Monday, January 28, 2008

Samsung to Discontinue BD-UP5000 Already

By Scott Wilkinson

January 27, 2008 —
Just as Samsung started shipping its long-anticipated BD-UP5000 combo Blu-ray/HD DVD player, the company announced that the product will be discontinued as of May or June of this year, stressing that this time frame is subject to change. Retailers will be allowed to sell their existing inventory, but production will cease. A new model is scheduled to be released sometime in the second half of 2008, but no other details were revealed. Meanwhile, the company will continue to support the BD-UP5000 with firmware updates.

Speaking of which, Samsung also announced that a firmware update for the UP5000 is now available to fix playback issues with Blu-ray titles such as Ratatouille, Live Free or Die Hard, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, and Pixar Shorts Collection, among others. The update can be accomplished in one of three ways: by downloading a file from Samsung's
download page to your computer and burning a CD that you then insert in the player, connecting the player directly to the Internet (by far the easiest way to do it), or requesting an update CD from the company by calling (800) 726-7864.

Could Samsung's discontinuation of the BD-UP5000 be a result of the recent setbacks suffered by the HD DVD camp? Will the new model even support HD DVD? Only time will tell. Even if HD DVD is on its way out, there are still hundreds of high-def titles available only on that format, so it behooves Samsung—and benefits consumers—to continue offering a player that can handle it along with Blu-ray.

Soon after this news story was posted, I learned that Samsung's announcement was intended to inform reviewers that the BD-UP5000's life cycle is expected to be relatively short, and if anyone was intending to review that product, they should keep this in mind when scheduling it for publication. The company did not intend to imply that the product was being discontinued prematurely, but that it would be replaced in the normal course of product development by the BD-UP5500, which was unveiled at CES in January and will have full dual-format capabilities. I regret any confusion my original story might have caused, but I maintain that it's important for consumers to know about such short product cycles when making a purchase decision.—SW

Want a big-screen for the big game?

10 Super TVs For Super Bowl XLII
Want a big-screen for the big game? Here they are.
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (January 22, 2008) -- The New England Patriots are now set to play the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII on February 3.

The game, expected to be watched by roughly one billion people worldwide, has become an annual excuse to buy a new High-Definition TV. No event looks better in high-def than the Super Bowl.

But it's also true that the big game looks best on a big-screen.

So with that in mind, has picked 10 Super TVs for you to consider for the game. They all have screen sizes 56 inches or more -- and we have found some super prices to boost.

So, here are 10 Super TVs for Super Bowl XLII:

1. Mitsubishi 73-Inch 1080p DLP HDTV
The DLP set, model WD-73733, delivers a picture resolution of 1,980 x 1,280, has 3 HDMI 1.3 inputs and weighs just 92 pounds.The high-def TV also comes with Color 4D Video Noise Reduction and measures just 17 inches deep despite its 73-inch screen. The large-screen TV is perfect for any rec room or Home Theater set-up.Amazon is now selling the set for less than $2,500. To see this Amazon offer, please click:

2. Samsung 61-Inch 1080p DLP HDTV
The DLP set, model HLT6176S, has a picture resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 3 HDMI inputs, a contrast ratio of 10,000 to 1 and weighs just 74 pounds.

The set also has 16 micro-second switching speed, virtually eliminating motion blur; Game Mode, which optimizes game performance and Samsung DLP HDTVs are capable of displaying future 3D games, movies, and other programming via 3D compatible glasses and hardware.

Amazon is now selling the rear projection set for under $1,500. To see this Amazon offer, please click:

3. Pioneer 60-Inch Plasma HDTV
The flat screen set, model PDP-6070HD, has a high-def tuner inside so you can watch your local HD channels with an antenna.

It also has a V-Chip parental control feature, independent HDMI inputs with the ability to accept a 1080p signal and split-screen, picture-in-picture features. The set also has an customer rating of 5 stars based on 15 reviews.

Amazon is now selling the set for under $3,600 -- 25 percent off suggested list. To learn more about this Amazon offer, please click:

4. Samsung 61-Inch 1080p DLP HDTV
The set, model HLT6187S, delivers a picture resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, has a contrast ratio of 10,000 to 1 and weighs just 73 pounds.

The DLP rear projection set measures just 14 inches deep and has a 4.5 star rating at Amazon based on 172 customer reviews.

Amazon is now selling the set for under $2,000 -- 25 percent off suggested list. For more info on this Amazon offer, please click:

5. Panasonic 58-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV
The flat-panel set, model TH-58PZ700U, delivers a picture resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, has 2 HDMI inputs, a SD card memory slot and has a contrast ratio of 5,000 to 1.

The high-def set has a 4.5-star customer rating based on 17 reviews at

Amazon is now selling the set for $3,269 -- 27 percent off the suggested list price. To see this Amazon offer, please click:

Get smaller HDTV for $1,000 or less

By Jeff BertolucciKiplinger's Personal Finance
Published: Sunday, Jan. 27, 2008 12:13 a.m. MST

Maybe your den is already filled with the Big Screen, and now you want something less gargantuan for crystal-clear viewing in your bedroom. We have the hardware for you.

For less than $1,000, you can own a 32- or 37-inch LCD high-definition TV to fill the video void. Note: None of our four picks offers 1080p (also called full HD) resolution. But with their smaller screen sizes, you won't notice the difference.

— Samsung LN-T3253H (suggested retail price: $1,300).

This stylish 32-inch TV is a bit pricier than other HD sets its size, but its excellent contrast, brightness and color do justice to high-def imagery. Plus, the frame's glossy black finish and rounded edges give the Samsung an elegant air, and the swivel base is convenient for turning the screen from bed to treadmill.

A USB port on the side lets you easily connect a digital camera (or an iPod or other music player) for viewing photos on the TV. And the set's three HDMI ports — two in back and one located conveniently on the side — are handy for hooking up equipment. You can find the Samsung LN-T3253H at big-box discounters and online stores for $800 to $900 (what we call the street price).

— Sharp Aquos LC-32D43U (suggested retail price: $1,100.)

The LC-32D43U is a very good 32-inch HDTV that costs about $100 less than the Samsung model. Its brilliant, crisp picture is as good as the Samsung's. Its slim shape and thin black frame are attractive (although it's not as pretty as the Samsung). We have only a few quibbles: The Aquos lacks a swivel base and a USB port and includes only two HDMI ports. Street price: $700 to $800.

— Toshiba Regza 37HL67 (suggested retail price: $1,200).

If a 32-inch screen is too small but your budget is capped at $1,000, the Regza is a solid pick. This 37-inch HDTV has a good picture overall, although we found its image quality, including contrast and color, to be a slight step down from that of the Samsung and Sharp models. The Regza's boxy black frame lacks panache, but it will blend with any decor. It lacks a USB connector, and all three HDMI ports are in back. Street price: as low as $900 to $1,000.

— Vizio VX37L (suggested retail price: $800).

Upstart Vizio has built a thriving business by selling quality HD sets for a lot less than the big guys. The VX37L follows this formula perfectly. Picture quality is pretty good, but it lacks the crispness and vibrant colors of the top-of-the-line screens. The Vizio's design is merely OK, and its two HDMI inputs are located in back. Street price: $750 to $800.

An average DVD player with a Samsung twist

Philip Wong Jan 28, 2008

How do you transform a plain vanilla DVD player into a fashion statement? Number one, strip it apart and slap on some "bling bling" on the skin. Number two, ditch the boring plastic buttons and go covert with touch-sensitive controls. When all else fails, there's always the cute and petite approach, a tried-and-proven formula which works wonders particularly for the ladies. If we have finally gotten your attention, check out the latest Samsung DVD-F1080 hawking all the above aesthetics-driven attributes.

Just for the record (as we clear our throat), this Korean player also upscales DVDs up to 1080p via HDMI and plays back most popular multimedia formats. These range from DivX to MP3, WMA, JPEG and MPEG-4 clips. This slim and portable kit should be available on shelves in the next couple of days for S$169 (US$111.18) each.

Samsung YP-U3 Featherweight Media Player Packs Haymaker Sound

By Danny Dumas
January 25, 2008 5:08:06 PMCategories: Media Players, Reviews

It’s almost criminal how much hot, steamy gadget action you can get for less than a hundred clams. Take Samsung’s new YP-U3, a pack-of-gum sized audio player that has 2GB of flash memory, FM radio, data storage, LED display, EQ controls, and voice recording for all those brilliant Web 3.0 ideas you get while riding the bus.

The U3 is so small and light that you could damn near lose it in a shirt pocket. And you might want to keep it there, because its gaudy color choices — our review unit was a loud fluorescent green — and plastic-on-plastic build quality won’t win over fashion-conscious shoppers. Looks can be deceiving, though, because the U3 has some cool tricks up its sleeve: a retractable USB 2.0 connector slides out the bottom of the player and the flat-surface navigation buttons are super touch-sensitive. The menus and features are a breeze to figure out (thankfully I had no RTFM incidents along the way) and the LED has a groovy bright-blue display. The voice recorder activates with the flick of a button, and the mic is surprisingly sensitive — I was able to capture clear dialogue on a TV from about ten feet away. The earbuds are cheapo and produce a thin, tinny sound (I blame it on Apple, for setting the Crappy-White-Earbuds standard), but when I hooked in my trusty Grado SR 80 cans, the audio had plenty of depth and detail.

It may not be as elegant or stylish as the iPod Shuffle, but for about the same coin the U3 gives you double the memory, more features…and kitschy colors visible from 200 feet! —Christopher Jones

WIRED Lots of bang for the buck, and flash memory means snappy playback and good battery life. Tiny form factor is great for outdoorsy, Ironman types. Sliding USB connector is handy, and eliminates cables.

TIRED Easy to accidentally hit the touch-sensitive buttons, so the Hold button is a must – but then you can’t advance tracks. D’oh. Only time will tell if plastic case can hold up to the rigors of portable play. And why no FM recording?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Samsung YP-N1 Navigation Device Review

Reviewed by Sean,

A navigation device has become a necessity in the modern era and made our life convenient and safe. Samsung released an intelligent navigation device with easy-to-use interface, stylish design and high technology.

I was quite impressed by the various functions of YP-N1 which is the Samsung’s newest personal navigation device released recently. The significant features are the Bluetooth support, Google’s KML compatibility, TMC for real time traffic and Emoture – a finger gesture UI. YP-N1 focused mainly on navigation and added all necessary features related to navigation. Following is the review of the YP-N1 navigation device.

Packages and Components

First of all, let’s see the components included in the package. The package consists of the personal navigation device, map manager DVD, user’s guide, cradle, suction cup mount, car charger, AC power adapter, TMC antenna, USB cable, and SD card. The detailed TeleAtlas map, one of the reliable and famous maps, was preinstalled in the SD card.

The suction cup was made in Germany and strong enough to hold the personal navigation device. I could easily set up the cradle by moving the mount horizontally and vertically without any problems.

Slim and Stylish Design

As you can see the side view, the upper right shape is slightly curved. The slim line design looks more delicate like a lady’s skinny leg. The slim design and light weight made the device portable, so it was easy to carry while many other devices were too bulky to carry and were not attractive.

The wireless hands-free Bluetooth feature is a must. Using a mobile phone while driving a car is prohibited by law in most countries. The built-in Bluetooth allowed me to receive incoming calls and send outgoing calls. I could easily place a direct call by using POI with only a few clicks on the touch screen. The POI is an abbreviation of Point of Interest which stores various information including telephone numbers about services, transportation, shopping, etc.. I was surprised that I did not have to use my mobile phone to place a call while driving. I used the Bluetooth feature whenever I received or made phone calls. The built-in microphone provided an easy usability. This Bluetooth feature for the mobile phone compatibility was very convenient and safe for driving.

Intelligent Navigation There are three automatic control features: auto zooming, auto sound, and auto brightness control.

The auto zooming feature automatically magnifies (zoom in) the map to provide accurate information when the car approaches an intersection or corner to change the direction. Thus, I was able to see the map in detail when I change the direction. As soon as I turned right or left, the map zoomed out automatically so that I could see road widely. The auto sound feature changes the volume level of the instruction voice automatically depending on how fast my car runs. Higher the speed, higher the volume. The auto brightness control feature changes the LCD’s brightness based on the light brightness. The LCD’s brightness of 540cd and the auto brightness control feature allowed me to read the screen clearly during the day and night.

In addition to the LCD information, I thought that a 4.3” LCD size was not big enough. But I was wrong. Samsung’s 4.3” WQVAG TFT touch screen LCD (480x272 pixels) was wide enough to display all navigation information I needed. This displayed more information than a normal 4:3 ratio screen could do.

Easy-to-Use User Interface

YP-N1 provides an easy-to-use interface. The intuitive menu enabled me to use the various functions conveniently. The menu for finding a location was categorized into family, home, work, favorites, recent locations, POI, and coordinate groups. Using these location groups, I could easily select a destination. When there are many items (locations) on a list, I used either the scroll bar on the right side of the screen, or the Emoture feature to see the next or previous pages on the list. The Emoture feature worked similarly as performing the drag and drop feature provided in Windows.

I could run a full simulation for a specified route path. The current speed, distance and time to the destination displayed on the left side of the screen were helpful information to estimate how long and how far I should drive to the destination. The Turn-by-Turn mode was a useful feature for driving since it simply showed the turning point with distance left.

Realtime TMC Traffic Service & Google KML Compatibility

TMC stands for Traffic Message Channel. YP-N1 uses full advantages of the TMC feature which provides the traffic information in real time. Although TMC and speed camera services are limited in some cities and countries, I could save time by avoiding heavy traffic areas. The safety camera alert made me reduce the speed and saved me some money as well when I approached a location where a speed camera was waiting for me in high speed.

One of the smart features of YP-N1 is the Google KML compatibility. I did not know what KML meant. But I found that KML was a file format that was used to display geographic data in a Earth browser such as Google Maps, Google Earth. I made a KML file including my favorite locations from Google Earth and downloaded the KML file to my YP-N1 device. I could easily search for the locations stored in the KML file from YP-N1.

The personal navigation device, YP-N1, is a mid-range multi-functional navigation device. YP-N1 has the most updated features and is the device that focused mainly on the navigation functionalities. Through the functionality of YP-N1, I could see the effort that Samsung tried to make a masterpiece in the navigation products and tried to become the world best.

Multi-tasking requires a high performance of CPU. YP-N1 used Samsung’s 400MHz S3S2440 chipset and SiRFStar III 20 Channel GPS module. These high performance reliable components enabled YP-N1 to do multi-tasking and support multi functions without problems.

I am pretty satisfied with Samsung’s personal navigation device, and hope other users of YP-N1 love the product.

Reviewed by Sean,