Thursday 23 November 2017

Digital Life: Projecting a future without wires

Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Calling all survivors of the battle of the living room. The battle of the remote control between couples is only the beginning. Sooner or later, one gets ambitious – it's usually the guy, admittedly – with the TV or hifi set-up and suddenly there are wires trailing spaghetti-like between boxes.

But if you really want to kick off the battle of the living room, try installing a projector. Suddenly, you're sharing a quiet lounge-room with a wheezing, ugly monster trailing more cables than an intensive-care unit patient. Or it used to.

The latest projectors can be good living-room citizens, not just silent but using a developing standard called Wireless HDMI.

But it'll cost you. Solutions such as the new Epson EH-TW9100W – snappy name, huh? – run into the thousands. For aficionados, it's a price that may be worth paying for freedom from noise and miles of wiring.

The 9100W tops out the Epson range with a frightening array of features, such as full-HD 3D, a couple of pairs of 3D glasses and remarkable flexibility. To be honest, a precise assessment of its picture quality versus rivals is beyond my experience except to say it looks pretty damn good.

What's interesting about the 9100W (and cheaper versions such as the 6100W) is its ability to send full HD wirelessly from a little box that plugs into your satellite box, Blu-ray player, etc.

Annoyingly, the picture drops out if you walk in front of the signal from the little box.

But at least you won't be tripping over an unsightly rat's nest of cables.

The 9100W costs €3,500 while the still-capable 6100W goes for €2,000.


Game of the week: Lego Lord of the Rings * * * * *
XBox 360/PS3/Wii/PC

JRR Tolkein’s Rings trilogy rarely tried irony, or arched an eyebrow, and was never much taken with comedy. Even the movies struggled to raise much of a laugh amid its po-faced action.

All of which makes this Lego version a refreshing delight, taking generous liberties with the source material while sticking closely to the sweeping plot.

That has always been the secret of these Lego adaptations, sculpting the action to its younger audience. But Lego LOTR is the pinnacle of this longrunning series, visually epic, wildly ambitious and stuffed full of gameplay.

Like a grown-up RPG, it somehow shoehorns crafting, questing and plotline into one cohesive and entertaining package for gamers of all ages.

Dream of Pixels * * * *

It may be harsh to dismiss Dream of Pixels as just Tetris in reverse, but the creators have clearly taken their cues from Alexey Pajitnov's evergreen classic.

The familiar Tetris blocks appear at the top and must be matched to a slowly advancing wall beneath — if any edge reaches the bottom, it's game over. But such a simple concept is spun out with considerable polish and an irresistible pull of just-one-more-go.

ZombiU * * * *
Wii U

A worthy effort to prove the street cred of Nintendo's new console, ZombiU's grim survival horror is a world away from the dayglo cheeriness of Super Mario and the gang. Surrounded by hordes of undead and limited with weapons, you're drawn into ZombiU's world through immersive use of the Gamepad for inventory and map management.

When you glance up in terror at the TV as a shuffling zombie closes in, you know you've been hooked.

Jet Set Radio * * *

Glimpsed on the surface of this JSR remake is a reflection of the brilliant skate-punk original.

Blessed with precise joystick controls on Dreamcast/Xbox, it was a savage but rewarding ride.

Hitched to the loose touchscreen feel of iPhone/iPad, however, JSR skirts a line the wrong side of frustration. Too many of the demanding moves — escaping cops, tagging graffiti — fail because of the technology's limitations, not your lack of dexterity.

Day & Night

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