Philips-7000-series.jpgPhilips have revealed their 2012 Smart TV line-up, pushing web connected online content into screens as small as 19 inches.

Top of the range is the 7000 Series, available in 40, 46 and 55-inch sizes. The screens use active shutter 3D tech, have five HDMI ports, smart TV functionality, three USB ports, both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity and come complete with 20W speakers and two-sided Ambilight for a room-filling light show glow.

Next down the range is the 6000 Series, available in 32, 37, 42, 47 and 55 inch sizes. The 6000 Series uses passive 3D tech, has four HDMI ports, smart TV functionality, again three USB ports and 12W speakers.

Hitting the mid-range is the 4000 range. It drops the 3D tech, but keeps four HDMIs, three USBs, and Wi-Fi smart connectivity. Sizes range from 32, 37, 42 and 47 inches.

Lower again is the 3500 Series, the cheapest of the batch to house Smart TV functionality. Sizes range from 19 inches to 42 inches. 720p and 1080p variants are available, but you'll need an optional Wi-Fi adapter for wire-free web access on the telly.

If web connectivity and 3D tech aren't important to you, then check out the 3000 Series. Sizes go from 19 to 42 inches, with three HDMI ports and one USB.

All due in Q2 2012, pricing has yet to be announced.

lg-84-inch-udtv.jpgAs well as a stonking 55-inch OLED display, LG will be using CES 2012 to show off their giant 84-inch "Ultra Definition" 3D TV.

That's right, not HDTV, but UDTV, running at 3840x2160 resolution.

First hinted at during last year's Las Vegas show, the UDTV, pictured above, also has LG's Cinema 3D and Smart TV web-connected features built in. The 3D tech uses the same Film Pattern Retarder (FPR) screen and passive glasses that result in lowered resolution on LG's standard 3DTV screens, but with the extra resolution shouldn't cause much as notable a loss in definition.

"LG is pushing the limits of home entertainment innovation with this 3D UD TV," said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company.

"We are bringing together all our Smart TV and 3D knowledge in the 3D UD TV in order to demonstrate to the CES audience that LG is committed to being the world's leading brand for immersive home entertainment in 2012 and beyond."

No word on pricing or release dates yet, but we'll be sure to keep an eye out for this set when we hit the show floor next week.

Enjoy the best television in style this Christmas

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Christmas television is as much a staple of the festive diet as crackers, eating too much and board games with the family.

The viewing is often nothing short of an absolute treat for the eyes and ears as programme makers and schedulers up their game to draw in the biggest audiences.

In previous years, televisions around the country flickered in unison as millions willed Tim and Dawn together in the memorable Christmas specials of The Office or watched Del Boy and Rodney finally make their million and many more viewers still turn on for the Queen's speech after stuffing themselves with turkey.

Tesco Direct Logo.jpgOther unforgettable moments in Christmas TV past include Smithy's race to the altar in Gavin and Stacey while both Only Fools and Horses and The Royle Family have shared a number of poignant, as well as hilarious, moments.

Of course, no holiday schedule would be complete without fireworks in Soapland and the likes of EastEnders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks look to make each year more sensational than the last.

This year looks set to be another visual and aural feast of entertainment, comedy and drama. For the first time ever, the phenomenally successful Downton Abbey will be on our screens over Yuletide. Those involved have remained tight-lipped over the content but it's sure to be a hit with fans. Elsewhere, the Dr Who specials have become essential viewing following the revival of the franchise at the hands of Russell T. Davies, while plenty of laughs are guaranteed with the ever-present Have I Got News For You.

Christmas television is the perfect excuse to splash out on a new television set for your viewing pleasure. After all, the best programmes deserve to be enjoyed in the best possible surroundings. If you haven't already, now more than ever is the time to upgrade to a high definition television (HDTV). You can take advantage of holiday prices and improve what you watch for an extremely reasonable price.

What with the congested fixture calendar from the Premier League being one of the sports fan's highlights of the holiday season, enjoying some classic clashes on the perfect screen will see them in heaven. The Christmas to New Year period frequently produces some of the most memorable, exciting and surprising encounters of any given season and deserved to be viewed in the best possible quality. With the European Championships looming next summer as well, it's an investment with long-term entertainment in mind.

In fact, why not push the entire boat out and scour the market for a 3D television? Though only a minority of programmes are currently broadcast using such a format, that number is continually increasing. Of the current shows, it is again sport that seems the most impressive though with more programmes being made with such techniques in mind, that trend is surely set to spread.

samsung-3d-tv-monster.jpgOf course, one area where 3D technology has already made huge inroads is in films and cinema. Many of the 3D films released this year are available to purchase for Christmas on blu ray and make for perfect presents or family entertainment. The technology to bring 3D television into homes is improving all the time and with more content available every week, many people are eager to experience the next level of home entertainment. If you would prefer to wait however, perhaps until most content is available in 3D, HDTV is still at the forefront of the current level of home entertainment.

It's also important to remember that, no matter what your choice of television set, it simply must be digital, otherwise at some point you will be left tuning in to a blank screen. Analogue broadcasting has been almost entirely phased out and now Freeview is the most basic package required in order to enjoy your favourite shows.

The best television programmes deserve the best platform on which to be broadcast. This year, enjoy everything that's great about Christmas television on the sets that do them justice.

936full-martin-scorsese.jpg3D cinema has many detractors, calling out the discomfort of the glasses and the inflated ticket prices. They once had a high-proflie supporter in the shape of directorial legend Martin Scorsese, who had stated jsut a few short years ago that he had no intention of ever making a 3D film. Now, following the success of his first 3D flick Hugo, Scorsese has admitted to a massive about-turn over the benefits of 3D filming, going so far as to suggest he may never work in 2D again.

"Quite honestly, I would," said Scorsese when asked by Deadline if he'd consider a 3D only future behind the camera.

"I don't think there's a subject matter that can't absorb 3D; that can't tolerate the addition of depth as a storytelling technique. We view everyday life with depth."

So what brought around the change of heart?

"Well, the story of Hugo," he said. "The climate of what Jim Cameron did with Avatar and 3D seemed right and the subject matter was just perfect for it. And it was time to take a chance with it."

"(3D) shouldn't be limited to fantasy or sci-fi. Look at (Werner) Herzog's use of it (in Cave of Forgotten Dreams), Wim Wenders with Pina.

"It should be considered a serious narrative element and tool, especially when telling a story with depth as narrative."

Scorsese also talked about how a number of his older classic films like The Aviator and Taxi Driver could have benefitted from 3D technology.

"Taxi Driver, because of the intimidation of the main character, his presence is everywhere, a frightening kind of presence."

Could we see a 3D retro-fitting of Taxi Driver on the cards? With Cameron doing the very same thing with his blockbuster Titanic, anything is possible.

REVIEW: Samsung UE60D8000 3D TV

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Samsung UE60D8000.jpgreview-line.JPGName: Samsung UE60D8000

Type: 3D LCD TV

Specs: Click here for full specs

Price: Around £3,350review-line.JPG
When it comes to 3D TV, bigger is always better. At 60 inches, Samsung's UE60D8000 is one of the largest screens you can get in your house before going into 3D projector territory, and is backed by an impressive array of connected TV features. However, it's also one of the most expensive sets we've ever tried, nearly £1,000 more than its 5-inch smaller stable-mate at around a whopping £3,350. Does the TV perform well enough to justify the price tag?

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Design

A 60 inch beast, the UE60D8000 manages to offer a gigantic screen while remaining catwalk-slim in profile. Measuring just 30.45mm deep and weighing 24.8kg with its slick, four-pronged silver foot base attached, it's as pretty to look at as it is svelte and (for its size) lightweight. A thin silver bezel sits around the edge of the screen, rounding off a space aged look, with a glowing Samsung logo (which can be turned off) sitting at the centre of the lower edge. Volume, power and channel buttons sit on the TV's left hand side, while a wealth of rear-mounted connections, angled in-line with the screen, make it perfect for wall mounting.

A premium set deserves a premium remote control, and the UE60D8000's weighty, metallic zapper fits the bill nicely. Backlit, with a brushed metal feel to the buttons and slightly raised lines to guide your fingers in low lighting, it sits comfortably in the hand and, when paired with the clear and intuitive UI on show here, makes navigating the set an absolute breeze. One-button access to web connected Smart TV apps and 3D features are appreciated, but as as with the Samsung UE55D8000 and the rest of the 8000 Series, the remote really needs a dedicated button for motion processing settings, as these are the ones that we found we most regularly tweaked, and yet are among the most deeply hidden options on the set.


Connectivity

Samsung don't scrimp on the connectivity option with the UE60D8000. 4 HDMI ports (one ARC enabled) are supplemented by 3 USB ports, a component port, Optical Digital Audio Out, DVI Audio In, PC Audio In, PC In (D-Sub) and a headphone socket too for good measure. RF connectors and F-connectors for Freeview HD aerials and Freesat HD satellites respectively both also feature. As well as an Ethernet port for wired web connectivity, the TV also comes with built-in Wi-Fi if running the extra cable up to your screen isn't convenient. Setting up the Wi-Fi connection was simple using the onscreen menu and it maintained a consistent connection when browsing the Smart Hub platform and performing DLNA streaming, which we'll discuss in more detail in a second.

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Picture Quality

Both Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners come built in with the UE60D8000. Paired with one of the slickest EPGs we've seen this side of a Sky+ HD set top box, you're straight into the HD party more or less right out of the box as a result.

For the most part, the UE60D8000 looks a treat when it comes to 2D picture quality, with Samsung cramming in edge-mounted LED backlighting with dimming for deep blacks, as well as their 800Hz Clear Motion system for smooth action, which pairs 200Hz processing with frame interpolation and backlight scanning to hit the claimed 800Hz mark.

As is usually the case with flatscreen HD TVs, the picture needs a fair bit of tweaking before it looks its most natural, pin-sharp best with high-definition content. While there are a handful of decent presets to stick with if you're not the most confident picture tweaker, thankfully Samsung have filled the set with all manner of imaging controls if you want to really make the set shine, including gamma and white balance controls, HDMI black level response and plenty of digital noise reduction settings.

Once you've got it up to scratch, it's an often stunning HD set. Incredibly bright for a panel this size, colours are punchy and vivid, making our Toy Story 3 Blu-ray test footage really come alive. It's also a fantastically sharp image too. Viewing our Blu-ray copy of Batman Begins and watching the early training scenes in the snow between Christian Bale and Liam Neeson, the epic mountainside surroundings of the icy scenes shimmered with detail.

Motion processing techniques are always a little bit iffy, but for once, merely sticking to the pre-set Clear Motion Rate "Clear" setting on the UE60D8000 managed to subtly smooth over fast moving scenes without ever leading to that strange floaty effect overusing the technology usually results in. Largely detailed action scenes, like those found in the Lord of the Rings trilogy Blu-rays, looked a treat as a result.

That's not to say it's always a perfect image however, and the extra screen real-estate has caused a few problems of its own. The strong backlight can be a little inconsistent in its dimming timing, particularly in darker scenes where it's presence can intermittently prove unwelcome as it bleeds into both the corners and lower central area of the screen. It's not an uncommon problem for edge-lit LED displays, but at around the £3,350 mark you'd expect a little better than what's made the cut here in this set.

Standard definition content is upscaled nicely on the UE60D8000 though, which usually proves to be a challenge on a screen this size. Instead, images are never stretched uncomfortably, and clever smoothing techniques make even the lowest bitrate footage perfectly watchable.


3D visuals

Samsung throw in two pairs of their newest 3D glasses with the UE60D8000. These use Bluetooth rather than infra-red to sync with any 3D content onscreen. On one hand, it's frustrating that any older Samsung specs you may have lying around are made redundant by the new standard, but on the other the new specs are far lighter than many rival's pairs, and don't suffer nearly as badly from flickering and ambient light interference as the preceding pairs from Samsung. They're still expensive at £100 a pair, but, again, at least you're getting two sets here.

3D visuals really knock you out on a screen this size. It's hard to explain the importance of a big screen when it comes to immersing yourself in 3D visuals, but with so much of your peripheral vision dominated by the screen itself, it's easy to get lost in the eye-popping action. Using our test copy of Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams through a PS3 console, we were totally enveloped in the subterranean, stalactite filled adventure. Thanks to the strong backlight on show here even the movies moodier, darker cave-bound scenes retained great detail.

It's a pity though that the screen suffers from the same crosstalk issues that many 3D sets we've tried also fall foul of. Ghosting is a regular annoyance when watching 3D content, and while it's not a deal-breaker, it's a nasty side effect that's arguably even more prominent with a screen this size.

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Sound Quality

Surprisingly good for a flatscreen, the UE60D8000 offers a fair amount of boom and bite from its stereo speakers. Thanks to the sheer size of the screen there is fairly decent stereo separation on offer, with a comprehensive set of equaliser settings making dialogue sit cleanly at the fore of the soundscape.

Samsung also throw in a few pseudo surround-sound settings too, including SRS TruSurround HD adding to the width of the image. As ever, bass response is lacking in a screen this thin. You're never going to match the audio quality of a dedicated home cinema set-up (it would be a ridiculous oversight were you not planning on pairing this premium set up with at least a soundbar), but the UE60D8000 offers audio quality as good as you're likely to receive from a flatscreen telly.



Smart Hub and Media Playback

Once you're connected to the internet with the UE60D8000, heading over to the Smart TV apps hub shows off a welcoming, intuitive web-connected set up. As well as being the area from which you access networked media files or those stored locally on a plugged in USB drive, it also features well over 30 apps, from VOD services like LoveFilm, iPlayer, YouTube and Vimeo to social networks such as Twitter and Facebook and Skype messaging. There's even a fully open web browser based on the WebKit engine.

Since the last time we had a Samsung smart TV in our office for testing the company have also added a dedicated 3D on demand channel called 3D Explore. Much of the content is free and a perfect way to showcase your set's 3D abilities while you grow your catalogue of 3D Blu-ray titles. As it's mostly trailers and documentaries on show here it's not full of Hollywood blockbusters, but we were happy to see a number of familiar IMAX-like historical titles making an appearance, free of charge.

Media playback, via a USB stick or DNLA networking, remains as comprehensive as you'd like. Be it SD or HD file types, lossless audio or dirty CD rips, the screen had no issues whatsoever handling whichever format or codec we threw at it.

We've been impressed with the Smart Hub before, and that feeling remains with the UE60D8000. Consolidating media playback and web connectivity into one place is a sensible choice, and as the Smart TV platform is growing, Samsung appear to have mastered the art of fitting all the new apps in seamlessly. Where it does suffer though is at pulling off onscreen text-entry, needed quite regularly to scan and search the platform. It's fine to click through individual letters to put in the odd Wi-Fi password, but if you're leaving messages on Facebook or searching YouTube regularly it's a bit of a chore. An input method similar to that which Sony use on their PS3 (similar to the text/dial lettering and numbers seen on a home landline phone) would be a simple way to alleviate this problem.

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Verdict:

Without question, the UE60D8000 is a fine TV. Apart from a few backlighting issues its 2D and 3D visuals are up there with the best of them, and in Samsung's ever more powerful Smart TV app hub, it's got one of the best web-connected feature sets to boot too. Text entry is a chore, and audio quality is still mediocre at best, but these are problems not unique to Samsung's 8000 series, but the flatscreen market as a whole. While these few foibles are admittedly minor, when you consider the fact they're in a £3,350 set they get a little harder to stomach. Contrary to the constant stream of junk emails I receive, an extra 5 inches is not worth hundreds of pounds, and here it's one of the only clear advantages over Samsung's own smaller, cheaper offerings. An impressive set then, but unless that extra screen real estate is a must have, you'd save yourself a pretty penny by opting for the marginally smaller UE55D8000 instead.review-line.JPG

4/5

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OLED screens have seemed the TV technology of the future for all too long now, but expensive production costs and diminutive screen sizes have kept the displays out of the mainstream. This may all change come CES 2012 next January however.

Both Samsung and LG are said to be lining up massive 55 inch OLED TVs for the show, with the plan to ship the screens by July 2012, just in time for the Olympic games.

We'd be lying if we were to say we weren't excited. Back at IFA 2009 LG showed off their 31 inch OLED prototype (as seen in the video above). It remains one of the best screens we've seen to date, and we cant wait to see what a year-and-a-bits worth of refinement and a fair few extra inches of display real estate brings to the table.

LG's screens will use a white-OLED with colour filter design, whereas Samsung will opt for hte more effecient true RGB OLED panel. As LG's are easier to produce, the cost should be driven down considerably however.

The Apple OLED TV rumours rear their heads again too, though you have to question their validity considering OLED panel production worldwide is very low. LG say they can squeeze out 30,000 a month for instance, which would hadly sate the appetite of the Apple hordes.

Via: OLED Info/ ETNews

Glasses-free 3D tech seems sure to be the direction that home entertainment set-ups are headed towards. However, apart from a so-so offering from Toshiba in the shape of the 55-inch ZL2 TV, it still seems a long way off from being the norm in living rooms.

Most of the innovation is coming in through the digital signage industry, and few items seem as impressive as this offering from JVC and Kenwood in partnership with Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications (NICT).

Not only is it the world's biggest glasses-free 3D screen at 200 inches, but it's also pushing the 3D experience further than any other screen out there at the moment.

Using 57 individual projectors, viewing angle "sweetspots" number 57, far more than with other screens. The plan is eventually to expand the technology to allow for 200 sweetspots.

Also, the large number of projectors mean that the screen gives the impression that viewers can actually peer around the sides of the projected objects; you'd be able to look over, under and around items, making it not only a far more natural-feeling 3D experience, but also perfect for showcasing products through adverts.

The technology comes with a few caveats of course. For starters, it's still a prototype, not ready for commercial usage yet. Secondly, it's being aimed towards public display markets, not home consumer ones (yet). Thirdly, the screen weighs a back-breaking 500 kg, so you'd probably have to reinforce the foundations of your house were you even able to get your hands on one.

The large number of video sources needed to push content from the 57 projectors also poses some interesting challenges for content creation. It's currently just not feasible to set up an array of 57 HD cameras at the 1cm intervals needed to make the 3D effect fully come to life, meaning all the video on show was created using CGI.

Still, it's a tantilising glimpse into the future, and a step closer to the holographic projections of sci-fi fantasy.

Hit the video above to check it out, courtesy of Digi Info.


Guy Williams - Richi Rich III (4) credit roberto cubeddu.JPGMoving on from two footed football tackles, Sky 3D are looking to add some depth to the 4-legged escapades of this year's Horse of the Year Show. Covering the 8th and 9th of October at the event, Sky have lined up a few 3D specific surprises for the coverage.

As well as covering the Dressage and Puissance competitions, Sky has worked with event organisers to create a specially designed jump that will maximise the 3D experience, carefully lining up shots that emphasise depth and movement.

"We know from the experience of looking at other sports that it's always good to have low angle shots with lots of images within the frame so that we get some nice 3D depth," Robin Broomfield, Sky Sports' 3D Technical Specialist, told Tech Digest.

"The camera positioning we already use for equestrian sports is already very low angles well suited to 3D shooting, so it's just been a case of looking at what we already had and working with the director and producer to set up some spectacular shots of the horses and jumps. The distance between jumps and combination jumps in 2D tend to appear to look shorter than they actually are - in 3D you'll be better be able to appreciate such depth."

If all goes well, the Horse of the Year show could mark the first of many equestrian shows in Sky's 3D catalogue.

"I'm hoping this will be the start of more equestrian 3D coverage for Sky; not just jumping but events from the racing calendar also. Horses are incredible, spectacular looking beasts and I think in 3D it will really come to life", added Broomfield.

The event finale will be broadcast on the Sky 3D channel on Saturday October 8th at 8pm and Sunday October 9 at 8.30pm. It will also be simulcast in 2D on Sky Sports 4.

For more information visit www.sky.com/3D.

Image Credit: Roberto Cubeddu

We DO love 3DTV, says Panasonic study

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panasonic_3dtv_2.jpg3DTV; it's a love/hate relationship for most of us. We love the idea of more immersive movies and exciting visuals, but we hate headaches, glasses and the premium price tag attatched to it.

However, a recent study commisioned by Panasonic on US consumers suggests we're now finally starting to embrace the technology on a wider scale.

The study carried out by independent market research firm Frank N. Magid Associates, revealed that the vast majority of the 500 viewers questioned found their watching experience "significantly improved" by 3D effects.

99% of respondents who had tried a 3D TV said that it was "somewhat better" than "standard" 2D TV. Even more impressive was the response from 71% of those polled who described 3D viewing as being "dramatically better" than traditional 2D television.

"We've always said that, just as with HDTV, once consumers experience 3D TV, they will want it," said Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, Panasonic Corporation of North America's chief technology officer.

Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, drew comparisons with the last major leap in TV tech.

"Their feelings are very reminiscent of the public's response to HDTV in its early days."

lg-lw980t-cinema-3d.jpgWe haven't seen all of LG's IFA 2010 TV range hit stores yet, but they're already leading the way at this year's show in Berlin when it comes to TVs with the announcement of the LW980T Cinema 3D TV.

Available in 47 inch or 55 inch screen sizes, it uses the company's preferred passive 3D technology, shipping with seven pairs of passive 3D glasses. That passive display is also brighter, slimmer, clearer and with a smoother picture than the 2010 LX990 flagship thanks to new NANO Full LED tech in the panel, allowing it to be just 27.5mm thick.

The screens also sport 2D-to-3D conversion, TruMotion 400Hz image processing, 2x USB ports, HD DivX Plus playback, 4x HDMI ports, energy saving modes, and built-in Wi-Fi.

As is the current TV trend, there's a whole host of Smart TV funtions in there too, including apps for Twitter, Facebook and the BBC iPlayer.

LG are billing the set as "the ultimate TV and entertainment hub for the entire family," and if paired with the recently revealed HX906TX 3D 9.1 speaker system, matbe that's not such a grand claim after all.

We'll keep you posted on pricing and release schedules as these screens land.

bang-olufsen-beovision-7-55.jpgHave more money than you know what to do with and are looking for a TV straight out of an episode of The Jetsons? Then we've got just the telly - the Bang & Olufsen the BeoVision 7-55.

Adding a built-in Blu-ray player and active 3D to the 55 inch flagship model, the BeoVision 7-55 gets added "wow-factor" points for its motorised stand which lifts and lowers the massive panel, as well as hiding a built-in surround sound technology that adapts and tunes its sound dependant on the acoustics of your living room.

"3D functionality is in increasing demand right now where Hollywood as well as the gaming industry is starting to produce more material suited for 3D viewing," said Ole Moltsen, senior product manager of Bang & Olufsen.

"At the same time, more and more TV channels - in particular sports channels - are beginning to broadcast for example important football matches from Premier League in 3D. However, the quality of the 2D experience is just as important because it is still what our customers will use the most."

No pricing revealed just yet, but knowing Bang & Olufsen, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.

3D TV.jpg
Are we all in awe of 3D TV once more?

That certainly seems to be the case according to new figures released by the Dixons retail group. Currys and PC World recording a whopping 500% growth in 3D TV sales over the course of the last quarter, with one in five TV sales including 3D tech.

"Interest around 3D TV technology has massively increased over the last quarter and we have seen uplift in demand from customers online and in our stores. Prices have become really competitive, with 3D TVs available from as little as £499, opening the technology up to a mass audience," said John Mitchell, Category Manager of Dixons Retail.

"Great prices combined with increased 3D content, ranging from films, to documentaries and sport, is leading to increased adoption of 3D. This increase is reinforced in our TV range, around 40% of which is made of 3D televisions currently and which we expect to increase in the next 12 months, as premiership football is screened in 3D and films including Harry Potter Final Movie are released in 3D."

Sales are definitely on the rise then? Is this a sign of increased consumer interest? Has 3D content become compelling enough to warrant its premium price? Or is the sales spike merely due to the fact that the majority of new big-name-brand TVs bought have 3D functionality by default?

Help us find the answers! Leave your mark in the poll below, and chime in with any thoughts in the comments section.


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