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March 31, 2005

France Goes Digital

Digital television is booming in Europe. Satellite and cable are losing share to terrestrial in the UK, with 60% of homes receiving digital television (Full report). U.S. digital TV penetration is expected to hit 60% by the end of 2007 (Full report). Now the French are up to speed.

France has finally launched digital terrestrial television, in what is seen by some as the biggest shake-up in French broadcasting since the launch of Canal+ nearly two decades ago. The French call it TNT - Télévision Numérique Terrestre - but it is being branded as La Télévision Numérique pour Tous, or digital television for all.

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05:09 PM in Digital Television | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

High-Definition DVD Format War

Sony_hidefGood news! High-definition video discs are on the way, crystal-clear snuggle buddies for your HD television. Bad news: You may have to decide between HD-DVD, Blu-Ray (that sounds cool), and FVD. Why does every new technology need to have a format war? Oh yeah: Greed.

The Salt Lake Tribune: DVD format war is brewing - will consumers dive for cover?
Now there's new techno-babble to worry about: HD-DVD vs. Blu-ray. Both are formats for high definition DVDs, the next step in home video. The first high-definition players could hit store shelves in the U.S. by the end of this year.

In one corner is a format of high definition DVDs called Blu-ray, which is backed by Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and a few other electronics companies. In the other corner is HD-DVD, supported by Toshiba, NEC and others.

But good news may be on the horizon, thanks to consumer efforts like the One Format Only Campaign.

MacWorld.com: Top Sony exec hints at Blu-ray, HD-DVD detente
After more than a year of touting Blu-ray as the best technology to replace DVD for storing high-definition video and winning proponents including Apple, a top executive at Sony Corp., one of Blu-ray's major backers, has opened the door to the possibility of unifying the format with its arch rival, HD-DVD.

"Listening to the voice of the consumers, having two rival formats is disappointing and we haven't totally given up on the possibility of integration or compromise."

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01:09 AM in High Definition DVD | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

March 30, 2005

Sony HDR-FX1: Indie Filmmaker's Delight?

Sony HDR-FX1I'm seriously considering selling my trusty Sony VX2000 and upgrading to the Sony HDRFX1 HDV High Definition Camcorder. At $3300, it's a whole lotta camera for the price. My chief concern is how well it fakes 24P, and if I can handle editing HD on my current dual-G4 system. If anyone has any experience with this camera, please leave a comment.

HD-CHANNEL, a German web site, has posted high-def video clips from the FX-1.

Presenting the world's first consumer 1080i high-definition camcorder: the Sony Handycam HDR-FX1. A revolution in form and function, the HDR-FX1 allows you to play and record interlaced high-definition video at resolutions up to 1440×1080 for professional-quality video with vivid colors and striking detail. It even offers the ability to switch to standard DV recording and playback as the situation warrants. The HDR-FX1 features the Real-Time HD Codec Engine, which offers professional-level MPEG-2 video compression, and a 14-bit HD DXP (digital extended processor) for increased processing speed. Images are captured on a three-chip advanced HAD CCD system that provides increased detail and improved video performance without the color bleeding found in other systems. Optical capabilities include a Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 12× optical zoom and Super SteadyShot image stabilization. Features:
  • Play and record interlaced high-definition video at resolutions up to 1440×1080 for professional-quality video.
  • Three 1/3-inch wide-aspect-ratio advanced HAD CCD imagers for enhanced color quality.
  • Professional-level MPEG2 video compression with the real-time HD Codec Engine.
  • Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens with 12× optical zoom.
  • Record at either 30 frames per second or, for a film-like feel, at 24 frames per second.

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How the Sony HDV cameras fake 24, 25, and 30 frames-per-second (FPS). The Cineframe shooting modes in the Sony HDV HDR-FX1 let you simulate the look-and-feel of progressive-scanned images, but the camera section itself is still running at its normal, interlaced field rate.

New York Times review of the Sony HDRFX1: “All right, go ahead, ask it: In whose twisted opinion does a US$3,300 price tag make this a consumer camcorder? Let's put it this way: the next-least-expensive three-chip, high-definition camcorder costs about US$40,000. The significance of the FX1 is that it blows open the world of high-quality, professional-looking wide-screen video to anyone with talent and a valid credit card. For independent moviemakers, wedding videographers, corporate filmmakers and video freaks of any ilk, this is a big, big deal.”

08:58 PM in High Definition Cameras | Permalink | Comments (40) | TrackBack