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By Ed Milbourn • Oct 27 2005, 7:56pm
A few weeks ago I read an article in a Cable on-line magazine in which the author was lamenting about the high percentage of cable and DBS subscribers who own HDTV monitors but do not sign-up for HDTV programming options.
According to research cited by this author, the reason most of these subscribers do not elect to upgrade to HDTV service is that they believe they already are receiving HDTV.
The reasons for this should not be surprising.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 27 2005, 12:36pm
Part 18 deals with content protection.
HDCP and DTCP content protection was briefly covered on the part of digital connectivity.
The FCC approved the Broadcast Flag in November 2003 to limit the indiscriminate redistribution of digital broadcast content, a digital code embedded into a digital broadcasting stream would signal DTV reception equipment to activate the redistribution limit.
The mandate was to take effect in July 1, 2005, it was overruled in 2005, and it seems to return stronger judging by some 4Q05 events.
This regulation excludes digital devices not built with internal digital tuners, such as existing digital VCRs, DVD players, personal computers, etc; all existing equipment incapable of reading the broadcast flag, such as televisions, VCRs, DVD players, will remain fully functional.
The new rules still allow consumers to make digital copies of broadcast HD content; they are intended to prevent only the mass distribution over the Internet, and to encourage availabilit ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 26 2005, 12:35pm
This part 17 deals with digital connectivity (DVI, HDMI, IEEE1394).
The DVI (Digital Visual Interface) 1.0 specification was introduced in April 1999 for creating a digital connection between a PC and a display device.
It is a point-to-point connection with enough bandwidth for uncompressed HD signals, but it was not implemented for audio.
On December 9, 2002, the seven founders of HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) announced the 1.0 specification of this connectivity standard, the enhanced, more robust form of DVI.
The standard supports HD uncompressed video, 8-channel digital audio (reportedly up to 192 KHz), and some control signals on a single cable (15 mm, 19 pin), while using less than half the available bandwidth.
HDMI has the same video capacity as DVI, or up to five Gbps of bandwidth, double what a HD signal would require, and is backward compatible with DVI by using an adapter.
There is a two-way communication between the source device and the receiving device ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 25 2005, 12:35pm
This year a larger number of units implementing DVI and HDMI were released, in addition to the monitors and integrated TVs mentioned on the previous sections.
Although the implementation of HDMI inputs/outputs was also seen in more receivers, it is still mainly reserved for top-of-the-line receivers, which usually are on the $4000-$6000 range.
The data included below is an example of some of the new units, not a complete list...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 24 2005, 12:35pm
This part 15 deals with HDTV IC chips, the information is dated as of 1Q05 from the HDTV technology report and some recent events are to be included on the 2006 document.
Companies seem to be going in and out of the LCoS business, on Aug 2004, Intel announced a delay on their plans to release their first LCoS chip for projection sets.
Their competitor, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., was...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 23 2005, 12:35pm
This part 14 deals with HDTV video cameras that might interest consumers.
The HDV Format was announced in the summer of 2003 and was established as an official format in the fall of 2003.
Canon, JVC, Sharp, and Sony are the primary manufacturers supporting this HD format that uses mini-DV videotape, MPEG-2 and at resolutions of 1080i and 720p.
The companies indicated that camcorders could be made that can record on the same mini-DV both regular and HD formats.
Although the cameras from JVC and Sony included on this part are still available, they have been recently upgraded to newer models and those will be included on the next 2006 HDTV Technology report.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 22 2005, 12:35pm
This part 13 deals with HDTV signal processors (line doublers, scalers, etc.).
The arrival of 1080p displays unfortunately brought the news of no 1080p inputs at this time, but eventually it is hoped that the next generations of 1080p displays would accept 1080p (although a few claim they would via VGA inputs, unprotected content).
TV sets with 1080p inputs would give the option of having a good 1080p processor to upgrade signals out of the TV internal circuitry (in other words distribute the tasks to the devices that can do a better job recognizing that a $3000 quality video processor circuitry could never be found on a regular consumer HDTV), and use the TV to just display the magic such quality processor could do with mainly SD.
Such path allows for upgrading the quality of a system without changing a TV display that otherwise is a satisfying performer.
Among the video processing manufacturers, Silicon Optix/Teranex is planning to make available the new Realta HQV chip as OEM to ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 21 2005, 12:35pm
This section deals with HDTV recording devices, such as D-VHS for archival and DVRs for time-shifting, although there are HD DVRs included on this section, they are tuneless, the HD DVRs with tuners are included in the HD-STB section.
Please refer to both sections to have a complete picture of HD DVRs.
If you are looking for a DVR or a D-VHS that connects to a tuner you already have (as STB or as integrated TV tuner) you will need to use IEEE1394/DTCP protected digital connections to send the signal to those devices for recording.
Some units are only compatible with certain equipment, like the Symbio DVR from Toshiba, compatible only with some newer integrated TVs from Toshiba.
Some cable DVRs (like Sony) were not suited with IEEE1394 connections to been able to archive the stored content into and external D-VHS (or future Hi Def DVD recorder), as well as making it unsuited for Firewire networking of HD devices.
Several D-VHS recorders from JVC, Mitsubishi and Marantz are still cu ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 20 2005, 12:35pm
This part summarizes the main aspects of Hi Def DVD, such as formats, studio support, types of discs, competition from China, introduced models, copy protection, audio and video codecs, etc.
The complete review of the State of the High Definition DVD Technology has been covered in an article I recently wrote for the DVDetc magazine, please consult www.hdtvetc.com for access to that information, they also have an online service.
Regarding video, both groups/formats (Blu-ray and HD-DVD) selected MPEG-2, MPEG-4 H.264, and VC-1 (originally known as Microsoft's WMV-9 and VC-9) as mandatory video codecs for players; discs would have to be encoded in at least one of them.
VC-1 is now an open standard and was voted by 19 companies from the DVD Forum steering committee as best in picture quality.
According to Microsoft, the company was to remain neutral regarding format support, and we are starting to see differently lately (4Q05) due to the networking capabilities and copy protection featu ...
By Ed Milbourn • Oct 19 2005, 10:36pm
It is interesting to note how the human animal perceives images.
By an investigation of the many factors of human image perception, one can better understand and appreciate how and why HDTV is such a pleasurable experience and how certain factors contribute to perceived imaged quality.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 19 2005, 12:22pm
In May 2004, at the National Cable and Communications Association (NCTA) Motorola and Scientific Atlanta announced their new HD cable boxes with DVR and VOD capability.
The Explorer 8300 multi-room cable DVR from Scientific Atlanta would have the capability of connecting with up to three non-DVR STBs using existing home wiring and provide image control (FF, RW, etc) from all the STBs and IPG, VOD, and PPV content.
Motorola unveiled their...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 18 2005, 12:13pm
This part 9 is dedicated to LCD panels, they are becoming larger and larger from one year to another; last year's 40-inch screens introduction seemed a big step forward, a step into the domain of plasmas; this year the competition for even larger panels is heating up.
The plasmas and LCD panels announced at CES 2005 overlap in the 37 to mid-50-inches range; the new large LCD TV panels generally cost more than similar size plasmas, twice as much in many cases, but prices are coming down fast for both types of panels.
The larger LCD TV panels are now at 1920x1080 resolution on the 45+ sizes, while in plasmas the 1080p resolution is seen on much larger sizes.
One example of large LCD TV panel is the Sharp's 1080p 45" LCD TV panel (AQUOS models 45GD4U and 45GD6U) available since fall of 2004 at an original price of $10,000 MSRP (but seen at less than half of that on the street by mid year 2005).
The first large LCD panels were shown last year at CES 2004, and by year-end 1.4 million LCD ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 18 2005, 12:23am
This is a section dedicated to plasmas.
In 2005, panel prices are coming down at a faster rate relative to other types of displays, and plasma panels will be more common at larger sizes, such as 70+ and 80-inches plasmas, and even an oversized 102" model, expected within two years.
LCD panels are joining the 40" plus domain of the plasmas, with 40 to 65 inches from many manufacturers.
CES unveiled a good number of these oversized panels.
Samsung introduced large plasmas up to 80 inches (HPR8072, $39,000 MSRP, 1920x1080p) and a 102" prototype model announced as the largest TV in the world (Z102, 1920x1080p, TTM two years, $80,000-$90,000 estimated MSRP).
LG unveiled their 71" plasma model MW-71PY10, planned for Feb/Mar 2005, $75,000, 1920x1080p; was still unavailable in September but some sites can BO for "just" $29K, quite a drop in price.
LG's technical team supporting this plasma assured the panel will accept 1080p when is released in the US (have to see to believe that claim), t ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 16 2005, 3:22pm
This part 7 includes DLP RPTV's and FPTV projectors (monitors), and a brief summary of TI's efforts on the technology, which complements the DLP coverage of the 2004 report.
DLP has now reached 1080p image resolution levels, and many 1080p RPTV's were recently released by several main stream manufacturers, although some argue that the method used by TI is not true 1080p (without an actual 1920x1080 chip).
Additionally, most 1080p RPTV's (if not all) do not (yet) accept 1080p from an external source.
Separately, 1080p chips for FPTV's were recently announced and many front projection HT enthusiasts are awaiting to see the release of the first 1080p projectors implementing the chip.
The 1080p DLP technology is also a good match with the soon to be available High Definition DVD, and with the D-VHS media available today.
Consumers would be able to view 1080i/p
high resolution content on display devices that would not scale down that high resolution (such as 720p DLPs do).
Owning true 1 ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 15 2005, 3:14pm
This part 6 details display monitors and integrated TVs using the technologies of CRT, Liquid Crystal On Silicon (LCoS), JVC's D-ILA, Sony's SXRD, Toshiba/Canon SED, and LCD projection displays.
All Direct-view, Rear Projection (RPTV), and Front Projection (FPTV) technologies are included.
The parts covering DLP (FPTV and RPTV), LCD-TV panels, and PDP Plasma panel displays will be released shortly.
Please keep in mind that the MSRP and TTM (time to market) information was supplied as of 1Q05 for the CES 2005 report and, as is usual with CE, the prices and availability change upon product release, as well as street sale prices usually differ from the MSRP data used throughout the report.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 14 2005, 8:45pm
Panel technology and microchip-based displays have taken a larger position in the HDTV market.
The price reduction experienced on LCD and Plasma panels is remarkable compared to the year before.
DLP and LCD are the main technologies now used for RPTV's, although CRT is not yet withdrawing from the market.
Many major companies are still introducing new lines of RPTV and Direct-view models based on CRT technology, which continues to offer the best value for a good quality display known for its excellent rendition of black, provided space and weight are not a constraint.
Additionally, with the new introduction of slim tubes using 33% less depth, direct-view sets might create a shift on the market share for second/third room applications, where small LCD panels were starting to be adopted in 2003/4.
The LCoS technology is showing some successes but also some disappointments, there is a parallel effect of companies switching in and out of the LCoS technology depending of the manufactur ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 14 2005, 7:43pm
DirecTV, Dish Network, and Cable are constantly pursuing an increase of their HDTV line up to gain market share.
The launching of more satellites and the "upgrade" to MPEG-4 AVC compression provide the satellite companies an opportunity for such gain; the sale of VOOM to Dish Network creates more forces on that competition; what an HDTV consumer is supposed to expect next with these compression plans when is known that true 1080i resolution is not currently being delivered? OTA broadcasting is increasing their SD multi-casting efforts, and their HDTV is gradually being subjected to the pressure of offering more quantity rather than quality.
Although the HDTV offerings are on the increase and 1080p displays are starting to appear, it seems contradictory that the delivering of true HDTV is being subjected to quality degradation and could become truncated to just DVD quality at its best.
Should we let that happen?
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 13 2005, 9:36pm
In August 2004, the CEA announced that one of every four TVs sold in 2004 would be an HDTV.
2.8 million DTV units (integrated or monitor capable of at least ED 480p) were sent to dealers on the first semester of 2004, equivalent to 2.7 billion dollars of revenue; an increase of 80% compared to 1.5 million sets sold in the same period last year, making the total of DTV sales to 11.7 million sets since their introduction in 1998, most of those sales have occurred over the last two years.
By Ed Milbourn • Oct 3 2005, 3:24pm
There are many factors defining a good HDTV image.
Among these are brightness, contrast ratio, colorimetry, noise, artifacts, and detail.
When all other factors are equal, the ability to reproduce detail is what differentiates HDTV from any other TV.
Detail defines the "high" in High Definition.
One of the many detail related parameters not usually considered in a pedestrian analysis of HDTV picture quality if something called MTF.
MTF stands for Modulation Transfer Function, a rather arcane way to describe the frequency response of an optical system or component.
The following may be a little "technical" for some, but please bear with me.