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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We get pretty insular here. We talk of 5.1 problems and tiny variations in (already spectacular) picture quality. We moan about a lack of ESPN or Discovery or other channels from our providers.


And all that is how it should be for those of us who love HDTV.


But the battle is going to be won (or lost) among those who don't yet share our fanaticism.


Here is a column I found today from a suburban Chicago newspaper which pretty neatly sums up where we are (and where we may be going) from an informed and well-grounded columnist.


We can nit-pick some of his facts and opinions, but his admiration for HD does shine through.


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http://www.dailyherald.com/sports/col_cox.asp


Incomplete reception for sports on HDTV

Posted April 11, 2003 By Ted Cox Daily Herald


A few months ago, I wrote how sports was going to propel the move toward high-definition television.


I still believe that, but I can now report - in part from personal experience - that the transition isn't going smoothly.


I'd compare it to riding in the back of a school bus as it crosses some rocky train tracks.


But let's not start with my troubles. Let's start instead with ESPN HD, the ballyhooed channel from ESPN, the self-proclaimed world leader in sports programming.


ESPN HD debuted March 30 with the season-opening baseball game between Texas and Anaheim. Early response was promising.


"It's fabulous," said ESPN's Katina Arnold. "Our phones are ringing like crazy. Consumers really want this very much."


The problem is, so few are getting it - including viewers who have an HDTV, the super-sharp picture system that especially benefits sports.


Comcast is the nation's biggest single cable company, having bought out AT&T Broadband to give it 22 million subscribers. But when I called my local Comcast office, they said HDTV was unavailable; they're working on the boxes needed to translate HDTV.


DirecTV is the nation's leading satellite TV system, with 11 million subscribers. It carries Mark Cuban's HDNet at no extra charge, I might add, beyond the high-tech dish and receiver needed to carry HDTV in the first place. It also has high-def channels from premium services HBO and Showtime, so it has the capability. But DirecTV isn't carrying ESPN HD either.


Why not? Without going into specifics, Arnold said it was various glitches to do with shifting to a new technology. "Everybody is in such a different stage of their HDTV plans," she said.


I think it also must have something to do with ESPN's eagerness to pass costs on to satellite and cable systems (read "you and me"). ESPN, of course, is owned by Disney, and Variety reported last month that DirecTV was complaining about an attempt by ESPN's Disney sibling ABC Family Channel to gouge cable and satellite firms with a 35 percent increase in license fees.


This should interest sports fans - especially baseball fans - because when ABC bought the family channel from Fox, it retained the rights to the first-round baseball playoffs that had been farmed out to Fox Family Channel.


Listen, I've got two kids; I'm a family man. But if you ask me, aside from the one week of the year that it presents baseball, ABC Family Channel is a wasted slot on your cable or satellite station lineup. They're clearly trying to squeeze cable and satellite companies for the one week when it is almost required viewing. It doesn't take a leap to think Disney is doing the same with ESPN HD.


DirecTV has set a channel aside for ESPN HD, but hasn't added it. A DirecTV spokesman said they're "in discussions" with ESPN, but declined to give any details about the hold up. I say it's simply money.


I recently made the switch to DirecTV, in part because it offered the channels I wasn't getting from my cable company: Turner Classic Movies, the Sundance Channel, the Independent Film Channel, BBC America and, last but certainly not least, ESPN Classic all day, not just in the middle of the night after some public broadcast station goes off the air. Yet now I find myself in the same irritating position I was with cable: waiting for my TV system to add a station I want.


That's not quite all. As with any new technology, there are unanticipated logistical problems that have to work their way out. After I bought a low-end HDTV monitor and jumped to DirecTV, first they sent out the wrong dish, then the installer hooked it up wrong. The picture's great, and I can receive HDNet, but it ain't high-definition. I'm "in discussions" with the manufacturer to figure how to hook it up.


So, just as I like to say as a critic that I watch the cruddy shows so you don't have to, I can now report that I am dealing with the hassles of HDTV so you don't have to. My advice: If you can afford one of those $3,000 plasma TVs and have someone come out and install it right, by all means make the leap to HDTV; the picture sells itself. Otherwise, wait a little while for the bugs to be worked out. I'll keep you posted on how it's going.


• Ted Cox's column appears Tuesday and Thursday in Suburban Living, Friday in Sports Weekend, and Friday in Time out!
 

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Boy this explains a lot...

I can hear it now... "I see imaginary people... and they watch HDTV"
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by fredfa
DirecTV has set a channel aside for ESPN HD, but hasn't added it. A DirecTV spokesman said they're "in discussions" with ESPN, but declined to give any details about the hold up. I say it's simply money.
I wonder if they have already assigned it a channel number?
 

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DirecTV has set a channel aside for ESPN HD, but hasn't added it.
That directly contradicts a spokesman for DirecTV who said yesterday that they're having bandwidth problems and that the channel won't be added "anytime soon." See the sticky ESPN-HD thread at the top of the forum.


I wish we could get a straight answer! Grrrrrr....
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by fredfa
My advice: If you can afford one of those $3,000 plasma TVs and have someone come out and install it right, by all means make the leap to HDTV; the picture sells itself.
Pretty good, except for this part where he falls into the all-too-common perception that HDTV=Plasma. Not intending to irritate the many fine folks who own plasma sets, but the vast majority of the plasmas out there are NOT HDTV. Most of them are only EDTV. I can't recall how many times I've spoken to people about HD, and they always mention plasmas. What's wrong with a CRT rear screen? Most people don't need an extra-thin TV, and even though plasma prices are dropping, a decent HD CRT rear-screen is still a lot cheaper. Not even to mention all the DLP and LCD rear screens, that don't suffer from the burn-in problem of CRTs and plasmas.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Williams
Pretty good, except for this part where he falls into the all-too-common perception that HDTV=Plasma. Not intending to irritate the many fine folks who own plasma sets, but the vast majority of the plasmas out there are NOT HDTV.
Especially not the $3,000 ones. But a good HD plasma is worth its weight in----plasma!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by fredfa


The picture's great, and I can receive HDNet, but it ain't high-definition.
Okay, answer me this. How can you get HDNet and have it not be HD?
 

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Well, if you read the sentences before and after the one you quoted, you probably have your answer. Sounds like the installer perhaps merely connected his HD receiver via something like s-video as he prolly does all his other installs.

Quote:
Originally posted by fredfa
After I bought a low-end HDTV monitor and jumped to DirecTV, first they sent out the wrong dish, then the installer hooked it up wrong. The picture's great, and I can receive HDNet, but it ain't high-definition. I'm "in discussions" with the manufacturer to figure how to hook it up.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris Williams
What's wrong with a CRT rear screen? Most people don't need an extra-thin TV, and even though plasma prices are dropping, a decent HD CRT rear-screen is still a lot cheaper.
Well, CRTs are almost impossible to perfectly align. The color decoders in many CRTs are far from adequate. Rear projection CRTs rarely have the brilliance that a plasma can have. A rear project CRT with 7" guns is lucky if it can actually resolve 1200 horizontal lines.


I had a Panasonic 56" widescreen set. It was excellent. But once I saw (and purchased a Pioneer 50" plasma, 1280x768-so it is HD) it wasn't so excellent. I'll never have a CRT display again.
 

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once the "real people" see hdtv properly displayed they become an unreal person, like the rest of us.. :rolleyes: :D
 

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Comcast is the nation's biggest single cable company, having bought out AT&T Broadband to give it 22 million subscribers. But when I called my local Comcast office, they said HDTV was unavailable; they're working on the boxes needed to translate HDTV.
This guy might be a columnist, but this article reads more like an editorial.


He's making alusions here, and you can get the impression that that statement isn't a good sign. If he bothered to do a little research, he would have found that while AT&T had virtually no interest in rolling out HDTV, Comcast is making it a priority- rolling it out immediately in many areas as soon as they gained complete control.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I titled this thread on purpose to raise some hackles. And the title obviously did.


Good.


But some of the reactions show precisely why we are having major problems rolling out HD on a wider basis. we have big, big problems when many of us use elitist talk like Jerry:


"Well, CRTs are almost impossible to perfectly align. The color decoders in many CRTs are far from adequate. Rear projection CRTs rarely have the brilliance that a plasma can have. A rear project CRT with 7" guns is lucky if it can actually resolve 1200 horizontal lines.


I had a Panasonic 56" widescreen set. It was excellent. But once I saw (and purchased a Pioneer 50" plasma, 1280x768-so it is HD) it wasn't so excellent. I'll never have a CRT display again."


Especially when you read the thread started by Ken on the recent survey on HD:


"· Over a quarter (28%) of respondents said that they are “very†or “somewhat†likely to buy a wide-screen HDTV monitor and decoder if the price falls to $1,800 in the next three years, and as cost declines the percentage increases.

However, even at $300, 23% of consumers said that they are “not at all likely†to buy HDTV equipment in the next three years. "


Given those very sobering figures, for those of us who love HD to tell prospective buyers that unless they buy an $8,000-$20,000 plasma they won't get a quality picture is almost criminal. And considering that most people seem generally pleased with their current (non-HD) picture quality, it is also really short sighted.


Let us get people to join us in the HD tent. Let them try a $1,500 Panny or a $999 30" Samsung. Either will give them far better pictures than they have now. And then they will join us in putting pressure on the MSOs and satellite companies.


We will only get strength in numbers. And even though almost everyone would love to shell out the cash for a Rolls Royce HD set, the reality is that far more people will be looking for the equivalent of a Honda Civic. And all of us should encourage them that they will be very happy with the Civic.


If we are not extremely careful, we will persuade many people that they simply can't afford HD. Not that, based on the survey Ken posted, they need much encouragement for that view.


This is not to disparage Jerry's 50" Pioneer plasma -- or the obvious pride he has in it. It IS a gorgeous set. It is also, sadly, far beyond the means of most Americans.
 

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price has always been an issue but it will soon not be so much of one, many of my friends this year have got hd sets as they were only alittle more then the ntscsets they were looking at and these are future proofed to a great extent.
 

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Now I am curious. How much does Jerry's Pioneer 50" plasma cost?
 

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Quote:
However, even at $300, 23% of consumers said that they are “not at all likely†to buy HDTV equipment in the next three years.
I wonder how many people would have said the same thing about buying CDs when cassette tapes where the typical music format, and yet within three years were regular CD purchasers.


Put another way, I wonder how many of those 23% have never even seen HDTV.


Also, three years seems like a pretty small timeframe -- I'd guess most people replace their TVs every 10 years or so, and my guess is within a year or two virtually alll those replacement sets are going to be HD.
 

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Put another way, I wonder how many of those 23% have never even seen HDTV.

""


I how Bet 90 percent of those saying that, or that most of those people don't watch tv regularly
 

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I had a samsung 151 for the past 30 days, I returned it to bestbuy on friday. In my humble opinion, hdtv is NOT ready for the masses. The difference is not THAT big on anything but a highquality sports broadcast. Having HD sitcoms is nice fluff, but after a week or so it doesn't matter. The other thing I noticed, was that the current HD content is just the same old stuff we can watch now, it's EVOLUTIONARY not REVOLUTIONARY. Yes it's better, is it worth $400 for an HD tuner (on top of the $1000 I spent on my tv) to this 18 year old student, no. Joe Sixpack at walmart couldn't care less about it until content delivery and hardware/subsciption price become what NTSC was.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by alfbinet
Now I am curious. How much does Jerry's Pioneer 50" plasma cost?
You can buy a 50" Pioneer 503cmx plasma display from many places on the internet for right around $6,000. Some have been able to buy it from Dell for about $5,000 - $6,000 range by waiting for discounts and stacking coupons.


Plasmas will continue to drop signficantly in price on a yearly basis for the next several years.


Glen
 

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You obviously haven't seen CSI or CSI: Miami in HD, Jay Leno in HD, college football in HD, the Superbowl in HD, the PBS HD samplers, anything on HDNET on Directv from Hockey to concerts to nature and travel shows or some of the better HD transfers of movies on HBO HD or Showtime HD.


Lame network sitcoms are still lame network sitcoms in SD or HD. The fact that they're currently shot on film and transferred to HD doesn't help to maximize the potential of HD and they aren't taking the time and making the effort to light them or do the best possible HD transfer to maximum advantage to make the HD broadcast truly pop.


Also, keep in mind that a $1000 HD-ready TV (which I assume is probably a 32 or 34 inch direct-view TV doesn't have the same wow factor as a 40+ inch RPTV, let alone a front projection TV or LCD TV or plasma TV. Alot of people buying RPTVs for watching DVDs on their progressive scan DVD players are on a natural upgrade path to add HD as more HD content becomes available via OTA, Satellite and HD Cable.


HD is still getting off the ground and will be taking off in the next year or two. It's only getting good. As for subscirption cost, as an existing Directv customer, my subscription did not increase one penny to add HDNet and HBO HD since I was already getting a Total Choice package and already had an HBO subscription. I've currently added Showtime to get Showtime HD as well ad the Penn & Teller Show, but I may not keep it. And, I get 6 OTA HD channels for free here locally with a $29 Zenith Silver Sensor indoor antenna.


I paid $1100 for my first Directv STB and dish back in 1996. Granted, it was the top of the line Sony STB because I wanted an IR blaster to control my vcr and wanted the RF remote so I could put the STB behind a solid cabinet door. I only paid $499 for my Hughes E86 and $99 for a 3 LNB dish and $29 for a UHF antenna. That's not that expensive in comparison.


It's all relative. Color TV and VCRs took more than a decade to become commonplace in the living rooms of the Joe Sixpacks. DVDs have taken much less time. While maybe not moving as fast as DVDs, HD is moving for faster market penitration that color TV or the VCR.
 
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