The new 1080HD Apple TV


The long awaited new Apple TV is now available for pre-order.  Although this announcement is largely overshadowed by the unveiling of the new iPad, this is a long overdue upgrade of the Apple TV.

For those of you that don’t know, the previous 2 or 3 versions of the Apple TV were only able to output 720 lines of horizontal resolution.  The new version will output at a full 1080 lines to give you all of that resolution you have been missing out on.  Chances are that you currently own a flat panel that is 1080p or have a high-quality home theater with a 1080p LED or DLP projector ,  Now you can enjoy the easy to use Apple TV and also take advantage of the new icon based interface (see above).  The previous menu system used a bunch more text and this new menu looks a whole lot more like an iPad or iPhone.

Keep in mind that this version, like the last incarnation, requires your TV to have an HDMI input.  So don’t pre-order unless you are connecting this up to a projector or flat panel that has been built in the past 4 years or so.

Features of the new Apple TV:

  • 1080p movies and TV shows downloadable from the iTunes Store
  • New and improved 1080p user interface
  • Ability to re-download purchased movies through iCloud
  • “Genius” recommendations for movies
  • Photo resolution bumped up to 1080p
  • Single-core A5 chip
  • 1080p output

So, What is 4K TV resolution anyway?

In a nutshell, 4K refers to approximately 4 times the maximum resolution of current high-definition (HD) displays. Today’s hi-def displays top out at 1080 x 1920 pixels of resolution, often referred to as “1080P”. At this time, there’s no agreed upon standardized definition of 4K (therefore the “approximately” 4x resolution). The HDMI organization (the people who set the specs for the popular HDMI audio/video cable in use today) recently added two of the 4K formats to its latest specification: “Quad HD” (3840 x 2160 pixels) and 4K/2K, also called 4K x 2K (4096 x 2160 pixels). Quad HD matches the 16:9 ratio (screen shape) of modern television screens.4K video resolution comparison

The graphic here shows proportionally the amount of picture information in various formats. You can quickly see how much more picture information there is with the “4K” formats. Four times the resolution sounds amazing, and it does provide the clearest details we’ve ever seen, but for most people this doesn’t really become noticeable unless you’re either sitting very close to the screen or if your screen is very large (more than 80″).

That’s 4k in a nutshell.

Are you ready for Thinner TVs?


The LG 55″ OLED Television just premiered at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. This flat panel is the thinnest in existence at 4mm thick (about 3 credit cards thick). The bezel that surrounds the image is only 1mm thick.

Both Samsung and LG released their 55″ OLED sets this year, but LG took home the “Best of CES Award”.

Although OLED (organic light emitting diode) is a rather new technology in a TV this large, we expect that this format will produce wider viewing angles, higher contrast, and better picture quality than the current offering of LED, LCD, and Plasma sets. Before you want to trash your current set, keep in mind that this will take a few generations to start eclipsing the current sets on the market. The current focus with OLED is thin, thin, thin…not the best picture quality. This will come in time.

I also expect it to take some time before this technology is available in the new jumbo flat panel sizes (70″ – 85″). Perhaps we will see these sometime in late 2013.

There will be a premium price for this set but will eventually be price competitive with LED sets by 2016, according to LG. Preliminary expected pricing is $7,999 for both the LG and Samsung models.


Active Shutter vs Polorized 3D glasses?

Active Shutter Glasses:

This technology has been adopted by most consumer electronics firms like LG, Samsung, Panasonic, etc. With this technology, an HDTV will display one image to your left eye and one image to your right eye. Since the effective frame rate is halved, these HDTVs need to have double the refresh rate of HDTVs (60 Hz). This is why you will find that all 3D HDTVs have a minimum frame rate of 120 Hz (most have a frame rate around 240 Hz or even 480 Hz). You will need a pair of active shutter glasses if you buy a 3D-capable HDTV in 2010 and onwards.

Passive (or Polarized) Glasses:

The display shows two overlapping images and the glasses have polarized lenses. Each lens is polarized so that it can see only one of the two overlapping images.

The only drawback is that viewers will need to sit directly in front of the display to get the full 3D effect. If the viewer is sitting on the side, the 3D effects will be less pronounced.

TV’s for a “Super” Super Bowl Party

Panasonic 152 inch TV

For the most immersive Super Bowl / Home Theater experience, a front projection system (separate video projector and large screen) remains the ultimate video display technology, especially for private Home Theaters where you can control the lighting environment. But, what about more casual spaces, such as your Family or Great Room that doubles as a Media Room where you want to watch the TV in a brighter environment? It is in these situations that a large flat panel TV is a great choice, and maybe the fairly standard 65″ size isn’t cutting it. Well, we have some solutions for you…

To kill the suspense, I’ll tell you right now the largest flat panel TV on the market is the 152″ plasma TV offered by Panasonic (which is mighty huge!). Here is the rundown on large flat panel TV options available today.

First, the incredible Panasonic TH-152UX1 plasma TV. This 152″ diagonal screen size TV weighs nearly 1300 pounds and has the surface area of about nine 50″ flat panel TV’s (hint, you will want to brace your walls to handle the weight). It boasts more than 4 times the pixels of conventional high-definition displays with its 4096 x 2160 resolution. It is 3D capable and has a slightly wider aspect ratio of 17:9 which complies with the DCI standard for digital cinema. The picture height is nearly 6′. A TV this large doesn’t come cheap, it is $499,995.

Largest TVThe previous screen size champ until the 152″ came along is the 103″ plasmas available from Panasonic. It has a slightly larger picture than four 50″ displays. Like the 152″ TV above, you can get 3D at this screen size, and trust us, 3D looks much better on larger screens. 3D is meant to be viewed on larger screen sizes…the 3D effect really loses its punch when viewed on smaller TV sizes unless you sit very close to the TV. Panasonic also manufactures an 85″ plasma TV, also available in a 3D version. To give some perspective, this TV is roughly the same size as four 42-inch displays. This TV weighs around 260 pounds and is about 3.9″ thick. Like most TVs these days, this one is made with glass that minimizes glare on the screen surface. Prices range from approximately $25K to nearly $40K for the top-end 3D ready model. Like all Panasonic plasma TV’s, the picture is excellent.

In September of 2011, Sharp released their Largest flat panel TV yet at 80″. This TV has surpassed its recent predecessor, which was a 70″ TV. The Sharp flat panel 80″ TV features LED backlighting and has built in WiFi. This allows users to access Netflix through the TV.

Mitsubishi tops out at 92″. Smaller versions are available in 73″ and 82″ screens, and all are 3D ready. The only “catch” with the Mitsubishi’s is that they are rear-projection technology (think of the “big screens” that existed before the plasma TV boom). They are deeper (18″ – 25″ deep) and the picture is great. They are cost-effective for a large picture, though.

There’s still have time to order and install your BIG TV choice by the Super Bowl Sunday. Call Brett our HDTV expert to discuss the perfect solution for your room @ 979.268.6010

World’s Largest Outdoor TV

World’s Largest Outdoor TV, just what you need in the Backyard. An absolutely amazing outdoor television that literally unfolds out of the ground. The 201″ diagonal TV is designed by Porsche Design Studio and is made by C SEED Entertainment Systems in Austria.

Weighing in at 5 tons, the TV and elevator lift mechanism represents a new frontier in television size and engineering. We expect that our wildly successful clientele will begin to pony up to be the first kids on the block to own this design masterpiece. this is the ticket. Having such a large TV appear out of seemingly nowhere and unfold in front of your eyes is the ultimate in “WOW” factor!

The C SEED TV is able to rise out of the ground to various heights (up to 15′ to top of screen) and rotate up to 135 degrees to the right/left (270 degrees total). The entire rise and unfold process takes only 40 seconds. The TV is bright enough for daylight use, and still produces a bright picture even with direct sunshine beaming on it. There are 725,760 LED pixels that produce the picture, and they are small enough (only .26″) that they shouldn’t be noticeable when viewing from 20′ away or more. The TV also allows a wide viewing angle, great for large parties.

C SEED Unfolding TV features:

  • wind and temperature sensors prevent adverse weather from damaging the TV (self-protecting)
  • built-in laser sensors (yes, lasers!) will not deploy TV if someone is too close to the TV’s ground opening
  • 3600 watt built-in audio system includes three subwoofers and features a carbon-fiber housing
  • multi-source media server is included that connects to the screen with a fiberoptic cable
  • remote control features fingerprint security lockout to prevent unauthorized access

worlds largest outdoor television

Says Roland Heiler, CEO of Porsche Design Studio: “Our goal was to develop a design concept that turned the unfolding process into a special effect. We wanted to make sure that the C SEED 201 conveyed a sophisticated aesthetic in every phase of its movement. It starts as an obelisk rising from the ground, then opens up with a butterfly-like motion. The realization of this idea was a true challenge for the engineers.”


Ammo to “Show Off” your 3D Theater!

So here goes, 3-D demos to rock your socks off…

Monsters vs. Aliens – view minutes 43:34-47:04 – This bright clip shows off the true benefits of cinemascope (the wider 2.35:1 aspect ratio screens) and exceptional color performance. Be sure to check out the Golden Gate bridge against the blue sky.

Alice in Wonderland – Trailer from Disney Digital 3-D Blu-ray Showcase disc – This clip literally jumps off the screen. No movie can match the color saturation in Wonderland. Check it out.

Grand Canyon Adventure, River at Risk – minutes 11:58-13:48 – The Grand Canyon in 3-D, what else can I say? Spectacular.

Bob’s Big Break – animated short – This is the pre-quel to Monsters vs. Aliens and can be found in the special features of that 3-D Blu-ray. This is a great demo since you can show a story from beginning to end as opposed to picking a scene from the middle of a movie.

Step Up 3-D – First Dance Scene – This is a teenybopper dance movie but a good demo of live action 3-D combined with good audio.

Avatar – hidden scene – Go to Disc 3 and find the hidden menu to the right of “Live Extras”. Select “You’re not in Kansas anymore” and strap in for some of the best 3-D ever produced.

Although 3-D has not quite taken off like the industry has hoped it would, these demos might make believers of the 3-D skeptics.

If you are in the process of building, dreaming about, or designing your own private theater, Audio Video builds and designs private screening rooms and home theaters in Central Texas.


Now you see the TV, now you don’t

Design-savvy clients love watching TV as much as anyone, but often hate seeing the TV when it is turned off. Thin as they are today, a TV is just a rectangular monolith on a wall that adds nothing to a room’s interior decor or ambiance when it isn’t being watched. Behold the mirror TV, one of the tricks up our sleeves to hide video monitors.

The mirror television trend started over a decade ago, but it was often a difficult effort where you would try to find the best  single sided mirror that didn’t dim the TV too much, yet still do a good job of hiding the TV. Then there was the thickness issue, most flat screens were still too thick to fit in 2 x 4 construction walls. Then, there was the TV ventilation issues…

Now, thanks to brands such as SEURA and Media Decor, engineering a mirror TV solution is no longer a job for MacGyver. These clever hidden televisions are specially engineered to be behind mirrors, and the ventilation and mirror opacity variables have been all figured out for you. Since the larger TV sizes are now ultra-thin also, most of these engineered hidden TV solutions fit in standard 2 x 4 wall stud depth.

Audio Video carries both SEURA AND Media Decor as well as a motorized picture option by Vision Art.

YouTube Now available on your DirecTV DVR

For those of you who have DirecTV, YouTube is now available to view through your DVR.

How do you access it?  Easy…

Press ‘Menu’

Select ‘Smart Search’

Type in what you are looking for just like you would to find a program.  If you typed in “car chase”, the result of the search will yield a few options like this…

Car Chase – HD

Car Chase – YouTube

Police Car Chases – HD

If there is a YouTube match, you will see YouTube next to the search result.



Are you ready to cut the “Cable TV Bill” cord

Internet services like Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, Hulu, etc. allow users to stream content at little or no cost. Many of these services are available through the new Blu-Ray DVD players and internet ready TVs.Until recently we’ve had to get our TV content from Cable (Comcast, AT&T, DIRECTV, Dish Network). For the most part these services all provide the same content at essentially the same price. .

The major service providers still have an advantage for live sports and many shows are not available online or may have waiting periods before they are posted.

All this new content has appealed primarily to the younger generations, as we have had years of training on channel surfing and traditional access to media via our remote control. But some of us older folks are looking for ways to “cut the cord” and free ourselves from $100 or more monthly bills.

What is your opinion of the alternate service providers?