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    • Rock Star (DVD) / DVD / 2 Readings / 24 Ratings
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      26.03.2002 16:36
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      The Film Mark Whalberg is a photocopier repairman who is in a Steel Dragons tribute band and gets to front the real group when the original lead singer leaves. Whalberg is also shocked to discover that the man he is replacing was gay. Jennifer Aniston is the girlfriend who gets dumped when Whalberg is corrupted by fame. It’s a story that deals with a common fantasy: sudden fame, money and groupies are all things that may hold appeal for us average folk. However, it also has the benefit of being an engaging trip of nostalgia for anyone who enjoyed the likes of Saxon, Iron Maiden and Rainbow twenty years ago. The film is also more interesting than it might have been because of the rumour that it is based on a true story. Despite the fact the film is set in the mid-eighties and is centred around a British metal band who are big in the states, Warner Brothers have denied there is a connection between their plot and any real life event. Curious then that it mirrors the turn of events experienced by Tim Owens just a few years ago. Owens was the Lead Singer in a Judas Priest tribute band by night and an office salesman by day. He was chosen as the front man for the real Judas Priest when Rob Halford left in 1996. Halford went on to announce he was gay and Judas Priest were, of course, a British heavy metal band who were successful on both sides of the Atlantic in the 1980’s. Mmmm, coincidence? I think not Warner Brothers! The Music This soundtrack is fabulous fun. Period songs from Ted Nugent, Kiss and Motley Crew are complimented by some outstanding new songs. The original music was written by Mike Matijevic (from Steelheart), Sammy Haggar (from The Sammy Haggar Band) and Ronnie Dio (from well, every band at one point or another). The music is performed by, amongst others, Zakk Wylde from Ozzy Osbourne’s band and Jason Bonham of Led Zeppelin. These players actually appear in the film so it all adds to the credibility of the
      fictional band. Fortunately the one thing that isn’t real is the singing voice of Mark Whalberg. He lip-syncs the songs whose vocal is provided by Jeff Soto. The live performance sequences were filmed in front of 20,000 Megadeath and Whitesnake fans during a genuine concert. It certainly adds to the realism of the event and sets it apart from similar films. The DVD The film had a late release in British cinemas, going out on 28th December last year. Those fortunate enough to have a multi-region DVD player would have been able to pick up the American region 1 release just weeks afterwards on 22nd January 2002. The Australian region 4 DVD has a confirmed release date of 17th April. The British Region 2 DVD has an unconfirmed date in April 2002 as well. The specifications of all three English speaking discs appear almost identical. Presentation is in an anamorphic widescreen with a slightly reduced ratio of 2.35:1. This is one of the best transfers I have seen of late other than the pure digital stuff of Shrek and Final Fantasy. It would have been easy to lose detail in the dark concert shots but colours remain accurate and sharp. I saw no evidence of artefacts and the only flaw I noticed was some moderate aliasing during a shot of some Venetian blinds mid-way through. Why do filmmakers insist on putting Venetian blinds in films? I am yet to see a DVD that can properly display Venetian blinds set against a well lit window! Audio is available in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. It really could have done with a full on DTS option to make the most of the huge bass you would expect on this soundtrack. The Dolby set up is Ok though, with modest bit rates recorded at 384Kb/s. The audio sync is tight and the dialogue tied to the centre speaker but always loud and clear. The crowd noise during the concerts will fill a room with just the right level of ambient noise coming from every speaker. The sub-woofer has a field day with big low freque
      ncy sounds from stage pyrotechnics and the pronounced drum and bass components of the heavy metal numbers. Extras amount to a trailer, cast and crew biographies a four minute ‘documentary’ and the Evergreen music video ‘Rock Star’. A very average selection of extras are saved by Stephen Herek’s commentary which is particularly interesting when he is discussing the problems encountered during the Megadeath concert! In all I would say this is a good, fun film which will hold particular appeal for metal heads who grew up in the eighties. The DVD is thoroughly well presented and the only drawback is the cardboard ‘snapper’ case used by Warner Brothers for their USA and British releases. The good news is the Australian region 4 disc is duel encoded to region 2 and will also come in a solid plastic Amaray case. Get your pre-orders in for the Australian DVD now!

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      • Random Hearts (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 28 Ratings
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        15.03.2002 01:53
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        I visited the site with the intention of writing a review concerning another DVD but found Dooyoo hadn’t put the category up like they promised. During my search through the DVD titles available I found the 1999 film, Random Hearts, had received no reviews to date. A film that stars big names like Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas that is this bad needs a review if not to achieve anything else but to stop a few people wasting money on this at the video shop or, worse still, buying it on DVD. Synopsys: A Washington Police Sergeant and a Congresswoman in the midst of a re-election campaign lose their respective spouses in a plane crash. The cop suspects his wife was having an affair with the Congresswoman’s husband and his investigation brings them together. What’s wrong with it: Harrison Ford is hopelessly miscast and his performance is cringeworthy. He even wears an earring for goodness sake! Scott Thomas is more comfortable in her role but is not given a particularly endearing character or indeed an interesting one for that matter. There is absolutely no chemistry between this pair and there are no other characters or sub-plots to distract you. The film is painfully slow and the running time of just over two hours feels twice that long. Finally, the film has no idea what it is. It appears to land between crime, character drama and mystery but is essentially none of these. Just dull. The DVD: The USA (Region 1) and British (Region 2) DVD releases of this film are identical. Both are fairly scant affairs with extras being limited to three deleted scenes, trailers, filmographies, an isolated music score, Director’s commentary and a twenty two minute ‘Making of’ feature. None of these really add anything to the experience and it is easy to understand why the deleted scenes were cut so that the film did not grind to a complete halt. The film is broken up into a generous 28 chapters and the
        menus are quick and tidy. I am not aware of any compatibility problems with this disc and any players. The film is presented in a sharp anamorphic widescreen picture in the original 1:1.85 aspect ratio of the cinema release. It is also uncut in comparison to that shown in cinemas. It looks good and there is no evidence of artifacts or pixelization . Little can be said for the colours as a lot of the film is set against a very grey and washed out New York background which adds to the thoroughly depressing feel of the film. The sound is produced in a docile Dolby Digital 5.0 surround sound format with means there is no channel for the sub and little use is made of the rears. The speech is tied to the centre and is well balanced against the incidental noise of the two wide fronts. On the whole the sound is easy to get on with but a pro-logic mix wouldn’t have sold it short either. It is packed in the hard plastic Amaray case which is certainly preferable to those horrid Warner Brothers ‘Snapper’ cases that are 90% cardboard and look well used after five minutes. The four page Chapter Listing is produced in glossy colour but is just that, a Chapter Listing. Open the centre pages expecting some production notes and you’ll simply find more pictures of Harrison Ford (though his earring is conspicuous by its absence in these shots). On the whole the DVD is a reasonablly well presented package and if it contained a good film I’d be quite pleased with it. Unfortunately it doesn’t and again we are left wondering why classics such as Highlander end up on a lousy DVD release whilst this gets the treatment.

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        • nochex.com / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 28 Ratings
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          06.12.2001 23:44
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          Nochex is an Internet based facility which enables UK surfers to buy and sell goods using an entirely electronic medium of exchange. It is aimed at those who buy and sell via the Internet Classifieds and On-Line auction houses such as QXL, E-Bay and Yahoo. It works for both buyers and sellers and allows cost free, instantaneous payments to be made between those that hold both an e-mail address and a ‘Switch’ or ‘Delta’ style UK debit card. This is how it works. You open an account with Nochex by providing them with your usual details together with the details of your debit card. Your E-mail address becomes the equivalent of your account number. These details are then verified by Nochex making a small, random payment of between 1p and 99p into your bank account. You simply find out what that amount was from your bank and inform Nochex to confirm to them you have legitimate access to the account. Hey, you’re already up by as much as 99p as this money stays in your account! This process takes about two days so be aware of the potential time lag involved if you are opening an account to complete an urgent transaction. From the Nochex website you can upload money into your account. This will take the form of a Switch/Delta payment from your bank account. Withdrawals from your Nochex balance arrive in your bank account as a Switch/Delta refund. These payments take about two working days to appear either way. Each time you conduct a transaction between Nochex and your bank account you pay Nochex a fee of 99p. Transactions between Nochex members, however, is free. If you want to send money from your Nochex account to another member, say as a result of winning an auction or something, you simply type in their e-mail address together with the amount you want to transfer. The transaction is immediate and costs neither party anything. The trick is, therefore, to reduce the number of transactions involving your bank, perhaps ke
          eping a small float in your Nochex account. Don’t be put off by the .com address. The Nochex enterprise is entirely British based and at the moment it is only available to those with a British bank account. Despite the ‘low-tech’ appearance the website is fast, reliable and easy to use. The secure link is quick and it never requires much navigation to get what you want from your visit. You can access a statement of all your Nochex transactions and see the details associated with each. Not only does it retain the other party’s e-mail address but it also includes date and time details and any notes you may have transmitted with the original transaction. I do a great deal of business on various auction sites and I can thoroughly recommend Nochex. I have completed in excess of 100 Nochex transactions and have transferred excess funds to my bank on three occasions without a problem. For auction-based sellers the occasional 99p charge is offset by the benefits of having an auction winner confirmed immediately. The money is often in your Nochex account within twenty four hours of closure. No more stories of cheques being lost in the post and waiting days on end before re-posting your item for sale. For buyers the advantages are similar. You save the time and trouble of writing a cheque, you save the cost of a postage stamp and envelope and you get your goods that much quicker as the seller can authorise dispatch as soon as they receive payment. I have not yet heard of any complaints concerning Nochex and a great many people are starting to look into this service. If you participate in any sort of private sale on the Internet you should have a look at Nochex to.

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          • Wonder Boys (DVD) / DVD / 1 Reading / 36 Ratings
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            27.09.2001 18:38
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            With the strength in depth of this cast and the critical acclaim the film received it is perhaps a little difficult to understand why so many people haven’t heard of it. Curtis Hanson directed the film at the height of his powers shortly after L.A. Confidential had become a hit. Wonder Boys was completed at the start of 1999 but the finished product then became a victim of botched marketing and was a box office flop when it was released in the States in February 2000. This failure caused the Britsh release date to be pushed back to November 2000 whereupon the film again suffered from a lack of advertising. The film has since been re-released in the States but it appears your best chance of catching this now is on DVD. Director: Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential) Running Time 111 minutes, 15 Certificate Cast: Michael Douglas Tobey Maguire Frances McDormand Robert Downey Jnr Katie Holmes Rip Torn Michael Douglas is the college professor struggling to finish his second book seven years after the success of his first. The film covers the weekend in which his wife leaves him, his mistress announces she is pregnant, his pushy editor arrives in town and his most promising student goes off on a monumental bender. The film describes itself as a comedy but it is too slow in places to be an outright comedy. Ultimately it is a pleasant drama with good performances from its heavyweight ensemble. The only member that looks a little out of her depth is Katie Holmes but her role isn’t too demanding and she makes the most of her screen time being adorable and looking good enough to eat. Choosing the right DVD isn’t as easy as it might be either. The British DVD buyer with a multi-region player will want to consider four versions of this release. The original British version was released in June 2001 and was an utter abortion of a DVD. It had absolutely no extras and featured only a standard screen
            4:3 ratio edition of the film which had been formatted with very little attention paid to detail. In the meantime a Region 1 (USA) version was released which was hugely superior. A brand new British release (September 4th 2001) has brought the same quality of disc onto the Region 2 market and shares all the same features as it’s American cousin. The Region 4 Australian release shares the same specification as this new British disc. I plumped for the Region 1 release largely because I couldn’t wait and also because the latest Britsh release has sold at, or near, it’s RRP and it therefore works out cheaper to buy from an American or Australian DVD specialist on the Internet. The picture is framed at about 2.35:1 and is produced anamorphically. While it is sharp and without artefacts it doesn’t exhibit a great deal of colour. This may be part of the production process as the film is set in Pittsburgh during the winter months and not Hawai at the start of the summer but even so, it fails to engage at this level and when the film starts to drag you’d like to think you could just enjoy the cinematography and scenery. Unfortunately, after you have dismissed the scenery as a grey backdrop, you’ll also be disappointed by the unimaginative sound staging. The disc is produced in a crystal clear Dolby Digital 5.0 with no hiss or distortion but at times you’ll wonder if your rear speakers are switched on. I understand that a film with no car chases or gun play is unlikely to set your sound system alight but simple things here like bird songs and wind noise for the outside shots are utterly confined to the front three speakers. The absence of the sub-woofer channel is understandable as the soundtrack offer very few sub 25Hz moments. The menus on the latest releases are partially animated and scored. In addition to the illustrated scene access and theatrical trailer you have a composition made up of interviews from the m
            ajor players in the cast. This lasts for about eleven minutes and isn’t bad but too long is spent with the cast talking up the director. There is an interactive map of Pittsburgh which has six separate shooting locations highlighted. Clicking on anyone one of these will have Curtis Hanson and friends telling you why they choose that particular location. Total footage of about six or seven minutes here but interesting and no doubt great fun if you have ever been to Pittsburgh. A good proportion of the extras are involved with the music to the film even to the extent of including the soundtrack album track listing in full. Bob Dylan’s ‘Things have changed’ video is here in widescreen with pro-logic sound. The final feature, ‘Songs of Wonder Boys’, acts as an isolated score with commentary for the six main songs in the film and runs for more than 20 minutes in total. It’s a nice film and one that you can watch with your Granny. You won’t use the DVD to impress your mates with your latest sound system or widescreen telly but it may be a film you want to watch once a year in the winter. Don’t be put off by the disclaimer at the start of the film stating it has been cut from it’s theatrical release. Only one sentence has been removed and this involved a brief discussion about the suicide of Alan Ladd which the family objected to. All DVD releases of this film have that cut. Just be careful if you buy a British edition and check that it is the widescreen release.

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            • DVD Monthly / Magazine / Newspaper / 1 Reading / 30 Ratings
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              29.08.2001 21:49
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              My interest in films caused me to subscribe to Empire magazine a couple of years ago. I then found my interests had developed specifically towards DVD and home cinema. The steady deterioration of Empire and the poor coverage they afforded to home cinema meant that I cancelled my subscription and started to look elsewhere. I tried Total DVD magazine and Hot Dog but have now settled on DVD Monthly. Cost is the same as Total DVD, namely £3.99 per month, but it has featured VCD cover discs since October 2000 which was some months before we saw Total DVD do the same. The current subscription offer of 25% off over 12 months would bring the cost down to £36, just £3 per issue. The content of the magazine is largely spread across British and American DVD releases, film reviews, hardware reviews and competitions. Each edition is 130 pages long with many colourful photographs and illustrations. Thankfully most of the advertising is neatly tucked away towards the back of the magazine. You can expect to see up to thirty British DVDs reviewed, ten American (Region 1) releases and a handful of speciality discs which would include music DVDs and also those with mainstream adult content eg. Playboy, Penthouse etc. (Not the XXX stuff!). An average of six hardware reviews appear each month and a complete six page summary of hardware specifications is included in a format similar to that found in What Hi-Fi. There are as many as eight or nine competitions each month and the prizes range from single DVDs to complete home cinema systems. The front of the magazine is far too busy and cluttered but the index immediately inside is very well structured and spread over three entire pages. Details relating to the cover disc are included in the index and it appears the cover disc is normally just a lift of the extra features due to appear on one of the months major region 2 releases. In this respect I think it is fair to say Total DVD normally has a superior co
              ver disc with features taken from a number of different DVDs. The DVDs under review appear to be newer than the titles in Total DVD which I found were often on the shelves before the magazine. The region 1 titles in particular are reviewed well in advance of their release date and the magazine often has exclusive first looks at some significant titles. The most prominent releases of the month are reviewed in depth with other titles being reviewed more briefly. All reviews contain a brief synopsis of the film and a detailed opinion on the sound and audio presentation of the disc. Good quality extras will also be covered if they are out of the ordinary in any way but there is always a quick ‘at-a-glance’ summary at the end of each review which lists the extras, stars, director, year of theatrical release, audio details, visual ratio, running time and price. Why they don’t include the certificate given to a film is a mystery to me. Surely it is quite an important guide to the content of a film! Not a fan of DVD? Well then I can’t recommend you to buy it. However, if you do have an interest in DVD and you are trying to justify the yearly subscription to your sceptical partner who doesn’t, then point out to them the stuff anyone can enjoy; in-depth star profiles and interviews (One star a month), light hearted views of the film industry (‘Which is the hardest spaceship ever?’ is one that caught my eye) and my favourite, the systematic ridicule of one film a month whereby all continuity errors, historical inaccuracies and acting blunders are displayed for all to see. I was pleased to see that even in a film such as Mel Gibson’s Patriot ‘dead’ extras were starting to sit up just as one shot was fading out! Well spotted DVD Monthly. I still enjoy Hot Dog for it’s reviews of forthcoming cinematic releases but DVD Monthly is more than that. If you retain your back issues it soon becom
              es a valuable resource when considering your next DVD purchase or the next upgrade to you’re A/V system. If only it was a little cheaper!

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                11.08.2001 02:53
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                • "Only for old farts like me!"

                Sheringham is a Norfolk fishing village (come tourist centre) situated on the East Coast near Cromer and not a million miles away from Kings Lynn. In it’s role as a tourist resort it has utterly re-invented itself over the last twenty years to cater for the resurgence in domestic holidays. When I first visited in the 70’s there were few caravan sites and even fewer hotels. The village amounted to a relatively small number of houses, three pubs, an amusement arcade, the Working Mens Club and an occasional market. The development and extension of a number of nearby camping sites has provoked a favourable change in the area. Although not strictly in Sheringham, the Kelling Heath campsite four miles away is a prime example of that change. It has gone from being a small campsite with no facilities to one of the best in the country with it’s own health club, two swimming pools, fishing lake restaurant, bar, take-away etc, etc. The huge numbers that visit in the summer tend to choose either Sheringham or Cromer for their beach entertainment. The Sheringham beach has won a number of awards for it’s facilities and cleanliness. Dogs are banned from the beach between May and September and there are ample shops, chalets and toilets. The beach itself is half stone and half sand. It is on a very flat descent into the sea which provides a huge sand area when the tide is out and also allows you to wade out into the ocean without fear of a sudden drop. The stones provide a comfortable place to sun-bathe while the kids amuse themselves on the clean sand. The downside is two fold. The strong wind, which is always present, is good news for kite flyers and wind surfers but sun worshippers may do well to invest in a windbreak. Secondly, Sheringham appears cursed with copious amounts of seaweed which smells quite badly in the sun and attracts more flies than you would expect. Cromer offers the best alternative, nice sandy beaches with a little
                less wind and no seaweed. They are, of course, more likely to be packed with tourists. The Sheringham village centre now has many useful facilities besides the pubs and chip-shops. The youth hostel is in the centre together with a number of hotels and bed and breakfast. Those of you that need cash machines will find Barclays and NatWest in the main street where you can then spend your money in Woolworths, Budgens or any number of curiosity/antique shops. The market operates from the car-park near the station. In the high season it runs twice a week or more and is well worth a visit if you are in the area. On the outskirts of the village towards Weybourne, you will find the Leisure centre which has all the usual facilities, swimming pool, wave machine, gym etc If you are fortunate enough to visit during the first week in August you will experience the Sheringham Carnival which tends to be mid-week. I think the weekday slot indicates quite clearly that it is aimed at the tourists and it really is going from strength to strength each year. In addition to the mainline station linking Sheringham to Norwich you will find the original Victorian station preserved and maintained by the North Norfolk Railway volunteers. They have, in recent years, bought the 5 and a half miles of track that run from Sheringham to Holt via Weybourne. I remember walking along the disused track as a boy, so I can appreciate what a fantastic job they have done in renovating this into a working railway. A selection of steam and diesel engines have been restored to pull period carriages along this route and it really is worth a look, not just for train enthusiasts but anyone wanting to re-live the steam age. Golfers should pay a visit to the Sheringham golf course. The club house is small but tidy and the course itself is well preserved with astonishing scenery. On one side you have the beautiful cliff-top views across the sea and on the other side you have the
                rolling Norfolk heath land set against the occasional steam train which pass nearby. The wind adds to the challenge! Some practical notes now. Mobile phone users may, or may not, notice that they are out in the middle of nowhere depending on the service they use. Vodaphone signals are strong throughout but One to One coverage is utterly hopeless. Cellnet was intermittent depending on our position. Sheringham is a place for young families and the retired. There are no nightclubs anywhere to speak of and the pubs are all family orientated. Accommodation is plentiful and as such, cheap. You should also consider visiting, or staying at, nearby locations such as Bodham, Weybourne, Cromer or Kelling. In conclusion, Sheringham is a nice place to go in the summer. It won’t keep you entertained for more than a week though and it can become quite depressing if you catch a wet week. The untouched scenery is reminiscent of the New Forest… but with more wind!

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                  10.08.2001 19:11
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                  • "Well Dodgy"

                  I haven’t read any of the other reviews for this company, I don’t need to. Most of the positive reviews will be out of date anyhow. My experience alone should be enough to put anyone off, even if one or two people have been lucky enough to get some sort of service from them. When Telnet pulled out of the UK market in June I was left without an ISP. I fancied a 24/7 service for a fixed monthly rate and considered the BT Anytime package. I then heard of the amazing BigBlueSky offer; for a one off fee of £25 they would give me a 24/7 free ‘0800’ Internet connection for life. Yeah right, and pigs would no doubt fly. However, I considered that for my £25 I would at least get some sort of 24/7 connection, probably a little slow, probably saturated with advertisements and probably with a company that would go into liquidation after six months. When you consider the alternative was to pay £10 or £15 per month I still figured it would be worth £25, even with such low expectations. The deadline for this offer expired on the 8th of June, after which time they said the price would go up to £50. I quickly visited the site and paid my £25 via Mastercard. In return they gave me a password and Username and told me I would be able to connect almost straight away. In the following three weeks I made more than TWO THOUSAND attempts to log on. I got connected twice, for a total of 72 minutes. I e-mailed the company and asked if it was a temporary problem. I got no reply so I e-mailed the same query to every e-mail address I could find on the site. At the same time I noticed the ‘Deadline’ had been extended without explanation. I also heard rumours that the service was vastly over-subscribed. It was alleged that secondary providers piggy-backing on this service were partly responsible and the Wonkypig service was named as one of those involved. Initially both sides denied any association only for a stunning turn around when both
                  admitted that Wonkypig were selling BigBlueSky connections for £35! This meant BigBlueSky had little or not control over the amount of people subscribing to the service. Things got worse when I found out they had taken double the agreed amount from my credit card. I again e-mailed the company asking for the return of my £50 and closure of my account. Again I received no reply so I tried the telephone number listed on the website for their offices and also the home address phone number for the Managing Director (…it’s amazing what you can find via the Internet!). Both telephone numbers were disconnected. Laughably the ‘deadline’ for the offer was extended until the end of June at which time the company promptly closed down it’s service and re-opened with an 0845 service charging customers at local call rates. In this day and age you really don’t need to pay for that kind of ‘service’ when Lineone, Freeserve and even AOL will do the same without a subscription fee. In order to secure a refund and bring the matter to a conclusion I spoke to the Internet Team at NatWest Card services in Southend. I prepared a file of evidence which indicated there was a good chance the company had breached either two civil laws or one criminal law in the way they had conducted their operations in June. NatWest investigators confirmed they were already dealing with the company after a number of other complaints. I received a full refund three weeks later. It should be noted the refund was as a result of NatWest reversing the card transaction and not from any action initiated by BigBlueSky. If you visit the website today you will see they have put together another offer for a resurrected free connection 0800 service. They will now charge you £12.75 per month for the privilege. Bad luck if you forked out £25 in June, here is a quote from the site… “Due to changes here at BBS it will be necessary
                  for all existing customers to go to the registration pages and complete a new registration to continue using the service.” The date for the introduction of this service has changed twice already this week, suggesting nothing has improved! For £12.99 per month you can obtain a reliable 24/7 connection from Freeserve. There really is no reason for anyone to deal with BigBlueSky. Go elsewhere!

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                  • thedailydraw.com / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 33 Ratings
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                    08.08.2001 18:59
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                    Those of you who are familiar with Bananalotto will know how this works. The mechanics of this lottery are very similar to the national game but it is free to enter, is drawn daily rather than weekly and is entirely web based. There are 64 numbers to chose from instead of the traditional 50, and you have to select six numbers. To win the jackpot of £1,00,000 you need to match all six numbers, so the odds of winning are even more distant than the national game. The prizes look something like this… 4 numbers from 6 £25 5 numbers from 6 £5000 6 numbers from 6 £1000,000 I have been playing on and off for two months. I have won once, a £25 prize last week, from which the cheque arrived today. There is testimony from six players who have won the £5000 in recent months featured on the site. No one has yet won the jackpot. On the whole, the odds are now more favourable than Bananalotto who have recently ditched their minor prizes given for three numbers. Bananalotto (See my review for them) and The Daily Draw are similar enough to warrant a direct comparison. The Daily Draw site is slower to load and the Flash based programming seems a little temperamental. It also requires more effort from the user as it will not recognise you when loading and will always require the manual input of your user name and password. Once logged in you are taken to the number selection screen and here you are given similar options as those found at Bananalotto. You can select a new set of numbers manually, elect for a random selection, retain a set of ‘Favourite’ numbers or repeat the same numbers as in the previous draw. Once you have your numbers you click on one of three ad banners on the right hand side of the screen. It is this advertising revenue that finances the game and it is the same method employed at Bananalotto. Unfortunately there is an unacceptable amount of bandwidth taken up by the THREE screens that load simultan
                    eously following selection. Not only do you get the advertisers website but you are also diverted to the Daily Draw home page and a results page! Results, win or lose, are sent to each participant via e-mail. There is also an accumulator prize which is run each month and your chances of winning are improved each time you enter for the daily draw. The prizes will be something like a luxury weekend away or a new computer etc. The ‘Refer a friend’ scheme here allows you to pick up £25,000 if your friend wins the jackpot. The site is owned by those that brought you ‘Mypoints’, a reward scheme that pays out in high street vouchers (See my review for them). For those of you signed up with Mypoints you will be interested to know that there are an extra 50 points given to you simply for signing up with the Daily Draw. In addition, you gain 25 points each month if you have entered the Daily Draw at least eight times. It is just about worth my time and effort at the moment, so long as they continue to throw a guaranteed 25 Mypoints at me each month. I have the site stored in my ‘Favourites’ drop-down list and I tend to run it in a second window while I visit other sites. It takes about three minutes each day to enter depending on the speed of your connection. While it is slower and fussier than Bananalotto it offers more realistic rewards and a better chance of winning.

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                    • mypoints.co.uk / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 42 Ratings
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                      22.06.2001 02:10
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                      MyPoints is one in a second generation of ‘reward schemes’ that have followed in the footsteps (and perhaps in the ultimate demise of...) Multi-Kredits, Beenz, SurfMiles and Trocomania. The idea is to collect points and then exchange them for a variety of rewards such as High Street Shopping Vouchers. You earn points by clicking through advertisers on the site, by signing up with other web-initiatives, referring friends to the scheme and, primarily, by responding to e-mails. A handful of big name partners such as Superdrug and Marks & Spencers lend some credibility to the set-up. Registration is simple enough and requires some home address details and an e-mail contact point. The survey, or profile, you are required to complete earns you points. Submitting your details will not lead to an increase in junk e-mail as most correspondence brings with it a reward as discussed below. The website itself is fairly quick , though the navigation is a little simplistic and tiresome. This is not a problem, however, as you will have little need to visit the site. Any regular contact with MyPoints comes via e-mails sent to your registration address. Any e-mail will be delivered and presented by MyPoints but essentially carries content from a third party advertiser. The nature of the offer is made extremely clear at the very top of the mail. The result is that it is very easy to make a decision as to whether to trash it or read on. There is no penalty as such for deleting a mail unread but it is unlikely to earn you anything. A typical offer would give you points for visiting an advertiser via the hyperlink at the end of the mail and substantially more points for eventually signing/buyer whatever it is they are promoting. Here is a list that you might find useful. It gives you an idea of how the rewards relate to the effort used to gain them. Earning: Signing Up: SEVENTY FIVE points. Completing Personal Profile: SEVENTY FIVE points. <
                      br><br>Visit the click through adverts present on site: THIRTY points Refer a Friend. ONE HUNDRED points Read an e-mail and visit the site without making a commitment to any goods or services. TEN points. Read an e-mail, visit the advertiser and sign-up to the offer. I have seen everything from ONE HUNDRED points to EIGHT HUNDRED points. Spending: Woolworths £5 High Street Gift Voucher SEVEN HUNDRED & FIFTY points. Marks & Spencers £25 High Street Voucher THREE THOUSAND points. The drawback to this scheme is that it will take even the most regular Internet users an absolute age to amass any points of note. After initially signing up, completing the profile and clicking through every advert on the site you will still only have 180 points in your account. The click through adverts on the site can only be visited once a year! Other schemes like I-points allow you to click through everyday picking up points very quickly. The MyPoints e-mails arrive at a rate of ten to fifteen a month so, without signing up for any other offers, it will take you 4 months just to pick up a £5 voucher. I have also been disappointed in the level of customer service extended to date. I signed up to, and participated in, ‘The Daily Draw’ which is a sister company of MyPoints. I did it through the MyPoints site with the promise of receiving a total 135 points. Unfortunately I have received only 50 points in this regard and my three e-mails in as many weeks have produced little response. It is not the first time points have gone astray and they don’t appear particularly reliable in this respect. I joined I-Points and MyPoints around the same time in February. If you have read my opinion on I-Points you’ll know I have already spent my first £25 worth of Marks & Spencer vouchers. I still haven’t got as far as £5 on MyPoints. I’ve stuck with it for now as I have already invested in the time to sign-u
                      p. It’s now less effort to click through the e-mails than it is to go through the un-subscribe process. With that said, I really wouldn’t be able to recommend them to anyone who hasn’t heard of them before, not yet at least. MyPoints will continue to look poor against the likes of I-points until it ties up with more retail partners and offers a greater opportunity to earn rewards quickly. Until then, give MyPoints a miss.

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                      • Dinosaur (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 22 Ratings
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                        22.06.2001 01:59
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                        I took a bit of a gamble when I bought this on DVD as neither of my children had previously seen the film when it had been at the cinema. However, having taken account of the hype surrounding it’s cinema release I at least expected an engaging storyline, fabulous digital transfer and thumping state of the art sound. What I initially got was the SINGLE DISC REGION 1 DVD. That disc was released in the States back in January 2001 along with a two disc Collectors Edition. The British Region 2 offerings were not due until 26th March 2001. My kids decided I couldn’t afford to wait so I had to import the US version on the week of it’s release. This update will now include the various merits and shortcomings of the REGION 2 TWO DISC COLLECTORS EDITION which I have acquired recently. Being the owner of many, many Region 1 and 2 Disney DVDs I was, naturally, sceptical about the quality of the extras I might find. Had this been really important to me I would have got the American two-disc Collector’s Edition from the outset. The two disc sets sell at an additional 25% of the single disc price but on this occasion I was simply looking for a couple of bits and bobs to keep the kids diverted. I was pleased to find the REGION 1 SINGLE DISC edition to be amongst the better Disney releases for extras. While I didn’t get the talking story book or trivia questions associated with other R1 releases I did get four ‘Behind the scenes’ type features, two interactive games and an animated ‘Dinopedia’ all accessible via the DVD player in addition to the usual DVD-ROM extras. These interactive games appear to be at the very limit of what DVDs can do and my poor old Samsung 709 has crashed once trying to cope. It also means there is some considerable waiting between action and reaction as the DVD player tries to catch up. Still, it’s nice they have made the effort and, together with the narrated Dinosaur Encyclo
                        paedia, it kept the kids engaged. The menus are fully animated with a soundtrack though they are a little slow. The disc is single sided and dual-layered with the blank side covered in full artwork. It is packed in an Amaray style case but comes with only a menu card instead of a booklet. The picture transfer is digitally sourced in the same way as Toy Story or Antz. It is produced in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen format and the result is a clear, sharp image which doesn’t show any flaws until you view it in widescreen zoom to increase the height of the picture. Only then does the Region 1 encoding short it’s short comings and lower resolution. For those of you with a standard 4:3 TV, an alternative ‘Cropped’ version is also provided direct from the menu. The sound looks a good package on paper. It is THX certified and can use a rear centre speaker if one is available. It also has the choice of DTS or Dolby Digital 5.1 output and a soundtrack which you would expect to produce big bass sounds and fast, sharp movement of sound. This is where I am a left unimpressed. Despite the presence of DTS encoding the sound is not particularly sharp, the use of the rear channels is not particularly imaginative and the sub-woofer is given work to do on only a few occasions. For such a spectacle of a film I would have expected something much more grand but this is way behind films like Saving Private Ryan or Antz in it’s use of the DTS. The British REGION 2 discs were released with very similar content to their American counterparts. The only noticeable omission was the absence of a DTS soundtrack from both of the British editions. On the plus side the single British disc does come with commentaries by directors Eric Leighton and Ralph Zondag and the production team together with a music video, all of which are excluded from the basic American disc and included only on their double disc edition. The double disc Coll
                        ectors Editions appear to be an exact match with the exception of the DTS track. The picture resolution on the British disc is sharper than the Region 1 disc. I know it shouldn’t be noticeable on an anamorphic disc but it is and it looks great even in full screen zoom. The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound is as equally dull as the DTS soundtrack and perhaps even fails to deliver as well at the higher frequencies. The discs are single sided and dual-layered with the blank side covered in full artwork. They are packed in a Double-Amaray style case and the Collectors Edition now has a six page booklet. The Collectors Edition has all the content of the single disc but has an ‘extras disc’ to boot. If you were hoping to find extra music videos, deleted scenes, a story book and so on you’d be disappointed. You still get just the one music video and five deleted scenes. On closer inspection there is really only one deleted scene as the others didn’t reach animation stage and are instead shown as a composite of artist sketches. There is no storybook, animated shorts or anything of that nature. The additional content is really only boring technical stuff explaining the art of animation. Highlights include features on the locations, visual development, character design, computer animation tests and so on. This second disc is not for kids! I watched it out of curiosity but found it very slow paced and tiresome to navigate. If you have an interest in the ‘Behind-the–scenes’ work it may be worth your extra five quid. If not, the Region 2 single disc probably represents the best value out of all four options. The DTS track is not going to be missed, you get slightly better content and improved resolution on the British version and it should be more readily available than the import. The Region 1 (American/Canadian) Single disc has an RRP of $29.99. The Collectors Double Disc Edition is $39.99. The Regio
                        n 2 (British) Single disc has an RRP of £19.99. The Collectors Double Disc Edition over here is £24.99 The film has a running time of 82 minutes in NTSC format and 79 minutes on the PAL format. It is the same film as found on the US discs, the difference in length attributable solely to the effect of Pal speed up. In the UK the film has been given a PG certificate. What about the film? Oh, well the story of the film will no doubt be reviewed elsewhere on this site but I don’t think you’ll need to read them if you have already seen Disney’s Mulan and Tarzan. In short, a dinosaur is separated from it’s own kind, raised by friendly primates in a jungle, eventually meets animals of it’s own species when in adulthood (Tarzan so far!) and then fights to gain the respect of the herd and assume it’s leadership (shades of Mulan!). This was the biggest disappointment for me, that it was so unoriginal. While I can sit with the kids and watch Bugs Life and the Toy Story films over and over again I have to leave the room when this comes on. However, the kids like it and I’m only an adult so what do I know!

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                        • maximiles.co.uk / Internet Site / 0 Readings / 38 Ratings
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                          18.06.2001 22:33
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                          Having recently been let down by the collapse of Surf-Miles, Multi-Kredits and Trocomania I approached this latest ‘Reward-points’ scheme with some scepticism. I-Points are UK based with offices in Kiln House, London. They have recently merged with Web Rewards, an American company fulfilling a similar role in the states. The idea is by no means original. You earn points purchasing goods via I-Points at various on-line shops. You get reward points relative to the amount spent. You can also pick up points by clicking through advertisers on the I-points site and by signing up with other web-initiatives including Ciao.com and Dooyoo. When you have enough points you can cash them in for high street store vouchers, books, CDs, mobile phone credits, DVDs etc, etc. Now, as I suggested in my opening, I’ve experienced this sort of site before. Surfmiles looked very promising initially and then folded without notice, losing me the £14 I had accumulated. Multi-Kredits have had me clicking through their adverts for 12 months only for their site to disappear before I had claimed even my first gift certificate. Trocomania started off well but then removed all of their attainable rewards and gifts leaving those of us with moderate balances with an utterly useless account. I have been with I-Points for seven months and was determined to try them out properly before committing myself to a review. The result was initially a positive one but I have had to revise my original findings as the scheme has become less attractive. Advantages. - The sign-up is easy and painless and you don’t get bombarded with junk mail as a result. - The website is easy to navigate, reliable and fast. - They have a wide selection of gifts for you to aim at, indeed, there are more than one hundred and thirty to choose from. - Once you order your gift it arrives very quickly. I have, to date, ordered three lots of Gift Certificates fo
                          r different High Street stores and they have always arrived a week later. More recently I ordered a DVD from them and it was delivered to me (via W.H. Smiths online?!) the day after release. - They have a wide range of partners in the reward scheme. You can collect points by shopping at any of the 70 on-line stores. These include such sites as Bol.com, William Hill, Freemans, Readers Digest and Evesham.com. If you find you are short on points for the gift you’ve set your sights on you can convert your Dooyoo points to I-Points. The ratio is 10,000 Dooyoo to 100 I-Points. The transaction is instantaneous. Disadvantages. - Well, several months ago there were certainly more ways to earn points. Gone are the advert ‘click-throughs’ and other cost-free ways of getting points. The vast majority of these points now are earned by you buying something or signing up to a costly scheme of some sort. - There has been a recent trend for rewards at the bottom end to disappear. An example of this would be the High Street vouchers which you could previously cash-in for at £5. Now you can only get them in £20 units which means you need a minimum of 385 points before you can even entertain aspirations in this direction! Thus, if you find it difficult to accumulate points quickly because you don’t use the Internet a great deal or don’t use it for shopping, you can no longer cash-out early and pick up a minor gift. Personally I don’t anticipate ever earning enough for any sort of reward in the future. I think the points I used for my DVD were probably the last I’ll ever spend. What do the points mean? I’ll give you an idea of how the rewards relate to the effort used to gain them. You get 20 points for joining. You can then get another ten points for filling out a brief questionnaire. There are a few ‘One time only’ offers for the new customer. For example, you’ll get a bonus 50
                          points for your first Bol.com purchase in addition to the regular points. By spending £10 at any of the designated retailers you’d get another ten points but it should be noted you’d get points for spending smaller amounts as well. This isn’t made clear on the website and you’d be forgiven for thinking the £10 was a minimum spend. I have, in the past, spent as little as £6 at Bol.com and I received 4 points for it. You can cash in 25 points for birthday cards, 80 points for a cinema ticket, 385 points for a £20 Argos voucher etc, etc. For the more ambitious 3850 gets you a day sky diving. Conclusion I don’t think it is worth remaining with the scheme after you exhaust the immediate supply of points and cash out at say 100 to 300 points. The ‘One time only’ offers won’t support long term membership. Looking at the current competition, like the recently improved My-Points, I think perhaps I-Points will struggle to stay in business.

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                          • Shrek (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 31 Ratings
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                            08.06.2001 22:08
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                            Childrens comedy, with computer generated animation. Produced by the team that brought you Antz. Stars John Lithgow, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and Mike Myers. Certificate U with run time of approx 85 minutes. Released across UK on 29th June 2001 Plot: The plot in itself is very uncomplicated. It is a tale of an ogre being sent on a quest by the prospective king (Lithgow) to rescue a princess (Diaz) from the clutches of a dragon. It takes the form of a buddy movie in that the ogre (Myres) is accompanied by a comedy mule (Murphy almost reprising the role of the dragon in Mulan) in the journey to the dragon’s lair. The simple story line is fleshed out by the appearance of many other fairytale characters and an examination of the ogre’s lifestyle and whether or not he is really terrifying or just misunderstood. Overall: Well it is funny, and the comedy works for both children and adults. I watched this film with my six year old daughter at a preview comprised of a mostly adult audience. There were several laugh out loud moments for us grown-ups and my daughter laughed a great deal through out. Some of the humour is a little inappropriate but will travel straight over the head of those too young to enjoy it. Murphy is at his best in this kind of role and expands on the humour he introduced in Mulan. Look out as well for the digs at other Hollywood blockbusters such as Charlies Angels. There are a few slow patches, with long-winded discussions occurring too frequently between the ogre and mule about the merits of love, and this leads to some restless moments for the youngsters. However, while the film isn’t as charming as say, Toy Story, it is a pleasing package overall and isn’t too long. The voices are well suited to the characters they play. Murphy is fabulous and Myres does very well and plays the ogre in a Scottish accent heavily reminiscent of Fat Bastard in Austin Powers 2. Diaz is pleasant and inoffe
                            nsive, though to be honest several actresses could have gotten away with this role but the scheming Count appears to have been written with Lithgow in mind. He is hilarious as the weasel-like bad guy. The soundtrack is an exciting, fast, indie-guitar rock based affair which I thoroughly enjoyed and the closing musical sequence is one to remember. The really exciting thing about this movie for me was the way animation has come on from Toy Story, Antz and Bugs Life. If they were the first generation of successful CGI only movies then this heralds the arrival of the second. Just looking at the particle effects in the smoke and water splashes shows what can be done these days. Fire looks like fire, faces look human and you really don’t have to forgive any inaccuracies in scenery and background because there aren’t any. Only the movement of the characters comes up short compared to real life images, but even in this regard they are far better produced than the human folk in Toy Story 2. The screen ratio is a pleasant 1:1.85 and the thumping soundtrack adds a degree of excitement which bodes well for home-cinema enthusiasts waiting for the digital to digital DVD transfer. My Verdict: Toy Story was a hard act to beat and while this may be technically superior it isn’t as loveable. With that said, it is the best children’s movie for the under elevens since Bugs Life and really does start to make Disney’s Hercules and Tarzan look a little old hat. Adults won’t be bored and you’ll probably want to buy it when it comes out on sell through at Christmas. Six Year Old Emily’s Verdict: It’s very funny and it’s my favourite. I liked the bit with the bird (?!)

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                            • Captain Corelli's Mandolin (DVD) / DVD / 0 Readings / 32 Ratings
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                              04.05.2001 01:21
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                              At exactly two hours in length Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is, for most people, twenty minutes too long. Those of you hoping for a love story set against the exciting backdrop of bloody warfare and the daring escapades of the Greek Underground Militia may find it to be two hours too long! This is a film about people and spends it’s time looking at how love, honour and loyalty can set a community apart. It is set on the Greek island of Cephallonia between the years 1940 and 1947. It follows the small community that gives up their sons to war, their homes to the Italians and their freedom to the Germans. Penelope Cruz plays an intelligent young woman born and bred on the island. She is engaged to a local fisherman (Christian Bale) who is drafted to fight in Albania. Nicholas Cage is the Italian army captain that takes a shine to Cruz when the Italians occupy the area. John Hurt is the worldly-wise Doctor who is father to Cruz. Cage is stuck with an Italian accent that is remarkably similar to that offered by Gavin Richards in Allo, Allo! Cruz is a bit of a cold fish as the love interest and there is very little evidence of any chemistry between them. John Hurt ‘hams’ it up with great enthusiasm throughout and is very easy to watch. The scenery is, needless to say, stunning. The film fails because the first sixty five minutes develops the relationship between Cruz and Cage at a snail’s pace. The laughs here are few and far between and there is no sign of the action or adventure promised in some of the teasers. At the mid-way point there is an injection of pace as the war crashes into full swing on the island. The imagery of war is well staged and at times quite brutal in much the same way as you saw it in Saving Private Ryan. Unfortunately the film slips back into a lethargic pace all too soon. At the preview I heard shouts of “Chick-flick!” from the audience at the end of the film
                              and this may be a fair point. As a romantic tale it works reasonably well and can only be criticised for not having the first half edited sufficiently. Beyond that, however, it does lack any real excitement or interest and many viewers will become restless. The aspect ratio appears to be 2.35:1, the photography is beautiful and the sound is adequate though the battle scenes do bring the wider sound stage to life very well. The 15 certificate caters for a good number of bare-breasted women, one sex scene and the occasionally disturbing image of murder and violence. Overall it is an inoffensive, easily forgettable work of art. Best suited to the TV on a rainy Sunday afternoon I think.

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                              • Music Box Online / Online Shop / 0 Readings / 39 Ratings
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                                16.04.2001 19:22
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                                Company Background Music Box have High street stores in several major cities but their Internet HQ is in Romford, Essex. To find them you’ll have to use the address www.musicbox.CD. Accidentally use .com or similar and you end up at an entirely unrelated site. You can also find them at QXL Auctions as they have recently become a corporate partner there. Range & Price There is an adequate selection of DVDs with most popular titles and new releases catered for. For older and more unusual titles you’ll have to visit Amazon or Blackstar. A lot of the prices can be RRP but there is always a selection of bargains to attract visitors to the site. Several DVDs are £9.99 including titles like Frequency and Wild Things, while one or two others like Mickey Blue Eyes and Boiler Room are reduced to only £4.99! There is a similar selection on video with a wide range of prices. The good news for video collectors is that there is a flat rate postage charge (See below) so you pay the same delivery costs for a video that you would a CD! All chart CD albums are featured and sell for £9.99 each. Back catalogue stuff like the Corrs Unplugged and Oasis’ Standing on The Shoulder of Giants are up at £6.99. For a mixed bag of CDs these are good prices. The cheapest I have seen for chart albums is £8.99 delivered from CDNow but they don’t offer any discount on back-catalogue. Amazon UK have recently reduced their back catalogue but they are still £7.99 plus delivery and their chart albums are £9.99 or more. Music Box are well worth a visit if you want two or three CDs or a cheap DVD. Postage So long as you are living within the UK mainland there is some good news here. All orders, no matter what size or make-up, are charged at only one pound per order. Not great if you want only the one CD but fantastic if you want a couple of CDs and a video for example. Delivery is via First Class Royal Mail and is normally despatched within 24
                                hours. If you buy several items your order will be split into a number of envelopes containing only a couple of items each. I presume this is down to the £27 insurance limit provided by standard First Class Delivery but it also means everything stands a chance of going through your letter box while you are out and not being held at the local Post Office depot. Hard copy invoices are included within all deliveries. Website Function The overall presentation of the site could be a lot clearer. The home page strikes me as being cluttered with too many sub-menus. It really shouldn’t be, after all, they only sell CD, DVD and videos. Instead of having just the three distinct sections to visit you are confronted with bargains, the top 20, Region 2 offers, new releases and a link to QXL as well as the standard catalogues. The front page is also swamped with tacky animated Gif adverts which give the site a thoroughly amateurish look. Surely a company of this size no longer needs to be part of a link exchange. The speed of the site is only average despite it’s fairly basic content. It can also be long winded to browse, with items being split into too many sub-genres. When you visit you should search out the link to the full catalogue listing. While there may be a lot to look at it will be quicker than clicking through ten sub-categories. Credit card payment is via a secure server. I have, to date, placed five orders with this company and never had a problem with billing. Customer service is very good with queries getting a reply within 24 hours and orders being confirmed via e-mail. Conclusion While the auctions they have at QXL start at only a pound with no reserve, I have found the final winning bids are often the same, or more, than the price on the Musicbox website. When buying via QXL you will be charged postage at £1 per item rather than per order and you’d have to wait up to seven days for the auction to close
                                . Give QXL a miss and have a look at Musicbox directly. If there isn’t a store near you the website is sufficient for you browse through the stock and pick up a bargain or two. However, if you want just one, very specific, item you might need to go elsewhere afterwards.

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                                • More +
                                  31.03.2001 18:05
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                                  I cannot think of another Audio/Video Receiver that offers anything like the value of the Sherwood RVD 6095RDS. If you are just starting out in the world of home cinema, or if you are on a budget and looking to replace an ageing amp, then Sherwood are a brand you should consider. Richer Sounds are tied up with Sherwood to such an extent that you will find it difficult to obtain Sherwood products from any other UK supplier. That is not to say they are an ‘Own Brand’ product, far from it. Sherwood have been in this game for some time and sell products across America, Canada and Australia. They are known to build good quality items with features not otherwise found in the budget arena. They are well reviewed on the Internet and What Hi-Fi magazine has never given one of their A/V amps less than 4 out of 5 stars. The 6095RDS was launched at the end of 1999 with an RRP of £349.99. It was fundamentally the same amp as the incredibly successful 6090 but with an added DTS sound option for DVD users. When it came through to Richer Sounds in numbers the price soon dropped to £249 and it started to sell bucket loads. I bought mine at that price and I have used it almost every day in the fourteen months that have followed. I have an Akai VS-J717EK-N Nicam VCR and Samsung 709 DVD player running through it. The Samsung doubles as the audio CD player in the main room of the house. The room itself is quite large, about 24 foot by 12 foot, and needs a lot of sound to fill it. The 6095RDS drives a pair of JPW ML710i’s (6 Ohm, 80 Watts) at the front, a Gale Centre 10 in the middle and a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 7.1 Pro’s (8 Ohm, 100 Watts) at the rear. The fronts are connected with Qudos Silver Anniversary cable and the rears with Cambridge Audio Linea 3. The resultant sound is superb for the money invested in it. The unit itself is very solidly built and measures 44cm x 12.5cm x 33cm which makes it just a little wider than many
                                  video and DVD units but it should still squeeze into most TV/Audio display cabinets. The 6095RDS is compatable with the ‘One For All’ brand of replacement remotes but the remote control supplied is very nice. With that said, it has so many buttons it appears you could fly the Space Shuttle with it. Indeed, the 6095RDS has so many features that it comes with a 25 page manual written in small type! The receiver has both a FM tuner and AM tuner, RDS search functions and 30 pre-sets. Reception is particularly good even with only the most basic UHF ariel. The amplifier delivers 65 Watts to each of the five channels. The sub-woofer is a pre-amp only connection. The front of the unit has connections for video picture and stereo sound (mainly for camcorder connection) and the headphone out socket. The rear of the unit has pre-outs for front, rear and sub-woofer/centre. It has a direct 6 channel input matrix and will also receive digital inputs from either coaxial or optical inputs making it real easy to get the best from your CD or DVD player. The output terminals for the front, rear and centre speakers are basic but sturdy binding poles. This is my only area of criticism as there is no facility here for bi-wiring which is a real shame. The controls at the front of the unit are easy to use and allow for a very detailed speaker set-up or one of the 3 pre-programmed DPS settings. Switching between stereo, Dolby 5.1 and DTS output is all done at the touch of a button as is the selection between sources. The unit is Digilink ready. Despite being more than a year old the Sherwood RVD 6095RDS is largely future-proof in that it caters for most audio technology available now or on the horiaon. The only initiative it doesn’t directly cater for is the Dolby THX 6 channel technology which has been seen on a small number of recent DVDs. However, with DTS still establishing itself in the UK DVD market and most audio DVDs relying on Dolby 5.1 you w
                                  ill still have plenty to enjoy in the coming months. I love it, and so do What Hi-Fi. They gave the sister unit (6090) five out of five stars and made it an award winner in it’s group. With prices as low as £199 you can’t go wrong. Further Reading: Check out my opinion on Richer Sounds Find reviews on the competition: Sony STRDB930 and Yamaha DSPA5

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