It's a fact. Pretty much every household with members over the age of 25 has a box of old VHS home movies laying around somewhere. And, let me guess, every year the person responsible for getting them converted into digital says, "Yep, that's on my list." Well, now that excuse has run dry. With the Hauppauge USB-Live2, to digitise analogue videocassette tapes all you need is PC and a working VCR.
Hardly bigger than a USB key, the Hauppauge USB-Live2 is a video digitiser that uses Composite (RCA) and S-Video connectors to plug into any analogue video device (Video8 camcorder, VHS player...) and transfer the signal to PC via USB. Playing mediator between VCR and computer, USB-Live2 enables the computer to display the image and save it as a file.
The image is captured in standard 720 x 576-pixel resolution using the included software, ArcSoft ShowBiz 3.5. The recommended minimum PC configuration is a 2.8 GHz single-core or 1.8 GHz multi-core processor and Windows XP Service Pack 3.
The Hauppauge USB-Live2 sells for around £30.
We've got loads of great products up for review this week, including the Sony Xperia U smartphone and the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 convertible laptop and tablet. Scroll down for the full line-up.
Last Week's Top Fives
Articles: Top 51 - TV Reviews2 - TV Buyer's Guide5 - Monitor Reviews
Product Reviews: Top 55 - Asus MX279H
Reviews Coming This Week
Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11, up for review on Friday
Here's a quick reminder of our weekly schedule so you know what to look out for:
Mondays: displays, including monitors and TVs. Tuesdays: cameras, camcorders and peripherals. Wednesdays: hardware components and printers. Thursdays: mobiles, smartphones and tablets. Fridays: laptops, notebooks, buyer's guides. Saturdays and Sundays: insight and analysis.
- Monday: we started the week with the excellent Philips 46PFL9707S—our first five-star TV of 2013!
- Tuesday: we'll be reviewing the Panasonic Lumix FZ62 and Pentax X-5 bridge cameras, before checking out the Nikon D5200 DSLR.
- Wednesday: we'll be reviewing the Lexmark MX410de black and white laser printer.
- Thursday: first up, we'll be putting the Sony Xperia U smartphone through its paces. Then, in the afternoon, we'll be testing the Asus Vivo Tab RT tablet.
- Friday: we'll be taking a look at the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 convertible laptop.
The PFL9000 series is a top-of-the-range TV line from Philips. Two models are available, the 46" 46PFL9707S and the 60" 60PFL9607S. Note that the 60" version has a slightly different product reference number to the 46" PFL9707S, as it doesn't have the same Moth Eye anti-glare filter.
The Philips 46PFL9707S has Full LED backlighting (LEDs over the entire rear of the screen) and 1200 Hz motion interpolation for a 200 Hz native screen refresh rate. You also get Philips' usual host of connected services (DLNA, applications, web browser, etc.), an active-shutter 3D mode and a built-in multimedia player that can be loaded with content via three USB ports.
> Read the Full Review: Philips 46PFL9707S
> TV Reviews
Nvidia's auto-optimising software for video game graphics, GeForce Experience, is now available to the public as Version 1.0.1. To mark the occasion, Nvidia has added ten games to the programme's arsenal.
Nvidia GeForce Experience is a programme that studies your PC's configuration (CPU, GPU, monitor) to automatically select the optimal settings for any compatible game. The idea being to provide the best compromise between image quality and gameplay fluidity, it does this quite effectively, giving appropriate setting adjustments for each game. The app is for the GeForce video cards only.
GeForce Experience had already been available as a selective beta release, but now Nvidia has officially launched Version 1.0.1. It is currently available for download here.
Eventually, GeForce Experience will be able to communicate with Nvidia Shield, the portable Android gaming console presented by the firm at CES. This will enable the Shield to play games from a PC—your computer runs the game, the console serving only as screen and controller.
Here are some of the biggest changes in Version 1.0.1:
Support for ten new games:
- Far Cry 3
- MechWarrior Online
- Hitman: Absolution
- Left 4 Dead 2
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- Fable III
- The Secret World
- Football Manager 2013
- Fallout: New Vegas
- Integration for displays with 2560 x 1440-pixel resolution
- Support for Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs in 21 games (more info coming soon)
- Game detection optimised
- Updated UK English, Chinese and Danish translations
- Optimised performance for client launch, messages, game scanning and communication with NVIDIA servers
- Various optimisations and corrected bugs
> Graphics card reviews
> Video game reviews
- Support for ten new games:
Google could be set to unveil a new smartphone—codenamed the X Phone—at its upcoming annual conference. Plus, the latest handset is expected to stand apart from Googe's existing Nexus range.
Google Nexus 4
After HTC, Samsung and LG, the next Google phone could be made by Motorola, a firm that Google snapped up in mid-2011. For the first time, this would allow Google full control of the design and manufacturer of its phone from A to Z.
What doesn't look set to change, however, is Google's approach to product distribution, as the X Phone will only be sold on the Google Play Store website. Hopefully it won't end up in such short supply as the Nexus 4, the aggressively priced LG-made handset that launched in November 2012 and which has proved hard to get hold of due to ongoing stock issues. Users desperate to get their hands on this phone have been pretty disappointed.
The X Phone is rumoured to be landing in July 2013 priced at $300.
> Smartphone Reviews