NHK Super Hi-Vision

Sam Byford, The Verge:

Viewing Super Hi-Vision content on the screen is a surreal experience — any closer than six feet or so and it’s almost too much information to take in. Like sitting in the front row at an IMAX movie, you constantly have to look around the display and actively watch for where the camera’s focus lies.

7680×4320 on a 145-inch Panasonic plasma. Fantastic.

Update 2012.08.04: John Zubrzycki, BBC R&D blog:

Why the fuss? TV has been doing this for many years. The reason is that we were viewing using an Ultra-HD system called Super Hi-Vision (SHV) developed by NHK (The Japanese national broadcaster). SHV has sixteen times as many pixels as HDTV making a picture with 7680 pixels across by 4320 pixels down. It was displayed on an 8-metre wide screen, accompanied by a 22.2 multichannel 3-dimensional sound system. The combined effect was to transport the people in the viewing theatre right into the stadium – telepresence comes of age.

7680×4320 pixels projected unto a 300-inch screen. The best keeps getting better and better.

Cinematic Disaster

via Alex Micek. Stu Maschwitz:

The fact that these TVs refresh at 120Hz or 240Hz is not the problem. It’s the motion smoothing technology, often enabled by default, that destroys the way movies look and renders them as soap operas.

Maschwitz recommends disabling motion smoothing on your LCD TV for a better cinematic experience.

LG Display 5-inch 1920×1080 LCD

LG Display press release:

LG Display’s 5” Full HD LCD panel is a step forward past existing mobile display technology. The LCD panel based on AH-IPS (Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching) technology features 440ppi and 1920×1080 resolution, providing for the first time Full HDTV quality on a smartphone. With 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, the panel is also 0.5 inches larger, 2.2 times denser in pixels, and 1.3 times more advanced in ppi than the preceding 4.5” panel at 329ppi and 1280×720.

Wow. ETA is second half of 2012. Can’t wait to see it at SID.

ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A

Anand Lai Shimpi, AnandTech:

Max brightness is down a bit compared to the previous generation, but it’s still higher than any of the portable Macs and much higher than your typical PC displays. Black levels are much improved over the original Zenbook as well:

The ASUS Zenbook Prime UX21A is a 11.6-inch second generation ultrabook sporting a 1920×1080 pixel format, good for a resolution of 189 ppi. The LCD is top notch. Black levels at 0.45 nits is behind only the Razer Blade’s 0.31 nits, and ahead of both MacBook Airs. With decent brightness and superb black levels the Zenbook Prime tops the contrast ratio chart at 939:1. It’s the same story with Delta E: At 1.2 it’s head and shoulders above the competition.

The only weakness, if you can call it that, is the 64.5% AdobeRGB color gamut. It only seems weak because of the incredible high levels exhibited by the Razer Blade (84.6%), 15.4-inch MacBook Pro (74.7%), and ASUS N56VM (72.7%). The real weakness is Windows 7:

There’s not much you can do to work around this today with Windows 7. You’re either going to have really small text or have to deal with funny scaling. This is unfortunately a major downside to not controlling the OS layer, ASUS is at the mercy of Microsoft to get scaling for displays with high pixel densities right.

DPI scaling on operating systems, including OS X, will continue to be a challenge unless bitmapped UI elements are completely replaced with vector graphics.

iPhone Needs a Thumb Rest

John Gruber:

On the iPad, the thick bezel area surrounding the display serves an essential purpose — it gives you a place to rest your thumbs while holding the device. The non-display “forehead” and “chin” on the front face of the iPhone serve no such practical purpose. All Apple needs is enough room for a home button at the bottom, and the speaker, camera, and proximity sensor at the top.

No. The width, in landscape, of the forehead and chin of the iPhone is roughly the thickness of an average thumb. And both have identical widths; they are symmetrical. My guess as to why there are such thick top and bottom bezels with roughly the thickness of an average thumb is: So you can grip the iPhone with your thumb, left or right.

Think about how you hold the iPhone when taking a photo. I find my thumb needing that forehead or chin to hold on to. That thick bezel also comes in handy when I’m playing games, especially games where you need to tilt the iPhone to turn left, right, go fast, or slow down. The forehead and chin of the iPhone serve important practical purposes, and will not go away.

A Retina Display MacBook: A Bad Idea

Dan Ackerman, CNET:

The current high-end resolution for laptops is 1,920×1,080 pixels […]

Not really. I’m working on a 1920×1200 MacBook.

Even if Apple trades up to a much higher resolution than any other laptop but still manages to keep things readable, that would mean resolution and screen size alone would no longer give you a fixed idea of what content (Web sites, games, photos, etc.) would look like on a laptop screen. This could make comparison shopping confusing, and it would be another example of different computer manufacturers using different standards.

Why of course, Apple is in the business of ensuring maximum ease in comparison shopping.

We typically use the word resolution to mean something like 1920×1200, but that’s wrong. 1920×1200 is a pixel format; resolution is pixel density, like 300 ppi. With that said, pixel format and screen size is not what determine how images and text look on a display. To some extent they do since we hardly change the DPI settings in our operating systems. And that DPI setting, a resolution setting, is what really determines how things look.

A 1920×1200 17-inch display sports a 133 ppi resolution. Let’s assume the DPI setting in OS X is at 133 ppi. Now if Apple decides to equip the 17-inch MacBook with a 3840×2400 retina display. The DPI setting at 266 ppi will show images, texts, etc. with the exact same size on both displays. The only difference is the Retina display 17-inch MacBook will have images and texts that are as crisp as those on the new iPad.

A Retina Display would likely need more power, which would lead to either a bigger battery (and thicker chassis) or shorter battery life, or both.

Consider this: The MacBook Airs do not have optical drives. There is the possibility of an optical drive-free MacBook Pro. That leaves a good chunk of space to add more battery. A bigger more efficient battery, yes. A thicker chassis, no. Shorter battery life, no. Both, definitely no.

But, I have to admit, in many years of reviewing laptops, no shopper has every told me he or she wanted a screen resolution higher than 1,920×1,080.

I’m so glad, thanks to Steve Jobs, Apple doesn’t conduct focus groups to find out what customers want.

World War///Hack by Wyatt Dyer

Wyatt Dyer:

Once Viper Comics caught wind of how I got pulled into a government hacking conspiracy during my senior year in high school, they relentlessly pestered me to work with their team and tell my tale as a graphic novel and finally, I agreed.

Eighteen-year-old Wyatt Dyer is part of a group of elite hackers, who have been invited to participate in a hacking competition—the U.S. government’s last effort to solve an international crisis. The artwork is simple, direct, and bold. I haven’t read a comic book in a long time partly because the “graphic novel” genre has become too graphic for me, but I enjoyed WORLD WAR///hack; it was a right combination of action, suspense, and hacking geekery.

Sharp AQUOS 104sh

The Sharp AQUOS 104sh is an Android 4.0 smartphone sporting a 4.5-inch 1280×720 LCD good for a 326 ppi resolution. 1280×720 at the 4.x-mark seems to be where premium Android smartphones are congregating. To me Android smartphones are Android smartphones with little to no significant differences among the hundreds that are out there. But the Sharp AQUOS 104sh does seem to have an interesting and unique feature. Sam Byford, The Verge:

The display does have one interesting feature that I’ve never seen included in other manufacturers’ devices before — Sharp’s proprietary VeilView technology intentionally limits the viewing angles so that anyone looking from the side sees nothing but a geometric pattern, while the display remains readable to the phone’s owner.

Wide viewing angles when you want to share, and limited viewing angles when you want privacy. Pretty cool.

MacBook Air-like MacBook Pro

Marco Arment:

To achieve the thinner case and reduce the weight, I’m curious to see if they finally removed the glass in front of the screen. On the current 15” design, the glass adds around 0.4 pounds over the matte option, and its extremely high reflectivity is problematic for a lot of people. If the new 15” offers a plastic-glossy screen instead, like the MacBook Air’s screen, that would save a lot of weight and be far less reflective for people (myself included) who don’t like glass screens.

I was under the impression almost all screens were made of glass. Reflectivity is not the result of the material being glass. Before glossy displays made of glass there were matte displays made of glass. This is my guess as to what Arment wants: The new 15-inch MacBook Pro with a non-glossy matte display without the cover glass. I’d like that too.