My girlfriend and I recently purchased an HD TV and, though watching the HD channels from the built in Freeview HD tuner is great, we really want to be able to watch full 1080p content on our new screen. As a result the LG BD570 BD Blu-ray player is top of my Christmas wishlist this year.
I’ll admit that I was previously a little in the dark when it came to Blu-ray players; they aren’t something we review on the site or in the mag and I’d obviously not looked into them before. One of the major benefits of working in a large office with lots of other tech publications, though, is that there's always someone about who has some knowledge in the area you’re looking at.
After a bit of asking around I got told that you tend to get the best results when you pair a HD TV and Blu-ray player from the same manufacturer. This is because most HD TV and Blu-ray players have a built in upscaler, which attempts to upscale standard definition content to HD resolutions. All manufacturers will have their own proprietary upscaler software and algorithms, so you should (in theory) get a superior quality picture and less chance of conflicts if you pair two similar upscalers together.
Paul has Blu-ray on the mind
Once I knew I was buying an LG model it was simply a case of picking the one with the features I wanted at a price I could afford. After looking around Amazon and various other retailers, I settled on the BD570. It looks good, which is important, and most of the reviews I’ve read commend the quality of its upscaling engine.
It also appears to come with the ability to act as a media streamer whereby it connects to a local network and streams shared media files from it to the connected TV. I’m not holding my breath on this feature, as it’s seems a little too good to be true, but it’ll be a nice bonus if it works well.
All we’ve got to make sure now is that someone actually buys us some Blu-ray’s to play on it!
Joe - Amazon Kindle 3G
The first question everyone usually asks when I tell them I want a 3G Kindle for Christmas is ‘Why the 3G model?’ Is the ability to download books when you’re away from your computer important enough to merit an extra £30 spend?
In a word, no.
You see, I don’t want a 3G Kindle just so I can download books when I’m out of WiFi range. I want it so that I'll never be bored, ever again. I’m the type of person who can read Wikipedia entries for hours on end, bouncing from one topic to another with alarming speed and regularity. Having a 3G Kindle will mean I can do that on the go, meaning I won’t go home every day with scrawled notes of things I should look up and read about.
Wikipedia - home to most of the world's made up knowledge
One of the other things I like about the Kindle is that is has a lot of less-publicised features buried within it or which are planned for the future. There are hidden games and programs that can be unlocked and there’s a lot of room for improvement if you want to hack the device. I want the ‘full’ version of the Kindle so that I’m positioned to take full advantage of these features. The desire for a 3G Kindle comes from the same part of me which likes iPhones not for what they are, but how they can be jailbroken and improved.
Ebooks are an exciting technology to me and are something I’ve enjoyed learning about. The Kindle is still in its infancy even now and there are still some features I’d like to see added – an in-built comic reader, for example. Still, right now the 3G Kindle is the best ebook reader you can buy and, if nothing else, that’s why I want one.