My father often told the story of buying a stereo system sometime back in the late 50's. A good stereo system was a fairly expensive proposition back then but my Dad wasn't one to spend money foolishly. He therefore arranged for a demonstration where the salesperson exercised ever more expensive choices. When my father could no longer discern any difference in the sound quality, he figured there was no reason to spend any more money, and that's the system he bought.
I feel the same way about HDTV. We'd like to get one someday, if for no other reason than to have something less bulky sitting in our living room. My wife has other reasons: she thinks the picture quality is wonderful. Of course most of the world agrees with her on that point. "You see the most incredible detail!" is the most common gushing endorsement from friends who have already made this purchase.
Well, I hate to be a spoil sport, but I do NOT see that "incredible detail". I walk by the displays in BJ's and other stores and I can see that some certainly have better color than others, but detail? They all look the same to me and really they don't seem much better than the TV we have now.
Oh, I'm sure that if I put one side by side with our present TV that I could tell which was which even if all I could see was the screens. But really it just doesn't jump out at me: I'm not wowed.
Of course I do have horrible vision. I'm something around 20/400 uncorrected with severe astigmatism. Thick glasses make the world fairly normal for me, but my world is never sharp and crisp. The old TV we have isn't all that much more "fuzzy" than my normal experience of the world, so HDTV really can't offer me much.
You'd think that my wife would be clamoring for this upgrade as her vision is sharp. I guess her Yankee frugality is pretty close to mine: she'll be ready to spend when the prices are rock bottom. Her idea of a good sale is 70% off and then another 50% off that.. no retail for her! With her unwilling to spend much of anything and my not caring much about HDTV to start with, I think our big old box will be sitting where it is until it dies a natural death.
So, 1080p, 1080i, lcd, plasma: we don't care. We're not ready to buy and probably won't be ready until 32 inch units break $300.00. That may not be too far way, especially if the holiday shopping season is as bad as it looks right now. But we can wait..
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2010-10-09 Anthony Lawrence