I just saw Rango, the new animated western populated by anthropomorphic animals and starring the inimitable Johnny Depp voicing the title character, and I thought it was a real hoot. Not only were the voice characterizations superb, but it has some of the best animation I've seen to dateand it's not even 3D!
One of the biggest digital-camcorder announcements at NAB is Red Digital Cinema's new Epic camera with 5K (5120x2700) resolution. Why 5K? Because it's one better than 4K? Well, sort of. Having 5K resolution allows content creators to crop or downscale to 4K with better-looking results.
Are you bothered by TV commercials that seem louder than the program in which they are embedded? If so, you're not alonethe Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has received millions of consumer complaints about this, and in a rare moment of bipartisanship, the US House of Representatives passed the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation (CALM) Act last Thursday, following the Senate's unanimous passage in October. According to the reports I've read, this legislation empowers the FCC to require broadcasters to adopt industry technologywhich Dolby has been working on for the last decadethat modulates sound levels and prevents overly loud commercials within one year.
You probably don't recognize the name Mel Harris, who passed away at the age of 65 on September 6, 2008. But you most certainly know the results of his work in the broadcasting and entertainment industry. Let me tell you a bit about the impact he had on TV and movie viewers everywhere...
In this blog a couple of months ago, I asked readers to vote on whether you wanted more audio reviews with fewer objective measurements or fewer reviews with more measurements, a choice I had to make in the face of budgetary constraints. Your input was very helpful, so now, I have another question for you...
Aside from the RealD passive/active 3D flat panels, Samsung had some other great demos in its booth at SID DisplayWeek. One of the most interesting was a 70-inch, 240Hz, 4K (3840x2160) 3D panel that uses active-shutter glasses. The custom footage of a woman hanging out at an oval house in the woods looked gorgeous, though all the motion was very slow, and I did see a few artifacts in the stairs during one pan.
Last Thursday, Samsung held a day-long workshop for TV reviewers on the campus of DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, California. About 25 journalists assembled in the studio's motion-capture stage, which is painted the same Munsell gray as our own video-testing lab and ringed with cameras to capture the motion of actors wearing bodysuits with reflective dots all over them. Fortunately, we were not asked to wear such suits!
This week, the Society for Information Display (SID) is holding its annual DisplayWeek confab at the Los Angeles Convention Center, where the future of display technology is front and center. Among the biggest announcements at the show was a partnership between Samsung and RealD to develop a new type of 3D flat panel that uses passive glasses but does not cut the vertical resolution in half like other passive-3D flat-panel technologies.
I just got back from Petaluma, California, where I was honored and privilegednot to mention greatly pleasedto fill in for Leo Laporte, hosting his nationally syndicated call-in radio show, The Tech Guy, while he was attending the Northern Lights photography festival in Norway. On Saturday, I was joined in the studio by David Vaughn, hardware and movie reviewer for HomeTheater.com and Home Theater magazine, and we spent a delightful three hours answering listener questions and conversing with the lively chat room during commercial and news breaks.
Last weekend, I had the honor and privilegenot to mention the great pleasureof guest hosting Leo Laporte's nationally syndicated radio show, The Tech Guy, while Leo was attending a conference called Le Web in Paris, France, and hobnobbing with the likes of French president Nicolas Sarkozy. I answered call-in questions about home theater for three hours on Saturday and again on Sunday for a listening audience of around a million! I also had a couple of very interesting guests on the show, including Oscar- and Emmy-winning composer Michael Giacchino, whose credits include Lost, Alias, Up, Star Trek, and Super 8 among many others, and film-restoration expert Grover Crisp, who's currently working on Lawrence of Arabia for theatrical and Blu-ray release.
Not only that, I answered more questions from the chat room during the commercial and news breaks, and it was all captured on high-quality video by the incredibly talented crew of TWiT, Leo's podcast network. The video of both days is available right here, so please enjoy this double dose of home theater geeky goodness!
With so many products among our reviews that merit Top Picks status, I'd like to share with you my personal favorites from 2011. Of course, all of our Top Picks are worthy of your serious consideration, but these are the ones I'd buy if I was shopping for home-theater products in the entry-level, midrange, and high-end price ranges.