With all the talk of 3D, plasma vs. LCD, LED TV backlighting schemes, 240Hz vs. 120Hz, and all other sorts highfalutin technical specs, there's one small but potentially important TV feature that doesn't get a whole lot of play: The QAM tuner.
Just what is a QAM tuner? Well, according to Wikipedia, QAM stands for "quadrature amplitude modulation, the format by which digital cable channels are encoded and transmitted via cable television providers."
More specifically, it allows you to pull in certain digital cable channels without the use of a set-top box. Or, as the Wikipedia … Read more
At some point you've probably heard about AirPlay, a wireless streaming feature found on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or any Mac or Windows PC running iTunes. While some features had been available for years under the AirTunes moniker, Apple rolled out the AirPlay name and an expanded feature list in the fall of 2010. With the arrival of iOS 4.3, AirPlay has been further enhanced, and--perhaps most significantly--third-party consumer electronics manufacturers are adding it to their products.
Apple sums up the technology like this on its regularly updated "Using AirPlay" page, which has some troubleshooting tips.
With AirPlay, you can wirelessly stream videos, music, and photos from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch to Apple TV (2nd generation) and stream music to AirPlay speakers or receivers, including AirPort Express. You can also wirelessly stream videos and music from your computer to Apple TV (2nd generation) and stream music to AirPlay speakers or receivers, including AirPort Express.
That pretty much tells you what it's all about, but here's a closer look at what you need to know about AirPlay and some tips for getting the most out of it.
Only a limited number of products are currently AirPlay-compatible: Right now, only a handful of products offer AirPlay compatibility (see slideshow, below) and they tend to be fairly expensive. The exception is the Apple TV, which only costs $99, and Apple's AirPort Express (also $99 list). The majority of early AirPlay products are speaker systems, plus a few AV receivers that offer built-in AirPlay support.
Your iOS device is good for accessing media on the go, but there may be times when you want to share your movies, photos, and music, or play games on a TV. Connecting your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to your TV is simple, but you have to select the right cables first.
HDMI adapterApple's Digital AV Adapter is the highest-quality video transfer, and is the only cable that will do mirroring with the iPad 2. It's also compatible with the iPad, iPhone 4, and iPod Touch (fourth generation). When you've connected your television with the … Read more
Gary Ali has hand-built well over 8,000 Portable Pocket Amplifiers since 2004. He now sells the Version 2 model, the PA2V2, for $60, and that price includes shipping charges (he's in Toronto). I chatted with Ali by phone yesterday, and he seemed like a really nice guy.
His site, Electric-Avenues.com, is basic in the extreme, and lacks the usual shopping cart buttons and simplified ordering instructions. It doesn't state the PA2V2's price, so that was the first thing I asked Ali about. He explained that he likes talking to his customers one at a time, … Read more
Want to back up your iTunes library and/or transfer it to another PC? iTunes itself has a backup option, but it requires blank CDs or DVDs. Bleh.
CopyTrans TuneSwift will back up your iTunes library to the media of your choice (including network folders, flash drives, and external hard drives), or let you transfer it to another machine--Windows or Macintosh.
(Just to clarify, TuneSwift itself is for Windows only, but it includes an option for transferring iTunes libraries to Macs. Pretty neat!)
I own both an iPad and an iPhone 3GS, and I can tell you that the number of times I've considered using Bluetooth audio to wirelessly connect to speakers has been zero. I can't clearly explain why: maybe I think a dock that connects through the bottom pin connector is easier, or I get lazy and use the low-powered built-in speakers instead.
Well, let me try to convince you now: using Bluetooth as a wireless way to enjoy audio is both easy and fun. And it can free your iPhone up in very useful ways when you're … Read more
I get this question all the time, "Do I need to spend a lot of money on wire?" The short answer is no. It's like asking if you need to drop $50 or $100 to buy a good bottle of wine. No, unless you're a wine connoisseur; most folks are perfectly happy with a nice $10 variety. True, you'll use a cable a lot longer than it takes to drink a bottle, but I wouldn't recommend spending more on a single set of wires than you'd spend on wine--unless you're an audiophile.
Audiophiles obsess about the tiniest details of sound quality. That, and we frequently listen attentively, an activity few non-audiophiles ever do. Everybody else puts music on and then reads, talks, works, exercises, or cooks. So if you're not really listening, I wholeheartedly agree, spending money on expensive cables isn't a smart move. Another thing, you'd have to own a pretty decent set of speakers to hear the benefit of better cables, and if you already have a set of great speakers you're probably an audiophile.
So all of you non-audiophiles can rejoice. Don't let anyone talk you into spending a lot of money on a speaker or interconnect cable! Head on over to your local hardware store, Blue Jean Cable, or MonoPrice and buy dirt-cheap, decent quality cables. … Read more
Laptops once used to be the domain of word-processing programs, file databases, and light gaming, but more often than not most people currently use their laptops as makeshift do-it-all interactive televisions. With the abundance of streaming video sites and TV/movie content available, they're often the most versatile entertainment products on the market, pound for pound.
Unfortunately, you're locked in to a screen that often has limited viewing angles and a resolution that's often less than 1080p. There's good news, though: connecting to an HDTV is a lot easier than most people think--provided you have an … Read more