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Samsung A650



So I’ve had the Samsung 52″ A650 HDTV for about a month now and I’m confident in saying I made the right choice.I have used all HDMI 1.3 connections. I have an Onkyo TX-SR705 A/V receiver which is great.

Watching HD content from DirecTV is pure pleasure to eyes. Eventhough I am sitting just 7-8 feet from this huge TV, I see breathtaking picture quality that I did not notice in any other HDTVs. There are some complaints about black levels, but the blacks are very deep and crisp to me in settings from movies to sports.

Blu-Ray picture quality is simply spectacular. It is by far the best home viewing experience I’ve ever had.
My one quibble is with the quality of picture with non-HD content on this TV. My old Panasonic plasma did a much better job at this. My only hope is that most channels would make the switch to HD in the coming years.

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Video Games Today: “Qualintity”



It seems like games have gone in a couple of different directions in the past couple of years. There’s the big, sprawling, open-ended games where linear story or progression is eschewed in favor of placing the user in control of a virtual world where they can control the direction of what kind of experience they want. The Grand Theft Auto games, Fable, and Oblivion are the paragons of this type of “sandbox” gameplay. In Oblivion, you can choose to completely ignore the storyline and decide “I’m going to be the leader of the biggest thieves guild in the land” and take the game that way. In my experience with Oblivion, I decided to be the land’s greatest gladiator– and was well on my way until the demon invasion that I’d ignored from the main plot took over the land and killed the entire audience for my grand duel. Such is life in Oblivion.

On the other end, there are games like Portal and Assassin’s Creed where the emphasis is not on hours of gameplay, but the value and variety of experience. It used to be that adventure and console style role playing games would boast 20+ hours of gameplay to complete. But with the gravitation of the gaming industry toward casual gamers, developers have recognized the value in making short, sweet experiences that don’t take weeks to complete.

Next time we’ll take a look at the upcoming PS3 title Little Big Planet, which looks to combine open-ended customizability with a short and sweet experience.

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