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:: Product Reviews ::


Posted 03/05/2007

The seven HDMI Founder companies (Hitachi, Ltd., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic), Royal Philips Electronics, Silicon Image, Inc., Sony Corp., Thomson, Inc. and Toshiba Corp.) today released a major enhancement of the High-Definition Multimedia Interface™ (HDMI™) specification, the de facto standard digital interface for high definition consumer electronics. HDMI 1.3 will enable the next generation of HDTVs, PCs and DVD players to transmit and display content in billions of colors with unprecedented vividness and accuracy.

The HDMI 1.3 specification more than doubles HDMI’s bandwidth and adds support for Deep Color™ technology, a broader color space, new digital audio formats, automatic audio/video synching capability (“lip sync”), and an optional smaller connector for use with personal photo and video devices. The update reflects the determination of the HDMI founders to ensure HDMI continues evolving ahead of future consumer demands.

The update arrives at a time of strong momentum for the HDMI standard. HDMI Licensing, LLC today announced that more than 400 makers of consumer electronics and PC products worldwide have adopted HDMI. Market researcher In-Stat expects 60 million devices featuring HDMI to ship in 2006.

“PLAYSTATION®3 will be the most advanced computer platform for enjoying a wide range of entertainment content, including the latest games and HD movies, in the home,” said Ken Kutaragi, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc. “By introducing the next-generation HDMI 1.3 technology, with its high speed and deep color capabilities, PS3 will push the boundaries of audiovisual quality to the next level of more natural and smoother expression on the latest large flat panel displays.”

"HDMI is an established cornerstone for the whole High Definition TV industry and Philips is extremely pleased to see such significant improvements for picture and sound quality with this new version,” said Johan van de Ven, CTO and Senior Vice President of Philips Consumer Electronics. “We look forward to continuing to work with other HDMI Founder companies to extend the scope of HDMI across new devices and applications, while remaining entirely committed to ensuring full backward compatibility with existing products."

With the adoption of Deep Color™ and the xvYCC color space, HDMI 1.3 removes the previous interface-related restrictions on color selection. The interface will no longer be a constraining pipe that forces all content to fit within a limited set of colors, unlike all previous video interfaces.


New HDMI 1.3 capabilities include:

  • Higher speed: HDMI 1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth from 165MHz (4.95 gigabits per second) to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) to support the demands of future high definition display devices, such as higher resolutions, Deep Color™ and high frame rates. In addition, built into the HDMI 1.3 specification is the technical foundation that will let future versions of HDMI reach significantly higher speeds.

  • Deep color: HDMI 1.3 supports 30-bit, 36-bit and 48-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 24-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification.

     - Lets HDTVs and other displays go from millions of colors to billions of colors

     - Eliminates on-screen color banding, for smooth tonal transitions and subtle gradations between colors

     - Enables increased contrast ratio

     - Can represent many times more shades of gray between black and white. At 30-bit pixel depth, four times more shades of gray would be the minimum, and the typical improvement would be eight times or more

  • Broader color space: HDMI 1.3 removes virtually all limits on color selection.
    - Next-generation “xvYCC” color space supports 1.8 times as many colors as existing HDTV signals

     - Lets HDTVs display colors more accurately

     - Enables displays with more natural and vivid colors

  • New mini connector: With small portable devices such as HD camcorders and still cameras demanding seamless connectivity to HDTVs, HDMI 1.3 offers a new, smaller form factor connector option.

  • Lip Sync: Because consumer electronics devices are using increasingly complex digital signal processing to enhance the clarity and detail of the content, synchronization of video and audio in user devices has become a greater challenge and could potentially require complex end-user adjustments. HDMI 1.3 incorporates an automatic audio/video synching capability that allows devices to perform this synchronization automatically with accuracy.

  • New lossless audio formats: In addition to HDMI’s current ability to support high-bandwidth uncompressed digital audio and currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby® Digital and DTS), HDMI 1.3 adds additional support for new, lossless compressed digital audio formats Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio™.

Products implementing the new HDMI specification will continue to be backward compatible with earlier HDMI products.

Click Here To View HDMI Overview Video

“The dramatic increase in maximum speed achieved in HDMI 1.3 will enable HDMI to stay far ahead of the bandwidth demands of future high definition source and display devices,” said Leslie Chard, president of HDMI Licensing, LLC. “As the de facto standard digital interface for the high definition and consumer electronics markets, HDMI is implementing the most innovative technologies today to fulfill the demands of tomorrow’s consumers.”

The latest HDMI specification can be downloaded at no cost by visiting

About HDMI
HDMI is the first and only consumer electronics industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. By delivering crystal-clear, all-digital audio and video via a single cable, HDMI dramatically simplifies cabling and helps provide consumers with the highest-quality home theater experience. HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, or A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV), over a single cable.


:: LightScribe Media ::

Kiss your smeary, data-destructive marker goodbye. Trash those sticky paper labels that can peel off and jam your disc drive. Cut the tether to your printer. Now there’s a better way to burn custom labels onto your CDs and DVDs – anytime, anywhere – using LightScribe technology.

LightScribe is simply the easiest, most impressive disc labeling solution around. With LightScribe technology, you can burn labels directly onto your CDs and DVDs using the same disc drive that burns your data.

Simple As…The three elements of the LightScribe system are designed to work together seamlessly: LightScribe hardware, software, and media give you great looking, customized labels for your CDs and DVDs – wherever and whenever you need them.

Hardware. LightScribe-enabled drives recognize and read special LightScribe media to ensure precise, consistent imaging on the disc surface for sharp, detailed labels.

Software. LightScribe-enabled software from your favorite software companies makes it easy to create disc labels-using your own text, photos, or designs.

Media. A thin dye coating on the label side of LightScribe discs absorbs laser light, which triggers a chemical reaction to give you a silkscreen-quality reproduction of your artwork, text, or photos.


:: Paper  Of the Future ::

The paper of the future is being manufactured right here in South Africa, setting new standards for papermaking worldwide. Sappi Fine Paper, a division of the global Sappi group, is at the forefront of developing and introducing production practices and paper products that provide users with a new range of premium-quality, environmentally-sound choices.

Sappi's  latest innovation is Typek Recycled, which was launched at the beginning of May. A first in the South African stationery market, Typek Recycled comprises 50% recycled content and 50% virgin wood fiber which is derived from independently certified and sustainable sources. The 50% recycled component comprises 30% de-inked pulp and 20% industrial waste.

"Following on the recent launch of our integrated Triple green environmental practice at Sappi Stanger mill, Typek Recycled is another landmark in the groups' commitment to manufacturing the best fine paper in an environmentally-sound way", says Albert Lubbe, Sappi Fine Paper South Africa's Managing Director.

"We can now offer users with a high percentage of recycled material that is nevertheless as white and as bright as ordinary office paper - a new solution in papermaking."
Tyopek Recycled is also chlorine-free and is packagd in boxes that themselves contain 60% recycled content.
"Most importantly, Typek Recycled also complies with the Polokwane Declarations objectives," says Lubbe "and so supports governments vision of developing a zero waste society by 2022.

The historic Polokwane Declaration, which was signed in September 2001 at the Fist National Waste Summit, acknowledges that waste management is high priority for all South Africans.

Amongst other things, it commits participating manufacturers to developing and using cleaner production technologies. "Recent technological and product developments at Sappi clearly demonstrate the group's commitment to meeting and exceeding the objectives of the Polokwane Declaration, inline with our own policy of sustainable development," says Lubbe. "We have, however, made no compromises from a technical and a quality point of view. Typek Recycled is ISO 9001:2000 certified and manufactured to 150 CIE whiteness, and it can be used exactly the same way as ordinary office paper in inkjet, laser and commercial printers as well as high speed copiers"

Typek Recycled is available from Reef Stationery & Computer Supplies will be packaged in a distinctive green wrapper carrying the fimiliar Typek logo as well as the international recycling logo.

Click Here for Sappi Recycled Fact Sheet.


:: Blu-Ray Disks ::

Blu-ray, also known as Blu-ray Disc (BD), is the name of a next-generation optical disc format jointly developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), a group of the world's leading consumer electronics, personal computer and media manufacturers (including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, HP, JVC, LG, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, TDK and Thomson). The format was developed to enable recording, rewriting and playback of high-definition video (HD), as well as storing large amounts of data. The format offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs and can hold up to 25GB on a single-layer disc and 50GB on a dual-layer disc. This extra capacity combined with the use of advanced video and audio codecs will offer consumers an unprecedented HD experience.

While current optical disc technologies such as DVD, DVD±R, DVD±RW, and DVD-RAM rely on a red laser to read and write data, the new format uses a blue-violet laser instead, hence the name Blu-ray. Despite the different type of lasers used, Blu-ray products can easily be made backwards compatible with CDs and DVDs through the use of a BD/DVD/CD compatible optical pickup unit. The benefit of using a blue-violet laser (405nm) is that it has a shorter wavelength than a red laser (650nm), which makes it possible to focus the laser spot with even greater precision. This allows data to be packed more tightly and stored in less space, so it's possible to fit more data on the disc even though it's the same size as a CD/DVD. This together with the change of numerical aperture to 0.85 is what enables Blu-ray Discs to hold 25GB/50GB.

Blu-ray is currently supported by more than 170 of the world's leading consumer electronics, personal computer, recording media, video game and music companies. The format also has broad support from the major movie studios as a successor to today's DVD format. Seven of the eight major movie studios have already announced titles for Blu-ray, including Warner, Paramount, Fox, Disney, Sony, MGM and Lionsgate. The initial line-up is expected to consist of over 100 titles and include recent hits as well as classics such as Batman Begins, Desperado, Fantastic Four, Fifth Element, Hero, Ice Age, Kill Bill, Lethal Weapon, Mission Impossible, Ocean's Twelve, Pirates of the Caribbean, Reservoir Dogs, Robocop, and The Matrix. Many studios have also announced that they will begin releasing new feature films on Blu-ray Disc day-and-date with DVD, as well as a continuous slate of catalog titles every month.

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