30
Jul/09
0

Tom Tom HD Traffic

TomTom HD Traffic

HD Traffic is part of TomTom LIVE Services. It brings you the best real-time TomTom services straight to your device, all available in one smart bundle.

Watch HD Traffic in action

With HD Traffic information on your screen you immediately know where the traffic is.

How HD Traffic works

TomTom HD Traffic uses a revolutionary new source of traffic information: the traffic flow of up to 16.7 million anonymous mobile phone users on the road. From this anonymous data, TomTom knows exactly where, in which direction and at what speed all these mobile phone users are travelling throughout the road network. This real-time data is combined with other existing quality traffic information sources, resulting in the most complete and reliable traffic information.

Receive the latest traffic information LIVE on your TomTom device!

  • Unrivalled road network coverage in the UK, with 25.000 miles of roads covered
  • Coverage includes motorways, major A roads and trunk roads
  • Traffic updates every 3 minutes, sent directly to your device
  • Highly accurate delay, travel and arrival times
  • Detailed incident reports about the duration, length and cause of delays on your route
  • Delays are reported in minutes and miles
  • Automated rerouting for alternative, quicker routes

You can even check the traffic situation at home or in the office before you set off, so you know for sure you will always drive the smartest route.
TomTom HD Traffic puts you back in control of your drive!

HD Traffic also means:

1. Stress free driving
HD Traffic is a live traffic information service based on superior information sources. This means that you are always well informed about your exact travel and arrival times so you can be sure that you drive the smartest route. Now you can plan your day confidently!

2. Easy and safe driving
HD Traffic is completely integrated into your TomTom navigation device. Now, your TomTom device will always calculate the smartest route, leaving you to concentrate on the road. No more listening to the traffic reports on the radio and calculating alternative routes on your map.

The best traffic information ever!

Get the most up-to-date traffic information available for your route, live on your TomTom LIVE device with TomTom High Definition Traffic™.

 You receive detailed incident reports about the length and reason of the delays, the most accurate delay information, travel- and arrival times, and alternative route proposals. All this information is sent directly to your TomTom navigation system.

TomTom HD Traffic is a revolution in traffic information offering you the best coverage, the most updates from the best sources and it is fully automated.

Driving out of your country? No problem, your device can also receive HD Traffic in Germany, France, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

HD Traffic coverage on smaller A roads is dependent on traffic flow information generated by mobile phones and connected TomTom devices alone. Because there is normally less mobile phone traffic on smaller A roads it is not always possible to detect traffic jams on these roads.

Next to this, complex traffic flow in city centres does not always make for reliable traffic messages. However, historical IQ Routes data is used in city centres to ensure you always get the best route.

29
Jul/09
0

New Series of HDMI Video Fiber Optic Extenders Aimed at Pro Install, Medical, and Government Markets

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Capable of sending HDMI v1.3 digital audio/video signal through multimode optical fibers, AT-HDF20SR and AT-HDF30SR allow any HD display to extend signals up to 1,320 ft at WUXGA or HDTV resolutions. They offer self adjustment with no compression, bit reduction, or signal degradation and can run multiple signals in single conduit without crosstalk. CEC compliant units support 12-bit color depth and have 8 dB input equalizer, which compensates losses over 16 ft.

Atlona Technologies is releasing a new line of video extenders that transfer high definition video over multi-mode Optical type fiber optic cable up to 1000 ft without any signal loss. These new extenders serve not only as a way for companies to send video signal far beyond the lengths of actual cables, but also provides a measure of security due to their use of Fiber Optic cable. Since Fiber Optic cable is immune to interference caused by electromagnetic fields (EMF/EMI), these extenders are perfect for medical imaging applications where a perfect picture is not only ideal, but necessary.

Atlona HDMI versions, model AT-HDF20SR and AT-HDF30SR, are capable of sending HDMI v1.3 digital Audio/Video signal through multimode fibers (SC connection) allowing any HD Display to extend resolutions up to 400 meters (1320 ft) at WUXGA (1920×120 @ 60Hz) or full range of HDTV resolutions 720p/1080i/1080p.

Along with being HDCP/DDC compliant, these UL/CE approved Atlona units are equipped with advanced digital fiber optic technology allowing for self adjustment with no compression, bit reduction, or signal degradation. Multiple signals can be run in a single conduit without crosstalk. These CEC compliant units support 12-bit color depth and have an 8dB input equalizer, which compensates losses over 5 meters (16 ft).

The AT-HDF20SR is an adaptor styled baluns with a small form factor that lends itself perfectly to HDMI matrix switchers where space is limited. The larger of the two baluns is sold as two separate units, the AT-HDF30R and the AT-HDF30R, to allow users the ability to convert among multiple HD video types depending on the receiver unit. This unit is compatible with Atlona’s RGB or DVI receiver units (models: AT-DVIF30R and AT-RGBF30R) making it versatile enough to handle even the most complicated digital signage application.

28
Jul/09
0

How do I choose an HDMI Cable?

Choosing an HDMI cable can be a complex task. There are several factors which you must consider in order to select the best HDMI cable to meet your requirements:

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  • HDMI standards compliance
  • HDMI Cable Categories
  • Cable length
  • Cable quality
  • Active cables
  • HDMI devices
  • Price

HDMI Standards Compliance

Each HDMI cable is rated to comply with a specific revision of the HDMI standards. A cable rated for HDMI 1.2a should meet the requirements of HDMI 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 — but is not guaranteed to meet the standards for HDMI 1.3.

HDMI Cable Categories

The HDMI standards define two categories of cables. Category 1 HDMI cables are designed to support HDTV resolutions and frame rates. Category 2 cables are required for higher resolutions or higher frame rates.

Cable Length

The HDMI specification does not define a maximum cable length. HDMI cables are commonly available in 3′ to 50′ lengths.

Purchasing a cable longer than necessary will cost you more money, but it will also increase signal loss due to attenuation.

Cable Quality

All other factors being equal, a cable which is built to higher tolerances using better materials will outperform a cable which is built merely to meet a standards specification. In addition, these premium cables will often provide longer service lives.

An HDMI cable can be made using 28 AWG wire, but the use of 24 AWG wire will create a sturdier cable which is more resistant to attenuation.

As with traditional analog stereo cables, premium HDMI cables are often furnished with gold plated connectors to ensure the best possible signal quality.

Active Cables

For specialized high-end applications, some manufacturers are selling active HDMI cables. These cables use a variety of technologies which involve boosting the transmission distance or quality through the addition of electrical power to the cable connection.

Some of these active cables run over fiber optics or Cat-5 cable.

HDMI Devices

Another approach to supporting extremely long cable runs is to chain multiple HDMI cables together with amplifiers, repeaters, or equalizers.

Price

An HDMI cable only has to be good enough to support the equipment which it connects. It is useless to pay for a premium gold-plated HDMI cable for a low-end television set.

27
Jul/09
0

Why are HDMI cables so expensive?

The rules of supply and demand don’t apply to cables. A Best Buy in downtown Boston charges $140 for name-brand HDMI cables, which connect high-definition video to big-screen TVs. The Radio Shack a few blocks away wants $50 for its generic version. Online, Amazon will sell you HDMI cables for $5.

Ostensibly, the products are identical. So why the huge disparity in price? Is there a difference between the three products?

Not really.

The prolific review crew at CNET put it more harshly. “Those cables are a rip-off,” says the website’s guide to HDMI. “You should never pay more than $10 for a standard six-foot HDMI cable.”

CNET’s editors regularly use inexpensive options for both professional tests and in their own home theaters. There’s no distinguishable drop in picture quality, they say. Any cable that caused unwanted dropouts or flashes was simply defective, something that can occur with all electronics – and no brand had consistent problems.

Consumer Reports, How Stuff Works, Popular Mechanics, and trials by the Monitor agree. “Our tests indicate, you can expect flawless performance from any 4-meter cable, regardless of price,” writes PC World.

So why do salespeople praise the expensive kind? The secret is that stores don’t make much profit off TVs and video-game consoles. So to balance out the big items, most retailers mark up the little things.

For example, the retail watchdog Con­sumerist.com published a 2008 wholesale list from Monster Cables, the high-end brand that hawks some of the most expensive cords. The suggested retail price for its four-foot HDMI cable is $79.99. But it wholesales for $38.23 – less than half the sticker price.

Monster responded by saying that final prices are up to individual stores and that its suggested markup is “much less” than the margins on clothing, jewelry, and furniture.

The company says it takes pride in the quality of its cables. They’re built to withstand wear and tear, both within the insulation and where the connector meets the TV.

And Monster insists that its HDMI products are somewhat futureproof. HDMI is an evolving standard. Current cables, especially Monster’s, can deliver more information per second than their original HDMI ancestors. According to Monster, this matters with 1080p video, which is the sharpest on the market, and will mean even more if TVs move toward higher-definition pictures.

But again, many eagle-eyed reviewers stress that with TVs under 1080p (such as 480p, 720p, or 1080i), you can’t tell the difference. And since image quality is only as good as the weakest link, that top-notch standard only applies if both the TV and the video run at 1080p. For example, high-def broadcast TV channels stick to 720p or 1080i – and they’ll most likely remain that way for some time.

Online stores offer the best deals on cables. www.ukhdmi.com

27
Jul/09
0

Should Businesses Buy a Projector or an LCD Display?

With the price of large (>32”)LCD displays decreasing rapidly and new functionalities being added to LCD displays, does it still make sense for businesses to buy a projector vs. an LCD display?

Some of the variables to consider when evaluating this question are product quality, price, picture quality, screen size and other such considerations. We discuss these and other factors from a typical business organization perspective. Read other articles and make your informed judgement.

Product Life: LCD TVs or displays typically have a backlight life of 30,000 to 60,000 hours (ie, if you have the display on for ~6 hours every day, the backlight will last for 16 years). Even then the backlight can be replaced in most LCD displays. A projector bulb typically has a life of 2,000 hours.

Price Considerations: A basic projector can be found for INR25000. However, if the projector is going to be used for video conferencing or board room presentation, a high resolution, good contrast ratio and saturated colour projector would be required. The cost of such a projector is close to INR 1 lakh. Thereafter, you need to factor in the prices of projector bulb and projection screens. A typical projector bulb needs to be replaced almost every year or two with bulbs costing Rs 20,000+ per bulb. We have added these costs over a five-year period to compare a projector vs. an LCD  (see chart below). With 46” LCD TV or display costing around Rs 135,000 – Rs 150,000 and dropping, price becomes less of an issue when considering whether to buy a Projector or LCD display

Figure: Total Cost of Ownership Comparison for Projector vs. LCD Display

Basic Device capital cost for projector is INR 70,000 and that of an LCD display is INR 150,000,Projector Screen Capital Cost (Wall Mount Screens INR 5-15K) is INR 10,000, Consumable cost of the projector is 20,000 x 3 = INR 60,000, Consumable life of a projector is 2,000hrs and that of an LCD display is 60,000hrs and the Cost of Ownership of a projector is Rs.140, 000/- and Rs.150, 000/- for an LCD display.

Assume: 5years of usage @ 5hrs a day ~ 6600hrs of use. This translates to 4 lamps in 5 years requiring the customer to buy 3 lamps in addition to 1 supplied with machine.

What is clear from the above figure is that a Full High Definition 46” LCD Display is, at best, only marginally costlier than a XGA Projector of ~2500AL. Additional costs of low screen installation costs and lower device loss costs are purely additional.

Picture Quality: Projectors such as a DLP or LCD projector use glass panels to combine red, green and blue colours to create the image. When sitting close to screen, the viewer can see the different colours at the borders of an image, aptly described as the rainbow effect. The rainbow effect takes away from the image quality and can give headaches. High-end projectors have been able to reduce the rainbow effect, however the problem still remains and these high-end projectors cost more. LCD TV or LCD displays do not have rainbow effect issues and the quality of the picture is good at close range.

Rather, projectors cannot compare with the picture quality for an LCD display. The vividness of the colours, the contrast ratio, the colour saturation and image sharpness are much better for an LCD display than a projector. When viewing a projector image, especially in ambient light, the viewer has to dim the lights or close the curtains unless the business has purchased an even more costly higher lumen projector. Not true with LCD displays, as the brightness and colour quality are much better.

Viewing angles used to be an issue with LCD displays but this issue is no longer true. Most LCD displays can be viewed from up to 176 degrees.

Dead or Stuck Pixels: Projectors can suffer from dead pixels and LCD displays can suffer from stuck pixels. Both dead pixels and stuck pixels result in white spots in the projected image. However, the manufacturers of both technologies have worked hard to minimize such issues and in most cases they provide warranty against such issues.

Screen Size: A common thought is that screen size is not an issue for most projectors as the thinking is that the projector image can be made larger by moving the projector away from the screen. This is not true as the image quality deteriorates as the image becomes larger. With projectors, most buyers opt for maximum optimized projector image sizes from 76-inches to 120-inches and the actual working normal projection image used is much smaller. Today, if businesses need a large LCD display in the maximum projector image size, a wide variety of competitive LCD displays can be found in this range.

Portability: Projectors are easy to carry and move around. For a business this could be a value-add or a drawback. LCD displays are durable and can be moved however they are not as light as projectors.

Power Consumption: Projector power consumption varies more from unit to unit, with brighter conference projectors requiring more power than smaller portable projectors. It is hard to compare the two technologies on this performance parameter.

Connectivity: Most LCD displays have more number and different types of ports than projectors. As a result more types of devices can be connected to an LCD display than a projector.

Other Value-Add Features: New features are appearing in LCD displays that could be quite valuable for businesses. For example, touch screen features on LCD displays allow for LCD displays to be used as digital whiteboards where the data written on the display can easily get captured electronically in a text document.

22
Jul/09
0

Wireless HDMI goes legal in UK

British TV viewers will finally be legally allowed to use televisions with wireless HDMI tech in the UK this week.

This is obviously terrible news for fans of ugly lounge-cluttering wires but a superb announcement for everybody else.

So as of 27 July, we will finally be able to head down to our local HDTV emporium and (in theory, at least) purchase a wireless HDMI-ready telly.

“It’s great that Ofcom has moved so fast to clear the bandwidth for ultra wideband devices like wireless HDMI – and it shows regulators don’t have to be lumbering behemoths,” commented What Satellite and Digital TV magazine editor, Alex Lane.

“This is great news for anyone with a wall-mounted TV or a projector at the other end of the room from their HD source – no need to run a 10 meter HDMI cable around your walls. Expect wireless HDMI to be standard on top-end TVs at next year’s CES.”

The wireless dream

A number of major retailers, including Sony and Panasonic have already been showing off TVs packing in wireless HDMI tech, so you can also expect to see models such as the Panasonic Z1 or the Sony Bravia ZX1 in your weekend trawl around your local out-of-town electrical superstore sometime very soon.

TechRadar will, of course, be testing out our latest stack of Blu-rays with a wireless HD set-up as soon as we can get one in to test out.

We only hope that all the other wireless signals throbbing through our block of flats doesn’t cause any interference to the picture or sound quality, because that would totally spoil that recurring dream of a wireless lounge…

21
Jul/09
0

Belkin Officially Halts ‘The FlyWire’ Production

belkinwirelesshdmihdA wireless HDMI poster child bites the dust.

According to a press release from Belkin, it’s now official: the FlyWire, the company’s oft touted wireless HDMI transmitter, has been put down. A seemingly strong contender and one of the most well known wireless HDMI devices, it was an impressive, if expensive unit.

Belkin’s release states “We realize that its retail price of $1499 would be out of line given the current state of the economy. With that in mind, we’ve opted to halt production of FlyWire.” It seems though, that a $1499 piece of hardware designed to save a few cords would appeal to a niche market in any economy, and would still have an appeal to a lot of consumers.

To the disappointed and expectant purchasers of the FlyWire Belkin says “We know there will be some disappointed folks out there, but our end goal is to introduce products that are accessible and that make sense in the current environment.”

Belkin doesn’t seem to think there’s much consumer demand for their higher end product. With the recent release of cheaper, lower signal quality options, like the Atlona HDAiR, we should see a fairly telling indicator of how much demand there is for wireless HDMI technology.

18
Jul/09
0

Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter available, HDCP compliant

If you’ve been waiting for a way to connect your Mini DisplayPort-equipped Mac to an HDTV via HDMI, Knoxed has got you covered. The company has begun taking orders for its 12.99GBP  Mini Display Port to HDMI Adapter, which are expected to begin shipping this Friday.

The adapter is most significant in that it finally allows protected HD content, like that available from the iTunes Store, to be displayed on an HDTV. DisplayPort, mini or otherwise, supports the HDCP encryption scheme designed to “prevent pirating” of HD content. Unfortunately for users of new Macs, most monitors don’t support the standard—but luckily HDTVs do. Gizmodo got a unit to test and they say it works as advertised.

The adapter will transmit audio data along with video if a device’s Mini-DP supports it, however Apple’s implementation on all current Macs does not. It should especially be useful to folks using a Mac mini as an HTPC, but also for folks hooking up a MacBook or MacBook Pro to watch occasional content as well (hello, Hulu). Knoxed is also known for its other display adapters that are usually far cheaper than Apple’s own options.

17
Jul/09
1

Dell’s DisplayPort Folly

Dell is on a mission to prove it’s a technology leader by making sure that DisplayPort–the DVI replacement that it’s pushing hard for the industry to adopt–appears on your next notebook, PC, and monitor. There’s just one problem: We don’t need DisplayPort. It currently doesn’t offer any real cost or performance benefits over the well-established HDMI interface, which is appearing on a growing number of products. DisplayPort’s introduction is likely to cause confusion and frustration for buyers seeking a monitor that will work with their notebook or PC at home. Worse, Dell plans to eventually launch DisplayPort-only monitors that will lack backward compatibility with every single PC shipped to date. This is not technology leadership.

The DisplayPort Dilemma

In addition to writing GeekTech, I’m a research analyst for IDC covering monitors and projectors, so I’ve watched DisplayPort’s evolution closely. Dell, HP, Samsung, and other monitor industry big shots first started kicking around the idea that became DisplayPort in 2003–and back then it made sense. After all, the old analog VGA interface was dead (although to this day it refuses to lie down) and the DVI interface had become technologically moribund, unable to keep up with the promise of next-generation, ultrahigh-resolution monitors. DisplayPort would be the ultimate digital interface for PCs, and it would be an open standard with no associated royalties, unlike the then-new HDMI interface, which was starting to show up on televisions (companies that implement HDMI today pay 4 cents per device plus a $10,000-per-year fee).

If DisplayPort had launched then, we’d probably be merrily using it on our PCs today. Instead, the standard took years to mature (as they often do). In the meantime, high-definition TV sales took off, and so did the acceptance of HDMI: Today that interface is on just about every HDTV sold, and most people with any technical prowess know what it is and how it works. After several tumultuous revisions, HDMI reached version 1.3, which can support even today’s highest-resolution 30-inch monitors. As a result, HDMI now ships on many PCs and monitors from just about every major vendor, including Dell.

When HDMI became the de facto digital interface standard, development of DisplayPort should have ceased. Alas, the wheels were already in motion, and Dell–the standard’s most vocal proponent–and VESA (the Video Electronics Standards Association, brought in to administer the specification) pushed forward, continuing development and issuing specifications. Finally, in January this year Dell rolled out the first-ever DisplayPort-enabled monitor, its 30-inch UltraSharp 3008WFP. Interestingly, the $1999 LCD also includes an HDMI port.

Why put an HDMI port on the company’s first DisplayPort monitor? Because even Dell’s top DisplayPort evangelist, Bruce Montag, senior technical staffer in the office of Dell’s CTO and chairman of the DisplayPort task force at VESA, acknowledges that HDMI is too well established to omit. Though Dell plans to continue offering HDMI on its consumer gear, it thinks DisplayPort makes more sense for future business products.

I couldn’t agree less. Why on earth should my work monitor, notebook, or desktop have a different digital interface than my products at home do? Every day I take my work notebook home, where I often connect it to my consumer desktop monitor. Plus, small-business buyers mix and match consumer and corporate hardware all the time.

DisplayPort backers like to point out that future implementations of the interface could offer compatibility with HDMI, but such support is optional, not required in the specification. In addition, it would need an external dongle and chip sets that can interface with both standards, since the two technologies work in fundamentally different ways (unlike, say, HDMI and DVI). In the end, both the vendor–and the consumer–would end up paying more for the luxury of using HDMI through a DisplayPort connector. Wouldn’t it be easier, and less expensive, if everything used just HDMI?

Future Promises

Other arguments in favor of DisplayPort also fall apart upon closer examination. For example, backers suggest that because DisplayPort is royalty-free, the interface will be less expensive to implement. But in reality there’s no guarantee that contributors to the specification won’t ask for royalties later. Meanwhile, the up-front hardware costs of supporting the new standard are undoubtedly higher than that of HDMI–even considering HDMI’s 4-cent royalty fees–since HDMI’s parts are already produced in high volume and enjoy economies of scale. And for every monitor that a vendor such as Dell creates with both DisplayPort and HDMI, the company must pay the hardware cost of implementing both standards, plus the HDMI fees it originally sought to avoid.

Engineers agree that DisplayPort’s micropacket architecture is pretty slick. It can drive multiple monitors using a daisy-chain configuration, and it could enable future setups such as integrated USB hubs and Webcams that run through a single DisplayPort cable. However, a USB-based technology called DisplayLink already offers multiple-monitor support. And the USB and Webcam features aren’t included in the current DisplayPort specification, which means owners of first-generation products won’t have access to them even if they become available later. Anybody can promise future features.

Finally, Dell says DisplayPort will let the company build what it calls direct-drive monitors, models that contain fewer internal electronics, which could mean potentially lower prices and allow thinner designs. That sounds great, too, until you realize that such a “dumb” monitor could work only with DisplayPort-enabled PCs or notebooks and not with the millions of laptops and desktops that exist today.

DisplayPort was a good idea that missed its window of opportunity. By forcing the issue, Dell and other DisplayPort backers are only going to bewilder consumers. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, desktop, or monitor in the coming months, be sure to take a close look at the connectors on the back. How irritated would you be to find that the best connection on your new high-end monitor won’t work with the best connection on your high-end notebook?

16
Jul/09
0

Mini HDMI ( HDMI Type D) cables on the way

minihdmihdSeveral companies have prototyped miniature High Definition Multimedia Interface cables, bringing the size near or below that of USB.

The smallest cable, developed by US-based Molex Inc., uses the same 19-pin connection as existing HDMI cables but in roughly half the size, Nikkei Electronics Asia reports. Japan’s Yakazi Corp. and an unnamed third firm have also created prototypes. Meanwhile, Japan Aviation Electronics Industry is working a larger HDMI connector for cars.

All these cables are based on the next HDMI standard, due for release this quarter with products hitting the market in the second half of the year. Smaller connectors retain the 19-pin design of their predecessors, ensuring backwards compatibility.

Molex’s cable uses a type D connector that’s about the same size as a Micro USB connector. The small size suggests that we could see more HDMI outputs coming from mobile devices, such as smartphones. As a reader in our forums noted, this opens the door for easy HD video feeds from phone to TV.

I hope this development leads to that sort of implementation. Being able to plug a phone into a TV to watch all of its stored content is just what downloadable HD video needs to really take off. Something tells me content producers wouldn’t like this, because it’s just another way to circumvent traditional television, but it’s worth a shot.