Pioneer announced its new Elite BDP-94HD Blu-ray player today, following up on its first generation BDP-HD1. Besides the new model name, there doesn't look to be much of a change from last year's model. The biggest addition we can see is onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD, which means it should be able to decode Dolby TrueHD soundtracks and send uncompressed PCM soundtracks to a compatible receiver via HDMI. Pioneer is also claiming to have revamped its Home Media Gallery feature, which allows for some basic network media streaming using the Ethernet port and supposedly the capability to download … Read more
We have a love-hate relationship with that ultimate object of masculine obsession, the remote control. On one hand, it's risen to a deified status; on the other, we're sick and tired of having so many of them hiding under every cushion in the house.
Yes, we've tried all kinds of universal models, including the very first version of that brick-like Sony remote whose size was matched only by its price. The best part, of course, is that it was so complicated we never learned how to use it. So as tempting as they may sound, we can'… Read more
Can you make a server sexy?
Short answer: No.
But you can still throw it a glitzy launch party.
Over the past week or so, I've been poking my head into various events at the Tribeca Film Festival in lower Manhattan, which runs through tomorrow. I've always thought of film festivals as sort of low-tech affairs, and in a lot of ways, it's true--at a screening of Edward Burns' new flick, Purple Violets, the producers apologized for the first reel being "too light," and at the premiere of Spider-Man 3 co-star James Franco's latest … Read more
HDMI isn't just for HDTVs any more. As the high-def movement continues to march forward, HDMI connections are becoming standard equipment on everything from cable and satellite boxes, DVRs, game consoles, AV receivers, and DVD players to network media devices, PC video cards, and even camcorders. That means even a fairly modest home theater setup--say, an HD DVR, PlayStation 3, Apple TV, and a DVD recorder--could have three or more HDMI-equipped AV sources. While many higher-end TVs and AV receivers are beginning to sport three or even four HDMI inputs, the industry standard is still stuck at around two.
Traditionally, HD aficionados suffering from an HDMI deficit would bite the bullet and run their sources via component once they ran out of HDMI inputs. But doing so obviates the whole advantage of HDMI to begin with; in addition to losing any fidelity advantage offered by HDMI, you quadruple or quintuple the cable needs (three separate component cables, plus one or two for audio) per source. But there's an easy and straightforward solution: an HDMI switcher. Switchers have one simple task--toggling between multiple inputs--and they can expand the number of available HDMI inputs to your HDTV or AV receiver by a factor of two, three, or even four. … Read more
Baseball fans will want to keep an eye on this promise. Microsoft's Silverlight could be used to bring live Major League Baseball to your mobile phone. The MLB folks were on stage at MIX in Las Vegas, showing off the next generation of baseball video services. Their capper was a live game on a Windows-enabled cell phone. We've embedded MLB's presentation to the left.
Because Crave leads such an active social life (read: we can't stop playing World of Warcraft), we're very rarely around to watch TV. This means Freeview hard-drive recorders are absolutely invaluable. One of our faves was the excellent Panasonic DMR-EX75, so we're overjoyed to see an upgrade: the DMR-EX77, which allows digital recording to either DVD or its built-in 160GB hard drive.
The EX77 also has a built-in Freeview receiver, so there's no messing around with those pesky Scart leads to plug in your Freeview receiver and suffering a loss in quality as everything is converted … Read more
With so many wireless headphones available, one might wonder why anyone would want something like the "TV Hear" remote speaker. Basically, it's a wireless "personal" speaker with a 30-foot range that lets you listen to the telly without disturbing a sleeping spouse or anyone else within earshot of average volumes.
But some people still like to hear things in the open air, and Brookstone says there are other uses for this speaker, such as listening to the TV while you "bounce from room to room--trying to cook dinner, for example, while catching the evening … Read more
After many months of promises, Sling Media finally delivered a Mac version of the SlingPlayer software in October 2006. There was just one problem: the public beta disappointed many Mac owners because--and I'm not making this up--it looked too much like Windows software. For instance, MacWorld's review noted:Although the Brushed Steel interface skin approximates the QuickTime Player interface, it's betrayed by the series of Windows-style buttons in the top left corner. (It could be worse--they could be in the top right instead!) It's a little thing, but it's still ugly, and I hope that … Read more
Heard of Vudu? Neither had anybody else until this weekend, when the Silicon Valley start-up got a double shot of well-coordinated publicity that's been burning up the Web: a big write-up in the New York Times and a batch of exclusive photos on Gizmodo. Vudu, it seems, is the latest stab at a video-on-demand movie box--a little set-top device that hooks to your TV and downloads movies from a broadband Web service. But Vudu looks to have some key advantages over past efforts from the likes of RCA and MovieBeam. First, it has the backing of most of the … Read more
Our Xbox 360 Elite review sample showed up late yesterday afternoon, and we're working up a full review. But that's gonna be a 3,500-word monster intended more for casual gamers and tech newbies who don't know a thumbstick from a joystick or a shoulder button from a trigger. For those in the know, here's the crib sheet on the Elite.
Cosmetics: The Xbox 360 Elite has a matte-black finish. I strongly prefer it to the "iPod white" color scheme of past Xbox 360 models. The included wireless controller and Xbox Live headset are … Read more