When I first hooked up my Comcast HDTV service to my brand new plasma HDTV, it took me a while to realize what I was watching was not HD quality. Things looked a little stretched out and the on-screen text was not quite as sharp as I had heard HD would be. Having never seen any HD content before, however, I wasn’t sure whether what I was watching was HD or not. It definitely looked better to me compared to what I was used to seeing before.
Only after I got a new HD box from Comcast did I quickly realize the difference. It’s much much better and the sharpness and detail is definitely more pronounced. Now that I know what HD looks like, I can definitely tell it apart from SD. (However, I am still not able to tell the difference between 1080i and 1080p, at least not on a 42” screen.)
A Dutch study wanted to see if simply being told that you’re viewing an HD picture quality would lead to a satisfactory viewing experience.
Two groups of 30 people watched the same video clip, individually, on the same television. Half were told to expect a better experience thanks to HD technology, an impression backed up by posters, flyers and an extra-thick cable connected to the screen. The other half were told to expect a normal DVD signal.
The results? Those who were told to expect HD quality "witnessed significantly sharper, more detailed images." The takeaway: A discerning eye, gullibility, and many other variables notwithstanding, until you can afford to shell out big bucks for a decent set, you can always try convincing yourself that what you have now ain’t all that bad.
I think I agree with the finding and the advice. If you haven’t yet seen what HD looks like, you probably won’t miss it as much as someone who has already experienced it.
One thought on “Can you think your way to sharper TV picture quality?”
You should NOT be able to tell the difference between 1080i and 1080p, that is the point. All LCD, plasma, and front-projector displays will be progressive (the “p” in 1080p), but the signals could be 1080i (from satellite or cable) or 1080p (from most Blu-ray discs and players). Other signals (primarily from Fox and ABC/ESPN) will be 720p even though they still come from satellite and cable boxes converted to 1080i. You should be able to tell the difference between THOSE signals and true 1080i/1080p signals, but you will have to sit quite close to your 42″ plasma display to see it, assuming your TV itself is a 1080p model.