New HDTV


Sometime in November, I think it might have been after the Bears beat the Jets, I joked to my wife that if they got to the Super Bowl, I wanted to get an HDTV.  I mean, how often do the Bears go to the Super Bowl?

Cut to a few weeks ago.  The final minutes of the New Orleans game are winding down.  I’m in the family room with Daniel, watching the game and Meka’s behind me in the kitchen.

“So, what kind of TV are you getting?”  she asked.  I had no idea what she was talking about at first.  Honestly, I had been joking about the HDTV.  Of course, I didn’t mention that out loud.

Daniel and I went out to do “man things” that week.  We checked out the various electronic stores and priced TVs and ranked them by price, size, ability, etc.

First, I wanted a flat TV.  Our family room is small and Meka and I had both talked about getting a TV that could be mounted to the wall.  So, no projection TVs (they didn’t look all that great anyway).  I wanted something that did at least 1080i.  I had just gotten an HDV camcorder and wanted to be able to play it back on something at full screen.  However, I do have a ton of archival stuff: VHS, DVD, even Laserdisc, U-matic and lots of 8mm tapes.  I liked the idea of the LCD TV’s, but they didn’t do a very good job of translating non-1080 stuff; it looked very blocky.

So, I decided on a 46″ plasma set from Hitachi.  It was 1080i, it was about 4 inches deep and even standard definition didn’t look too bad on it.  In terms of size – well, we had a 27″ TV at home.  I thought it would be about the same size – height wise – and just a lot wider.  Okay, I turned out to be slightly mistaken about that!

I wasn’t the only person who had decided to upgrade their TV for the Super Bowl (go figure).  I managed to set up delivery for the Friday before the game.  However, I would not be able to upgrade my satellite service in time.  In any case, Dish Network wasn’t offering CBS in HD yet.  Luckily, I still had the old roof antenna in my attic.  We hadn’t used it in years, but I managed to wire it up to the jack in the living room and then brought the wire in with a really long cable.  Voila!  HDTV!

Well, the game may have turned out to be… less than satisfying (grudging congratulations to Colts’ fans).  However, I am very satisfied with the HDTV.  My little $30 DVD player had a progressive scan setting; when I switched it over and hooked everything up correctly, I have to say it looks pretty good.  Even my old VHS stuff is watchable.

As for HD, my camcorder shots are fantastic.  I’m still getting used to shooting in HD (focus and light are really critical), so I’m happy to be able to view the stuff as I shoot it as opposed to waiting a couple of years and finding out I’d been doing something all wrong that wasn’t noticed on the 2″ LCD screen of camcorder.  We’ve updated our satellite service to get the HD channels.  My wife and I are getting a kick of being able to watch “Enterprise” and be able to read the little labels on the turbolift doors and so on.

So, I think we’re set in the TV department… until the Bears get to the Super Bowl again.  Then, I’ll probably have to run out to Best Buy and pick up the VR / holodeck or whatever they will be broadcasting it on at that time.

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