Pioneer announced its new Elite BDP-94HD Blu-ray player today, following up on its first generation BDP-HD1. Besides the new model name, there doesn't look to be much of a change from last year's model. The biggest addition we can see is onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD, which means it should be able to decode Dolby TrueHD soundtracks and send uncompressed PCM soundtracks to a compatible receiver via HDMI. Pioneer is also claiming to have revamped its Home Media Gallery feature, which allows for some basic network media streaming using the Ethernet port and supposedly the capability to download … Read more
The humble land line is finally getting some love. Not only can the home phone now have its very own ringtones, but at least some models are getting updated for the 21st century--and that means they've got to toughen up to survive, especially in today's unforgiving domestic conditions.
To that end, Siemens says its new "Gigaset E455 SIM" is dust-proof, splash-proof and "comes equipped with rubber pads for shock protection, meaning you also no longer need to worry about dropping and smashing it," according to Pocket-lint.
All that may be true, but we hope … Read more
HDMI isn't just for HDTVs any more. As the high-def movement continues to march forward, HDMI connections are becoming standard equipment on everything from cable and satellite boxes, DVRs, game consoles, AV receivers, and DVD players to network media devices, PC video cards, and even camcorders. That means even a fairly modest home theater setup--say, an HD DVR, PlayStation 3, Apple TV, and a DVD recorder--could have three or more HDMI-equipped AV sources. While many higher-end TVs and AV receivers are beginning to sport three or even four HDMI inputs, the industry standard is still stuck at around two.
Traditionally, HD aficionados suffering from an HDMI deficit would bite the bullet and run their sources via component once they ran out of HDMI inputs. But doing so obviates the whole advantage of HDMI to begin with; in addition to losing any fidelity advantage offered by HDMI, you quadruple or quintuple the cable needs (three separate component cables, plus one or two for audio) per source. But there's an easy and straightforward solution: an HDMI switcher. Switchers have one simple task--toggling between multiple inputs--and they can expand the number of available HDMI inputs to your HDTV or AV receiver by a factor of two, three, or even four. … Read more
Google is renaming its personal home page iGoogle tonight. Google is also adding a new tool called Gadget Maker that helps people create their own widgets for use on their iGoogle page. The Gadget Maker comes with seven templates, including two media gadgets to pull in content from YouTube and online and offline photo collections. Users will also be able to organize their personal space with a countdown timer and a simple 10 item to-do list. There's also a free-form widget that lets a user mix together various media such as text and pictures.
This is a step in … Read more
To me, the Illupillow looks kind of like a stingray, or maybe a flattened squishy submarine with a periscope. However, it's actually quite a cool piece of furniture, in my opinion. The giant pillow is designed to accommodate comfy floor-sprawling, with the cordless light attached so that you can read in the dark. I'm assuming it's battery-powered. Also--I'm not positive, because the product page is in Italian--it looks like the light is flexible, so you can move it out of the way if you want to use the Illupillow for non-reading laziness.
It's a creation … Read more
To those who stepped in late: I'm on a quest for a pirate toaster. I'm looking for something like the skull-and-crossbones appliance sold in Germany that will allow me to brand a thoroughly awesome Jolly Roger into my morning toast. But at this point, it doesn't look like I can locate one here in the States. When we last left the Quest, readers, I had just learned about the Pop Art toaster sold at Target, which is a good try, but there are no pirates involved. I have no use for a toaster that can brand snowflakes … Read more
I got worried when I read early on Friday in this IDG News Service article about a glitch with some peoples' Google Personalized Home Pages.
Sure enough, when I went to the site, all my hard work creating a customized portal of news, blogs, quotes of the day, weather for San Francisco, alarm clock and Stephen Colbert video clips was gone and replaced by the old sparse, white page I used to have before Google began offering colorful themes for the top of the page last month.
I e-mailed Google to see what happened and was informed that a "… Read more
Pretty much every one of my friends has been subject to hearing one of my many lamentations about why the insanely awesome pirate toaster is only sold in Europe. It's tragic, really, that us statesiders can't experience the joy of morning toast with a skull and crossbones branded into it.
But recent developments show we may be headed in the right direction. An item on Notcot.org has clued me into the fact that you can, in fact, get toasters in the U.S. that will brand your bread with various symbols. They're called the 'Pop Art' … Read more
For the past 12 to 18 months, astute readers may have noticed an increased bit of hedging in our reviews for AV receivers. Yes, even low-end receivers offer more features and flexibility than $1,500 models did just three or four years ago and yes, there are plenty of great-sounding receivers available out there at great prices. But smart shoppers looking for a no-compromise, future-proof AV receiver have been stymied, even if they've been willing to pay upwards of $2,000.
At least, that was the case--until today. Onkyo has become the first mainstream manufacturer to officially announce an array of home audio products that offer the two big features that have been MIA on home audio products to date: HDMI 1.3; and onboard decoding of Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks found on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. The news itself wasn't a surprise, as most of the details had been leaked on the Web earlier this month. And there is no doubt that other manufacturers will be announcing similarly equipped receivers in the next few weeks and months. But because specs, pricing, and availability have been confirmed, we can now say authoritatively that Onkyo looks to be offering some of the most exciting--and surprisingly affordable--A/V receivers seen in recent years.… Read more
Photobucket members will discover a new option when logging in this morning. The company has partnered with Meez, the 3-D avatar service to give Photobucket members a place to store and host their 3-D avatars. We don't normally cover personal avatar services, but when they partner with sites with over 40 million users, it's worth noting. Meez has approximately a million users (which in and of itself is no small feat), and the service has apparently seen quite a bit of growth in the last few months.
Users can pick from a ton of options to make their … Read more