Video Technology Magazine January 2004

Sony DCR-VX2100

Sony release this December there high performance MiniDV digital video camcorder "DCR-VX2100", equipped with three 380,000 pixel Advanced HAD CCD's, these offer low light performance down to 1 to 3 Lux. i.Link DV interface (IEEE 1394) 12x Optical Zoom, 48x Digital Zoom. I have seen this priced as low as $2300 US.

'HAD' is (Hole Accumulation Diode) CCD Technology
High quality Advanced HAD design CCD imager reduces noise in the video signal to improve signal-to-noise ratio by up to 6DB (2x better than a standard CCD). This is particularly effective when shooting in dark situations.

Reducing the signal-to-noise ratio is also very important with streaming and digital video. Lower S/N increased the compression ratios and allow for smaller compressed files and video transmission using less bandwidth.
The improvement in compression performance between a 3 CCD HAD sensor vs. a cheap CMOS camera cam be over 2x in file size and streaming bandwidth!

Writers Wanted

Currently we are seeking people to contribute articles related to Digital Video, HDTV, HD-DVD, WMVHD, MPEG2, MPEG4, DVC, DVD, Streaming , Video Conferencing and related topics.

Articles to work on are Intel 1920x1080 LCOS and here , SACD, DVD-A, DVI-D/HDCP, WMVHD,
Free Advertising is also welcome.

    More info contact the Editor:

Make NTSC/PAL look like HDTV

   Few people remember (Improved Definition TV) IDTV, RCA's proposal to just use de-interlacing and other scaling and filtering to improve the resolution and quality of standard TV images. The Play Inc, SNAPPY video frame grabber was able to use a standard Video camera and produce sharp crisp 1500x1125 Still images from an NTSC (720x480) input.

How is this possible? By taking into account the redundancy in the analog video images and using non-linear filtering as well as squeezing out every last drop from the analog signal.

Although these techniques don't work as well from already compressed digital media, something like the non-linear filtering such as Directional Correlational do. Using these techniques it possible to unconvert SDTV/NTSC into HDTV with a far better image then the original.

See the 9/2003 article on Video Technology Magazine - OpenSource Video De-interlacing

DCDi - Directional Correlational De-interlacing

    Also Known as video Scaling and Transcoding, is used for converting between interlaced and progressive, resolutions and Frame Rates.
There is an article here: DCDI Frame Rate Conversion

Faroudja technology Make system that do image rescaling that employ these some of these techniques that make NTSC on a HDTV a whole new experience.

Toshiba HD DVD Technology

2004 CES News and Coverage - Day 3
Toshiba HD DVD Technology

The other competing HD-DVD format is to use regular DVD roms and record at 6 to 8 MBPS in Windows Media 9 format
See next article for more info

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Windows Media High-Definition Video - WMVHD

  Microsoft has been making its own path into the high-definition DVD market for quite some time now. We were able to see a demo of WMV HD on a very nice plasma display (at 720p) which was simulcast on a computer LCD monitor at 1080p (yes, that's 1080p - ah, the wonders of PC video cards). The format is impressive and is a definite improvement over standard 480p DVD output. Apparently, Microsoft's codec is able to produce incredibly clean high-resolution video with a bandwidth of only ~8 Mbit/s. The MS rep seemed to feel that Microsoft is a contender for the HD DVD "war" primarily because they have a solution that already works... trouble is, I'm not sure a singularly PC-based solution is the answer. At least not until grandma and grandpa are buying home theater PCs at Best Buy. Some quick points of interest:

  • 720p and 1080p support
  • Roughly 6x the resolution of DVD video
  • Windows Media Audio Pro (WMA Pro) allows for delivery of 5.1 and 7.1 surround content
  • Authoring solutions available from Playground, Sonic, Canned Interactive, InterActual, Mastery, and Shanghai Broadcasting Laboratories
  • Authoring Facilities. Playground Media Group, Canned Interactive and Mastery International Pictures
  • Encoding. Sample Digital Inc., Technicolor and Mastery International Pictures
  • Production. Ascent Media Group, Artisan Home Entertainment, Big Picture Digital Productions Inc., Europa Corp. and MPO Online
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) available from SyncCast and Macrovision
  • Testing and authoring companies are in place to produce content and test final DVDs

Demo HDTV clips are available in 720p and 1080p format at:
Windows Media 9 Demo Center
This site contains 16 short clips including 10 breathtaking IMAX Clips.
Windows Media Video 9 High Definition Content Showcase this is also available on the Site.

I recently tried all 16 clips they are around 100 Megabytes each and play at about 8Mbps. I tested them on a 3.2 Ghz P4 system with an ATI RADEON 9800 PRO graphics card and an NEC LCD3000 display. As much as I'd hate to plug a Microsoft product I must stay I was truly blown away. We had some problems with the Windows Media Player wanting to scale the video clips in an odd way where it left blank space on the left and right of the screen and squish in the middle. The ATI player faired much better completely filling the whole screen. We were not able to set the cards video mode to 1920x1080. I found the problem was the display itself was limited to a native resolution of 1280x768, the Radeon did an excellent job of rescaling to the displays resolution I assume it was using bicubic interpolation.

My only complaint is we were using the wireless remote that came with the ATI card as our mouse and when the ATI video player started, we lost the ability to the remote as a mouse. The Video control interfaces on the remote didn't seem operate in a predictable manner and we are unable to close the video window of the ATI video player using the remote. While the Windows Media player 9 couldn't me made to scale the video correctly!

As far as using this as a HD-DVD format though my only concern is getting a hardware compression chip that will reduce the cost of players, Since it's impractical to have a full blown Intel P4 system with Windows OS installed just to use as a DVD player. Try telling Grandma how to clean virus's from her TV or install security updates!

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