Wednesday, January 02, 2008

How much more complex can it get? HD, BLU Ray, and more

Apparently there is no limit.

So, been looking to play something at 720p or 1080p on your HDTV? No idea what I'm talking about or what those numbers mean? Well, those digits are just the very beginning of your HD nightmare.

They say that you only get a benefit from 1080p if your TV is 40" or bigger. What they mean is that the resolution of 720p begins to visibly break down as your screen gets bigger. I've been working on computers for decades now, and the more dots I can get on the screen of any size monitor the better. 1080p means more dots (1920 horizontal dots and 1080 vertical dots), 720p means less dots (1280 horizontal dots and 720 vertical dots). Wikipedia has some good explanations of these standards and you should look them up there for more information. I'm just ranting here and my information may be suspect.

What can you watch in HD? That depends. What do I mean? Well, you can have a lot of stuff that all says HD on it, but it may not be the experience you are looking for. Can you really say "Standard" and HD in the same sentence and it not be a joke? NOPE. There are some HD channels out there on cable and over the air. Their max output is 720p. Should that stop you from getting a 1080p TV, I don't think so. Somethings can output in 1080p, like Video game consoles or Computers. Blu-ray also outputs in 1080p, assuming the movie studio will even let you see it in 1080p.

If you have a 1080p display, and a blu-ray drive, and a digital connection, you still may not be able to see your movie in 1080p, or you may not be ALLOWED to see your movie at all.

HD DVD only outputs at 720p.

Read the explanation below to see what I am talking about....from

"Blu-ray DVD/HD DVD Advisor > Compatibility

Do I need to upgrade my display in order to play Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD titles on my computer?

In most cases, you can still connect the regular display through a D-sub/VGA connector and play Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD content with analog output. However, to enjoy the high-definition video quality provided by Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD, we recommend that you connect your graphic card to an HDCP-compliant display through a DVI or HDMI connection. To play Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD titles on a computer through a digital DVI or HDMI interface, the following 3 criteria need to be satisfied:

Graphics card is HDCP-compliant. Click here for more information
Graphics card driver supports HDCP. Click here for more information.
Display is HDCP ready. Please contact display manufacturer for more information.
Note: Some Blu-ray Discs or HD DVD titles may require a digital output instead of analog. In this case, the digital output requirements listed above must be satisfied in order to play those titles."

So before you start buying and connecting a bunch of things expecting HD nirvana, you may want to do some serious research to ensure everything will work together and everything will play. ESPECIALLY if you plan to view any of it on a computer.

Personally, I thrive on complex puzzles, but the amount of ambiguity and change in the HD world over the past couple of years has left me in a state of frustration and distrust. I don't watch TV (I don't have the time) and movies that really interest me are very few and far between. I would whole-heartedly support a world wide boycott of the entire entertainment industry as an effort to make them fix the mess they are making. No big loss for me though since I essentially boycott it anyway. Anyone else willing to forsake movies, music, and TV for six months to a year to play board games, hike, geocache, kayak, SNOWBOARD, read, or just meet friends in a pub and sing Don Mclean's "American Pie"? My son want's me to play this on the piano, he loves the song. Of course the music industry will sue us for singing the song without their permission, even a capella, as their lawsuits are now a viable revenue stream to make up for the loss in sales because they can't produce the music in a format consumers want anymore.

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