Archive for the 'Hi Def TV' Category

Playing with the TiVoHD and misc.

August 23, 2008

I’ve been playing with my TiVoHD. It has had a big impact on my life as it played a role in reacquainting me with old friends.

I used the TiVo desktop to move an HD recording of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to my server. I was able to watch it on my 30 inch monitor in my basement. Nice. Although my flagship machine manged this with no problem, another machine I have choked. This is very annoying. It is a 1.6 GHz dual core and it chokes on everything. It’s kind of useless. I’m not sure if it is the computer or if it is the fact that it’s running Vista. The flagship machine runs XP.

Anyhow, I like the idea of being able to watch HD shows down there. I’m not sure that it needs to be on my best computer though. I’m thinking that it might be time to build a new computer. As a stopgap, I’m using the quadcore that’s plugged into my HDTV to move the files to the server.

I am also playing with a wireless microphone and I bought a new webcam too. I’ll probably have more to say about that stuff in the future.

I feel like I needed to get some words going here, it’s been more than a little sparse lately.

PS3 Movies

August 20, 2007


PS3 Movies

Originally uploaded by Thaed 3

I had blogged on July 15th that I sent in for 5 free Blu-Ray disks after buying my PS3. Today, I received them via regular mail. They arrived wrapped and in new condition (as seen here). I don’t know when I’ll get around to watching any of them, but if nothing else I can put them on eBay.

Netflix, HD DVD, Blu-Ray and random movie watching.

July 15, 2007

Netflix is letting you pick a priority order now of how you want your queue. I picked Blu-Ray, HD DVD and DVD. There is a crapton of stuff out on Blu-Ray now. It’s kind of amazing.

This weekend, I watched The Warriors, Ghost in The Shell Solid State Society, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I’m too lazy to do a full review, but I’m never too tired to give my opinion. The Warriors had such an impact on me as a kid in 1979. I remember it being campy. It was. I still enjoyed it though. GiTS was good. I’ve enjoyed every bit of that mythos. I found Fear and Loathing to be unwatchable. I’m sorry, I liked the book, but I hated the characters in the movie.

Next up in the queue is Ghost Rider, TMNT and Memento. I heard Ghost Rider isn’t so bad. Turtles from the 80s didn’t make me run to the theater, but it’s a rental. Memento is on a lot of people’s list as one of their all time favorites. I’m glad I waited because now I get to see it on Blu-Ray.

I’m also sending in for my 5 free Blu Ray disks. The choices aren’t great, but I’m thinking: Invincible, Blazing Saddles, Stir of Echos, Black Rain and The Transporter 2. I’ll watch them and then put them up on eBay (except Blazing Saddles).

Owning both a PS3 and an Xbox 360

July 11, 2007

Playstation 3 40GB
Xbox 360 Elite System Console Includes 120GB Hard Drive
Say what you will, but when Sony dropped the price on the PS3, I hauled my butt down to the Best Buy and bought one. Actually, I bought the last one on the shelf. I brought it home and set it up and then I just sat there and looked at it and at the Xbox 360. I now have two pieces of consumer electronics that essentially do the same thing.

If nothing else but to justify this in my own mind, I want to talk about these units together. The style points definitely go to the PS3. It’s black sleekness is evil! The 360 looks like the toy that it is next to it. The PS3 is a computer. You can plug in a USB mouse and keyboard right into it. You can also plug in media cards. I ran the PS3 all last night because I wanted to charge the Sixaxis controller. I didn’t worry about that at all and I made sure I ran Folding at Home. I wouldn’t dare waste precious 360 burn time by keeping it on all night. A 360 is like a light bulb. You’ve only got so many hours before it burns out. My original PS2 is what, 5 years old? I have no doubt that in 5 years the PS3 is going to be going strong. I’ll probably have gone through a half dozen 360s by then.

But I sound like I’m ragging on the 360. The fact is, right now, the PS3 can’t touch the Xbox as a gaming system. There are tons of great games out for the 360 and not so much for the PS3. Everyone knows this. Moreover, the 360 has movies you can download. The PS3 has a couple of trailers and a few demos and games, but nothing like the 360. The 360’s software is superior. The PS3 isn’t bad, but applications launch in a kind of clunky way compared to the 360. The 360, while it’s running, is awesome!

But as I sit here and watch coverage of E3 it’s clear that the games for the PS3 are coming. The PS3 has so much potential, it’s almost painful to see it in its current state. From a hardware perspective, the PS3 is an impressive machine. It’s significantly quieter than the 360. When I watch HD DVD movies on the 360 with it’s separate drive, it’s noisy enough to be distracting. The PS3 is quiet enough to be a real piece of home theater equipment. In fact, the real reason that I bought it was that I wanted a Blu-Ray Player. The PS3, in my opinion, up-converts slightly better than the 360. Watching movies in 1080p is something that once you experience it, you don’t want to look at anything else and now I have the player of the standard that is poised to win the format war.

The 360 streams video from your computer quite easily. I did it once just to try it. I really don’t have much use for it beyond that. I believe you can get the PS3 to do it as well although I’m not sure as easily. For me, the media card support is more important.

So yes, in the end is it overkill to have both a 360 and a PS3? Of course! Is if fun, absolutely. I have the best game system available right now in the 360 and a terrific Blu-Ray player in the PS3. I can tell you though, that as games come out going forward, I’m going to look for them first on the PS3 and only buy the exclusives on the 360. The last thing I want to do is get half-way through a game and have to send the 360 back to Microsoft because it has given up the ghost.

Review of the Samsung LN-T5265F TFT-LCD Television.

April 30, 2007

Samsung LNT5265F 52-inch 1080p LCD HDTV

Holy freakin’ God, this television rocks! I cannot tell you. If God has a television, this is what he watches. It is bright and gorgeous. It’s completely riveting. I am probably going to die sooner than I should because I’m buying a bean bag chair and I’m going to plant myself in front of the television and watch movies and play games for the rest of my life.

It has 3 HDMI inputs and 2 component inputs. It also does s-video and cable and the rest of the lower res stuff. The money is in the HDMI, computer and component inputs. Right now, I’m using a component input for my cable box and I’m running my Xbox 360 through the PC input. It is with this setup that I’m able to get 1080p output and watch movies in 1080p on the Xbox HD DVD drive.

The brightness of this TV is amazing. It’s sitting in a room facing 4 5 ½ foot windows. The television is bright enough to watch in full daylight. Strangely enough, there is less glare than the CRT television this TV replaces. Also the viewing angles are incredible. I had originally planned on getting a Mitsubishi DLP. The viewing angle on a DLP is nothing like this. You can watch this TV from essentially the same viewing angles as you would with a conventional television.

On my set up, I use the optical audio output to send audio to an Onkyo surround sound system. Honestly, the first time I plugged in this television it brought a tear to my eye. Gaming is in a class by itself. The 360 does not disappoint. I can’t imagine going back to my PS2 after this. In fact, if there is one weakness, I did try running my PS2 on it and it looked terrible. My cable box upconverts so normal channels look ok.

I looked at every LCD Best Buy had to offer in picking this TV. The contenders were from Sharp and Sony. Still, the Samsung stood above them all and I obviously couldn’t be happier. As I’ve said before, it’s reawakened my interest in movies and games. I’m a lucky man indeed.

Gaming Weekend Part II.

April 29, 2007

I finished the remaining three games I rented on Friday.  I did take a little domestic heat for spending so much time playing games this weekend, despite it being scheduled activity.  Ah well.  I’m finished now.

Here’s my thoughts on the remaining games.

Kameo.  I am pleasantly surprised by this game.  I had seen it on display at CompUSA last year and messed around with it then, but I didn’t really focus on it.  In comparison to the other six games, it holds up well with terrific graphics and stimulating game play.  Along with Gun, I’m putting Kameo on my “buy” list.

The Battle for Middle Earth II.  This is my type of game, right?  It’s an RTS.  Having played 90% of the RTS games out there, I should be doing backflips for this one, except I’m not.  It’s not the game’s fault though.  It’s the platform’s fault.  Don’t get me wrong, I am rapidly becoming a 360 fanboy, it’s just that consoles are not the greatest platforms for RTS games.  These games need a mouse.  It’s that simple.  That being said, if I had a manual to look at the controls for this, I might enjoy it more.  I’m not giving up on this one yet.  It may make it to the buy list because the graphics are good and the units are cool looking.  I need more time with the game.  You can’t fault the LotR universe, it makes for an engrossing subplot.

Finally, Enchanted Arms kind of surprised me.  While I am an Anime fan, I’m no expert.  That being said, I know a bishonen game when I see one.  There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it’s not my thing.  When the first 30 minutes of the game is silly dialog, you’re going to lose me.  Apparently, if you can get past the first 45 minutes of the game, the rest of it is supposed to be good.  I can’t make it that far.  This is one of those RPGs that has the turn based combat that some people enjoy.  I think in the right environment, it’s ok, but I could care less about this story.  I think this game is supposed to be a Final Fantasy clone.  Meh, it’s not for me.

So that’s it.  I have to say that the Xbox 360 combined with my new HD TV has reinvigorated both my desire to play video games and my desire to watch movies.  It’s great stuff.  Next, I’m going to see how well it streams video off a computer.  More on that later…

Beerfest in 1080p.

April 22, 2007

When you are experiencing a 1080p movie for the first time, if you are a true movie aficionado, you should spend the time to pick out a perfect movie for this virgin moment.  Not being a true movie buff, I chose Beerfest.  Actually, I was dying to watch a full movie and my HD choices were Casablanca (which I want to watch with friends), King Kong (which I’ve seen) and Beerfest (which I had not seen).

I liked Beerfest well enough, although it was a bit long.  It’s just that in terms of showcasing 1080p goodness, it’s really like using expensive car wax on a beater.  You just aren’t going to get the same bang for your buck as you would for say, Lord of the Rings.  But LoR isn’t out in HD DVD yet, and, as I’ve said, my choices were limited.

Now, of course, when people ask me:  “What was the first movie you saw in 1080p?”  My answer is forever:  “Beerfest.”  I can always hope that they ask instead what my first HD movie was.  Happily, that was The Enforcer with Clint Eastwood.  Amazingly, I saw this in a hotel room on a 720p TV while on vacation.  It looked terrific and really hooked me on HD.  That experience is what drove me to my current level of home theater dedication.  The Enforcer is a terrific Dirty Harry movie.  Beerfest really doesn’t compare well to it, mostly because of the genre difference.

Actually, I can’t complain too much about Beerfest because it was funny and I recommend it for what it is.  I think I need to wait until The Matrix comes out on HD DVD to really experience 1080p.

Extra cables to make Hi Def TV work.

April 15, 2007

Time was that normal television was enough.  I’ve watched television my whole life and the tube hasn’t changed much.  Now I’m spending every free dollar to migrate to HDTV.  It’s crazy how complicated it is.  There are so many different ways to get signal to the television.  My plan has been to use an Xbox 360 with Xbox Live and the HD DVD drive in addition to the cable company’s box to get content into the TV.  It turns out that, right now anyway, the Xbox needs a VGA cable to send 1080p signal to the TV and not all TVs do well with this.  It looks like mine will.  We’ll see.  The cable company provides component cables but also will accept HDMI.  For neatness sake, I’m opting to buy the HDMI cable.

Not only did I have to do intense research just to pick out the right TV, but I had to dig deep into reviews on my planned set up just to get the most out of it.  As it is, the cable box won’t do any better than 1080i.  I have been on an irrational quest for 1080p.  We’ll see if I can tell the difference.  Also, we’ll see if these exotic cables are really better than the component cables I already have.  At worst, I’ve spent an extra $50.

Had I gone the PS3 route, much of this heartache would be unnecessary.  I can add the PS3 later if I want.

Of course, the TV won’t be here right away.  I have nothing else to do except be patient.  Books help.  Arguably, if I just stuck with books, I’d be better off and I wouldn’t need to spend money on silly television paraphernalia.