Games Microsoft Xbox

Xbox 360 Weekend News Roundup

We’re excited about the Xbox 360 launch next week like the next guy, but watching the drama on Engadget and Gizmodo was a little exhausting.

Here’s the latest:

Xbox 360 launch list – all the games, accessories and what not.
Xbox launching on Friday at CC? – Ain’t happenin’.
Xbox 360 backwards compatibility list – 200+ Xbox games will work on the 360. Thanks Charlie.
Harmony Xbox 360 Remote released – $129 remote for the ‘other‘ uses of the Xbox.

If that’s not enough for you, check out either Gamespot or IGN’s Xbox launch coverage.

Digital Cameras Features

What to Buy?

I love researching new products for people. I love learning all the intricacies of new gadgets and why one thing might be better than another. I spend waaaaay too much time thinking about the trade offs between model ‘x’ and model ‘y’. Why do I do this? So when someone asks me “Which x should I buy?,” I have an answer for them.

Most people don’t do this. Often times, they get to their favorite (or least favorite) electronics store and know they want to buy a digital camera (in this case) but don’t know where to start. So naturally, they talk to the salesman whose best interest isn’t always theirs.

“What to Buy?” will tell you the best product to buy in a given product category. Today, we’ll focus on sub compact digital cameras. Sub compacts are the smallest digital cameras available.

Canon Powershot 450

Sub Compact Digital Cameracanonsd450.jpg

Why? Big LCD, bulletproof build, 5.0 megapixels, SD memory and good picture quality.

Who? Novice-Advanced person who wants a pocket camera with a big LCD and decent picture quality.

How Much? Street prices ~$300


CNET – 7.4/10
DPReview – Recommended – 5/5
Steve’s Digicams – Liked it.

HDTV Home Entertainment Sony

Sony KDS-R60XBR1 HDTV Review

sonysxrd.jpgSony felt like they were falling behind in creating acronyms so their latest, greatest television brings us the latest, greatest in alphabet soup product naming. Sony dubbed the technology behind their KDS-R60XBR1 as SXRD, which is basically a tweaked out version of LCOS.

Bottom line is that this television doesn’t seem to suffer any of the problems that other technologies seem to have (rainbows, screen-door, gigantism) and has a really great picture.

Don’t take my word for it – take a gander over at Home Theater Magazine for the full scoop.

(via HDBeat)


Apple HTPCs

New Macs reviewed

imac.jpgThe PowerMac G5 dual core (2.0Ghz and 2.3Ghz, but alas no Quad) got a write up in Macworld yesterday. Looks like Apple’s claims of dual core processors equaling the dual processors were true if you believe the Speedmark numbers. It will be much more interesting to see the numbers on the Quad 2.5 to see if they truly double their processing power.

Verdict – Fast, but the Quad will be faster.

Next up, our pals at Macintouch review the new iMac G5 (isight). The reviews focuses on Front Row and iSight integration which in general, they like. The new iMacs are also thinner and quieter than previous models.

Verdict – Not much faster, but cool new apps and thin profile make a cool package.

Home Entertainment PVRs

NBC and CBS jump on the download bandwagon

earl.jpgNot quite as convenient or portable as Lost or Desperate Housewives, it looks like DirecTV users will get NBC programming and Comcast users will get CBS content on demand for the low, low price of $.99. Programming will be available only to in-house PVR users of the respective companies and not for iPods or other portable media devices.

Now, I don’t know about you, but personally, if I wanted to watch any of those shows, I’d record them on the PVR, rather than pay for them later.

I’m curious as to how DirecTV is planning on offering VOD as they haven’t been able to do this in the past.



Google Maps go mobile

GmapsOk, admittedly, I’ve had Kmaps going on my Treo 650 for a few months now, but it looks like the rest of you get it now. You gotta have a Java enabled phone (J2ME, not BREW), but Sprint alone has 25 phones that are capable.

Looks like you get the full deal as well – sat images, driving directions, quick scrolling and the like. I’m a bit skeptical of the speed, so if anyone has tried this out, lemme know. Still, Google Maps on the go is pretty killer.


Digital Cameras

It’s Official – Nikon D200

d200.jpgAfter making the rounds on various rumor sites, Nikon has announced their successor to the very popular D100. This camera packs a 10.2 megapixel sensor, a 2.5″ LCD and combines many of the advanced features of the more expensive D2x with the size and weight of the D100.

The D200 is aimed squarely in the middle of Nikon’s SLR range of cameras and spec-wise very close to the D2x. At $1700 clams for the camera body, this baby ain’t for everyone, but prosumer photogs everywhere will be lining up for this one.

Nikon D200
DPReview Preview

Home Entertainment

Logitech wireless speaker review


Our friends over at ExtremeTech have just dropped a review on the Logitech Z-5450 Digital 5.1 Speaker System. I’ve always liked the idea of wireless speakers if for no other reason than to trim back the rat’s nest of wires that is crawling out of my computer. But I’ve always felt that they just don’t sound very good.

ExtremeTech feels differently and depending on the size of the room that you have and the depth of your pocketbook, this system may be for you.

Bottom Line – Expensive, but good.


Digital Cameras

Faulty digital camera chip widespread

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that digital camera manufacturers are quietly offering to repair over 80 models of digital cameras from brands such as Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Olympus due to a malfunction in the CCD image sensor. The CCD used in these cameras has been found to fail in hot and humid conditions. Cameras affected by this problem will show “black images or distorted colors in the viewfinder or LCD display and in any print or digital output.” No recall has been issued, but customers with the problem can get their cameras repaired free of charge.

Imaging Resource had this story a few weeks back.

Read(paid registration required)

Ask Stewtopia Features

Ask Stewtopia – Plasma vs LCD

Marco writes,

“Does plasma pixelate fast moving objects? lcdI’m just wondering because I saw a few plasmas that were doing that at frys and didn’t know if it was the dvd player that may have been messing up, or if it was just the plasma. I also noticed that LCDs go up to 1080 pixels yet they aren’t as bright as a plasma screen. Would you ever go back to LCD, or is the plasma just too pretty?”

Recently, I had to replace the lovely 32″ Sharp Aquos LCD I purchased last year because it was damaged during our move from San Francisco to Seattle. As we had moved into a larger house (dang those SF prices), I was thinking that it also might be time to upgrade the size of display.

Digital Cameras

Canon PowerShot SD430 Wireless

Sd450Canon threw their hat into the WiFi camp today with their introduction of the SD430. This camera has virtually the same specs as the recently introduced SD450 but it is a half inch wider presumably due to the inclusion of WiFi.

Much like the Kodak EasyShare-one, this camera can connect to computers and printers wirelessly. Phil Askey of DPReview says that Wi-Fi in digital cameras is “a solution looking for a problem” and that when “when WiFi is enabled the small batteries in these compact cameras are likely to be sucked dry pretty quickly.”

Not sure that I feel that strongly, but currently, WiFi is an interesting curiosity at best.


Home Entertainment Media Servers and Streamers

SqueezeBox III – Third times the charm?

I always thought that Slim Devices Squeezebox was cool. They were the first network MP3 player that had a digital output, their own server software that didn’t suck and it worked with iTunes. It was difficult to get past its looks, however. The first two versions had wonderful personality and were great dancers, but you didn’t want your friends to meet them.
Slim Devices fixed that by offering their Silicon Valley neighbors, Roku, the most sincere form of flattery.

The new Squeezebox has a little something for everyone. It plays a laundry list of audio formats(AAC, WMA, MP3, FLAC, Ogg), although no encrypted formats (sorry, binge iTMS users) For audio nerds, the 24-bit Burr-Brown DAC and digital outputs should float your boat. It’s both wired and wireless and you can keep several units in sync to play tunes all over your house/office/underground bunker.