The last Star Trek TV series was kind of terrible, and they cancelled Firefly before the series had a chance to really come into its own. Sure, Battlestar Galactica was great but now that it’s long over, what’s left to scratch that geeky sci-fi itch of yours? No Ordinary Family? V? Please. No one needs that sort of pain in their lives. What to do? How about taking an in-depth look real adventures of America’s space-based endeavors. Sound good? We thought so too--and that’s why NASA’s impressive online presence has been selected as our Cool Site of the Week.
Sony arrives fashionably late to the video capture DSLR party with its new A560, the first DSLR in Sony's lineup that comes capable of recording impromptu moments in both AVCHD 1920x1080 60i or MP4 formats.
Sony said it equipped the A560 (and A580) with a new generation Exmor APS HD CMOS sensor processor, which together with the company's BIONZ imaging processor supports high-speed continuous shooting and a range of digital image compositing and processing functions.
Both cameras can freeze photos at up to 7fps in Speed Priority Continuous Advanced mode, and both come with a newly developed 15-point phase-detection autofocus system that purportedly keeps moving subjects in focus.
Other features include an articulating 3-inch LCD, 16.2 megapixels (A580) or 14.2 megapixels (A560), 3D Sweep Panorama, auto HDR, and up to ISO 25,600.
The A580 will ship in October for $749 (body only) and $850 (kit lens), while the A560 will arrive in the first quarter of 2011 for $100 less.
It's been less than a year since YouTube gave the thumbs up to 1080p HD, but they seem determined to never fall behind again. On Friday at the VidCon 2010 conference the streaming video site revealed support for 4K video streams, a resolution that is more than four times the size of 1080p. To put this in perspective they claim the most ideal display for a native 4K video would be a screen measuring more than 25 feet across.
Many agencies reporting on this story have criticized the announcement as little more than posturing given that consumer adoption of 4K is still many years out, but you won't hear any complaints from us. After all, many of us are rocking 30" displays that have far too many spare pixels when watching 1080p anyway.
A sample video collection has been posted to the site for you to checkout, but make sure you come prepared. According to the YouTube blog you'll need a "super-fast broadband" connection, and half way decent hardware to enjoy the sample clips. My initial tests showed satisfactory performance with a 10Mbps cable connection, but it was nearly impossible to detect the difference on a 1920x1200 24" panel between 4K and 1080p.
Now that YouTube offers resolutions far an above everyone's native displays, maybe they could work on improving the bit rate. After all, 4K video is great, but not when it's riddled with compression artifacts. Hit the jump to try one of the clips out for yourself.
LaCie is hitting CES hard right out of the gate announcing a new LaCinema device, network server, and Wuala USB drives. The new LaCinema Mini HD is a DLNA compliant media player capable of 1080p output via an HDMI port. The Mini HD has an internal hard drive that can be loaded up with content over the network or by way of the USB port. It will support 802.11n Wi-Fi and most codecs including DivX, MKV, and AVC.
Next up we have a network server that LaCie is just calling Network Server.It will support five drive bays, gigabit Ethernet, and runs Windows Home Server. Customers will also have access to LaCie’s Wuala backup technology, but no details were available at the time.
Finally we have the new line of CoolKey and WhizKey USB keys (that actually look like keys). They are only USB 2.0 instead of SuperSpeed USB like many devices we’re likely to see around the CES floor this week. LaCie did sate the drives would be capable of 30MB/s transfers and are waterproof. They will be available in sizes up to 32GB. They also come with 4GB of Wuala web storage for two years.
In recent years, 1080p camcorders have found their way into more consumers’ hands. Now YouTube will allow people to take advantage of all those pixels. Starting next week, the HD options on the popular video sharing site will include both 720p and 1080p, provided the original source allows it.
There is a test video already up here. Performance seems to be good, but it doesn’t look tremendously different from current YouTube HD offerings. If you have an HD camera, YouTube would like you upload some 1080p video. They will be highlighting some of the best footage on the front page soon. If you shoot HD video, will you take the extra time to upload your videos in 1080p?
In the small form factor graphics market, Nvidia’s Ion has been stealing the headlines lately, but it turns out VIA might be gearing up to give them a run for their money. Built on a new standard known as “Pico-ITXe”, the company has released their EPIA-P710, which claims to be capable of full 1080p video playback using nothing more than passive cooling. Of course we were skeptical at first, but they have finally backed up their claims by posting a short clip on YouTube showing the board in action.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this new part is how full featured it is given the size. It sports 3 USB 2.0 ports, has both SATA and IDE, as well as Gigabit Ethernet support. As you might expect, the current build is pared up with a VIA C7 1.0 GHz processor, but apparently this is still more than enough to handle anything the VX855 Media System Processor can’t handle video wise.
Yesterday Google unveiled YouTube’s brand new theater view and dimming function, both dead ringers for the prospect of HD video. With the new theater view, users will be able to watch videos in a widened, dimmed format that will make whatever video they’re watching the main focus of the screen, much like Hulu’s “lower lights” feature.
Theater view provides a nice break from YouTube’s plethora of ads and “what you should watch” next suggestion boxes, all without making the video fit the screen and turn what was a watchable video into a pixilated mass.
The theater view provided by YouTube currently fills the extra space on the sides of the video with red curtains. Given the HD prospect of the theater view, there’s a good chance that this will be used to make room for 16:9 videos. And if that’s not enough for you, last week YouTube’s upload limit was changed to 1GB, convinced?
Now, we just need Tay Zonday to make a HD version of Chocolate Rain, and this will really catch on.