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Copyright: Bill Evjen

Analyzing CES 2012

Sun, 15 Jan 2012 21:50:41 GMT

Originally posted on: just got back from the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 (CES) which was held in Las Vegas. This is a good show for me and the company that I work for as it shows us some of the possible future trends of digital media consumption. Things presented at CES may just come and go and be quickly forgotten, but at the same time, there are definite themes on the conference that companies need to pay attention to. 3D is so yesterday! This was actually the second CES that I have been to and both were focused on different themes as it seemed to me. Last year’s CES was really all about 3D TVs and even some companies trying to show up the others with glassless 3D TVs. It was amazing to me how much hype there was around 3D televisions at the 2011 CES. The press was really all over this. For me, I never really enjoyed the presentations on 3D TVs. I wear glasses and everything is tough for me to view on these TVs. My eyes strained constantly and watered when I watched. It was always an uncomfortable experience for me to view these types of TVs. There were many instances in watching 3D that you had to be perfectly positioned for the best picture. This approach obviously won’t work that well in the home. The glassless 3D televisions were the absolute worst when it came to positioning yourself in front of the TV. Being off a bit for a glassless television meant that you could almost be certain of a migraine. As far as 2012, there really wasn’t that much in the way of 3D. Don’t get me wrong, it was there, but all the hype was gone. The reason is that it hasn’t really taken off in the public market. More people are gravitating to HD, LED, and Smart TVs while not getting to excited about 3D. The new 3D TVs would be fine if you are a massive movie buff and want to watch your 3D movies a lot, but in my opinion, they don’t fit in that well with the average home TV usage. Most people watch TV in a social setting, with others, their eyes moving from the people they are talking to and back to the television in constant glances. People are walking in and out of the room to stir the macaroni on the stovetop or something similar. This doesn’t make for a great 3D television experience. I think people like 3D – but they would rather have this experience in the theater rather than in the home. So what is new in 3D? Well for one, there was some hype on better looking 3D glasses. These glasses were being showcased in the LG booth. There were also quite a wide variety of other styles from some designer brands (e.g. Oakley, Alain Mikli, etc). OLED TVs! I want one now! Well, the thing that got me the most excited on the TV front was the new OLED TVs. These TVs are so thin (we were seeing them at 4mm thick!). They are also incredible bright and clear. Do you remember that experience when you saw HD for the first time and wondered how that was even possible? Well, looking at OLED was almost as good as that experience. It is considerably better than the HD TVs of today. The picture quality was amazing and the photos/videos here wouldn’t do it any justice. This video doesn’t do the quality justice. It was way way better than this. Even though, this is a video I took of the LG OLED TV. Here is a shot of the thinness of the TV (at 4mm thick) at the Samsung booth: Smart TV Fight! The entire smart TV arena is really starting to come to a battle on direction. First you have the television companies themselves working to bring apps and the entire application model to the television set. The TV companies are creating their own app world. You have Sony, LG, Philips, Samsung, and others working to create an application model that is good for them and their users. Originally there were TV companies that really had a walled-garden approach to their app world. Some of the companies would only allow their own company to supply the apps that were on the TV. But now, there was a lot of movement at CES to include SDKs so that applicati[...]

INETA’s Code Component Challenge Winners Announced!

Tue, 29 Mar 2011 14:15:49 GMT

Originally posted on:


The winners of the INETA Code Component Challenge were announced. I was lucky enough to be a judge for this event. Here are the results:


  • Ron Puckett
  • Greg Gum

Honorable Mention:

  • Saif Khan
  • Henry Lee
  • Preetham Reddy
  • Jim Szubryt

The winners can be viewed at codechallenge2011. The nice thing is that they win a trip to TechEd 2011 in Atlanta!


INETA’s Component Code Challenge

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:15:44 GMT

Originally posted on:

Thanks for the INETA gang for making me a judge this year for their Component Code Challenge. Even better, I am a judge with some of the industries best individuals – Tim Huckaby and Scott Cate! These are two guys that I have a tremendous amount of respect for. They have don’t a lot for this industry in the many years I have known them.

As a contestant – these guys/gals needed to show us judges a sample application that provided an effective use of a component that solved some issue in the dealing with/or display of data. I am currently on a flight from St. Louis to Los Angeles and found that this was a good time to put the headphones on and go through each of the submissions that came our way.

What does the winner get???? Well, an all expense paid trip to TechEd 2011! I am not 100% sure that I am attending myself – but this is a great prize as this is an outstanding conference for any .NET geek (such as myself). All the best to the contestants!

A little later …

Well, I have sent off my votes. All the best to everyone.


Phones, Nokia, Microsoft and More

Mon, 14 Mar 2011 20:02:12 GMT

Originally posted on: phone revolution that is under way at the moment is insanely interesting and continuously full of buzz about directions, failures, and promises. The movement started with Apple completely reinventing what a smart phone was all about and now we have the followers. Though – don’t dismiss the followers, they are usually the ones that come out with the leap frog products when most of the world is thinking about jumping on. Remember the often used analogy – the USA invented the TV – but it was Japan that took it to the next level and now all TVs are from somewhere else other than the USA. Really there are two camps for the phones – the Cool Kids and other kids that no one wants to hang out with anymore. When it comes to cool – for some reason, the phone is an important part of that factor. Everyone wants to show their phone and its configuration (apps installed, etc) to their friends as a sign of (1) “I have money” and (2) I have smarts/tastes/style/etc when it comes to my applications that are on my phone. For those that don’t know – the Cool Kids include: Apple – this is quite obvious as everything Apple produces is in the cool camp. Just having an Apple product on your person means you can dance. Google – this is one of the more interesting releases as they have created something called Android (which in it’s own right is a major brand in itself). Microsoft – you might be saying “Really, Microsoft is cool?”. I would argue that they are indeed cool as it is now associated with XBOX 360, Kinect, and Windows 7. Gone are the days of Bob and that silly paperclip. Well – that’s it. There is nobody else I would stick in that camp. The other kids that weren’t picked for that dodgeball team include: Nokia Motorola Palm Blackberry and many many more The sad part of all this is that no matter what this second camp does now, it won’t be able to get out of this bucket easily. They will always be associated as yesterday’s technology and that association will drive the sales of the phone purchasers of the world. For those in that group, the only possible way out is to get invited to the cool club by one of the cool club members in the hope that their coolness somehow rubs off. To me, this is the move that Nokia is making. They are at this point where they have realized that they don’t have the full scope of the required end to end solution to make this all work. They have the plants to build the phones and the reach of the retailers that sell what they have. What they are missing is the proper operating system for the new world of multi-touch form factor phones. Even the companies that come up with some sort of new operating system for this type of new device, they are still associated with the yesterday and lack the developer community behind them to be the real wave of adoption that this market needs. Think about that – this is a major different between Nokia/Blackberry when you compare it to the likes of Apple, Google, and Microsoft. These three powerhouses having a very large and strong development community that will eagerly take on new initiatives using the skillsets that they have already cultivated over the years of already working with the company. This then results in a plethora of applications that are then placed on an app store of some kind. The developer gets a cut and then Apple/Google/Microsoft then get their cut. It is definitely a win-win. None of the other phone companies and wannabies can provide the same results. What Microsoft was missing was the major phone manufactures coming on board to create and push forward with the phones that are required to start the wave. This is where Nokia can come in and help Microsoft. They have the ability to promote the Windows Phone operating system on a new wave of phones. This does mean that Nokia will sell phones, but they lose out on[...]

Digital HD Transition

Wed, 23 Feb 2011 13:31:46 GMT

Originally posted on:

The HD Experience

  • Roughly 53% of the viewing public has HD capable devices in their home
  • 24% think they are watching HD while they have no subscription to any HD content
  • Today’s HD Considerations
    • Choices abound:
      • format resolution – 720p, 1080i/p
      • frame rates
      • compression and wrapping
      • audio compression and delivery
      • metadata packaging, delivery, and usage
      • content delivery protocols
  • Metadata is going to be a part of the overall experience
  • With emerging technologies:
    • Super Hi-Vision (SHV, UHDTV 4320p), 3D
    • HEVC/H.265, WEBM/VP8
    • HDBaseT, P2PTV
    • Dolby Pulse/HE-AAC
    • Industry standardization
    • Metadata registration, packaging, and delivery standards
  • Improved picture and sound quality is a logical next step but we need to also think about the end to end viewing experience including;
    • 3D video and audio content
    • Mixed-mode viewing to bring interactive and immersive experiences
    • Content Transportability both on-to and off-of the aircraft
  • High Definition Standardization
    • Analog switch off around the world
      • DTV transition completed: 17 countries
      • DTV transition in progress: 45 countries
      • The EU has mandated the end of 2012 as the final date for Analog Switch Off
    • D-Cinema was standardized by SMPTE in 2006
    • Airlines are installing HD displays today
    • Passengers are bringing their own devices now
    • HD TV on airlines are getting bigger and bigger – bigger than SD was – now up to 23”
      • Gray scale data input for color – 6 to 8 bit
      • Contrast – 400 to 700
      • Backlit – LED
    • Encryption – can it be the same for HD?
    • PPV in the cabin?

Future Trends and Challenges for Aircraft Cabins

Wed, 23 Feb 2011 11:43:17 GMT

Originally posted on:

Ingo Wuggetzer

  • The aircraft cabin changes from the 60s till now has worsened.
  • First class is actually premium / economy is still moving down in quality
  • The challenge is to do efficiency and comfort
  • Graying population is a challenge will be 14% of the world’s population soon
  • Obesity increasingly becoming an all-milieu core societal problem
    • Will have impact on seat sizes
  • Female forces – women will increasingly influence business and lifestyle
    • There are now more women in college than men
  • People want to be green and this reflects into aircrafts. You can now buy carbon-offsets when you buy a ticket in some airlines
    • 20% are willing to pay for green products
    • 13% would like to but are not doing it yet
  • Seamless Connectivity
    • Internet is obviously mainstream and the influence of our daily lives
    • 2 billion users in 2010
    • One direction is going mobile
    • Another direction is going social computing
      • We have to explore this to use more with our products
  • Convergence of products
    • iPad usage on Finair , Virgin, Jetstar
    • iPhone share 2%
    • Other smartphones – 11%
    • Feature Phone – 87%
  • Plans to invest in technology trends within the next 3 years
    • connectivity to/from aircraft – 21% major investment / 47% R&D nominal investment
    • Web 2.0 – 22% major investment / 57% R&D nominal investment
  • Cabin technical investments
    • Lighting
    • Wireless
    • Sensors
    • Displays
  • People want to use technologies on the plane that they can use on the ground
  • Planes have moved to digital in the last decade – now they are moving to wireless
  • Data volumes are going through the roof – (Moore’s Law)

Digital Storage for Airline Entertainment

Tue, 22 Feb 2011 18:36:43 GMT

Originally posted on: Thomas Coughlin Common flash memory cards The most common flash memory products currently in use are SD cards and derivative products (e.g. mini and micro-SD cards) Some compact flash used for professional applications (such as DSLR cameras) Evolution of leading flash formats Standardization –> market expansion Market expansion –> volume iNAND –> focus is on enabling embedded X3 iSSD –> ideal for thin form factor devices Flash memory applications Phones are the #1 user of flash memory Flash memory is used as embedded and removable storage in many mobile applications Flash memory is being used in computers as USB sticks and SSDs Possible use of flash memory in computer combined with HDDs (hybrid HDDs and paired or dual storage computers) It can be a removable card or an embedded card These devices can only handle a specific number of writes Flash memory reads considerably quicker than hard drives Hybrid and dual storage in computers SSDs can provide fast performance but they are expensive HDDs can provide cheap storage but they are relatively slow Combining some flash memory with a HDD can provide costs close to those of HDDs and performance close to flash memory Seagate Momentus XT hybrid HDD Various dual storage offerings putting flash memory with HDDs Other common flash memory devices USB sticks All forms and colors Used for moving files around Some sold with content on them (Sony Movies on USB sticks) Solid State Drives (SSDs) Floating Gate Flash Memory Cell When a bit is programmed, electrons are stored upon the floating gate This has the effect of offsetting the charge on the control gate of the transistor If there is no charge upon the floating gate, then the control gate’s charge determines whether or not a current flows through the channel A strong charge on the control gate assumes that no current flows. A weak charge will allow a strong current to flow through. Similar to HDDs, flash memory must provide: Bit error correction Bad block management NAND and NOR memories are treated differently when it comes to managing wear In many NOR-based systems no management is used at all, since the NOR is simply used to store code, and data is stored in other devices. In this case, it would take a near-infinite amount of time for wear to become an issue since the only time the chip would see an erase/write cycle is when the code in the system is being upgraded, which rarely if ever happens over the life of a typical system. NAND is usually found in very different application than is NOR Flash memory wears out This is expected to get worse over time Retention: Disappearing data Bits fade away Retention decreases with increasing read/writes Bits may change when adjacent bits are read Time and traffic are concerns Controllers typically groom read disturb errors Like DRAM refresh Increases erase/write frequency Application characteristics Music – reads high / writes very low Video – r high / writes very low Internet Cache – r high / writes low On airplanes Many consumers now have their own content viewing devices – do they need the airlines? Is there a way to offer more to consumers, especially with their own viewers Additional special content tie into airplane network access to electrical power, internet Should there be fixed embedded or removable storage for on-board airline entertainment? Is there a way to leverage personal and airline viewers an[...]

Screen Aspect Ratio

Tue, 22 Feb 2011 16:30:38 GMT

Originally posted on: Dean, Pixar Aspect Ratio is very important to home video. What is aspect ratio – the ratio from the height to the width 2.35:1 The image is 2.35 times wide as it is high Pixar uses this for half of our movies This is called a widescreen image When modified to fit your television screen They cut this to fit the box of your screen When a comparison is made huge chunks of picture is missing It is harder to find what is going on when these pieces are missing The whole is greater than the pieces themselves. If you are missing pieces – you are missing the movie The soul and the mood is in the film shots. Cutting it to fit a screen, you are losing 30% of the movie Why different aspect ratios? Film before the 1950s 1.33:1 Academy Standard There were all aspects of images though. There was no standard. Thomas Edison developed projecting images onto a wall/screen He didn’t patent it as he saw no value in it. Then 1.37:1 came about to add a strip of sound This is the same size as a 35mm film Around 1952 – TV comes along NTSC Television followed the Academy Standard (4x3) Once TV came out, movie theater attendance plummets So Film brought forth color to combat this. Also early 3D Also Widescreen was brought forth. Cinema-Scope Studios at the time made movies bigger and bigger There was a Napoleon movie that was actually 4x1 … really wide. 1.85:1 Academy Flat 2.35:1 Anamorphic Scope (aka Panavision/Cinemascope) Almost all movies are made in these two aspect ratios Pixar has done half in one and half in the other Why choose one over the other? Artist choice It is part of the story the director wants to tell Can we preserve the story outside of the theaters? TVs before 1998 – they were very square Now TVs are very wide Historical options Toy Story released as it was and people cut it in a way that wasn’t liked by the studio Pan and Scan is another option Cut and then scan left or right depending on where the action is Frame Height Pixar can go back and animate more picture to account for the bottom/top bars. You end up with more sky and more ground The characters seem to get lost in the picture You lose what the director original intended Re-staging For animated movies, you can move characters around – restage the scene. It is a new completely different version of the film This is the best possible option that Pixar came up with They have stopped doing this really as the demand as pretty much dropped off Why not 1.33 today? There has been an evolution of taste and demands. VHS is a linear item The focus is about portability and not about quality Most was pan and scan and the quality was so bad – but people didn’t notice DVD was introduced in 1996 You could have more content – two versions of the film You could have the widescreen version and the 1.33 version People realized that they are seeing more of the movie with the widescreen High Def Televisions (16x9 monitors) This was introduced in 2005 Blu-ray Disc was introduced in 2006 This is all widescreen You cannot find a square TV anymore TVs are roughly 1.85:1 aspect ratio There is a change in demand Users are used to black bars and[...]

Retrofit Certification

Tue, 22 Feb 2011 14:17:30 GMT

Originally posted on: of Regulations on Cabin Systems Installation John Courtright, Structural Integrity Engineering There are “heightened” FAA attention to technical issues related to IFE and Wi-Fi Systems Installations The Aging Aircraft Safety Rule – EWIS & Damage Tolerance Analysis The Challenge: Maximize Flight Safety While Minimizing Costs Issue Papers & Testing, Testing, Testing The role of Airworthiness Directives (ADs) on the design of many IFE systems and all antenna systems. Goal is safety AND cost-effective maintenance intervals and inspection techniques The STC Process Briefly Stated Type Certifications (TC) Supplemental Type Certifications (STC) The STC Process Project Specific Certification Plan (PSCP) Managed by FAA Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) Type of Project (Electrical/Mechanical Systems or Structural) Specific Type of Aircraft Being Modified Schedule Design & Installation Location What does the STC Plan (PSCP) Cover? System Description – What does the system do? System qualification – Are the components qualified? Certification requirements – What FARs are applicable? Installation detail – what is being modified? Prototype installation – What is new? Functional hazard Assessment (FHA) – is it safe? EZAP-EWIS Requirements – Any aging aircraft issues? Certification Data – How is compliance achieved? Delegation and FAA involvement – Who is doing the work? Proposed certification schedule – When is the installation? Certification documentation – What the FAA Expects to see Cabin Systems Certification Concerns In addition to meeting the requirements for DO-160, Cabin System Certification needs to address issues related to: Power management: Generally, IFE and Wi-Fi Systems are classified as “Non-Essential Equipment” from a certification viewpoint. Connected to “non-essential” power buses Must be able to shed IFE & Wi-Fi Systems in a smoke/fire event or Other electrical emergency (FAA Policy 00-111-160) FAA is more relaxed with testing wi-fi. It used to be that you had to have 150 seats with laptops running wi-fi, but now it is down to around 50. Aging aircraft concerns – electrical and structural Issue papers addressing technical concerns involving: “Structural Certification Criteria for Large Antenna Installations” Antenna “Vibration/Buffeting Compliance Criteria” DO-160 : Environmental Test Procedures DO 160 – “Environmental Conditions and Test Procedures for Airborne Equipment”, Issued by RTCA Provides guidance to equipment manufacturers as to testing requirements Temperature: –40C to +55C Vibration and Shock Contaminant susceptibility – fluids and dust Electro-magnetic Interference Cabin systems are generally classified as “non-essential” Swissair 111 crashed (in part) due to non-standard wiring practices. EWIS Design Implications Installation design must take EWIS Requirements into account. This generally means: Aircraft surveys are needed to identify proper wire routing Ensure existing wiring diagrams are correct Identify primary/Secondary/Tertiary bus locations Verify proper separation of wire bundles exist Required separation from fuel quantity indicator system (FQIS) to prevent fuel tang ignition Enhanced Zonal Analysis Procedure (EZAP) Performed EZAP[...]

The Evolution of Television and Home Entertainment

Tue, 22 Feb 2011 11:40:08 GMT

Originally posted on: is a group that is focused on entertainment in the aviation industry. I am attending their conference for the first time as it relates to my job at Swank Motion Pictures and what we do for our various markets. I will post my notes here. The Evolution of Television and Home Entertainment by Patrick Cosson, Veebeam TV has been the center of living rooms for sometime. Conversations and culture evolve around the TV. The way we consume this content has dramatically been changing. After TV, we had the MTV revolution of TV. It has created shorter attention spans, it made us more materialistic, narcissistic, and not easily impressed. Then we came to the Internet. The amount of content has expanded. It contains a ton of user-generated content, provides filtering, organization, distribution. We now have a problem. We are in the age of digital excess. We can access whatever we want. In conjunction with this – we are moving. The challenge we have now is curation. The trends  we see: rapid shift from scheduled to on demand consumption. A move to Internet protocols from cable Rapid fragmentation of media a transition from the TV set to a variety of screens Social connections bring mediators and amplifiers. TiVo – the shift to on demand It is because of a time-crunch Provides personal experiences Once old consumption habits are changed, there is no way back! Experiences are that people are loading up content and then bringing it with them on planes, to hotels, etc. Rapid fragmentation of media sources Many new professional content sources and channels, the rise of digital distribution, and the rise of user-generated content contribute to the wealth of content sources and abundant choice. Netflix, BBC iPlayer, hulu, Pandora, iTunes, Amazon Video, Vudu, Voddler, Spotify (these companies didn’t exist 5 years ago). People now expect this kind of consumption. People are now thinking how to deliver all these tools. Transition from the TV set to multi-screens The TV screen has traditionally been the dominant consumption screen for TV and video. Now the PC, game consoles, and various mobile devices are rapidly becoming common video devices. Multi-screens are now the norm. Social connections becoming key mediators What increasingly funnels traffic on the web, social networking enablers, will become an integral part of the discovery, consumption and sharing model for Television. The revolution will be broadcasted on Facebook and Twitter. There is business disruption There are a lot of new entrants Rapid internationalization Increasing competition from existing media players A fragmenting audience base Web browser Freedom to access any site The fight over the walled garden Most devices are not powerful enough to support a full browser PC will always be present in the living room Wireless link between PC and TV Output 1080p, plays anything, secure Key players and their challenges Services Internet media is increasingly interconnected to social media and publicly shared UGC Content delivery moving to IPTV Rights management issues are creating silos and hindering a great user experience and growth Devices Devices are becoming people’s windows into all kinds of media from all kinds of sources There won’t be a consolidation of the device landscape, rather the opposite Finding the right niche makes the most sense. We are moving to an on demand world of streaming world. People want full access to anything. [...]