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Recently I was playing video games with my brothers and their friends when they decided to move the party to another house. We were all set to go when suddenly someone mentioned the TV involved. This was soon drawn out into a long conversation about why old video games don't work well with new TV's, but work perfectly fine with old ones. Why is that? Well, the problem I am mentioning is called input lag, which is the loose definition for any large difference in time between the input to a hardware device and its associated output. For example: hitting a button on a game controller and waiting a second before the TV displays the action. Many of my brothers' friends noted that this input lag was almost never seen with old cathode ray tube TV's, while it can be often seen with liquid crystal display or plasma. The reason this occurs is because of the difference between the analog signals of old video game consoles, and the digital signals of new TV's. When an old video game controller is pressed, the controller takes information and packages it in an analog signal to be sent to the TV. The TV then accepts this signal for display. Old TV's used analog display, so they could simply unpack and use the information. However, new TV's use digital systems, and must first demodulate the data (which includes changing the carrier wave) to be unpacked. They also nowadays store video information, which previous TV's did not. As a result, your original smash bros. game may not perform as well as you'd like unless you fish something archaic out of a trash heap. Good luck with that buddy.
TV's have risen in popularity tremendously since their invention, and despite continuing advancements in communication they continue to be a major project across the world. This relevance is in a large part due to the innovation which has kept them higher quality, easier to operate, and/or more useful than ever. TV's started out using cathode ray tube technology to display a picture. In this setup, a vacuum tube rockets electrons towards a phosphorescent screen. Anodes accelerate the electrons before they are deflected by two coils of electrically charged wire, creating an electric field. These deflected electrons strike the screen and glow in different colors due to the intensity with which the tube shoots them out. It scans left to right, top to bottom, until it finally reaches the bottom, and repeats. Nowadays, however, TV's work very differently. One style is the liquid crystal display. Lights on the bottom of the TV shine upwards, illuminating the inside of the TV. Two polarizing planes at 90 degree angles to each other block all regular light from reaching the screen. However, between the planes is a section of nematic liquid crystals which are twisted. On each end are glass planes coated with electrons to adjust intensity. As different voltages are applied to these glass panels, they twist and untwist the crystals in order to selectively block light from passing through the polarized plane to the screen. After the polarizing plane are one of three colorizing planes: red, green, or blue. By placing three of these arrangements next to one another, a pixel is created. Another style is the plasma display. In plasma displays, there are cells of ions and electrons free flowing, which are each pixels. Each pixel has a different color lens to transform visible light into one of the average three RBG. When an electric charge is sent to the cell, the positive ions and negative electrons both move around and combine with their opposites, creating light which passes through the colored panel and hits the screen. Whew! We need to stop making TV's and get back to books! Seriously, when's the last time someone reinvented the book? I want a plasma book.
Who will become America's next great innovator? Discovery's THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS is looking for the next great technological mind that could change the future. While there are countless shows searching for the next great singer, dancer and chef, there is nothing quite like this on television. Each week, THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS presents a seemingly impossible engineering challenge to the 10 contestants. In the first episode, contestants must develop a solution to stop a set of explosives from detonating. But here is the catch: the explosives are strapped to the back of two pick-up trucks heading in a high-speed, head-on collision. With just 30 minutes on the clock, competitors must come up with a proposed solution to complete the challenge. The expert panel of judges will then determine the two strongest engineering concepts based on logic and design. The two competitors with the best plans will become captains and select a team to execute their visions in only three days. Can the captains convince the others to pull it off? Will the concept actually work - or does it just look good on paper? The team that successfully completes the challenge remains safe, but the losers will face the judges, who determine which contestant will be eliminated. Other challenges this season include: Creating a machine that can cook and arrange a meal for a group of famished tourists near the Santa Monica Pier; building a portable bunker that can be deployed in five minutes and that is able to withstand fire, pressurized water and high-speed winds from a jet engine; and constructing a robot capable of competing in three different athletic events. "We are incredibly excited about this series and how it combines the drama of a competition show with world of science, technology and engineering. We hope that it not only entertains our viewers, but inspires young people to get more involved," said Nancy Daniels, executive vice president of production and development for Discovery Channel. "Creating a competition series that brings together both an educational opportunity and remarkable inventions by 'regular' people was something we've wanted to do for a long time. Teaming with Mark Fuller, the leader of his industry, created the perfect partnership to make this happen," said Craig Piligian, series executive producer. "What you'll see in this competition is true innovation under hyper-real world conditions: extremely demanding challenges, limited resources and limited time," said Mark Fuller, series judge and CEO of WET. "The pressure that the contestants face plays out on camera with some who skyrocket with ideas, leadership and invention -- and others who do a full phase meltdown under the intense pressure." The contestants have varied backgrounds and levels of experience, but they all have one thing in common -- the desire to win. The cameras capture the tension and pressure in the design workshop, as well as in the living quarters where all the competitors must deal with each other's egos and eccentricities. The winner of the competition will earn $50,000 and a one-year contract to work at WET, the industry leader behind some of the world's most innovative water-based designed environments and experiences including the nine-acre choreographed lake of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS is produced by Pilgrim Studios for Discovery with Pilgrim's Craig Piligian, Ralph Wikke, and Mitch Rosa and WET CEO Mark Fuller serving as executive producers. Kal Penn also serves as a producer for the series. Craig Coffman serves as executive producer for Discovery. To learn more, go to www.discovery.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/discovery and on Twitter @Discovery.