Monday, June 28, 2010

3D Displays May Be Hazardous To Young Children

from Slashdot:

 "Turns out 3D television can be inherently dangerous to developing children, and perhaps to adults as well. There's a malaise in children that can prevent full stereopsis (depth perception) from developing, called strabismus or lazy-eye. It is an abnormal alignment of the eyes in which the eyes do not focus on the same object — kind of like when you watch a 3D movie. As a result, depth perception is compromised. Acting on a hunch, the guys over at Audioholics contacted Mark Pesce, who worked with Sega on its VR Headset over 15 years ago — you know, the headset that never made it to market. As it turns out, back then Sega uncovered serious health risks involved with children consuming 3D and quickly buried the reports, and the project. Unfortunately, the same dangers exist in today's 3D, and the electronics, movie, and gaming industries seem to be ignoring the issue. If fully realized, 3D just might affect the vision of millions of children and, according to the latest research, many adults, across the country." 

The Audioholics article is a good candidate for perusing with Readability — the pseudo-link popups are blinding.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Screen Resoultions & HDTV

Hello Mr. Sokol

I have on several occasions consulted your page on Video Format
Resolutions ( when I
needed to find out about a specific resolution. I'm happy to say that
the page has never failed me. Until now.

I'm curious about the 1360x720 resolution of many (as I understand it)
entry-level tv's. Does this format have a name and where does it come

If you know the answer, I was hoping that you'd consider putting it on
your excellent webpage.


1366 x 768 is the resolution of some of the low end HDTV's this is a side effect of the LCD panels as there are far fewer manufacturers of the raw panels then there are the TV's made from them. These panels were made for computer display and it is easy for them to make in to HDTV's.

See also:  ( I need to add this to my chart.)

1280x720 is 720P resolution, most HDTV from Broadcast and Cable is in this format and these TV's rescale it to 1366 x 768 which take a real hit in picture quality as it has the effect of low pass filtering the image (removing detail) most people will never appreciate the difference as there far enough back and it's still a huge improvement over the old analog NTSC we had.

1360x720 seems to be a graphics card resolution, probably to get the 720p video to play, in researching I don't think you can get Pixel accurate display using that.
There is no restrictions to the resolutions graphics cards can output. With many VGA chip set's you program it to output any arbitrary X Y resolution up to the limits of it's memory and video dac (digital to analog converter) Older CRT displays would make a best effort to display it, LCD's though have to map the input to actual display pixels.

I don't think anyone is making sets with a native 1360x720 resolution.
You should look up what your display's native resolution is and set your video card to match this will give the best possible image as each screen pixel that your OS sees will match each display pixel on the actual LCD that you see. 

I myself have a 52" Aquos which was the smallest with a full 1920x1080 pixel LCD panel at the time.
I then am using a ATI Radeon HD4350 graphic card with HDMI out.

Using that I was able to get Pixel accurate 1920x1080, although by default the driver insisted on scaling the image to be smaller.

Basically having a 1920x1080 display from the PC's perspective, then sending that bit map shrunk down 10% or so, then sending that in 1920x1080 resolution down to the TV over HDMI resulting in black bars all the way around around my image and blobs rather then text when displaying. This completely killed my pixel accuracy.

With some effort I was able to find that setting and fix it.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Is Apple trying to claim it invented video calling?


Here’s an aspect of Apple that annoys me - trying to claim it invented something that’s clearly been around for years.

What’s worse is when normally sensible tech pundits seem too suffer collective amnesia and go along with the deception.

Take video calling, or FaceTime as Apple is calling it.

See the video on the ZDNet link above.

Friday, June 04, 2010

WebM - Video Licensing Problems Resolved

WebM is a new free video codec based on Google (formerly On2) VP8 with the Vorbis open-source audio codec.

If you want to know more read:   Google shares VP8 code to create new video format

From Slashdot:
"The WebM licensing problems have been resolved. The copyright license is straight BSD now, and the patent license is separate and has no impact on the copyright license. Quoting Chris DiBona: 'As it was originally written, if a patent action was brought against Google, the patent license terminated. This provision itself is not unusual in an OSS license, and similar provisions exist in the 2nd Apache License and in version 3 of the GPL. The twist was that ours terminated "any" rights and not just rights to the patents, which made our license GPLv3 and GPLv2 incompatible. Also, in doing this, we effectively created a potentially new open source copyright license, something we are loath to do. Using patent language borrowed from both the Apache and GPLv3 patent clauses, in this new iteration of the patent clause we've decoupled patents from copyright, thus preserving the pure BSD nature of the copyright license. This means we are no longer creating a new open source copyright license, and the patent grant can exist on its own.'"

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Netflix Business Opportunity

Reed Hastings the CEO of Netflix has posted an excellent presentation on the future of Video Streaming and Netflix.

See slide show at  Netflix Business Opportunity

HTML5 vs. Flash — the Case For Flash

From Slashdot:

"InfoWorld's Peter Wayner offers seven reasons why web designers will remain loyal to Flash for rich web content, despite 'seductive' new capabilities offered by HTML5. Sure, HTML5 aims to duplicate many of the features that were once the sole province of plugins (local disk storage, video display, better rendering, algorithmic drawing, and more) and has high-profile backers in Google and Apple, but as Wayner sees it, this fight is more about designers than it is about technocrats and programmers. And from its sub-pixel resolution, to its developer tools, to its 'write once, play everywhere' functionality, Flash has too much going for it to fall by the wayside. 'The designers will make the final determination. As long as Flash and its cousins Flex and Shockwave remain the simplest tools for producing drop-dead gorgeous websites, they'll keep their place on the Internet.'

Google shares VP8 Code to create a new free video format called WebM.

from Technology Review: Google Gives Away Video Software to Lure Developers

An open and free video format offers new opportunities for Web programmers.

Google acquired VP8 in February, when it bought On2 for $120 million.

Google combined VP8 with an existing open-source audio codec, called Vorbis, to create a new free video format called WebM. The new format is designed to complete the capabilities of HTML5, the latest version of the free and open code that underlies the Web.
"One of the core tenets of the Web is that it relies on open standards like HTML, TCP/IP, and JavaScipt," said Google's project management VP Sundar Pichai to an audience of more than 5,000 at the I/O conference on Wednesday. "It's great to see video get that option as well."

Software Describes Surveillance Footage In AI-Generated Text

From Slashdot:

"A computer vision research group at UCLA has put together a system that watches surveillance footage and generates a text description of the events in real time. It only works on traffic cameras for now but demonstrates how sophisticated computer vision is becoming. Interestingly, the system was built thanks to a database of millions of human-labeled images put together by Chinese workers."

Zhu and UCLA colleagues Benjamin Yao and Haifeng Gong developed a new system, called I2T (Image to Text) puts a series of computer vision algorithms into a system that takes images or video frames as input, and spits out summaries of what they depict. "That can be searched using simple text search, so it's very human-friendly," says Zhu.

More links:

Steve Jobs talk at the D8 Conference.

From Steve Jobs talk at the D8 Conference.

On the subject of Google TV, Jobs had some interesting words:
The television industry fundamentally has a subsidized business model that gives everyone a set-top box, and that pretty much undermines innovation in the sector. Ask TiVo, ask Roku, ask Google in a few months. The only way this is going to change is if you start from scratch, tear up the box, redesign and get it to the consumer in a way that they want to buy it. But right now, there’s no way to do that….The TV is going to lose until there’s a viable go-to-market strategy.
He explains that this is why he still calls Apple TV a "hobby": television can't fully connect and integrate with the Internet given the cable companies' control of set-top boxes. Google's attempt, remember, takes a new approach by often staying out of sight, but Jobs seems to think that option won't see much more success than Windows Media Center or any of the other attempts at connecting televisions.