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Tag Archives: media

Theater In Your Pocket: Cardboard Smartphone Projector

Cardboard Smartphone Projector

Sometimes, some things are more fun or better when done at home. Like watching a movie, for instance. You don’t have to worry about being seated next to a jerk or phone hogs who keep using their phones in the dark. At home, you can stretch out, relax, and have unlimited popcorn without burning a hole in your pocket while watching the best flicks and movie favorites with your best buds.

You don’t even need to have a top-of-the-line projector. All you’ll need is this £15.99 (about $27) cardboard projector and your smartphone, and you’re good to go.

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VCR Redeems Itself As A Media Center PC Case

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By Evan Ackerman

You probably keep your old VCR around because of that pile of VHS tapes that you still have. But come on, are you really going to go through all the hassle of rewinding a tape just to watch Labyrinth in lousy quality one more time? Yeah, true, I totally would. Anyway, you should relegate that entire technology system to the garage or the basement and replace it with something that’s relevant in this day and age: a media center PC. And just to make the transition easier for you, it’s a media center PC that looks just like a VCR.

Currently available from Maplin in the UK, this is a barebones system, meaning that you get to stick your own operating system, hard drive, and optical drive into it. But it does come with a Intel motherboard and processor, a wireless card, a bunch of inputs and outputs, and a TV tuner. Only problem is, it’s a European tuner, which means you’re either gonna have to run a really really really long cable, or find some way of swapping it out for something that’s relevant in the civilized part of the world.

The VCR barebones media center PC is $212 plus shipping.

[ Maplin ] VIA [ RFJ ]

Vmedia Trying To Bring Back The Minidisc

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By Evan Ackerman

Minidiscs used to be the coolest things ever. The players were tiny and awesome, and technology itself was miles ahead of the CD if for no other reason than most Minidisc players could also record. Plus, the little disc cartridges were pretty slick. A company called Vmedia is trying to convince netbook manufacturers that bite-size optical media is still relevant, and that Vmedia drives are worthwhile additions their computers.

Vmedia discs are similar to Minidiscs in appearance, but they’re actually even smaller, measuring only 36mm x 36mm (Minidiscs are not quite twice that size). They can hold 1 or 2 gigs of data and are optionally rewritable. This is all well and good, but Vmedia’s biggest competitor is probably going to be SD cards, which are smaller, cheaper, faster, more reliable, more reusable, and have significantly higher capacities. Why does Vmedia think they stand a chance? They’ll tell you, after the jump.Continue Reading

THX Chief Scientist Says Blu-ray Is “Too Late”

Blu-ray

By Evan Ackerman

After all the uproar about HD DVD and Blu-ray, with Blu-ray claiming the final victory, you have to wonder what exactly the victory consisted of. According to Laurie Fincham, Chief Scientist at THX (the high-fidelity sound reproduction standard), “It’s too late for Blu-ray. We don’t really need another spinning format… I think consumers will only become interested in replacing DVD when HD movies become available on flash memory.”

I have not bought into any high definition disc system, nor do I plan to. Why not? Well, I never thought it was worth the expense or the hassle. The point that Fincham is making is that Blu-ray is just not enough of a step forward to really get the attention of the market. The transition from VCR tapes to DVDs made a lot of sense, if for no other reason than you can’t skip around a tape (plus they take up lots of space). But the difference between DVDs and Blu-ray discs is nowhere near so dramatic… You can just fit more stuff on ’em, the functionality isn’t materially changed.

The big deal, of course, is the high def resolution. At the moment, Blu-ray is the way to go if you want to watch a movie in 1080p. The problem, according to Fincham, is that the optical disc is relatively large, fragile, and expensive, and fixed media is definitely on the way out, even now. A dual layer Blu-ray disc holds 50gb of data. Sure, that’s a lot right now, but it won’t be a lot for long, as flash memory prices continue to decrease while capacities increase:

“In the future I want to be able to carry four to five movies around with me in a wallet, or walk into a store and have someone copy me a movie to a USB device. Stores will like that idea, because it’s all about having zero inventory. I don’t want to take up shelf space with dozens of HD movies “By the time Blu-ray really finds a mass market, we will have 128GB cards. I would guess that getting studios to supply movies on media cards, or offer downloads, will be a lot easier than getting them to sign up to support a disc format.”

Fincham doesn’t touch on the issue of streaming HD content over the internet, which I think is probably the biggest long-term threat to the Blu-ray format… But either way, since I can’t actually afford an HD TV, much less a Blu-ray player or discs, I’m just gonna stick with my DVDs, thank you very much.

[ DVDTown ] VIA [ DVICE ]