I knew I wasn’t getting THAT old that my eyes were going bad when I posted complaining about SDTV gaming being a disadvadvantage for gamers.
Joystiq is running a story about the woes of Dead Rising for SDTV users.
Joystiq can confirm that item descriptions, in-game dialogue, and mission objectives (given via text prompts) are unreadable on a 27″ standard-definition TV set using component A/V inputs. That this “next-generation” title doesn’t provide voiceovers for dialogue and mission objectives is questionable enough, but not testing the game in standard-definition resolution? C’mon Capcom, get to know your consumer base.
If you are reading this on my WLS page, you can see my Xbox Live gamer score over there on the right. It’s not a pathetic score, but it could be better. So what does my gamerscore have to do with HDTV?
My Gamerscore is suffering because I suck at FPS games am playing multi-player XBL games on my SDTV, when others have HDTV. This gives others the advantage to see a crisper display at further distances, which in an FPS game, allows you to spot and pick off an opponent before they can even see you. I know this seems like a cheesy excuse for poor FPS skills with the 360 controller, but it really does make a chasm between gamers when, they have unequal setups. I would compare it to having bionic vision, allowing you to see further and with more clarity than your opponent.
I have also noticed, that in recent games such as Dead Rising, where all of the text is not spoken via audio, but displayed on the screen, it’s hard to read from a distance. Either I’m getting older, or they are developing games with people with larger and higher definition as the majority (Remember the King Kong problem?).
So why have I not broken down and purchased a fine new HDTV? Well for one, I can’t afford what I would want, and other than my Gamerscore suffering, I can’t justify the cost for what it will bring me.
Well, many years ago, when I was first moving out of my parent’s home my father and I went shopping for a new TV for my new condo. We picked out, for what was then, a very nice 32″ SDTV. I thought I should get a 36″, but my dad talked me out of it, saying it wasn’t worth the price.
Looking back, I would say he was right. It was just about the time when HDTV was taking off, and he had thought that prices would start dropping on TVs in the short range, so I might as well wait. The problem was, the HDTV market did start to take off, and with it, many different technologies came on the scene offering more choices than just the CRT based models.
Today we have CRT,Rear Projection, LCD, Plasma, and DLP versions of TVs at our disposal. There are 480p,720i/p, 1080i/p, which are all part of the broad term of HDTV. They come in all shapes and sizes from 13″ to the massive 100″ displays, so you can find one for just about any setting in the home.
So, with the technology on the shift, it’s hard to know when to draw a line in the sand and break down and purchase one. As you can see from the picture above, the space is limited to what I an guessing would fit a 42″ DLP, or maybe a 50″ if I grease up the sides to have it fit into the TV alcove. This is not that huge of a gain over my 32″, and buying something that “small” I think I would regret throwing down the needed cash, when I move in a few years and can fit a 70″ at half the cost.
Yet, what about what HDTV brings to the movie and TV aspect of entertainment? Well, unfortunately till all the TV channels are in HDTV, I’m not compelled to feel I would get my money’s worth from the HD channels I would watch. What about the yawning war of Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD? I think it’s a pointless war, that by the time one beats the snot out of the other and is crowned king, we will be well on the way to getting rid of the need for physical media. I have not purchased a DVD in quite some months, because any movie I do watch, I either watch on Comcast’s On-Demand service for my existing cable subscription, or I purchase an On-Demand movie to watch. It’s easier to justify the $3.99 price for a movie I will most likely only watch once, instead of the $15-$20 for the same movie if I bought the DVD (How many people have really watched most of their purchased DVDs more than once?). I think the advent of ubiquitous broadband, and a large on-demand library of content offers more of a compelling reason, than purchasing media that will eventually become outdated (I own a VCR still. It’s in a box in the garage somewhere.), and have to be replaced. Though I suspect consumers will continue to buy the same content on the new media formats as they are introduced (How many people own Star Wars on VHS and DVD, and soon to be HD-DVD?)
So, with all of that, what are the reasons for me to consider getting an HDTV? It is still to hopefully have a better gaming experience on my Xbox 360. 🙂 It’s the only situation where I am at a disadvantage because I am not using HDTV, unlike watching movies or TV. It’s still a luxury item, that really doesn’t offer that large of a benefit over the current format, for the cost to acquire it. Until, analog TV is turned off (2009 now?), I don’t expect digital and HDTV’s to be at a price point that they can justify the purchase over current SDTV. Please don’t get me wrong, I love HDTV when I watch it on my father-in-law’s 60″ TV, and I would LOVE to have an HDTV, but when it comes down to the cost to what I gain, it just doesn’t make it on my priority spending list.
Give me NEW technology that allows me to do NEW things with it. HDTV is re-packaging the same content in a newer and albeit much prettier box, but it’s still the same thing. The DVD brought in the “extra content” aspect to movies, but in this day of online everything, much fo this content could be online and on-demand as well. Where is the revolution at this time?
If anyone would care to donate a nice new big HDTV so I can determine if it will improve my Gamerscore, please contact me. 🙂