I am a big early adopter of pure technology as it relates to computers. I had a Vic 20 and one of the next generation of PCs for many years. I was a little slow to get involved with BBS's and didn't really hit the Internet until 1994. Since then, I have been using whatever new comes along at all times.
The area where I have been a laggard has been home audio and video. I never bought nice televisions. I never bought a good stereo. To this day, I use a really bad desktop style stereo at home and don't own a nice receiver or speakers. Given my love for music this is really odd. Two years ago I made my first exception.
As someone who is fixated on media, I thought that understanding Hi-Definition Television was important to understanding how home entertainment will transform in the coming years. I didn't think that the transformation was limited to a better picture, rather I thought it would impact what programming looks like and what is important in that construct.
My first step was to buy a Sony HD Ready TV, a 250lb Tube monster. I didn't understand what that meant at the time, but what it means is that you have to buy more stuff, namely a converter that takes a signal and readies it for display. At the time I had Digital Cable and satellite. I looked at both of their offerings and was disappointed by the recurring cost. It seemed fairly high given what the offering was at the time, essentially a couple channels of HD programming.
My next step seemed sort of odd, but I knew that the government mandated over the air digital signals and that the networks would be broadcasting digital signal you could capture with an antenna, so I decided to buy an antenna. I had to install two because the local networks broadcast from two different points at different locations in San Diego County. It has worked great. I continue to get satellite and also get local channels in HD via the antenna.
So why all this? I decided to upgrade. I recently got an HD Plasma TV Sony KDE-42XS955. It is awesome. I am freaked out by the whole plasma thing, but I am convinced that I will be fine for a long time as this is really the home theater TV. I was a not quite early adopter of TiVo, but have now fully embraced DVRs as I added an HD DVR to go with the TV. Tomorrow it all gets set up.
The viewing experience on HD has been interesting. For football, it feels like you are at the game. For other shows, you can actually see the bad acne on some actors. It definitely adds to shows like Cold Case that look more professional that they do to me on normal signals. If you are curious, I would wait a bit for pricing to come down, and if you have satellite, know that you need an antenna for local channels, which is sort of odd.
I haven't had a chance to check out Voom or any of the Mark Cuban stuff, but plan to do so and report back later.