Sunday, December 27, 2009

Santa was here!! YEAHHHH!

Well, I have finally made it into the present in technology...yeah I know, you figure since I work with technology that I would be on top of it.  I have had Verizon FIOS for a couple years now, 2 flatscreen HD TV's (Vizio and Samsung) and have had TIVO since they first came out.  Now the FIOS DVR replaces the TIVO (well it is substituted for the TIVO, it will never replace it) and last Christmas I received a Sony up-scaling DVD player which has worked beautifully.  This Christmas I was upgraded (thank you Santa) to a Blu-Ray player.  I have not jumped on the Blu-Ray HD bandwagon, as far as DVD's go.  I do have to admit, it is beautiful.

The player I received was a Samsung BD-P1590.  It comes with a multi-function remote to control the TV, however it does not fully support the features of the Vizio.  It gives me on/off, volume, mute, channel control but NOT source selection.  With that aside, the player itself has a couple of nifty added features.

It has built in Pandora and NetFlix player capability as well as players for YouTube and Blockbuster.  Pandora is a music playing service that allows you to type in an artist or song and it will automatically select similar music and play it for you like a personalized radio station.  With the Blu-Ray player you get a free subscription to Pandora.  Once you create your account you can then tune into the Pandora website from your computer, or log in from the Blu-Ray player and listen to your music "channels".  Netflix (as you may or may not know) is a DVD mailer service that allows you to queue up DVD titles that are sent to you in the mail with a return mailer.  You can take as long as you need to watch the DVD then mail it back and upon return you will receive the next DVD in your queue.  NetFlix has since added streaming "on demand" services which can stream to either a computer or a dedicate player device.

Once you create your NetFlix account (the cheapest service is 8.99 a month for one DVD at a time service, online content included), you login from the Blu-Ray player and can then see your "instant queue" material and it start playing your selections..  What was the first video I watched you ask?  It was "Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century" TV series of course.

The Samsung BD-P1590 connects to the internet using a Ethernet connection, or a USB wireless adaptor.  I opted for Ethernet since my FIOS router is located in my entertainment system as well.  One of the first things you should do is go into the player settings and make sure everything is set correctly and have it do a firmware check to make sure you have the latest firmware.  Mine had to be updated even though it was a brand new player.

The one other device that I received was a set of Sony rechargeable IR headphones.

I used to have a model about 10 years ago that broke a few years back.  These are much better in that they are much more sturdy headphones.  They recharge when sitting in their base-station and use IR to communicate.  One nice feature is a silencer when you wander out of the IR path (like to the kitchen for a cup of Green Mountain coffee from my Keurig coffe machine 8-)...) so you dont hear static.  I have my TV audio out going to my home stereo, and the Tape recording out going to the headphones.  As long as I have the stereo on, I can turn the TV and Stereo volume all the way down and hear the audio of whatever is on my TV (TV, DVR, Blu-Ray, Wii etc etc) in the headphones.  They also function on a single AAA battery if needed.

There, I am all caught up.