From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 2 Apr 07 - TV Tech / Blu-Ray / Voice Recognition


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

In today's TOURBUS, we'll dive into the junction of computers and entertainment technology. After de-geekify-ing your TV buying decision, we'll answer the question "Can I Use My TV as a Computer Monitor?" A discussion of Blu-Ray and how it affects you when you buy your next movie, video player, television, game system or PC comes next. We'll cover Online Backup services and then wrap with an intro to Voice Recognition systems. Read on!

Which TV Should You Buy?

So you're in the market for a new TV... but all those techno buzzwords have your head spinning? What's the difference between Flat Screen and Flat Panel? Should you go for CRT, LCD, HDTV? And what about Plasma -- will it stain the rug?

Read on to de-mystify all those TV tech terms and see my specific recommendations for the TV in each category that's best for you...

Using Your TV as a Computer Monitor

With the advent and ever-growing popularity of LCD displays, the older CRT (cathode ray tube) television display has seen its day. But just imagine... putting that big old television to good use as a secondary, or even primary, monitor for your computer.

How would your Windows or Mac desktop look on a 30, 40 or 50-inch display? The thought has certainly crossed the minds of many a technophile. There are a variety of ways to hook up your CRT or LCD television to a computer, but there are pros, cons and workarounds to consider. Here's the scoop on how to make it work for you...

What is Blu-Ray?

A reader lost in the electronics department wrote and asked me:

> "I've seen ads for movies on Blu-Ray discs but I'm not sure what
> it means. What is Blu-Ray and how is it different from a regular
> DVD disc? Do I need a special player to view a Blu-Ray disc?"

Think about Blu-Ray as an advanced version of a DVD disc. Blu-Ray optical discs can store large amounts of data, which makes them good for high-definition video. Compared to a DVD disc, a Blu-Ray disc can hold about 5 times more data. But when it comes to the future of video formats, Blu-Ray is not the only whale in the fish tank.

Read on to learn more about the Blu-Ray Versus HD-DVD conflict, and how it will affect your your decisions when it comes to buying movies, video players and televisions.

Online Backup

What's the best option for backing up your files? Magnetic tapes, a pile of CD-ROMs, an external hard drive? Conventional backups stored on-site may be damaged or destroyed by theft, fire or flood. And because technology and entropy both march onward, every few years you'll need to create a new backup (or a backup of your backups) using the latest physical storage device. And that costs money and time.

Online backup systems can help you solve these problems. Learn how to backup by uploading your files to a server on the Internet. Here is my review of five popular online backup services, and the skinny on how to backup your data for free.

If online backup doesn't suit your fancy, or if you failed to backup and lost some files, check out these articles as well:

Voice Recognition Software

Didja ever notice that Captain Kirk never had to fuss with a mouse or keyboard to communicate with the computer on Star Trek? He simply spoke his commands at the machine, and the computer complied. Happily, voice recognition technology has moved from the bridge of the Starship Enterprise to your home computer.

Though it may seem like a futuristic notion, voice computing or speech recognition has been around for over a decade, and is still a rapidly evolving technology. Here's how to get started with voice computing...

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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