A Guide to Buying a New Television

From a Dummy’s Perspective

Admittedly, I know very little about all of the technical aspects of new televisions or high-definition television (HDTV), but I did a good bit of research while trying to decide which television to buy. Hopefully this guide will help some other people with as little technical knowledge about new televisions as I have.

Seagate FreeAgent Drives – These Look Seriously Cool

go_color_sky_blueI’m sure that, by now, you’ve all seen commercials for the new Seagate FreeAgent Go drives. These things look seriously cool. The drives themselves are about the size of an older style Palm Pilot or Sony Clio (probably about 3.5″ x 5″ x .5″) and are available in sizes up to 500 gigabytes. Right now, Seagate is offering certain colors of the 500 gig Go drive for $149.99.

I have a 750 gigabyte Seagate external drive on my desk for backing up all of my files on a regular basis, but it’s at lesat four to five times the size of these new Go drives. I can only imagine how nice it would be to be able to back up most of my files (I have 550 gigs of internal hard drive space on my computer) on a drive small enough to fit in my pocket.

I continue to be amazed at the way technology is evolving, and the fact that storage devices are getting smaller and smaller while offering more and more capacity.

The only problem I can see coming from all of these developments is the fact that we are probably all running out of USB ports on our computers. If they keep developing all of these devices the way they are, our PCs are going to require power supplies as large as old television sets, just to power all of our USB devices. Sure, you can pick up an extra USB hub, but if your power supply isn’t prepared to run all of those extra devices, you’re kind of out of luck.

Got a New Phone

Last weekend, we went to Costco and signed up for a new AT&T Wireless family plan. We cancelled our Nextel service, for which we were paying about $100/month for two phones. We replaced it with a new AT&T Wireless family plan for which we will pay about $110/month for four phones with twice as many minutes and unlimited text, picture and video messaging.

Sega Rumors Fly

Some very big rumors about Sega have been circulating on the Internet over the past few days. Most of those rumors have centered around the idea that Sega will be developing and releasing a handheld gaming device next year, attempting to rival the Sony PSP. Gizmodo even took the bait and ran with it. There was, apparently, even a shoddily produced video supposedly showing the new “Vision” in action. The video has since been removed from YouTube.

However, from what I’ve been able to ascertain, most of those rumors are false and have been blown way out of proportion. CrunchGear ran a couple of articles trying to get to the bottom of the situation. In the end, Unofficial RPG posted seemingly official quotes from Sega officials confirming the existence of the Vision handheld, but stating that it was simply going to be a portable media player rather than a new handheld game console.

As of yet, there is still no official word on Sega’s Web site, so it is very difficult to ascertain how much fact and how much fiction are involved in this story. I, for one, will be one waiting with baited breath to see if Sega really does dip its toes back into the hardware game.

DirecTV versus Dish Network versus cable

When I first signed up for DirecTV, I did so rather begrudgingly. I hate signing long-term contracts for services, but I was truly tired of only having five networks from which to choose (we were only able to pick up NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC and three PBS channels – we didn’t even get UPN or the WB – which, in our area, consequently became MyNetwork and the CW, respectively).

However, I’ve actually become rather attached to the service over the last year or so. I like the all-digital network (which cost me more than twice what DirecTV is costing me when I had the digital cable service when I lived in a cable-ready house), with the built-in programming guide. I actually am at a loss for what to do when I turn on the television at someone else’s house, and I can’t just hit the “guide” button to see what’s on.

What I’d Like To See – A Partnership Between DirecTV and MS

Okay, so if the world happened to be an ideal place; here is what I would like to see. I would like to see Microsoft strike a deal with DirecTV, that would allow Zune owners to hook their Zunes directly into their DirecTV DVRs and transfer recorded programs onto their Zune.

I realize that I’m reaching here, which is why I said that it would have to be an ideal world. It’s not that far of a stretch, though, to imagine some company trying to compete with the iPod striking a deal with Dish Network, DirecTV, Comcast or some other major player in the pay-TV world. If the companies were somehow able to work out the legal implications, imagine how great it would be to be able to hook up your digital media player and download the latest episode of Heroes or Doctor Who (or whatever your favorite TV shows are). That USB jack on the front (and, in my case, at least, on the back, too) should be made useful for something eventually.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this something you’d like to see? I know that Apple already introduced Apple TV, which seems to be a similar concept; but I can honestly imagine a company like Microsoft partnering with DirecTV or Comcast or someone, and allowing you to associate a Zune with your DVR.

I’m sure it’s just wishful thinking, but I’ll keep on wishing.