Ambient light is the enemy of video fidelity for any display, because external light that hits the screen dilutes the light produced by the display. Plasma HDTVs are more susceptible to the wiles of bright room light because their screens are essentially big, reflective panes of glass, unlike the less-reflective plastic screens of flat-panel LCD TVs and rear-projection HDTVs. Last year, Samsung tried to address that issue with FilterBright, a technology it says helps reduce glare and otherwise improves the image quality in bright light. In my tests last year of models like the HP-S5053, I couldn't detect much … Read more
As if heading up a ramp to Noah's ark, the Flash and DVD models move in pairs. Panasonic at least manages to differentiate the models a bit. The DVD-based HDC-DX1, announced this week, and the SD card-based HDC-SD1 (announced in late 2006), are the latest pair of AVCHD cancorders to get on the boat. Both incorporate a trio of 1/4-inch, 580K-pixel CCDs, a 12x zoom, and an optical image stabilizer. The DX1 has dual-layer support, as well as DVD-RAM capability.
The difference? Aside from some design tweaks made necessary by the different media support, the DX1 seems … Read more
The fact that Dual can call its new XMC100 in-car stereo a "multimedia receiver" without including a CD slot is a sign of the digital-audio times. The XMC100 features three options for playing digital media, without a disc in sight: a 3.5-inch jack, an SD Card slot, and a USB port.
The XMC100 also can be used as a satellite radio receiver for Sirius Satellite Radio. Drivers can see what's playing on the unit's black-and-white dot-matrix display. The XMC100 features an internal 240-watt (60x4) MOSFET amplifier, as well as source audio memory and five selectable … Read more
Thousands of people pay thousands of dollars to have flat-panel HDTVs mounted on the wall with no visible wires. Samsung's FP-T5894W, the first mainstream large-screen "wireless" TV that I've seen, aims to make those wireless-looking installations a lot cheaper and easier. Like most "wireless" A/V gear, it does require one cord--to supply AC power--but that's it. The rack full of A/V equipment that accompanies any self-respecting plasma installation connects to the FP-T5894W's "wireless A/V center," which the company claims can sit up to 300 feet away from … Read more
CES is primarily a gadget and media show these days, but it's the Web that ties everything together, especially all the new video concepts. There's a lot happening at the show that illustrates this:
Gates: IPTV this year; and a server in every home. Microsoft CEO Bill Gates demonstrated HD television content that hits your living room's big-screen plasma via your Net-connected XBox, as well as an HP server for storing all your digital entertainment assets. Gates also showed how Vista users can join the XBox game community (but only for boring games like Uno, not franchise … Read more
It's now T minus one day until the big Apple keynote, where everyone's expecting a new iPod phone to be announced (I'm still skeptical). But now that I've been at CES for a couple of days, I'm starting to wonder: is Apple too late?
At the very least, I've already gotten good looks at two cool form factors for music-playing phones. The first one is the Samsung Ultra Music, which is a phone on one side and an MP3 player on the other, and it's thinner than a Razr. Granted, it's sporting … Read more
Not exactly new, but perhaps new to you: Sony's VAIO UX ultramobile PC garnered a lot of attention last year for its cool palm-size design, but even though it contained a fully fledged Intel Core Solo CPU and ran Windows XP, it fell somewhat short as a usable mobile computer.
The latest update, which sounds very promising, is the UX Premium Micro PC. This version has a 32GB solid state hard drive, which means no moving parts, better battery life, less heat, and faster access to your data (or at least 32GB worth of your data).
Flash memory-based hard … Read more
Touch-screen capability is a standard feature in Windows Vista Home Premium, and HP has put it to great use in its new $1,799 TouchSmart PC IQ770, announced here today at CES 2007. We've actually been playing with it for a few days and have already written a full review of the TouchSmart PC IQ 770.
We'll let the review do most of the talking, but we'll say now that, aside from many of the features you'd expect in a midrange all-in-one PC system (DVD burner, Wi-Fi, wireless mouse and keyboard), HP also includes an application … Read more
It's not exactly quad-core for the masses, but Intel this morning released a lower-end, non-Extreme, quad-core desktop CPU. The Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 joins the Core 2 Extreme QX6700, Intel's first quad-core desktop chip, which it released last November. The new quad-core part is very similar to the preceding Extreme chip. it's priced just $150 less, at $851. And like the Extreme QX6700, the Q6600 features 8MB of L2 cache and operates on a 1066MHz front-side bus. The Q6600 is clocked at 2.4GHz compared with the QX6700's 2.66GHz clock speed. The biggest difference … Read more
I'm starting to believe that camera manufacturers are able to stuff tiny quantum singularities into their products. The only way I can explain the increasing range of the internal zoom systems in ultracompacts is with a fold in space. Casio's latest fold holds a 7x zoom, with the 35mm-equivalent range of 35mm-266mm, in an inch-thick ultracompact.
With a camera so small and light, shake can be even more of a problem than usual with long zooms. Casio compensates with no less than four different antishake techniques, including a mechanical CCD-shift image stabilizer and the usual combos of high-ISO … Read more