Okay, the holidays are right around the corner. In our continuing effort to hook you up with the best gear, we had to point out the Onkyo TX-NR905. This is a product that has blown us away in our testing.
Let’s be clear - the Onkyo TX-NR905 A/V receiver isn’t the lightest device in the world, as it weighs in at 54 pounds - but that’s just about where the negatives end when it comes to this beast. This thing is like a classic Mustang - all muscle. You can throw anything at it - you know, HD DVD players, game consoles, TiVos, Blu-ray - and expect phenomenal 7.1 surround sound. And we mean pristine. Even better, the TX-NR905 bridges the gap between your entertainment center and the Internet by way of it’s Ethernet port. Hook up to the Internet, and you can stream Internet radio directly through this system. Moving on the picture quality - again, top notch all the way here. It will pump out 1080p signals, it supports 24p framerate, and has 2 HDMI outputs along with component out for your HDTV needs. Oh course, this thing is all about the sound. You get 140 watts per channel, and this is the most inexpensive receiver to feature THX Ultra2 certification. Believe me, if you haven’t heard it, you will be the envy of your block. Don’t worry though, you won’t be able to hear the complaints if you crank this thing up. Rounding out the feature set here, it will upconvert all inputs to 1080p, supports multiple zones, and also has HD radio built-in. Retails for $1,999. Compare prices on Onkyo TX-NR905.
Read More | Onkyo TX-NR905 on Amazon
The BD-P1200 from Samsung is a nice step up from last year’s BD-P1000 player. It offers more features at a lower cost. There are nice bookmarking features, DVD upconverting, and a nice backlit remote control. There’s also an Ethernet port, which allows for simple firmware updates. Of course, the fact that it takes 20 seconds to load a disc is no fun, but that is typical of Blu-ray and HD DVD players across the board.
Read More | Samsung BD-P1200
Here’s a quick news bite for anyone looking for a holiday gift for that entertainment junkie in their life (or, for that matter, for themselves) - Amazon is selling the TiVo HD unit at $249.99. That’s $50 off the regular price of $299.99, or a smooth 17% off. Sure, it’s no Series 3, we know, but still, it is TiVo in all it’s HD goodness. We aren’t sure how long this one is going to last, so jump on it quick if you want it.<
Read More | TiVo HD Amazon Deal
The DLO HomeDock Deluxe is the current be-all end-all dock solution for sending all of your media that resides on your iPod to your television. It supports music, high resolution slideshows, and 640x480 video. S-video and composite connections are available, giving you a couple of options for sending the signal along, and the dock itself is able to both charge and sync your iPod. Throw in a remote that lets you control everything untethered, and this one is a winner. As far as iPod accessories go, this one isn’t the cheapest in the world, but it is certainly one of the coolest we have seen this far.
In our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than the MacBook Pro when it comes to a portable computer. Why? Well, aside from the Intel Core 2 Duo processors that they house, they are lightweight and have batteries that last almost three hours under normal use and load. It has a built-in iSight webcam, FireWire 400 and 800 ports, and a backlit keyboard. The kicker here though, is that by using this with the Parallels software, you can run Windows 2000, XP, and Vista side-by-side within OS X. If you prefer a dedicated OS experience, you can use Boot Camp to run Windows on it’s own. That means that by buying a MacBook Pro, you get access to both the OS X and Windows operating systems with extreme ease. The same can’t be said for the PC side of things.
The Sony PLAYSTATION 3 is build around the company’s much-hyped Cell processor, a 3.2-GHz chip that packs some serious processing power. The cell is what powers the PS3’s 1080p True HD output, alongside a 500-MHz nVidia graphics processor. The more expensive version also packs in WiFi, multimedia card readers, and silver trim. The SIXAXIS controller has a new input interface that is rotation and acceleration sensitive, allowing you to control games through movement (but without force-feedback.) Lastly, the PS3 has Blu-Ray built-in, so with the purchase you also get a high definition video player as well. Sure, at $600 USD it sounds expensive, but compare that to a $1000+ standalone Blu-Ray player, and the PS3 doesn’t look so bad after all.
Price: $600 (Compare Prices)
The newest Squeezebox has a bright LED screen along with a nice, metallic console, and is the perfect gift for any audiophile. Hook this thing up to a stereo system using it’s digital outputs, and you are in for a treat. The Squeezebox supports just about any format out there (but not iTunes DRM), and can even stream from services like Rhapsody. There are third-party plug-ins that let you change fonts, and even use the display as a caller ID. Our favorite part, though, is the fact that it can stream Internet radio without needed a PC to be powered on.
The Buffalo LinkTheater Wireless A/G Media Player is new in town, but looks to be a winner. The device allows you to stream just about any video or audio format you can think of from your PC to your home theater system. This new model even has a few optimization specifically targetted toward Intel Viiv PCs, so if you have one of those, it’s a plus (though it’s not required.) The device is even compatible with DRM movie downloads from the likes of CinemaNow and MovieLink. Definitely worth it if you store a bunch of multimedia content on your PC, and you want an easy way to get that to your HDTV.
Here at Gear Live HQ, we are pretty keen on hard drive-based camcorders. If you aren’t shooting any major productions, these cameras are great in situations where a handheld camera is appropriate. The Sony DCR-SR1000 is a great tapeless camcorder, holding about 7.3 hours of high quality footage on it’s internal drive. You can change the quality of your recording in order to squeeze out over 20 hours of recording capacity from the camcorder. Low light performance is better than other cameras of similar size, as it sports a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T lens. It also have an onboard mic that records in four directions, allowing you to record in Dolby 5.1 surround sound. The only downside we could find to this one is that it’s a tad on the heavy side at 22.4 ounces.
The recently overhauled iPod nano is almost a splitting image of the old-school iPod mini. You know, the anodized-aluminum casing that is available in multiple colors? Yeah, that’s the one. The new casing is much more scratch-resistant than the original nano, and features a brighter screen along with better battery life (26 hours!) and a thinner shell, if you can believe that. The new iPod nano also features updated software which includes a nice search interface. What you aren’t getting, though, is the ability to play movies or the new iPod games that are available in iTunes - however, we think that most people on the lookout to purchase a nano aren’t necessarily the gaming type. Plus, who would want to play Zuma on a screen this tiny? Still, for a flash-based portable music player, we give the nod to the iPod nano. Hey, you can even get the RED nano and help in the fight against AIDS. Feel free to check out our iPod nano unboxing video.