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Companies Bow HD Test Facilities, Showroom

20 Feb, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The format war may be over, but not the task of allowing developers, producers and creators to perfect the nuances of high-definition audio and video features.

Testronics Labs has enhanced its Burbank, Calif.-based postproduction facility to allow studios testing of Blu-ray Java, BD-Live and even newly defunct HD DVD's interactive component, HDi.

'The challenges have been significant for developers, but testing methodology is equally stretched as clients need to maintain existing release schedules despite the increasing complexity of the process,' said Johan Craeybeckx, chief technology officer of Testronic.

Separately, Pioneer Electronics in March will open The Kuro Loft, a specially designed 1,800-square-foot room in Hollywood, Calif.

The loft allows cinematographers, directors, editors and executives to screen and tinker with HD content, including video games, as it plays on a 60-inch screen in a home theater setting or simultaneously on top commercially available flat panel plasma and LCD monitors.

The loft is not open to the public but is available for free by reservation to film professionals.

Paul Meyhoefer, VP of plasma marketing and product planning with Pioneer, said the loft helps developers perfect HD content that, if properly showcased, can further an emotional connection with the viewer.

'They have a vision and want to replicate that vision to whomever is going to watch this film or play this game,' Meyhoefer said. "Often they don't have the bandwidth, audio or video capabilities to see the new technologies' impact on their content.'

He said the loft would appeal to cinematography aficionados — the types who obsess over different shades of black in a film.

Started 18 months ago as Project Kuro, Pioneer envisioned the loft as an extension of the project where HD content could be viewed and heard through the best available technology.

A TV Taste Test room allows content to be screened simultaneously across a Pioneer Kuro flat panel monitor and five (non Pioneer) resolution screens for side-by-side comparisons only a tech geek could appreciate.

'Our engineers are passionate about this, and this loft targets discerning entertainment junkies,' Meyhoefer said. 'We focused on this new junkie that couldn't get enough of technology. More detail, better color, blacks, color gradations. They probably watch movies in the dark.'

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