High-Def: Ready for Prime Time?

So the switch to all digital television will take place across the U.S. in a few weeks.  I mentioned previously that I thought this was long overdue.

Yet over the past week HD reception at my home has been, in a word, terrible.  Sound out of sync with picture (which is really spooky-looking!).  Picture breakup as the signal is lost, then regained, then lost again.  Picture with no sound.  Frozen frames.

High-def on Time Warner, sometimes

High-def on Time Warner, sometimes

And I have cable.

Saturday’s Buffalo Sabres’ game was a hoot while the same four measures of some song were substituted for a period’s worth of out-of-sync announcing.  While that was probably a programming error at MSG, it nonetheless leaves me questioning if the technologists running the system have their act together and are ready with all their new toys.

We have been led to believe that reduction in quality is the price we pay for technology gains.  That’s so much crap yet the first question we ask when a friend has computer problems is “Did you reboot it?”  Cell phone reception generally sucks, as do most earbuds and MP3 audio compression. Refrigerators may be more feature-rich and efficient but they last what, five or six years tops?  One only needs to walk through the aisles at Walmart (and be over 30) to see how complacent we’ve become with low quality products.

Anyway, it doesn’t have to be that way yet the switch to high-def will demand acceptance of a television system that works well far less than close to perfect; and that it will take a long time – with lots of head-banging – before HD becomes everything we expect of it.

It’s still long overdue.

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