The editors at CNET sister-site GameSpot were able to get their hands on a DSi and performed an in-depth analysis of the device as well as a physical comparison to the DS Lite. Check out some select photos from their feature in our slideshow.
While the DSi … Read more
At the end of October, TiVo and Netflix announced that Netflix's streaming service would be coming to TiVo DVRs by the end of 2008. The companies have made good on their promise, and the service is rolling out to TiVo HD, HD XL, and Series3 boxes today. TiVo turned on the service for us over the weekend, and we've had the chance to give it a full workout. The short story: this is an awesome added feature for TiVo HD owners.
The interface is significantly different than what we've seen on the Netflix Player by Roku. Rather than offering up large box shots to scroll through, the TiVo's interface instead lists the names in text, with smaller box shots showing up on the right side. We preferred the TiVo's interface, as it allows us to see more titles at once, which is convenient if you have a large queue. On the other hand, we felt the TiVo interface was less responsive, which is a problem that affects almost all of the extra services on TiVo.
While the interface is an improvement over the Netflix Player, we still saw plenty of room for improvement. Now that Netflix has added a lot of content to the Instant Streaming service, our instant queue is getting pretty full. The current interface simply lists titles in the same order as your Instant Queue, which, if you're anything like us, is kind of haphazard. While the queue system makes sense for the traditional Netflix mailing service, we'd rather have more categorization options--such as by genre and star rating--for online streaming. We were also disappointed that there was no way to tell from the TiVo screen which movies were available in "HD" quality.
Like on the Netflix Player, video quality is determined by the speed of your connection. While the Netflix Player uses a "four dot" graphic to indicate video quality, the TiVo HD has a more granular meter, with about 14 bars. We generally got all 14 bars filled up, using a wired Ethernet connection and a standard cable modem.
Although the term "near-DVD" is often abused with video-streaming services, it accurately describes the video quality offered by Netflix streaming on TiVo. We fired up a bunch of movies and we were never disappointed by how they looked. Pan's Labrynth was available in "HD" and in most cases it looked as good as a well-mastered DVD--occasionally we could see some blockiness to the image or the background would be soft, but nothing to take us out of the movie-watching experience. Next up was Ratatouille, which wasn't available in HD. This looked slightly softer than DVD-quality (and much softer than the excellent Blu-ray), but not by much. Only the pickiest videophiles would turn up their noses at the image quality. In short, there's room for improvement, but it's darn good already. (You can read more about the technical details behind Netflix's streaming service here.)… Read more
The Nikon D90 arrived on Wednesday, and since we've had some great weather this week here in NYC, I immediately headed out to Madison Square Park to shoot a few hundred photos and start to get a feel for the camera. Then I passed it back to Matt F. for some initial performance testing. (Here's a slide show with some photo samples.) My first impression? For a sub-$1,000 model, the D90 is verrrrry nice.
First up, the D90's movie capture. I shot the flags blowing in the breeze and a fountain that I typically use to test camcorder and camera video. (Unfortunately, I can't display those here without compressing them in a way that defeats the purpose of showing them.) The clips themselves look OK, although for some reason Nikon bumps up the saturation beyond the photo settings, and I wish the camera shot 30fps instead of 24. You also need three hands if you plan to use the zoom--which requires manually focusing--because it's hard to hold this relatively heavy dSLR out in front of you steadily while videos shooting in Live View. But I like the creative potential of the mode and look forward to shooting with it some more. … Read more
We had sly grins on our faces. Not because we were here chatting with Ubisoft at the company's NYC showcase. Not because we got our hands on one of the most anticipated games this year. We were reveling at the destruction, you see.
We took our flamethrower, lit up a patch of dry brush in the African savanna, and observed as the flames spread to a small bungalow from the prevailing winds. Just as a group of enemy soldiers ran over to investigate the damage, we ambushed and mowed them down with our M16. We're not in the tropical island jungles anymore.
Far Cry 2 throws you into the swamps and jungles of the African continent this time around with a new cast of characters and a new setting, further drawing players into the open-ended first-person game that the first game pioneered. While Crytek (developer of the original game), is off working on the sequel to Crysis, Ubisoft Montreal came to the helm for this game, developing a brand new engine, dubbed Dunia.
We were first shown a early mission in the game. The premise of the game, as already covered by Video Games Blogger, leads up to the "assassination of 'The Jackal,' an arms dealer who has been selling weapons to both sides of the conflict that's tearing apart a small fictional African country. The way to complete this task is entirely up to the player. There are various factions involved, where a player can do missions to earn influence."
As we were told during the demo, for example, at the beginning of the game your character is infected with malaria. The only way to alleviate the symptoms (as there is no cure) is by receiving medicine from an underground faction for doing missions and also subsequently earning reputation.
However, if you wreak too much havoc, such as killing innocent civilians, to the countryside and thereby draw attention to the faction, expect to be shunned and lose your precious supply of drugs.… Read more
Conference-goers flocked around the Guitar Hero station at Motorola's mammoth tent on the CTIA Wireless conference floor, but it was Hands-On Mobile's modest booth where Guitar Hero Mobile is best experienced. There the game's product manager, JJ Leichleiter, walked me through the mobile version of the popular console game.
Let me dispel all doubt by assuring you that this is the real thing, deputized by Activision, Guitar Hero's console publisher. Loosely based on Guitar Hero 3, the 3D mobile version offers two characters (Axel Steel and Judy Nails), four guitars, and 15 songs. Subscription holders will … Read more