Week in Geek: More trade events, plastic electricity

By Jonathan Blum and Seth Elkin

The Society For Information Display convention is coming up May 20-25. This is the Woodstock meeting of the minds for the rocket scientists that plumb the depths of the universe to make displays rock even harder. The big news this year is that Liquid Crystal Display screens still have plenty of development life ahead. Specifically, we like what we are seeing in 120 Hz driving, which will make displays very fast, responsive and be able to run at higher frequencies. We’re seeing indications of better control of light emitting diodes as light sources for LCDs and better reduction in blurring due to motion-compensated impulsive driving. In case you’’re not an engineer, we’ll put this into plain English for you: Traditional LCD screens are going to improve in quality.

Here’s a bit of a wild, over-the-horizon idea that’s worth keeping an eye on: Scientists in Japan are working on a new generation of plastics that can conduct electricity. The early tests indicate that these polymers are far more efficient than traditional methods at moving power. The technology has a lot of potential uses in a sports production environment. Imagine being able to run lighting and audio without
dedicated power cables. To be sure, this is all in the way-early development stages, but it’s an interesting idea nonetheless.

The Home Entertainment Show is coming to New York City next week. The news this year is that mainstream consumer electronics vendors are taking high-end audio seriously. Thinning margins on flat-panel displays and the renewed interest in sound from the iPod generation have brought better sound in from the electronics hinterlands. For broadcasters, that’s good reason to rethink surround sound options and pay closer attention to audio presentation standards. The quality of the average viewer’s audio is bound to improve.

In other tech news, you can get an HD radio for $60 … The good old mouse goes 3-D .. The Championship Gaming Series is having its draft at the Playboy Mansion. How do we get invited? … You can get plenty of sports games for your cell phone, and now other genres are
getting into the act. Check out Call of Duty … Wireless is doing well. Alltel and Verizon both reported strong first-quarter sales.

And finally .. design your own poker chips, because we know what all you TV types do when you’re on location.