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It has shrunken, however,... has surpassed expectations - IFA 2006
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1202 exhibitors showed their products during last year's IFA, the Consumer Electronics trade fair held in Messe Berlin, Germany. This year the event has been organized for the first time in annual cycle, instead of former two-year rhythm.
The number of exhibitors has declined to 1049, nonetheless Doctor Rainer Hecker, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Gesellschaft fur Unterhaltungs- und Kommunikationselektronik [Association of Consumer Electronics and Telecommunications] said during IFA opening that "[the number of exhibitors exceeded our wildest expectations]".
The entrance to the fair.
The arrival of the HDTV era - enormous variety of products. The propositions of Sharp (Aquos), Philips and Samsung stood out from the rest. Towards the end of the year there will be between ten and twenty HDTV programs available in Europe.
110-inch rear projection television from JVC supports HDTV, too. It is based on D-ILA technology using Intel's solution - Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCOS). Regrettably, due to projection technology the depth of the TV set is quite large - for comparison, it has been placed an A4 magazine resting against the lower part of the television.
LCOS technology enables construction of tiny ICs (microdisplays) that have form of liquid crystals. Each element is assigned to a single pixel. The light from projector lamp goes through panels built with the microdisplays. The liquid crystals subjected to electric field (modulating signal) vary the light that is further projected on the screen, creating the adequate image.
The flaw of this kind of displays - short life-span of projector lamps - can soon be eliminated by employing special LCD diodes (Samsung).
New LCD television line from Sharp - Aquos - features a number of newly developed technologies. One of them is that extending the number of basic colors to four, by adding a deep crimson red emitter to the traditional red, green and blue (RGB) cold cathode fluorescent lamp. This four-wavelength backlight has been described as a groundbreaking invention in the battle between LCD and plasma displays. The test stand and presented images (in older and new technology) should convince visitors of the progress. Indeed, the difference is noticeable (after enlarging the picture).
Samsung has presented family of HDTV 1080p televisions, which utilizes DLP technology advertised as the base for the future long-size formats.
1080p (progressive scan) HDTV standard ensures images with higher quality than 1080i (interlaced scan - the idea based on current TV systems).
Display technologies have to be supported by signal distribution systems. Siemens organized live presentation of IPTV technology. On the TV screen there is shown program broadcast by Dutch operator (KPN) and transmitted via the Internet.
A broad selection of receivers and tuners has been presented by Humax, among others - cable HDTV set-top boxes prepared for decompression of MPEG4 signals.
HD DVD or Blu Ray? This is probably the matter of overriding importance that is still not solved after the closing of the exhibition. All electronic giants have presented products that are enhanced successors to a good old DVD.
At IFA 2006 Blu Ray came out definitely better. BDA had their own separate stand. The list of members - manufacturers of the discs is impressive.
Blu-ray has been standardized by Blue-ray Disc Association (BDA), which is formed by 170 companies. The group includes both industrial giants (e.g. Apple, Dell, HP, Hitachi, LG, Mitsubishi Electric, Philips, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sony, TDK, Samsung, Sharp, Thomson) and film studios (e.g. Walt Disney, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox). Blu ray discs feature higher capacity: 25 GB (single layer) and 50 GB (dual layer). On the 31st of August TDK company announced prototype disc with capacity of 200 GB. As of today, each of the member manufacturers has implemented or at least prepared for production Blu Ray player. So far, they are more expensive than HD DVD players.
Blue ray player from Pioneer
Toshiba showed laptops with HD DVD players
HD DVD is being supported by HD DVD Promotion Group, consisting of Toshiba, NEC, SANYO, Memory-Tech Corporation, and recently reinforced by two IT giants - Intel and Microsoft. But the leading company is still Toshiba that showed first HD DVD players. 1st of September, 2006, the company announced that would launch HD DVD players on the European market, too. There will be available two models - HD-XE1 and HD-E1. Toshiba also showed laptops equipped with HD DVD players.
HD DVD discs are available in three kinds, with the next capacities: single layer - 15 GB, dual layer - 30 GB and triple layer - 45 GB. Films recorded in HD DVD format have been released by Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, New Line Cinema and Universal Studios.
Samsung outdistances competitors in wireless technologies. Implementations of mobile TV using DMB and DVB-H standards respectively.
Camcorder VP-MM12 records images with resolution 720 x 576/25 fps. MPEG4 compression allows for 2-hour recording on 2 GB flash memory card.
Portable media player. Many firms presented this kind of gizmo. Creative offers Zen Vision, capable of playing films (WMV, MPEG, DivX, XviD, MJPEG) and music (MP3, WMA). Zen Vision has been equipped with 30 GB HDD and CompactFlash reader (optionally 5-in-1 reader).
A similar device was shown by legendary Commodore, coming back to life. The Gravel line supports WiFi. As regards regular MP3 players, they are getting smaller every year, and feature color displays.
Flash memory cards. Now the microSD cards gain widespread popularity. Toshiba presented this kind in 256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB versions, while SanDisk reached 2 GB. On the other hand, Toshiba is the leader in SD-HC format, showing 8 GB card.
Models of SanDisk cards were presented by nice female model...
Devotees of Nintendo had a chance for testing the newest product of DS Lite company.
Enthusiasts for audio/video gizmos in cars had a great opportunity to watch and listen ...
And the lovers of ... - the organizers also thought about those who were not interested in Nintendo, nor TV in the car, nor ...