HD1080i De-mystify HDTV 1080i ::: know why before you buy

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

HD and the Sony PS3

I keep reading the pundits view of Sony's PS3 and note that they keep missing the boat.

In a nutshell.

1) PS3 is likely the best Value-added gizmo you can attach to that new widescreen LCD,DLP, Plasma, SXRD whatever flatscreen widescreen you just got.

2) The PS3 is NOT a console. Its a whole system and not just for Blu-ray, but for a ton of FREE connected services to get the most out of that Cable Internet connection you have. Xbox makes you pay to connect and play.

3) Its Cell processor array and GPU engines are super-computer level IBM stuff.

4) A large part of the PS2 sucess was price-point and brute force marketing. For those with shorter term memory problems, please recall that Sony pushed PS2 into up front shelf space everywhere it could, packing stores with dedicated product asiles and racks of games, and advertized in trade and TV with great persistence.

I would expect to see PS3 in the HDTV area of a store, and enterprising merchants even offering PS3/HDTV packages along with the usual Superbowl HDTV Deliver/Install packaging.

Problem though.
The brute-force strong-arm marketing lesson was learned by the competition, it put Sega out of business, and the Dreamcast was quite a good machine in its time. I see very little mass consumer push-points at this point for PS3, and i would expect that to change, and your Best-Buy / Walmarts to have attention grabbing stuff soon.

I see at a ton of wide screen/flatscreens walking out of the local stores every day// big boxes , big smiles... and Sony according to its own numbers cannot make demand levels anywhere near what they should be for these people. If even 5% of them buy a PS3 it will be a run on the stores with lines down the street come christmas shop-time.

You do realize this PS3 runs on Linux operating system, custom for this machine... Linux people are diggers in the dirt of the OS, so i expect wonderful things from our geeks in the wild.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

HD / HD ( Hard Disc High Definition )

Hard Disc High Definition video...I have been toying with this for over a year, and come to know the VC-1 windows Media WMV-HD format for progressive video. It just beats everything else buy such a wide margin for me.
MP4 is good, but VC-1 is Great.

The problems with DVD/CD formats is the long seek-times for moving through video files. Its good but not great. Hard Disc playback from 500 gig SATA drives is better, and quite frankly, the Maxtor stand alone ( one Touch) USB2 drives are better than good enough for such stuff. If i could have my way i would make a simple OS with an Nvidia Pure Video card like the 7600gt and a 500 gig or 1 tb drive, just to do video in HD and play highres photo slideshows and flash presentations.

Warner Bros seems to want to champion the multiformat player market, and offer a system that will show you any DVD HD/blu-ray whatever. ok cool. Looking forward to that.

Alex Scoble made note of yet more poor "HD" display marketing in his Computerword blog, much like my first posts on such stuff in 2005, & he is right. Samsung makes very good and very poor displays, and they all seem to brand to a similar bezel look in some cases. Just because they say HD and it looks like in its packaging does not mean it really is HD. ALL HD IS WIDECREEN, meaning a 16x9 format... ( except for 1440x1080 wich is a subset format with a non-rectangular pixel, this is known as HDV) . Also a problem is that very odd pricing stuctures are helping to confuse customers of HD, since a rather poor Plasma w/screen door look and 1366 resolution is priced about the same as 1080 displays. Very odd. However that said..., the Sony SXRD and the Westinghouse Digitals are still the nicest price performance options for HD in 1080... read: http://www.computerworld.com/blogs/node/3674

The Contrast Ratio situation is cropping up also , where some pundits are claiming that 1000:1 ratios are no where near as good as 10,000:1 ratios. Sorry but that is not a mission critical issue to market differentiate with, in my opinion the 1400-1800:1 ratios are just fine, most video is authored to variable black levels anyhow, and really the feel of the black-level is very much in the source quality. Really deep black levels make for richer color contrast and in that respect, more contrast is somewhat better...However this may matter a lot to someone who is more contrast-centric such as big fans of horror and sci-fi stuff that tends to rely on black-level precision due to lots of dark scenes. The movie "2010" in HD does look better in a 5000:1 screen that it does in a 1400: 1 contrast ratio screen, but you likely would only really notice a value difference if you were seeing the difference in a side-by-side comparison. For me, too high of a contrast brightness is a fatigue of vision after a while and imparts some visual stress.

Reproducing HD in old school BW film looks... I just bought the Movie"La Dolce Vita" by Fellini, a black and white DVD made from a film in the 60"s. It has Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni in the Trevi fountain (Rome Italy) for instance. Although this is not a piece acclaimed for visual precision, it is a story well told in a genre that i like, and presented with what i feel is a nice contrast level. My westy 1080p display through nvidia graphics scales this to full progressive viwing very nicely. Anyhow, i love it... my next HD shoot is going to look like a style of this type with a high-end eastcoast feel, client is http://starloungenyc.com

My pal Askold Buk just scored the tracks for another Frontline PBS piece http://askoldbuk.com - i'm still building out his website, a work in progress.

I have decided that http://hd1080i.com will officially launch with the PS3 release date, and live up to expectation of being a decent resource for HD systems and content seekers, and hosting video will stream from Tigertech in 720p wmv-hd short clips, members will be able to download 1080p files, so those of you with PC's attached to your 1080 HDTV display can get a taste of stuff, including 5.1 mix audio that properly puts a soundfield around you. all progressive.

I lov NYC - my trip, this photo: http://www.dsmj.net/albums/Random-EYES/1viewIMG_1032.sized.jpg NYC is the place where building art is really a form, and it is always a pleasure to bring my HD cameras there.

I bought and downloaded the new Intervideo WINDVD, it bluescreen crashed my 5280 pixel 4 monitor DVI system. IMHO interactual DRM drivers caused this, but they claim its an Active-x issue. Strange since they proclaim Nvidia Pure compaibility, and thats what i have, and have been using for quite some time, no MS Active-x issues. hmmm. I had to uninstall WinDVD.

A Note to you PC DVD player people, DO NOT make wacky sci-fi looking interfaces for control of your player. I hate that now. Make Fast Forward and reverse play simple to use with a linear slider scrubber , no more wheels on screen. Make the main Title menu button big, dont automatically bookmark my last play position unless i select that. DO not force me to play target practice with your tiny interface, to do basic pause play mute functions, and for crying out loud do not make me have to hunt down a quick access to scene select screens. I get the distinct impression that the programmers had more fun making the interfaces than i am having in actually trying to use and like them.