A View From The Handbasket

Friday, February 24, 2006
Enforced obsolescence
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:20 PM

It's now official -- most of the HDTVs in homes today won't be able to display the new HD disc formats in HD.

[T]he new players won't output a full-HD signal from their component-video connections, since those jacks are analog instead of digital and thus have no copy protection. The "down-rezzed" signals will be limited to a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels — exactly one-quarter the 1,920 x 1,080 pixels that you'll get through the copy-protected digital connectors on the players.

And here's the punchline:

And the sun will set on analog video for good after Dec. 31, 2013, when AACS-licensed players can't be made or sold with any analog video outputs, including the familiar yellow composite-video jack.

So not only are the content providers/hardware manufacturers (which are now the same conglomerates, which is a big part of the problem) sending consumers away in droves with a ridiculous format war, but they're also making sure the majority of HDTV owners have no incentive to upgrade (960x540 is practically the same as 720x480 DVD). Which means the only people who would be interested in these new players and discs would be a minority of an already tiny minority (HDTV owners themselves). Plus, new players will not work with *any* analog-only televisions (which are still being sold by the millions) in eight years.

Now there's a marketing plan sure to show up in textbooks 20 years from now.

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