Briefly: "Lost" iPod game, Mac display dithering, Costco Apple TV pilot

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Apple has released a new game for video iPods crafter after the hit TV show Lost. Meanwhile, Apple documents confirm that some of the company's LCD displays indeed employ software dithering to achieve the illusion of millions of colors. And Apple is said to be evaluating an Apple TV pilot at Coscto wholesalers.



Lost for iPods



Apple through its iTunes store has made available a new game for 5th-generation video iPods that lets users join their favorite castaways in a quest to seek the truth and survive the official iPod game of the hit television series Lost.



"Help Jack search for dynamite, tend to the wounded, and avoid the black smoke," reads a description of the game. "Relive the crash scene, open the hatch, and ultimately try your best to escape from the Others."



The $4.99 title promises to immerse players into a mysterious world with authentic settings and a genuine storyline created by the writers behind the hit show. Players will explore the island's main sites include the beach, the jungle, inside the Hatch and the Black Rock.



Mac display 'dithering'



One tipster conducting research on the recent MacBook class-action lawsuit against Apple has discovered at least one instance in which the Mac maker discloses the use of 'dithering' to produce the illusion of millions of colors on its smaller-sized displays.



A video developer note on the company's iMac line notes that the 17-inch model supports an LCD display size of 1440 x 900 pixels at 100 dpi, where "the graphics card temporally dithers the 6 bits per component to show up to millions of colors."



The 20-inch model, however, supports an LCD display size of 1680 x 1050 pixels at 98 dpi and supports 8 bits per component to show up to millions of colors, according to the note.



Earlier this month, two San Diego private citizens filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, charging the company with falsely advertising the color display capabilities of its MacBook and MacBook Pro displays.



Specifically, the suit alleged that the Intel-based notebooks are only capable of producing the "illusion of millions of colors through the use of a software technique referred to as 'dithering,' which causes nearby pixels on the display to use slightly varying shades of colors that trick the human eye into perceiving the desired color even though it is not truly that color."



Apple TV pilot at Costco



Around the same time that AppleInsider reported on plans for Target retail stores to begin carrying Apple TV, the folks over at Ars noted that the $299 streaming media device had also cropped up at select Costco wholesale clubs.



AppleInsider has since learned, through a tipster, that only around 50 Costco locations are currently carrying the device. Those locations are said to be part of a pilot program aimed at testing sales of the device in the non-traditional Apple atmosphere.



Should the pilot show signs of success, its likely to see expansion to Costco's more than 375 U.S. locations, the tipster added. As part of the pilot, the wholesaler is pushing the Apple set-top-boxes for $289, about $10 under Apple's suggested manufacturers retail price.



Those readers looking to adopt an Apple TV for even less coin may also have some luck at Apple's online store, where other tipsters have noted that the company is selling refurbished Apple TV's for only $249, while supplies last.



Apple has said that it will leverage its proven capability in the area of software development to gradually add new software features and applications to Apple TV over time.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    kbsbemekbsbeme Posts: 25member
    AppleTV is being sold at Sam's Clubs in the Phoenix area.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    icibaquicibaqu Posts: 278member
    "conducting researching"



    commence appleinsider tipsters conducting editing
  • Reply 3 of 37
    vmardianvmardian Posts: 22member
    Quote:

    As part of the pilot, the wholesaler is pushing the Apple set-top-boxes for $289, about $10 under Apple's suggested manufacturers retail price.



    It seems to me like it's exactly $10.
  • Reply 4 of 37
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    Quite clearly when the graphics card is performing temporal dithering regardless of the software it is a hardware function, not a software function.



    Indeed I was under the impression that the dithering actually takes place within the display rather than the output of the graphics card. This explains how you can connect an 8-bit display and get a perfect image via mirroring even if you are also showing that same screen on a 6-bit dithered display on the MacBook or iMac. I believe that the discovered phrase was a simplification by Apple and that it meant that the dithering occurred within the graphics subsystem, which includes the display which is performing the action.



    Software temporal dithering would actually alter the screen image in memory, thus affecting all attached displays. It would also be extremely wasteful and inefficient when it could be done in the display independently (it's not exactly rocket science either).
  • Reply 5 of 37
    ak1808ak1808 Posts: 108member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...which causes nearby pixels on the display to use slightly varying shades of colors that trick the human eye into perceiving the desired color even though it is not truly that color."



    If it tricks me so nicely, why should I care?

    Blue pill anyone?
  • Reply 6 of 37
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    I ended up at the new Costco in Woodbridge, VA @ Potomac Mills this past Saturday. They are carrying Apple TV.
  • Reply 7 of 37
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ak1808 View Post


    If it tricks me so nicely, why should I care?



    It doesn't work that way with everyone.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    I can understand the ditherig in the case of consumer computers.



    Howeever in the case of PRO computers there is a significant expectation and a significant price differential.



    At this time I have no idea if they are using dithering or not on PRO systems, If Apple is doing dittering in any PRO system, I can see them in big problem.



    Several applications are called pro by Apple and 2 lines of machines are also called PRO. These systems and software have a large price differential from consumer software and hardware.



    I hope all is well.
  • Reply 9 of 37
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    I normally support Apple, but in this case I think it was sh*tty of them to pass off high color displays as true color, and I hope these lawyers rip their legal anus out and hand it to them.
  • Reply 10 of 37
    Tigard, OR has them, as well.



    Lets wait to see what happens witth the display thing, before we scream for anyone's orifice.
  • Reply 11 of 37
    festefeste Posts: 17member
    How is this lawsuit any different from someone suing the "motion picture" industry for claiming that they show moving pictures? The pictures don't really move. There's a display of 24 still images per second. They trick the human eye into seeing motion, where there isn't "real" motion. Big deal.



    It would be ridiculous for Apple to claim that there's "really" great color in a display, and it's a defect in your eye that makes it see crappy color. Why is the reverse any less ridiculous?
  • Reply 12 of 37
    wilcowilco Posts: 985member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feste View Post


    How is this lawsuit any different from someone suing the "motion picture" industry for claiming that they show moving pictures? The pictures don't really move. There's a display of 24 still images per second. They trick the human eye into seeing motion, where there isn't "real" motion. Big deal.



    Great analogy!
  • Reply 13 of 37
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,894member
    One might as well sue every manufacturer that uses LCD's as they all do this.



    As long as you aren't doing graphics and photo color edits, it won't matter.



    I'm pretty sensitive to color, as that was my business going back to the early '70's, and my wife's new 6 bit monitor has very good color. I would have to be very engaged with it so see any problems.



    Don't forget that the color gamut for TV is not much more than one million colors, even for current hi def. Very few people are bothered by that.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Feste View Post


    How is this lawsuit any different from someone suing the "motion picture" industry for claiming that they show moving pictures? The pictures don't really move. There's a display of 24 still images per second. They trick the human eye into seeing motion, where there isn't "real" motion. Big deal.



    It would be ridiculous for Apple to claim that there's "really" great color in a display, and it's a defect in your eye that makes it see crappy color. Why is the reverse any less ridiculous?



    To properly state your analogy, it would be like Apple selling movies at 24 frames per second but only delivering 20 frames per second. Some people wont know the difference other people (including myself) will get severely motion sick. Some people need the extra color information on the display; most do not. However, this does not change the misrepresentation of the product.
  • Reply 15 of 37
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    One might as well sue every manufacturer that uses LCD's as they all do this.



    As long as you aren't doing graphics and photo color edits, it won't matter.



    I'm pretty sensitive to color, as that was my business going back to the early '70's, and my wife's new 6 bit monitor has very good color. I would have to be very engaged with it so see any problems.



    Don't forget that the color gamut for TV is not much more than one million colors, even for current hi def. Very few people are bothered by that.



    As I'm sure people will be doing (esp. if this case gets settled or money exchanges hands). But do all of them say "show millions of colors" as apple does? If Apple said "over 200,000 colors" with some "sort of millions, due to dithering" at the end, they'd be fine (like they do for Hard drives).



    But saying 'it doesn't matter' still ignores the big picture. You buy a $2500 laptop, you kind of expect to get some features worthy of the price, like a true 8-bit display or something. Or you're getting what you're being told you're getting. But, if you're fine with that, then I'm sure you'd be fine getting a computer with a 1.5GHz processor that's overclocked to 2GHz, or a 1600x1200 display that really had a resolution of 1200x800, but they used some software techniques to 'increase' the resolution.



    BTW, when I was about to buy my MBP, I checked the comments on Amazon, and someone specifically mentioned this (and this was months ago), with links to some forum discussions and screenshots of what they were talking about. It was almost enough for me not to get one (I ended up going to the apple store first to see if I could see the problem, which I couldn't, so I took a chance - but Apple may have addressed it by then).
  • Reply 16 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ascii View Post


    I normally support Apple, but in this case I think it was sh*tty of them to pass off high color displays as true color, and I hope these lawyers rip their legal anus out and hand it to them.



    If indeed there is something inappropriate (ie *still* image 6 bit per channel color) I'll agree but I'm intrigued by the term "temporarally" in the sentence "the graphics card temporally dithers the 6 bits per component to show up to millions of colors": If they are dithering to increase display performance during visual effects in machines with limited bandwidth they they are making a very wise choice (you may detect dithering on a still but it is unlikely that even the discerning can detect dithering that is moving and cycling at ~24fps). What even the undiscerning would detect, is jittering and latency that might occur if you are trying to push more bits into a frame buffer than it can handle.



    I'd like clarification on exactly what Apple is doing here before I make my call.



    K
  • Reply 17 of 37
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,894member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Louzer View Post


    As I'm sure people will be doing (esp. if this case gets settled or money exchanges hands). But do all of them say "show millions of colors" as apple does? If Apple said "over 200,000 colors" with some "sort of millions, due to dithering" at the end, they'd be fine (like they do for Hard drives).



    But saying 'it doesn't matter' still ignores the big picture. You buy a $2500 laptop, you kind of expect to get some features worthy of the price, like a true 8-bit display or something. Or you're getting what you're being told you're getting. But, if you're fine with that, then I'm sure you'd be fine getting a computer with a 1.5GHz processor that's overclocked to 2GHz, or a 1600x1200 display that really had a resolution of 1200x800, but they used some software techniques to 'increase' the resolution.



    BTW, when I was about to buy my MBP, I checked the comments on Amazon, and someone specifically mentioned this (and this was months ago), with links to some forum discussions and screenshots of what they were talking about. It was almost enough for me not to get one (I ended up going to the apple store first to see if I could see the problem, which I couldn't, so I took a chance - but Apple may have addressed it by then).



    Yes. The ads for those monitors do say "millions of colors".



    It's legit to say that even if the monitor has only "native" support for hundreds of thousands, if dithering can take care of it.



    It's like digital projectors. You have to look for the small print, or detailed tech specs oftentimes to see the native rez. They usually just state the rez that they input. So, a projector that is advertised as being 1024 x 768 may output 800 x 600. It does a down-conversion.



    Until the government puts a law in place, manufacturers will continue to do this.



    Remember the controversy over screen size for crts?
  • Reply 18 of 37
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    Until the government puts a law in place, manufacturers will continue to do this.



    Remember the controversy over screen size for crts?



    Yep, until some people filed class-action suits against the manufacturers to put the correct size on the box. You don't need a law, you just need someone to sue!



    And that's why it irritates me when people call these types of suits pointless or just a money grab for lawyers. Of course its a money grab, but if it weren't for these types of suits, you'd still be trying to find out whether the 17" monitor you could get from Apple was larger or smaller then the 17" monitor you could get from Sony.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mmmdoughnuts View Post


    To properly state your analogy, it would be like Apple selling movies at 24 frames per second but only delivering 20 frames per second. Some people wont know the difference other people (including myself) will get severely motion sick. Some people need the extra color information on the display; most do not. However, this does not change the misrepresentation of the product.



    To even more properly state the analagy (while maintaining the 8 bit:6bit ratio), it would be like Apple selling movies at 24 frames per second but only delivering 18 frames per second.



    Some people think I am funny, but mostly they just .
  • Reply 20 of 37
    Damn... AnalOgy. Don't want to perpetuate any misspellings. ;-)
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