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In an article about makeup for TV in the Washington Post, there's an interesting section about doing makeup for high definition TV:

With HDTV, Making Up Is Harder to Do

The advent of high-definition television means makeup magicians must pay more attention to detail than ever before.

"When you do regular TV, you can get away with a lot more," said "Blade" makeup artist Cindy Barlow. "When I do high-definition shows, I treat it as a feature film, which means when I look into the mirror at an actor, that's what the camera will see."

"CSI's" Matthew Mungle thinks HDTV will force the industry to produce better artists. "You'll have to watch what you do more, watch how much paint and makeup you use, and be more artistic," he said.

In fact, HDTV often lets you see more than what you'd see in the mirror - taking images beyond what the human eye can naturally see in real life.

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Evesham47inchEvesham have pushed the boat out with the latest addition to their line of displays, with an impressive 47 inch high definition LCD TV that will display full 1080p resolution.

Evesham tend to sell their products at prices below the major manufacturers, and this one comes in at just £1899. Its features are acceptable though you may need extra equipment to really integrate it into your expanding HD home cinema.

It has a contrast ratio of 1600:1, brightness of 550cd/m2, a horizontal and vertical viewing angle of 178 degrees, and an 8ms response time. There's built-in Freeview and analogue TV tuners with Nicam Stereo. Inputs comprise of 2 Scarts, 1 S-VHS, 1 YpbPr, and just 1 HDMI port, plus a PC connection. There's one audio output which you'll probably need to use if you want any more than the built-in stereo 10W speakers have to offer.

Evesham

StrictlycomedancingSaturday saw the first broadcast of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC HD trial channel, making it the first live studio entertainment to be broadcast in HD in the UK.

Jon Beazley, controller of Entertainment commissioning, said: "Strictly Come Dancing is taking a fantastic lead by launching live HD entertainment in the UK. It's exactly the kind of spectacular show we know audiences would love to see in high definition. For the small but growing HD audience, the BBC's most glamorous Saturday night entertainment show just got bigger and even more exciting."

Studio One, in which the programme takes place, has now been fully fitted out for high definition broadcasting by BBC Resources.

Seven of the remaining nine programmes, including the semi-final and final, will be broadcast in HD, though a few will be broadcast later than on BBC1 to make room for other HD programmes.

Whilst I can't say the thought of seeing Brucie or the judges in high definition thrills me, there are a few of the celebrity contestants that should look stunning - unless HD shows them up of course!

BBC HD

Xbox360hddvd_7There's still plenty of talk going on the Net about whether the Xbox 360 will connect to a Vista enabled PC and actually be any use.

The latest investigation comes from CDFreaks who have been digging around to see if indeed you can watch HD DVDs on your Vista PC by using the Xbox add-on over USB.

They've done some emailing around and reached the conclusion that the HD DVD drive will be recognised by Vista but won't ship with any decoder software. Possibly someone like Intervideo will come up with a version of WinDVD that supports it. Licensing is one issue, as is having a complete HDCP chain.

Though the word 'official' gets used I'm not sure we're any closer to an official response yet, but it makes for some more speculation.

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Octaviaswitcher

Octavia have released their latest HDMI cross switcher which will combine 3 HDMI inputs and send to 2 displays. Any input can be sent to any output, so you can have each display showing a different source - for example your Sky HD box on your main set and a DVD playing in the bedroom (assuming you have the wiring set up)

They come with a credit-card sized remote control for selecting the inputs and outputs, and they also feature Smart Scan to provide automatic source selection to the primary display.

Clear Eye technology lets you use HDMI cables up to 10m without degradation in signal quality. The unit is HDMI 1.2 compliant.

Available for £199.95.

Product page

Sonyhdrsr1

The Sony HDR-SR1 HD cam has undergone a lengthy review (not yet by Shiny unfortunately) at Camcorderinfo.com. In-depth? You bet.

Jumping in straight at the end, they conclude that the Sony HDR-SR1 is "undoubtedly the best HDD camcorder to date, for what that’s worth in such a young category", trumping the DCR-SR100:

The Sony HDR-SR1 is perhaps the most forward-facing camcorder of the year – a virtual checklist of hot technologies and manual controls. Along with the DVD-recording HDR-UX1, the SR1 compresses video in AVCHD, the new high definition format that, for the first time, allows consumers to leave tape behind. The SR1 records to a 30GB hard disk drive (HDD), room for an incredible 4 hours of HD video. The camcorder also comes equipped with a mic input, a headphone jack, and the multifunction ring for 4 independent manual controls. This is one decked out device. As with the HDR-UX1, we have some reservations about this first generation of AVCHD (centering on the fact that no 3rd party support is yet available for editing), but overall, we think this is one of the top camcorders of the year.

Well worth a read.

Applelogo_4macnn report that Apple have updated their Fiinal Cut Express HD software to version 3.5.1, which addresses compatibility issues with some hardware.

Final Cut Express HD allows for flexible movie editing using Apple's legendary simplicity of drag 'n' drop operation.

Apple

I'm not sure if this offer will extend to the UK when Tosh get their HD DVD players rolling, but at least in the US where by November both Xbox and PS3 will be vying for the attentions of consumers, Toshiba are giving away three free HD DVD titles with every player they sell.

Consumers will get a choice of 3 dscs from a list of 15 from 3 different studios, and depending on your taste in films it could be a decent offer. If not you could always flog 'em on eBay and recover a bit off the cost of your spanking new player.

Films include Apollo 13, U-571, Casablanca, Dukes of Hazzard, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and U2: Rattle and Hum.

Toshiba

Hdmi_3As world tour's go, it might not be the most exciting, but that's what the HDMI Licensing group are starting next week, touring the US, Europe and Asia to brief, demo and preview key technologies that will make the most of the souped-up HDMI standard.

Due to begin rolling out in November and continuing throughout next year, the first HDMI 1.3 enabled devices will be Sony's PS3, Toshiba's HD-XA2 HD DVD player, and the Epson EMP-TW1000 high-definition projector.

"Reports from manufacturers indicate that most Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players, and a substantial proportion of conventional DVD players, will include HDMI 1.3 capabilities in 2007," said Leslie Chard, president of HDMI Licensing, LLC. "During the first half of 2007 we expect to see HDTVs with HDMI 1.3 functionality, allowing them to display Deep Color(TM) content. We also expect the introduction during 2007 of HDMI 1.3 technology for PCs, audio-visual receivers and a range of other source and display devices."

Panasonicprojector2

Those lucky guys over at Trusted Reviews have been at Panasonic's European HQ in Germany to get a look at their newest high-definition projector, the PT-AE1000E.

They say it's a high-quality, high-end product, aimed at hardcore cinephiles. It's 1080p with a 11,000:1 contrast ratio and 1,100 lumens of brightness. They say it's the most vivid 1080p images they've seen, and uses Panasonic's new "Dynamic Iris" technology that works by analysing histograms to determine the brightness level of each image and then adjusting the power of the lamp, iris and gamma curve accordingly, at 60 times per second.

It was demonstrated projecting a 100 inch pixel-perfect screen from just 3 metres away. The projector itself measures 460x130x300mm and weighs 7.2kg. It has 2 HDMI inputs plus 2 Component, SCART, Serial, S-Video, and D-Sub.

What sounds really attractive is the pricing, which is expected to be just over £3000, where other offerings tend to be around £6,000 - £10,000.

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Bluray_9It's not enough any more to simply say that a movie studio is bringing out a couple of films on DVD with a couple of extra features on each. No, now we have to know what kind of disc it's on, how it's encoded, and what the extras are.

In fairness, the announcement reported on High Def Digest is fairly low-key, and this kind of thing has been talked about on the Net by those that understand and care about the finer points of DVD production for years.

In this case, it's Fox's second swathe of Blu-ray movies, coming in December.

Hddvd_8Early adopters are generally more tech-savvy and aware of how their new gear works, so the news that Universal Studios are releasing "The Interpreter" on HD DVD encoded in AVC MPEG-4 and not VC-1 has been met with some negativity. The Microsoft-developed VC-1 compression is seen by some as being superior to the MPEG-4 encoding. It's not going to be of great concern to the average consumer, though, who won't be comparing every subtle difference in shading and picture sharpness.

(Via High-def Digest)

Hdtvbluray_13An online retailer taking pre-orders for high definition disc players and content has claimed that UK consumers are spending more on HD DVD than they are on Blu-ray.

Play.com says that pre-orders made on its website favour HD DVD over Blu-ray by 2 to 1, whilst content leads by 3 to 1.

Play.com is offering the Toshiba HD-E1 HD DVD player at £450 and the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player at £950 (£50 below list price).

Imationvideo

Imation have created an online video which takes viewers a little bit behind the scenes at one of their US high-def optical disc manufacturing plants. They say they're the only American manufacturer to produce all four HD disc formats (write-once and re-writable on both HD DVD and Blu-ray).

Whilst the video is mainly an advert for the virtues of high definition in general, and of course how wonderful Imation and their Memorex brand are, it's quite interesting to watch.

Watch it here

Harrishdmi_1

We've just received news of a new HDMI switcher/amplifier designed specifically for the UK market from R&S Phillips. The HD-900 is designed to be suitable for Sky HD but will work with all 50/60Hz HD formats. It will connect up to 4 HDMI HDCP-compliant sources and output to an HD projector/TV or AV amp. Its all metal construction with a brushed aluminium front panel and programmable blue backlit LCD display that shows the selected source.

Historychannel_1As we hinted a couple of weeks ago, the History Channel HD is launching on Sky HD tomorrow (Thursday 26 October). It'll broadcast on Sky channel 545 from 8am-2pm daily, promising that all programming will be in high definition.

Content includes UK premieres of Engineering an Empire, Warrior Empire: The Mughals, and The Sahara, as well as HD versions of The Plague, The Crusades: Crescent & The Cross, and Beyond the Da Vinci Code.

Bluray_8Philips researchers have announced that they've achieved 7x, 10x and 12x write speed on Cu:Si-based Blu-ray (BD-R) discs.

CDRInfo have an interesting discussion about the hardware limitations of recording discs at high speed, including noise levels at high recording speeds, vibrations, the materials used to manufacture the disc, and the maximum allowable spin speed of an optical disc.

As with much of this emerging technology, particularly when pushing the boundaries, it all gets pretty technical, and you can read the ins and outs of it all in the CDRInfo article.

Hdtvbluray_14Tech-On! has provided a fairly technical article reporting that Sharp has developed a blue violet laser diode which can be used in both HD DVD and Blu-ray disc players, due to start shipping on 1st November.

"Sharp says that it has applied its compound semiconductor crystal growth technology that was achieved based on accumulated experience in the development of infrared and red semiconductor laser diodes to the latest product. As a result, the company has achieved what it claims to be the industry's smallest power consumption and the longest life at the same time."

There's a serious amount of technical speak in the article, which seems to be the focus rather than any interpretation of what this might mean for the industry. HD Blog, who linked to it, suggested that it might ease the problems with blue laser diode shortage, but I'd be surprised if it's that simple.

Read (Via HD Blog)

Hdtvbluray_13Techweb report that Thomson's Technicolor Content Services division have created a new high-def content encoding system based on the MPEG4-H.264/AVC, called TIGER AVC.

TIGER AVC supports both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs and will be used in-house by Technicolor to provide post production for movie studios.

These 50 algorithms took over a year to perfect and they promise consumers higher picture quality using a reduced amount of disc space, leaving more room for extra features.

Chris Crotty from iSuppli described these video processing techniques as a 'secret sauce' and that companies develop different algorithms for processing and compressing video.

Jeffrey Cooper, general manager for Thomson Corporate Research said "We developed many new algorithms to get the quality we're trying to achieve. Think of compression standards like a toolbox with hundreds of tools."

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Engadget has picked up on a story from CNN claiming that the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) TV will be dead by 2009, due to completion of US digital switchover and the rise in popularity and fall in price of LCD and plasma flat screens.

Whilst the average consumer may not care too much about picture quality, the fact is that much of the current flat screen technology cannot produce the same colour vibrancy, deep blacks and impressive response times that a CRT TV does. CRT technology is well-established and predictable - not always the case with newer TV technology.

Mind you, by 2009 we could see SED technology which promises all the benefits of CRT without the weight or size problems.

Many video professionals still use CRT because of the issues mentioned above.

So what do you think? Will CRT die in just 3 years time or is there a lot of life left in it yet?

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