Teletext will cease to be in 2010.
But don't panic, BBC's Ceefax is set to continue for as long as the analogue signal is broadcasting.
Closed caption information relay was initially designed by the BBC and Post Office in the early 70s as a way to subtitle shows. And it worked very well.
The BBC soon rolled it out to the full Ceefax service, that continues to this day. And still operates faster than digital text, which is still woefully slow.
Telext was originally due to close it's pixelated doors in 2012 to coincide with the digital switchover, and although it has 12 million users a week, it has been operating at a loss for three years as people turned to the web for their instant news, celebrity gossip and football scores (the three pillars of any successful information platform).
But it won't be the end of the Teletext brand, which will continue through its successful travel websites.
Virgin and Universal sitting in a tree,
First comes music,
then comes movies,
then comes....actually I can't think of anything to rhyme with movies but you get the point.
After the announcement earlier this month that Virgin and Universal are to join forces to offer a DRM-free music download service it seems you can't keep the two media giants apart.
Virgin have today announced that they are to offer Universal's Picturebox service to their 3.6million TV subscribers.
The service, which is already available to BT Vision and TopUp TV customers, will cost a fiver a month and will give subscribers access to around 28 films a month - with seven new ones being put up every Friday. The majority of these should be available in HD too.
Virgin seems to be aggressively targeting the on-demand generation with their latest announcements. They have realised that, amongst other things, the internet and new technology have brought with them a culture whereby users want their content instantly and they want it when it fits their schedule. Well done Virgin I say, well done indeed.
If Virgin's Picturebox service is enough to tempt you in to a subscription then sign up here.
Over the last month or so, I've had the pleasure of having LG's 42LH5000 television in my living room. There's plenty to like about this, LG's first 200Hz LCD, so read on for the full review.
First of all, let's talk styling. The 42LH5000 will fit comfortably in pretty much any living room, unless it's bright pink with "Hello Kitty" curtains. A transparent plastic 'halo' around the screen suits it nicely, with only a slight dip that indicates where the power button is to spoil the lines.
Although you can tilt it 20 degrees or so left and right, you can't tilt it up or down. Happily, I didn't have any issues with viewing angle, so that wasn't an issue, but if you're planning to mount it high or low, it might be worth some consideration.
A sensor on the front will adjust the brightness of the display to match ambient light, which works well. I only had one issue with the feature, on a stormy day when the television kept adjusting up and down, having difficulty working out the strange light of just before a thunderstorm.
The UI, luckily, allows you to turn this feature off if you want to. It's a good UI too - clearly laid out and sensible. You can generally find what you're looking for without having to resort to the manual.
The TV is also packed with environmentally friendly features. The fact that it consumes 210W typically while running isn't that great, but a physical on-off switch, easily dimmable display, and even the ability to turn the display off entirely if you're just listening to the radio, are all very welcome.
The built-in freeview tuner looks exactly how you'd expect it to - fine for soaps or documentaries, but a little lackluster for news, sports, action movies or anything else with fast-paced action going on. Plug in an HD source, however, and all that changes.
In HD, the picture is bright, clear and vibrant, even before applying any scene-specific image processing. The contrast is perfectly acceptable for most applications, but more muted scenes suffered a little from a lack of definition. There wasn't quite enough detail in the shadow for my liking.
Beware if you're wanting to plug in a Wii or a similar 480p source. The upscaling that the TV has to do to get it to fit the screen means that there's horrible lag between your input and the image. It's most noticible in rhythm games like Guitar Hero (which thankfully lets you compensate in the game's settings), but this TV is very poor - even in game mode - at rendering the Wii's signal on the larger resolution display.
I also encountered a little bit of picture corruption from time to time when turning it on. Vertical lines would appear, on all input sources, maybe one in 10 times that we powered up. They disappeared within sixty seconds, but it was still a little unnerving.
One of the 42LH5000's best features is its USB port. You can plug in a portable hard drive or flash memory stick and watch any music, video or photo content that resides upon it, with minimal worries about codec support. I only encountered one video that wouldn't play, and a quick bit of conversion on my PC sorted that out.
The sound is acceptable. Punchy stereo speakers give more than enough volume, though there isn't an audio-out, so you'll need to use the headphone socket if you want to plug it into a stereo.
On the whole, though, some minor picture quibbles aren't enough to stop me from recommending the 42LH5000 to an average buyer. If you're plugging in an HD source, expect it to look fantastic, particularly with the 200Hz refresh rate. Beware if you're a heavy Wii gamer, because the lag proved irritating, but the majority of buyers would be very happy with LG's latest effort.
You can pick up the LG 42LH5000 for £899 from Currys or about £100 pounds cheaper from somewhere slightly shadier.
JVC uncovered a protoype of a 46" psuedo-high definition 3DTV at the CEDIA exhibition today called the GD-463D10. Cacthy. The set uses polarized light to create a steroscopic image with each alternate line of pixels emitting light in a different direction.
What then happens is that your glasses - yes, you do have to wear them - decode the half the set of pixels with the right lens, producing one angle of the image, and the other set of pixels with the left lens, producing the same image from a different angle. The two images together then give you a 3D perspective of the broadcast/playback.
Now, I call it pseudo-HD because if all 1080 horizontal lines aren't forming the exact same image, then it's not quite authentic but once you get the googles on - as modelled here by by Kat from T3 and Marc from Tech Radar - you'll be too busy thinking about the depth than you will the exact perfection of the resolution which is very good all the same.
The set itself, strictly a monitor, offers a static contrast ratio of 2,000:1 (10,000:1 dynamic) and a very normal viewing of 178 degrees. JVC is only going to make 2,000 of them for sale and they're likely to cost and an appropriately 3D eye-popping £8,000. Don't worry, though, you'll have some time to save up while JVC waits for the Blu-ray 3D standard to be decided before bring the TV to the market.
LG's 3D aspirations are one step closer today with the announcement that they've licensed multi-core processors for their digital TVs.
The Korean company now has access to both graphics and central processing units from ARM, the archeitecture of which is suited to improved multitasking, Adobe Flash acceleration, cleaner 1080p resolution and the kind of power to crunch the numbers necessary for 3DTV.
The chips will allow the sets full web interactivity including video-on-demand, e-commerce, social networking, voting and whatever other kinds of widgets you care to chuck at it plus, of course, the Flash favourites like YouTube and iPlayer straight to your big screen. And all of that without a set top box.
Normally associated with mobile phones, ARM will supply processors running at 1GHz and are looking to develop smarter technology to save even more power further down the line.
All in all, it's a good move for LG, helping their panels take a step up in quality and begin to match the top players in the field. Look out for a similar move in exterior design some time soon.
Connectivity - 4 x HDMI 1.3, 2 x Scart, USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi 802.11g
Speakers - 2 x subwoofers, 2 x dome tweeters
Features - Net TV, Ambilight, Pixel Perfect Engine, Anti-reflective glass
How much does it cost?: £4,500
How much should it cost?: £3,500
Should I buy it?: The short answer is yes. It doesn't represent great value and the picture isn't as perfect as the money sounds but it's an awesome TV. You're paying the extra for the unique design and the swaggering step of an early adopter.
Long VersionFirst Impressions
This was one of those reviews that a blogger/journo gets very excited about. It's not everyday you get to take a private, close-up look at a potential game-changer - particularly in the TV world.
The first thing you notice is that it's big. It's really big, and it looks even bigger because it's such a long, narrow shape. Think carefully before you buy it because it takes a special room to accommodate it properly. A dedicated cinema room will probably be the home of the bulk of Philips Cinema 21:9s sold.
You get used to the shape in minutes and when you turn back to a standard widescreen, it'll look boxy as hell.
The Cinema 21:9 is just that. It's a cinema screen and once that's in you head, it's a very comfortable watch.
There's only one way to test out a cinema screen and that's with blockbuster Blu-rays. So, first up stuck on the beginning of I Am Legend for some fast paced action to test out the frame rate and response time and later the Dark Knight for the colour and light levels.
The level of detail of the picture you get is frightening. The expression of the Full HD resolution is unbelievably real, the edges of objects and actors so sharp that they almost seem to bend out at you as if in 3D. It's apparently an optical illusion or so I hear.
The second point about it is that some films almost look like they're home movies. Now, I know that sounds like a bad thing to say but it isn't. It's not a poor fuzzy picture quality I'm talking about. It's a stripped down Hollywood laid bare feel. There's little glossiness and softness left. Pictures are raw. Actors looks like real people in that way that Tyra Banks famously complained about High Definition. You can see every blemish and, on this TV, in such size. It takes a little getting used to but it's part of the whole wonder of the experience.
The 200Hz frame rate and 1ms response time are perfect. Not a blur, ghost nor judder in sight and nor would you expect one on such a premium panel. The hunting scene at the beginning of I Am Legend was spot on. I was right into the fast-paced chase from start to finish.
Again, the Dark Knight was a joy to behold but there were two problems that arose when watching this film. The first is that the Dark Knight is shot in both 16:9 and true cinema 21:9 which meant that from scene to scene the Philips auto screen size sensor would flip in and out to adjust to the correct size.
The idea of the 21:9 is, of course, that you don't get any black bars at the top and bottom of your picture. That's fine when something's shot in 21:9 but at other sizes, the sensor will fit the image to the screen sometimes with a very slight cropping of the image.
I didn't find the cropping a problem with 16:9. You really don't notice it, but it frustrates me to say that, at the time, I didn't think to try it out with a normal 4:3 television broadcast.
I'd be disappointed if Philips hadn't figured out an algorithm to make that work and, at the least, you can always watch TV without the sensor off and black bars to the left and right - big chunky ones might they be.
The other issue, and the reason it's always worth testing with gothic look films, is the black levels. This is the one real thorn in the side of the 21:9. They're not great. This isn't an LED TV, it's relatively tradiontal tube backlight technology and there is a degree of light spill when we're talking about such big bulbs.
It's not something you'd nornally have a problem with but in dark scenes, of which there are many in Batman films, the blacks tend to look a little unform and flat. You could see the folds on Comissioner Gordon's dark suit on the nighttime roof tops when you know that they should be there. It's a bit of a shame but it won't ruin your experience.
The best, and most Philipsy, feature of this set is the Ambilight Spectra 3 system. For those unfamiliar, it's a system of LEDs at the back of the panel that projects the colour of whatever it is you're watching onto the wall behind. Philips says it extends the picture. I'm not sure about that but it is a really cool effect and I'd opt for a TV with an Ambilight if you can. It really brings a sense of atmosphere.
The anti-reflection glass and the eight-day EPG are worth a mention while we're here. The former works. There's not a lot more you can say about it. I was never aware of a reflection problem. No glare at all. The latter is smooth, clear and well implemented.
The whole menu system on the Cinema 21:9 is in line with the same house style of all Philips products. There's a Symbiam 60ness about it. It's straighfoward and easy to navigate around all the menus of the set and it's largely icon based; on the friendly side but without going too far into the relams of cartoon. You've paid too much money for this to look childish.
The last point I'll mention is the sound. Now, it's unlikely that anyone buying this TV isn't going to go the whole hog and invest some more cash in a proper home cinema set up, but if your amp goes on the fritz or your surround sound speakers pop, you'll be perfectly happpy with what the Cinema 21:9 can offer while you get it all fixed. It's got good clear top end and nice, rich, heart-pounding base.
There's no two ways about it. The Philips Cinema 21:9 is a great TV. The picture is excellent apart from the blacks issue and if it weren't for that I'd call it a must. All the same, what you're buying into is something altogether unique. No one else you know is going to have anything like this, at least not for another year and half.
The time will come when more manufacturers make their own version of this orginal cinema shape and when that time comes there'll be better panels and cheapers ones too. Philips themselves will doubtless improve on what they've already done. But until that time, you're going to have to pay a premium for this luxury item and, for now, that premiums worth it - even if the picture does have its faults.
Philips Cinema 21:9 Video Preview
I'm not going to tell you this is the world's best TV. It isn't. It's got a pretty modest contrast ratio of 1,300:1 and a lot of people will tell you that contrast is the most important feature of any panel. However, it's very hard to complain when the 42" Technika LCD42-910 only costs you 500 pounds.
It's a stylishly slim 6cm deep, without the stand, which is probably where you're getting the best value, but don't ignore the fact that it's got a very healthy 100Hz frame rate and a response time time of just 8ms, so you're unlikely to suffer from ghosting, blurring and juddering picture problems.
It is a 1080p resolution picture, so provided you're watching through an HD box or Blu-ray or such, you will be getting Full HD viewing. Technika doesn't' even stiff you round the back either with four HDMI sockets.
Tesco has reduced the set by 200 pounds and, so long as you can live with the compromised colour palate, then it could well be time to get your wallet out.
Buy it here
In an interview with OLED Info, Won Kim, LG's vice president of OLED sales and marketing confirmed that the electronics conglomerate will be releasing a 15-inch OLED TV in its native Korea in December 2009 - January 2010. Kim went on to say that a global roll-out will follow.
Last month we told you how Sony are planning to release a 21-inch OLED TV at around the same time as LG are predicting their 15-inch release. Samsung and Panasonic are both aiming for 40-inch versions during 2010 as well. It seems like the competition in the OLED market is really hotting up.
Kim also hinted that LG have not completely dismissed the notion of OLED screens on their mobile phones as has been recently speculated. He said that two phones had been tailored in Korea with OLED screens and stated that "OLED phones will not only survive entrenched LCD ones but position as a premium segment".
(via OLED Info)
YouTube yesterday launched it's new multi-platform version of its website, YouTubeXL, designed to bring YouTube content your big screen PC or TV.
The new site is basically an oversized redesign of the current website, minus; comments, adds and other common web-frippery. It's meant to look and work like a native app, but actually it looks and feels like a Fisher-Price website.
The content is hard to move through and the colours of the site are quite jarring. High Quality and HD videos aren't available on it either, which seems like a ridiculous omission for a service that's aimed at large-screen computers and TVs.
The one good thing about XL is that it'll work in anything that's got a browser, so you'll be able to use your PS3 and Wii to watch YouTube videos on your TV.
Not all of YouTube's content will be available immediately on XL, but with Hulu launching it's native app stateside this week YouTubeXL will need to pull its socks up if it wants to win the web-TV war.
Don't get me wrong, YouTube is brilliant for just this reason, but I'm not sure XL knows what it is.
(Via Tech Crunch)
We knew it was coming in June but now we now exactly when you can fork out for the Philips Cinema 21:9 TV. 18th June is the date to jam in your diaries and you'd better put in some serious overtime because you'll need a rather icy cool £4,500 to get one in the UK. The good news is that we do have the full details on the dream machine so you can at least drool if not afford.
It runs a full 2560x1080p HD resolution making for a grand total of 8.3 million pixels, each controlled by the Philips Perfect Pixel HD engine. It offers a 200Hz frame rate - as well it should - response times of just under 1ms and a contrast ratio of 80,000:1. Oh, and before we have a bunch of nay-sayers jumping in, there's some smart tech to resize your 16:9 pictures without significantly distorting the images or leaving black bars all over the place.
The 17bit colour processing makes 2250 trillion different shades - prove them wrong if you've got a year or two spare - and the old faithful Philips Ambilight Spectra 3 system will chuck out the appropriate hues against the wall, by which it sits, for a more dynamic experience.
There's five HDMI ports to play with as well as USB connectivity and it'll play back ACC, MP3, AC3, LPCM, WMA, JPEG, GIF, PNG, MPEG1, MPEG2 and MPEG4 which is everything you'd hope for with only a few exceptions in the shape of FLAC and DivX. Best, though, it's fully webbed up with Philips' NetTV system which will allow full internet browsing as well as all your widgetry.
Soundwise, there's an integrated 15W system of two backward facing subwoofers and a set of face-on high-enders but I'd be amazed if anyone who shells out four and half big ones is going to stop short of a full AV set up.
If you buy sooner rather than later, Philips will throw in a swivel stand and "smart level" bracket trinket but, if you're seriously after one of these things, I'd wait. Wait because this is just the kind of kit that you'll see for considerably less once the fuss dies down - particularly as the first quote we had was 4,000€. I know the pound has been bad, but not that bad.