I’m not ashamed to admit that until last year, I wasn’t a fan of HD. It was absurdly expensive to get into and there wasn’t much reason to make the HD jump. I’m glad I eventually did but I’m saddened by the fact that HD content is so scarce, unless you want to fork over a couple grand to really “get the experience”. No thanks.
Barring all of that, I’m happy with my HD experience. It’s hard to look at SD the same. I don’t have cable, I have an upconverting DVD player (if Blu-ray ever drops to $150 players, I’ll hop on board), and OTA signals are much cleaner than everything but perfectly encoded HD DVD/Blu-ray movies. I champion HDTV as a great thing. But can too much of a good thing really be all that bad? Yes.
I was at Circuit City the other day picking up a print cartridge when I decided to look at some of the newer TVs. I’m interested in getting a 46″+ LCD/Plasma later this year to replace my 32″ LCD and I wanted to see what the current selection was. They had Pirates of the Caribbean 3 on Blu-ray playing on one of Samsung’s 120hz LCDs. I decided to sit down and check it out.
This is where too much of a good thing comes into play. I can’t tell if it was that TV, the player itself, or the movie, but, though it looked like we were there (the clarity reminded me of Rudy Maxxa’s show on PBS in terms of “realness”)… you could also tell it was a movie… that the people weren’t really dirty, that their props were all fake, and that the backdrops looked put together. The immersive experience from the theatre could no longer be brought home. It was ruined for me. HD completely ruined the movie.
There’s no way I can accurately describe what I saw. I wish there were other movies I could’ve seen with this same technology (120hz+1080P), but there was nothing else playing on the floor, besides a Transformers DVD. I was disappointed, not because of the HD experience, but because of the faults, technical limitations, and falsities revealed by it. The special effects looked fake, the costumes looked fake, the swords and other props looked fake, and none of the actors looked like they actually belonged in the roles… even though none of this stood out when I watched the DVD at home on my upconverting DVD player. If this is the future, then HD Will ruin movies for me… at least some of them.
I’m being too hard, I know. There are movies where none of these limitations will matter… dramas, murder movies, perhaps more. But what other movies will the clarity of HD and the crisp smoothness of 120hz ruin? I can only imagine. I’m not against either of these but I have to wonder how Hollywood and other film makers will react to making films in the face of these things. One can only wonder… I know I am.