Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

My Home Theater, Then and Now

August 26, 2009

After my 42″ plasma HDTV  finally died after 6 years, I decided to replace it with a Samsung 55″  LCD HDTV.

My HDTV in 2003

My Home Theater in 2003

Back in 2003, even seeing Cameron Diaz’s flat cleavage in 720p resolution looked almost amazing.  Back in those days, a decent 42″ plasma run around $6,000.  I ended up going cheapo with a low-end Sampo 42 incher.  Yeah, I never heard of the Sampo brand but word on the street was that they were rebadged Gateway plasmas with Samsung glass.  The quality was subpar but back in those days, having a flat screen plasma was pretty impressive.  In any case, in its 6 year life span I think I got my money’s worth and in 2009, I upgraded to a 55 inch LCD.

My Home Theater now in 2009

My Home Theater now in 2009

This Samsung LN55B650 model so far is fantastic.  I still haven’t calibrated it yet but I did some minor setting tweaks to get rid of the “soap opera” effect where everything moves so smooth it looks fake.  One of the neat features is something called DLNA where you can access and view files on your home network on your TV.  I haven’t quite figured this out but it seems pretty nifty.  Final price for this sucker including shipping and taxes: $1,700.  Way better than my old Sampo plasma which cost a ridiculous $3,200 in 2003.


Sandisk V-Mate Video Memory Card Recorder

July 16, 2009


The Sandisk V-Mate Video Memory Card Recorder is basically a VCR but instead of using VHS tapes it uses memory cards.  The device supports SD, SDHC, miniSDHC, microSDHC, RS-MMC, Memory Stick PRO Duo cards and can record in MP4, 3GP, and 3G2 formats up to 640 x 480 at 30 FPS.  You can plug in anything that has composite (yellow/white/red) outputs such as a DVD player, DirecTV receiver, cable box, or camera.  It has an IR emitter/receiver so it can control  your satellite/cable receiver.  In the following youtube video, I demonstrate how simple it is to record a TV show from my DirecTV straight to my microSD card which I can then directly play on my Nokia N97.

This little device is great for people like me that can’t figure out how to capture video onto their computer and encode it into a format thats playable on their mobile device.  The perfect sceneria for this device is if you want to record your favorite late night TV show and view it the next morning on the train to work.  You can program the device to record at your desired time and the next morning you just take out the memory card and watch on video on your phone on the metro.

Available at you local B&M Gamestop for only $9.99.  You can check for inventory in your area here.  I had to actually ask the Gamestop dude to check the stock room and they happened to have one in the back.