Higher-Def Video

Higher-Def Video

Do-it-yourself HD video is everywhere these days, from the waterproof Kodak PlaySport to the compact Flip Slide HD. Logitech recently reinvigorated the market with HD for the PC, a new line of high-def webcams designed for video calls or video chats. Just think: Chatroulette in HD.

The HD Pro Webcam C910 records in full 1080p—an improvement over the hand-held products mentioned above, which typically record at 720p—but can only make calls in 720p. Announced June 10, it will sell for $100, while 720p models will sell for half the price.

Meanwhile, other brands of HD webcams (Creative Labs, Microsoft, Hercules, etc.) can be found for about $30.

Logitech also recently announced it is partnering with Google to offer a TV-top box that will work with Google TV. Announced in May and expected in the fall, Logitech’s Google TV Companion Box will allow users to access the Web and popular Android operating system on their TVs—essentially turning HDTVs into big computers—and, when used with a HD camera, will enable users to make HD video calls over their big-screen (or even modest-size) TVs from the comfort of their living room (or wherever it’s set up and equipped with a sufficient Internet connection).

Google TV appears to be more inclusive than Apple’s upcoming Internet-meets-TV initiative: Google is allowing outside phone manufacturers and the four major wireless carriers to create and sell Android apps, while Apple maintains its tight reign over the iPhone (still only on AT&T, sigh).

Meanwhile, Apple TV is intertwined with iTunes, but has yet to spark iPod or iPad-levels of excitement.

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The major film studios have never understood the Las Vegas market. To people who work 40-plus hours a week to sell the Vegas image, perception is reality—and yet Hollywood keeps giving us movies set in deserts and the tropics. If we wanted to think about blistering heat, we’d stand outside the casino and save $10. Fortunately, a handful of cold-weather movies do exist. Rent them tonight and imagine what a cool breeze feels like.