Why the heck did they go 16:9?!?

I love watching movies. It’s a break from the daily routine and from reality that most of the times gives me a rush or moves me.

Of course, I’m not talking about sappy, boring, make me want to gag movies. Thankfully I haven’t had to watch one of those at the theater since I got married. The courtship is over baby!

“I know, I know, I’ll sleep on the couch”.

The main irritant I now have with the new technology is that some engineers came up with a standard that would make images clearer, sharper, more intense and, probably more importantly, would provide more information to the eyes and brain in a landscape format. High Definition has arrived.

Now, I’m still on my old small 4:3 screen. Why? Because I cant make up my fricking mind:

  • What size do I want?
  • What make do I want?
  • Do I really need 1080p or will 1080i be enough?
  • Do I really want to get the HD package provided by my nameless Canadian satellite TV provider?
  • Do I get the basic HD receiver or the HD PVR?
  • Should I then get a Blu-Ray player or a PS3?
  • Do they provide HD flavoured popcorn?

As if that wasn’t enough of a pain, we all have the privilege of watching movies filmed in movie aspect ratios, either 1.85:1 (widescreen standard ratio) or 2.35:1 (anamorphic widescreen ratio) that will always display a black bar at the top and bottom of my new potential 16:9 TV.

Why the hell couldn’t they go with one of the already set standards?!?

Well, it seems that the answer to that is not clear but in essence they couldn’t go to the other ratios without significantly impacting the old standard 4:3 that has been the de-facto format for TV for the last 50 years. Watching a 4:3 image on a 16:9 is bad enough as it either greatly distorts the image (people look really wide, yes Johnny Cannuck wider than you normally look) or cuts in to the image to show the properly ratioed image to remove the black bars that would normally appear on either side. In 1.85:1 and 2.35:1 it would be worse.

I will get an HD TV, I have a size in mind, I have a model, I will get an HD package, I will get the HD-PVR and I will get a Blu-Ray player.

So here I stand, a defeated man, you want to know why? Many TV shows playing on TV are filmed or presented in 4:3!!

By the way, there is no HD flavoured popcorn. Darn.

As requested here are some good links into the topic:

About formats: http://www.projectorcentral.com/formats.htm

About aspect ratios: http://www.crutchfield.com/S-S0yZLkR8PYC/learn/learningcenter/home/aspect_ratio.html

Defining your true need: http://www.cnet.com.au/plasma-vs-lcd-six-things-you-need-to-know-339273215.htm

General debate over plasma and LCD: http://www.cnet.com.au/plasma-vs-lcd-which-is-right-for-you-240036500.htm

Another Plasma vs LCD debate but with good scales: http://www.plasmatvbuyingguide.com/plasmatvreviews/plasma-vs-lcd.html

LCD vs Plasma cs Projection: http://www.projectorpeople.com/resources/lcd-plasma-projector.asp

Good hunting. I’ll keep you posted when I decide on my winner.