TheONbutton Durham Computer Services

Remote IT Support and Computer & Technology Help in Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh NC

Can the Samsung Epic 4G replace a pocket HD video cam?

While we complete our review of the Samsung Epic 4G, here’s some food for thought.  The Epic 4G can serve as a Sprint 4G mobile hotspot, potentially cutting the need to pay for separate a home internet.  It can handle the general smartphone stuff with ease too.  But does it have the chops to take a pocket HD video cam out of the frame as well?  We tested the Epic 4G’s HD video recorder in various light and motion scenarios and here’s what we discovered…

Remember to choose 720p if you want to watch in HD rather than the default 360/480p.

Neil Berman


Nov 7, 2010 Posted by | Hardware, Mobile, Reviews, Video Features | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why we need external mic inputs on high end digital compact cameras

Panasonic ZS3 1There’s a gaping hole in the digital camera market somewhere between point ‘n shoots and DSLRs, and it’s not in image quality.

High end compact cameras like the FujiFilm F200EXR and Panasonic LX3 are now good enough to make their output hardly distinguishable from DSLRs in many cases.

But while the best compacts can take pro quality shots, they’re still playing catch up against DSLRs when it comes to video capture or more specifically audio capture. Most compacts top out at 720p when the DSLR standard is now 1080p and crucially they pretty much all lack an external mic input. This means it’s difficult to shoot video seriously on a compact without a separate audio recorder.

Panasonic ZS3 2

The Panasonic ZS3 shoots excellent quality HD video at 720p but has to make do with its built-in stereo microphone for capturing audio

While I’m sure that 2011 will usher in 1080p video on high end compacts, I’m also depressingly sure that external mic inputs will not appear any time soon. This is not for a lack of real estate because cheap video cameras like Kodak’s tiny Zi8 manage to accommodate an external mic input. More likely there is a perception that most owners would just never use it.

While this assertion is probably true on a $150 HD capable digital camera, I’d propose that someone laying down three Benjamins on a high end compact might be more interested in creative flexibility. After all even at 720p today’s best compact cameras produce amazingly good video quality, but are crippled by their generally poor built-in microphone.

So how’s about it camera makers, can we get a external mic input on your next compact?

Neil Berman

Mar 27, 2010 Posted by | Analysis, Hardware, Home Theater, Photo & Video, Rants | , , , , | 12 Comments

Mac users finally get Netflix instant viewing, caught thanking Microsoft

Netflix is now offering instant viewing to Apple users…and the Mac version, unlike the Windows one, is powered by Microsoft Silverlight.  Today’s Apple experience is defined by the strength of its multimedia offerings and its increasingly bitter negative advertising campaign towards Microsoft.  So it is perhaps the ultimate irony for Mac users that to enjoy Netflix’s industry leading video player we have to rely on downloading Microsoft’s Silverlight first.

On a related note Xbox 360 owners who are Netflix subscribers are the first to get Netflix HD shows.  Since current 360s all have Dolby 5.1, 1080i/p HDMI and Media Center extensibility for live TV streaming that makes the now-oh-so-cheap Arcade version a $199 bargain imho.  And it plays games.  If you’re quick you can get the 20gb hard drive for very very little from Microsoft too.

Neil Berman

Nov 3, 2008 Posted by | Apple, Microsoft | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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