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Friday, June 29, 2007

Toshiba News

Toshiba Primes Q4 HD DVD, LCD Market By Greg Tarr -- TWICE, 6/28/2007 3:01:00 PM New York — Toshiba is making available a firmware update for its HD DVD players, adding network connectivity to download Web-enabled bonus content among other things, the company said at a press reception held here last week. In LCD TV, the company said is now shipping large-screen Regza models just as its LCD TV market share has spiked in key screen sizes. In other HD DVD news, the company said that promotional pricing levels on its HD DVD players in May and June will become standard suggested retails July 1. The HD-A2 is now $299, while the HD-A20 is $399. The top-of-the-line HD-XA2 continues at $799. “With HD DVD, studios have the ability to develop new and unique content for movie fans, enabling consumers to have an entirely new way to access entertainment and customize their home movie experience that is currently not available with any other format,” said Jodi Sally, Toshiba’s digital A/V group marketing VP. Using supplied Ethernet ports on all Toshiba HD DVD players, users will able to download bonus features to internal storage from a movie studio’s server. The functionality will also enable “unlocking” bonus content hidden on some HD DVD discs using a downloadable key. Users will also be able to upload content and interact with content providers through such means as interactive polls, Toshiba said. Toshiba also said that it will add 24p frame-rate output to its HD-AX2 and HD-A20 through an update planned in September. At the same time, Toshiba’s TV marketing VP Scott Ramirez said the company is ready to ship new premium 46-inch, 47-inch and 52-inch Regza LCD TVs and will add its 57-inch Cinema Series LCD TV model in July. Ramirez said that Toshiba’s flat-panel market share has jumped significantly, according to The NPD Group’s retail tracking service TV data. Market research on TV sales, including combos, showed Toshiba nearly doubled its share in the 32- to 42-inch LCD category in April and May 2007. “Consumers are responding to the quality and design of Regza, but more importantly, they are proving that Toshiba is a market leader in flat panel TV,” Ramirez said. According to NPD, Toshiba’s share in the 32- to 42-inch screen size grew 90 percent, to 10.8 percent market share, making Toshiba No. 3 in the LCD screen size range, including combos. Toshiba’s 40- to 42-inch LCD market share grew to 12.7 percent in the period, while its 37-inch share grew 13.2 percent. The new LCD models coming to market add Toshiba’s advanced ClearFrame 120 Hz Anti-Blur System for smooth fast action image reproduction, New models include the Regza 47-inch 47HL167 ($2,499) and 52-inch 52HL167 ($3,499), and Regza Cinema Series 42LX177 ($2,299), 46LX177 ($2,999) and 52LX177 ($3,999). The 57-inch model will ship in July at a price to be determined.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Grand Theft Auto IV trailer

Grand Theft Auto IV trailer is up. You can either watch the tiny, poorly streamed version at Yahoo! Games, or you can watch the higher resolution trailer at Rockstar's website, Team Xbox or the best place, Xbox Marketplace with a free picture pack and theme.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Halo 3 Accessories Pictures

Microsoft officially announced the peripherals. Two new Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers will be available starting Sept. 18 and can be preordered today at select retailers.

Designed with original artwork by legendary Spawn artist Todd McFarlane, they will be available in either the Covenant Brute or Master Chief themes. Each controller will be packaged with a limited edition “Halo 3” collectible figurine created by McFarlane Toys will sell for an estimated retail price $59.99 (U.S.).

Additionally, Microsoft plans to release for an estimated retail price of $59.99 (U.S.). an Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Headset that sports the Spartan green and gold.

A quick look at Halo 3's cinematics

It's crunch time over at Bungie Studios and those gorgeous in-game cutscenes are coming together quite nicely. How do we know? Well, we read the Halo 3 cinematics update over on silly. In the cinematics update, Bungie talks about the work they are doing and how they've hired big name movie animators D.A.M.N. FX to help them create the most amazing cutscenes ever! D.A.M.N. FX has worked on movies like King Kong, Shrek, Transformers and Lord of the Rings making them more than qualified to touch our Halo 3. Make the jump to read what goes into animating Halo 3 and how very colorful the description of an animation can really get.

from Xbox 360 Fanboy

Samsung's 70-inch LED-backlit LCD television now on sale

Samsung's gettin' busy this morning in Korea with the launch of their 70-inch Full HD LCD television. Not only is it the world's largest commercially available LCD, this 1080p pup also brings a 120Hz refresh along with Samsung's local dimming LED backlighting solution for a reported 500,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio... for whatever that measurement's worth. The LN70F91BD is another ACAP packer featuring 3x HDMI 1.3 terminals and a USB 2.0 jack for purposes unknown. Available in S.Korea only at the moment with worldwide sales starting in the second half of the year. Only ₩59,000,000 for the privilege which translates to about $63k or €48k -- chump-change for culturally ambiguous superstars.

from Engadget

Samsung's Bordeaux PAVV LCDs: 17,000:1 contrast and ACAP

Hot on the heels of their PAVV plasmas come three new PAVV LCDs. The 40-, 46-, and 52-inch models all bring a 1080p resolution to the game with 3x HDMIs and a sweet 17,000:1 contrast -- barely nudging out the trio of Bordeaux LCDs unveiled back in March. These sets also feature ACAP, as in Advanced Common Application Platform for interactive television -- part of the ATSC spec we're familiar with Stateside. However, at the moment these sets are S.Korea-only tagged ₩3,200,000 (about $3,424) for the LN40M92BD, ₩4,200,000 (about $4,494) for the LN46M92BD, and ₩5,400,000 (about $5,779) for the LN52M92BD.

from Engadget

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Microsoft beefs up Xbox 360 cooling

Only took 'em a couple of years, but Microsoft is finally taking a bit more of a proactive approach to its perennial "ring of death" problems of overheating 360s. Yeah, that means instead just doing the towel trick to get your 360 up and running again, you can send your Xbox off to Microsoft, and they'll actually improve the cooling internals -- in some countries anyways. MaxConsole had been getting some reports of French Xbox 360s getting this special treatment, and now they've got the first solid proof from Czech reader Ikari. We're no cooling experts, but it sure looks fancy in there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New “Gears of War” Multiplayer achievements and title update

It has just been announced that Gears of War will be getting a title update tomorrow, June 14th after 0200 GMT. Inside the Title Update, you’ll find eight new Achievements for the "Annex" gametype and the "Hidden Fronts" Multiplayer Map Pack on Xbox LIVE.

In addition to adding new Achievements, worth a total of 250 points, Epic has improved the Roadie Run controls so players have greater control of their movement. The title update will also help squash multiplayer exploits and provide general housekeeping.

The "Annex" gametype is now available for free and the "Hidden Fronts" Multiplayer Map Pack is available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for 800 Microsoft Points.
All four multiplayer maps will be available for free after Sept. 3, 2007.

First Party Halo 3 Accesories Revealed

Gamestop has updated its records revealing three first-party Halo 3 Xbox 360 accesories. The first two are Spartan and Covenant themed Xbox 360 wireless controllers. Below is the description for both controllers:
True Halo fanatics will be able to extend their gaming experience with the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controller. The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Controllers are only available for a limited time and bring a completely unique and new look to the award winning performance of the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller.

Both controllers will be available for $59.99 on September 4, 2007.

And lastly, but not less important is the Halo 3 Xbox 360 wireless headset limited edition, also available for $59.99 on September 4, 2007. Below is the description and picture of the headset:

For those who plan to enjoy the thrill of the Halo 3 experience over Xbox Live, The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Headset offers un-tethered, high quality voice chat with a uniquely “Halo” look. The Xbox 360 Limited Edition Halo 3 Wireless Headset is only available for a limited time and can be paired up with the Xbox 360 Limited Edition Wireless Controller for the ultimate Halo 3 gaming experience.

As an added bonus, those who purchase either wireless control will receive a limited Halo figurine from McFarlane toys.

From Team Xbox

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Waiting Game

I've touched on this subject before but occasionally a first hand example presents itself and reminds me just how prevalent it is among some consumers. I'm talking about the waiting game, i.e. waiting for a specific feature and or waiting for equipment with said feature to hit a certain, often arbitrary price point and using the lack of said feature or price point to validate further waiting. Here's the rub about this tactic, it rarely pays off and in some cases it's actually counter productive.

Before I get too deep into this, understand that I'm working on a few basic assumptions here. First we're talking about A/V, film, and or home theater enthusiasts in general, not a first time buyer or someone who rarely (read decades not every other year) upgrades their A/V gear, short of item for item failure replacements.

The problem is that no matter how long you wait there's always something new in the pipeline. Want to wait for an inexpensive HDMI 1.3 receiver you say? Wait long enough and you'll likely find another feature worth waiting for, hey I wonder how far along in development HDMI 1.4 is? Please forgive the semi-snide rhetorical question, it was merely an illustration.

The purchase or lack thereof is of course entirely up to the end user and as a friend of mine humorously noted: If you can't live in it, wear it, or eat it, it's not a necessity. At the same time however it's a shame to imagine someone waiting for x-y-z feature at 1-2-3 arbitrary price point when they could have otherwise been enjoying that piece of gear for years to come. I'm not trying to lecture on any one individual purchase or otherwise valid reason to hold off, but I do occasionally see consumers locked into the "must wait" mindset for no other apparent reason than worrying about what the future may bring.

Take for example a client, who recently visited our showroom, we'll call him Bob. Bob has decade old Mitsubishi 40" direct view television, I remember these sets well. I used to plan my sick days around their installation. (Just kidding but they were back breakers) In a nutshell Bob was looking for a display upgrade for his living room, but had a shopping list of features in mind for his new display, unfortunately that shopping list was chock full of features that aren't readily available at his desired price-point and or were just plain nonexistent. Needless to say, Bob was ready to hang it up and hold off on that new display.

It was at this point I explained to Bob some of the differences between our business model and that of some of the big-box, mass retailers. Stores like Best Buy and Circuit City move large amounts of CE gear on a daily basis, have huge advertising budgets, and benefit from leveraged wholesale costs to be able to offer their goods at their advertised prices. Contrast that with custom installation/dedicated home theater stores who literally live or die based on their word of mouth referrals and you begin to see some of the important differences.

Every one of our installations is an advertisement, or put another way, your theater is our referral system. We can't afford (again literally) for you to be unhappy when it comes to telling your friends and family who did your theater. To this end (ensuring that we offer the best values for our clients) we've become quite familiar with the roadmaps of our vendors (not unlike the computer processor roadmaps new window from Intel) to get a feel for what's in the pipeline for the coming months.

We're not afraid to tell someone what's on the horizon, (120hz refresh rates come to mind) this full disclosure is what keeps small operations like ourselves in business. Does it cost us the occasional sale? You bet but not nearly as many as a customer who felt he or she was duped into a product that was immediately outdated. Here's a tip, if your salesmen isn't (a) aware of what's a few months out on the CE horizon or (b) doesn't seem all that interested in discussing it, you may be better served taking your business elsewhere.

At the end of the day it's all about knowing what's available, what it's worth, and what's on the horizon. Contrast that with what, if any, real-world benefit you'll gain by waiting for a new model and ascertain if that difference is really worth the cost of admission. Too complicated? Just know this, technology and in particular digital displays are always improving, the trick is striking the right balance between today's price and performance and not getting locked into the never-ending loop of what tomorrow may bring.

From Home Theater Blog

Toshiba's VARDIA RD-A600 HD DVD recorder with 600GB disk

Check it Sony, Toshiba just unleashed a new VARDIA hybrid HD DVD / HDD recorder in Japan. The 600GB RD-A600 and 300GB RD-A300 feature a pair of digital hi-vision HD tuners, Firewire, and HDMI and can write to HD DVD-R and DVD-RAM/R/RW media in addition to their respective hard disks. In fact, the HDD is the only point of divergence between the models. They'll cost a tad more than $199: as much as ¥200,000 (about $1,643) for the RD-A600 model when these start shipping later in the year. Read-on for a few more pics including a shot of the backside ports.

[Via Impress]

Monday, June 11, 2007

Official Playstation Blog

Patrick Seybold, along with other Sony employees, have officially launched the Sony Computer Entertainment America company blog, Playstation.Blog.

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on June 12th, 2007

Breach HD DVDAre the tides turning? First HD DVD's version of Planet Earth outsells Blu-ray, then HD DVD players sales are way up, and now Universal releases a nice slew of catalog titles to help HD DVD make up some ground in the race to have the most titles available. But wait, Blu-ray isn't going down without a fight, and although they don't have as many titles this week, they do have a big title: Ghost Rider -- never mind it's painfully low IMDB score of 5.5, it is a day-and-date release. But a bad Nic Cage movie isn't going to be enough, as Universal delivers not only the most titles, but also the biggest, with Breach (IMDB 7.7). In case you forgot, we went back and recounted the totals last week, so sans any changes in the past week, this total should include every title available up until June 12th, 2007.

HD DVD 223 vs Blu-ray 254.

from Engadget HD

Prince of Persia Classic Coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade

It's official. Prince of Persia Classic will be available for download on Xbox LIVE Arcade for Xbox 360 beginning Wednesday, June 13, at 9 a.m. GMT (1 a.m. PDT).

From the media alert:

In Ubisoft’s “Prince of Persia Classic,” gamers take on the role of the prince as he embarks on a mission to rescue the princess before she has to wed the wicked Jaffar – all of which must be accomplished in under 60 minutes! Jumping across platforms and avoiding traps, the prince must collect bottles of potions to keep his power bar charged as he duels enemies on his way to the princess.

“Prince of Persia Classic” is available worldwide for 800 Microsoft Points and is rated T for Teen (Animated Blood and Violence).

Game Features

  • Enhanced character designs, animations and visuals
  • New traps, puzzles and enemies to tackle further augment the classic experience
  • 12 Achievements will be available – ranging from the simple (finding the sword in the first level) to the near impossible (finding all the potions in the game or finishing the game without dying!)
  • The title will feature 3 different leaderboards:
    • Normal Mode: Complete the game as fast as possible, which saves at the end of each level
    • Time Attach Mode: Complete the game as fast as possible – but be prepared to start from the beginning if you fail to save the Princess in under 60 minutes
    • Survival Mode: Complete the entire game in under 60 minutes – without dying
from Gamerscore Blog

Sony updates SXRD line with five new sets

Sony didn't limit its Bravia updates to LCDs today, as it also dropped five new SXRD rear-projection units. Like the other new Bravias, the three new A3000 and two new XBR SXR sets feature 1080p resolution, Motionflow 120Hz high-framerate technology, and the x.v.Color extended color gamut system. The SXRDs also get Sony's new PhotoTV HD feature, which Sony claims "brings the look of actual printed photography to the set." We're not sure what 70-inch prints of our vacation photos would look like, but sure. The new units, which are 40% thinner than the models they're replacing, are also compatible with Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link, for streaming HD video directly to the set, and feature the XMB crossbar interface that Sony hearts so much.

The $3,000 50-inch KDS-50A3000 (pictured), $3,300 55-inch KDS-55A3000, and $3,500 60-inch KDS-60A3000 units all run the Bravia Engine EX scaler (which only scales up to 1080i), and have interchangeable-color speaker grilles, while the $5,000 KDS-Z60XBR5 and $6,000 KDS-Z70XBR5 feature Sony's "floating glass" look and up the scaler to a 1080p-capable Bravia Engine Pro chip. The A3000s should drop in August, while the XBRs are due this fall. Peep the super mod KDS-Z70XBR5 after the break.

from Engadget HD

Sony releases nine new Bravia LCDs with XMB and Internet Video Link

We glimpsed the future of the Bravia XBR LCD line back in March when Sony showed off the Japanese-only X2550s, and now it looks like that premonition was dead-on, as the nine new Bravias introduced today feature Sony's x.v.Color wide color gamut system, 10-bit 1080p panels, Bravia Engine upscaler, the oh-so-popular XMB crossbar interface, and compatibility with Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link to stream HD video directly to your set over the 'net.

The $4,300 52-inch KDL-52W3000, $3,500 46-inch KDL-46W3000, and $2,700 40-inch KDL-40W3000 all come flossing a standard brushed-metal case, while the XBRs feature Sony's "floating glass" look, Motionflow 120Hz high-framerate technology, and Bravia Engine Pro.

The KDL-46XBR5 and KDL-40XBR5 will drop in August for $4,100 and $3,300, while the KDL-52XBR5 model (pictured) will come out in September for about $5,100. Those looking to burn a little less cash can pick up the XBR4 series with interchangeable bezels -- the 52-inch KDL-52XBR4 will set you back $4,800, while 46-inch KDL-46XBR4 and 40-inch KDL-40XBR4 are $4,800 and $3,800, respectively.

from Engadget HD

PlayStation 3's upscaling update analyzed

Sony, ya' see this is why you should have tried to push out the PS3 with 1080p upscaling right off the bat. Instead of people actually enjoying your games, you've got everyone booting up Photoshop to compare the minute differences between the quality of PSOne/PS2 games in their unscaled, original state and at 1080p resolution. It turns out that the differences aren't that astounding, and get even harder discern as you move towards more recent titles like God of War 2: and these are only static shots, not full motion comparisons. The skinny on the upscaling update is that it makes everything look slightly more smooth, but in some cases too smooth. IGN even preferred the original 480p setting for certain games, mentioning that it's sharper, more detailed, and well-defined. The argument between upscaling and native rendering is ultimately a matter of taste, so if you prefer cinematic and smooth, go for upscaling; if you prefer detailed but slightly grainy, go native. 'Nuff said.

from Engadget HD

High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro

High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 1A lot, and I mean a lot, of people have been going gaga over the customization options in Halo 3. That's very understandable considering how cool it would be to be pwning foes in a bright pink or yellow Spartan Armor.

GamePro recently made an article on this along with some pictures of the vehicles in Halo 3. Those who were lucky enough to get a Halo 3 beta passkey have seen all this and may be saying some of the pictures are boring, but for many of us unlucky mortals, this is still pretty interesting stuff. The customizable armor without the visor looks really great and the additional detail on everything is just superb.

Halo 3 is being developed by Bungie Studios and will be published by Microsoft Game Studios. It is slated to be out this September 25. If you have an Xbox 360, this is probably on the top of your buy lists right now. Anyway, we're not going to keep you any longer, here are the pictures, enjoy. Be sure to keep checking back here for the latest news on Halo 3.

Thanks to Lunchbox for this tip!

High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 1 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 2 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 3 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 4
High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 1 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 2 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 3 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 4
High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 1 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 2 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 3 High Quality Halo 3 scans from GamePro - Image 4

from X360 QJ.NET

Toshiba Brings World’s First(*1) Slim HD DVD Re-writable Drive To Notebook PCs

-- Toshiba today announced the world’s first*1 slim HD DVD-RW drive for notebook PCs that can read and write and rewrite to HD DVD-RW discs, and read and write to HD DVD-R discs and to standard DVD and CD discs. Sample shipments of the new drive are scheduled to start next month. The new SD-L912A makes it possible to backup the large capacities of PC hard drives to the reusable format of HD DVD-RW discs, and store data-rich HD digital content. The drive’s ability to rewrite to HD DVD-RW also opens the way to a wide range of applications involving storage and rewriting of large volumes of data. The new product also supports high speed read and write*2 for standard DVD and CD discs, and the complete library of different DVD and CD formats. The new drive is compliant with the EU RoHS*3 directive on environmentally hazardous substances, which came into force in July 2006. Toshiba will feature the new drive at the Toshiba Digital Media Network Taiwan Corporation booth (booth: B1234) at Computex 2007, which will be held in Taipei, Taiwan from June 5 to 9. Background The growth of digital terrestrial broadcasting, increasing consumer demand for large screen, high definition TVs and for HD camcorders, are all spurring demand for the ability to record high-definition visual content using the optical drive of a PC. Against this background, Toshiba has developed a slim HD DVD rewritable drive for notebook PCs that will allow users to use the advanced capabilities of HD DVD to the full. Toshiba will continue to develop HD DVD drives and contribute to market penetration of the HD DVD format."

HALO 3 BETA is over, time to focus on Forza 2 and Shadowrun!

The HALO 3 BETA ended and BUNGIE pulled the plug right at 12:01AM PST. The HALO 3 BETA will be sorely missed as I really enjoyed playing over the last 3 weeks and 4 days. BUNGIE showed us that they have learned from mistakes of the past by balancing the weapons and gameplay in HALO 3 by adding the Assault Rifle, improving the Needler, toning down the Rocket Launcher, improving accuracy and much more. BUNGIE is also taking LIVE integration to the next level with stats galore and sharing of saved game videos. The complete version of HALO 3 should prove to be one of the greatest games of all-time and definitely one of the best and most popular multiplayer games of all-time. :)

Now that the BETA is gone, the time has come focus on Forza 2 which is by far one of the best racing simulators on the planet. The damage modeling and real-world physics are nothing short of amazing and easily makes up for the games lack of pretty pretty visuals.

Consumers Drive Record Sales of HD DVD Players to Capture 60% of HD Set-Top Market

Consumers Drive Record Sales of HD DVD Players to Capture 60% of HD Set-Top Market HD DVD Achieves Highest Attach Rate of Any Next-Gen Format Three weeks into its aggressive spring retail and marketing campaigns, the North American HD DVD Promotional Group today announced HD DVD is significantly ahead in the dedicated consumer electronics player market with 60% of all high definition set-top players sold. At the same time, high definition movie sales for HD DVD reached an all time high for the month of May, exceeding 75,000 movies the last week of May alone. Overall high definition sales hit a record last week as well, hitting $5.2 million in actual consumer spending, which was 31% higher than the previous record for the two formats. This highlights the growing consumer appetite for HD content across the board. Sales of dedicated consumer electronics players are a critical indicator in the adoption of the high definition formats, given the high attach rates to these players. With the successive price drops by Toshiba, weekly player sales doubled in April when the price dropped from $499 to $399, doubled again during the first week of the latest promotion in late May, and increased again last week. "Toshiba's latest promotional efforts are clearly resonating with consumers and showing that price is king when it comes to hardware," said Craig Kornblau, chairman of the North American HD DVD Promotional Group. "Behind the increase in sales for hardware and movies, you're seeing fundamentally lower manufacturing costs and ease of authoring for HD DVD. That's the type of model that can scale." Consumers have purchased 150,000 dedicated HD DVD consumer electronics players which are holding a 4 to 1 movie attach rate over competing formats. The Toshiba HD-A2 model has also reached the top-seller mark among all DVD players on, and is officially the best-selling next-gen DVD player model to date.

Sneak Peak: Street Fighter II Turbo Remake


Over at the Capcom official message boards, resident blogger Brian Dunn has posted a first look at 1080p Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix for Xbox Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network. Udon Comics is redrawing the game's background, portraits, portraits and in-game animations — all in hi-res. Above is what Ken would look like if you paused the game, cut out the background and posted him on Kotaku. Well, whaddaya think? Brian Ashcraft

from Kotaku

HD DVD and Blu-ray releases on June 5th, 2007

Another week of catalog titles, don't get us wrong we like classic movies as much as the next, but there is nothing like new releases to drive us to buying. One title that is kinda new is Blood Diamond, at least to Blu-ray. What is interesting about this title is the fact that the Blu-ray version is coming out before the HD DVD, usually Warner does things the other way around. Two titles this week that are classics are two of the best Eddie Murphy movies ever; Trading Places and Coming to America. HD DVD starts off slow this month, but watch out, because they have a bunch (29) of titles coming in the next few weeks, and most of them are HD DVD exclusives.

HD DVD 207
vs Blu-ray 243.

Note: In July the Blood Diamond HD DVD will have feature that the Blu-Ray don't have.

Form Engadget HD

Monday, June 4, 2007

Toshiba rolls out automotive HD DVD player, improved LCD panel

Toshiba Mobile HD DVD player and new LCD touch panel
Toshiba has shown off some auto-related products at the Automotive Engineering Expo 2007, including a mobile HD DVD player and a fresh take on touch panels. The high-definition in-dash player is under co-development with Alpine, and is planned for a 2008 release. The LCD is an improvement on traditional touchscreen technology, with no film coating -- which traditionally reduces contrast ratio and brightness -- to handle the user input, instead bundling optical sensors alongside each pixel. These sensors can then detect the shadow of a press during the day, and the reflection of the backlight at night. Toshiba also plans to upgrade that tech to use infrared instead of day/night sensors. Who cares if you can't see the difference between 1080 and 720 on a 7-inch screen, we just want our mobile touchscreen HD now!

Via Engadget HD

Juicy Halo 3 info discovered in GamePro mag

Halo 3 teaser - Juicy Halo 3 info discovered in GamePro mag - Image 1

In the latest issue of GamePro (that's July 2007), more details about content coming into Bungie's Halo 3 was revealed inside the magazine. And what's more, they all come complete with pictures. Thanks to a friend of Go32111 over at the GameFAQ Forums, the world will be able to take a bite out of magazine Issue 226.

GamePro magazine issue 226, Halo 3 content - Image 1 GamePro magazine issue 226, Halo 3 content - Image 2

Unfortunately, the digital captures are pixelated and probably barely a megapixel in resolution at best, since the images were captured on an iffy web camera. Although the first reaction upon glaring on these images is a resounding "WOW!" we just wish that we had better images to give you (or the magazine issue to boot!).

Now what's interesting is that a few of the content revealed here was rumored some time ago over the official Halo modding forums. There's the speculated Radar Jammer and the rumored Chopper. Notably absent, however, is the presence of a Halo 3 version of the flamethrower.

Lo and behold the spoilers that await right past this paragraph. All content revealed below from here onwards are quoted straight from Go32111, who claims everything was quoted straight from the magazine itself. Images courtesy of Go32111 and his friend.


Magnum and Sword - Image 1 Magnum and Sword - Image 2

  • Magnum - The Magnum is much improved since Halo 2, dishing out slower, more punishing shots. But it's still not back to Halo 1 strength, as the clip currently carries just eight rounds and you can't zoom in. Still a nice, precise choice for dual-wield combos.
  • Energy Sword - The infamous Sword gets two tweaks aimed at balancing its overwhelming power. One change is a brief weapon-switch delay. The second adjustment is more controversial: the Energy Sword now has an ammo meter that depletes with each attack, which keeps players from hoarding it indefinitely.

Wraith and Brute Chopper - Image 1 Wraith and Brute Chopper - Image 2

  • Wraith - The lumbering Covenant Wraith returns with a new player-operated secondary turret. It's helpful for driving off boarding attempts.
  • Brute Chopper - This ugly, jagged Brute Chopper looks like something Firefly's Reavers might drive into battle. Its twin cannons and heavy, blade-like chassis can pulverize lesser vehicles in a nanosecond.

Radar Jammer - Image 1

  • Radar Jammer - Hurl this item into a fight and watch as chaos and confusion engulf friend and foe alike. The jammer scrambles the radar of all nearby players and triggers disco-like light flashes to further disorient your prey.

Shrine - Image 1 Shrine - Image 2

  • Shrine - A UNSC battle cruiser looms menacingly over Shrine's sprawling sand dunes. Shrine is the largest map ever to appear in a Halo game, so Bungie put a key emphasis on vehicle-on-vehicle combat. Shrine has few ties to older Halo 2 maps, but its massive size recalls Relic.

Epitaph - Image 1 Epitaph - Image 2 Epitaph - Image 3

  • Epitaph - Epitaph is an arcane Forerunner cathedral-like structure that towers above the surrounding wasteland. The central killing floor is crisscrossed with elevated walkways, exterior hallways, and lifts. It's a spiritual successor to Halo 2 maps like Colossus, Gemini, and Midship.
  • Last Resort - Zanzibar, one of Halo 2's most beloved maps, has been rebuilt and rechristened Last Resort for Halo 3. This industrial site is almost twice as big, with a less cluttered internal layout and more paths into the flag room.

Mystery level labelled as 'Work in progress' - Image 1

  • Secret Map - Bungie sneakily sent us two mysterious concept paintings labeled only as "Work in Progress Map." We see the icy motif and pray for a new Lockout, but only Bungie knows the truth.


Customization of your own Spartan - Image 1 Customization of your own Spartan - Image 2 Customization of your own Spartan - Image 3
Customization of your own Spartan - Image 4 Customization of your own Spartan - Image 5

  • Create a Spartan - Tired of staring at Master Chief's ugly mug? Halo 3's online mode offers new armor permutations that allow players to customize their personas from head to toe. Will the Covenant Elite player models be eligible for similar upgrades? Only Bungie knows.
from X360 QJ.NET