February 17, 2009

I want my DTV (part 3)

A few things I noted in passing, having not paid much attention to the subject of late until Congress decided that the dumb electorate needed its collective hand held (item 7).

1. Flat-screen HDTVs sure do look nice. Still too expensive to justify on my budget. Though I'm definitely not lugging my old tube TV anywhere next time I move. Talk about a boat anchor.

2. Blu-Ray looks great too (in the store, at least). But I'd like to see a side-by-side comparison at ten feet with one of those DVD players that upconverts to 1080i or 720p.

3. Speaking of which, plain vanilla DVD players are tiny and cheap. My five-year-old Panasonic is three times as big and was three times as expensive as a comparable models now. Moore's Law in action.

4. Why is the most popular, off-the-shelf audio/video cable length six feet? Four, three and even two-foot lengths would be preferred in many cases.

5. Why preserve a measly 12 VHF channels for television? Most gripes about DTV are really gripes about UHF reception, and VHF does propagate better at ground level. But that means it should be reserved for more important uses than TV.

6. Come February 17, 2009, how many people are going to just get a new TV? Could this work out to an unintended economic stimulus package? (Lance Ulanoff thinks so too.)

7. Make that June 2009. Watching television is not a Constitutional Right, but to paraphrase H.L. Mencken, no Congressperson ever lost a vote underestimating the ability of the American people to procrastinate.

8. Now that 16:9 is the standard screen size the world over, movie directors can stop shooting in eye-squinting aspect ratios over 2:1 just to prove what artsy-fartsy cinematic geniuses they are.

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