Posts Tagged ‘high-definition’

Mass Effect 2 Issues Unfixable

February 8, 2010

It seems that those who’ve found that they have issues with Bioware’s phenomenally successful Mass Effect 2 on standard-definition TVs are out of luck, with the developer indicating that a fix is impossible.

For those who’ve been blissfully unaware of the trouble, it seems that anyone trying to play Mass Effect 2 on a TV that doesn’t display in some flavour of high-definition (it seems that 1080p isn’t a requirement, you should be fine with 720p) has been having trouble with text. The issue stems from the face that the text in Mass Effect 2 seems to have been sized with high-definition TVs in mind, meaning that it’s so small that it essentially becomes unreadable on older displays.

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Komplett Recommends – Monitors

January 25, 2010

We’re often asked what display we’d recommend for people looking for a monitor for around a certain price. It’s a relatively easy one to do, but given the sheer number of inquiries we get, we thought some of you might appreciate a blog post that outlines some of the monitors that we really like and think offer excellent value for money at their prices.

We’re going to recommend entry-level monitor, two mid-range and one relatively high-end display. It’s relatively simple, so we’ll get straight into it.

Entry Level:

Whenever someone asks us to recommend a monitor that comes in at as low a price as possible but that they can still rely on to give them a good image reliable, we always recommend the Acer 18.5” LCD.

Click through to see our page for Acer's 18.5-inch LCD :)

Considering its genuinely surprisingly low price, it’s a very solid device indeed. At 18.5” and such a low price, it’s not going to be too surprising that it doesn’t quite manage Full HD, but it does boast a maximum output resolution of 1366×768, which isn’t something to turn your nose up at. Moreover, as the name implies, it is a widescreen display, so it’s still an excellent one to plug into a notebook if you’re one for watching movies directly from machines with a smaller screen.

Of course, the one downside is that it only takes VGA as input, so that could well limit your options a little. Still, it’s not too hard to pick up an Xbox 360 to VGA adaptor, and considering the fact that the combination of an adaptor and this display will set you back relatively little, it’s an excellent way to free up the living room TV if you’re living in a house with any avid console gamers. It’s also got a response time of 5ms, which should be plenty fast enough for most gamers.

Acer’s 18.5” Wide display is only €108.55, which has inspired at least one of our readers to pick up no fewer than four of them; it’s an impressive array, though what he thinks to do with four displays I can’t imagine. I’m sure one is permanently sitting on Facebook by now…

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Skype Reaches Out Through HDTVs

January 6, 2010

Skype has announced today that, as part of a partnership with Panasonic, it wil be adding its voice over internet protocol (VOIP) software to Panasonic’s line of Viera HDTVs.

Panasonic’s new line of Viera cast-enabled tellies is set to hit during the still-vague “2010″, and with Skype coming pre-installed the company will be able to boast free Skype-to-Skype video calling out of the box, which is no mean feat at all. It’ll also be attractive to those who’ve been looking to ditch their house phones but can’t quite get around to it or for some reason or another don’t like the idea of a physical Skype-phone.

In a market with an atmosphere like the current HDTV market, where many products appear (to the casual observer, at least) to be fairly similar, the ability to make calls directly from one TV to another for free could well be a big selling point for the folks at Panasonic, to say nothing of the positive effect that broadening the software’s userbase will have for Skype, which essentially trades on the fact that it’s so widely used and relatively cheap.

Naturally, a wider userbase increases the likelihood that people will use some of Skype’s fee-based services too. While the option to call or videocall other Skype users is a pleasant one, the real bonus is, of course, in the ability to call other phones for less than the normal charge. It might well be a bit of a hard sell for some, but it’s not bad if it’s something that just comes as an add-on for a TV.

We’ll be curious to see how well Panasonic does out of the deal; it certainly won’t hurt the company to be able to offer something that others aren’t though, and cheap phone calls are a big draw.

BBC Criticised for HD Service

December 16, 2009

The BBC has come under fire for the quality in which its high definition content is broadcast via the BBC HD channel after it made significant changes to the format of its HD content in August.

Word comes via TechRadar that the BBC has been unable to identify any technical issues that would cause the problems that users had reported, which essentially amount to a lack of the “bright, crisp look which for some is synonymous with HD.” Of course, for many broadcasts these will be issues as much with the manner in which the media was produced as anything else.

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Blu-Ray Still Trailing DVD

December 15, 2009

It’s strange to think that Blu-Ray has already been with us for fully four years, but we’ve already hit the point where we should be seeing the high-definition disc-medium start to supplant DVD.

Still, it seems that Blu-Ray is certainly doing well for itself. According to the Wall Street Journal, Universal Studios’ president is fairly pleased with the company’s sales of Blu-Ray. Universal’s sales were divided up between DVD and Blu-Ray with a 70:30 ratio in favour of DVD. It seems that Universal is fairly well pleased with the shift towards high-definition content, though many have been quick to highlight that Blu-Ray’s adoption isn’t anywhere close to matching that of DVD in its opening four years.

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YouTube To Launch FullHD Video

November 16, 2009

YouTube has announced that it is to bump its streaming quality up to 1080p, for those who have a device capable of showing video at that resolution.

YouTube logo

According to a post on the official YouTube blog, the current “high quality” option for videos on YouTube sees video streamed at 720p, which does still qualify as “high definition” but for many isn’t considered to be true HD, a title often bandied around during the early days of this console generation and the days when HD-DVD and Blu-Ray started to appear.

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Komplett Recommends – Best TVs for Your Money

November 11, 2009

Hey there all, hopefully the week has been kind to you so far, even though it’s been starting to get just a little cold. We’ve been asked to put together a bit of a guide for anyone considering picking up a new TV in the run up to Christmas. It’s something people seem to be a little reluctant to ask about, but the fact is that between LCD and LED TVs, there’s plenty of choice depending on what you’re looking for and how much you’d like to spend.

Of course, a lot of change amounts to an awful lot of study before you know just what you’re looking for. It’s a bit of a headache, so when a few people asked us about new TVs in the last week we figured you guys might appreciate a quick bit of a write up on getting what you want from a nice display.

Without going mad, we’ll go straight to our recommendations :)

Samsung 32” LCD-TV:

We’ve already said a few times on the blog how much we appreciate Samsung’s displays. There’s something about the combination of elegant design in the body of the devices themselves and the general high quality of Samsung displays that makes them eminently recommendable.

Samsung

Click through to see our page for the Samsung 32-inch LCD TV :)

This Samsung 32” has the usual Samsung flare, but given its low price point you likely won’t be surprised to hear that it’s a little less sleek than some of the more expensive models. The edges of the casing aren’t the same, bevelled finish as on some of the higher end models, while the bottom lacks the rose-glass finish, but the fact is that it’s still a solid display and it’s looks aren’t doing it any disservices.

It’ll handle high definition content at 720p and boasts an output resolution of 1366 x 768. Of course, the fact that its an LCD will mean that it boasts some advantages and disadvantages if you’re comparing it to other display technologies, namely that the blacks won’t be quite completely black. It’s not something that’s always noticeable, but if you’re at all into sci-fi or thrillers it can be a very real concern.

Still, that’s something people seem to have decided is a small price to pay considering the fact that with a plasma display you’re exposed to a certain amount of risk of burn-in… particularly for anyone interested in videogames, where persistent in-game elements can be a bit of an issue.

For those interested in checking it out in more detail there’s a very in depth breakdown of what it offers over at our detailed product page for it.

Despite any of the usual concerns around LCD TVs it’s worth noting that this is a 32” display for just €387, which makes it nice and cheap. Moreover, due to their popularity, we’re stocking this display at our Dublin Pickup Point, so if you’re interested in buying one then you can just drive out to us and pick it up, no need to order :)

Philips 32” LCD TV:

For those who are considering an LCD but would like something a little more elegant than the Samsung but in a similar form factor, there’s a similar Philips offering that’s also 32” and also boasts a reasonable price tag.

Philips 32

Click through to see our page for the Philips 32-inch LCD TV :)

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Samsung 32” and the Philips 32” is that the Philips outputs at 1080p (FullHD) rather than 720p (an output resolution of 1920 x 1080). This is something that’ll be most important to those who’ve already moved on to Blu-Ray or high-definition digital TV packages for the majority of their viewing. For those who are sticking with DVD for the moment, it’s less of an issue.

Similarly, those gamers among our readership will likely prize a 1080p output because, let’s face it, it’s something the games industry has been driving for for a very long time indeed. The fact is that there are an awful lot of games that benefit significantly from being played on something with a high enough resolution to handle them neatly, so for those who are into their games, the extra €120 to go for the Philips over the Samsung will likely be well worth it.

Technical specifications aside, Philips’ 32” LCD TV is a touch more pleasant, aesthetically, than the lower-end Samsung above. Between the combination of a nicer look and the fact that it offers 1080p, the Philips makes a reasonable case for dropping the extra money on it now, rather than regretting it later.

The Philips 32” LCD TV is €497, and there’s some video from Philips to intro the whole thing, if you’re interested enough to check it out, we’ve included it on our product page for the display.

Panasonic Viera 42” Plasma:

When you start looking at plasma based displays, you’ll probably need to be aware of two things. The first is that plasma tends to be reserved for bigger screens, if only because of the fact that it’s more suited to use as a cinematic display, rather than just for day-to-day stuff. The second ties into the first – plasma displays are heavy.

Panasonic Viera

Click through to see our page for the Panasonic Viera 42-inch plasma TV :)

Panasonic’s Viera is nice and big; at 42” it’s pretty much guaranteed to become a central feature of almost any room you care to put it into. Moreover, as we said above, it’s pretty heavy, weighing in at fully 27KG; this isn’t a display you can expect to comfortably wall mount (Denis from RMA had an tragicomic story about a man who had tried to wall mount a Sony plasma display with disastrous results).

Aside from concerns about its size and weight, you’ll be pleased to hear that the Viera will handle 1080p, so you can get the most out of your various high-definition devices and channels.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning that because this is a plasma display you’ll see better contrasts and darker blacks than on an LCD. While there is some risk of burn-in from a static image left on the screen, it’s something that’s far more widely reported than it is an actual problem with modern plasma displays.

Panasonic’s Viera 42” is €707 and looks absolutely gorgeous. If you’re at all interested in a plasma display you’d do well to check it out.

Samsung 40” LED TV:

It’s always nice to come full circle when you’re talking about a product range. Samsung has the pleasure of being both the cheapest of the low-end LCD TVs that we’ve recommended today and the most recommendable LED TV.

Samsung 40

Click through to see our page for the Samsung 40-inch LED TV :)

Whatever we might have said about the Samsung LCD’s appearance, its LED based display is absolutely gorgeous, tapering to a rose finish at the edges of the body, which gives the whole thing a nice, warm feel. For those who haven’t encountered an LED TV before, we should probably point out that they’re fantastically thin; the best reference point is probably offered by notebook displays, which are based on the same technologies.

LED TVs are generally seen to combine the best parts of LCD and plasma-based displays. They boast none of the burn-in risk or awkward weight of plasmas, and manage darker blacks through selectively dimming of LEDs than LCDs can offer. Of course, the tradeoff is that you’ll pay more for an LED display than for a comparable sized LCD/plasma, usually significantly more.

This LED TV is, as you might have guessed, capable of outputting in 1080p and weighs in at the €1,137 mark. If you’d like to check it out in more detail, then you should have a look at our product page for it, but it’s a gorgeous device, if you can justify the cost.

How To: Get Your Digital Media to Your TV

October 28, 2009

We get asked a lot about getting digital media from a PC or a piece of large-scale digital storage directly onto a nice, big display. Generally, these questions come from people looking to get their high-definition content onto their HDTV. With that in mind, we’re going to go through a few of the different ways to get some content from your PC to your TV without any big headaches.

We’ll start with dedicated devices and then work from there, but basically there are about three or four fairly easy ways to get your video library from your hard drive to your TV without burning a mountain of DVDs, which is (let’s face it) both awkward and honestly feels a bit transient.

Dedicated Media Player:

The first option, by far the easiest in terms of technical skill needed to get everything together, is to just pick up a dedicated media player. The whole thing needn’t take longer than the time it takes to copy across all of your media, though the down side is that you’ll need to sort yourself out with both a media player and storage (if you go with some of the more popular media players).

Click through to see our page on the WD TV HD Media Player :)

By far the most popular media player we sell is Western Digital’s WD TV HD Media Player. It’s nice and simple, all you need to do is plug it into the display itself (HDMI ports would be ideal), plug in an external drive and you’re ready to go. The WD TV comes highly recommended and very well reviewed. Moreover, we’ve now got the Western Digital TV Mini too, though it outputs at DVD quality rather than in HD.

To quote the folks from TrustedReviews, “… while we’ve come across all sorts of variations on the ‘getting my multimedia stored on my computer to play on my living room TV’ theme, this is the first that has taken such a simple and effective approach”

Of course, you’ll need to grab some extra storage if you pick it up. Normally we recommend that people consider very carefully whether they’ll get the use out of a drive that will have to be plugged into a wall socket, but given the fact that the drive will likely be in near-continuous use in the same place, so it’s nowhere near as big an issue.

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Ballmer Confirms Blu-Ray for Xbox 360

October 22, 2009

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has confirmed something that was once literally an offhand joke but seems a solid move now; we’ll see an Xbox 360 Blu-Ray drive, likely as an external rather than an internal device.

Xbox 360 Elite

According to an interview over at Gizmodo, when Ballmer was quizzed about the likelihood of Microsoft putting a high-definition media drive into future models of the Xbox 360 itself, his response was to say that, “Well I don’t know if we need to put Blu-Ray in there – you’ll be able to get Blu-Ray drives as accessories.”

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Product Spotlight – WDTV HD Media Player

September 24, 2009

Hey there all, hopefully your week is going as well as ours. For those of you who follow the blog regularly, you’re probably already familiar with our Thursday afternoon Product Spotlight post, but for those of you who don’t know about it there’s no reason not to go back over it a bit.

Basically, once a week we recommend a single product that one member of the Komplett staff has bought and is thought warranted a recommendation for those of you out there who might not otherwise encounter it.

Click through to see the WD TV product page

Click through to see the WD TV product page

Western Digital’s TV is basically a small set-top box. It’s got its own remote, acts as a USB host and is capable of decoding and playing back high definition content. The interface is also far prettier than most of the other media players out there.

So, as you might have guessed, the idea is that you just plug in an external hard drive and it’ll let you play any of the media on the device out directly from the drive to a TV. It’s ideal for those of you who don’t feel like investing the time and effort in putting together a home theatre PC, but would still like the ability to play a library of videos of any size directly out to a display.

The WDTV HD Media player itself is €89 and you can see the extensive list of different formats it supports, as well as customer reviews, over on its product page.

Of course, for some this will necessitate picking up an extra external drive. If you’re a bit judicious you can use a drive you’ve got lying around, but frankly the amount of swapping a drive in and out it’ll cause can be a bit of a headache. If you’re looking for a nice external to just sit out of the way and take a full TB of media, then we recommend the Western Digital Elements, if only because you’ll be hard pressed to find an external 1TB drive for the same price and it’s a solid piece of kit.

Click through to see the product page for the Western Digital Elements

Click through to see the product page for the Western Digital Elements

The Western Digital Elements is €77 and if you’re interested you should check out our product page for it. It’s been excellently reviewed, with all of the customers who’ve bought it and reviewed it giving it full marks :)


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