I really shouldn't make fun of this because there can be some serious math work involved in putting together a complicated whole-house A/V and automation system, but I couldn't help chuckle at the title of this CEDIA University course being offered for installers and designers. Maybe CEDIA should have picked a more impressive name for this course, something like "Beyond Fingers: Why a Calculator Should be in Your Toolbox" or "Mathematical Profitability: Making Cents out of Numbers".
RCA is now shipping the impressively named LYRA X3000, the company's flagship Personal Multimedia Recorder that was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The new portable has a 3.6-inch TFT color LCD screen with 320 x 240 resolution, weighs less than eight ounces, and is 0.75 inches thick.
One of the main reasons why dealers and press types come to the Consumer Electronics Show every year is to see first hand the just-released and soon-to-be-released electronic gadgets and home entertainment gear. But, if you've got "connections", the best thing about CES - other than free dinners and drinks - is the chance to get an up close and personal look at technology that's still in the development stage. These "revealing" meetings generally take place in an unassuming hotel room off the beaten path, are bereft of any glowing press releases, and require a secret handshake (or sometimes a signed non-disclosure agreement) to gain access. HP, for example, showed us some things that we could tell you about, but we'd lose the ability to use our knee caps if we did. (I'm just kidding about the knee caps, but we did swear ourselves to secrecy until they're ready to let the electronic cat out of the bag.)
VideoEFx showed a prototype of a small box that takes any 2D HDMI source and converts the image on the fly to a simulated 3D that can be viewed on any 3D HDTV. The company demonstrated the device with the same football game running on a 2D HDTV sitting next to a 3D HDTV. I must say that, although the effect didn’t have quite the depth of video shot in 3D, it was surprisingly good. The estimated retail price is targeted to be $399. No word on when the product will be available since it has not yet been approved by the FCC.
Truth be told, the only reason most AV journalists come to shows and conventions is for the free swag. Tough times in the economy and shrinking promotional budgets have done some serious damage to the quality and amount of swag a savvy journalist can accrue over the course of three or four days of press conferences and meetings. While not the best swag ever, Universal Remote Control’s Mitch Klein scored big points with surprise offerings like these which he presented to a select group of bacon-enthusiast journalists. No word on whether URC will ever begin manufacturing a remote control that looks like a large slice of crispy, delicious bacon – even though many of us have begged them to do it.
Sony put a little more "pro" and a little less "sumer" in its latest high-definition camcorder, the HDR-FX7. The new $3,500 model is the first 1080i HDV camcorder to include Sony's three-chip ClearVID CMOS sensor technology, of which Sony claims the primary benefits are high-speed data transfer rates and lower power consumption. The three-chip configuration along with Sony's "Enhanced Imaging Processor" is said to provide higher video resolution, greater light sensitivity with minimal amounts of picture noise, and more accurate color reproduction than previous Sony models.
3D isn’t just for your living room TV. Innovision showed off one of the company’s HoloAD “three-dimensional holographic messenger” that creates glasses-free 3D moving images. Innovision promotes the cool-looking device to be used for digital signage.
2D is for armadillos in the middle of the road. Sensio's 3D processor grabs you by the eyeballs and won't let go.
No matter how much bigger your TV is than mine, no matter how much higher the resolution or how much brighter the image, there's one hitherto immutable aspect that both TVs have in common—the pictures on our respective TV screens are two-dimensional. They've got height. They've got width. But they ain't got depth. (Talk about flat-screen TV!) The final frontier of TV viewing is the third dimension; try as we might, watching a good 3D image on TV has always seemed about as impossible as Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera starring in a performance of Verdi's Aida as a fund raiser for PBS.
I've written enthusiastically in the past about the SENSIO 3D video processing system. 3D - at least in its current technological incarnation - isn't the type of thing that lends itself to casual TV viewing (i.e., news, sitcoms, and exercise videos - although the faceurs at "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" probably have the right sensibility to make great comedic use of it). When done right with appropriate subject matter, on the other hand, it's like having a thrill ride in the middle of your living room. But as amazing as the SENSIO 3D system is, it's little more than a sideshow wonder without a good base of 3D software to maintain your interest.
No, it's the new Liquid Image Wide Angle Scuba Series HD322 Camera Mask. It shoots video in 720P and has a 135 degree wide angle lens. It's rated for use down to 130 ft, has a micro SD/SDHC card slot, comes with a 2GB micro SD card, and can shoot two hours of video on 4 AAA batteries. It almost makes me want to take up scuba diving.