Technology Nov 2007
Widescreen is mainstream
CRTs are so square
The old hippy quip “don’t be square” is taking on new significance in our lounges as DVD movies and TV broadcasts prove size does matter and wide and flat is the way of the future.
DVD movies and a growing number of international shows like The Simpsons leave black bars sandwiching the picture on old cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs. Content on Sky TV has been converted from the square 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 widescreen format for some time, and now the new shape is appearing on standard TV transmissions.
TV3 switched to
widescreen broadcasting in April and TVNZ followed suit in September
with all channels now converting thousands of hours of archival content.
What we are seeing is the inevitable transition to a format better
suited to big screen LCD and Plasma sets and ultimately high definition
television (HDTV) broadcasting from mid-2008.
Commercial models still max out around 65 inches and the mainstream
market sitting between 32-42 inches. It seems 32 inch sets - measured
from top to bottom corners - are still the best sellers, they are more
affordable than ever and a better fit for smaller lounges and bedrooms.
Pauling product manager with Monaco, which distributes Toshiba and
Pioneer, says most big screens now have 8 millisecond screen refresh and
the real differentiator is processing capability for depth of colour,
motion flow or shifts from light to dark with no colour gradation. A
good showroom test is to look at standard broadcast channels and compare
sets side by side.
New drivers for big screen TV are the move to new Blu-ray and HD-DVD high definition for DVD players and games consoles, and the impending arrival of HDTV broadcasting from Sky TV and Freeview.
According to GfK’s
latest New Zealand consumer electronics survey, we have been spending
more on big screen TVs than any other home entertainment item. Between
January and August 2007 we forked out $182 million on LCD TVs, up 61
percent on 2006. Plasma sales grew only 3 percent and were valued at $76
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