"Smart TV" is even more common than ever this year among the TVs of 2012, and as always, content is king.
With that in mind we present the chart above, summarizing the various major apps available from most major TV manufacturers this year. As you can see, pretty much everything has Netflix, and the differences begin from there.
Compared with last year, the major addition to the chart is HBO Go, which is currently exclusive to Samsung TVs. It's a superb app with a wealth of content that helps makes Samsung's suite the most compelling of … Read more
The BP620 is LG's "flagship" Blu-ray player for 2012, but you couldn't tell by its $130 street price or ordinary feature set. It includes all the important features that manufacturers are charging for this year, such as 3D compatibility, built-in Wi-Fi, and a suite of streaming-media services.
The big catch, especially if you were familiar with LG's platform last year, is that Amazon Instant will not be included on 2012 players, which could be a deal breaker for cord cutters. However, LG continues to have one of the best-designed streaming-content portals, with a dead-simple user … Read more
If the inability to access video-on-demand (VOD) channels has kept you away from TiVo (and not its service fee), you may soon have to find another excuse. At least if you're a Comcast Xfinity subscriber.
An automatic software update will be pushed to TiVo Premiere users in the Bay Area starting today and over the coming weeks adding access to the Xfinity On Demand library. Additional markets across the country will get access in the coming months.
At CES this year one of the most interesting announcements involved Samsung's Smart Interaction, a new feature on its 2012 TVs that utilizes a built-in camera and microphone to enable you to control the boob tube just by speaking and/or gesturing to it. I've spent the last few days doing just that, much to the amusement ofmy co-workers, and boy are my arms (and at least one finger) tired.
My takeaway? Smart Interaction has promise but feels half-baked and more like a gimmick than a compelling upgrade. Once the novelty wears off, its usefulness is limited (at best) to those times you don't have a remote in-hand. … Read more
From phones to cameras to TVs game consoles, if you've played with a Sony device over the past 5 years, then you'll be quite familiar with the company's Xross Media Bar (XMB), which also forms the backbone of of its 2012 TV interface. This year Sony is also pushing its Entertainment Network even harder, which for some reason meant adding a new, completely different-looking interface on top of the old one and keeping both.
Content Sony's 2012 app selection, as seen on the HX750 series I recently tested, is basically the same as last year (Sony recently added Amazon Instant Video to its PS3 console but the service already existed on Bravia TVs). High-profile apps include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Cinema Now for video, Pandora and Slacker for audio, and Skype (optional camera/speakerphone required), Facebook and Twitter for networking. The Sony remotes also carry a dedicated Netflix button for easy access to the video service.
The only major missing video services are Vudu and MLB TV, while subscription music services are conspicuously absent, probably so they don't compete with Music Unlimited.… Read more
The Sony PS3 has added an Amazon Instant app to its suite of streaming-video services, letting you streaming purchased and rented content, as well as letting Amazon Prime subscribers stream free Prime TV shows and movies.
Amazon Instant joins Netflix, Hulu Plus, CinemaNow, Vudu, NHL, MLB.TV, NFL Sunday Ticket, SEC college sports, XOS college sports, and Sony Video Unlimited in the PS3's suite of streaming-video services. Although it may seem surprising that Sony is adding a service that directly competes with the Sony's own video store, Vudu and CinemaNow already offer the same ability to purchase and … Read more
Onkyo and Pioneer have already spilled the details on their 2012 midrange AV receivers, and now Yamaha has released two new models to its RX-V line.
The RX-V573 ($550) and RX-V473 ($450) are available immediately, and both feature built-in AirPlay, 4K video pass-through, 3D support, and four HDMI inputs. AirPlay is a new feature for Yamaha's receivers, as it was a noticeable omission from last year's models, while competing Pioneer and Denon models offered it. The RX-V573 and RX-V473 are both also DLNA-compliant.
The new models will continue to use Yamaha's color graphical user interface, and Yamaha's AV Controller app has been updated for both iOS and Android devices, including tablets. The major difference between the models is that RX-V573 is a 7.1 channel receiver, while the RX-V473 has 5.1 channels.
Yamaha also announced that it will be releasing more models in the RX-V line later this month. Here's a breakdown of the key features of models announced today:
Samsung's high-end, tube-powered DA-E750 audio dock was impressive enough at CES to garner a Best of CES nomination in the home theater category. Now Samsung's initial foray at luxury home audio finally has a price: a whopping $800.
Pricing was also announced for Samsung's other vacuum-tube-amplified home audio product, including the two home theater systems, the HT-E6500W ($800) and HT-E6730W ($1,000). The shipping date for all three products is still a vague "spring," so it may be a month or two before these start showing up. Samsung's step-down audio docks will be coming … Read more
Most agree that TiVo's DVRs are among the best available, but the main sticking point for most buyers is always the monthly fee.
TiVo's making it a little easier to get over that hurdle, announcing today that the monthly fee has dropped to $15 a month with a one-year commitment. On the other hand, TiVo has changed the cost of the DVRs themselves as follows: Premiere ($150), Premiere XL ($250), and Premiere Elite ($400). That's a $50 increase for the entry-level Premiere, while the Premiere XL's price has dropped $50 and the Premiere Elite has dropped $… Read more
When I directly compared the screens of old iPad 2 and the new iPad, I immediately noticed the improvement in resolution in text and some graphics, like the Apps icons. Being a TV reviewer, however, I was curious to see if there was any major improvement when watching movies and TV shows.
I spent a few hours this weekend looking at common video sources side-by-side, one on an old iPad 2 (1,024x768-pixel resolution) and one on the new iPad (2,048x1,536 pixels). Despite the massive boost in resolution, and what Apple claims is a 44 percent increase in … Read more