MikeyP.com MikeyP.com

Pioneering HD

Here’s a list of recent events: My Samsung DLP [samsungpronto, samsung1080i, samsunghlr4667wservicemenu, samsunghlr4667wsettings, exchangesamsung, samsunghlr4667w] has been acting flakey.  Every so often when I turn it on, the picture doesn’t come up.  It fixes itself when I manually unplu... read more →

A Man and his Martini

As I prepared to settle in for a Saturday evening, I embarked on the creation of a cold beverage. But alas! The source bottle had a new, confounding screw-top design not seen on previous bottles. When I attempted to turn the screw to break it free from its base, the base turned with it. That wil... read more →

The Wonderful Comcast DVR

At 7:30pm, I decided that I wanted to record the new Ken Burns documentary, The War, so I could watch it later. It airs at 8:00pm. My Comcast DVR was mostly full, so I spent 15 minutes tediously clicking through the abominable user interface menus, deleting one recording at a time. As any experie... read more →

Tenacious dts

I watched the Tenacious D in The Pick of Denstiny DVD last weekend. Funny flick, if you like the Jack Black rocker shtick. And if you have a dts-capable sound system, as I do, you must hear the dts audio mix. Wow! As usual, the dts mix sounds incredible compared to the DD 5.1 mix, with hefty, w... read more →

A Galactic Ripoff

I guess this makes me a Star Wars sucker, but I bought all three updates of the classic Star Wars DVDs [starwarsdvdep1, badstarwarspq] so I could watch the "bonus" inclusion of the original, unaltered films. But I was shocked to see the picture quality to be as bad as it is. I've owne... read more →

Current Settings for Samsung HL-R4667W

I've tuned the service menu and user menu settings for my Samsung HL-R4667W [samsungpronto, samsung1080i, samsunghlr4667wservicemenu, samsunghlr4667wsettings, exchangesamsung, samsunghlr4667w] a hundred times, and changed nearly every value. At the end of the day, however, I only needed to make... read more →

Insane Prices on Comcast International Channels

Comcast has a respectable lineup of about 14 or so international channels that broadcast exclusively in various languages. I thought it would be fun to subscribe to the Japanese channel so I could continue learning more of the Japanese language. Comcast's monthly price for that one channel: $2... read more →

Fireside Rum for a Cold Night

It is cold and hailing tonight, with a forecast of possible snow. Sounds like time for a cocktail! Here's my take on a drink called Fireside Rum: Brew 1 cup of Tazo Chai tea While hot, stir in ½ teaspoon of sugar After the tea is infused, pour into a thick glass wine goblet Add 1 ½ s... read more →

Exchanging a Samsung for a Samsung

As much as a like my Samsung HL-R4667W HDTV [samsungpronto, samsung1080i, samsunghlr4667wservicemenu, samsunghlr4667wsettings, exchangesamsung, samsunghlr4667w], a few months ago, I noticed a problem with the picture. Darker colors were "collapsing" into a single color. Basically, dark c... read more →

Feed Your Sammy 1080i

It's been common videophile wisdom that if you own an HDTV that has a native resolution of 720p, you will achieve the best picture quality if you feed it 720p signals. The rationale is that outboard video scalers are generally more capable than internal scalers. This is absolutely not the case ... read more →

Paul Anka Smells Like Teen Spirit

Every once in a while, a respected (and occasionally legendary) singer grabs some popular music, sets it to his own style, and runs with it. Today, that musician is Paul Anka. He's taken a… bizarre… collection of hit rock songs from the 80's and 90's and has done what he doe... read more →

A Primer on Budget SciFi

Primer is one heckuva cool movie. Two engineers who dabble with physics experiments in their garage make a mind-bending discovery after finding fungus growth on a weeble. Seriously. As many critics have pointed out, Primer is the most reality-grounded SciFi film since Kubrick's 2001: A Space... read more →

Samsung HL-R4667W Service Menu Defaults

A poster named blackdiamond generously posted the service menu settings for his Samsung HL-R5667W DLP set on avsforum. I compared these with the service menu settings on my HL-R4667W [samsungpronto, samsung1080i, samsunghlr4667wservicemenu, samsunghlr4667wsettings, exchangesamsung, samsunghlr4667w]... read more →

Star Wars EP1 and EP2 DVD Quality

Regardless of your opinion about Star Wars Episode 1, The Phantom Menace , one thing thing about the film is without debate: the picture quality of the EP1 DVD is absolutely awful. The disk is chock full of everything you can do wrong with production of a DVD. Edge enhancement is apparent everywhe... read more →

Comparing DLP and PC DVD Picture Quality

When I watched a few scenes from my DVD reference disk (House of Flying Daggers) on my new DLP [samsungpronto, samsung1080i, samsunghlr4667wservicemenu, samsunghlr4667wsettings, exchangesamsung, samsunghlr4667w] set, I was disappointed in the picture quality. I could see lots of noise ("mosqui... read more →

Samsung DLP First Impressions

I bought a Samsung HL-R4667W HDTV last week. This is my first experience with a DLP set. The picture quality is nearly perfect - actually, too perfect in some cases. Here are my first impressions: Like: Absolute perfect picture geometry, overscan, and convergence Component, HDMI , VGA, and Fire... read more →

Pronto Remote Codes for Samsung DLP

If you have a Philips Pronto TS-1000/2000 series programmable remote control, and are looking for codes for the new HLR-series Samsung DLP televsions (such as the HL-R4667W or HL-R5067W), head over to http://www.remotecentral.com. Download the CCF file for the HLP-5685, created by Jeff Hayes. He&#... read more →

Hassles of High-Def Hype

Buying an HDTV is really tough today. With all of the competing technologies, various resolution "standards", poor quality control, and price points that range from chump change to second mortgages, it's no wonder so many people just buy "the flat one." One main reasons tha... read more →

Toshiba HDTV, Fun While it Lasted

I have a Toshiba 42H81 rear projection HDTV. I bought it back in 2001 when the only kind of large HDTV you could buy was a rear projection CRT , and there were only two available that were smaller than 50 inches. The Toshiba was the best buy. Rob, a co-worker of mine and fellow audiophile, and I w... read more →

House of Flying Daggers DVD

House of Flying Daggers is my new reference DVD. I am absolutely blown away by the incredible use of color in this film, and the DVD reproduces each scene flawlessly. Vibrant interiors, dimly lit forests pouring with greens, and blinding snow scenes all serve as fantastic backdrops to colorful tr... read more →

Varietal Wines from Domaine Chandon

Domaine Chandon, the Napa Valley descendant of Moet & Chandon, is well known for making delicious sparkling wines (aka Champagne). But when I visited the winery recently, I learned that they also make varietal wines, including a very nice Chardonnay, a true Carneros Pinot Noir, and get this, a ... read more →

New, Quieter Comcast DVR

I now have a replacement for my dead Comcast DVR, and I've noticed two interesting things: 1. The hard drive doesn't chatter loudly like the previous Comcast DVR [superbowlcomcastdvr, comcastdvrdst, comcastdvrdelete, comcastdvrdead, comcastdvrwar, comcastdvravsforum, comcasthdcompression, ne... read more →

Dead Comcast DVR

After having a brand new Comcast DVR [superbowlcomcastdvr, comcastdvrdst, comcastdvrdelete, comcastdvrdead, comcastdvrwar, comcastdvravsforum, newcomcastdvr] for a whole 4 months, the DVR has stopped functioning. For those of you who are computer veterans, the box is making the familiar squeaky cl... read more →

Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema

When passing through Boonville, CA, you must stop at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company, home of the excellent award-winning ale, Boont Amber. AVBC just release a wild new ale called Summer Solstice Cerveza Crema. I've never had another beer like it. It really has a very smooth, cream-like te... read more →

Non-Deletable Recordings on Comcast DVR

I now have four shows on my Comcast DVR [superbowlcomcastdvr, comcastdvrdst, comcastdvrdelete, comcastdvrdead, comcastdvrwar, comcastdvravsforum, newcomcastdvr] that will neither play nor allow me to delete. The Comcast DVR has so much promise, but it is so damned clunky and buggy that I can't ... read more →

Over-Compressed HD on Comcast

There is a lot of baseball being broadcast in HDTV this year, and I'm loving every minute of it. I get HD via an antenna on my roof (OTA ) and via Comcast cable, but since most HD baseball is shown only on Fox Sports, I usually end up watching the feed via cable. There is a noticeable amount o... read more →

Comcast DVR + DST = DOH!

Ever wonder what would happen if your DVR wasn't aware of Daylight Savings Time? Those of us on the west coast with Comcast DVRs just found out: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HDTV-in-SFbay/message/17063?simple=1http://www.dvrchatter.com/viewtopic.php?id=219 ... read more →

Warner Bros is the new Criterion?

Fred Kaplan at Slate has written a well-informed article about the picture quality on Warner Bros. recent DVD releases. He calls WB the new Criterion, as they seem to be going out of their way to re-release classic films with the best scanning and bit-rate possible. I love seeing popular media fin... read more →

Micronauts Evolution

As a kid, I had the entire collection of Star Wars action figures (and still do), but I think my favorite action figure toys were actually Micronauts. These things were so cool - you could take them apart and snap pieces from different figures together. And they had a super-cool pneumatic tube tra... read more →

Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares on BBC America

Paul, an Englishman at my office, turned me on to a brilliant reality show on BBC America called Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares. Gordon Ramsey is a famous English chef who's called in each week to help struggling restaurants get in shape and get better business. Ramsey is also an acerbic, arro... read more →

Badi Assad - Brilliant Brazilian Musician

We saw Badi Assad at the International Guitar Night performance last night in San Francisco. Badi (pronounced 'BAH-djee') is a great guitarist and outstanding singer from Brazil, but what makes her really unique is her ability to make rhythmic and musical sounds and noises with her voice, h... read more →

SuperBowl OTA vs. Comcast DVR

Even though I have the Comcast DVR with HDTV over cable, I'm watching today's SuperBowl in HD via my trusty RCA DCT-100 and rooftop antenna. Why? The picture quality is better. Granted, the Comcast picture is good, and plenty watchable, but here are some of the differences I can see with ... read more →

HD PVR HOWTO... From the EFF?

The crummy analog picture quality of the Comcast DVR [superbowlcomcastdvr, comcastdvrdst, comcastdvrdelete, comcastdvrdead, comcastdvrwar, comcastdvravsforum, newcomcastdvr] box has me actively researching solutions for building my own HDTV PVR . I didn't expect to discover that the Electronic... read more →

Sony Qualia - The Dream Screen

There are a lot of great HDTV big-screen monitors available these days, but nearly all of them have maximum resolution of 1280×720, which supports the HDTV resolution 720p. Unfortunately, 720p is not the highest HDTV resolution - 1080i is. Even though 1080i is interlaced, the ultimate way to ... read more →

Comcast DVR Info on AVS Forum

I've had the Comcast HD-DVR for about 2 weeks now. I'll write a review after I finish reading a thread about it on AVS Forum. AVS Forum is a killer place to get all the hi-fi and video info you need, but sometimes the amount of information can be overwhelming. The "Official Comcast 64... read more →

Anchor Steam Gin

The Anchor Brewing Company in San Francisco makes the well known and loved Anchor Steam Beer. Recently, I discovered that Anchor also has a distillery called, appropriately enough, the Anchor Distilling Company. If you like gin , try Anchor's Junipero. Unlike Bombay Sapphire's silky yet r... read more →

Star Wars EP3 One-Sheet

The Star Wars Episode 3 teaser one-sheet is for sale at http://shop.starwars.com/Product/ProductDetails.aspx?ProductID=503. I don't think it's one of the better Star Wars one-sheets, but worth adding to my one-sheet collection. A much cooler poster is the Japanese teaser for Return of the J... read more →

A Perfect Margarita

I can't for the life of me understand why people use store-bought margarita mix, especially since a perfect margarita is so simple to make without it. You only need three ingredients: Reposado or Anejo Tequila (my favorite is Cabo Wabo Reposado) Triple Sec (use 60 proof Hiram Walker instead of... read more →