Xbox 360: Popular Science’s Top Home Entertainment Innovation 2005

Filed Under: HD Gaming

xbox 360 Popular Science names Xbox 360 the best of what’s new in home entertainment 2005, one of twelve categories for the best of what’s new. The December issue is due out in about a week.

“The first of the next-generation gaming consoles, the new Xbox 360 is not just about games — the 360 is poised to take over the living room as well. The 360 is the first Media Center extender that receives and plays back HDTV from Media Center PCs, and it comes with a free lifetime subscription to the Xbox Live online service.”

Looks like they missed the details about live subscriptions, but hey, they are mainstream media after all. You can’t expect too much. 😉

I do think they picked a fine product. But, of course, I could be biased…


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Panasonic TH-37PHD8UK Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Plasma and LCD Displays

Panasonic TH-37PHD8UK This 37″ plasma from Panasonic gets an Editors’ Choice rating with a score of 7.8/10.

At a resolution of 1024×720, it is not a true HD unit, but looks like a great display considering.

The good: Accurate color decoder with no red push; solid video processing with 2:3 pull-down; excellent black-level performance; independent memory per input; numerous picture adjustments; customizable inputs.

The bad: Limited connectivity options; basic and industrial in its design; no tuner included; no aspect-ratio control for HD sources; floats black.

The bottom line: Despite limited features and connectivity, the Panasonic TH-37PHD8UK is one of the best small-screen plasmas on the market today in terms of picture quality.

Source – Cnet

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Toshiba Ups HD-DVD Ante

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Media - Movies - Games

hd dvd

Toshiba just made an interesting move with the HD-DVD format. They seem to have a healthy fear of losing the format war, as they have now opened up the manufacturing of HD-DVD drives to Chinese manufacturers.

This effectively drives the costs of manufacturing the units, and speeds the units to market. Toshiba is giving up some revenue by not handling this themselves.

This is an interesting move indeed. Toshiba wants to get a head start and get the momentum rolling before Sony has time to catch up.

I think I’ll pull up a ringside seat…

In the high-stakes battle with Sony over whose format will power the next generation of DVD players, Toshiba has adopted a potentially perilous strategy: encouraging low-cost Chinese competitors to crank out machines using its standard, known as HD DVD.

Toshiba’s push on HD DVD
Via HDBeat

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Madden NFL 06 – Xbox 360

Filed Under: HD Gaming

New hi-def trailer available for the next generation of Madden NFL on Xbox 360. See what it will look like to get your game on in the near future. EA has the exclusive rights to the NFL franchise now, so this will be the nfl game to have.

Madden NFL 06 High Definition Trailer – Xbox
Thanks to HD Blog for finding this one.

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Voice Activated Universal Remote – InVoca

Filed Under: Misc - Other

Are you tired of lifting your finger when you want to change channels? That 12 ounce mega remote got you down? For all those who wondered why those whacked out inventors stopped when they made the remote control, relief is now here…

Now, do you only not have to get off your lazy bum to change channels, you don’t even need to lift a finger!

The all new voice activated remote control!!! Just what I always wanted!

Features include:
– Easy voice-prompt setup and multilingual operation
– Control your TV, VCR, cable box, satellite, or home theater with your voice
– Converts spoken words into infrared remote control signals
– Recognizes 50 voice commands and performs multistep functions with 8-in-1 operation
– Provides personal voice commands for up to 4 family members

Now I know what I want for Christmas.

via Coolest Gadgets

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Record to TiVo from Yahoo

Filed Under: HDTV Local, Cable, Satellite, Home Theater News

Another step in convergence, you can now pick shows to record on your TiVo from Yahoo’s website.

What you need:
A valid Yahoo! account. (free)
A valid TiVo user account.
A TiVo Series2 recorder.
Broadband Internet Connection (Dialup works but with a 36 hour delay – unuseable!)

The dialup lag doesn’t make sense to me, but this is new. Maybe we should be understanding?

Additional “content sharing” due later between these two: Traffic, weather and user photos.


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The Next Version of Ambilight Tech

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Plasma and LCD Displays

amiblight next versionToday, Philips introducted the next Ambilight style technology, dubbed amBX. This new tech does more than just glow different colors alongside your flat panel HDTV.

Incorporating a scripting language, software engine and architecture, amBX has been designed to deliver all-new player experiences through enabled devices such as LED colour-controlled lights, active furniture, fans, heaters, audio and video, which are all placed in the user’s room. amBX goes even further to provide the support framework for peripheral manufacturers to develop these enabled products, empowering both developers and publishers to amBX-enable and enhance their games. In the future, game players may even be able to author and share their own personal amBX experiences online.

(Ambilight is currently available in sets like this one:

They give these examples:

“Imagine the room of the future, where all electronic devices are amBX-enabled. The treacherous road to Saigon will turn your room jungle green, swimming with dolphins will splash it deep blue, ‘Halo’ jumps will turn your fans on full, lightning storms will strobe your white lighting, and attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion will blast on your heaters. ”

Sounds cool, but will the developers put the compatibility into games? That’s the rub, which depends on the market penetration. They almost never support a new tech unless the gamers have it already.

I’ve never been sold on ambilight myself, because it just can’t compete with an 8′ plus front projector screen. Couple that with surround sound and solid subwoofers, and I have never seen the need for additional ambient light. However, controlling my HVAC, ceiling fan, lights in the room, etc could be rather immersive. Only time will tell if this tech will take hold, and I’m not holding my breath just yet…

Press Release

[via engadget]

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Panasonic TH-42PX50U Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Plasma and LCD Displays

I just found another review of the Panasonic TH-42PX50U. PC mag gives it a 3.5 out of 5.0, citing these:

Good color quality right out of the box. Appealing style. Well-designed remote control.

Only one digital video input. Non-removable speaker. Limited image-scaling options. Lacks advanced color controls. No picture-in-picture options.

and the Bottom Line
The Panasonic TH-42PX50U is a capable entry-level plasma television that provides impressive imagery when displaying DVD video, but it lacks the resolution required to show the finer details of HDTV.

Again, at 1024 x 768, this unit is not true HD. It supports input resolutions of 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i but cannot display the minimum of 720p natively, to be true HD.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad set, just need to state da troof. Yo, review editors! If it ain’t HD, don’t call it HD. (thanks)

Here’s another, more recent review of the TH-42px50U
Panasonic TH-42PX50U review by PC Magazine

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What’s the Difference Between DLP vs. LCD?

Filed Under: Rear Projection

dlp vs lcd
TV pointed out a great article over at Sound and Vision mag, for understanding the difference of DLP vs. LCD in rear projection HDTV sets.
Check the scorecard for easy understanding of a couple differences:

Most DLP (Digital Light Processing) sets have a single chip and a rotating filter that chops white light from a lamp into a sequence of red, green, and blue beams. The beams are reflected from the chip, which contains hundreds of thousands of tiny mirrors. These mirrors pivot thousands of times a second to control the brightness of the pixels and are synchronized to display a red, green, or blue projection that the eye blends into a full-color image.

In an LCD (liquid-crystal display) projection TV, light from a single lamp is directed to a trio of miniature LCD panels that process the red, green, and blue light components separately. The pixels in each panel contain a liquid-crystal material that regulates the amount of light passing through them by twisting and untwisting in response to electrical voltages. After exiting the LCD panels, the three colored beams are combined by a prism and projected onto the screen by a lens.

The article goes in depth about the various particulars of each, regarding contrast, color, picture detail, and picture uniformity. A great read, thanks Snob!

Full Article

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Sharp LC-20B8U Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Plasma and LCD Displays

Cnet reviewed this little number that would be a great choice for a kitchen, bedroom or other space-challenged area.

Rating 7.0/10

The good: Solid 2:3 pull-down video processing; adequate aspect-ratio control; decent jack pack for a 20-inch TV, including computer input.

The bad: More expensive than budget models; poor black-level performance; nondefeatable edge enhancement.

The bottom line: This Sharp LC-20B8U has the right combination of size and performance to serve up TV and even HDTV in your kitchen or bedroom.

Though it is true HD at 1024 x 768, the res should be fine on this 20 inch size screen. A good casual use unit.

Sharp LC-20B8U Review

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