Audio News for December 5, 2005

by | Dec 5, 2005 | Audio News | 0 comments

Many Digital HDTVs Lose Possible Resolution – Videophiles
are in a flap over a report published in the December issue of The
Perfect Vision by Gary Merson in his HDTV Insider News column. [This
controversy is separate from the current hot subject “Should you be
concerned about whether your new display is the latest highest-res
1080p rather than normal 1080i?” For a good piece on that matter check
out the article by David Carnoy on the CNET site.] 

Most readers will probably be familiar with the difference between
interlaced and progressive TV. Both analog and digital telecasts are
sent out as interlaced-scanned, with the odd-numbered lines first and
then another pass on the same frame for the even-numbered lines. Makers
of the first digital displays realized they had to use a buffer to
store the first alternate lines and then combine them with the second
pass to create a sharper and smoother screen image known as progressive
scanning.

The 1080interlaced signal of many hi-def telecasts is sent as a
sequential pair of 540-line scans.  It turns out that many HDTVs
use a technique known as bobbing, which displays each 540-line scan
sequentially – upconverting it to the native screen resolution of 1080
(or 720 or 768, depending on the set). At least half of them fail to
weave the two 540-line fields in a single highest-resolution
1080progressive frame. Merson tested 53 HDTV models from 15
manufacturers, using a SMPTE test pattern with horizontal scans lines
one scan line high. A properly de-interlaced, woven image would show
every line, but a half-resolution bobbed image would flicker from black
to white, strobing 60 times per second. What he discovered is that some
manufacturers passed the test with all their models, some passed with
their LCD and plasma HDTVs but failed with their DLP sets. Merson
points out that many other factors contribute to the hi-def quality of
a display but that when the set bobs the 540-line fields instead of
weaving them together for a progressive scan fine details in the image
can be lost. The distinction could be more visible than the difference
between 1080i and true 1080p displays, which the CNET article claims is
only noticed when sitting very close to very large screens.

Monster Cable Launches CD Label – Monster Music SuperDiscs are
the product from a new subsidiary of top cable-maker Monster. Each
album will consist of two high-performance discs – a carefully recorded
and mastered stereo mix on a standard CD, plus a second DVD disc
containing hi-res surround sound mixes in both DTS 96/24 and Dolby
Digital along with a hi-res stereo mix. Some discs will feature a
choice of “stage” and “audience” perspective mixes (similar to the
DVD-As of Aix Records). SuperDiscs will also include computer audio
files already encoded and ready to drag and drop into music programs
such as iTunes and iPod.  There is also a choice of Dolby
Headphone-processed music files to give a surround-like experience thru
any headphones, including those in portable use with an iPod. Among the
initial releases will be albums by Ray Charles, 3 Door Down, Vince
Guaraldi and Peter Cincotti – the latter including a concert video
performance.

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