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Tag Archives: TV

GefenTV Auto Volume Stabilizer

GefenTV Auto Volume Stabilizer (Image courtesy Gefen)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s not the first TV volume stabilizer I’ve written about, but while this Audiovox model from a few years back was just $39.97, this latest model from Gefen is a touch pricier at $179. Why the price discrepancy? Well in addition to the use of Dolby Volume technology to detect and moderate sound levels in order to maintain a steady volume, it also happens to feature TOSLINK and S/PDIF digital audio inputs and outputs, as well as traditional 2-channel analog audio inputs and outputs. The aforementioned Audiovox only handles analog signals, so if you were hoping to use a device like this with modern gaming consoles or DVD & Blu-ray players, you’ll have to pony up for this more expensive, yet more capable, model.

[ GefenTV Auto Volume Stabilizer ]

VuQube Portable Satellite Dish – When You Don’t Really Want To Get Away From It All

VuQube Portable Satellite Dish (Images courtesy SkyMall)
By Meg Lynch

Some people travel to exotic, secluded locales to get away from all the distractions of every day life. But others seem content to pull into a crowded campground in an RV that’s better appointed than the home they left behind. I’m going to assume one of the amenities that latter group couldn’t live without while on vacation is satellite TV, so the VuQube seems like the easiest way to stay on top of all your favorite shows no matter where you may roam.

The most expensive version, the VQ3000, is fully automatic so all you need to do is position it so it has a clear view of the southern sky. Built-in motion tracking allows you to stay tuned even while on the road, and as long as you have power, you can quite literally use this thing anywhere you can carry it. It’s compatible with Dish Network, DirecTV and BellTV, and in addition to your satellite bill you’ll have to cough up $1,699 for the VuQube hardware. Definitely expensive, but that’s the price you’ll have to pay if you want to join in the Mad Men conversation around the water cooler campfire.

[ VuQube VQ3000 Portable Satellite Dish ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]

Hulu Inches Closer To A Paid Subscription Model

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By Chris Scott Barr

It’s been nearly a year since I dropped my cable subscription, and I couldn’t be happier. Between Hulu and Netflix streaming, I have little desire to ever switch back. Of course there has always been that fear that Hulu would switch over to a paid subscription model. Now it seems that a paid model is coming, but it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been.

The current proposal is to continue offering the latest 5 episodes of current shows for free. However, users could pay $9.95 a month for what’s called Hulu Plus. This would get you the entire back-catalog of episodes, rather than being limited to the latest ones. There is no word on whether paying the fee would free you from watching the ads or not.

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Philips Portable DVD Player Becomes Slightly More Relevant Again With The Inclusion Of A Digital TV Tuner

Philips Portable DVD Player With Digital TV Tuner (Image courtesy Philips)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s kind of hard to justify the cost of a portable DVD player these days when a similarly priced device like the iPod Touch does so much more, but the Philips PET729 manages to make itself slightly more useful with the inclusion of a digital TV tuner and antenna. For about $120 you get a 7 inch TFT LCD display (480×234 pixel resolution) and support for almost every type of media disk including DVD, CD and SVCD, though the most ‘exotic’ file format it can handle is MP3s, so if you’re hoping to use this for watching downloaded video content, you’re out of luck. The rechargeable battery is good for about 3 hours of TV or DVD enjoyment, and should you find the ATSC reception lacking, you do have the option of hooking up a larger rooftop or outside antenna for a better picture.

[ Philips Portable DVD Player With Digital TV Tuner ] VIA [ GadgetGrid ]

DTV Converter Box – You Know, For Cars

ATSC Digital TV Receiver for Cars (Images courtesy Chinavasion)
By Andrew Liszewski

If your ride is pimped out with some manner of LCD display with an A/V input, you can now enjoy local terrestrial digital broadcasts thanks to this ATSC receiver that’s specifically designed for vehicles. The blue converter box can be stashed somewhere out of sight, as well as the cables that connect it to your car’s AV center, but an included remote (not pictured) allows you to change channels or select additional inputs if you still wanted to use an external DVD player. The receiver supports the ATSC DTV standard meaning it will work in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central + South America, while the kit is available from Chinavasion for ~$70.

[ ATSC Digital TV Receiver for Cars ]

[CES 2010] Sony Distance Alert Tells You To Step Off

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By Evan Ackerman

I don’t have a big screen TV, but I can pretend that I do by sitting just inches from the screen. Sony is having none of that, though, with their Distance Alert system, which uses a small camera to measure your distance from the TV screen. If you get closer than about a meter to the TV, a message pops up advising you to back away, and it won’t restore the picture until you do.

The same technology is used for a couple other things, too… Since the TV knows where you (and any other people in the room) are, it can optimize its sound and light output so that if you’re all sitting off to one side, everything still looks and sounds balanced. Also, if the TV doesn’t see anyone in the room, it shuts its backlight off and will turn itself off completely after 30 minutes to save power. Neat tricks, but since the little camera is hardware integrated, Sony is currently only planning to release one model with these features so far this year, and it’s going to be (to quote the Sony rep) “expensive.”

[CES 2010] Hannspree Polar Bear TV

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By Evan Ackerman

It’s a 19″, 720p, $299 polar bear TV that you can buy in March from Hannspree. It’s designed to “raise awareness” about polar bears, and is just the first in a series of other (unspecified) threatened animal TVs, but it does not in fact help the polar bears in any way if you buy one. Except with karma, maybe, but karma isn’t an unmeltable iceberg or a tasty seal.

[ Hannspree ]

$30/month iTunes “Cable Killer” Subscription Service On The Way?

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By David Ponce

The word on the street (meaning Peter Kafka from AllThingsD) is that Apple has been going around TV networks over the last few weeks pitching a $30/month subscription service that would make it possible to watch TV through iTunes. It’s not clear exactly how this would work. For instance, we don’t know whether this would make live programs available live or as a later download, nor whether you’d have access to the same kind of programming that you get currently from cable companies. This of course would depend on how many networks jump on board, a selling task left up to iTunes boss Eddy Cue. Rumor has it

“that if anyone jumps first, it will be Disney (DIS), since CEO Bob Iger has shown a willingness to experiment with Apple and iTunes in the past: In 2005, Disney was the first player to sell its programming on iTunes, via a-la-carte downloads. And Apple CEO Steve Jobs is Disney’s largest single shareholder, a result of Disney’s 2006 acquisition of Jobs’s Pixar animation studio. Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.”

Whatever happens, Apple’s in a hurry as they’d like to launch this early 2010.

The question is, would you pay $30 for a service like this? Would you ditch your cable company? Everything is moving to the web as it is, so this seems like a natural and perhaps inevitable evolution for broadcast… but is it too ambitious, too soon?

[ AllThingsD ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Futurama: The Complete Collection Includes Bender’s Head As A Really Depressing Trophy

Futurama: The Complete Collection (Image courtesy Fox)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t know about you, but I’m still miffed about the way Fox treated Futurama, so I’m not entirely sure if I’d want to see Bender’s head every day, staring at me from my DVD shelf and reminding me about another brilliant animated series cut-down in its prime.

On the other hand, Futurama: The Complete Collection does include every single episode of the late sci-fi series, including the four recent feature-length adventures (which didn’t really capture the spirit of the original series) and should be mandatory for any animated series collection. And of course it also includes Bender’s head in a fake jar, and a numbered letter from Matt Groening and David X. Cohen. $159.98 from FoxStore.com available October 13, no Blu-ray.

[ Futurama: The Complete Collection ] VIA [ Chip Chick ]