Monday, January 28, 2013

Innovative Technology Wireless Headphones Review

I purchased the Innovative Technology Wireless Headphones during the Black Friday sale in 2012 and finally got a chance to open the package and test out the wireless headphones recently.

Unlike the Nexxtech Wireless Headphones that I purchased awhile ago, the Innovative Technology Wireless Headphones does not incorporate a recharging stand. The headphones uses two AAA batteries and the transmitter uses tree AAA batteries (however, the transmitter does include an AC adapter).

The transmitter looks nice and when powered on, the LED glows blue. The transmitter has a wire sticking out of it that is labelled as being the antenna. The unit comes with an audio RCA to 3.5mm audio adapter. The transmitter has a 3.5mm port and comes with the cable that plugs into it.

Since the unit doesn't include any batteries, I took two rechargeable AAA batteries that I had and put them into the wireless headphones. The headphones are as comfortable as the headphones from my Nexxtech Wireless Headphones. I connected the transmitter into the television audio out and not wanting to use AAA batteries in the transmitter, I used the included AC adapter.

After plugging in the transmitter to my television set, I attempted to get the unit to work and for some strange reason, I started to hear a radio station even though the television was on a "regular" station. I attempted to scan the frequencies using the scan/reset button on the headphones and it seemed to have locked onto the proper audio for the transmitter. However, interference from radio stations seems to be a problem with my headphones. I'm not sure if this is because of the area where I live (the radio station's transmission could be on the same frequency as the wireless headphones) or whether it is an inherit problem with these wireless headphones (the Innovative Technology wireless transmitter does not have any way of picking a different frequency). The headphones allow for scanning but the interference strength of a local radio station at times made listening to what I wanted to listen to problematic (i.e. sometimes it worked without any issues while other times the radio station was louder than what I wanted to listen to). Adjusting the wire (antenna) on the base transmitter unit didn't make a difference in terms of my listening pleasure (or listening displeasure).

In terms of sound quality, even though I am not an audiophile (i.e. you won't find me comparing the bass/treble sounds of headphones or speakers), I find the sound quality to not be as good as what I receive with the Nexxtech Wireless Headphones when it worked. Although I can still hear what is being transmitted, I find that there is more distortion and static coming from the Innovative Technology Wireless Headphones.

I bought the Innovative Technology Wireless Headphones on sale (at roughly $15 less than how much I paid for the Nexxtech Wireless Headphones when they were also on sale) and based on the convenience of the charging stand/transmitter and the better sound quality, I would go for the Nexxtech Wireless Headphones unless you really want to save ~$15 and/or you really need a transmitter that can also be battery powered.

The working distance for the Innovative Technology Wireless Headphones seems to be roughly the same as what I was receiving from the Nexxtech Wireless Headphones although there is noticeable interference.

The one thing about these headphones is that they also can work as wired headphones since there is an audio in port on them (unlike with the Nexxtech Wireless Headphones which does not have this port). I didn't try to use the headphones as wired headphones but I consider this a positive.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

No Review Blog Post this week

Sorry but I'm on vacation in the US and didn't have a chance to schedule a blog entry review post before leaving.

I was planning on testing and reviewing a new set of inexpensive wireless headphones that I purchased a few months ago from a company called Innovative Technology but didn't get a chance. In fact, it is still in the original package.

Monday, January 14, 2013

TVpad Review

I purchased a TVpad and installed it recently and decided to write my thoughts on the device after using it a few hours. The main device (box) is basically the same size as my LG Smart TV Upgrader Box ST600. The remote control is a full sized remote control (unlike the remote of the LG Smart TV Upgrader Box which is about 1/3 the size) and uses two AAA batteries.

The unit that I purchased came with the wireless USB stick with CD containing drivers, an HDMI cable, an AV cable, a remote control, a TF memory card, the AC adapter, and the TVpad box itself.

The TVpad runs on a modified version of Android (the one that I tested is running 2.3.4). You can install additional programs on it but it is limited to the TVpad Apps programs unless it is heavily hacked/modified. The version that I tested is running TVpad Version 3.2.6 and the model number is M121S_3311_GV0S2 and it is the International version.

What I like about the TVpad is that unlike the LG Smart TV Upgrader Box, the TVpad has an AV port which supports older television sets that don't have an HDMI port. It also uses a standard HDMI cable for the newer television sets. It has a USB port which is used to plug the USB wireless adapter and a TF memory slot. It also has a standard ethernet port.

The menu has different language settings (I recognized traditional/simplified Chinese, English, Japanese, & Korean). Even though you might select one of the languages (ex: English), this only changes the main interface menu. It does not change the description of the program/application/episode.

My ability to read Chinese is almost non-existent and most of the descriptions of the programs/applications/episodes are in Chinese (except those programs which are in Korean).

In order to get the most out of this box, you should be able to read Chinese (so you can read the subtitles if necessary) and understand Mandarin since most of the programming is in Mandarin. There are a few programs in Cantonese (~5%) but most of it is in Mandarin.

When using a wired connection, the quality of the stream is very good. I would compare it to what I get when I use my LG Smart TV Upgrader Box on the same internet connection. Using the HDMI connection, the audio/video quality is very good. Using the AV connection, I find that the quality is still good but it is not good enough to read the Chinese characters for those people who want to read the subtitles or descriptions.

With the wireless connection, I found that the device didn't detect all my wireless access points. It only detected the access point that was a few meters away from the device. During my testing, my LG Smart TV Upgrader Box which is in the same room managed to detect 3 of the access points. I also found that using the wireless connection, there was a lot of buffering and pausing.

There is a YouTube application that can be installed on the device. There are also ~3 games (a jigsaw puzzle game, sudoku, and an reversi-type game) that can be installed on the device as well. There are ~4 applications that allow you to watch external videos or listen to external audio files. I installed these programs but quickly uninstalled them.

There are also some American movies. Some of them are are in the original English language while others have been dubbed to Chinese/Mandarin. Some of these movies are subtitled in Chinese and/or English while others are not subtitled). As of the date of this blog entry, I watched "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Batman The Dark Knight Rises." Both of these movies were in English with Chinese and English subtitles. I also watched portions of "Bourne Ultimatum" but this was dubbed into Mandarin without any subtitles while "Bourne Supremacy" had the original language track but included Chinese subtitles.

If you have a comment or question regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that comments are moderated and any comment that contains a URL link (whether or not it is embedded) will automatically be flagged as being spam and will not be posted.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting the most out of Netflix (using moreflicks and Unblock-us)

I've been a subscriber to Netflix for about 2 years and up to about 4 months ago, I was somewhat content with the offerings by Netflix in my country (Canada) for the price of ~$10.00.

I knew that the Netflix offering was based on the country that you were using it in and not the country that you subscribed in so using a proxy server (or virtual private network VPN service) you could watch the Netflix offerings for different countries while still being in your home country.

I started to use a service called Unblock-Us about 4 months ago. They offered a free 1 week trial so I decided to try it and was very satisfied with their service. For an extra ~$5.00 per month, they offered me the ability to watch movies and television shows that Netflix offered in other countries. I wrote 2 blog entries/reviews about Unblock-Us. You can find out more about my thoughts on their service from my blog entries *HERE* and *HERE*. I also got their service to work with my LG SmartTV Upgrader Box but because of a firmware/hardware limitation in the device, the LG SmartTV Upgrader Box will only work with the Canadian Netflix service and the US Netflix service. When I want to watch another country's Netflix offering (other than Canada/US) on my HD television, I basically use my Android tablet which has the Netflix application on it, plug a micro-HDMI cable to my Android tablet and connect it to the HDMI port on my television and I can watch Netflix's offerings for Canada, the US, the UK, Ireland, Mexico, Brazil, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Finland on my HD television.

Now the problem is that in order to know what is offered in the Netflix country, I have to go to the Unblock-Us website, set the country, go to Netflix on my computer, and then do a search for what I am looking for (and hope that it is available or that something similar is available). Since Unblock-Us offers 10 Netflix countries to choose from, this can get tedious and very time consuming. This is where the Moreflicks website comes into the picture.

By going to the Moreflicks website, you are able to do a search for movies and television programs and see where it is available (whether on Hulu or Netflix). For Netflix, it will also show what country the movie is available for viewing on Netflix.

For example, let's say that I wanted to see "Batman", I would just go onto the Moreflicks website and then unselect Hulu (optional) from the search and just type in Batman in the search field (making sure to either select "Movies" or "TV Shows" depending on my interest) and it will come up with all the Batman movies (in my case). I would just click on the "Netflix" icon next to the movie and I can see that "Batman: Under the Red Hood" is available for Netflix US, "Batman Begins" is available for Netflix Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and Norway, etc.

I would then go back to Unblock-Us and follow the instructions found *HERE* to set the country for Netflix and then watch the movie that I am interested in.

So far, Moreflicks is a free service so I am not sure whether this will change but it is extremely useful/helpful to find specific movies or television shows for Netflix in the different countries, making it an indispensable tool for anyone with Netflix who either uses it with a VPN service or a service like Unblock-Us.

If you have a comment or question regarding this blog entry, please don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comments section below. Please note that comments are moderated and any comment that contains a URL link (whether or not it is embedded) will automatically be flagged as being spam and will not be posted.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone a Happy New Year! I managed to post a blog entry almost every week in 2012 and I hope to do the same (or better) in 2013.

I hope that everyone enjoys New Year's Day and I wish everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013.