Adaptation of HDTV/Color - questions about an analogy

Discussion in 'Displays' started by Jason GT, Jun 10, 2003.

  1. Jason GT

    Jason GT Second Unit

    Dec 12, 2002
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    Hello everyone,

    Seems like HDTV is making its way into the marketplace (sadly much slower up here in Canada). It seems in some ways that the shift from SDTV to HDTV is somewhat analogous to B+W to Color -- so my question is:

    How long was it between B+W to Color for first introduction of (consumer) color sets and color broadcasts to:
    -widespread adoption of color TVs (say ... 50-66%)
    -the end of B+W broadcasts?

    I'm curious if this analogy holds any water, or even if it could serve as a guide for the state of HDTV today.

    Thoughts are welcomed!
  2. Richard Paul

    Richard Paul Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 11, 2002
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    Though HDTV is doing better than color TV did their are problems with comparing them directly.

    First is the fact that color programming was backward compatible with B/W TV's. Without ATSC tuners which are on less than 1% of TV's you can't receive over the air digital programming which means the transition will take a while. The end of analog broadcasting may very well not happen even this decade since the politicians will not want to anger any voters.

    Second is the fact that HDTV is not as well known as color TV when it was new mainly because it's not as simple. HDTV is a lot more complex with different resolutions and a different aspect ratio.

    Third as much heat as I will get for saying this the 16:9 AR (aspect ratio) will cause the transition to be much harder than if the 4:3 AR was used for HDTV. That's not to say the 16:9 AR isn't better for video than the 4:3 AR. Instead it will simply cause a lot of people to complain about their VHS tapes, DVD's, and favorite programs not filling the screen. Most people in America will not like this and the fact that there not being told about the advantages of a 16:9 AR is not helping either.
  3. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

    Apr 15, 1999
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    Color tv was introduced in the US in 1953. The first sets cost $1000 in 1953 dollars. For comparison, an average family car cost $2100, a 3 bdrm house $10-13k.

    Color broadcasts were very rare for several years--lucky to get one show every couple of months until about 1959 or 1960, when Bonanza came on in color every week. By then color sets could be had for $500. Color sets did not become the norm until much later, maybe 65 or so and then only for large living room sets, most smaller sets were still BW.

    I grew up in a middle-class family and we did not get our first color tv until 1967. It was an RCA (RCA was about the best at that time, much better than they are now) 21" console and cost about $800.

    The majority of primetime broadcasts were in color by the mid 60s, and by the late 60s, early 70s, everthing was in color.

    A large factor in the slow advent of color tv was difficulty in tuning and adjusting sets properly. They did not have solid state tuners, but awkward mechanical tuners like an old radio which required very careful adjustment every time the channel was changed. Automatic fine tuning appeared in 66 or so and made things much easier.

    It would be fair to say that it took nearly 10 years from it's introduction before one could expect to be able to watch one prime time program in color every night of the week--that's one program out of the 3 networks that were available at the time, and only during evening hours.

    We are now approaching 5 years from the introduction of HD, and even though only 2 of my local stations are broadcasting any HD, and then only a couple of shows a night, I can also get HD on one of the 4 HD DirecTV channels (soon to be 7) at any time of the day or night.

    I would venture to say that the percentage of HD capable homes right now is at least as high as the percentage of homes with color sets in 1958, 5 years from the introduction of color.

    I know that taking inflation into account, HD now is much cheaper than color was then.

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