Monday, September 15, 2008

Xbox Next to Launch in India

Despite obstacles of low broadband penetration, Microsoft plans to bring its next-generation console to India.

Microsoft has revealed intentions to bring the Xbox to India, announcing yesterday that it has started research with the Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB) to understand the market ahead of introducing the console.

"The potential for PC games as well Xbox in India is very huge spanning across homes, schools as well as enterprises. The current generation of Xbox will not be available here but we are planning to roll out the next generation Xbox Next in India," said Microsoft Home and Entertainment Division Regional Sales Director Yolanda Chan to Indian news site "Twenty per cent of the IT people love to play games and offer good potential."

The company cites the low broadband penetration and inadequate sales and distribution channels as reasons for not bringing the current generation Xbox to India.

Microsoft has launched the current Xbox in Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, and is evaluating the possibility of launching in India, China, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The company is especially setting its sights on China, which has seen an increase in demand for games especially in the online arena.

AMD to Pitch Athlon Against Atom

Come November and we'll be able to see the first glimpses of AMD's new Ultra Value Client (UVC) processors. Recent revelations seem to point towards a revamped UVC line-up to take on Intel's Atom processors. The 1.6 GHz Atom 230 and the upcoming dual core 330 will see competition in the form of the single core Athlon 2650e and the dual core Athlon 3250e. Paired with AMD'S 740 chipsets, the 3250e is expected to be out early Q4.

The recently leaked slides from AMD also indicate that their processors perform far better than Intel's Atom -- which according to AMD, is incapable of offering a "traditional PC user experience". The UVC chips would only be sold to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and given the performance advantage that the Athlon has over the Atom, there's no doubt these chips are capable of posing a serious challenge to the Atom twins. Also in pipeline are the Bobcat series of processors aimed at Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). However, it is suspected that the lukewarm reception for MIDs by the public in general has delayed the release of the Bobcat series.

Samsung's 61-inch Samsung HL61A750 RPTV gets reviewed

You're probably dusting the dirt from your spectacles as we speak, but yes, the set you see above is an RPTV. You know, those not exactly wafer-thin rear-projection TVs that used to be all the rage? This 61-inch set provides an awful lot of screen space for not a lot of dough (comparatively speaking), and as with most sets with a little junk in the trunk, picture quality was seen as "excellent" in a recent CNET review. On the downside, off-angle performance was expectedly poor and there was no 2:3 pulldown for SD sources, but the positives here far outweighed the negatives. For under $1,800 (way under in some places), you can get 61-inches of LED-backlit goodness in your den -- just have to make room for it, is all.

Tv camcorders for news tv in high dif

Sony's HDR-FX1000 and HVR-Z5J HD camcorders head stateside...

Tired of messing around with those HD novice-cams? Ready for the real-deal? Sure, neither of Sony's newest HDV units are up there at the professional level, but both the HDR-FX1000 and HVR-Z5J HD help to strike a happy balance with 24p scanning, tapeless recording capability through an optional CompactFlash adapter, advanced color settings, XLR inputs, timecode and a trio of Sony's ClearVid 1/3-inch CMOS sensor chips. Both units capture full 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, though it is squashed down to 1,440 x 1,080 when recorded to miniDV. Anywho, those envious of folks in Japan can finally smile -- the pair is headed to America this November for $3,200 and $5,000, respectively.

Fujitsu intros digital HDTV SoC with integrated video processing engine

Panasonic pumped out its UniPhier SoC for worldwide digital TVs earlier this year, and now Fujitsu is hitting back with its MB86H70. The digital HDTV SoC (system-on-chip) boasts an inbuilt video processing engine, support for Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution and a multi-decoder that decodes both MPEG-2 and H.264 video compression formats. The chip is actually designed for digital TVs receiving HD broadcasts in Europe, and supposedly, the LSI will enable TV manufacturers to "improve their design efficiencies with regard to picture quality settings." Look for samples to start shipping without your knowledge in mid-October.

Nikon D90 DSLR review roundup

You've seen it get official, you've seen it in the wild, and you've seen it sneakily unboxed -- isn't it time you saw a few reviews, too? We've scoured the intarwebz for the freshest looks at this here DSLR, and generally speaking, those lucky enough to secure a review unit have been overwhelmingly pleased. As a mid-range shooter, it was decidedly difficult to find any real knocks. Sure, a heap of noise was seen at 6,400 ISO (but barely any was noticed from 200 to 3,200) and the kit lens wasn't all that, but the excellent low-light shooting and the "superb" image quality was enough to keep critics smiling. One thing that should be noted, however, is the so-so 720p movie mode. It's not that the quality was bad, but Popular Mechanics reported that the "extended exposure to light needed to record video caused the D90's CMOS sensor to heat up dramatically," which limits HD captures to a maximum of five minutes. In other words, don't ditch your pocket HD cam for this, but if you're scouting a new DSLR and wouldn't mind a 720p movie mode on the side, need you really look any further?

Read - Popular Mechanics (" The D90 is first and foremost a still camera. And in this regard, it excelled.")
Read - ThinkCamera ("The D90 is a trophy of a middleweight camera.")
Read - DCBBS Chinese ("Photography enthusiasts now have a new choice.")
Read - CNET's video review ("Very, very nice sub-$1,000 DSLR")

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