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How to Shop for a DVD Player

January 16th, 2014 9:51 am

DVD technology has advanced incredibly in the few years that DVD players have been on the market, and the price drops have been stupendous. Like every single piece of A/V gear, you can spend a fortune on a DVD player if you want to. And you may want to if you’re building a really fancy, no-holds-barred, high-end home theater. Although you can get a great picture from a low range model, if you have a high-end video projector and a top-of-the-line surround sound audio system, you may want to buy a fancier model. Such a system yearns for higher-quality electronic components and more powerful chips to convert the digital data on the DVD disc into video and sound.

So what features should you look for? The following key features of DVD players will help you decide the right one for you:

Price and Budget:

Depending on the kind of player you want, you can work out a rough budget. The size and features affect the price.

Number of Discs:

The number of discs that the DVD player is capable of holding at one time. Having a larger number of discs allows you to play more than one disc, one after the other, without having to physically replace the disc.

Compatiblility Features:

All DVD players can play Standard Audio CDs and Video CDs. This increases the functionality of your DVD player and you need not buy a separate VCD/CD player.

Mp3 Compatible:

You need to check if your DVD player is MP3 Compatible (That means it will be able to recognize MP3 format audio CDs and play it). MP3 format CDs can store a larger number of music tracks as compared to standard CDs (About 10 times as much). This will increase the functionality of your DVD player and you need not buy a separate MP3 player. Today most DVD players are MP3 compatible and an increasing number are WMA compatible as well. Then you also have DVD players now that are DivX compatible.

Audio And Video Features:

Zoom in function: You can zoom in and enlarge the frame or the picture in steps during normal or slow motion playback. Enables you to take a super-close look at the on-screen action.

Dolby digital : Plays multi-channel Dolby Digital encoded DVDs and CDs and decodes digital TV broadcasts that feature digital surround sound. It enables you to enjoy the Dolby digital sound experience.

Dolby digital EX : Dolby Digital EX is based on standard Dolby Digital technology, but includes an extra back surround channel, making it a 6.1 format. Enables you to enjoy the digital sound experience through a couple of extra surround speakers standard left and right surround channels.

USB port as interface: This is a small flat slot. It is a serial bus standard to interface devices. This will enable you to listen to music files from an MP3 player or view JPEG images from a digital camera. Also used to stream DivX video to TV.

Memory slot: The memory slot allows you to record images directly from these memory cards to DVD-R/-RW as a DVD slide show including background music recorder.

General Features:

– Headphone jack: Headphone jacks allow you to listen to audio output through standard stereo headphones. Allows you to listen to music without disturbing others.
– Sleep timer: This function turns the DVD off after the pre-set time has lapsed. You can use this if you are afraid of sleeping in the middle of a movie. Helps save on your electricity bills.
– Display: Most players have a digital display to show time elapsed and other such details.
– Karaoke: If you have karaoke ready tracks, you may want this option. Here you can plug in your microphone and sing along with the video!

Enhanced Audio and Video Connections:

Audio Outputs – The DVD players have two types of audio output – coaxial (analog RCA) and optical (digital). If you plan to use your DVD player with an AV receiver, ensure that the DVD player you pick matches your AV receiver. If you are ready to spend a little more then you should get a DVD player that has at least one coaxial and one optical connection for the most flexibility. The coax connection provides better audio than the optical connectors.

Video Outputs – The DVD players have three types of video outputs – composite video, S-video and component video. There is also an HDMI standard. Each type of output requires specific matching cables which usually don’t come with the DVD player and you might need to buy separately.

Composite video – Composite video sends the complete color picture information to your TV with one signal via a single cable (sometimes called an “RCA” cable). The three pronged cable includes the yellow female RCA jack and two red and white audio jacks.

S-Video: S-Video provides a better quality picture signal than composite video. Most DVD players will have at least one S-Video output.

Beer Label Printing for Craft Breweries

October 29th, 2013 7:51 am

A pint is a pint isn’t it? Well no, it isn’t, especially since the 1970’s when the term “microbrewery” or “craft brewery” first came about. For many beer drinkers, there is as much enthusiasm for, and commitment to, particular beers as amongst wine drinkers in relation to their favoured wines. The 1970’s was the decade when several small breweries started to focus on the niche market of traditional cask ale. One of the earliest successful craft breweries was founded by Bill Urquhart in the village of Litchborough in Northamptonshire and became known as the Litchborough Brewery.

The chief feature of such craft breweries is the emphasis on producing small batches of beer, each slightly different, for which there is a high demand. These small companies cannot supply the numbers required for the large supermarket chains, so tend to find their market in specialist outlets, farm shops or local farmers’ markets. Some fortunate restaurants and independent pubs can also build up contacts with local suppliers and this ability to serve specialist beers can be part of their unique selling points when it comes to marketing.

The term “microbrewery” was initially used to describe a small-scale operation, but it gradually evolved to reflect a more personal approach and attitude, not just to the actual brewing process, but also to customer service and to experimenting with different beers. Although it was first used in the UK, both the term and the associated philosophy spread to the United States in the 1980’s and is now recognised across the world.

There are practical concerns that have to be addressed however, amongst which is the most practical way of coping with the label printing of small batches of beer. Each label has to have the mandatory information about quantities and sources of ingredients in addition to alcohol content and all the tracking information contained on a barcode. This can pose some difficulties as a batch may be as small as just a couple of dozen, which makes pre-ordering the labels fraught with problems, as well as potentially expensive.

One possible solution to this is to buy or lease an inexpensive inkjet laser printer with the versatility to produce very small runs and to be changed quickly and easily. This means that there is no problem in printing labels with the correct information in very small batches if required. It is also easy to have different graphics or colour coding, as well as an eye-catching logo to identify the particular craft brewery. A printed label that is easily recognisable as being from your favourite microbrewery means that the bottles don’t stay on the shelf for long!

Having set something of a trend, with a dedicated following, it is inevitable that craft brewers have a different approach to marketing their beers. They cannot (and by the nature of their product do not wish to) compete with the large national brands on either quantity or price. They emphasise both the quality and the diversity of their beers in the certain knowledge that there will be a high demand, once their reputation has been established.

Inevitably, modern technology has been brought into the equation of the craft beer culture, with mobile apps having been created to help track new finds in the microbrewery world.