Snobby Sitcom Purists

February 3, 2009

My wife pointed out to me that Seinfeld looks way better then it used to so I check it out on-line. Sienfeld has been remasted in HD for TBS. They went back tot he original film prints and converted those to HD, also cropping the headroom so it can appropriately fit the frame. On message boards the snobbiest of the video snobs were complaining about the aspect ratio conversion. They complained about how the photography suffers as well as loss of resolution.

First off, we’re talking about Seinfeld, it’s not Lawrence of Arabia. On a sitcom such as Seinfeld, camera work is purely practical. It’s like a play on-screen, it’s only filmed because it has to be.

As for lowered resolution, that’s a bunch of bo-shit! The show was shot on film, you can blow the image up as much as you want and quality won’t change much.  Maintaining the 4:3 aspect ratio would sacrifice lots of TV resolution. Would you rather to lose an undetectable amount of film resolution, or a third of your screen’s?  No, resolution is not a issue when cropping 4:3 film to 16:9 HD.

It’s my opinion that 16:9 video is a generally more pleasant then 4:3.  As long as important visual information is lost, and headroom looks natural, then crop away.

Over the past few weeks I have been earning my soul back from the devil.   However, today, I sold my soul once again, I got the number 10 large with a coke.

I’m planning on taking my birthday money and buying the new TiVo.  The plan is the TiVo HD Series 3 DVR with the external 500GB hard drive.  Currently, we are running an old SD TiVo along with an HD Motorola DVR from Comcast.  That’s right 2 DVRs, extremely wasteful and not sleek.  Along with this, we also subscibe to NetFlix.  So at any given time we have our recorded shows randomly spread across 2 DVRs and the red envolopes sprinkled all over.  The new TiVo will hopefull solve all this mess and allow us easy TV access to YouTube.

It seems like so far TiVo doesn’t have access to Comcast’s On Demand.  I am unimpressed by this, however, the loss of Comcast’s sloppy, confusing, and finicky VOD (Video On Demand) service could be gotten over by instant access to NetFlick VOD.


Blu-ray Hi-Def… why must people use the unnecessary addition of “Hi-Def?” Are the Blu-ray marketing people concerned that the simple minded folks won’t know what Blu-ray is? “HD” and “High Def” have an equal number of syllables, “HD” is a legitimate acronym where as “High Def” sounds like a big pile of gay. We’re not going to start calling them: “DVD Standard Def”, so let’s just be simple, “DVD” and “Blu-ray“. If you don’t know which one is HD, then you probably don’t care much about HD to begin with.

Speaking of HD woes, when is Motorola going to streamline its interface for its cable box? The DVD needs folders like the TiVo, and the On-Demand needs….a new On-Demand. Another think I’d love is to automatically hide redundant SD duplicates, so people with HDTVs only watch HD feeds. I can’t say how many times I’ve been somewhere where people have HD and they are unknowingly watching the SD channels. Old people need assistance in making use of their HD.