Steve Kilisky's Dynamic Media Blog

May 24, 2007

HD4ME Part 2

I received a comment about my last entry indicating that the 1366x768 resolution of my TV wasn't fully HD. My first thought, was bummer I bought an "Almost HD Really" set. But recalling the mantra of the "satisficer" I quickly thought, oh well this is a whole lot better than before and "good enough" for me.

I then decided to re-educate myself a bit (getting too hard to keep all these specs straight in my head) and consulted my first (and hopefully only) stop for HD info on Wikipedia. To complicate the HD choice dilemma more than I outlined in my last entry, there are at 3 flavors of HD (more when you let frame rates enter the discussion), 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. The horizontal resolution of 720p is 1280 pixels, which would appear to be supported by the Toshiba I purchased. But alas, I'm losing 536 pixels when I watch 1080i programming. It will be interesting to see if I enjoy ABC & FOX 720p broadcasts any better than PBS, NBC or CBS' 1080i. When I think about viewing distance, room lighting, and quality of my eyes, my guess is that I won't be able to tell the difference and as the commenter congratulated me, I've entered the 21st century.

Since my set doesn't support 1080p (not an issue until a life changing moment causes me to buy a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player, or become a gamer, and I must say the Wii is tempting as an entertainment and exercise device) this didn't really factor  in for me.

The rub for me is that, while not an early adopter of technology, I do have the aptitude to understand technology. I can't imagine how some of my less tech savvy family and friends handle wading through the mass of confusing specs and contradicting opinions. Its no wonder that based on relatively sluggish adoption of HD televisions that many people are the overwhelmed by the choices/decisions and choose to stand-by on the sidelines avoiding the decision as long as possible. Thus the paradox of choice and a case where less might be more.

Here is a good source for antenna info (a basic UHF antenna works fine if you live in Seattle/Bellevue area).

Posted by Steve Kilisky at 1:57 PM on May 24, 2007

Comments

Ke Chong — 5:21 PM on May 24, 2007

Just wanted to say I think the Wii uses 720p max via component, so you can get a Wii and not upgrade your TV to a 1080i/. :)

HD adoption will increase once more generic panel makers start making the screens cheaper. As you know, price is the major rate of adoption factor.

As for tv viewing I just noticed that the HDTV broadcast in Australia just started having better sound in the last month or so, but I can't confirm whether it has always been this way, either that I never realised it before.
----------------------------------

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

Steve

Kakaze — 8:58 PM on May 24, 2007

If it makes you feel any better my aunt has a 1024x1024 Plasma and HD signals do look pretty good on it though I take issue with it myself, but I'm not sure if it's because of a crappy signal coming from Brighthouse—which I'm more inclined to believe is true as the HD channels look like complete crap during the day but are nice and clear during prime time—or if the TV just doesn't scale things as well as it should.

Also I've recently been placed in charge of looking for an HD TV for a friend of mine—if I had the money I would be looking for one for myself as well but, alas—and even I have trouble with all the options. Even after finally settling on a tv—the new 46 inch Samsung LCDs with 15000:1 contrast—there are other models that I hear about that when I look into them look just as good but have some niggling little thing that turns me off to it.

www.avsforum.com I've found is a great place to get first hand accounts of the TVs that are out there but, as each person's perceptions of quality are different, as you can imagine, each TV has scads of good reviews; even the ones you'd think wouldn't.

It's a shame things aren't more standardised and also laid out more clearly for the layperson. I've seen many TVs advertise being 1920x1080 only to find they're really 1024x1024 or 1366x768 and if you're not careful when you're shopping you can be presented with a not very welcome surprise depending on how you're going to use your TV.

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