Table of Contents




Title:Technology Today
by Robert Sanborn

October 2002    

I have written before about the vagaries of DVD drives, media, and the different number of writeable formats that are available to choose from. This whole situation is about to get a bit more fuzzy with a brand new technology that is about to become available. It is called, EVD or short for Enhanced Versatile Disc. This new technology is different for quite a few reasons and one is that it is created not by the Japanese but by the Chinese. What makes it different is that the video definition will be five times greater than DVD. It will also integrate a high-definition digital program player to support hi-fi, Karaoke, and computer systems. They claim that the Extract Audio Copy (EAC) will provide an audio frequency better than that provided by Dolby’s AC-3 technology.

Interestingly enough, what is driving this new market and technology is not really the technology but more because of politics and economics. The Chinese DVD producers didn’t want to pay what they claim are exorbitant royalties to international DVD patent holders. Six foreign DVD companies, Hitachi, Panasonic, Matsushita, AOL Time Warner, Toshiba, and JVC have all filed royalty claims against Chinese DVD producers since June 1999.  They are asking for roughly $14 for each DVD player that is produced in China where the latest numbers show that they produced around 15 million players in 2001 of which a majority is sold overseas. If they can convince their own market to go with the EVD players, they expect that royalty number to drop to around $4 per player.

So, will the EVD players hit it off, and are you very likely to go out and buy one in your future? Not very likely. Even in China, to use one of the players will require a high definition television set to see the quality that it is capable of producing and these sets in China still cost over $1200, well out of the range of most Chinese. Also causing a problem will be the lack of international acceptance for two major reasons. One being that the submission of the EVD to the International Electro-technical Commission (IEC http://www.iec.ch/) was opposed by Japan. The second is the fact that a consortium of nine companies from Japan, Korea, Holland, and France/US have developed their own successor to DVD called the “Blue-Ray Disc” which is a denser with up to 27 gigabytes of capacity, a blue-violet laser-based medium not compatible with current DVD systems. Look for its production to begin in 2004.  Do a Google search on “Blue-Ray Disc” for more stories and information.

As prices of DVD players come down to reasonable levels we will begin to see this cycle start all over again with the new technology.

Short Takes

A problem we are starting to see is with the new high speed CD Burners or Writers, people are using CD media that is not fast enough for the drive. Especially true if you have some old unused CDR discs or older CDRW discs that you have had for more than a year. You need to check the media to see what speed that you can write to it. To backtrack a bit, when you get a CDRW Drive to create your own CDs, there are three numbers on the drive. In my example with my new drive, it is a 40X24X40. The first number tells you how fast it will write a standard CDR disc, in this case, 40 times. This is a disc that you can write to only once and these types of discs are good for making copies of data or music CDs. The second number is how fast it will write to a CDRW disc, these are the discs that you can erase and re-use over and over. The final number is how fast it will simply read a CD just like any old plain CD drive. So the problem is that today, if I look at my spindle of CDs that I bought a few months ago. I see that are labeled to go from 1X to 32X. What that means is that you can use them in a CD Writer drive at up to 32X. So what will happen is that if I try to use those CDs in my writer at the top speed of 40X, I will end up with a bunch of coasters that are worthless. What I have to do is to tell my CD burning program to slow down the write speed to match my discs. What is even worse is that the original CDRW discs I bought with my first HP Writer aren’t even labeled and I bet that they are no more than 4X in speed. Those I save for when I have plenty of time to burn a CD. Finally, if you are going shopping for new CDs, stick with the brand names like Sony, 3M, HP, and Verbatim.

Wireless Networking

It seems like a lot of the wireless networking companies are now getting their act, and more importantly, their software drivers, working to the point of making it a useful technology for those needing network access in tight locations. A couple of things to watch out for when installing a wireless network would be the signal strength and how open your wireless network is. Unlike a closed wired local area network, a wireless network is by definition open to outside access. How else do you expect all these Starbucks Coffee houses to make themselves available to people just walking in (or in some cases, sitting in their cars outside of the buildings). It will soon be that for the price of one of their coffees, you can surf the net for 15 minutes, and they are planning on rolling this out to all of their stores in the near future.

So, if you are installing a network, be sure to change the login passwords, the SSID or workgroup names, and you should also make the traffic encrypted. Also, pay close attention to the instructions before setting up the wireless network. For instance, if you use the D-Link hardware, you have to install the software before installing the cards in either your laptop or desktop computer.

New Princeton Flat Panel Monitor 

If you are looking for a high end flat panel monitor, you might want to take a look at the newest from Princeton.  The SENergy 981 model boasts a 170 degree viewing angle and a very bright and crisp screen for a 19 inch monitor. It has a contrast ratio that is 500:1, higher than any that I have seen lately and is super bright. It will sell for around $1200 but for professionals that need to keep a close eye on a monitor, this might be the one to go with. Visit them at www.princetongraphics.com.  What is interesting is that they use a variety of new display technologies like sRGB  and what they call “Premium MVA Technology”.  In a nutshell, the sRGB, or standard Red Green Blue, is a way to better match the color that you pickup off the screen, image, digital camera, and scanner to match with what you will print out. They have their own web site at srgb.com.  the Premium Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment (MVA) Cell Technology is even cooler in that it really uses chemical technology to give you a better viewing angle, higher contrast and resolution, and better color control. It is way over my head but you can take a look at that at www.fme.fujitsu.com/products/displays/lcdvatech.ht

Robert Sanborn is an Independent Personal Computer Consultant, and a contributing editor for the Indianapolis Computer Society. Reach him through the net at indypcnews@indy.rr.com

Last Update:02/07/2011


Copyright © 1999 - 2012 PC Lifeline