[extropy-chat] tepid response to hdtv

Brian Atkins brian at posthuman.com
Thu Dec 14 05:55:27 UTC 2006

HD is great in my opinion now especially since the price is into a reasonable 
range. Not only for TV, but for the new video game systems which pretty much 
require it, high-def DVDs, and video-on-demand. My cable co even has a HD 
version of the Yule Log available free on demand. The continuously increasing HD 
content is making the value proposition good enough now.

And the content doesn't have to be expensive since you can pick up free HDTV 
over the air with a plain ole vhf/uhf antenna as long as your set has a tuner. 
Or if on cable, my cable co at least doesn't charge extra for the HD versions of 
existing channels you already subscribe to.

You're right though I don't watch the majority of TV anymore with 100% 
attention. Must... glance... laptop... There are few shows like Lost for example 
where I can still manage 100% (the HD helps because this show has some beautiful 
locations), but mostly no. As for noticing the difference, if you have to sit 
close then your set isn't big enough for your normal viewing distance. Here's a 
chart showing the size/distance ideal zones for various resolutions:


My current 2 year old set actually is a bit small for my distance so I can't 
tell a huge difference between 720p HD content and 1080i HD content from my 
couch, but either compared to SD content is a massive improvement.

And finally according to Reuters, flat-screen HDTVs are a hot item this xmas:


The issue will be moot in 3 more years because the FCC is finally forcing the 
phase out of analog over-the-air broadcasts, so by 2009-10 most all TVs sold 
will be HD (ATSC) compatible. This phase out will allow all that wireless 
spectrum to be used for more interesting things like much better wireless 
internet I hope/expect.
Brian Atkins
Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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