Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Review of Public Enemies by Ian Nathan
(from Empire)
A glowing review for the new Michael Mann film, which has a rather surprisingly summer release date.

Transform your TV with a mid-size flatscreen master, aka Supertest: 37in Televisions
(from What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision)
As well as choosing a TV package, I also need to choose a new TV, and guides like this are a very handy way to do it. The test winner, Sony's KDL-37W5500, does look like a good bet, but I'm very tempted by the Samsung LE37B650 -- it may score lower in almost every respect, but the key is in why.
Its sound may be weak, but I'm not much of an audiophile and I have a separate system for DVDs/Blu-ray anyhow, so it matters little; and it may be a bit poor for Freeview pictures but, obviously, I'm not going to be viewing those. What it does have is competing, perhaps even slightly better, image quality (yes please) and great connectivity -- being able to play downloaded Divx files from a USB device would be fantabulous. To top it off, it's about £50 cheaper online, which is always nice.


Spent most of today investigating TV/broadband/phone packages from the likes of Sky, Virgin and BT ahead of my move in the next couple of weeks. No one service is best unfortunately.

For example, Virgin has uncapped broadband at all levels, decent selection of TV channels and (possibly) a V+ box that lets you record two channels while watching a third; BBC iPlayer as well as other TV On Demand via the telly; plus BBC HD and HD movies on demand -- all for a price, of course.

Conversely, Sky only offers capped broadband unless you go for its highest level (which is nothing like as high as Virgin's), and I really can't be doing with just 10Gb of traffic a month; plus its Sky+ box can 'only' record one channel while watching another (or record two including the one being watched). However, it has a better selection of channels, and more customisable to boot, plus up to 33 HD channels -- again, for a price.

It all comes down to exactly what we're prepared to pay and exactly what we want and feel we need. We get a lot of use out of iPlayer on TV, but would we need it as much if we could just record stuff on a V+/Sky+ box? And is it worth sacrificing that wide selection of HD channels? Is it even worth the extra cost for HD? Yes I'll have a fancy new HDTV, but I'll also have Blu-ray to enjoy and an HD TV service adds to the price (£69 installation + £5 a month from Virgin (required for V+ too), or £49 + nearly £10 a month from Sky -- but you do get a lot more channels for that).

And there's always Freesat, of course, though in addition we'd have to find broadband and phone elsewhere, which can actually get so expensive it becomes worth adding TV for the discounts it brings. (The actual cost is more, naturally, but you get an awful lot more for your money too.)

It's all far too complicated in my opinion.