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Rumor Has It HybridIn what continues to be a one-sided battle, with HD-DVD having a minor lead as a result of being first to market, comes the first hybrid HD/DVD disc featuring the movie “Rumor Has It”.  Available on May 9th, the disc features the widescreen DVD version on one side, with the HD-DVD version on the other. 

Due to manufacturing differences, it’s easier and less expensive to create a hybrid HD/DVD disc than the equivalent BD/DVD version.  Providing consumers with discs that offer an upgrade path for HD content, instead of a standard definition dead end, could be a major factor in the format war.  Not everyone is willing to jump into the deep end of the early adopter pool, and many would rather wriggle their toes in the shallow end until a winner is “declared”.  Hybrid discs will allow them to do just that, while also working as an obstacle to potential Blu-ray purchases.  After all, if you already have movies on DVD that also include the High-Def version on the flip-side, why would you want to buy the movie again in Blu-ray format?  With an MSRP of $39.99 USD, the hybrid HD/DVD version does carry a higher price than the standard DVD, but it does keep one’s options open without forcing an immediate hardware purchase.

Purely speculation on our part, but if the price of hybrid discs were lowered to be very close to their plain DVD cousins, the HD-DVD camp would “clean house” as there would be little impetus for consumers to buy just the DVD version.  For the short term this might lower profits or possibly even incur a minor fiscal loss, but in the end isn’t it all about who wins the war?

Read More | Yahoo! News


Red One

You have to admit, Mysterium sounds like a late-night infomercial product that comes with a free paring knife if you order right now.  Not in this instance though as Mysterium is the oddly named 12-megapixel CMOS sensor used in the Red One video camera.  With 11.4M usable pixels, the camera offers HD resolutions in the form of 720p and 1080i, and beyond conventional HD in 2K, 4K, and 2540p formats.  Created to be future-proof, the camera is modular by design and “easily accepts upgrades in hardware, software, storage, handling and monitoring accessories.”  The picture shown above includes the optional Red-Cage accessory that is primarily used for mounting accessories (and obliterating one’s toes if accidentally dropped).  The Red One camera by itself weighs less the 7 pounds and is made from a lightweight magnesium alloy.

Currently under development, with no release date in sight, the Red One carries a tentative MSRP of $17,500 USD.  Refundable reservations are currently being accepted for a mere $1,000 USD.

Read More | Red Digital Cinema via Fosfor Gadgets

Gear Live Bleeding EdgeThis week, Jake Ludington joins the cast as we cover some PS3 rumors, improve upon the Walit, teach you how to segment your network, and more:

Sony PS3 Rumors
Dolphin Stadium HDTV
Jake Crashes Party At CTIA

Nate Improves The Walit

Etymotic 6isolator Earbud Review
Fujitsu LifeBook P15D Review

How To: Segment Your Network For Optimal Xbox 360 Media Streaming

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Largest Plasma TV

Panasonic recently released its plans to sell a 103-inch Plasma TV.  The new TV’s display measures 7.5 x 4.2 feet with the standard 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1920x1080 resolution.  As is expected by today’s HDTV enthusiasts, the new TV will be a 1080p device.  While most people don’t need the biggest plasma TV in the world, it would be nice to watch Firefly in 103-inch Plasma goodness, no?  Nothing has been said about pricing, but we are sure this is one of those things where, if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it.  Panasonic has hinted around at a December 2006 release date, but no date has been officially set.

Read More | Daily Tech

Blu-RayChris Lewis, the regional vice president for Microsoft in Europe, the Middle East and Africa recently had some nasty comments on Sony’s new Blu-Ray DVD format. 

“Blu-ray right now reminds us of another technology from Sony: Betamax. A bit like VHS—we think that HD DVD is the format that consumers, film studios and publishers will embrace. As you’re mentioning the cost of Blu-ray—we think it’s about giving consumers choice, we think it’s about not necessarily asking them to pay over the odds for a technology that, at the moment, is unproven.”

It should be interesting to see what rebukes towards Microsoft Sony can come up with.  I mean its not hard to down anything Microsoft, but we are hoping Sony can come back with something interesting.  Past that Betamax wasn’t that bad - it was overpriced; but who pays attention to price when you get an increase in quality?

Read More | Ars Technica

Toshiba HD-A1

If you’re an early adopter, the general consensus of DVD Town’s review of the Toshiba HD-A1 won’t matter a whit to you, but if you’re considering buying one or merely curious as to the next generation of the venerable DVD, the review is worth a read.  Suffice it to say, the picture quality of the unit was excellent, but there were some downsides (which is to be expected in a first-run product).  For one thing, it’s terribly slow to load and launch a movie (~30 seconds) as the HD-A1 bears more in common with a computer than a DVD player.  Also, the ventilation fan on the unit is quite audible, which for some could be very distracting.  Finally, the remote leaves room for improvement, but that’s typical of almost all electronic devices these days.

Keep in mind that if you’re a Netflix user, they’ve started stocking HD-DVDs and you can set your account to automatically ship movies in the new format if they’re available.

Read More | DVD Town

HD DVD NetflixIf you are a Netflix subscriber, you may be excited to know that you can now add HD DVD movies to your queue. Even better, some titles are set to ship on April 18th, just six days away. When picking movies, you can switch between the HD DVD and standard DVD versions by hitting the HD DVD button. You can also choose to default to the HD DVD version of any upcoming flicks by setting the option under Account Preferences. Oh, one other things. You will need to have an HD DVD player for these puppies as well - and those don’t come cheap.

Pioneer PDP-5000EX

Fresh picked from the crop of new plasma displays is Pioneer’s PDP-5000EX, a 50-inch plasma display that offers 1080p as its primary claim to fame, and is a world’s first according to Pioneer.  Offering double the pixel density and a faster refresh rate than 720p displays, the PDP-5000EX also includes proprietary technology (with the requisite fancy names), designed to improve picture quality.  Such as:

• The Deep Waffle Rib Structure makes each cell deeper to increase overall phosphor area for a brighter image.
• The PUREBLACK Crystal Layer sandwiched between the plasma glass and the individual light cells conducts energy more efficiently so each cell is charged and discharged at a faster rate, improving contrast and brightness while using less energy.
• High Quality Up Conversion to 1080p minimizes interlacing motion artefacts of 1080i and increases the resolution of a 720p signal.
• New PURE Drive 2 HD Signal Processing delivers low noise, high contrast and natural colour images. The High Precision Video Scaler receives and displays 1080p HD native resolution.
• The Direct Colour Filter reduces ambient light reflection and heightens colour reproduction through the elimination of an extra layer of glass for sharper, crisper and more vivid images.
• Enhanced ISF C 3 capability allows a certified calibrator to perform advanced colour calibration with never-before-achieved simplicity, accuracy and reliability.

The display will be available in June 2006 with pricing yet to be announced.

Read More | Pioneer via TechEBlog

Laser HDTVMitsubishi has announced that there is a new breed of HDTVs on the way.  These new DLP displays use red, blue, and red

green lasers to create deep, bright images on super thin screens.  The laser-based HDTV is expected to have a very small footprint, and should be incredibly lightweight.  By using lasers rather than a lamp in these sets, a wider range of intensity in color can be achieved.  Even better, these units should consume one third of the power of a conventional HDTV.  Lastly, the lasers are expected to last the lifetime of the TV (rather than burning out like DLP lamps.) Exptected to hit retail late next year, we should at least have more information on the prototype later this week.

Read More | New York Times


With TiVo ending their lifetime subscription, and many users frowning at the increased cost of the monthly subscription, open source solutions are beginning to look even better.  Freevo is an open source alternative to TiVo - all you need is an aging PC running a Linux distribution and a cheap TV tuner card or two.  Freevo has all of the features that a TiVo box has, and a few that TiVo does not offer.  The Freevo project is well documented, and has a very active community.  Most people with a little knowledge of Linux should have no trouble getting it up and running.  With Freevo, you are not locked into proprietary hardware either; you are free to customize your Freevo PC however you like.  With the decreasing costs of PC hardware and no subscription fee, open source projects like Freevo are looking better and better.

Read More | Freevo