While everyone was still reeling from the iPhone’s release, Microsoft had unveiled a project that is up to, or above Steve Jobs’ caliber in terms of innovativeness. Announcing, Microsoft Surface.
In Defence of HD
Fairly recently there’s been a huge boom in the television market. In particular, this has been in relation to flat screen technology such as DLP, Plasma and LCD. This boom has been driven by a consumer need for technology that offers better clarity, sound and image quality. The rise of DVD’s has also fuelled the purchase of home cinema systems. So where does HD fit in?
Well according to Sky UK I will be “wowed by the difference” when watching HD. Well, is this in fact the truth? Lets put this in some sort of personal perspective. About a year and a half ago I saw Monsters Inc running on one of the first HD screens in the UK that was commercially available. The quality was unparalleled. So why are people indifferent to HD when the quality is so noticeable?
The first point is that people may have not bought an HD enabled set when lat screens first became available. They may have paid a lot (as my folks did) for a TV that was new at the time, but obsolete in a couple of years due to not having the capacity for HD. Naturally, if you’d just paid £1,000 (or more likely more) on a television you’re not going to just nip out and buy another.
Another restriction to HD take-up is the amount of channels that are offering it at the moment. The BBC broadcast signal will go digital only, though this won’t have much of an impact on the quality of the picture overall, and there’s been difficulties rolling this out. HD seems to be faster yet still not widespread. Nonetheless, a growing number of channels are sending out the HD signal.
Finally there’s just so much technology about (with so much jargon, slang and corporate buzzwords) that it can be incredibly hard to make any sort of sensible choice. Quimby covered this very well in his recent article, and I’m in total agreement. Now we have HD, DVD, SA-CD, CD, VCD, HD-DVD, BLU-RAY and more I’m sure besides. This is not to mention ‘alternative’ kit such as Tivo. My oh my.
I genuinely think that there’s a market for new business in the form of a ‘Technologist’. Essentially you tell him what you need – whether it’s a TV, computer or toaster – and you give him a budget, and he tries to find you the best kit or advises you on the reason to hold back a month or two. Obviously he’d get a cut of the sale, say 10 percent or something. Then he could deal with all those acronyms and leave the rest of us to do the watching. Then again, being at the forefront of tech, I wouldn’t complain if I had that job…
Shopping For High Definition TVs
I’m in the market for a big screen, high definition television. I’m committed to getting my TV by December 2006, just in time for the NFL playoffs.
Here’s what I’ve been learning. Specs are squat. You can read all the sales literature you want about picture quality, resolution, 720 this or 1080 that. But in the end, it all comes down to the quality of the picture.
You see, I’ve seen lower resolution 720p DLPs look better than high resolution 1080i LCDs. Even better, I’ve seen Samsung DLPs with a lower resolution look better than Toshiba DLPs at a higher resolution.
The moral of the story is that you should only use TV specs to narrow down the field. There are a few rules that you can follow. Choose DLP if the quality of picture and price of TV matter. Choose LCD or Plasma if you want lightweight, thin screen.
But don’t make your decision based on specs alone. I’m at a point where I’ve narrowed the field down to DLP. However, as I noticed, many DLPs with great specs don’t have a great picure. And in the end, it all comes down to how the TV will look in your living room. When you are watching the Super Bowl, the specs don’t matter anymore…you want the best looking HDTV picture you can get.
So do yourself a favor and don’t buy a TV off the internet without having seen the actual picture quality…because as I’ve discovered, the specs can be deceiving.
Panasonic 103-inch Plasma TV Going On Sale
For a mere $50,000 you too can have a 103 inch plasma TV. Currently the world’s biggest flat panel TV, Panasonic’s 103 incher is set to go on sale in September…but only in Japan.
So, if the Americans or Brits out there want one, they’ll have to import. So add a couple more thousand to that $50,000 price if you’re an early adopter.
Hey, I want one, but that’s not $50,000 dollars worth of want. I guess I’ll have to wait for the 2nd generation (or maybe 3rd). Now, if only I earned, say $50,000 per month…then I just might be a first-gen adopter at 50 grand!
Panasonic 103-inch Plasma TV
Panasonics 103-inch Plasma screen, shown off at CES 2006, measures in at W: 2,269.4mm H: 1,276.6mm Diagonal: 2,603.8mm, and has the same 1080p HDTV resolution as the TH-65PX500 65-inch Plasma TV. Who cares anyway, look how big it is!
More info at the Panasonic press release