Getting the Big Picture

  When did theatrical television begin? Would you believe 1877? On March 29 of that year, someone using the pen name “Electrician” described a device called an “electroscope,” some sort of image-transmission system — some sort of large-image transmission system. “Electrician’s” letter was published in The Sun the next day (the newspaper most famous for its […]  More

What It Was Was Television

  Did Thomas Edison predict television? According to some histories, the answer is yes, and the evidence is the image below, published on December 9, 1878 and captioned “Edison’s Telephonoscope (Transmits Light As Well As Sound).” The award-winning historian Erik Barnouw referred to it as a “startling prediction,” though he correctly attributed it to writer […]  More

Smellyvision and Associates

 What is reality? And is it something we want to get closer to? Take a look at the picture of a cat above, as printed on a package of Bell Rock Growers’ Pet Greens® Treats <http://www.bellrockgrowers.com/cattreats.html>. Does it look unreal? Distorted? Is it? At this month’s HPA Tech Retreat in Indian Wells, California (shown above in […]  More

Satellites Are Really Old

Here’s something to ponder: Why is Galileo called Galileo? Other great astronomers and scientists are known by their last names: Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, etc. Tycho Brahe is known by his first name, but he was Danish, and that was their style at the time. Galileo’s compatriots were known by their last names, but he wasn’t. […]  More

3D: The Next Big Thing?

The annual Tech Retreat of the Hollywood Post Alliance (HPA) is where many new technologies get introduced. Sony reportedly “introduced” its F65 camera and SR-memory technologies at this year’s exhibition of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas in April; more than a year earlier, both were described for HPA Tech Retreat attendees. […]  More

The Blind Leading

Once upon a time, people were prevented from getting married, in some jurisdictions, based on the shade of their skin colors. Once upon a time, a higher-definition image required more pixels on the image sensor and higher-quality optics. Actually, we still seem to be living in the era indicated by the second sentence above. At […]  More

Y4K?

  What should come after HDTV? There’s certainly a lot of buzz about 3D TV. Such directors as James Cameron and Douglas Trumbull are pushing for higher frame rates. Several manufacturers have introduced TVs with a 21:9 (“CinemaScope”) aspect ratio instead of HDTV’s 16:9. Some think we should increase dynamic range (the range from dark […]  More

The Best 3D Conference

Do you think you know something about stereoscopic 3D? Test yourself with the six basic journalistic questions: who, what, when, where, how, and why. Who wrote the first article on holographic television to appear in the SMPTE Journal? What is cyclovergence? When is a seven-second stereo delay appropriate? Where can lens centering be corrected instantly […]  More

The Reversal: Codecs & Capture at NAB 2011

It is common at the annual equipment exhibition of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention to find products that are smaller, lighter, less-expensive, and better than what came before. Occasionally, there are even breakthroughs. But a complete reversal is something different. Yet that’s what happened at NAB 2011. Some think “How?” is the most […]  More

How Good Is Good Enough?

As usual, there were many new, useful products announced at this month’s annual convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas. As usual, there were also many new trends, one sparked by the the U.S. Congress and another by last month’s earthquake & tsunami in Japan. At the event’s Digital Cinema Summit, […]  More