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The following article originally appeared in Wide Screen Review (WSR) magazine and is being republished courtesy of the author, Terry Paullin.

..... and other matter's

On the odd chance your TV was disabled during the second week of January and you missed the evening news during that half-fortnight, C.E.S. is the Consumer Electronics Show held annually in the city of conspicuous power consumption, Las Vegas, Nevada.

3 - the number of times in December I said "I'm not going this year".

350 - My best guess at the $ amount of the ticket I got proving, once again, the Mini Cooper and I can cross the Mojave desert in less than four hours.

153,000+ - the record number of attendees who made the trek.

3,000+ - the number of Press taking notes.

11 - the number of Hollywood Stars in attendance, including Justin Bieber, 50 cent, Ludacris and Ryan Seacrest. Imagine our pride ...

20,000 - the number of new products introduced at the show.

3,100 - the number of companies represented at the show.

1.85 - the number (in millions) of sq. ft. of C.E.S. floor space.

190,000,000,000 - the number of dollars we spend in the U.S. on electronic products, annually.

8 - the version of Windows debuted at the show.

84 - diagonal size, in inches, of the LG panel that constantly drew the largest crowd.

20 - diagonal size of the best image at the show (more later)

4 - the number of times, in as many minutes, that I saw the poor soul in the Toshiba "3D without glasses (auto-stereoscopic)" booth have to field the question, "Isn't there something wrong with that TV?"

1 - the number of excess sub-pixels within a pixel in a current Sharp LCD panel - (Quattron is Latin for "too many colors").

4,000 - aka 4K (actually 3,840) - horizontal resolution of a few panels at the show and our new biggest problem since HD was introduced more than 15 years ago..... keep readin'

8,000 - aka 8K or UHDTV if you like (actually 7,680, but who's counting anymore?) - highest resolution shown at the show (65" Sharp). Don't even think about bit-rates and download speeds.

5 - the number of first place votes (out of 5 in our walk-around group) cast for best demo at the show - "The Art of Flight", Dolby Theatre

6 - the number of 5-star dinners we had throughout the week. Thanks Joel, Josh, Craig! I love you, man!

50,000 - approximate number of nerds who will go into withdrawal when they learn Microsoft has pulled out of next year's show.

352 - as of this writing, the number of days before the next one!

Now for some numbers that really matter. They describe a problem we'll be dealing with for at least a couple years. We've seen it before, but we zipped through it quickly and without much hand wringing. This time it could be real trouble. It's called up-conversion. Here's the thing.

Consider the case of the first kid on the block to bring home the new Holy Grail, an 8 million pixel display (be cool and call it 4K) ... could happen in the second half of this year. He pops in his favorite reference Blu-Ray disc, looking for nirvana. By review of a couple other numbers, here's what's going to happen.

The BD player is going to spit out data for 2,073,600 pixels (1080x1920) like it always does, to a panel that is obliged to light up 8,294,400 pixels (2160x3840). What happens now?

The panel manufacturer will tell you, "Due to our proprietary algorithm for spatial and temporal smoothing, everything will image properly.

If given sodium pentothal he would have said "One pixel in four will be correct. The other three will just be guesses".

On a 42" PDP, the quality of the "guesses" might not be such a big deal, but on the 84" LG at the show, you could see the artifacts from 15 feet. Now add fast motion ... whoa!

Now let's watch a standard DVD ... remember those? (480x720). This time, one pixel in 24 is original and 23 are hocus-pocus. Standard definition on an 8K display? One pixel in 96 will be accurate. I'm sure you can see what's happening here.

Let's be clear about resolution ... O.K., pun intended. 4K is waaay better than old fashion HD. Four times better to be precise - but ONLY if fed with a native resolution source.

In an effort to demonstrate that 4K wasn't just for large screens, Panasonic demo'ed a 4K, 20" screen at the show ... but they cheated ... sort of. The content was uncompressed from a 4k camera. Absolutely gorgeous. Best image I saw at the show, bar none. Sadly, we can't do that. We're stuck with 1080 feeds for awhile.

Moral is, when the day comes when we have ample 4K content, we are going to LOVE our 4K displays. Until then, we'll just have to pray for good guesses.


"Making movies is the art of turning money into light .... and then reversing the process"

............. George Lucas

Posted by Terry Paullin, February 13, 2012 7:43 AM

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About Terry Paullin

After 25+ years as a Silicon Valley Executive, most recently as President and C.O.O. of Crosscheck, Mr. Paullin decided to follow his passion to the emerging Home Theatre industry. In 1994 he formed Front Row Cinema to design, build and calibrate Home Theaters for private residences. Nearly 600 theaters later, he remains engaged in the Industry in the following ways.

Builds dedicated (single purpose) Home Theaters and "Theatre Environments" (rooms used for other purposes as well).

Teaches Imaging Science and other courses for the Imaging Science Foundation. Mr. Paullin has taught CEDIA accredited classes to the installation community at both AVAD and ADI.

Consults to Industry on the topic of Imaging Science (Pioneer, Optima, In-Focus and several others under non-disclosure). Mr. Paullin has served on the Board of two companies and the Advisory committee of two others.

Has written articles/product reviews for major industry publications, including Widescreen Review, The Perfect Vision, The Ultimate Guide to A/V, WIRED magazine and CEPro and has maintained a monthly column (One Installer's Opinion) in Widescreen Review for the past eight years.

Mr. Paullin has a B.S.E.E. degree from Long Beach State University and performs ISF monitor calibrations for private individuals.

Mr. Paullin also maintains 3 theaters in his home for testing, comparison, performance verification, and reference viewing.