Pick of the best
Winston Raj checks out the latest gadgets to put you in touch with your inner nerd
more of the best
Samsung's newly announced home theatre systems adopt the company's proprietary Super Digital Sound Master (sDSM) technology to boost acoustics. The technology, which was only completed late last year, optimises the sound field via digital signal processing. It essentially prevents possible direct sound from the rear channel and uses sound compensation circuit technology to optimise reflected rear sound. The result: consumers save floor space without compromising on sound quality - a boon in today's cramped living environments. The HT-DS1000 (left) adopts a vertical type design, and supports DVD-audio, DVD-video, DVD-R/RW and CD, CD-R/RW. It plays MP3, WMA and jpeg files. In addition, the HT-DB1850 (right) has video outputs and an optical audio input. Although the specs are nothing to shout about, the design is certainly sleek and pleasing, prompting Samsung to label these systems 'interior enhancing ornaments'.
When it comes to multimedia support, you can't deny that the newly announced Samsung X30 has it all. Along with the now ubiquitous DVD/CD-RW drive, the notebook allows users to access various multimedia storage devices, including Memory Stick, Secure Digital and MultiMedia cards. The Centrino-based X30 comes with the new Pentium M processor at up to 1.7GHz and a 15.4-inch screen, and is powered by a Nvidia GeForce FX Go 5200 graphics chip with 64MB dedicated memory - providing users with top-notch multimedia capabilities.
Sharp is raising the bar in home theatre projectors with this new XV-Z12000 projector. It features 5,500:1 high contrast for colour reproduction and an F8 Optics system, jointly developed with Minolta. With an aperture size of f8, the projector is now able to produce black images with crisp clarity. The projector also showcases the new DMD technology - a reflective device that theoretically displays high-contrast images. In this model, it uses an HD2+ chip which is superior to its predecessor's DMD HD2 chip. The result is an improvement in light exploitation and the ability to reproduce colours across a wide spectrum. Of course, all these advanced features come at a hefty price tag of $58,800.
This 20.1-inch LCD television has a 500:1 contrast and features Nicam Stereo S-Video input. It includes a sound system and two integrated speakers. Pixel resolution is 921,600 dots at 640x480 VGA. The screen is a TFT LCD manufactured by LG-Philips LCD. Measuring 608mm x 396mm x 65mm, this model is not exactly the 'bleeding-edge' technology. However, with a price tag of $6,990, it is value for money.
Samsung expects you to wear this 400 gram DV camcorder around your neck. Measuring 96.8m x 110m x 54.5mm in dimension, this camera is one of the smallest that Samsung has ever rolled out. It uses the Mini-DV format and has a 1/6-inch CCD that gives you a resolution of 800,000 pixels and 10X optical zoom. This DV camcorder is not designed as a powerhouse in your palm, but it packs enough automated features for the average amateur to capture memorable movies. It comes with a palatable price tag of $5,980.
HP Compaq Tablet PC TC1100
Hewlett-Packard is continuing its belief that tablet PCs will have their place in the future. Built as a pen-and-paper replacement, the Tablet PC TC1100 includes either an Intel Pentium M processor or Mobile Intel Celeron processor to deliver performance. You can attach a mobile keyboard for those who cannot seem to get used to writing on a thick piece of electronic gadgetry (at least I can't). Tablet PCs like this one allow you to input your handwriting using Digital In, which converts it into printable text through the conversion software that is part of the Microsoft OS. You can turn the tablet PC around and use it in either portrait or landscape style, and it has integrated Bluetooth and support for wireless communications. The unit is priced at $13,990.
This one-megapixel DVD camcorder features a 2.5-inch LCD monitor and 1/4-inch CCD. It also has a 10X optical zoom. What is unique about this 505 gram model is that it records movies directly on to DVD-Ram and DVD-R discs. It also doubles up as a mobile DVD player to play back recorded images and movies. If you are worried about overwriting your disc, the $8,990 camcorder automatically finds the empty spaces on the DVD disc.
For the consumer who wants everything in one phone, the Siemens SX1 may be it. Featuring a 65K colour display and a VGA camera, the phone includes a built-in video player, a camcorder, an MP3 player and FM radio in addition to console-style gaming supported by Series 60 and Java (J2ME). Built on the open-source Symbian platform, it features a personal information management system, an e-mail client and integrated wireless Java technology. It synchronises schedules with PCs and PDAs using IrDA, Bluetooth or USB cables. The tri-band GSM phone also supports GPRS. For convenience, it has a MultiMedia Card slot to boost memory capabilities. Suggested retail price: $4,480.
JVC Widescreen LCD TV LT-Z26S2
The new widescreen LCD television from JVC includes DIST (Digital Image Scaling Technology), which determines the type of input signal being received. If the signal is of a terrestrial nature, it is converted to a progressive signal. If the source is a prerecorded movie, DIST will perform processing called 2-3/2-2 pull down (depending on the reception signal), which converts 24 stills to 1 second and replaces them back to continuous stills, creating high-resolution images that are true to the original source. The formatter then interpolates the progressive signal put out by the I-P converter again. The 625-line progressive signal information is interpolated relative to the amount of vertical pixels in the panel. Priced at $23,800.
Philips LCD TV 20PF7835
Philips' new 20-inch LCD flat television offers dynamic audio and high-resolution visual performance. Coupled with the new FM radio feature, the model is positioned as an entertainment device for not only watching television but also for listening to your favourite radio programmes, bringing the entertainment experience alive anywhere in your home. Powered by its Faroudja DCDi processor, the Philips Flat TV series' high-resolution picture quality is further enhanced by the advanced motion adaptive progressive scan system, which offers detailed and natural-looking images with smooth visuals. The 176-degree wide viewing angle ensures comfortable screening anywhere in your home.
Galaxy's new Setup Box
The next Cable TV competitor, Galaxy Satellite Broadcasting, will be using NDS Group's exTV service. This eagerly awaited service will provide more than 30 channels, and brings with it the much-needed quality and entertainment previously unavailable in Hong Kong. NDS solutions used by Galaxy include the VideoGuard conditional access - the system that forms the basic pay-television model of 'payment for content' and enhances the ability to package and sell content. It also includes a user-friendly Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) in English and Chinese, and cuts the clutter away from the current EPGs seen on Cable TV. The new NDS hardware has the potential for viewers to play arcade games during boring commercials and buy a pizza online before they watch their favourite soccer match.
One thing that immediately strikes you about this new DVD player from LG is that it is only 39mm thick. However, it packs in all the features that consumers have learnt to expect in a slim package that will slip neatly into any home theatre cabinet. This machine plays DVD-video, DVD+R/+RW, SVCD, video CD, audio CD, Kodak Picture CD and CD-R/RW with jpeg, MP3 and WMA files. It is also compatible with 3D Surround and DTS, has a built-in MP3 decoder and features a high-end 12-bit, 54MHz Video DAC that rivals the best in the market.
Waiting for DVD recorder prices to drop? The new BBK 9908 might just change your mind. This slim DVD+R/RW recorder allows consumers to record DVDs with all the features of a pricey recorder minus the hefty price tag. To be launched this month, the $3,180 recorder utilises mpeg-2 Real-Time encoding and decoding technology directly to record television and external programme sources (such as video tapes) on to DVD+R, DVD+RW discs. If you are planning to go on vacation, the BBK 9908 allows you to preset up to 20 recording tasks to record all the Sex And The City episodes you will miss.