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Becoming a High-Def Snob

17 Feb, 2008 By: Stephanie Prange

I have officially become a high-def snob.

I never thought it would happen, but now if I see an inferior picture quality on my HDTV — even from upconverted DVDs — I turn up my nose.

Previously I have said that DVDs looked wonderful upconverted on HDTVs. At first I couldn't differentiate between the two. But what a difference a few months of experience with HDTV can make.

Now, I notice that the picture on upconverted DVDs isn't so great. I see subtle differences between the upconverted DVD and high-definition discs and programs broadcast through our cable company.

And I'm not the only one. My husband has all along seen the difference between upconverted DVDs and Blu-ray or HD DVD discs. Even my kids now ask if a title is on DVD or Blu-ray — with the latter the much-preferred format.

The revered father of DVD, Warren Lieberfarb, predicted we would need a packaged-media product for the high-definition future, and as far as I can tell, he was dead right. DVD will not suffice in a high-definition world for long.

I can't see limping along with DVD given my current HDTV setup. Heck, some of the high-def broadcasts from the cable company look better.

Previously, DVD smoked everything else in picture and sound quality. Why would I put up with less on my HDTV?

I want everything to look great on a TV for which I paid several thousand dollars. Why would I pay good money for the in-wall speaker setup, the mounting, the receiver, only to get a DVD picture that is just a little better than what I get on the analog TV?

This is the realization that I believe most HDTV buyers will have at one point or another. They'll become accustomed to the better picture offered by cable companies or other providers, and easily notice anything inferior in quality.

If the packaged-media business is to keep up with cable and other offerings for HDTVs, it's got to move beyond DVD to a high-definition disc format — and that format, based on recent moves by retailers Netflix and Best Buy, is looking like it will be Blu.

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