Medium Definition?

So an article over at the Technology Liberation Front discusses the fact that many people who have HDTV, don't know what to do to see HDTV, or simply aren't making use of it. 49% of the people that HDTV aren't watching it. Well count me in to that 49%, but I'm not dumb, I'm frugal. I know what it takes to watch HDTV, I just don't want to pay for it.

I might be called an early adopter when it comes to HDTV. We bought our set in January 2001, nearly 5 years ago. At the time, HDTV in this area was nearly non-existant. There were a couple of OTA channels becoming available, but the content was few and far between. I didn't care though. I was at a point in my life where I was able to buy a nice TV, and I needed it to last awhile. I knew HD was coming, so if you are buying a big set, you pretty much had to drop a few more bucks and just do it right.

DVDs look fantastic on our WS-55807. Good thing too, because that's the only exercise I really give the thing. I guess I can call DVDs medium definition. Ohh, I tried HDTV. My set doesn't have an ATSC tuner, so I experimented with a few OTA tuners. In the end, they were expensive, marginally capable of receiving a signal, required an antenna, and there stilll wasn't a whole lot of content. I tried a couple and they both went back to the store. It wasn't worth spending $200-$300 to watch a few shows in HD.

Why don't I just go with digital cable? Good question. Good answer too, money. It is shameful what Mediacom wants for the privledge to watch HD. Granted, it has been a while since I checked, but it was going to cost me an extra $30-$40 a month to get HDTV over digital cable and that was going to require sticking a stupid digital cable box on my TVs. Uhh, no thanks. NBA in HD looks spectacular, but I can buy a lot of music with $40 a month and I'll enjoy that a whole lot more. HD needs to be free, and by that, I mean no add-on cost vs. regular cable. I know they need to cover their upgrade costs too, but the extra cost needs to trickle away. My friends that live in big cities (Denver, Milwaukee) get HD on their sets for pennies compared to what I'd have to pay.

So we've gone 5 years with no HD, but I'm ready to give it a another go. The content is finally there. All of the major networks are available in my area in HD. Every night has shows in HD that we normally watch. We sold our old college TVs at last summer's garage sale and we recently got a new set for the bedroom. It has a built-in ATSC tuner. This was a requirement. We weren't going to have an external tuner, especially not in the bedroom. We also strung coax through the house when it was being built, so hopefully I can put an antenna near a window in the basement and not have to have that eyesore in the bedroom. I'd love to explore cable card, but I don't know of anyone in my area that is offering it. Maybe in another 5 years :)


crturboguy said...

Cable card's dead, don't you know? At least, it will be by the time anyone around here would support it.


Jason said...

Satellite is probably the best answer to all of this. Cuban would definately agree with that.

I'm not keen on going back to rabbit ears, and the cable companies just aren't interested in making money it seems. So, once the content justifies the price, I will likely pick up my HD via Satellite.

Until then, count me in the 49%.

Ben said...

Cable Cards are not that great. I had the cable card initially in my Mitsu. The major downfall was the navigation ability. It might be suitable for <100 channels, but not for channels when you have to get up in the 500-600 range. (All of Denver's local HD channels are 650-675) It reminded me of the 1980's cable box interface.

Also, you give up the Digital Music ability, and On Demand feature.

Granted the cable card is cheaper than than the set-top box month to month. The ease of use puts the box much higher on my list.

Oh, and regarding an antenna. Ever thought about running it in your rafters?