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Dale Cripps on HDTV
For more than 20 years, Dale Cripps has been a leading figure in the HDTV revolution. He has consulted for companies across three continents, produced and programmed four international HD conferences and spoken at many others. He is founder and co-publisher of HDTV Magazine and was technical editor of HDTV for Dummies. He also published the internationally distributed HDTV Newsletter from 1985 to 1995. Cripps has written more than 80 articles on HD technology. He is the founder of the High-Definition Television Association, a global group he created to promote advanced TV technologies. Cripps is currently working on a book covering the cultural and economic impact of digital revolution. He explains what to expect in the first 30 days of embracing HDTV.
Is HD just for technophiles? Should “regular people” be scared of how complicated HDTV seems from the outside?
HDTV is certainly for technophiles, but also, everyone else. The technophiles understand the complexity of HDTV and act like an invisible army of angels, out helping those with Luddite natures. We all love HD so much that we want to share the good news.
Why are the first 30 days after deciding to upgrade to an HDTV important?
You do have money at stake. Most retailers have a 30-day return policy. Not everyone is happy with the size [of the TV set] they’ve purchased and only discover that feeling after installation. Others don’t find the value, because they don’t want more expense from their cable or satellite providers for HD signals [which are needed to watch HD content] and they are not near enough to a terrestrial [over-the-air] transmitter to use a simple antenna. Buyer’s remorse and who knows what other psychological factors do enter in. So, for these and many other reasons, the 30-day return policy has been instituted. It’s important because you want the trial period to build your confidence without a risk.
What do people need to make their first 30 days with HDTV a success?
First, make sure you are hooked up to an HDTV source. That can be over-the-air broadcasting [from stations that send signals in HD], digital cable with HDTV, satellite with HDTV or Blu-ray player with HD disks. Most of the HD players will upconvert [scale and improve] 480i [a mid-definition resolution format] discs, and it is quite good, but don’t be fooled by it. It is not real HDTV.
If you don’t have the proper HD decoder for the service you are using, you will not get HDTV. But, you might think the lack is a result of how well the decoder handles the old standard. But again, it is not HDTV and you won’t be doing yourself, your friends or neighbors any favors showing them your HDTV set without an HDTV source. So, “hook up to a known HDTV source” is my first recommendation.
Do you have a personal favorite program or movie to watch on your HDTV?
Recent studies have indicated that people are more fascinated with picture quality than they are program content. Having said that, there are innovative producers who now understand people are going to see all of what they can create. That has never been the case before. Audio and video quality had been highly compromised in the old standard. Now, what the producer can get into a camera can reach the audience uncompromised. So what does that mean? I think it means that producers will focus on individual viewers, knowing for the first time that the visceral effects they hope to create are delivered, like focusing the sun through a magnifying glass.
And as for movies that impress me? All movies well-produced and transferred smoothly to HDTV are impressive.
After you have bought your HDTV, what kind of challenges and expenses will you face in the first 30 days and those that follow?
Once you’re hooked up to a reliable HDTV signal/program source, you may find yourself shopping for a new A/V audio system, a game console, a media-center computer, a universal remote and, above all, some great speakers. You may find yourself even dedicating an entire room where lighting can be fully controlled so you can have the really big screen experience with a front-projection 1080p [the highest resolution format available] setup. That makes for a true movie-theater experience. You may find yourself sorting through the options in Blu-ray players and then looking over the piles of available disks on Amazon or Netflix. You might find yourself entertaining guests a great deal more and that means a mounting popcorn bill, not to mention the Bud Light that flows every weekend as sports energize your home and life.
How much you will spend in the 30 days after you acquire your HDTV is in correspondence with how much you appreciate it. I appreciate mine and have spent a great deal on making things better, including the complete remodeling of my home. That all started with installing a dedicated theater. So you might indeed be spending more money on HDTV and a lot less on something else. And you may need to make some money.
How concerned should people be about being able to see their favorite shows in HD?
There are very few programming services today that do not have HDTV on their current agenda. Due to the increased bandwidth required in satellite and cable, some channels may never find carriage and thus die on the vine. But in recent months, so much HDTV programming has been added that we are in an HDTV overload as it is. Everything from sports to foreign movies and local-talent and man-on-the-street shows to the three major late [night] programs are in HDTV today. There is no shortage of HDTV programming and now the most premium of that programming—recently released motion pictures—is available on Blu-ray disks... Anyone who says there is not enough programming has not done their research. And, it is available wherever you live by at least satellite.
How can consumers maximize their HDTV experience?
“Pleasure shared is pleasure doubled,” says the ancient I-Ching. HDTV offers you the big screen, so share it with those you love and those with whom you are falling in love. It’s the best night out you will ever have while still at home. HDTV can be thrilling, so be thrilled with family and friends.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
That change is the elixir of life, so drink what you can.
The best thing about change is...
What is the best change you have ever made?
A decision to learn all that I could about the reality of love.
For more information on Dale Cripps, visit www.hdtvmagazine.com.