It has been awhile, but not much worth noting has taken place recently. Bits of news have been filtering out from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. There are no individual announcements worthy of dedicating a post to, but I figured I would mention a variety of them since it has been so long since my last update.
Surely the biggest issue at the moment related to consumer electronics would be the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD competition. It looks like Blu-Ray has a majority of the market, and recently more companies have been dropping HD-DVD in favor of Blu-Ray. As a consumer who doesn’t yet own an HDTV, and is not interested in paying $30 or more per movie, it doesn’t really effect me as much as it could, but I have been rooting for Blu-Ray from the side lines. I have a Blu-Ray burner, and Adobe Encore CS3 supports Blu-Ray authoring, and I also just think the technology is better. 50GB on a dual layer disc, more capacity in the future, it is just superior all the way around, higher priced or not.
A number of manufacturers are offering 120Hz LCD screens. This technology is advantagious in a number of ways. 24p content will look smoother at 120Hz, as each frame is flashed 5 times, instead of alternating 2 and 3 refreshes on current 60hz screens. Certain 3D TVs combine 120Hz with internal polarization to provide multiple image streams that can be separated with passive filters. My primary application for this would be stereoscopic 3D video display, but there is also talk of future gaming consoles offering each player a dedicated fullscreen view. Instead of 3D glasses, you would have Player 1 glasses and Player 2 glasses, each filtering out the other’s view.
Westinghouse is showing off their 8MegaPixel 4x1080P display, which I see being useful to all those new Red enabled 4K film-makers. 3840×2160 isn’t technically 4K, but it is close, and for $15K, what a bargain. No indication of how they intend users to input to it, most likely through two channels of dual-link DVI.
Dell is developing a 16×5 wide monitor under the Alienware brand, targeted at gamers, but it might make for an interesting NLE workspace at 2880 pixels wide. On a related note, Dell updated their 30″ LCD to the 3008WFP, which added analog inputs, HDMI, and the new DisplayPort, which is currently useless.
Intel’s new Skulltrail platform is what I call clever marketing of an existing product. It is a dual socket design, identical to the professional Xeon workstation platform. The only real addition for the consumer is overclocking capability. I will take my 5000 series Xeon workstation instead thank you.
On that note, Apple released the details for its long awaited refresh of the MacPro lineup. No surprises there at all. 8 cores at 2.8-3.2 Ghz, 1600MHz FSB, video options are ATI HD2600XT or faster Nvidia 8800GT, in a reversal from last release where ATI was the faster upgrade option. Same case, 4 drive bays, now with SAS options, 4TB SATA max. Nothing there was unexpected.
Intel also released more info on its upcoming consumer level 45nm CPUs, both desktop and mobile, but nothing much of interest in the specific details. Maximum clockspeed still hovers around 3GHz. Blame AMD for no serious competition in that regard.