Author Archives: AbsolutelyGeek

Microsoft lifecam cinema 720p HD

Microsoft lifecam cinema 720p HD

The times are gone when you had to remain satisfied with the blurry, dull and choppy videos of your holiday or any other occasion. Microsoft introduces a new high-definition webcam that has a resolution up to 720p, which gives out a high quality video to the YouTube videographers or the instant messengers. Microsoft lifecam cinema 720p HD is a winner of Innovations Honoree Award and is a revolution in the fields of webcams and communication.

Features and Specifications

It has a tough aluminum body with 720p HD wide screen and the ability to capture video at the frequency of 30fps. It features high precision lens with auto focus properties, which proved to be the eminent features of this webcam. A flexible stand at the base makes it easy for the webcam to mount on most of the laptops and monitors. On the top of camera are a small microphone and a button that easily helps it to connect to the Windows Live Messenger.

H5D-00001 Specifications

720p HD Widescreen 720p Sensor captures true HD quality video at up to 30 FPS.
Auto Focus Images stay sharp and detailed even during close-ups.
High-precision Glass Element Lens High quality lens delivers more accurate colors and sharper video.
ClearFrame Technology Delivers smooth, detailed video, even in low light conditions.
Digital Microphone With noise cancelling technology improves speech clarity and helps to get a crystal clear sound
Aluminum Body Reduces weight and improves the durability of the webcam
Windows Live Movie Maker Start a movie project with one click, then upload widescreen video to social networking sites.
Windows Live Photo Gallery Helps to upload photo that can be tagged, shared
LifeCam Dashboard Add special effects and control your webcam – all from the Windows Live Messenger window.
Windows Live Call Button Allows to make video alls
Flexible Stand Can be bent according to convenience to obtain a good angel on the laptop screen or monitor
Video Effects Entertaining video effects that make a video more interesting
Works With Windows Live, Yahoo! Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype
Warranty 3-year limited hardware warranty.

Closer look

The camera is designed in such a way that it can fit into someone’s palm easily. It has a long cable with a clip for the peripherals. There is a flexible rubber base at the bottom providing a support for the surface of almost any kind. The Lifecam Cinema has a body that rotates on its vertical axis about 360 degrees. The head of the camera has upward and downward movement in the motion of 90 degrees. The camera produces video of high resolution up to 720p thus there are chances that we are heading towards a high definition video chat.

Detailed Features

Microsoft Lifecam Cinema H5D-00001 has striking resolution power of 1280x720p at the frequency of 30 frames per second. The video chat at this high resolution seems to be very appealing. After mounting on the rubber base, it is just 2’’ taller. It has a diameter of 1’’. The digital microphone is capable of picking even the smallest and minute noises precisely. Microphone feature of this webcam is excellent offering the facility of cancelling the unwanted noise. The instruction manuals suggest that the Lifecam Cinema should not be plugged in to the computer before the drivers are installed. There are wider resolution options in the Lifecam Cinema starting from 160×120 to 1280 to 720 HD. There is also a setting tab which allows the users to adjust the color and the brightness level and also to set the frequency so that there is no flicker in the monitor. The auto focus feature is just another feature adding to the advantages of the Lifecam Cinema.

Webcam software

In Microsoft Lifecam is bundled with the Windows Live Essentials, which features Windows Live Call, Windows Live Movie Maker, Windows Live Messenger, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Mail and also Windows Live Writer. There are some tips in the user’s manual, which one needs to follow prior to the installation of the software of the webcam. Following the instructions one can have a video of good quality and sound. The webcam produces a good video even in unfavorable light conditions.

The Bottom Line

Even though the Microsoft Lifecam Cinema looks smaller, but the aluminum body makes it durable. It offers varied functionality and the high definition video that makes it versatile. The auto focus and the lens are the elements that enable to capture even the minute details. The digital microphone is just an exceptional property offered by this webcam. This is makes out to be a perfect gift by Microsoft for the game freaks.

Data on the Go – Portable Hard Drives

Portable Hard Drives

One of the largest selling computer accessories these days, portable hard drives contributes considerably large share. With the limited amount of space available, portable hard drives are becoming a necessity these days and companies are cashing on this trend big-time. From trendy to colorful, compact to waterproof; there are a wide range of portable hard drives available in the market which will store loads of data in a secure way.

There are many people out there who do not fancy the idea of purchasing a portable hard drive in this era of multi-gigabyte hard drives. Well, to get started, if you want to move large amounts of data to another computer, a CD-ROM or a DVD-ROM holding some GB of data cannot be used. Also, if there is some problem with your computer, a portable hard drive (also known as external hard drive) will allow the safe backup of important files.

As the name suggests, portable hard drives can be moved from one place to another and can be operated on a plug and play basis. If your computer has USB or Firewire ability, then it will distinguish the portable hard drive as a storage device and will designate it by assigning a letter. Thus, a portable hard drive can be used as a normal hard drive. Also, if you have many family members that use your computer, you can always keep your sensitive data safe and secure by transferring it to your portable hard drive. This data will be accessible once you plug in the drive, use it and simply unplug it once the work is done to lock it in a safe location.

You can store multiple personal things such as personalized documents, audio files, movies, games, photos, archived websites and much more. For business uses, you can store your business presentations, applications, meeting documents. There are some parameters which you should consider before opting for a portable hard drive like cost, durability, storage capacity, and speed. But, now-a-days besides these, the compact size, style as well as other features also matter.

Portable hard drives are compact, swift and convenient way to backup your data. It is an indispensable tool without which you cannot manage your huge data. So, go ahead and figure out one that suits your needs the best.

Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hybrid Drive

Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hybrid Drive


The new Seagate hybrid drives (Momentus XT 500GB) acts as a bridge between HDD’s (spinning magnetic drives) and SSD’s (Solid State Drives) in terms of performance, capacity and price. The external appearance of the drive is similar to any other laptop drive, which has a form factor of 2.5 inch and fits into the standard slot of ‘z’ height and 9.5 mm with SATA 2 interface. It has unique qualities internally and is quite different than the usual laptop drives. It has 7200 RPM spinning speed, 32 MB buffer and a solid state memory of 4 GB. Yes! The spinning hard drive has a solid state memory.

Specialty and Technology Used

The extended buffer can retain data even after rebooting the drive, but the user cannot address the solid state memory as the memory is not visible to the user, hence the OS or the Software really doesn’t matter.  The controller of the drive itself identifies it by the Adaptive Memory used by Seagate, to get data or files frequently from the hard drives spinning portion. It puts it onto the 4 GB section of the solid section. The drive was originally designed to enhance the reading capacity but eventually it has shown good writing performance as well.

SDD’s and HDD’s were the only 2 camps in storage technology until now, which the users had to contend it to the external power manually; while the HDD’s had low storage capacity with low price. Drive-Hybriding concept was tried many times by Seagate and Samsung 2 years ago, but the results were not good to launch it, as one big issue was the OS support with 256 MB flash memory or the SDD’s, which did not obtain sufficient appeal, which resulted in significant drop in prices.

This second generation drive, combines solid state technology and usual normal technology. The solid memory of 4 GB is a Flash NAND, the one accustomed to seeing SSD’s and pendrives, except the Single Layer Cell (SLC) type to increase the speed. This drive uses 2 spinning platters for achieving areal density. The average power usage is 0.8 W at ideal state and 2.2 W during the writing and reading operation, which makes it better than the normal desktop 3.5 inch HDD, which consumes 6 W on an averagely. Seagate Momentus XT 500GB Hybrid Drive offers usable storage space of 465.76 GB when it is formatted, which is on the expected lines. This disk is all through the intense testing and it was found that it did not get over heated or did not become audible.

Key Features

  • 500GB capacity
  • Solid state technology
  • SATA 3.0Gb/s interface
  • 2.5-inch form factor
  • Up to 50% faster boot-up over 5400-RPM drives
  • Solid state hybrid drive delivers SSD-like performance with hard drive capacity options
  • Adaptive Memory technology customizes performance by aligning to user needs for overall improved system response
  • 80 percent faster performance than traditional 7200-RPM drives in PCMark Vantage benchmark scores
  • Low heat and vibration (quiet operation without giving up storage capacity and affordability)
  • OS- and application-independent (designed for any SATA standard laptop PC
  • Seagate® 5-Year Limited Warranty)
  • Boots 40 percent faster than traditional 7200 RPM drives
  • Cuts costs by 75 percent compared to SSDs by combining solid state and hard drive technologies
  • Delivers the perfect balance of speed and capacity
  • Uses Adaptive Memory technology to optimize performance in real time by storing frequently used files and data on the solid state drive component
  • Ensures compatibility with any operating system or application with a standard 9.5mm notebook drive form factor and the characteristics of a traditional 7200RPM drive
  • Offers all the benefits of SSD performance with the high capacity, storage, battery life, power consumption and heat generation of a traditional hard drive
  • Form Factor of 2.5″ x 1/8H (9.5mm)
  • Capacity available currently are 250, 320, 500 GB
  • Interface Type is Serial ATA-300
  • Buffer Size is 32 MB
  • New feature -Native Command Queuing (NCQ), Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR), QuietStep (Ramp Load)
  • Drive Transfer Rate is 300 MBps (external)
  • Random Read Seek Time is 11 ms (average)
  • Random Write Seek Time is 13 ms (average)
  • Average Latency is 4.17 ms
  • Spindle Speed is 7200 RPM
  • Shock Tolerance is 350 g @ 2ms (operating) / 1000 g @ 1ms (non-operating)
  • Acoustics (bels at idle/seek) is 2.3 / 2.5
  • Power Usage is 0.8W (Idle), 1.554W (Seek)
  • Manufacturer Warranty is 5 year limited warranty

Key Benefits

  • Holds all of your data
  • Keep your files safe

Technical Specifications of Seagate ST95005620AS Momentus XT 500GB Solid State Hybrid Drive – 500GB, 7200 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s

  • Capacity is 500GB
  • Interface is SATA 3Gb/s with NCQ
  • Solid state memory, SLC NAND of 4GB
  • Cache is 32MB
  • Spindle speed is 7200 RPM
  • Shock is up to 350 Gs operating (2ms);up to 1000 Gs nonoperating (1ms)
  • Acoustics, idle is 2.3 bels
  • Acoustics, seek is 2.5 bels
  • Operating temperature from 0°C to 60°C

Best-Fit Applications

  • High-end laptops and workstations
  • High-performance gamer laptops
  • Fast external enclosures: USB 3.0, eSATA
  • Small form factor PCs

Bottom Line

The new Seagate hybrid drives (Momentus XT 500GB) has added flash storage inside, to increase the speed of the drive over the standard drive in various scenarios. This second generation drive is the best hard disk in performance, budget and capacity. It will boost the speed of the hard drive, over SSD and the standard laptop drive, which has 5400 revolutions per minute. The performance is up to the mark!

Review of Logitech Revue with Google TV Box

Logitech Revue with Google TV Box

Logitech Revue is the first STB (Set Top Box) that features the newly launched wonderful Google TV. The launch of Box has clearly focused the usage of TV in future. It intended to combine the television to the internet, by fusing them together. It has few new revealing features such as HD calling, myriad apps and a wide range of controls. It has set up a standard for future product and a potential standard.


Google TV Box has much more good features than a normal STB or a TV Box that connects to the TV Set. Although, there were many failed attempts of earlier WebTV launchers, but today the internet has changed drastically. The Android based Google TV Box has attempted to meet television and internet initiatives. New revolutionary software has been provided to access the online media with the latest powerful interface. It overlays TV content/satellite box from the cable and it can control AV receiver, TV, STB with IR emitters (built-in). The users can view both offline and online content through the Google search bar. Chrome is the built-in browser that supports HTML5, flash videos, music and photos from DLNA device or PC.


The Logitech Revue STB is the first product with Google TV. The size of the hardware device is of that of a thick hardcover book but it is a bit lighter. It connects to the cable box or television box through HDMI port and it also has IR blasters, Ethernet and USB ports. Atom CPU of 1.2 GHz is mounted inside but it is not head-turning, which will assist in playing the spiffy videos.

Keyboard is provided by Logitech for navigation and to enter text. Although this it is lighter than other keyboards, it is uneasy to sit with the keyboard instead of a small remote control device. Pressing the shortcut keys can suffice to find the videos but the control over the videos can be a bit troublesome. The gesture pad is not that smooth as that of a mouse, and users might find it difficult to navigate websites or click on links.

Software and the User Interface

Android has debuted with new potential and power and it is used in Google TV. It seems consistent on the use of Android. Google has designed a customizable panel on the left which houses applications, bookmarks and what’s-on user guide. On the right of the interface, one could find a small menu for selecting media to play. The peeking radial gradient background is the one what people usually want. The user has freedom to customize shortcuts for the navigation pane. The application follows the reliable and sensible UI guidelines. It allows the user to hop to another source of media or web by pressing the home button. By pressing the search button the user can access the contents from the web or particular application. The best part of Google TV is that it reduces the work of finding something to watch; hence it also minimizes the complexity.

Watching TV

Google TV does not intend to replace cable. It is a companion for TV, which makes television watching easier. It helps in finding certain entertaining programs and acts more as a home entertainment. Google TV searches for video options irrespective of the location. User can search and decide what he wants to watch.



  • Manufacturer: Logitech
  • Part Number: REVUE
  • Product Type Digital multimedia receiver


  • A/V System Recommended Use Home

Audio System

  • Output Mode Stereo
  • Digital Audio Format Dolby Digital output


  • Optical Digital Output Yes

Digital Player (Recorder)

  • Device Type Digital player (HDD)

Network & Internet Multimedia

  • Functionality WEB browsing,
    Internet video playback
  • Connectivity Wireless / wired
  • Connectivity Protocols IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet),
    IEEE 802.11n,
    IEEE 802.11b (Wi-Fi),
    IEEE 802.3u (Fast Ethernet),
    IEEE 802.11g

Remote Control

  • Type Remote control


  • Connector Type 1 x SPDIF output – Rear,
    2 x ( 4 pin USB Type A ) – Rear,
    1 x – Rear,
    1 x ( RJ-45 ) – Rear,
    1 x – Rear


  • Included Accessories IR blaster


  • Type External

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Service & Support 1 year warranty
  • Service & Support Details Limited warranty – 1 year

The Bottom Line

As Google TV bridges internet and television, web browsing becomes difficult as compared to the computer. The fonts used are small and websites take longer to load. Stick to the actual computer instead of Revue for watching videos or browsing internet. This device is great to watch football game or sports on large screens in the living room. Watching YouTube videos has great clarity but at the same time some websites such as Hulu, blocks Google TV’s access to videos. Google TV does not give a feel of a finished product if it is compared with other competitive products. The best advice would be to stick to the traditional cable television for TV and computer for internet. Waiting for a new improved version of Google TV, would be a better option!

Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect: finally the controller free gaming reached

Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect


Early in the year, Microsoft Kinect was arrived initially as Project Natal. Then, they had the prestigious announcement at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, and now on November 4, 2010, it goes on sale in the United States, and just 6 days later it goes on sale in UK. The people who are interested in staying on their existing Xbox 360 and purchasing just the Kinect separately will cost them $149.99 plus tax to own a brand new Kinect.

Kinect uses skeletal tracking and motion, voice operated commands and facial recognition to give the best motion gaming experience. While setting it up, users should ensure that the sensor has some type of resting platform that is elevated 2-6 feet above the ground level.

Technical Specifications

Sensor Color and depth-sensing lenses
Voice microphone array
Tilt motor for sensor adjustment
Field of View Horizontal field of view: 57 degrees
Vertical field of view: 43 degrees
Physical tilt range: ± 27 degrees
Depth sensor range: 1.2m – 3.5m
Data Streams 320×240 16-bit depth @ 30 frames/sec
640×480 32-bit color@ 30 frames/sec
16-bit audio @ 16 kHz
Skeletal Tracking System Tracks up to 6 people, including 2 active players
Tracks 20 joints per active player
Ability to map active players to Xbox LIVE Avatars
Audio System Xbox LIVE party chat and in-game voice chat (requires Xbox LIVE Gold Membership)
Echo cancellation system enhances voice input
Speech recognition in multiple languages


The navigation of dashboard is pretty user friendly, but not as instinctive.  When the user fires up Xbox 360 with the Kinect plugged up, user can make it active by either waving his hand at the screen or through voice activation. By the facial recognition with Kinect ID, users can automatically sign into their profile.  There is also a variety of signal and voice commands at the user disposal and once user become acclimated to the Kinect.

Kinect ID

The ID of Kinect is basically the Kinect’s facial recognition system.  Once it is fixed up and activated, it can automatically login a player in their designated profile. I had quite a bit of trouble with this set up process as the Kinect seems to be too sensitive to direct lighting. Living room in the house had some windows, which appeared to be something interfering with user ID process.  This whole process took the longest to set up and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

Kinect Design

The Kinect is 1.3 pound in weight, 2.8 x 11.1 x 2.8 inch horizontal bar located on top of a motorized pivot, which is designed to mix inconspicuously into user entertainment setup. The face houses 3 sensors that are used to track player’s voice and movements commands: a monochrome depth sensor, a multi array microphone, and a 640 x 480 RGB camera. Air Vents and the lone connection cable are built into the bottom and sides of the device to keep it cool during long play sessions. A USB/power cable is included for linking Kinect to older Xbox 360 models.

The Bottom Line

In 2010, Microsoft has really stepped up their game with the release of Xbox 360 Kinect. It allows you to have a hands free gaming experience when playing, which creates more fun. So, if you are baseball, football, or soccer fun, then this is an item to really invest in. It will give you the chance to step onto the world arena with your favorite player. You will get a more realistic feel when playing.

HP Mini 110 Series

HP Mini 110 Series


HP revealed its new series of mini screened netbooks 1101 and 110.Both the netbooks are offered in windows as well as Linux operating system. The 110 series is a better netbook as it has an optional BVA Broadcom Video Accelerator and has all the features of a standard business notebook. It has a sleek design, wireless options and long lasting battery life that lasts for more than 9 hours without recharging. Both the new series use 1.6GHz Intel Atom processor, 1 to 2 GB of memory, and 250GB hard drive with Linux version and also has auto-sync software. This software can easily sync all the documents, files and media, the netbook is small but bunches all the essential technology.


The well-known Dutch designer, Tord Boontje, designed HP’s mini netbook by using the very new 3D PC surface technology. The design features imprint 3D, LED display without mercury and a 92 percent of full sized display. It is designed brilliantly in three colors which include black, pacific blue and moonlight white.


HP Mini 110 is powered by Intel processor Atom N455 which is quiet consistent, and consists of 10.1” LED display, 1GB of system memory, Windows 7 (optional), hard drive of 250GB and a 6-cell battery that lasts for more than 9 hours. The data can be transferred through three USB ports and the connectivity is very flexible, as there is a web cam which keeps you connected 24 hours. HP’s quickweb and quick sync connects quickly to web and synchronizes all the data when connected in the same network. There is also a cloud drive which helps to store online files and is also accessible from any computer in network. It also features a media card with a built-in video graphic array VGA port for connecting to a monitor. The one who loves to stay connected at high speed, there is optional mobile broadband with Qualcomm Gobi technology. HP provides very good warranty and security support, and also provides services for all of this through HP total care. It is secured with Symantec Norton Internet Security (60 days trial).

Color black
moonlight white
pacific blue
Operating system Genuine Windows 7 Starter 32-bit
Processor and Graphics Intel(R) Atom(TM) Processor N455 (1.66GHz, 512KB L2) + Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator 3150Intel(R) Atom(TM) Processor N475 (1.83GHz, 512KB L2) + Intel(R) Graphics Media Accelerator 3150
Memory 1GB DDR2 System Memory (1 DIMM)
Hard drive 160GB 5400RPM Hard Drive250GB 5400RPM Hard Drive
Primary battery 6 Cell Lithium Ion Battery (over-sized) – Up to 9.5 hours of battery life +++50% OFF! One 3 Cell (standard) and One 6 Cell (over-sized) Lithium Ion Batteries
Display 10.1″ diagonal WSVGA HP Anti-glare LED Display (1024 x 600)
Personalization Webcam with Integrated Digital Microphone
Networking 802.11b/g/n WLAN and Bluetooth(R)
Mobile Broadband HP Mobile Broadband with GPS
Memory card reader 2-in-1 integrated Digital Media Reader
Ports 3 USB Ports, RJ-45, VGA
ENERGY STAR Qualified Yes
Adapter 30W AC
Dimensions 10.55 in (L) x 7.64 in (W) x 0.93-1.26 in (H)
Thinness 0.93″
Weight 3.0 lbs
Optical Drive External (Optional)
Blue Ray Drive No
Webcam Webcam with Integrated digital Microphone

Bottom line
New HP Mini 110 series is a compact netbook and is available at an affordable price with some added new features .The battery life is great which lasts for more than 9 hours and the wifi signals are quickly accessible. Some of the edited features from previous versions are lacking but still is an impressive netbook introduced by HP.
New HP Mini 110 series is a compact netbook and is available at an affordable price with some added new features .The battery life is great which lasts for more than 9 hours and the wifi signals are quickly accessible. Some of the edited features from previous versions are lacking but still is an impressive netbook introduced by HP. New HP Mini 110 series is a compact netbook and is available at an affordable price with some added new features .The battery life is great which lasts for more than 9 hours and the wifi signals are quickly accessible. Some of the edited features from previous versions are lacking but still is an impressive netbook introduced by HP.

Micca Slim-HD: 1080p

Micca Slim-HD: 1080p

Slim HD Digital Media Player is a hard drive based transportable media drive released by Micca, last year. It is based on typical 2.5” notebook hard drive, which can handle a range of formats and containers and also had 720p HDMI output. A focus on the compact form factor, an ability to use it as a portable USB drive and ease of use are some important features of Micca Slim-HD.


Basically, Micca Slim-HD 1080p provides a playback of all popular music, photos, video and audio formats up to 1080p resolution. Its 1080p HDMI output sends clear and sharp audio and video in pure digital format to HDTVs. Micca Slim-HD is bundled with a remote, USB cable, composite A/V cable and AC adapter. It has an internal drive bay that accommodates all standard SATA hard drives of 2.5” height for up to 750GB in storage capacity. It can also be used to play movies in-car video system, as it has optional car power adapter.


The DMI (Digital Media Player) is quite slim and small, at 5.35” (L) x 3.15” (W) x 0.79” (H). In design it is as same as other 2.5” portable hard drives, excluding slightly thicker. It is smaller than most of the other HD media boxes such as Seagate’s GoFlex TV and WD TV Live models, which both go beyond 4” x 5” x 1.5”. At the top face of Slim-HD, there is logo of Micca Slim-HD, a power button and LED. Its front side contains the remote’s IR sensor and HDD activity light. The back side includes a 3.5mm AV out, a mini-USB port, an HDMI port and a 5.2V DC input. To the right side there is SDHC card reader to round out the ports.

The remote of the HD is very small as well as light, but somewhat confusing due to its buttons as they are not organized properly. Once the button placements are figure out, it works well. It has an integrated SD card slot for those people, who want to put the memory card of their camera onto the TV directly for viewing purpose.

The UI (User Interface) of HD is very clean, intuitive and functional with straightforward menu system. Its home screen is black and has 5 buttons such as Movies, Music, Photos, Files and Settings. Its files and folder are presented in alphabetical order in white text on black background.


With broad audio and video codec and file format which supports up to 1080p Full-HD resolution and 20-50mbps, Slim-HD is truly a next generation digital video device. Its internal 2.5” drive puts it apart from GoFlex and Live Plus, which don’t have internal hard drives.

The following table gives a brief summary of Micca Slim-HD Specifications:

Features Supported Formats
1080p Video MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4-XVID, DIVX, H.264, H.263, WMV9/VC1
Video Codecs H.264/AVC, VC1,MPEG1/2/4, DivX/Xvid, RMVB
Audio Formats MP3, WMA, OGG, FLAC, APE, AAC, AC3, ATRA, DTS
Photo Files JPG, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG

Slim-HD has been made to use with all TVs, HDTVs and home theater systems with extensive connectivity. Though there is no cooling mechanism in Slim-HD, it is completely stable and doesn’t heat up much which points to the low power consumption of F10 SoC. Other than that, Slim-HD has more compatibility than WD TV with more compressed 1080p video.

The bottom line

Micca Slim-HD is a compressed yet very powerful and transportable digital media player, which has playback capability of all popular music, photos and videos. It is also capable of decoding all popular video formats up to 1080p resolution. It is really an interesting proposition, which is a great entertainment source for business and vacation trips.

Review of Apple TV

apple tv

Three years after the launch of the original expensive Apple TV, Apple has re-launched their updated Apple TV, which is smaller, cheaper and based on streamable video. This product appears to be a worthwhile entertainment system. The new device has hit the market with new functionalities and enhancements, which supports WiFi-N 802.11. It does not have local storage drive as this box is built on rental model and it depends on the internet cloud for the streaming media content.


This new product is smaller to the earlier launch, weighting almost half a pound. Its sides measure 3.9 inches and it is less than an inch tall. It operates with very little power and low operating temperature. There is no power button to turn it on or off, hence it is constantly on standby mode unless unplugged. The design is very simple with only essential connectivity solutions. The rear of the device has ports for power, Ethernet, micro USB, HDMI cable and optical audio. Setting up the device is very simple – just plug in and enter the network information.

The device uses infrared to connect to the remote sensor, as opposed to Bluetooth. Infrared, works on the line of sight principle of connectivity, which means that the remote works only when it is pointed in the direction of its sensor without obstructions. The remote is effective enough and has many buttons for basic navigation such as play, pause, central button and a directional wheel for clicking. The remote is made of aluminum and it is very thin and small. It feels nice in hands but it is extremely easy to get misplaced. These televisions can also be controlled through iPad and iPhone touch.

Apple TV is based on the rental streamable and downloadable content. Television programs and movies can be streamed and downloaded directly from iTunes through the specialized interface. New and old movies can be streamed with 5.1 surround Dolby Digital sound.

Technical Specifications

Size and weight:

  • Height: 0.9 inches (23 mm)
  • Width: 3.9 inches (98 mm)
  • Depth: 3.9 inches (98 mm)
  • Weight: 0.6 pounds


  • Built-in 6-watt universal power supply


  • Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n)

Ports and interfaces:

  • HDMI (video and audio)
  • Component video
  • Optical audio
  • Analog RCA stereo audio
  • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
  • USB 2.0
  • 802.11n wireless networking6
  • Built-in IR receiver (works with included Apple Remote)

Environmental requirements:

  • Operating temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
  • Storage temperature: -4° to 113° F (-20° to 45° C)
  • Relative humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing
  • Maximum operating altitude: 10,000 feet (3000 m)

System requirements:

  • Wi-Fi (802.11 a, b, g, or n) wireless network (wireless video streaming requires 802.11a, g or n) or 10/100BASE-T Ethernet network
  • iTunes Store account for renting movies and TV shows
  • Netflix account for streaming Netflix content
  • For streaming media from a Mac or PC: iTunes 10.0.1 or later; iTunes Store account for Home Sharing

In the box:

  • Apple TV
  • Apple Remote
  • Power cord
  • Quick Start guide

Processor and storage:

  • Intel processor
  • 40GB hard drive2 for storing content locally
  • Up to 50 hours of movies and TV shows3
  • Up to 9,000 songs4
  • Up to 25,000 pictures5

Video formats supported:

  • H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps)
  • iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels
  • MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps)

Audio formats supported:

  • AAC(16 to 320 Kbps); protected AAC (from iTunes Store); MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps); MP3 VBR; Apple Lossless; AIFF; WAV

Photos formats supported:


TV compatibility:

  • Enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080i 60/50Hz, 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz (PAL format), or 480p 60Hz


  • XtremeMac HDMI to HDMI cable TL951LL/A
  • XtremeMac HDMI to DVI cable TL952LL/A
  • XtremeMac component video cable TL953LL/A
  • XtremeMac analog audio cable TL954LL/A
  • XtremeMac TOSLINK optical cable TL955LL/A
  • AirPort Extreme Base Station MA073LL/A
  • AppleCare Protection Plan MA937LL/A


  • 1.0GHz Intel Pentium M-based “Crofton” CPU, based on SSE2 Dothan model # 7645A966 0159
  • NVIDIA G72M graphics with 64MB DDR2 memory
  • 256MB of 400MHz DDR2


  • Modified version of OS X 10.4.7 along with some 10.4.9 kexts


  • Apple TV uses EFI, based on the presence of the hard drive in GUID map


  • TCP port 3689 is used to communicate with iTunes while using the iTunes Library Sharing feature.
  • UDP port 5353 is used by Apple TV for automatically finding computers with iTunes on your network using Bonjour.
  • TCP port 80 and 443 are used for basic and secure communications with the iTunes Store via the Internet.


  • H.264 and protected H.264 (from iTunes Store): Up to 5 Mbps, Progressive Main Profile (CAVLC) with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 1280 by 720 pixels at 24 fps, 960 by 540 pixels at 30 fps)
  • iTunes Store purchased video: 320 by 240 pixels or 640 by 480 pixels
  • MPEG-4: Up to 3 Mbps, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps (maximum resolution: 720 by 432 pixels at 30 fps)

The Bottom Line

The worst part of Apple TV is the installation of iTunes. The home sharing has to be turned on, without which iPhone, iPad and iTouch remote applications would be unusable. Furthermore, the contents that is stored in the DLNA/PUnP device.

The use of Airplay, the new de-facto content sharing standard is brilliant and becoming very popular. When it is used with iPad with developer builder iOS-4.x, the user is able to stream audio from both iPod applications and YouTube. At the end, considering all the features, Apple TV is a best buy!

ATI FirePro V9800 Review

ATI FirePro V9800


AMD launched an ultra-high-end workstation graphics card, the ATI FirePro V9800, the latest addition to the FirePro family, which is equipped with six small display ports. It is the most powerful graphics card AMD has ever created. It shares a lot of features with its predecessor V8800, only performance differentiates it with the V8800 and rest of the FirePro line.

ATI FirePro V9800 has a total frame buffer of 4GB, which is double that of the V8800. This large frame buffer allows the GPU to handle much bigger data sets for higher quality depecting at higher resolutions. The GPU has 1600 Shader Processor Cypress core, which supports Shader Model 5.0 Direct Compute, OGL 4.0 and DX11.

With this product AMD is taking aim on the workstation market and intends to regain lost ground. It is well suited for professionals who work with the most intensive 3D environments and also with the largest data sets. This card is used to solve difficult, mission-critical problems, like helping oil and gas companies to provide more effective means of production and transportation, helping architects to plan and construct buildings, and even helping engineers design and build cars.

Apart from being the ideal professional graphics solutions, I am pretty much sure that you can use it for your games.


GPU and Memory
Memory Interface 256-bit
Stream Processors 1600
Memory Size 4GB
Memory Type GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 147.2 Gbps
Core Clock 850  MHz
Memory Clock 1150 MHz
Display Outputs
Display Ports 6
Maximum Resolutions 2560 x 1600 @ 60Hz
Stereo 3-pin DIN
API / Feature / OS Support
DirectX 11.0
OpenGL 4.0
Shader Model 5.0
ATI CrossFire Pro Support Yes
ATI Eyefinity Technology Support Yes
ATI FirePro S400 Synchronization Module Support (for Framelock / GenLock) Yes
Stream Computing Yes
OS Support Microsoft Windows 7, XP and Vista, Linux (32-bit or 64-bit)
Thermal / Power / Form Factor
Max Power Less than 225 Watts
Slots 2
Form Factor Full Height / Full Length
Support Energy Star 5.0 Compliance Yes
Bus Interface PCI Express 2.1 x16
System Requirements
RAM 512 MB
Optical Drive CD-ROM for installation
Power Supply One 2×3 and One 2×4 auxiliary power connectors


  • ATI Eyefinity Technology –This technology enables more efficient multitasking and improves visualization applications. It supports up to six independent displays, as it have six mini display ports.
  • AutoDetect Technology – As a user opens new applications or moves between applications, the graphics driver settings are automatically configured for optimized performance.
  • 3D Stereoscopic Support – Effortlessly work in stereo with support for 3-pin active sync stereoscopic glasses.
  • Full 30-bit Display Pipeline – It enables more color values than 24-bit products for superior visual fidelity and more accurate color reproduction.
  • Full Shader Model 5.0 Support – It helps to create highly complex scenes and geometry without putting the load on CPU.
  • OpenCL 1.0 – Industry standard API – Open, multiplatform development platform to help enable broad adoption of heterogeneous computing.
  • Certification – When used with professional 3D software packages, it ensure reliability, compatibility and the highest level of performance.
  • DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4.0 Advanced Features – Enables optimal performance in leading applications.
  • Framelock/Genlock support – For smooth multi-display visualization.

A Closer Look

AMD has modified the latest version of FirePro cards to remain relatively quiet, even with high-end models, and V9800 users will benefit from it. Upon start up, the V9800 powers on quietly and stays that way during normal use.

The ATI FirePro V9800 has the same basic design as its predecessor V8800 with a svelte red-on-black color scheme. It uses a matte-black heatsink assembly that incorporated ATI’s dual-slot copper heatpipe cooling solution. On the front side of the card, there is a 6-pin and an 8-pin PCIe power connector and the maximum board power is 199W (down 9W from the V8800). The embedded fan exhausts air out of the back of the card and also out of the system, which keeps components cooler inside the case.

The most significant advance feature of the ATI FirePro V9800 is multi-display support.  It supports up to six monitors with a maximum Resolution of 2560×1600 @ 60Hz.   This means a dramatic increase in display density and visualization capability for markets from medical imaging to digital signage, CAD and DCC.  It is equipped with 4GB GDDR5 memory, offering industry visual quality and leading performance. Its performance increases significantly as compared with the previous products of FirePro family, including 2.27 times increase in performance, and also 1.25 times increase in stream processor performance.

The Bottom Line

This is the fastest ATI FirePro model available in the market to offer six outputs.  It offers a ton of 3D performance and a considerably larger frame buffer. The cost of the FirePro V9800 is quite high, but it offers an impressive performance and features. It delivers the ultimate in computational power and performance. For outstanding performance and flexibility, this graphics card is the ideal professional graphics solutions.

HP Slate 500

HP Slate 500

The HP Slate was first unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, where it failed to gain momentum at par with the Apple iPad. Later, HP re-jigged their product and launched the HP Slate 500 on October 22, 2010, projecting it as an enterprise market product. The 8.9” Slate compete with other similar consumer products from Apple, Dell or Samsung. Nevertheless, it can be a good productivity tool for on-the-road professionals.


The Hp Slate 500 may seem expensive at first, but its specifications and productivity make up for that. It can be an ideal tablet PC for professionals who are on a constant move and cannot be tied to a workstation or desktop. The Slate comes out as a sturdy, light-weight device with slick industrial design, which weighs just about 1.5 lbs (0.68 kg).

The tablet runs Windows 7 OS which can provide the professional with seamless productivity. With a Windows OS, the user has multitude of apps and software at their disposal, hence they can truly work away from their desk.

What is being seen as a weakness of the Slate is the lack of any specialized software for the touch-panel. The tablet doesn’t come with any other custom software and depends on the built-in features of Windows 7 OS for the touch-interface like the on-screen keyboard.  The HP Slate Digital Pen (included) can be used for taking notes which sets the tablet apart from other Windows 7 based ones.


The 9.21 x 0.58 x 5.91 inch (23.40 x 1.47 x 15.00 cm) tablet runs on an Intel Atom Z450 processor (1.86 GHz), 2 GB RAM and 64 GB Solid State Drive (SSD). The Slate sports an 8.9” – 1024X600 pixels WSVGA capacitive multi-touch display panel, which boasts HD video playback facilitated by the Broadcom Crystal HD chip and Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 500.

On the connectivity front, the tablet has integrated 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth ® 3.0 and HS combo. It also has a USB port, a SD card slot, integrated microphone, a combo-stereo headphone/microphone jack, a front VGA and a rear 3 megapixels camera and a docking connector. The dock (included) further enhances connectivity with two more USB ports, HDMI output and extra headphone and microphone jack.

The Slate comes with per-loaded Windows 7 Professional that helps in enhancing productivity along with providing a portable net-book-like experience. Also, the touch-screen interface is mostly lag-free, unlike other Windows based tablets sparing the professional the operational irritation. The Slate also takes input from an included stylus that the company calls as HP Slate Digital Pen. The official HP site boasts of the Slate having ’up to 5+ hours’ of battery life as well.

The only extra software the Slate comes with are HP Slate Camera, EVERNOTE, HP Support Assistant, Adobe Reader, and Adobe PDF.

The HP Slate 500 comes bundled with a docking stand, a carrying case and the pen with a price tag of $799.

Comparison with Apple’s iPad

The Slate initially failed to shine through the glow of Apple’s iPad, but when it comes to connectivity, the Slate wins hands down. It has various other hardware advantages over the iPad as well. Where iPad runs on the iPhone OS 3.2, the Slate runs on a full Windows 7 Professional OS; hence one does not have to depend on proprietary apps and can choose from the already available wide variety of software and applications. One also gets the functionality of multi-tasking which is unavailable with the iPad. And where iPad has no camera, the HP Slate comes with two.

The parameter where Slate lacks is the touch-interface and 3G connectivity.

The Bottom-line

The HP Slate 500 is a good tablet which is suitable for an enterprise professional on constant move. It provides true on-the-road productivity, good connectivity and sturdy operating system. But the lack of a customized touch-interface may be a hindrance and also the higher price tag can limit it to enterprise users only. If it can be an iPad Killer, is up to the user.