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Television Media Entertainment

50% of HDTV Owners Don't Use HD 677

Ant writes "Broadband Reports and Techdirt posted The Technology Liberation Front's article that said apparently half of all High Definition Television (HDTV) owners don't actually use the HD capabilities of their set, and nearly a quarter think they are watching high definition video when they actually haven't set it up correctly. Set-top box maker, Scientific Atlanta's survey, noted that HDTV sets will be in approximately 16 million homes across the country by the end of the year."
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50% of HDTV Owners Don't Use HD

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  • I believe it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lewp ( 95638 ) * on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:36AM (#14217881) Journal
    I haven't RTFA (I really should be asleep...), but my experience with my parents backs up the headline. They recently bought one of the new Dell 50" Plasmas and had HD service installed. Their cable system places SD channels in their "normal" slots, and gives them HD versions of the same channels in the 600 range. My parents, being creatures of habit, and not traditionally technology-savvy pretty much can't tell the difference and seem to watch the SD versions of these channels 99% of the time.

    It almost makes me want to cry, but I'm still glad they have it, if only for the week or two a year I visit them :). HD sporting events and Discovery HD Theater are so nice as to be almost completely different experiences from regular television.
    • by alnapp ( 321260 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:03AM (#14217971) Homepage
      Never mix Parents and Tech
      Unless you never want to leave "home" again ;-)
    • Re:I believe it (Score:3, Interesting)

      My grandparents bought a HD LCD and watch mostly 4x3 SD channels... in wide zoom mode "so the picture fills up the screen instead of being so small." The center area of the their television where a 4x3 picture would be displayed is nearly a foot bigger than my TV, but I suppose old folks need the biggest picture possible. Attempting to explain that they should watch 16x9 mode with letterboxing is futile. At least the digital sound on the HD channels is clearer than SD stereo.

      If you think HD sports and HD
    • Re:I believe it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BenjyD ( 316700 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:17AM (#14218019)
      Such is the life of the geek. I can't go round to anybody's parents' house without being asked to help with their TV/Computer/DVD/Phone/Broadband. And no matter how many times you explain it, next time you'll be back there again telling them how to do it all over again. My dad now religously records my advice in little lists and keeps them in a folder because I snapped at him after he asked me one too many times.
    • by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:39AM (#14218084) Homepage
      It almost makes me want to cry, but I'm still glad they have it, if only for the week or two a year I visit them :). HD sporting events and Discovery HD Theater are so nice as to be almost completely different experiences from regular television.

      Does it still have the easily-peeled-off manufacturer's information labels on it? You know, the ones most people remove within ten seconds of unpacking the device, but which certain, erm, less technically able persons leave on for the entire lifetime of the product?

      (I've seen them on kettles, heaters, tellies, toasters, radios, you name it. Offer to remove one, and the appliance's owner's eyes widen in horror, as if you just suggested stripping all the insulation off the cables and then fitting several kilograms of Semtex to said appliance. I wouldn't be surprised if many of these non-HD HDTVs have such labels present too...)
      • I just realized my laptop had one of those. I felt a little brave and took it off. And wow! The computer still works!
      • by pomo monster ( 873962 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @09:39AM (#14218595)
        With you 100%. I peel the labels off everything I buy. Grandma's body was found facedown by the medicine cabinet.
      • When I used to work in repair shops, I was always amazed by how many items would come in for repair with the clear plastic protective film still covering the display windows, keypad bezels, etc. Usually well yellowed with age and nicotine residue....
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 09, 2005 @12:07PM (#14220087)
        Kind of a similar story with those labels..
        My mother-in-law had a refrigerator deilvered to her house. A few days later, the display screen above the ice maker had developed some bubbles on the surface. She called, had a repair technician out and he said he needed to order a new ice maker panal. He called back in a few days and stated he could not get that part and would get her either a new door or a new frig. Two weeks later, a brand new frig was brought in and swapped out. Two weeks later, the same thing, the same small bubbles in the display. I show up for Thanksgiving dinner and while I am getting some crushed ice, I notice the same bubbles and without even thinking about it, I pull off the plastic protective cover over the clear plastic display and go about me business. While eating she brings up this story to the entire family about having her frig swapped for a defective display and the new one is bad as well. I stated that i was just looking at it and it looked fine. Turns out, she and the "tech" and who knows how many other people she spoke with did not realize that bubbling was the protective cover that was supposed to be removed after initial setup.
  • by sethwoodworth ( 937467 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:38AM (#14217885)
    My parents are convinced that they are watching HD in their very rural home town. But then again these are the people who were equally convinced that letterbox cuts off the top and bottom of the picture.
  • Great news. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by reality-bytes ( 119275 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:38AM (#14217886) Homepage
    This is great news.

    With any luck, very few people will be disappointed when HDCP scales their backup copies to SD for them.
    • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @08:56AM (#14218338) Homepage
      The Geek : ...those news technologies that restrict users freedom and cripple the functionnality in name of copyrights shall be bannded !
      (Goes signing pettitions on website no-one has heard about, writes article read only by other geeks, listens to speeches by well-known geeks in NerdCon.05 etc)

      Joe Six Pack : Woah ! This new model is surely better ! There's a new thing written on it : HI-GH-DE-FA-NI-TI-ON. Shiny !
      (Buys it. Even if he doesn't know what it means.)

      The Industry : Money ! Here I come !
      (new technology becomes new standart because everyone is buying it)

      The Geek : you suck.
      (Cannot use new media in his old linux-powered hybrid E-toaster-coffemachine)
      The Geek : you really suck.
      (eventually, manage to circumvent the protection scheme because it was designed by a 2 years old. Strangely, HE is the one who gets blamed - because of suputative piracy - and not the boss of the engeneering team - who employed children and even let them do underage drinking while designing the scheme).
      The Geek : you really really really suck.

      The Industry : Wait, I have more useless, stupid, freedom-crippling, ads-enforcing, shiny technologies to sell !

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:40AM (#14217891)
    and other hilarious quotes from people with more money than common sense. The worst if it is that I can't go to a bar or a restaurant without seeing another HDTV flatscreen stretching out an NTSC signal so everyone looks short and chubby.
  • by ReformedExCon ( 897248 ) <> on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:40AM (#14217893)
    This is one of those areas where OEMs and service providers are incredibly stupid.

    The high definition should be enabled by default. The broadcasts should be in high definition by default.

    It's not the customers' fault that they don't use these features, it's the technology and content providers' fault for not making those features seamless.

    I've always felt the goal of technology was to become as unintrusive as possible. Making things that "just work" without fiddling or even minimal setup is one way to make technology invisible.
    • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @08:07AM (#14218152) Homepage Journal
      I've always felt the goal of technology was to become as unintrusive as possible. Making things that "just work" without fiddling or even minimal setup is one way to make technology invisible.

      MAC users, bleh
  • Where? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by KyrBe ( 446520 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:43AM (#14217905) Homepage
    "16 million homes across the country by the end of the year"

    Which country? Mongolia... Peru... Turkmenistan?
  • by ClippySay ( 930525 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:43AM (#14217907) Journal
    / Your newly generated marketing word is: \
    |                 HDTV.                   |
    \ Want more?                              /
            \     ____
             \   / __ \
              \  O|  |O|
                 ||  | |
                 ||  | |
                 ||    |
  • by pair-a-noyd ( 594371 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:44AM (#14217911)
    There are not many channels either on satellite or cable that have TRUE HD content.

    MOST of it is just stretched to fit and looks like crap.
    I have a friend that has a HDTV and satellite and there's a demo channel that plays some very impressive demos, they blow your mind. When you switch from that to other "HD" channels you can tell that the content was not filmed in HD..

    What's the point of having an HDTV?? There's just not enough content out there to warrant dropping the bucks on the bling. It's status and ego. As for usability, it's not very usable. Not yet anyway..

    I plan to wait a few years and use what I have until it breaks beyond my ability to repair it. By then HD content may have taken off and the price of the sets will be much more affordable.

    But for now, I can go to Wally World and pick up a nice 27" CRT set with multiple inputs for $150 that will last me 10 years or more.

    My recommendation is to wait a while before jumping onboard the HDTV bandwagon.
    Save your bucks and let the tech improve and prices to come down.

    • "There's just not enough content out there to warrant dropping the bucks on the bling. "

      Not to mention the DRM BS that will soon come as standard.
    • What's the point of having an HDTV?? There's just not enough content out there to warrant dropping the bucks on the bling. It's status and ego. As for usability, it's not very usable. Not yet anyway..

      It's so you can be 'future-proof' - yes, you can spend a silly amount of money making sure that the silly amount of money you just spent won't (necessarily) be completely wasted when HDTV becomes more common. Alternatively, you can buy a cheap telly now, and another cheap (but HDTV) telly in a couple of years -
    • For the past five years, the only TV in my house was a 9" TV/VCR combo. I just upgraded last week to a 20" Sharp Aquos EDTV. EDTV is nice because it supports 480p from my DVD player which is pretty decent quality. When looking to buy a TV I was surrounded by fancy large HDTVs, however I used my head. I don't subscribe to satellite or cable, rather I just watch SD broadcast or my DVDs. I don't own an XBOX 360 and don't plan on buying that or a PS3 (though I may get a Revolution!). I have no need for HDTV rig
    • I have a friend that has a HDTV and satellite and there's a demo channel that plays some very impressive demos, they blow your mind. When you switch from that to other "HD" channels you can tell that the content was not filmed in HD..

      What's the point of having an HDTV?? There's just not enough content out there to warrant dropping the bucks on the bling.

      It doesn't matter if the content is HD if the cable/sat provider uses a crappy codec (or crappy codec settings).
      I watched "The Triangle" on sci-fi earlier

  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:46AM (#14217918) Homepage
    I'm not trolling , but does anyone really care enough about HDTV to
    fork out huge wads of cash on a new set? Perhaps its different in
    the USA with NTSC but here in the UK we have the PAL system which does
    a nice 625 lines per picture and a good PAL set does an extremely
    good picture. Sure , HDTV would be better , but $3000 worth better?
    I'm not convinced and neither is my wallet.
    • I'm in the UK and have an HDTV (Samsung LE32R41), but no HDTV sources to use with it until the BBC starts HD in a few years. I just bought it because all the decent large LCD TVs seem to be HD now and they aren't that much more expensive. A decent PAL picture does look very good though, I agree. The problem I see more often is not the number of lines, but that the digital broadcast itself is so blurry and blocky. Shows converted from NTSC in particular look truly awful, especially as they are almost never i
      • Sky are expected to launch their HTDV service in the Spring (as well as the likes of all X-Box 360 games supporting HD - if your interested in gaming content), and will be offering HD TV over IP in the next 18 months I expect. The BBC are actually due to start trials of HDTV []in the Spring too (in particular in London), so it's not too far away.
      • I completely agree. The whole HDTV thing is a big mess. It costs too much and we're being squeezed into upgrading to HDTV, which includes an extremely expensive new TV set, and a higher cable/satalite bill. In order for me to get HDTV, i HAVE to upgrade to digital cable. Ok digital cable is $70 to $150 a month depending on the package. Standard cable is $50 a month. Digital requires set top boxes, usually they'll give you 2. That wont cover the TV's in the bedrooms, the livinging room, and kitchen that most
    • I'm not trolling , but does anyone really care enough about HDTV to
      fork out huge wads of cash on a new set?

      Personally, I would have to say no. I really don't care about HDTV.

      Now I'm a classic geek. I like my tech. I like what works. I like what's practical. I don't like chrome and cruft, and I'm generally able to tell an overpriced, overhyped product from a reasonable, practical one.

      This isn't an innate talent or state of being. I've been burned by the gaming industry too many times in my youth and as a result have developed a healty skepticism when it comes to flashy new tech.

      I've seen HDTV. It looks better, but I really don't care very much. I might like the view better, but I'm not paying current prices for it. I'm still quite happy with my old CRT's resolution. That is, when I'm even watching it anymore.

      For me, HDTV is a solution looking for a problem. A very expensive one at that.
    • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:09AM (#14217993)
      It may have 625 lines but only 576 are visible and the picture is interlaced on top of that. Despite that, I think the picture quality is okay and certainly much better than NTSC. Of course it depends on what channel you're watching as well and what content. If you end up watching some crap US imported comedy on a crap highly compressed channel, the picture quality will be horrible. If you watch one of the main channels such as BBC, picture quality is just fine and widescreen already.

      Still, HDTV is coming to the UK. Lots of TVs are tagging themselves as "HDTV Ready" though what that means is highly questionable. There are a lot of different HDTV resolutions and progressive & interlaced modes to choose from. The labelling is confusing as hell and I would be extremely wary of buying a TV now when there is nothing to test it against. I truly expect some chumps will buy their HDTV now and the warranty will have expired before they discover what the quality is truly like. On top of that Sky are touting some HDTV channels but where is the pricing for them? When is the service and the HDTV rolling out? How many channels are there? When will Sky+ go HDTV? I wouldn't put it past Sky to bend the early adopters over and rape them for every penny they have. The only other use for HDTV at present is the XBox 360 and next year the PS3. That hardly seems worth it either.

      Better to wait a few years until there is a market and channels that actually justify the price of these things.

      • Absolutely right about the broadcast quality. The main Sky Digital channels are worse than a decent Sky analog(ue) signal ever was, with the exception of UK Gold which had a notoriously bad transponder on analog. Any smooth gradations of colour exhibit banding even on the "good" channels, and there are hundreds of crappy overcompressed channels where, to borrow Rimmer's line from Red Dwarf, it's like watching Spanish TV.

        However, for a truly wasted opportunity look at UK DAB radio. The bitrates are soo po

        • Not to mention the fact that DAB is not a global standard and will
          probably never be one. The USA is going its own way and apart from
          europe and canada and (I think) a couple of far eastern countries
          no one seems to care about DAB. Which is why most DAB radios are
          cottage industry homebrew company jobs. When I can go into an electrical
          shop and see reams of DAB tuners by Sony, Pioneer, Technics etc then
          we'll know DAB has really arrived. However the imminent arrival of
          Digital Radio Mondiale (or digital AM for the
      • I'd rather watch the slightly lower res. NTSC than flickery 50Hz PAL. 100Hz frame doubled PAL is not a solution as it creates ugly artifacts, even with the best motion interpolation available.
    • Couldn't agree more. PAL looks fine (if you have a half way decent signal). Since TV's are only maybe 50" tops (for most people) and you generally sit a decent distance from them I don't see a lot to be gained by HDTV. For me, and maybe I'm in the minority, the content is a lot more important than the quality of the picture. Yes I like to be able to make out what is going on but a good story / show is 1*10^6 times more important than a good picture.

      I don't want next gen DVD either. I can't see anything wr

    • One situation where HDTV makes a lot of sense is for Media Center PCs. If you ever tried browsing the web with one of those old WebTV boxes, you know how bad regular TVs are with text.
    • Ditto, although I made the switch to digital a while back (whcih of course has larger resolution than PAL IIRC). I watch TV on my MythTV box, which uses DVB-T capture cards displayed on a lovely Hyundai 19" CRT at 1280*1024, and whilst you can see artifacts on some channels (since some have lower bitrates than others - BBC 1 is about 2GB/hour, most others half that) it still looks stonkingly good on the monitor. The frontend hooked up to the 22" SD TV in the front room is indistinguishable from DVD content.
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:55AM (#14217948) Homepage Journal
    I had no other concern in my purchase. It is 16:9 and it has the ability to support HDTV provided I buy the receiver. I've talked with others who have one for the same purpose. The last part is one of the major reasons people don't use HD. Who wants to buy a special receiver?

    Once all sets come with it built in then perhaps people will use it.
  • Talking for myself I'm not one bit interested in HDTV. VHS-DVD made only a minor difference to me (easier to skip through, easier to store, etc.), the quality not really being an issue at all. I don't see how any sort of hi-res TV is going to make any difference to what I buy or what I watch.

    On a similar note, however, if you want to sell HDTV then you have to SHOW a difference. Most of the LCD-panel TV's in my local electrical stores (even the largest retailers) only ever show a picture which seems to b
  • by deep44 ( 891922 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @06:59AM (#14217963)
    I pushed my father (who likes watching television) to purchase an HDTV a couple years ago. He simply wanted a "big screen", but after reviewing the numerous benefits of high-def over and over again (at gunpoint), he finally gave in. I took care of ordering Comcast's HD service for him as well- so in my mind, he's living life in the fast lane for once!

    Fast forward two years- I find out he's shopping for a DVR. He's sold on one that will let him record directly to DVDs, but in standard definition. I asked him why the hell he would want to waste a perfectly good DVD on crap like that, and he told me it's because his VCR is starting to flake out.

    I say, "VCR? What VCR? (I run downstairs to find 50+ VCR tapes of recorded standard-def movies with commercials, meaning he taped them off network television) What the fu- ahh, nevermind. Yeah, get the DVR with a DVD burner. I'll grab you a 500-pack of blanks for Christmas."

    Some folks just don't care enough to change how they enjoy life.. even when their asshole childen, like me, threaten them. Well... that means it's time to play hardball.
  • f'in DUH! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ph4s3 ( 634087 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:01AM (#14217967)
    Who is supposed to be shocked at this? My family can't even figure out how to watch the TV in the correct aspect ratio on their widescreen non-HD TV. What's worse is that they don't even know that it is the WRONG aspect ratio, despite the short fat people on their screen that were previously tall and skinny. Oh wait. My dad knows. But he doesn't like the gray bars on the sides when it is in the correct aspect ratio. FFS. I swear.

    Depending on consumers to do anything right is idiotic. It's why they're so easy to sell to in the first place.
    • by Knuckles ( 8964 ) <{knuckles} {at} {}> on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:19AM (#14218026)
      And on every f***g airport or whatever, -all- the screens (where they play CNN and stuff) have the wrong ratio. Drives me nuts. In a few years there will be no way to convince people they are too fat, after all everyone on TV looks like this.
      • A lot of airports now (Houston for sure, and a handful of others) use 16:9 widescreen LCDs rotated 90 degrees to display flight information. Now they can fit more flights on a single display.

        I know, that's not the TV you're talking about, but it's nice to see them making good use of a fairly new technology.

        It's great when the airport display systems crash - I have a few pictures of a Win2000 login screen on an airport display. I also snapped a pic of a large Sony PSP billboard in NY that has a working d

  • by Ka D'Argo ( 857749 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:09AM (#14217996) Homepage
    I dunno what it is, but stuff like HD or really "good" audio quality (we're talking the best there is) I cannot really tell a difference. It looks the same to me, visually. I'm sure on some level there is a technical aspect that is higher quality than the current standard but it's not "there" enough for the average person to see it unless you know what you're looking for.

    The only reason I'd update to a HD tv set is if every channel in my digital cable package (400+) required HD to watch. As long as there is a large cable package that does not require HD I will use that. I refuse to go drop several hundred dollars, if not much more, for a HD set.

    Remember when CD's first came out and having a cd player was the new rave? Yea well I was the guy still buying cassettes, and hunting them down as stores kept keeping their cassette isle smaller and smaller. Remember when DVD's went mainstream? I kept using VHS, it was cheaper and I already had my favorite stuff on VHS.

    Oh and, I don't want to start a flame thing but this is my opinion, I dislike Wide Screen. I know WS shows more picture per screen and is a slightly higher quality, I know this is the current standard for filming shit and has been for a few years. I can take a screen shot from Lord of the Ring's comparisons and I hate how the heads are "cut off". Sure it's stretching the image to fit my screen, and in WS you gain more length wise than you do height but if I can see the full persons head and shit in the frame vs say, some extra scenery footage I'd take the full head shots any day.

    The real radical opinion is, well, I paid for a 35 inch screen. Using WS I am "gaining" extra footage on the sides but at the same time I'm losing over 5+ inches from the top and bottom. That's like a rather large percentage of 35 being wasted by black blank space not being used. Maybe tv's grow on tree's for some people but not everyone can afford to drop $200-300 for a nice sized tv. (Not that it destroys the tv or anything but if I pay for 35 inch I want all 35 inches to be used).

    • Humans see the world in widescreen. It is the aspect ratio of our vision. Going with the 4:3 standard was only done because CRTs were much easier to manufacture when their shape approximated that of a sphere.
      • Except the 4:3 aspect was the standard film aspect before TV was even invented. In fact wide screen movies started as a way to provide something extra to keep people going to theaters AFTER television came out.
  • TV is - for most people and for most uses - already "good enough". A talk-show or a soap opera doesn't get better when seen in HD.

    I'd say HD matters only in a small segment of the content, mostly movies - science fiction, fantasy and history. If you happen to not like those, you probably don't benefit from HD a lot.

  • by vidarlo ( 134906 ) <> on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:17AM (#14218020) Homepage
    There really should be 2-way communication, so that the tuner knows if it is talking with a HDTV. If it is, it should pick a HDTV version of the channel. Of course, this means the tuner has to know that the two channels are the same content... Whilst this might be a challenge, it is certainly relatively trivial to employ. Also, seller should inform customers that they might have to select the channels manually...
  • by agslashdot ( 574098 ) <> on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:27AM (#14218051)
    FRom Mark Cuban ( Owner HDNet ) blog:

    "Over the past 5 years, bandwidth to the home has grown from 300k for broadband to 5mbs, and in some cases even 10mbs. But that bandwidth is not dedicated per user. That bandwidth is shared. The number of users sharing that bandwidth has increased even faster than the size of the pipe. Thats not going to change...the amount of bandwidth required to transmit an HDTV show vs the amount of bandwidth required to transmit a DVD quality show is about 8mbs to 1mbs...For broadcast it takes 2 to 3mbs to transmit a standard definition show, and 10mbs to transmit an HDTV, non sports program at quality that is equal to what is available from over the air HDTV broadcasters like CBS and NBC.

    Which leads to point. Bandwidth to the home is not expanding as fast as the bandwidth required to transmit content.

    What makes a program worthless in High Definition ? If it was shot or mastered on tape. Shows from the 1980s, 1990s, and even some shows today, are shot using standard definition tape. Why is it worthless ? Because standard definition video doesnt have enough resolution to look good in high definition. To up convert it to HD would be like upconverting music from mono to 5.1 Surround Sound. You can fake it and improve it a little, but when compared to music captured in Surround Sound or even stereo, its obviously inferior.

    If you go through the schedules of many cable networks, some are made up completely or substantially of shows shot or mastered on tape. The networks that are full of music videos from the past 20 years. Networks with comedies from the 1980s and 90s. Science Fiction created for syndicated TV (Most primetime scifi was shot on Film and then HD). THere is nothing their owners or licensors can do to make them look good in HD. I dont think they will even try. "

    Rest here []
  • I just ordered a 32" LCD (which should be arriving today or Monday) and I'm finding myself with the same dilemma. I currently have a DirecTiVo hooked up with the dual tuner goodness and I've been looking into getting an HD box (the HD DirecTiVos are way too expensive, plus likely to be outdated when they do their switch to MPEG-4). The best solution I've come up with is going ahead and getting the HD DirecTV box and using the two boxes concurrently (losing one of the TiVo inputs to hook up the other box). G
  • It's just the same with surround sound - I know so many people who have shelled out for full 5.1 or 8.1 speaker sets but due to amateur wiring are really just listening to stereo.

    To be fair, it still sounds a little better than two speakers due to the number of speakers, even though they're all pumping out the same signal. I imagine a similar thing applies to HDTV - even if the resolution is no higher, the mere fact that HDTVs are newer, clearer and have great contrast will probably mean the picture looks n
  • We haven't got much HDTV in this country (UK) yet, but I can see the same thing happening here when we do;

    One of my girlfriend's friends hasn't got a DVD player yet, but bought DVDs and got me to copy them to VHS tape. When I asked why she didn't just buy them on VHS, she said that she wanted to watch them in DVD quality!
  • by pavera ( 320634 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @07:46AM (#14218104) Homepage Journal
    I own 2 HDTV sets, and I don't have HD programming at all. I use them to watch movies (for the 16x9 more than the high def, as dvd's aren't high def). My parents have an HDTV and they have the HD package from DirecTV, my friend has the HD package from Comcast, and another friend has dish networks HD package... In short they all suck. I refuse to pay an extra $20-50/mo for 10 extra channels that say they are "HD" channels and only actually broadcast HD maybe 20% of the time.

    The worst is ESPN HD, 90% of the stuff they show on that channel is standard def, and just to rub it in your face the fill up the rest of the 16x9 screen with banners proclaiming ESPN HD! It's such a rip off. On the DirecTV HD package only 2 channels broadcast in HD more than half the time, Discovery HD and HDNET, Unfortunately, I'd say 50% of Discovery HD's programming from what I've seen is pictures of birds and flowers, no actual content, just a glorified screen saver.

    In short, I'm suprised 50% of HDTV owners are actually wasting their money for a few channels that once in a while broadcast HD shows. Bring the content to HD, and more people will subscribe... Of course the networks won't have that, cause they're afraid of piracy, so until all the TVs are locked down there won't be any content....

    I still feel my TVs were worth the money just for watching movies, with a good DVD player, good surround sound, good cables everywhere, watching a movie in my basement is just as engaging as watching it at the theater.. and I don't have to worry about gum stuck to my shoes or the inevitable jerk in the row behind me that refuses to shut up (or that brought his 1 year old to a 10pm showing, and wonders why the kid won't stop screaming).
  • SD (standard definition) looks like shit on just about every HDTV I've looked at. I have satellite and so does my friend's dad. On his 50" Samsung or whatever DLP HDTV he has the picture looks absolutely shitty compared to my 52" SD Toshiba. We've tried every mode and setting and the only thing that does make a difference is "movie mode". Another relative has a large plasma and has the same problem with digital cable. And except for the occasional sports broadcast the HD programming never looks as good as t
  • I bought my HDTV knowing that there is limited available HD content. BD-/HD-DVD production is still a long time out; satellite HD is too expensive (have to pay for 200 channels I don't want to get the ~10 HD channels I do want); cable is limited by condo board; OTA is probably sub-par since there is a medical complex & college between me and the transmitters...

    I use my HDTV for the 16:9 aspect it offers and I hope that BD-/HD-DVDs will be available soon.
  • by MancunianMaskMan ( 701642 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @08:37AM (#14218255)
    I remember watching many _good_ films as a kid on out old b&w telly (my parents upgraded to colour only in the mid-80's iirc). The lack of colour didn't really harm the experience. (only as a kid i thouight big bird was white). If the programme is good, it's worth watching whatever the image quality is, otherwise, HDTV soesn't make it any better. Get a grip. I know this is /. and all, and I'm biased because we live in a house that's so much more enjoyable to live in because it has no TV, but let's face it: HDTV is for wankers.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Friday December 09, 2005 @09:15AM (#14218441) Homepage Journal
    Most people who own a Ferrari never take it out of 2nd gear either.
  • by Syberghost ( 10557 ) <syberghost@ s y b e r g h o s t .com> on Friday December 09, 2005 @10:59AM (#14219421) Homepage
    ...they want yesterday back.

"Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company." -- Mark Twain