So the gaming world is all in a huff over the advent of HDTV implemented into the new consoles. At long last, gamers will be able to see, in crisp clarity, close-ups of Mario’s various man-tufts.
What do I think of HDTV?
Hello, gamers? 1992 called. They want their resolution back.
1080i? High-def? And? If you consider this “next-gen” please send me your home address so that I can mail you my old $3 ATI Mach32 ISA video card.
I admit that this is a great step up for console gaming – one that’s a long time coming. The fore-thinking futurists at Sega were brilliantly overambitious in making available a VGA cable for their Dreamcast console. Ironically, this was the last generation of consoles I found paletable on SDTV (standard definition TV). To me, Xbox and PS2 may as well be played an old school lightbulb hockey arena jumbotron. They are so pixelated that I literally can hardly stand to look at them.
Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s what a modern PS2 game would look like on your computer monitor at native television resolution.
Katamari Damacy for PS2 – actual TV resolution
I’m a technology and video game enthusiast. I’m always on the look out (budget permitting) for the best realtime interactive multimedia experiences out there. That’s why I don’t give a feathery owl pellet about Xbox 360, save one advantage – Microsoft has taken care to design an accessible, easy-to-use DirectX programming infrastructure which will allow games developed for the console to port easily to Windows.
This is great news for us PC gamers because, instead of having our favourite developers sell out to the lowest common denominator, (e.g., Blizzard’s Starcraft: Ghost) our ever-superior platform of choice will share the limelight with Microsoft’s svelte new she-box (wasn’t that a Cindi Lauper song?). Hopefully this will mean tighter implementations of console hold-overs than the frame-chugging PC version of Halo (which, incidentally, was to be a PC game before MS gave Bungie “an offer they couldn’t refuse”).
This is master stroke by Microsoft, of course, as they they get to advertise and publish for both their gaming platforms in one fell swoop.
Outside gaming, HDTV promises untold ocular riches to moviegoers and sitcom slobberers alike – whether they like it or not. The US Congress has recently accepted the proposal by the National Association of Broadcasters to eradicate SDTV programming entirely by January 2009.
Why get Congress involved? Well, HDTV broadcasts won’t show up at all on SDTV sets without an external converter of some sort. Since Congress has deemed television an irrevocable cornerstone of American culture and consciousness, they are subsidizing the purchase of such converters to households who cannot afford the requisite month’s salary invsetment to purchase an HDTV complient set.
That’s right. There are no bigger problems in America requiring this billions-dollar investment than ensuring no child is left behind – on tomorrow’s Pokemon gossip.
But it’s great news for those of us in the middle class, right? Just plug in your snazzy new HDTV and watch all your favourite DVDs in glorious new resolution, right?
Likely, nobody’s going to buy into the new HD-DVD or Blu-Ray video disc formats until at least 2009. They don’t need HDTV sets before then, and they’ll wait for the format war to declare a victor before re-re-buying all their favourite movies. They’ve been burned too recently on the VHS vs Betamax wars that punished adopters of the superior recording technology in the 80’s. In all likelihood, by 2009 they’ll still be enjoying their current library of DVDs, right?.
In 3 years they’ll learn what PC enthusiasts have known since its inception – DVD stinks.
actual modern-day DVD resolution
Yes, this is what your DVDs really look like on your computer monitor. Blow the image up to fullscreen and it’s a blocky mosaic of pachydermic pixels. It looks pretty good on SDTV, but stick a movie in your DVD-ROM drive, watch it on your 17″ computer monitor, and imagine the fidelity on a 30″ HDTV set. That’s right, it’s time set the alarm on your pocketbook to 2009 and disable the snooze button.
HDTV is barely here, but the 300 pound gorilla is already flinging feces all over you living room.
Don’t like it? Me neither. If, like me, you live outside the US, you’re pretty much up Dawson’s Creek without a clicker since most broadcast television comes from the land down under Canada. If you are a US citizen and would like to contest the imposed 2009 deadline, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.
And even if those poor Americans choose to opt out of the high-def revolution, I hope they’ll take solace in the fact that they’re buying someone else’s TV with their tax dollars. Those elected officials sure know how to spread the bucks around, don’t they?