Screen technologies. LCD or Plasma?

People keeps asking me what I would recommend for a home theatre PC (HTPC). LCD or Plasma? In general I would recommend a good LCD. I know that the problems with burn in have been close to eliminated on the best plasma screens. Still, I find the crisp and clean LCD picture with absolutely no burn in problem preferable. A quick roundup:

CRT

Cathode Ray Tube (CRT)
First of all, it is perfectly OK to use your old tube. A standard cathode ray tube (CRT) connected to a PC through S-Video or even composite video should work fine if you adjust your screen card and use a proper media center software. The whole point of these softwares is to give you a front end from your computer that looks good even on low resolution television screens.

A quick trouble shooting tip: if you get a black and white signal from your PC when connecting through S-Video you probably have to select the correct output (S-Video ro Y/C) in your screen settings. If you get black and white when connecting through composite you probably have to take a look at the video format settings. Choosing NTSC when you have a PAL television could give you a black and white picture.

LCD

Liquid Chrystal Display (LCD)
LCD has been used for computer screens for some time. For the last couple of years they have been able to produce them big enough for use as television sets. Only half a year ago it was a problem that the contrast ratio (the difference between black and white) was too low. Resulting in loss of detail in dark and bright scenes. Now, that is about to end. Some of the vendors has introduced LCDs with contrast ratios of 3000:1 and 5000:1. Earlier that was only possible for Plasma displays. Another problem was response time. Bad response times could result in problems with fast moving video. Now, most LCD screens have a response time of 8 milliseconds or better. That should be enough for most people watching video or playing games on their screen.

Plasma

Plasma
Plasma screens traditionally gives better contrast ratio, a more correct black level and in general a slightly more soft picture. Half a year ago a good plasma would without doubt outperform a good LCD in quality for watching movies. Right now that have changed because of better LCD panels. In general you have to pay more for a proper high resolution plasma compared to a high resolution LCD (a resolution of 1280 x 720 or more).

And for the people that want more than a quick round up:
Wikipedia: CRT, LCD, Plasma
Comparison: Plasma vs. LCD TVs

And yes, the pictures in this post are all super close ups of the described technologies. With compliments to my new Canon S2 IS!

Screen technologies. LCD or Plasma?

The web page that eventually will show every picture possible

Everything possible

In May 2005 I posted an article that described an insane, yet slightly interesting supposition: Everything you would ever want to see

To put it short:
Make a computer program that renders all pictures possible within a given limitation. Store them on a hard drive and you would have a repository of all footage necessary to make any movie or TV show that will ever be made.

The article is one of my most popular so far. If you look through the comments you will find a lot of suggestions and attempts on making such a program.

Now, half a year later I have recieved the best one so far. Paul has made a page with a 64 x 64 greyscale frame. It is possible to create 2^1048576 pictures in that frame.

The frame will start with a black pixel up in the left corner and “count” up to the last picture as people visit the page. At some point something interesting will show up. A picture of the American president somewhere you have never seen him before. A picture of you somewhere you have never seen yourself before. Well, in a couple of million years everything possible will have been displayed at this page…

The web page that eventually will show every picture possible

Sleeptracker – experience so far

Sleeptracker

First impression
Very nice package. The watch itself looks better than expected. Feels quite well built.

Don’t consider this a complete review of the Sleeptracker. This is my first experience with a device that needs time before it is possible to judge the potential benefit or function of it.

I have now been a proud owner of a Sleeptracker for two weeks. The problem is that these two weeks has not been very representative for the typical days when I need an alarm clock. I am on a vacation and use my kids as alarm clocks. Why get up before you have to?

Of course, as a true geek I have tested the new gadget anyway.
Continue reading “Sleeptracker – experience so far”

Sleeptracker – experience so far

It’s gadget time!

Sleeptracker

I’m currently in the US and will be here for about a month. I will mostly stay at the same place. What does that mean? People living in the US will of course not see any obvious and revolutionary advantages from this fact. Apart from the fact that being in the US is quite fun in general.

I’ll give you some hints: Amazon, eBay, Best Buy. Webshops! Ordering stuff from the fantastic assortement of Amazon when you live in Norway is OK, but it always include huge amounts of waiting, payment of taxes and hideously expensive shipping.

Now, for the next four weeks I can order stuff for something close to half the price compared to buying the same goods from my home in Norway.

I don’t have unlimited amounts of money, so I have to consider each purchase carefully.

That’s why I kick this off with a product that I have absolutely no faith in. The Sleeptracker. I have read fantastic reviews. I understand the concept. Still, I don’t think it can help this seriously sleepless blogger.

But if it can. I mean – wake me up after my not-even-close-to-enough hours of sleep at a moment that makes the horrible exercise of getting up slightly easier. It’s worth every cent.

Of course I’ll be back here with more info when it arrives.

It’s gadget time!

Come on. Take it all. Do what you want!

NRK Online Spotlight meeNorway

So, what’s these two pictures? The one to the left is NRK’s official service for Windows Media Center Online Spotlight. The one to the right is a very unofficial NRK media center plugin for Meedio.

As mentioned in my post about Webshots and Flickr, one of the reasons why Flickr succeed is because they have a powerful open API. I have linked the acronym API to Wikipedia for the people that want to know more. The quick version: API is short for Application Programming Interface. It gives programmers a possibility to build new services on top of the service that provides an API. Google provides an API. In other words: people can build new services on top of Google. An example is the classic google fight.

Even without an API it is fairly easy to build new services on regular web pages. A plugin for Firefox called Greasemonkey puts this into a system with special scripts for adjusting and editing web pages as you visit them. Currently there are more than 400 000 scripts out there. Doing anything from removing the side bars of Slashdot.org to building advanced price comparing capabilities on Amazon.com. Wired magazine has an excellent article on Greasemonkey, explaining the details.

As the internet users get more advanced and the tools and programming languages become easier to use things like these happen. The BBC has experienced a lot of unauthorized remixing of their content and have been running around closing down web sites that is built on top of their news services and programme tables. Not anymore:
Continue reading “Come on. Take it all. Do what you want!”

Come on. Take it all. Do what you want!