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.