I’ve had a DVR for five years now, but I still haven’t picked up an HDTV. Honestly, I have trouble believing I need it and trouble believing it will make that much of a difference in my TV-watching career. Which is why Dave Winer’s recent commentary got my attention: He didn’t offer any great new analysis, but he proclaimed HD is “a life-changer.”
I couldn’t agree more. But I somewhat understand Mari here, because I feel there’s a big “my living room effect” that needs to occur before you can really understand how much you need it. Especially as all the HD tech can be confusing – plasma or DLP or LCD? HDMI or Component video? Cable vs OTA vs Satellite – blech, that’s a lot to learn about and even then you have to go throw down about $1500 to really get started. I did write a post to help explain HDTV technology, but I acknowledge the buying process is still much more painful than it should be.I’ve watched HDTV demos at shows like CES and CEDIA for the past 7 or 8 years. Cool. Beautiful looking. I’ve been to the headquarters of companies such as Sony and Pioneer in Japan, saw the state of the art displays and sound demonstrations. Awe-inspiring stuff. I’ve walked the aisles of Best Buy seeing all the maxed-out brightness on display. Very very nice.
And then I had a moment where I was able to get a 32″ LCD extremely cheaply, and I took the plunge. A week later and I’m watching my Syntax Olevia set connected to my Motorola DCT 6412 dual-tuner HDTV DVR. And I’m transported into a new state of TV. During hockey, I can see all the game. The nature shows on Discover HD are unbelievable. Regular dramas look like movies. Here are some of my quick pictures of my setup, and here are a few from my friend Dave.
To be clear: ALL HDTV looks better than ALL REGULAR DVDs (and HD-DVD/BluRay look about equivalent). So when ABC aired Pirates of the Caribbean a few weeks ago, it looked better than the picture of the DVD, even on my upscaling Samsung DVD player.
The entire quality of the experience is so much better that standard definition TV is becoming harder and harder to watch. I actually started dropping shows from my DVR’s subscription list just because they weren’t broadcast in HD! I have about 20 channels today, of which 3 were added in the past few months, and I’ve been told more are coming soon. Also, HD is going to be one of those driving factors as to why TV still has a bit of a pulse, as opposed to those who think it’s dead.
Watching HDTV is like putting on glasses when you need them. Would you take your glasses off while driving down the street? Doubtful, but you might not have realized you need to wear them.Ultimately, I think the biggest way people get won over to HD is not by reading posts like this, but by being in someone’s house and watching it. Not just that it’s on the in background, but watched. So Mari (and other nonbelievers), pick your favorite “mainstream” show (CSI, Grey’s, Heroes, etc) and for the next two weeks, try to find a friend who has HDTV and watch it with them.
That just might help you find the need for the glasses.