Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Poll: More TV Viewers Turn to Web

NEW YORK - More television viewers are turning to the Internet to watch videos, films and TV episodes, according to a new survey.

In the past year, YouTube has widened its lead as the top destination for online videos, while search engines and television networks have gained ground.

Approximately 65 percent of the 2,455 U.S. adults surveyed by Harris Interactive said they have watched a video on YouTube, compared to 42 percent during the same time last year.

"Viewing videos online seems to inspire a sense of adventure, particularly among younger viewers," Joan Barten Kline, a spokeswoman for the company, said in a statement.

More than one-third of viewers overall and half of those 18 to 24 said there is something they really enjoy about discovering a cool video online.

"They seem to take particular pride in their finds online and share them with friends," Barten Kline added.

More than 42 percent of YouTube viewers said they visit the site frequently, up from 33 percent last year.

Apart from YouTube, which most people favored because they felt it had almost every video they could find, 43 percent said they have watched a video on a TV network Web site, followed by 35 percent on news sites and less than 30 percent on search engines such as Yahoo and Google.

Social networks such as MySpace and Facebook as well as music site iTunes also had a lower share of online viewers.

Online viewers said they would watch more TV episodes and full-length movies if more were available. There was less interest in viewing more amateur or user-generated videos, news and sports, according to the survey.

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Other ways to get HDTV

While the traditional over-the-air, cable, and satellite providers are busy battling it out for the HDTV dollars, new ways to get HDTV appear every day. Here's a look at some alternatives to the big three.


IPTV basically means television delivered via a broadband connection. Strictly speaking, it's different from TV delivered over the Internet because the network itself is private as opposed to the Internet at large, although in everyday use, the term is often used to cover any TV content that's delivered online. IPTV is usually seen as a move by phone companies to compete against cable TV operators for television business, and IPTV service is often bundled with a broadband Internet connection and VoIP telephone service. Aside from Verizon and AT&T (below), numerous companies are developing IPTV technology, including Microsoft, Cisco, Siemena, Samsung, Motorola, Scientific Atlanta, and others. In short, IPTV is big business.

HDTV programming is just one of the possible components of an IPTV solution. The technology also promises much more robust VOD (video on demand) options, including HD on demand and movies on demand. The VOD concept can be expanded to essentially take the place of live television. In some VOD concepts, for example, the customer can freely choose which television shows to watch whenever he or she wants.

Fios and U-verse

Over the last couple of years, Verizon Wireless--yes, the phone company--has been rolling out a new service called Fios TV in select areas of the country. Using a new fiber-optic network that runs straight into subscribers' houses, Fios TV offers more than 300 standard-definition channels and around 25 HD channels. Since those channels are delivered via traditional cable TV technology--albeit over an optical connection--users can elect to skip the set-top box and connect their CableCard HDTVs or DVRs (like TiVo HD) directly to the Fios optical-network terminal installed in their homes. Fios also employs IPTV technology to deliver video on demand, pay-per-view, and programming-guide data, but these services require the set-top box. Prices are competitive with cable TV offerings, and include the same kind of "triple-play" service, combining phone, Internet, and TV.

Meanwhile, AT&T offers U-verse, its own fiber-optic TV service that is almost entirely IP-based. Currently the nation's largest implementation of IPTV, U-verse differs from Fios and cable in that only the channels the user wants to watch or record are delivered at any one time. This allows some interesting features, including the ability of a U-verse DVR to record up to four live channels at once (most cable and satellite DVRs are restricted to two), although currently only one can be high-def. The service also offers picture-in-picture and remote DVR programming over the internet or compatible mobile devices, and AT&T promises more future services such as a "whole-home DVR." One downside is that you'll definitely need to use the service's set-top box; CableCard devices aren't compatible. U-verse offers more than 300 standard-definition channels and around 25 HD channels, and pricing is competitive with cable. Access to the HD channels costs an extra $10 per month.

Other companies--including Microsoft--are making headway with Internet-based video delivery systems that boast multiple feeds on a single screen and a wealth of interactivity options.

Wondering where you can sign up? Well, don't crack your wallet just yet. Verizon's Fios TV is only available in select areas of the country, and the rollout is on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis. U-verse is adding also cities all the time, but currently availability is even more restricted than Fios. The rollout of other large-scale IPTV services will also be local rather than national.

Today's Satellite HD Service

Satellite TV dish
Photo courtesy DIRECTV
DIRECTV is one of the two major satellite service providers in the U.S.

Many satellite television service providers offer HD programming as an incentive to attract customers. The two major satellite service providers in the United States are DISH Network and DIRECTV. Both companies offer several different service packages aimed at every level of consumer, from families to serious couch potatoes. DISH Network and DIRECTV also provide several options for people interested in HDTV programming.

DIRECTV and DISH Network are constantly working on improving service, including package pricing and channel selection. This makes it difficult to compare the two providers, but in general here's how they match up:

  • DIRECTV offers a package that will soon include more than 80 channels broadcast in HD. Other packages include up to 40 channels in HD. In all but two packages, DIRECTV treats HD as an add-on, meaning that customers must pay an additional $9.99 per month in order to access HD content. The other two packages include HD in the price of the monthly service. HD channels include several movie channels like HBO and Showtime, sports channels, and specialty channels like the National Geographic Channel. Some channels, like the Smithsonian Channel HD, are only available in HD.
  • DISH Network offers more than 70 HD channels for subscribers, though the channels each customer has access to varies depending on his or her subscription package. The HD add-on is $20 per month. Selection of HD channels varies by region, and in some regions the DISH Network can include locally broadcast HD channels.

In many regions, satellite HD service providers offer more channels in high definition than cable. For example, in Atlanta, Comcast, a cable company, offers 15 channels in HD, including several local broadcast stations. Because cable companies are regionally oriented, it's easy for them to carry local HD stations. Satellite television service providers are nationally oriented. In some regions, the provider might have an office that collects and broadcasts local HD channel signals to the appropriate satellite. Depending on a customer's region and provider, he or she might be able to watch local channels in HD. Otherwise, the only way a satellite customer can view local HD is to use an antenna connected directly to the television set to pick up the broadcast signals.

The HD Debate
Neither cable nor satellite HD service is perfect: There are pros and cons to both.
  • Cable advantages: local HD channels usually available and signal strength not affected by inclement weather
  • Cable disadvantages: limited channel selection
  • Satellite HD advantages: larger selection of HD channels, including niche channels unavailable in most cable markets
  • Satellite HD disadvantages: may not carry local HD channels and inclement weather can interfere with the signal

Precursor mRNA

Precursor mRNA, more correctly termed heterogeneous nuclear RNA (hnRNA), is an immature single strand of messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA). HnRNA is synthesized from a DNA template in the cell nucleus by a process called transcription.

Once hnRNA has been completely processed, it is termed "mature messenger RNA", "mature mRNA", or simply "mRNA".


Eukaryotic hnRNA exists only briefly before it is fully processed into mRNA. HnRNAs include two different types of segments, exons and introns. Exons are segments that are retained in the final mRNA, while introns are removed in a process called splicing, which is performed by the spliceosome.

Additional processing steps attach modifications to the 5' and 3' ends of the hnRNA. These include a 5' cap of 7-methylguanosine and a poly-A tail.

When an hnRNA strand has been properly processed, becoming an mRNA sequence, it is exported out of the nucleus and eventually translated into a protein... a process accomplished in conjunction with ribosomes.

Epidermis (skin)

Cross-section of all skin layers
Cross-section of all skin layers
Optical Coherence Tomography tomogram of fingertip, depicting stratum corneum (~500µm thick) with stratum disjunctum on top and stratum lucidum (connection to stratum spinosum) in the middle. At the bottom superficial parts of the dermis. Sweatducts are clearly visible.
Optical Coherence Tomography tomogram of fingertip, depicting stratum corneum (~500µm thick) with stratum disjunctum on top and stratum lucidum (connection to stratum spinosum) in the middle. At the bottom superficial parts of the dermis. Sweatducts are clearly visible.

Epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin. It forms the waterproof, protective wrap over the body's surface and is made up of stratified squamous epithelium with an underlying basal lamina.


The epidermis contains no blood vessels, and is nourished by diffusion from the dermis. The main type or the four principal types of cells which make up the epidermis are keratinocytes, melanocytes, Langerhans cells and Merkels cells. It is a keratinized stratified squamous epithelium.


The epidermis is divided into several layers where cells are formed through mitosis at the innermost layers. They move up the strata changing shape and composition as they differentiate and become filled with keratin. They eventually reach the top layer called stratum corneum and become sloughed off, or desquamated. This process is called keratinization and takes place within weeks. The outermost layer of epidermis consists of 25 to 30 layers of dead cells.


Epidermis is divided into the following 5 sublayers or strata, listed from the superficial to deep:

It is the deepest layer of the skin specifically the epidermis. the anatomical structure of it is composed of a single row of cuboidal of columnar keratinocytes.

Mnemonics used for remembering the layers of the skin (using "stratum basale" instead of "stratum germinativum"):

  • "Corn Lovers Grow Several Bales" (from superficial to deep)
  • "Before Signing, Get Legal Counsel" (from deep to superficial)

Additional images