Electronic Visualization for the Next Century

  • AV-over-IT, Unplanned Obsolescence, and Unintended Consequences

    June 3, 2019

    The audiovisual industry, like many others, is in the midst of a big paradigm shift. That term is often beaten to death, but in this case, it’s apropos as we are redefining the process of switching and distributing audio and video signals (with control and metadata thrown in). And we’re doing it by migrating to a packet structure, using standard TCP/IP headers and streaming protocols. And we’re not alone. Broadcast, cable, and satellite video services are adopting IT-centric models for signal management, a trend that began year ago with the first streaming video services. We laughed at those early attempts, as a combination of slow networks and inefficient video compression imposed limits on image resolution and refresh rates. Remember the old jokes about “dancing postage stamps” heard at the NAB show in 1999, in the Streaming Media pavilion? Well, no one’s laughing these days. We can send 4K video with multichannel surround over fast broadband networks to multiple ho..Read more

  • Useful Gadgets: TiVo BOLT OTA

    October 2, 2018

    I’ve been a long-time fan of TiVo, going back to my first Model 1 in 1999 – almost 20 years ago. That product, manufactured by Philips, used a dial-up connection to get program guide data and recorded about 14 hours maximum of analog composite video. How times have changed! I replaced the first model with the TiVo HD in 2006, installing (and constantly fidgeting with) a pair of CableCards so I could get everything to work with my Comcast service. Various other solutions were out into place to record over-the-air (OTA) programs over the past decade, and along the way, the TiVo HD gave way to an xFinity DVR (manufactured by Samsung), adding a satellite (slave) receiver for the master bedroom. This is likely the only house in my neighborhood which has both cable TV service and a bevy of roof-top and attic antennas, a combination that didn’t make sense to my neighbors until Hurricane Sandy blew ashore in 2012 and the high winds it generated took down a 75’-tall oak tree nearb..Read more