Category Archives: Media

Convert VHS to Digital


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I was rummaging through old boxes the other day, and came across several MiniDV tapes. These are pretty important tapes. For instance, I have Wil Wheaton’s keynote from Gnomedex 4 back in Lake Tahoe. Another is Steve Wozniak from the same conference! If I had the proper equipment, I could hook it up to my computer, transfer the videos and convert them myself. That’s very time intensive, though. I need to find someone whom I know and can trust with these tapes to convert them for me. I remembered that Pixorial sent me a review code, so I decided to check that out!

Pixorial helps you convert data on physical media, and converts them into digital formats. You can edit them on the website itself, or download them to your computer. You can then share them, convert them, or burn them to a DVD.

You can even ask Pixorial to do the physical work for you! Send them your tapes, and wait for them to arrive back in your home. The pricing seems to be quite good, as well. When Pixorial reached out to me, they offered to convert some old media for me so that I could review their service. I asked them if my parents could send in their old VHS home movies… and they agreed! I was very happy with the results, and so were my parents. I even uploaded an old Prom Night clip to my YouTube channel! Mom said it was a great experience, and that her original media was very well taken care of.

You can get a free subscription with Pixorial, with up to 10GB of online storage. You even get 60 days of Archival Storage for each tape or film! With a pro account ($24.99 per year), you’ll receive unlimited storage and uploads. It’s stored securely at the highest resolution.

Your VHS tapes won’t last forever. You likely can’t even watch your old 8mm reel-to-reel tapes anymore. Heck, even DVDs can be lost or broken. Heaven forbid, a natural disaster could happen. You don’t want to lose those priceless memories. Back them up using Pixorial – hassle-free, easy and affordable.

Addendum!

As a special thank-you for our review, the folks at Pixorial wanted to offer our readers a special discount! For the remainder of January, 2010, using coupon code: PIXPRO25 will gain you access to the following benefits:

  • $25 Credit to use to purchase anything on the site
  • Free PRO membership for one year (a $25 value)
  • Unlimited archival storage of media content for PRO members
  • Unlimited access to Screening Room in Full-Screen
  • Free online video editing
  • Free low-res sharing

Thanks so much Pixorial!

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How to Broadcast a Wireless Audio / Video Signal from PC to TV


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Let’s say you have an HDTV, a computer and Internet access. Why not put all of those things together by experiencing computer content on your computer? How would you get content from the computer to the television? You know you don’t want to run a cable from one to the other, right? So what else can you do? Lucky for you, the latest product from IOGear is here to save the day!

The Wireless USB Audio and Video Kit allows you to connect your computer to your TV wirelessly without the long and unattractive cable run. The system has strong, reliable signals – ideal for streaming media content across a room… even up to 30 feet away. There’s not even any complicated setup process.

The kit consists of three adapters: audio for speaker connectivity, VGA for the TV and Wireless USB for the hosting PC. Once you’re hooked up, you can do everything from watch your favorite YouTube videos to editing a spreadsheet for work – right on your flat-screen TV!

Broadcast whatever is on your computer onto your television. Make your family happy. Instead of gathering around your monitor, you can relax in front of the TV.

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How to Share Music and be Your own DJ


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I am quite literally all over the musical map. I’ll listen to any kind of music. Inevitably, I’ll be playing a song and someone has to ask who sings it. Then, of course, they want to know how to download the song. There’s a different service now that you can use to share your music with others! Check out Blip.fm!

Blip lets you basically create your own music station! Enter your DJ name, and your email address – and go! I’ve known about this service for awhile now. I never bothered to feature it, because I hadn’t signed up for an account. I thought it was about time to sign up for an account, so that I can help people figure out what songs I’m listening to.

Now you can easily follow along and listen to the music with me. You’ll know who the artist is, what the title is, and find a way to get the music yourself! I warn you, though – I’m very eclectic with my music tastes. I meant it when I said I listen to a little bit of everything.

When you sign up for the site, they’ll ask you what song you want to Blip. Be sure you preview your selection to make sure that you have the right one. Click the “Blip” button to the left of the song, and add a personal message if you choose. It’s then added to my Blip list for all of you to enjoy! If you like the song, you can favorite it or play it over and over.

If you’ve always wanted to share your music with others, and let them know what you’re listening to… be sure to check out Blip!

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Where to Fall in Love with Valentine’s Day Romance Music

Broken Heart Radio – Broken Heart Radio on Slacker is a melancholy mix of lost love and yearning with a touch of soulful redemption. These songs of heartbreak and hope will show you that sadness can be beautiful and love is fleeting but always on the horizon.

Slow Jamz – Slow Jamz on Slacker Radio features the greatest classic and current R&B love songs to put you in the mood for whatever your Valentines Day has in store Featuring the seductive sounds of artists like Barry White, Marvin Gaye, Keith Sweat, and Boyz II Men. Recommended for Valentines Day if you already enjoy Soul Jams on Slacker Radio.

Rock Ballads Radio – Big Rock Ballads on Slacker Radio will take you back to the days of big hair and big love ballads. Raise your lighters in the air, grab the one you love, and find your own “Paradise by the Dashboard Light”. Big Rock Ballads on Slacker Radio features all the best balladeers from the 70’s and 80’s like Journey, Foreigner, and Aerosmith.

Country Love [NOT Courtney Love] – Country music is the music of our lives; the good, the bad, love, and loss. Country Love on Slacker Radio takes the best of Country and focuses only on the love songs: old fashion All-American love stories. Country Love on Slacker Radio plays everything from today’s superstars to yesterday’s timeless country. Fall in love with the boy or girl next door all over again. If you already enjoy Country on Slacker Radio, this is your Valentines Day soundtrack

Metropolitan Mood – Metropolitan Mood music on Slacker Radio is the provocative soundtrack to seduction and love. It’s not so much about the lyrics, as it is the sound and tempo of this mood music. It’s the sound of a big-city love affair. Featuring exotic electronica, downtempo beats and retro-futuristic sounds from the likes of Morcheeba, Portishead, and Massive Attack. Let Metropolitan Mood Music on Slacker Radio provide the uninterrupted soundtrack to a night of uninterrupted passion. Recommended for lovers of Chill and Alt-Chill on Slacker Radio.

Apple TV vs Every Other DVR

When Apple first announced their Apple TV product, I was interested but not excited. Years later, that interest has completely warn off – largely because of the lack of updates and killer features. Admittedly, I do already have a TiVo (and a few Comcast DVRs to boot).

Still, why has Apple seemingly abandoned the Apple TV? There’s a new report suggesting that Apple is working on a connected television. I’m not so sure that’s even interesting to me. Who knows? Maybe they’ll knock that one out of the park.

Do you have an Apple TV, or do you feel like you’re missing out because you don’t have one? I asked my Twitter followers, and some of them responded:

Vividlydrawn: what&#39s an AppleTV?

about 47 minutes ago

jmccullough108: I agree. I am perfectly fine without one.

about 46 minutes ago

Condawg: I feel the same way. Hooking up my iMac to my TV gives me basically the same thing… It just seems worthless, IMO.

about 46 minutes ago

Schlomo: AppleTV is not nearly as interesting as my xbox!

about 46 minutes ago

robertrosenfeld: I agree. I like Apple, but I don&#39t need them handing my entire media experience.

about 46 minutes ago

ericpratum: Agreed. Honestly, I don&#39t sit in front of the TV enough to make it worth it. If I did, I don&#39t know that I&#39d choose AppleTV

about 46 minutes ago

MikeMathia: I don&#39t own one, and I don&#39t wish that I had one. It&#39s a good idea, just not for me.

about 46 minutes ago

dVoka: AppleTV rocks! You can connect a Terrabyte drive to it where your backed up DVDs reside, run Boxee (hulu), and much more.

about 45 minutes ago

unclespeedo: i don&#39t believe you&#39re in the target audience for apple tv….. you shouldn&#39t feel like you&#39re missing anything, you&#39re not

about 45 minutes ago

gregskidmore: Yes I do too. I keep wanting to get an AppleTV. I don&#39t know why I haven&#39t bought one yet. Maybe it&#39s lacking something?

about 45 minutes ago

roehmholdt: iTMS + 30in Cinema Display > AppleTV… now to go get that Cinema display…

about 44 minutes ago

Outsanity: It&#39s just more Apple crap that&#39s more likely not worth the money unless you&#39re that into Apple swag

about 44 minutes ago

xKevinx: I&#39m with you on that

about 44 minutes ago

maddogdom: you said that about the iPhone and you loved that!

about 44 minutes ago

andrewmundy: you&#39re totally not the only one. I promise

about 44 minutes ago

AppleNerd: I don&#39t see anything in the AppleTV. Seems boring…

about 44 minutes ago

JessePB: Considering you can accomplish the same thing by buying directly in iTunes and streaming with any number of other devices, no.

about 44 minutes ago

yenra: AppleTV is excellent at displaying photos on a big HDTV – smooth & great quality; also Flickr, Podcasts, YouTube.

about 44 minutes ago

shedtroll: I don&#39t feel I&#39m missing out. Boxee is a better alternative.

about 44 minutes ago

cpedraza: I&#39m an Apple fan but in the world of DVRs AppleTV doesn&#39t make sense for me.

about 43 minutes ago

findingnewo: Yeah, I don&#39t get the appeal. I think WinMCE extenders are much more worth it.

about 43 minutes ago

jbone66: My ATV was humdrum until XBMC/Boxee was available for it. It&#39s our main method to accessing video content now…

about 43 minutes ago

VxJasonxV: It&#39s very interesting. It&#39s just that the most of us have computers to do everything the AppleTV does, and more.

about 43 minutes ago

biss13: if you don&#39t own an AppleTV how do you know what is it you are missing? πŸ˜‰

about 43 minutes ago

robpickering: And that statement shows everyone you don&#39t have one. Hulu on my TV – &#39nuff said

about 42 minutes ago

EricCAnderson: Agree: it&#39s basically just another iPod for your TV (even with boxiee on it)…

about 42 minutes ago

Knunez: yeah I dont need one.. no point in having one anyways

about 42 minutes ago

wolrah: i agree they&#39re not that interesting out of the box, but patchstick them and they&#39re great. XBMC and Boxee ftw

about 42 minutes ago

Christyxcore: i agree. I thought it was cool when I saw it at my friends house but now that I think about it, it&#39s also overpriced 4 watitis

about 42 minutes ago

tjohansen: AppleTV alone isn&#39t great, but AppleTV + @boxee is great!

about 42 minutes ago

johnbarta: just buy it chris! Even if you dont use it it could be a fancy drink holder

about 42 minutes ago

iGeekW: AppleTV is not worth the money πŸ˜›

about 42 minutes ago

jefflundberg: A DELL Studio PC w/ Blu-ray and Windows Media Center Edition is much more interesting.

about 41 minutes ago

benhigham: I guess that depends on your current setup. I think it appeals to a different audience.

about 41 minutes ago

easy_way: there a waste of money i got one and its kinda useless

about 41 minutes ago

LisaBarger: Yes, Chris. Yes you are.

about 41 minutes ago

yesitsmedoug: I once walked into Apple and asked them Why I would want one. They didn&#39t sell me on the idea so I also don&#39t have or want one

about 40 minutes ago

chrisutley: #AppleTV with @boxee is great. I rent a lot of movies from #Apple, and watch TV shows over Hulu.

about 40 minutes ago

themacinjosh: no you&#39re not, I don&#39t feel like I&#39m missing much. All of the media is available whether you own an apple tv or not.

about 40 minutes ago

TarasI: I don&#39t think so. One of my friends has one and it&#39s really not that useful, especially if you have Media Center Extensions.

about 39 minutes ago

idarknight: you might be – between the hacks and the core functions, it is a device whose tipping point may have come

about 37 minutes ago

anansie: Its cheaper than a mac mini and has boxee going for it , Also it&#39s the only game in town for renting movies in hd on iTunes

about 35 minutes ago

amarvin: i didn&#39t feel that i was missing out on Apple TV until Boxee popped up. now i want to roll my own Atom-based version w/ boxee.

about 35 minutes ago

kevinbriody: I bought an early model AppleTV. I&#39d call it “neat” but definitely not compelling. Cool to show family vids, some DL&#39d TV.

about 35 minutes ago

jay1one: we might be the only two, but you are definitely not the only one.

about 34 minutes ago

ahaslach: Functionality of AppleTV can be replicated/exceeded w/ a laptop and video cable. Not a compelling product.

about 34 minutes ago

ipodtouch15: I agree!:)

about 33 minutes ago

wmchamberlain: Why would I buy a AppleTV when I can do more with a mac mini? Even the Cult of Mac would have a hard time explaining.

about 32 minutes ago

calebh: nope I feel the same way

about 32 minutes ago

schmenzer: Chris, I was a lot more interested before I started using Boxee.

about 31 minutes ago

seanwolter: The true media hoarder has a mac mini and a drobo hooked up to his big screen

about 30 minutes ago

mikekochansky: I agree. As much as I love Apple, I have little to no desire/need for AppleTV

about 29 minutes ago

ricorick: Boxee has made mine more interesting and better.

about 28 minutes ago

Zanoryt: Running Boxee on Apple TV is a compelling replacement for a cable connection. It&#39s not 100% ideal, but Boxee is really awesome

about 27 minutes ago

adamkmiec: I love mine – it&#39s a fixture of our house

about 25 minutes ago

MicrosoftWin7: RT: ByronSmartMicrosoftWin7 Yeah my hacked Xbox1 W Media Center(720p) is far more intresting then Apple TV, + the 360

about 24 minutes ago

blogbloke: I&#39m with you Chris

about 24 minutes ago

JessLoebig: Well maybe it is because you have a TiVo πŸ˜‰

about 23 minutes ago

cogwisewill: Well, if you get the atv flash and are able to put hulu on the appletv along with a other things… http://bit.ly/LDL8

about 23 minutes ago

RobinBoyWonders: I like it a lot

about 22 minutes ago

color_me_pink: You&#39re not the only one. Until there is DVRcapability, I won&#39t even consider it.

about 21 minutes ago

gurubrandon: Yes.. but Boxee makes that genre of devices very interesting. ( http://boxee.tv )

about 21 minutes ago

PassTheBoll: seeing as you can accomplish the same thing using less money, I won&#39t get one. Just take a computer and connect it to the tv.

about 21 minutes ago

webdrifter: This frugal tech guy is all ATO man! No AppleTV, no DirecTV and no cable TV. Just a cheap Techno who has seen and likes HULU

about 20 minutes ago

gailelaine: I don&#39t own an Apple TV because I just don&#39t see the need. I own a Mac and I&#39ve looked at the Apple TV.

about 19 minutes ago

LoganPayne: I don&#39t feel that like I&#39m missing out. But I do want one….to stop buying DVDs and discs…

about 16 minutes ago

Sebbbb: how isn&#39t it intresting? it comes in a shiny apple box πŸ˜›

about 15 minutes ago

sideswipe70: I feel the same way. It just seems like a glorified media server.

about 9 minutes ago

swichi293: I own everything apple, but I refuse to own the apple tv. It really is quite pointless

about 8 minutes ago

aaron_bennett: It&#39s just not exciting enough for the price OR the inevitable inoperability with my other devices.. You are not alone.

about 7 minutes ago

What are your thoughts on Apple TV and the general state of DVRs?

DTV Transition Postponed Again!

As I mentioned on Twitter a few hours ago: Congress Changes DTV β€˜Hard’ Date to June 12. Is pushing this back AGAIN right or wrong? The transition is seemingly long overdue. Upgrade, people!

I ordered my DTV converter box coupons as soon as I heard the government was handing them out (and yes, I still own a couple of analog sets). How you could miss the announcements for vouchers last year is beyond me – just about every local station had a scrolling ticker WARNING people that they wouldn’t be able to view anything unless they had a converter box come January.

Some of you responded to this question on Twitter:

creamers: agreed

about 4 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 03:19:22 +0000 2009

katarina1505: From what I’ve read it’s passed through Congress, and Obama is expected to sign it.

about 6 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 03:17:29 +0000 2009

KKPsi1919: Wrong because people had a year to get ready.

about 16 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 03:07:49 +0000 2009

marsacademy: I really don’t see the point of the delay. People either get it, or they won’t until the change is made

about 16 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 03:07:46 +0000 2009

therealdede: I know right? I grew up on bunny ears. Ughhh so annoying

about 17 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 03:06:29 +0000 2009

therealdede: wrong. Your state has that too niiice

about 45 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 02:38:39 +0000 2009

CourVO: no matter WHEN they do it….some people won’t be prepared

about 48 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 02:35:34 +0000 2009

Wallace_Reid: obviously, you don’t live in the sticks.

about 51 minutes ago
Thu Feb 05 02:32:39 +0000 2009

muckdog: The quickest way to get those who haven’t coverted to convert is to pull the plug.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:18:25 +0000 2009

wolrah: agreed. delaying doesn’t help anything, same number of idiots will complain then as now.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:17:58 +0000 2009

thesolutions: it’s true that many need to upgrade but so many haven’t

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:17:58 +0000 2009

PhilMan9045: I agree with you. If they’re not ready than making the switch will tell them they need to upgrade.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:16:04 +0000 2009

powerbook_pete: If people aren’t ready now, they won’t be ready in four months.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:15:43 +0000 2009

dailyclerk: the issue is that not everyone can afford the boxes and there are foreign channels that won’t deliver digital. Oye

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:14:51 +0000 2009

Condawg: Did that pass? I heard that it got rejected.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:11:30 +0000 2009

Kathy_L: I think this DTV BS is just so people have to start paying for TV. The ones who will lose out are the working poor.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:11:25 +0000 2009

mattsnod: Please just rip that DTV transition Band-Aid off already, government. That’s why it’s called a deadline.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:11:20 +0000 2009

lisalee: I’ve long since been digital but, for some folks, upgrading is costly or complicated. Heck, I’m still rocking the VHS!! ;-D

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:11:06 +0000 2009

GroudyRadio: No matter how long they delay, there will always be people who are not ready. just make the switch already!

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:10:55 +0000 2009

Twirrim: instead of a cut off date you’ll get a staggered mess

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:09:47 +0000 2009

kevin_weiner: It was a stupid move to delay the DTV deadline! They should just give it over with already!

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:09:37 +0000 2009

Twirrim: wrong, implemented in such a way that some stations can / will change early to reduce cost.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:09:36 +0000 2009

brandon_wirtz: But what if there was an alien invasion and the ladies in the Nursing home couldn’t get the news on their B&W Set?

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:09:25 +0000 2009

docrock: They have been moving the date for like five plus years… people just need to get with the picture… no pun intended.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:09:06 +0000 2009

LostInInaka: well we have until 2011 I think in Northern Japan…but its been rolling out from the south since 2008….I think (don’t q …

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:09:03 +0000 2009

jimlavin: Should have done it two years ago with the networks. But NO! We have to hold everyone’s hand and make sure they get converted.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:09:01 +0000 2009

jelloboi: Wrong! Folks have had 4 yrs since announced, 2 years since commercials, 1yr since coupons. Lazy folks won’t be ready in 4mos

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:08:32 +0000 2009

tvamy: yes but stations get to make their own call so it will be a huge confusing mess

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:08:17 +0000 2009

jthermane24: wrong the gov’t is just creating more confusion. U or me understand it but what about the Mexican who cant speak english

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:07:59 +0000 2009

KellyShibari: Obama’s thinking about the little people and I don’t mean midgets. Some ppl don’t have $40-wait, there’s a coupon. Never mind.

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:07:37 +0000 2009

kriskarkoski: I was hoping the government would have the balls to stick with the date and force people to move. Just delaying the inevitable

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:07:06 +0000 2009

geekgiant: Local station KOMO is petitioning to keep with the original date. I agree. Upgrade people!

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:06:59 +0000 2009

gurubrandon: Wooo.. that’s my birthday!

about an hour ago
Thu Feb 05 02:06:47 +0000 2009

Just tell me that you’ve already secured your converter box (if you still need one)?

What’s New in iLife ’09 (iPhoto, iMovie, iWeb, GarageBand)?


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I am taking a look at the new iLife ’09 for Mac OS X. As of the day I installed this, January 26th, it wasn’t available to the public yet. Due to a misprint in a BestBuy ad, Danny was able to purchase his copy early. Taking a look at it, I’m already liking what I see. The four components of iLife are:

  • iPhoto – Organize photos two new ways: Faces, based on who’s in your photos, and Places, based on where your photos were taken. Then share on Facebook or Flickr with a click.
  • iMovie – Make a great movie in the time you have. Choose a dynamic theme to enhance your movie in seconds. Or refine every shot with the Precision Editor.
  • GarageBand – Learn to play piano and guitar. Learn songs from the artists who made them famous. Rock like a legend with new guitar amps and stompbox effects.
  • iWeb – Design a website to share your photos, movies, and music just by dragging and dropping. Add new dynamic widgets and publish and share with a click.

Danny says that he’s noticed no speed improvements, but has definitely gotten excellent functionality improvements. He says that it is definitely well worth the amount of money it cost to buy the software.

I’m big into shooting live-to-tape, via Ustream. However, after watching Danny play around in iMovie, I’m willing to give it another try. He loves iPhoto just as much, especially the capability to publish immediately to Facebook or Twitter. iPhoto also lets you organize your photos in ways you may not have even thought of before.

The new version of GarageBand allows you to “take lessons” from beginning to expert level. There are new guitar features, and full-screen capability!! Assign instruments and styles to your guitarist, bassist, drummer, and keyboard player. Shuffle instruments randomly to instantly hear a new sound from your backing band. Create a custom mix using volume sliders or by muting and soloing any instrument.

And then we come to iWeb. iWeb makes it simple to design your own website… a task that is difficult for many people. Start by picking an Apple-designed theme. Each theme comes with coordinated fonts, backgrounds, and colors to give your site a consistent look throughout. Next, choose your template, and customize it using the tools integrated in iWeb.

I’m definitely getting my copy this week and getting it installed… are you?

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What’s In the Macworld 2009 Speaker Bag?

I spoke at Macworld this year. Apparently, they decided to give all the speakers a bag filled with stuff… AMAZING stuff. Whatever I don’t have, I’ll be giving away – so pay close attention. If you’d rather not read, scroll down to watch the “live” unbagging.

Here’s some of what I discovered in my bag:

Did you go to Macworld 2009? Did we run into each other, or did you meet other interesting people? Do you plan on going to Macworld 2010? Just because Apple won’t be there doesn’t mean they won’t have it! The Mac community is strong, and we will still be supportive next year.

Video Camera Comparison Test: Mino, Zi6, Vado!

I kept the camera(s) as steady as possible as I panned across the landscape from the vantage point of my bedroom window this evening. Watch the full HD version on YouTube, or scroll down to watch the high-quality embedded version.

Each series of clips were taken back-to-back – the first series, earlier when the sunset was striking the clouds in a dramatic fashion; the second series, when it was a bit more overcast (and there were both pink and blue hues on the horizon).

In each set, the cameras were used in this order: Flip Mino HD, Kodak Zi6, Creative Vado HD. You’ll see annotations lead off each scene (then quickly disappear).

I removed the audio from this video to alleviate volume level discrepancies, as well as to provide further concentration on the video quality at hand. Obviously, viewing in HD is required for fairest judgment.

Processing was NOT done to any of these videos; these recordings were sewn together in a seamless fashion and uploaded to YouTube in their near-original condition.

  • The Flip Mino HD pretty much washed out the sky’s vibrant colors in the first set, and effectively made a drab mountain view appear even more drab in the second set.
  • The Kodak Zi6 did a good job with the colors, but couldn’t strike a good balance between the bright sky and the dark landscape in either set.
  • My verdict still favors the Creative Vado HD – not only with its wide-angle lens capability, but its truer-to-life colors and exposure balance (between dark and light in the same shot).

Best Video Camera: Creative Vado HD vs Flip Mino HD vs Kodak Zi6?

Creative Labs Deals:

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Find Coupons for over 1100 Stores

First, I got the Kodak Zi6. Then, I got the Flip Mino HD. A few hours ago, I received a recently-ordered Creative Vado HD and decided that instead of doing a full-on review of it, I’d compare it directly against the Mino HD and the Zi6 – in a short video shootout.

  • Flip Mino HD Likes: small and lightweight; has decent software that runs on both Mac OS X and Windows; decent “foreground subject focused” audio in noisy situations.
  • Flip Mino HD Dislikes: Touch controls are too sensitive; there’s a plastic protector that flips out along with the USB connector; colors are always washed out; flat video quality; white balance is impossible; tons of noise in low light; my skin tone never looks right indoors; built-in YouTube uploader decreases quality automatically; tiny LCD screen; cheap plastic wrist strap.
  • Kodak Zi6 Likes: decent saturation; decent audio; great LCD size; uses AA batteries; uses SDHC media; macro switch; great quality when not blurring.
  • Kodak Zi6 Dislikes: unpredictably blurred recordings in low light; no clear audio when noisy; no Mac software support; can be oversaturated in certain scene; heavy construction.
  • Creative Vado HD Likes: great balance of color and saturation in the average shot; tends to favor skin tones; wide angle lens; can record two hours; replaceable / rechargeable battery via USB; lightweight; sharp definition.
  • Creative Vado HD Dislikes: included skin doesn’t accommodate battery replacement / hard reset; audio is treble muted from behind (in narration); skews to light which isn’t always neutral; has a wrist strap slot but doesn’t come with a strap.

The Flip Mino HD is the worst of the bunch to my eyes and ears, and I’m looking to sell it (hardly used) at a good price. The Kodak is completely unusable in artificial light (due to uncontrollable blurring), which rules it out for where I’d need it most. I don’t think Flip is going to fix their problems with a software update, but I’m holding out hope for a Zi6 fix. Kodak has to get its act together – so does Pure Digital.

For my money right now, it’s the Creative Vado HD. The wide angle lens is absolutely essential when you’re trying to get closer to a subject – or if you want more in the scene. That’s all you need to know – and all the reason to go with a Vado HD over the others. Even if you think the Zi6 isn’t bad, the Vado’s wide angle lens trumps it. You have to be much further away from your subject to get the same shot as you can with a Vado (closer, and with MORE in the frame). Keep that in mind the next time you’re in tight quarters, or when you have to take three steps back just to get the shot you wanted.

Plus, the Vado does a much better job with skin tones and saturation (generally) compared to the other two in indoor situations. The HDMI cable may be another win for you and the Vado, but I seldom use video out in these cameras – so that’s just a value add. Hardware controls are comfortable on the Vado, and I like how its USB connector is flexible.

Now, you can watch the following videos inline – but I’d also recommend viewing them on YouTube (where you can watch the original 1280×720 as recorded and uploaded without editing). I’ve linked to the HD versions in the list above. Understand, too, that the Zi6 was at least six inches behind both the Flip Mino HD and Creative Vado HD in this test – even though it appears as though the Creative Vado HD was the furthest away. I’m telling you: that wide angle lens is AWESOME.

Flip Mino HD

Kodak Zi6

Creative Vado HD