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Apple TV 3rd Generation

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Mar 21, 2012 in Apple, Tech

Like many I sat and watched live streams of the iPad 3 media event on the 7th March 2012, and sat at drooled at the new shiny. In addition to the iPad 3 being launched there was the announcement of the 3rd generation Apple TV.

It’s selling features at the event was a new shiny UI and the ability to output 1080 video (instead of the 720 from the 2nd generation)

Although the 1080 did sound appealing, I spend the best part of a month encoding all my media to 720, and didn’t plan on re-encoding all the blurays to 1080.

Again the new UI looked new and shiny, granted there were no new features added, it just gave it more of a iOS feel, which was available for the 2nd generation within hours of the media event….so unfortunately I wasn’t sold and thought I’d pass on this model.

Then an opportunity arose, that meant I could potentially move one of the existing Apple TV’s into the kitchen, and replace this with a new model…so I did.

Last night it turned up, and to be honest, if it didn’t say 1080 on the side of the box, it would have been hard to tell if it was the new model of not. The same applies for the device itself, I held the 2nd and 3rd generation side by side, and honestly couldn’t tell the difference.

Plugged in the device, saw the familiar apple symbol then ran through the setup as with the other models. Once set up, I flicked through the menus, to find only one change, the vide output had the 1080 option, and that’s it. This actually made me happy, as I realised I wasn’t losing any functionality from the previous boxes.

Now I’ve seen a number of tear downs, and people are suggesting the 3rd generation has got the A5 processor, and the upgrade to 512Mb of system memory making this device as snappy as the iPad 2. There is also the suggestion that this has the same internal 8Gb storage, and the bluetooth has been upgraded to bluetooth 4.0

Being a long time user of the 2nd generation model, the upgrade to the processor and memory are noticeable, this device is a lot snappier. I’ve not given it enough to see if the hardware upgrade fixes some glitches that were present in the 2nd generation, eg the random restarts, and the occasional buffering issues, however I’m sure time will tell.

I did attempt to give the 1080 a good test, however the UK version of the store and netflix seems to be a little sparse when it comes to 1080 content. It seems a lot of the items are tagged as HD, with the occasional tagged as 1080. Based on this assumption there doesn’t seem to be any 1080 trailers and all the Netflix content I tried had only the HD tag. Now I have read that Netflix has upgraded the Apple TV steaming to support 1080, but not sure if this is in the states only. Currently the UK Netflix library is but a small subset of what’s available overseas.

I did however download a 1080 trailer from Apples site, drop it in iTunes and streamed it to the Apple TV and this did look a lot sharper.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens with future content, and hope that when the iCloud movie steaming comes to the UK, I’ll get a 1080 version of all the films I got on triple play (Digital, DVD and Bluray), but I guess only time will tell.

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Sony Playstation Vita 3G

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Feb 22, 2012 in PS Vita, Tech

I’m a sucker for new shiny, so obviously the Vita has been on my radar since it was announce, the thought of having home console graphics and functionality on the move sounds like a great idea, however it’s more of a curiosity than a necessity.

Now, I’ve been beating myself up about this console, I’ve had it on pre-order 3 times from 3 different places, and jumped from the 3G model, to just wi-fi and back to 3G. The cancellations haven’t  been down to the deals or price, I just kept talking myself out of it. I currently have every other console (excluding the 3DS) and an increasing pile of shame (pile of unplayed/unfinished games), so I found it hard to justify a new console, especially one with the pricetag that this system comes with. Finally last week, (after spending many evening researching, adding to basket, then talking myself out of it) I decided….what the hell..and ordered the 3G model.

The reason I went for the 3G model was that in the UK, the Vita isn’t locked to a network so you can add any sim card, however if you do top up a fiver on the supplied Vodafone 3G sim card, you get Wipeout 2048 for free. The assumption is, that the GPS functionality won’t work if your out and about with only the wi-fi version, which I’m assuming will get used for location based games and applications. Once I’ve burnt through the 250Mb from Vodafone, I’ll put in one of my 3Gb over 3 month Three sim cards. These can be found on fleabay for as little as £7.

So, the device itself. The first thing to note is the weight and size of this thing, it is larger than the PSP, however feels roughly the same weight, which I’m surprised at.

The screen is gorgeous, the 5″ OLED screen is a massive improvement over the PSP and the touchscreen is very responsive. I’ve not really had a rear touch screen, however what I’ve used seems as responsive as the front.

The 2nd thumbstick is a god send and a much welcome addition, they are a little slacker than I expected but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. I’ve recently been playing Resistance: Retribution on the PSP, and that game really needed the 2nd thumbstick, using the buttons as a right thumbstick hurt the thumb, good thing is, it was bought from the PSN store, so I can download and play it on the Vita.

The front and rear cameras seem reasonable, they’re never going to replace my normal camera, but definitely fit for purpose for some of the augmented reality games I’ve seen on the horizon.

Finally, the in built browser isn’t bad at all. I really struggled with the browser on the PSP, even though it worked, I found it very hard to use, the browser however works really well. Not sure it’s quite as good as the browser on the iPhone, but still a good usable browser.

It seems I was able to bag myself a decent deal, so good infact that it’s been removed from the site. For just shy of £300 I got the following

PlayStation Vita Console Bundle 3G
Uncharted: Golden Abyss
8GB Memory Card
Pre-Order Pack

and I guess you can also include Wipeout 2048 for a fiver.

Right now, there’s little more I can tell you about thePS Vita, but over the coming weeks and months I’d no doubt be blogging about at games over at my gaming site D5120.com 

As always, unboxing pics below

Sony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3GSony Playstation Vita 3G

 

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Xbox 360 Gears of War Edition

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Jan 28, 2012 in Tech, XBOX 360

While playing Call of Duty: MW3 on my old Xbox 360 Elite, I noticed some strange black lines appearing in the background. I switched around cables, ports etc as I assumed it was a cable issue, but the problem stayed.

So ‘google is your friend’, and I found a handful of forum posts suggesting that the Xbox was on it’s way out, and these black lines were early signed of the Red Ring of Death, and I could soon expect to see the E74 error message.

Now Microsoft have given an additional 2 years warranty to cover the RROD, but unfortunately the Elite is nearly 3 and a half years old…..so time to buy a new shiny one !

I spent the evening looking at online deals, and finally decided that I wanted one of the special edition Xbox’s. I currently own the Halo Reach special edition Xbox and know there are currently 2 others on the market, the MW3 edition and the Gears of War 3 edition…..so decided to go with the Gears of War 3 edition.

Same as the Halo Reach special edition Xbox, it comes with a custom paint job, custom sounds and 2 custom controllers, and obviously a copy of Gears of War 3. The guy who served me at Game also threw in a copy of Crisis 2 (via download code), so all in all quite a bargain at considering it has the 320Gb hard drive.

One final thought, the controllers are the new type with the transforming D pad, it’s still early days with it, but WOW what a difference !

As always, the unboxing pics are below.

Gears of War Xbox Gears of War XboxGears of War Xbox Gears of War Xbox Gears of War Xbox

Gears of War Xbox Gears of War Xbox

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