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The Future of HDTV and a Busy Me

Future Shop HDTV Debate – Live Blog

September 27th, 2007 @ 11:33am (PT) by Rebecca Bollwitt

11:25am – Welcome to the live blog! Dave and I just took the bus over from downtown to attend the event that I just blogged about at Future Shop on Broadway. Despite *almost* being haggled by security until we said the magic words “blogger” and “Barefoot” we signed our little waivers about our images appearing in various publications and here we are.

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Tod Maffin just made introductions, spoke about the community chat folks at the back of the room (who are eating up all the bandwidth) and the webcast which is now live.

11:35am – Amber is up first, starting the LCD vs plasma TV debate with her talk about why LCD works best for her, it looks good, it can be compact. Leo will then get his 10 minutes to tell us why he’s on the pro-plasma side, talking about price points, esthetics and the all out ‘cool’ factor when adding it to a home theatre experience.

Amber’ responds very diplomatically, saying it depends on where you want to put your TV and what you’re using it for.She also touches on the issue of quality, as I’ve also heard that plasma’s don’t last that long. Leo says the new generation of plasma doesn’t “leak” as much as it used to. Tod talks about burn and refresh rates, and both Leo and Amber defend their choices, “LCD is making strides but plasma is doing a good job of keeping ahead of them.”

1080i 1080p 720? I’m not so much into the TV geek talk but I am learning and I’m not alone. Most people don’t know the difference between TVs when they walk through the aisle at the store. Topics move along to cables, gaming, more acronyms, high definition, inputs, components and what’s the BEST for you.

Amber makes an excellent point – most people don’t realize when they buy an HDTV that they will NOT automatically GET HD viewing. You *do* have to sign up and get the package for HD service from your cable provider. It seems obvious but it does get overlooked. Also, make sure you are watching HD content, which looks amazing btw, because regular shows will still look like regular shows.

Note: you can sign on to the live chat to check out this action in non-Miss604 recap style.

Amber’s final thoughts are that if you want an HD experience on a TV, wall mounted, with nice lighting, get an LCD. Leo says if you want the true, hip, home theatre effect in your home, go for plasma.

Amber touches on how great sports look in HD, particularly hockey. Leo: “They call that a sport?” *record scratch* – crowd response, “oooooooooh!”. He redeems himself by talking about how cool podcasts are.

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Did I also mention that Buzz is here? He’s got a really fancy camera that Leo just pointed out. Now we’re just talking about various types of content and gadgets. FYI, You Tube videos via Apple TV on a plasma looks great, says Leo.

12:10pm – Dave O taking over here … though i am not *really* paying attention ;-)

Now, something i can talk about, PDR, Personal Digital Recorders – i’ve used one since 2001 (a first gen ReplayTV) and am shocked that they aren’t de riguer in every household now.

Another good point, don’t BUY THE FANCY CABLEs – that means the IP-unfriendly Monster cables. Leo says if you go farther than 10m, then maybe … but not really necessary.

Leo also mentioned he watches YouTube vids on his huge fancy TV. Amber givin’ it up for homegrown content producers doing great work. Leo mentions podcasts and amateur producers are definitely part of the future. A lot of talk about how TV producers aren’t yet making enough HD content.

Leo gets my kudos by making fun of Toronto. Will i be a dork if i ask if someone will give me their old crappy TV when they buy a new fancy one?

Becks is back …

12:15pm – I may not walk out of this event with a newly purchased HDTV (LCD or plasma hmm) but I will probably want one of these lap-saver gizmos that Dave just put on my lap. It’s an angled piece of plastic that allows you to type on your lap while ventilating your computer when it gets hot hot hot.

To optimize your colour settings and display Tod says you can buy a DVD that will display a test pattern. You can then calibrate your TV based on the settings and prompts. Although he also mentioned HDnet, the only all HD channel. They will actually play a show in the middle of the night that is simply a test pattern so you don’t really need to buy that DVD he just recommended…. okay now he’s just getting silly.

We’re learning a lot about Tod today, he’d really like a small TV in the bathroom so Amber instantly suggests an LCD. Yes, that would be perfect for bath time wouldn’t it.

Now on to the question and answer portion of our program.. if you’re in the live chat you can ask a question (which Tod is moderating) and they’re also taking questions in-store.

So far we’ve found out that LCDs use less energy. Next, are plasma’s susceptible to radiant heat? ie. if you mount it over to fireplace we hear LCDs work best for weight although they are probably both sensitive to the heat. Leo touches on how putting over the fireplace makes the viewing angle far too sharp. Amber says she’s going to get a tilted display but for these TVs there are optimal viewing angles.

12:30pm – Wrapping it up, Tod asks, “what’s next?” 3D? Super space Jetson’s style gizmos? Amber says we’re just at the beginning of the HDTV emergence. Leo says 4K is the wave of the future.

That’s it for the live blog folks!

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10 comments

  1. Darren says:

    Wow, that’s a mondo live bloggy post. Nice work. Apologies for the near-hassle with security. They had your names, so I’ll have to see what was up with that. Things would have been smoother had I not been in Malta, but what can I tell you?

  2. Tyler Ingram says:

    Cool post!

    I personally like Plasma, my dad has a 56″ plasma and hockey (on the HD channel) is just simply amazing! The colour, sharpness etc is just mind-blowing.

    Though my brother and I were at FS on the weekend looking at LCD TVs. I personally don’t like the quality but their design and sizes are great for those who can’t fit a 42-56+” TV in their home (or office).

    I’d take a 42″ Plasma along with HDMI cables, and one of those LG dvd players that plays the regular DVDs, HD-DVD and BluRay

  3. fotoeins says:

    I became a believer when I was living in MSP. I was over at a friend’s where they had signed up for HDTV, and they were watching Monday Night Football with the Vikings hosting the Packers from the Metrodome. Just like being there on the 50-yard line … a few rows up, mind …

  4. Awww damn! If I had known this was happening, I sooo would’ve gone! All the cool tech people were out there! Crap!

  5. Dave says:

    It’s all good db. Every time Becks goes *anywhere* with me, security hassles are bound to follow. From now on, I’ll just mutter “Barefoot” each time i have problems – seems to work.

  6. Dave says:

    @ Paul, come out to something some time, many of us would love to meet ya!

  7. Wow. My first time watching some live blog in real time. Very impressive, especially the pictures on the fly. Awesome to see you there.

  8. I’ve worked with a handful of broadcast engineers on the TV side of things, and they all swear on DLP. Of course, the downside is the whole projection issue vs. a flat panel display. They all have their good qualities, but my mind is more set towards the LCD realm of things. However, for the price point, plasma could attract me if what Leo says about the leaking thing is true.

  9. […] about 3 years ago and I have actually been curious about LCD and Plasma TV technology since I live blogged a debate with Amber MacArthur and Leo Laporte over at Future Shop last […]

  10. HDTV says:

    An intresting debate – High Definition is now very popular and I personally think it’s well ahead of plasma as far as sales go, but I really don’t think many people understand the real difference between Plasma and LCD.

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