The case against Hi-def gaming/HDCP/HDTV

Being caught up in all the latest HDTV buzz and their associated acronyms when buying my last video card (XFX 7950GT passive) made me reexamine why I do NOT need HDCP output, HDMI or 1080p on my video cards, monitors or upcoming TV purchases:

-no widespread adoption HDTV sources/content in Canada until at least 2009 but I don’t watch much TV
-no plans to re-purchase my DVD collection in higher-rez, not even considering the results of the Blu-ray/HD-DVD format war settling down
-no plans on buying an expensive 1080p LCD TV/monitor when there are no sources to play
-no plays to purchase hi-def online media heavily-constrained by DRM such as WMV HD
-no plans yet to upgrade to Vista for DRM reasons locking me out of my own media and files
-HDMI to DVI adapter cheap from
-no plans to buy Xbox360 or PS3 for varying supports of 720p/1080i and 1080p games – I still have a backlibrary of games I’ve been meaning to play-through on PS2, Xbox, GameCube, Dreamcast through a V-Digi Z3 adapter if necessary for 480p/720p on my standard 1280x1024 LCD monitor
-current video cards cannot support full detail/quality 3D PC gaming at 1080P (a hair under 1900x1200) resolutions for under $400 anyway

With no HD content to output to a HD TV I’d have to purchase right now, I can safely say prices will continue to fall. When I am ready to get a HD TV 1-2+ years from now, I will be ready to get a new video card with all the goodies for much less…considering I’m on my 14th video card or so in the last 2 years.

Now if you’re a big HTPC/DVD movie buff, this will not apply to you. This is just my personal assessment of the HD silliness.

Any thoughts?

Even though I have an HDTV, I have no plans on updating my library either. I got over that back when DVDs first came out, and there kept being a “new” special edition every 6 months. The really nice thing about having the xbox HDDVD addon, etc is that older DVDs run just fine and look gorgeous in it.

So, I’ll buy new HDDVDs as they come out, and hopefully I bet on the right horse. I actually do most things by rental nowadays anyway, and Netflix conveniently stocks anything that is on HDDVD, so I really don’t have to worry.

Not sure why you thought that - there’s as much HDTV in Canada as there is in the United States - every major channel is broadcast in HDTV. Of course, you indicated that you don’t have much interest in TV, so the point’s moot to you I guess (although I think you’d watch be tempted to watch more once you had it.

Don’t blame you there.

Well, whatever you can afford is up to you, but good HDTVs are now not much more than normal TVs have been for years, and there’s certainly lots of HD gaming, movies, sports, TV content. But if you don’t feel like you’re missing out, it’s never a “wrong” decision to not buy something.

I own an HDTV and have no plans to even purchase HD or Blue-Ray discs until it’s clear what will win. Regular DVDs look much better on the HDTV than on SDTV.

I don’t watch much television and don’t pay for HD service. DVDs and gaming were reason enough for me.

What Quenan said, mostly. TV’s are for sports, movies, and games. And all of them look great on an HDTV right now.

And any TV show not made in the last 2-3 years likely wasn’t shot in HD, so DVD’s capture them nicely.

Yeah, I bought a HDTV a few months ago and turns out I hardly use it for watching TV (HD or otherwise) at all. Part of that is because I don’t have a HD DVR (Tivo Series 3 are too damn expensive and my cable company apparently forgot about me). But I’m still glad I got it for the gaming and DVD watching alone.

Say what?

For me it comes down to this: I just don’t think the technology is there yet. The fact that the most writeups on HDTV concede that the best looking HDTVs are tube based and not plasma or LCD is a problem.

Now, granted, a tube based HDTV can only be 36" max and would weigh about the same as a baby elephant. But my point isn’t that tube-based HDTVs are the best - my point is that until plasma or LCD are better, I just don’t see a compelling reason to adopt - especially given the high prices and the ever changing standards.

Yeah I would wish to know more about this as well. Please elaborate?

There’s nothing to elaborate. If you have a non-DRM’d media file, Vista will never add DRM to it. You could do something stupid, like telling WMP11 to re-encode your files as copy protected WMA’s, but Vista’s not to blame for that.

I’m exaggerating obviously, but Trusted Computing means that things like transcoding and timeshifting content I own become less flexible. I’ll be able to do less with games, media, content I buy. This is all up in the air and has yet to settle but I’m probably still paranoid from the first few reports of brave new potential of the content telling me what I can do with my own computer. I’m not trusted, my computer’s not “trusted” but it’s who they trust.

Yes, the guy has an axe to grind and is biased but raises some valid points. Some. I’m no linux hippie having faithfully used Windows/DOS from 3.3. I have no plans to upgrade to Vista even if games will start to demand it. It’s too early to know if I finally swear off the platform after 15 years. I use MacOS primarily for my non-gaming nowadays but I also have no illusions that Apple won’t have any hesitation about adopting more DRM safeguards in the OS itself if the content moves there.

This may be germane:

All I know is that my games (PS2), DVDs and TV all look better on my LCD TV. Well, SDTV shows don’t look great, but the HDTV often looks simply incredible. I’ve even got an LCD monitor coming today because I am so happy with the switch.

I believed this until I got my new LCD hi-def set. As far as I’m concerned it looks at least as good as any CRT I’ve seen, and better than most. Ironically, though, it has placed me firmly in the “why bother with BR or HD-DVD?” camp. My existing DVDs look phenomenal on it, and I just can’t see stepping into a format war for a marginal upgrade in video quality. Once there’s a clear victor, or once I can get a hybrid drive for ~$200, then I’ll consider getting my feet wet.

Uh, no they don’t, and no they aren’t. Both Plasmas and LCDs are awesome, and far better than tube HDTVs.

For anyone who has a good HDTV, you sound like some insane guy in the 1970s arguing that Black/White TVs are better looking than colour TVs because they’re more nuanced.

You may not want to pay for a good HDTV, but the technology has certainly “arrived”, and it’s as impressive a jump on a good TV as the leap from black/white to colour.

I wouldn’t say tube based are the best. Best for the price maybe. My 30" CRT HDTV would probably beat out every other system in it’s price range, but most of the TVs in that price range that aren’t tubes are cheap brand LCDs. A high range plasma will totally destroy my set for picture quality and size. It’ll cost you though.

CRTs are for cheap bastards who still want decent picture quality.

I will make a short addendum. I was able to catch Heroes for the first time in HD last night … and with the HDTV, I’m really looking forward to the new season even more. It looks pretty stunning.


I’ve looked at HDTV sets. I don’t see the appeal.

Yeah, it’s really clear and sharp but that seems to be about it.

So, besides having a sharper image, almost more than real life :p, what other advantages does HD have over standard?

I’m not knocking HD, I just don’t see a reason to run out and buy one.

NOW! If they came out with a 3-D television, I’d buy one.

It DOES look 3D in many cases though. If you see HD at the store, it doesn’t look nearly as good as it does once you calibrate it in your home. Not nearly as good. There are times when the sportscenter guys look like little 3-D dolls that I could pluck out of my screen.

Well, the media and its players support 7.1 surround, and I believe Blu-ray does uncompressed audio through HDMI. If you have a flat-screen tube TV with component, HDTV won’t blow your pants off. But it’s nice to have a screen with a 16:9 ratio. In the end, though, the problem is still access to and the amount of content, as mentioned above. OTA HD is great, but it’s sporadic, and the cable providers want everyone to pony up yet another additional fee for their high-def material. As if watching chameleons molt is worth a few extra dollars a month. (Hint: It’s not).