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The Headaches of HD

27 Apr, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

Sure, those high-definition TV screens and the crystal-clear images they deliver are pretty, but they can also give you a headache.

And I'm not just talking about all the squinting from wondering exactly how many pounds of makeup are slathered on a CNN anchor.

We often gather as a family around the pretty, skinny widescreen HDTV set perched on a small table in my sister's living room. We love how gorgeous animated films are as we watch them with my niece. We revel in the vibrancy of the special effects scenes from the latest actioner after the little one is tucked away for the night.

The headaches start when the movies go off.

Headache No. 1: It is such a drag to watch the screen constantly re-adjusting itself every time a bit of non-HD content appears on the screen. Commercials aren't in HD, and it makes my eyes wiggle just thinking about the near-constant digital jiggering of the image until the HD show we are watching comes back on.

It's actually part of the reason my sister recently returned her plasma set.

Headache No.2: My sister balked at the $500 estimated price tag of mounting that skinny flat-panel screen on the wall like in the commercials. Having already spent more than $2,000 on the set, its eye-goggling nature and the fact that she is putting her house up for sale diminished that pretty, skinny TV's value in her eyes.

I wonder if this is happening a lot. A cursory search for information on HDTV set returns didn't yield much, but it is something to definitely keep in mind.

I think many people are opting for and are very satisfied with a slightly less-snazzy option for HD viewing. My best friend also has a large, non-widescreen HD-ready TV. The image is almost as gorgeous as my sister's now-abandoned plasma set, but it thankfully doesn't look like it's trying to do the Macarena every time a non-HD burst of content appears.

It's a weird, in-flux time in the industry. It seems even those who are ready to plunge right in to the future are finding the water a bit cold.

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