Flat out confusing
MY wife and I have been doing a bit of television- shopping lately. Not for us but for my in- laws.
Their old analogue, 4: 3- ratio, cathode ray tube telly is on its last legs. Since they’re not the most tech- savvy folks, we’ve volunteered to do most of the question- asking on their behalf.
Even though I consider myself to be quite fluent in the lingo, it struck me just how complicated the simple act of buying a new TV has become.
Thankfully there is no such thing as a cathode ray tube ( CRT) television on the shelves these days. You’ll struggle to find anything below High Definition ( HD) and you certainly won’t see anything analogue any more – it’s all digital now.
So while that removes some of the easy traps to fall into, we’re still stuck trying to decide between light- emitting diode ( LED) screens, liquid crystal displays ( LCD) and plasma ( which we keep hearing are much better now than their first generation a few years ago). And do we fork out that little bit extra to go to Full HD, even though my in- laws aren’t likely to rush out and buy a new Bluray player or PS3 any time soon, and telling the difference between HD and Full HD on anything less than 50- inch is close to impossible, anyway?
Over the past few years, the technology and standards have changed so frequently that trying to keep up is expensive.
First we had to buy digital set- top boxes so we don’t get left behind when the analogue signal is switched off.
But within a year or so they were mostly obsolete when HD became the benchmark and those with standard definition ( SD) tuners were stuck being unable to access half the new channels. When the SD digital signal is eventually switched off as well, people will be forced to upgrade, again.
Anyone with a DVD player is staring down the barrel as well, trying to predict the future: Bluray is looking like it will eventually win the current format war, so should I upgrade now or wait? And if I do decide to switch to Bluray, then I’d be silly to get a HD TV, when Bluray supports Full HD.
I only wanted to buy a new telly, not predict the future. I’m not even shopping for myself yet.
All the in- laws want to know is if their new TV will let them watch the new channels they don’t have through their SD tuner simple requirements.
Meanwhile, my own TV ( a chunkylooking 68cm CRT that weighs more than I do and was outmoded several years ago) is also approaching its last gasp and I know I will soon be doing all this shopping again.
But there’s no point worrying too much just yet, as the technology will most likely have shifted by then and I’ll have to start my research from scratch. Now, please excuse me while I study up on just what the hell ‘‘ image tearing’’ means.