Monday, 10 December 2007

Why is plasma/LCD screen picture quality so bad?

Having written blogs that touch on status anxiety, consumerism and other such things, I thought I should add something...

I don't think it's inconsistent to say that I love 'stuff' too. I'm not as bad as some but I feel the pull of latest computer technology, phones and MP3 players. No doubt. Millions of pounds are spent on making them as desirable as possible. I was sceptical about iPod hype, for example, but when I first saw one, it was just gorgeous.

Having said that, I still haven't invested in a proper MP3 player yet. I rarely have the money to buy these things but I like to see how they're developing. Typically of me, I listen to a little 1GB mini-player from Aldi. Not exactly cool - it's the Tevion 'sports' version with a rubberised case and a free mini-compass! - but I kinda love it for carrying 199 great songs in such a tiny package.

Anyway, as a big fan of film and television, AV products have a big pull too. DVDs were a big step forward for me - I'd known for a long time how unsatisfactory VHS was. They were so big and clunky and the picture quality was awful. The sheer clarity of film on DVD was a revelation - and still is.

For a few years, flat and wide CRT screens were the must-have feature for the Great British living room. But on visiting friends and family with these massive tellies, I started to notice how poor the picture quality was. I don't know why, but they were certainly less clear than my old 4:3 ratio Matsui CRT TV at home. When flat screen plasma and LCD screens started to emerge onto the market, I, like everyone else thought they were a great leap forward. Until I saw one in a shop. Again, the picture quality was rubbish.

My workplace bought a massive plasma screen a few years ago. God knows how much it cost but it looked 'the business' in the board room. It was great for PowerPoint presentations etc but then the World Cup happened in 2006. Trying to watch live action football on that thing was a nightmare. Extreme pixelation, blurred lines, massive shadows on the players - it was like watching the whole thing as a lo-res, badly compressed jpeg.

Now that these screens are all 'HD Ready', I thought I would finally see the beautiful clarity of the good old CRT. Nope. There's a marked improvement but even HD TV on the latest 1080i/p HD screens suffer from pixelation and mpeggy/jpeggy style artefacts. I dunno maybe I'm missing a trick somewhere because I seem to the only person to see it. Like lots of people, I remember twisting and turning the little circular wire aerial on a B&W portable to get a decent reception. I'm gonna wait a while before I pay the several hundred pounds required for an ultra-stylish backward steps.

I know I'm the only person who actually reads this blog, but if by some bizarre accident you are reading this and have noticed the same thing, please let me know. Or even better, if anyone can explain why picture quality on modern screens is so bad, please speak up!

UPDATE: I have since written a follow up to this blog. Read it here...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have just purchased a Samsung 40in LCD HD ready tv and was devestated to find that my old 28in tank of a CRT is amazingly better picture!!!! Scary isnt it,