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Amimon’s Latest WHDI Streaming Chips Do Full Uncompressed 1080p @ 60Hz

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Wireless HD is still little more than a carrot dangled in front of rich noses at CES, but Amimon’s WHDI standard is one of the least vaporous, and their new chips improve on the spec.

The updated platform is available now for people like Belkin to use in their Flywire wireless HD products (Flywire uses the first-gen Amimon chip). Amimon’s main benefit is a stated range of 100 feet, through walls, which is more than most other wireless HD specs.

AMIMON’s Second Generation Wireless 1080p Chipset Now Available

Chips to Enable HDTVs to Support the WHDI Standard

SANTA CLARA, CA—(Marketwire – April 29, 2009) – AMIMON Inc., the market leader in wireless HD semiconductor solutions, announced today the immediate availability of its second generation baseband chipset. The second generation transmitter and receiver chips (AMN 2120/2220) are designed for the WHDI™ (Wireless Home Digital Interface™) standard and are the first chipset capable of wirelessly delivering full uncompressed 1080p/60Hz HD content throughout the entire home.

The second generation chipset is based on the revolutionary video modem technology operating in the 5GHz unlicensed band, pioneered by AMIMON and the backbone of WHDI. The robustness of AMIMON’s video modem technology has been proven in consumers’ homes with AMIMON’s first generation chipset which was integrated into wireless HDTV products from leading TV manufacturers. The second generation chipset offers significant enhancements both in quality and in feature-set.

Key features of AMIMON’s AMN 2120/2220 include:

— Designed for the WHDI standard

— HD video: 1080p/60Hz & high quality computer graphics; equivalent video rates up to 3Gbps

— Range: multi-room – beyond 100 feet (30 meters) through walls

— Latency: less than 1 millisecond

— Hollywood approved HDCP 2.0 copy protection

— Low power consumption modes for portable devices

— Low cost – mass adoption price points

— 5GHz unlicensed band with support for Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS)

The second generation chipset provides CE manufacturers with a low cost HD wireless connectivity solution. The chipset is built on a programmable platform that can be tuned for conformance with the WHDI standard specification. The chipset interfaces directly with the video I/O’s, saving the cost of any additional components such as CODEC chips, memory buffers and controls.

The AMN 2120/2220 chipset can be embedded into CE devices such as LCD and plasma HDTVs, multimedia projectors, A/V receivers, Blu-ray DVD players, set-top boxes (STBs), game consoles, computers, DVRs, PCs and HD video accessories/dongles, allowing wireless streaming of uncompressed HD video and audio.

The WHDI standard, promoted by the top CE manufacturers is the only standard to enable whole home, wireless uncompressed HDTV connectivity.

“The first generation chipsets received considerable interest, as AMIMON sold over 100,000 chipsets in 2008 and we expect increased demand for the second generation chipsets,” said Noam Geri, vice president of marketing and business development for AMIMON. “AMIMON’s first generation chipset made wireless HDTV in the home a reality; the second generation WHDI chipset will make mass-market, interoperable standard-based wireless connectivity in every home a reality.”

“Among home entertainment enthusiasts 1080p HDTVs are in high demand and ease of use technologies, such as a wireless interface alternative, are expected to see increasing demand from consumers,” said Randy Lawson, Senior Analyst, Digital TV Semiconductor and Display Drivers for iSuppli. “AMIMON’s technology provides an effective solution to meet the growing consumer, as well as OEM, desire for ease of use features while maintaining the high quality 1080p.”

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Torrent’s SureConnect HDMI cables stay put with magnets, blink with madness

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While we love the transmission capabilities of HDMI, we loath the fact that the HDMI standard doesn’t specify a locking mechanism. If you’ve ever wall mounted a flat screen TV or tried to stuff your receiver into too tight a rack then you’re probably familiar with HDMI’s weak-azz connector. Now we have what appears to be a first of its kind, magnetic HDMI connector from Torrent, Inc. — at least its the first to pass ATC compliance testing. Called MagLoc, the magnetic connector with sliding sleeve for optimal fit is said to be 5x stronger than your typical HDMI cable connector. Of course, anyone who’s familiar with the magnetic “locks” on some laptop power cords can assure you that the technology is nowhere near as strong as mechanical fasteners. Still, it’s a start.

Torrent’s higher spec’d SureConnect Advanced and Elite cables also feature the totally over-the-top “VeriFYI” (ugh) indicator lights to confirm the end-to-end connection. VeriFYI blinks to confirm the HDMI cable you just inserted is in fact inserted — something you should be able to confirm with the same pair of eyes looking at the jack. Insert the other side of the cable and VeriFYI will glow steady for one minute after testing the end-to-end connection. It then repeats this semi-useful (assuming your cables are easily visible) test each time you power up your system. While MagLoc sounds promising, it appears that the cables have yet to reach retail channels. We’ll let you know as soon as that changes.

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Video Formats and High Definition Displays

There are a lot of different video formats. Some are already obsolete, some are in the process of getting phased out, and some are just getting ready to dominate the market. But before we dig into that, let’s take a look at a few related jargons to further understand the different video formats that we will cover below.

Resolution
Resolution or frame size normally refers to the number of pixels available on the display, and it is usually stated as number of horizontal pixels x number of vertical pixels. A typical LCD monitor might have 1024×768 resolution, which means it measures 1024 pixels across and 768 pixels vertically. The physical size of the display (e.g. 19 inches) will determine how big each individual pixel is.

Scanning system
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Interlaced scanning system.

There are 2 types of scanning system, namely interlaced and progressive scanning. The interlaced scanning system have odd numbered fields and even numbered fields. During one scan, odd numbered scan lines are updated and on the following scan, even numbered scan lines are updated. The interlaced scanning system was developed to produce acceptable picture quality at lower bandwidth requirement. In the progressive scanning system, all scan lines are updated in one scan.

Frame rate
Frame rate determines how many times the image is updated in one second. 15 frames per second is the minimum required rate to achieve the illusion of a moving image.

Now on to the video formats.

Television Broadcasts
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For analog television broadcasts, Phase Alternating Line (PAL), National Television System Committee (NTSC), and Sequential Color with Memory (SECAM) are used. All three formats uses interlacing. PAL and SECAM have frame rates of 25fps while NTSC uses 29.97fps. PAL and SECAM have 576 lines of resolution while NTSC has 480. A typical NTSC broadcast will give us an equivalent of about 440×480 resolution while PAL is about 440×576. For comparisons with other formats, we’ll be looking at the PAL system only.

VHS
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Before the arrival of DVDs, video home system (VHS) was used extensively to record videos. Video is recorded in analog form on a magnetic tape, similar to analog TV broadcasts. However, VHS gave poorer lines of resolution compared to television broadcasts, only 330×576 at 25fps for PAL. Super VHS which was introduced later upped the resolution to 560×576.

LaserDisc
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LaserDiscs are the first commercial optical disk storage medium. Although their construction is similar to CDs and DVDs (albeit the bigger diameter), LaserDiscs are purely analog. Video information is stored in composite video format and because of that, they are less susceptible to scratches. But video quality wasn’t excellent. LaserDiscs give about 560×576 resolution at 25fps, similar to Super VHS.

Video CD
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Video CD is a format for storing compressed videos on a regular CD. It uses the MPEG-1 codec and it delivers 352×288 resolution only. Picture quality of VCD is comparable to VHS although poor compression can further degrade picture quality. However, VCDs do not suffer from analog noise like VHS and their data do not deteriorate with each use.

DVD
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Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc has almost completely replaced VHS, LaserDiscs and Video CDs due to it’s excellent picture quality. Typical DVDs give up to 720×576 resolution. DVD-Video also supports features like menus, selectable subtitles, multiple camera angles, and multiple audio tracks. DVDs are currently the preferred form for video storage.

Blu-Ray Disc
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Blu-ray is the latest development in high definition video storage. By using a blue laser, a dual layer blu-ray disc can store up to 50GB of data and can easily output full HD resolution at 1920×1080. HD-DVD initially competed with Blu-ray over the HD format war but Blu-ray won on February 19, 2008 when Toshiba, who was the main company supporting HD-DVD, decided to pull out.

High Definition Displays
With all these video formats, it would be useless if we don’t have a proper display for it. High definition content especially require the proper display to ensure that you get the best picture quality possible. HDTVs may have displays that come in many different resolutions, but they can be categorized into 2 main groups: HD Ready and Full HD.

HD Ready
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HD Ready TVs are capable of accepting up to 1080i HD (1920×1080 interlaced @50 & 60 Hz) inputs, but not Full HD 1080p inputs. HD Ready TVs also may not have enough pixels on their display to give true pixel-to-pixel representation for Full HD resolutions. They may have to downscale Full HD inputs to display it on the screen and due to this, picture quality will suffer and may appear “blocky”.

Full HD
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Full HD TVs can accept Full HD inputs up to 1080p HD (1920×1080 progressive @24, 50 & 60 Hz). Full HD TVs also have enough pixels on their display to give true pixel-to-pixel representation for Full HD inputs. This means no down scaling or interpolation occurs thus maintaining picture quality. Full HD TVs usually look sharper too because of the increased number of pixels compared to HD Ready TVs and therefore have a smaller pixel pitch.

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A Full HD LCD TV.

The difference between HD Ready TVs and Full HD TVs is the price. Full HD TVs usually cost much more. If you’re going to be watching a lot of high definition content, getting a Full HD TV will definitely be a better option. High definition content will look better on a Full HD TV. But if you’re just going to be sticking with DVDs and TV broadcasts, a HD Ready TV will most probably be more than sufficient for your needs.

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How 1080i and 1080p Are Both The Same and Different

1080i and 1080p are both High Definition display formats for HDTVs. 1080i and 1080p signals actually contain the same information. Both 1080i and 1080p represent a 1920×1080 pixel resolution (1,920 pixels across the screen by 1,080 pixels down the screen). The difference between 1080i and 1080p is in the way the signal is sent from a source component or displayed on an HDTV screen.

In 1080i each frame of video is sent or displayed in alternative fields. The fields in 1080i are composed of 540 rows of pixels or lines of pixels running from the top to the bottom of the screen, with the odd fields displayed first and the even fields displayed second. Together, both fields create a full frame, made up of all 1,080 pixel rows or lines, every 30th of a second.

In 1080p, each frame of video is sent or displayed progressively. This means that both the odd and even fields (all 1,080 pixel rows or pixel lines) that make up the full frame are displayed together. This results in a smoother looking image, with less motion artifacts and jagged edges.

Differences Within 1080p

1080p can also be displayed (depending on the video processing used) as a 1080p/60 (most common), 1080p/30, or in 1080p/24 formats.

1080p/60 is essentially the same frame repeated twice every 30th of a second. (enhanced video frame rate).

1080p/30 is the same frame displayed once every 30th of a second. (standard live or recorded video frame rate).

1080p/24 is the same frame displayed every 24th of a second (standard motion picture film frame rate),

The Key is in the Processing

1080p processing can be done at the source, such as on a Upscaling DVD Player, Blu-ray Disc Player, or HD-DVD player – or it can be done by the HDTV itself.

Depending on the actual video processors used, there may or may not be a difference in having the TV do the final processing (referred to as deinterlacing) step of converting 1080i to 1080p.

For instance, if the TV is utilizing a Faroudja Genesis, DVDO, Silicon Optix HQV, or homegrown processors, such as the ones used in higher-end Sony, Pioneer, Hitachi, and Panasonic sets for example, may be equal to the processors used in many source components – so the results displayed on screen should be equivalent, or very close. Any differences would be more noticable on larger screen sizes.

1080p, Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD

Also, keep in mind that with both Blu-ray and HD-DVD, the actual information on the disc itself is in the 1080p/24 format. Players, such as LG BH100 Blu-ray/HD-DVD combo player, have the ability to output 1080p/24 direct from the disc to its output.

However, since most current HDTVs cannot display 1080p/24, when you connect the LG BH100 to an HDTV that does not have 1080p/24 input and display capability but only has 1080p/60/30 or 1080i input capability, the LG BH100 automatically sends its 1080p/24 signal from the disc to its own video processor which then outputs a 1080i/60 signal. This leaves the HDTV to do the final step of deinterlacing and displaying the incoming 1080i signal in 1080p.

Another example of 1080p processing, is the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc Player – what it does is even more complicated. This Blu-ray player reads the 1080p/24 signal off the disc, then it actually reinterlaces the signal to 1080i, and then deinterlaces its own internally made 1080i signal in order to create a 1080p/60 signal for output to a 1080p input capable television. However, if it detects that the HDTV cannot input a 1080p signal, the Samsung BD-P1000 just takes its own internally created 1080i signal and passes that signal through to the HDTV, letting the HDTV do the final deinterlacing step.

Just as with the previous LG BH100 example. The final 1080p display format depends what deinterlacing processor is used by the HDTV for the final step. In fact, in the Samsung case, it may that a specific HDTV has better 1080i-to-1080p deinterlacer than Samsung has, it which case you may see a better result using the deinterlacer built into the HDTV.

1080p/60 and PC Sources

It is also important to note that when you connect a PC to an HDTV via DVI or HDMI, the graphic display signal of the PC may indeed be sending out 60 discreet frames every second (depending on source material), instead of repeating the same frame twice, as with film or video based material from DVD or Blu-ray Disc. In this case, no additional processing is required to “create” a 1080p/60 frame rate via conversion.

Final Take

In the final analysis, the proof is in the actual viewing – how the image looks to you in the real world with your specific HDTV. Short of having a tech come out and doing actual measurements, or comparing results using different TVs and source components yourself, even if you don’t have a 1080p input capable Television, as long your HDTV has 1080p internal processing, you may still be able to get the benefits of 1080p. The key is in the processing, and, of course, not all HDTVs and video processors are created equal – let your eyes be your guide.

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Panasonic 150″ Plasma: Massive 4K2K Display

Panasonic 150″ Plasma Specifications

Display: 150″ Plasma Display Panel (PDP)
Pixel Format: 4096 x 2160 (4K2K)

Panasonic 150

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The massive 150″ plasma TV from Panasonic is a go. As soon as Panasonic’s plasma display panel (PDP) fabrication plant commences production in May 2009, the 150″ PDP will be on its way to stores so you can plunk down an unheard amount of money for it. But what will you do with it?

You will most likely not have any 4K2K video sources. And even if you did, you’ll need to play it somehow. You might have managed to secure a yet-to-be-available JVC 4K2K super high-definition player to pump the 4K2K video via dual-link DVI to the massive 150″ plasma, but I doubt it. What I’m getting at is that there is little infrastructure to support 4K2K as of now, in terms of viewing 4K2K video that is. Getting a computing environment on a 4K2K-capable display, on the other hand, would be easy since dual-link DVI is fairly easy to find.

But the day will come when you’ll be able to get 4K2K disks via Netflix or at Blockbuster (if they’re around by then). Many versions later, both the PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles will probably have 4K2K-ROM read capability. Just imagine what games will look like on 4K2K! You’ll need to get a doctor to give you a clean bill of health so your heart can take what will seem to be happening for real. Other changes will happen. What will be interesting are the changes that will undergo in terms of movie-making. Even now with the transition from 480i to 720p/1080i the actors and actress must have perfect faces. If you have a tiny pimple somewhere, viewers will notice. Got a single nose hair that’s protruding beyond the confines of the nose by just 1mm? Well, gotta get rid of that before you get in front of the 1080/24p video camcorder. Or else people will notice. Now, can you imagine how much more perfection will be demanded by the time video is shot at 4K2K? Maybe we’ll see virtual characters that look and act so human, we won’t be able to tell the difference.

A technicality: Thomas Ricker at engadget incorrectly states in his blog post that the pixel format is 2160 x 4096. Certainly it looks to be 4096 x 2160, in landscape orientation. The second mistake that he makes is in stating that it is “4 times 1080p”. Well, first off, 1080p is a video format, but I’ll overlook that. To show 1080p without scaling, you’ll need a display that has a pixel format of 1920 x 1080. If you quadruple this, you’ll get 3840 x 2160. 3840 x 2160 is Quad Full HD, or in Thomas’ words “4 times 1080p”. Panasonic’s 150″ plasma, on the other hand, is 4096 x 2160 and would be more accurate if referred to as 4K2K. Just my opinion.

Source: engadget

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