2007-11-03

Size and Format Matters

Alternative title: You may have an HDTV in the living room, but I have entertainment system in the bath room: Ipod touch.
 
Before buying a wide screen TV, you need to calculate the vertical real estate you are losing by going wide screen. As for computer screens, you might want to save a few buck by pressing F11, it is amazing how much space those menu bars take up (you will need to use "alt, tab" a lot though).
 
Don't be like one of my friends who bough a wide screen High Definition Television set but is too cheap to pay for a high definition input cable box. He just has normal analog cable because "he doesn't watch TV that much" Argh!!!!
 
Ipod Touch (aka iTouch)
At the other end of the spectrum, I still love my iPod touch. However, I haven't gotten Moncton's free wifi to work on it (it keeps hanging on the login page).
 
The screen is nice, but content is king. So I still use my Sensa because of the radio (a FM radio receiver is available for the iPod). Podcasts are cool, but I'd have to spend the entire day on the bus to watch all the content I've been downloading. Still, most of the video podcasts are amateurish crap. I've figured out how to copy flash video (such as Google video, YouTube and Tetes à claques) on to my device in a playable format (MP4 H.264), but the process is time consuming enough that I usually end up watching what I'm transferring first, so I end up with a bunch of 3.5 inch reruns.
 
TV is where it is at. And I'd like to watch great shows when I have a few minutes (based on a Youtube video, the Simpsons look amazing on the ipod touch). However, transferring TV to ipod is a pain in the neck. I'm tempted to purchase iRecord. However, at $264 at Futurshop, I feel it is a bit pricey. How often would I really watch TV on my iPod? There are also a number of alternatives such a Neuros ODS and V Mate, among others. All have advantages and limitations. I'm not sure the time, effort and money is worth the payoff of a TV library in my pocket. 
 
Update:
 
Alright, when factoring shipping and the fact I don't have a credit card, I bit the bullet and bought iRecord from Thesourcecc.ca for C$229, shipping included (thank goodness for Interact online). They aren't clear on how they ship, but as most people, I live near one of their stores so that is where it will be delivered.
 
The reason I bought iRecord was that it has been on the market for a while; seems to work according to reviews; there have been no reports of self combustion; it is easy to use (as ALL entertainment devices should be), it records in the MP4 H.264 format that my iPod Touch uses. Apparently, it will record directly to the ipod, no computer required, but I'll believe that when I see it.
 
I also just happened to have recently bought a 500Gig usb hard disk drive from LaCie for the too good to be true price of $149 at Future Shop. It is formatted in Fat 32, I have no idea what that is, but apparently that is what the iRecord needs as a format to record on a usb drive. I read one complaint online that copy protection will not allow you to record DVDs onto a usb drive(1) (see why I don't care, below).
 
So far, my iPod touch is getting expensive. $329 for the 8Gig version. $149 for a 500gig hard disk to store the podcasts, media and Flash video to mp4 h.264 video conversion software (software was free). $229 for the iRecord. I'll obviously be forking over an other $65 for the cable that enables the TV out feature of my Ipod Touch (as soon as I can find out how to buy from the Apple store without a credit card). Oh, and $20 for a music card so I could open an account an enable the cover flow (a credit card would have worked to). Grand total: $792! ($902.88 including tax). Add the 80 bucks I spent on RAM this summer (iTunes is gready) and I'm starting to realise that the digital age is expensive (this all for entertainment!).
 
Given the final price, the Archos 605 Wifi would have been significantly cheaper. However, good luck trying to figure out how much cheaper, as with the Archos, everything is sold separately.
 
With the Archos or the Ipod Touch, wireless Internet is essential. However, check to see if you can "borrow" your neighbor's before you buy a wireless router and spring for higher Internet bandwidth.
 
Feel free to leave any questions you have on the subject in the comment section. I'm off to the can with the NY Times, Toronto Star and the entire Library of France (and Youtube). It might take a while. Next week, when I have my iRecord, I'll be able to bring my television and movie collection. Then life will be perfect. :-)
 
(1)However, as Play Station 2 owners may know, copy protection does not apply on the DVD playing capabilities of that device (go figure). And there is no copy protection in my Motorolla DVR which I use to record Pay per view movies and the Movie Network. 

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