Wednesday, December 26, 2007

60in Average Screen Size by 2015

The electronics giant Sharp has predicted that many of us will be settling down in front of 60in screens across Europe by 2015. Although the 50in category is the fastest growing segment of the market, Sharp are confident that the trend towards bigger screens will see the average flat panel size supersede this level in the not too distant future.

Mike Gabriel, Sharp Electronics UK head of marketing and communications said: "Big screens are no longer for just shop windows or shiny office receptions so we're seeing the size of TVs in the home increasing dramatically. People no longer have to compromise on space or quality. This is why our range of TVs at 42 inches and above is growing."

In just one year, the the most popular size LCD panels that Sharp sells are their 46in models compared to 42in just a year ago. Sharp's 46in TV's have witnessed a sales surge of 150% in the past 12 months. Significantly, slimmer designs mean that 42in sets are now made to occupy the same living room space as their 37in predecessors used to.

Of course, the main driving force towards bigger screens are falling prices. Economies of scale, technological advances and new entrants are all helping to drive down prices.

Not so long ago, 32in screens were seen by many consumers as the upper limit in the size of TV they felt comfortable with. Now 40in + and even 50in screens are commonplace, and with the likes of LG producing affordable 60in units, the upward trend looks set to continue.

DNA nanomechanical devices

DNA complexes have been made which change their conformation upon some stimulus. These are intended to have applications in nanorobotics. One of the first such devices, called "molecuar tweezers," changes form an open to a closed state based upon the presence of control strands.

DNA machines have also been made which show a twisting motion. One of these makes use of the transition between the B-DNA and Z-DNA forms to respond to a change in buffer conditions. Another relies on the presence of control strands to switch from a paranemic-crossover (PX) conformation to a double-junction (JX2) conformation.[9]

DNA polyhedra

A number of three-dimensional DNA molecules have been made which have the connectivity of a polyhedron such as an octahedron or cube. In other words, the DNA duplexes trace the edges of a polyhedron with a DNA junction at each vertex. The earliest demonstrations of DNA polyhedra involved multiple ligations and solid-phase synthesis steps to create catenated polyhedra. More recently, there have been demonstrations of a DNA truncated octahedron made from a long single strand designed to fold into the correct conformation, as well as a tetrahedron which can be produced from four DNA strands in a single step.[8]

High Definition Gaming


xbox 360

Not so long ago games consoles were simply that, games consoles. Sony broke the mould seven years ago with the addition of a dvd player to their PlayStation 2.

This started a trend that has seen consoles slowly evolving into entertainment systems, and with the advent of High Definition DVD, the capability to play this format is a compelling reason to invest in one of the new breed of offerings from Sony or Microsoft. We take a look at those offerings here starting with the Sony PlayStation 3 which will be available in the UK in March 2007.

The previous generation of game consoles began offering a DVD level of resolution on certain titles: original versions of the GameCube offered 480p output (it was dropped from later iterations of the console), and the PlayStation 2 delivers 480p wide-screen from many games and doubles as a progressive-scan DVD player.

The original Xbox offered 480p as the baseline for its library of titles, and a handful of games even delivered 720p and 1080i resolutions.

The latest generation of game consoles is even more HD-friendly. All of the Xbox 360 game titles run at 720p or 1080i, and it can stream HD video from a Media Center or Vista PC elsewhere on a home network.

The PlayStation 3, meanwhile, will support HD games as well as double as a Blu-ray movie player. Only the Nintendo Wii lacks native high-def support, but it should offer 480p wide-screen output, meaning it can look just as good as a standard DVD.

Sony PlayStation 3

When Sony introduced their PlayStation 2, it soon became clear that not only was this console a route into impressive game playing capability, but it was also a route into affordable DVD playing. At the time, DVD players were expensive, and savvy consumers soon realised that they could keep the kids happy, and get themselves a half decent movie player in one feel swoop.

Wind forward seven years, and Sony look like they are playing the same master stroke with their PlayStation 3, with blu-ray replacing the original dvd playing capability.

Quick Look

The PlayStation 3 is due for launch in March 2007, and Sony is going to be making lots of game playing friends by making it compatible with PlayStation 1 & 2 games. Possibly an even greater incentive (for those that will be shelling out and not necessarily playing games on the new console) is the blu-ray playing capability which comes along with DVD, DVD-ROM, DVD+/-R and CD-R/W.

Initially the new console will be made available in two forms. The premium version will come with 60GB hard drive, multiple flash memory card readers, wi-fi, HDMI output, while the cheaper version will be made available with a 20 GB hard drive, HDMI, but missing wi-fi and the flash card readers.

Design and Features

The PlayStation 3 has been designed to grace even the most well appointed of living rooms, its sleak black design lending a graceful appearance.

The spec is stunning, with 3.2Ghz processor and 256Mb of memory, with another 265Mb of video memory providing a formidable wallop. A very interesting feature, especially for those wondering whether there is any point in buying a true 1080p Plasma or LCD screen is that resolution for the PlayStation 3 is up to this level – stunning levels of realism a certainty.

There’s support for up to seven Bluetooth remote controllers and Sony’s PSP hand-held games console can be used as a remote screen controller.

When launched in the UK the PlayStation three is expected to cost around £425 for the premium console, and around a hundred less for the standard version.

Microsoft Xbox 360

When it launched last year the Xbox 360 was one of the first players of High Definition content. With the addition of an optional HD DVD drive, this games console has now become a device capable of playing High Definition movies on HD ready screens.

Quick Look

Without a doubt, the Xbox 360 currently offers the best gaming experience bar none. Some users might not even be aware of the sheer processing power available to them if they purchase one of these units.

The Xbox is basically a PC with three IBM processors running at 3.2Ghz. A 500MHz graphics processor with 512Mb of Ram offer near today’s current standards for PCs with a 12x dual-layer DVD-ROM drive completing the package. High-Definition output is available at 720p, 1080i and as a result of a recent firmware patch 1080p. The 1080p is compelling if only for the fact that it gives potential HD Plasma screen buyers a reason to spend extra for this capability.

Design and Features

Not as happy at home in the living room as the up coming PlayStation 3 Microsofts Xbox 360 is nonetheless the most stylish piece of kit produced to date. Its relatively cheap to, costing around £280 for the 20Gb version with wireless controller (£210 for no hard drive or wireless controller).

With the deluxe version, analogue audio output are present and an interconnector with component and composite video.VGA and scart options are available, but there is no DVI or HDMI ouput. There is output for real-time 5.1 channel surround sound.


For £280 the game playing capability of the Xbox 360 is stunning, but there’s much more to this console with the addition of an Ethernet port allowing broadband and PC connectivity.

The Microsoft Xbox 360s graphical interface has been designed with the same look and feel of Microsofts media centre, and follows the capability of this software to some degree with an ability to stream video, TV, music.


The most compelling reason to buy the Microsoft Xbox 360 is that it is available now, and is a stunning game playing console. The PlayStation 3 is more accomplished and will have the ability to play blu-ray rather than HD DVD discs.

The choice may be obvious to some with one being available in the shops now. For others it may boil down to decision between the HD DVD v Blu-ray playing capability and which format to choose. Whatever the decision, both consoles will provide stunning game playing fun with the ability to play movies in High definition.

Optimize HDTV

Basic Optimization

There is a lot you can do to optimize your HDTV with only a basic understanding of how to use your TVs remote control. Electrical showrooms display HD TVs with a view to creating maximum impact. This often means for example that brightness levels are set to high for the average user, and can be to the detriment of the viewing experience in the home. The good news is that these type of settting can easily be optimized.

Room lighting

Since most people turn down the lights to watch a movie, our recommendations are designed to deliver a better HD picture in rooms with controlled lighting. Unless you have a big-screen projector or you're sitting at the minimum viewing distance, you shouldn't watch movies in complete darkness - it can cause eyestrain. For bright plasmas and smaller direct-view sets, the ideal setup is to place a dim light directly behind the TV and leave the rest of the room dark. Look for special "daylight" bulbs that glow at 6,500 degrees Kelvin. You should also prevent any light in the room from reflecting off the TV, as glare will hamper image fidelity. Watching at night is best, but if you watch during the day, thick curtains will really improve the picture.

Before you make any of the adjustments detailed below, set room lighting as if you were about to watch a movie.


Optimize Brightness

What it is: Also called black level, brightness actually adjusts how dark the black sections of the picture appear.

What it does: Excessive brightness can result in a two-dimensional, washed-out look with reduced color saturation. Images with brightness set too low lose detail in shadows, and distinctions between dark areas disappear in pools of black.

How to set it: Turn up the brightness to full, then reduce until just at the point you notice a loss of shadow detail - for example, when people's eyes disappear into the depths under their brows, then you've set brightness too low. Some plasma, LCD, DLP, and LCoS TVs won't ever look black, so you'll need a setup disc to properly configure their brightness.


Optimize Contrast

What it is: Also called picture or white level, contrast controls the intensity of the white parts of the image and determines the overall light output of the display.

How to set it: Display a still image from DVD of a white object with some visible details - such as someone wearing a white button-up shirt or a shot of a glacier from the Ice Age DVD. Adjust the control up all the way, then reduce it until you can make out all the details in the white (such as buttons on a shirt or cracks in the ice). In general, TVs look best when contrast is set between 30 and 50 percent.


Optimize Colour

What it is: Also called saturation, this control adjusts how intense the colors look.

What it does: When there's too much color, the set looks garish and unrealistic. It's most noticeable with reds, which are often accentuated (pushed) by the TV's color decoder. On the other hand, too little color diminishes the impact of the picture, making it look drab. Setting color to zero results in a black-and-white image.

How to set it: If available find an image of someone with light, delicate skin tones, preferably a close-up of a face, on a DVD. Turn up the color control until it looks like the person has sunburn, then reduce it until the skin looks natural, without too much red. If the rest of the colors look too drab, you can increase color slightly at the expense of accurate skin tones.