Five home cinema tips I learned the hard way

I’m a movie fan. I go to the cinema as often as I can, but I also watch a lot of movies in the comfort of my own home. I’ve got a neat little setup that is not at all high-end and hasn’t cost me an excessive amount of money. I did hand-pick every component. But because I bought all the components one by one and didn’t quite go through all the specs beforehand, some things didn’t work out as well as they could have. Here are some things to be aware of when buying AV equipment.
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Has the Google Talk desktop client been abandoned?

I’ve been using the Google Talk application for years. It’s a lightweight Instant Messaging client that was built upon open standards and doubles as a pretty good Gmail notifier. My reason for not using another Yabber client like Miranda was that that wouldn’t allow voice chat, which I often use professionally.

Things turned a little ugly when Google decided to add a web-based gtalk ‘gadget’ to Gmail. All of a sudden I found myself being logged into the same account twice, with messages popping up in either the web or the desktop client without any sort of logic. I was quick to disable the Gmail gadget, but yesterday’s announcement of ‘Google Talk voice and video chat‘ had a big surprise in store for me. It’s a web-client-only feature.
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Upscaling DVD players, what’s the point?

Kaleidescape 1080p upscaling DVD player

As an old school web designer, I consider myself to have a firm grasp of what pixels are all about. Back in the early 1990′s I used to optimize the hell out of tiny graphics, manually editing colour palettes and using things like Floyd-Steinberg dithering. Maybe this is why I don’t understand the hype about upscaling DVD players like this one.
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Convert digicam MOVs to AVI

MP4Cam2AVI screenshot

One of the minor gripes I have about my digital camera is that it stores the MPEG4 videos I records in Apple’s Quicktime format. Not only does this format not speed up time in any way, it’s also hard to process or convert to other file formats. I would have preferred AVI, simply because its far more common on Windows PCs and pretty much any software can load and save AVI files.

While googling for a good converter I came across MP4Cam2AVI. If you can decipher it, the name pretty much says it all. It converts typical digicam MOVs to AVI. And most importantly, it does so without decoding and re-encoding the actual image data stream. Unlike with other solutions the image quality is not affected, it simply changes the video’s file container to AVI. That takes less than a second on my PC, and if you like, MP4Cam2AVI can batch process multiple files for you.

Roy | January 24, 2008 | English,Software | Comments Off
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