Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
| News and views on design vs. functionality balance across the communications and technology space.

Video Hardware

Sony BDP-S350 = good, but PS3 = better

August 25, 2008

Blu-ray won the HD format war, and while the picture quality has met and exceeded our wildest multimedia dreams, the units that play them leave something to be desired. Compared to standard DVD players, the Blu-ray stand alone players are for the most part bulky, oversized, and overpriced.

Sony has made a valiant effort of breaking the mold with the Sony BDP-S350.  It measures in at a comparably slim 8.75 inches deep (about half of most stand alone Blu-ray players), and a $400 list price.  But as a result, there are a few missing features, such as Profile 2.0 and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding.

The biggest problem is that the PS3 (also by Sony) can be had for the same price, and it offers superior Blu-ray playback and features.  Not to mention that you also get a high-definition gaming console, and all of the perks and fun that comes with that.

If you're going to spend a couple hundred dollars on a high-definition experience, you might as well get more "bang for your buck".

You can read a full review at CNET













3D is Making a Comeback

January 2, 2009

It's been over 50 years since the Golden Era of 3D in theaters that began in 1952 with the release of Bwana Devil, the first stereoscopic feature film. Since then the 3D industry has had a few revivals and lulls, and has been carried along as a novelty in IMAX theaters... but now it seems it may see a permanent place in the entertainment world, and soon our own homes.

On January 8th, college football fans will be able to view the 2009 FedEx BCS National Championship in 3D in select theaters. It will be the first time a sports show has been filmed in 3D.  The NBA All-Star Saturday Night will also be offered in 3D on February 14th.

Following the success of 3D versions of kid films over the past year,  four leading studios will be backing the conversion of 10,000 screens to digital, making 3D movie offerings more of a staple in the film industry.  With large HD televisions steadily dropping in price, and Blu-ray seeming to do well this holiday season, film studios are looking for anything to coax viewers out of their home and back into the theaters.

Regarding home use of 3D, European satelite TV provider Sky tested a new 3D television service in London on December 18th.  The 3D television service is said to be available through existing HD infrastructure next year and not require the purchase of new set-top boxes (you will need 3D glasses though).

We've also now seen the introduction of the world's first 3D webcam by Minoru.







How Do You Not Review That Last Play?

February 1, 2009

First and foremost, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers for their 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl 43.

But, the NFL better be ready for the hell they are going to get about the officiating tomorrow.  It's one thing if a bad call is made, or if something gets missed, especially during the regular season.  However, this is the Super Bowl, and the technology surrounding instant replay almost borders on obscene.  6+ high definition camera angles locked onto each play, all able to be played back instantly at insanely slow speeds...

I'm not saying the call would have been overturned, but the replay official Bob McGrath should have issued a challenge to make sure Kurt Warner's arm wasn't moving forward on that forced fumble call.  It was that close.

It's not like the NFL had anything to lose by reviewing the play. If the ruling on the field was overturned, the last play had the potential to be one of the most exciting finishes to a Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals - the underdogs - down by 4 - one play left in the game - a bomb thrown by Kurt Warner - to a wide receiver core consisting of Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston - against Troy Polamalu and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense...

Man, it had so much potential.

It's one thing to blow it on the big stage because you didn't have the resources or technology to help you make the right call.  It's another thing all together to have them at your fingertips and then choose to ignore them.