Audio News for December 27, 2013

by | Dec 27, 2013 | Audio News

Too Many Pixels? – Many consumers purchased the expensive new UHD (NOT 4K) large-screen TV displays this holiday season. Some experts are saying they are paying for more pixels than their eyes can actually see. One says “a regular human isn’t going to see a difference.” When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone 4 in 2010 he showed that the eye could no longer distinguish between the individual pixels on the display when viewed from an ordinary distance. In spite of that, the number of pixels-per-inch has been on a crazy rise, and not just on mobile devices. UHD TVs have a resolution of 3840 x 2160, which is four times the pixel count of standard HDTVs. (Never mind that there is almost no UHD material to see on them and upscaling is ineffective.) Although the number of pixels is quadrupled for UHD displays, experts say in most case the human eye cannot perceive the difference.

Of course the manufacturers are claiming “breathtaking resolution,” but hardly anyone has such superb vision that they can discern pixels at the normal viewing distance for a 40-to-60-inch HDTV—about seven to nine feet away. Unless a UHD fan buys a huge screen and sits much closer to it, any increases in resolution simply won’t be perceived. Some video experts favor instead advancements in dynamic range, which consumer-grade video displays just don’t get right. It would be great to have movies show light and shadow more like we see them in real life. Others are saying the manufacturers are just promoting UHD heavily (some even calling it 4K, as commercial theaters now have, not homes) to make more profit, since they botched the promotion of 3D TV due to conflicting technologies, poor explanations, and too many bad 3D movies. (Thanks to NBC News for getting us started on this.  By the way, remember, broadcast HDTV is only 720 pixels density.)

DaySequerra Re-entering High-End Audio – The highly acclaimed FM Reference tuner from DaySequerra, now 25 years old, has been the subject of a major upgrade and will be launched at next month’s 2014 International CES in Las Vegas. You can bet the price will not be what it was 25 years ago, and that was pretty high end then.

Classe’s First Class D Amp – Also at CES will be Montreal high-end maker Classe with their $4000 200-watt Class D stereo amp.  The technology has been popular due to it cooler operation in a smaller chassis with a lower price for a given power output, and Classe claims to have added superb musical sound quality to those attributes.

AP Video Hub Bets on Raw Footage – The Associated Press Video Hub was founded 15 months ago, they figured, to provide a stream of accessible video for newspapers to use in a manner similar to TV broadcasts. It hasn’t worked out that way. Instead, papers usually place video snippets alongside a client’s existing text, graphics or photos – a far cry from a traditional TV news show format. The Hub has a database of raw and archival footage which it supplies to streamline content, complement existing stories in papers and to reach under-represented and potentially loyal international markets. They feel that is more important than trying to recreate a linear, TV-like experience.

GraceNote Added for Simple.TV Subscribers – Gracenote eyeQ TV listings data and other media-related metadata will be made available to power the electronic program guide for all digital basic cable and over-the-air programming for North American Simple.TV users. It offers OTA viewers an on-screen guide to help find free programs to watch and record, like the guides offered by cable and satellite service providers.

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