Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Hi-Def Hoff

Early adopters who get the Sunday paper must have felt a tinge of temptation when they happened upon the Best Buy ad touting the availability of the first HD-DVD player and movies. $499 for the Toshiba player and $24.99 for movies. To ease the sting, they smartly tout the upconversion feature that will bring existing DVDs up to near HD quality. Hmm… yeah, vaguely tempting, but no thanks.

There are probably a good number of eager HDTV owners who will grab the Toshiba player right now. That is if they can find one. From what I’ve read on the interweb, each Best Buy store stocked maybe three HD-DVD players each. That’s not too good. Even so, if the Blu-Ray launch is delayed long enough, HD-DVD may even be able to grab a good-sized lead. The general feeling is that the lead will get quickly erased after the PS3 hits stores in quantity.

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I know there are a few of you out there who have HDTVs with DVI, but no HDMI port. I found a neat converter here, but there are some from other places as well if you look around. Not sure if there are any compatibility problems though.

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The advice I’ve been giving to HDTV owners is to get HD cable service for the time being if they don’t already have it. Why? Aside from enjoying great looking movies and sports, you can also view the Knight Rider show in widescreen HD. You heard me. High-Definition Hasselhoff. As a kid, this show was the height of cool. Now, um…it’s pretty darned cheesy and much lower budget than I remember. Quite a hoot and enjoyable if only for the over-the-top Hasselhoff performances. Anyone with access to the HD Universal channel can get in on the action. They also run a few movies, but mostly Universal owned shows like Law & Order, The Equalizer (Yeah!), Quantum Leap (Hell yeah!), and the new Battlestar Galactica (Crazy Delicious!).

Turns out most TV shows that were taped on film stock are natively widescreen, although the picture quality isn’t comparable to modern material. Still, plenty of shows out there are just begging to get the deluxe treatment. One of the most wanted is the original Trek.

There are tons of TV box sets that I’m know will get re-released in HD. Battlestar Galactica is my most wanted on that front. Most of the sets I have now don’t need to be re-purchased since more resolution won’t improve the Family Guy, Simpsons, or Chapelle show. None of those are widescreen anyway, so no big deal.

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