Television, redefined.

Friday, April 27th, 2007

On a day when Sammy’s dad turned ninety (!), I finally succumbed to one of those fine internet deals and went out and picked up a fine new Samsung 26 inch high def LCD for our house. It is just the right size for how we watch movies’n’television’n’stuff.

(I mentioned this to Nick on the phone yesterday, who, after all has had a long history of television…he saw it when it was first publically demonstrated, at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He probably doesn’t see ‘more pixels’ as quite the revolution the TV industry does.)

Yes, we’ve gone high definition, and with a TV that accommodates our $70-from-Target DVD player (Y,Cr,Cb component), our Mac Mini (VGA until I get a DVI to HDMI adapter) our now-ancient VHS/DV deck (S-video) and pulls in analog cable in standard def while interleaving the QAM-modulated digital cable signals, and, oh yeah, does a very respectable job of pulling ATSC signals out of the air, which is a good thing, because for some reason Comcast isn’t providing WXIA in HD on QAM right now.

Holy petes. If you handed me a piece of paper with that paragraph on it in, oh, 1989, I’d have understood, well, almost none of it.

Oh, and all this entertainment wonderfulness is under the control of one amazingly uncomplicated remote. I may get annoyed at it or the TV later, but I have to give Samsung credit for designing TV software (since really, that’s what it is…it even has a USB port for Flash drive software upgrades) that hugely simplifies the process of getting all this TV craziness squared away. Aspect ratios snap to where they should be…data is presented in a nice (did I say that?) Helvetica, flush-left, and the remote, as I say, is quite unbaffling.

And all this niceness is happening without a cable set-top box, which I consider to be a huge plus.

My favorite thing to watch so far? A selection of our 24,000-odd pictures on the Mac Mini’s screen saver, which come up in startling clarity, with elegant dissolves. Makes looking at slides look amazingly low-res.

So we’re all set for company. (After having just had company.) My sister is riding the rails, even as I type, and will be here in the morning. It’s been quite an April.