I recently returned to the UK after two weeks in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Unfortunately the free WiFi in the SF hotel was nowhere near as reliable as hoped with my Macbook so there were no updates while abroad. The hotel in Las Vegas wanted $15 a day for WiFi internet and while there are a few free access points (the two nearby Apple stores being the main ones) I didn’t want to spend my holiday lurking around these.
I now have a lot of photo’s and 1080p video to edit, and it’s a fairly straightforward task. I’ve listed my method here to help anyone else in the same position, as this is the easiest way of managing large AVCHD files I have found. Read more…
I’ve been thinking about upgrading a lot of my AV equipment for a while now. I had my eye on a Sony 40W4000U LCD TV that just keeps getting cheaper (at least there is one small benefit to the credit crunch) then they had to go one better with the 40W4500U. An even better LCD TV for a little bit more cash. It’s now number one on the wanted list, but that’s where the easy decisions end. Read more…
Things aren’t looking too good at the moment for those wanting a reasonable priced video card to use with a hackintosh and Windows. My system has an Nvidia 7300GT that works well with Mac OS 10.5.4, and performs ok under Windows XP. I only really use Windows for games, and have recently been playing through Half Life 2 again. I tried using Crossover Games to install it on OSX but the performance was choppy, so I’m rebooting into Windows whenever I want to play. The original game is fine at 1680×1050, and Episode 1 ran just as well. Episode 2 is the stumbling block, with a big drop in smoothness unless the video options are turned all the way down or resolution dropped. Episode 3 doesn’t have a release date yet but is sure to up the hardware requirements even more.
So what are the upgrade options? The Nvidia 9600GT is unsupported and doesn’t appear to be working yet, and neither are the newer 260 and 280. There are several options lower in the range, but how much of an improvement these would give is debatable. The best option from Nvidia looks to still be an 8800GT. On the ATI side the latest 4850/4870 are reported as working, as are the 3850/3870 that preceded them. Aria have a 3870 512Mb for £82.19 and a 4850 512Mb for £123.26. The problem here is going to be noise. My current Sparkle 7300GT is passively cooled so is silent. Looks like much research ahead, just as soon as Insanelymac starts working again.
For the past three years I’ve used an Xbox running the Xbox Media Centre software, to play video stored on my network through a TV. For a games system that’s several years old the interface and playback are very smooth, as long as you stick to standard definition video. HD is beyond the processor power available unfortunately, but that won’t become an issue until I finally upgrade to an LCD TV. Read more…
How hard can this be? Sample video from the Sony HDR-TG3E (TG1 in the USA) has started appearing online and I’ve downloaded some to have a look at on my Mac. The video files are in an AVCHD format with an .MTS file extention. Quicktime doesn’t recognise the files, and VLC tries to play a few seconds then crashes. This post says some of the VLC nightly builds will play the video, so I downloaded several that were recommended as working. All played the video files poorly, freezing and jumping constantly. Mplayer wouldn’t even open the files.
Further searching revealed the only current way of viewing .MTS AVCHD files on the Mac is using Roxio’s Toast 9. Toast opens the Toast Video Player (©2008 Elgato) which plays the video’s smoothly. iMovie and Final Cut Express/Pro can import the video files direct from the recorder, but not plain files on your hard drive.
For anyone looking to view some sample’s on a Mac here are some links that should help.
Take one radio controlled car. Add a video camera with wireless transmitter and slimline video glasses. The end result is you in the drivers seat of a white knuckle ride in your own garden (backyard for US visitors)
Is this the coolest toy ever?
I posted a few days ago about the Sony HDR-TG3E, a compact HD camera that showed a lot of potential. The first hands on review I have seen has now been posted at tracyandmatt.co.uk. No sample video or photo’s but a video of unboxing and first impressions was posted. Unfortunately it’s hosted on Revver which I can’t add here. Worth reading the review for the comments on picture quality, and I look forward to seeing the first low light samples.