Monday, April 27, 2009

Human Sensing Monitors

Eizo Human Sensing MonitorsEver since the emergence of sci-fi books and movies, people have been teased with technological advances that are, for lack of a better term, totally cool. We've all wanted our own personal robot to do things for us, a flying car, or even appliances that are voice command and that respond to you, and with companies like Terrafugia (who just successfully tested the first flying car) and Eizo, we are not that far off.

Eizo Nanao introduced last Thursday two brand new monitors, the 20 inch FlexScan EV2023W-H and the 23 inch FlexScan EV2303W-T. These two monitors are pretty cool. First off, they are the among the first in the entire world to receive the TCO Displays 5.0 certification, which was recently just announced. The 20 inch and 23 inch monitors are the first monitors are the first ever products from Eizo to achieve the EPEAT Gold status. The Flexscan EV2023W-H has been outfitted with a VA panel with 178 degree viewing angles, a 1600x900 native resolution, and a 3000:1 contrast ratio. The Flexscan EV2303W-T comes with a 160 degree viewing angle, a 1000:1 viewing contrast, and a TN panel with 1920x1080 native resolution. Both the EV2023W-H and the 2303W-T come with one D-Sub (analog) input and one DVI-D (digital) input and 250 cd/m2 brightness.

These screens have a bunch of new features like a cabinet design that has been slimmed down from previous monitors. But the coolest and newest innovation in the screens is a motion activated sensor that only activates the screen when the user is present. Green is the new way to go these days and Eizo has created this new system in hopes of conserving energy by having the monitor go inactive without the presence of the user and coming back on when the user returns. This is possible by the new EcoView Sense integrated into the monitors by Eizo. EcoView Sense prompts the monitor to enter its power save mode when the presence of the user is undetected for 40 seconds and reopen when the user returns. The software is supposedly able to differentiate between animate and inanimate objects. For instance it is supposed to be able to tell the difference between a person and the back of a desk chair.

But this begs the question that if the sensor can detect the movement of the human, can it differentiate between a person and a cat or other type of pet? If it comes on when the user enters, will it do the same if a cat jumps up on the desk or if the dog gets curious? This is potentially a big drawback to the monitor and its energy saving plan. How can the monitor shut off if a pet cat decides to take a nap in front of the monitor?I'm sure the monitor will have some type of technology to differentiate size variables from a human to a cat, but that is still something to keep in mind.

With this new technology and all the breakthroughs in everything else, the robotic sci-fi future we have all been dreaming of is approaching closer and closer everyday. Once these monitors hit store shelves on May 21st, 2009, we should see how well the technology really works. The Eizo Nanao EV2023W-H will have a price tag of $385 while the Eizo Nanao EV2303W-T will be sold for $455.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Ultra-thin 1080p Samsung UN55B8000

Samsung UN55B8000New from Samsung is an Ultra-thin 55" 1080p LCD HDTV with a 240hz refresh rate, anti-blur technology, Ultraclear anti reflective screen, and LED backlighting. This top-of-the-line HDTV offers an astonishing high-definition picture with only a depth of just over an inch making this one of the slimmest HDTVs ever made which is truly amazing for such a large screen.

In addition to being a High Definition TV, the UN55B8000 gives a plethora of multimedia entertainment options. The TV is equipped with a rear Ethernet port so you can connect to your broadband internet and access tons of Yahoo! Widgets such as Flickr, Yahoo News, and USA Today. With a simple touch of a button, you can dock these web widgets at the bottom of the screen and continue your TV viewing without interruption. The TV also has USB ports on the side so you can also connect your thumb drive to your TV and view your favorite video clips or pictures with ease.

Additionally there are a variety of viewing options for this TV. Equipped with four HDMI inputs and a single component video input, the UN55B8000 HDTV makes it easy and simple to connect to all your high-definition devices. The HDMI inputs in this TV offer Consumer Electronics Control which lets you operate compatible HDMI-equipped components using only your TV's remote. The component video inputs also doubles as a composite input so you can connect your VCR or camcorder.

Due to this models slim design, HDMI compatabilities, and Multimedia options, it has already become an extremely popular Large Screen LCD Rental. If you are interested in renting this equipment, see here for a quick and easy Samsung UN55B8000 Rental Quote.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Samsung SyncMaster 70 Goes Green

Samsung Goes Green With New SyncMaster 70 MonitorSamsung has just given us a glimpse at its new green monitor. There is not a lot of information out yet, but what we do know is that the SyncMaster 70 Series consumes 33 percent less energy than any other Samsung and that's enough to make AL Gore proud.

A typical desktop computer uses about 65 to 250 watts. With most devices you can look at the label to see how much energy they use, but that doesn't work so well with computers. As far as monitors go they use any where from 35 to 80 watts. So saving 33 percent is something worth looking into.

The Syncmaster gives you a choice of 20 or 23 inch display screens and it sports a 50000:1 contrast ration, 2ms response time. There is no word when it will be available to purchase and the screen resolution is still a mystery. But the big question is the price. We'll just have to wait and see how much money along with electricity we can save.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Samsung BD-P1600 Blu Ray Player

Samsung BD-P1600Most of us remember when home entertainment went from the good 'ol VHS tape to the DVD. But probably all of us remember when we switched from DVD to either HD DVD or Blu Ray DVD. For awhile, there was a big "war" between the two systems. Everybody was worrying about which ones to get, which one was better. Even the new video game consoles got involved. The Xbox 360 went the way of HD DVD and Sony's PS3 turned to Blu Ray. In the end, we all know who won, and if you don't, then try going to Walmart and asking for an HD DVD player and see what happens.

Samsung was the first producer to come out with a standalone Blu Ray player. However, as of 2008, Samsung was starting to trail the pack working hard to keep up with Panasonic. While Panasonic was shipping its first Profile 2.0, Samsung was still launching their 1.1. Samsung promised that future versions would be up to par and now, it seems, the tides have shifted.

Samsung has just launched the BD-P1600 which comes complete with all the features one expects on a Blu Ray player. The P1600 comes with Profile 2.0 compatibility, and onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. But Samsung's BD-P1600 goes above and beyond the norm. The P1600 provides improved operational speed, Netflix and {andora streaming, and the ability to to add Wi-Fi capabilities by way of a USB dongle, which is sold separately. But not all is well in the land of the BD-P1600. Users of the player have one major fault, the flip down panel that runs along the entire front of the system.

The seamless and sleek front panel design. On first look, you wonder where the disc tray is, until you realize that the whole front flips down. The eject button and on/off button are all located behind the panel, which gets tedious when you want to do something. The panel does pop up and down whenever you eject the disc tray with the remote. But the panel does feel very weak and it wouldn't surprise anybody if the tray broke off or stopped popping back up. There is also a USB port under the panel if you want to use it for something like BD-Live Storage. You are forced to use this port because the back one is taken by the Wi-Fi adapter. You will also have to perminatley have the panel down if you use the USB port which looks tacky.

It is obvious that you will be using the remote more often than the buttons on the system. The remote that comes with the system is a good redesign over the previous model's remote. However, here are some problems. Fortunately, most of the buttons are logically placed with a good separation. Yet important buttons like pop-up menu, disc menu, and title menu are stuck at the bottom of the remote and, to make it worse, are unclearly labeled. Another feature that would have been great to see on the remote is easy access buttons for Netflix and Pandora. To activate these features you will have to dive into the menu system, yet it really isn't much of a hassle.

The interface for the player is visually nice. It has bright colors and HD graphics. However, some may not be fans of the vertical alignment for the set-up menus which could be confusing to some. But luckily you do not have to go into these menus very often so it doesn't amount to a huge issue. On the flipside, the interfaces for Netflix and Pandora are great. The Netflix interface is identical to the Netflix Player by Roku. And, like all Netflix instant streaming devices.

The BD-P1600, like most 2009 Blu Ray players, is Profile 2.0 compatible. This means it can play back the internet enabled BD-Live available but you will need to have the player connected to the internet via an ethernet cord or the Wi-Fi and have a USB connected for storage.

The BD-P1600 has onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. What this means is that this player can decode those soundtrack formats so they can be played back on almost every single HDMI-capable AV receiver. Also supported is Bit stream output, in case you want your decoding to be done in your AV receiver. And the P1600 also has the capability to play DVDs with DTS formats like DTS 96/24, ES, ES Matrix, and Neo:6. This player has standard connectivity with the main connection being the HDMI output which can handle 1080p HD video and high-resolution multichannel audio. This player also comes with a component taht allows you to play Blu-Ray at 1080i and DVDs at 480p. Audio connections are also basic which includes an optical digital-audio output and an analog-stereo output.

The BD-P1600 performs well overall on visual performance. It is very responsive and loads movies and menu screens faster than most Blu-Ray DVD players. The player performs well a=on almost all Blu-Ray movies and, since there are way more standard DVDs than Blu-Ray ones, it is important that this device play those DVDs in good quality as well, and it does.

Overall the Samsung BD-P1600 is one of the best Blu-Ray players on the market. It is a step up from Panasonic's devices and a large step up from Samsung's previous models. The BD-P1600 has a price tag of around $252.99 to $299.99 depending on where you buy. However, this price is raised a bit considering you have to by the Wi-Fi dongle separately which will run you around another $80. But with this price tag comes quality. Nearly all reviews of this device have received a rating of 4 out of 5. A good by if you are in the market for a Blu-Ray player or just want to blow your tax refund check on a piece of technology.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Best HDTV Today

Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FDWith all the makers of HDTVS (High Definition) clamming to be the best on the market it’s hard to know which one is the “Best” for you. Here are the ones found to be the best for the money.

The Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD Produces the deepest black levels of any large-screen display it has extremely accurate color points and color temperature; superb antireflective screen; 72Hz refresh mode works well with 1080p/24 sources; Pure picture mode delivers superior settings out of the box; extensive picture controls; excellent connectivity, including 4 HDMI and one PC input. The Pioneer Elite PRO-111FD represents the pinnacle of flat-panel HDTV picture quality. Starting at $2,549.00 it may just be the “Best” HDTV you can buy.

If the Pioneer is not what you’re looking for then maybe the Panasonic Viera TH-50PZ800U is more to your liking. It highly accurate color; excellent uniformity with little false contouring; THX mode obviates in-depth calibration; relatively effective antireflective screen; solid connectivity with four HDMI and one PC input; with a price of $ 2,767.00