HD, Blu-ray, 3D – it’s all a conspiracy!

Kicking Television

Kicking Television (Photo credit: dhammza)

A salesman accosted me at an exhibition once and manoeuvred me over to his stand where there were two identical TVs side by side. He was blathering on about the difference that High Definition (or HD) makes to the viewing experience. I looked carefully at the two screens which were showing the exactly the same program.

When the salesman finished his pitch, I asked him when he was going to switch on the HD. He looked at me as if I was a mooncalf and told me it was already on. Puzzled, I asked him which screen was HD. By this time, the salesman thought I was making fun of him. If there was a difference in the fidelity of the display, it was far too subtle for me to pick up.

When our TV needed replacement, we bought an HD model, but only because every TV on display was HD by that time. However, in order to view HD on our TV, we would either need to replace the satellite box or the DVD player and we can see no compelling reason to do so. The satellite box would cost us more money for the same but slightly prettier content. If we replaced the DVD player with a Blu-ray player, there would be no difference unless we also replaced our DVDs.

If I was a cynical man, I would say that such advances come along every now and then and are manufactured to keep the consumer electronics industry and the film industry ticking over. For the consumer electronics industry, they get to sell yet another TV set and another media player. For the film industry, they get to sell the exact same content all over again and usually at inflated prices.

There’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle and not only were some of my favourite films shot in standard definition, they are in black and white to boot. They are compelling viewing because of the acting and the storyline, not because of the technical flash-bang wizardry. Don’t get me wrong, I love the impressive special effects that are possible these days with CGI, but in far too many recent films, there is very little else on offer.

If you are one of the people who likes to keep up with the entertainment revolution, take a good long look at your shelf full of blu-ray discs. You are going to have to pay for the privilege of downloading them all over again in 4D holographic projection format (or whatever the next giant leap in home entertainment happens to be).