Posts Tagged ‘HDTV’
Firmware, if you have not encountered the term before, generally refers to the programs and files used internally in many devices to control that device’s functions. Think of firmware as something similar to the operating system (such as Microsoft Windows) that a PC uses.
Some devices, such as game consoles, MP3 players and Blu-ray players were designed so that their firmware could be updated in order to resolve hardware issues or use new features added to content after the hardware’s manufacture.
There are a few different ways to update the firmware on most Blu-ray players. One method is to visit the manufacturer’s website for your particular model player and download the updated firmware via a home PC. From there, you will use that PC’s CD or DVD burner to write the firmware to a blank disc. Inserting that disc into the Blu-ray player allows the device to read in the new files and update itself appropriately.
If your Blu-ray player is setup to access the Internet, such as through your home’s wireless network, you can download the firmware update directly using the internal tools in the player’s setup menu. This method is the easier of the two, and in some cases, can be configured to automatically happen when new firmwares are released.
Making sure that your Blu-ray player has the latest firmware prior to Avatar’s release on April 22nd will help avoid any playback problems on the day of release. If you have a Blu-ray player that does not have the capability to connect to the Internet, you can bring the device into your local Best Buy. Geek Squad Agents can get your device up to date and ready to go with our in-store firmware update service.
If you have a network-capable player, but don’t have it hooked up to the Internet, we have on-site networking services to add that device to your existing home network, or setup a new one to allow your Blu-ray player and other devices to share access to all the Internet has to offer.
If you have questions, contact your local Geek Squad for answers.
The New Year brings with it new things to be excited about, like new friends to meet, new places to visit, new experiences to have, and new goals to reach. For a Geek Squad Agent like me, it also means new technology. And in January, there’s no better place to see that new technology than the International Consumer Electronics Show.
As luck would have it, I’ve been drafted to attend this year’s show. So, as we begin a brand new decade and as I begin packing my bags for Las Vegas, here are some of the technology categories I’m excited about seeing on the conference floor.
2009 marked the year when eBook readers reached enough critical mass to go mainstream, and this was proven true throughout the holiday season. Barnes and Noble couldn’t ship their new Nook reader quick enough to meet demand, while Amazon reported that eBook sales outpaced printed book sales in December.
However, the race is far from over in 2010, as several companies that announced upcoming entries in this growing eBook market last year are likely to be showing off their new readers at CES. I’m really looking forward to seeing how each of the different brands push the technology in ways to separate themselves from the pack.
As an avid reader, I’m also excited by the possibilities of how eBook readers can impact the current print market, possibly making expensive or hard-to-find books cheap and easily available to everyone. I’m also hopeful that eBooks may be the next evolution of our local newspapers, allowing them to continue without the high cost of ink and paper.
Last year was also the year that smartphones became more than just a convenient way for business people to get their work email. The market practically exploded with new entries and platforms, and it only seems to be accelerating as 2010 begins.
As smartphones become more common for so many different types of users, so too do the apps they run. It’s amazing how often I find myself using my own smartphone as a portable computer, with web browser, high speed Internet, word processor, GPS and gaming software wrapped in a package small enough that I can toss it in my pocket while on the go.
I expect to see not only a large number of upcoming phones at the show, but also a huge growth in the number of accessories that allow you to use those smartphones in new and creative ways: like health sensors to aid in getting the most out of your exercise routine, or car audio interfaces to make use of that built-in wireless Internet connectivity.
I have to admit, I’m a little skeptical about this category, if only because it sounds almost too good to be true. 3D television sounds more like a science fiction fantasy along the lines of flying cars and weekend trips to the moon. But while the other two aren’t quite ready yet, we may actually get to see 3D HDTVs in our living rooms in 2010.
I’ve heard some really good reviews from others that have seen examples of the technology, so I’m pretty excited to see how well the current hardware works. It may sound like hyperbole, but 3D could really be as big as the leap from black and white to color TV if it works well.
The Real World of the Living Room
As much as the technology geek inside me can’t wait to see all the amazing engineering on display on the CES show floor, as a Geek Squad Agent who goes into the homes of clients every day to set up the technology they’ve purchased, I’m especially excited about getting a look at products that will actually make it into living rooms this year.
I know that it’s not always the most technologically advanced products that make their way into the homes of consumers, but rather the technology that those consumers connect with in ways that make their lives better. It’s the technology that makes you go “wow” that ends up on your shopping list, and I’m hoping to see what electronics in this year’s show stand out when looking at it through that lens.
I can’t wait to see the future of “wow” at CES 2010.
Yesterday, I spent a few hours relaxing after a long day of computer repairs and network setups by watching the recently-released Get Smart movie. After all, nothing makes for a geek-evening like Steve Carell in a spy comedy. As the movie started, I did ask myself: “Why didn’t I see this in the movie theater when it first came out?”
That’s when I thought back to the last time I went to the movie theater: The release of the latest Batman installment, The Dark Knight. Sure, the movie was great, but I still remember that sent to my wallet when I saw the $10 price for tickets. After getting a medium soda, popcorn and a box of candy from the concession stand, I started to consider the possibility that I may need to start taking out short-term loans before coming back.
Doing some quick calculations in the back of my mind, I could easily see the claims from my friends about how a night out at the movies could easily cost a family of 4 nearly $75, and that’s not including the cost of industrial strength solvent you always end up needing to remove your shoes from the theater floor at the end of the movie.
Meanwhile, back in the present, I considered how much it was costing me for an evening with Agent 86, Maxwell Smart. I had spent a little over $1000 on my plasma HDTV and a little under $500 for my home theater sound system. With a Playstation 3 doing double-duty as both game system and Blu-ray HD movie player, my personal collection of audio and video toys cost around $2000.
The astounding thing is that you can get satisfactory results for far less than that. Many of my friends are quite happy with their $600 HDTVs and $300 sound systems. Suddenly, that $75 spent for that night out in a crowded theater, where you can’t pause the movie for a restroom break, let alone rewind to watch the good bits one more time, starts to bring into very clear focus why the movie theaters are worried about home theater technology.
Another advantage to a home theater setup is the simple fact that you can control how you consume content. Movies come and go at the local cinema, but you have an entire catalog of movies and television shows to watch at home. With those choices come more options in how much you want to pay for that content, now that you have the option of buying, renting or even streaming a movie or television show. The decision to rent, buy or stream often will depend on how often you might want to view a title.
If, for example, you’re going to re-watch that first season of Lost multiple, multiple, MULTIPLE times, you’re probably better off buying a copy on DVD (or maybe 2 copies, in case you wear the discs out). On the other hand, if you’re only looking to catch up on that episode of “The Office” you missed two weeks ago, you might consider watching a streaming version on Hulu.com. Or you may look into buying an individual episode of House on iTunes so that you can not only watch it on your Apple TV, but carry it with you on your iPod for viewing on the subway.
With the continuing march of home theater technology, the options available to you on when, where and even how you want to watch your movies has exploded over the last decade.
Personally, I’m just glad that Agent 3012 (that’s me) can watch Agent 86 (that’s Get Smart’s Maxwell Smart) on my own terms.
In early 2008, I purchased a Nintendo Wii. After experiencing the Wii at a competition in a Jackson, MI Best Buy, I was hooked. It was my duty to take on the public in Wii Sports, giving those who were up to the challenge a chance to win Best Buy swag and other prizes. A video game that is fun and interactive – wow.
I connected my new Wii to my HDTV and surround sound system and was pretty impressed with the video and audio quality (considering the Wii is not an HD game console like the PS3 or Xbox360). Not only was I impressed with the picture/sound quality, but was excited that my wife (who is definitely NOT a gamer) took interest in playing Wii Sports (which comes with the system) with me. She is quite the pro in bowling by the way.
From the basic games, we expanded to some interactive games like Mario Party 8 and the Agatha Christie series of mystery games. My wife is quite the mystery-lover (she watches countless hours of mystery shows and reads any who-done-it book she can get her hands on), so it was great to see a console truly tailoring games to a broader audience.
We have entertained company with the Wii. From friends our age, to our parents and grandparents, the Wii seems to draw everyone in. It is a modern version of a board game (think of how many hours you have played Monopoly or Scrabble with the family), that helps pull family and friends together. The bottom line, the Wii is a great system to entertain all age groups and is simple to use.
Alright, I confess, there are some things a Wii can’t do. My XBOX 360 has taken my gaming and entertainment to a whole new level. I picked up an XBOX 360 a few months after getting a Wii so I could game socially on the information superhighway. Many friends and colleagues play games via XBOX Live and I felt it was my time to join the online fun. Little did I know what I was getting in to!
The XBOX 360 is as much an entertainment hub as it is a gaming console. Yes, you can play games, but you can also stream movies and music from your PC, and watch Netflix movies (with the appropriate Netflix account) instantly. This system truly integrates all possible angles of entertainment into one small package.
The XBOX 360 presents games in stunning High Definition and Dolby Digital Surround Sound, for the ultimate realistic gaming experience. The game designs tend to be more virtual reality than the simplistic games for the Wii. The XBOX 360 has taken over my gaming life – I play with friends and people from work almost nightly. From racing games, to simulators, to tactical shooter games, I could spend hours…no, days…on this system. (that is, if my wife would let me).
The 360 has some great family features too. You can download family-oriented games from the XBOX Live Marketplace and the parental controls are outstanding (if you need help, check out our
Geek Squad service.) Overall, the 360 is definitely built more for the serious game enthusiast than it is for the casual video gamer.
All in all, both systems have pros and cons, and both can be very entertaining. But you have to weigh your options. The XBOX 360 tends to be a little more expensive then it’s cousin the Wii, but it all depends on the experience you are looking for. And if you can’t decide, you can always purchase numerous systems like me!
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