HD Audio explained


How many of your are aware of the Audio aspect in High Definition?

Many of us tend to limit our exposure to HD world in Video aspect only. Is this because of lack of awareness or plain ignorance.

 You ensure that you get the maximum screen size for your HD TV that your budget can afford. Did you ensured that you supplement that with a matching Audio setup?  If your current Audio setup with multi-channel speakers doesn’t carry DTD HD or Dolby TrueHD , then that means your Audio setup is not on par with your video setup.

So the question may arise how am I going to benefit from this?

To answer that let’s go back in history. If you are in your mid thirties, then your audio experience might have started by listening to Audio cassette. Then came Audio CD, then mp3.

Of course we know, the difference between our plain old audio cassette and a CD or Mp3 is analogue vs digital. But there is another angle to this – the level of compression or detail. In my opinion, if you compare audio recorded in cassette to CD or mp3, then the cassette gives an unaltered audio experience.  When an analogue signal is digitized, that involves a certain level of alteration and missing details during the process. And when it comes to mp3, there is further loss of detail from the original, as the audio information is compressed.

 The intention of mp3 format, is to store the audio information in compressed format as Hard Disk space was expensive when the technology was invented.

 But as time passed, disk storage got cheaper and you find a trend where the information whether audio or video , under went less compression compared to the past.  Films when it came in CD form, it started with VCD, then DVD, the HD-DVD or Blu-ray. Due to advancement in technology, we were able to pack more information on a disk of same size over a period of time.  If our VCD stored around 600Mb, then a DVD had a capacity of 5-8GB. Blu-rays tend to store around 50GB of information. We are ignoring HD-DVD in this discussion as that’s phased out.

When technology gave us the option to pack more data , we loosened our compression, which helps us in storing video and audio with less loss of detail.  We have reached a stage where we are able to store exact replica of the audio information which was as played live. Hence we term the current formats which store audio information as lossless.

Multi channel sound processing majors like Dolby Laboratories and DTS have formats which stores surround audio channels in lossless format. These are termed as the HD Audio formats.  You will find these formats available in movie titles available in Blu-Rays. So to enjoy lossless audio for your favorite movies , you need to enjoy the Blu-Ray versions on compatible home theater systems.

So what am I going to benefit from this? Will this make my movie watching at home more enjoyable?

The experience is very much subjective and depends on the audience.

If you are somebody who has never bothered even about surround sound or 5.1 or 7.1 channels , then, for you it’s just the same. But if you are somebody who like to enjoy the immersive experience of surround sound, then you will appreciate the additional detail and ambience created using these lossless formats.

So will it stop here ? The answer is – NO.

Technology will continue its innovation and we will continue our pursuit  to achieve the perfection in capturing what we hear with our naked ears.

We at this moment cannot predict what experience we will have in another 5 years from now. So until then enjoy the audio experience provided by DTS Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD sound formats.

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So, Apple is re-inventing our portable TimePiece


What could be the next surprise product from Apple that would re-invent that product line ? Analysts and bloggers have been speculating about this for quiet a while.

Apple really need that. With enthusiasm on its iPhone declining, the company should waste no time in pulling back its depleting fan base.

An iTV has been doing the rounds for a while. But how innovative the design of that TV, it won’t  fly until you get content to deliver on that platform. And the core content generators are in no hurry to support something which could take away their major chunk of cash flow for them.

Here comes iWatch – An Apple designed Wrist Watch. The technology space is busy talking about how that product will look like and what features that would hold to wow the users. A recent news about the team that’s working on this product further reinforce the possibility of that.

Will Apple transform the Device to a multi-media / social device ?

Or

Will it completely change the way we use our watches ?

Wait and watch. It’s guaranteed that the product will pack a few innovations , probably a solar-powered device without  a visible solar panel.


Should I buy Office 365 Home Premium or Office Home & Student 2013


This post will give you inputs  on choosing the version of MS Office from  a Value for Money point of view.

 Microsoft released the new iteration of its highly successful Office Suite to general Public last week.  The trend of embracing Cloud adopted by Microsoft is visible in this product line also.

What’s the best flavour from a Value for Money point of view for a Home user?  Read on….

I’ll make the following assumption for the rest of the post.

1) Average time frame for which a normal Home user uses a particular version of Office suite is assumed min 5 Years

2) Word and Excel will suffice for a normal Home user. Outlook will always be a Bonus for him.

Now the pricing offered for these two variants is as follows

a) Office 365 Home Premium –    Rs 4199/- (approximately $ 77)

b) Office Home & Student 2013 – Rs 5499/- (approximately $ 101)

Variant (a) looks like reasonable. But its subscription based. The price mentioned is the yearly fee you pay for using the following Products – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook + few others. You can have the Suite installed in 5 Desktops (PCs / Macs).

Whereas variant (b) is a onetime payment you pay for using the product for the life time. But limited to only ONE desktop. And you are limited to Word, Excel, PowerPoint & OneNote.

Let us look at two scenarios based on the number of installation with in the family

Scenario 1 – Only one Desktop/Laptop

 

Office Home & Student 2013

Office 365 Home Premium

Cost for using the Product for 5 Years

Rs. 5499/-

Rs. 20, 995/- (Rs. 4199 x 5 )

Products available

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook + others

For only one installation in a house hold, it’s cost-effective to go with Office Home & Student variant.

Even if you want Outlook also for your mail chores, a one-time Payment of Rs 6,749 + Rs 5499 for Office Home & Student will still be cost-effective compared to Office 365 Home Premium in the long run.

Scenario 2 – More than one Desktop/Laptop

Let’s use two tables to get a clear picture.

Cost Per Year for the number of Installations

Variant

Cost Per Unit

No of   Installations

 

 

2

3

4

5

 

 

Cost

Office   Home & Student 2013

 4,199.00

    4,199.00

 4,199.00

  4,199.00

 4,199.00

Office   365 Home Premium

         5,499.00

 10,998.00

 16,497.00

 21,996.00

 27,495.00

Savings   for choosing Office 365 Home Premium

 

    6,799.00

 12,298.00

 17,797.00

 23,296.00

What you end up paying at the end of 5th Year?

 

No of   Installations

 

Variants / Combinations

2

3

4

5

Comments

 

Cost at the end of 5 Years

 

Office   365 Home Premium

 20,995.00

 20,995.00

 20,995.00

 20,995.00

Cost remains the same irrespective of Installations

Office   Home & Student 2013

 10,998.00

 16,497.00

 21,996.00

 27,495.00

 

Office   Home & Student 2013 + Outlook

 17,743.00

 23,242.00

 28,741.00

 34,240.00

 

 Office 365 Home premium is cost-effective only if you have 4 to 5 installation in the long run. Other wise, Office Home & Student is the best option.

For choice of other products than what’s covered in Home & Student Variant , it’s better to go with Office 365 Home Premium for 3 and above installations.

 Hope this post will help you in choosing the appropriate variant of MS Office for your needs.

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