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Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Nero plays while video burns Martin Pipe explores a comprehensive software suite

Many PC owners will be familiar with Nero’s ‘Burning ROM’ – this disc-writing software is, after all, bundled with many drives and PCs. The Nero Multimedia Suite 10 now takes matters on a step further by enabling users to create and organise content as well as commit it to disc. When the software is installed, you’ll find a collection of applications that cover a wide range of tasks including video/photo editing, soundtrack mixing, DVD authoring, video (re)compression, disc-burning and even the backup or recovery of important computer data. Some of these programs link to others, as and when they’re needed.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
The great media escape Break multimedia free of your PC with this bijou NAS, says Martin Pipe

Many of us now store photos, music and video on our PCs to stream to our TVs over a network. But doing so does have its flaws. Using a PC as a media server means coping with operating noise, power consumption and susceptibility to malware. A far better proposition is to copy content to a NAS with inbuilt media server, such as this inexpensive Verbatim MediaShare. The PC can then be turned off, until it’s needed again.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Sonic compromise Samsung's not usually an audio big hitter. Danny Philips wonders if the Koreans are spreading their AV dominion a little thinly with this budget amp

Samsung isn’t known for its AV receivers, but that hasn’t stopped the Korean behemoth having a stab with this affordable 5.1-channel effort. It doesn’t have the reputation to rival audio luminaries like Onkyo, Yamaha and Denon, but the HW-C500 may attract owners of other Samsung kit who like their system’s collars and cuffs to match.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Setting the scene Yamaha's latest lower mid-range AV receiver is sensibly-featured and delivers the goods from movies, says Martin Pipe, but lacks grunt

The 7.1-capable RX-V567 from Yamaha – a company that has played a pivotal role in popularising home cinema – is not the most affordable model in its line-up, but at £400 still looks like a bit of a bargain. The problem is, almost every other AV brand is aggressively targeting this end of the market, so does it do enough to stand out?

Adam Rayner  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments

Although I’m not as familiar with Paradigm as with some brands, I’ve now heard a bunch of its loudspeakers and have learned one essential thing. It uses lots of cone area in its kit, albeit by slapping lots of midrangers into the towers, or by cramming a 10in woofer into the sort of box most normal people would only use for an 8in.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Back to the future Panasonic's flagship 2D plasma is a 21st century marvel, says Martin Pipe

I recently stumbled across a 30-year-old article from a trade magazine, which predicted that the domestic TV would become a ‘home-entertainment’ hub. Looking at TVs like Panasonic’s TX-P50V20B, you have to admit they were right.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Enter the can-do TV multi-tasker It bundles Blu-ray, networked AV and off-air HDTV into a pleasantly presented package. But is this enough to impress Martin Pipe?

We’ve certainly seen some interesting combos in the past: VCRs with onboard surround hard disk recorders, TVs with built-in DVD players, and iPod-ready melons. Okay, we might have made the last one up. Taking us back to into the solid realms of reality, though, is Sony’s KDL-40EX43B, which updates the DVD/TV concept by combining a smart-looking 40in LCD TV with a Blu-ray player.

Martin Pipe  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments

Although Freeview HD+ PVRs are starting to appear on dealers’ shelves, some might want to dip their toe into these terrestrial high-definition waters with a basic receiver. This elegant and nicely-built HDFV is one such product. However, by plugging a USB memory stick or HDD into its USB port you can record and play back programmes – standard and high-definition alike.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Space-saver savvy It's not quite a home cinema in a box, but Martin Pipe finds much to recommend Onkyo’s alternative to fully pre-packaged systems

Onkyo has built up an excellent reputation for its AV receivers. And here we have something intended to leverage this accumulated experience: a budget yet full-blown AVR, packaged with a matching 5.1 sub-sat speaker set.

Anton van Beek  |  Dec 27, 2010  |  0 comments

Jonah Hex might not be the most high profile comic book character to make the leap to the big screen. But that’s no excuse for the paucity of effort and imagination that was put into cooking up this cinematic turkey.

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