HD Feed: September 28

The Sydney Morning Herald reports a surprisingly cheap solution for HD fans wanting a region-free Blu-ray player that’s more affordable than Oppo’s. It turns out Toshiba is marketing a range in Australia and NZ that at least one retailer is providing with a firmware CD for “unlocking the player’s factory-set Blu-ray region coding”. The SMH says the Toshiba BCS1200KY is “almost 90 per cent cheaper than the Oppo, and delivers superb region-free Blu-ray performance”. The writer bought the model online for $A119.00 while Toshiba’s NZ website lists it for about $174.00 locally (the BSC prefix differs but the SMH appears to be referring to the same BDX model). Toshiba also offers two higher-spec models that presumably can be made region-free, too. And even if you can’t source one locally with the firmware CD, the SMH recommends this link for a quick fix — although this forum suggests it comes with a couple of caveats.

Australia’s Channel News reports Samsung will forego the 4K technology that Sony and LG are about to push for OLED. “Whereas OLED panels produce faster, brighter and better coloured images, 4K’s appeal stems from incredible detail and clarity as it condenses four times the resolution of a Full HD TV into a larger screen.” Channel News quotes a Samsung rep as saying in spite of the company already designing and producing a concept 70-inch 4K television, it remains adamant OLED is the technology to endorse as there is “really no 4K TV content” available. While OLED has its drawbacks, pricing isn’t one of them: Channel News says OLED TVs are expected to retail for estimated $US10,000, or half that of 4K TVs.

In a world first, the Angry Birds app can now be downloaded on Samsung’s premium Smart TVs: Slim LED ES8000, Slim LED ES7500 and Plasma E8000. Since its launch in November 2009, Angry Birds has been downloaded more than 1 billion times, across multiple platforms and all versions of the game. Using Samsung’s Motion Control technology, owners of these TVs can, with just the wave of the hand, control gameplay features, including initiating the slingshot and activating the unique skills of each bird. “Through the launch of the Angry Birds app, Samsung’s Smart TV will become the first TV to offer the world’s most popular game and set a new standard in the industry by offering a game for smart TVs controlled by hand motion gestures,” Samsung NZ’s television and audio-visual product manager, Glen Chean, says. 

The second half of TV3’s X Factor USA won the 8.30 hour on Thursday but the first hour again was out-rated by TV2’s crimefighting duo, Police Ten-7 and Motorway Patrol. X Factor averaged 9.0% -11.3% of the key demos over two hours whereas Police Ten-7 nabbed 10.8% – 12.3% and Motorway Patrol, 10.4% – 11.6%. Auckland Daze ended its TV One run with a surprisingly robust 3.0% – 5.0% but that was still less than half of its lead-in, Mrs Brown’s Boys (8.2% -10.7%). Part one of Fringe’s season-four finale averaged 2.2% – 4.5%, scoring particularly highly with 18-39 and 18-49 year-olds, TV2’s target demos. That was higher than TV3’s Smash, which, an hour earlier, rated 2.5% – 3.1% (and as of next week is being demoted to late-night Sundays).

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