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Comment Re:Awesome (Score 1) 710

Some widescreen formats do give you more frames per meter of film. For example, "two-perf" and "three-perf" formats fit the widescreen image between two or three perforations of 35mm film rather than the four perforations that a standard or anamorphic widescreen frame takes up. Lots of low-budget movies from the 1960s and 1970s were shot this way (think spaghetti westerns and formats like Techniscope). This is why Steve McQueen was able to film a 20-minute shot for Hunger when standard 35mm film reels run out after 10 minutes -- he was shooting two widescreen frames in the space normally allotted for a single Academy-ratio or anamorphically squeezed frame. It's a good way to save money on a shoot.

There's a comment somewhere else in this thread that I can't find right now from someone who's under the impression widescreen film is run sideways through the movie camera. Not true unless you're talking about VistaVision or an IMAX camera or perhaps some other nonstandard format I'm unfamiliar with. Standard widescreen formats are either two-perf, three-perf, anamorphic, or simply matted to 1.85:1 from their in-camera aspect for projection.

Comment Re:The summary is missing something... (Score 1) 460

This seems fairly common. I was having aggravating sound drop-outs and occasional blockiness and stuttering, and when I swapped out my FiOS box all of the problems went away.

But I do see quite a few compression artifacts on FiOS HD channels, depending on the quality of the original stream. For instance, watch one of the rock-video channels (we have MTV, Palladia, and VH1) and wait for something with a lot of strobe lighting. Block city. I see color-banding on occasion, and a lot of the programming on the movie channels has been high-pass filtered to remove fine detail, either before or during the compression process, to improve the efficiency of the codec. These programs can look very good, but the Blu-ray version will almost certainly look better.

The big channels -- specifically the network affiliates -- tend to look really, really good in HD. But during football games, for example, I see some pretty bad motion artifacting, especially as the camera pans quickly across the field. With the old technology (MPEG-2) that's still in use throughout the industry, the bandwidth that those streams have to fit in just isn't quite high enough to do the trick.

Still a huge, huge improvement over digital SD, don't get me wrong. Even something like The Daily Show, which is produced in SD and upconverted to HD for broadcast on Comedy Central HD, looks leagues better with the extra bandwidth alloted to the HD stream. And occasionally I'll be channel-flipping and get stopped by a program like Lawrence of Arabia on HDNet Movies or To Catch a Thief on MGM HD that's just so gorgeous I have to pause and admire it for a while.

Love my HD, love my Blu-ray collection. It's a sizable investment, but I try to make it pay every day. Our friends enjoy it, too.

Comment Re:I wonder (Score 3, Interesting) 685

YES. Here's the real problem. If you call up the average schmoe with an upconverting DVD player connected to an HDTV and ask him if he has "an HD DVD player" I'd wager that at least three times out of 10 that guy says, "Uh-huh."

Leaving that aside, the linked Web site is trying to make a faulty extrapolation from the data. I own an Xbox HD DVD drive that I haven't powered up since last October, a PS3, maybe three or four HD DVD discs and about 90 Blu-ray titles. And yet I do not own a "Blu-ray player." But if I had responded to this survey, my participation would have been used as evidence that Blu-ray adoption is soft. Nuh-uh.

Comment Re:Elasticity of Demmand (Score 1) 763

Wait, wait. How do "fewer flashy effects" and "shorter game" translate to "game won't be as good?"

To me, that's a big problem in the games industry today. I don't *need* to have a game that pushes the limits of my hardware in terms of speed-rendering of pixillated occluded chiaroscuro texture-bitmapped-film-grain XYZ-spline enabled whiskers on the cheeks of my characters. I don't *need* to have a game that takes 45 goddamned hours to play through in "story mode."

What I *need* is a game that's fun, stylish, and/or challenging. I need a game that's clever and compelling. If that means it's not a compete pixel-buster, or that it only takes 15-20 hours to play through (think of the terrific books I could be reading in 20 hours of gaming time!), fine. If it makes me smile, laugh, cringe, squeal with joy and/or toss my controller into the corner with rage mere milliseconds before jumping up from the couch to fetch it so I can try that devilish level just one ... more ... time ... (at 3 a.m. on a school night), that's good enough.

And if that game can cost $20 or $30 instead of $60, I'll be a lot more likely to experience it for myself. Also, if games were that cheap, many of the publishers might experience the knock-on benefits of torpedoing that lucrative used-games racket that GameStop has perfected. Given the sheer volume of used games in the market, I wonder what the average # of owners is for any given new $60 release?

Submission + - See Who Is Whitewashing Wikipedia (

Decius6i5 writes: "Caltech grad student Virgil Griffith has launched a search tool that uncovers whitewashing and other self-interested editing of Wikipedia. Users can generate lists of every edit to Wikipedia which has been made from a particular IP address range. The tool has already uncovered a number of interesting edits, such as one from the corporate offices of Diebold which removed large sections of content critical of their electronic voting machines. A Wired story provides more detail and Threat Level is running a contest to see who can come up with the most interesting Wikipedia spin job. I'll bet Slashdot readers know of some interesting IP address ranges to check."

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