HDTV Facts vs. Fiction

May 28, 2004

hdtvThe notion that digital television or extended definition television (EDTV) equals HDTV is getting annoying. Let’s clear up some myths. First of all let’s define HDTV. The only HDTV formats are 720p, 1080i, and 1080p with a minimum of 1280 horizontal pixels at 60 fps. Note: true 1080p performance is beyond the typical HDTV display device at this time. There are tons of manufacturer spec sheets out there that are flat out misleading. After all when it comes to HDTV, does the average consumer really know that compatible and ready are completely different?

HDTV compatible and HDTV ready are two different things. I can take a high definition satellite receiver, plug a composite video cable into the back of it, and run it through a RF modulator and then plug it into a 5.5″ black and white Sony video walkman. Do I have HDTV? I feel silly even typing this, but of course not.

That is what’s so annoying about the HDTV misinformation floating around these days, it just isn’t useful. To make matters worse, this sort of PT barnum’esque trickery only slows down the proliferation that HDTV needs to really saturate programming. Look at it this way, a consumer’s looking to upgrade so they go down to a brick ‘n mortar retailer (or online for that matter) to buy what they believe to be a true hi-def device. They take it home, hook it up, and it looks “good”, maybe slightly better than what their accustomed too, big whoop.


Even worse friends, family, or whoever come over and sees it, and thinks the same thing; wow, what’s the big deal? I’m not saying EDTV can’t be an improvement over standard definition television, not at all. It is an improvement, especially with so much of today’s supposed hi-def programming just 480i up scaled. But if you’re spending 3k plus for a new projector or monitor, you’re likely concerned about how it will look 2 years from now, as well as today.

What I’d like to see is a clear branding and distinction between HDTV and EDTV products. It’s really simple to do, so why do manufacturers continue to allow consumers to make the mistake that compatible means “ready”? Easy answer the bottom line. If an easily identifiable EDTV logo was stamped on the box of a 2k projector, who would be confused enough by that to mistakenly call it an HDTV projector?

I understand that in the long run Digital TV in general is a new enough technology that these things will likely shakeout on their own. But companies serious about providing great products and consumer understanding, should be proactive and dispel myths. Not add fuel to the fire.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HDTV


Comments

  • jim

    what are the best setting for you tv when using adelphia cable, the hd channels are straight but the regular channels are very distorted. is there anything that canbe done to improve the standard and digital channels? i have a hitachi, with virtual hd will its settings improve anything?

    thanks,
    jim

  • jim

    what are the best setting for you tv when using adelphia cable, the hd channels are straight but the regular channels are very distorted. is there anything that canbe done to improve the standard and digital channels? i have a hitachi, with virtual hd will its settings improve anything?

    thanks,
    jim