Friday, February 24, 2006

Upscaling what???

People willing to suffer my "I got a new HDTV" rant, get to the part where I'm talking about upscaling and get a puzzled look. So I will write a brief post on the concept here, so I can just tell everybody to go to my blog and look it up (Those people who look puzzled when I say blog will be the subject of anothe post.)

Let us assume you understand about HDTV requiring a digital source. Now let us assume you also know that HDTV is just one type of digital source. In order to get the best picture quality you need to have a digital input from origin of media all the way to the TV. Over the air HDTV is best as it has no compression. Sattelite TV providers are next as they have some compression, but retain a digital signal all the way to your house. Cable is the worst, it has heavy compression and it converts to an analog signal and back to digital several times before getting to you. That covers how to get your TV signal, now how about your DVD movies?

Later this year HD content will be available on disc in the form of HD-DVD and Blue Ray media. But you don't want to buy another copy of movies you already own, so whats a videophile to do? The answer is upscaling. Upscaling is marketing jargon for the act of your DVD player taking a raw image file and making educated guesses as to how it should look at higher resolution. The result is a nearly HD quality image. How do I do this you ask. Simple, you need a HDTV with an HDMI interface (that's a compined digital audio/video cable) and an upscaling DVD player. Or if your HDTV is capable of doing the upscaling (check your manual) then all you need is a DVD player with an HDMI interface.

Foot note: The better the output of your HDTV the better the result, upscaling is better at big jumps in quality than in making slight improvements. I would not bother with a 720i TV and 720p would be borderline, but 1080i or 1080p will get great results.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


I finished the TV shopping I have been going on about in past posts, and actually bought my new HDTV. I tried to buy a display unit from Walmart a couple of times, but I gave up on them the second time they couldn't get their debit card readers to connect to my banks network. So I went to Best Buy and I think I got a better deal anyway. The first one was in the fifty inch range, but this one is a few inches smaller. I'm much happier though because this one (a Samsung) can run a 1080p signal. That's the best that there is folks, and it is just stunning. That got me thinking about my DVD collection. I started to muse about getting an "upconverting" DVD player to improve the image of DVDs on my TV. I am really impressed by my new Samsung HDTV so went with Samsung again for the upconverter. All I can say is, DAMN!!!! Honestly, I may never leave the house. The only downside of all this is my limited over the air digital selection. There are plenty of HD signals beaming through the air, but most of it is crap (the weather channel in HD???) I will spend the next couple weeks trying to figure out which satelite television provider has the best HD lineup. Till then...............

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Everything New Is Old Again

Began my "preliminary" HDTV shopping today, and I am amazed at how many TVs were trying to look like my parents old B&W monstrosity from thirty years ago. Fake wood coloring, optional cabnets that look institutional at best, and worst of all were the set top shelves that remove every advantage of getting a flat screen TV in the first place. Really, most of the add-ons I found were worse than garbage. The good TVs though, were really good. I will probably take a few more trips and wait for a few more reviews in next months consumer magazines before I buy, but I feel tingly at the thought of a new TV already.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Now Apple knows Microsoft's Pain.

Apple is getting sued for violating monopoly laws. Now the complaint getting the press is the same thing I (and many others) have been complaining about for years. You must use the iTunes music store to download music (legaly) onto your iPod. I agree that that sucks. A decent analogy would be Ford Motor Co. telling you that if you drive a Ford you maust use Ford brand Gass, and never go to a non-Ford gass station. That, as I said, sucks. But the part that will nail them is their active update system (the updates for firmware and software) has sought out iPod software made by other manufacturers and written their patches to disable it. The best example is Real Players software to play Real Media files on the iPod. It took little time before Apple killed the App. This shows a desire to maintain a monopoly, If they are attempting to maintain a monopoly then they must logically have one. These are not my definitions by the way. The "keeping a monopoly so you must have one" line came from the microsoft anti-Trust suit. By the way.........Microsoft lost.
This will hopefully be an expensive learning experience for Apple, they have the potential to be one of my favorite Tech. manufacturers. They just have a bit of an arrogance problem to work out.

Friday, February 10, 2006

From Blog to Book for Thirty Bucks...

I will be brief. After a lengthy conversation with the fine folks at Lulu press, I am considering writing my own coffe table book. It's really just a collection of blog entry style chapters. Sort of a professional quallity diary of your blog. When it begins I will have to make adjustments to the format of the blog, but little work needs to be done as Blogger was one of the supported formats.
Thirty bucks a copy is actually cheaper than coffe table books cost at a book store, and this is something that can be handed down from child to grandchild and so on. I would recomend this to anyone who feels they have something to say to the generations that follow them. Or those who just want to show off to the hot chick they brought home from the bar the night before.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Back with a vengance...

I'm gonna do a Larry King style rant list today. So, in no particular order...
#1. Love the new update for the Sony PSP. Many earlier updates were just to cover bugs or prevent hacking, but the last few have really been pretty usefull. Perhaps they are throwing a little more weight behind this gadget. It would be nice, that screen is real purdy.
#2. Last update for SuSE Linux killed my firewall settings!!! Still love the lizard though. Doing a fine job Novell, just leave my firewall alone next time.
#3. Thanks to the X-Box 360 millions of people are now using Linux. I sorta doubt that Microsoft is going to advertise that little fact. The Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Revolution will be running Unix based systems as well. The current Playstaions (1 & 2) and the Nintendo Game Cube already do. Add all the Macs, Linux servers, and Linux PCs and somebody tell me what percentage of the market is not Windows.
#4. Podcasting (and vidcasting) is going strong. As evidence by the AT&T/SBC billboard I just saw in Illinois (route 15, halfway to belleville) that just says "Podcast" in big blue letters. (I like: Hack.5, Sploitcast, TWIT, Diggnation, DLTV, and Security Now.)
#5. Used to listen to the Lockergnome podcast, but lately he has really been a whiny little prick. Somebody get him to quit expounding on fonts and web page colors and I might start listening again.
#6. Last but not least, I want to buy a new HDTV, so be prepared for me to gush (or cuss) about it really soon.