Video Technology Magazine July 2005               

Camera Phones Impact on the News
Some of the first and most intimate images of the bomb blasts in London came from cell phones equipped with cameras and video recorders, demonstrating how a technology originally marketed as entertainment has come to play a significant role in up-to-the-minute news.

Cell Phone Video of London Train Evacuation

Camera Phones Lend Immediacy to Images of Disaster

NTSC to ATSC, US move to DTV
DTV Stations on the air Currently 698 Stations

From Slashdot:
"Broadcasters have recently accepted a deadline of January 2009 for the mandatory end of analog television signal broadcasts. Broadcasters have expressed concerns that those without subscription television services will see blank screens unless they unless they buy new units." Bullsh*t

Mike Kennedy a Senior VP of Motorola said by the 1/1/2009 DTV deadline, Digital to Analog TV converters are estimated to cost only $50. The switch to DTV would only add $50 to the cost TV sets being produced. This small price increase would impact the cost of only the very lowest end TV, like the small 4" $50 B/W TV, would double in cost. For the older sets a small convert box would allow older sets to work, and he demonstrated how much improvement there was in picture quality.

A large part of this push to DTV is to free up available Radio Spectrum mostly in the 700 MHz for other applications. The FCC will be elimiating all stations on UHF 52 to 69, and have already been auctioning off blocks of spectrum to Broadband, Cell Phone for other thing such as emergency services. List of Frequencies for Analog TV stations

Spectrum hungry cast eye to UHF

300,000 digital TVs sold in France
6/26/2005 - 300,000 digital TVs sold in France within the first 3 weeks of digital terrestrial television (DTT) service.
DTT is the European version of our DTV/HDTV migration taking place here in the USA.
One of the very intersting things is that in addition to Free MPEG2 broadcasts many of the stations will be Pay Per View and Pay services and some in MPEG4 (1)

from (2) Following the earlier announcement that the free DTT services are to use MPEG2, the French Prime Minister announced over the holiday that MPEG 4 was to be used for the pay services and broadcasters will not be given a choice of standards, as had been suggested earlier. The Government also stated that the timetable for the roll out of pay DTT would be re-examined together with the CSA. Free DTT is set to start in March this year, with a "pre-deployment" from mid January. The government stated that the use of MPEG 4 will free resources that can be used for HDTV and mobile TV. The CSA reacted angrily to the statement describing it as "premature, inopportune, and with serious consequences".
The CSA is the "Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel" created in 1989 is the FCC equivalent for TV in France.

In UK, (Freeview) sales were 500,000 in the first four months. In Germany sales were 180,000 in the first eight months and in Italy 20,000 boxes in the first month. (3)

Ultimate Dual Screen Setup
Recently I found a great source for refurbished high end monitors. I picked up two Compaq P1100 monitors , these are capable of 1920x1440 resolution. To put this into perspective, a system with dual 1280x1024 monitor has 2.62 MegaPixels between both screens. A single 1920x1440 has 2.76 MegaPixels. With two of these screen this provides 5.52 MegaPixels of windows desktop as a work area.

I am using them with a ATI Radeon 9800 XT. One is a VGA connector the other is a DVI connector with an adapter to VGA.


This gives me an effective screen resolution of 3840x1440. across a 3 feet by 1 foot viewing surface in front of me.

Each screen is capable of displaying a 1080i or 1080p HDTV video, and works great as a high end editing system.

As a side note a customer of mine sent me a 3.8 GHz Pentium 4 system. I didn.t even know they are out and are only available a few outlets.

Pentium 4 570J . 3.8GHz . 800MHz FSB . 1MB Cache . Hyper-Threading . Socket 775 (LGA775) . 0.09 micron available at PriceWatch $579 If your doing uncompressed HDTV it.s well worth it.

It.s really sweet, especially with a Dual Gigabit Ethernet network adapters.
  1080p/24 is (1920x * 1080y * 24bits * 24fps) = 1,194,393,600 On off the shelf PC's

  Hey if it's good enough for George Lucas it's good enough for me.

Ultimate Multi-Screen Setup

More then 64 Million Pixels, over 55 Square Feet of Viewing Surface, with 100Gb/s of visual Output.

The NASA Hyperwall at NASA Ames research center at Moffet Field, Ca in Silicon Valley, is a very impressive site, and impossible to imagine without seeing it first hand. Sort of like the Grand Canyon, Pictures just can't convay the experiance.

The Current version is a 7x7 array of Monitors, 49 in total + one control system for 50 total. Every LCD screen is driven by a Dual 2Ghz AMD Opteron located in a server room on the other site of the wall. So there is a Cluster of 50 computers with 100 CPU's, It very hot and loud.

NASA Hyperwall

Google Launches Pay-Per-View Web Video
From Slashdot:
"According to John Batelle, on Monday Google is launching in-browser video playback based on VLC. Google has been accepting video uploads in April, including allowing the video owner to specify that payment is required, through the Google Payment Program."

Update: "Google Video is now up. The about page describes what kinds of content has been uploaded to their servers so far -- mostly a random assortment of stuff from Gamespot's archives, a few things from Greenpeace, a Google recruiting video, some breakdancing videos, and other randomness. The in-browser video plugin works seamlessly (although Windows only for now). Looks like it has potential."

Check the top entry on Google Blog for a few more words on it, too.

The Prince of Movie Piracy

Use a Camcorder and go to Jail

Johnny Ray Gasca, a 35 year old tough taking New Yorker, was the first video camera wielding movie Pirate to get convicted for making camcorder copies of films in theaters.

Gasca, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 16. and faces a maximum of up to 33 years in federal prison,

Originaly he was supposed to go on trial in January 2004 when he fled while freed from jail to help his attorney prepare for the case. After more than a year on the run, he was arrested in Florida on April 5, 2005.

President Bush on April 27, 2005 signed a law that made it a federal crime to videotape movies in theaters.

"I didn't want to plead guilty because I'm innocent," Gasca said in an interview before the trial. "It's true that I used my camcorder in a theater, but there weren't any laws against that at the time. When they raided my apartment, all they found were copies of old kung fu movies."

He was caught in 2002 and 2003 trying to videotape the science-fiction drama "The Core" and the comedy "Anger Management," along with a pre-release screening of Eminem's "8 Mile" at The Bridge Cinema in Westchester.

He reportedly told FBI investigators that he was caught with a camera at a screening of "Spider-Man" in New York, sold copies of a "Star Wars" episode and attended as many as 30 Los Angeles screenings, using a camcorder at six of them.

In his diary, he boasted that he was making as much as $4,000 a week illegally taping movies. Gasca told the jury that the journal was a work of fiction written to impress girls. "And I gotta tell you," he told the jury, "it worked."

It is estimated that About 90% of pirated movies are taped in theaters with camcorders.


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Intel Digital Home & ClickStar

Actor Morgan Freeman and Intel CEO Paul Otellini

"Imagine watching a Hollywood blockbuster in your home the same day the movie is released in theaters."
So reads the headline in an E-mail I just got from Intel this morning.
Gee I remember just doing just that with Starwars III. Anyhow where was I.

Intel is teaming up with Revelations Entertainment, a partnership between actor Morgan Freeman and producer Lori McCreary, to form ClickStar Inc. ClickStar.s strategy is to create an online service through which people can access, pay for, and download first-run, pre-DVD-release films on Intel-based digital home devices.

"ClickStar addresses the growing worldwide consumer demand for digital content-especially filmed entertainment. Our goal is to deliver first-run premium entertainment to film fans around the world and to make film easier to buy than to pirate."
~ actor Morgan Freeman

Accorind to Intel ClickStar will be made available next year on Intel-based digital home devices, including laptops, PDAs, and other mobile devices.

I hope they can pull it off, but for some reason I can't get the phrase "face plant" out of my head.

ClickStar web site
It's appears is owned by a domain Squatter, so there site is at

Read More on the Intel site

Press Release: Intel and Revelations drive new online film distribution models

Panoramic images using CCTV Pan Tilt Zoom Cameras.
Sudipta Sinha a PhD student in the Department of Computer Science at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill developed a system to create Ultra High resolution still images.

Sony SNC-RZ30
Has a 30x optical zoom and can Pan and Tilt 340 degrees

Canon VB-C10
Has a 16x optical zoom, 200 Deg. Pan 120 Deg. Tilt

Amazing 36 Mega-pixel images have been produced using low cost network PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) video cameras (Sony SNC-RZ30, Canon VB-C10). These are the types commonly used in low end CCTV DVR systems.

This was done as research on using active camera networks for 3D reconstruction of events in wide-area environments, they implemented a completely automatic method for doing this.

Site here

On the Subject of PTZ

I have had several people tell me about the amazing ablity of the SmileCam to track motion in the video. From their descriptions I has assumed this was a networked camera or similar, I was surprised to learn it was a USB camera. It.s a decent camera as far as USB. It.s a very simple hardware design. I connect to the PC using a USB port and a 9 PIN RS232 Serial port. Internally there is a classic 8051 embedded processor powered off the USB that accepts commands from the serial port and controls the motors. There is no feedback other then limit sensors.

There is no ZOOM buy the way, or Focus or anything, since the front end of this is a Low cost USB camera with a CMOS sensor

SmileCam web site has a special on them now 2 for $229 or $129 each.

Several people have been talking about wanting to integrate these into a DVR solution, so far tbe only thing I have seen was a WEB cam application where the PTZ(there is no Z) was controllable over the net.

P2P gives TV show new lease on life
From SlashDot
According to Wired, Warner Bros. Entertainment recently passed on a pilot of a show called Global Frequency. However, due to a leak on bit-torrent the pilot episode has reached thousands of viewers who are clamouring for more, and has given the show a new lease on life. What's more interesting is what the show creator learned. From the article: "It changes the way I'll do my next project," said Rogers. If he owned the full rights, he said, "I would put my pilot out on the internet in a heartbeat. Want five more? Come buy the boxed set." Frankly, I'm all for this method of distribution, as I barely watch 'regular' TV anymore.

Wired News Rejected TV Pilot Thrives on P2P

Global Frequency , site

Audio Codecs. The Entertainment-DSP Connection Electronics Design, ANATOMY OF A CODEC

There was a great reader comment:
"Movie theaters *do not* have 13.1 channels.

At most, there are 8.1: Screen Channels (5): Left, Left Center, Center, Right Center, Right Surround Channels (3): Left Surround, Center Surround, Right Surround. Subwoofer Channel (1).

Dolby Digital uses L,C,R,Ls,Rs,Sw (5.1) Dolby Digital Ex uses L,C,R,Ls,Cs,Rs,Sw (6.1) DTS uses L,C,R,Ls,Rs,Sw (5.1) DTS-ES uses L,C,R,Ls,Cs,Rs,Sw (6.1) SDDS uses (maximum) L,LC,C,RC,R,Ls,Rs,Sw (7.1)

The numerous speakers on the walls are *arrays* of speakers handling the surround channels, and are not provided different signals (channels). "

Copyright © 2005, John L. Sokol
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