Monday, February 05, 2007
Let the "Sonic and the Secret Rings" pants-wetting commence
Last time I was drooling over a new Sonic the Hedgehog game like the big friendly video gaming geek that I am, it was for the Xbox 360/PS3 one, which although looking rather lovely, turned out to be, well, shite cialis online.
Sonic and the Secret Rings has been made especially for the Nintendo Wii though, and will be making its way to American Wii owners in two weeks' time (on February 20th). And judging by the new trailer that's just appeared on IGN, this one looks like the real deal online pharmacy. It begins by showing more of what we've already seen, but then goes on to reveal what looks like some absolutely gorgeous later levels:
Posted at 02:53 PM | Permanent Link
North American Wii owners - SUPER MARIO WORLD cialis online!!!!
An extremely reliable source is reporting that SNES classic Super Mario World is finally going to be appearing on the Wii Virtual Console system in a few hours, as one of today's releases. The game will be downloadable from 5:00pm UK time for owners of American systems viagra.
Although the Wii, like any new system, is suffering from a lack of new software, being able to play two of the best games ever made - Zelda: Twilight Princess, as well now as Super Mario World - in one tiny little white machine, is pretty damn cool . The cost for this game will be, as usual, 800 Wii points - in other words, £4 for a near-perfect classic game viagra online. I can't wait to play it all over again!
Posted at 02:33 PM | Permanent Link
Playstation 3 Blu-ray and DVD Playback reviewed
Who has just reviewed the Blu-ray playback functionality of the Playstation 3? Why, that would be me.
Posted at 12:36 AM | Permanent Link
Sunday, February 04, 2007
This Film Is Not Yet Rated
If you're the slightest bit interested in films beyond a "yeah, I like them, it's the done thing" level - and if you're reading this site, chances are that you are - then you need to watch "This Film Is Not Yet Rated". It's an investigative documentary by filmmaker Kirby Dick, which reveals the hypocrisy, unprofessionalism, and disturbing attitudes that lie at the centre of the American film censorship lair, the MPAA.
Before films run in cinemas in the US, the MPAA rates them, and if there's a bit too much naked flesh, women in positions of sexual power, or same sex activity - or whatever else isn't approved of on that particular day - then it usually ends up getting slapped with an NC-17 rating, which means that almost no cinema in the US will agree to show the film. It means that the film's financial potential is, well, screwed. Not only that, but it is revealed that the MPAA give preferential treatment to major Hollywood studios, and let small, independent filmmakers get away with a lot less. Even still, the reasons they give for wanting things altered is often incredibly vague and unspecific, making it hard to know exactly how to please them.
The documentary contains interviews from filmmakers like John Waters, Kimberly Peirce, Kevin Smith, and Matt Stone (of "South Park" fame). By far the best bit, though, is when Dick hires private investigators, who loiter outside the MPAA building, and use sneaky - and completely legal - techniques to learn more about what goes on behind closed doors. They even end up doing a spot of bin-raiding and find some juicy documents relating to unreleased big-name films.
If you're reading this outside the US, you're probably wondering why you should care. The simple reason for this is that most of the time, the rest of the world receives the same American-sanitised versions of films that the MPAA have left their mark on. These goons quite literally affect everybody.
It's a great watch, is available on Region 1 NTSC DVD, and can be had from DVD Pacific for about £10 delivered to the UK.
Posted at 06:00 PM | Permanent Link
Saturday, February 03, 2007
Wii goes region free
A Chinese site has posted information on the Wii Key, a 4-wire mod chip for the Nintendo Wii which will remove the regional lockout system that currently prevents owners enjoying games purchased from other territories.
Currently, the chip allows any Wii system to play ANY GameCube title, regardless of region, but Wii game playback is limited to NTSC territories - in other words, the US and Japan, but not European/Australasian PAL games.
The mod chip apparently also bypasses the console's anti-piracy system, so apparently this mod will enable the playback of cheapskate games. I hope that this doesn't hurt the system too much and that people use this chip ethically to exercise their right to shop in a global market, but that may be a little hopeful. If only Nintendo had just allowed the Wii to be regionless in the first place, then the mod chip creators would only have the "homebrew" card to fall back on.
Posted at 07:48 PM | Permanent Link
Friday, February 02, 2007
REVIEW: Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray Disc Player
The review of this classy-looking, expensive Blu-ray player from Panasonic is done 'n' dusted!
Next review: the PS3.
Posted at 09:05 PM | Permanent Link
Penetration, eBay style
The security of my eBay account was compromised a few hours ago, when some little gimp living in London with the IP address of 184.108.40.206 somehow got in, changed the account's associated e-mail address, and changed the user name to "ethon765". ethon765, if you are a real person and are reading this (which I doubt), then you are in trouble and will be hearing from British Telecom's abuse department shortly, so ha.
eBay were quick and immediately handed control back over to me in under an hour, so whoever this was didn't manage to do any harm. I hope they can rename my account back to "lyris_1" fairly quickly because being called ethon765 feels oh so dirty.
Posted at 07:54 PM | Permanent Link
Silent Hill on Blu-ray is amazing
After reading some reviews of the BD version of this film (and it's a film I like very much), I was expecting to watch it once and then eBay it for having mediocre video quality.
It turns out however, that this is a near perfect video transfer. To say I'm furious at the reviewers who slated this title for video, is an understatement. (Some sites gave it 4/5 scores, which I'd agree with, so my anger isn't directed at them). But as for the ones that crapped on it - these idiots do damage to home theater. This is one of the best examples of HD I've ever seen.
The level of detail is utterly excellent - every bit as good as King Kong on HD DVD. The only down side is that this is an MPEG-2 title and all of this detail occasionally proves a little too much for the dated codec, resulting in some compression blocks. When this gets reviewed for DVD Times, I'm making sure it gets a 9/10. I don't normally gush over video transfers, but seriously.
If Blu-ray can consistently deliver quality like this, it deserves to win. Apparently it doesn't, which is a shame.
Posted at 12:49 PM | Permanent Link
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Panasonic DMP-BD10 Blu-ray Disc Player
Look what Panasonic sent me for review!
The DMP-BD10 seems like a good DVD player and a good enough Blu-ray Disc player. Panasonic sent some sample discs along with it:
The Panasonic disc is very impressive and is MPEG-4 AVC (pictured). The other two are MPEG-2 and are both from Fox (and one of them is "Fantastic Four") and aren't very impressive. Fantastic Four has a video transfer that suffers from temporal noise reduction artefacts so it's hard to evaluate the quality of the player using it. It's also one of those transfers that lacks the "wow, it's HD!" factor. Grrr.
The remote control is also chunky but does the job. Full review coming soon...
Posted at 04:57 PM | Permanent Link
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
100hz Sony BRAVIA LCDs in the distant future: Sony's 2007 range
I think this is the first site to break this news (yay), so feast your eyes. An anonymous source tells me that Sony Europe's 2007 range of LCDs should be hitting stores in July. The S and V-Series are confirmed to be getting an update (these will probably be the S3000 and V3000 series respectively), and news has already surfaced regarding an update to the premium X-Series (which will feature 3 HDMI inputs, support for xvYCC colour, Sony's DRC-MFv2.5 detail enhancing chip, and perhaps also 1080p/24 support).
Also interesting is the fact that a T-Series is planned, which will be exclusive to Sony Centre stores in the UK. This is certainly an interesting concept. I'd speculate that the T-Series will take an existing design, make it more aesthetically appealing, and perhaps add a special feature or two. But hey, that's just my guess, we'll see later this year.
Apparently, either the entire LCD range - or perhaps only selected models, it wasn't made clear - will feature 100hz technology, which is an interesting way of tricking the human eye into perceiving better defined motion that you can read more about on BEHardware.com.
It's interesting to note that the later-on-in-Summer release date is in line with previous years. I can only assume that the April/May 2006 releases of the S2000 and V2000 models were to get HDTVs out in time for the European World Cup.
Anyway, for those who can't wait until later on in the year for their LCD fun, you should take a read of my review of the Sony KDL-40W2000, arguably the finest 1080p LCD TV available today.
Posted at 09:47 PM | Permanent Link
Thursday, January 25, 2007
MC Blu-ray is in the house yo!!!
My brother just had me summon him a 20gb Playstation 3, so he can use it as a cheap Blu-ray player. If I believed in religious mythology, then I would say that he is going to hell for this. This decision comes despite us both being huge HD DVD fans. Why the dirty money? Because quite frankly, thanks to the movie studios and CE companies' inability to compromise, we are having to buy TWO HD video disc systems just so we can watch any HD movie available.
This is not me thinking HD DVD is going down the tubes any time soon. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if both systems stick around until the consumer confusion and apathy grows so high that they kill each other, or at least until the two camps compromise and start rolling out dual format players with their seal of approval. This is just me reporting that these two home theater fans would rather watch movies on Blu-ray than on standard def DVD. Yes, the only thing worse than having to buy both systems, would be to have to continue watching films in SD. And it's all because some studio suits have decided to exclusively support a format that is clearly not in the best interests of the consumer.
Speaking of not being in the best interests of the consumer, the "Region B" version of the Playstation 3 launches in Europe sometime in March. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe have been exercising some fairly threatening behaviour in an attempt to prevent stores in the US and Canada from exporting PS3 systems to Europe. This makes me cackle, considering that the web is awash of pictures of American stores full of piles of unsold PS3 systems. Never fear though, because I found it fairly easy to source a Playstation 3 which will be arriving next week. Sorry Sony of Europe, but get real.
Anyway, expect first impressions of the PS3's DVD and Blu-ray playback functionality on this site and a less agitated review on DVD Times in the next few weeks.
Posted at 08:45 PM | Permanent Link
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Can Gefen break new ground and introduce an affordable video processor?
Most people are already familiar with the idea of Upscaling DVD players. That is, DVD players that take your standard 480 line (NTSC) and 576 line (PAL) discs and claim to up-convert them to High Definition resolutions using image processing algorithms. Well, rather than being hard-wired to the output of an MPEG decoder like the (usually) cheap processors that are built in to upconverting DVD players, an external video processor uses much higher quality components and lets you upscale the video output of anything you hook up to it - not just DVDs.
"Doesn't my LCD or Plasma TV already scale the picture up?" you ask. Yes it does, but remember that these TVs need to be sold at a semi-affordable price point, so the processing in them is of the cheaper, mediocre-ish variety (yes, even in "expensive" brands of TV). That's not to say they can't produce nice results at times, but it's a far cry from optimal performance. Enter video processors (sometimes also referred to as "Scalers" after one of their key functions) - devices that take existing video and condition it to be just right for your individual model of display. Now that I finally have a "Full HD" 1920x1080p HDTV, I'm now looking towards getting one.
Processors aren't cheap and you can expect to pay anything from around $1000 to $4500 US smackers for one. Gefen, however, have just announced their Home Theater Scaler, which is up for pre-order for a supposed February release on their web site - for only $450. Suspiciously cheap perhaps, but not a rock-bottom price either. If it gets even some things right, then it could well end up being a must-have for a lot of people.
Here's what you can expect from this nifty (?) little device:
And here's the inputs it has - as you can see, there's not a huge selection due to the size of the unit:
The thing is, for there to be any point of this product at all, the results that came from running your devices through it would obviously have to be better than connecting them directly to your TV. Supposedly, the device is built around a chipset from a company called Mstar, who nobody seems to have heard of. Hrrrmmm.
It's incredibly unlikely to better the results of the $2000 video processors, and from looking at the back of it, it's perhaps a little short on the connectivity front, but if it does what it claims to and does it well, then Gefen have a revolutionary product on their hands, and who knows - some video processing die-hards think that it it could just trigger the beginning of the end for processors with 4-figure price tags. I'm going to be watching this one VERY, very closely.
Watch this site for news on the Home Theater Scaler as it comes in.
Posted at 10:46 PM | Permanent Link
Monday, January 22, 2007
DVD Transfer Hall of Fame
Avast ye swabs. Remember the DVD Transfer Hall of Fame on Whiggles.com? Well now it's appearing on this site instead. Visit the Hall of Fame today and see the sort of quality it's possible to squeeze out of old Standard-Def DVDs.
The Hall of Shame is coming in the next week or so.
Posted at 08:18 PM | Permanent Link
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