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HD Consumers Advised to Keep It Simple

HD Notebook tries to keep an eye out for HD-related items that are distributed nationally and internationally, such as wire stories, because such articles may appear in literally hundreds of publications far and wide--given those pieces a potentially enormous influence on consumers.

Although some widely circulated pieces contain common errors that make us all maybe wince a bit, most nationally syndicated HD articles are right on the mark, albeit a bit oversimplified, justifiably, because most consumers are not experts on all things digital. (Go figure.)

A recent informative piece by Knight-Ridder that we caught in the International Herald Tribune touched upon some of the "horrible phrases" that the typical consumer confronts when they research HD products, such "black levels, native resolution, color temperatures, full calibration, red push, grayscale variation, overscan, progressive, interlace, DC restoration and defeatable-edge enhancement." Not to mention the question marks posed by 1080p.

Experts quoted in this and other consumer-targeted items insist that buying HD sets is not brain surgery (although such a delicate operation does look quite realistic in HD). One thing for typical consumers to keep in mind, they say, is simply that "a lot of HD sets are very similar." They insist that general differences in picture quality among them are relatively subtle. (We may disagree with some of their advice, but let’s not quibble.)

These same widely quoted HD observers also suggest that consumers keep in mind the "source" of their content as perhaps the most important single factor in HD video-audio quality, all other things being equal. That’s hard to disagree with, generally--especially when one observes some of the really awful "HD" on display at a lot of retail outlets.

Other widely disseminated consumer advice suggests that potential buyers should be sure to pick a technology and screen quality that looks best to them (regardless of sales pitches), and should keep in mind that showrooms will have ambient lighting either higher or lower than their own home (and should adjust their evaluations accordingly). Also, people should ask to see SD content, too, on any HD screen under scrutiny. And they advise to always sample video quality by watching motion-prone content such as sports, action scenes and similar fare, and don’t make judgments based on talking head video or pretty, somewhat stagnant, video displays.