Digital TV and Blu-ray madness »
FERDY CHRISTANT - MAR 18, 2008 (07:15:02 PM)
We've been the proud owner of the Philips Aurea TV...
..and Philips HTS8100 surround set...
...for about 6 months now. Although we hardly allow ourselves time to actually watch TV, we do enjoy the occasional good series (Prison Break, Sopranos) and some movies. There are two aspects of the above combination that we consider to upgrade: switching from analog TV to digital TV, and investing in a Blu-ray playback device. We decided not to upgrade either...
In the Netherlands, the cable companies are pushing hard to set Digital TV as a standard, in order to migrate away from Analog TV. Most of the time making the switch for a household is free and you even get the decoder for free. Still, I am far from excited about this switch:
- Our current TV set has amazing image correction features that can take an analog signal and dramatically improve it. In fact, the end result is way better than the original Digital TV signal. This is likely caused by the fact that the cable companies compress the digital signal too much in order to fit more channels in. The result for us is that Digital TV is in fact worse than Analog TV.
- There's few things that I hate more in this world than digital decoders. Here we are investing a fortune in a nice TV and surround set. Next thing you know, you are working with a 1980's remote control, enormous lags between switching channels and an EPG that does not match the order of channels of the actual TV set. I have had experience with at least three decoders and they all ruin the user experience.
On to Blu-ray. A TV like ours deserves HD input. In fact, it would be silly to connect anything but HD to it, given its size and capabilities. With this in mind I visited a family member who has the exact same TV and surround set, in addition to a Blu-ray set. So I asked him to demonstrate a few Blu-ray movies. Conclusions:
- Despite my excitement beforehand, the experience was dissapointing. Sure, the imagery was great, sharp and highly detailed, but here's the deal breaker: The HTS8100's result of upscaling regular DVDs is just as good as the Blu-ray image quality. Why Blu-ray then?
- The image quality of the different Blu-ray discs was highly diverse: from very good to ordinary DVD quality or even lower. It seems a lot of old content is republished onto Blu-ray, sometimes with improved quality, often not. This has really lowered my trust in the whole concept of Blu-ray as a format.
In summary, we're not going anywhere with our current setup (for now ;).