Ken Pohlman is mad and he isn't going to take it anymore!

Discussion in 'Displays' started by LanceJ, Jan 9, 2006.

1. LanceJ Producer

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Did anybody else read Ken Pohlman's article in the Sound and Vision that's on newstands right now, the one titled (IIRC) "Apocolypse Now Delayed, The Death Of Analog TV"?

Wow, I agreed with the whole article. He mentioned a lot of touchy issues concerning the changeover to DTV, particularly the government's involvement with it (though exactly what I can't mention here [hint: ever heard the phrase "cash register congress?]), a certain other country's involvement and some spot-on social commentary concerning TV viewing habits. It seemed weird to read these kinds of thoughts in a publication devoted to the A/V hobby, so I'm glad the editors let him voice a view that I think more people should be aware of.

Go Ken!!!

BTW: in another part of the magazine, they had an informative article (720p vs. 1080i images) on how much visual resolution a human actually has & how much resolution their monitor needs to take advantage of ALL that human's visual capability....and the answer probably isn't what the TV manufacturers want to hear.

Heres' the white paper they mentioned: "Tests of visual acuity to determine the resolution required of a television transmission system"

2. JeremyErwin Producer

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disclaimer: I have a ridiculously small 720p HDTV set, and the viewing distance is closer to "insane" than it is to "thx optimum"

The visual acuity tests showed that most people were incapable of resolving objects below 1.054 minutes of arc.

The THX people recommend that a screen occupy 30 degrees of arc.

octave:9> 30*60*1.054
ans = 1897.2

This indicates that 1080p is the optimal resolution.

octave:10> 1280/60/1.065
ans = 20.031

The BBC assumes a display will occupy at most 20 degrees (pi/9) of arc, and will be viewed from a distance of 2.8 m. This works out, assuming that my trig works out--tan(10)*2.8*2--to a .99 m wide screen.99/16*18.358/.0254=44 inches diagonal. Not exactly pushing the limits.

The BBC study assumes that the 2.8 m viewing distance will remain sacrosanct Funny, I thought that the switch to the 16:9 aspect ratio was in part to encourage closer viewing.

3. Kevin C Brown Producer

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When was the last time government mandated technology was a complete success?

Anybody know what an Insight is?

I'm not a Luddite, but I personally do not like being told I *have* to buy a new TV or I won't be able to watch my stories. If HDTV could stand on its own, then let the free market take care of things. That *is* what capitalism is all about after all.

And as far as the Insight goes, the free market, capitalism, and consumers have spoken, and the Prius (and others) are being quite successful, thank you.

Re 720p vs 1080i stuff: I just get a chuckle over people getting hyper about new displays and whether they can accept *1080p* or not. Sheez, for right now, there is no source that will even output 1080p. And even when there is, people will most likely want to upgrade to a better display anyway. And according to the article, most people will simply not get any benefit of 1080i or 1080p over 720p anyway.

4. John S Producer

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"Re 720p vs 1080i stuff: I just get a chuckle over people getting hyper about new displays and whether they can accept *1080p* or not. Sheez, for right now, there is no source that will even output 1080p. And even when there is, people will most likely want to upgrade to a better display anyway. And according to the article, most people will simply not get any benefit of 1080i or 1080p over 720p anyway."

Well sort of true, sort of not. I mean, I am sure some HTPC's and Scalers can probably do it right now so it may already be worth it to a fair amount of people. If your confident in your scalers abilities, I'd want it too.

OK, Actually not, I have decided that 720p is good enough for me right now. A 1080p front projector would have to be around \$1K to make me consider a change at this point.

5. Kevin C Brown Producer

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I suppose when scalers exist that can upscale 1080i to 1080p as well as the best that can now do 480i to 480p, then maybe displays that can accept 1080p will become more important. 'Course, there's nothing that says the scaler can't be included into the display so then being able to accept a 1080p input still isn't necessary.

6. JeremyErwin Producer

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Do the math.

7. LanceJ Producer

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Jeremy: except for +, -, / and X, being an earth science teacher doesn't require much in the way of higher math , so does this:

The Government knows all Consumer Kevin......but if you have any doubts about this, please report to the nearest Reajustment Processing Facility immediately & the Blue Shirts will be happy to help you rid yourself of unhappy thoughts. Thinking differently is not good for your fellow Consumers.

8. JeremyErwin Producer

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Hmm.

It's a 4:3 ntsc tv, correct?

At 32 inches diagonal, the width is 25.6 inches.
You intend to watch this at a distance of 84 inches.
arctan(12.8/84)=8.66 degrees half angle,

It will occupy a viewing angle of 17.33 degrees. Hardly optimal, but your eye will probably be able to resolve all of the lines of resolution that ntsc has to offer.

9. LanceJ Producer

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Speaking of large images: at a local Best Buy they had a front projector set up in a very dark corner of their speaker demo room and displaying an image which must have been at least 6 feet across horizontally. Standing back about fifteen feet(?) while Finding Nemo played, I couldn't see any lines or any pixels. While I could tell it wasn't a hi-def image, it was still very impressive (the employee said the projector cost about \$3K)-clean/bright/smooth/colorful & with no jagginess anywhere I could see.

A few days later I brought in my Superbit version of The Fifth Element to check it out on this system but except for its support arm and some dangling cables, the projector was gone. I was told the bulb finally crapped out since the projector was left on 12hrs a day/7 days a week. Bulb cost? About \$300!! Holy shit!

Another impressive large display at the same store: Sony's 60" SXRD monitor (somehow the word "TV" doesn't fit this model). I checked out my Fifth Element & Attack Of The Clones dvds on this \$5K model and was very impressed. Yes I did go through the dvd player's and the monitor's menus to make sure everything was set correctly; and used the THX Optimizer thingamabob to calibrate it (yea yea, I know it's not supposed to be the most accurate method but it was better than nothing*). It wasn't HD as a customer commented as she watched with me, but it sure still looked nice! Standing only @8 feet away (didn't have a choice) in that darkened area I saw no lines/pixels/nothing on that huge screen-just a beautiful film-like image.

FYI: it's a major bummer to think most of these excellent imaging systems will be listened to with nothing but their built-in speakers: when a starship rumbles overhead or a scene in a busy dance club occurs, eyes will be satisfied but the ears will definitely know something is very wrong.

* one of the managers(?) was really nervous while I used it-he kept asking me what I was doing and would it screw up the monitor

10. LanceJ Producer

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Thanks Jeremy.

11. Cary Stunt Coordinator

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I haven't read the S&V article yet on screen resolution vs. eye resolution. I'll try and find it today, although I will say that subjectively I do see differences watching HD at 720p vs. 1080i. And the differences are what you would expect - 720p is smoother, 1080i sharper, so I don't believe I'm fooling myself into seeing something that doesn't exist. Or exists only in the mind's eye, so to speak. If 1080p can combine the benefits of the two, then it seems like a worthy upgrade now that the tech is relatively affordable.

Kevin - even when broadcast is mandated to go over to digital, you will not be forced to buy a new TV. DTV will be downgraded to analog via a converter box, which the gov't is now planning to buy for those who can't afford it. You can argue that it's a waster of tax dollars, but that's a different topic. Of course, if you're getting TV over cable or satellite, as do the largest fractions of Americans, you won't have to change anything at all.

Finally, I love the talk about the purity of the free market. Of course, the airways (and radio frequencies and cellular and wireless, and anything else that relies on shared spectrum) has been regulated by the government since day one. In the case of TV, that goes back over 50 years. In fact, the more you dig into almost any industry in the US and elsewhere, what originally seemed a "pure" market quickly becomes a market that has thousands of impure nudges and nods from government, accounting boards, etc. Pure markets exist in macro economic text books, and nowhere else. Even when a particular party tells you that they want the free market to operate without government influence, they don't mean it - they want regulations that make that business operate the way they like or want or are used to. Welcome to the modern world!

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