Christie West sent me an email earlier, with really smart links pertaining to HDTV, and how the world is preparing itself for the eventual demise of standard televisions.
From the National Telecommunications and Information Administration:
Households using analog televisions will not be able to receive digital broadcasts after February 17, 2009, unless the analog television is connected to a box that converts the digital signal to an analog format, or the analog television is connected to cable or satellite service. While converters may be important to connect some TVs, other viewers may not need or want converters, such as those who have digital televisions or pay TV service.
From DTV Answers:
DTV is a more flexible and efficient technology than the current analog system. The switch to digital broadcasting will enable television stations to offer dramatically clearer pictures, better sound quality and more programming choices. Under legislation passed by Congress – the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 – over-the-air broadcast television stations are required to turn off their analog channels on February 17, 2009, and continue broadcasting exclusively in the digital format.
On February 28th 2007 the Digital Television Transition Coalition began fulfilling its mission to inform consumers of the February 17, 2009 switch from analog to digital television broadcasting. The coalition is comprised of business, trade and industry groups as well as grass roots and membership organizations that share an interest in a smooth transition. The core mission of the Digital Television Transition Coalition is to ensure no consumer is left without broadcast television due to a lack of information about the transition.
Guess I’m glad I’ve already made the HDTV leap. The only tube we have in this place is the one sitting in our exercise room, and the only reason it’s there is because it has a built-in VHS player (VCR, for those of you who can’t remember what VHS tapes needed for playback). I can’t even remember the last time I… hey, do y’all remember tape rewinders?
Apple’s iTunes Podcasting Team (nameless, faceless people) sent me the following tips for getting along with Apple TV:
If you’re encoding your video podcast at 320×240, please increase the resolution to either 640×480 or 640×360 (depending on the aspect ratio of your source files). Why? Because video podcasts at this resolution look great on Apple TV and still port to video iPods. Lower resolution podcasts might also work on both platforms, but they don’t look nearly as good on a widescreen TV. As always, make sure to test any encoding changes you make to ensure device compatibility. QuickTime 7.1’s “Export to iPod” function will ensure that a video file is encoded at a width of 640 and is iPod-compatible.
It’s best not to create two different podcast feeds for different resolutions. By doing so, you dilute the popularity of your podcast and reduce exposure in our charts. It’s better to have one feed high in the charts than two that are lower.
If your source files are 16:9, stick with that aspect ratio. Don’t add letterboxing to make them 4:3. By doing so, you prevent the video from expanding to fill a 16:9 widescreen TV and instead end up with black space on all four sides. Also, your original source files should be at least 640 pixels wide.
Of course these are just recommendations. We understand that there are good reasons for 320×240 (bandwidth bills) and 720p (looks fantastic). Do whatever makes the most sense for your show. For more information on formatting video, see the recently updated spec.
Leo and his crew invited Ponzi and me up to Vancouver today to help them kick off his new show, “The Lab with Leo Laporte.” We drove in late last night, and will be returning home before tomorrow morning (likely, taking off this evening). Cat Schwartz is up here, too! It’s just like old times – almost. We’re on a real, “live” television set – but the energy is different. Then again, it would be impossible to match the spirit we once had at together at TechTV. Still, this is the next bestest thing – if only momentarily.
Ponzi will be doing a segment on online dating (alhtough she’s hoping to get started with an online video series demystifying mortgage loan documents soon). Cat’s doing “high-tech mommy” products and Skype demonstrations. I’m running through the current beta of UndoTV (even though there’s a much more amazing version that will be unleashed before UndoTV even goes live). We’re all backstage right now, enjoying the company.
Here’s my “live” webcam, uploading images from behind the scenes (refreshes once every minute):