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By Alexander Villafania INQUIRER.net IT may have come late in the mobile music player business, but Philips intends to break into the market in the Philippines and set a trend. So confident and a ggressive is the company that they aim to take second place after the dominant Apple iPod series. Philips launched six models under in its GoGear line, ranging from the basic 1 Gigabyte SA1916 to the top-of-the-line 4Gb SA3445. The company did not mention that it also carried the SA6185, a passport-size multimedia device launched som etime last year overseas and is the predecessor of the SA3445. All of the new G oGear devices have the Philips design signature: they come in a matte black fin ish (except for the SA1916, which can come in blue-green), curved corners and b uttons that are smoothened into the body of the device. Of course, it's expecte d that when Philips makes audio devices, the sound should be of the highest qua lity (their headsets and earphones challenge even those from Sony). Testing out the first three products, the 1Gb SA1916, the 2Gb SA2625 and the 2G b SA2825, their audio is nothing spectacular, particularly because they use the more basic Philips earphone sets. The base is not as audible and the treble is a pitch too high. Perhaps a better sounding earphone should make the sound fro m the devices stand out. I did, however, test out the SA2825 with one of Philip 's clip-on earphones and the sound was better improved that it were with the st ock earphones. Take note that only the SA2825 has the Philips proprietary audio function FullSound, which greatly improves its sound quality. The SA1916, SA2625 and SA2825 all feature FM radio functions and while antenna reception might be a problem especially inside buildings, users might not use t heir mobile music devices to listen to radio that often. Still, the radio signa l reception of the three was pretty strong even inside a building. The three basic models also have their own voice recording functions. It was ha rd to test this out especially in a noisy environment, which is always a proble m with any device that has this integrated function since these also capture ba ckground noise. I suppose having this function is more of a novelty than practi cality. The multimedia models of the GoGear series are the 1 Gb SA3015, 2 Gb SA3225 and the 4 Gb Sa3445, all of which have video playback and can view photos as well. The SA3015 is the smallest of the three and has the smallest screen at 1.5-inc hes, while its two big brothers have 1.8-inch screens. The bigger models also r ender videos at 220x176 pixels while the SA31015 can only render at 128x128 pix els. These players can only play .smv (streaming mobile video) files but Philip s says the devices come with video converters for video in different formats su ch as .mov, .mp4, .vob, and .wmv. Conversion is by no means necessary when playing on small screens because a lot of the file sizes of videos are dependent on the video quality. Because there' s no need to view high-quality videos in small screens, Philips just decided to keep things small for their multimedia players. The small screen size practica lly hides the pixelation caused by videos encoded into smaller formats, which i s also beneficial to the GoGear series' memory capacity. Surprisingly, the user interface of the GoGear multimedia models is very basic and looks as if it came straight from the previous generation of multimedia pho nes. The user interface lacks the dynamic flair seen in the Apple iPod. In terms of other functions, the GoGear series is basically the same with their smaller brethren. These also have FM radio functions, voice recording, and ver y long battery life. Philips claims their GoGear's batteries can last over 20 h ours in music playback and between 2 to 4 hours video playback. Except for the SA2625, all of the GoGear models are rechargeable through their USB ports. It is going to be a challenge for the Dutch company to penetrate the mobile mul timedia device business but as the company said, they're targeting to take seco nd place in this business in the Philippines. The company is already enjoying g ood business in its audio-video and home appliance segments but it's still wait -and-see for their new foray into the mobile multimedia device. Philips is also notorious for the names it gives its devices. It should try to join the crowd when naming their devices because people might not be able to ge t past the first two letters of their GoGear products. I couldn't.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net ipod-
dock.jpgFIRST off, there are a host of iPod do cks to choose from, and Philips has its own family o f iPod docks. It really depends on what you want. You want a simple dock to plug in your iPod, they have one. You want to have one of those that support B luetooth, they have it. Name it, and most likely they have it mapped out. This review is about one of its models, AJ300D iPod Go Gear dock. This baby is perhaps the most "basic" dock Philips has to offer. Quickly, the A J300D features an alarm clock, a remote, a dual wake-up alarm, a built-in radio FM tuner, and five speakers. It uses Philips' wOOx technology (more on this la ter). All these at the suggested retail price of P4, 999. Yes, boys and girls, it's relatively cheap considering what it offers. Just to give you an idea what this iPod dock is like, let's consider these basi c points. Sound quality: I currently own a Jabra Klipsch dock. I tried comparing the soun d quality of both docks. I must say the Philips AJ300D's sound quality is surpr ising. Its wOOx technology delivers a distinctive deep bass. At maximum volume settings, the dock's wOOx technology is capable of handling music that had a lo t of bass thumping without becoming too distorted. That passes one of my tests. You can actually see and feel (yes, feel) the wOOx behind the speakers. Appare ntly, the wOOx technology was also used in products made by Kenwood and Microso ft. woox.jpg When I took the dock out of its box, I was intrigued by its size and design. It weighs 1.34 kilograms, light enough to move around. Its white and silver finis h also hint that this is meant to attract iPod users (it does have auxiliary li ne-in for 3.5 mm stereo jacks that would allow you to plug in other MP3 players ), and, of course, Philips Go Gear portable music owners. This dock supports al l types of iPod units up until the sixth generation, which I'm currently using. It also has a remote that could be used to adjust volume, to choose tracks (in cludes fast-forward and review), to switch from the dock to tuner function, to mute, to set sleep time, to move in five preset radio stations, and to turn it off. The remote, however, does not allow you to scroll down the iPod's playlist or move up and down the menu. You have to do that on the iPod itself. The abov e-mentioned functionalities are also available on the dock itself. All in all, I really didn't need to figure out how to use this dock. I just took it out of the box, and let it rip. i
nverted-t.jpgThe dock's design is simple. The front view looks a bit squarish, but if you look at it from the side, it appea rs like an inverted curvaceous letter "T." Your portable music player sits on t he front, where the dock is located. An LCD display indicates the time, the fun ction (iPod or tuner), and if tuner is on, the radio station (frequency). There are also buttons on the left side to turn the power on or off, to adjust time, and a three-way switch for dock, buzzer, and tuner functions. On the right sid e, you have the five preset buttons for the tuner. And finally, on top are butt ons to adjust both alarms, and also to turn off the alarm and adjust the LCD ba cklight brightness. The dock also allows you to charge your iPod while on or of f. This dock is small enough to sit on top of my bedside table, so space won't be an issue. Thereâs room for improvement, however. One review notes that some users didn't like the power supply adapter that comes with this dock. It looks, well, hideou s. The power adapter supports 100 to 240V, 50/60Hz of power supply. The power s upply also awkwardly connects to a pin at the back. Yes, it has to be connected , and as experience tells me, any moving part is prone to damage. But on the ot her hand, if you trip on it (kids, don't do this at home), the line could break loose easily, sparing your dock. The tuner's antenna is also something that lo oks irritating. It's a thin wire that protrudes out of the dock. In this age of wireless networks and Bluetooth, they had to have this tuner antenna sticking out like a sore thumb. I also have to point out that I still couldn't figure ou t the settings for the alarm since I don't really find it very useful. All in all, despite some minor irritants, this dock has kept me good company in the past months. Its price tag makes it attractive especially for iPod users w ho don't want to spend too much on another accessory. But since there are a hos t of docks out in the market, your taste would ultimately decide which one to c hoose. For now and for me, this iPod-ready dock makes the cut.

Philips unveils new LCD TVs

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By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net DUTCH electronics giant Phili ps showcased its latest line of LCD TVs in an effort to appeal to budget-co nscious video enthusiasts and Philippines. Three LCD models that range from 32 inches, 42 inches and 47 inches were unveil ed. These use the new Pixel Perfect HD Engine processing module, an upgrade fro m Philips' renowned Pixel Plus Engine. As the name implies, the Pixel Perfect H D (for High Definition) Engine increases the clarity, color definition, refresh rate and contrast of images rendered on the screen. An advanced feature in the Philips LCD TV line is the Horizontal and Vertical L uminance Transient Improvement which increases the lines and pixels per line to match the resolution of the display. This application increases the luminance for each pixel while matching the luminance and gradient of the nearby pixels. By far, the new TV lines have 6.2 million pixels, able to produce up to 4 trill ion colors, depending on the image or video source. A new feature in the Pixel Perfect HD LCD TVs is the standard 100 Hertz refresh rate, which allows moving objects per frame to be rendered faster for smoother flow. Most LCD TVs can process only up to 60Hz and others are forced to proces s up to 100Hz. This feature is almost standard in all cathode ray tubes but LCD panels in the past had difficulty processing as fast. In most cases, CRT TVs d o not induce eyestrain due to the faster rendering process of moving images. Ol der LCD panels do not render images as quickly and the eyes take time to proces s together these separate frames, thus causing eyestrain. Philips has also improved its Ambilight technology, a TV backlighting system th at uses colored LEDs at the back of the TV to imitate the colors coming out of the display panel. It attempts to immerse the viewer in the screen by expanding the luminance of the TV to a much larger area. For the new LCD TVs, the Ambili ght technology has been expanded to different settings depending on the userâs preference. For example, the LED can produce fewer colors for a relaxed mood, a nd high or dynamic settings for action movies or animated movies. Philips Philippines CEO Rico Gonzales (shown in photo) said the new TVs are aim ed at the discerning video enthusiasts who want to get more out of their tradit ional viewing. These models also belong to Philips' mid-priced LCD TV line in an effort to cat er to a general market.

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