A Nightly Gadget Update

I didn't see any news today because after work I became enmeshed in the online world of electronic gadgets. I'm still replacing the items taken during my home invasion last month, and since I wasn't insured, I have to go slowly. Make that at a snail's pace. I've spent untold hours this week learning and relearning the features of dvd -vhs recorders, blue ray players and units that do both with upscaling convertibility to 1080p so the picture matches that on your 1080p Hi-Def tv. [More...]

I've mentioned before that I think the Sharp Aquos model HD-TV's are the best. I have two.

The dvd-vhs recorder for one of the tvs went off with the bad guys, along with the tv. The other is this Panasonic with an 80Gb hard drive, as well as dvd and vhs, so you can record to the hard drive and then to the vcr or dvd, or any combination you want. I got it years ago, and learned today they are no longer sold in the U.S. Too much pressure from the media companies who didn't want stuff you record on tv, especially movies, put onto hard drives and then transferred to dvd and distributed.

So, my Panasonic, which I bought for around $300, is going for up to $1,900 on Ebay and elsewhere since otherwise you can only get dvd recorders with built in hard drives in Europe and Asia. I thought of selling it, but it has a feature I really like: Hooked up to my comcast dvr, it will transfer stored programs from the dvr onto a DVD. I don't want it to transfer movies or premium cable shows, just recorded news shows I appeared on as a guest. It's HDMI capable, and upscalable, so it's as good as whatever is out there now.

Then there's the blue ray player I got for free by cashing in 30,000 points I had on a credit card. In exchange for the points, I got 6 $50 Amazon Gift Certificates, the price of the Blue Ray I wanted, and used them online at Amazon's site to get the player.

There are differences between blue ray players -- the biggest one is if you want Netflix movies. With the Samsung Blue-Ray player I got, the BP-2500, it's set up for you to pick your movie or tv series on Netflix and watch on your tv (not computer) in less than 30 seconds. As uncoordinated with cables as I am, I managed to set the blue-ray correctly to the tv, update the firmware on the blue-ray player, and then have my netflix account activated on my player in 4 minutes. Then, I went to Netflix on the computer, picked four or five movies and clicked "add to instant queue." I turned on the blue ray player and there they were. All I had to was click to watch.

The picture is really HD quality and it streams effortlessly. No glitches, the video and voice sync appropriately, etc. Netflix charges $1.00 per month extra for this for unlimited viewing. You could watch 50 movies a month if you had the time, and the added cost to your Netflix plan is $1.00. The only minus is your player needs to be somewhere near a wired ethernet port. I dug out an old 50 ft. ethernet cord in the basement and it worked just fine. It works so great that I recommend it to all of you.

Back to my old comcast dvd recorder that has my old tv appearances on them. Getting them from the comcast recorder to another dvd recorder is tricky because they don't like you to do that. But I'm almost 100% certain I can do it if I hook it up to the old Panasonic recorder with the hard drive. I should be able to record hard drive to hard drive and then transfer them to dvds as I have time.

I can also return to recording stuff on the hard drive and then putting just the segments I want onto dvd to convert and upload to You Tube. I like making You Tube videos.

My last hurdle was what to do about the other flat screen tv: Get another blue ray player or another vhs-dvd- recorder without the hard drive. I hemmed and hawed on this all day, reading specs and consumer reviews and price comparisons, and ended up buying the Toshiba 610.

It would be nice if they made Blue-Ray recorders, not just players, and they may in 2009, but not yet.

I'm 90% done from the home invasion that started this whole project. I really want to be done by Xmas so I can return full time to blogging and lawyering by the first of the year.

I'm tapped out for now, and I've only got two items on my wish list: Replacing my 13" Macbook with this one and my Flip Mino HD recorder. If anyone wants to buy either for me, those are the links. You can also give $5.00 Amazon gift certificates which I can use towards it.

This has been quite a month, it literally turned my world upside down, between the bank, credit card and online password fraud issues (now fully resolved) and the odd feeling of walking around your house and not seeing your most fun things there.

I'm wiser now: I have a burglar alarm system that's always on (whether I'm in or out of the house) and heavy duty renter's insurance. Fool me once.....

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    The hourly rates are probably lower, but ... (none / 0) (#1)
    by cymro on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:20:47 AM EST
    ... if you're ever short of work as a lawyer, you could start a home electronics tech support service. I'm impressed!

    I can't even imagine having to replace (none / 0) (#2)
    by nycstray on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:23:03 AM EST
    so many electronic gadgets at once! Oh MY! When my TV died recently, I so didn't want to learn, so I went by online reviews and my good friends' experience a month earlier (they didn't want to learn either!). I skipped a lot of the tech info stuff and went for picture and ease of use. Ended up with a darn good set that is full HD and all this other "stuff", lol!~. Funny thing is, if I had to replace more than the TV, I'd be doing what you are doing. That is also my reputation on past purchases. I may have been on info overload in other areas. I just didn't have it in me to do all that freakin' research! The electronic wave got ahead of me while I was busy in the kitchen, lol!~

    I've been living in a safe building for so long, it's nuts. I had 1 breakin and another attempt while I was home at my last place. Here, my LL is an ex NYPD detective and a majority of the 8 apts have folks home all the time. I've gotten lazy on the security and insurance front. Plus, I have my dog ;) But your experience is a good reminder that I should at least get renters insurance again. Just in case some fool decides to challenge my dog's bark. {AKA bark may be worse than no bite!}

    Wow (none / 0) (#3)
    by squeaky on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 04:44:06 AM EST
    You sound like you are quite the electronics specialist. Glad to hear that you are almost done replacing the stuff you lost. What a nightmare.  

    Thank you for participating in the government's (none / 0) (#4)
    by steviez314 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 07:13:05 AM EST
    new Television Appliance Robbery Plan (TARP).

    If more people would allow government regulated robbers to steal their stuff, and then go shopping to replace the stolen items, the economy will resume its growth in no time.

    Again, thank you.


    Henry Paulson

    Jeralyn look into the Sony Play Station 3 (none / 0) (#5)
    by Saul on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:09:50 AM EST
    It is the best for your bucks.  Since its a computer by itself and a blu ray player it is better than just a stand alone Sony blu ray player which IMO are the best on blu ray. It better than a stand alone Sony blu ray player since it must play the games.  It also upscales your regular dvd to 1080p status but will not equal a blu ray dvd.   They come in 60 and 80 gb bundles.  The 80 is going for 499 but you are getting 3 things.  A game player, the best blu ray player and and 80 gb recorder where you can store your DVD, CD's and more. You can also hook it up to your computer  Also it up scales your regular dvd to 1080 p

    Also go the Bose web sight.  Many people don't know that they can buy the items directly from Bose just like when you buy at QVC and HSN and that is they will give you 12 months to pay with no interest.  They just hit your debit card 12 times a year but with no interest.

    I like the 3 2 1 system.  It comes with 2 small speakers and one acoustic mass and a DVD player, that has an AM FM receiver which also plays songs CD and has an HDMI connection. No speakers in the back but you will turn around thinking there are speakers behind you.  You need to hear the system it is incredible sound.  Once you hear the Bose nothing else will do.

    As far as HDTV are concerned to me the top are Samsung and Sony and only the LCD type not the plasma type.  The latest version of HDTV are the 120 mz version.  Without this option as you watch action or football games when the people are moving at fast speeds you will see a blur but the 120 mz has eliminated the blur.  

    The next version of TV coming out are laser TV's. We will see them soon.  Claim this is the ultimate in TV viewing.

    Yep we live in a world of electronics.

    Forgot contrast ration on HDTV (none / 0) (#6)
    by Saul on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 08:29:07 AM EST
    You need to ask what the contrast ratio are on each HDTV.  The higher the better.  Here is you tube on laser tv the next generation of tv's

    Best electric entertainment gizmo (none / 0) (#7)
    by Frank Burns on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:14:01 AM EST
    for the upcoming depression: a good reading lamp.
    It is fun to shop for these toys, though.

    You can buy a blu ray camcorder (none / 0) (#8)
    by Saul on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:54:02 PM EST
    thanks, but I was talking about a (none / 0) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 12:59:24 PM EST
    blue ray player-recorder (not camcorder) which lets you record a movie or tv program (not just watch it.) One less machine to hook up. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

    You don't have long to wait coming in 2009 (none / 0) (#10)
    by Saul on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:21:07 PM EST
    Panasonic will have a stand alone blu ray recorder out in 2009

    I've had several older model vhs recorders stop working recently.

    I loved them because they had their own channel selectors on them.

    I could record a show on one cable channel on the vhs via its channel selector, and simultaneously watch a show on a different channel on the TV via it's channel selector.

    Problem is it seems like very few (ok, none at CostCo) vhs/dvd recorders have their own channel selectors anymore.

    Does anyone have a solution?

    Oh yeah, (none / 0) (#12)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 02:35:49 PM EST
    and the vhs/dvd recorders don't seem to have cable inputs anymore either...