Friday, April 06, 2007
Perhaps a bigger question than whether or not standard def TV sets are still available is whether or not they're even worth buying. There are a number of arguments against investing in one right now. The most obvious argument against getting a standard definition television set is the fact that more and more TV programming is being produced in the HDTV format. Also, many TV distributors are gearing up to offer more HDTV channels over the next year. With the increasing popularity and availability of HDTV programming, we're likely to see a snowball effect in the number of TV channels and programs that switch over to High Definition Television. As more channels and programs make the switch, people who watch programming on the channels that are stragglers are likely to question why they haven't also made the switch to HDTV and will put pressure on them to do so.
All of this isn't to say that standard definition television will be nonexistent in the future (although we can easily assume that it will go extinct at some point). More likely, programming that's produced in the High Def format will be down converted to standard definition format and be shown on standard definition television channels. This is already happening to some extent. For example, the most recent Star Trek series was shot in high def and is now into reruns on HDNet. Of course it was still a popular show to watch on normal standard definition channels while originally airing and a lot of its fans probably didn't even know that it had been shot in HD. That brings us to another advantage of an HDTV set: even if you don't watch HDTV on it, there's an increasing trend to broadcast normal programming in the wide screen format that looks good on HDTV screens.
In some cases it's probably better to embrace a new technology rather than push it away. That seems to be the case with HDTV sets.