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.
We talk about the summer "best of" from Shavingstuff.com as well as other products and news from around the 'pire. We also answer your questions from the past couple of weeks so keep sending them in to podcast at blogpire dot com.
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If you like the oversized hockey puck design for your electronics, you'll want to check out the Incredibly Portable DVD Player. According to Coolest-Gadgets.com:
It’s great design lets you hold it right in the palm of your hand so you can watch your DVDs wherever you go in a much more compact and hand-held way. The plastic case is even padded with a rubber frame so it’s easy to grip, making it perfect for carrying around.
The screen is 4 1/5″ so you’re getting much better quality than watching video on an iPod Video. You can even use it as a traditional DVD player if you want since it comes with AV cables for connecting it to a TV.
You can even use this gadget as your portable music player as well. It can play CDs, CD-Rs, CD-RWs and MP3s.
Not sure if I dig the design but I'm sure the Incredibly Portable DVD Player will float some people's boats.
For those of you heading back to school and looking for some compact entertainment equipment, be sure to check out the Oppo LT-2007 LCD TV with DVD. According to MobileWhack.com:
The LT is great for any gamer or editor with its capability of outputting Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound via a digital audio output connection, two built in 3 watt speakers housed in the base, headphone output, analog stereo output, composite and S-Video inputs for sources such as VCRs and Camcorders, and a VGA input for use as a computer or game monitor. Its USB interface feature for flash memory or external device expandability, allows the playback of digital photos directly from a Digital camera or Digital Camera Memory.
The LT specs form an 800 x 600 native pixel resolution, 500:1 contrast ratio, and 4:3 aspect ratio, with an on board 181-channel Cable Ready Analog NTSC tuner with automatic station searching and fine tuning.
Not a bad deal for under $600. Be sure to check out Oppo's Website for more details.
We've seen Plasma TVs growing in size so it's only natural that bigger LCD TVs are starting to pop-up. Samsung has a big honkin' LCD coming soon according to EETimes.com:
Samsung said it will unveil the 70-inch LCD HDTV at the International Meeting on Information Displays 2006, which opens in Daegu, South Korea, on Wednesday (Aug. 23).
Samsung's latest LCD panel features full HD resolution (1920 by 1080 pixels) and a conical viewing angle of 180 degrees. In addition, the panel's video signal is reproduced at 120 Hz, compared to a 60-Hz signal for conventional full HD LCD panels, enabling clearer reproduction of fast-moving video images.
The new LCD also delivers 600 nit brightness and a contrast ratio of 2,000:1, supporting 1.07 billion colors.
Of course there's no pricing on this monster yet but it ain't going to be cheap. We'll let you know more details when we get them.
There's been a lot of buzz over the new DirecTV Plus HD-DVR. We're not sure if it will win over the DirecTV TiVo die-hards but we'll see. Here a review over at DBSTalk.com that has some details and quite a few images to check out. The review starts with the specs:
Here is a brief summary of the HR20 features
-) High Definition TV Output (via HDMI and Component)
-) 2 Sets of RCA (Red/White/Yellow Outputs) - 1 S-Video
-) 1 Optical Digital Output
-) Dual SAT Tuners
-) Dual ATSC Tuners (functionality is disabled at this time, see notes later in the review)
-) Wired RJ-45 Ethernet Port
-) External SATA Connection
-) 300gb SATA Internal Hard Drive
-) RF Remote Compatible with the Included RC24, and the soon to be released RC32RF
Estimated Recording Space (Not a cumulative value)
~ 30 Hours of MPEG-2 (OTA) HD
~ 50 Hours of MPEG-4 HD
~ 200 Hours of Standard Definition (SD)
The review goes on to say:
This unit supports the standard HD video outputs:
480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i
You have CROP, PILLAR, and STRETCH mode for those resolutions as well...
You have a choice now....
You can fix the resolution to one setting (Everything output at 720p->Stretch) or.... you now have the choice of a NATIVE resolution mode.
When in NATIVE resolution, the unit will change to the appropriate resolution....
When surfing it adds about a half second/second delay while the unit changes resolutions
You can configure the unit to only allow certain resolutions, but you can't set it to see just certain modes (pilllar, stretch, crop)
Overall, this is a small but decent review with a ton of images that you'll want to check out.
Ready for your first Plasma TV? Here's a great deal on the Samsung HPR5052 Plasma that you'll want to check out:
Amazon.com Product Description:
Samsung makes it easy to create your dream home cinema with the plug-and-play Samsung HP-R5052 50-inch flat panel plasma TV. It has a built-in analog/digital (NTSC/ATSC) tuner that will receive free over-the-air HDTV signals and is Digital Cable Ready, so you can enjoy digital cable without an additional box or remote. Its 175-degree horizontal viewing angle provides a picture-perfect entertainment experience from anywhere in the room. It also offers a good range of connections for DVD, DTV, PC, HDTV sources.
Samsung's new floating screen plasma TV creates an image that looks as if it is suspended in thin air. The new, premium "bezel-less" design means there's no frame around the TV for a big, beautiful picture without boundaries. Bottom-mounted speakers and a sleek silver/black color scheme are perfect for elegant, modern decors.
The Samsung Digital Natural Image engine (DNIe) Video Enhancer refines all analog NTSC and wideband video inputs for an overall improvement in picture quality. DNIe improves contrast, white level, picture detail and incorporates digital noise reduction to improve lower quality video inputs. Because everyone sees colors differently, Samsung's DNIe My Color Control allows you to adjust the individual colors of your set without distorting other colors. The range of color adjustment includes Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Red and White. This ensures true to life colors such as green grass, blue sky and realistic skin tones. White Tone Enhancement also ensures the purest, brightest whites possible.
It's just amazing to me how TV manufacturers seem to make HDTV buying so confusing with all of the terms and jargon we don't understand. One question that really confuses consumers is "Should I buy a 1080i or 1080p display"? While the are several articles on the web that answer that question, I really like this article at HomeTheaterMag.com that starts out:
There has been a lot of concern and confusion over the difference between 1080i and 1080p. This stems from the inability of many TVs to accept 1080p. To make matters worse, the help lines at many of the TV manufacturers (that means you, Sony), are telling people that their newly-bought 1080p displays are really 1080i. They are idiots, so let me say this in big bold print, as far as movies are concerned THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 1080i AND 1080p. See, I did it in caps too, so it must be true. Let me explain (if your eyes glaze over, the short version is at the end).
For clarification, let me start by saying that there are essentially no 1080i TVs anymore. Unless you bought a CRT based TV, every modern TV is progressive scan (as in LCD, Plasma, LCOS, DLP). They are incapable of displaying a 1080i signal as 1080i. So what weâ€™re talking about here mostly applies to people with 1080p native displays.
If there's an HDTV in your future, be sure to check this really informative article out.
We all know how HDTV has changed how we view TV but it's amazing how HDTV has also changed how TV is created. Check out this news report that shows how TV personalities have to prepare for high definiton TV, which even shows someone getting their makeup airbushed on. Wild!:
Are you the type of person who likes your ears to bleed while gaming? Well if you are, you'll want to check out the Pioneer HTP-GS1 Surround Sound System for the Xbox 360. According to Pioneer:
Get the sound that game-makers want you to hear.
Designed for exclusive use with your X-Box 360, the HTS-GS1 features a robust subwoofer-receiver, five satellite speakers and a separate display.
It’s the perfect match – sharing the both the look as well as the control buttons of the Xbox. When combined, the Xbox 360 and HTS-GS1 feel – and look – like one complete system.
The HTS-GS1 delivers studio-quality surround sound in your home – optimised for your unique living room conditions, too. Using our proprietary Multi-Channel Acoustic Calibration system, the HTS-GS1 will accurately optimise and tune the sound output according to your living room layout. So you’re guaranteed the best sound – regardless of the size of your living room or where you have placed your speakers.
We've seen a lot of buyer's guides out there for HDTV but this is the first one we've seen that has PS3 owners in mind. PS3Land.com has a simple article that helps prospective PS3 owners pick out the right HDTV. The article starts out:
If you truly want to enjoy your PlayStation 3 this November, you’ll want a high definition TV. The games will still look impressive on standard TVs, but to appreciate the jump in visuals from the PS2 and Xbox era, you should look to invest a fair amount in a brand new flat panel.
In this guide, I won’t be talking about rear projection or DLP. My main focus will be on affordable LCD and Plasma TVs. After all, you’ll be spending a lot on the PS3 alone, and for many, that 40” is just out of the question.
I’d just like to make you aware that this guide may be skewed to the European audience. As you’ll see later on, there are some specifications or requirements that may not be the same in North America, for example. However, in general you should be able to get a good idea of what to look for in an HDTV.
Nothing special here but you may want to take a peek if you're interested in gaming with a PS3 on HDTV.
When it comes to buying an HDTV, one of the most important things to consider is size. Obviously, you want to buy the biggest screen you can afford but you also have to be sure that the room your TV is in is big enough for comfortable viewing. Digital Home Canada has a nice article that helps you figure out the right size TV for your room:
Perhaps the most common question that we receive on Digital Home Canada from readers who about to by a high definition television (HDTV) is what screen size they should buy?
Since there is no right size to buy, the Digital Home advisor provides readers with guidelines on what screen size is right for them.
When deciding what size of HDTV to buy then Digital Home recommends the first four steps you should undertake are to:
measure the overall dimensions of your viewing room;
decide where you want to place the television;
measure the available area around where you will be placing the television while allowing room for additional components and speakers; and
determine how far will you be sitting from the front of the screen
The article also has a handy table that helps you figure these things out:
For example, the chart tell us that a 50" widescreen is 24" high, 43" wide (televisions are always measured diagonally) and as a screen area of 1,032 square inches. The optimal viewing for high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) programming on a 50" television is about 8 feet and 16 feet respectively. If you are watching an up converted progressive scan DVD the ideal distance will probably be somewhere in between those two distances.
The article is pretty informative and well worth a read.
We've been working hard to get it together on the podcast front and can now officially say - we've got a podcast for the entire BlogPire! Hosts Jay Brewer and Russell Miner will take you through the best news and reviews from around the BlogPire. If you're not familiar with podcasts - they're basically a web based radio show and you can read more about them here.
The Pilot show features exclusive chat and banter about the launch of our new blog SingleServeEspresso.com, a run down of the latest from GPSLodge.com, TVSnob.com, KitchenContraptions.com and many others. We take a look at the latest in BBQ, Poker Drinkware, and of course high definition TV stuff. We hope you enjoy the BlogPire Podcast and expect it to show up on whatever BlogPire weblog you read every 2 weeks!
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Blogpire Productions is pleased to announce the addition of www.SingleServeEspresso.com to its growing family of product and especially kitchen focused Web logs. SingleServeEspresso.com will provide news, insights and reviews of espresso coffee, and espresso machines, especially the newer easy to use ESE Pod espresso machines and Super Automatic Espresso machines, both of which make espresso at the touch of a button that rivals the corner café.
"SingleServeEspresso.com is the natural out-growth of SingleServeCoffee.com that has seen great success in the Web log world," says Jay Brewer, founder of Blogpire Productions and editor of SingleServeCoffee.com. "While covering the explosive growth of single serve coffees, our readers kept asking us to cover the growing trend of espresso, and the newer easy to use E.S.E. machines that are becoming a lot more popular. With SingleServeEspresso.com, we’ll be able to do a better job of helping our readers sort through the new espresso coffee market and help them enjoy great tasting espresso at home."
So you've got a nice home theater system with the little Dolby Digital logo but have no idea what it means? Well, Digital Home Canada has a nice little article that explains Dolby Digital:
One of the most exciting things about watching a movie in your home theatre is the tremendous impact of surround sound. A great sound system brings a movie to life and gives you the feeling of being right in the middle of the action.
The company synonymous with home theatre surround sound in North America is Dolby Laboratories. The proliferation of Dolby Digital surround sound formats, however, has led to considerable confusion amongst our readers therefore this article gives a brief overview of Dolby surround sound and various Dolby Digital (DD) technologies such as Dolby Digital EX, Plus, Live and Cinema.
The article gives definitions for several different types of Dolby:
A common question when discussing DD is the term AC-3. AC-3 is the technical name for the digital decoding technology upon which Dolby Digital is based and the terms are often used interchangeably. For trademark purposes, Dolby now refers to AC-3 by its trademarked name, Dolby Digital.
A common misperception about Dolby Digital is that it delivers six channels sound. DD is actually a flexible format that can deliver mono, stereo, or up to 5.1 discrete channels of surround sound: Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround, and low-frequency effects (LFE).
Dolby Digital EX
Dolby Digital EX extends the DD 5.1-channel setup a step further with an additional center surround channel (reproduced through one or two speakers) which is usually place to the rear of listeners. You may also see this referred to as DD 6.1 or 7.1 when discussing home theatre. Films released in Dolby Digital Surround EX (the cinema version) carry the encoded extra surround channel in their subsequent DVD releases, as well as onto 5.1-channel digital satellite and TV broadcasts.
To playback Dolby Digital EX you will need a 6.1 or 7.1 receiver or preamp/processor and additional rear speakers. Current DD Surround EX soundtracks contain a digital flag that automatically activates the EX decoding however for titles released prior to late 2001 you will need to turn on the EX decoding manually.
Aren't women cool! According to an article at FoxNews, girls dig electronics more than we ever knew and it appears they really have a passion for Plasma TVs. According to the report:
Diamonds are no longer a girl's best friend, according to a new U.S. study that found three of four women would prefer a new plasma TV to a diamond necklace.
The survey, commissioned by cable television's Oxygen Network, which is owned and operated by women, found the technology gender gap has virtually closed, with the majority of women snapping up new technology and using it easily.
The article states:
The study found 77 percent of women surveyed would prefer a new plasma television to a diamond solitaire necklace and 56 percent would opt for a new plasma TV over a weekend vacation in Florida.
In fact the article states that women are becoming all-around geeks:
Women were found on average to own 6.6 technology devices while men own 6.9, and four out of every five women felt comfortable using technology, with 46 percent doing their own computer trouble-shooting.
So you heard it guys, go buy your women a new Plasma TV for her birthday. If she gets mad, just tell her the media told you to do it.
August came so fast this year that we almost forgot our July Monthly Roundup. Never fear though, we've got all of the headlines you might of missed last month. We talked about a few cool products in July like the Philips Modea Mirror TV and the world's largest HDTV, which is equal to the size of 3 tennis courts!
So grab a cup of coffee, kick back, and catch up on a little TVSnob reading.
So, are you one of those hopping on the Internet TV train? Well I am, and we found a great listing of web based TV channels at the Jeff Pulver Blog. According to Jeff:
During the past twelve months, as the momentum for Broadband TV has snowballed, an increasing number of media companies have decided to take their content and make it available for viewing on the Internet. In some cases, the content offered is "re-runs" of prime time content, in other cases the Internet is being used to channel "vintage" programming (re-runs of old programs) and there is an increasing number of cases in which new content is being developed by media companies for just the broadband Internet. By default, the viewing experience is being offered to people assuming a Windows desktop. It is the mobile users (Symbian and Windows Mobile) who are most "content-viewing challenged". Some of the content owners are using variations of Flash and others are using Quicktime and Windows Media to deliver their content.
Here are just a few of the sites he lists:
A&E Video - "Weekly highlights video clips available."
ABC Video on Demand - "Shows most popular news videos."
ABC Family - "Can watch full episodes of your favorite ABC family original series and movies for free."
Adult Swim - "Can watch clips of all Adult Swim programs as well as download MP3s."
AOL Television - "In2TV is the first broadband network and it's got the largest collection of free TV shows anywhere on the web. Not just highlights or listings, but full-length TV episodes with a range of choices and loads of interactive features. Online. Anytime. Always free."
AMC Video - "AMC Video allows you to browse through movies and see clips."
Animal Planet Beyond (Pet Trends) - "Can watch original Pet Trends webisodes. Other clips are available such as pet tricks, dog stars, caught in the moment, and the world's ugliest dogs."
BBC Video Nation - "For $5.95 a month you can watch 24/7 broadcasting of English covered news, business, weather, and sports."
BBC America Video - "Can browse videos by category and program. Also lets you preview tonight's line up."
The list goes on. Be sure to check this execellent post out.