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Flying: Not All 777s Are Equal

I spend a very long time Friday on a Continental flight back from London to Houston. Both flights, coming and going were on Boeing 777, which is a really nice airplane for the coach class traveler.

The flights were not so full that we felt crammed in. There was reasonable leg room, and a lot of headroom. There’s no getting around it, the 777 is a big airplane. I’m 5′ 11″ and I can just about stand straight up even at the very outside seat near the wall of the aircraft.

The flight to London was a lot nicer than the return leg. The outbound flight was on a refitted 777. I didn’t think that these aircraft were old enough to warrant a refit, but I’m told that Continental is refitting one a month.

After the refit there is an entirely new entertainment system. It presents 350 movies and TV shows on-demand, displayed on updated widescreen format touch screen LCDs in the seat backs. The user interface is nice and obvious. I watched a number of HBO Comedy specials during the 7 1/2 hour flight.

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HD Downloads From iTunes

It’s Sunday afternoon here in jolly (but exhausted) old England. I just caught a post by George Ou at ZDNET called “Don’t believe the low bit-rate ‘HD’ lie.” It’s right on the money about the reality of downloading HD content as proposed by Apples new iTunes service.

There’s more to HD than spatial resolution. Just as a cheap digital camera might take pictures with a lot of pixels and nonetheless turn out lousy images. Bit rate matters, even given consideration for various compression schemes.

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