Is High Definition Television (or HDTV) progress or rip-off? Touted by one local TV station as being "eagerly awaited," this is a perfect example of progress for progress' sake, and that alone. I have not met one person who is eagerly awaiting the chance to spend a reported $4,000 to replace each of their television sets currently owned -- and likely more on top of that to replace VCR equipment, which will also become obsolete when HDTV replaces the current transmission system.
Just what will we get, assuming that those of us who can afford the cost of equipment replacement actually do so? The answer is little or nothing. A picture "five times better" than we now get? What is wrong with the picture on a properly operating set now? It is more than adequate for the garbage being presented as programming.
Do you really need to see The Simpsons, reruns of the Dirty Dozen, inane sitcoms or infomercials any better than you now do? Will it not be a tremendous advancement to watch 20-minute "pledge breaks" five times better? "CD quality sound" is touted as another advantage. Currently, most TV sound can be classed as strident, screeching, annoying, often overpowering and masking the program dialogue. Made any better, we will not have any chance at all to hear what Jerry Springer's guests are saying.
The real "advantage" of HDTV will fall to the equipment manufacturers, almost all of whom are foreign interests. Hundreds of mil-lions of our dollars will line their pockets when we experience "the change." The FCC is a party to this deception. Rather than spend time and effort to improve TV programming -- and there is certainly no lack of areas that need to be improved -- they have joined in the effort to make the Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Mexicans and East Indians all millionaires. That's President Bill Clinton's global economy at work. Remember when you couldn't afford a TV set, or when you couldn't afford a color set? Guess what, it's coming around again.
Poor people, many elderly, and many middle class families (if any are still left in this country) are about to lose their prime source of entertainment, pitiful as it is. What I can't understand is why are we not screaming bloody murder about it? HDTV will not be the "future of television"; it might well be the end.
Edward H. Johnson, Augusta
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