Friday, February 24, 2006

The HDTV switch

Finally today after a week-long delay, we switched to hiogh definition tv. Hdtv has either 720 lines or 1080 lines of vertical resolution while dvd players and normal tvs have only 480. First of all, the non hd channels are hugely better and can finally be watched adequately in the 92" projection screen. Also, the sound of these channels is hugely better since now it's digital stuff.

But the true difference comes with the real high definition channels. Despite the fact that our projector only has 480 lines of resolution, the signal is so much better initially that it just looks perfect. It's definately huge improvement over dvd , and vaaaast improvement over over standard tv. We also get widescreen picture 16:9 and Dolby Digital audio 5.1 .

The desicion to swicth was mainly made when I went back to Greece these last Xmas, where I realized that there all these beautiful hd TVs and projectors, but there is no HD content! It's just ridiculus how Europe is so much behind in hd (they'll start switching soon though). And here in the US you can get for FREE all these nice HD channels, HD tv shows, HD talk shows etc etc.

The ultimate upgrade is coming soon though: we'll finally mount our projector to the ceiling, and we'll use a 10m long DVI cable to watch the images. HDTV is native digital signal, but it is being converted to analog component video signal from the HD box in order to be sent to the projector, and then the projector is digital and converts the signal back to digital in order to display it on the screen! There is no reason for these conversions to happen, and with the DVI cable we'll ensure a smooth pure digital experience. I don't expect a significant improvement in the picture quality though, it;'s mostly a matter of principles (We can do it, so we do it).

Another issue that is bothering me is the dvd player that we have (Philips DVP642), lately is does not play the dvds very well and we will have to switch. Either I can get the same or a similar player, or I can get this nice upconverting player. Upconverting means it has DVI output that gives 720p or 1080i signal and although there is no extra content there it is (from what other people say) a big improvement in the picture quality. On top of that, the specific player I was looking at is region free and you can use it in Europe too with 220V AC power outlet. So temping... The downside is that it costs $200...