Earlier this month, we told you about the new ReplayTV PC edition that was in beta. Now USAToday has an article that gives us a few more details:
Digital video recorder (DVR) providers, including TiVo and cable and satellite companies, will face a new rival this fall. ReplayTV, a DVR pioneer that fell on hard times, will unveil on Wednesday a service with software that makes ordinary PCs full-featured DVRs.
The ReplayTV PC Edition will go on sale in September. People will be able to try it free for 30 days. Buyers will pay about $100 for the software for their PC and a year's worth of access to TV listings for the electronic program guide, updated daily via phone or Internet. It will cost about $20 a year thereafter for continued program data.
Not a lot of new details but a we'll share everything we can find with you.
Since the TiVo services seems to keep evolving, now might be the time to consider getting a TiVo. Amazon has a few nice deals going on:
Amazon.com Product Description:
The TiVo Series2 DT does something that only DirecTV TiVo users have enjoyed up till now--the ability to record two shows at once. This dual-tuner (DT) TiVo Series2 is the first standalone DVR that's optimized for households with cable television. Now, you'll never have to miss any of your favorite shows--even if they're on at the same time. It also offers the same entertainment services as other TiVo Series2 DVRs, including digital music, digital photos, remote scheduling, and hassle-free favorites recording. All this and the famed luxury of being able to pause and view instant replays of live television, too. TiVo DVRs record television programming directly to an onboard digital ATA/IDE hard drive, eliminating the hassles of videotape (imprecise tape searching, head cleaning, steadily degrading picture, fuzzy sound, etc.).
This TiVo Series2 DT model (TCD649080) offers an 80-hour recording capacity. It offers the ability to simultaneously record programming from two basic cable channels, or one basic cable channel and one digital cable channel. It also includes built-in Ethernet and USB ports, making it easier than ever to add the TiVo box to your home network. This enables you to take advantage of the TivoToGo feature, which allows you to transfer programs from the TiVo box to a Windows-based desktop or laptop PC so you can watch your favorite programs on the go or while others are watching live or recorded programing on the TV.
So put away those old VHS tapes and enter the 21rst century!
Think $3000 or $4000 is too much to spend on a Plasma TV? Then you may want to stay away from the LG MW-71PY10, a 71-inch plasma than runs just under $60,000. Wow! Guess I'm gonna have to win a few more craps games.
The funny thing is you can buy the LG MW-71PY10 online with a shipping cost of $699. Anyway, if you got lots of money to burn, check it out.
We've been hearing the promises of 3D TV in our living rooms for quite awhile now but it looks like it's almost a reality. according to News.com:
Several display companies are concocting, and in some cases already selling, monitors and other components that provide a simulated 3D viewing experience. Many of these new products don't require glasses.
Stand in front of a Philips 3D monitor, and animated characters throw rose petals or dice at you; the first time you see it, you startle and jolt upward slightly. A film trailer shown on the monitors seems to have more depth than a standard 2D movie.
The Dutch electronics giant has tested the technology in the labs with consumers and noted that a person's galvanic skin response--a change in the skin's ability to conduct electricity, caused by an emotional stimulus, such as fright--rises with 3D viewing.
So how's that possible?
Three-dimensional monitors and TVs essentially rely on human gullibility. In typical monitors, the pixels are synchronized to send out a single image. In a 3D monitor, however, half the pixels are used to create one image, and the other half are used to create a similar, but slightly different one, said Korah. Stand too close or far away, and the images overlap and make the overall picture blurry.
But put on a pair of polarizing glasses, which block the right-eye image from hitting your left eye and vice versa, or stand in the sweet spot in front of a glasses-less 3D monitor, and your brain "sees" a 3D image. The right and left images stitch together in the brain in the same way right and left eye input would if the object happened to actually be there.
Man! I can't wait. And we thought High Definition was a big deal.
Be sure to read the rest of the interesting article:
Toshiba Corp. said it planned the launch of the first next-generation, high-definition optical disc recorder based on the HD DVD format on July 14 in Japan as it intensifies competition with rival Blu-ray products.
Toshiba, which already debuted the world's first HD DVD player in March, expects the new recorder, equipped with a 1 terabyte hard disk, to sell for 398,000 yen ($3,466).
Toshiba is a leading proponent of next-generation HD DVD optical disk technology, which competes with the Blu-ray standard promoted by Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., a maker of Panasonic brand electronics.
Yep, just a tad expensive but once the first HD recorder hits the market, we should see a few wallet-friendly models coming out. We'll keep you posted.
We've covered this in the past but lately I've gotten more emails asking about DVD region codes. Region codes are important when buying DVDs online, especially on auction sites like Ebay. You may find a great deal on your favorite movie, but if it's the wrong code, you won't be able to play it on a standard DVD player (you can buy region unlocked DVD players). Here is a breakdown of the DVD region codes:
If a disc plays in more than one region it will have more than one number on the globe.
1: U.S., Canada, U.S. Territories
2: Japan, Europe, South Africa, and Middle East (including Egypt)
3: Southeast Asia and East Asia (including Hong Kong)
4: Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean
5: Eastern Europe (Former Soviet Union), Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia
8: Special international venues (airplanes, cruise ships, etc.)
According to GamesFirst, an internal Gamestop email going around has expressed concern over just how many Playstation 3 units they will have available to sell on the launch day in November. According to the email, a single store that received between 50 and 100 Xbox 360’s on the launch day of that console last November can expect to receive no more than 20 PS3 units come November this year.
Isn't it great that a company can hype a release for 2 or 3 years but at actual release they can only come up with a handful of units? Well, they sure know how to work the supply / demand angle.
What can we say? We really thought our blogs should be a bit greener? As of today, we're going to buy enough Green Tags, also called renewable energy credits, from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, to offset the environmental impact from our hosting and computer operations for the coming year.
Green tags are an investment in the production of renewable energy sources through wind and solar power. Using clean renewable energy reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. By purchasing green tags, Blogpire Productions hopes to lessen our dependence on burning fossil fuels.
We also hope you'll help out as well. Individuals as well any business can buy Green Tags. Please visit the Bonneville Environmental Foundation and purchase Green Tags to offset your use of fossil fuels.
When it comes to to home theater systems, it's hard to find a good high-end solution with speakers smaller than a Cadillac. That's where the Mirage Nanosat Home Theater System comes in. According to the review at CNET:
Viva la difference! Conventional box speakers project sound straight ahead, so it's easy to identify them as sound sources. By contrast, Mirage's Omnipolar designs, such as the Nanosat, radiate sound in a 360-degree pattern. That makes them far less localizable and accounts for the Nanosat's unique sonic qualities. The $800 Nanosat 5.1 system is the most compact and affordable of Mirage's Omnipolar designs--and it's well worth the price for those seeking a set of small surround speakers with impressive performance for their size.
The review summarizes:
Nitpicks aside, the Nanosats projected a huge sound--something akin to what you'd expect from larger speakers--and the sound sometimes appeared to come from places further apart and higher than the actual locations of the speakers. The illusion was so perfect, it was hard to reconcile that all the sound was coming from five 5.8-inch-tall satellites and a baby subwoofer. For anybody looking for superior sound quality from an all but invisible speaker system, the Mirage Nanosats are an easy recommendation.
So if you need a nice and compact home theater system and have a few extra bucks lying around, be sure to check the Nanosat out.
If you're ready to be one of the first cool people on your block to own an HD-DVD player, be sure to check out the Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD Player. GlobeandMail has a review that states:
Toshiba's HD-XA1 HD-DVD player represents the first chance consumers have had to go out and buy a next generation DVD player. In case you're in the dark on next generation DVD technologies, here's a quick rundown on HD-DVD and Blu-ray, the two formats that will soon be vying for your DVD-earmarked dollars. The former was developed by Toshiba, the latter by Sony, and both are capable of storing and playing back movies in the highest definition standard currently available, 1080p, as well as lower resolutions such as 1080i, 720p, and, of course, 480p, the maximum resolution of current DVDs.
They also state:
After playing with the XA1 for about a week, my final take was this: HD-DVD players (and Blu-ray players as well, for that matter) are, for the time being, best suited for home theatre enthusiasts who don't mind taking risks. Not only do we not know how the HD-DVD versus Blu-ray war is going to shake out, we also have to deal with the limitations of early generation players and limited availability of content (as of this writing, only about 20 HD-DVD titles were available in Canada, most priced around $35 or higher). The HD-XA1 has proven that HD-DVD can deliver an excellent quality picture. Now we need only be convinced of its practicality and longevity.
I have to agree. Unless you're a bound and determined early-adopter, you're probably going to want to sit on the sidelines for awhile till at least the pricing goes down and the availability of HD movies goes up.
This week we have a new, exciting program, affectionately called BlogpireMobile.com! We want to reward you for being Blogpire loyalists. This is one way for us to say thanks. BlogpireMobile.com provides online exclusive offers on the very best mobile service, Verizon Wireless. This online-only offer for you is for $50 Instant Cash Back. That means no rebates, no hassles, and no money out of your pocket when you get a plan and phone. With this offer, there are over 11 FREE PHONES currently available.
But we also 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. Just click the link - sign up and you'll get the list of headlines sent to you via email each Monday morning.
With the much anticipated release of the PlayStation 3 just around the corner (scheduled Nov. 2006), there's starting to be a long of questions about whether you should stick with the Xbox 360 or jump over to the PS3. Well we found a pretty decent article at VideoGames.Yahoo.com that compares the two game platforms. The article focuses on these areas:
Under the Hood: PlayStation 3
Under the Hood: Xbox 360
The Software Line-Up
Seeing in High-Definition
The Movie Format War
Overall the articles states:
If you want a great platform to play the highest end games right now, then the Xbox 360 is the only choice to go with. Xbox Live is an extremely impressive online service, while the software catalog already contains some must-buys and is rapidly expanding.
If you want a system that doubles as a next-gen movie player, then you need to wait. The PlayStation 3 60GB is the only game system with a confirmed HDMI output and the only one guaranteed to playback all Blu-ray movies in full resolution. Until we hear more from Microsoft, the Xbox 360 can't promise to run HD-DVD content at its intended resolution.
Get the sharpest and clearest images possible from both HD and standard television programming and your favorite DVD movies with the technologically advanced 46-inch Toshiba 46HM95 DLP projection TV. Vivid imagery and vibrant colors will pop off the screen, thanks to the integrated Texas Instruments' HD2+ chip, which enables a much higher contrast ratio along with a more consistent picture than other DLP chips due to filled-in mirror "vias" in the center of each pixel. This set has a built-in analog/digital/digital cable tuners (NTSC/ATSC/QAM) that will receive free over-the-air HDTV signals (ATSC) and HDTV signals from a cable connection (QAM). It's also Digital Cable Ready (via the CableCard slot), so you can enjoy digital cable without an additional box or remote using an optional CableCard. It also comes with TV Guide On Screen and Toshiba's innovative Channel Browser "back" button feature--similar to a PC browser back button--that allows easy access to recently viewed channels.
DLP (which stands for Digital Light Processing) uses an optical semiconductor to recreate source material with a fidelity analog systems can't match. While other technologies lose a certain amount of light in transit, the microscopic mirrors in a DLP projection system bring more light from lamp to screen. It also features better color uniformity over time--no burn-in, screen aging or color-shifting possible. It's the leading display technology for products like small portable conference room projectors and professional venue entertainment systems.
The technology at the center of the 46HM95 is the new Toshiba Digital Light Engine named Talen X, which utilizes Texas Instruments' xHD4 chip, advanced optics, and Toshiba's DEEP Picture and Xtreme BLAC technologies to provide high resolution with improved brightness and contrast. It also includes the new PixelPure AT Digital Video Processing, utilizing new Adaptive Technology to create further improved picture quality, the new Radiance 150 Hi-Bright Lamp for noticeably brighter images and a TheaterFine DFP Screen with anti-glare coating that results in increased detail and noticeably deeper blacks.
The PixelPure AT digital video processor offers motion adaptive de-interlacing, adaptive MPEG processing, and adaptive contrast and color enhancement for a consistently high picture quality. The 3D Y/C digital comb filter (4 MB, 10-Bit) constantly analyzes the three dimensions of picture height, picture width, and picture changes-over-time, to reduce dramatically edge image artifacts while improving transition detail.
The TheaterNet Control System simplifies the control of external components through both an IR jack and Firewire (IEEE1394) port, the latter of which can be used to transmit digital video and audio and allow for recording of HDTV. This set also includes a built-in OmniViewer memory card slot, which is compatible with a wide variety of popular formats--Secure Digital (SD), MultiMedia (MMC), Memory Stick, Compact Flash, and Smart Media--enabling you to view photo slideshows directly from your digital camera's memory card.
Perfect for viewing high-definition content and your favorite widescreen movies, this set offers a 16:9 aspect ratio and 1280 x 720-pixel resolution. Other features include both picture-in-picture (PIP) and picture-on-picture (POP) capabilities, tri-lingual on-screen menus (English, French, Spanish), channel labeling, channel return, channel browse, favorite channel, and V-Chip parental controls.
The 40-watt stereo audio system (two 20-watt speakers) delivers ample sound for sports and movies. It features the following video and audio connections:
Hopefully by now everyone understands how critical proper calibration is in achieving the best sound and image possible, from your home theater system. If you've never used a calibration disc, you may be missing another level of performance in audio/video playback.
Last week Monster Cable was kind enough to send me their "Monster ISF Series - HDTV Calibration Wizard" DVD and of course over the weekend I gave it a spin.
For those who have never used a calibration disc for your home theater, in essence the disc uses test patterns and or short video clips with reference brightness, contrast and color levels that allow you to calibrate your video display to the NTSC standard. Some disc's even offer surround sound calibration tests, to ensure your speakers are balanced and operating in unison.
Be sure to check out the rest of this pretty decent review.
Recently we told you about Cablevision's idea for "remote access" DVRs. While we like the idea, we knew there would be a lot of opposition from Hollywood. According to USAToday:
Cablevision Systems, a New York-area cable TV provider, on Thursday said it would suspend a test of a new video recording service pending the result of a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by several entertainment companies. Cablevision, the nation's sixth-largest cable provider, had planned to begin testing a new service this month that would allow viewers to record and play back TV shows much in the same way people use digital video recorders, or DVRs.
But instead of having to install a TiVo-like set-top box in each home, Cablevision's new service would have allowed anyone with digital cable to record and play back shows, with the programs being stored at the cable system's hubs instead.
So, what happened? Clearly Cablevision was too optimistic and actually a little arrogant to announce the "remote access" concept without trying to get a few network allies on their side first.
Oh well! We still think the "remote access" DVR concept is a great idea and we'll keep our fingers crossed that Cablevision and Hollywood can play nice.
As most of you know, I'm a big nut for products that provide mobility. I mean why sit on my big butt at home and play with electronics when I can take my toys with me? To me, one of the greatest inventions ever was the portable DVD player. Whether it's to pass time in a boring hotel room or keep the kids quiet during a long road-trip, portable DVDs players are just plain awesome.
So why share my love of portable DVDs players with you? Well, to let know know about an awesome player from Insignia that I got to check out just in time for Father's Day. We're talking about the Insignia 10.2" Portable DVD Player with Swivel Screen (PDVD10). For those of you who aren't familiar with the Insignia brand, it's Best Buy's private label for computer and entertainment systems.
Before we get started let's start with the basic specs of the PDV10:
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
I'm already tired of the local cable companies ads about how the big bad phone companies will ruin cable. Now that the House has passed "Subscription-TV" legislation, expect more annoying commercials. According to MSNBC:
Legislation to open cable TV markets to more competition, possibly saving consumers hundreds of dollars a year, passed the House Thursday.
The biggest telecommunications legislation in a decade, approved 321-101, would make it easier for telephone companies to enter the subscription television market. A national franchise process would replace the current system where potential providers must negotiate contracts municipality by municipality, sometimes taking months and years.
Excellent! Competition is good. Now we'll just have to put up with lots of misinformation about the legislation lobbying from both phone and cable companies.
We want to remind you that Father's Day is just around the corner. Actually it's next Sunday, but don't worry we've got you covered. Single Serve Coffee has a great Father's Day Gift Guide and so does Shaving Stuff with their Father's Day Specials. If you're really looking to impress Dad you might want to get him the ultimate TV remote. The Logitech Harmony Remote 628 - Universal Remote Control is nothing short of the best remote we've ever used and we think Dad will like it too. That's just some of the picks we've got for you from around the Blogpire. Visit our other sites below to find more deals and tales for your Dad on Father's Day.
For most Americans tomorrow is Friday. For the rest of the world, tomorrow is the start of "The World Cup 2006". The nice thing is that this year, ABC and ESPN are offering quite a bit of World Cup coverage in the US, so maybe we'll see the "Soccer Frenzy" grow in the US like it has in the rest of the world.
Anyway, I wanted to remind you of the World Cup TV listings information I posted the other day. Basically we've given you a few links so you can keep up with what, when, and where World Cup 2006 matches will be televised.
Lately, we've been getting a lot of emails about remote controls. The emails range from questions about the best remote to buy all the way to how to find remote codes. Because we love our readers so much, we'll start offering more content about remote controls in the near feature.
In the meantime, we wanted to point out one of our favorite remote control resources on the net, RemoteCentral.com. If you're looking for reviews, news, forums, or just about anything else having to do with remote controls, you won't go wrong with RemoteCentral.com.
Here's a really great deal at Amazon on the Logitech Harmony Remote 628 Universal Remote Control. The Harmony 628 is a pretty loaded remote that retails for $149 and is currently on sale at Amazon for under $50. Wow! You can't beat that deal:
The Harmony Activity Remote Control is the only remote with Smart State Technology Activity Control. Just press an Activity button such as "Watch TV" or "Watch a Movie", and the remote will automatically set up your entertainment system in seconds without you ever having to program a 'macro'. It supports most infrared-controlled devices made by any manufacturer, including TiVo, HDVCR, HDTV, plasma displays, monitors, projectors, DVD players, fireplaces and more.
While the Harmony 628 may not be as stylish or powerful as the Philips RC9800i Touchscreen Remote Control that we recently reviewed, it's a pretty powerful remote and is currently at a price that won't break the bank.
Want to watch broadband video content on your TiVo? Well, with TiVo's new TiVoCast service, you'll be able to do just that. According to TiVo:
TiVo Inc. the creator of and a leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVR), today announced the launch of TiVoCast(TM), a revolutionary new service which will deliver broadband video directly to the television sets of TiVo subscribers. The TiVoCast service turns Web video into television by bringing top broadband content now only available on the PC to the TV set.
A Sample of the programming includes:
NBA and WNBA -- As the first professional sports leagues to team up with TiVo, fans will have access to NBA and WNBA video showcases during the season that will be available to all TiVo subscribers. During The Finals, which tip off on Thursday, June 8 on ABC, a special "Finals Showcase" video package highlighting the greatest Finals moments in NBA History will be available for fans to view on TiVo.
The New York Times -- The New York Times will offer a selection of original video segments on a variety of topics including A.O. Scott's signature Movie Minute film reviews, news analysis from the Times' Washington DC bureau, David Pogue's technology product reviews and many more.
Heavy.com -- Heavy.com is the Number 1 digital entertainment brand for 18 - 34 year old guys with more than 12 million unique viewers monthly (Nielsen) and a viral reach of 65 million taste-challenged pop culture junkies. Its programming staples include "Behind the Music that Sucks," "American Suck Countdown" and "The Massive Mating Game."
CNET -- (www.cnet.com), the place consumers go to understand and compare consumer electronics, computers, and software to find the right choice and a property of CNET Networks, Inc., will provide viewers buying advice and how-to segments that help them get the most out of their technology products. Content will include video from CNET TV's popular franchises such as Insider Secrets, Weekend Project, and First Look from the Labs, and feature popular CNET editorial personalities Brian Cooley, Molly Wood, and Tom Merritt.
So there's nothing real exciting yet, but combining TiVo and broadband video sure sounds like a winning combination to me.
At this point there's not many other details. Once more information comes in, we'll be sure to pass it on to you.
As TiVo gets more popular, we seem to hear a lot less about ReplayTV. It appears ReplayTV realizes it needs to get it's name back out there and is now working on a PC version of the software that works on it's ReplayTV units. We don't really have any details, just some information on a call for beta testers from ReplayTV.com:
Beta Tester Requirements: Those selected to test will be required to:
Start testing the end of June 2006
Sign the ReplayTV Beta Agreement
Participate in online beta forums and answer weekly surveys
Provide data files or logs when requested
Download the beta releases at the tester website
Submit bug reports at the tester website
Complete specific testing tasks through September 2006
We will be tracking beta participation. Your ongoing participation is conditioned on meeting the testing obligations.
The system requirements are:
1.3Ghz or faster Pentium 4
256MB of RAM
AGP 8x or better with 128MB Video RAM
DirectX 9.0 compatible
Windows XP, Service Pack 2 or later
ReplayTV on a PC? Sounds pretty nice. We'll let you know when we get some more details on ReplayTV PC.
Looking for a new and cool TV for Dad but you haven't won the lottery yet? Well, VIZIO has announced some great deals on a cool line of Plasma TVs. According to their press release:
VIZIO ANNOUNCES BREAKTHROUGH FATHER'S DAY PRICES ON HD PLASMAS AND LCD TV
Award Winning 50" Plasma Hits $1,999 Price Point
VIZIO 42" Plasma Hits $1,499 Every-Day Price Point
32" LCD Leads with Super-Value $899 HDTV
VIZIO is now the Fastest Growing Plasma Brand
Here's a peek at those TVs:
VIZIO 50" Plasma
Click Image for more details at VIZIO.com
The VIZIO P50HDM employs 1366 x 768 native resolution, 1,000 cd/m2 brightness and Faroudja DCDi motion-adaptive de-interlacing to deliver vibrant, rich images in 231 billion different colors. The P50HDM's video processor features Single Scan Technology for a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, reduced solarization and false contouring-along with improved sharpness, non-linear chroma enhancement, closed color suppression, non-linear scaling and adaptive contrast/color controls. It's array of video connections includes two dedicated HDMI inputs, a VGA-type PC input and two component video inputs. It also comes with built-in speakers, stand and universal IR remote and is protected with one-year in-home warranty.
The VIZIO P42HDTV takes on the attractive piano-black styling and built-in silver speakers of the P50HDM plasma TV. The 1024 x 768 native resolution widescreen boasts the latest-generation glass with Single Scan Technology for a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, high 1200 cd/m2 brightness and 30 bit, 231 billion colors. Its advanced video processor produces reduced solarization and false contouring while offering sharpness improvement, non-linear chroma enhancement, closed color suppression, non-linear scaling, and adaptive contrast and color controls. The 42" VIZIO features dual tuners, including ATSC off air, clear QAM digital cable and NTSC tuners. It offers PIP/POP, 3:2 pulldown, 3D-comb filter and motion-adaptive de-interlacer. Video connections include two component, HDMI and VGA-type PC (up to 1280 x 1024) inputs along with multiple video settings. It comes with easy-to-setup guide, a universal IR remote control, and a one-year in-home service warranty.
The "super-value" VIZIO L32HDTV LCD offers high definition 1366 x 768 native resolution with fast 8 ms response time plus dual tuners including ATSC off air, clear QAM digital cable and NTSC. It comes with built-in speakers and a universal IR remote control while offering PIP/POP, 3:2 pulldown, 3D-comb filter and motion-adaptive de-interlacer. The component, VGA-type PC and HDMI video inputs along with multiple video settings ensure that it will be in high demand by the entire family. The 32" LCD also comes with an easy-to-setup guide and a one-year in-home service warranty.
Sweet! Those are definitely some pretty nice price points for Plasma and LCD TVs. We've heard some good things about VIZIO TVs and we'll see about getting a a review unit so we can share our opinions with you. If you have any feedback on VIZIO TVs, please share with us in the comments section.
Hey, remember "The Wild Wild West"? I'm talking about the campy 60s TV show, not the campy Will Smith movie. It's hard to believe that it's just now coming out on DVD. Anyway, that's one of the picks you might want to check out this week.
I know quite a few of our readers our "NCIS" fans, so you'll also want to take a peek at the "First Season" DVD.
The Wild Wild West - The Complete First Season
Underworld - Evolution (Widescreen Special Edition)
Charmed - The Complete Fifth Season
NCIS Naval Criminal Investigative Service - The Complete First Season
Something that really amazes me is how many people I know who spend tons of money on new HDTV but don't have a home theater system. You just won't get the quality sound out of your TV speakers that you can get with even a low-end home theater setup. Well if you're looking for a higher-end system for a great price, be sure to look at the Sony DAV-FC9 DVD Dream System deal at Amazon:
Amazon.com Product Description:
With 650 watts of total power (100 x 5, plus a 150-watt powered subwoofer), the DAV-FC9 DVD Dream System is Sony's top-end home theater system, furnishing users with ultraprecise images and sound. The system comes complete with a receiver, five-disc DVD/SACD/CD changer, an AM/FM tuner, four front and rear floor-standing speakers, a center speaker, and an active powered subwoofer. The DVD changer is compatible with CD-R/RW, SACD, MP3, and JPEG (with slide show) formats, and its 480p progressive-scan output guarantees sharp image display.
For superior audio while watching movies, the Dream System offers Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby Pro Logic II decoding. Other audio features include an S-Master full digital amplifier, a bass enhancement function, and Sony's Digital Cinema Sound system, which re-creates the sound fields of three of the world's best-known cinema studios.
The DAV-FC9 is equipped for compatibility, with component-video and S-video outputs, a digital input for satellite TV, two analog AV inputs and one output, two video signal inputs and four outputs, and a 3.5 mm mini pin headphone jack. For convenience sake, the system features color-coded speaker connections, along with DVD/CD/SACD text that displays onscreen and a preprogrammed luminous remote control. The system comes with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.
Currently Amazon has the DAV-FC9 for $427 which is an absolute steal. Click the link below for more details.
Want to know what the so-called "experts" are watching? Well, now you can find out with TiVo's new service called Guru Guides. According to TiVo:
TiVo Guru Guides are lists of the best television programs, hand selected by experts in categories you care about. We've partnered with cultural leaders like Sports Illustrated, Billboard, CNET, and Entertainment Weekly who know what's worth watching. You can browse TiVo Guru Guides and choose individual show recommendations to record onto your DVR via TiVo Online Scheduling or even better, sign up to automatically record a Guide directly on your DVR.
The service hasn't been rolled out yet so we're not sure how useful it is. Still, it sounds like an interesting service and we'll keep an eye on it.
We're always talking about taking TV and movies with you while on the go, but here's a nice twist. Our sister site GPSLodge.com points out that you can watch video on your Tom Tom GPS receiver:
Wow, so if there was ever a reason to love your TomTom a bit more, here's one. Slap the latest espisode of your favorite TV show or a movie on your TomTom for the trip. This software from Makayama allows you to put compressed video onto the memory card and play the video back on the TomTom.
A memory card as small as 128 Mb is enough to store a couple episodes of a tv-series, a full length feature film, or a hundred minutes of your home movies. Let your children watch their favorite TV-cartoons in the car or watch a blockbuster movie while traveling for business.
Very cool! The software runs $32.95, which is a steal to make your GPS receiver into a portable media device.
I've always been a fan of ViewSonic products, so I was interested to see a review of the ViewSonic N3260W 32-inch HDTV from CNET. Overall, the review is pretty positive and states:
In the lab, we adjusted the ViewSonic N3260W for optimum performance in a darkened room and compared it against a couple other LCDs we had on hand: the Samsung LN-S4051D and the Sharp LC-37D40U. The less expensive, 32-inch N3260W couldn't compete against the other two in terms of delivering deep blacks; the letterbox bars and shadows under the docked ship on the King Kong DVD, for example, appeared noticeably lighter than on the other two. We also saw significantly less detail in the ViewSonic's shadows; the face of the cabbie and the boxes along the dock were obscured by the darkness, while the other two sets appeared more detailed in these areas.
We were impressed, on the other hand, by the ViewSonic's relatively clean image. As the camera pans over the harbor during the ship's departure, the night sky looked smooth and relatively realistic, with natural transitions from lighter to darker areas and little of the noise or false contouring evinced by other sets we've seen.
Overall, the ViewSonic N3260W 32-inch HDTV sounds like a pretty decent TV and a steal for under $1000USD.