THE BIG PICTURE

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 23, 2011 1 comments
Last Thursday, Samsung held a day-long workshop for TV reviewers on the campus of DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California. About 25 journalists assembled in the studio's motion-capture stage, which is painted the same Munsell gray as our own video-testing lab and ringed with cameras to capture the motion of actors wearing bodysuits with reflective dots all over them. Fortunately, we were not asked to wear such suits!
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 20, 2011 1 comments
In addition to the news that RealD has partnered with Samsung to make so-called active/passive 3D flat panels, the company had some other interesting announcements and demos at the SID conference this week. For example, even though RealD is known mostly for passive-polarized 3D glasses, it has also developed universal active-shutter glasses that work with any manufacturer's active 3DTV.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 19, 2011 2 comments
This week, the Society for Information Display (SID) is holding its annual DisplayWeek confab at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the future of display technology is front and center. Among the biggest announcements at the show was a partnership between Samsung and RealD to develop a new type of 3D flat panel that uses passive glasses but does not cut the vertical resolution in half like other passive-3D flat-panel technologies.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 19, 2011 1 comments
Aside from the RealD passive/active 3D flat panels, Samsung had some other great demos in its booth at SID DisplayWeek. One of the most interesting was a 70-inch, 240Hz, 4K (3840x2160) 3D panel that uses active-shutter glasses. The custom footage of a woman hanging out at an oval house in the woods looked gorgeous, though all the motion was very slow, and I did see a few artifacts in the stairs during one pan.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 09, 2011 5 comments
Last Friday, video guru Joe Kane visited Grayscale Studio, where Tom Norton and I conduct most of our display reviews, to show us his latest test patterns, which are designed for 3D displays. The images were generated by a VideoForge test-pattern generator from Audio Video Foundry and sent to an Accell HDMI switcher/splitter, which fed two flat panels—a Samsung UN55D8000 with active glasses and LG 55LW5600, which uses passive glasses. (Interestingly, the Accell switcher/splitter can pass 3D from the VideoForge, but not from a 3D Blu-ray player.) The results of these tests were very interesting, to say the least.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: May 03, 2011 3 comments
Tom Norton and I saw Rio in 3D last week at our local AMC multiplex, which offers something called Enhanced Theater Experience (ETX) with a larger screen, digital projection, and a beefier sound system. I guess this is somewhere between a conventional theater and Imax, and it was quite good overall.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 15, 2011 2 comments
On my way out of Vegas, I had to stop by the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop where the History Channel series Pawn Stars is shot. Unfortunately, Rick, Old Man, Big Hoss, and Chumlee weren't there at the time, but it was cool to be in the store seen on the show, which is one of my favorites these days. Awesome!
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 15, 2011 0 comments
One of the clearest trends at NAB was the dramatic drop in the cost of creating 3D content, bringing this capability within reach of hobbyists and wannabe stereographers. Sony showed two inexpensive 3D camcorders, the HXR-NX3D1 ($3400, available this Summer, shown above) and HDR-TD10 ($1500, available end of April). Both record 1920x1080 in AVCHD format to internal memory (96GB in the NX3D1, 64GB in the TD10), and they have a dual-format slot that can accept Memory Stick or SD memory cards. They can also copy files directly to a hard-disk drive from a USB port with no need for a computer. The TD10 records at 60i (60fps interlaced), while the NX3D1 can record at 60i or 24p. The only other difference is that the NX3D1 provides XLR audio inputs and generates time code.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 15, 2011 1 comments
I received an e-mail on the last day of NAB announcing a demonstration of a new glasses-free 3D display technology from a company called 3DFusion, so I had to check it out before heading back to L.A. The company has licensed some 800 related patents from Philips and developed its own algorithms to solve the problems of limited viewing cones and crosstalk while using a lenticular filter on a flat-panel screen.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 15, 2011 3 comments
Here's a shot of the TWiT skybox overlooking the lower South Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, from which Leo Laporte, Alex Lindsay, Kirk Harnack, and I provided about 20 hours of coverage of the 2011 NAB show, supported by 10 hard-working members of Team TWiT. Design by Roger Ambrose, lighting by Brent Bye. To watch video of all the coverage, go to twit.tv/specials, and go here for a special episode of my Home Theater Geeks podcast from the show floor.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 14, 2011 1 comments
One of the biggest digital-camcorder announcements at NAB is Red Digital Cinema's new Epic camera with 5K (5120x2700) resolution. Why 5K? Because it's one better than 4K? Well, sort of. Having 5K resolution allows content creators to crop or downscale to 4K with better-looking results.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 14, 2011 0 comments
Yesterday, I ran into David Reisner, digital-cinema consultant and recent guest on my Home Theater Geeks podcast, who told me about an exhibitor called Volfoni, which is showing hybrid active/passive universal 3D glasses at NAB. Intrigued, I sought them out.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 13, 2011 3 comments
In a secret, blacked-out room, Panasonic was demonstrating its new professional reference monitor, the TH-42BT300, shown here between last year's TH-42PF11 to the left and this year's TH-42PF20 on the right. In addition to a 42-incher (~$4000), the new model will be available in a 50-inch size for around $5000.
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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 13, 2011 0 comments
One clear trend at this year's NAB show is the proliferation of digital video cameras with a native resolution of at least 4K (roughly 4000x2000 pixels). Among the entries in this field is a prototype from JVC, which doesn't even have a model designation, much less a price or shipping date.

I was particularly impressed that JVC was displaying the camera's output on a 55-inch 4K flat panel, probably a Sharp, though the rep I spoke with couldn't say for sure. Unfortunately, the photo above, taken directly off the screen, does not do the razor-sharp image justice. Even more amazing was an IBM 4K monitor nearby measuring only 20 inches or so diagonally—I could get close enough so my eyeball was almost touching the screen, and I could barely see the pixels. These flat panels give me hope that 4K will migrate to consumer displays.

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Scott Wilkinson Posted: Apr 13, 2011 1 comments
For outstanding blacks, nothing I've seen at the NAB show comes close to the Sony BVM-E250 25-inch and E170 17-inch OLED monitors ($26,000 and $17,000, respectively). One of the most amazing demos at the show was presented in a totally blacked-out room with three pro reference monitors—a BVM-L231 LCD, BVM-E250 OLED, and BVM-A25 CRT.

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