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Yamaha YSP-800 – Gadget of the Week at Time.com

yamaha ysp-800The Yamaha YSP-800 Digital Sound Projector wins gadget of the week at Time.com.

This compact surround sound system is all in one unit. It uses digital delay and electronic trickery to get your brain to think you’re hearing sound from all sides. And it works!

You’d definitely want to consider a separate sub, however.

This unit has simple connections, and is great for mounting directly under your display.

“I compared the YSP-800 to a mid-priced surround-sound setup with Acoustic Research speakers powered by Pioneer’s VSX-72TXV receiver (more on the Pioneer receiver in the coming weeks). I was impressed by how well the sound projector could replace the five speakers that are carefully positioned—ugly exposed wiring and all—around my TV room. The speakers give a little more midrange than the sound projector, but when it came to the tinkling of glass or rushing of wind in the surround channel, both rigs gave me a satisfying feeling of immersion.”

Yamaha YSP-800 Digital Sound Projector

DIRECTV Charges $99 For ‘Free’ HDTV Upgrade

direct tv hd not so free
Last September, DirecTV told their current subscribers that they would get a free upgrade for new HD hardware.

Recently though, HD subscribers have been billed $99 for the new system.

“DIRECTV spokesman Robert Mercer said the free upgrade would not happen until the company converted from its current MPEG2 transmission to MPEG4. Mercer said it was unclear when that transfer would happen, but it would likely occur in most cities sometime in 2006.”

Ah! So, it’s free once they convert their entire network. You must pay to get in early. Sounds fair enough, had it been properly explained beforehand.

Some customers have reported getting refunds if they complain enough. (Squeaky wheel and all.) Seems a bit underhanded to this dude.


HDTV Prices Plunge

hdtv prices falling lcd and plasma are quickest

LCD and plasma flat panel HDTV display prices have plummeted over the past year. Fueled by better manufacturing results and competition from budget brand manufacturers, even the big boys have been dropping prices steadily.

Check out the graph, the 42 plasma range has dropped from over $4 grand to just above $2500. 32-inch LCD prices have been cut almost in half from $3000 this time last year, to just above $1500 now.

As you can see, the price drop is starting to level off, the market seems to be stabilizing. If you’ve been waiting to pick up that new HDTV, now may be the time.


Via engadget.

Vizio Annonces HDTV Price Drops

Just in time for the holiday shopping rush that begins this Friday, Vizio have announced price drops on their popular LCD and Plasma HDTV sets.

The price drops are as follows:

* L37HDTV Broadens Big-screen LCD Market with $1,499 Everyday Price

* VIZIO 50″ Plasma Hits Magic $2,499 Price Point

* Most Popular 32″ LCD Gets $100 Price Drop to $899

Full Press Release

LG LRM-519 DVR Powered By Windows Media Center

lg dvrThe world’s first dedicated “digital media recorder” with the Microsoft Program Guide service is now available at leading consumer electronics retailers nationwide, LG Electronics announced today.

The LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder is a combination digital video recorder (DVR) and DVD recorder powered by Windows Media Center Technologies with a 160-gigabyte hard drive for unparalleled recording flexibility.

Read “LG LRM-519 DVR Powered By Windows Media Center”

Studios Asked for Smoking Warnings on DVDs

No, not for when your DVD catches fire, but for all those young and impressionable minds that are watching DVDs full of cancer-stick puffers and draggers.

I’m sure some will hate the notion, and I’m not so sure how effective it may be, but I think the intentions are at least good.

With a new study showing that exposure to on-screen smoking prompts many American adolescents to light up, attorneys general from 32 states want Hollywood to slap anti-smoking admonitions on all new DVDs.

They signed a letter sent this week to 10 movie studios asking executives to add anti-smoking public service announcements to all home-viewing releases that depict smoking.

Interesting factoid – Out of 6,522 adolescents asked, 38 of every 100 who tried smoking did so because of their exposure to smoking in movies. Wow.

News Article – USAToday

Microsoft and CableLabs Announce Agreement to Enable High Definition Digital Cable Programming on Windows Media Center PCs

windows xp media center edition
Future Versions of Media Center PCs to Receive Digital Cable Programming without the need for a Cable Set-Top Box

Microsoft Corp. and Cable Television Laboratories Inc. (CableLabs®) announced they have reached an agreement that will allow Microsoft and PC manufacturers to bring to market digital-cable-ready Windows® Media Center-based PCs in the holiday 2006 time frame.

These Media Center PCs, capable of supporting a CableCARD5 module, will allow consumers to enjoy one-way cable programming, including premium high-definition cable content, on their personal computer and throughout the home on compliant network-connected devices, such as Xbox 3605, while protecting cable operators’ investments in high-value content in a digital environment. Microsoft is working closely with CableLabs to document final approval of Windows Media® Digital Rights Management (DRM) as a content protection technology for OpenCable5 products that receive one-way cable content under the terms of this agreement.

Read “Microsoft and CableLabs Announce Agreement to Enable High Definition Digital Cable Programming on Windows Media Center PCs”

LG 50PB2DW 50 Inch Wireless Plasma Wins Award

LG logo
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has awarded LG with the “Best of Innovation” stamp in the Digital Display category.

The award goes to the new 50-inch Wireless Plasma HDTV Display, model 50PB2DW.

This unit will be on display at the 2006 CES in Las Vegas on January 5th-8th. Looking forward to more info on this piece of technology.

You heard it here first…

Press Release

All Xbox 360 Titles Available at GameFly

gamefly xbox 360 rentals All Xbox 360 titles are to be available at Gamefly for the system’s November 22 launch. The currently have 33 games in the system.

Current most popular games at GameFly, as reported by teamxbox.

1 Call of Duty 2
2 Perfect Dark Zero
3 Quake 4
5 Need for Speed: Most Wanted
6 Dead or Alive 4
7 Condemned: Criminal Origins
8 Project Gotham Racing 3
9 Madden NFL 06
10 The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

Join GameFly for a 10 day free trial. Pick the games you want to play, and Gamefly sends them to you via postal mail.

The games come with a free return mailer. When you are ready to return a title, simply seal it up in the mailer and put it in your mailbox for pickup.

I use GameFly myself and love the service. It’s like Christmas at the mailbox once a week.

Start your free trial here.

Congress to Subsidize Those without HDTV Sets

Oh boy, here we go. It seems like every time our Government gets involved with anything tech, they end up not quite “getting it.”

I’m getting that weird vibe now…

The federal government wants to pay for some U.S. residents to be able to watch television — the only question is how much.
The Senate’s budget bill, which passed last week, contains a $3 billion subsidy for owners of televisions that are not ready to handle the eventual transition to digital television.
The House budget bill, which ran into trouble Thursday but which will be on the floor this week, contains slightly less than $1 billion.

Both bills set a date when broadcasters must return their current licenses and instead broadcast a digital signal on a different part of the electronic spectrum.

The subsidy would go to pay for converter boxes, which would take the digital signal from the broadcasters and convert it so that it can be displayed by analog TVs. Televisions hooked up to cable or satellite would not need the converters, nor would televisions capable of receiving a digital signal.

Something tells me that 1-3 Billion could be put to much better use. But what do I know?

News Article
via TVsnob