Praise be Allah that we have this thing called the internet, but the cynic in me wants to raise a point.
The amount of knowledge garnered from this site as well as *************** and others is simply short of astounding. Via the Internet and email, I have also gleaned invaluable knowledge on all manners regarding hometheater.
So on the one hand I am of course eternally grateful to those who contribute here, as well as the sponsors and moderators who thanklessly toil for our benefit. Without these resources we are lost.
And there is my point. Where would we be WITHOUT the Internet? I don't want to sound hopelessly sentimental, but without this forum and others, a large amount of us would be lost. We would not own hdtvs, much less figure out how to hook up a dtc100 to a mits set. From sources outside of the matrix, that is impossibility. "O those only work with rca sets. They have a "special" plug"
According to these "people", getting any OTA digital broadcasts would also be impossible before 2006.
Go into radio shack and ask about the best way to get digital ota. I always get the following.
"How big is your TV? 55 inches! No, none of our antennas will work for YOU." Ive gotten this response 3 times in 3 different rat shacks! All they had to do was reach for that 16dollar antenna! In fact the whole place is chock full of stuff we hd viewers need, but NONE of the staff will be able to help you with it.
It is only here and the spot and a few other places do we learn that a bnc-vga cable and a few bnc to rca converters are what we need.
How could we get this kind of info otherwise? From circuit city? best buy? consumers digest?.. no, no and no.
How about our industry magazines, Home Theater Magazine? nope. SGHT? I think not.
Simply put.. could we have hdtv without the internet?
We speak of killer apps to help us reach critical mass. Whether its sports or days of our lives. This is meaningless if no one can figure out how to get it!
How about reaching to joe sixpack, a term I find offensive. (Who is this guy and what makes us better than him. It is he who will determine our digital tv future not us.)
Make it affordable and they will come.
Bull sh1t. I just found out that 3 people in my office have hd ready sets, and all they watch on it is dish or cable. I only found out cause one asked me about what dvd player to get! "I should get one with that nuon thing built in right?"
What's missing here is info. If 3 employees of an internet company can't figure out that they are utilizing maybe 15% of their set's potential, I really wonder if there's any hope for us at all.
Without getting too crazy let me get to my point.
1) How can more mainstream channels be used to disseminate information? Should the major hd manufacturers print maps of digital ota coverage in each "zone" or city? A list of channels available thru the local cable network? A recommended list of antennas easily acquired from radio shack.. What will it take?
Yes, we desperately need a faq here, but should we make up brochures as well. Make it brand neutral and send them to retailers, manufacturers, RADIO SHACKS!!!
I hold dear everything Ive learned about hd online. But christ, does it have to be this hard? I think we need to seriously figure out how to help the everyman.
To quote the oracle, "Without him, we are lost".
[This message has been edited by dagman (edited 05-27-2001).]
Why would Ratshack employee's know? They only know satellites and analog channels. They probably just said that because they didn't know the proper answer either, but didn't want to say it.
I think the internet can only take us so far. I realy believe that WE have to take steps into our own hands. One thing that we may be able to do (and I am just thinking about this off the top of my head) is hold a seminar in our home locations and INVITE those companies that should know such as Best buy, Ratshack, and circuit city, and TEACH THEM. Maybe by teaching the local managers right from wrong they will pass it down to there employees. I am willing to lay out some time and money to do something like this. The hardest part would be to convince the corporations to send people in to see it, and setting up a good demonstration of it at the location of the seminar.
Let me share a couple of conversations I had with AT&T Broadband. The first was when I called inquiring about cable modem support and also inquired what timetable they had on implementing HDTV. The customer support person started rattling off some written spiel about HDTV not being a standard until 2006, blah, blah, blah. I made her stop and told her I OWN an HDTV set, am a technical person, and follow the issues quite closely (I was also just curious about what they would say when I raised the issue).
The second was recently when I cut back my cable to Basic after having Dish installed. The customer support person asked why I was doing this and I told him that I wanted HDTV and cable didn't have it and Dish did. He then started rattling off that to get HD their had to be HDTV channels, blah, blah, blah. I stopped him and told him indeed there were 3 HD channels on Dish and they looked great! End of discussion.
Don't they ever train these people that occasionally they will get a customer who knows what they are talking about and they will make fools of themselves with their blather?
The general populace doesn't konw the answers though, and would probably believe the BS that they are slinging. Neither DirecTV nor Dishnetwork advertises on anything other then HDTV channels (Which you need an HDTV box to see) that they have HDTV so why would the public be aware? It almost makes me want to take out an add in local newspapers on the front page saying get Dish and get HDTV. For the people living in NYC they are lucky enough to have time warner provide them with a few channels. I am not sure if they advertise it either.
For any given field of human endeavour, there are a minority of "enthusiasts" who take an active interest and want to be as informed as possible, there are a minority of people who have no interest whatsoever, and there are a vast majority of people who have an interest but don't want to expend any unneccesary effort.
For example, I'm a computer enthusiast who enjoys reading and understanding the latest technology. My wife any many of my friends use computers, but just want them to work without having to fuss about them. And I know other people who don't have a computer and have no interest in getting one.
At the same time, I'm not an enthusiast about everything. For example, when it comes to tax time I just want to punch the numbers from my tax slips into some software and find out how much I owe or am owed. I have friends who look at me incredulously and ask "why aren't you going for such-and-such a deduction"? There was a time when I wanted to understand all this, but now I prefer to spend my time on other interests. As for sports - no interest whatsoever.
The same is true for all people. We all have specific things we're enthusiastic about and things we don't want to bother with. And other people will wonder aloud why we're not interested in the things they're interested in, and sometimes bemoan what would it take to "enlighten" us.
The beauty of the Internet is that for the first time in history like-minded people can come together and exchange information and knowledge. This ability to meet and share is unprecidented, and I think it's far, far more significant than the so-called ".COM" phenomenon. Internet stores are just a modern version of mail-order. (Actually, I think a lot of stores are missing out the boat on what customers like me really want - online information about products, features, pricing and availability so we can do research before going to a bricks-and-mortar store to purchase).
On the other hand Internet collaboration brings together a far-flung community with common interests in a way that has never before been possible. What we have here on this and other forums is amazing and free for anyone to participate in - it's up to each and every person to take advantage of it if they wish.
Anyone interested in the future of HDTV and the Internet needs to be monitoring the development of Internet2. This is a replacement for the current Internet core and backbone, uses new IP protocols (IPv6) and can deliver garunteed high bandwidth content. It has already been used for streaming HDTV presentations.
More info can be found at
Hangon... that's all cool and all. Internet2, wider is better. Cool.
My point was the interent is a great and wondrous vehicle for likeminded tech dweebs (schmucks) like ourselves to share knowledge, interact and have a great ole time.
But Sean, to use your computere analogy, eventually, the treasure trove of data we get from online sites, do find there way to more mainstream press, whether its maximum pc or pcmag. The dell you can buy online has more or less the same functionality as the frankenstein behemoths we roll at home. Our machines with overclocked cpus and video cards with hacked bios/registry settings perform better at a lower cost.
The problem with hdtv is that, there is no mainstream analog. There is no general information magazine I could have used as a reference to setup my hdtv set. ALL of that info came from the three sites I monitor, avsforum, *************** and keohi's.
The only affordable all in one sets w/ the ability to pickup ota signals are sold by rca. And these sets are really nice, but the info available to actually hookup the ota reception is zilch unless you go online. Why can't the manufacturers take a dell approach and throw everything in the box. Certainly if dell can pack in a mouse pad and speakers I'll never use, rca could get a group buy on an amplified rat shack double bow tie to throw in. It could work with maybe 1/2 the people living in this country depending where they live. Even if you can't use these accessories, so what?
While we pride ourselves in being part of the "circle of knowlegde", i find it disturbing that well educated people who don't find themselves to these online deposits of knowledge can be so ignorant about hdtv.
My java developer wants to know what "progressive" dvd player to get to hook up to his sanyo 27 inch tv.... If he can figure out progressive is a tech term he wants to be a part of, why isn't hd part of his vernacular?
Where is our HDTV only magazine? Where is the all in one box solution, with all the cables labeled for grandma to plug in?
I check this site on a daily basis cause it's the coolest and most comprehensive site with the info about my treasured hobby. Why do I HAVE to come here? Where is my hdtv magazine I can read on the sh1tter, alongside Maximum PC? Hometheater Magazine is just a filler for ads, SGHT only a little better.
Online is the tool we used to acquire, connect and improve our hd sets. We're doomed if online remains the only domain for this activity.
Well, it's still very early in the HDTV adoption cycle. You'll start to see stuff appearing in the mainstream mags, but it will come in fits and starts until the publishers (and more importantly, the advertisers) think the market is there to consume the information.
The more interesting question would be: Is there a place for magazines in the Internet era? The only big advantage I see for a magazine is that you can take it with you and read it in bed or on the bus. Information on the Internet in forums like this is more varied, more current, and (I feel) less biased...
Up to this point, we have concentrated all of our efforts to advance hd and hd knowledge strictly online. For cying out loud, all of the "campaigns" we run to get more hd content have been relegated to emails!
Please read my posts above, I am not disparaging forums, websites newsgroups etc. I work for an internet comapny and I realize what a powerful and efficient tool it can be. I don't think I need to harp on the stregnths of the net on a forum like this!
We need to do SOMETHING outside of our online community. We need to preach to the people, not to the choir.
How do we redirect our energy and knowledge to channels which will reach the masses? Should we form a Lobby? A coalition to approach the manufacturers with?
I don't purport to have all the answers, but I don't want to stand alone on the bleeding edge, with only online colleagues to commiserate with.
As we form this hd faq, we should work at least on a printable version we can disburse somehow.
It's really hard to start global action, but local action is possible, and it can lead to big things. 20 years ago when I bought one of the first IBM PCs my friend and I formed the Vancouver PC Users Group (now the Vancouver PC Users Society) to get together with other people who had the same equipment. We invited guest speakers, had a newsletter, and generally shared our knowledge and enjoyment of this exciting new technology.
If you can find like-minded people who live in the same city (this forum would be a great starting point) then you could start up a local group of your own. It's easy to start out by agreeing to meet in your own homes at first. As your numbers grow you might enlist a local retailer who has meeting space to sponsor your meetings. When your numbers grow large enough you can have everyone pitch in $10 or $20 a year to cover the cost of renting a meeting room and other expenses. That happened to us within six months.
For publicity you can register at your local library, get a web site up and running and registered in various search engines, and invite reporters from media (TV, newspapers) to visit your group and report on it.
When you get enough people you find that you have lots of experience to draw on for speakers, for administrative stuff, for setting up a web site, etc. etc. In the early IBM PC days there was a national "super-association" of IBM PC groups which all the local groups belonged to that facilitated the exchange software and information.
So it is possible to actually do something other than bemoan the state of things. It takes work, but it's fun and you meet a lot of interesting people.
Sean, the difference between your local action 20 years ago and HD is that HD doesn't provide [what most of the population perceives as] something BRAND NEW, never before possible. Oh sure, there's the possibility of wide-screen and awesome video and audio, but that's an IMPROVEMENT over what folks have been using for 50 years, not something as revolutionary to the masses as the general deployment of PCs was. Would your user group have been SO successful and enthusiasm so great if it was, say, a "Pentium Processor" that was being worshiped instead? And just how long did it take for the world to throw away those old 486s when the Pentium came out? I believe it's going to be us enthusiasts for awhile: it always that way. It's pure economics.
I'm not in the advertising business, and in fact, I despise it, but I believe that's going to be the answer to wide-spread deployment. Due to the many-year-slow-rollout of HDTV, broadcasters are still being drug along into this "improvement" reluctantly. Why is it that they aren't pushing HDTV on non-HDTV channels? Seems like they'd have an interest in generating customer interest in HDTV...to gain popularity with the masses...to move the big advertising dollars from analogue to digital TV...to help pay for their infrastructure cost increases coming from being forced into HD to begin with.
I am actually one of those "HD Ready" TV owners without a STB, so I can tell you exactly how we [some of us, at least] think: It was a huge financial justification to upgrade from spending $800 on a nice looking 35" analogue TV to three and a half grand on a 61" Rear projection that will support STBs. I never even CONSIDERED looking at a HD ready TV until I learned that I could buy the TV now (well, then, actually), wait a while till the prices of the STB's dropped (and hopefully recover from the big hit in the wallet in the mean time), before diving into the STB. When I hear, now, that DISH offers 3 channels of HDTV, does that dazzle me? Actually not. To me, that's still not enough to throw out the old stuff and invest in the new (while the old is still operational, that is...the reason I was in the market for the 36" was my 12 year old 27" was sick, otherwise I'd probably not have taken the leap yet. The deciding factor between a 36" SD and the larger HD was actually a push from another electronic achievement: my first DVD player!).
Why does kyungkim's programmer know about "progressive dvd players"? Because he/she sees them advertised everywhere. Prices dropping to points where someone in that income level can afford one too. More people will buy these, only to find out that they'll need new screens to watch them on. One technology will push the other.
I don't know about electronics retail: do the Best Buy's of the world reap greater profits from the "new" technology, or the "old"? That's where their interests are going to predominately be, and their advertising emphasis.
If the new technology was actually cheaper than the old (besides a lot of us having to change our pants), retailers and manufacturers would have an easier time of gaining mass support. I've got to suspect though, that the Best Buy's of the world realize that it's a minority of their customers who walk in their doors who are looking to spend the kind of dollars on HDTV gear, with it's relative high price point compared to the old stuff. Not everyone is going to get a second (or third) job to pay for a wide-screen mits, when they can settle for the cheap 19" set (at a price previously only attainable on a 13" set!).
As another thread alludes to, we have to make HDTV an ego thing like has been done with cars. People spend thousands extra on a car for little extra value IMHO.
My point is this: Are you just going to complain about the state of affairs or are you going to try to do something about it? There ARE things you can do, if you have the motivation. For example, a bunch of enthusiasts could get together with a CE outlet and set up an HDTV demonstation in a mall. You could probably get some local advance publicity, hand out information and garner quite a bit of public interest.
If you don't want to take action, then you'll have to just sit back like me and be patient. It took many years for "Byte" magazine to start selling at the local newsstand, and HDTV faces a similar adoption curve. HTDV broadcasting is still only a couple of years old - in computer terms it's like the days of DOS 2.0.
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