For our readers in the US, you're probably wondering what this "World Cup" thing everyone is talking about. For the rest of our readers in the world, you're probably already planning your "sick days" at work so you won't miss any of the great soccer action. While we can't possibly list all of the televised games around the world, we did want to give you a few links to some of the schedules.
ABC and ESPN will be televising quite a few of the games and SoccerTV has a great breakdown of the matches by channel.
ABC and ESPN World Cup Televised matches via SoccerTV.com (Click Image for Link):
For BBC Viewers and radio listeners, catch the World Cup here:
BBC World Cup 2006 Television / Radio Schedule (Click Image for Link):
If you have broadband internet access and your provider supports it, you can view the World cup on ESPN 360. ESPN360 will simulcast every match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup that is televised on ESPN and ESPN2 from Friday, June 9 through Sunday, July 9.:
ESPN 360 (Click Image for Link):
If we're missing any other important World Cup TV schedules, please leave us a comment and we'll be sure to update the list.
If you're looking for HD-Ready TV and you're on a budget, you might want to check out this deal on the Niko OTP-3211w. According to Amazon:
The Niko OTP-3211W 32-inch LCD TV stands ready to deliver intense, high-contrast images for movies, video games, traditional TV, and everything in between. The TV--which sports a maximum 1,366 x 768 resolution--is HD-ready, meaning all you need is an HD tuner to join the high-def revolution. Even without the tuner, however, the TV is still a video wonder, with such features as a dynamic 1,000:1 high-contrast ratio, extra-wide 170-degree viewing angles, and a fast 11-millisecond (gray to gray) response time that ensures smooth transitions and spectacular real-time graphics.
500 nits high brightness
1,000:1 (dynamic) high-contrast ratio
Super-wide 170/170 viewing angles
11-millisecond fast response time
Motion-adaptive 3D digital comb filter
Multiple video and audio inputs/outputs
Dynamic adaptive smoothing filter
Dynamic temporal fram-filtering noise reduction
Dynamic motion and edge-adaptive de-interlacing
Hi-fi surround sound speakers
Multiple language options
Wall-mountable with optional kit
While there's only a couple of reviews of the Niko OTP-3211W at Amazon, they're pretty positive. Check out all of the details at the link below.
Awhile back we told you about Cablevision's plan to offer a "remote access" DVR. While we like the idea, we knew that Hollywood would want their say. According to Boston.com:
Four Hollywood studios and the three major television networks filed a copyright suit on Wednesday seeking to prevent Cablevision Systems Corp. from launching an "on-demand" service that aims to replace the living room digital video recorder.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, says Cablevision would run afoul of copyright law with its plan to allow subscribers to store and play back TV programs through computer servers controlled by the cable TV operator.
So what's the big deal about a "remote access" DVR? According to the the Hollywood Studios:
Individual consumers have long been free to record TV shows, movies and music for personal use. But Cablevision's so-called Network DVR service has raised objections from some content providers who say it puts control over their material into the hands of another company that has not paid for or licensed it.
"Cablevision is actually copying, storing and retransmitting it," said Kori Bernard, a spokeswoman for studio industry group the Motion Picture Association of America. "A commercial entity can't establish a for-profit, on-demand service without authorization from copyright owners whose content is used on that service," she said.
I kind of understand the Hollywood point of view but it really comes down to offering consumers more choices and I support Cablevision's attempt to do that. We'll keep a close eye on this battle which will probably develop into a full-scale war.
We know you have a busy life and a busy schedule, and that's why everyone here at BlogPire Productions wants to make it easier for you to get the latest news from any of our sites and not just the one you visit everyday. We've provided below a list of all our sites and a short description along with a link for you to use if you'd like to receive news from any of those sites each Monday morning. It's really easy - just click the link - sign up and you'll get the list of headlines sent to you via email.
We've talked a lot about adding a projector to your home theater system. The problem with a projector though, is that you have to find a way to mount it so that people don't keep obstructing the view. That's where this handy little tutorial from Engadget comes in:
In today's How-To we get to play with other people's toys. We upgraded a home theater to a high definition front projection system. We lay it out, set it up, drill holes, nearly die in a Texas attic, and bring home the popcorn.
Our project home theater already has the essentials for taking advantage of a high definition display: a progressive scan DVD player with component video output and a hi-def DISH Network satellite receiver provide a HD video source for the projector.
So if you have a projector or thinking about investing in one, be sure to check out this tutorial on installing and mounting.
Portable DVD players have to be one of the coolest inventions of all time. I just wanted to let you know I'm working on a review of a pretty cool portable DVD player with a 10.2" swivel screen from Insignia. Here's the basic specs:
16:9 widescreen aspect ratio delivers a cinema-style entertainment experience
Built-in antishock system for smooth playback
Thin (1-1/2") and lightweight (2.6 lbs.) design for easy portability
On-screen display for easy adjustment of menu options
Built-in stereo speaker for listening without headphones
Dual headphone jacks so 2 people can listen without disturbing anyone else
Inputs: 1 A/V
Outputs: 1 coaxial digital audio, 1 A/V
Built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery; up to 3 hours playback time
Includes multifunction remote, car adapter, AC adapter and A/V cable
Overall, I've got a pretty good first impression from the Insignia PDVD10, so be sure to keep an eye for a full review in the next week or so.
For you Dish Network fans out there, you'll want to check out the review of the DISH Network ViP 622 HDTV DVR from I4UNews. The review starts out:
The DISH Network HDTV DVR satellite receiver model ViP 622 is a high definition satellite receiver that is capable of recording approximately 25 hours of high definition or 180 hours of programming on a 250GB hard-drive. This is the replacement model for last year's model 942 HD PVR. While having similar features from last year's model, the 622 is now capable of receiving MPEG-4 video signals as well. What that means to you -- the consumer/end-user -- is that it allows you to receive more HD channels, including all of the VOOM HD channels (now totaling 15), than before. While older systems used MPEG2 encoding that takes up a lot of bandwidth, MPEG4 encoding takes substantially less thereby allowing more signals (resulting in more channels for users).
Overall the review is pretty positive and states:
The model 622 certainly makes your life much easier, and to my mind, makes a lot of sense as it combines three good products in one box. This is what convergence is all about; combining the best aspects of two products, and making them work as one. To sum up, the model 622 is the ideal satellite HD receiver because it allows you to be able to watch and record standard and high-definition satellite TV programs in two different locations simultaneously via only one box. The cool thing is the 2nd room doesn’t need the receiver! Just remember, to get the best possible image quality, you have to use HDMI or component video for HD.
If you're an "Alias" fan you probably already know this but the spy series "Alias" is coming to an end after 5 seasons. According to CNN.com:
After five seasons, the ABC series that revitalized the espionage genre with a visually dazzling combination of glamor, angst and trickery concludes Monday, May 22, with a pair of episodes (9 p.m. EDT).
The brainchild of J. J. Abrams (who has since created ABC's hit drama "Lost" and directed "Mission: Impossible III"), "Alias" leaves behind a loyal, cult-like group of fans who understood the minutia of the double-dealing plot twists.
I'm not a big fan of the show and agree with this comment in the article:
Yet mainstream viewers were often left scratching their heads over the spies' constantly shifting alliances between good and evil, not to mention their occasional faked deaths. (Even fans were often not amused -- and don't expect to be satisfied with the finale.)
If you want to catch up with this seasons episodes online, be sure to check out this post.
Our friends over at Philips have sent me a video of some really cool prototypes at the recent Philips Simplicity event in New York. Pay real close attention to the awesome Vision Televison / Mirror in the first part of this short video.
I'll get you some more details about these really cool prototypes in a later post.
I have to say I'm pretty disappointed with this season of "The Sopranos". The writing just isn't as crisp as previous seasons and feels really disjointed. Still, I can't help but watch each week and see what happens. If you've missed the previous seasons of Tony and the gang, you'll be able to catch up on A&E real soon. According to the PostChronicle.com:
A&E paid HBO a whopping $2.5 million each for 85 episodes of "The Sopranos," according to a UPI report. As far as the changes go, most will be minor -- like voicing over vulgarity and digitally putting bikinis on the strippers at the Ba Da Bing! club.
If you're worried about "The Sopranos" being over-edited:
A&E Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob DeBitetto is quoted as saying that "so far, an average of only 30 seconds has been trimmed from each episode." It should be noted that the original "Sopranos" episodes ran anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes.
What amazes me is how little A&E had to cut. A while back I read an interview with David Chase, the creator of "The Sopranos" in which he said he was torn about offering the show to syndication. He felt that the show would lose it's edge. But since many media outlets are reporting that many of the Sopranos scenes were shot with both HBO and Cable markets in mind, I have to wonder if David Chase was really worried about his "art".
Another week and another Best of the Blogpire. It's been a pretty amazing week of new wines, new coffee, and new appararel here at the Blogpire. Check out the latest GPS reviews at GPSLodge.com and you should also swing by ShavingStuff.com for some Zia for men reviews. And if you're looking for some new exciting Spring wines - visit CheapFunWines.com.
Wow! Here's one of the best deals we've seen in a long time. Woot has a RCA 200 watt 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with 5 DVD Changer for $69.99. Yep, that's right $69.99 and only $5 shipping. Now if you're not familiar with "Woot", all deals only last 24 hours or till they're sold out, so you'll want to act fast.
5-disc DVD/CD changer system with an ultra-compact design
Total power: 200 Watts
Main Left/Right Output Power: 2×25 Watts
Center Output Power: 50 Watts
Rear Left/Right Output Power: 2×25 Watts
Subwoofer Output Power: 50 Watts
Frequency Response 20Hz~20kHz
Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic processing
3:2 pulldown and motion compensation
Component video output
MPEG 4/mp3 Playback
Region Code 1
Slow Motion Picture
Frame Advance (Forward / Reverse)
Quick Search (Forward / Reverse)
Simultaneous Play and Load
Mix,Shuffle Play, Intro, Repeat Modes
Like we said before, if the RCA Home Theater System tickles your fancy, you better get moving.
Did you hear about the guy at a job interview accidentally being interviewed on BBC TV? According to TimesOnline.co.uk:
A COMPUTER programmer whose BBC job application led to him mistakenly broadcasting live to a worldwide audience was last night still waiting to hear whether he’d got the job.
Guy Goma, who was ushered before live cameras and interviewed as an internet expert, said that he was “traumatised” by the experience.
Mr Goma was grilled on camera after an embarrassing error by BBC News 24. He had been looking for work in the business information department.
What happened was:
Producers at BBC News 24, the rolling news channel, thought Mr Goma was Guy Kewney, an internet expert, who was sitting patiently in the lobby of Television Centre in West London. Mr Kewney watched television screens in disbelief as the interview progressed, under his name, but with the wrong man.
Mr Goma, an economics and business studies graduate, was interrogated by Karen Bowerman, the business news presenter, about a victory in the High Court by Apple the computer company over Apple Corps, which manages the intellectual property of the Beatles.
The funny thing is this story has been all over the media poking at BBC as complete morons for their mistake. The problem is all of the media reported this guy as being a cabbie. So I guess the BBC wasn't the only media outlet that was wrong. Who woulda' thunk it?
Looking for a big honkin' Plasma TV? You'll want to check out the Fujitsu P63XHA40 63in Plasma TV. We point you to a review from TrustedReviews.com that tells you about the P63XHA40. At this point, the P63XHA40 is available in the UK but not the US. We'll keep you posted if and when it's available in the US.
There’s big, and then there’s Fujitsu’s P63XHA40. This plasma monster measures in with a screen size of 63in, making it one of the biggest flat-screen TVs ever to grace (break?!) UK shop shelves. But as any bloke will tell you, size isn’t everything. So has the P63XHA40 got the quality to match its quantity?
It’s nice to find for starters that Fujitsu has tried to make the P63XHA40 as unobtrusive as anything with a 63in screen can be. The screen’s bezel is exceptionally thin, yet it also feels effortlessly robust, as well as benefiting from a subtle silver finish that sensibly eschews the more aggressive looks favoured by many smaller flat TVs.
Probably the biggest drawback to this TV is:
The P63XHA40’s slender frame hides a dirty secret, though: the set doesn’t come with any speakers. Fujitsu does an optional detachable pair, but these will set you back a couple of hundred notes more, and attaching them to the screen inevitably ups the TV’s dimensions. Still, we suspect many people seriously considering forking out £9k on a screen will probably have or be thinking of getting a separate surround sound audio system anyway.
Overall, this sounds like a pricey but really cool TV.
Woo Hoo! Another "MST3K" DVD is out. You truly haven't lived life if you've never watched a man and 2 robots held as prisoners in space watch and comment on really crappy "B" movies.
I was also amused by the release of "Crimson Tide (Unrated Extended Edition)". I can understand an unrated version of "American Pie" but not "Crimson Tide". Do we get to see Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington in a submarine shower snapping each other with towels while naked? Ick! Now I have to go wash my brain with some heavy duty soap to rid myself of those perturbing thoughts!
What a deal. LCD TV prices keep getting lower and lower. If you would have told me a year ago that a 40" would be under 2500 bucks - I would have laughed in your face.
The sleekly styled, silver 40-inch Sony Bravia KDL40S2000 is packed with the latest high-performance video features, including a wide viewing angle, blazing fast 8ms response time (great for sports and action movies), and a wide color gamut backlight that provides more natural skin tones and highly accurate overall color reproduction. It also offers integrated HDTV capabilities (with an integrated ATSC tuner), digital HDMI video connectivity, and a bottom speaker design that helps save space. The thin profile of this Bravia TV accommodates VESA compliant mounting systems (separately available). The removable pedestal swivels 30 degrees left and right and also tilts forward 3 degrees and backward 8 degrees for additional placement flexibility.
Want to watch some re-runs of Lost or perhaps some Deadwood on the go? Look no further than this square wonder. With more video formats supported than your iPod Video - this is a great little number.
The Vizo is your semi-typical flash PMP, only squared.
• Screen – 2 inch 262K colour TFT
• Capacity – 1GB
• Dimensions – 65mm x 65mm x 18mm, 95g including battery
• Battery Life – 4 hours video & music (from single charge)
• PC Link – USB 2.0 High Speed
• Output To TV – NTSC/PAL with 720i
• Max Video Resolution – Full DVD (720 x 576 at 35 FPS)
• Video Decoding – MPEG1/2/4, DAT, VOB, AVI, DivX
• Audio Decoding For Video – MP3, WMA, AAC, AC-3 (Dolby)
• Audio Decoding – MP3, WMA, OGG, ID3 Tag
• Voice Recording – MP3
• Photo Play Back – Slide Show, Rotate 360, Zoom In/Out
I want a motion simulator chair. I want it so badly. Imagine watching Lost or Alias or BSG in this bad boy?
Have you ever felt the exhilaration of a high-speed car chase? Do you know what it feels like to be chased down by a pack of hungry tyrannosaurs? Or, have you ever wondered what it's like to fly through the air like a young wizard on a broomstick? Today, thanks to Armed Chair Motion Simulators you no longer have to watch these effects passively on film, you can now experience them and get into the heart of action! With Armed Chair you will take part in exciting adventures, you will feel the adrenaline rush of your favourite hero; you will be part of the whole movie experience.
We know you have a busy life and a busy schedule, and that's why everyone here at BlogPire Productions wants to make it easier for you to get the latest news from any of our sites and not just the one you visit everyday. We've provided below a list of all our sites and a short description along with a link for you to use if you'd like to receive news from any of those sites each Monday morning. It's really easy - just click the link - sign up and you'll get the list of headlines sent to you via email. Thanks again for reading us and check out some of the other great news from BlogPire Productions.
We're tired of people watching our iPod video on the subway and with these glasses - we won't have to worry about them seeing anything we're watching.
The South Korean company Kowon Technology today said it will next week ship pairs of personal TV glasses to local consumers concerned that too many of their fellows are peering over their shoulders at their mobile phone screens. Kowon's solution to the problem is a head-mounted display that sets a 4.8 x 4.2mm, 320 x 240 LCD panel in front of each eye. The digital display specs, dubbed the MSP-209, weigh 58g and, according to the manufacturer, make the wearer feel like he or she is watching a 32in TV from a distance of two metres.
Okay - we know this is a TV site but isn't internet TV the thing of the future? This rather amazing short piece tells the tale of a man who wants a G5 instead of his old G4 to edit video on and is takes donations under the premise he'll blow up his old computer once everyone on the net ponies up some money. Well - he gets his wish but how do you blow up a computer?
Here's a nice deal on an AQUOS LCD TV. You can save over $600 by buying the LC-26GA5U remanufactured.
Here's a brief description from Amazon:
Sharp's AQUOS LC-26GA5U Advanced Super View television makes LCD quality and flat-panel elegance better looking and more affordable than ever. The 26-inch widescreen set is picture-frame thin and its table stand detaches for efficient wall mounting (wall-mount brackets optional). With 1,366 x 768 native pixel resolution, the LC-26GA5U offers compatibility with high-definition video sources up to 720p. Two built-in speakers powered by 10 watts per channel render full-bodied stereo sound.
LCD screens offer a number of benefits over CRT monitors and televisions, including general ease of use, freedom from eye strain (no screen flickering or radiation emissions), quiet operation (no high-pitch "flyback" noise, an issue with CRT TVs), accurate image geometry (no curvature distortion or susceptibility to magnetic interference from, say, speakers), long screen life (no risk of image burn-in), space savings, and light weight/easy positioning. They also tend to be more affordable than their flat-panel plasma counterparts, which often (though not always) offer faster response times and higher contrast ratios.
Sharp's proprietary Quick Shoot video circuit ensures a lightning-quick response time of less than 16 ms for smooth-as-silk video and gaming graphics. The LC-26GA5U's Advanced Super View/black TFT (thin-film-transistor) screen offers exceptionally wide (170- by 170-degree) viewing angles and an extraordinary contrast ratio of 800:1 for super-black blacks.
You might want to jump on this deal before it disappears.
It's amazing how much energy some criminals put in ripping people off. Just imagine unpacking your new flat screen TV and finding an old oven door in the box. According to SunTimes.com:
A rash of oven-door thefts may be linked to a recent case in which a woman bought what she thought was a flat-screen TV, only to discover that the package held an old oven door, police said.
South Bend detective Sgt. Jim Walsh said police arrested a suspect Thursday they believe sold the door to the woman. Police said an oven door and packaging materials were found in the trunk of the man's car.
Of course the lady who bought the TV wasn't a rocket scientist:
In the case of the bilked woman, she was approached by the suspect Feb. 20 at her workplace with an offer of a flat-screen TV for $500. The suspect settled for $300. But when the woman unwrapped the packaging, she found a cord, a controller -- and an oven door.
I guess if you're greedy enough to buy what has to be a stolen TV, you deserve a nice used oven door.
If the typical remote just isn't your style, you can always think about a string of Remobeads. According to Blog.Scifi.com:
With television arguably acting as our national religion, the remote control should really look the part of a religious object. That might have been what Russian designer Dima Komissarov had in mind when he designed the Remobeads, a string of electronic pearls that can change the channel.
Of course the article also states:
And of course, like all of our friend Dima's designs, it's merely a concept and there are no plans to put the Remobeads into production.
A beaded remote isn't quite my cup of tea but I'm sure a few of you are drooling over it! If we ever hear of a beaded remote going into production, we'll be sure to let you know.
If you're in the HDTV buying mode, you'll want to check out this decent article from ABCNews.com that gives you some HDTV buying tips:
Dads and grads have one thing in common—they appreciate a reward for a job well done. One gift that is unlikely to be returned or exchanged is a new high-definition TV. The price of HDTVs has never been better, and shopping for a new TV doesn't have to turn into a stress-inducing journey into the bowels of a megastore. Knowledge empowers, and selecting the right HDTV for that special someone requires an understanding of their needs and sticking to your budget.
The article gives a brief synopsis on 5 different HDTV models including:
Panasonic TH-42PX50U ($1999 list)
This affordable 42-inch plasma display performed exceptionally well when displaying standard definition video. Of course, HDTV also looks great on this panel, and the TV's integrated digital tuner offers access to local broadcast channels using a simple antenna. With its simple setup and operation, it is a consumer friendly HDTV at an attractive price.
There's nothing in the article we've haven't told you before, but still a nice refresher if you're thinking about HDTV.
Hey, did you notice there are a lot of commercials and promo junk on TV? Yep, we'll call this "Bleeding Obvious Friday". Anyway, there's a report out that tells us there's way to much "clutter" on TV. According to the report:
Advertising clutter [non-programming minutes per hour] in prime time on the broadcast networks in 2005 increased cumulatively by only 2 percent, while it jumped 5 percent on the cable network side, according to media agency MindShare's annual study on the topic.
While the percentages of increase do not seem to be that high, MindShare group research director, Debbie Solomon, said the results are "disturbing" because more consumers are believing that TV has the most commercial clutter, even though the medium ranks behind print and online.
The reports states these figures:
On the broadcast side, ABC ran the most non-commercial minutes [commercials and programming promos] in 2005, averaging 15 minutes and 26 seconds per hour. Other networks over the 15 minute mark included the WB (15:10), NBC (15:01), and Fox (15:00). CBS was up by about 37 seconds per hour but still under 15 minutes with an average of 14:52, and sister network UPN was also up 37 seconds to 14:26.
What's unique is that the report comes from a media buyer organization. Obviously there's starting to be backlash from advertisers who are tired of seeing their commercials being watered down with all the other junk between shows. Can't we all just hug and get along?
Microsoft has quite taken over the world yet. Now they want to offer you original entertainment content for your computer and television. According to TheStreet.com:
The world's largest software company is going Hollywood, signing a partnership with Reveille, an independent production company, to develop original content for its struggling MSN service. The "multi-project deal," which The New York Times disclosed earlier Wednesday, calls for Reveille to develop entertainment programming that will first appear on the site originals.msn.com.
The article continues:
Reveille, whose shows include NBC's "The Biggest Loser" and MTV's "Date My Mom," will create programs that may be seen in other formats such as mobile devices and -- in an ironic twist -- television sets, Microsoft says. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
So do you think that when there's programming problems, you'll see the blue screen of death during your show. That would be so cool!
Hey! It's almost Mother's Day (May 14, 2006)! Have you thought about a gift for that special mom in your life? Well, we all know that moms dig home theater equipment. Our buddy Robert over at HomeTheater.About.com has some great gift ideas for Mother's Day and topping the list is:
Olevia LT32HV 32-Inch 16x9 HD-Compatible LCD Television
For less than $2,000, this set sports a 32-inch 16x9 screen, as well as HD-compatible progressive scan and DVI-HDCP inputs, perfect for watching DVD and HD material (with an outboard set-top box). The LT32HV includes great sounding side-mounted speakers, and an output to connect an external subwoofer. The LT32HV also has extensive picture adjustment controls, a very wide viewing angle due to its Super Inplane Switching, and good response time, which minimizes motion lag on poor source material.
Wow! Is April over already? Well, we had a good April, especially because we've moved to a much faster server. Hopefully, you're noticing TVSnob pages loading much faster.
While you're catching up on the content you missed in April, be sure to check out our review on the Philips RC9800i Touch Screen Remote. The RC9800i is one of those remotes that does everything but make coffee!