Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shopping for Nintendo DS Lite at V-Mall

Took Caitlin shopping at Greenhills to buy her Nintendo DS Lite. I promised her the unit if she ends the school year at ICA with at least second honors, and she did. Well, a deal's a deal.

I hate shopping at Greenhills. There's just too many people and I hate the whole tiangge concept. Too crowded. Too many people bumping into you. We went to the Virra Mall area (now renamed to V-Mall) to look for a unit. We asked around until we settled with a store selling the Nintendo DS Lite package at Php7,600 inclusive of the R4 kit and 80 games pre-loaded.

The R4 is a compatibility kit that allows one to copy games onto a regular Micro SD card. The DS Lite will see it like it was a regular DS Lite cartridge. Below is a video of how it is used.

While at V-Mall, I also saw a couple of video products that I've only recently read about in gadgets magazine. The Western Digital's WD TV, which allows you to copy your movies onto a regular USB using almost any imaginable format, and the WD TV will let you play it onto your HD TV supposedly at 1080p via HDMI cables. The product sells at V-Mall for Php6k++. That's not so bad considering its sold in the US for USD99. The only downside is it has no network support. So you have to transfer whatever you want to view onto a flash drive first. Of course, USB flash drives are dirt cheap already at CD-R King. I think 8Gb Kingstons cost less than Php1k nowadays.

I also saw one shop selling Popcorn Hour already for Php13k++. It retails for about USD215 in the US, so the pricing is not bad. Popcorn Hour is a network video appliance that lets you stream your videos from a PC onto your TV or projector. It also supports most of the popular formats. The A-110 version can have an internal hard drive and has a native BitTorrent client to let you download movies directly to the unit without the need for a PC.

Both products would be a nice addition to our home because I don't have an Full HD player yet and our Samsung Series 5 LCD can do Full HD. However, I feel that I should just wait for the next generation of video players which will most likely have networking built in already. And our home theater has an RJ45 outlet that connects it to the home network.

The WD TV and Popcorn Hour seem to be just stop-gap products while the mainstream consumer electronics play catch up. The same thing pretty much happened to TiVo. It was very innovative at the time, but now, consumer electronics giants like Philips, Sony, etc. have features similar to the TiVo built it to their DVD players. Even Samsung boasts of LCD TV's with built-in TiVo-like functions already.

Here's related article on Nintendo DS and R4 from the venerable PC World.

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