AOpen Blu-Ray Drives to Ship Soon

Filed Under: HTPCs (Computers), Media - Movies - Games

blu rayBlu-Ray to come out of the gate first? Maybe they’ll get a leg up on HD-DVD after all.

AOpen, a Taiwanese PC and peripheral maker, plans to begin shipping Blu-ray drives for PCs in November. Just prepare to dig deep into your pockets: while AOpen has not yet revealed pricing, you can bet that it will cost a lot-bleeding-edge technology always does.

So, in November you can be the proud owner of a new Blu-Ray drive! Then what? You’ll have to wait for something to stick in it.

So what will you put in your new Blu-ray drive should you purchase one next month? Judging by the current availability of blank Blu-ray media and Blu-ray movies, not a whole lot. A handful of manufacturers have shown off prototype Blu-ray drives in the last several months, but nothing appears to have made it to market yet.


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Xbox 360 Hands On – Final Thoughts at Joystiq

Filed Under: HD Gaming

xbox 360James over at Joystiq has an interesting take.

if by November 2006 the Premium Bundle has dropped to $300, you’ll have spent less than $10/month covering the difference between this (projected) discounted price and the $400 launch price. That’s pretty insignificant for the majority of us with a gaming budget.

Right on, what’s a 100 bucks for next gen gaming today. I think my budget can handle it, if I need to I can cut something else out.

The Xbox 360 is not going to blow your mind. But I’ll be damned if after an hour or two of playtime you’re not wearing a big grin across your face.

Sounds like a worthy purchase to me.

He comments on not buying into the hype, and that’s cool. But come on, who buys into the hype these days besides fanboys – they don’t even need the hype. I know our HD angle is a bit more specialist than the mainstream, but I am definitely looking forward to HD res and WIDESCREEN as default for EVERY title! That is enough reason for me to want to jump on this baby.

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Sony KLV-S26A10 26-inch BRAVIA LCD HDTV Review

Filed Under: Home Theater Reviews, Plasma and LCD Displays

sony klv s26a10 I came across a review of Sony’s 27" LCD 720p offering, another great looking screen. As always, you have to pay for the Sony name, but you get the Sony quality.

The Good: Excellent picture quality; immense versatility thanks to a nice variety of inputs; beautiful, minimal design.

The Bad: Like all LCDs, it can be difficult to make out details in darker scenes; the weak speakers will do in a pinch, but they lack power and clarity; second- and third-tier brands hold a clear advantage in terms of price.

The Verdict: You may find similarly sized LCD HDTVs with more attractive price tags, but you aren’t likely to find any with better image quality.

The only truly noticeable picture quality issue with the KLV-S26A10 is its rendering of blacks — a problem suffered by all LCDs. Liquid crystal displays require a backlight to illuminate the screen. As a result, all colours — including blacks — are the product of projected light, meaning black is never truly black. This makes it difficult to make out detail in darker scenes that feature shades of grey that are close to black.

Sony has taken a couple of measures to combat the black problem. The most basic is a black correcting feature, which helps deliver truer blacks but doesn’t really work to fix loss of detail in dark scenes. A more effective — and time consuming — approach is to adjust display settings according to the circumstances. The KLV-S26A10 provides users with a wide range of image adjustment controls, but I found minute adjustments to the brightness setting often helped bring out detail in darker scenes without sacrificing much in the way of black values.

Sony KLV-S26A10 Full Review

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102″ HDTV from LG

Filed Under: Home Theater News
102 inch hdtv
LG has a new PDP beast at 102 inches. I think that chick in the picture is saying size does matter!
Comes with a 160gb hard drive for storing up to 13 hours of HD material.
No details for price or delivery, but you might want to wait before sending Jr. to college.
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Sharp Unveils 11 New LCD TVs – Halts CRT Sales

Filed Under: Home Theater News, Plasma and LCD Displays

sharpSharp finally gives up CRTs and announces several new LCD TVs. Ok, now let’s just get the rest of the world on new tech and we’ll be set.

Sharp Electronics of Canada Ltd. announced today that it has ceased all sales of cathode-ray televisions (CRTs), and has sold all remaining stock in Canada.  Sharp says it will focus on the marketing of its AQUOS line of LCD TVs, and today unveiled 11 new AQUOS LCD TV models, ranging in size from 26″ to 45″, and extending its total LCD TV offering to 22 models. 

The 11 new models feature a myriad of styles, and all contain Sharp’s high-resolution, low-reflection Advanced Super View (ASV) LCD panels, produced at Sharp’s Kameyama factory in Japan.  Sharp explains that this proprietary technology includes anti-glare Black TFT technology, allowing viewers to watch “crisp and vibrant images without glare, even in the harshest lighting conditions.”   All AQUOS models, the firm claims, absorb 98.5 per cent of all ambient light, and offer high brightness and contrasts ratios.  The AQUOS also has a 170-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angle, meaning viewers can clearly view the screen from just about any angle or position.  

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Oppo OPDV971H DVD Player Review

Filed Under: DVD Players, Home Theater Reviews

oppo dv971h
Audioholics has done an exhaustive review (whew! I’m tired after reading it!) of the Oppo OPDV971H DVD Player.

With an MSRP of $199, this is an afforable machine.

AH scores it:
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Value Rating: 4.5/5

* Excellent video performance when using DVI output
* Basic DVD-Audio support
* Nice small form factor

* Component video outputs only support 480i
* Atrocious manual that goes through the settings labels without explanation
* Menu button on remote located out of reach
* Sub-par bass management and distance delay options for DVD-Audio
* Runs hot
* Slow button response and cycle time
* Inaccurate black/white level setting for factory default
* Macroblocking enhancement bug present when properly calibrated


This player has been hyped almost to the point of being the holy grail of DVD players. In all honesty, for the $199 MSRP it really is a great player. The differences come down to black level, build quality, audio capability, bass management, and the responsiveness and usability. For the price you really can’t pass up the video quality of this player – especially if you’re looking for a source component to match with a digital display.

Audioholics said it, you can believe it. HTDude approved. Full Review

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Xbox 360 Games – Hands On

Filed Under: HD Gaming

Lucky guy over at Joystiq gets to play with xbox 360 games before the rest of the world. Yes, I’m jealous – no love for old HT Dudes. Anyway, he got to play the following:

  • Call of Duty 2
  • Condemned: Criminal Origins
  • Dead or Alive 4
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
  • Kameo: Elements of Power
  • King Kong
  • NBA Live 06
  • Need for Speed Most Wanted
  • Perfect Dark Zero
  • Project Gotham Racing 3

     A couple of notable entries:

    Call of Duty 2 – My favorite overall experience—a ceaseless attack on the senses. I really enjoyed the arcade-style pace and gameplay coupled with a pseudo-authentic WWII motif. But 8-player (only?) Live support was a disappointment

    The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion – Fans of the series will not be disappointed. Personally, I don’t have 200+ hours to immerse myself in this one, but for those that do, put this on the shopping list. The Havoc Physics Engine rocks, plus combat has been much improved!

    Project Gotham Racing 3 – The cockpit view was hands-down the sweetest frickin’ ish on the showroom floor. I got lost staring out the passenger window, er, rather, I crashed into a wall—many walls. Visually stunning, same old Gotham gameplay.

    Read more at JoyStiq

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    Gateway FPD2185W 21″ Widescreen LCD

    Filed Under: Plasma and LCD Displays

    Gateway FPD2185WGateway has a new 21” LCD widescreen model available. Not a huge screen for home theater use, but it’s always good to see new widescreen products.

    Gateway Inc., the nation’s third largest PC manufacturer, today introduced a new 21-inch widescreen LCD flat-panel display blending innovation with value.  Packed with features, the Gateway FPD2185W brings the benefits of high-definition viewing to anyone wanting a spectacular visual experience for work or play, priced at just $599.99. The Gateway FPD2185W combines powerful performance with high-resolution display qualities, and is the first computer monitor to employ a new Genesis Microchip  controller with an integrated Emmy award-winning suite of DCDi(R) by Faroudja video processing technologies for stunning images with precise detail, color and motion.

    Source On sale at the Gateway Store

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    Epson MovieMate 25 Projector

    Filed Under: Front Projectors

    epson moviemate 25
    Epson America today said they began shipping the MovieMate 25 Projector-DVD/Music Player Combo to the U.S. and Canada. The MovieMate 25 is set with a $1,199 estimated street price.

    This projector, according to Epson, offers up 480p resolution 3LCD 16:9 widescreen technology. The 3LCD technology uses one LCD chip each for red, green and blue to produce what Epson feels is the best possible viewing experience. The MovieMate 25 has a brightness rating of 1,200 ANSI lumens, a built-in DVD/CD drive, a built-in, self-amplified JVC stereo speaker system and an external 40-watt subwoofer. It also offers video and audio inputs for devices ranging from DVD players to MP3 players as well as DTS/Dolby 5.1 audio outputs.

    Included with the MovieMate 25 Projector-DVD/Music Player Combo is an 80-inch, pull-up, floor-standing, 16:9-widescreen screen with its own integrated compact carrying case.

    “The Epson MovieMate 25 truly is the ultimate combo projector and is suited perfectly for users of all technical levels, including those who may have absolutely no experience using a projector,” said Jodi Maugham, product manager, Home Entertainment Division, Epson America. “Not only does it give you all of the key technologies you need to create an immersive, big screen experience quickly and easily using just one solution, but it’s also a very attractive product that blends nicely into virtually any home’s decor.”

    Found :

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    Your Own Drive-In Theater

    Filed Under: Misc - Other

    Here’s a novel concept – instant drive in theater by Nico Roscoe:

    In this digital day and age there are a lot of ways to enjoy movies. Computers, DVD players, portable video players and media centre computers are just some of the means through which your movie experience might come together, and consumer grade video projectors are getting better, cheaper and more portable by the day.
    instant drive in

    I don´t know if I am the first one to come up with this idea. Probably not, but I am serving it to you in any case… Why not recreate some of that outdoor film splendor known as the drive-in, only this time on your own terms?

    Found this gem over at Sponbustion magazine.


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