I Want To Be Entertained?EUR?

Published Date
01 - Jun - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Jun - 2006
 
I Want To Be Entertained…
Our homes are becoming more digitised-which will be obvious after you're done counting the number of gadgets in your house. But that's not the end of it-you probably already wish you had newer models of most of them! That's the lifestyle we're getting used to today, and will continue to do so. This willingness to spend has raised the bar for manufacturers, and with technology surging ahead and convergence blurring the lines between product categories, it's no surprise that every device you go out to buy has a spec sheet over two pages long!

Manufacturers are falling over themselves in the race to your home, offering gadgets in almost every form. However, the most significant category, which is also the most hotly contested, is the personal entertainment segment. Let's skip past the air conditioners that can be switched on remotely, and the fridge that has an inbuilt 12-inch TVs, and look at some products that do nothing but entertain.

TVs
Traditionally, the idiot box has been a staple of everyone's fun diet, and still is. Only, now the boxes are a lot smarter, and come in huge sizes, with as many features as there are competing brands.

The television was given a huge boost in popularity-not that it needed one-with the coming of cable TV in India over a decade ago. Now, with more channels than we care to remember, and a more informed target audience, TVs really need to keep up with ever-changing technologies. Since this is the era of high definition (HD) video, the TV segment is leading the way, and almost every manufacturer has already released products that are decently future-proofed in terms of technology.

It's the age of plasma and LCD TVs, and almost every manufacturer is offering various models of these. What's really cool right now are wireless TVs that do away with the clutter of cables-be it the cable that comes in through the window, those that emanate from your DVD player, and so on. So when you're thinking about where to place your TV, all you need to keep an eye open for is a power outlet. Of course, if you want to, you can have a portable TV for yourself, which doesn't even need a power outlet-for a few hours of viewing at least!

Sharp AQUOS LC-15L1U-S
Sharp's wireless AQUOS LC-15L1U-S is an LCD television that offers 15 inches of screen space (4:3 aspect ratio) and is less than 3 inches deep. It has a rechargeable battery, a 500:1 contrast ratio and a great viewing angle of 170 degrees. It can be carried up to 50 feet from the base station, and why would you want any more than that? With just 2 x 2.1 watt speakers, it's not something you'll enjoy watching a rock concert on, but hey, catching up with the news while you're in the loo should be cool enough to want one! Approximately Rs 50,000 is what you'll have to cough up to own one of these.


Portable Media Players

Here, without a doubt, the iPod rules, whether it's video or audio that you're looking to play! Apple sure has taken the market by storm with its standard and Video iPod models, but that doesn't mean there aren't other options-especially if you want additional features and would like to try something different!

It's really hard to mention just one product in this segment, because each and every big manufacturer is offering so many models with features you never knew existed. That said, the personal favourite of this writer is the Archos AV 700. Here's why:

  • 7-inch, 16:9 wide screen-480 x 234 pixel resolution
  • 40 or 100 GB hard drive capacity
  • Video recording capability-MPEG-4, up to 640 x 480 @ 30 fps
  • Directly record from TV
  • Music recording
  • MP3 and WMA support
  • Photo viewer (JPG / BMP)
  • USB 2.0 port USB host port to connect directly to a digital camera
  • A/V out, earphone out
  • Claimed 4 hour battery life with video, 30 hours* with audio
  • Less than 600 grams …and best of all
  • The ability to play games using the Mophun gaming engine (visit www.mophun .com for a list of supported games)



Other devices such as the Creative Zen Vision and the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet are also good options for people with different needs. If you're looking for something smaller, the Zen Vision's 30 GB might be sufficient for you, and at only 240 grams, it's a lot lighter than the Archos. The Nokia Internet Tablet is for those who primarily want to surf and view multimedia content online, rather than saved content.

Gaming Consoles
There's a whole new market now for gaming consoles. Apart from first person shooter games, everything else is as fun and easy to play on consoles as on the PC. When you consider that the average console is cheaper than the latest top-of-the-line graphics card, forget about the rest of a PC-it all starts to make sense!

The Xbox 360 has been out for some time now, and it's by far the best console yet. However, it's in for some stiff competition from the Sony PS 3, which is scheduled to be released (finally) at the end of this year. Let's take a look at some of the cool features the PS 3 promises:

  • A Cell processor, running at 3.2 GHz
  • 256 MB XDR RAM
  • 256 MB GDDR3 RAM
  • High definition output capable
  •  A gigabit Ethernet port, four USB 2.0 ports
  • Bluetooth
  • BD-ROM (Blu-ray disc ROM) drive
  • Memory card readers (Secure Digital/CompactFlash/ MemoryStick)
  • 20 or 60 GB SATA hard drive
  • 5.1 Dolby audio output



The PlayStation 3 will be the most powerful gaming console when it is released, and it's no wonder that fans are impatiently awaiting its already-delayed launch. We'll have to do a head-to-head shootout of the Xbox 360 and PS 3, when we get our hands on both sometime in early 2007, to be able to tell you if the PS 3 really is as good as it sounds.

If you just cannot wait, go out and buy an Xbox 360 now-it's a magnificent console!

Buy, Buy, Buy
So whether it's gaming, movies, music, or television that is your poison, entertainment is guaranteed! With all the cool products vying for our attention, it's no wonder that the current generation is spending so much money. For those with nagging, frugal relatives, you can always use the popular excuse, "My bank balance may be nil, but at least I'm doing my bit to help the economy by spending!"

Just keep telling yourself that and buy, buy, buy! After all, you only live once!




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