Toshiba launches an impressive new product fest in time for Christmas

It seems the technology wizards at Toshiba have been burning the midnight oil this year to ensure an impressive range of new products comes out in time for Christmas 2011. There’s the UK’s first glasses free 3D television for a start, a suite of new Blu-ray players, three new Camileo camcorders, an ultra thin tablet and an all in one PC.


The 55 inch ZL2 is a glasses free 3D television that features face tracking technology to provide the best picture wherever you’re sitting, a quad HD image system with 3840X2160 display, no less than four HDMI connections and built in wifi.

The BDX2250 and the BDX1250 are Hi definition 1920X1080 blu ray players at entry level price points. The 2250 also features an integrated ethernet port for online access to You Tube, BBC iPlayer and Picasa.

The HD Camileo camcorder range provides three models designed specifically for very different scenarios. The entry level Camileo X200 offers 1080p full HD resolution with smile and motion detection technology and three zooms from 12 to 60X at various resolutions.  The X400 will let you have plenty of face time with its 23x up to 120 X optical zoom and a 5 MP CMOS sensor will give you some sharp still images too. For outdoor types the ultra compact weather proof Camileo Clip will get you those seat of action views through a purpose built clip design that will fit most helmets and handlebars.

The ultra thin 7.7mm AT200 Android based tablet features a 10.1” HD screen and up to eight hours of battery time.

Finally, the Qosmio DX730 is Toshiba’s very first all in one PC with a 23” HD touchscreen display, Intel Core processor, 6 gig of memory, integrated blu-ray and Onyko built in audio

Pioneer BDP-140: Networking and 3D Blu-ray media powerhouse

The Pioneer BDP-140 is the first model from Pioneer’s new 3D Blu-ray player range. With the high level of competition, it’s a difficult market to enter, so Pioneer have picked a unique selling point: it’s all about the networking.


The BDP-140 has an Ethernet port (for wired integration), as well as wifi (via the Pioneer AS-WL300 wireless LAN converter) to connect the 3D Blu-ray player to your home network. This’ll unleash a wealth of content options.

By hooking up 3D Blu-ray with the internet, users will be able to use BD-Live to stream web-based extras onto the system.

An internet-connected BDP-140 also brings YouTube videos and Picasa photo albums to your TV, utilising the same interface used for all the other types of playback. Other developers, take note: a unified interface is key to internet TV.

The player is also DLNA certified, so video, audio and photo from compatible computers (or tablets/phones) can be streamed straight to the device and onto the big screen.

The supported formats include MKV, DivX Plus HD, WMV and MP3, plus a JPEG viewer for photo slideshows – all playable via CD, DVD, USB or LAN.

A real killer-feature is the iPhone and Android remote control app. As long as the player is connected to the internet, Pioneer’s iControlAV2 app allows wireless control of playback and navigation functions.

It wouldn’t be much of Pioneer product without great sound – and so you’ll find support for a broad range of audio and video disc types, as well as a developed multi-channel audio experience.

High-definition audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are supported, outputted natively as bitstream or decoded internally and output as uncompressed multi-channel LPCM on HDMI. For non-audiophiles, the means sweet sound.

And – like all Pioneer products, it comes in a wonderful bachelor black – the industry standard for serious audio/visual hardware.

Pioneer’s latest quartet backs blu-ray all the way

Since it called time on its television production, Pioneer has seemingly been going full throttle on the audio and home cinema markets which can’t be a bad thing if they can maintain the quality of their product range. The result is a seemingly never ending supply of bigger and better creations catering for all budgets and preferences.


In this latest batch, Pioneer is releasing no less than four blu-ray home cinema systems, two with tall speakers BCS- 717 and BCS -414 and two with compact satellites the BCS-313 and the BCS- 212; clearly an attempt to cater for all types of abodes.

The speaker set up aside, the only other differentiator between the two sets are a bundled cradle iPod/iPhone connector, WiFi and an ultra thin sub-woofer with the BCS-717 and BCS-313. These two are billed as the ‘regular’ line whilst the BCS-414 and BCS-212 being the poor relations by a short head, are billed as the ‘basics’ line.

Both sets of systems have combined 5.1 power output up to1100 watts, 3D Blu-ray Disc playback, HDMI with ARC and 1080p video, twin HDMI inputs web online video streaming, DLNA support for compatible digital media servers and mini jack audio and USB connectors .

The main system units are finished in a high gloss polished acrylic

Pioneer’s new home theatre systems are available on the high street now from £299 up to £499.

Blu-ray gets the blue sky treatment from Sony

Man, those wizards at Sony know a thing or two about audio and visual heaven. Not content with just creating achingly glorious works of what could be termed as electronic modern art (their sleek black lines and slim bodies transforming our living rooms into cutting edge galleries) but they deliver the goods each time too.


The wrappers are off Sony’s new affordable 3D ready Blu-ray 2.1 home entertainment range and once again, the format has been redefined.

Sony’s new 2.1 Blu-ray HD systems, the BDV-EF200, BDV-L600 and the flagship BDP-S780 are jammed full of bells, whistles and many other various forms of musicality. The built in Bravia Internet video platform lets you stream YouTube videos, watch BBC iPlayer, rent movies via Lovefilms and watch Sky News live through the dedicated TV application. Two HDMI ports provide simple connectivity to other HD devices such as set top boxes and consoles, whilst the built in Apple dock provides easy access to your music and video files and control through iPod touch or smart phones.

They might be just 2.1 home cinema systems albeit blu-ray, but the built in S-Force PRO 3D virtual surround sound audio will deliver plenty of power without any ugly wires cluttering up your room and Sony’s IP noise reduction technology will provide sharp images even from internet content.

Sony’s flagship player the BDP-S780 has even more under the bonnet with 2D-3D up-conversion and a pro version of its IP noise reduction technology together with super Bit Mapping to make those images razor sharp. It’s Skype enabled, so get those free calls in, and the built in wi fi will let you control the unit from your smart phone using Sony’s media remote app.

All three players offer improved load and start up times, something Sony already leads the market in, and consider they all come in under £250, you get a lot of blu-ray bang for your buck.

DBP-2012UD: Denon promises top quality from a mid-range player

You might have guessed that when AV supremo Denon launches a ‘mid-range’ product that the price tag may well appear to rather more high-end to we more ordinary mortals.


And so it is with Denon’s latest baby – the DBP-2012UD Blu-ray player – which comes in at an eye-watering £750. Having said that, you know that with this brand you are getting a high-end product, and as they say, you get what you pay for.

If you’re in their mid-range budget range, and fancy taking a closer look, you’ll be glad to know the new model is based on the more expensive DBP-4010UD and DVD-A1UD from the same manufacturer.

This model is a ‘universal player’ which means that it can play 3D Blu-rays, as well as SACD and DVD-Audio discs, and offers DLNA-certification for accessing your photos, music and video over a home network. It will also offer streaming direct from YouTube (a firmware update is due in the spring to allow this).

Upscaling of standard DVDs comes courtesy of a leading-edge Anchor Bay Technologies VRS (Video Reference Series) video processor, which Denon promises will see DVDs upscaled to a quality never seen before.

The DBP-2012UD will be available from March in a silver or black finish, so you’ve got time to do a bit of saving if it’s on your wish list.

Packard Bell’s aesthetically pleasing ixtreme

There aren’t many interesting desktop PCs in the world. Desktops are lumbering beasts in a world where small is cool. So how do you make a desktop system compete for awesome-points against smartphones and laptop? Packard Bell things it has the answer: the ixtreme.


Clearly educated by Apple’s marketing department, the ixtreme has copied two very iPad-esque features: putting an “i” at the start of the name, and coating everything in glossy black. Luckily for Packard Bell, it works.

The ixetreme is an attractive system, with an eye-catching glowing white internet light that illuminates the PB logo (sorry, that’s two more Apple design ideas: check out the Macbook line for glowing white lights and illuminated logos).

Copied aesthetics aside, there are some quite interesting – and unique – features for a desktop system. The “digital photo frame” button delivers a slide show of your preferred photos with a single touch, while an auto-backup button (conveniently located on top of the chassis) helps you to keep any precious files safe. It’s a great idea – two slightly fiddly computer functions simplified into a single button press.

The top-mounted “Device Deck” is another simplification method. It’s a small recessed area on top of the chassis, designed to hold a camera, MP3 player or camcorder while it’s connected to the USB port. Any cables can be hidden under a lid on the rear of the machine as a neat storage option.

It’s also extremely powerful. You’ll find either an Intel Core 2 processor inside, or one of the latest AMD offerings. Then there’s either 3D (as in, jumps-out of-screen) from a NVIDIA GeForce GT400 series graphics card, or the new generation AMD Radeon HD 6000.

Upgrade options include a Blu-ray drive, two USB3.0 ports and up to three hard drives, with a total storage capacity of up to 6TB.

The Packard Bell ixtreme will be available from February 2011, with a base price of around £699.

Star Wars fans of the world unite with the best Star Wars gadgets available

Since it was released in 1977, Star Wars became an American epic, possessing a longevity only a handful of movies manage to achieve and crafting the very essence of the term a ‘classic’. Naturally such a blockbuster has been followed with a steady string of memorabilia, intensifying in sophistication and innovation with each passing decade. So recognisable is the Star Wars franchise, that when Darth Vader himself marched in to this year’s CES, nobody blinked an eyelid. With such an immense amount of toys, gadgets and memorabilia dedicated to the timeless classic, we thought the Star Wars fans amongst our readers may want to learn of some of the best gadgets available dedicated to their unhealthy obsession.

Picture courtesy of @lilstormys

Star Wars Anakin Replica FX Lightsaber

This official reproduction of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber from Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, ignites, glows and produces sound effects digitally recorded from the movie, with such realism that you think you have been beamed out of your living room and straight into Star Wars itself. The FX Lightsaber features a robust polycarbonate bright blue blade and will naturally prove to be a sensation in a home which includes any Star Wars fans. Although it will perhaps be only the most die-hard of Star Wars fans – or the parent’s of the most persuasive of children – who will part with the 360.00 euros to own one.

Star Wars: R2-D2 USB Micro Fridge

If having a cold beer easily within your reach whilst you are at your desk takes your fancy, then simply plug R2-D2 into a USB port and pop a can down his throat and by the time you’ve surfed the net for some more crazy Star Wars toys, he’ll have regurgitated the can a whole lot colder than when it went in!

Darth Vader Nintendo Wii Sensor Bar Holder

With this Wii Darth Vader Sensor Bar Holder, you can channel the force of all your games. This high-quality sculpture would make a great addition to any Star Wars-themed bedroom. Specifically made to Nintendo standards, this uniquely crafted Lightsaber has been engineered to safely support the sensor bar whilst maintaining full range and performance.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-Ray Disc

Ahh so that’s why Darth Vader made an appearance in Las Vegas this year, he was there to promote Star War’s announcement of Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu Ray Disc. These highly anticipated blu-ray titles will be available to own from this September. What still a whole nine months away?!

Kaleidoscope 100 Blu-ray: Fore-fronting a civilization of sedentary entertainment indulgers!

It seems apparent that from the onset of the TV set’s lustrous career, adverts have been the bane of television viewing. As in the late 1940s Eugene McDonald Junior, founder and president of the Zenith Radio Corporation, believed watching TV would be vastly improved if viewers weren’t forced to watch so many commercials. As a consequence of Mr McDonald’s irritation, in 1950 his company invented the first TV remote control, aptly named “lazy bones”.


Naturally such a revolutionary device, beacme widely popular, although like most technology and gadgets, society has a tendency to soon become complacent about their functions, critical of their limitations and discerning of their downfalls.  Tired of tripping up on unsightly remote control cables and still unable to instantly ‘mute’ the adverts, just five years later, Zenith released the “Flashmatic” – the first wireless remote control, which used a beam of light aimed at sensors on the TV that controlled the power, rotated the tuner dial and, at last, turned the sound on and off!

What’s a brief history of the TV remote control got to do with the gadgets of today? Well remote control proliferation is a somewhat contentious issue in the world of technology, with many believing the device has promoted laziness, spoilt us, and even encouraged a rise in obesity. Continuing its prolific evolution in 2010, 2011 looks set to make multi-faceted entertainment available at the touch of a button – deepening the remote control antagonist’s objections.  And none more so  than Kaleidoscope’s 100 Blu-ray Disc Server – making getting off the settee as prehistoric as Tyrannosaurus Rex!

Simply defined, this neat-looking box gives you access to the content of 100 high-definition and high fidelity Blu-ray discs. Kaleidoscope’s box rips and stores data digitally and then streams it directly to a compatible Blu-ray player – although at the moment can only stream to a Kaleidoscope M300 or M500 player.

Unlike the good old-fashioned, ‘bog-standard’ remote control, gadgets this advanced and sophisticated in their methods in transpiring the term ‘couch potato’ into a civilization of sedentary entertainment indulgers, does not come without a price – $1,495 to be exact.

Although as rapidly as modern technology  is evolving, as quickly is its tendency to drop in price, and waiting for these multi-data storage device’s inevitable price fall is advisable.