John Higgins

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John Higgins  |  Apr 27, 2008  |  0 comments
The one HTPC to rule them all.

A couple of years ago, home theater personal computers were on the cusp of being the next big thing. Everyone wanted to make them to get in on the market, and why not? The ability to put all of your home theater media in one box is incredible. No more getting up to sift through CDs or DVDs only to find that the one movie you want to watch is missing. Instead, you can store movies on a hard drive and access them by remote.

John Higgins  |  Jul 17, 2007  |  Published: Jul 18, 2007  |  0 comments
Projected 1080p for the masses has arrived.

Since 1080p became the buzzword of the year, most projectors that supposedly employ the technology have been more expensive than those that don't. The inflated price hasn't guaranteed that the projector would actually accept 1080p, just that it possibly deinterlaces a 1080i signal. This is changing; most expensive projectors now accept the signal, but only recently has the price started to drop and reach more people's spending range.

John Higgins  |  Jul 02, 2007  |  Published: Jun 29, 2007  |  0 comments
Video: 5
Audio: 5
Extras: 4
When the ad campaign for the theatrical release of Happy Feet started, I was amazed and perplexed. The animation looked fantastic, but, for the life of me, I had no idea what the movie was about. The most amazing part was that not a single person I knew had any idea what the movie was about, but it had dancing penguins and an all-star cast, leaving us all mesmerized. Not only was everyone mesmerized, they all planned on seeing it without any clue what it was about.
John Higgins  |  Jun 19, 2007  |  0 comments
Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 4
Okay, I admit it. I like Will Ferrell. His movies are almost always funny and entertaining, from the recent Blades of Glory, to Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, and back to his evil turn as Mugatu in Zoolander. Some are also surprisingly sweet and touching. (If you haven’t seen Elf, go rent it.) Ferrell’s honest and genuine acting allows him to connect to characters and audiences with ease.
John Higgins  |  May 18, 2007  |  0 comments
Video: 3
Audio: 4
Extras: 5
Since back in 1989, when the first Alien Vs. Predator comic was released, sci-fi and horror fans have been asking the same question. Who would win between the Alien and the Predator? The question was addressed for the following 15 years in comics and video games. Finally, in 2004, the movie AVP: Alien Vs. Predator promised to give us all the answers we were craving. The two species fight it out in an ancient pyramid in Antarctica, and any of us foolish humans that get in the way may never make it back to a temperate climate.
John Higgins  |  May 18, 2007  |  0 comments
Video: 3
Audio: 3
Extras: 1
Before American Beauty and X-Men, there was Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects. Easily one of the most engaging crime thrillers of modern film, The Usual Suspects brings you through a dope deal gone wrong, and what led to it, through the eyes of Roger “Verbal” Kint (Spacey). To go into further detail would be to ruin a fun ride with one of the most notorious reveals in cinema.
John Higgins  |  May 20, 2007  |  Published: Apr 20, 2007  |  0 comments
Behold the power of LEDs.

For the past year or two, the new high-definition disc formats have been dominating the headlines, but, believe it or not, there have been other developments in the realm of video—or at least in the way video is displayed. One of the newest is the use of LEDs as a light source instead of UHP (ultrahigh-pressure) lamps. Essentially, three tiny LEDs (one red, one green, and one blue) emit the light. Since there's one LED for each of the three primary colors, this eliminates the need for a color wheel. Video editor Geoffrey Morrison covered this technology in depth in his July 2006 GearWorks column (also available online). The benefit is that LEDs are far sturdier than a UHP lamp and should easily last until your next display upgrade, saving you money on replacement lamps. While the theory is that LEDs can run cooler than UHP lamps, at the moment, they can often be rather hot, which can lead to excessive fan noise coming from the back of the television. According to NuVision, the LEDs in the 52LEDLP run cool enough that you could touch them without hurting your hand.

John Higgins  |  Jan 31, 2007  |  0 comments
Have HD DVD; will travel

Having an HD DVD player in a notebook isn't a new, revolutionary idea. There have been a couple of notebooks released with one inside, but it is the next logical step in the ever-changing computer market. Not only is high-definition video and audio now a portable possibility, but the ease of mass storage makes backing up loads of vital information a one-disc prospect. The Pavilion dv9000t is HP's offering for on-the-go HD DVD.

John Higgins  |  Jan 10, 2007  |  Published: Jan 11, 2007  |  2 comments
Sometime in the next six months, InFocus will release its Play Big In1 – a $500 entry priced projector. The projector can connect to one of two base units. The first has a built in DVD player and two speakers. The second is their gaming dock that has two speakers as well, plus all the connections you’d need to connect a game system like Nintendo’s Wii. There’s also a mirrored attachment that lets you project the image on the ceiling (they got the idea from kids saying they wanted to play their games while lying down in bed). Manufacturer specs list 500 lumens and 1,500:1 contrast ratio. How is this only $500? It only handles 480p.
John Higgins  |  Jan 11, 2007  |  14 comments
Sharp showed two new LCD sets – 32 (LC-32GP1U, $1,700) and 37-inch (LC-37GP1U, $2,000) – specifically designed towards gamers. Called the Game Players Series, they employ Sharp’s Vyper Drive that reduces visual lag time from console to screen to “imperceptible levels.” A Game Mode button enables the new expanded side terminals (including HDMI and component) for quick change between regular television duties and games. As with all the new Sharp LCD’s, these have a 120 hertz refresh that clears up a lot of the motion blur issues inherent to LCD’s. Oh yeah, it’s also 1080p.