Matt’s Favorites: Ultra HDTV Amazing, Space Talk, God Particle, Galaxy S4 Hits The Streets And Much More

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Eek! It's The Office at larger than life size! Matt Roush photo.

Eek! It’s The Office at larger than life size! Matt Roush photo.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — I complained that it was 50 miles away, on a weeknight, but in the end, there was just no question that I was going to go.

Since I missed the Consumer Electronics Show this year, I had to. I had to know what a $17,000 TV looks like.

Yep, I drove from my home in Dearborn Thursday night to the ABC Warehouse store on Hall Road in Macomb Township to see LG’s 84-inch so-called Ultra HDTV. I mean, since that’s the only place in Michigan where you can buy it right now.

The TV features 2,160 lines of resolution from the top to the bottom of the screen (vs. 480 in the standard-definition TVs we all grew up with and 720 or 1080 in the HDTVs most of us have now).

The picture is nothing short of stunning. A Blu-Ray disc looks better than a movie screen. Video off a hard drive looks just as amazing.

And no worries about blurry motion. No worries about refresh rate of 60 or 120 Hz — this TV is at 240, so motion looks real-life realistic.

But there’s no Ultra HDTV content out there, you say. Well, no, not yet. But the TV upconverts existing content, the way a good-quality disc player will upconvert older DVDs to 1080. I watched NBC network sitcoms off a $20 bunny-ears antenna that looked so realistic it was like watching live closed-circuit TV. Way superior to the high quality 1080 TVs across the room.

And pixels? No pixels, unless you walk right up within an inch of the screen. Then you can pick ‘em out. And blacks are inky black and whites are shocking white, and colors are photo-realistic. And the TV has a million apps and quickly converts to the biggest computer monitor you’ve ever owned for Web surfing on a gigantic scale.

And to top it off, there’s terrific no-hassle 3D on this TV. You just use the same passive glasses they use at the movie theater. It switches on and off with one button. The remote control is also a real piece of work. It’s motion controlled like a Nintendo Wii controller, and it has a microphone in it for voice controls.

Thanks to Tom Brillati, director of training and merchandise displays for ABC Warehouse, Mickey Shorr and Hawthorne Home Appliances & Electronics, for showing me around the TV. He’s the guy by the giant TV in the picture above.

So is it worth $17,000? Well, who knows? Not if you have to worry about spending $17,000 on a TV. But if you’re lucky enough to be in that club that doesn’t have to worry, sure, yeah. It’s like having a TV that’s a window on reality itself.

As for me? Probably going to wait a few years until the 50-inch version of this technology gets below $2,000. Because you know darn well it will. After all, in 2005, hardly ancient times, a 42-inch HDTV was $4,000. All they’ve done since then is chop a zero off the price.

And now the rest of the tech world…

* ‘Will I dream?’ ‘Of course you will dream, Hal, all intelligent creatures dream’ Dept.: After running uninterrupted for 3,737 days, a humble Sun 280R server running Solaris 9 was shut down. At the time of the making of this tribute video, it was idle, the last service it had was removed sometime last year. The video has some feelings about Sun, Solaris, the walk to the data center and freeing a machine from Internet slavery.

* Euw euw euw Dept.: One of humankind’s most intimate blood-sucking roommates, the bed bug, is notoriously resistant to the pesticides used against it. Now researchers have pinpointed the genes responsible for this resistance. The finding highlights how ineffective our current chemical arsenal has become, and could help researchers design pesticides better able to destroy the pests. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=massive-resistance-bed-bugs

* Make it so, No. 1 Dept.: Space.com offers this talk from SXSW with space entrepreneurs, and how video games fan the flames of support for space exploration.

* Finally Dept.: After much hype and a few leaks, Samsung at last unveils the Galaxy S4. Me want.

* I’m Getting Tired Of Coming Up With Depts. So This Is It Dept.: Bad weather postpones the return of three astronauts from the International Space Station.

* Elsewhere in space, in what is apparently good news for the U.S. deep space program, the U.S. has resumed making plutonium, used as fuel in deep space probes.

* The deputy social media editor of Reuters news service was charged by a district court in California with conspiracy for leaking information about one of his former employers to Anonymous, the hacking collective.

* The search is all but over for a subatomic particle that is a crucial building block of the universe. Physicists announced Thursday they believe they have discovered the subatomic particle predicted nearly a half-century ago, which will go a long way toward explaining what gives electrons and all matter in the universe size and shape.

* Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader has left some in the tech world feeling battered and bruised. For many power users, Reader was once the go-to application for keeping up with the news.

* Too much gold can sometimes indeed be a bad thing. The fastest supercomputer in the world, Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s “Titan,” has been delayed because an excess of gold on its motherboard connectors has prevented it from working properly.

* Redbox Instant has made good on its promise to open its doors to the general public by spring. The video streaming service publicly launched in the U.S. Thursday.

* Microsoft has sold 400,000 Surface Pros since launch, according to a Bloomberg report. That’s not a bad start for a very pricey tablet — starting at $899 — considering that the Windows 8-based Pro launched only about a month ago.

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