Low Tech Tech Guy?


Scott McGrewI don’t own an iPhone. That may surprise some people, but I’m quite content with older technology. Yes, that sounds strange coming from the “tech guy.” The iPhone is a marvelous device, but my current phone works just fine, thanks. In fact, up until a few months ago, I had a phone so old it didn’t even have a color screen.

Though I cover the latest and greatest gadgets, I’m perfectly content with the $24 DVD player I bought from Target. I could not care less about Blu-Ray or HD DVD. I lived through the Betamax/VHS war, and know better than to pick a side too early. (full disclosure: NBC11’s parent company, NBC Universal, backs the HD DVD format because Blu-Ray causes cancer. *kidding).

It’s not as if I would get a better picture even if I did hook a HD DVD player up to my TV – I have an old television that can’t display high resolution.

While I do admire the flat panel displays I see at the store, and I think they would look great hanging up on my wall, I’m not lusting after that better picture. Sure, a high definition picture would be nice, but so too would new kitchen counter tops, so you have to decide what’s important to you. People, I think, are buying new TV’s based on their shape, not their technology. They think the flat screens are cool, but are less lustful of the picture. In fact, a recent survey showed 49% of people who own HDTV’s think they’re watching high definition but are not. How good is the HD picture really, if half of TV owners can’t tell the difference?

There’s a lot of confusion about high definition television. People with “digital” cable or satellite (which by definition is digital) think they have high definition. Not necessarily. “Digital” just means the information is carried by ones and zeroes. I’ve seen digital TV that looks terrible. Analog cable might look much better. All high definition is digital, but not all digital is high definition.

I was in the TV section of Costco the other day and saw a sign that addressed the confusion, but only added more confusion. It said “just because you have a high definition TV doesn’t mean you have a high definition signal.” True enough. But then it went on to say “you must subscribe to a high definition package; see your cable or satellite operator.” Not true at all. Networks (like this one) broadcast a digital *and* in many cases high definition (but not always!) signal right over the air. For free.

In just a few years, the TV you’re watching right now may not work as networks move away from the current spectrum. Few people realize this.. that’s going to be an interesting few weeks as people suddenly realize they can’t watch Heroes or the Office. But ’til then I’ll stick with the old TV set.

Scott McGrew
NBC11 Business & Tech Reporter


One Response to “Low Tech Tech Guy?”

  1. Flora Says:

    I totally agree! Some of the older technology is just so much simpler and most of all the added features are not used by most general public. Although it all sounds good and cutting edge, but what you do use a phone for are basically the same as 10, 20 years ago. It’s only more accessable now with it being so portable, which we all know it’s not necessarily a good thing. The world didn’t stop turning or we were less happy or content 20 years ago! Good Blog Scott!

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