Author: B Totanes

 

What Exactly is an LED Television?

by B Totanes

Lately, there have been a lot of advertisements hyping about LED televisions. What exactly is an LED television and how can it benefit you, the consumer?

First of all, let me get a few terms defined, so you can understand the big picture:

Different layers of an LCD panel display.

LCD – this stands for “Liquid Crystal Display”. This simply means what it says. It is a display that uses liquid crystals sandwiched in between two glass panels and electrodes. The electrodes within these panels activate the liquid crystals and make the crystals dark, light or produce colors from the RGB spectrum, thus creating images depending on how the electricity is passed through them.

An LED lamp and its basic components (Image Credit: Howstuffworks.com)



LED – “Light Emitting Diode” is an electronic component that produces light. This device, a Diode, is a semiconductor device that allows electricity only to pass on one direction. LEDs have been around since 1962, and were very commonly used as indicatorlamps on switches. Today, LEDs can be much brighter and some of its applications are as light sources for flashlights, traffic lights, automobile tail lights and others. They normally last many times longer than regular incandescent bulbs. Often, the device it is installed on becomes obsolete and discarded way ahead of the LED lamp’s useful life. In ultra-large displays, thousands of Red, Green and Blue (RGB) LED lamps are placed on arrays in a huge panel and are controlled by a computer to produce TV-like images. These panels are what you see in big stadiums and ultra-large displays in Las Vegas, for example.

A vintage Altair PC using LED lamps

So, what is an “LED Television”?

Basically, the name “LED television” is a misnomer. It is really a combination of LCD and LED technology. In a traditional LCD television, the LCD panel that produce the images is back-lit by cold-cathode flourescent lamp (CCFL), similar to those white flourescent lamps in our homes. LCD panels by themselves will produce images, but you will barely see the picture as it requires some form of backlight. The floursecent lamp is placed on the back of the LCD panel to reveal the picture.

In an LED Television, the same LCD panel is used, but the cold cathode fourescent lamp (CCFL) is replaced by bright LED lamps. LED lamps are either placed directly behind the LCD panel or lined just behind the outer edge of the display (Edge-LED). So basically, the correct term should be “LED-backlit LCD Television”. However, Samsung, who invented LED-backlit LCD TVs, conveniently dropped “LCD” and started calling their LED-backlit LCD Televisions,simply “LED Televisions”. And so, the confusion started.

Some more expensive implementation of LED-backlighting involves putting Red, Green, and Blue (RGB-LED) LEDs directly behind the LCD panel and then dynamically controlled depending on what is being viewed on the screen. This makes for even brighter colors and deeper contrasts.

RGB LED Array (Image Credit: cNet Australia)

What are the benefits of LED-backlit LCD versus LCD Televisions? LED-backit LCD TVs differ from conventional CCFL-backlit LCD TVs in the following:

* LED-backlit LCD TVs produce images with greater dynamic contrast.
* With Edge-LED lighting they can be extremely slim. Models on the market can be approximately one inch thick.
* Offer a wider color gamut, especially when RGB-LED backlighting is used.
* Less environmental pollution on disposal.
* Generally 20-30% lower power consumption.

The Samsung Series 5000 LED TV

In a nutshell, LED-backlit LCD Televisions are fast becoming the preferred choice in televisions now-a-days. However, it is NOT the must-get feature if your budget does not allow the higher price. Do not disqualify traditional LCD televisions from your list. Chances are, you might just find a great deal out there.

Next: HDTV: 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, what are the differences?

Then and Now: Rizal Avenue

Avenida Rizal or more popularly referred to now as Rizal Avenue is one of Manila’s busiest districts.  In the 1920’s through 1930’s, Rizal Avenue was the place to be for the city’s elite and socialites.  Streets were lined with high-end shops, restaurants and movie theaters.  These theaters were designed by famous architects during that era, some of whom are now immortalized in our architectural history books.

On our first photo, you can see Rizal Avenue when we were still part of the United States.  A street busling with kalesas mixed in with early model Fords, it is evident here that it was already a busy area of Manila around the 1930s.  A notable landmark is the newly built Ideal Theater, erected in 1933 by Architect Pablo Antonio.

Rizal Avenue, circa 1930s. Note the traffic police stationed under the umbrella, and the vintage telephone pole in the middle of the street.

The next photo shows a war-torn Rizal Avenue.  Probably taken around 1945. Note the burned shell buildings to the right of the photo and a column of American tanks and jeeps on the street.  The Ideal Theater however survived the Japanese occupation and is seen here, still intact.

Rizal Avenue, circa 1945. Probably right after Japan’s surrender.

After the war, Rizal Avenue regained its reputation as the preferred recreational destination by many of Manila’s residents. Architects Pablo Antonio and Juan Nakpil, created several more of the movie theaters along the avenue. Adding to the Ideal Theater, Antonio designed the Galaxy, the Scala and the Lyric theaters, while Nakpil designed the Capitol, the Ever and the Avenue theaters.  The photo below, which was taken around the 1950s, shows the emergence of the AC jeepney  (which was originally designed using surplus American military jeeps) and the Otis, State theaters on the right and Galaxy theater in the far distance.

Rizal Avenue, circa 1950s. AC jeepneys now abound.

Around 1968, American Photographer Harrison Forman aimed his large format camera at the Rizal Avenue.  The resulting shot is shown below with Goodearth Emporium already there, and Ideal, Otis and State Theaters still standing.  As a child, I remember seeing ‘Now Showing’ advertisements for these theaters in the early 1970s in Manila’s leading newpapers. So I know they were still operating as theaters during that time.

Circa 1968. Photo Credit: For a higher resolution photo, visit the UWM Libraries at http://www.uwm.edu/Library/digilib/. Photograph by Harrison Forman.

As the years went by, the area was victimized by urban renewal. Shown on the photo below (circa 1980s) is Rizal Avenue without any cars or jeepneys.  The Ideal Theater, which survived World War II is now gone.  The “OTIS” sign is so delapidated it’s barely readable, but State is still there.  Goodearth Emporium however is probably enjoying its glory days during this time.

Circa 1980s. No more cars or jeepneys.

The photo below shows Rizal Avenue as seen today.  Giving way to the LRT, it is now one of those places where you can’t ever imagine the transformation that has taken place.

Rizal Avenue Today

Rizal Avenue today. (Rizal Avenue, corner Carriedo Street., the approximate spot where all the photos above were taken.)

The main culprit of the deterioration of the area was the LRT; the train was to ease traffic in Rizal Avenue and Taft Avenue south of the Pasig River but it also killed business along the route. The cinemas themselves resorted to showing double feature B-movies and soft porn, as people transferred to the newer and more modern Ortigas Centernand the Ayala Center.

In 2000, during the mayorship of Lito Atienza, the stretch from C.M. Recto Avenue to Palanca Street was turned into a pedestrian-only thoroughfare by laying bricks on the road, with the buildings and the LRT painted as part of an urban renewal project. This caused vehicles to use the secondary roads such as Tomas Mapua and Doroteo Jose Streets in order to go to and from Plaza Lacson.The Ideal Theater was previously demolished, the Galaxy, Scala and Lyric theaters are now misused. The first level of the Ever Theater is occupied by stalls, while the upper levels are abandoned. Only the refurbished Capitol Theater, now a dimsum palace, survived the modern times and is still active.The pedetrianization of Rizal Avenue was completed on 2003 and was meant to only last for a short time but it has persisted until 2008.

The Avenue Theater, which survived the Battle of Manila of 1945, was demolished in 2006 to give way to a parking area. The costs of maintaining the facility were too high, as compared for it to be converted as a parking area. The National Historical Institute (NHI) and several private entities tried to prevent the building from being torn down.

On July 17, 2007, Lim attended the ceremony reopening the closed portion of Rizal Avenue, and it has remained open to this day.

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Some excerpts in this article were taken from Wikipedia under the terms of the Creative Commons license.  Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standalone_movie_theaters_of_the_Philippines
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizal_Avenue

Classic Philippine TV Commercials (Part 1)

Did you grow up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s?  This is the time when life seemed simpler:  You actually went out to play with friends (not the PS3), no internet, no cell phones, a lot less traffic, TV sets were still black and white (most), and the commercials on TV were well,  simple, unlike some of the high-budget productions now-a-days.

I stumbled upon these videos more than a year ago and they really brought back a lot of noontime memories as a child growing up in Kamuning, QC.   I remember seeing most of these during commercial breaks while having monggo for lunch and our TV tuned-in to our favorite noontime show,  Student Canteen with Eddie Ilarde, Bobby Ledesma, Connie Reyes and Helen Vela.

This first video is for Ford Fiera with the original ‘mahangin’, Rod Navarro.  He claims “150 pasahero ang kasya… sa sampung biyahe” .  He was really known as one who exaggerated the truth in the characters he played in the movies and TV.

This next one is the classic Veto commercial.  “Ang lakas ng ulan…. may underarm odor si Fe”… I really cannot help smiling right now just thinking about how widespread that phrase became in the 70’s.  Probably the old equivalent of viral marketing :)

Who can forget Bert “Tawa” Marcelo in his 680 Home Appliances ad series?  You wouldn’t believe the prices of the appliances in this video.

And of course, San Miguel Beer’s “Mag beer muna tayo” campaign.  This is again Bert “Tawa” Marcelo, with his famous line… “pupulbusin ko ang dibdib!”

After viewing these videos, sometimes you’d wish that you can just board a time machine and go back in time, doesn’t it?  But they also beg for us to ask the following question: Meron ba tayong respository ng mga lumang video o pelikula para ma-preserve ang mga classic na mga video na ito? Yung mga lumang pelikula ng Sampaguita Films, mga lumang pelikula nila Pugo, Dolphy, Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, atbp… nasaan na?  Sino ang nagtatago, at naka-preserve ba ito o nabubulok na sa baol ng isang patay nang producer?

Let’s ponder on this… more to come…

Then and Now: Ayala Avenue

When one thinks of Makati, you automatically think of Ayala avenue.  The center of the Philippine economy. This is the area where the largest Philippine corporations set up shop and where many Filipino professionals head towards every weekday morning.

However, Ayala  as it is today has come a long way from its roots.  This strip of road used to be part of an airport runway in Luzon’s first airport.  It was only converted to become a road in 1949 and this is when ownership of the airport facilities was handed over to the owner of the land, Ayala Corporation.  It was extended from Paseo de Roxas to Buendia Ave sometime in the 1950s.

In the 1960s, as seen in our first photo, it was extended from Buendia Ave to Kamagong St.

 

Ayala Avenue (circa 1968) above was still clean and seemed like a scene from a different country.  There weren’t that many cars on the road yet, and the high-rises were just starting to develop.  Note: I am too young to know the names of the buildings above, so please leave your comments if you can indentify some of them.

The 1980s (above) brought about taller high-rise buildings, jeepneys, much more cars, and smog.  You can now readily see the BPI and Insular Life buildings in this photo, but Robinson’s and Rufino tower has not been built yet.

Ayala Avenue as it is today looks like a business district in a developed nation, wider roads, taller buildings.  However in this photo, taken around 2007-2008, it seems to be missing the heavy traffic most Makati workers are accustomed to now-a-days — probably taken on a Sunday :)

Then and Now: Uychaco Building – give this an award!

The Philippines has plenty of historical buildings still standing today.  To me, this particular building really stands out as it is one of the few that has survived the test of time and war.  I am going to make the photos speak for themselves.

Uychaco Building -- Circa 1910-1920

The Uychaco building (red arrow) was built in 1881, at Plaza Moraga in the financial district of Binondo, Manila.  The photo above was probably taken between 1910-1920 as you can see a few Ford Model T’s mixed in with kalesas on the street.

The Uychaco Building -- Circa 1941 (2 weeks before Pearl Harbor)

Seen here just two weeks before the outbreak of WWII.  Notice that Manila was right-hand drive back then.

The Uychaco Building -- Circa 1945 (WWII aftermath)

Shown here, war-torn but still standing, next to the Insular Life Building around 1945.

The Uychaco Building -- Circa 1968

Rebuilt and photographed here in the now busy streets in 1968.

The Uychaco Building -- Today

The Uychaco building still proudly stands today, gracing the entrance to Manila’s Chinatown.  I hope that people in power realize that preserving national treasures such as this should be on the list of top priorities.  It has survived through the years and we should make sure our children’s children will enjoy this irreplacable historical landmark.

Sabitan na ng medalya ito!

P.S. It is not clear whether it has always been called the Uychaco Building.  If you have any information, please leave a comment below.

They are human beings too, for crying out loud!

Note: This article was published one day after the Quirino Grandstand bus massacre.

I just read a disturbing article from the China National News that some Hong Kong residents have fired their helpers in retaliation for the unfortunate death of several Hong Kong tourists during the hostage incident a few days ago. I cannot believe that some people would go to such an extent to basically blame innocent Filipino workers who had nothing to do with the incident. In fact, most of the Filipinos working there even mourn alongside Hong Kong residents, as many pick up the pieces and try to come to grips with the gruesomeness of what transpired in Manila. While there can be absolutely no excuse for what happened to the Hong Kong tourists, I am now deeply concerned about the well-being of Filipinos working in that region.

Filipino workers in Hong Kong (Photo from Pinoy-OFW.com)

Firing someone for simply being Filipino is racism in every regard. It can be easily compared to the racial prejudices African-Americans have suffered in recent history. As-a-matter-of-fact, under American law, and under the law of many western nations, if an employer dismisses an employee solely because of his/her race, the employer is guilty of racial discrimination and is subject to heavy fines and possible jail time. This is shameful behavior on the part of these few  citizens of Hong Kong, a country who prides itself for being one of the most modern and developed countries in Asia, and one whose citizenry is known to be more westernized than many other countries in the region.

Furthermore, blaming Filipinos as a whole for the crime of one person is just as similar to blaming the entire Islamic faith for the events of 09/11 in the United States.  Of course there were plenty of angry Americans during 09/11’s aftermath, crying for justice. However, the big difference between 09/11 and this recent incident is that most Americans were able to step back, show restraint and pointed their anger at the actual people who claimed to be responsible for the attacks, the Al Qaida. They did not put blame on the innocent Muslims that worked for their companies. Today, though controversial, Muslims are even being allowed to build a community center near ground zero — the same ground where the World Trade Center towers used to stand.

Like all nations of the world, China, Hong Kong and its people strive to build a better country. However, like all nations of the world, China, Hong Kong and its people are not without its faults either. We do not blame the entire Chinese race for the opium and drugs that enter our country. We do not blame the entire Chinese race for the human trafficking and counterfeiting either. Need I mention the poisonous melamine milk additive that went into the stomachs of Filipino children a few years ago? Let us focus on the cause and try to prosecute the person or company that is guilty of the crime.

Therefore, I ask the decent majority of Hong Kong to help point these few misguided employers to the right direction, and show a little consideration. Urge them not to blame the Filipinos living in your country for the crime of one person, nor for miscues of the police that was supposed to protect the tourists. The 120,000 live-in domestic helpers who live there also contribute to the economy. They live in your country, they help your country as they help their own families back home. Forget race or nationality — they are human beings too, for crying out loud!


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