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DAILY MANIFESTO

GR Mailbag: Totally Independent Letters

Posted on Tuesday, July 2 @ 12:13:14 Eastern by Duke_Ferris
Outnerded!
Subject: NTSC mailbag errors 
From: Andrew Shapiro 
To whom it may concern,
In your June 19th edition of the mailbag, you responded 
to a reader's question regarding the resolution of game 
consoles. In your response, the following statement was 
made, 
"Televisions don't show images the way a computer monitor does. 
There are no pixels. The NTSC format (The format used in 
America. Other countries use the PAL or SECAM formats.) 
actually consists of 525 horizontal lines stacked on top of 
each other. The horizontal level of detail depends on both 
the TV and the playback device."
In fact this statement is misleading. Television sets do 
indeed have pixels. Each part of the color on a screen is 
made up of arrangements of Red, Blue, and Green phosphor 
patches on the inside of the CRT, and each one of these 
groups forms a pixel. However, you are correct in asserting 
that televisions do not process video signal the same way a 
Computer Monitor does, in that the effective resolution of 
a monitor does not translate directly to a television. 
There is an effective resolution of a television screen. 
That resolution is 720x486, for standard NTSC Video. Of 
course on a computer this does not work out to a 4x3 aspect 
ratio. The primary reason for this is that Television 
screens have non square pixels that are a little bit 
taller than they are wide (the exact ratio is 0.9091:1.0) 
as opposed to monitors which have, for all intents and 
purposes, perfectly square pixels. In that case, one 
frequently has to edit graphics or video intended for 
broadcast on computer systems at 720x540, which is 
conveniently a standard 4x3 monitor resolution.
Unfortunately, the peculiar nature doesn't end there 
in that computers produce progressive scan frames which 
draw every line on the screen, 60, 72,75, or up to 120 
times per second, while Televisions interlace their 
images drawing odd lines, and THEN even lines 60 times 
per second. So the apparent resolution of television 
images is vastly different then those on a computer 
monitor.
Finally, part of the NTSC standard dictates that a 
certain amount of screen area is dedicated to, "Overscan," 
This is kind of a safety border around the screen which 
should not hold important picture information, and a 
smaller area inside it known as action safe which should 
not hold text. This area is reserved on Television 
because there is no real standard for how much of the 
image, a television cuts off and projects either behind 
the viewable area of the screen, or outside the phosphor 
coated area of the tube. So everyone plays it safe and 
leaves the edges blank, reducing the resolution of the 
useable television signal further. 
This also explains why consoles can get away with 
outputting 640x480 video. On the way out, the DAC 
converts the signal to analogue composite, or in the 
case of S-video, analogue component signals that basically 
have 640 vertical lines of useful resolution, and the 
rest is filled with black under the assumption that 
most of that space will be in this non-viewable overscan 
area. If one looks closely at some of the live action 
pre-rendered video, this black border will frequently 
be noticeable. And two artifacts show why. This video 
is frequently jaggy and looks badly compressed. One 
reason is that the video was originally rendered from
a 720x480 source such as DV or Mpeg 2, and has been 
converted to 640 x 480 using the Mpeg 2 capabilities 
of the X-box and the PS2 improperly, the other 
possibility is that this video is Mpeg 1, at a 
maximum resolution of 358x240.
So while both NTSC, and SVGA Video standards have a 
"resolution" as such, SVGA is far superior in terms
of detail and refresh rate, as well as how the signal 
is transmitted to the monitor. However, making a 
direct comparison by numbers is almost impossible, 
and counting horizontal lines of information gives a 
much more useful measure of a picture detail in an 
NTSC setting.
Hope that's helpful,
A. Shapiro
DVD Authoring Engineer 

Dear Mr. Shapiro,

Yeah, uh, we were totally gonna say that, but you know, we were just, like, tired, you know?

Um, can you do our math homework for us?

- GR

All 1337 Up In Da Hizzy.
From: "Pat C" 
Subject: Mail Bag Rant 
Am I the only one that is seriously annoyed by all 
that "1337" and "ownz j00" BS? I hate that crap with a 
passion, and the more I see it, the more it bothers me. 
Why can't people just type what they want to say without 
having to use some half-assed code language? Huh? HUH? 
Why do people feel the need to feel different and special 
through the use of symbols and numbers to represent 
letters? Are they trying to confuse people like me, 
who would rather not be part of that culture? Well,
it isn't working, but it sure is annoying.

Dear Pat,

Jumpin' Jehosaphat! Look here old man, don't yell at the kids because YOUR ancient ass can't keep up. It's just that kind of flimshaw hooey that scares the tarnation out of them young whippersnappers and makes 'em want to poke yer dern eye out! Dag nabit! Where's my shoes! Who?

-GR

Johns.
From: "James" 
Subject: berkely? john?
since your office is in berkely and theres a 
college named calberkley i figured theyre in 
the same place and my cousin went to berkely so 
maybe you know him cuz hes a computer game dude that 
stays up all night playing games and eating cheese doodles 
and drinking lots of 7UP. not that thats a bad but his 
name is john. do you know him?

Dear James,

Well, we know a lot of Johns.

We used to have a crush on this John. Look at that hair! But then this other John got pissed off because they almost had the same name.

When GR is in trouble, we call our friend John at the local police department, who race out to help us and, occasionally, to disco dance a little.

And who could forget this John? After all, we have the same name!

-GR John

The REAL Reason The Titanic Sunk...
From: Brad Apel 
Subject: the devil and me
Dear GR,
I just beat Devil May Cry. Does this make me one with Satan or 
something?
signed,
me

Dear Me,

No, silly, beating DMC doesn't make you one with Satan. But if you're interested, then heed our advice and do it the easy way by buying a ticket to see her in concert.

-GR

Judge, One Restraining Order, Please.
From: *******@aol.com
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 00:35:40 EDT
Subject: Knock Knock
To: info@game-revolution.com
Hey guys, I have been going to your site for quite some 
time but never really found the time to write to you. 
Anyways I read the mailbags and everything and at 
the bottom I saw an address:
Game Revolution 740 Gilman St. Berkeley, CA 94710 I said, 'Hey where's that?' So I took a little road trip down to Berkeley and it took a little while to find. But I did find it and I went to the bathroom on the front floor. Then I went up these beat up looking stairs and took a left. While coming upon it I realized the Monsters Inc. door mat. Sweet I said to my self and I knocked on the door. Wow, I might be able to see the people who work in GR and what would I say, what would I do? But to my avail no one answered my knocking. But then some guy from the room saw me and I asked 'Do you know if there's anybody in GR right now?' He knocked and like before no one answered. I ended up leaving with my heart shattered unable to see the people who work in GR. Where were you guys?

Dear Unfortunate AOL STALKER,

Man, we are so bummed we missed you. Actually, we decided to visit YOU at YOUR house that very same day! Yeah! We showed up at your front door totally unannounced carrying little knives, because, after all, you never know what kinds of NUTS are out there, eh? So yeah, we climbed in your window and hid in your closet for a few hours, stroking our knives, just waiting for you to get home so we could surprise you with big hugs! We even scrawled a message in blood on your mirror saying that we were sorry we missed you, but that we would return at a later date, probably late at night.

-GR

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