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 diagonallyI 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.
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 monitorsa BVM-L231 LCD, BVM-E250 OLED, and BVM-A25 CRT.
Sponsored by NewTek, maker of the TriCaster portable streaming-video production system, the second annual Broadcast Minds roundtable at NAB offered a lively panel discussion about video production in the online era. Joining the panel was (left to right above) Leo Laporte, whose TWiT network is the official webcaster of the NAB show; Steve Hellmuth, executive vice president of operations and technology for NBA Entertainment; moderator Eric Schumacher-Rasmussen, editor of Streaming Video magazine; Mark Fratto, director of athletic communications at St. John's University in New York; and Adam Corolla, well-known comic who was introduced as having the most downloaded podcast in the world.
Another session in the Content Theater was presented by Julian Napier and Phil Streather, the director/editor and producer, respectively, of Carmen in 3D, the first live opera to be shot in stereo. Also on hand was Bob Mayson, president of the consumer-electronics division of RealD, which co-sponsored the project with the Royal Opera House in London.
Panasonic's 152-inch 4K plasma is nothing new, but it never fails to impress, especially when seen next to a person, in this case PR rep Courtnee Coburn. CTO Eisuke Tsuyuzaki told me some people have actually built a house around this monster!
Today, I attended a couple of sessions on 3D in what is called the Content Theater. The material was displayed from a Sony 4K digital-cinema projector using a dual-lens RealD polarization system projecting different 2K sections of the imager for the left and right eyes. The polarization-preserving, perforated screen was from Harkness and measured 24x13 feet.
One of the sessions in the Content Theater was presented by 3net, the 24/7 3D channel co-created by Imax, Discovery Channel, and Sony and currently available on DirecTV. In addition to the big projected image, six 42-inch Sony monitors located along the walls were showing the same content so we could see what it looks like on a typical home display, for which 3net's original content is designed.
This week, I'm in Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention. (It seems like only yesterday that I was here for CES, but it was actually three months ago!) Many have questioned my reasons for attending this trade show, which is aimed at broadcasting and content professionals rather than consumers. It's quite simple, reallyI'm here to answer one basic question: How is the consumer experience impacted and improved by what is we see at NAB?
Yesterday, Panasonic and Xpand, makers of mostly commercial active-shutter 3D glasses, announced a standard synchronization protocol for this type of eyewear called M-3DI. The new standard is intended to improve compatibility between 3D TVs and home projectors, computers, and digital cinema, a problem that has plagued the current 3D marketplace since its inception over a year ago.
As many of you know, I appear as a regular guest on The Tech Guy, a nationally syndicated call-in radio talk show hosted by Leo Laporte. The show airs live on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 AM to 2 PM Pacific time; some stations carry all or part of the show live, while others play the recording at different times. My segment is usually on Sundays right after the 11:30 AM news break, when I talk about home theater and answer reader and listener questions.
On February 5 and 6, I had the incredible opportunity to sit in for Leo as the guest host of The Tech Guy for the entire show. Leo was on vacation for three weeks, and I happened to be in the San Francisco Bay Area during that weekend, so we agreed that I would host the show from his studio, answering phone questions aboutwhat else?home theater.
Next month, I'm heading to Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention, which runs from April 9-14. Many people have asked me why I'm going, since the annual event is aimed at professionals in the broadcasting and film industry, not consumers. Well, I believe that some parts of the show are, in fact, highly relevant to consumers, and here's why…
It is with profound sadness that I report the passing of Gary Altunian, a colleague and friend of many years. It looked as though he had won his long battle with cancer a few years ago, only to have it recently return with a vengeance. He finally succumbed on March 15, 2011, at the age of 59.
I first met Gary in the early 1990s when he was National Training Manager for Yamaha Electronics. I was just beginning my career as a journalist in consumer electronics (I had previously covered pro audio), and he helped me with my coverage of Yamaha CE products. We became friends and then colleagues when he left Yamaha in 2003 to pursue his own career as a freelance audio journalist. He was an excellent and conscientious writer, and I hired him whenever I could to contribute to whatever magazine or website I was working on at the time.
I just saw Rango, the new animated western populated by anthropomorphic animals and starring the inimitable Johnny Depp voicing the title character, and I thought it was a real hoot. Not only were the voice characterizations superb, but it has some of the best animation I've seen to dateand it's not even 3D!
According to the Home Cinema Choice blog on TechRadar.com, the idea of exclusively bundling the Avatar 3D Blu-ray with Panasonic's 3D productsa deal that runs until February 2012was initiated by 20th Century Fox, not Panasonic. Also, this is likely to be a one-time thing for the company, not a regular policy.
As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, my favorite awards show of the year is the Grammys. But for home-theater enthusiastsincluding myselfthe most important awards show is clearly the Oscars, broadcast from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA. Watched by an estimated one billion people worldwide, this year's show was rather strange, but I thought most of the winners were well-justified with one or two exceptions.