The Day The AV Dream Died

Buckle up, Bubba. It's Going to be an Expensive Ride

Francis Vale

Sometimes I wish my old Mitsubishi 34 inch TV had never given up the ghost. It was like a member of the family; lived through a number of gut busting moves, showed its share of disasters like 9/11, had crap spilled on it, had its case abused; but through all its more than a decade old life—that’s about a century in iPhone version years—it stayed steadfast. It always turned on and gave a brilliant picture. But one day it’s phosphors had seen enough of the weary world and the set just slowly flickered out of existence.

In truth, I had been stubbornly holding out, as HDTV Technology is reaching a new and major inflection point. But shit, now I was being forced to jump into the HDTV marathon—Or maybe I could do a Rosie Ruiz and outwit the technology race officials, but that would be tough.

The brilliant OLED display technology has already started its relentless cost cutting banzai. LG and Samsung are already in the 55 inch OLED race for 2012 wallets. At the end of the OLED bayonet are plasma and LED HDTVs, which could soon end up dead in the obsolescence trenches.

Polly wants a plasma cracker.

In addition, 4K displays with roughly four times the resolution of current 1080P Hi Def are well on their way for flat panels. And big 8K displays with sixteen times the number of pixels of 1080P are now being shown.

HDMI 1.4a, the current spec, supports 4K, although there is no 4K source material for the home yet. (Some forward thinking movie theaters already show films in digital 4K.) Meanwhile, fake-a-believe 4K via upscaling is appearing on some new HT processors and receivers.

HDMI 1.4a will likely be replaced when home 8K arrives, as support for this uber-Hi Def resolution is not listed. Of course your current processor or receiver will also have to be replaced to support these new, there will be never enough make up in the world to hide a TV anchor's zits, super resolution formats.

In the interim, HDTV prices lemming-plummet off Best Buy roofs and dueling display technologies draw perennial Hi-Def blood on showroom floors. HDTV madness is causing Japanese flat panel companies to install suicide nets outside their executive office windows.

Bottom line: Any HDTV I buy now would soon become a source of grating irritation. Like the not so swift after all Rosie, I got busted in the end. You can hide, but you can't outrun the New Technology Police.

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