Saturday, January 05, 2008

Beta wins!

According to Mr Smarty Pants (not his real name) via IM, Blu-ray rules. And the NYT (via Warner Bros) seems to be backing him up. I did notice a dramatic slant towards Blu-ray in the retailers while looking for TV's recently. I guess this time Betamax wins..

If you're curious, I did begin the Analog/SD to HD conversion process. I have a S3 Tivo on order (still hasn't shipped yet, grumble), and purchased a 32" el-cheapo Vizio LCD from Costco. Now for the controversial portion of this post:

Does 1080 res really make a difference in a 32" TV?

I was initially disappointed to find that most 32" TV's don't support 1080 resolution natively. They're all 720 with the single exception of the Sharp Aquos LC32D62U. I was this close to pulling the trigger on this set at Circuit City (the only retailer in town who stocks it). I would have too if the sales droid hadn't been busy down the aisle with something else. Then a little voice inside my head told me to go on-line and get a feel for why so few 1080 32" sets exist on the market. I did so (via my blackberry no-less) and found the consensus that the human eye can't tell the difference on a 32" set at normal viewing distances:
The Math
(Screen Diagonal x 0.87) / Horizontal Resolution = Pixel Width
(Screen Diagonal x 0.49) / Vertical Resolution = Pixel Height
At a distance of 10 feet, the eye can resolve 1/120 of a degree of arc, which translates to a width of 0.033 inches.
So I walked out of the store and retreated to Costco. I then commenced a very scientific comparison and analysis of the available 720p 32" sets on display (I looked at them for a few minutes), and went on to purchase the cheapest. My logic being that the technology still has some settling out to do in the next few years, in the digital world Moore's Law comes into effect, and this TV isn't going to be around for 20 years like my old one, so it's going to be obsolete on the way to the car anyway--might as well reduce my sunk costs now with the intention to upgrade in a couple of years anyway.

The results at home are pretty dramatic. Our old TV wasn't just an SD set, it was a poor example of the format. It hadn't had a clear picture since the Clinton era and never had good color anyway. In recent years it took on a yellowish tint, and the picture was skewed towards the top such that Kelsey Grammer looked like that alien in the Corbomite Maneuver.

Anyway, the TV looks fantastic. Right now it's playing SD DVD's like they're whole new movies. So I can rest assured that it'll look even better with a Blu-ray player to go along with it.


Anonymous Max said...

Wow, congrats!

My parents dumped my brother's 27" Sony WEGA on me for New Years. The thing looks fantastic compared to my old 20" Toshiba. I saw my first DVD with component inputs. I'm now beginning to see the limitations of analog cable (picture quality as well as the price) so good people at Dish network will be getting a call from me next week.

2:20 AM  

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