Ed's AV Handbook.com
Home Theater & High Fidelity Stereo Audio


Chapter Four
Video Reproduction

Page 4

Batting practice for the audio/video pro and a primer for the novice 



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Home Video History
          Through the 1950s, 1960s and much of the 1970s ABC, CBS, and NBC ruled the
small screen, while the movie theater was the only source of the big screen and big sound.
The networks dictated what we viewed on the small screen and when we viewed it.  That was the situation until Cable TV in the 1970s via programmers such as HBO and ESPN put a dent in their virtual monopoly. Viewers gained more choice.  
                                               
The VCR - In 1973 the control of when we watched transfered to viewers via the introduction of the VCR.  Viewers could record late night TV and watched it the next afternoon.  
          The VCR was a 
huge success.  But it was the rental of prerecorded movies that produced revolutionary results.  Movie fans gained admission to Hollywood's vast library.  Hollywood filled their bank vaults with a revenue stream that outpaced the box office.  And the consumer electronics industry raced to meet the demand.
          Hollywood and the movie theater still held custody of the big picture and big sound.
But that grip began to unravel when big sound came home in 1983 with the HiFi Stereo VCR. The HiFi Stereo VCR married the TV to the high fidelity audio system.  This union was further cemented with the addition of Dolby Surround Sound.
                             
The Laser Disc - The big picture still remained an exclusive on the walls of commercial theaters.  However the debut of the Laser Disc in 1980 put a crack in that wall.  
The Laser Disc was the first audio/video
medium to use a laser read optical disc.  The Laser Disc
was an analog medium.  That surprises many AV enthusiasts.  Its composite video and analog audio was encoded as a frequency modulated analog signal.  It wasn't until well into its history that Dolby Digital, DTS, and PCM digital audio were added.  
          The Laser Disc is now a footnote in video history.  It never achieved the level of success many had hoped for.  Yet its superior picture and sound still had a significant influence.  Its supporters pined for larger screens to take advantage of their Laser Disc's improved picture resolution.  They also sought bigger and better audio systems to pair with their Laser Discs and HiFi video tape.  And did I mention .... they wanted a bigger better picture.
 

Home Theater
          Laser discs, HiFi stereo video tape, surround sound audio -- the consumer electronics industry seized the opportunity.  CRT TV screen sizes increased from 27 to 40 inches.  The rear projection TV with screen sizes from forty to eighty inches became a retail superstar. Some offered CRT projectors focused on screens measuring more than 100 inches.  
          In addition, audio
sales jumped with the addition of surround sound rear speakers, center speakers, sub woofers, and slews of surround sound receivers.  
          The big picture and big sound had found a new home.
 All of this created what we now call home theater.  

      DVD                   
 
         The close of the 20th century ushered in another consumer electronics revolution with the introduction of the DVD.   The DVD became the most successful launch of a new product in consumer electronics history.  
           The DVD digitally encoded 24 bit video data at a sampling rate of 96 KHz. Although it had  7 to 24 times more data storage than a conventional CD, it was still not enough space to support the video and audio data.  

          MPEG compression came to DVD's rescue.  MPEG “squeezed” its component video
and digital audio
into the limited data space.  The DVD's low cost, improved horizontal resolution*, and compact size led to the demise of the Laser Disc.  The DVD also replaced the sales and rental of videotape.  

*Handbook Note: The concept of video resolution is covered later in this chapter.

 2006 - HD Blu-ray raised the curtain on the next generation of a video disc.
Its
name is derived from the color of its blue-violet laser which has a shorter wavelength than the red laser of DVD and CD.  Its shorter wavelength plus MPEG4 permit almost ten times more data storage than the DVD.  
          Blu-ray supports high definition component video at 24fps.  It also
includes the options of lossless Dolby HD, lossless DTS-HD Master audio, linear PCM CD audio, plus lossy Dolby Digital Plus and lossy DTS HD audio.  

Early 2000's
-- Internet Video Streaming
          Increased Internet bandwidth speed and lower cost created a new consumer video distribution path.
 On-demand Internet video streaming providers such as NetFlix, YouTube, Hulu, and others brought on the demise of the DVD rental store.  Internet streaming video sources are also competing for cable TV, off-air, and satellite TV viewers. 

UltraHD
  2016 - The Blu-ray disc was revised to support HDR UltraHD video plus the Dolby Atmos and DTS-X surround sound formats.  The UltraHD BluRay currently offers the best performance of any source of video.

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Ed's AV Handbook.com
Batting Practice for the AV Pro and a Primer for the Novice.
Copyright 2007 Txu1-598-288   Revised 2018