Reviews related to : Entertainment

With today's technology, terrestrial television viewing could easily be lost in the mix.
With the latest version of their Fire TV Stick product, Amazon has paired a 3rd generation Fire TV Stick unit with a 2nd generation Alexa Voice Remote unit.  Included in the package are a HDMI extendable cable, USB cable, power adapter, two AAA batteries and a mini concertina type Welcome booklet.
While audio in all its forms is of great interest to me, I am not a fan of my singing or should I clarify that no one else will be a fan of my singing. So it was with more than a little trepidation that this item got opened to be given the Smart onceover.
The box has a quite conventional looking Microphone, it is 17.5cm long with the head being 5cm across this has a connector on the base and an on/off slider switch on the side. Next is a mixing box 17x12cm and this is 4cm deep at the back and 2.5cm deep at the front with four twist knobs on the top, Mic one, Mic Two, Music and Echo. The front of the box has inputs for the two Mics and at the right front edge an on/off push button with an LED beside.
Streaming audio to speakers that do not support Bluetooth can be carried out using this next product.
Adding to its Chromecast product, Google has developed Chromecast Audio.  This is a small pocket size device that can be carried around and used when necessary to provide the facility to stream (or cast) audio to your favourite speakers or whatever is available such as a hi-fi kit.
This is a dual Karaoke system not a toy or an add on to something else, a two mike system and decent amplifier that means in your own home – not the pub – you can find out for yourself how good or bad your voice is without witnesses.
It consists of the main box 30x20x17cm that contains the amplifier for the dual microphones. The microphones are 23.5cm long and wireless that link to the amplifier without problem, they weigh 216grams with the two ‘AA’ batteries inserted, the batteries are not supplied. Each microphone has nine buttons on the front so they can be controlled separately. There is a 1.
865313 Google Chromecast

Chromecast 2

When I saw the first version of Chromecast it was around the same time as a similar product from Roku, to my mind the latter was a better product at a near similar price. So what will the second version have to offer to change my mind?
To start with its an all in one design with an 8cm lead hard wired to the side of the unit to avoid the possible connection problems associated with poor TV design that puts the HDMI ports very close together. When not in use this lead will not dangle as there is a magnetised back that pulls the HDMI lead to the main 5cm circular disc that is the new Chromecast it is less than 1cm thick.
Chromecast has been around for a while, there is a new version just out which I shall tell you about another time. This however is a totally new product that allows you to ‘cast’ your music to speakers anywhere without draining your devices battery.
Yes even those speakers that do not have Bluetooth can now play your music not only from your SmartPhone but also from other devices like your PC providing you have a Chrome browser. The unit is supplied with a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable but providing you have the correct lead you can even connect to speakers with Phono Sockets and hence to units that even say have a sub-woofer so your music can now have much more grunt. The unit consists of a small circular disc 5cm across and only 1cm thick.
Are big screen TVs too big your budget? For Chris Bidmead, they're too small for his living room. He likes a blank wall displaying a 100 inch projector screen. For full immersive HD movie watching (in 3D, if you're that way inclined) the ViewSonic's PJD7820HD delivers all this and more - for around £600.
My previous review, of Epson's entry-level EH-TW490 projector, discussed the difference Epson's keen to point out between Colour Light Output (CLO) and the brightness in lumens as normally measured using plain white light. Epson's claim is that while the plain white light lumen count looks good on paper, only the CLO figure represents what the viewer will really experience watching a movie.
751810 Epson EH TW490 HD Ready 720p 3LCD Home Cinema Projecto

Epson EH-TW490

Very decent home cinema projectors can now routinely be had for around 500 quid. But how do you pick a winner you'll be happy to live with from this cheap and cheerful bunch? As the TV industry hurries us ever upwards towards 4K (four times the number of pixels in a regular HD TV screen) punters tend to view pixel count as the prime requirement. Chris Bidmead thinks there are more important factors to look out for.
Epson's entry level EH-TW490 is "HD Ready". It's a confusing industry label (designed to confuse?) that in this case means it projects a screen into which it's possible to fit a 720x1280 pixel matrix with a few pixels to spare at the top and bottom. Hang on, though? Isn't that not much more than half what a true 1080p HD screen ought to be? And can't I pick up a proper 1080p projector for around the same price? The answers are yes and yes. And my response is fergetaboudit.
Not the sort to appeal to children in fact they are sold from a catalogue that has medical items and even devices to make life easier for the disabled and elderly, the two I am looking at are Bridge Mate and Brain Training.
It is described as pocket size and is 12.5x6.5x2cm and weights 175grams with the required (not supplied) 3x ‘AAA’ batteries inserted. The viewable screen is 7.5x6.5cm. The left side has the on/off slider. The back is where you insert the batteries behind a door controlled by a Philips screw; there is another door for those who want to link more than one such device together. The controls to use while playing are all well marked below the display screen.
613358 Panasonic HC 30 ipod doc hifi music syste

Panasonic HC-30

Having looked at a smaller model the HC-20 around six weeks ago what has the bigger HC-30 got to offer that the HC-20 does not have? From the outside if you just think slighter bigger with all the fitments then you have it.
The Panasonic HC-30 measures 48x19x9cm and the last figure the width is less at the top of the unit. The 9cm only applies near the base where the aerial lead and mains power enter the unit on a protrusion at the rear of the unit. There are other differences the first is that it is wall mountable and quite a substantial bracket is provided to facilitate this.
A look at a complete wireless system from Sonos for wirelessly piping music digital audio anywhere and everywhere in your home - including several places at the same time.
click to enlarge If like me you've taken the trouble over the years to rip the bulk of your CD collection onto your PC you can be left with wondering how to then play that music.
Is this a musical instrument or a tool to be used by a DJ, in the right hands it is either or both. One thing is certain it is like nothing else I know.
click to enlarge It is 20x20x2.5cm and weights (without optional batteries) 680 grams. The case is brushed aluminium and there are two small speakers inset into the top rim of the unit. Inside the rim there are 16 rows and 16 columns of .7cm round push buttons that can light up. Round the rim apart from the two speakers there are 13 buttons, a spin wheel and 5x1.5cm LCD display to the wheels right.
As vinyl and tape recordings fade into obscuring, I decided to look for a method of safeguarding my out-dated music collection using modern technology.
My music collection spreads over vinyl, tapes, compact disks and MP3 tracks with the latter consisting of duplicates from the compact disks.  Recently I have been looking at a way of converting the first two categories into MP3 tracks that can then be burned on to optical media.  The product under test is SnapMusic Studio 715 from KWORLD.
cd jonny boston and jazz piano legend

Two Great CD’s

Often a tune is inexorably linked to one musician (even if they have not composed it) their style is also unique, so when one pianist can play several styles this is special. Also here the latest offering from a UK musician who annunciates every word, great.
Geoff Eales  Jazz Piano Legends Sixteen tracks each well known by different master pianists all played by one man. On at least half of these you would certainly think it is the original master playing them. However this is not an exercise to simply mimic the original.
It's that time when I get to tell you about my passion - don't get excited it's not 'X' certificate - it's Jazz mainly that produced from around 1950 onwards. Naim are a company best known for their excellent audio equipment (it’s expensive though) but they also have both a classical and jazz label.
A superb bass player from the USA is Charlie Haden and he is just 70 years young. This is a two CD offering the first was recorded on his 50th birthday 20 years ago. It was one of the first entries in the Naim catalogue and has been unavailable for many years as it was originally only released as a limited edition that soon sold out. Now as 2008 comes in it is re-released along with another he recorded the following year at a university.
A competitively priced product in a field where most manufacturers have at least one entry. This one has CD, tape (I am told this is still requested), MP3, USB and FM/MW radio.
This looks very like those offerings of a few years ago that used to be humped around on the shoulders of youths. It is 34x22x13.5cm. The width (middle figure) is a little misleading as it narrows to only 13cm at each end. The weight is around 2.5kilos. The unit is grey with black mesh over the front. To play CD's you need not only the controls on the top of the unit but also the remote control as amazingly the unit itself does not have a play/pause button.
nintendo ds lite onyx blac

Nintendo DS Lite

For a while Nintendo looked like it was going to play underdog to the behemouths of Microsoft with their XBox and Sony with the PlayStation. Many had written of this company as an also run. That was then. Several years on from those predictions and Nintendo is breathing new life into not only itself, but also the games industry as a whole.
This review takes a look at the latest in the DS line of hand-held game consoles. The Nintendo DS (Dual Screen) arguably saw the turn around in Nintendo's fortunes and a continuation of the strategy that brought the DS to market led directly to the new Wii phenomenon. Put bluntly - Nintendo had the foresight to put the user, rather than technology, first.
You've got a TV in the bedroom, the living room, the conservatory and even the kitchen. But the bathroom... Until now the last bastion of TV free living has finally fallen with the arrival of a waterproof television from Tech Vision.
The 10.4"LCD screen of the TechVision TW104 is protected by a plastic case with front panel buttons for volume, channel and input selection. Other than that all TV functions are controlled by a separate water-proof remote control. Overall dimensions are 395x292x42mm (width x height x depth). The TV is certified to IP56, which broadly speaking means it can be hit from water at any angle and will be fine.
The Thrustmaster Run'N'Drive is a wireless game controller for the Sony PS/2, PS/3 and IBM PC - an ideal alternative to the wired variety if you're fed up with untangling wires - or just want to get further away from the screen.
To look at this controller is similar to a standard PS/2 controller and includes all the standard gaming buttons one would expect. For PS/2 users two vibrating motors are included - with the option to switch them off to save battery. I found the basic controller pretty comfortable to hold - the two 'wings' are much longer than those on a standard PS/2 controller.
The future could be said to be a combination of an infinite number of possibilities as seen through the eyes of movers and shakers. One outcome could be...
Normally when a large company, especially one in the highly competitive IT industry, puts on a show for the media and business partners, the focus of attention is aimed at a specific product or products already rolling off the production lines or those in a well-advanced state with an imminent arrival expected.