Audio News for December 15, 2009

by | Dec 15, 2009 | Audio News | 0 comments

2010 Could Be Big for Blu-ray – The outlook for Blu-ray is finally looking positive. Sales for Black Friday week were up 224% from the same period last year. DVD sales, however, were down 7.89% from 2008. People seem to be finally moving over to the now-single HD format, though standard DVDs are still the main physical optical disc format for entertainment as well as computer use. What has helped Blu-ray is what many of us have been suggesting since it was introduced: cheaper players and discs.  Wal Mart even has a Magnavox Blu-ray player for $78, and Best Buy is bundling a 40-inch Samsung 1080p HDTV with a Samsung Netflix-ready Blu-ray player for $756 including shipping.  Blu-ray movies at places like Costco and Amazon are sometimes available for as little as $9. In fact a couple of the multi-disc Blu-rays sets we have recently reviewed were cheaper at suggested retail than their standard DVD equivalents because with the 50GB-per-disc storage capacity, fewer discs were needed to contain different versions of the feature plus all the extras. PlayStation3 consoles, which many people are choosing strictly for Blu-ray playback, are getting cheaper (and Sony continues to lose money on each one sold). The varying degrees of Internet connectivity which are being included on many Blu-ray players now are another attractive plus for new users.   Some even regard it as a sort of insurance policy against the possibility that physical media may become obsolete in a few years in favor of downloads.

Wireless PC-to-TV Adapter Disappointment – We were initially excited to receive details of a new $180 wireless USB AV adapter touted as “the Ultimate PC-to-TV Wireless Experience.”  With all the emphasis on video downloading today, there is a definite need for an inexpensive, reliable way to get AV content from your PC or Mac to your home entertainment center screen if you don’t have one of the new Internet-capable TV displays. The Warpia adapter is not it. One part connects to your computer’s USB out port and its Display Adapter connects via HDMI or VGA to your display or projector. But its wireless range is only “up to 30 feet in the same room.”  That’s about like the very limited-range Bluetooth.  Most people have their computer in one room and their TV in another room.  If it’s in the same room, just run an Ethernet cable for goodness sakes, and have a faster and more reliable connection.

DVD & Blu-ray Gift List – Here are some can’t-miss packages that are getting attention this holiday:  “AK 100: 25 Films of Akira Kurosawa” (25 DVDs), Paul Newman: The Tribute Collection, the new Star Trek (DVD & Blu-ray), Lost Season 5 (DVD & Blu-ray), The Farscape Collection (26 DVDs), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (DVD & Blu-ray), Futurama: The Complete Collection (18 DVDs), The Prisoner: The Complete Series (Blu-ray), Gone With the Wind: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition (DVD & Blu-ray), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Live (9 DVDs).

Google to Launch New Direct-Sell Phone – Word is that the huge Net search company has designed a sophisticated mobile phone, made by a Taiwanese company, that has a large screen, many features, and will be significantly cheaper than Apple’s iPhone. Google plans to sell the Nexus One directly to consumers from mid-2010.  It uses a new version of their Android operating system, and will have software apps specifically designed by Google, including YouTube content services, new mapping and search capability, as well as inexpensive paid apps similar to what are sold at the Apple store. It is not known how Google Android partners such as Samsung, Motorola and LG will react to the new Google phone.

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