Thursday, January 12, 2012

CES 2012 - A great start

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is back in town this week.  Lots of cool product to let you know about.
To start with, how about some mind games….literally a game controlled by your mind.  Oooh very SyFi.
Haier – Showed a game station that uses your brain waves to move the characters.  There is a device you wear like a head set that goes across your forehead. The headset looks like something from Star Trek. It captures your thoughts to do simple commands.  Some of the commands I saw work on the screen were, Up, Down, Left, Right & jump which control the players Avatar.  While at the show, I saw a man demonstrating this mind game controller.  It didn’t work great, but it did work.  There is definitely something to this, I think we are seeing the future here.
3-D – It was everywhere….3-D in all shapes and sizes. From single piece units as small as a camera viewfinder to a 92” rear projection screen by Mitsubishi.  As well as front projection units much larger.  There were standard 2-D and 3-D LCD screens, Led lit LCD screens and the best picture I saw at the CE Show were from the soon to be released OLED (organic light emitting diode) and SONY’s new 55” Crystal LED screen. All these new LED screens are about a half an inch deep.  Sharp showed a really nice 80” LED screen with the best black level I’ve ever seen from a flat panel or from a tube type TV. There was talk on the show floor that Sharp hopes to release this new 80” LED screen late this year.
3-D is also being shown in a wide variety of ways.  Several manufacturers were showing 3-D with the standard Active 3-D glasses.  This is the type of 3-D you see commonly with home use now that uses battery powered glasses that receive a signal from the TV. The TV signal tells the lens of the glasses to turn one eye off while the other eye’s lens can see, then it will switch the second lens off and the first lens on. This back and forth action separates the two images, allowing your brain to process the 3-D image. 
A few of the companies were offering passive glasses to see the 3-D image.  These are the types of glasses you use in the commercial movie theaters that look like sun glasses.  These passive glasses use polarized lenses to give you the two different images needed for 3-D. This Polarization effect is kind of like looking through two different angled picket fences that correlate with the image on the screen. This allows one eye to see one image while the other eye sees a second image, thus giving you the 3-D effect.
Finally there is the no glasses 3-D effect.  Most of the manufacturers were showing some version of this, no- glasses, approach to 3-D. For the most part, the way they do this is through polarization like the passive glasses I described earlier.  But this time the polarization is on the screen of the TV rather than in the glasses.  This is the obvious way we would like to see 3-D, no glasses required, but so far it’s not quite there.  With no-glasses 3-D in order for the 3-D effect to work you need to have a focus point for the polarization of the screen.  This is easy if it is for only one person sitting in the ideal spot.  But most families have more than one person in them. So, how do you get this “sweet spot” that you need to be in, to multiple viewers? This is not so easy.  What the manufacturers have cleverly come up with is a way for there to be multiple “sweet spots”.  So there are maybe 5 or 8 viewing positions that will work and give you the 3-D effect.  If you are not in one of those “sweet spots” the image is either not in 3-D or worse, you get a much distorted image.  In some cases this distorted image actually made me a little dizzy.  It really can play with your mind a bit. Also the content processing is more complicated.  So we will see this new technology for retail displays and some special signage displays.  Though we may see it show up in the home soon, I don’t think it will be for me just yet.
With all this said, I saw some pretty promising, no-glasses required 3-D at the show.  Sony had a very good demo of multi-angled 3-D as well as from Sharp and Samsung.  Probably the most elaborate display of the multiple uses of 3-D flat panel technology came from Toshiba.  They showed all three basic types of 3-D plus a holographic video display image that was pretty impressive.  They also showed a little bit different use of the new dual image technology, a TV that you could, with the aid of some polarized glasses, watch two different programs from the same screen. So you are saying, perfect for the bedroom right? Well not just yet, but sometime soon according to Toshiba? How does it work you ask? The polarized glasses, unlike 3-D, polarize both lenses the same way, but the other pair of glasses are polarized in the opposite manor.  With this it’s like 3-D, in that there are again two images, but this time you only see one of the images from each pair of glasses.  Which image is determined by which pair of glasses you put on.  To hear your program you must use headphones set up for your glasses on screen image.  We asked when this and some of the other innovative products Toshiba were showing would be available, but we could not find anyone who would commit to a time frame.    
There were also a lot of cool odds and ends from Robots (one that look like Justin Bieber, who was also there), Internet oriented “Smart TV”, Cameras, Energy Saving devices (one of which we designed and installed the functioning part of their display, Reliant NRG) to the largest assortment of Phone and iPad Bling that I have ever seen.
It is a great show and this year seemed to be busting at the seams with optimism towards the coming year.  Let’s hope it’s a great year for everyone.

Monday, September 26, 2011

CEDIA 2011

This year's home theater/automation show was actually pretty good. Several little surprises and better use of technology was the theme from many manufacturers.
Here are some photos.

Real Theater Speaker
 Coolest Chair at the show

 HDMI via Network is a new product for more manufacturers

 Control 4 strutting their stuff

 Cooking from a screen

  Wireless audio components

Golf in a fish bowl
HDMI Fiber solution

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

3D Makes You More Attentive

People are 12 per cent more attentive when watching Blu-ray 3D compared to a conventional Blu-ray disc and 29 per cent more attentive when that same 3D experience is up against a plain old DVD. Pretty interesting.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Xoom Android Tablet Set for Sale Thursday, Mar 3, 2011 at Verizon

The first major challenger to the iPad, Motorola's Verizon-exclusive Xoom tablet, is set to arrive Thursday, and the early reviews have been almost universally positive, although most cautioned that the price is high and the upcoming second iPad could beat it out. 

Writing in the New York Times, David Pogue praised the Xoom, calling it "an excellent, xesty tablet with... a lot of xip," while also pointing out its "xany" price tag. Pogue had positive things to say about the Honeycomb version of Android, which is debuting on the device, but also noted that "If you’re interested in a tablet, you’d be wise to wait a couple of months" for other competitors to arrive. 
Over in the Wall Street Journal, Walter Mossberg opined that the "Xoom beats the first-generation iPad in certain respects, though it lags in others." He also praised the processor and pair of cameras, while cautioning that the upcoming second iPad may neutralize some of the differences. Mossberg also said he would "advise consumers to wait to see what Apple has up its sleeve" before making a purchase decision on the Xoom. 

In Engadget, Josh Topolsky praised the Xoom for its speed and the quality of its hardware, while noting that "there isn't much here for consumers right now," and that Honeycomb in many ways still feels like it's in beta. Topolsky also called both the Xoom and Honeycomb "a spectacular work in progress" while recommending a wait-and-see approach. 

And in Boy Genius Report, Jonathan S. Geller commended the Xoom for "great hardware, impressive specifications, and the latest Android OS designed just for tablets," while also noting that he wasn't 100 percent sold on Honeycomb. 

The Xoom arrives in stores Thursday for $599.99 with a Verizon contract and $799.99 for WiFi-only. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

New Products from the Consumer Electronics Show 2011

                                           Samsung super thin 70" LCD
                                                     Smart Fridge

What is an IP address and what to the numbers mean?

An ip address, or the internet protocol address (such as, identifies your computer or device on the internet. It contains the 32 bit number, which is 232 , or a total of 4,294,967,295 locations. Remember computers work with on’s and off’s so there is that many total combinations of 1’s and 0’s or on’s and off’s. When we take that address and break it down, it has four sections, each called an octet, because each section is a 8 bit number. 4 octets make 32 bits. Each octet, eight digits can be 11111111 or 00000000 ort 01010101 or any combination. That equals 255 total combinations so therefore no number in the octet and be above 255.

Is 3D Here to Stay?

I believe 3D adds a whole new layer of realism to movies. When it was just a fad used for horror movies and really bad adventure flicks, it was just a bad gimmick. Now with movies like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3 and the much anticipated Tron Legacy coming out shortly all using 3D as a way to make the movies more palpable to your senses and in so doing draw you into the movies even further. 3D movies now seem to be required and not just something cool to goo see once and a while,  The box office is helping to prove tjis weekly.

This is just a really rough start to a blog I hope a lot of people will get involved with and make it a really fun and informative place to Regurgitate Knowledge. Knowledge that we have all found over the years as well as new and interesting tidbits we pickup about where the industry is heading. Plus, express our hopes we have for the future of home electronics and the movie and music industries.