Saturday, August 21, 2010

HD, 3D and Misleading Advertising

I'm really getting tired of all of the hype and misleading advertising around HD and 3D technology. First, let's start with HD.


Here's the latest Comcast ad regarding HD:

The claim is that Comcast has more HD than satellite. And here is what Comcast lists on their web site:

More HD choices than Satellite

  • More than 3,000 HD shows and movies On Demand.
  • Access to Starz® HD movies On Demand-before their network premieres.
  • No additional HD programming fees.

True HD Experience

  • Every whisper and every squint in like-you-were-there crystal-clear quality.
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
  • An amazing library of HD movies available at your fingertips.
But the real info is this (from the troubleshooting section):
Can view HD channels but not in HD quality
  • Not all programs are broadcast in true HD-format, therefore, you should check out the programmer's website for a listing of programming schedules and the format that each broadcast in

AT&T U-verse
Then, AT&T has a commercial:

AT&T claims it delivers more HD channels than cable in most markets:

What to watch

With AT&T U-verse, you get access to over 120 HD channels and growing! AT&T U-verse offers one of the best values in the industry for access to HD programming and delivers more HD channels than cable in most markets. AT&T U-verse provides a robust HD Channel Lineup that includes your favorite sports, events, and movies in HD quality picture and sound with the touch of your button on your remote control.

HD channel availability varies by package(s) selected (you must subscribe to a standard-definition premium channel to receive the HD version).

But once again, the real info is here, in the trouble shooting section:
Note: Not all programs shown on an HD channel were filmed in High Definition and won't reflect HD quality.
Direct TV
Beyonce tries to woo us with her hips and lips for Direct TV's HD channels:

Direct TV seems to make the same claims that Comcast (now Xffinity) and AT&T U-verse. They contend that they have "the most full-time HD channels." They advertise 160 HD channels. What they don't advertise is......go ahead, take a guess. Yep! Even if you have a certain HD channel, if the program you're watching wasn't shot in HD, it won't be viewed in HD.

Now, I'm not an idiot, I don't think that just because I have HD all things should be projected in HD. I just think the content service providers' advertising is a bit disingenuous. The real HD advertising should be done by the individual channels - stating that 90% of their programming is in HD (shot and projected). I guess I do have to point out that Comcast does state that they have "More than 3,000 HD shows" - which does clarify it a bit.

I have the same problem with 3D advertising. There is a huge difference viewing a movie that has been shot in 3D verses one that was shot in 2D and pulled into 3D in post production. I feel cheated as a consumer when I buy a ticket to a 3D movie, like ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and I'm severely let down. The difference is so clear. One thing I've noticed lately is a mixture - which I guess is maybe a way of saving some money in production - partly shot in 3D and partly pulled into 3D in post. Again, it's clear when that's done and it actually takes me out of the movie. Notes on ALICE IN WONDERLAND 3D:

Sony Pictures Imageworks designed the visual effects sequences. Burton felt 3D was appropriate to the story's environment. Burton and Zanuck chose to film with conventional cameras, and convert the footage into 3D during post-production; Zanuck explained 3D cameras were too expensive and "clumsy" to use, and they felt that there was no difference between converted footage and those shot in the format. James Cameron, who released his 3D film Avatar in December 2009, criticized the choice, stating, "It doesn't make any sense to shoot in 2-D and convert to 3-D".

If a movie advertises itself as being 3D - then I think it should mean that it was originally shot in 3D - making it a true 3D movie/experience. If it wasn't shot in 3D, or only partially shot in 3D, then I think it should be called 2.5D, and cost half the premium of the 3D movie ticket.

And, as far as it goes for 3D on TVs - I don't even care about that. I don't want it. I don't want to have to wear anything on my face while at home watching TV. Even if I buy one of the TV's that don't require the glasses, I want to be able to lay on my couch and watch TV, you can't do that with 3D TV. Lastly, I honestly don't want to watch 3D programs at home. I want my regular ole 2D programs - preferably in HD.

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