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Archives: November 2011


New BeoVision 7-40 Adds 3D Blu-ray to Gorgeous Package

Beovision7403d
Bang & Olufsen has added a revised BeoVision television to their range, as the updated BeoVision 7-40 now comes complete with a 3D Blu-ray player inside.  Fans of the super-stylish Danish brand will recall that the 7-40 was updated back in May this year, swapping out the DVD player for a Blu-ray.  As technology has now moved on to include 3D, the company has done the same again this month.

As you would expect now there is a 3D Blu-ray player built-in, the screen itself has become a 3D panel, plus you'll get a pair of active-shutter glasses in the package too.  The 40" screen will likely be the best seller, however a 50" version has also gone on sale at the same time.  B&O has given the specs a slight overhaul, with the screen now boasting a 100hz refresh rate, 3000:1 contrast ratio and a 6ms response time.

Otherwise the spec has remained the same with Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio support from the standard decoder plus an optional built-in DVB-HD decoder, motorised stand and the BeoLab speaker system.

You're going to have to take a deep breath when it comes to handing over the cash though, as the new BeoVision 7-40 is priced at £7,600!

Yamaha Launches First All-In-One Blu-ray, the BDX-610

Bdx610
A latecomer to the All-In-One Blu-ray system party, Yamaha's first attempt has just gone on sale in the USA and the UK.  The BDX-610 was seen during the IFA show back in September and the promised November release date has now been met.

The BDX-610's main unit houses the Blu-ray player along with a 5.1 audio receiver, boasting a total output of 500 watts.  This is transfered to a collection of five speakers and a subwoofer, ready to deliver 80 watts each and 100 watts respectively.  The design used for the speaker boxes is very traditional, with oblong black enclosures for the individual channels and a big black cube for the subwoofer, however the glossy black finish is sure to look good.

The player/receiver is certainly more compact than a separates system would be, plus it benefits from a very simple rear panel layout.  A peak reveals a single HDMI port, a coax or optical audio connection, an Ethernet port and a series of less-than-ideal spring connectors for the speakers.  Even those with limited experience in setting up home cinema systems should find it a breeze.

On to the specs.  The Blu-ray player supports 3D playback, the receiver happily decodes Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio, it's DLNA certified and there's a USB port on the front panel too.

That's about what you'd expect from a mid-range Blu-ray player these days, so when you add in the surround sound audio and speaker system, provided the price is right the BDX-610 looks tempting.  Happily, the price is a good one at around £450 in the UK and $699 in the USA.  Interestingly, Yamaha will also sell the Blu-ray/receiver box separately in the near future, so you'll be able to make use of that speaker set you've got hanging around.  The UK price for this has yet to be revealed, but The Verge say it'll cost $549 on its own in the USA.

Jaws Blu-ray Out Summer 2012, and E.T. to Follow for Christmas?

JawslogoIt was back in June when we last heard anything about Jaws and E.T. being released on Blu-ray, when Steven Spielberg spoke to AICN saying both movies were being prepared for their HD debut, and that neither would be subject to any digital tinkering.

Since then it has been quiet until a tiny snippet of news appeared over at The Digital Bits.  The statement is another tease with no firm information; but it's still exciting - "Our industry sources are now telling us that Universal will release Steven Spielberg's Jaws on Blu-ray in time for Summer 2012, probably around May or June. Also, E.T. is likely to be a Fall 2012 title, released in time for Christmas".

With the end of 2011 just a couple of months away, an official announcement for Jaws - if it is coming May or June - could come in January or February.  A similar timeframe was used for Spielberg's recently released Jurassic Park trilogy Blu-ray set, with the official announcement at the tail-end of June and the release a couple of weeks ago at the end of October.

There's also a chance the Blu-ray release date could coincide with the original theatrical date back in 1975 which according to IMDb, was the 20th June.

Jaws is one of the few remaining 'big' catalogue titles still unreleased on Blu-ray, and is often cited as a reason not to adopt the format, so here's looking forward to a spectacular release!

Tax Loop Hole to be Closed, Cheap Online UK Blu-ray Buys Could End

BlurayAnyone who regularly purchases Blu-ray or DVD films will undoubtedly use sites based in the Channel Islands such as Play.com and Amazon, mainly thanks to their low prices.  The reason they're invariably cheaper than high street retailers is a tax loophole that allows them to avoid paying VAT on products costing less than £15, which covers the vast majority of DVD and Blu-rays.

In turn, the tax concession encouraged companies to move all their mailorder operations to the Channel Islands in order to use a system called 'circular shipping' to further cut costs.

These glory days could be coming to an end next year though, as the UK Treasury has said they'll be closing the loophole entirely from the 1st April 2012. 

The Government's reasoning is that it'll allow small and medium sized businesses who can't afford to set up an offshore mailorder company to better compete with those who can.  So, great for businesses, but potentially not so good for customers.  Don't forget, it's good news for the Treasury's coffers too.

There appear to be two courses of action for Channel Island retailers, either move outside the EU where the tax law still stands, or increase prices to compensate.  It's not hard to guess which one they'll be forced to adopt, now is it.

Need a 3D Blu-ray System? Take a Look at HP's New TouchSmart PC

Touchsmart620
If you're on the look out for a second 3D TV system for your home, but don't want anything too big, or want to cram in as much functionality as possible; take a look at the new HP TouchSmart 620 PC.  Mounted on a tilting stand the PC is encased behind a 23" 3D-capable touchscreen display with a 1920 x 180 full-HD resolution, so you'll be assured of the best picture quality possible when playing Blu-rays, even if the screen is on the small side.

The disc drive can play 2D and 3D Blu-ray discs along with the usual DVD and CD material, while the system will also convert standard 2D content into 3D.  For the truly 3D mad, the TouchSmart 620 has a pair of webcams integrated into the screen's bezel, allowing you to take 3D still images or shoot 3D video. 

Running Windows 7, the TouchSmart 620 is powered by a 3.1Ghz Intel Core i5 processor and has 8GB of RAM built-in.  On the storage side a 1.5TB HDD should keep you going for a while, and the AMD Radeon HD 6670A graphics card should satisfy most gamers too.  HP has also included the Beats by Dr. Dre audio tweaks to make the sound match the video performance, and inside the pack you'll also find a single pair of 3D glasses.

You probably already suspect the TouchSmart 620 won't be cheap, and you'd be right.  Available direct from HP, it'll set you back $1899, which is a large amount of cash for a second-room system, but there's no denying it contains a lot of tech!