CBS announced Monday it completed its $1.8 billion acquisition of CNET Networks, publisher of many Web sites including CNET News.com, setting the stage for expanding its CBS Interactive division into five categories.
Under the acquisition, CBS Interactive will include such categories as technology, entertainment, sports, news, and business. The division will be headed up by Quincy Smith, former CBS Interactive president, who will now serve as its CEO. Neil Ashe, former CNET Networks CEO, will become president of the business unit.
CBS Interactive's technology category will include CNET.com, CNET Reviews, Download.com, and others. The entertainment … Read more
After more than a dozen years of bringing you our content surrounded by yellow and green, CNET is getting a new look. As you can see above, the carnival of colors is being replaced by a cleaner look that pivots off our content and our updated red CNET logo.
Our designers and engineers have been at work on this site revamp for many months, incorporating feedback based on the activities of millions of users and scores of alpha testers in our labs. Now we are entering the first phase of our beta release. A small percent of random visitors to … Read more
CNET's MP3 Insider blog posted a fascinating entry the other day on how CNET Labs tests the audio response of different MP3 players. They load several files of the type that are used to test traditional stereo equipment, such as white noise and pure sine waves, then plays them back into an audio analyzer, which reports numbers for qualities such as signal-to-noise ratio and total harmonic distortion. Two Creative players come out on top, the iPod Classic in the middle, and Microsoft's Zune in seventh place due to fairly mediocre harmonic distortion scores.
As Donald Bell correctly points … Read more
When Jasmine and I evaluate MP3 players for CNET reviews, we always try to spend a few sentences describing any noticeable audio performance characteristics we detect during our subjective testing. We'll play around with all of the gadget's different EQ and sound enhancement options, listen back on our reference headphones, and run through a playlist of familiar music. We're only human, however, and hearing loss, ear wax, head congestion, and hangovers can skew our perceptions of audio quality from day to day. Thankfully, we have Eric Franklin.… Read more
Dean Takahashi sent me an e-mail pointing to a piece he wrote on VentureBeat describing statements Wednesday by Intel's Chief Technical Officer Justin Rattner targeted at NVIDIA. CNET's own Brooke Crothers covered the same story and provides additional background here.
The technology at issue relates to 3D graphics for PCs. All current PC graphics chips use what's called polygon-order rendering. All of the polygons that make up the objects to be displayed are processed one at a time. The graphics chip figures out where each polygon should appear on the screen and how much of it will be visible or obstructed by other polygons.
Ray tracing achieves similar results by working through each pixel on the screen, firing off a "ray" (like a backward ray of light) that bounces off the polygons until it reaches a light source in the scene. Ray tracing produces natural lighting effects but takes a lot more work.
(That's the short version, anyway. For more details, you could dig up a copy of my 1997 book Beyond Conventional 3D. Alas, the book is long since out of print.)
Ray tracing is easily implemented in software on a general-purpose CPU, and indeed, most of the computer graphics you see in movies and TV commercials are generated this way, using rooms full of PCs or blade-server systems.
Naturally, Intel loves ray tracing, and there are people at Intel working to… Read more
Natali Del Conte will be the guest hostess next week and we want your best nicknames for her now! Please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org because she won't see this coming!
It's everything from the Crave blog, with Brian Tong and guest host Bonnie Cha. This week, they talk about a new robot toy and a cell phone that you can use underwater. Then they take to the streets to see what people think about Built NY's laptop backpack. Plus, Bonnie takes your submissions and finds a nickname for Brian.
A couple months back I attempted to test two 30-inch displays--the Samsung SyncMaster 305T and the Gateway XHD3000 Extreme HD-- at the same time using CNET Labs' current distribution amplifier (DA), the Extron Electronics D2 DA4 DVI D2 DA4 DVI. This device allows up to four displays to simultaneously view the same video signal from one system. For years we've used this device to not only speed up testing, but to do accurate direct comparisons as well. Unfortunately the native resolution for the aforementioned 30-inchers is 2,560x1,600, and the maximum resolution the Extron supports is only 1,920x1,200. So, without a means to test them simultaneously at their native resolutions I was stuck in a bind. I could have tested them one at a time, but since our testing--which includes DisplayMate--has a high level of subjectivity to it, it's always best to do direct simultaneous comparisons, instead of testing one display today and then waiting a couple days to test the next. Testing them simultaneously allows you to see the exact differences between the displays.
So I delayed the testing and the review for a few weeks. In the meantime I got in touch with a colleague at DisplayMate, Ray Soneira. He put me in contact with a company called Kramer. Kramer manufactures a number of distribution amplifiers including the Kramer VM-2DVI. This particular DA is Dual Link compatible and supports each 30-inch display's 2560x1600 resolution. So now I could test both 30-inch displays simultaneously at their native resolutions in DisplayMate and in our current games test, World of Warcraft. However whenever I attempted to run either our Kill Bill Vol. 1 DVD or our Swordfish BD on both displays at the same time, the DRM gods reared their ugly heads and denied me salvation. So when testing how each display handles disc-based movies, I was forced to evaluate each display one at a time. The Kramer VM-2DVI is not advanced enough to circumvent DRM tomfoolery, unfortunately. That said, we're still very pleased that the VM-2DVI allowed us to do the bulk of our testing as fairly and accurately as possible.
The issue of not being able to view certain disc-based movies simultaneously on two or more displays may not be an issue for long, as CNET Labs is considering moving away from using movies--and even games-- to evaluate the quality of a display. The reason being that video images generally move too quickly to do a picture quality comparison, whereas static images such as high-quality photos can be studied as long as necessary in order to examine their quality. No decision has been made as yet, though, but look for more on this in a future Inside CNET Labs post.… Read more