Archive for January, 2013


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Before even watching the trailer of the 2012 adaptation, I decided to go with Sly Stallone’s 1995 Judge Dredd. And to put it nicely, it was way below the expectations I had from it. The only reason I did this was to avoid disappointment a second time after toiling through the remake of “Total Recall”. But the consistently good reviews were persuasive enough to buy this one through Amazon.

Got the Bluray, popped it in the BD player and switched on my 3D TV to see if it was worth the bucks I had shelled out or just another damp squid. An hour and a half later, and I was still in the spellbinding mode that the constant adrenaline had cast over me! I gladly admit that this one has been one of my better investments till date.

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Now to the movie, clichéd setup in a survivor city with Hall of Justice being the only entity working to maintain order in the chaos. Car chase and a routine investigation which goes wrong when Dredd along with a rookie gets stuck in a tower complex to survive the assault of unscrupulous narcotics distribution syndicate.  Now without getting into details, the movie scores where the 1995 version failed. Dredd in this is a ruthless, hard-boiled hunter without being mellow in his approach. The action sequences are fresh and very well-shot and the whole environment lends a noir feeling to the story.

And the most pleasant aspects are definitely the way 3D effects have been used. A couple of scenes where characters are shown under the influence of Slo-Mo (which by the way tends to slow down time to 1% in the inhaler’s brain) as well as the savage shooting and blood spilling that brought out the best of 3D elements within the narration. Personal recommendation from my end as this one’s a must watch for action lovers!

Understanding IGZO displays

One particular technology that really caught my eye at CES 2013 was Sharp’s IGZO display technology. Still relatively new from the consumer aspect and not something you will be aware of if you are not much into consumer technology. Having said that, I hope this post of mine does justice to this cutting-edge display tech. Sharp showcased their IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) displays co-developed with Corning Glass Inc. It is an indigenous high-resolution display which can match a 4K resolution. And judging by its capability to have a pixel density of up to 500-550 ppi, it can give the current existing Retina and AMOLED displays a serious run for their money!

 

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Let’s converge on the high points of an IGZO display. Here are a select few –

1) Crisp Visuals: Smaller transistors in the circuit mean high electron mobility and pixel density which results in stunningly clear and detailed images i.e. up to 4 times the standard 1080p resolution.

2) Lighter and Slimmer Form Factor: IGZO sheets are relatively slimmer and malleable without losing the robust identity which means the smart devices that incorporate IGZO will be more lightweight than even before.

3) Extended battery life: The top line displays need constant screen refresh to accommodate for continued visual goodness. An IGZO display on the other hand is capable of retaining a static image without losing the display quality; that essentially means your phone’s Home Screen with all the widgets and app links would not need constant refreshing which demands less out of the device battery thus reducing power consumption. Dare I say that the standard Smartphone battery life might increase by almost a day with an IGZO display?!

4) Better Touch Response: The tightly-condensed structure of an IGZO-display enables much more precise touch response, especially in multi-point touch screens which makes it a boon for future Smartphone displays.

 

 

Rather than me saying anything more, a good viewing of the video credibly illustrates the kind of punch that IGZO displays pack. To round it up, IGZO is mesmerizing and eagerly awaited! (At least by me for now!)

The past year or so has passed with expectation for the consumer Display industry with the unveiling of OLED TVs at CES 2012 and IFA 2012. But more than a launch, it was a presser by companies to show the industry what they have in store for the coming years.

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And just when you would expect that CES 2013 would act as the carrier for finalized launch dates of these OLED TVs, both the Korean giants threw an unexpected but pleasant surprise at the audience in Las Vegas this year. Along with the shipping announcements for OLED TVs, we got to witness prototypes of curved OLED TVs. To be honest, even I looked at the latest entrants with a thorough brow anticipating the whole deal to be a damp squid.

sammy curved oled tv

At first look one might assume these TVs to be malleable considering the curved design. Not so much as they are just flexible OLED displays which have been designed as such and are not bendable at all. The whole idea behind having a curved screen is to make sure that the display is equidistant from the viewer’s eyes and there any visual distortion on the edges.

But with no announcements for plans on commercial production or pricing, these TVs still look far away from the realization of having one at your place. Having said that, there’s no doubt about the fact that these curved OLED TVs with a concave form factor from LG and Samsung are every videophile’s dream!

TVs galore at CES 2013

If the keynotes and unveilings at the ongoing CES 2013 is anything to go by then these are exciting times for consumer display technologies. International-CESTechnologies which looked inconceivable are being flaunted in full fledge in Las Vegas. Here’s a manufacturer-wise low-down on all these exciting technologies.

Sony – Having trailed behind Samsung and LG in the OLED TV race, Sony’s unveiling of a 56” prototype 4K OLED TV took everyone by surprise. The mashup may look wishful on the face of it, but the picture quality, contrast ratio and black levels which an OLED TV is capable of producing coupled with the high amount of detail its 4K resolution can show might just make this TV the ultimate beast once it commercially materializes.

Panasonic – Since Sony and Panasonic had collaborated last year to produce OLED screens, Panasonic also showed off its own 56” 4K OLED prototype. And it doesn’t look like the Japanese manufacturer is going to budge from making Plasma’s [despite reducing sales and consumer interest] as it also unveiled its 2013 line-up of Plasma TVs.

Toshiba – Another Japanese firm making sure that the Ultra HD market heats up. Its latest offering, the L9300 Ultra HD TV series just acts as a pointer to how manufacturers perceive the future of TV displays.

LG-throws-CES-2013-a-curveball-with-a-gently-arcing-55-inch-OLED-TVLG – Fresh from the accolades of last year, LG finally announced commercial shipping of its OLED TVs to US in March. The prices are jaw-dropping but so is the technology. Apart from that, it also launched 55” and 65” TVs with Ultra HD resolution to join the 84” LM9600 last year. Also on showcase was the stunning Curved OLED TV which was an instant crowd-puller. And to top it all is the all new Hecto Laser TV Projector which can generate crisp picture in the size range of 100 inches from a very short projection range.

Samsung – Like LG, Samsung also came up with its own curved OLED TV. The concept is aimed at doing away with viewing angle issues as well give a panorama-effect to visuals on it. Although just a concept, it opens up the possibility of having large-sized curved and bendable displays in future. Also on feature was the world’s largest Ultra HD TV at a mouth-watering 85 inches, pipping commercially available LG and Sony Ultra HD sets by an inch.

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Sharp – 60” Purios Ultra HD TV was one of the highlights at the Sharp stand with this set being the first one to receive THX 4K certification. The explanation of IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide) displays was another one that seems exciting as these displays can have a 550 PPI (pixels per inch) making it a serious competition for Apple’s Retina displays. Then there were two prototypes, the 60” Aquos Ultra HD TV and an 8K TV. Considering 4K has been dubbed as Ultra HD by the companies, it will be interesting to see what branding 8K gets.

Simply put, it’s easy to conclude that CES 2013 was the hub of TV displays and technologies accompanying it which means the industry is geared up for transition and gradual overhaul of existing TV displays. So it will be interesting to see how consumers warm up to this vision in the coming years.

International-CES

It’s that time of the year again that one of the biggest consumer electronic fair kicks off in the jam-packed Las Vegas Convention Centre. I am pretty sure that all the technology-enthusiasts out there would be waiting with bated breath to see all the new innovations that are supposed to be unveiled. What we generally miss is the lighter side of things. Browsing across YouTube I found this really quirky yet humorous video which has been compiled with the honest intent of some light-hearted humor.

All credits to the maker for this thoroughly enjoyable compilation. In all seriousness, I will be covering the interesting products that are unveiled during this consumer electronics fair. But for now, I will leave you with the giggles you get from watching this video!

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So it’s been a strenuous week with loads of work inside the office and chilling cold to battle outside. I was finally glad to be snug in my blanket tasting on some yum talumein soup in the evening yesterday. So while switching through the channels on my TV, I come across this “Premiere of the Month” feature “The Darkest Hour”on Star Movies.

Now as anyone would speculate, I had assumed the movie to be a run-of-the-mill psychopath thriller with the title and the youngsters gathering through the opening sequence. But as it turns out, it was a wildly creative SCI-FI concept which didn’t quite reach the heights I had anticipated it would. Moscow being the centre of focus, Earth is being invaded by alien forces that view our planet as a mineral-rich hub with abundance of substances which are good conductors of electricity. The carnage of humanity is just a collateral by-product of their plan.

The most interesting part of the movie was definitely the way these extra-terrestrials were visualized. Instead of blood-thirsty monsters or gadget-equipped hunters, these were entities that operate on electricity and are made invisible by the force fields around them. Humans are seen as electromagnetic pulses and turned to dust upon contact by them. And the only effective weapon to defeat them is microwave lasers. Yes, you read that right; Microwave Lasers. Now obviously it was interwoven as a survival tale of a group caught in the middle of this annihilation.

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Now don’t get me wrong, the conceptualization is original and riveting and kudos to the makers for that. But it lacked the taut script and direction which would have made this movie much better than it was. But hey, at least it was unique! So I don’t have much to complain about 🙂

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So another eventful year has passed by and I am sure everybody was in high spirits while welcoming 2013; buoyed by the fact that the Mayans got it wrong and you’re still alive and kicking! And to be honest, I won’t be exaggerating when I say that the jokes were getting stretched beyond imagination so I am glad it has been put to rest with the passing days.

Now that we’re done with that, I thought what better way to start the New Year than highlighting the highs and lows of consumer electronics in 2012. So here we go!

CES 2012: The Las Vegas electronics feature was quite the crowd-puller with several heavyweights unveiling new technologies. Announcement of flagship handsets by the mainstream players emphasized that future Smartphones will be bigger and better. Laptops were shown to getting evolved from compact machines to cutting-edge “Ultrabooks”. And HDTV’s turned over a new leaf of convergence with the unveiling of the world’s first 55-inch OLED TV by LG.

VERDICT: HIGH!

 

APPLE VS SAMSUNG SAGA: This never-ending dispute seems like giving Harry Potter and LOTR a run for their money! If it had been about core technologies, I would have understood the unrest but going through litigation for icons and features which are a standard for any Smartphone these days is just juvenile at best. This whole rundown is a glorified castigation for consumers who crave innovation.

VERDICT: ALL TIME LOW!

 

LAPTOPS: One would be forgiven for not finding it exciting with the amount of options available but look closely and there’s reason to rejoice. From just being laptops, these machines have evolved into sleeker, robust and faster computing units. Intel’s own Ultrabook and Lenovo Ideapad Yoga represents what mobile computing will be capable of in the coming years.

VERDICT: HIGH!

 

SMARTPHONES: With Android being the dominant OS, Samsung became the biggest manufacturer of Smartphones worldwide overtaking Apple. And the whole tussle did result in some funny commercials. With Sony, LG and HTC lining up their flagship handsets for MWC 2013, it’s exciting times ahead for the Android community. Another major highlight of 2012 has been the emergence of Windows OS as a worthy rival to Android. And with most of the manufacturers working on Windows OS based Smartphones you might soon be spoilt for choice as a prospective consumer.

Obligatory mention: The launch of iPhone 5 amidst the controversies. The newest avatar of iPhone failed to live up to its hype.

VERDICT: It’s a pudding of many flavors so I’ll let you pick and choose!

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IFA 2012: The next one in line, the most important unveilings at this event imo was the launch of Ultra HD TV’s and a few pointers of the impending launch of OLED TV’s. Another gadget that caught the eye was definitely the Samsung Galaxy Camera.

VERDICT: HIGH!

Well that’s about it from my end. And feel absolutely free to share something I might have missed and I’ll be more than happy to update it in here. Coz as they say, you can never know everything yourself!

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