Archive for May, 2008

Daily Blog – Brian Florian – May 14, 2008: RENTAL APPEAL OF TV-ON-DVD.

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

I’ve never really understood why TV-shows-on-DVD are such big sellers.  To a certain extent I still don’t, but I’m starting to come around.

While I’ve always been an avid movie collector, I still don’t see the appeal of buying, say, all the Seinfeld seasons on DVD, even though I was/am a huge fan of the show.  Unlike great movies, I just don’t think I would ever say to myself “I think I’d like to watch Seinfeld episode 83 tonight….”.

Nevertheless, a few weeks ago my wife caught a second season episode of a serial-style show we’d never seen.  It seemed interesting so when she saw the proverbial “complete first season” at Jumbo Video, she rented it, and we’ve enjoyed watching a few seasons of mini-series style TV shows.  Appealing points include excellent 16×9 video, non-existent commercials (not even the need to skip past them) and above all no waiting for next week (or next season) to find out the next twist in the plot!

In fact, the experience was so radically different from watching, or even recording, cable TV, I’m now going through the old release section at Jumbo to see what else I might enjoy.  Noble House, recently out on DVD and reviewed by JJ, is next on my list (I had seen a couple episodes back in ’88, but never got to watch the whole thing).

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – May 12, 2008: MOVING TO A NEW COMPUTER IS AS BAD AS MOVING TO A NEW HOUSE.

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

My last computer was purchased 5 years ago, and as my video editing work moved to high definition, encoding speed was so slow, I could go to lunch just waiting for a few minutes of video to be completed.

So, it was time for a new computer. I ended up building one from scratch – with the help from one of our staff, Sandy Bird – and it cost a lot more than the usual system that I used to purchase from Dell.

The parts included a Quad-core Intel 3.2 GHz processor, 4 GB of DDR3 1600 RAM, five 500 GB SATA hard drives, Adaptec RAID card, Gigabyte motherboard, Asus video card, 750 watt power supply, and a huge case. At least I thought it was huge. The Asus video card was so big though, it was still a tight fit. The monitor for video editing has to be large too, so I picked the new Gateway 30″. The OS is Microsoft XP. I thought about Vista, but just about everyone I know hates Vista. So, XP.

Anyway, it had been so long since I last upgraded to a new computer, I forgot what a living hell it is to do so. Not so much building the computer. That was easy and fun. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Sandy Bird has built dozens of them. We had a new staff member, Josh Samet, over to help out. He will be writing some reviews for gaming.

And, no, the hard part was not re-installing all the programs. That is pretty much an automated thing, although digging up all the installation keys was annoying.

The nightmare was transferring all the data files. It’s like moving to a new house. You have to buy a new refrigerator, maybe some new rugs. But, you have to move all your stuff. Tons and tons of stuff.

Here is a photo of the living room after the computer build was finished. It looks just like a room being packed up for a move to the new home. The box for the video card was as big as a receiver. What a waste of paper!

new-computer-5-08.jpg

Anyway, to the data file transfer. First, I copied the data files to an outboard USB hard drive. I needed a 250 GB drive because video files take up lots of disk space.

So, after waiting an hour or so for the data files to be copied, I unplugged the USB drive.

Whoops!!! What a mistake that was. Unplugging a USB mouse, keyboard, camera memory card, and lots of other things, while the computer is still on, never caused me a problem. But, when I unplugged that USB hard drive before officially “dismounting” it, kapoof went the sectors that list where everything is located. I could not get any computer, not the old one or the new one, to recognize that drive.

So, after re-copying the data files to another USB drive, and making sure to click that “Safely Remove Hardware” button on the bottom menu bar of the desktop, I was able to transfer my data files.

In the old days, I had maybe 250 MB of data files. They were things like e-mail addresses, manuscripts, spreadsheets, etc. No video files.

Now, there are hundreds of GB to transfer. Music, video, and just a little bit by comparison, of text.

If and when we go to 4k resolution video, let’s see, what is the next step up from Terabyte?

MilesTek Launches HDMI Cables & Devices, Versatile Solutions

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Long-Distance and Standard-Length 1.3b Cables, Distribution Amplifiers, Switchers and Device-and-Cable Kits Maximize Digital A/V Performance

INFOCOMM ’08, LAS VEGAS, May 12, 2008 — MilesTek, a global distributor delivering a vast range of networking and A/V integration products, introduces a family of HDMI® Cables and Devices providing versatile solutions for A/V professionals, at INFOCOMM International 2008, the annual convention of the International Communications Industries Association, beginning in June. (more…)

Omnimount Hosts Fourth Annual International Conference

Monday, May 12th, 2008

Annual Conference Brings Together Representatives from 15 Countries for Educational and Networking Event

PHOENIX, ARIZ. – May 12, 2008 – OmniMount, the global leader in consumer and commercial A/V mounting and furniture solutions, hosted representatives from 15 different countries at its fourth annual International Conference May 1-4 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix. The three-day event, attended by distributors and reps, serves as a forum to share best practices, gain knowledge of new product offerings and discuss business strategies. (more…)

Denon Announces Winner In “beyond Definition” Online

Monday, May 12th, 2008

For Immediate Release Press Contact: Sara Trujillo
DBA Public Relations
strujillo@dba-pr.com
(212) 388-1400

DENON ANNOUNCES WINNER IN “BEYOND DEFINITION” ONLINE

CONTEST TO WIN DVD-3800BDCI BLU-RAY DISC PLAYER

Mahwah, NJ, May 12, 2008, — Denon Electronics, one of the world’s premier manufacturers of high-quality home entertainment components, today announced the winner of its “Beyond Definition” online contest to win a new Denon DVD-3800BDCI BD-ROM Profile 1 version 1.1 Blu-ray Disc Player (SRP: $1,999). In a random drawing, Thomas Proctor of Maryland Heights, MO, was chosen as the winner of the new DVD-3800BDCI. (more…)

Niles Audio Opens New West Coast Distribution Center

Friday, May 9th, 2008

Vista, California-Based Distribution Hub To Enable Improved Customer Service and Fulfillment For Western United States

MIAMI, FLORIDA – May 9, 2008 – Niles Audio Corporation, The First Name in Custom Installation®, has announced the opening of a new west coast distribution center in Vista, Calif. The new distribution center, which began operation May 5th, will help service Niles dealers and installers in the western United States. The west coast hub enables Niles to serve customers more efficiently as regional orders previously required to be shipped from Niles’ east coast distribution center will seamlessly be routed through the new Vista location. Additionally, the new distribution center allows Niles to offer shipping in three days or less on all orders inside the continental U.S., ensuring just-in-time delivery for all of its dealers. The result is a streamlined distribution process for Niles’ entire line of high-performance products, renowned for their unparalleled quality, performance and value. (more…)

Daily Blog – Sumit Chawla – May 9, 2008: BLUETOOTH IN THE HOME THEATER.

Friday, May 9th, 2008

My first encounter with Bluetooth was when the PS3 found a place in my home theater.  I, like many consumers, was upset with Sony’s move to disinclude an IR receiver which rendered the use of an existing universal remote impossible.  This spawned a new market for devices which would enable IR compatibility with the PS3.  I did not go down this route, instead opting to purchase the optional Bluetooth remote from Sony.

The remote was difficult to get used to. It was not backlit, and the button layout was different from the remote I was used to.  It took some time to gain familiarity with the location of the freqeuntly used buttons in the dark.  The part which I found amusing was that, out of habit, I kept leaning forward to point the remote at the PS3 when I first got it.  This was of course unnecessary: Bluetooth does not require the device you are communicating with to be in the line of sight.  There is a distance limit, typically 30 feet or so, but that’s all.  This part I found refreshing.  Yes, there are aftermarket options that you can use, IR repeaters and such, but here was something new and simple which made the operation convenient.

The question is whether Bluetooth will be embraced by other A/V manufacturers.  IR control is mature and probably cheaper compared to a Bluetooth implementation.  But with the proliferation of Bluetooth devices in the mobile space, cost of such devices will come down eventually.  No need for line of sight is but one benefit.  Two-way communication is another advantage which could open up a new realm of possiblities.  We’ll see if the PS3 ends up being a trend setter in this regard!

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – May 8, 2008: THE FINE ART OF SITTING STILL.

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

I don’t meditate, even though my doctor tells me it would be good for my heart and overall stress level (in California, even a regular M.D. recommends meditation along with exercise and diet).

However, I do practice the fine art of sitting still. You can relate to this, right? Sitting in a darkened room, in the money seat, with sounds swirling around me (from either two or six directions, depending on my mood). I’m committed for 45 to 60 minutes–the length of the disc–of concentrating on nothing but the music. The cell phone is off, the land-line phone ringer is turned off, the computer is nowhere in sight, and if I’m really lucky, the family is out of the house. My normal multi-tasking mode (wolfing down a meal while returning e-mails and keeping one eye on the TV) goes into hibernation.

For that hour, the outside world drifts away and all of the energy goes into appreciating the genius of the composition, the skill of the musicians, and the art of the producer. It is more difficult to find the time and the space these days, and my kids look at me like only an alien would sit still in the dark for an hour at a time. But that only heightens the importance of making it a priority.

And besides, I can always get a note from my doctor.

Liberty Wire & Cable Announces New, Expanded Product Guide for Wall Plates, Panels &

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Full-Color, User-Friendly Product and Pricing Guide for 2008-2009 Comes Packed with Commercial Project and Installation Solutions for A/V Pros

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, May 7, 2008 — Liberty Wire & Cable, worldwide supplier of a broad range of wire and cable products for the audio/video trade, including custom installers and systems integrators, has announced publication of a new and expanded 2008-2009 edition of its popular Product Guide for Plates, Panels & Assemblies. (more…)

Daily Blog – Adrian Wittenberg – May 6, 2008: DVD RENTALS: KIOSK VS U.S. POSTAL SYSTEM.

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

I’ve been a long time renter from Netflix which is a DVD rental system that works through the mail.  I have been happy with the service in the past because of quick turn times and a good selection that includes Blu-Ray content. Recently though, I find the movies I select will arrive in the mail and sit around a while before I get the chance to watch them.  Unlike some people, I’m not really getting the full value out of the system.

I decided to give Red Box, a kiosk rental system, a try.  The kiosks are often located at McDonalds and thus are usually a short drive away.  The selection was decent with mostly current releases, but there was no HD content available.  The price is a real strong point at only a dollar per day per rental.  I brought the movie home, and the disc wasn’t scratched, and it played correctly. Even if I did manage to get a scratched copy, it’s only a one dollar risk which is hardly anything to warrant kicking away at the red metal box.  Red Box has a customer service line available for those who wish to pursue a refund as well.

My only real hesitation about using this system is for the security of it.  There have been a couple of reported incidents of people attempting to use skimming devices on the machines.  Skimming is an attempt to use an illegal electronic device placed on the machine to read and store credit card information.  Red Box is just one out of many potential targets for this kind of security threat.

As an alternative to paying at the kiosk, Red Box has now implemented an on-line ordering system that allows credit card payment in advance. This is also nice because titles can be chosen, and the locations where the discs are available will be displayed.

Overall, this is a pretty convenient way of renting movies at a low cost.  DVDs can be returned at any of the kiosk locations, and brand new releases are available at midnight of the DVD’s release day.  I hope Blu-ray discs will soon become available there. 

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