Have yourself a happy high-tech Christmas
IT'S that time of the year once again. As technology morphs at warp speed this holiday season offers a wide array of gifts. Let's look at what 2006 offers...
Perhaps the most heralded event is the launch of Sony PlayStation 3. Priced at $500 to $600, depending on the configuration, this has been one of the most sought after video gaming devices in recent memory--so much so that on the Mainland a couple of buyers got robbed at gunpoint. Compared to last year's darling, the Xbox 360, the PS3 has better visuals and more advanced technology. However, is it time to buy one if you can get one? Maybe. The PS3 has some cool launch games but if the Xbox 360 is any guide, it took a year for really great games to be created for it. The same will be the case for the PS3. Remember also that after buying this new box you'll probably have to spend more on cables, controllers and maybe you'll even need a new HDTV to take full advantage of it. In short this is a cool device but maybe take a deep breath and wait a while.
In case you hadn't noticed, the world has becoming more wireless. This is especially the case with home networking. New Wi-Fi routers such as Belkin's N1 are bringing up to 300 Mbps of performance so that every nook and cranny in the house can have access to gobs of bandwidth for data intense applications. This includes streaming HD video, online games digital music, multiple VoIP phone calls and large files such as movies, digital photos and the like. What this means in a practical sense is your kids can play cool games between their connected PCs or Playstations while you surf the Web or make Skype calls to your cousin in Hong Kong.
Belkin's router is easy to set up. For example it has illuminated icons that represent each component of the network such as router, modem, Internet connection, and even security functions so that you know what's working. Also included in the package are quick reference cards to help you get started. The best thing I liked about the Belkin router though is the support. I found this out during setup when I hit a minor glitch. (Yes, even tech gurus need a helping hand once in a while.) Their technicians were both patient and knowledgeable. Price is around $150 or less for the N1 router and $100 for the N1 card for your laptop. See belkin.com for more details.
The last column I wrote was devoted to buying an HDTV and it engendered some great feedback from readers. In particular, Brad from Honolulu was very happy with his purchase of a 51-inch Philips HDTV which he recommended highly. Said Brad, "I have never seen its equal in any store at any price. I think you will do a favor to let people know what a deal they are. It's a great way to go without spending a fortune." His unit was just under $1,000 which included delivery. He reckons by the time he is in the market for a new one, the technology will have advanced and prices will be even better.
How about a cool stocking stuffer for under $100? The Kodak EasyShare C330 4 megapixel digital camera is inexpensive, easy to use and takes great quality shots. A few years ago it would cost hundreds more!
Kiman Wong is general manager of digital phone at Oceanic Time Warner Cable. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org