Friday, May 18, 2007

Did you know Sony PS3 won several product of the year awards?

I got my son Surya PS3 as the gift for an exceptional report he got from his school principal. To be frank, I had my good reasons to buy it for him. I was looking forward to watching Casino Royal Blu-Ray on it in my newly finished Home Theater. Little did I know about the capabilities of this gaming machine (as I thought!). Within days of owning it, I realised I have a very powerful media center in it. It's built-in Wi-Fi means less cable to be able to connect to internet and Playstation store for several hundered free downloads of movie trailers and games. All in High Definition. Here is where Verizon FIOS rocks! With it's incredible download speeds I am able to get HD trailers downloaded in few minutes.

The bluetooth remote is another asset for me as my PS3 is located behind the sitting area. Then, I can almost insert any format flash memories to view digital pictures and save them on it.

Finally, what a blu-ray player it has! Movies start at lighting speed if you experienced Toshiba's HD-DVD players which take forever to load menu. With it's HDMI 1.3, it is all set for a very long time as it supports enough bandwidth to handel any lossless audio that exists now while outputting full 1080P.

If you are in the market for a media PC or a movie player take a serious look at this piece of marvelous engineering!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Should I Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?

I didn't ask myself this question before I grabbed a HD-DVD Player when it was on sale at Best Buy. I had to confess I jumped early on HD-DVD player because I was trying to 'lighten' my wallet of a few Best Buy giftcards I had in there. Also, couldn't pass on all the FREE HD-DVD 'crap'(hey! they are free!) movies that are thrown with it through mail-in-rebates. I mailed the rebate in late Jan and still waiting to receive them :-(

Soon after I hooked it to my TV, I noticed there are hardly any 'new' movies in HD-DVD format. While browsing Amazon I decided to check how the other side of HD from Blu-Ray looks and noticed Casino Royale was written all over it. That's the movie I skipped in theaters to watch it in my Home Theater. So, ended up owning PS3 as it's the cheapest way to do Blu-Ray and not to mention that it's an incredible game machine AND (not over yet), a media center. I'll more blog about it more in another post as it a machine that deserves it's own space.

If you are shopping for an HiDef disk player, take time to browse their catalogs at Amazon and decide on the one you think has most movies that interest you. If you can afford grab both. Sony's Columbia Pictures, Disney, Liongate, Fox exclusively support Blu-Ray while Universal HD-DVD exclusive while Warner and Paramount are neutral.

Been to Mirchi Cuisine yet?

I heard about how bad that food was at Mirchi Indian Cuisine, Ashburn, VA when they opened a year back. But as always, I wanted to confirm it myself. So last month I dared with my family to eat there and what a surprise. Never ate in a better Indian Restaurant in my 16 years in US. Maybe, I am jumping to conclusion to early! But well, the few dishes I tried were all very good. I ate Chilli Bajji, Egg Bajji, Lamb Fry, Kodi Vepudu, Fried rice, and noodles. Their Lamb Fry is the best and a close second is their Chilli Chicken cooked in Indo-Chinese Style.

They are a very good menu for South Indian tiffins and their Dosa looks huge! They also have all regular North Indian Style breads, Tandoori's, and a full variety menu for Veggies.

Why summer is so exciting?

If you are living like me in a place that gets below freezing in winter you know where I am going with this. The beauty of living in NorthEast or Midwest is the drastic changes you get to enjoy in weather around the year. Just when you get tired of hot summer the cool fall winds follow. And soon, you wake up to a cold snowy morning. Do you think you can enjoy a better morning than watching snow coming down when you are sipping a hot cup of coffee?

Well, after a cold dry winter nothing looks better than the arrival of warm Spring with blossoming trees. Walking down the street with kids and wife makes you feel like you started a new life all over again. You wish life stays like that forever. But, soon you realize you need a break from dealing with kids homeworks and rushy morning to get them to school in time to avoid pink slips. Just when we asked for it, we are into the summer break. No more homeworks for us (yes it's homework for parents as well), no more rushing in life. So, now begins the plans to make summer trips. Beaches, bays, movies, parks, etc. Summer brings lot's of smiles on kids face. Oh yeah! Smile on kids face! That is something. The more you can see them smile, the more interesting the life gets for us. Life is Interesting!

One of my life's dream is fullfilled!

I had one life long dream eluding me for years. I waited this long to get it right and then live with it for most of my life. Wondering what it could be? Well, I am enjoying it immensely with my friends and family now for over 2 months. A Home Theater!

A lot of time went into researching on how to put it together the best way possible with as little budget as possible without the expense of a professional. How do one go about doing such a project? Well, look no further than Avsforum's Dedicated Theater Design forum. Call it the Encyclopedia or for anything audio or video. I checked lot of galleries of forum members to get inspired. Finally, I got it done in a style of my own with some inspiration from several theaters I saw at AVS Forum. All commercial theaters have 2.35:1 screen and I believe so should the Home Theaters.

My theater gear:
Lutron Grafix Eye Dimmer control
12' wide 2.35:1 Da-Lite Cinema Contour High Power screen
Panasonic PT-AX100U 720p LCD Projector
Arcam FMJ | P7 7-channel Amplifier
Outlaw Audio Model 990 Preamp/Processor
Sony PS3 as Blu-Ray Player and Game and Entertainment Center - Undisputed King of my Theater
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD Player
Belkin PureAV PF60 Surge Protector
NevoSL WiFi Universal Remote
Natuzzi Theater Chairs