There’s finally some content out using the latest and greatest HD standard, but I certainly won’t be running to the store to replace my 1080i HDTV anytime soon. If you’re a video “geek” like myself or have just been following the evolution of HDTV, you know that the PS3, Blu-ray, and 2nd generation HD-DVD will support 1080p. If you haven’t been following this evolution, after reading this (and the CNET article linked below) you’ll be able to tell the sales guy at your local electronics store to go annoy someone else while you browse for your next HDTV.

Picture quality is determined by a multitude of factors, and believe it or not resolution isn’t necessarily the most important factor when we talk about 720p, 1080i or 1080p capable HDTVs. Sure, it ranks right up there, but contrast ratio, color saturation, and color accuracy do as well. For more detailed information on the HDTV standards and resolution, check out this excellent CNET article from David Katzmaier. The fact of the matter is that difference in picture quality between 1080i and 1080p will not be noticeable to the average viewer.

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Xbox 360 vs. PS3. There’s no question that the real battle in the HD home theater space will be decided predominately by these two gaming platforms. With the PS3 launch just a week away, very few movies available in either format, and the sticker price of the stand-alone players in either format, it all boils down to this. Microsoft and Sony have known it for a few years now, which is why they’ve each bet the bank and called in “solids” from all their homies.

Personally I think HD-DVD and Xbox 360 have the advantage, even though their HD-DVD drive was just released. While many in the industry gripe about the fact that Microsoft didn’t embed the HD-DVD capability in their console, I think it was a wise move. The consoles were out on the market at an affordable price a year ahead of the competition, and the $200 price tag for an HD-DVD player is a steal compared to either formats stand-alone players.

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Maybe I’m showing my age here, but I remember way back when Norton products were actually a good thing for your PC. Okay, I suppose that’s a little too harsh, but the fact of the matter is that Symantec has gotten awful fat over the last couple of decades. By fat I mean that their flagship products (Antivirus & Internet Security) have become more of a resource drain than they are of assistance to a small business or home user.

In the corporate world these products still dominate, and don’t seem to be as useless as I feel they’ve become for the small office or home network. As a matter of fact, Symantec claims to have 99% of the Fortune 1000 companies as customers. Pretty impressive, huh? Remind you of anyone??? You see where I’m going here.

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Whew. I’ve been crazy busy lately, and have been meaning to throw up a post about this product for a few weeks. It’s one of the latest freeware programs I’ve added to my thumbdrive, which has come in quite handy for resolving various common PC problems via a point-and-click interface. If you regularly get calls from friends, family, co-workers, etc…regarding their PC problems, you might want to consider this neat little freeware ap - Advanced WindowsCare V2 Personal

Advanced WindowsCare V2, made by IObit, looks to resolve issues that cause less than optimal performance in Windows based PCs. The personal version:

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If you have a PSP and aren’t using its video playback capabilities other than via UMD, you’re missing out on one of its best features. The PSP can basically serve as your personal wide-screen video player, which comes in quite handy for those who travel frequently. A 1GB Memory Stick Pro Duo card can hold several hours of good quality video and still have room for your music, pics, etc…

The only problem with this is that the PSP is very finicky with regard to MP4 files. It’ll balk on image sizes, frame rates, bit rates, file names, file locations, and just about anything else you can think of. And to top it all off, each firmware release for the PSP seems to handle things differently. But then again, I suppose if it were a simple standard process that remained consistent, Sony wouldn’t be able to market and sell software to manage this process for you (a.k.a. PSP Media Manager).

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