Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TV. Show all posts

Feb 10, 2017

4k UHD, HDR-10 (Dolby Vision), OLED, Smart TV

Since the last time I wrote about TVs some new acronyms have popped up. If you are buying a TV for the future these are important, but if you are buying a TV for short term, (the next few years) almost all of these are not important. The reason they are not important is because almost no one is broadcasting to take advantage of 4K, HDR-10, (Dolby), except some Netflix and Bluray DVDs.

Smart TV - These sets are good to have now and the majority of new TVs are smart TVs. They allow access to the internet from your home WiFi and provide access to Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and more without the need for a separate box.
Many Smart TVs give you a full web browser, so you can use a search engine or visit websites. Some let you play interactive online games.

4K UHD - these ultra-high-definition televisions offer four times the resolution of a standard 1080p HDTV. Instead of a screen that has about 2 million pixels, these televisions show about 8 million pixels.

HDR-10, Dolby Vision - I lump these two, High Dynamic Range and Dolby10 together, because they are competing technologies, kind of like the old Betamax / VHS argument. Some manufactures are using one vs. the other and some have both. HDR is currently winning, because it is open source while manufacturers must pay royalties to Dolby for its technology. Many advertisements refer to them simply as Dolby and HDR.

The first of the two major differences between Dolby Vision and HDR-10 is that Dolby uses 12 bits per color (red, green, and blue), where HDR-10 uses 10 bits per color. The second, Dolby Vision uses dynamic, or continuous metadata so that color and brightness levels can be adjusted per scene, or even frame-by-frame basis. HDR-10 uses static metadata that is sent only once at the beginning of the video. Both reproduce a wider range of brightness levels, higher contrast ratio, and richer colors. Contrast ratio is the measurement of the difference in brightness between the whitest white and the darkest black. When seen side by side with non-HDR content, HDR-enhanced video is incredibly bright and with vibrant colors. Samples show a very positive marked difference.

Some TVs use OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens for a superior image and other benefits. Televisions packed with organic light-emitting diodes are incredibly thin, because each pixel is its own light source, so backlighting is not required. These televisions are more energy efficient than other TV panel types. Some LG TVs are as thin as four credit cards.
Quantum dot  or QLED TVs can match the contrast ratio of OLED. Quantum dots are microscopic dots about a fraction of the width of a human hair.Samsung uses the term Quantum Dot.

Bottom line, you can get 4K UHD, HDR (Dolby), OLED on one TV. Every 4K is UHD by definition. Almost all TVs are LED, but very few are OLED or Quantum dot. Most TVs are now Smart TVs.

Incidentally, DolbyVision is for pictures and Dolby Atmos is for sound.

Jul 29, 2016

TV Types

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is now entering the market, traditional light emitting diode (LED) TVs are benefiting from the extra performance. If you watch movies with the lights off HDR is fine, but the best HDR-equipped full back lit LED TVs can also look good in a bright room.

Among LED TVs, there are two backlight types: Direct LED (full-array) where a large back-light shines through the whole screen, and edge-lit where lights emit from the edges.

Organic light emitting diode (OLED) TVs tend to shine, especially when the lights are off. This is because every pixel emits its own light. OLED is still the best, but if you want a TV above 65 inches you likely will be choosing an LED TV, unless you have a spare $30,000, which is the current cost of large OLED TVs.

Jul 15, 2016

TVs and Nits

Many new TVs come with a nit rating, such as the new Samsung HDR (High Dynamic Range) TV, which has 1,000 nits. Computer LCD screens emit up to around 300 nits. The term nit is believed to come from the Latin word nitere, to shine.

A nit is defined as a unit of light intensity and one nit is equal to one candela per square meter. A candela is the amount of light produced by one candle. Bottom line for TV watching, more nits equals brighter brights and darker blacks.

Jan 16, 2015


There are a number of confusing TV terms being thrown around these days to catch our attention and drive us to toss out our relatively new flat screen TVs. I decided to decode a few of the terms so we can make an informed decision - and then rush out to buy something to get the 'first on the block' medal.

4K has about eight million pixels which equates to about four times more than a current 1080p TV. Think of your TV like a grid, with rows and columns. A full HD 1080p image is 1080 rows high and 1920 columns wide. A 4K image almost doubles both those numbers, so you could fit every pixel from your 1080p set onto one quarter of a 4K screen. Recent 4K TVs are the same thickness as a smart phone, less than two tenths of an inch thick.

Since 4K contains four times the information of High Definition (HD or FHD), someone came up with the name Ultra High Definition (UHD). The bad news is the Internet providers have not opened up the pipes enough, so many 4K users see a lag time (that frustrating spinning circle) when watching 4K content. Netflix and Amazon currently charge more for delivering 4K content.

Currently, 1080 resolution comes from the image height, while 4K (3840 x 2160) is derived from image width. If it was described the same way as now, 4K would be 2160p. Seems that was not enough of a difference to command the increased price so they changed the definition to make it seem better to the uninitiated.

8K (7680  x 4320) basically doubles the pixel height and width of 4K to about 32 million pixels. The 8K standard is currently for exhibitions and movie theaters. Since 4K will not become the norm for a few more years, 8K is many years away from the home market.

LED comes from Light Emitting Diode. LED TVs are really LCD TVs, but the difference is how the screen is lit. Traditional LCD TVs use florescent backlights, LED TVs use smaller, more energy-efficient LEDs. LED screens produce great color, but the brightness of the lights can also wash out blacks on the screen.

OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diodes have been around for years, but producing big screens using this technology has proven to be prohibitively expensive until lately. The OLED elements generate their own light so the technology is stunning, with vibrant colors, deep blacks, and bright whites.

3D TV continues to die a slow death, even though some manufacturers are still trying to convince us we need it. Think of 3D as Three Times Dead.

Bottom line, OLED is better than LED, 4K is amazing when you can see 4K content, both 4K and 8K are Ultra High Definition (UHD), both cost twice as much or more than HD, both require faster internet to be useful. Since there is little 4K and no 8K content, people who buy theses TVs are stuck explaining the picture deficiency and Ultra High Cost to guests. When content arrives, these TVs will be awesome and, by then, the price will be much more affordable. Last thing, when it comes to TVs, bigger is better, OLED is much better, 4K is awesome, but too expensive, for now.

Mar 26, 2013

Is TV Real or Fake

TV shows are using green screens more than we realize and it has been going on for years. It is becoming difficult to know what is real and what is not. Here is a LINK to some of the tricks that popular TV shows use to make us believe the shows are shot on location when they are not.

Feb 12, 2013

Sperm Study

Here is another of those studies that makes us wonder who thinks up this stuff. The British Journal of Sports Medicine, looked at the lifestyles of 189 healthy men between the ages of 18 and 22, during a three-month period to establish a link between environmental factors and semen quality. Its finding - men who watch more than 20 hours of television a week risk halving their sperm count.

It said, while regular, vigorous exercise was shown to boost sperm count, excessive television-watching can counteract the positive effects of physical activity and can have a major impact on a man’s ability to reproduce.

Another study by researchers at the University of Sheffield and Manchester compared the lifestyles of 939 men with poor sperm quality with 1,310 men with normal sperm quality. It found “little evidence” that a high BMI, excessive alcohol consumption or recreational drugs were contributing factors to sperm quality. It also found that wearing boxer shorts rather than tighter underwear was linked to higher sperm levels. There was even evidence that high levels of physical activity might have a detrimental effect on quality and quantity.

Dr George Chavarro from the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School at Public Health, senior author of the recent study said, “In general, very little is known about what influences sperm count.”  Too bad for us their fathers didn't watch more TV.

Feb 1, 2013

First Down Line

The big game will be played this weekend so I thought it might be interesting to review the technology behind the lines that TV adds to the field for down markers. Before the game begins, technicians make a digital 3-D model of the field, which is not flat. It is subtly curved with a crown in the middle to help water flow away. Each field is unique.

Technicians also put together two separate color palettes before each game. One palette contains the colors for the field’s turf to automatically be converted into yellow (or whatever color is used) when the line is drawn onto the field. All other colors, such as player and official uniforms, shoes, the ball, etc., go into the other palette. Colors that appear on this second palette are never converted. If a player’s foot is situated on the line, everything around it will turn yellow, but not his foot.

Each camera used for the game contains sensors that record its location, tilt, pan, zoom and transmit this data to the graphics computers. These sensors allow the computers to process exactly where each camera is within the 3-D model, along with the perspective of each camera so the lines can be added to the picture.

One version requires a four-man crew and costs about $25,000 per game to project the lines onto the field.

Jan 22, 2013

Wordology, Paladin

Someone who fights for a cause.

Some of you might remember the old TV western series 'Have Gun, Will Travel' with Richard Boone.

Jan 8, 2013

Two Shows One Screen

This week at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Samsung announced a feature that allows two people to watch completely different Full-HD content simultaneously on the same TV screen with corresponding audio and controls.

The two viewers must wear special 3D glasses, which come with personal speakers built in to deliver the stereo audio directly to them. Bringing people together to share. . . the couch. Hey, did you see that play? Shut up you're ruining my movie.

Dec 7, 2012

How Big is the Internet

Some experts say that the Internet is growing by an exabyte of data every day. To put that in perspective, an exabyte equals 250 million DVDs.

After an exabyte comes a zettabyte, which equals 1,000 exabytes. In 2011, no single data center could hold a zettabyte of information.

By 2016, Cisco predicts that data centers will be sending more 1.3 zettabytes across the Internet every year. That's the equivalent of sending all movies ever made across the Internet every 3 minutes.

The National Security Agency is building a $2 billion data center in Utah that will be the world's first to store a store a yottabyte of data. That's 1,000 zettabytes or 1 million exabytes (or 1 million billion gigabytes).

Over half of Americans have watched TV streamed from the Internet.

Aug 1, 2012


This is one of the newest devices for your TV and is awesome. Details can be found on kickstarter.

The Smart TV is an HDMI dongle (left bottom of pic) that plugs into your television and essentially turns it into an Android tablet. You have access to apps, the web, and any video content you can stream and store on the device. it lets you play free YouTube movies and any other movies from the web. You can check your email, including replying, etc.

It includes a portable keyboard and the remote shoots a beam that makes it act like you are scrolling with your fingers. It is coming out soon and the price is slated to be only $69. I love technology and this is soon to be in my living room.

Jul 13, 2012

Facts About Television

The first time color TV sets outsold B&W was in 1972. That was also the first year that broadcast satellite TV began, although cable had been around for years before that. Only 20% of U.S. households had two or more sets at the time, and almost all portable TVs (usually the choice for a second set) were still black and white due to the technology involved for color. By 1979 no more black and white consoles were made. About six channels were available for watching and the average screen size was 22 inches.

During the 90s the average screen size was 27 inches and the 'giant size screens' were 40 inches. The average TV screen size is about 37 inches today and expected to average 60 inches by 2015.

Later this year super HiDef will be coming at four times the 1080p of today and the TV set definition will be 16 times greater by 2015, likely with prices to match.

Jul 11, 2012

YouTube Free Movies

Have you seen any free movies on YouTube? Check these out. LINK If you have a big monitor or can hook your PC to your TV, as you can do with most flat screens, this is a cheap alternative to pay-for-view.

May 1, 2012

New 4K TV Coming

Television manufacturers are always eager to shore up their business with new technology and are gearing up to roll out sets with what's known as 4K screen resolution. These TVs, which should start to hit store shelves in the United States later this year, have about four times the resolution of 1080p screens, the current standard for high-definition sets.

Regardless of the size of its screen, a 1080p TV has about 2 million pixels arrayed across 1,920 vertical columns and 1,080 horizontal rows. Although electronics manufacturers haven't yet settled on a standard, 4K resolutions generally have at least 7 million pixels - and sometimes many more - arranged across about 4,000 columns and 2,000 rows. All those extra pixels allow 4K televisions to display images in much finer detail than HDTVs.

On bigger screen sizes at close distances, the difference between 1080p and 4K is stunning. At a close viewing range, HD video on a big screen can look pixilated, and colors and images can blur into the background. By contrast, 4K video looks super sharp and almost lifelike. At a further distance the difference tends to be less noticeable.

You might want to wait for 4K. The first 4K TVs will likely be outrageously expensive. Toshiba's 55-inch 4K television is already available in Japan for $10,000 or so. Another reason to wait is that no shows are being produced in 4K yet. In fact very few are produced in 3D so far, but ESPN is betting that many will love the 3D sports events it will be producing.

The 4K video processor should only add about $10 to the cost of a TV, but the big cost issue is the display technology. The ability to cram that many pixels into a relatively small space is on the cutting edge of display manufacturers' capabilities.

Manufacturers will only sell about 5,000 4K TVs this year worldwide and won't sell more than a million per year until 2015. 3D TV should be selling more units by then, also.

Apr 4, 2012

See Through TV Screens

Samsung's new transparent LCD screen, is a breakthrough that could one day make any window into a display or touchscreen. The transparent screen is available to showrooms for display cases, but Samsung has been testing its invention on vending machines.

The clear glass on the machines' windows can advertise a particular product or display nutrition information. It has been a success, with sales in vending machines equipped with the transparent LCDs up 600% over others.

Normal TV screens require back or side lighting to display an image, but Samsung's transparent screen uses ambient light like sunlight or room lighting. That makes the product relatively cheap. New ideas for use might be bathroom mirrors, department store windows, and more.

Jan 10, 2012

TV Types

LG just announced a new TV that has a 55 inch screen, is a bit less than one quarter inch thick (less than the width of a pencil) and weighs about 16 pounds. OLED means Organic Light Emitting Diode. It is the newest technology for TVs. It produces a picture far brighter than anything on the market. OLED emits light as opposed to LCD TVs which reflect light. This means that they are not good for outdoor viewing, but the picture is truly eye-popping good. Watch for much bigger screens with OLED displays in malls and other places.

At the Consumer electronics show (CES), beginning this week, Samsung introduced an LED TV, which is .3 inch thick. LED is newer than many of the current flat screen TVs and is brighter. Think of it as better than LCD, but not as good as OLED.

Am sure there will be many more goodies at the show and I will let you know if there is any wizbang technology ready to hit the street. In the meantime, do not buy a new tablet, like the iPad until the new models come out, because it always drives the price of the old ones down. That is not always true for TVs, because dealers are already marking down last year's models to make room for the new ones. TVs are not susceptible to new features every few months like other technology and we usually keep them longer than a few years.

Last year I got rid of a 30-year-old TV and it cost me ten dollars to have it recycled. None of the new TVs will last a third of that time, but each new one will be more exciting to watch. Already in the labs is the next generation AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) which claims to be viewable in direct sunlight.

3D TV is still a technology in search of an audience. It will not be ready for prime time until the producers make 3D content, we do not need to wear dorky glasses, and the quality gets better. Watch for sports to be among the first to adopt the technology. I am still waiting for glasses to replace the screen. They are almost ready for prime time and I hope to be first on my block to own a pair.


Had to add this last one about the PC TV from this weeks Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Google's Android operating system version 4.0, better known by as "Ice Cream Sandwich" (an alternative to Microsoft Windows), is used in a smart television, a 55-inch 3-D (240Hz refresh rate) LED.

The TV lets you switch among video on demand, Internet apps, and regular TV. You can share music, videos, pictures, etc., from tablets and phones and computers. It has a dual core processor, 1 gig of RAM, a hard drive and 2GB SD card. There is also a built-in 5 megapixel camera for video chats. The remote control features a touchpad, 5-way keys and a motion sensor. It can also respond to voice commands.

Oct 29, 2011

Second Hand TV

Speaking of fluffernutter, some researchers are warning about the dangers of watching TV when very young children are nearby. Recent findings suggest that even casual exposure to TV can harm child development and undermine parent-child interactions.

One study said parents are distracted by TV the same way preschoolers are. Another recent study found that children who watched a short cartoon showed a reduced ability to delay gratification and poorer working memory.  I have some language for them, secondhand science is harmful to real science.

Aug 13, 2011

The Eyes Have It

Do you remember in the early days of TV that many studies predicted that children would ruin their eyesight by sitting too close to the TV. Those studies have long since been debunked as they proved to be false.

Now, a new study shows that habitual smartphone usage dulls vision as users generally hold their devices too close to their eyes. The study says people hold papers and magazines 16 inches away from their eyes, but smartphones at 14 inches. One ophthalmologist suggested that people get reading glasses. Hmmm. . .

Aug 10, 2010

Zenith Space Command

In 1956, the first widely used TV remote control had four buttons (power, volume, channel up, channel down) but no batteries. Press a button, and a tiny hammer inside the remote would strike an aluminum rod, transmitting an ultrahigh-frequency tone to control the set. They were affectionately known as clickers, because they actually clicked when you pressed the buttons.

Pictured remote outside and inside. Back then they only had a few channels to scroll through, and all TVs were black and white, so it was not a big deal.

I read that you could sometimes drop a coin on it and it would change channels. The Space Command lasted more than 25 years before being replaced by remotes using infrared technology. Before these slick devices, they actually had a remote that was physically wired directly to the TV. . . and before that they had kids that they would tell to go change the channel, or turn up the volume.