Hey, I'm Omar Ismail one of the founders of ProductWiki
If it's not obvious from my contributions to the site, I'm a huge gamer and think a lot about the game industry. You can catch me on Xbox Live with my gamertag: rastex. I prefer action games and crazy Japanese titles. Right now I'm addicted to Street Fighter 4. Really addicted.
shadowtech: I don't play many games but Bioshock 2 was a great. Dec 26, 10
Anonymous: should be add to the Pros list "You Are A Big Daddy!"? Jul 22, 12
Omar: Recommendations are more than 4GB of RAM (so 6-8GB).And have two physical hard drives in your system. One physical hard drive is for your windows operating system and other programs. The other hard drive is for capturing the video. Make sure both hard drives are at least 7200RPM, and you'll be fine. Jan 23, 12
Yale: Is 120Hz refresh rate the only thing required for 3D capability? I don't believe so. I know that the display needs to refresh at at least that speed (60Hz refresh for each eye), but I think there might be more to it? Nov 18, 10
Omar: There's three things that are needed for a TV to be 3D compatible: 1) output 120hz 2) input 120hz 3) sync with a pair of glasses. Lots of modern TVs can do the first thing: output 120hz"3D" tvs are the ones that do all three. However if this tv can do the first two - I know it can OUTPUT 120hz, need to know if it can take 120hz INPUT - then you can use something like nvidias 3d solution to get around the third feature (since this tv for sure doesn't have a glasses syncing mechanism). Nvidias 3d solution uses it's own glasses syncing tech that works with any monitor/tv that can Take 120hz as INPUT. Nov 18, 10
Omar: I should add. Pretty much no tvs take in 120hz input as far as I know. Just a limited set of pc monitors do. Nov 18, 10
Erik: If you were to go for the Nvidia setup, then you'd run your 3D content through a PC running the Nvidia hardware/software?http://www.nvidia.com/object/product_geforce_3D_VisionKit_us.htmlFor $199, it seems pretty steep, especially when you have to throw in a compatible HTPC. How much of a premium are you paying for a 3D TV/ Nov 18, 10
Omar: Compared to a 60 " 3DTV there are still significant cost savings. And regardless I'm going to need to buy something as a source for 3d content. With the nvidia solution I'm limited to a pc - a great one can be built for $600- whereas a traditional 3dtv I can use a Ps3 for $300. The cost of the kit itself isn't a big deal since 3d glasses cost about $200 anyway. I mean really this just goes to show you how ridiculous the premium is for 3D right now. That's why I'd prefer to not pay that premium and instead be future proofed so next year I can "go 3D" with just a couple hundred dollar upgrade and a new gaming computer - which is sweet in itself. Nov 18, 10
Yale: Sounds like a sound idea if you can find a TV that takes 120Hz. Should make sure the Nvidia system works with a display size that large from a distance that far too, you never know - it was created for desktop displays. Nov 18, 10
Omar: Ok went through the manual and confirmed that the maximum input refresh rate this tv can handle is 75hz. So obviously not 120hz. It really would have been too good to be true. Nov 19, 10
Anonymous: Omar, you mentioned:"The one thing is that all the video processing does introduce noticeable lag. This can be overcome in 2 ways: 1) have the audio run through the TV to your receiver, and 2) put the TV in game mode.What if you ran the audio through you receiver (only) and just the video to the tv, would this eliminate the lag issue?Also, how does this sharp_aquos_lc_60e88un compare to the Samsung, LG, and Sony LED backlighting tvs? Especially the new Samsung 6800 series with localized dimming? Does the sharp LCD picture quality compare (when it comes to the Blacks being Black), is there a noticeable difference?Thanks Nov 30, 10
Omar: When running the audio through the receiver and video through the TV that's when I noticed the most lag. Or rather that's when the video processing was the biggest issue because the audio and video were out of sync. When I ran the audio/video both through the receiver and then to the TV the audio and video were in sync, but there was "control lag" when I moved my mouse around. Both issues were eliminated in game mode, and both were eliminated by running the HDMI through the TV first.I actually prefer running the audio and video through the TV first since I don't have a very good receiver anyway. Dec 1, 10
Omar: Now comparing the #sharp_aquos_lc_60e88un to the LED local dimming solutions I have to admit I have only seen those TVs in store, which everyone knows is a poor way to judge. What I can say is that I would put this TV's picture quality up there with anything on the market. I'm not super anal about black levels but I am sensitive to them (my previous TV had horrible blacks and very bad shadow detail) and the blacks on this set are great, absolutely no complaints. I watched Inception on the weekend which is a pretty dark movie, and the blacks were really nice, and I could still see details in the darker areas.I haven't been able to find how many bits the panel is on the Samsung, but the Sharp has a 10-bit panel, which in my experience is one of the most important things for picture quality. It's a spec that many people don't talk about, but I honestly feel makes a huge difference. Dec 1, 10
Anonymous: Thanks Omar. I really appreciate your time and quick response. All my friends suggested Samsung and I was originally looking at a 55" Samsung LED but saw too many negative reviews regarding LED edge-lit issues.I ordered the Sharp aquos Lc 60e88un over the weekend based on all the positive reviews from the owners . I really didn't find too many expert reviews, not sure why since all the owners rave about it. It should show up next week so I will have a chance to check it out. Thanks again. Dec 1, 10
Omar: Nice! Definitely interested to hear your impressions!And ya, for whatever reason this TV isn't super popular. I think the availability of it was quite low, so it's a bit of a black swan in the TV market. I kind of like that though as it's nice knowing not many other people have the exact same thing as you. Dec 2, 10
Anonymous: Ordered my LC60E88Un from Amazon yesterday. Agree that the reviews are very positive. I almost bought the Samsung 55" LED until I saw this flat Tv with an absolutely beautiful picture that was so realistic you would think the people on the screen are in the room with you. Plus, being able to get a 60" for less than a Samsung 55"...a no brainer. Some reviewers have said it produces an almost 3D effect with the 4ms/240hz response. I can't wait to find out. If it looks half as good as it did in that brightly lit Best Buy, I will be thrilled. I'll visit again and give you an update as soon as possible. Dec 9, 10
Anonymous: Hi Omar,I wrote you about 3 weeks ago regarding the #sharp LC60E88Un "purchased it based on all the positive reviews". After getting it and hooking everything up I can now sit back and enjoy it. Out the box with no adjustments the picture looks great. I do however notice the lag even with the audio going through my receiver but like the other post mentioned, the game mode will take care of that.The HD channels and the bluray movies looks great and I have no regrets on going with this LCD tv over other LEDs out there. Thanks for all of your reviews and insight into this product.WGI Dec 20, 10
Omar: Congrats on the purchase!! And great to hear that your experience is matching mine.What I did to remove the audio sync issue and not be forced to use game mode is to run both the audio and video through the TV first, and then use the TV's optical out into my receiver.The TV has some nice video processing in it, so it'd be a shame to miss out on it when you don't have to.And I definitely agree with the great picture out of the box. I've tried calibrating it with settings online, but most of the online settings just use the defaults! Dec 20, 10
Anonymous: hey just thought i'd let you guys know visions will be selling this set on boxing day for 1488. it's also being advertised with unlimited quantities. so you don't need to stand out over night. just go there before they close. one day only. i'm poor at the moment but i'm considering getting this set and selling my old tv to help cover some of it lol Dec 23, 10
Omar: Wow!! This is an amazing price for this TV!! Unfortunately it's in-store only, and Visions is on the West Coast so 1) my parents can't get it, and 2) I don't feel so bad for the priice that I paidBut if you're in the area, this TV is the best deal out of all the TVs in the Visions boxing day flyer. Dec 24, 10
Omar: Looks like this TV is now available for online order from Visions. At $1500 this is an amazing deal. It stings a little bit that just a month later this TV is available for $200 less than I purchased it for, but what can you do. Dec 29, 10
hanyj: there is a quite bugging buzz noise coming out of the unit. I just bought it 3 month back, and it started. Jul 13, 11
Omar: HP Envy 14 is the clear winner. And I'd recommend the new Acer monitors. I think there's the 23" that is extremely popular and quite well priced. Jun 23, 11
When Hauppauge first contacted me in doing a review for this unit I was pretty pumped because I've always wanted to capture/broadcast my gaming exploits but never had a setup to do it. When I received the unit I was initially bummed out because it's an internal PCI card and I only had a laptop and a small HTPC, so I couldn't install the card in anything (I should have done more research first). I ended up exploiting the situation and convinced myself to upgrade my HTPC from a pre-built little guy into a nice custom desktop rig. Now that I was all setup we can get to the review
Installation was quite easy, just pop the card into the PCIe x1 slot, turn on the computer and install all the software and you're good to go. The card itself is quite thin and small so shouldn't have any difficulty being placed inside any but the smallest cases. There's no extra internal cables or anything necessary - the card is powered by the slot itself - so there's no extra cable clutter which is really nice. The outside of the unit is just a series of ports. The selection is very good with:
Since the component inputs are actually 5 ports each, Hauppauge uses a special adapter system. On the board itself are two thin HDMI looking ports where you plug in the adapters, and then you plug in your component cables into those adapters. It's a nice system but does add to making the back of your setup look even messier.
Since I'm not using my setup as a cable DVR I didn't get a chance to test out the IR blaster or remote. They both seem solid enough, and it's nice the box contains all the hardware you need to have a home PVR setup, but I just didn't use it.
My big disappointment on the hardware end of things is that there's no HDMI pass-through. This means if I hook up my Xbox 360 to the capture card through HDMI I can only view my Xbox 360's output on my computer. The problem with this is that there is a 2-3 second lag from when you press something on the controller and when it shows up on the captured output. This is fine as the capture card is doing a bunch of processing and encoding, but is obviously unusable from a gameplay perspective. That leaves one of two options: 1) use component output and component pass-through, or 2) buy an HDMI splitter.
At first I opted for using component, and I was surprised at how much of a hit in image quality I took. Here's a lesson to you: use HDMI output on your 360 it's a heck of a lot better. Since I'm a videophile snob I went out and bought a $50 powered HDMI splitter from Monoprice. It was definitely worth it.
There's a couple of videos that I captured below so you can see the difference between component and HDMI.
Bundled with the Colossus are two software packages: WinTV and Arcsoft's ShowBiz software. WinTV is used for DVR-ing your cable box, while the ShowBiz software is for capturing raw video content like with video games. Since I don't have cable and wasn't using the card for DVR purposes I didn't use the WinTV software at all.
The ShowBiz software is functional and gets the job done, but is quite basic. The capture settings are relatively straight forward, you specify which video input and which audio input you're capturing from and choose the bitrate you want the capture to be saved at. There's a toggle for turning on hardware acceleration on and off, but the whole point of the Colossus is the built in hardware encoders so I don't know why you'd ever turn the acceleration off. My guess is that they just put it there so you see how slow and choppy the capture is without the hardware acceleration. You can see a preview of what you're capturing and then you press the "record" button and the file is automatically saved and building as you're recording. There is a limit of 3 hours which is fine, but would've been nice if they gave some kind of warning instead of just stopping the capture.
Once you have a captured file it goes into your collection. From there you can do some very basic editing such as joining clips together, trimming sections from clips and adding additional audio. It must be made clear though that this is not a full video editing system. It is very basic and is enough for doing the minimum editing, but anything fancy will require a separate package.
The one nice thing about ShowBiz software is that it handles YouTube uploading for you. And more than that it will split long video files into 15 minute segments allowed by YouTube. The only issue with this system though is that the process goes:
The issue is around steps 2 and 3. First off, I don't know why the software has to first convert the video into WMV. It takes a really long time (I don't think it uses the built in encoder) and increases the storage space requirements that much more. Furthermore they ask you for the YouTube meta data AFTER the video has done converting. This is annoying from a practical perspective because you can't just start the process and leave it running over night. You don't know how long it's going to take for the video to convert, and it won't move onto uploading until you name and describe your video. So you have to keep checking the progress of the conversion which is really quite annoying.
It must also be noted that currently the Colossus doesn't work with a lot of 3rd party software. On the website Hauppauge has a list of software that is compatible and there's only one or two packages. What this means is that popular software that people use for capturing video won't work right out of the box. Instead you have to use some intermediate piece of software that takes the Colossus captures and then acts as its own capture device that is compatible with those packages. Yes it sounds complicated and annoying, and it is. So if you have a piece of software you really like, then definitely check to see if you can make the Colossus work nicely with it.
Example 1 - HDMI, 720p upload
Example 2 - Component, 720p upload
From the samples you can see the HDMI is of higher quality. It's difficult to fully appreciate with YouTube and all the compression and conversions that have happened, but on my TV screen the difference is night and day.
Ultimately the most important aspect for a capture card is the quality, and then the ease of use. From my experience the quality is top notch. There are no dropped frames, the resolution it captures at is extremely high and the hardware decoder lets the device maintain high frame rates (max 30) at all times. If you want a dead simple capture solution that just works, and you don't want to do anything fancy then the Colossus is easily recommended. Compared to the Roxio Game Capture device there's no competition. The price is only $50 more and the Roxio doesn't even handle HD resolutions.
What would make the Colossus the be-all-end-all of capture solutions is if it was more compatible with 3rd party software packages or the built-in software was slightly more capable. As of now it's a great capture solution that people wanting to get into it should take a long hard look at.
Omar: It's actually a pretty simple decision actually. The big thing with the 2011 models is the wider availability and affordableness of 3D. So if you're really set on not going 3D then getting a 2010 model in the 55+ or even 60+ range can be an amazing proposition from a value perspective.As for LCD or Plasma, if you're not sure then go with LCD. Plasma can achieve better picture quality but requires more care and maintenance to achieve. So if you want the absolute best picture quality, and especially if you play a lot of video games, then Plasma is the way to go. However you have to "break in" plasmas, worry about power consumption, worry about burn in and image retention, and control the amount of light in the room.Now the real question you need to ask yourself is: is 3D REALLY not important to you?Because if you buy a tv now, you're not going to want to buy one for another 3-5 years. And if you change your mind in that timespan to want 3D you're put in an annoying position.Now, I'm going to throw you a bit of a curve ball. The #mitsubishi_wd_73738It's 73" which is huge and awesome and will impress the hell out of everyone. It's extremely well priced at under $2000. AND it's 3D ready, so when you ultimately decide to use 3D it's just a couple hundred dollar upgrade and you're good to go.If I were to buy a TV now, I'd probably go with this one, or maybe a passive 3D display because 3D is quite important to me. Apr 10, 11
dwshin: Hmmm...i'm seriously considering the mitsubishi now... Apr 20, 11
Omar: I would definitely go out and find a local store that you can see the TV in action. I personally haven't seen it, but online reviews are extremely favorable. From a value perspective it's by far the best bang for the buck. And if you want to really go all out you can pick up the monstrous 83" ;) Apr 20, 11
shadowtech: And it's not made by Monster Cable. Wow. Apr 5, 11
Yale: I completely agree.... Just need to take a step back, and wait for this to launch. Like Asus' convertible netbooks and pure tablet designs of years past I have a feeling it will be a lot more expensive, and a lot less impressive when it comes to market.Edit: Well that came out of nowhere... Already at Best Buy! Still hesitant. Mar 31, 11
dom: no rush.... just wait for more people to try it out :-) Mar 31, 11
Omar: Just been reading more about this thing and... it's looking pretty darn sweet. Compared to things like the Xoom it's a heck of a lot more compelling. Price is very competitive. Features are great - specifically a nice screen (IPS AND 1200x800 resolution) and good enough battery life. Add onto that the slick keyboard dock that doubles battery life and you have a pretty darn slick package.It definitely makes me skeptical about the $400 price specifically because it hasn't been totally confirmed yet. If it is $400 and the dock comes in around the $50 price, then ya this may well be the #apple_ipad_2 beater. Or at the very least will show that the Android tablet market is going to be just as competitive as the smartphone one. Mar 31, 11
dom: Engadget posted a review here. Just as I feared, the USB ports are flaky when it comes to using them, and the camera app is pretty screwed up (at the moment). On the upside, it's good to hear they put some solid camera hardware in the thing. Apr 18, 11
dom: Honeycomb 3.1 is a real game changer for tablets - it now supports full USB host mode!! This means that now, instead of Asus having to shoehorn this into the OS, the OS comes with native support for it. All Asus will have to do is plug in the USB controller driver into the OS framework. I hope they get around to providing the 3.1 for the Transformer soon, and can show off how tablets are moving closer to being able to replace netbooks. May 11, 11
Yale: Did you get a Transformer or are you waiting? I know you've been waiting for this for a while now, and it shows the ability for Android devices to really compete on a new level - but do you think it's what the mass consumer really cares about? I think they might have missed the mark on this. I think the majority of people see the tablet as being all about portability and all-in-one usage - not a laptop with annoying carry-around peripherals. I wouldn't even know what I'd possibly want in a peripheral for a device like this anyway, besides a keyboard! May 11, 11
dom: No, I haven't made any tablet purchase... Before I go ahead and do that, I'll get a much needed laptop upgrade, something like a ThinkPad T420s or EliteBook 8540p (the latter has dual-HDD support which is great, though not an HP fan).As for the Honeycomb 3.1 features like USB host mode, I think that's something extremely useful and independent of whether or not your tablet has a keyboard accessory. A colleague of mine is sending his daughter off to college soon and he told me he's contemplating getting an iPad for her college needs. He didn't know that tablets are still far from being able to serve in that function, though they appear that they are. If tablets even want to replace something as basic as a *netbook*, they must be stand-alone devices (e.g. not requiring a desktop with iTunes) that make it extremely easy to exchange files via standard USB accessories (thumb drives, cameras) without dongles, adapters, or software hacks. Although Honeycomb 3.1 made great strides toward this, personally I prefer waiting another couple of generations (but I wouldn't mind playing around with someone else's ;-)).How about you? Did you pull the trigger on a tablet yet? May 17, 11
Yale: No not yet, not sure what I want to be holding when the dust settles. Why aren't you considering the X220? I think I'm off full size laptops. May 17, 11
dom: I actually meant 8460p. Stupid model numbers. Really, I'd prefer the X220 over these two.... I can get my company to buy it for me, but they won't do the X220 unless I have some "very good reason", and "I like it better because it's more portable" doesn't qualify, unfortunately :-) May 18, 11
Yale: You can do it, I believe in you. May 18, 11
Yale: Besides isn't the X220 cheaper? Even upgraded slightly? Maybe not a super power house by comparison - but still capable. May 19, 11
dom: If it's cheaper, that may be an argument. But IT has their own ideas on what and how to do it.... I guess I'll try anyway. May 19, 11
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