So we finally saw our first movie on the big screen Plasma we got over the weekend. And its was "First Blood" no less. It was quite an experience. I've also been watching some HDTV, regular TV and TiVo content and have the following observations.

  • The DVD experience was not so much because of quality which was excellent on my older CRT but because of the size. Man, the 50 inch does make a difference! Instead of squinting and trying peep into the screen you just sit back and relax. You actually "see" the film instead of just "looking" at it.
  • The HDTV experience is just too good. The large screen size and the clarity is just outstanding. However, it may be a bit too much. Human faces in close-ups, if not shot flatteringly in soft light, tend to look too bumpy and unnatural -- even though they are completely natural but our eyes don't expect to see all those details and faces and the brain perceives of them as fake.
  • Regular Analog TV (non-HDTV content straight from the cable-box but broadcasted by the station as an analog signal) is pretty awful. The colors bleed and the low resolution bumped up by the TV to its native resolution compounded by the large size of the TV makes the broadcast look quite bad.
  • Regular Digital TV (non-HDTV content straight from the cable-box) is decent but not that good.

  • TiVo suffers from the analog problem. One would really have to get their TiVo upgraded to series 3 where possible to enable HDTV storage for the TV to be really useful. Essentially, you need to get rid of TiVo for all your favorite programs and use Comcast's DVR.
Conclusion: The TV is still a bit ahead of its times and if most of what you watch are movies and those shows that are available in HD then you are fine. However, you will have to use your cable company's DVR instead of TiVo's which might be a huge issue or might not be an issue at all based on how much you love your TiVo. For me it is a huge issue obviously.