A gang of game design students hailing from Munich shot this “History of Gaming” piece. The first-person perspective takes us on a journey spanning from 1958’s Tennis for Two (played on an oscilloscope) through 1996’s Super Mario 64, and up to 2008’s Rock Band. Although it doesn’t include every video game console invented it does cover the wide gamut. And as much as this is a tour of video games it also reveals the steady progression of television screen technology (ranging from the old CRTs to the modern LCD flatscreens). Click the Vimeo source link to learn more about the making of this video.
This week thousands of developers gathered at Google I/O 2010 in San Fransisco to find out what Google’s got up their sleeve for the next year (and beyond) and how their contributions can make things better for the end user. At this year’s event Google introduced a new video standard, demoed their latest software revision of Android, and pulled the veil off their latest foray into a whole new market–television.
WebM: Flash, HTML5, h.264–these are all video codecs that power different types of video players on the Internet. WebM is a new video codec developed by Google. The plan for the WebM format is to make it open-source and royalty-free from the get-go. WebM is packaged into three parts: VP8, a high-quality video codec under a royalty-free license; Vorbis, an already open source and broadly implemented audio codec; and a container format based on a subset of the Matroska media container. According to Google, “VP8′s efficient bandwidth usage will mean lower serving costs for content publishers and high quality video for end-users. The codec’s relative simplicity makes it easy to integrate into existing environments and requires less manual tuning to produce high quality results.” So far, the following companies are backing the new WebM standard in their browsers: Google (duh), Mozilla, Opera, and Adobe. (Mozilla already updated their Firefox to support it, Opera says their browsers will support it “soon”, Adobe will inject VP8 support into Flash too, and Chrome support comes on on May 24.) Google will also implement it in the YouTube player (HTML5 & WebM, sittin’ in a tree…). WebM also has a list of hardware supporters including AMD, ARM, Broadcom, NVIDIA, Skype, and T.I. But the big question is if Microsoft and Apple will adopt it. At this point, there’s no word if Apple will jump on the bandwagon (big surprise there), and Microsoft has stated it will support WebM in Internet Explorer 9 (but users will be required to install the VP8 codec themselves). If there’s any tech company out there who can develop and push out a new open source video codec it’s Google. With the on-going battle for dominance between the aging Flash and up-and-coming HTML5, it will certainly be interesting to see if Google can emerge out victorious with WebM.
In addition to the 3D programming DirecTV promises to bring this year, ESPN and Discovery have stepped up to the plate with plans to share 3D broadcasts of their own content.
On June 11 ESPN will launch a brand new channel appropriately called “ESPN 3D” and will air their first 3D broadcast with a World Cup soccer match. According to USA Today: “ESPN 3D expects to showcase at least 85 live sporting events during the first year. There’ll be no reruns initially, so the network will be dark when there’s no 3D event. Among other events planned for 3D broadcast: the Summer X Games (extreme sports), NBA games, college basketball and college football.”
Discovery, Sony, and IMAX have joined forces to broadcast the world’s first 24/7 dedicated 3D TV network. Discovery was the first to bring a 24/7 basic cable HD channel in 2002, so this all makes sense, right? The trifecta plans to switch on such a channel sometime in 2011. Bummer, I know. At least we’ll have ESPN 3D to whet our appetite before we immerse ourselves into wild documentaries.
And remember kids–in order to watch HD 3D programming you are required to go out and purchase a compatible TV set along with those pesky glasses. Expect the first wave of 3D-enabled TV sets to hit stores this spring.
According to the HDGuru, DirecTV plans on launching the first 3D HDTV channel in the US sometime next year. It’s been reported that DirecTV recently shot a brand new satellite into orbit that supports the addition of a 3D channel plus other regular HD stations. The satillite becomes operational in March 2010, so that’s the earliest a 3D channel could pop up. HD Guru’s “sources” tell him that all current DirecTV set top boxes will receive a firmware upgrade that will enable it to receive the 3D programming. But remember, in order to watch 3D on your television, you need a TV that supports it. DirecTV is expected to make this announcement at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show; TV manufacturers like LG, Sony, Samsung, and Panasonic are planning on showing off their latest 3D HDTVs as well.
Thing is, I don’t think we are ready for 3D programming yet. Hell, we are just getting used to high definition! A hefty percentage of America finally owns decent HDTVs, and now the industry expects us to go out and buy a new 3D-supported TV. I think not. Let’s stick with 3D in the theatres for now (Avatar and Up were the first 3D movies I thoroughly enjoyed); slowly but surely the industry should allow it to enter the home.
Helex’s “I-Vision” integrates the two main focal points of your living room–a fireplace and a flat-screen television. The HDTV is covered with a glass panel and completely disappears above the gas-powered fireplace when it’s turned off. This fireplace-HDTV hybrid holds a modern, sleek look that can turn any ordinary living room into a technological marvel. And now it’s on my list of things to install into my future home. Additional shot after the break.
There has been a lot of news lately about 3D technology. You may surprised to hear that all the news does not just surround the movie industry. 3D is coming to a TV near you, and the expected date for this technological evolution is 2010 (that’s next year!). TV manufacturers such as Toshiba and Sony plan on embedding 3D tech inside their TVs that will allow broadcasts, DVDs and Blu Rays, and video games to display in glorious three dimensions, making for a more immersive experience in entertainment. The latest news comes from Sony; a representative told Engadget that a future software update for the Playstation 3 will allow “all” existing games to display in 3D. Today, though, Sony has stepped back and told Joystiq that they are “conducting a technological investigation” into the matter and that “there is no plan for the market launch of this at this time.” So, although 3D TV tech is coming soon, a reality with 3D video games may be a bit farther in the future. At least we know they are “investigating” its potential. I’ll just wait over here with my 3D glasses until it all comes true.
Patti Deni, world’s coolest mom, decided she wanted to surprise her teenage son by installing a big-screen TV in the ceiling of her kid’s bedroom. When their new home was being built, Deni contacted company Stereo Advantage with design they had never been asked to complete: instead of having a TV installed on a wall across from a bed, she asked to have the TV built flush against the ceiling of the room! Stereo Advantage installed a 98-inch StarGlas60 display from Stewart Filmscreen into the ceiling without a hiccup. According to ElectronicHouse, “In order to support the weight of the display, plus the NEC video projector and the specialty Draper projection mirrors positioned behind it (a total weight of more than 300 pounds), the ceiling had to be reframed and reinforced.” They also wired the teen’s video games, computer, and cable box to the TV. Mom, my birthday is coming up soon now, isn’t it?