Tag Archives: blu-ray

Samsung Blu-ray 2010 models get update and Hulu Plus app BD-C6500, BD-C7500 and others

Well, what do you know? After many months of waiting and delays, Samsung Blu-ray players – 2010 models (and that also means non 3D ones) got a new firmware update – I downloaded it immediately on my BD-C7500 player  and after installing it I surfed to the Samsung App store – much to my surprise, I saw a brand new Hulu Plus Application, available until now only on Samsung’s flagship 2010 models with 3D capabilities. After I played with it for a while, I have to report it features the same interface as any other Hulu Plus compatible device, it runs quite nice and it is much more responsive than its Roku equivalent. In terms of streaming performance, I prefer more my Samsung connected Blu-ray player than my Roku box which is just too slow. Of course, Roku 2 boxes are around the corned, scheduled to release very soon and they might come with a faster processor, but until then, my Netflix / Hulu Plus enabled Samsung BD-C7500 rocks. Read More…

Panasonic Viera Cast devices get VUDU

You know, there are several stages through which a family of products goes since the first member is released on the market: the first devices are appealing only to the technology enthusiasts, they are slow, ugly, bulky and expensive. Then, they become cheaper and cheaper, svelte, faster and more visually appealing while heading to mass adoption while eventually they become standard, cheap and more important, their feature set gets standardized and become a commodity. While not necessary into the last stage, media streamers in 2010 are certainly on their way to a successful mass adoption, most of them implementing the full set of popular online services as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, VUDU, etc. Speaking of VUDU, if you own or plan to buy a Viera Cast capable Blu-ray player from Panasonic, and you like VUDU, you are in luck because all their Blu-ray players will get firmware updates which will bring VUDU compatibility. The product list? DMP-BDT350, DMP-BDT300, DMP-BDT100, DMP-BD85, DMP-BD65 and DMP-B500.

In case you don’t already know, VUDU has the largest HD movie library accessible online for streaming (over 4000) in 1080p resolution and 7.1 surround sound, with prices per movie starting as low as $2 to rent.

Check after the break for Panasonic full press release.

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Samsung BD-C7500 Review and Samsung Apps

1. Introduction

Without a doubt, Samsung BD-C7500 looks really nice. Described as the world’s slimmest Blu-ray player BD-C7500 brings not only good looks in the equation but also a large set of media streaming features, a fast boot time and a plethora of web clients thanks to Samsung Apps store, the first store by my knowledge to offer applications to run on both TV and media streaming boxes / Blu-ray players. Let’s not forget that Apple TV doesn’t support applications and Google TV’s Android Marketplace compatibility will only arrive next year.

While Blu-ray capabilities of today’s players are fairly good and I doubt many of us could perceive differences in the output quality, especially on a HDMI connection, the media streaming and web clients implementation differ wildly, and this is what makes the subject of today’s review. The screenshot and observations should apply to all Samsung 2010 Blu-ray players and connected TVs implementing Samsung Apps. Most of the Samsung TVs released in 2010 support Samsung Apps and all of Samsung’s new Blu-ray players including BD-C8000, BD-C7900, BD-C6900, BD-C6800,  BD-C5900, BD-C7500, BD-C6500 and BD-C5500.

2. Samsung BD-C7500 Unpacking and Design

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PS3 gets a 3D Blu-ray update via version 3.50 firmware now!

Well folks, firmware version 3.50 for your PS3 console is live now and among other things, 3D movie support has arrived. The less important (for some) updates contain Facebook integration for games, so you’ll be able to brag about your high scores on Facebook and be annoying as hell in the process. And for those that are annoying as hell, you can report them via the new Grief Reporting Function in XMB and hopefully have them banned from Playstation Network.

Now, for the bad part, and this concerns audiophiles: While playing back 3D Blu-ray movies, PS3 won’t be able to output high resolution sounds (Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS master). Why? We have no clue but that’s the way it is. Maybe in an upcoming firmware release, or maybe never if the HDMI interface doesn’t support it.

Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy in Blu-ray, available for pre-order at Amazon

Do you remember Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future trilogy? While new DeLorean cars are hard to come by these days, Universal blows new life in the now classic trilogy releasing the 25th Anniversary Trilogy in Blu-ray. Featuring Blu-ray exclusives as U-Control and Pocket BLU for iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry and Android, the Blu-ray trilogy including digital copies is available now for pre-order at Amazon, scheduled to ship on October 26, 2010. The above mentioned DeLorean is not included and the price is $49 with free shipping and no taxes in most states. You can choose 1080p to play the included trailer in HD

James Cameron’s Avatar Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack $19.99 @ Amazon

James Cameron’s Avatar Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack is now available for $19.99 at Amazon. The price dropped from 24.99 not too long ago, and they didn’t even started to ship. It will ship on April 22nd.

  • Actors: Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez
  • Directors: James Cameron
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • Run Time: 162 minutes

Avatar Blu-ray/DVD Combo available on pre-order at Amazon, shipping on April 22

The first Blu-ray edition (out of several yet to come) of the most successful film in history is available on pre-order at Amazon today and it will start shipping on April 22. This is a somewhat limited edition including only the main movie, no extra footage and no features. Of course no 3D yet, so if you already have or plan to purchase a 3D set this year, you probably want to wait for the next version of this movie scheduled to release later in the year.

I have seen various reviewers around the web, ranging from ecstatic to pure hate, criticizing everything from the number of cultural cliches involved to the simplicity of characters. Regardless of your opinion on this matter, considering the explosion of theaters looking to convert to digital and 3D this year, I would put Avatar in the same category as other movies that helped to revolutionize one aspect of cinematography (The Wizard of Oz (1939) for the color revolution, the 1993 King Kong for the special effects revolution). And again, regardless of where the Oscars went, at least this movie already made history.

Top connected DVD/Blu-ray players of 2010 – a buyer’s guide

In case you haven’t heard, Blu-ray won the format war and the prices are finally at the level where everybody should be able to afford them. Streaming movies becomes increasingly popular and the mighty NETFLIX appears on more and more connected devices. Today, we will take a look at the latest and greatest mainstream connected Blu-ray players from major manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Panasonic and Sony.

Before going into details, we’ll talk a little bit more about what a connected device is and what you need to take full advantage of its full functionality.

As more and more entertainment Internet services started to get popular, and I am talking about movie/music streaming and pictures, a lot of people figured it out that it makes a lot of sense if they somehow can be integrated in the home theater systems. At the beginning, the most technologically gifted consumers used HTPC (and they still do) but having a PC in the living room is not for everybody. A lot of media streaming doesn’t require a lot of tinkering and configurations so the big electronics manufacturers  looked to embed various clients into their connected Blu-ray players or TV lines. The first big company to push for such clients was, you guessed, NETFLIX. The first NETFLIX set-top-box was provided by Roku, and made history, but Read More…

How to watch and organize your movies – Media Browser, the best 7MC plug-in

Introduction:

I promised an in-depth look of the mediabrowser plug-in for Windows Media Center and I am ready to deliver. My experience with mediabrowser started more than a year ago after I built my first Home Theater PC (HTPC). I used for a while the Movie Library provided as default, but something was lacking. After a while, I installed My Movies but it just wasn’t reliable enough for my configuration. I store all my movies on a central server and , My Movies client just didn’t work properly. So I looked around some more and found mediabrowser, a plug-in which at the time wasn’t as mature as My Movies but worked better for my configuration.

I will start describing mediabrowser by using it’s authors own words:

Formerly known as Video Browser, Media Browser is a personal media aggregator that takes your recorded, digital, or ripped media and presents it in a simple, easy to use interface. Media Browser prides itself on delivering a fast, intuitive, media rich experience for the whole family.

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My Home Theater PC Story – The software – Windows Media Center

I promised to blog about my HTPC software configuration, so here it is:

As we all know, nothing works anymore without software, as buggy and inefficient some of it it.  But I am here now, to talk a little bit about that software used specifically for entertainment. I was always a fan of Windows Media Center, starting with its earliest incarnations inside Windows XP, but we have come a long way since then…not necessarily in terms of what is offered out of the box (although Netflix and Internet TV integration are something to write home about), but especially in terms of plug-ins.

Talking about plug-ins, as a personal opinion, we would see way more if Microsoft would move their corporate might and create a Marketplace for Media Center, but it may be that WMC did not penetrate in terms of usage as much as an iPhone would do, and probably never will. It is just us, the technology aficionados…

OK, enough ranting. I will start by saying that I don’t use WMC for watching TV, so no TV tuners are involved. For TV, I have a VIP 722 Dish Network DVR that serves me well. And, when VIP 922 will come, I will get that as well. My current software configuration is oriented around consuming the media I already have (my legal purchased DVDs stored on a server for convenience), my music, family movies and pictures and access to any media available online (HULU, YouTube and Netflix mostly). Lately, I found WMC plug-ins to access Facebook pictures as well, so life is pretty good.

Here is a brief description:

Operating System – Windows 7 Home Premium, 32bit. The reason for choosing 32bit instead of 64bit is due to compatibility issues many of the plug-ins still have with 32bit. Because I don’t have that much time to tinker around, I choose the safe path.

Windows 7 Codecs – Windows 7 codec pack offered by Shark007. Nothing else! Shark007 covers everything I need in terms of codecs, from DIVX to MKV containers with H264 and DTS, including the dreaded MOV format from some of the current digital cameras. I never found any format that this plug-in pack won’t play. Alternative hardware accelerated (DXVA) H264 codecs are also provided to be used by all players.

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Media aggregatormediabrowser is by far the best (in my opinion) plugin for WMC. It takes your recorded, digital or ripped media and presents it in several absolutely Read More…