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Sunday, March 05, 2006

HDTV is about to ruin my life 

I couldn't bear to have a spiffy TV without anything to show on it, so I ponied up $200 for Starchoice's HD receiver.

After satisfactorily attaching it to the TV and the receiver, I wondered how normal people dealt with this: it was tricky, and presented several interesting choices, plus one dead end: it turns out the evil box has HDCP, but the odd-tech TV does not, and therefore no DVI-DVI connect for me. Thanks, DRM!

The answer is that normal people don't deal with this stuff. HDTV--or, at least, a properly configured HD setup that is actually putting HD source material on the screen with full-on digital audio--is limited to those who either know the arcane secrets to assembling a proper system, or are willing to pay the considerable cost of having someone set it up. I bet this is a big reason a lot of people don't bother. Which reminds me: I should check to see if my brother-in-law finally has an HD source on his enormous plasma TV. DVD is great on an HDTV, but true HD content is another big jump.

Even now, i am not done setting up our system: there are a few fixes to be made, and I'll have to pull my ridiculous receiver out of its enclosure to move a plug or two.

But the picture, oh the picture. And the sound! But the picture most of all. As I started writing this, I was watching an HD version of A Beautiful Mind. The image was the fulfillment of television. At this point, remember, we're dealing with an image that is considerably better than that offered by mere DVDs, and I daresay it showed.

To fulfill this trilogy of bad and good, we need the ugly: that would be a tie between stations that don't have HD content enough to fill their HD channels, and specifically the CBC's HD hockey schedule, which usually shows only one game of the Saturday night doubleheader in HD, with that game inevitably being the central Canada-oriented match. Number of times Vancouver appears on the HD side of the schedule? Zero. Oh yes, and the fact that to optimally set up my system, I'll probably need to manually swap which device gets the only set of true HD component video inputs on the TV, the satellite box or the Playstation 2, which still does double duty as the primary DVD player in the house.

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