Consider this my official holiday gift guide column. I'm not going to do a round-up of all my favorite gift ideas. I'm not going to recommend which phone you should buy, which laptop, which Lexus, or whatever. There are plenty of great gift guides to tell you all that (and I've even worked on some of those, myself). I'm not even going to recommend a specific product. I'm just going to tell you to buy a Blu-Ray player. I don't really know which one to buy, and I don't even have one myself. But it's become the number one item on my list, and it should be for you, too.
Texas Instruments has announced its latest mobile processor, the TI OMAP4440, a SoC packaging a pair of 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore CPUs along with two ARM Cortex-M3 cores to power-efficiently offload time-critical and control tasks. Coupled with the POWERVR 3D graphics engine, that provides a quoted 1.25x increase in graphics performance (including 2x faster HD video playback, with support for 1080p60 and 3D stereoscopic 1080p) and a 30-percent cut in webpage loading times.
Here it is, everyone in the world who loves to have their eyeballs ripped from their sockets, here is the new TRON trailer. Today, take note of the following, if you've not been following along so intently you've basically already seen the movie: there's a storyline here that includes Flynn (from the first movie) flipping a coin to his son promising him a trip to the arcade. Overnight he disappears, leaving his son to fend for himself until he finds that, yes, his dad appears to have been sucked into the machine.
Mister Vlad Savov of Engadget got the chance to wrap his fingers around Panasonic's newest and smallest Micro Four Thirds and take a bunch of photos and video with it. It's full HD. It's very much excellence it does seem. This camera is reportedly 19% smaller than the Lumix GF1, and that's saying something. It's also 7% lighter, functions with a lovely touchscreen user interface, and takes video in 720/60p or 1080/60i recording in AVCHD format. Behold this cool maybe-bulky, maybe-tiny enough for a pocket large-sensor shooter.
Acer has injected some of their nettop DNA into a new network-capable media player, the Acer Aspire RevoView. The STB is capable of Full HD playback from local storage - either on memory card, USB drive or in the user-accesible 3.5-inch hard-drive bay - or streamed over the network via the RevoView's ethernet port.
Boxee and VUDU have announced a partnership that will see the former's media platform - including the upcoming Boxee Box by D-Link - gain access to pay-per-view titles from the latter's catalog. Up to 1080p Full HD content will be supported, together with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound.
The PandaBoard Cortex-A9 OMAP4 developer board we mentioned at the start of the month has gone on sale, priced at a reasonable $174. Based around a dual-core 1GHz chip with 1GB of RAM, WiFi b/g/n and Bluetooth 2.1, the PandaBoard supports 1080p 30fps output via HDMI and is intended to allow developers to whip up OMAP4-compatible apps in Android, Angstrom, Chrome, MeeGo and Ubuntu.
Video demo after the cut
Western Digital has outed its latest media-streaming set top box, the WD TV Live Hub, a low-profile 1TB drive with Full HD 1080p playback support and Netflix, Blockbuster on Demand, Pandora and YouTube. As you'd expect, there's a fulsome list of supported file types - including MPEG4, Xvid, MKV, H.264 and MOV - while ports include gigabit ethernet, two USB 2.0, HDMI, composite and component video, and optical audio.
Panasonic Japan has outed what the company is calling the smallest ever DVR that integrates both Blu-ray burning and a hard-drive. The Panasonic DIGA DMR-BF200 measures a slight 210 x 194 x 65 mm and weighs in at 2.2kg; it can burn BD-R or BD-RE discs and or record media to its 320GB hard-drive.
Panasonic has confirmed availability and pricing for their AG-AF100 Micro Four Thirds HD camcorder, announced back in mid-September and capable of recording full 1080p and 720p HD using a range of micro 4/3-inch lenses, filters and adapters. The AG-AF100 (and, we're guessing, its AF105 Japanese sibling) will drop on December 27 2010, priced at $4,995.