Pentax has announced a new DSLR system, which reportedly will fit the
needs of consumers who want to "transition from a point-and-shoot
digital camera to digital SLR photography." The price for this
transition, if you follow the Pentax path, will run you around $700
There is little doubt that music downloads will take over most of the
audio CD sales volume sooner or later. The music industry seems to have
accepted that trend and while it may give up on the audio CD, it isn’t
ready to give up on physical media sales yet. Four major publishers
announced a new media format that will be compatible with PCs,
cellphones and other portable devices: Flash memory cards will soon be
sold with preloaded, DRM free music.
Sony went Apple-crazy today with three new products with iPod/iPhone
docks. And remember that we complained just last week that Microsoft’s
Zune has an edge over Apple’s iPod with a tagging feature for songs
played over the FM radio receiver? That is still the case, but Sony has
come up with a fancy new HD radio that allows iPod/iPhone users to tag
songs for to download them from iTunes later.
Ok, let’s not go overboard here: $269 for a family room movie player
isn’t exactly cheap. But the new Memorex MVBD-2510 follows the trend of
decreasing Blu-ray player prices, despite recent remarks of the Blu-ray
Disc Association that Blu-ray isn’t going to be cheap anytime soon. In
fact, there are at least five different Blu-ray player models in the
U.S. market sell for less than $300.
Blu-ray is strangling itself with high prices and
an old fashioned distribution system. That’s the conclusion we came up
with while listening to industry analysts and executives at the
DisplaySearch/NPD HDTV conference in Los Angeles. Sure, Blu-ray
effectively vanquished HD-DVD back in January, but people just aren’t
switching to the format quickly enough. The format faces stiff
competition from DVDs, DVRs and digital copy and this has forced
Blu-ray player. This has slowed Blu-ray adoption and has forced
Blu-ray disc and player prices to remain high, according to Andy Parsons, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association.
With the likes of Sony
continuing to push the production of Organic Light Emitting Diode
(OLED), it is no wonder we are seeing this display technology push into
related consumer electronics categories. Kodak is laying claim to a
first in this regard, unveiling what it says is "the world’s first
consumer-available wireless picture frame" featuring OLED technology.
United States television broadcasts will become all
digital early next year, but most consumers aren’t taking advantage of
free government money to upgrade their old analog television sets.
According to a study released by DisplaySearch/NPD, only 6% of
consumers have redeemed their DTV coupons from the federal government.
That means there will be an estimated 25 million television sets that
will essentially be left in the dark after the digital switchover on
February 17, 2009.
Think the Canon EOS 50D DSLR announced a few weeks ago was a big deal? Canon pulled out a even bigger rabbit today with the announcement of the EOS 5D Mark II Digital SLR camera.
This 21.1-megapixel monster, out by the end of November, will set you
back around $2700 for body only or around $3500 with an accompanying EF
24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens.
That huge plasma screen in your living room
probably isn’t an energy sucking beast – at least that’s what the
Plasma Display Coalition wants you to believe. The coalition says
large plasma screens measuring 42 inches and larger are surprisingly
energy efficient and upcoming models could cost just $4 a month to
operate. Over one year, that’s less than it costs to fill up a Honda
gas tank, according to Jim Palumbo, president of the PDC.
So the Blu-ray disc is the only physical
high-definition format left in the market, but that isn’t going to
translate into lower prices any time soon, according to Andy Parsons,
the Chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association. Parsons, who is also the
senior VP of Advanced Product Development at Pioneer Electronics, told
attendees at the DisplaySearch/NPD HDTV conference in Los Angeles that
Blu-ray volume needs to increase before content makers and set-top
makers can cut prices.
Microsoft today posted the new Zune 3.0 software, providing new
features for all Zune models, including the original first-generation
Zune. The software wireless music downloads and purchases from the Zune
Marketplace, the ability to tag and purchase songs played on the
built-in FM radio, the new Zune Channels, etc. Microsoft also revealed
new Zune colors and announced that Zune owners will have free wireless
access in 9800 McDonalds restaurants across the country.
Electronic Arts and Crytek are set to deliver the next Crysis game to PC owners September 18. The new title is Crysis Warhead and will be available for around $30 in North America and Europe.
Crysis Warhead, according to EA, occurs alongside the events of last year's franchise title.
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King
is a highly anticipated expansion pack for the most popular MMORPG of
all time. The big question on gamers' minds has been: when will it come
out? Blizzard Entertainment finally answered that question, saying
today the pack will be available November 13 in North America and other
global markets, followed by more world releases in the days immediately
Mythic Entertainment, a division of Electronics Arts acquired back in 2006, continued to say today all is set to roll with the upcoming MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning. This title is now shipping to retail and will see a September 18 kickoff.
Rising energy and food prices may finally show their ugly face in the
retail space, as consumers are adjusting their spending, ChangeWave
suggests. It’s once again the time for discount retailers, which will
grab market share from established chains, the market research firm
said. Consumer electronics spending will be weak over the next 90 days,
according to the forecast, but it seems that Apple might see little
impact – and some of its products may actually see record sales.
Electronic Arts has dropped its hostile takeover
bid of Take-Two Interactive. The two companies have been going back
and forth on bids for nearly seven months with Take-Two saying that it
was being undervalued by EA. As you can expect, Take-Two’s stock price
has dropped nearly five dollars and is currently trading at just under
$17 a share.
The effort of making legal digital media available to consumers in
convenient ways across many devices has been an industry disaster
defined by piracy paranoia, lawsuits, exaggerated copy protection
policies, locked down technology platforms and corporate interests that
mostly ignored consumer interests. Now there is a new industry
organization that aims to come up with industry standards to enable
consumers to acquire and play content across a wide range of services
and devices. 16 key players from Hollywood and Silicon Valley are part
of this initiative. Notably absent is Apple, which obviously has not
much interest in creating an open media download spec.
The National Science Foundation has given $100,000 to the
University of California at Irvine for a study on World of Warcraft
players. Bonnie Nardi, a UCI informatics professor, will examine the
differences in play habits and culture between WoW players in the
United States and China. She already has some interesting observations.