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The Great HDTV Come-On

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August 1, 2006 2:45:10 PM

The biggest problem in trying to push HDTV is that CE stores don't show you the difference. You go in there and see 25 HDTVs side by side, but you never see a brand X standard tv set right next to the same brand HD set displaying the exact same thing. Most people I have spoken to that don't have HDTV say that they just can't see the difference. The best way to make them see it is a side by side comparison.
August 1, 2006 2:56:19 PM

Some of those sales people are just plain wrong. I walked into Sams Club the other day, they had mislabeled half of the TVs with "HD-Ready: Requires seperate tuner". I was going to get a Sony Bravia, which I knew included a ATSC tuner, but cash was short so I went to Mintek. Both had labels reading HD-Ready, so I thought the Mintek included a tuner as well, as they were similarly marked. I thought they had just mislabed as if Brand X has a feature and is marked with a sticker, Brand Y with the same sticker should have the same feature, right? WRONG. I had to stop by Circuit City and grab a ATSC tuner. Now I'm in HD Bliss.

For antenna users: Don't listen to those people who say if you got bad reception with analog, you are going to get bad reception with digital. I was getting horridly snowy channels, you could hardly tell who the actor was. But with HD, it is so clear people ask if this is cable. It is amazing. Going HD is probably the best investment I ever made. The next one will probably be one of those Blu-Ray/HD-DVD players. Nice article and please, please, please do your homework before your drop a few grand on a HDTV.

~Ibrahim~

P.S. Can we get an article on 1080P? I keep hearing that some TVs have it, but they can't decode it? Or something like that. Very confusing.
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August 1, 2006 3:20:42 PM

You dropped another huge reason people aren't buying HDTV sets, the size of the TV. Check around your city, and I'll bet there are ton's of smaller sized houses that could house a 50 inch TV, if they put an addition on. Personally, I'm waiting for a good 24 inch or smaller HDTV to buy, beacuse covering the window of my living room with a TV is ridiculous. Official industry line on this is it just doesn't matter for smaller TV's, the picture quality doesn't help. But, if you are pulling your signal over the air, it sure does.

So, if anyone knows of a good, small, HDTV, please post. Best I've found is a 26 inch, just not small enough.

And, HD Ready has meant "tuner sold separately" for years, now. It's a shame salespeople don't pass on that info consistently.
August 1, 2006 3:58:29 PM

I've seen smaller HD sets at Sams Club, but personally, I'd consider building your own with a HD tuner, and your choice of wide lcd. (And a sweet HD-DVR while you are at it).
August 1, 2006 4:08:53 PM

What if I told you that what is important,is not that you are able to receive HDTV from any source,but that is important that you are able to 'Create HDTV' for that Display.

Really believe that working with DRM has the technophopes with their head in the sand.
Ideal is that their was once a working royalty for 'medias'.Tapes,etc,in order to appease the disbursal of 'royalties'wich might be utilize errantly. Consumers where once represented in this. But there is NO royalty on hardrives,digital memories,etc so there is what we have now,within readily apharent 'liscence'. Salesmen with open handed contract. And w/o another transmitter (Internet),this would not be a feasable medium- of all mediums considered to be so.

Anyway.Thanks for the post space. I find it strange that nobody has yet to realize ,or just said as indifferent. Is that it is assumed,that all these digital mention,or means is considered for relationship to mediums considered copyright. And it is true that copyrighted items assume that these new technologies will be at their own bidding. Even though the technologies for them do not exist ! E.g. Internet connected 'agreement.

These hollywood imaginations,are just salesman. Truly,there is no royalty available to you in your own home. And look,you sold the kid ? If you can wait to 2009 for fatal predictive analysis,is it logical for anybody looking on to be persuaded .

2009,that is the year the Display,will be paid off I see. Talk about breathless. Can anybody be less blue in the face by then ?
August 1, 2006 7:34:40 PM

Quote:
So, if anyone knows of a good, small, HDTV, please post. Best I've found is a 26 inch, just not small enough.


If you're after something that sized, why not consider computer monitors? Dell 2407WFPs are 24" and HDCP-capable (over DVI, although someone did announce a computer monitor with HDMI recently). I'm not sure what it'll do with an interlaced image, so you might need a scaler (or a HTPC and an HD decoder). You'll need a separate split-out for the audio, but if your HD source can't help with that, splitters are available. May be worth investigating. I've always considered the "no point in a small display" argument to come from people who've never moved closer to a television in order to read credits, or look at something very detailed. My eyes were broken by laser surgery, so I'm better up close some of the time anyway.

On the general subject...

I suspect people would be more impressed by HD if it was better demonstrated - most stores near me are full of HD sets being used to demo grainy PAL images. This means enormous pixels that are perfectly sharp and, unsurprisingly, look dreadful. The one HD feed in any given store is often plugged into a 60" screen, meaning the pixels look just as big and most people can't imagine fitting a screen that big into their house anyway. Don't get me started on most screens being 1366x768, too (if many were *actually* 1280x720 I might have bought one, but I'm waiting for 1080p to become cheap - mangling the image with a non-1:1 pixel mapping isn't my idea of money well spent).

The other arguments are all valid too: people not knowing that digital isn't HD, there not being many HD channels (especially if, like me, you don't go for films or sports), the house not being big enough for most panels, price, HDCP and whether or not you need it, DVI vs HDMI vs HDMI 1.3 vs UDI vs DisplayPort, 1080p being mostly absent (and people claiming that sets are 1080p even though they'll do 1080p/30 but not 1080p/60), sets having forced overscan, the next generation disc format war (I'm waiting for that, too, because decent encoding bandwidth is likely to make a big difference), shows not yet being recorded in 1920x1080p (Sony have a camera) rather than - at best - 1440x1080i, H.264 and how well it can be decoded - and whether anything is encoded in it (most US HDTV is MPEG2; Blu-ray supposedly supports a 40Mbit bitstream, which is more than twice what you can get out of a decent PC decoder)...

The consumer electronics industry can't blame the consumer for not buying sets when there are several format wars going on in parallel. Joe public is waiting for something to be popular, the early adopters got burnt with the HDMI issue, and no-one's rushing while the sets are still improving - and getting cheaper fast. A lot of people are happy with PAL (which tends to look better than NTSC unless your NTSC set is pretty high end), and there's simply no rush to switch before content arrives.

To put it in perspective, many more people in the UK have free over-the-air reception (gradually becoming more digital) than cable or satellite. There will be no high definition over-the-air broadcast (except for a single-channel trial run in London, which has a local gap in the spectrum) until the analogue switch-off in the UK. Obviously, almost no-one has a next gen disc player yet, especially at current prices, so for the vast majority there's really no content (other than internet downloads, and HTPCs are in a minority too). The US, by contrast, has had (MPEG2) HDTV content for years, so it's no surprise that there's a lead. After the analogue switch-off, I suspect there'll be a big surge in sales - partly because those not already receiving digital will need to buy something anyway.

The annoying thing is that if it weren't for the DRM issue, a *lot* of computer monitors would make nice HDTVs, and the next-gen disc formats would have the same way in that DVD had: 1) I'll buy a DVD-ROM drive, 2) I'll try it for playing a DVD movie, 3) I'll wire it to my TV so I can see it in more comfort, 4) I'll buy a replacement player so I don't have to use the PC (in my case, I got a PS2, and I might try the same approach again if no-one produces a combo player). Also the formats would have been out for years if they'd not been fighting over content protection. We can't be blamed for not buying products that aren't available, or for the Osborne Effect.

If I see another analyst accuse European purchasers of being indecisive about HDTV, I'll lynch them. If even the "experts" can't tell what to buy, of course Joe Public is going to hesitate.

--
Fluppeteer
August 1, 2006 9:42:47 PM

Marken gets close to the real issue then wanders off. Most ads and most stores don't tell you what the resolution of an HD set is in "i"s and "p"s. Most sales people don't know what they're selling. And the manufacturers don't seem to care if we know what's going on or not. Until this changes, I'm sticking with my 27" low def CRT. It's better than almost all of the programs I can get on it over the air or with either satellite or cable.
August 1, 2006 10:03:54 PM

i agree most stores in the UK do not state what type of standred that are able to do (some list what Res the screens run at but to none tecky user just confuse them with numbers)

and most id say in the uk are quite happy with there tv's as why replace something that ant broke, most will not pay out silly money for tvs any way just get an CRT that is 32" or something or an LCD like it, probly take 5-7 years before HDTVs are probly going to be taken on (more NTL HDTV/Sky HD tv chans)and become cheap

going to take 1-2 years before the UK stores get it right any way(we do not like to be lied to about what an item can not do)

and with an New HDMI standred 1.3 i think? no point at all to buy an HDTV
PS3 owners are probly going to be the most disapointed if thay got an HDTV sooner

watching 480 or 780 vids on my computer is still very good as i do not need to strech the video as it fills my screen any way no blocks at all (just run it tho an LCD screen thats got an DVI input looks grate better then an dvd)

not saying i like to have one just seems to soon prefer to get somthing that is fully standred no gimics
August 2, 2006 12:22:18 AM

There is no mass-market appeal for HDTV in the UK, and there won't be until it becomes de-facto - or at least, a little easier to adopt.

* There are still entire regions without adequate analogue signals, let alone standard DVB-T.
* Sky, Telewest and NTL each have HD available, but it is at a large premium, and for two or three channels at best.

There will presumably be a surge in demand when the PS3 & affordable Blu Ray/HD-DVD arrives - HD gaming, whilst absent from the article, will certainly have an impact. The original Playstation gamers, your clichéd generation Y, will be employed twentysomethings, with the right interests and plenty of disposable income, yet this but a sideline.

HD adoption will never skyrocket here. It's too hard to justify.
August 2, 2006 12:26:36 AM

Really? So HDTV is not that big in the UK? I'm not sure where you are from, please don't flame me for saying UK instead of England or wherever. I noticed you are in Kent, but I have no idea where that is, except that it is in Eastern Europe.

I have no cable, but I live in a rural area and I get 15 channels off of broadcast. Most of them are big networks like CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, etc. so a large majority of the programs are in HD.

~Ibrahim~
August 2, 2006 12:40:37 AM

Quote:
Really? So HDTV is not that big in the UK?

No way. Most people with HDTVs will be using them simply for upscaling standatrd TV, Sky HD has had poor availability and there is nothing HD over the air.

Quote:
I'm not sure where you are from, please don't flame me for saying UK instead of England or wherever. I noticed you are in Kent, but I have no idea where that is, except that it is in Eastern Europe.

Kent, South-East England ;) 
In Canterbury, a fairly major city and where I lived until recently, it was very difficult to receive even the four standard TV channels OTA. Digital was right out. In the end, we just didn't bother having a television... for three years.

Quote:
I have no cable, but I live in a rural area and I get 15 channels off of broadcast. Most of them are big networks like CBS, ABC, FOX, NBC, etc. so a large majority of the programs are in HD.

Heh... unheard of!
August 2, 2006 1:32:19 AM

Ah, I see.

Canterbury, I know of Canterbury, lol. So even there you couldn't get reception? Wow. I hear you guys have a tax on TV. In America the President can spy on your calls, we don't really care, but if you put a tax on TV I can guarantee we will see riots at the White House within the hour.

I don't mean to make this political, just saying...

I'm sorry.

~Ibrahim~
August 2, 2006 2:15:53 AM

Quote:
Canterbury, I know of Canterbury, lol.

English seat of Christianity and all that...

Quote:
So even there you couldn't get reception? Wow. I hear you guys have a tax on TV. In America the President can spy on your calls, we don't really care, but if you put a tax on TV I can guarantee we will see riots at the White House within the hour.

Well, you're almost there.

Basically, the BBC has a license fee - you have to pay if you watch. Theoretically, if you never watched the BBC, and only had commercial stations tuned in, you wouldn't have to pay the fee. It doesn't work like that in reality, however. There was recently a law passed which made it a legal requirement to give your name and address whenever you purchase a device capable of receiving TV signals, so you're on a central database. Presumably, because LCD TVs don't emit the same frequency as CRTs, which are used by TV Licensing agency detector vans.

Somewhat off-topic, but eh.
August 2, 2006 2:28:49 AM

untill blue-ray disks come out (or hd-dvd, prefer blue-ray my self) even then it be an long time before it takes off yrs

even me my self i would not go out and get an HDTV even if my Cable NTL provider had HDTV on all channels my tv is fine as it is


the tv we had before was nerly as old as i was untill the power button broke then we changed it, now sony flat CRT 32"
I am quite happy with what i have got maybe when this tv packs in about 5 or more yrs or i start makeing lots of money as HD should be out propper then

but the DVB TV is not in HDTV (Free to air service UK TV Freeview) and thay are just starting to be used

--
allso chargeing more for HDTV is allso what makes users go away from it as well Sky was floging the Old None HDTV skyplus box close to free before starting to advertiseing HDTV so the box you have got is useless and need to buy an other one, NTL tho not sure what thay are going to do box does need replaceing but mite just be an small admin fee or something + £20 month sub
August 2, 2006 9:32:06 AM

Since I am dancing around in delight over my new finished (finally) HDTV system, what can I say if you don't have it? Seriously, 1080i gave me a whole new perspective on visuals. My Samsung 21 inch CRT finally met it's match. I did it relatively cheap too. I approached the whole thing by researching as well as I could the available options, just as I would if I was building a new rig, which is to say not listen on what the cosmically dumb salesmen had to say in the showrooms. When DishNet offered me a free receiver, free installation, etc. in return for a year's contract liability, I couldn't refuse. After all I've been with them for seven years and the dish has proven much more reliable in the long run than cable, which locally has had outage periods, usually on Superbowl day. Since the usual transmitted format is geared to 1024x768 I wanted a monitor that worked natively, to avoid any interpolation junk I had seen on the cheapies. the Samsung 26" I ended up with is top of the line and vastly superior to the others, except the Sony, and I got a great deal on eBay for a new retail box. I had a service call to install the third dish input (the HD signal needs two satellites to send it). The bonus was the HDTV package which has several channels not available in the US, and they are great. I have 21 channels now in HD. With all new tech there are glitches in the first gen and this was no exception. First the service tech had to come out again to adjust the delicate alignment, the thing crashed like a computer reminding me of Windows 3.1, no recovery, reboot. Then I discovered the Dishnet 201 receiver has an HDMI output, which simply doesn't work on a great number of monitors. A DRM issue, wouldn't you know it. It works fine on component, no difference in picture, but the cheapie Samsung DVD player is recognized just fine. The Samsung monitor has a nice input for the computer, and is supposed to make games run great, but forget it, needs more work, here the CRT is still king. The proof is now I would never, never go back to the Lines....
August 2, 2006 2:05:14 PM

There was a circle missing from Figure 5: The consumer circle. One where fair use rights still exists. That is a stopper for me. Prices are another consideration. I refuse to spend $1200 on a 32" TV. About 80% of the content out there still isn't optimized for HDTV. I am fine with my ATI HDTV Card and 20" LCD. I don't need the world series of poker in HD. It looks just fine on P.O.T.
August 2, 2006 2:41:40 PM

I absolutely hate content providers. Period.

For years, the consumer has had the capability to record programming off of television and watch it later, transfer it to another device, hell even make illegal copies-if you count my mother-in-law copying Desperate Housewives on VHS for us if we're out of town.

Why is it that with each new technological advance, BIG Media needs to try to take back more from the consumer? When TV became color, there was nothing to do except get the new hardware. When cable became available, there was a monthly fee, but you could stick to OTA if you wanted to. Then satellite, where a phone connection is necessary to use some services. All of those are not a problem, but this nonsense of content protection is a HUGE step backward for consumers. I sincerely hope that the reason others are staying away from the new equipment is the same as mine: I refuse to pay my hard earned money for an enhanced viewing experience if the trade-off is that I am severely restricted in my use of the content. Until the content protection is changed drastically, I will not be buying a whizz-bang thingamagig that doesn't work as well as my SD Sony Wega 36" 4:3 dinosaur. The thing weights as much as a small car, but once you get it in the entertainment center and have that back surgery you always wanted, it gives you a good picture AND if I miss the game I can watch somebody else's tape on my VCR or DVD player without restrictions.

I may go down on a sinking ship, but I'll take freedom over resolution, thank you very much.
August 2, 2006 7:08:39 PM

Jeff said:
Quote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I read on CNET that every 25" and larger TV sold in the US after March 1st of this year was required to have an Digital TV tuner in it. But of course that's not HD TV, but we're going in the right direction.

On the other hand, I think you and the rest of the world may be laboring under a misconception. They promise us an HDTV picture, NOT some mythical 'HDTV' content. Personally, I think 90% of the stuff they put on TV isn't worth STANDARD resolution, much less HIGH definition. Exceptions are things like the Travel Channel, Animal Planet, and some things on Discovery channels. Still, if HDTV can improve on the cruddy picture quality of the shows I DO watch, then bring it on!

Your story did make me curious about why you didn't pick a set with an HDTV tuner built. Any comments?
August 2, 2006 7:15:50 PM

Quote:
There will presumably be a surge in demand when the PS3 & affordable Blu Ray/HD-DVD arrives - HD gaming, whilst absent from the article, will certainly have an impact. The original Playstation gamers, your clichéd generation Y, will be employed twentysomethings, with the right interests and plenty of disposable income, yet this but a sideline.

Actually I think the opposite, that this won't have much of an impact. There's been a lot of griping about the PS3 carrying a price tag of $500 and up, with $60 or more for a single game. If people are complaining about that, what will they say to the price of an HDTV that can properly display their 1920x1080 output? The "twentysomethings" niche is nestled in between the High School/College gamer and the working adult/parent gamer, both of which are vastly different. College gamers can't lug 50" TVs across town, much less across the country, and that's assuming they can afford them. Keep in mind that the console gaming group has long insisted that being much cheaper than a PC while providing a similarly enjoyable experience is one of their main selling points. This goes out the window when you have to move to HD, and most of my friends will be looking to the Wii for a fun gaming experience without having to take out loans just to buy the display for the system. So for this group of people, HD TVs are simply out of financial reach (or impossible to use at college for the college dwelling students). The true adult (a decade or more past college) group generally has more money to spend on tech toys but less of a need or want for the highest quality and largest sized TVs unless they're real tech buffs (which most of the people posting here probably are). Seriously, what benefit do you get from a massive 50" TV that you don't get on a 20-30" TV from their perspective? HD news and commercials? An HD soap opera? Sports and movies would probably be the bigger selling points for average people, but thousands of dollars for the equipment alone is quite intimidating for your average Joe. My father is somewhat of a tech guru but he isn't willing or able to get a large HD TV (our TV room is simply too small, it was designed for a 1990's TV and not some 5' monster).

When you throw in the constant changing of "standards" (HDMI, 1080p vs 1080i vs 720p etc, "HD Ready", Blu-Ray versus HD-DVD and more) it's easy to believe that the average person wouldn't want to invest their money there. It's like the stock market, if you put your money in the wrong stuff you're irredeemably screwed. If your TV came out before the HDMI stuff was standard, there goes the HD you were promised for years. If your PS3 doesn't have the HDMI port, likewise you're out of luck. If you go Blu-Ray and HD-DVD ends up reigning supreme, that $1000-2000 player you bought will be the most expensive tech mistake you'll make for a long time. I'm a tech guy and I don't want to have a thing to do with any of this. For the next year or three I'm content with my 1600x1200 and 1280x1024 LCDs on my computer, I can get most shows I'm interested in off the 'net and I get 93% the display space as those 1920x1080 TVs using my single larger monitor. When displaying 4:3 video I get to use 1600x1200 versus a 1080p TV which only does 1440x1080 I believe, so I end up with 23% greater usable resolution on all non-movie videos I watch.

Back to the original quote I responded to... re-reading it I noticed the word "affordable" which I didn't see the first time through. That changes it a bit. By the time HD-DVD/Blu-Ray players become affordable for the common person (probably under $200), current HD TVs will be old news and likewise much cheaper as well. But I really don't see HD gaming as having much of an impact. We've had HD gaming for years now. 1280x720 games at 30-60 fps? I laugh at that! My PC has been doing 1280x1024 at 60-100 fps for years now. Currently I go for 1600x1200, though of course if I had more graphics power and a larger monitor I could beat even the pinnacle of HD goodness, 1080p. If gaming resolution rather than price were the biggest factor in switching, then the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox would have died out years ago. If gaming resolution rather than price were much of a concern at all, then tens of millions of PS2/Gamecube/Xbox owners would have already gotten an Xbox 360, nobody would blink at the PS3 pricing, and the Wii would be the biggest joke of the year. Quite the contrary, in my experience the Xbox 360 isn't worth the expense for people with SD or HD TVs, the PS3 pricing is the joke of the year, and nobody blinks at Nintendo's insistence on remaining low-def/low-price/high-fun.
August 2, 2006 7:20:24 PM

Great article but you only focus on the technicallity.

Two things about HDTV, sorry but for most people, the advantages are either not clear and or they just don't care. Second, HDTV NTSC is about the same quality at first look at PAL or SECAM. Frankly said, NTSC is appalling. Why didn't we just go over to SECAM and join the rest of most of the world since we are switching systems?

The real reason I suspect why people are not flocking to HDTV is also the reason why there are less viewers years after years according to the latest statistics. Channel program quality has been spiraling down for decades now. Sure we have more choise but basically more choice of the same for lessers quality at a high cable price. It just doesn't equate.

You want HDTV to take off? Explain the clear benefits to people. Push the network stations to improve the lame quality of their shows and get those TV signal providers to lower fees or offers more flexible choices.

I think all of these are part of the puzzle.
August 2, 2006 7:32:38 PM

Interesting Article, but not all of Canada's HD content is "pay-for-view", and less is "Pay-per-view" (terms should not be confused).

Toronto has 4 local and 6 US OTA HD channels (more just plain digital channels) to watch with more scheduled to be added. Montreal and Vancouver both have local and US to chose from, Quebec city has 2 locals now.

Places like here in Calgary use Cable and Sattelite, because we're so far from the US border. Shaw Cable offer FREE HDTV programming (but you do need the 'expensive tuner [which comes with an overall programming credit]), and then only currently have about 10 channels of content some mixed.

Rogers cable offer some free channels and some premium channels for their fee bundle (33 channels to chose from [but many are fluff and transient programming [about 15 full time HD content]).

Bell Expressvu Sattelite has the most full time content with 27 channels (plus a few transients and fluff), they are $10 premium on top of whatever package you have, So if you have movie channel you get HD movie channel included in that $10.

Starchoice Sattelite has a smaller number of channels (somewhat similar to Shaw which is not surprising being their parent company), their package is similar to Bell, don't know the pricing since my dad got his free for another year and a bit.

Videtron in Montreal offers a bunch and is a mixed price package like Rogers, I don't know their selection anymore because I just visit friends, but I'm sure it's on the net. They had digital TV long before most people in the world, back in 91 I was able to watch the HABs hockey games with 4 different camera angle options, and a channel with stats on the player currently being shown on the highlight camera (including contract salary, points, trivia, etc). Videotron is very progressive for this.

Cogeco is another runt of the litter with just over a dozen channel on offer, they were intiially free, not sure about now.

All offer HD pay per view.

Mostly these are packsage things like most canadian television. Most people in Canada have Cable or Sattelite, and at oone point was one of the most cabled countries in the world despite having coast to coast CBC (and CTV in most regions).

While you could say it's 'pay-for-view' the $5-10 it costs for the added HD content is nothing compared to just the basics packages whihc usually start above $15. This wouldn't be much different than the TV tax some countries in Europe have, although we also give tax funds to the CBC for radio and TV similar to the BBC setup but only 2 TV channels (1 French 1 English) and 3 Radio channels (2English 1 French)

The thin is for Canadians, many of us upgraded to HDTV during the winter Olympics (me in 2002!) for hockey or during the Stanley Cup playoffs (Edmonton in this years, Calgary in the last one). While we too can go to the bars, there's also the nice ability to lounge on the couch and watch the game with friends and beer that doesn't cost $5 a bottle (heck save the cost of the HD package in 3 beers!) 8)
Our access to same week rebroadcasting of HBO and Showtime series like Sopranos, Entourage, Deadwood, DeadLikeMe, etc has also driven HDTV sales in Canada.

With OTA becoming more prominent you'll see greater adoption of it coast to coast, because the content is there thanks to our own push and the US push, it's just a question of getting the station owners to realize that the market is there (Calgary is a booming Oil town, yet we don't have a single OTA channel, yet every one of my friends has some form of HDTV, even if they only use it for DVDs), and when 40" EDTV plasmas are selling fro under $1000 and 40" HDTV plasma /32+" HD LCDs are sellinf afor $1500, who would bother spending any money on a traditional TV anymore?

Europe waiting for adoption before adding content is the classic chicken/egg syndrome, and the gov't need to start pushing this forward because otherwise there's little reason to upgrade (heck my 27" proscan in the bedroom shows SDTV/EDTV content better than my HD most times). Also this delay doesn't promote people buying HDTVs, if anything those people on the fence just hear complaints from their HDTV friends that there's no content, once again giving the fence sitters another reason to wait.

Personally I want to upgrade from my 34" toshiba, but I'm waiting for cheaper native 1080P televisions to hit the market, so I can watch my HD-DVDs in 1080P instead of the 1080i I now enjoy (no rush the stand alone players don't play 1080P yet, and BR is too pricey, and my perfect HD laptop isn't even announced yet 8) ).

Anywhoo, nice article, but just wanted to correct that one thing as I think it may send the wrong impression about Canadian HD content, and really I'm surprised Europe hasn't started producing more content, the UK is getting better (they have gov't backed and private channels and have a strong export), but really I'm surprised with the fact of how well Euro-sports play on HD that ther isn't more interest. And I speak as someone whose favourite sport would look great in HD Black&White (to the americans, WTF 'fox-track' puck, black puck on a white surface not enough contrast! :twisted: JK).
August 2, 2006 8:19:16 PM

Quote:
Great article but you only focus on the technicallity.

Two things about HDTV, sorry but for most people, the advantages are either not clear and or they just don't care. Second, HDTV NTSC is about the same quality at first look at PAL or SECAM. Frankly said, NTSC is appalling. Why didn't we just go over to SECAM and join the rest of most of the world since we are switching systems?


SECAM? SECAM is for the Third world! It's a French technology (France likes to have proprietary things to promote local industry). SECAM is the least used of all.

And the reason they didn't switch is that NTSC is N.American and Asia (with the US and Japan being both the leaders in Television design/development and content). So the new HDTVs followed their pre-existing standards. Pal isn't much better, and why switch to just another dead standard?

Quote:
The real reason I suspect why people are not flocking to HDTV is also the reason why there are less viewers years after years according to the latest statistics. Channel program quality has been spiraling down for decades now. Sure we have more choise but basically more choice of the same for lessers quality at a high cable price. It just doesn't equate.


Actually overall viewership has increased, not decreased, viewers of the main big network channels has decreased, but viewers of HBO and Showcase has increased dramatically with content like the Sopranos, Deadwood, SixFeetUnder, etc. Once of the main reasons for that is US cnesorship of the big networks and pecial interest groups. How wants to pay for a sweet AV setup only to have to watch unflavoured pablum. Terrible. I also find it funny that you couldn't show a nipple on the 'BooBtube' with a network show, but blow someone's head off with a shotgun, fine. There was more outrage about the wardrobe malfunction than the live airing and repeating of that shotgun suicide in Calif a few years back, the one that involved the guy and his dog on the Calif freeway). Because of this selective hysterical censorship broadcast TV has become nothing mre than . The FCC has killed good quality content, and driven people to cable where they don't have these restrictions.

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You want HDTV to take off? Explain the clear benefits to people.


Explaining makes no sense, eventually the masses will migrate there because there will be no other option (it's hard to find a TV that doesn't support an HD format, even if non-native).

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Push the network stations to improve the lame quality of their shows and get those TV signal providers to lower fees or offers more flexible choices.


Gov't needs to get out of the content aspect. Forcing them to broadcast all shows in HD is fine, but as long as uncreative people elect uncreative leaders, there shouldn't be any gov't involvement in programming, their recent involvement almost killed network television (except for thriving reality shows) which was resurected by Desparate housewives and aleft field hit LOST.

The biggest thing to drive HDTV is the same that drives EVERY technology update, stuff that appeals to single white males or married white males who still have some single male testosterone left.

SEX, SPORTS an good ACTION & SciFi movies will drive this. Converting old movies from full frame masters to high quality 1080P prints will get people to buy them faster than making Family Guy or the Simpsons HD (animation doesn't need HD, the way sports does). My favourite show off tool of my SuperBit DVDs on my Progressive scan DVD player on my HDTV is still The Fifth Element, it's got everything for the people who buy these things. Naked Mila, Mmmmmmm-ila, Good Violence, Good humour, Good action, and Very Impressive visuals, colours, explosions, card red blood/ooze, adn of course Bruce Willis. That is what sells stuff.

The content is out there, just re-master it. You're telling me you need more than Apocalypse Now @ the 50min mark? I used to lend my VCDs to a friend at FutureShop (like BestBuy) so that he could sell early DVD players on the SDTV because it really showed off the WOW-BANG! factor.

My first HD-DVDs are Serenity, GoodFellas, Blazing Saddles, Riddick and the Unforgiven, the only one I wouldn't say benefits from HD would be Good Fellas, which is more about eh Dialogue. Even Blazing saddles has it's HD moments.
When BluRay comes down in price I'll get a 3rd copy of Fifth Element, Underworld, and T2 (T1 was cheap indie stock so the master kinda sucks). These are gotta have guy titles, 'The Notebook' isn't going to move many HDTVs/players, StarWars would likely sell 1,000 TVs & players the same hour the HD-DVD/BR dics went on sale. The problem is people are gready and they're more worried about maximizing profits, yeah Lucas especially.

The content is easily accessible, and they could profit handsomely, but the problem is no matter what you will always have the people who will be happy watching reruns on a 14-20 Walmart special, and trying to edjucate or 'Explain to' these people what the benifits are is wasting time and money better spent on improving the technology or the production process to lower the prices or even improve content selection.

Having worked in TV 'in my youth', I can assure you the ball is rolling o it's own, and there's little anyone can do to turn it into and avalanche other than what is already on the books (force broadcasts in HD) and the second step, lower pries. Both of those have been achieved IMO, and now it's simply up to the consumer. There will be more and more converts every year, but it takes events like the World Cup and SuperBowl, and Olympics (winter and summer) to be the tiping points to push some fence sitters over the edge. I doubt there'll be a crtical event for HDTV the way there was for DVD (release of the Matrix on DVD), but who knows., if man were to walk on Mars in 2 years instead of 20+ something like that probably could've done it.
August 2, 2006 10:14:20 PM

Why was there not a mad rush to buy HDTV's after the World Cup?????

After owning an hd set for several years and being a big baseball fan I have noticed that not all products benefit the same from HDTV. Baseball and Football (NFL, CFL) are great on HD. Hockey and Soccer (World Cup) not so much. Part of this is production but I think it's the nature of the games.
I am no codec whiz but I do know that HD is mpeg-based and motion on the screen is not it's friend. More motion means larger files sizes and more bandwith for HD providers. HD providers want to conserve bandwith like to compress this stuff.

Baseball is generally a sport that action is over a very short period. So a lot of the images that you see during a game are close ups or shorter shots with great detail and not a lot of motion. Wide angle shots with large views of the field do take place but they dont predominate. Now Hockey/Soccer the wide view rules and worse lots of motion. When you get a lot of motion in HD in practice loses detail. When you zoom out and go for those long shot of the whole field the detail is just not as spectacular. Yes it's still better because it's the added dimension of a WideScreen display and the detail is better. But you just dont get to see if the guy has a skin problem or a small blemish on his cheek or what he had for lunch because it's still sitting in the corner of his mouth. Soccer and hockey just dont benefit as much from HD.
Maybe when 1080p comes along.........
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Personally, I'm waiting for a good 24 inch or smaller HDTV to buy, beacuse covering the window of my living room with a TV is ridiculous. ....
So, if anyone knows of a good, small, HDTV, please post. Best I've found is a 26 inch, just not small enough. ......


If you went to a movie theatre and the curtian parts to reveal a 50" big screen tv. "Sorry folks but the projector is broken tonite but this is just as good". An extreme analogy. But it just bigger does make a difference. I have seen the 34" tubes and was never impressed. This is even more the case with plasma's as currently only 50" or bigger resolve HD resolutions. Anything smaller and it's DVD quality. Plus 42" lcds are not that big and look great. But balance is the key. Seventy inches to watch old Standard definintion ntsc is scary.

As far as content goes in canada it is there. Your disappointed when you find that a event or show you thought was in HD is in SD but most of the major
prime time show are shot in HD. Although I really dont want to see more detail in the coroner scenes in CSI.
Pay per view in HD in Canada. News to me. I didnt even know it existed.
August 2, 2006 11:10:13 PM

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Why was there not a mad rush to buy HDTV's after the World Cup?????

After owning an hd set for several years and being a big baseball fan I have noticed that not all products benefit the same from HDTV.


It is true that Mp4 is the standard, but with my new 26 Samsung there is absolutely no visible jerky frames in the mode you describe. The lower latency in the newer good models have eliminated that. I would say best:
live HDTV which is relatively unedited, next best:remastered video in 1080.
Any blowup or enhancement is bound not to be as good. HD in 4:3 is good.
4000:1 contrast ratio in this model gives a very 3d effect too. I'm not selling anything I'm just saying I'm really happy with the results, just all the detail I missed before :lol: 
August 3, 2006 2:49:42 AM

Apart from the types who use this sort of site HDTV is just another way to get us to spend our hard earned cash. For most its not about the quality, if it was places like Walmart/Asda and all the rest would not be able to continue to sell £49.00 TV's. Its all about the content. If the content is crap then people will switch off. If the viewing is compelling then people will watch regardless of quality. If people want big screen and surround sound most go to the cinema.

For events like the world cup/super bowl people want to watch together which is why they go to pubs, bars and open air showings.

So don't believe the hype, wait till all you can get is true high def where ever you shop and then get the next £49.00 TV from Walmart/Asda
August 3, 2006 4:24:37 AM

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Why was there not a mad rush to buy HDTV's after the World Cup?????

After owning an hd set for several years and being a big baseball fan I have noticed that not all products benefit the same from HDTV.

It is true that Mp4 is the standard, but with my new 26 Samsung there is absolutely no visible jerky frames in the mode you describe. The lower latency in the newer good models have eliminated that. I would say best:
live HDTV which is relatively unedited, next best:remastered video in 1080.
Any blowup or enhancement is bound not to be as good. HD in 4:3 is good.
4000:1 contrast ratio in this model gives a very 3d effect too. I'm not selling anything I'm just saying I'm really happy with the results, just all the detail I missed before :lol: 

You missed the point entirely. Read the post.
The product I was refering to was the mlb,nhl,nfl and fifa not the tv.
I have never had any jerkiness on my tv well that's not true old Dub ya bush
appears randomly still dont know how to get rid of him.
The lack of detail comes from the source not the display.
Freeze frame a scene with a lot movement vs one with little motion.
The quality on the image with little motion is dramatically better.
Mpeg doesnt handle motion well. It can, but the bitrate soars.
Which is counter productive hence the co in codec.

Hd in 4:3 is good? as he inhaled quickly.
August 3, 2006 4:35:55 AM

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There will presumably be a surge in demand when the PS3 & affordable Blu Ray/HD-DVD arrives - HD gaming, whilst absent from the article, will certainly have an impact. The original Playstation gamers, your clichéd generation Y, will be employed twentysomethings, with the right interests and plenty of disposable income, yet this but a sideline.

Actually I think the opposite, that this won't have much of an impact. There's been a lot of griping about the PS3 carrying a price tag of $500 and up, with $60 or more for a single game. If people are complaining about that, what will they say to the price of an HDTV that can properly display their 1920x1080 output?
Good point, but as you mentioned later on, I'm talking about this coming a little more into the consumer space - albeit the upper end. Personally, I feel this means PS3 + 720p as the HD 'gateway drug', as it were. 28-32" 720p screens are now affordable. I can also see Microsoft countering PS3 at launch with an X360 + HD-DVD addon, for a token price of less than its rival.

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The "twentysomethings" niche is nestled in between the High School/College gamer and the working adult/parent gamer, both of which are vastly different. College gamers can't lug 50" TVs across town, much less across the country, and that's assuming they can afford them. Keep in mind that the console gaming group has long insisted that being much cheaper than a PC while providing a similarly enjoyable experience is one of their main selling points. This goes out the window when you have to move to HD, and most of my friends will be looking to the Wii for a fun gaming experience without having to take out loans just to buy the display for the system. So for this group of people, HD TVs are simply out of financial reach (or impossible to use at college for the college dwelling students). The true adult (a decade or more past college) group generally has more money to spend on tech toys but less of a need or want for the highest quality and largest sized TVs unless they're real tech buffs (which most of the people posting here probably are). Seriously, what benefit do you get from a massive 50" TV that you don't get on a 20-30" TV from their perspective? HD news and commercials? An HD soap opera? Sports and movies would probably be the bigger selling points for average people, but thousands of dollars for the equipment alone is quite intimidating for your average Joe. My father is somewhat of a tech guru but he isn't willing or able to get a large HD TV (our TV room is simply too small, it was designed for a 1990's TV and not some 5' monster).

We're at cross purposes here; I'm not taking the term "adoption" to mean an obscene 50" screen, quite the opposite, and I certainly wasn't suggesting that students would be taking up this new technology in halls! Simply, I can see the young professional 'gaming crowd' - mid twenties, renting, childless two-income families - being the first non-enthusiast market to adopt the technology for the reasons above. Definitely a minor niche. "Mum & Dad" won't get HD until it's price-competitive with SD, and I can't see that happening for a long time. Especially in this country.

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By the time HD-DVD/Blu-Ray players become affordable for the common person (probably under $200), current HD TVs will be old news and likewise much cheaper as well. But I really don't see HD gaming as having much of an impact.

All depends on your point of view. Whereas a $500 Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player might not be affordable, a $500 player which also plays your catalogue of PS1/2 or Xbox games might just be. Sure, you can bring the PC into the picture, but it's apples vs. oranges, and again, it's the enthusiast space.
August 3, 2006 5:01:12 AM

In my house.. it is content.

The crap comming out of Hollywood these days passing for primetime is just sad. American Idol, Inventor, Dance, etc...(What we used to call the gong show) suck. Reality shows? I get 3D reality right outside my door. What's left.. Oh a handful of soap operas passing as artsy shows (Doctors, Cops, Space).. that either your a woman and love.. or a very sexually confused man. And finish it off with maybe 2 to 4 actual shows that are currently in production that MAY someday be sindicated and repeated unlike all the other crap (For example, 2 and a Half Men).

Overall.. it's like the music industry bitching about mp3's stealing their customers.. when in fact.. it has been proven.. it was just BAD years for music. I think right now.. we are in a deep TV slump.

Ratings may be high for some shows.. but those aren't the people who buy the high end tvs. Hollywood I think knows this.
August 3, 2006 8:12:52 PM

I was agreeing that the niche from after college to before kids, the "twentysomethings" as you said, was probably one that this stuff might sell for. Some money to burn, retirement and college funds a long way off, and still having a good gaming spirit. But that's just one group of people. College students and younger, as well as older consumers, well, they have the issues I mentioned earlier.

As you said, it is about point of view. My $500 HD video disc playing device can make me a pizza and I still wouldn't get it. If you've got a bunch of PS1/PS2/Xbox games you probably have the original system, in which case the player being able to do them doesn't really add a benefit.
August 8, 2006 7:19:37 PM

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Now Hockey/Soccer the wide view rules and worse lots of motion. When you get a lot of motion in HD in practice loses detail.


However that motion is a smaller portion of the screen and a smaller rate of change than motion of a tight football or panning baseball shot. hoecky's fast (soccer not so much), but the predominant view is wide shot whith slow pans. This is good for signal compression, so I doubt much detail is lost, especially when a large portion of the ice surface is white to white motion.

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When you zoom out and go for those long shot of the whole field the detail is just not as spectacular. Yes it's still better because it's the added dimension of a WideScreen display and the detail is better. But you just dont get to see if the guy has a skin problem or a small blemish on his cheek or what he had for lunch because it's still sitting in the corner of his mouth. Soccer and hockey just dont benefit as much from HD.


I disagree, hockey benifits alot from it in my experience, especially if you're someone who follows the game at a fast enough pace because you see the smaller details of puck/skate crossing the blueline, etc. I find it like night and day, but I've been watching it that way for quite a while now. Now the biggest issue is that motion is better viewed in HD with progressive format, but CBC HD is 1080i (nice for me having a 1080i TV), but still not quite the level we would wish for since the sharpness of the image is not quite the same. This will likely be helped in the future one there is a move to...

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Maybe when 1080p comes along.........


And that's why I haven't updated my TV yet (1080i CRT will do until 1080P Plasma/LCD/OLED become cheap enough [and the content is there {soon with HD-DVD}])

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But it just bigger does make a difference. I have seen the 34" tubes and was never impressed.


Yeah but it depends on what you like to watch. While I agree I'd prefer larger, 34" is the biggest HD (WS) tube out there, I wouldn't go to a colour-wheel based DLP (I'm waiting for cheap 3 dlp if I get DLP at all), or current LCDs for something like hockey (sure their response time has improved but it's still terrible w-b-w or b-w-b which is what Hockey's all about. I had a previous RCA 32" 4:3 tube which was great but didn't like the progressive inputs much (but had a DB-15 connecotr for SVGA input, and when I looked at a replacement, the only things in the running were LCOS (now pretty much dead due to Intel droping out) and Plasma. Still to this moment, I prefer my 34" tube to a crummy 40-50" LCD/DLP (or worse CRT rear-view) projectors when watching content. Plasma is the only thing that compete right now for price/performance, and then when you get into the 1080P range then both 3 element DLP and Plasma are somewhat prohibitive (well let's just say I'm frugal :wink: ).

For most people DLPs are God's gift, great colours, wicked contrast, but for me it looks like an RGB test pattern is being flashed whenever my eyes track the screen (worse when I move my head it's like an RGB fissure in the screen), with almost always slight sparkling around edges.

So in my case if the ojnly options were LCD or DLP, the I might wait to for those to be perfected, and perhaps some people are waiting for that because until then going from their 36-40" SDTV to a 34" HDT seems like a step down, even if the ws (non-letterboxed on the 34") content is technically bigger.

There's alot of reasons for people not adopting (format insecurity being another), but I don't think there's a reason for anyone to be concerned, just look at DVD adoption, it was about 5 years later that people started truely adopting them, and really it took a long time for Blockbuster to start renting them and stop with those silly VHS tapes. Same goes for HDTV, and I doubt there's much else that can be done other than the measures in place in the US, it'd just be nice if the FCC stuck to their guns about the timelines.
September 19, 2010 3:25:52 PM

This topic has been closed by Reynod
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