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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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A-Team remote control van

Posted by Ub3rG33k on Dec 24, 2011 in Tech

Just a quick post to show you a bargain I got. As some of you may know, I have a handful of remote control vehicles, for example the Millennium Falcon and the Delorean, Well this one is just another cheap toy for the collection.

This one dropped from £40 to £8.99 with £1.99 shipping from the Argos outlet store

The description on the eBay site is ‘Fully functioning radio control van, featuring working lights and sound effects. A team theme tune is activated by pressing a button on the handset, with illuminating spotlights, headlights and tyre screeching sound effect.’…..for £11 I couldn’t really pass it up.

Well, it arrived yesterday and I’m pleasantly surprised. I have to admit, it does feel a bit cheap, but it drives well, and the A-Team tune did make me smile as I had it blearing out as I chased the cats around the room. The speaker is in the back of the van, so if you want to hear it over the sound of the motor whining you will need to open up the back doors.

Again, the ‘tyre screeching sound effect’ made me smile, take a corner hard and you’ll get the screeching noise.

All in all, a fun piece of kit for £11 🙂

As always, unboxing photos below, and a video of the A-Team tune you get when you press the button on the controller.

 

A-Team Remote Control Van

A-Team Remote Control Van

A-Team Remote Control Van

A-Team Remote Control Van

A-Team Remote Control Van

A-Team Remote Control Van

A-Team Remote Control Van

 

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