CBC.ca has a story* about an industry-commissioned survey that shows Canadians don’t quite understand everything about HDTV. Sharp, which commissioned the survey, pulls right out of its ass the theory that “jargon-laden tech reports” are to blame for the problem, especially among women. It’s the media which is not doing a good job explaining HDTV’s technical intricacies to consumers.
While technology articles in newspapers and tech segments on TV news are, indeed, either confusingly jargon-laden or condescendingly over-simplifying, I don’t think they’re the reason for all the misinformation about HDTV.
Instead, I blame the industry itself:
- An industry that defines “HDTV” as anything above NTSC standard, which could mean a bunch of different formats because the industry couldn’t set a proper standard.
- An industry that compresses video signals over digital distribution systems to cram more channels in, making some digital signals better than others.
- An industry that combined HDTV with a change in aspect ratio that served to confuse people into thinking the two were the same.
- An industry that can’t agree on an optical media format for HDTV.
- An industry that uses terms like “1080p” which means nothing to people like me, and then tries to develop brand names like “Full HD” which makes even less sense. (Is there a “Partial HD?”)
- An industry that has developed five different types of cable connectors for video
- An industry that uses closed, proprietary protocols so that consumers are forcibly tied to cable boxes forced on them by their cable or satellite companies instead of being able to buy televisions with digital tuners built-in.
- An industry that converts HD to SD to HD, or SD to HD to SD, resulting in black bars all around images once they’re actually shown on TV screens.
But I don’t expect Sharp to bring that up when they’re busy masturbating over how great they are.
Another example of investigative journalism
*Dear CBC: If you’re going to rewrite a press release, maybe you should make it slightly less obvious that you’re doing so. For example, you could change the headline. Or you could find another source to quote. Or you could not copy and paste half the press release into your article.
The knowledge gap persists despite a truly healthy market for flat panel TVs. Overall, the market grew by 72 percent last year, with sales of LCD TVs growing by 84.4 percent. For 2008, projected sales figures from the Consumer Electronics Marketers of Canada (CEMC) indicate a market demand of 2.75 million units.
The poll reports Canadians have a basic understanding of the differences between flat screen technologies – 53 percent prefer LCD to plasma screens – yet few Canadians feel themselves to be truly knowledgeable about the technology.
Women are especially unaware of HDTV features; almost 60 percent said they were not at all knowledgeable about the latest advancements, compared to less than 40 percent of men polled across the country. The jargon-laden language of tech reports may be an issue, with 29 percent of Canadians getting their information about new models from TV ads and programs, compared to only 20 percent from print media and 16 percent from weblogs and product websites.
That was from the press release.
This is from the CBC story:
The knowledge gap persists despite a truly robust market for flat–panel TVs, according to the findings from Nanos Research, commissioned to do the survey by Sharp Electronics of Canada.
Overall, the market grew by 72 per cent last year, with sales of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs growing by 84.4 per cent, Sharp said. For 2008, projected sales figures from the Consumer Electronics Marketers of Canada (CEMC) indicate a market demand of 2.75 million units.
The poll reports Canadians have a basic understanding of the differences between flat-screen technologies — 53 per cent prefer LCD to plasma screens — yet few Canadians feel themselves to be truly knowledgeable about the technology.
Women are especially unaware of HDTV features, the survey suggested. Almost 60 per cent said they were not at all knowledgeable about the latest advancements, compared to less than 40 per cent of men polled across the country.
The jargon-laden language of tech reports may be an issue, with 29 per cent of Canadians getting their information about new models from TV ads and programs, compared to only 20 per cent from print media and 16 per cent from weblogs and product websites.
Notice some similarity? (I’ve bolded all the changes the CBC made.) I’m just going to go ahead and assume the CBC did not, in fact, check to make sure these statements were true.
(And another thing: “weblogs”? If people don’t understand what a blog is, what makes you think they’ll understand “weblogs”?)