I mostly bought my Mac mini for Front Row, and while that hasn’t disappointed me (especially since Apple added the ability to shuffle music by playlist), the real killer app has turned out to be something different:
The ability to play almost any music video, movie trailer, comedy clip etc through my TV has proved to be a really great feature. If friends are round and something comes up in conversation, such as the new Portal Trailer, I can have it playing on the big screen within about 30 seconds, with no need to hand round a laptop, or get anybody off the sofa.
Managed to see SKY HD in the flesh today. John Lewis in Newcastle had it running on a 40 inch Sony Bravia LCD (1366 x 768). Cricket was showing, and despite being downsampled from the native 1080i of the feed to the lower resolution of the Sony panel, the picture did look very good.
Looking at in isolation, I would have said that it was like a very very good DVD. But then I looked at the other TVs running standard definition feeds, and they were terrible in comparison. Really pixellated. So if you’re into sport and movies, and can afford a good HD TV, it looks like it’s worth the extra £10 a month that SKY are charging.
There’s not enough content for me at the moment, but if that situation improves (especially the BBC), I could be tempted by a 1080p LCD panel and Sky HD around the year end.
This site has a really great comparison of the DVD and HD versions of the Fellowship of the Ring. At DVD resolution, there’s a noticeable difference, but at full resolution, the difference is very large.
Hopefully 1080p LCD screens and projectors will be available in reasonable numbers in time for the PS3 with Blu-Ray arriving in the UK. If so, I may be buying a new TV within the next year.
Having really enjoyed watching 8 Women last night, I thought I’d write a quick list of films that have impressed me over the last year or so:
- 8 Women – A dark and beautifully executed comedy. Every single cast member delivered a great performance
- Caught on a Train – Amazing that this was made in 1980. It accurately predicts the cult of the individual of the decade to come
- Koyaanisqatsi – Has to be watched on a big screen. Just let the Philip Glass soundtrack and stunning visuals wash over you
- Howl’s Moving Castle – Going against the grain, I actually prefer this to Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Escapist fantasy at its best
- Downfall – Compelling and disturbing
- Belleville Rendez-Vous – I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite as surreal and charming before