A thing of beauty

Oh. Mah. Gawd. I picked up the HD converter box from the cable company last night, so not only do I have a bigger, nicer picture, it’s super crisp too. Not a lot of channels are broadcasting in HD yet–just the major networks plus Discovery. But the ones that are look *gorgeous*. I’m totally entranced. I’m like a cat watching birds at the window. I stare transfixed. I feel like I could touch the characters. I talk to the TV. Last night, I even dreamt about watching someone real that I know talking to me from my HDTV. And then I woke with a mad crush on a TV character that isn’t real.

The only problem is that now I really only get the channels I pay for–the box won’t pass along the extra channels that the straight-in cable formerly would. So, if I want the extended set of channels that the cable guy tried but couldn’t filter out originally, I have to switch back and forth with the old wiring. I suppose it’s a small price to pay for The Daily Show and the History Channel.

I can’t wait for Heroes to start again on April 23rd. Now, I need to figure out how to get my DVD’s to look that crisp. Maybe my laptop DVD player just isn’t cutting it. I’m on a technology spiral. Wheeeeeee!


13 thoughts on “A thing of beauty

  1. This post made me giggle! I’m afraid to get a converter box, but much like a cellphone and an iPod, I’m going to have to break down and do it at some point.

    • Thanks for the info

      Bah! What a scam. I can see now that it’s all a ploy to make us chuck our DVD collections (grown from chucked VHS collections) and rebuy everything on Blue Ray. Sneaky bastards.

      Yeah, the converter box costs $7/month. I think it might be a digital recorder too. Not sure yet.

      • Re: Thanks for the info

        Well, DVDs still look a whole lot better on HD TVs than on old CRTs. I have the original Star Trek series on DVD and sometimes you can see the seam where Spock’s ears are glued on; something that was never visible when broadcast.

        For the time being, DVDs suit me just fine and I plan to wait until the dust settles (and the players get down to a reasonable price) in the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD fight.


      • Re: Thanks for the info

        That’s a helpful article. Thanks.

        Sounds like by the time I’m ready to upgrade to a new Apple laptop, the decision will have been made for me.

  2. Y’know, I’m not convinced it’s worth it. I suppose staring at the clarity is breathtaking, when it’s novel, and if you had some special need for very specific information – like you needed to read the title and author on a book that appears in the background on a show. But mostly I watch TV/movies for the plot, the basic idea of the thing. When I remember a story or characters or scene, I remember it to the fullest clarity my memory/imagination allows. In fact, being a mother and just, like, a person, I do a lot of my movie “watching” from the other room, where listening to the music and the voices, especially of familiar characters/stories, is enough for my mind to play the images back for me.

    I think what I mean is that the immediate experience might be improved, but I’m not sure what you take with you is going to change.

    N’est-ce pas?

    • Hi, there. If you don’t mind, with whom do I have the pleasure of conversing?

      … the immediate experience might be improved, but I’m not sure what you take with you is going to change.

      N’est-ce pas?

      Depends on the film. For most of the shows or movies on TV, it’s not crucial. However, for the ones I get engrossed in, the experience is fuller. Think of the difference between seeing a great action film or period piece that has scenes with grand vistas at the movie theater and seeing them on the TV. Now, divide that in half. That’s about how much it adds for me so far.

      I’m not a mother nor perhaps your typical person in that I don’t tend to watch movies from the other room unless it’s one that I’ve seen multiple times before. I sit right in front of the screen, perhaps simultaneously do some exercising. And for watching with friends, the higher quality, larger picture helps create a shared participation mystique rather than just a shared distraction.

      Maybe the satisfaction level in something like HD comes in whether a person is primarily oriented to plot development or is more attuned to aesthetic touches (lighting subtleties, shot construction, etc.). I do appreciate the latter, especially when a movie is more than just light fare. (I’ll spare you a boring list of examples that I find brilliantly thoughtful.) In fact, what I sometimes remember most from a film are the little touches and those are what elevates a movie or show from good entertainment to art in my book.

      So, HD might just be the thang for me.

      • Here’s my take on HD. One,.. the HD signal standard includes 5.1 sound. So, that is one reason I enjoy HD. The surround sound. American Idol is funny because I hear people commenting and clapping behind me. If you don’t have a surround system set up and attached to your cable box.. I totally humbly suggest you invset in that too.

        As for the HD cable box. It most likely is the Motorola 6412 or some 64xx variant. Did they give you a new remote with the box? if so.. hit the pause button while watching tv and see what happens. if it pauses.. you have DVR. 🙂 I love having the DVR capabilities. I’m so very much not tied to a specific time to watch my shows.. plus fast forwarding through commercials is super awesome. I usually set it to record stuff that I know I’ll be home for anyways.. then I start watching the recorded show about 15 to 20 minutes into it. That way I can fast forward through the commercials.. and it’s only near the end of the show that i get caught up and might have to suffer through 1 or 2 ads. 🙂

        By the by,.. what’s the resolution of your new TV? 1080p? or 720p?

        Also,.. the high def disk format has most definitely not been decided by the market. IN my mind..
        Blu-Ray = Beta.
        HD-DVD = VHS.

        Guess which format the pr0n industry backed? I only mention this because in the last format war the one that that industry backed was the winner.

        Oh yeah.. one other thing. There are upscaling DVD players out there that will upscale the signal from your DVD player to a HD format. Most however require that you be connected through an HDMI cable, otherwise they wont’ upscale. This is a nod to the industry and DRM. (Digital Rights Managment). You did mention that you thought your DVD signal was a little fuzzy now on your new TV. This may be the TV doing poor upscaling. I can explain that more to ya if you want.. but I feel like I’ve rambled on long enough in this post.

      • I hope Blu-Ray bites it simply because I loathe Sony Corp*, but unlike the Tape Wars of yore, the physical media is of identical size and shape, and at least one vid player manufacturer has announced a player compatible with both formats, so it may become a non-issue and both formats may survive.

        The pr0n industry wasn’t given a choice, Sony refused to license Blu-Ray to them, and HD-DVD did. But I can see how pr0n would prefer HD-DVD anyway, simply because they won’t have to upgrade their mfg equipment, and they probably don’t even care about most of the Blu-Ray technical advantages.

        I’ve had my 720p HDTV for over a year now and I’ve yet to see a HD broadcast, so I can’t compare it to DVD, but I am pleased with how much better DVDs look (using S-Video connections) as compared to my old CRT projection TV. And DVD’s certainly look sharp on my PC’s 1280×1024 LCD monitor, but there’s no way you can fill in missing data except with some sort of interpolation algorithm, which works up to a point, although I suppose it’s easier to get away with when viewing moving images.

        *) I don’t like giving money to people who are going to use it to try and strip me of my fair use rights.

      • 1080p. And I guess I’ll hold out for the HD-DVD player because, Lord knows, I need my left-handed pretzel bender pr0n. (It’s an obscure genre but high-quality stuff, I assure you. 🙂 In the meantime, I have a very expensive DVI->HDMI converter cable.

      • left-handed pretzel bender is one thing.. it’s the under the leg tiger claw technique that is really outta-sight! hahaha..
        Nice that it’s 1080p. I’m stuck at 1080i at the moment.. with a TV with no ATSC tuner,.. and no DVI or HDMI inputs.. just component. Which leaves my out of the whole DRM game. I probably ought to sell my tv now, while the gettin’ is good. But I’m totally not ready to buy a new tv,.. especially since I’m waiting for laser tv.. that’s right.. a tv with freakin’ lasers!!!

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