Stupid/newbie question about HDTV

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kevin C Brown, Sep 20, 2002.

  1. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I don't normally cruise this forum.
    So if this has been addressed before, sorry! [​IMG]
    But do any others feel this way? I bought a 32" Panny SuperFlat analog set in 1999. I personally don't think I'd be in the market for a new set until 2009 or so.
    But the government trying to force us all to HDTV really has me bothered. Didn't they learn from electric cars? The government has no business legislating technology. That's supposedly what a free market economy is all about, right?
    I don't want to be forced to buy a more expensive set just to watch TV after 2006.
     
  2. BorisM

    BorisM Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe it will be a common occurrance for people to buy a box that has a hdtv tuner and down converts the picture to 480i for older TV sets.
     
  3. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    What Bruce said.

     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Well, I don't want to have to buy a down-converting box either! [​IMG]
    I guess I can hope:
    1) That the transition gets further delayed.
    2) The cable companies continue to refuse to broadcast digital signals (although I know that this is slowly changing).
    3) The sets become cheap enough that I can get a similar HDTV set for what I paid for this one ($800).
    But then I want it to be *my* option of whether I want to purchase an integrated tuner or not in the set. Not the stupid gov't forcing me to pay more for something I don't necessarily need. (Just imagine if the gov't forced us all to buy DVD players that had to have DD/DTS decoders in them...)
     
  5. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    Last time I checked, one does not need any type of television. If you want one, then why not buy one that displays a good picture?
    And about the "stupid gov't," nevermind...
     
  6. Chet Hayes

    Chet Hayes Agent

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    Here's a related question. Right now, the cable companies offering HD are also providing the regular analog signal too. When analog broadcasting ends, what happens to cable? Will the cable companies somehow take the digital signal, convert it and continue to broadcast it in analog? Or will they give you a new stb that does the conversion?

    It seems something along those lines would happen to avoid having the majority that receive via cable from having to buy a converter.
     
  7. Thomas Smailus

    Thomas Smailus Stunt Coordinator

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    The deadline is set, I only hope that this doens't got the way of the metric system and never happen. NTSC is pure crap and the only reason we have it is because the govt could not keep its pants on long enough the first time around. We ended up with a lower quality signal (compared to PAL/SECAM) and we have not upgraded it it at all (PAL has been upgraded to some extent over the past decade).

    Going to HDTV is a must - I'd shoot myself if I had to watch NTSC for the rest of my life. If you thing its a pain, go back to driving an early 70's car that works on leaded gas, only has lap belts and no airconditioning.

    By the time HDTV becomes the 'requirement', the price of sets will be drastically lower - below $1000 for a basic set, I'm sure (in todays dollars - though one must adjust for inflation over 5 or so years).

    I'm all for the tuner being an external part, that way I can run it through the reciever for switching between my DVD and HDTV Tuner and possibly run my HT Computer direct into my displays 2nd component input port. Anyway - that will allow the CONSUMER to pick what they want in a tuner rather then the crap we have now where everyone gets an NTSC ONLY tuner and thats that. Ok, that doens't affect too many of you but it pisses the hell out of me when the rest of the world can purchase DVDs from whichever region offers the best soundtrack or video quality, etc and we are really stuck with NTSC releases only.

    Most cable companies already broadcast digital cable and as near as I can tell, most cable consumers already have a stupid set-top box to tune in their cable - so swapping out that box for an HDTV tuner is not an issue. I can only hope video recording technology of the day will have the ability to record an independant channel via internal decoder or via the set-top box having at least 2 tuner units inside of it. I'd really like to know how many cable subscribers in the country do NOT have a box. I think its a very small number.

    Now if we can only get those damn electric cars, or at least a good hybrid to be available. Fords cancellation of its recent effort pissed me off. Thier reason was there was no consumer interest. How they came to that conclusion when I was not even aware that they HAD such a model much less that it was even available and/or how I could go about getting one proves they didn't put too much effort into the thing. Things like alternative fuel vehicles need to be ordered and sold from some national website and shipped to local dealers only for delivery until the technology takes off.

    Anyhoo, HDTV is the way we need to go and the govt is helping us there for our own good so that folks who would rather just listen to AM radio don't hold the rest of us back in stone age forever. Industry doesn't necessarily do the right thing - they do what makes the most money - not whats the best for society. I know it may be unamerican but I want whats best for society and not what makes the most money at all costs.

    I want my HDTV....
     
  8. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    We don't have a cable box [​IMG] - no need for the premium channels. I just want the channels I do watch to come in halfway decent. Also, while most cable companies are broadcasting digital cable, this is not HDTV or even real digital tv. It's really just a marketing ploy as far as I'm concerned. Take the analog tranmissions, encode them with a digital compression algorithm and then convert them back to analog at the consumer's house. The picture is not going to be any better than the original NTSC analog source that they encoded. As for tuners, built-in over the air HDTV tuners will be in every set as mandated by the FCC by 2006? 7? It varies depending on the size of the set. Of course, for most of the people, the real question is when will there be a cable standard so tvs can have built-in HDTV cable-ready tuners? I predict this will eventually happen.
    I'm all for the conversion but it's going to be slow and there is no way they'll meet the 2006 deadline for shutting off the analog transmissions, in my opinion - unless very cheap (~$50-$100) downconverting boxes are available for folks to hook up to their NTSC-only tvs. It's also a good question what will cable companies do in this case. One way to think about it is how long did it take color tv to fully penetrate/saturate the market? It was introduced in the late 50s I believe and at least for my family, we did not have a color set till the mid 70s. While I believe technology permeates through society a lot faster today, still, many families have 3-4 NTSC analog sets and to think they'll be simply going out and replacing these on masse with HDTV sets before 2006 is simply not realistic.
    cheers,
    --tom
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Some of us think that NTSC is really good enough. [​IMG] (I'm much more fanatical about the audio portion of my system.)
    But see here's my problem. I have watched analog TV. I now have to use digital cable to get some of the channels I want to see. The digital channels are worse quality than the analog channels. Pixelation, and the color gradations in the next paragraph.
    Let me give the example of just one aspect of a VCR's performance. Color gradation. DVDs are worse in my opinion. Has something to do with MPEG2 compression artifacts. You know, where the color change across a wall in shadow should be more gradual, but because DVD doesn't have the bandwidth, you can actually see the lines of color on DVD playback. (Blade has quite a few examples of this. And yes, not my system as I replicated the effect on 3 other people's system because at first I thought it was a problem with my DVD player.)
    One last example. Lp vs the CD. I believe (and have heard it many times) that a properly setup analog rig has better sound than CD.
    And don't even get me started on digital vs analog cellular phone quality.
    So now the "stupid gov't" wants to take away my analog TV and replace it with something I have every right to believe, based on the above examples, that will be worse than what I have now? Don't think so...
    Above and beyond the gov't *forcing* me to buy into something I don't think I need. Maybe I should write my congress-people! [​IMG]
     
  10. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Kevin,
    Don't judge the quality of Digital broadcasting on the basis of your experience with "digital cable".

    An HD signal downconverted to 480i ntsc by my HD tuner looks better than any dvd on the market, and certainly better than any conventional analog ntsc broadcast or analog cable picture.

    By the time your beloved analog signal is turned off your present tv will probably have been long-dead anyway. If not, a hundred dollar box will convert the digital broadcast to ntsc for your set.

    I'm sure there were those who saw no need for the expense of buying a 33 1/3rd rpm turntable back when LPs were introduced, and resented being forced into the purchase, after all 45s sounded good enough, just as many people today think analog ntsc television looks good enough and VHS is far superior to dvd.

    Considering the investment you've probably made in turntables and such for lps, the cost of a digital tuner when/if you need one will probably be peanuts.
     
  11. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Steve- Yeah, the digital/analog thing doesn't really bother me. And I know the digital/analog cable analogy is a bad one. [​IMG] Just interesting to hear others' perspectives...
     
  12. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    There are some things the free market does very well...like giving us a wide choice of toothpastes...and other things that it does not do well...like making sure that workers have decent working conditions, toxic chemicals aren't dumped into the rivers, that food is properly labeled, etc.

    Also, some jobs are just too big and complicated to allow them to be handled individually by states, local governments or individuals. Example: the federal highway system.

    The transition to digital TV involves both of these aspects. Broadcasters would be happy to keep feeding us crappy NTSC signals and don't want to spend the money to upgrade the technology; however, as stated above, the airwaves are a public trust and we-the-people have a right to a top quality product. You can squeeze more data onto the available frequencies with digital TV than with analog, which means more programming choices, better pictures and sound (HDTV) and new interactive possibilities.

    It takes a government dictate to make a change like this happen. Of course the federal government will make mistakes along the way, but it's the only entity big enough and with enough clout to coordinate the effort. We just have to make our wishes known whenever possible and hope for the best.

    I think it's a shame that TV manufacturers, retailers and the government aren't making more of an effort to clue people in that, come 2006 (if all goes as scheduled) the 4:3 aspect ratio is history. Gonna be a lot of pissed-off consumers when they find that virtually everything they watch is now letterboxed!

    Unfortunately, people being as uninformed as they are (because no one has informed them), there will be a lot of 4:3 sets sold right through 2005, probably at rock bottom, clear-out-the-stock prices. Only when digital TV is a reality across the board will people understand why they want a widescreen set.

    A friend of mine recently bought a new 27" 4:3 set. Of course I could have told her that she would want a widescreen set in four years or so, but there aren't any affordable widescreen sets in her price range today. It's a real failing on the part of manufacturers, IMHO.

    Jan
     
  13. Mike I

    Mike I Supporting Actor

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    I would not count on a delay in ending analog broadcast at the end of 2006...There is a move in Congress right now to make sure the 2006 deadline will be meet...
     
  14. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Kevin,
    Actually, a good clean analog ntsc signal will always look better than "digital cable" or small dish satellite pictures.

    Most people have never really seen a good strong ntsc analog signal on their sets, just the crap that most cable companies put out.

    A really topnotch analog cable picture will look better than the digital ones on the same system, but the vast majority of cable systems don't provide it.

    My dad has a largish roof antenna with a rotator to get his local channels up in the Sacramento area, and his over-air picture puts satellite to shame. I doubt if more than one in a hundred of those who frequent this forum have actually seen how good analog ntsc can look because of the poorish quality of most cable systems.

    At the onset of just about any new technology there is a lot of resistance and resentment, that's understandable.

    I wonder if many people realize how much of the increase in automobile prices over the last 20 years or so is due to government mandated emmissions and safety equipment? At the onset of the emmissions requirements in the late 60s, especially, there was huge resentment at the expense and deteriorated performance and fuel economy.

    Yet today we can buy 5 passenger automobiles that will cruise in relative silence and great comfort at 70mph while achieving 30+ mpg largely due to the engine management systems made necessary by those government mandates. Prior to the govt. involvement getting 30+ mpg was possible only in something like a 40hp VW Beetle which struggled to get up to 60 mph in less than half a minute and was noisy, cramped, and not air-conditioned.
     
  15. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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  16. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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  17. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    It's not the government's fault if people don't bother to keep themselves informed. In fact, according to some surveys, fewer than a quarter of Americans have even heard of HDTV.
     
  18. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    I think the bottom line for those people (and for me at the moment) is that HDTV sets are simply unaffordable still at the present.
    I first heard of HDTV in 1994. Back when it was still in the research stages. I even saw a demo I believe, but probably what was most interesting after the research presentation was done was the question of cost. Someone asked how much will HDTV sets cost. The research scientists didn't have a great answer. They said about $4K but inflation will catch us all up to that. My friend and I still chuckle over that statement. Mostly because we're still waiting to catch up. [​IMG]
     
  19. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Lew,
    I wasn't comparing a good analog NTSC signal to digital HD or even a native digital SD signal. That's why I put "digital cable" in parentheses.

    What I was saying was that a clean strong native analog ntsc signal looks better than a native analog ntsc signal digitized and transmitted over DirecTV or a digital cable system.

    In other words, what I was trying to say was that 480i analog signals from a clean strong source look better than 480i analog signals converted to digital bitstreams for transmission over cable or DirecTV and then converted back to analog 480i by a cable box or DirecTV reciever. I was not comparing to ota digital broadcast of any format or Satellite broadcast of HD channels.

    I do have an HD-capable tv and DirecTV receiver, and both my local ota digital broadcast (what few I can get) and of course 1080i from HBOHD, ShowtimeHD, and HDNet look much better than analog 480i.

    Sorry for the confusion.
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I bet that garbage man and waitress and farmer all own vcrs.

    By the time the analog signals are turned off the box for converting the digital signal to analog for older sets won't cost much if any more than a vcr does, and will only have that minor expense if they don't have access to cable tv.

    Where I live even welfare recipients manage to own vcrs and pay for cable tv.

    The idea that digital broadcast should not happen because low income or geographically isolated folks can't afford it doesn't hold water.

    Digital tv broadcast does not mean everyone has to have an HD-capable set to receive it, only a tuner box either purchased for the price of a vcr or provided by a cable company.
     

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