Friday, December 09, 2011
In sports arenas from Atlanta, Georgia to Miami, Florida to Japan, these new giant hi-def screens are sprouting like magical mushrooms with their remarkable Technicolor displays. The new screen in Austin has set a new record in sheer size, and is certainly an environmentalist’s nightmare since it has over forty air conditioners, each weighing five tons! That is an extraordinary cooling capacity, but given the central Texas summer heat, no one is too surprised by this. Students and fans of UT affectionately call it Godzillatron!
It measures almost 135 wide and around 55 feet high. Some of the Texas Football Players have remarked that it is so bright during the evening practices they hardly need the other stadium lights. The giant screen is part of a huge 150 million dollar renovation, so the eight million paid to the Daktronics Company of South Dakota who custom builds these things all across the world is only a small percentage of the total makeover. The incredible 2064 by 848 pixel resolution confirms it as the screen with the best resolution ever constructed by Daktronics. Some of the on-site workers and engineers admitted they didn’t really know how big this project would look to them as they were building it. It even boggled their imaginations and no word yet if any gamers at UT have succeeded in playing Doom or some other video game on this big screen. Finally, another reason to get out of the air conditioning and go see a live football game—they have a really Texas sized digital display once you get there!
What a way to feed one’s television addiction! There are no hard numbers on how much electricity this monster pulls, but there were some industrial sized upgrades to the electrical capacity surrounding the stadium. I guess if you are the National Champion in NCAA College Football, there are rewards for beating Southern Cal. The square footage of this video display is over 7300 square feet, giving it over twice the size of a floor plan of a modern, family style home!
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Monday, December 05, 2011
Take the new Monday Night Football productions for example. They are using at least 19 state of the art HD (high-definition) cameras positioned all around the stadium, but critics have noted that they aren’t letting these cameras get near one of the new color personalities, Tony Kornheiser, because his visage does not exactly play to the strengths of a high-definition examination. I would think that the toughs and football aficionados could handle many difficult situations, including looking upon a face less alluring than Melissa Starks (why did MNF get rid of her?), but they seemed to avoid at all costs putting Tony’s face near the cameras, while they were not afraid to take close-ups of Theismann and Mike Tirico.
Other less than generous critics had somewhat disparaging comments about sideline reporter Suzy Kolber, but she is in shape, and attractive enough and besides she is former athlete and actually knows more about sports than many of the casual viewers. On the win-win side of the ledger for ABC and the viewers, the spiral passes of Brett Farve, with the laces gleaming in the hi-def slow-motion shots, and the incredibly sharp action in the trenches and downfield is the real attraction of HD. Yes, Brett needs some work on the practice field, if Green Bay is going to have any chance this year, but he still looks very good in hi-def, and what an opportunity to see our living legends in the stunning clarity and color of HD!
Most certainly the ancient Greeks and Kings and Queens of England cared about their appearance. The introduction of mirrors and shiny, reflective pieces of metal must have had an impact as people became more aware of their reflections and their appearance in relation to the rest of the tribe. With the dissemination of new media, and new video technologies that ruthlessly reveal the nuance of every facial line and wrinkle, we are now presented with the balding, actual truth and perhaps this will accelerate the rush to more rejuvenating procedures and perhaps a simultaneous acceptance of some of the natural manifestations of the ravages of time on human biology. The High-Definition lifestyle will affect all of us.
Friday, December 02, 2011
The ingenious FED design has no electron beam navigation circuitry (the proven, but bulky and soon to be outdated electron gun technology) and can be as thin as 10 millimeters, because each pixel has a dedicated electron generator. Ten mm is the equivalent to less than one-half-inch, so the display can be exceedingly slender.
FED works by shooting electrons from a fine tip cathode to the anode across the thin flat panel space that is actually a vacuum. This mini-lightning in a vacuum sends the electrons across the tiny gap. Once the electrons are accelerated through the strong electrical field they strike the phosphorescent material on the other side of the plate and then emit photons. It is surprising to note that the FED ideas go back to the 1950’s although it was just a theory on the drawing board until the late sixties when some experiments were undertaken by Spindt.
Much of the excitement that centers on FED is that it can be a few times brighter than current LCD televisions and uses only one-third, or even less, energy! FED technology also has an excellent contrast ratio between the lightest and darkest shades and particularly vibrant colors. Shooting electrons from the metal tips has encountered many challenges, and the creation of carbon nanotubes may pave the way for Samsung to make more progress with the FED idea. Samsung is working on a method of producing electrons without the need for a fine tip.
Among the many advantages of FED over other types of video displays is that it does not require a bright internal light that will have to be replaced over time. It also has a wide viewing angle that we have grown accustomed to from the CRT’s, and it has a rapid response time. FED runs cooler than most other display methods and doesn’t need to “warm-up” when the set is switched on. An electron gun uses heat to produce electrons and generates too much unneeded heat. Field Emission Displays are just one of the possible methods of creating the optimum way to produce stunning hi-images at a low cost.
The number of new ways is only limited by our imaginations and laboratories willing to explore new avenues for HDTV. As we gain more experience and can work with smaller and smaller components, the future holds almost unlimited possibilities for spectacular new ways to image and imagine our world.