Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Snobbery

A few weeks ago, I finally took the HDTV plunge and bought a lovely plasma set. The thing is beautiful to behold, but I've already become so hooked on high-def that I've been almost exclusively watching the relative handful of HD channels Comcast offers and ignoring the other few hundred. I've been spending shameful amounts of time watching, say, "The Island," because I know a Michael Bay movie will look cool in 1080i.

I've heard this is SOP for HD virgins, and the fact that almost all the shows I follow have been in reruns has played a role. But for those of you who joined the high-def world long before I did, how long did this phase last for you? I have this irrational fear that I'm not going to want to watch "Scrubs" anymore because I won't get to see Turk's dancing with the maximum clarity.

24 comments:

velvetcannibal said...

I don't think that HD channel love is going to wear off any time soon. I've been watching a friend's HDTV since July (he got it to see the World Cup in HD) and we'll even watch the Yellowstone channel if nothing's on. It's too hard to watch programming that's not in HD. We've abandoned ABC news completely, because they don't broadcast it in HD. Seems like a dumb mistake for them to be making with the rise in purchases of these units.

So I guess it's not wearing off. Sports will never be the same. I can barely watch them on a regular TV anymore. Hopefully the networks will catch up soon, because they've definitely lost my viewership several times. They need to keep up with the technology.

Congratulations on the new TV of pretty.

Jon said...

I was lost in HD-land until I discovered how much space on the DVR those shows were eating up. Fortunately all I missed was an episode of "Gilmore Girls," but it was enough to snap me back.

R.A. Porter said...

It lasted about a month for me. When I realized that I was actually watching Steel (granted, it's not as bad as Kazaam) just because it was in HD, the spell was broken.

Anonymous said...

It will probably last a few weeks, with some relapses here and there.

I don't know if you have to worry about Scrubs; all the other NBC Thursday sitcoms are in HD. Nearly all network primetime programming is.

Steven said...

I think the rerun status of your favorite shows makes a difference. I watched a lot of penguin documentaries when we got HD ... this was before that feature film, even ... trust me, I don't usually watch penguins.

What will likely happen (and I'm saying this assuming that your Comcast is reasonably close to mine, which is not a safe assumption) is that you'll eventually quit watching crap because you won't have to. My Comcast gives me NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, HBO, Showtime, ESPN, ESPN2, and a few others that don't normally have first-run programming. So the vast majority of what you want to watch will be in HD, and you can quit watching the penguins.

I'd also second the comments who said non-HD will be hard to watch. You can't pass on The Shield, and The Wire was never in HD, but for the most part, you won't want to watch it if it isn't HD. This is especially true for sports.

Don Porges said...

The hardest part is SD programming that's already letterboxed -- Battlestar Galactica and the like. Do you watch it in what looks like a tiny screen (probably no smaller than your last TV, though), or do you use your TV's zoom function, and blow it up to a screen-filling but horrible picture?

Pete said...

I was very glad when Mars was moved to the CW (aka Channel 11) this year since Comcast offers WPIX in HD but not WWOR. Scrubs is the only network show I watch that is not HD (not counting the Simpsons and Family Guy).

The hardest thing is sports. Turning Channel 2 on on Sundays and seeing that the game they are showing here was not selected to be shown in HD.

I will warn you that Comcast has a very uneven track record when it comes to showing local sports in HD. They do not always push the button to show the game.

Anonymous said...

I just joined the hd club today, need less to say this is the first time that ive gotten off the couch since about 1 this afternoon.

i just cant get over the pictue quality, i even watched some movie about pilots on inhd just for the visuals, this is a bad bad thing...its going to be hard to pull myself off the couch at the end of this week to get back to work.

SJ said...

Oh I am jealous. I was at Circuit City a few days back looking for something else, but I wandered into the TV area and was blown away by this 1080p Sony TV hooked up to a Sony Blu-Ray disc player. It just looked....amazing. If you can, I recommend getting a Blu-Ray player (such as a Sony Playstation 3) or a Xbox 360 with external HD-DVD player (total cost = $600).

TV shows will start being released on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD early next year from what I've read and heard. The Sopranos is coming to both formats, and Netflix allows you to rent both.

Last season's Scrubs finale was broadcast in HD. It baffles me why the show is not being broadcast in HD now. I don't mind seeing The Shield and The Wire in SD, since they are supposed to convey that gritty feel.

Matty said...

Three and a half years after getting my HDTV, I no longer know the number of the non-HD channels. I live in the HD numbers and only venture out occasionally to watch Comedy Central, the HBO channels, and the occasional non-HD sporting event.

Anonymous said...

I got my HD in Oct '05, and the only non-HD stuff I watch is Colbert/TDS and Galactica. The first 2 months I watched HDNet and Discovery HD and drowned in all the visual goodness. That will end- at least it did for me. As for your DVR (you did get the HD DVR right?) you quickly learn what's a keeper and what isn't.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Yes, I have Comcast's HD DVR. The problem, of course, is that, while it can store 80 hours of standard-def programming, its HD capacity is only 20 hours. I was really enjoying having so much disc space to play with, that I could save every single episode of this season's "The Office" without worry, that I could let the unwatched "Ugly Betty"s build up, knowing I'd have time to get to them eventually. As I watch far more than 20 hours of primetime TV a week, I'm going to have to watch things much faster, or else let certain shows drop, and I'm not wild about that.

Ellen Gray said...

I'm still in love, but at least I'm not wasting hours and hours staring at birds anymore the way I did the first couple of week(though I now understand why so many people watch the Discovery Channel in HD). I think the stupidest thing I watched during that period was Sylvester Stallone's "Daylight."

My sister got my mother a Sony Bravia similar to mine (and hers) for Christmas (using the excuse that she sometimes watches UConn women's basketball at my mother's house and prefers a bigger screen) but as neither she nor my mother has Comcast's high-def package, I found myself weirdly irritated by the less-than-perfect picture on all those reruns...

Pete said...

Alan,
Do you know who makes your DVR? If it is made by Scientific Atlanta you can buy an external hard drive and plug it into the DVR to augment your capacity. If you have a Motorola one then you are can't.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Sadly, I've got the Motorola. C'est la vie.

CG said...

HD love (from only a few months ago) lasted about 1 evening for me. Since I have non-HD tivos and Tivo love trumps HD love, I've seen almost nothing in HD since it's installation. (But I do dearly love the BIG.) 1) I watch most everything on delay - so since tivo won't tape in HD, all playback is non. 2) On the few occasions I watch live, I NEED pause and replay - not available without switching from HD mode to DVR mode.
Priorities.

Alan Sepinwall said...

And that's why my beloved TiVo is now upstairs attached to my old-fashioned standard-def set, while the new baby runs off of Comcast's TiFaux. Just enough of the functionality, and HD, too. Best of both worlds (and not the Randal Graves kind, either).

R.A. Porter said...

It could be worse. I have the one and only model of HD DirecTV with TiVo that was built. It's over two years old, but since TiVo and DirecTV couldn't come to an agreement, if I want to stick with satellite, I either stick with this, or settle for TiFaux. The new Series 3 HD TiVos are out now - with internet features that make me drool - but they only work with cable. :(

kp said...

This is slightly to the side of the topic, but have you watched any of the Pixar films [Cars; Monsters, Inc.; The Incredibles; etc.] on the new tv? -- they are beyond words in HD/plasma.

ooda said...

HD love started about half a year ago for me, with a Sony Bravia as the weapon of choice. I'm loving HD, though it's kind of wasted on me as I've been watching a hell of a lot of DVD's lately, and while they look good, you can still see the difference of HD. That said, just the size and aspect ratio is enough to keep me happy.

One complaint though. What's up with all HBO shows? It seems like they never quite fit the screen properly, and while the Wide Zoom takes care of it, it's still a bit annoying.

Alan Sepinwall said...

KP, yeah, animation always shows up best on the HD set, to the point where even DVD menus look amazing.

I just got an upconverting DVD player so I can cheaply sit out the format wars between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, but I don't think I did the set-up right, because it actually looks fuzzier with the HDMI connection than the old player did with S-Video. Off to troubleshoot...

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in how your trouble shooting went, Alan. I converted to HD this weekend, and have Comcast's TiFaux and everything. I am in love with HD, but with the new 40" Sony Bravia, I've out-teched my 480i DVD player. When I try to watch anything, I wind up watching it on the DVD player's 4:3 standard setting, so it's smaller, and letterboxed. Any attempt to reconfigure the view through the TV or DVD player results in a fuzzy pixeled mess.

So I was looking at the upverting DVD players to use the HDMI ports - hoping that I would be able to watch the anamorphic widescreen in the full 40" glory, but I'm not going to replace my 1-year old dvd player unless I know it will work.

Have you had any success?

Alan Sepinwall said...

So far, no luck in finding any alternate recipe for HDMI DVD settings. Still Google'ing.

Anonymous said...

I went ahead and picked up a new home theater system w/HDMI output, and it's awesome. It's not perfect, or a true 1080p, but it's a vast improvement over the 480p of my old home theater system.

The setup was pretty easy and user-friendly. It helps that I bought the newer model of the same home theater system, so I was familiar with the menus and options.

Good Luck, Alan.