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Vancouver+ for FTX PNW update

Thursday, February 11th, 2010 13 comments

As noted in this post Holger and I are working on a Vancouver+ update for the upcoming FTX Pacific Northwest product (FSX only), aka FTX NA Blue.  Photography is complete (thanks, Nigel!), and modelling and other work is progressing.  As well as compatibility with FTX PNW, new features will include:

  • inclusion of DHC-3 and DHC-6 AI aircraft.  The existing AI flightplans in Van+ reference these aircraft.
  • detailed 1m satellite photoreal imagery for the entire downtown area, south shore of False Creek and the East Side and North Shore dock areas.  This replaces the existing 1999 5m imagery.
  • completely redone autogen for the photoreal coverage area: much more dense and accurate
  • new buildings: the Vancouver Convention Centre, the Fairmont Hotel and the Living Shangri-La
  • a couple of bug fixes

These updates will be available for free for existing Vancouver+ users, regardless of whether they buy the FTX product or not.

FTX PNW purchasers who have not bought Van+ to date, will be able to purchase a discounted version of Van+ for €25.  They will get the key elements of Vancouver+ which are not redone in FTX PNW: custom bridges, buildings, photoreal coverage, AI, sounds, waterfalls, detailed CYPK and CYNJ and other unique features.

Release date: some time after FTX PNW is released. ;)

FTX and Vancouver+ for FSX

Sunday, March 8th, 2009 11 comments

Many of you are probably familiar with the brilliant renditions of Australian scenery by ORBX, the FTX series.  With the continued help of Holger Sandmann, they are now working on North America, bit by bit, starting with the Pacific NorthWest.  Entitled FTX NA Blue, here’s the coverage area and some screenshots of Vancouver Island.  Note all of Vancouver Island will be covered, but the Northeast corner coveragee of Vancouver+ will not.

I’ll be working with the FTX team and FSAddon to adapt Vancouver+ for FTX so that existing Vancouver+ users can enjoy the new improved landscape FTX will provide, and FTX  NA Blue owners who don’t have Vancouver+ will have the opportunity of having the features of Vancouver+ in an addon product at a reasonable price.

Catching up with Audio/Video

Saturday, November 15th, 2008 1 comment

In the 1960s I was fascinated with technology, and when colour TV came to Canada (years after the US!), the next big breakthrough was to be high-definiiton TV, and I recall it being discussed in the press.  That may have been the NHK system demo’ed in 1969 described in this article.  But for technical reasons the technology stagnated and did not become widely available until this century.

I also remember listening to my first FM broadcast in the 60’s on a portable radio, and was capitivated by the richness, relative to AM.  And I recall clearly when my brother bought his first cheapo stereo system and we listened to the soundtrack from 2001, A Space Odyssey.  I was amazed at the depth of the sound.

In the 70s I often helped friends purchase high-quality stereo systems, and knew a fair amount about the technology.

Despite this I never purchased a good-quality system for myself.  So recently I decided it was time to investigate audio and video technology and get myself a decent system.  I quickly discovered that audiophile systems were well out of my price range, as was the latest in HDTV.  But with minor compromises, the cost could be brought down dramatically.  So here’s what I purchased:

  • Panasonic 42″ 1080p TH42PZ800 plasma HDTV
  • Pace TDC-775D PVR (only choice with local cable company)
  • Panasonic BD50 BluRay player (now superseded by the BD55)
  • Yamaha RXV-1800 receiver (good price as the RXV-1900 is now available)
  • Grado SR-2 headphones
  • Panasonic DMR-EZ48V DVD recorder (for transcribing old VHS and Hi-8 video tapes)

And here’s my impressions:

  • The richness and clarity of the TV are amazing.
  • The colour depth of the TV is very poor, looks like 16 bit colour, resulting in very visible banding on graduated colour areas, whether from BD, computer or cable.  I went back to the store and looked at many plasma and LCD TVs, indeed this is a chronic problem with plasma, which I didn’t find noted anywhere in reviews.  How odd.  Of course, the newest, very expensive TVs (like $9k) don’t have this problem.  LCD TVs perform much better than plasma on colour depth.
  • The compression needed for cable HDTV results in massive pixellation on movement, it’s tolerable, but I think they (at least the local cable company) has gone overboard on compression.
  • Flight Simulator X looks fantastic on a 42″ plasma, and performance is quite good.
  • There is no hiss at all from the receiver.  Zero.  Amazing.  Overall the receiver specs are better than the best studio equipment of the 70s.
  • The Blu-Ray player takes forever to start up!  But movies look great.
  • The headphones are amazing.
  • Amazingly, neither of the DVD players can read .jpg images over 1Mb in size, something that aged DVD players can do.  A big hole in Panasonic’s capability.  I have to drive slide shows from the computer.
  • I once tested the Shaw digital audio channels because the sounded so crappy, and found they rolled off around 8kHz.  However either my system sucked or they’ve changed the quality, because now they sound great.  Definitely wide-response, although there still is some distortion on very low frequencies at times.  That may be the fault of the audio stream providers, who knows.

Now astute readers will have noted something missing: speakers.  Those I’m going to take my time with and save my nickels, as they are the most critical part of the system.  Meanwhile, the place I’m renting has some old Technics speakers that sound ok: they are missing the low end, but capture the tinkly highs adequately.  And clarity is good.

So I’ve caught up a bit, and am satisfied with what I have.

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