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

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

BD+ Blu-ray & Hollywood

...inside rumor and even in the news of late, BD+ adoption. Back when it started they showed us a cartridge BDM version that delivered movies and had another tech layer of copy / duplication defense.

Nobody (it seems) but me, liked the cartridge. I hate dust, gunk and scratches, over here we prefer a well protected media surface, but cost complexity is best handled by the simplest solutions For The Seller and Handling/Packaging.

Well they did what they said they would, hardened the Blu-ray surface to many times what it was, and added a final on BD+ that convinced Warner to go Blu. Leaky confidential info holds that Paramount and Universal will switch sides and go to the BD+ for all subsequent releases in the near future. Since Disney and of course Sony were already there, and FOX and Lionsgate were pushing the envelopes for BD-live, that pretty much wraps it up for HD-DVD being the preferred platform at the high-end and mass market tunraround whenever this happens. Most likely that actual event is many months into the future, since Paramount took Millions from Toshiba to go exclusive for Transformers and more. ergo: Paramount has to deny this. But when that deal runs out, I would expect HD-DVD releases to be 3rd tier distribution deals. Doesnt kill HD-DVD but it does mean that most of us will be taking the blue pill before the red one is available.

Since Blu-ray supports VC-1 advanced profile codec, basically it has the best of all worlds, and the network infrastructure underway now for BD-Live is potentially the most massive ever seen. ( Sorry Misscrosoft but you have had years of Media Center and the like crap that has NOT gained foothold adoption, this market is ripe for something new and you are not it )

There are more reasons then we know but...
The exact point I made about Canadian and Asian knockoffs showing up in HD-DVD is happening stateside now ... is so rampant because your average consumer finds its really hard to tell a real HD-DVD release from a forgery copy that plays well in most all older Set-top machines. If it plays at all they are happy.

So ... I am bummed about this but it indicates that HD-DVD is now following a destiny to be the cheapo low-end marketspace and Blu-ray the high-end preferred Major Motion Picture release format for the 2008 season.

HD-DVD authoring is actually rather easy for single play movies, so in some ways the amateur HD user may well like it better, the preferred home-movie format.

The authoring tools for Blu-ray and HD-DVD are so dramatically different that Post Prod cost to master is rather high. Due to contracts and such stuff i would guess that after February 1, 2008 we may get a flurry of announcements that indicate named releases will only ship blu-ray. Replication to HD-DVD will happen way down the timeline like when the films is released to on-Demand cable or Broadcast HD... e.g. First Run Major releases will be BD+ until perhaps a year later when HD-DVD licensing is let out to distrubution.

Hmm. I am also told that entry-level blu-ray players at a $350 MSRP and $299 street are coming very soon, some may have BD-Live which is a slick feature-set that merits its own post, and is community and advertiser placement friendly. So lets say you see a car or fashion item in the flick and like it, you may well be able to click , find the vendor and buy it. Just Like That, click the flick and make the pick. Uhmm ok Gimme gimme, i am ordering a BD authoring package now and i guess i have to learn this new Java in there.

Whatever, this scenario with formats is playing out the way the Disney guy said it would, and frankly i dont mind at all.


SAMSUNG... ( trust me when i say 1080 at 2mpix kicks the crap out of 1366 at 1mpix when the source is there and the display does its job ) Everyone says the same thing, THIS DISPLAY IS SWEET Now lets see some 2k and 4k movie production for this stuff. 1440p and QUAD HD. OMFG. Great for landscapes but i would NOT want to see Hillary Clinton up close and QUAD HD.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Q&A on HD1080i

Before i get back to industry reporting and How-to stuff usually found here, i will respond to a few questions that come our way...this is an aggregate of typical incoming stuff from out there.

1) Does Plasma HD have a Burn-in or image retention problem to worry about?

-- These days the answer in general would be no, plasma burn in ... typically a lower left station logo for example ... is no longer an issue. Manufacturers have resolved this , and most systems have a mode to refresh the displlay should you suspect it has become uneven in places. ( sometimes not available to the remote but in a maintenance mode menu for techicians ). It is important to know however that each Red Green Blue plasma pixel cell is really in a low power on-state whenever the Plasma Monitor is turned on, and this very low output required "ready-state" is complex to manage. I suggest seeing an in-store demo of the new Pioneer KURO line of Plasma 1080p displays. You will be convinced that the state of the art in plasma is here now and affordable with outstanding brightness, contrast and blacklevel. Always ASK questions.

2) How can i hook up my Computer to my HDTV?

-- I really get this alot. Short answer is that you need a great video card, and it must have enough video ram in it to support an HD resolution. nVidia PureVideo in everything from the GT7600 on up has this and cards made recently also have TV mode menus in the driver packages. The general case:

A) Your HDTV has a DVI / hdmi input and it is an LCD display. ( most all do that )
B) Your computer has a graphics card in it that has a DVI output.
Reference - http://www.nvidia.com/object/geforce_family.html
C) A nice long DVI cable and a wireless Keyboard and mouse.

DVI is that large connector with a lot of pins:

This card is the 7600 and it runs 2 displays, so when its time for the TV room -- plug the TV in as display #2 and its all good from there. The right click on your desktop, select properties
( shown below is for my dual card 3 monitor array )

The nVidia "nView" drivers detected the Westinghouse 1080p display right away- very easy, listed as the LVM 37w3 ( same ID as the MFG item# and manual ) i didnt have to do anything.

It is important to note that DVI cables are thick and clunky and past 50 feet in length can be a problem. My advice is to save some money to buy longer cables by going to Bluejean Cables:
They also offer DVI to HDMI cable adapters and DVI to VGA. Basically a one stop shop to hookup your PC to a HDTV.

If you have windows XP or Vista and an nVidia GeForce 7600 or better, then you basically are already HDTV ready.

There are lots of caveats. the worst one is the older 1366 x 768 displays. You may find that the only decent looking outcome is 1280 x 768 which doesnt fill the screen, but looks ok. However newer 1366 displays and nVidia equipped computers ( including laptops ) can handle this just fine. I am informed by ( User 1366-4-life) that "the R series Samsungs has a special DVI option when using HDMI socket 2. What this means is that my laptop is able to scale any output to exactly 1366x768. So I get 1to1 pixel mapping. " Sweet. thanks for that. You may need a DVI to HDMI adapter mentioned above, and its all good. I have seen Apple laptops just plug in and play right away to a 1366 display also.

-- why do i not mention VGA inputs? Basically they so often come out crappy looking and you will be dissapointed, i no longer reccommend that.
read my archive on that http://hd1080i.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html

All that said... you will really love what you can do and share when you have a HD screen hooked up to your computer. Photo Galleries and slideshows of your digital camera are STUNNING. HDTV 1080 display of your pictures will become the option of choice, great at parties, since you can shoot and share literally in moments.

Direct X10 games will blow you away, nVidia 8800 has all the goodies in it to do impossibly fast rendering of huge game scenes. Online game worlds are usually capable of large screen display, but your internet connection may well be maxed out with data flow in a large depth high res mode. ( some call this "lag" )

Your DVD collection played through your computer may well look alot better also, possibly better than the DVD player you have now, since progressive conversion of de-interlacing is inherent in the code and nVidia Purevideo engine.

3) Are Rear Projection displays a maintenance hassle due to projection bulb life?

-- This answer would be YES ... However the solution is buy with a preventive maintenance program that often costs an added amount, RP systems like Sony's XBR and DLP from various sources are a good bang for the buck. They Look Great.

You get a bigger display area for less money and often the Rear Projection design is very compact such that the display is not a lot deeper than a true flatpanel LCD or Plasma. When making a purchase decision here, be sure to allways buy the maintenance program that has a technician come to your house and replace the bulb and re-validate color, as part of the price. Renewable 3 or 5-year plans make sense, dont buy an RP without one.

( Note - we get alot of comments and we dont post them often since it seems a lot of people put personal contact info in them, which is nice and we have a lot of new friends from that, but we restrain from publishing contact info here )