Opera’s Better TV Browser

Forbes writes:

Opera Software announced a new version of its screen rendering technology that makes viewing Web pages on a normal television as sharp as viewing them on a traditional computer monitor.

The Oslo-based company which developed the No. 3 Internet browser said Web pages are designed to be displayed on high-resolution computer monitors, and that low resolution television screens can leave pages with a decidedly less than perfect image.

Opera said its TV Rendering, or TVR, program adjusts any Web page for a perfect display on any television screen of any size.

“TVR for the first time introduces users of broadband enabled set-top boxes or other iv related hardware, to the potential of full Internet browsing that is as true and content-rich as experienced with desktop computers,” the company said.

Opera said the software is aimed for use by manufacturers, not consumers.

Opera’s project partner, Equator Technologies, which supplies system-on-a-chip processors for networked video entertainment and communications, is ready to deliver to TVR with their StarFish, Tetra and Dolphin hardware platforms.

“The ability to combine TV broadcasting with Internet content opens up an almost unimaginable array of new great features for the old screen,” said John O’Donnell, Equator’s chief technological officer. “TVR makes it possible to comfortably surf the Web from the comfort of your sofa, removing the need for many to have a separate work-like computer at home.”

WSJ writes that as the pixels grow, the quality of TV displays will improve:

In the not-too-distant future, though, video displays will be so realistic that even the stone-cold sober may think that the beer can in the commercial is real. Researchers talk about the “20-20 display,” one that would be as acute as human vision, offering a perfect picture, under glass. (A conference on the topic is being held this week in Arlington, Va., sponsored by the U.S. Display Consortium.) Engineers predict that such a monitor could be ready, at least in a lab, in as little as five years.

It’s not as hard a job as you would think, says J. Norman Bardsley, the director of technology at the display consortium. Display makers simply need to keep making steady incremental progress on the same things they have been making progress on all along, especially screen resolution, range of colors and contrast.

In fact, Mr. Bardsley says, in some areas we are closer to this display holy grail than people realize. International Business Machines makes a 22-inch display with nine million pixels — or 10 times the number in a current high-definition TV set. It’s a specialized device for the engineering market, and it costs $6,000. That’s a lot of money, for sure, but it’s also a bargain compared with the $300,000 that the Lawrence Livermore Lab paid for the first model a few years back as an inducement to IBM to build the thing.

Mr. Bardsley says that for a 50-inch screen viewed from five feet away, nine million pixels are enough to fool the human eye. Any higher resolution would be overkill, he says, because the eye wouldn’t be able to discern the extra information.

But besides ultrahigh resolution, the perfect display would also need to have twice the possible range of colors that today’s sets have; contrast would need to be improved as well. And, of course, there would need to be a commensurate improvement in the cameras that take the pictures.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.