documentaries in hi def

Over the past year or so, I have been collecting discs like the Planet Earth, which was an AWESOME hit, in sound and picture quality.

Enticed by this production I then ventured into Life (BBC) which was another reference BR collection. By now documentaries were as exciting as those action movies and also appeal to the intellectual in me.

The journey continued with the "Solar System". Sir Richard Attenborough, has become my hero, and listeing to his reassuring deep baritone voice, was my enjoyment whlst browsing through my Nat Geographic books and magazines.

Now I can recommend "Human Planet" and even the "Blue Planet" which is only Standad def.

I have also recomended these shows to others, and they have been 'poisoned' to an equal severity, and enjoy hits like "Grand Canyon" and many other hits.

Thank you BBC, and the many other companies which went through so much trouble to film them, in Hi Def and with the sound to match...

Oppo BD 95 noise measurements

 I sit next to my Oppo and it is not noticeable, unless you pay attention...

From AVS:

Some noise measurements:

My BDP-95 fan noise results:
Ambient T: 23.0C (73.4F)
BDP-95 on flat surface, fully open on either side
Well vented behind and above.

Cold Start: Playing CD-DA:
Fan starts after 45 min.
Fan stops after an additional 10 min.
Fan starts again after an additional 10 min

I measured the SPL (Sound Pressure Level) 2 ft from the front of the BDP-95 with a calibrated mike and low-noise 20 - 20kHz preamp. Microphone was aimed at and horizontally level with the BDP-95 front panel. Back of BDP-95 was 7" from room wall.

Noise from the BDP-95 fan: 30 dB SPL

Listening ~ 6 ft from the BDP-95 would result in ~ 10 dB lower SPL (or ~ 20 dB SPL)
I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

The Man from Nowhere - movie review

The Man from Nowhere

Note to action directors:
Sometimes the best movies are those with a really basic plot, plenty of good old fashioned action, and suitably fleshed out by good chemistry and good actors.

This movie does not add anything new to the genre. It's a movie about a single-minded attempt of a man to rescue the little girl, who is the survivor of a drug addict mother who steals drugs from a syndicate and the main man has to find her before they kill and harvest her organs. He will do, maim, kill and do whatever it take to find her. You will have seen iterations of this in various forms in recent hits like "Man on Fire", "Taken", "Chaser" etc...

But the little girl in the show outshines Dakota Fanning, and pulls at your heartstrings, and Won Bin makes a fine determined killing machine. He shoots, slices and blows up half of the drug underworld as he battles to find the girl, as he moves from post traumatic sad puppy face into the trained special operative, bent on rescue and revenge. There is good chemistry between the lead and the child and this propels the movie from forgettable to a decent watch.

But of course we didn't come to watch this for dramatic moments and the movie does not disappoint with almost non-stop violence and plenty of blood-letting. The action sequences are brilliantly executed, and the final knife battle will put Bourne to shame. And thank God for no shaky cameras!

The picture quality is suitably dark and gritty, but very sharp and worthy of this 2011 movie. The sound will leave you with a smile, as the surrounds get a good workout and are actively used to provide ambience, and the LFE lets rips in the club scene and during the garbage truck scene. It is very effectively used.

Should you avoid, rent or buy?

Well not everyone is a fan of foul-mouthed Korean action shows, but I think this one is worth a rental at least and I am keeping mine.

Oppo 95 - is it value for money?

Oppo 95 - is it value for money?

The Oppo pricing for this player firmly distances itself from the budget offerings for both BR players and even CD players.

Yet it should not be seen in this context of being merely a BR player, albeit it a 3D capable one with network capability.

I think in my reviews and early on in this blog, I talked about the reason for existence of this player.
For the cost conscious, there are much cheaper alternatives. If all you need is a BR player, then the Sony S370 is a fine basic 1.3v HDMI player with SACD capability to top it off.

A 3D capable HDMI player will set you back < $500.

Add a CD player of fairly similar standing for < $1500.

But hey add the costs of the two together and the costs come pretty close...

This is meant as an all-in-one do it all solution.

As for price comparisons... well see the B/W model ....
If the price causes you distress especially when compared to US retail prices, there are alternatives. Not everything is similar to the Marantz model of pricing.

So if the price is not right, take your money elsewhere and you will find many other alternatives at various price ranges. For me, the appeal is now, I have a player which plays EVERYTHING (except VCDs) and my dad does not need to learn to turn on 4-5 pieces of equipment in order to watch his shows, listen to his music etc.


I have no financial interest or other interests in any of the items / events I write about.

Movie review: the new Shaolin

Shaolin was a landmark show when it premiered way back. It had good solid original kungfu showcased by real champions and we know Jet Li because of this show. But more than that it had history, humor and a huge respect for tradition whilst telling a classic good versus evil story with the temple and Buddhism as a backdrop.

There is none of this in the new show. First most of the real kungfu pugulists don't get much air time and instead we get the two HKG stars slugging it out with the aid of wires and stuntmen. Wu JING is the most under-utilized of the lot and doesnt really show off his sublime skills and he is the champion just like Jet Li was. We also milk too much air time out of a fading Jackie Chan who seems to be included for the sole reason of being a crowd pleaser. If you cut out his segment and his annoying accent, you will be none the worse.

Sadly the whole Buddhist line is badly portrayed and the monks are only too eager to steal maim or kill and using their skills seems to be their main Pre-occupation. The story is not well cobbled together and despite genuine attempts by Andy Lau to milk his acting chops it seems likely more than another vehicle to capitalize on his popularity.

There are plenty of big sets and you are made acutely aware of the scale and budget of this production but it is actually dwarfed by the original which had equal numbers of extras, a solid score and far more breath taking scenery.

At the end you do feel chested of your time and money, and even if it will have a superb 7.1 soundtrack and lots of exposure to Andy Lau, i'd rather spend hours re-watching the old one on VCD.

The original is the real deal, and scores of audiences around the world took up martial arts because of that landmark show.

Not just another Sydney trip - food and more

So who has not been to Oz and in particular Sydney? Blue mountains? Harbor bridge? Koalas? I think most of us have seen them all .. How a...