CNET Tech Review
Shoot, stream, and display video the easy wayThis week on the CNET Tech Review: how to stream media from your computer via your PS3; count down our top still cameras for shooting video; and see our favorite TV for the year (so far).
-This week on the CNET Tech Review. New home theater gear from Sony and Panasonic, use your PS3 to stream music and videos from you computer to your TV, the Chevy Cruze may put the breaks on your plants via hybrid, and printing on the go courtesy of HP. It's also coming up right now. Hi everyone, I'm Molly Wood and welcome to the CNET Tech Review where we collect our hottest videos of the week and tell what's good and what's bad in the world of tech plus offer some tech wisdom in the form of the bottom line. Let's start with the good. This week, the good is all about video. Shooting video, playing a back streaming videos. You get the idea. First up a new Blu-ray player from Sony. Here's Matt Moskovciak with the first look. - Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak, at cnet.com, and we're gonna take a look at the Sony BDP S580 Blu-ray player, which is currently selling for about a 170 dollars. Like most players, it has a glossy black finished and although you can't see any buttons from afar, there are actually a few little knobs along the bottom for basic functions like eject and play. There's also a handy usb port on the front and there's even a second USB port around the back. Including are modest and the simple designs that we like, and you can also control the player with Sony's remote app which is available for both iOS and Android. The coolest thing about the app is that you can use the keyboard to search and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon instant, which you can't do on any other player we've seen. The BDP S580 has the standard set of feature we expect at this price, including built-in wifi and 3D Blu-ray support. It also has the most extensive sweet extreme media services of any Blu-ray player we've tested including Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Vudu, Pandora, and Slacker. While we love all the services, we weren't as thrilled by the way Sony User Interface displays though. Instead of the standard Netflix interface we've seen on all the other players, Sony has its own interface and unfortunately the cover art is small and sometimes it can be hard to read. The main user interface isn't that great either especially when you have to scroll pass tons of less popular services to get to something like Vudu. Now, we're on the back, you'll see the AV inputs, including the html output and the collateral audio output. We put the player through our full series of- in this quality test and it was an excellent performer. However, these days nearly every Blu-ray player has basically the same image quality especially on Blu-ray movies, so it shouldn't be a big factor when you're making a buying decision. When we tested the speed of the player, we found that Sony is faster than the Everest 2011 Blu-ray player, especially when it comes to loading Netflix and navigating movies. However, it's not quite as fast as loading Blu-ray disc, so you wanna look at the speedy Panasonic DMP BD210 if you want fast load times. So, overall the Sony BDP S580 is a solid Blu-ray player with built-in Wifi and more streaming services than all competing Blu-ray players that we've tested. But the trade off is you have to put up on this clanky interface. I'm Matthew Moskovciak, and this is the Sony BDP S580. -Of course, to really enjoy the picture quality of a good Blu-ray player, you need to have it connected to a good TV and that's where this new set from Panasonic comes in. Very good. Here's David Katzmaier with the details. -Hi, I'm David Katzmaier with CNET and I'm sitting next to the Panasonic TCP55VT30. This TV is also available in a 65-inch series. This is Panasonic's highest end television for 2011. A lot of anticipation leading up to the release of this television. It's the successor to the editor's choice, our favorite TV from last year, the VT25, and in most ways, this TV is a worth successor. It's the best performing television we touched so far this year. In terms of design, Panasonic went back with 1 sheet of glass on this model. The single sheet covers the frame and the screen itself for a sleek integrated look that we really do like. On the downside, it does have a thicker vessel than a lot of the other plasmas out there namely the ones from Samsung. So, the TV itself is less compact for the screen size, but I told we do appreciate the thin deep as well, a lot thinner than last year's models. Feature-wise, the VT30 comes with all the bells and whistles the includes 1 pair of 3D glasses. These are infrared glasses. Unlike the Bluetooth used by Samsung, It does have a new power switch, however, you can easily tell whether the glasses are turned on and off, and in general we felt they keep sync very well despite being infrared. The internet connectivity on this TV is also fully loaded. Panasonic includes a Wi-Fi dongle. There is no built in Wi-Fi where you can plug in the dongle and get Wi-Fi connectivity without having to pay extra. The Viera Connectivity is the same as featured on Lauren Television. Panasonic includes Netflix and amazon video on demand, Although, it doesn't have YouTube or Hulu Plus yet. We do really like the layout of the Panasonic service. All the things are easy to reach, and you can arrange the thumbnails as you like. There's also a Viera Connect market place that includes a few apps and couple of $5 games from Game Luck, as well as some merchandize like 3D glasses and USB keyboards and mice. Of prices on that marketplace is pretty high at the moment. Picture adjustments on the VT30 are extensive. There is a couple of THX modes, one for 3D and one for 2D. Those aren't very adjustable, but custom mode is. It offers more settings than any TV we've tested so far. Unfortunately, despite of all those settings and custom, we were not able to achieve as accurate of a collaboration as we hope, but THX itself is pretty darn accurate to begin with, so we didn't miss it to much. As I mentioned, the top of the VT30 is the best pressure quality of any TV we've tested this year. Its strength is excellent deep black levels, which is better than any of other Panasonic, we've seen this year, and also although a little bit brighter than previous years' Panasonics, we don't expect that the TVs [unk] will deteriorate, although keep testing them and let you know if they do. Color accuracy on the VT30 and THX mode is extremely good, although not quite as good as some of the best we've seen. The TV also has the ability to handle 1080p/24 sources correctly, and it also has an improved antiglare screen. 3D performance with the VT30 was also very good especially in the THX mode, which add accurate colors and very good shadow detail. Cross talk on this TV was relatively infrequent, although we did see a little bit more than we've seen some of the best models. That's the quick look at the Panasonic VT30 series, and I'm David Katzmaier. -You know, you could actually just skip the Blu-ray part and still get most of the same services directly on your TV, but if you're gonna spent that much on the TV plus another hundred bucks unless of course you already have a PlayStation. Ever since it came, the Sony PS3 has continued to be one of our top rated Blu-ray players, but did you know that you can also use it to stream media from any computer on your home network. Here's the always helpful Sharon Vaknin to show you how. Hey, I'm Sharon Vaknin for cnet.com, here with a how to that will help you bring your tech full circle. I'm a tech junkie, so as much as I appreciate each one of my gadgets for what they are. I also like to see them working together. So, today, I'll show you how to stream music, photos, and videos from your Mac or PC to your playstation and onto the big screen. It's nice having everything in one place. First, make sure your PS3 connected to your home network either wirelessly or hardwired with an Ethernet cable. Once you're connected, go to the setting menu network settings and then head down to the media server connections and make sure it's enabled. If you're on a PC, download and install the latest version of the Windows media player. Launch the player and go to the library menu and select add to library. Here, you will be able to add folders. You want your windows media player and your PS3 to act as. These settings will depend on where you store your media. Then go back to the library menu and select media sharing. Check the box next to share media. Wait a few seconds and your PS3 will show up. Click it, then allow, and then okay. We'll get to it to do next on your PS3 in a moment, but here's how to get things set up on a Mac. Macs don't have on board support for this feature, so you will need to download an application called PS3 media server. There are lots of programs like it, but this was the only free one I found as the same thing as the paid ones. Once it's installed, we'll need to tweak some of the settings. Go to navigation/share settings and uncheck everything in the thumbnail section. This means that thumbnails won't show up on your PS3, but it will mean faster loading time. I also got errors when these options were enabled So, let's keep it safe and keep them unchecked. In the bottom section, you will need to add the folders you want available on the PS3. I added my entire hard drive, but I also added short cuts to my music folder, workout videos, and photos. Now, I have to transcoding settings and change the maximum band to 14 or 15. Zero means an unlimited bit rate, but that makes for a lot of lag during playback. A lower bit rate does lower the quality of your playback, but that's the trade off. Also, if you don't have 5.1 surround sound hooked up to your TV, go up to number of audio channels and change it stereo. No make sure you're connected to Wi-Fi on your Mac and hit save, then restart http server. Now that we've got things set up on the back and your media is ready to be streamed to your PS3. Go to your PS3 menu, add photos, videos, or music. Your computer should show up as one of the servers, but if it doesn't, hit search for media servers. If it's still not showing up, double and triple tag that followed online instructions to [unk] and that our PS3 and computer are on the same network, but if doesn't show up, then you're set. You'll need to be in the music menu to play music and the video menu to play your videos and then photos menu to see your photos. For music, you have options for shuffling, skipping, repeating, and more when you press the triangle button when the song is playing. To keep the music playing in the back ground, hit the home button on your controller instead of O, and when you're viewing a photo, hit the triangle button to see a slide show of your images. Use R1 and L1 to move forward or backward. You can also copy your music, videos and photos onto your PS3's hard drive by pressing the triangle when you're viewing a file. Just be aware of how much space you have left on your drive. If you're still getting stuttering while you're listening to music or watching videos, lower the beat rate in the settings we changed earlier. Again, this will lower the quality, but it beats not being able to watch at all. As always, if you have any questions, come talk to me on my Facebook page, and if you have any ideas or how to questions, e-mail how to at CNET.com. For CNET, I'm Sharon Vaknin, and I'll see you on the interwebs. -All, that and you can still get service like Netflix and Hulu on your PS3 no matter what TV it's connected to, and best part, it actually plays games. Wrapping up our video extravaganza this week is this week's top 5 cameras. No cameras for shooting photos, but still cameras that shoot great video, but still shoot photos too. Never mind, Brian can explain. -Using a video camera to shoot video. Sounds reasonable enough, doesn't it, except that's so 2009. I'm Brian Cooley with the Top 5 Digital still Cameras for shooting high definition video, according to the expertise of CNET's resident photo experts, Lori Grunin and Josh Goldman. Now, lots of cameras shoot HD video these days-- For that matter, lots of smartphones do, but these list of cameras is make you put your camcorder on eBay. These really are good. Some are DSLR's. There's a hybrid, an advanced megazooms, but I'm also going to show you some pocket camera favorites for HD video as well. So Let's get started. Number 5 is the Nikon D5100. Know one thing about this camera is best in class. It's kind of a B student overall, but overall, it's real solid, does nothing real poorly and exhibits relatively low autofocus noise when shooting video. I bet you didn't think about that until you go into this whole idea. Also, this camera can grab a long 20 minutes of HD video at a gulp, that's pretty good. Number 4 is the Canon EOS Rebel T3i. Video and still image quality stands out on this guy as much as does the stupid "Rebel" name. But Canon Rebels have been great values from the beginning, and this one is right there. And like many of the cameras in this list, it can shoot all the way up to 1080p/30 fps. That's all you're ever gonna need. Number 3 is the valued king on the list. This is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ100. It's not a DSLR. That lens doesn't come off built in on there, but it's also not priced like a DSLR. Under 500 bucks and it's got 24x fixed zoom lens that can go wide enough for interiors or long enough for sports. Now, this camera also shoots 1080p but we found it's happier shooting slightly lower 720p, which still looks great in the HD world and remember, under 500 bucks and it's got a flip-out LCD. Number 2 is also a Panasonic Lumix. This one is the DMC-GH2. Now we're back into interchangeable lenses with this guy, and excellent video quality at 1080p and 24 frames per second, which is very filmic by the way. Its sensor can actually do 1080p and 60 frames per second, really high end stuff, but it records video in the AVCHD format and that limits it back down to 24p. We like the touch screen interface on this camera and you can shoot up to 30 minutes of continuous video as long as you have enough battery life and storage capacity. Now, before I bring you to our number 1, I promised you these, 3 of our favorite point & shoot cameras for shooting HD video, little pocket guy. Now these all max out at 720p, but they do a real good job within that resolution, which is don't slap. It fit in your pocket of course, none of them exceed $400 bucks and none of them don't scream I'm shooting now, when you hold them, which can really help you grab some of the best impromptu movies. OK, our number 1 best digital still camera for shooting HD video is the Canon EOS 5D Mark II. Yeah, I know, you're saying. No kidding. It's pushing $2,700 without a lens. But this camera is a steal for what it does. That's not a lot of money for something so good. They actually shoot parts of the new Hawaii Five-0 series with it. This is what the pros are using out there. It's got a full frame sensor, a stunning lens system to choose from, and it's built like a rock. You can actually call this an investment and not be wishfully thinking. Okay, to see all of the digital camera reviews on today's list and many others, just go to CNET.com and click on Digital Cameras. Thanks to Lori and Josh and our digital imaging team. And for more videos like this, go to top5.CNET.com. I'm Brian Cooley, thanks for watching. -So, now you're ready to pick up your camera, start shooting videos, put them on your computer and stream them to your TV when you're not busy watching Blu-rays or playing games of course. I feel like I accomplished something this week. But, we're not time yet. It's time to take a break, but we will back for more tech review right after this. Welcome back to the CNET Tech Review, our weekly video digest of all things good and bad we've seen here at CNET TV, continuing on in the good. Alright, this one has nothing to do with video. It's all about the written word or more specifically, the printed word. If you work with a lot of documents and often find yourself out in the road with nowhere to print them, it might be time to invest in one of these babies. - If you're a travelling professional that needs the convenience of a portable printer that really won't take that much room in your carry-on luggage. Well, this device is your answer. I'm Justin Yu, Associate Editor for CNET.com. This is your first look at the HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer. So, the goal of any mobile device is to pair down the machine to its smallest possible form. In the Mobile 100, it's just small enough to fit into a briefcase or carry-on bag. The paper input tray at the bottom and the cover for the dual-ink cartridges both fold neatly into the body of the printer, and it weights about the same as a 15-inch Apple MacBook Laptop and that's with the lithium-ion rechargeable battery installed. So, you can print on a number of different kinds of paper types and sizes, thanks to the adjustable slider here. You can use the standard 8-1/2 x 11 sheet piece of paper or you can also go down to a 3 x 5 inch index card. HP makes things even more convenient by adding Built-in Wireless Bluetooth and they encouraged you to use it by not putting a USB cord in the box. So, if you want a wire connection, you'll have to buy your own. You can also print using the PictBridge USB port at the back. But, HP strangely removes the media card slot that we saw on previous models, which is a little bit inconvenient. But, this [unk] cartridge printer is made for office documents and not quite so much photos anyway, so we won't complain too much. The HP Office Jet 100 may cost more that your average single function printer, but it makes improvement over previous models with that sleek design and improved output quality. Also, the rechargeable battery and Bluetooth Wireless give you the freedom to leave those messy cords at home and travel light. So, if you're business depends on outputting jobs on the road, the HP Officejet 100 Printer definitely deserves your attention. You can read more details like speed and quality test results on our full review on cnet.com, but that's gonna do it for me. I'm Justin Yu. You just took a first look at the HP Officejet 100 Mobile Printer. Thanks for watching. -Okay, that's what they're calling a mobile printer these days. I guess briefcases are a lot bigger than I thought they were, and with that, let's move on to bad. If you're like, you cannot stand having a half dozen key sitting quietly in the bottom of your purse all day. Oh, wait, that doesn't bother me at all, so I guess I won't be needing the key port slide then. - If you're like me and you don't like sharp metal objects jiggling around in your pockets, scratching up your phone, and ripping holes in your pants, you're may be looking for a way to manage your keychain. I'm Antuan Goodwin, and I've got a product here that can help you tame your wild keychain and up to 6 keys. It's called the Keyport Slide. Now, the ordering process for the Keyport Slide involves ordering the slide unit itself which is made of anodized aluminum and up to six Keyport blades. These blanks keys can then be taken to your local locksmith to be cut, to duplicate your keys, which means you don't have to send your whole keychain off the Keyport. You then load these 6 blades into the slide and, voila! you got your entire keychain and one rather solid block. If you got less than 6 keys to replace, you can also order accessory blades that add a 4GB USB drive, a bottle opener, or an LED flashlight to the Keyport Slides. If you lose your slide, the unit is edge with a unique identifier that can be registered at mykeyport.com with a reward, giving a good Samaritan both incentive and the means to return the unit to you. That's pretty cool but at 50 bucks for the slide unit, 5 dollars for each blade, accessory blades starting at 6 bucks plus the cost of having your keys locally duplicated; it's also a pretty big investment. Check out our complete evaluation of the Keyport Slide over on CNET.com to see if we think it's worth it. Until then, I've been Antuan Goodwin with CNET, giving you your first look at the Keyport Slide. -So, let me get this straight. It's expensive. It's only good for a few items. It probably won't work with many modern car keys, Oh, yeah, it's expensive. I'm gonna go and stick to one of these, surely fine. Let's wrap things up with this week's bottom line. Brian Cooley is back with a look at of the 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco edition, which might make you rethink, whether it's time to get a hybrid. -It's a Chevy that might make you forget imports, not to mention hybrids. Let's drive the 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco and check the tech. The 40+ MPG club is rarefied air, and this is one of its few members, 42 MPG on the highway, that's better than a Smart Fortwo yet in a car that holds 2 times as many people, but the technology in this guy mostly lives under the hood, not in the dash. Now, yes, we're driving a skinny, lean, green, eco car but the carmakers all know you don't want the car to feel that way when you're in it, so in here is a nice cabin. GM and Ford and Chrysler have all been doing nice interior materials for a while now, pretty much without exception, and this guy shows that. Nice, different textures. Good surfaces. Whether you like this sort of Darth Vader mask design is a matter of taste but everything is done well and feels solid, with the one exception of this very strange dash panel, seat insert, and door insert material which I think is just stock on an Eco and looks like a horse drawers got stretched all around you. Not real big on that. Here's your display. It's the only one you'll ever gonna see. There's no big color LCD nav available on this car so you're gonna have this more basic, sort of LCD monochrome deal. It shows your AM and FM radio, your XM radio, no HD on this guy. Your other media options include a CD player here and then we've got an optional aux and USB under a tiny little door right there in the console. And the sound comes out of 6 speakers of indeterminate type and wattage. It's straightforward on that and there's no upgrade on the factory build sheet. Now, without navigation, yes, but with navigation, yes. What I mean is you've got OnStar Directions and Connections. That means this comes stock, as just about every GM car does, with the ability for you to call OnStar here, get directions, and they'll be downloaded to the car and you'll see them right down here on that helper screen. Basic directions. You can also make cellphone calls here. This is a calling service, but bring your phone. We have Bluetooth handsfree on this guy, that is part of an option package, not standard. And that same package rolls in the cruise control you see here and also audio controls in the steering wheel, bunch of stuff you probably want, so check that one off. Now, note the shifter. Yes, the six-speed manual, that's kind of your preferred default gearbox on this guy. They've got a big green dot around the 6th, the overdrive, that's always overdrive on every manual gearbox I know, but they call it 'eco gear' which I guess is just a taller overdrive. On the freeway at 60, it's turning about 1800 RPM. Okay, now, Cruze Eco has got a very special motor. It's a little thing and it's turbocharged, 1.4-liter sidesaddle inline four. It delivers 138 horsepower, 148 diminutive foot pounds of torque, although being a turbo motor, that torque's kind of an elevated number so that really helps. Zero to sixty is like a 10.2-second affair. This car is not about being fast. MPG is what it is all about, 28 city, 42 highway, with the six-speed manual with the eco gear, unless you get the automatic, then you get a hell of a haircut on the highway MPG, it comes down to 37. Let's look at some of the technologies they're using here. If you look in the very back, you can see the electric power steering rack. That takes drag off the engine. Here's the turbo down here and notice it's integral in the exhaust manifold, lighter, smaller, cheaper. Now, down here, in the lower grill, you've got some louvers that shut, I think during highway speeds or when you're cruising, because that cuts down some of the air disturbance flowing through the car, and over here in the wheel wells, we're taking a look at ultra low rolling resistance tires, all of this adds up to the package that puts the Eco ahead of a standard Cruze. Oh, yeah, and don't forget the weight. They shaved 200 pounds off this guy over a similarly engined base Cruze. Okay, what's it like driving a 1.4-liter turbo in a decent-sized car? It's actually pretty good. You never get this feeling of brawn. It needs to be stroked and spun up all the time but that's just turbo motors for you, especially small displacement ones. The power comes on very smoothly, feels pretty linear, turbo lag is less of an issue here than in some bigger engines with turbos I've driven. The car feels like it's hewn from an ingot of aluminum, very impressed by the build quality and the overall balance, you know, for a tail dragger, it's got really nice road manners. It's not a performance car but I'm on a twisty canyon road here, some off camber sort of turns, some of them are decreasing radius, and only when you push it pretty hard do you feel those low rolling resistance tires kind of balleting around a little bit, but not badly, not for the kind of car it is. I really enjoyed driving it. I found it was just kind of fun and energizing is the right word. The electric power steering is really nicely calibrated. It doesn't have any sort of-- any sort of what, switching that some electric systems seem to have where you feel it kinda get lumpy or weird at places. This one's always kinda linear and smooth. The only thing I don't like is this shift light. It's quite bright and it gets your attention and it's stupid. I don't like its advice. If you follow that light's advice, you're driving around at 1300 RPM all the time even when you're going up a grade. I mean, it's just stupid. It lugs the engine all the time so I wish I could turn that stupid thing off, but, if you gotta live it, you gotta live with it, and, of course, the great option on this car is that if you happen to be driving along and you meet a prostitute on the side of the road who's missing her underwear, you can fashion her a new pair from the dashboard. No other car I know does that. Okay, pricing. Now, unlike a lot of hybrids, the Cruze Eco starts cheap and eats cheap, $19,200 to buy the car and, of course, the MPG is great. Couple of packages you wanna throw on it to get it CNET style-- well, sort of. One's called the Convenience Package. It's gonna give you backup sensors, remote start, and power driver seat adjustments, a few of them anyway. The other one is a connectivity package, it's only like five and a quarter, and for that, you get a whole lot of features. The USB in the console, steering wheel audio controls, that's where you get Bluetooth handsfree also with that package, and it also rolls in cruise control. That's about it for tech in this guy up, but you can do a lot in the aftermarket with the money you're gonna save on gas. -The bottom line this week, why can't echo be cooler. When the Cruze isn't gonna win any prices for the design and you better know how to drive a stick if you really wanna save every last drop of gas, but okay, okay, it's good for the earth and that this good actually considering the world's weather seems to be showing us that we could use a few more eco-friendly vehicles. Alright folks, that's our show. We'll be back next week with a brand new CNET Tech Review and tell them that there are tons of great videos available everyday at CNETTV.com. I'll see you next time and thank you for watching.