Have you seen HD-VHS yet?
I saw the future of video this week. I am used to watching DVD movies with its 480(?) lines of resolution (I'm not sure of the number - I'm not that technical a guy, but I know the lines are severely limited compared to HDTV). I had seen HDTV demos, but was not too fired up about the investing $1,000.00 in a receiever and paying still more money monthly for TV services. Anyway, I am in the process of buying and installing a projector and screen, primarily to watch DVD movies. I have found that a WXGA resolution projector will look good on a maximum 92 inch screen from my expected viewing disatance. I would like to go bigger (aay 110 inch), but any bigger than 92 inch with DVD the picture gets grainy.
Two weeks ago I went to my dealer and looked at 2 WXGA projectors (a Marantz VP12, and Sony VW12HT LCD), both playing DVD's on a 100 inch screen. Again, inside 15 feet the pixels/graininess started to appear. Went back this week and the dealer had installed on both systems a new HD-VHS (that's right, a digital tape in VHS size)playing "the X-Men" movie. Not a great movie, but the picture was UNBELIEVEABLE. I walked within four feet of the screen and could not detect pixels. It was literally as good as film.
Now that I have seen what is possible, I am a little pissed that Hollywood has failed to agree on an HD-DVD format. I am told the technology has existed for some years, and HD-DVDs could be prduced at basically the same cost as a regular DVD transfer. So now I ask, why do we need this VHS format in the meantime to clog up the works and dilute the market? It LOOKS great, but are we really going to start buying tapes knowing that HD-DVD will happen sooner than later (but not soon enough). HD-VHS has all the earmarks of another Beta format. It shows the promise of the future, but, unfortunately, it also highlights the limitations of the present.
If HD DVD was around now I could buy the 110 inch screen I really want and have a stellar picture. Now it kind of bugs me knowing that HD DVD WILL happen eventually, and while many of us are amassing libraries of DVD movies, we will all be faced with whether to upgrade our favorites to HD when they become available. I know I won't be able to resist upgrading several of my movies (as well as wanting a bigger screen - so I know the $1,000.00 plus I am putting into my Stewart screen is probably going to be another obsolete A/V investment in a few years). Now when I buy movies I also have a little pang of "Should I but now, or should I wait and see. . ."
Anyway, it is worth checking out the difference between DVD and HD-VHS if you have not seen it. It will probably make you impatient for HD-DVD, too.