HDTV? Meh.

In my role as rubbish superhero Gadget Boy, I get very excited about anything new, high-tech and shiny – so for example I’d cheerfully give a tramp a “happy finish” in exchange for a Nikon D50 digital SLR. But I can’t raise the slightest bit of enthusiasm for HDTV. At all. It’s like a normal TV, but a bit better, and a lot more expensive! Woo!

Yes, it’s better quality, and on a flat screen telly it’s nice to have jaggy-free TV. But with a normal-sized TV you sit so far away from the screen that the difference is marginal at best – and certainly not worth paying lots of extra money for. Am I missing something?

17 thoughts on “HDTV? Meh.

  1. Stephen says:

    Don’t think so, not for TV. But I have seen side-by-side screenshots of HD-DVD or whatever (may have been Blu-Ray, can’t remember) and the difference is very noticeable. Of course if you get into that, it’s even more expensive; which members of my carefully assembled DVD collection get upgraded?

  2. Gary says:

    Dunno about screenshots but I’ve seen it in the flesh, and… it’s OK. It’s not dissimilar from moving to a slightly bigger monitor that gives you slightly higher resolution – the difference is obvious on a really big screen, but on a 30-ish inch telly it’s not that dramatic really.

  3. David says:

    Personally what I’ve seen of HD is quite impressive.

    Have a look on the web and download a torrent of something filmed in HD res and compare it to any other download.

  4. Tony Kiernan says:

    According to the Engadget podcast (now, that must be worth a geekboy award) the quality of old movies on Blueray is so good that they’ll have to digitally remaster most of them to hide stuff that doesn’t show up on celluloid/dvd. An exercise that will only be entered into if the foramt takes hold…which a good back catalogue of movies will help happen…etc

  5. Professor Batty says:

    …the HDTV standard is great, unfortunately any link in the “chain” that isn’t up to snuff (i.e., DVDs) will mitigate the viewing experience. Also, your PAL-based TV in the UK is already much better than NTSC so the difference there will be less than it is here in the U.S.A. It does seem to be a lot of money for a small improvement…sort of like hi-end audio…

  6. Gary says:

    Prof, that’s a good point about NTSC/PAL. I hadn’t thought of that.

    > Now I want a D200

    £1400 for the body? Eek!

  7. Gary says:

    > I got myself one of those Nikon D50 digital SLRs.

    I know. I’ve been looking at your Flickr stream and turning green.

  8. Stephen says:

    >£1400 for the body? Eek!

    Yes, but I already have the lenses, and it’s an alloy body not plastic, and did I mention it’s 10 megapixels, and… ah forget it.

  9. Gary says:

    Oh, I’m not arguing with the price- it’s just that for someone like me, a casual camera user without an iota of photographic talent, it’s far too clever and expensive. If I’m totally honest, even the D50’s overkill for me.

    Still want one, though.

  10. Gary says:

    > …the HDTV standard is great, unfortunately any link in the “chain” that isn’t up to snuff (i.e., DVDs) will mitigate the viewing experience.

    Sorry, meant to reply to that bit earlier. That’s one of my concerns, so for example DAB digital radio is technically brilliant but some stations use such low sampling rates they’re worse-sounding than FM (to my ears at least); some of the satellite channels are so compressed that they’re painful to watch and listen to on my flat screen telly already, let alone a proper HD set.

  11. tm says:

    I’m caught between two stools. I mean on the one hand – for all that I love films and watch loads of tele – veiwing pictures on a flat 2D screen is never going to be that great, no matter what the resolution. I’m always faintly amazed how carried away people get by these things.

    On the other hand 625 line tele is pretty archaic, especially when you see the kinds of resolutiuons we get on computers these days (yes, yes I know, different kinds of images, but still), and I for one would be happy to sacrifice challenge TV + 1 et al to get better quality pictures on fewer channels.

    I think the main thing at the moment is the astonishing price of the stuff. Give it a couple of years and the price will have dropped to the point where this debate is moot anyway.

    Incidentally – does HDTV have a faster refresh rate? Just curious.

  12. tm says:

    Oh and another thing. Is it just me that finds it kind of ironic that because of the way TVs are set up anyone who wants to spend a few quid on some speakers ends up with their sound in almost total 3D, while their picture remains resolutely flat?

  13. david says:

    I can’t remember refresh rates exactly but I think PAL is 25fps but due to the whole interlacing thing (which I don’t really understand) it has an effective fps of 50. 720p HDTV standard is 24, 30 or 60fps non-interlaced.

  14. David says:

    Why is the D50 so good?

    I was talking to my brother-in-law who is a keen photographer and pretty good at it IMHO (samwilliams.info) and it reminded me that I used to like stealing my Dad’s SLR and mucking around with it. I’m considering buying a digital SLR and learning how to use it. Any recommendations what I should be looking for? (Lenses, etc)

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