When we hear hype that something is the “easiest” thing in the world to set up, we usually put on our hip waders and prepare to slog through a waist-high pile of dung, because 19 times out of 20, it's usually a load of crap.
Well, believe us when we say that the Dropcam HD is the easiest Internet camera we’ve ever set up. We mean it. To set up the Dropcam HD, you just plug the camera into your PC via USB. The setup files are stored in flash, which kicks up a configuration utility. This lets you create an account with Dropcam and connect the device to a Wi-Fi network. Once you’ve done that, you unplug the Dropcam HD, move it to the area you want to monitor, and plug it in via the included 2-amp wall wart. That’s it; you’re done and streaming 720p video to the Internet in about two minutes flat. The lens is a wide 107 degrees, which is enough to let you see most of a room. The video quality is good, and while certainly far better than QVGA surveillance cams, the compression is heavy enough that you won’t be picking out license plates with it.
The Dropcam can be removed from the unique mount, if needed.
Don't go tossing your 720p 3D DLP projector into the garbage bin just because it can't play 1080p 3D Blu-ray disks, there's an app adapter for that. Optoma Technology's new 3D-XL converter box breathes new life (and functionality) into 720p 3D projectors.
"The 3D-XL is an important product for the market right now," said Jon Grodern, senior director of product and marketing for Optoma. "It gives a large installed base a way to embrace 3D life without having to make a new, expensive investment."
The way it works is the 3D-XL takes the HDMI 1.4A signal found in 1080p 3D players and down converts it to an HDMI 1.3 signal that 720p 3D DLP projectors operating at 120Hz can recognize. Active 3D glasses are required.
Optoma plans to release its 3D-XL sometime later this year for around $400.
Everything has a toucscreen these days, and the new Flip camera is no exception. The Flip SlideHD is now officially out after numerous leaks ruined the surprise. The camera's 3-inch touchscreen lets users scroll through videos without the need for traditional buttons. The screen takes up most of the back of the device when closed, and the button used to start recording is actually on the touchscreen. It slides up and allows the camera to be set down for video viewing.
The FlipHD can reportedly record up to four hours of HD video, or 12 hours of standard def. The HD video is 720p (1280x720), but it does do 30fps. But don't expect to film much of that video in one sitting, the FlipHD can record for about 2 hours on a charge. The battery is a non-removable li-ion that charges over USB.
At $279 it's a tough sell in a world where many smartphones have very able video cameras. With the Flip UltraHD priced $50 lower, can the touchscreen on the SlideHD attract users?
With the new PocketCinema Z20, Aiptek hopes to unseat Pure Digital's Flip, which is arguably the most popular pocket-sized camcorder. At more than double the Flip's price, the PocketCinema Z20 can also double up as a pocket projector. It can record 720p video and capture stills at a maximum resolution of 8 MP, both of which can be viewed on its 2.4-inch LCD or projected “up to 65 inches, which is 160 centimeters diagonal, in only 2 meters short distance.” If the projector fails to win you over, it is possible to watch the recorded video on an HDTV. Its 2GB internal storage can easily be supplemented using a microSD card of up to 32GB. If the company is to be believed, the camcorder's Li-Ion battery can last up to two hours on a single charge. Though Aiptek will only begin shipping the Z20 in mid-April, it can be ordered now for €349 ($476).
MSI today unveiled its GE600 notebook geared towards gamers. The 16-inch portable PC was first shown at CES earlier this year and includes an Intel Core i5 processor.
For graphics duties, the GE600 comes decked out with ATI Mobility Radeon HD 5730 graphics with 1GB of dedicated RAM. But the new notebook is also notable for the inclusion of a 720p HD webcam.
Customers will be able to choose between a 250GB, 320GB, or 500GB hard drive. Other specs include 7.1-channel audio output, touch-sensitive hotkeys, MSI's GPU Boost overclocking technology, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi, HDMI video output, three USB 2.0 ports, eSATA, Windows 7 Home Premium, and an optional 9-cell battery (6-cell comes standard).
Hey, did you hear? Netflix plans to bring 1080p streaming and 5.1 surround sound to its streaming HD video service to later this year. Pretty rad, right?
It would be, except Netflix is taking a mulligan on the recent announcement, and now says that it incorrectly acknowledged 1080p streaming in the company's 2010 roadmap. Boo, hiss! Netflix didn't say why it pulled the about-face, though it probably has to do with bandwidth. While not official, Netflix says the requirement to stream 720p HD content on an HD-compatible box is "typically" 5Mbps. It's a safe bet that 1080p would require more, and maybe Netflix feels there aren't enough streaming subscribers with the fast enough broadband speeds.
That means for the foreseeable future, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners are stuck with "underwhelming" 720p. That's right, in somewhat related news, Steve Swasey, VP of Corporate Communications for Netflix, downplayed the streaming service when discussing what Wii owners are missing.
"PS3 and Xbox users have 1 in 17 titles available in HD, and it's streamed in 720... it's not in 1080, and it's not in 5.1 surround sound or anything," Swasey said during an interview with The Wire. "So the HD experience at Netflix Instant Watching isn't that overwhelming. It's a little bit underwhelming. So the Wii folks aren't going to miss that much."
Stripteases from your long distance lover are about to get a whole lot sweeter now that Skype has added support for 720p high definition video calls.
To take advantage of the new feature, you'll need to download and install Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows. You'll also need at least a 1.8GHz dual-core processor, and of course an HD webcam and broadband Internet connection.
"With HD-quality Skype video calls, we can bring our users even closer to the ones they love through an even richer, more meaningful video calling experience," said Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype. "Imagine being able to see the sparkle of your grandchild's eyes or the setting of your best friend's engagement ring. Through the innovation of Skype's engineers and our hardware partners, these scenarios are now possible without having to buy expensive equipment or software."
Skype says you can expect a spate of new HD webcams to hit the scene in early 2010, including ones from faceVsion (not a typo) and Store Solutions that have been "optimized to work with Skype."
The VoIP provider also says to expect Skype-enabled HDTVs to arrive by mid-2010.
Without any fanfare, Korean company Lisse has updated is MyRacer line of portable media players (PMPs) with a more conventional looking unit, the MyRacer H10.
The latest model comes equipped with a 1280 x 720 LCD display, giving users the same 720p playback as some 13-inch notebooks provide. It also features an HDMI-out port, FM radio, voice recording capabilities, and speakers.
As for compatibility, the MyRacer H10 comes capable of playing back a wide variety of file formats, including RM, RMVB, AVI (Xvid, DivX), WMV, ASF, DAT, MPG, MP4, VOP, SMI, MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV, OGG, FLAC, and APE. It also supports JPEG, BMP, GIF, and TXT file formats.
Let's face it, most webcams leave a lot to be desired, including some of the higher end models boasting fancy lenses and advanced features not found on entry-level models. But the picture still ends up being grainy, which almost makes that live striptease performance not worth watching. Almost.
Enter the LifeCam Cinema, a high definition webcam Microsoft hopes will shake things up. The LifeCam is the first consumer webcam to support 720p video at 30fps, boasting 1,280x720 compared to most 2MP webcams topping out at 960x720.
But high resolution isn't the only thing the LifeCam has going for it. Other goodies include a glass lens, auto focus, 4x digital zoom, and a digital noise canceling microphone. It sports Windows 7 compatibility out of the box, though only those with a comparatively hefty system need apply - nothing less than a dual-core 1.6GHz, and Microsoft recommends a 3GHz dual-core chip and 2GB of RAM.
Capturing high definition video in the palm of your hand is about to get easier if Sanyo's DMX-HD800 can live up to its billing. The 8MP compact camera will come in gold, pink, and black and be capable of recording video in 720p (1280x720) using the AVC/H.264 video codec. Features include:
Drag and drop capable
HD videos and still pictures
Snap photos while filming without pausing the video
Face recognition (up to 12 faces)
Digital image stabilizer
In-camera video editing
Capturing quality videos from a handheld gadget always elicits skepticism, but Sanyo promises its three-dimensional digital noise reduction (3DDNR) filter will offer both clear videos and crisp photos. It was enough to impress AkihabaraNews, who claims the camera represents a "HUGE step forward in video quality" and described the change as "AMAZING" compared to Sanyo's previous model, the HD700.