Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Blu-ray Discs

It's impossible to keep up with technology. With the advent of the Blu-ray disc technology (which use a higher frequency laser to read/write information; therefore, holding up to 10+ times more info than a standard DVD), I'll have to invest in a new DVD player to watch the High Definition DVD's that will eventually saturate the market. I just bought a new DVD player/recorder, since the prices have become reasonable. Now this unit will be relegated to the bedroom entertainment system. Of course, Japan already has Blu-ray on the market. At least the new Blu-ray DVD players will be backwards compatible.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Sony 50" rear projection LCD

My biggest purchase recently was a Sony 50" rear-projection LCD. I love this TV, but unless you're receiving HD broadcasts, the TV signals look horrible on such a large screen. I paid $2,500 for the TV after extensive comparative shopping online (comparing price, taxes, and shipping). Three months later I see the same TV priced around $2,100 after shipping. Amazing! So anyway, I was using my PS2 to play DVD's, but everyone says that you can't use an RCA audio/video output on such a high-quality TV. So then I had to buy a DVD player with at least component output, but I also wanted to get one that could record DVD's. That in itself is a research nightmare. DVD recorders have so many features. My main quandary was whether or not to get one that had a hard drive and could actually burn DVD's or just a DVD burner. Finally, I bought the Panasonic DMR-E55 at the Navy Exchange for about$240 (plus no sales tax!). Consumer reports had good things to say about this product. So now I'm happy with the visual aspect (except I'll probably eventually end up paying for COX HD service), but the audio is lacking. I currently have an older stereo system (Dolby Pro Logic). I'm debating whether or not to get a new home theater system with at least Dolby Digital 5.1 or if I should just buy a new receiver and subwoofer (keep my old speakers). All these choices are so complicated. How do stupid people get by everyday?

iPod

The iPod is another money pit. I paid $400 for the 40 Gb version. However, the accessories can easily surpass the iPod itself in cost. So far I've only purchased the car kit for approx $80, which allows you to charge and play the iPod via the cigarette lighter and 6 FM presets. The sound quality is very unimpressive. I also purchased the cable that allows you to output stereo to your home stereo system - a feature that I need to take advantage of more often. Oh yeah, I also bought an iPod skin, which has minimal functionality. You have to pull the skin off to dock your iPod, a total inconvenience. Then of course there’s a myriad of headphones and speakers to choose from. Plus, at $1 per song at Apple’s iTunes, you’ll be paying $10k when you’ve finally filled your 40 Gb iPod. When does it end?!

Palm One Treo 650

Well, I bought the Palm One Treo 650. Wow, what an expensive endeavor. It ended up costing me approx. $100 to assign .mp3's as ringtones. First, I had to buy an expansion card. I bought a 512 Mb card for around $60; I could have bought one for cheaper, but I didn't want to chance kicking myself in the near future for having only purchased 128 Mb. Now I'm even beginning to wonder if I should have splurged and bought the 1 Gb card. Then I had to buy this software called Ringo Pro (http://www.electricpocket.com/products/ringo.html) to allow my Treo to play the .mp3's as ringtones. So in all, I paid $500 for the Treo (after the $150 mail-in rebate that takes up to 14 weeks), $40 for a much needed protective case, which leaves much to be desired, and $50 in sales tax.