PlayStation 4 Console

PlayStation 4 Console

PlayStation 4 Console


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
I purchased the launch version at 12:15 Friday night of the 15th. I’m glad I did. Got up the next morning and looked online and they were already sold out.

With prime shipping it arrived Monday afternoon. I was worried that I was going to get a bad unit like a lot of other reviewers on here. Got everything hooked up and hit the power button… It flashed blue… I was worried for a second, then the light turn white and the PS logo appeared on the screen. Sigh of relief. First thing I did was run the latest firmware update. It updated without any issues.

Once you’re at the home screen you’re welcomed by soothing music and a clean feeling menu. After a couple of days I got tired of the menu background music so all I had to do was go to the settings and turn that off. Everything seems very snappy. My first real impression was how fast the PS store opened. On the PS3 it seemed to take forever, but on the PS4 it was almost instant.

Installed my first game (Battlefield 4) and once I inserted the disc the game immediately started to install itself. Within seconds it was ready to play. When I first entered the game I was told that to access the games network features I would have to install an update for the game. But for offline campaign mode I could immediately jump into it. I played the campaign for a few minutes then backed out so I could run the update and use the network stuff. The PS4 alerted me that it had started the download of the update and once complete that it was ready to install. It installed without a hitch and I was able to get into the game and access the multiplayer features.

Went ahead and installed the other two games I had purchased (COD Ghost and Need for Speed) both installed without issue. Got notified that they too needed updates so I went ahead and ran them. This being a launch system and as new as the games are I wasn’t too surprised with all the updates.

It was getting late so I didn’t get to get into much game play that night. Fast forward to now and I must say i’m quite impressed so far. I’ve been playing battlefield mostly and the graphics are phenomenal. Compared to the PS3 its a great improvement. I would have to say it give the PC a run for its money.

One thing I was really impressed was this. A friend was watching a movie on netflix. I came into the room and he wanted to show me something on COD. In a matter of seconds he went from netflix to game play. You hit the PS button and your back a the main menu… He had already played the game earlier so it was on standby. He selects the game, hits enter and the game came up almost immediately and he was back to where he left off. After watching him play a bit I was impressed with the quality of this game as well. Found a few glitches in the game, but I expect those will be fixed over time. I know Battlefield was having issues with some of its multiplayer maps. I guess thats what you get when you buy launch day consols.

Overall I’m liking it so far. But knowing Sony and the PS3 more is to come. I was disappointed in them not including the DLNA features because that was one of the main things I used on the PS3. I have a feeling that Sony will add this soon.

Those of you who are thinking about buying one this holiday. Wait till amazon or the stores get them back in stock. Don’t buy one for $600-$1000 its not worth that cost. Plus by the time there back in stock the should have more of the bugs worked out.

I hope my review was helpful. To those who got bad units and are hating on Sony: Don’t disqualify the PS4 yet. Get your replacement and give it another shot. I think you’ll be glad you did.

—- Update 12-24-2013 —

Haven’t got to play as many games as I would like to recently. I have been using apps and features though and thought I’d share what I think.

- Playstation Store.
I hated the PS store on the PS3. It was slow to load and annoying to get around. The PS4 has improved it some… To access the store all you have to do is go to the top row menu, then far left. It takes about 3-8ish seconds to load. Once you access it once it loads faster the next time.
Once you in the store it is familiar to the same layout as the PS3. I’m not really a fan of how you have to bypass all the current popular titles to get to the “all” button that all the way to the right. Once you get the hang of where everything is it makes it easier. I would say the only thing that I like better is that fact that it loads quicker.

- DualShock 4 Controller
LOVE IT. I’m a guy with big hands. I like the longer grips. I don’t feel like im going to lose the controller while in a heated battle in BF4.
The sticks are smoother and more accurate, really helps when trying to be a sniper were precision is key.
Some games have changed how the buttons are mapped. This took some getting used to but I’m liking it still.
The front light can become annoying at times, as well as I wounder how much battery life I’m losing with it. I hoping they release a patch that allows you to turn it off if you’re not in a game that requires it.
Battery life could be better. One awesome thing is that the DS4’s use micro-usb now. That means most your android smartphone chargers and cables can charge the controller. I have an old motorola USB wall-wart and a standard micro-usb cable and can charge the controller next to my chair instead of having to get up and plug it into the PS4.
Earpiece port. The PS4 comes with a mono earpiece/mic. All you have to do is plug in in the DS4 controller. It will work with any headset that has that size jack.
Haven’t found a game or app that uses the touch pad yet. But the pad also works as a button, which has a clean easy feel when pressed.

- Netflix, Amazon Instant
Netflix. not much different here. I Haven’t been using it as much because I’m on comcast and between comcast and netflix I can’t get a stream thats better than 240 SD. I can stream HD just fine in amazon. This isn’t a PS4 problem cause my PS3 was doing this as well. For those of you who like to see what quality you’re getting on the PS3 you’d hit the ‘Select’ button, well the DS4 no longer has that button so it is now mapped to the right stick button.
Amazon. Also not much different. It works well, had no crashes. Plays in HD and full surround.

- Twitch, Ustream
This is a cool feature. On the main row go over to “Live from Playstation”. Here you can hop in a watch other people play games, even games you don’t own or have installed. A typical stream will have the person hosting the stream on a webcam or just audio. You can interact with comments and if you have the game installed you can start that games from the stream. You also have the ability to stream your own games. Just hit the share button while playing a game.

- Gameplay
Battlefield 4: After many patches the online play is getting better, fewer crashes, pretty awesome. As for the offline campaign mode. IT SUCKS. Not sure if the lastest patch fixed anything but you would get half way through the campaign and it crash. And if you weren’t so lucky it corrupted the profile and when you restarted that game it started you back at the beginning. I’ve given up on the campaign and just play online multiplayer (Which BF4 was made for anyways)

COD Ghosts: Few campaign glitches, few crashes. I’ve seen some updates pop up recently so most of those should be getting fixed.

Need for Speed: Just a fun racing game. I like it better than the hot pursuit version on the PS3. Graphics are good. Smooth game play. Never cared for the in game menu structure of need for speed.

Resogun: Got it for free via PS Plus membership. Cool 3D side shooter. First games I’ve played that uses the built in controller speaker.

- Extra Stuff
I am using a logitech wireless keyboard w/touchpad. Keyboard is detected by the PS4. I can use it in most applications for typing.

Thats all for now. I’ll post any updates if I find anything new or cool.

LG Electronics 42LB5600 42-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED TV Product 2014 US

LG Electronics 42LB5600 42-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED TV

LG Electronics 42LB5600 42-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED TV


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
I’m incredibly satisfied with this purchase. The picture is pristine, better than comparable TVs. Additionally, the sound quality is insanely good. It takes the place of the sound bar I used with my last TV (in other words, a home theater sound bar speaker is not needed). The size is very practical and perfect for a small - medium size TV room or a larger than average bedroom. The features are convenient and overall the controls are easy to navigate, making it user friendly. Lastly, I want to mention that the setup is quite simple and pretty quick.

Cheetah Mounts APTMM2B Flush Tilt (1.3” Profile) TV Wall Mount Bracket for 32-65 inch LED, LCD and Plasma Flat Screen TVs Up To VESA 684x400 and 165lbs, Including a Twisted Veins 10’ Braided High Speed with Ethernet HDMI Cable and a 6” 3-Axis Magnetic Bubble Level

Cheetah Mounts APTMM2B Flush Tilt (1.3” Profile) TV Wall Mount Bracket for 32-65 inch LED, LCD and Plasma Flat Screen TVs Up To VESA 684x400 and 165lbs, Including a Twisted Veins 10’ Braided High Speed with Ethernet HDMI Cable and a 6” 3-Axis Magnetic Bubble Level

Cheetah Mounts APTMM2B Flush Tilt (1.3


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
I was skeptical of this mount. Why should this be so cheap compared to other mounting kits? I ordered one (due to the price), and prepared to return it if I did not think the mount could handle the weight of the 52” LCD TV (Samsung).

Once I got it, I understood the cost. Good low-cost design and built with solid heavy duty steel.
- Two horizontal bars are load-bearing, and for proper VESA spacing, they have to be parallel and relative distance must be in the right tolerances. These are made of solid steel.
- Two vertical bars (in the wall mount) are flimsey, and that’s ok. it should be solid enough make a rectangle box w/ square angles. That’s it.
- Two vertical mounting (to the TV) brackets are of heavy duty metal. Making this in to two parts (not one), reduction of material, but also allows free horizontal adjustment on the TV mount.
- By doing the above, the kit is small, uses less metal (and reduce shipping and material waste).

Positives
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1. Good solid and heavy duty construction.

2. Good value (low-cost). Paid less than $ 25 including shipping.

3. Easy install. Took 15 min to figure out the instruction (which is not totally clear), and 10~15 min to install and ready to watch.

4. built-in level worked well during marking of mouting holes on the wall —I tested w/ my own, and was consistent.

5. Once the mounted on the wall, and bracket on TV, you could adjust horizontal TV placement on the mount, just by sliding few inches left or right, post install. I expect this to be safe and true if the wall mount is directly screwed into the wall studs. I do not expect dry-wall install without the use of the studs to handle such adjustment.

6. The brackets on TV could also be used to adjust vertical TV placement by a few inches up and down. But for this one, you’ll need to lift TV off the bracket and adjust and pull back :-).

7. There is a reasonable space (I would say, just right) from the wall to the TV to get cables/connectors through WITHOUT using any expensive 90 degree connectors. Plenty of space between two horizontal bars to put extra power outlet and data HDMI cable outlet to hide all the cables.

8. This supports tilt up/down, and works well. Amazon product description does not make it clear.

Negatives
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1. Just one. Clearer instruction so that I do not need to spend 15 min figuring things out. One could learn a lot form IKEA :-).
2. Packing/Packaging — Not necessarily Cheetah Mount issue — mine came w/o missing parts, although I noticed torn cardboard box edges and some parts COULD have been lost during shipping. Either double box, or have Cheetah use heavier box stock.

Helpful Hints & Comments
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1. DO NOT forget to tighten the screws (2) on the bottom horizontal bars AFTER TV is placed on the wall mount — especially if you are in CA w/ quake. This is what prevents TV falling off the mount accidentally. But do not over-tighten (you are NOT securing from left-to-right movement).
2. Very happy w/ my purchase. Will get one more for my other TV.

LG Electronics 55LB5900 55-Inch 1080p 120Hz LED TV Product 2014 US

LG Electronics 55LB5900 55-Inch 1080p 120Hz LED TV

LG Electronics 55LB5900 55-Inch 1080p 120Hz LED TV


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
Excellent TV for the Price!

I want to first clarify some points others have been making in the reviews on this TV. It IS indeed 120hz, the person who left that review obviously had no idea what they were talking about. I’ve seen people dock it stars for the lack of smart functionality. This is not a smart TV. It has a basic,navigable, and responsive menu. I have also seen docked stars for lack of ports. The site plainly lists how many ports the TV has, it’s your own fault if you expected it to have more.

I have something plugged into every port on this TV, except the USB port (I have no need).
Xbox 360 plugged into the Component inputs (old style 360), WD Media Player into 1 HDMI, and a future HDMI cable already run for my future Xbox One. I also have standard coax cable hooked up to this TV as well. This is all I need the TV for, which is why I went with this one vs a TV with more options since budget was an issue.

I haven’t yet tweaked with the picture settings yet, but plan to and I hope to update this review when I do.

Pros:
-Beautiful display. My friends have commented on it’s sharpness, color, and thin bezel. Minimal glare, if any in my setup.
-Absolutely perfect response time. I am a very heavy gamer, and this works great for FPS and fast response games. If you plan on using this for any game console, this is your TV.
-Absolutely no ‘soap opera’ effect.
-Color and Blacks have been very impressive. My previous LCD LG (i think 09 model) would go to ‘lit black’ on dark scenes, kind of like an extremely dark grey. I would say this TV is as close to real color and contrast as you can get.
-Nice sized remote, not a wii type.
-This TV does have a physical power button on the bottom, that is kind of like a joystick you can navigate a mini menu. Cool feature.
-Optical out, which I also use with a Soundbar/Wireless sub-woofer.
-True 16:9. Fits fully on the screen, no black bars.

Cons:
-Wall mount issues. I have this TV wall mounted with the popular Cheetah mount on Amazon. If i could go back I’d choose a different wall mount. The ports on this TV are basically right in the middle of the back in the TV, right where the brackets for a wall mount go across. The Xbox 360. Coax, and HDMI fit, but BARELY. They are pressed hard into their slots from the bracket of the wall mount, and take hard right angles. Terrible design for the ports, I wish they were the waterfall type.
-I expected the built in speakers to be a little better, but I’m being pretty picky here. I only listened for about 10 mins before I hooked up my quality Soundbar just to test.

Other thoughts:
-I did have a negative experience with shipping this TV. took 2 weeks to get here via prime, and then the delivery driver entered our home with my young teenage sister, and forced her to help unbox the TV to make sure it worked. She called me at work and I rushed home. He was in desperate need of a shower and a haircut, and I forced him to leave. He also lifted the TV out of the box, the opposite of how it’s meant to be unboxed (TV drops out the bottom, box comes out on top). Terrible vendor shipment, I blame Amazon for this, not the product or manufacturer. Probably my first negative experience with Amazon shipping something.
-You will need another person to help wall mount, if you plan to. Math and measuring required, bring your thinking cap.
-I would highly recommend this TV to anyone looking for a budget upgrade with not all the ‘thrills, apps or 3D gimmicks’. I sit about 12 feet from this TV, and that is about perfect for games and very ideal for TV and Movies.

If you have any other detailed questions feel free to comment, I try and look at my reviews from time to time to help others make good purchasing decisions!

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
I’m your typical middle-aged woman - I don’t game, and I’m not super tech-savvy by any means….so take this review for what it is. The Fire TV was easy to install and I’m loving all the features, free movies, music and simple interface - this thing even has a screen saver that comes on when you’re listening to music! We’ve always just had our Comcast cable service without DVR and occasionally used Comcast OnDemand to watch/rent movies - but I’ll never watch from Comcast again. The voice recognition software is amazing and brought me to exactly what I was looking for every single time I searched. It’s just so easy to find what you’re looking for (unlike Comcast), and since I’m an Amazon Prime member most of what I want to view is free - oh and for the new release movies the cost to “rent” from Amazon is on average cheaper than Comcast OnDemand by a ~$1 or more. So happy with this purchase!

VIZIO E280i-B1 28-Inch 720p 60Hz Smart LED HDTV Product 2014 US

VIZIO E280i-B1 28-Inch 720p 60Hz Smart LED HDTV

VIZIO E280i-B1 28-Inch 720p 60Hz Smart LED HDTV


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
Pros:

1. Vivid and very clear picture, especially with native 1080P content. The Smart Dimming (active LED zone dimming) feature does make a subtle improvement to the picture, so I recommend leaving it on.
2. Smart TV dock with common applications such as Amazon Instant Video, NetFlix, Hulu Plus, and more. Also may be customized.
3. WiFi and Ethernet connectivity. Ethernet is the preferred way since WiFi can be unreliable.
4. Nearly borderless.
5. 3 HDMI connections and a whole host of analog connections. Digital audio out (optical).
6. 120 Hz. I have not noticed significant judder.
7. Almost effortless picture tweaking by selecting “Calibrated” mode. This produces the best and most natural picture for a well-lit room without over-blowing the colors.
8. Blacks are very deep, and much better than my older 42” CCFL backlit Vizio TV.
9. Remote is very nice and feels sturdy. Buttons are on the small side, however.

Cons:

1. Picture is not going to rival a $1,500 Sony or Samsung, but the picture is still very good.
2. Viewing angles are OK for this set, but don’t expect to get too far from front and center. Washout of the colors will occur starting at more than 20 degrees from head-on horizontally, and about 40 degrees vertically.
3. No ability to adjust how the motion compensation feature works. Older Vizio TVs allowed you to select the degree of aggressiveness of the feature. The user’s manual shows the option, but the option is not actually found in the TV menu system.
4. WiFi is only 2.4 GHz. This is a major problem in my book. If you intend to stream and are in a place congested with 2.4 GHz networks, you really need 5 GHz. In my case I am using Ethernet, so it is not an issue.
5. I do notice slight judder, especially with upconverted and streaming content. Not major, but if you look for it you will find it.

Conclusion:

I am very happy with my purchase. It was a worthy upgrade from my 42” CCFL Vizio set. I am not using the TV internal speakers since I have sound piped out through digital optical to a sound bar.

My picture settings are as follows, and I highly recommend them since I have had time to fiddle with TV:

1. When initially setting up the TV, select “Home” mode. DO NOT select Retail.
2. Go into the menu, Picture settings, and then select Calibrated. Although you will be tempted to fiddle with other picture settings….resist the temptation. I learned changing this one thing is the only adjustment you need make.

Remember that you will need to select Calibrated for all inputs. It will default to Standard picture mode (very dim and not all that vivid) when you first switch to say another HDMI port for your BluRay player. Once you switch over to the different input, go ahead and make the change and it will remember the changes for each input. DON’T FORGET to also make the change for the Smart TV streaming hub “input” as well. It will default to Standard for that too until you change it. I would be happy to answer questions.

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player

Roku 3 Streaming Media Player


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
MY EXPERIENCE

For anyone new to the Roku world, I would recommend the Roku 3 over any other previous models mainly on it being so much faster to operate. If ‘cost’ is an issue and 720p only is not a bother then the LT should be a great pick for half the price.

True for all Roku models: there’s an enormous amount of channels to choose from, including most popular ones. And if there’s something that you can’t find in the official store you can always check the private channel listings (I included the URL of my favorite site) which is where I found things such as streaming CNN, CNN International and BBC World.

The streaming is exceptionally smooth. Quite impressive considering that I set this Roku on the second floor, some 60-70 ft. and two floors away from our Wi-Fi router located in the basement.

This model especially, due to the more powerful processor is easy to operate through Roku’s very basic remote control.

Roku 3 and all Rokus are stable. I didn’t have the Roku 3 for too long (will update) but my experience with a Roku LT was that it almost never crashes and I only had to manually reconnect to my Wi-Fi router once over a 6-months period.

The ‘universal search’ feature is quite amazing. You simply type in the name of a movie or show even an actor and you will see all you options on all channels and you will know in advance whether it’s going to be free or exactly how much it was going to cost. On the Roku 3 all information appears almost instantly.

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THE FAQ

I will try to keep this section as objective (factual) as possible.

Q: Why would I want a Roku?
A: Roku has, by far, the largest number of ‘channels’ vs. any other competing product. If you like exploring content beyond the popular services (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) you should consider a Roku?

Q: Why would I want a Roku 3?
A: When compared to previous models, this one has a much faster processor, 5 times faster. The faster processor allows you to quickly navigate the new and much improved user interface but if ‘speed’ is not an issue, the new interface will appear on the older models by April, 2013. This model also adds a ‘private listening’ capability through a provided pair of headphones that plug directly into the remote control. In addition it supports Dual-band wireless for faster streaming when connected to a router that supports the feature and has a USB port.

Q: When I shouldn’t pick a Roku 3 over other Roku models?
A: Roku 3 does not support ‘standard’ (non HD) TVs but earlier models do. You should select a ‘lesser’ model such as the Roku LT when price is the issue and/or your HD TV is limited to 720p and ‘speed’ is not an issue.

Q: What can I play through the USB port?
A: Video: MP4 (H.264), MKV (H.264); Audio: AAC, MP3; Image: JPG, PNG.

Q: Is the Roku 3 expandable?
A: Yes. There a MicroSD slot for additional game and channel storage memory.

Q: Can I use a Roku 3 with any TV lacking an HDMI port?
A: No.

Q: What are the best screen resolution and audio supported by Roku 3?
A: 1080p, 7.1/5.1 surround sound.

Q: Is the Roku 3 energy efficient?
A: According to Roku, typical power consumption is 3.5W when streaming HD video.

Q: How do I connect a Roku 3 to the Internet?
A: You can do it wither via Wi-Fi or through the wired Ethernet port. Technically speaking: 802.11 dual-band (a/b/g/n compatible) with WEP, WPA, and WPA2 support (wireless) and 10/100 Base-T Ethernet for the wired connection.

Q: What is not included but I must have to make my Roku 3 work besides a TV and an Internet router?
A: An HDMI cable.

Q: Can I control the Roku 3 with a universal remote?
A: Yes.

Q: Do I need line of site to control the Roku 3?
A: No if you use Roku’s own remote, yes if you use a universal remote control.

Q: Can I play games on the Roku 3?
A: Yes, it comes with Angry Birds Space preloaded and you may add more games from the store.

Q: Are the Roku channels free?
A: Many of them are but Roku also streams ‘premium’ channels for which you will require a separate subscription.

Q: What are private channels.
A: These are channels that, for whatever reason, are not listed by the channel store. You can easily make them ‘appear’ on your TV by picking them from one of the sites that lists such channels. See the first comment to this review for the URLs of such sites.

Q: How much it costs to use a Roku?
A: Once purchased, it could cost you nothing. Or you may subscribe to one or more premium services.

Q: Can I have more than one Roku tied to one account?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I search for a specific movie or show across all of Roku’s channel?
A: Yes, you can. Even better, Roku will not only tell you which channel carries it but you will know in advance if it will cost you and how much it will cost to view or ‘rent’ it. You can also search for other related information such as movies featuring one specific actor.

Q: Can I watch YouTube on the Roku?
A: Yes, a YouTube channel was launched on December 17, 2013.

Q: Can I get live news channels on the Roku?
A: Yes. You may be able to find such channels at the store or as private channels listings but most US ‘mainstream’ news channels only offer a selection of recent on-demand videos. [I have a link to a listing of ‘Roku channels that contain at least one live TV feed’ on the comments section, the FIRST comment to this review. Be aware that the listing may not be complete, that some of the channels are ‘premium’ and that some of them may drop live streams.

Q: Are non-video streams supported?
A: Yes, radio stations and music streaming channels such as Pandora are supported.
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NOTE:

The YouTube channel became available for the US, Canada and Ireland in December 2013.

Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player

Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player

Google Chromecast HDMI Streaming Media Player


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
I actually ordered a Chromecast the day it was announced from Google. However the next day, I was told that they were available for purchase at bestbuy. I was anxious to try it out so I went and bought another one and gave it a try.

Setup was easy and within 5 minutes, I was watching a youtube video on my 65” TV. The quality was VERY good. I tried a 1080p video first “Big Buck Bunny” and it looked, played and sounded wonderful. Next, was playing music from my Google Play music app. Same result, the music sounded great.

I moved on to my Macbook Pro, and again, the videos was clear, without lag, no audio sync problems at all. Same for my Windows PC.

Those considering buying the Chromecast should consider what the Chromecast actually is and does, instead of what they wish it could do. So here are some facts:

1. The Chromecast is not a streaming device of local digital content. In other words, it does NOT play digital music and videos that is stored locally on your network drives or computers. However there is a work-around for this:

Use PLEX Media Server. If you don’t already have it, here’s the link:

[…]

Once you download it and point it to your files,it will act as a proxy and allow your music and videos to be played on your HDTV using the Chromecast through the Chrome browser. Simply launch the PLEX Media Manager in Google Chrome browser. Pick a file to play, Hit the Google Cast button and you’ll get seamless playback of your own files. [Edit: Please see comments to see an alternative method].

2. The Chromecast is not a DLNA or Miracast device or Apple’s airplay. This is a lot like my number 1 fact, but I wanted to make this clear. If you want device mirroring (display whatever is on the device’s screen), the Chromecast, is NOT for you. The video and music does NOT stream from the controller device (Your computer, tablet, smartphone). Chromecast works by fetching the content from a website or cloud service itself, NOT from the device you’re using. Here’s what’s cool about that:

A. You could start playing a video using your smartphone,tablet,computer as a “remote” and still be able to browse the web, play a game, check your social apps, write a book report, put the device to sleep,turn the device completely off (I tried this myself), or leave the house, and the video WILL still play without issues.

B. Your battery life is saved! Because your phone, tablet or computer (not plugged in)is not actually streaming to the Chromecast, your battery consumption is minimal. You could Play dozens of movies over several days and still have most of your battery life remaining (Of course this would depend on what else you do with the phone, tablet or computer and how long your device can stay in standby).

C. Every device connected to the Chromecast on the same network can take control of playback, adding to the queue (what’s going to play next). Pause, fast forward, rewind, etc. So if your roommate, friend, parent, sibling, spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend has to leave with their device, you don’t have to worry.

D. You can play content from thousands upon thousands of sources using your computer. Using Google Chrome, nearly every webpage, that has content can be viewed using Chromecast. Of Course, this depends what protocols the site is using. If the site has trouble playing on your computer, then it probably won’t work well on the Chromecast, either.

3. Chromecast IS cross platform (works with multiple devices). As I said, I tried it with several devices with different operating systems. At the time of this review, it works on Windows PC’s, Macbooks, and android devices. The app for iOS devices is coming soon. Everyone knows the Apple App store has stringent policies and at times, it can be a long process. Look at the Onlive game streaming app. We won’t get into how Apple has been trying to eradicate google applications from it’s ecosystem anyway. I’m sure the app is waiting for approval. Just be patient. [Edit: Please see comments for a reply to it working on iOS devices].

There are several youtube videos that can show you how to set it up or how well it works. I made a video myself:

[…]

Watching my video isn’t required, but it does help to verify what I’m saying.

4. The device you use with the Chromecast, must be on the same WIFI network. The important word here is WIFI. If you are trying to use it, with a ethernet (wired) connected device, even though it’s on the same network, it will NOT work! Yes, that sucks, but not being able to use sink water in your gas tank, kind of sucks to. If that’s a deal breaker for you, then you shouldn’t purchase it. It’s how they chose to implement it’s use. It is, what it is. [Edit: Please see comment section].

5. The Netflix 3 months free limited time offer is over! I received 3 months free with both my purchases. I live in the eastern time zone. Even though I bought my second Chromecast on July 25th at 6:46pm. I realize that when the offer was no longer available, it should have been posted immediately so that consumers could factor that into their decision to buy the Chromecast. Instead of calling it a limited time offer, they should have said “while supplies last.” Never the less, the features and functionality of this device has nothing to do with the inadequacy of a bonus offer. To help people make a decision about a future purchase and if it will work for THEM in the home configuration they have, is paramount in my book.

6. The Chromecast REQUIRES power through USB connection or from your wall outlet. The required peripherals ARE provided to you in the retail box. Some people are saying if you have an HDMI 1.4 compatible port on the back of your TV, the device can be powered by the HDMI port alone, without the USB cord connected. I CANNOT speak to that, as my HDMI ports did NOT power the Chromecast. I had to use the provided USB wire and connect it to a USB port available on the back of my TV.

Overall, I’m extremely pleased with the purchase. I’ve read some of the other reviews, particularly the 1 and 2 star reviews, because it’s an indicator of what can possibly go wrong with the device. I would suggest that people make their decision based on people that have actually bought the device and have experience connecting, setting it up and ACTUALLY using the device. Most of the bad reviews are from people that have not used it, didn’t understand the features of the device, or, to be honest, has a problem with the competition between Apple and Google and wants to dismiss this product because of their affinity for Apple products. Look at the features and functions of this device and consider them for yourself.

I hope this review helps someone who may be considering this device.

EDIT: Recently more apps were added with chromecast support, including the PLEX app! Other editions are: HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Vevo, Redbull.tv, Songza, Post TV, Viki, Real Player Cloud.

Seiki SE32HY10 32-Inch 720p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black) Product 2014 US

Seiki SE32HY10 32-Inch 720p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)

Seiki SE32HY10 32-Inch 720p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
Where to begin…where to begin? Well, I won’t bore the readers with a story; but here’s a little background info about this TV.

This Black Friday, I had a choice between standing in line at Walmart and waiting for a 98 dollar Funai or being smarter and getting a 98 dollar Seiki TV on Amazon. The reason why I went with Seiki is because I have yet to run across a review for a Funai TV; and secondly, I’ve actually seen the Funai in action via a family member that got one. While the Funai wasn’t bad, it certainly lacked some of the connections and presented a less crisp image. Anyway, onto the review-

TV build/Accessories-

This Seiki 32 inch TV comes with a remote, 2 batteries, a stand that you’ll have to screw on with a Phillips head screwdriver (which is standard), an instruction manual and a one or two page colored diagram that shows all the TV’s features and connections. It could’ve come with an HDMI cable, but being that I own about 5 of them, it’s no big deal. However, in the accessories department, an HDMI cable included would be the only thing that’s missing to make the deal a little sweeter.
The TV’s build is a bit on the light side. In fact, the TV is extremely light and can be picked up by anyone.
The stand is just alright; but I’ll get into that part later.

Score- 9/10

Connections-

This TV’s connections includes 3 HDMI ports, a USB port, a Component port, VGA port, Composite/AV port, 3.5 mm audio cable (this can be used for headphones/earphones/speakers/and supporting soundbars), A Coaxial cable In port (also for soundbars) and finally, an RF cable out which would be used for antennae support.
So as you can see, the Seiki gives you a lot of options for connections, however, I only wished this TV had stereo AV in ports for AV stereo AUX support with soundbars. If you have an AUX out soundbar, you’ll need to get a two-way 3.5mm audio cable which are really cheap.

Score- 9/10

Image clarity/Options/Menu options-

Ok. Here’s the more important part of the review that I saved just before I list the cons of this product. The image clarity!!! This is important to me because I’m a gamer and light TV watcher, I also watch my Roku box and Youtube with apps such as Hulu Plus, Netflix, Crackle and PBS etc.

The image quality for this TV is really good. In fact, I own a Vizio, Samsung, LG and a Magnavox as well as the worst of my TV’s being a DYNEX (DO NOT BUY A DYNEX) and I’d have to say that the Seiki’s image clarity is on par and in some ways better than my Vizio, It’s somewhat on par with my LG (but I’ll give the LG a slight edge in crispness)…heck, even the Samsung’s quality is about on Par with it but I’d still give Samsung a slight, and I mean very slight edge. One of the problems I have with this Seiki TV is that the contrast and color are really, really good but can be a bit overbearing to the eye. In fact, how I tuned this TV was by turning the contrast and color down a load and fiddling around with the Dynamic Luminance. Here’s a tip if you end up buying this TV and want a high contrast setting. Simply turn down the color and blast the contrast. In any event, it has a bright, colorful and crisp image.
Initially, I was afraid that the SEIKI wouldn’t hold up; but the quality is impressive, especially considering it’s price and the size of the set.

The menu options include Picture settings, Audio settings, Time settings, Parental Lock and a channel set up. Within these options you’ll be able to fine tune the TV’s color, color temperature, Noise reduction for image clarity, enhance the sound with PCM or RAW sound output with supported surround sound and equalizer settings between bass, balance and treble. It also supports French, Spanish and English audio. There’s also a built in NTSC/AIR antennae tuner, a QAM tuner, and a cable tuner with IRC and other options.
The channel scan is relatively fast and lasts about 4 minutes. Yes, it does pick up DTV channels and local channels, all you need is a cheap antennae or some rabbit ears. Perhaps even a piece of wire would work as well. Currently, I have a normal antennae plugged into the RF port and it found over 40 local channels in 4 minutes. I didn’t bother adjusting the antennae since I really don’t watch much TV except for news, some movies (which I watch on Roku anyhow) and perhaps some sports games. Overall, it has a load of options, but it is missing some features that I would’ve liked. It also does have an LED backlight and luminance option.

Score- 9/10

Gaming/Xbox 360/Xbox One/PS3/Wii/PS2/etc-

Being that I game a bit, here’s the rundown with gaming.
This TV does support 1080p resolution. On the Xbox 360 and Xbox One, it’s pretty good. However, with consoles like the Wii, I’ll have to tune the color a little and turn it almost all the way down because the color’s really strong. I’ve tested it with PS3 and PS2. With PS2 I noticed that gaming does look a bit better especially if you have component cables (blue, green, red, white, red)and honestly, the PS3 games look amazing on it, especially at 1080p.
At first I assumed since this is a 720p set, it would only upscale, but the games are actually in 1080p at 60hz, so playing games like Killzone, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Gears of War, Mario etc look really nice. The image is really crisp. With some games I’ll change the video output to 720p or 1080i being that 1080p tends to pixellate some games horribly.
The response time is good. I tested this online with Battlefield Bad Company 2 conquest mode and I haven’t noticed any lag, again, the image is crisp, although to be honest, I may prefer the color of my Magnavox because it isn’t so strong…once I tune the color or simply put it on a setting, it’s just fine.

Cons-

The biggest con thus far with this TV is THE STAND. Let me clarify, the stand is supposed to be screwed in, which I did, however, it’s slightly wobbly. Not to the point that if you bumped the TV it would wobble, but the stand’s built awkward and the TV has a minor lean. Despite the minor lean, the viewing angle is excellent, so I haven’t had any problems but it’s still worth noting.

The second con would be that the Tint option is grayed out for some reason. I’m not sure if it’s grayed out because the tint adjusts based on the color temperature or if it just doesn’t have a tint adjusting option, but in any event, it’s just a gray option that I haven’t been able to fiddle with.

Finally, there’s the audio. Yes, you get many options, but the sound is not good at all. It’s just passable. But in comparison to my Vizio (which has excellent sound), LG and even my Magnavox, the sound is bad. It either sounds really tinny or just cheap. I found that adjusting the bass and boosting the treble really high helped a bit, but overall, it still sounds terrible, especially during some commercials or when listening to music. Do yourself a favor and get some speakers or a soundbar. I highly recommend soundbars by Haier or RCA.

Overall-

I highly recommend this TV for anyone on a budget who’d like a quality TV with a crisp image. While certain cons such as this TV having one of the worst screw-in stands, a lack of tint customization and the TV’s audio which sounds really cheap even when tuned nay bug some, the overall image clarity and the viewing angle of this TV is fantastic. It has really vivid colors and again, produces a crisp image. It’s not bad to view TV on or watch Roku/Apple/apps, it’s great for gaming and it’s lightweight. This was a steal for Black Friday, but I could see myself buying this tv full price. The only reason I give it 4 stars is because of the stand and the audio. If it were possible, I’d give it a 4.5/5 but Amazon doesn’t have half point increments.

Edit (December 8th, 2013)

I also neglected to mention the following features of this Seiki TV. This TV features a memory store for color/audio and picture settings on each source chosen. In other words, If I picked HDMI 1 and set the color, then chose TV and set the color, then chose HDMI 2 or component or AV, it will memorize all color settings for each source chosen.

I have finally resolved the “Tint” issue with this TV and it’s a little weird. First, you’ll have to go to factory settings by pressing “Menu” and then hitting “0” four times. (then look for “Others” then select “Color Temp” and adjust IF YOU WANT TO. To exit this mode, simply press exit or menu twice. I am not telling anyone to go to the factory menu) Keep in mind that when entering this menu, you DO NOT WANT TO MESS WITH ANY SETTING THAT YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH. (I accidentally enabled “Burning mode” and got a screen full of colors until I held down the power button on the TV for 10-20 seconds and pressed it again to get it off)
Anyway, from the factory menu, there are settings to add “Green” “Red” and “Blue” or to “offset” Green, Red and Blue, and what I did was slowly add small amounts of Green and red to even out the tint.
The downside to doing this is that it will save it to one of the color picture presets and you’ll have to keep the preset in mind. I personally used this for the “Cool” temperature setting in picture settings just to knock the reds back a tad. (But again, that’s just me)
The good part about the factory menu is, there’s also settings for the “Backlight” which I’ve put all the way up to 100. There are settings to enable QAM as well. But I just wanted to speak on the QAM being enabled through the factory menu a second because I saw other recent reviews that are a little misleading. If you enable QAM, indeed, you’ll get a few more channels, but don’t expect every cable channel possible. For the antennae channel scan, at best you may get 10 or more extra channels. (at the moment, my tuner found 58 channels via antenna with QAM enabled, whereas, before, it found about 40 or so channels. It’s a difference, but it’s not a huge difference)
Also, there is an option available to scan cable channels, which I’m assuming works, but you’ll have to give Seiki an e-mail (which is provided if you call their customer service line. In fact, it’s an automated message and it’s literally the first thing they talk about before connecting a call), I got my code via e-mail in about a minute flat. (It seems to be an automated e-mail anyway)

I also resolved the TV stand issue by simply and carefully tightening the stand screws, and it wobbles a lot less.
Anyway, I still stand by my review. This TV has been great.

Samsung UN32EH5000 32-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black) Product 2014 US

Samsung UN32EH5000 32-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)

Samsung UN32EH5000 32-Inch 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV (Black)


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CUSTOMER REVIEW
review
***UPDATE 2014 - July 17th ***
-Added updated panel identification information in the review and at the bottom. Credit to review comment from Dawn B. Roy.
-Added brief subjective experience.
-Listing of which panels to expect depending on the model/series (still, check your box, or the back of your TV as described below) - also credit to D.B.R.

Short version: A “TV” is a container for its panel, with some additional features (such as speakers). Buying a TV with a different panel, even if it’s the “same TV,” is buying a different TV. Samsung seems to think we don’t care - and many consumers may not. Most buyers may compare their new TV to an old one that isn’t even full HD or to a typical* computer monitor, so any panel will look great, even if it costs more than it should due to (arguably) deceptive practices. In my experience, my TV seems to have the deficits listed for its panel - subpar viewing angles, especially with dark colors.

*TN panel or a CRT, as opposed to IPS or anything with better viewing angles, color, etc.

FULL:
Many of these TVs don’t have a Samsung panel (the screen/the part that has/makes the image!)! I cannot believe this has not been mentioned. It makes a SUBSTANTIAL difference, because some panels they use should be in TV’s that cost $100 less.
[…]

Can you imagine buying a car because you know its manufacturer uses great, reliable engines, only to find out that they use completely different engines without telling you, all of which are of lower quality? Samsung does this with their TVs, and some of them don’t EVER have Samsung panels (e.g., the 37” model will NEVER have a Samsung panel because they don’t make 37” panels). Samsung uses 4 different panel types from four different manufacturers - each with a substantially different technology.

You can tell which panel YOUR TV has by the “Version” on the sticker outside of the box. There’s also a sticker on the back of the TV; the “Version” code is below the Model number and above the S/N. BTW, reviews can’t be interpreted without the four-digit Version code because they are quite simply different TV’s. Here’s how to interpret them:
(“x” means a number, probably from 1-4, that represents the version of that panel - higher means newer but not always better).

TH0x or TS0x: Samsung S-PVA panel (possibly just a PVA, if you’re less lucky): This is what you thought you were buying. Best color, best black, best viewing angles.
HS0x: Sharp ASV panel: Lower contrast ratio, more narrow viewing angle. I read HS02 in particular has terrible ghosting.
A_0X: AOU A-MVA panel: Even lower contrast ratio.
CH0x or CM0x or CS0x: Chimea S-MVA panel: You lost the lottery. Markedly worse in every way - way worse viewing angle, color reproduction, etc. Just a terrible rip-off.
UPDATED 2014 July 17th: Quoting Dawn B. Roy, “Just remember A or M = AU Optronics, T, U, or W = Samsung, and H = Sharp. ” I have not followed the comment thread (my apologies), and do not know if the stopped using Chimea panels.

Mine, from Amazon, is an HS03, so a Sharp panel. I will be testing it tomorrow (DVD and watching football - no Blu-ray). There is a decent chance I return it, because it is not a Samsung. Also? Sony and Panasonic do much less “panel lottery” and are vowing to stop entirely. LG does not do a panel lottery. Samsung has absolutely no plans to stop, and they only use “standards” that won’t reveal a difference between the different panels.

I will update after doing more testing. I just simply could not believe that this was not mentioned. Nothing like finding out you paid $500 (40” model) for a $400 TV when that extra $100 could have been used for sound, Blu-Ray, etc.

**Other reviewers, please, update your reviews to give your version code!**

More reading:
[…]
UPDATED 10/24/12: Added info on how to find version number without the box.
UPDATED 7/17/14: A listing of which TV models carry which panels, again quoting the very-helpful Dawn B. Roy:
"Here are the panel codes per Samsung own part site: H7150: 46=TS01, 55= TS01, 60= HH01, 65=TH01, 75=TS01. H6400: 40=unknown, 48=TS01, 50=AS01, 55=TS01,US02, 60=HD01, 65=MD01. H6350: 32=TS01, 40=TS01, 48=TS01, 50AH01, 55=TH01,UH02, 60=HS01, 65=AH01, 75=TH01. H5500: 32=TS01, 40=TS01, 48=TS01, 50=WH01.

Hopes this helps prospective buyers. One change from last year is that other then the 60” Sharp, only Samsung panels are being placed in the H7150 line. Also curios is the 5500 series that has all Samsung panels. It makes sense that I heard David K say that the 5 and 8 series were very solid but the middle lines were a mixed bag. ”