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Category Archives: Consumer Electronics

Product Review – Media Player – WDTV Live

You may remember that a while back I posted an article where I discussed the options I considered for a media player. I looked at a lot of possibilities and in the end I decided to purchase the Western Digital WD TV Live HD Media Player.I have had the device for several months now so I thought it was time for a review.

The WD TV Live is a device which is a little smaller than a desktop hard-drive. The retail box contains the device itself, a small and very simple remote control, batteries for the remote, an AC adapter, a special component video cable, a special analog stereo cable, and an installation guide.

In case you are not sure what this device and others like it do, the concept is pretty simple. These media players have several inputs which allow you to read files on your computer, network, or a portable storage device, the software (codecs) required to read/play them properly, a small operating system to allow you to navigate and consume your media, and the outputs necessary to send the audio and video to a Home Theater system or directly to a TV.

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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Consumer Electronics

 

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Product Review – Mobile Phone – Samsung Impact / Highlight (SGH-T746 / SGH-T749)

A few months ago I posted about my decision making process around the purchase of two new cell phones (Post 1, Post 2). I decided to go with cell phones rather than a smart phones to save on my monthly cell phone bills. I figure by going with that approach I am saving at least 30 dollars a month per phone – that’s over 2 grand in savings over three years, not including the savings on the original phone purchases.

The savings are nice, but admittedly a regular cell phone can’t offer the same level of convenience and utility that a smartphone offers. My goal was to find a cell phone with a pretty rich feature set that made it somewhat smartphone-like. I decided to go with the Samsung Impact (model number SGH-T746) through Bell Mobility – it is now also offered through Bell’s value carrier Virgin Mobile. From what I can discern from the specs and pictures of both models, the Impact is essentially the same phone as the Samsung Highlight (model number SGH-T749) offered by T-Mobile in the United States. With some reservations around differences in network performance etc., I believe this review would also be useful for people who are considering the Highlight.

We have had the Impacts for a few months now so I thought it was time to offer up a review of the device based on my experience with it.

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Posted by on August 15, 2010 in Consumer Electronics

 

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Purchase Decision – Media Player

So if you are like me you probably have a lot of media stored on various devices throughout your house. That media probably includes pictures, ripped music, home videos, recorded TV shows, backed-up DVD’s etc.  To use that media, you are probably watching/listening/looking at it on the device it is stored on or making copies on other media (USB drives, DVD-R’s, etc.) so you can watch/listen/look at it on other devices. It’s all a bit cumbersome, but it probably works if you put the time in to make it work.

I have a Windows Vista slimline-type desktop and a Windows XP laptop that access my media and other files over a wireless network. My files are stored on a Network-Attached Storage device (NAS) that is essentially an external desktop hard-drive/enclosure with a network jack (RJ-45) in the back of it.  It’s great that my media is stored in one place and I can get to it from either machine, but I have a nice home theater setup that I would like to leverage to access play that media.

Up until now, I have been using my laptop to serve up media to the home theather system. It is a bit of a cumbersome exercise to hook up the laptop when I need it and access the content I want. It’s workable, but I want something that does not require setup every time, and I am not prepared to devote the laptop to servicing this requirement only. I have decided that I need some sort of media player that I will hook into my home theater system and leave there most of the time. An additional feature I would like to have is the ability to take this player to other places fairly easily.

What type of media player?

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Posted by on March 21, 2010 in Consumer Electronics

 

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Purchase Decision – Mobile Phone – Part 2

In my last post on this subject, I decided that I was going to go with a regular cell phone rather than a smartphone. In that post I listed my requirements, and I came up with a list of cell phones that I thought should meet my needs. In this post we are going to dig a little deeper and narrow the field of candidate phones, and then make a final selection.

What carrier should I go with?

One way to narrow the group down in a hurry is to make a decision on the network I want to be on. This criteria may not make a lot of sense to someone living in one of Canada’s largest cities, but anyone who lives in Atlantic Canada and spends any time outside the major centers knows that the network really does matter.

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Posted by on March 2, 2010 in Consumer Electronics

 

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Purchase Decision – Mobile Phone – Part 1

The time has come to replace my 4-year-old mobile phone and I have some decisions to make. As with any purchase decision, I like to do the research so I am going into it with all the information I need to make the best decision. In this case I had a few decisions to make and I researched them in order. This post is the first of two which discuss my major decision points along the way.

Decision 1 – What type of phone?

To paraphrase Shakespeare…

“to smartphone or not to smartphone, that is the question.”

Indeed, that is the question that anyone buying a mobile phone these days should be asking themselves. Unfortunately I don’t think a lot of cell phone buyers are really asking that question. I see a lot of people buying smartphones without much thought as to whether the enhanced feature set offered by these phones justifies the much higher upfront and ongoing monthly costs.

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Posted by on February 24, 2010 in Consumer Electronics

 

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