In the older, analog world of video, any degradation in the signal due to cheap cabling would cause a corresponding degradation in the picture. So super-high-quality, gold plated, and hideously expensive cables made a certain amount of sense. But in the digital world, you can have a severe amount of signal degradation without any loss in picture quality. The $6.00 cable really is just as good as the $250.00 cable. In fact, you may see more degradation from your cable or satellite provider than you’ll ever get from cabling.
Archive for the 'Television' Category
This commercial for the Cullman Liquidation Center should be required viewing for all marketing students.
The linked article lists how much cable companies pay, per subscriber, for the various channels they carry. Notice the huge gap between #1 (ESPN: $4.08) and #3 (TNT: $0.99). Seeing all that money go for unused channels in package deals reminds me why I’m in favor of an à la carte subscription model.
The good news is that the various industry players appear to be standardizing on active shutter glasses. The secret of 3D technology is that a slightly different picture is presented to each eye. Carefully crafted images can thus fool the brain into perceiving depth. With the old red and blue glasses, pictures for one eye were in red and the other in blue. The red lens would only be able to see the blue picture, and the blue lens would only be able to see the red picture. Thus each eye saw different images. The newer 3D systems in theaters use polarization. Two slightly different “movies” are displayed at the same time. The movie for one eye is polarized a certain way, and the movie for the other eye is polarized at (I assume) 90 degrees to the first. The glasses contain polarized lens that only allow the appropriate movie to be seen by the correct eye, thus showing a different movie to each eye. With active shutter glasses, rather than projecting both movies at the same time, the television quickly alternates between the movie for each eye, first showing the frame for the left eye, then the frame for the right, and so on. The glasses alternate at the same frequency, first leaving the left eye transparent and the right eye opaque, then vice-versa. This happens quickly enough that we don’t consciously notice the change. But the brain does, and it perceives the movie as being in 3D.
To actually watch a 3D movie at home, you’ll need a compatible television. Expect satellite and cable TV companies to start broadcasting some channels in 3D, but I believe the primary use will be with Blu-ray. For this, you’ll need a player that supports both HDMI 1.4 High Speed HDMI and the new Blu-ray 3D spec. The Sony PS3, of course, will upgrade with no problem. But for those of you encumbered with an “old” Blu-ray player, time to junk it and buy a newer model (or at least check and see if it’s possible to update the firmware).
I personally dislike 3D movies because putting the glasses over my prescription frames is awkward and annoying. But if active shutter technology becomes ubiquitous, then perhaps opticians will start offering prescription versions, like they currently do with sunglasses, ski goggles, and dive masks.
The next step forward in display technology is OLED-based screens. OLED displays are thinner, use less power, and provide better picture quality. The linked article says we’ll see them in small devices in another month or two. It may be a while, however, before we get large-screen OLED televisions. Also, there is a significant difference between LED and OLED televisions. Don’t be fooled by the similarity of the acronyms.
The linked article explains the general differences between LED and LCD monitors.
The switch to digital-only broadcast television has been moved from February 17th to June 12th, 2009.
The linked site has videos of all the Superbowl commercials. My favorite is the Doritos snow globe.
Regular Chad’s New readers already know about the upcoming broadcast television switch from analog to digital. The linked article has a handy flowchart that you can send to friends or family members, telling them what they need to do. Note: if you need to purchase a converter box then you should probably order the discount coupons now, or you may not get them in time for the switch.