Tuesday, June 08, 2010

eBuddy Wins Hands Down!

A few years ago, I became acquainted with eBuddy when I was wanting to run a chat-app on my NintendoDS using its built-in wi-fi capability. And, eBuddy did the job well. I liked how well eBuddy worked on the DS. So, I started using eBuddy on my PC and Mac.

Now, eBuddy has been overhauled and runs BLAZING_FAST. Not only does the client run fast, it also "logs into all your accounts faster than ANY other mobile chat-app". I've tried them all and eBuddy wins hands down.

eBuddy also provides a online browser client that is FAST. Give eBuddy a try and let it manage up to 7 of your chat clients. You'll be glad you did. http://www.ebuddy.com


Saturday, June 05, 2010

Finally Enjoying Blu-ray

We have been enjoying "high quality" home-theater for five years now. We initially started with a 32-inch "flat screen" CRT, connected via component video cables to a progressive scan DVD player, then "optical TOSlink" (ADAT) to a "positional" 5.1 surround system.

Although we live in a smaller space now, we are enjoying a larger and better 37-inch HDTV (1920 x 1080) with a Blu-ray player connected via HDMI. Our audio output is S/PDIF digital coaxial which is fed into a AC-powered S/PDIF to TOSlink converter. Then, the TOSlink is connected to the surround amplifier.

There are a few distinct differences between our 1st system and current system:


  • Sony 32-inch flat-CRT. Very flat CRT. Gorgeous picture quality, yet could not display true high definition, so other than cable TV, everything had downsampling or what most people refer to as those black bars on the top and bottom of the picture. Some people might call it "not full screen" or "widescreen". And way back, it used to be called "letterbox".

  • After a year, we sold the Sony with a 4-year in-home warranty to our brother-in-law and replaced it with a Syntax Olevia 30-inch LCD which was 1080i and could not display true high definition which is 1920 x 1080. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the Olevia for many years using it for both home theater, gaming and connecting our computers to it.

  • Our surround system was not optical, so although the sound quality was excellent, there was a ever-so-slight background noise. Mind you, we're being critical here. The hiss I am referring to is so minor MOST people would never audibly hear it.

  • Also, our surround system was a "positional" surround, meaning that the speakers are setup in the typical 2 satellites in front with center channel between them, 2 satellites in the rear and a sub-woofer in the room corner, or perhaps behind the TV screen or even behind your viewing couch. Positional surround sound, assumes the listeners will be sitting approximately in the center of the entire speaker arrangement, thus, experiencing full surround sound all around them. So if you don't sit relatively in the middle of the room, you are forced to ADJUST your surround settings so your surround sound experience is not compromised.
  • LG 37-inch LED HDTV, 1920 x 1080p connecting video via HDMI to a Phillips Blu-ray player with coaxial audio output connecting to a powered S/PDIF to TOSlink converter. Then the TOSlink feed connects to a SphereX "spacial" optical 5.1 surround amplifier system.

  • Having true high definition resolution offers "full screen" viewing for video materials that are true HD or 1920 x 1080p. This avoids seeing those "black bars" at the top and bottom of the video area.

  • Blu-ray video quality is superior to DVD. Colors are vibrantly gorgeous with incredible details. Blu-ray movie menus use Sun Microsystems' Java for fluid, animated interfaces.

  • In my opinion, it is Blu-ray AUDIO that is most impressive. Blu-ray audio is 24-bit/192kHz while DVD audio is 24-bit/96kHZ. What this means is the audio is MUCH better than DVD audio. DVD can also play 24-bit/192kHz, but only 2-channel stereo.

Having a surround sound system to watch movies is wonderful. Optical surround is clearly better because there is NO background noise present in the audio track. The only time you will hear digital hiss is when the optical track has lost SYNC. Usually all that is required to rectify this is turning the surround amplifier off and then back on. Then the surround LOCKS and you have SILENT high-quality surround sound.

It has been my observation that over the past 5-years, people don't seem to watching movies at home using home theaters. Yes, more and more people are buying larger, high-definition TVs. But, most people are not LISTENING to them via surround amplification. Many people are watching HDTV and listening through the built-in speakers OR perhaps they connect their audio to a STEREO amplifier.


Gamers tend to be "up to speed" with surround because they play their games using surround sound systems.
If you want to jack your Xbox360 or PS3 into your surround system, purchase a surround amplifier that has at least 2 or more TOSlink inputs. This is standard on upper-class surround amplifiers. For PC gamers, all modern sound cards now have a OPTICAL output connector which will feed surround systems. It is my understanding the best "no-brainer" surround system for a PC is the Creative Labs brand surround. You take it out of the box and connect to your PC and plug-in all of the speakers and Voila... surround PC gaming.


OPTICAL surround is plainly superior to any other type of surround. It is quieter and the sound is cleaner. A 300-watt, spacial optical system is much better than a 1000-watt, positional optical or coaxial system. Optical is better. But, if your Blu-ray player has coaxial audio output and your surround system is TOSlink, don't sweat it. Simply purchase a powered-converter. When shopping, be sure to LOOK at the back of BOTH the surround amplifier and the DVD or Blu-ray player to see what type of AUDIO OUTPUT CONNECTORS they use.


Most music CD albums (Redbook) are also encoded in surround, meaning you can listen to your CD music in surround. Usually, you will need to make speaker adjustments using your surround amplifier remote control. Once you have them set to your liking, you will simply adore the audio experience of listening to your favorite music CD in surround! Also, it has been my experience that the remote control settings for playing your music CD are not remembered. This means every time you play a music CD in surround, you MUST use the remote control to adjust the surround volumes to your liking.

Hope you enjoyed this HappyHarryNET Surround_Seminar.