Few PC’s or Notebooks now come with an Optical drive. Most things can now be downloaded direct to the PC. However what about the times you need to reinstall something that came on an Optical drive. Also how about files that you have previously stored on CD’s or DVD’s. So an external Optical drive still has a place in most of our lives. Here something I purchased for less than £10 including delivery.
This started as a means to use all the features of Nero Platinum Suite which I reviewed using the Acer Aspire 1 that like most recent offering has no optical drive. I searched online expecting to pay close to £20 which was figure I had paid a few years ago my search engine found one at £8.89 including delivery it looked to me the same as units costing nearly double, I was able to pay with PayPal in case it was some sort of scam.
Sad to say the VHS era is now history as digital format takes over with devices such as the product forming the focus of this next review
The Samsung BD-H6500 is a Blu-ray player that has a range of built-in features. With its metal shell encased within a lacquered black casing, this multi-function device will not look out of place in a living room as it acts as the central point of a home entertainment system. This stylish looking box has dimensions of 196 x 360 x 40mm (D x W x H).
While your laptop or desktop computer may have an optical drive, it is probably that is does not support Blu-ray. Plextor offers an upgrade solution.
With Blu-ray becoming increasingly popular as the means to distribute media, it does make sense to ensure that your computer system has the means of handling this type of optical media. While manufacturers are now adding this feature to new models, those with legacy machines will need to upgrade their computer with an appropriate drive. One option would be to go for a drive such as the Plextor PX-B120U.
While netbooks do not come with an optical drive there is nothing to stop you adding this useful facility to your portable device.
Netbooks continue to be a popular choice with users who are looking to enhance their mobile computing experience. However once the initial glow that often accompanies any new purchase has faded, as it surely will, you might feel a little like a second-class mobile computer users as your latest device does not have the means to easily add new applications to the system or even let you play the latest DVD movies to entertain you during those moments of leisure.
As file sizes increase in size, so the media developed to store these files have increased in capacity accordingly. Blu-ray now holds the mantle of providing storage for those requiring even more space on which to store their media.
While various desktop and notebook computers now come with a Blu-ray drive as part of their standard feature set, these systems are still outnumbered by the majority of products that feature a DVD drive for optical media use. Plus there is a vast reservoir of legacy machines in regular use that do not have a built-in Blu-ray drive for playing movies and backing up important data.
Having recently been introduced to Lenco, I was given the opportunity to test a DVD player while on my travels.
While watching movies is made more enjoyable when a large screen and all-round sound system is the delivery medium, this type of equipment is not always available or appropriate for some circumstances. For example when travelling by car, bus, tube or train to various locations, compromises will need to be made with regards to the method used to watch your choice of entertainment. This is where the portable DVD Player can come to your aid.
Having purchased a netbook, you might find the lack of an optical drive to be inconvenient. A solution could be to add an external drive
The arrival of netbooks, without any optical media capability, has had the effect of increasing the interest in external devices that can provide the missing functionality delivered by optical media. With the right piece of kit you could access data stored on optical disks and even burned your own data on suitable media. Providing this type of functionality is the slim-line optical writer from LiteOn. This product is the 8X External Top-Load DVD/CD writer with USB connectivity.
At a recent event from PC World to showcase Xmas items (sorry yes Christmas is coming) this 22inch TV was the main item that took my eye, quite small in size, light to move yet it still has a 22inch screen and has a DVD built in.
The Logik L22DVDB10 measures 52x32.5x7cm and on an oval stand maximum 30x20cm that raises it 4cm above whatever you stand it onto. The viewable screen is 48x27cm which gives a diagonal viewable size of 21.6inches. It comes with a large five point Quick Start Guide which is well illustrated and should certainly be enough to get anyone up and running.
It has been a while since I got my hands on a LiteOn product but the arrival of an external DVD Writer brought this wait to an end.
While software arrives on optical media, sometimes the destination device lacks the appropriate means to access the software. This next product could help solve this dilemma.
Some small notebooks and almost all Netbooks come without optical media. I certainly still have a PC that only has a CD drive and a more recent one with a DVD reader (no ability to write) so this unit can be useful to many
Plug it in to a USB port and it should be recognised almost immediately and you can then immediately use it to transfer programs and files to the PC. It comes with a CD-ROM including Nero 8 SE. To install this insert the ROM in the drive. It comes up with two options Install Nero 8 SE or an install for Linux. The install is not the fastest. I attached it to an XP system and to a Vista one.
Having recently looked at a LG offering that had Ethernet options, I now see the latest Sony offering the BDP-S360 that also allows Ethernet to play a part. However first and foremost it is a rather nice full featured Blu-ray player.
The BDP-S360 measures 43x22x5.5cm and weights less than two kilos. It is matt black with the exception of the drop down front and top front edge that are both shiny black plastic that of course shows every finger mark. Somewhat surprisingly you do have to visit the unit not only to insert and remove DVD’s or Blu-ray discs but also to open the door to insert and remove as much to my surprise there is no open/close button on the remote control.
With all the Blu-ray drives I have reviewed somewhere I have mentioned that Blu-ray is not only about picture quality but Dolby sound as well. Here not only do you get the Blu-ray player but also a rather nice set of speakers.
It is 43x30x7cm with cables inserted. It weights just under 5kilos. All but the front is matt black; the front is shiny black and electric blue. The left side of the front is where the drawer for inserting discs is, Blu-ray, DVD and even CD’s. The central area has a pop out iPod holder and the right side has six illuminated (when on) buttons and a large volume control knob. The sides, top and base have nothing leaving a very full back of connections. The left side has the hard wired 1.
Although billed as a home cinema system this cool looking product from LG offers a range of multimedia functions.
The HT32S comprises a main system box, a large bass sub-woofer and two satellite tweeters. The main speaker measures a substantial 216x405x310mm (WxHxD) and weights a hefty 5.9Kg. The satelite speakers measure 118x230x115mm and weight 1.1Kg each. Power output is 150W from the subwoofer and 75W from each of the satellites. The design is very sleek with a curved main unit and side speakers. Accompanying the system is a comprehensive remote control.
I always enjoy reviewing a Blu-ray player, one because I do not own one but do have several Blu-ray discs including several that will not play in a PC with a Blu-ray player, even experts do not know why and two its an excuse to watch Blu-ray movies.
Half way through the review period I got a new TV in for review from Sony (review in a couple of weeks) so this has been tested not only with my 32inch TV but a brand new 40inch Bravia as well. In a short space of time The Blu-ray player has developed a lot and indeed I hear that stand alone recorders are soon to hit the shops. There are of course a number of stand alone Blu-ray player/recorders available for the PC but they need a powerful PC to run them.
This Blu-ray player was the one I used with the recently reviewed Samsung Series 6 Full HD LE32A656 however any full HD TV should allow you to see the full glory of Blu-ray. To hear the full cinema sound quality you will need a 5.1 or 7.1 sound system.
The Samsung BD-P1500 is 43x31x6.5cm with leads inserted in the rear. It has matt black top and sides with grey back and base, the front is shiny black. The following connections are on the back a hard wired (1.35metre) power lead, HDMI out socket, USB socket, Ethernet socket, Optical out and a set of six Component Out and A/V out.
This is a USB2 CD/DVD recorder/player. For anyone with only a CD or a DVD only player this is All Modes for recording and playback. should you not have suitable software it comes with a variety.
It is small and quite stylish and is automatically recognised so unless you need some of the software just plug it in. I found that the power drawn was low enough not to require a power supply however one of the extra USB leads that also draw power (takes two USB ports) is supplied if necessary. It has a 2MB cache and of course under run protection. It is 16.5x15.5x2cm, add 2cm to the first figure to insert the mini USB lead and that's it.
Following its acquisition by the Petters Group Worldwide in 2005, Polaroid has undergone a change, maybe not of image but certainly with its range of products.
Certain names have the ability to bring memories flooding back with the effect that you have the totally wrong impression of the current situation. Take, as an example, Polaroid. My immediate thoughts, when invited to the company's product briefing, were of instant cameras that were bulky and produced instant snaps. Later, perhaps, I would have probably thought of sunglasses.
This is the first dual box that I have seen, great for anyone with a perfectly serviceable tubed analogue TV that only has a single SCART socket; oh thats exactly my situation when not looking at other peoples offerings.
The box is 42x28x5cm and is silver grey in colour. The total weight is around 2.4kilos. The front edge has six silvered buttons and the front left has the DVD tray while to the right of this is a LCD display. Once configured most will probably control the unit with the 47 key remote control. Providing you have a TV with a SCART socket the Alba unit provides everything you will need.
This is an ideal bedroom TV and with the DVD player built in so even when there is nothing to watch live you can always resort to the DVDs.
I was somewhat surprised that no aerial is supplied with the / . If like me the bedroom is just too far away from the roof aerial then a portable one has to be used. While the image they give is normally far from ghost free the quality in most cases will be watchable. Bush LCD DVD combination I first tuned the unit in my lounge using the loft aerial. Next I moved it to the bedroom and found a couple of portable aerials.