The hype and promise of high definition television has been utterly disappointing. It all started back in the 1980's. We were told in the early eighties, that within 10 years everyone would have a high definition television set in their homes. Yet, it is this year, 2007, some 15 years later than predicted, that one can say with any degree of confidence, that high definition will finally arrive in a big way into the American home. So what happened and why did it take so long? And why is viewing a high definition television so disappointing to me, at least.
I saw a demonstration of high definition about 15 years ago. What I saw was astounding. It was better than movie theater quality and I was hooked. Of all people, I waited for the development of high definition to become a reality. Sadly, HD technology became hijacked by competing technologies and political interference at a business and governmental level. An array of competing methods battled it out for dominance and the government kept meddling, via the FCC, by imposing new rules and regulations concerning high definition broadcasting.
Now high definition is about to take off in a big way in the American home. The biggest factor is the price drop. HD television have finally come within reach of the average income family. The big question now is, should you get one? Sadly, the answer is no, not yet. Wait a few more years. But why, you ask, particularly when I can afford one now, should I wait any longer?
Here are some reasons. Remember how I said I saw an HD demonstration some years ago that was better than movie theater. The HD sets today are not movie theater quality. At best, they are only marginally better that the picture produced on a standard television set. It is embarrassing to go into a store that sells HD television and look at demonstration units. I can not, for the life of me, figure out why a store selling televisions would allow the pictures displayed to be so far out of tune. If it was my store I would want the very best picture on the demo televisions. I am funny that way, and and have felt the same thing when it comes to my personal television. It always has the best possible picture available with the tuning controls. I go into other peoples homes and they don't seem to care. The tint and color adjustments are not set properly and the images do not look realistic. That is probably the biggest reason why HD looks so good to these people. But I repeat HD is only marginally better than a regular TV that is tuned in properly.
So I have shopped around for HD televisions, looked at the picture, and realized that what I can get for $1500 dollars is not much better than what I already have for $350 dollars.
What about the future? Actually, it is quite promising. For instance, the DLP televisions, which have been a joke, and actually reverted to 1920's television technology by utilizing a bright beam of light, that burns out frequently, shining through a spinning color wheel to produce the color picture, are about to undergo a huge change for the better. The color wheel concept is being replaced by solid state devices that will provide a much better, longer lasting picture. HD televisions with a 120 Hz refresh rate are just starting to make an appearance in the market place. These televisions finally have the movie theater quality we have been waiting for.
So I say, wait a little longer and your patience will be rewarded. If you blow a thousand-plus bucks on today's line of disappointing HD televisions you will be kicking yourself for not waiting because real “movie theater” quality HD is just around the corner.