Friday, December 12, 2008

A whole class of truly stupid television commercials

You've heard of HDTV, right? High definition television. It promises brighter colors, crisper sound, blah, blah, blah. All right, so say it is all true. How do you convince people that they should buy a HDTV (besides lobbying our elected representatives to pass a law mandating a switch to digital signals and a required switch in equipment)?

By showing them just how wonderful HDTV will be.

And how do the TV manufacturers do that? You (Sony, Panasonic, LG, etc.) buy time to run ads promoting your incredible products.

So here I am, sitting on my couch, watching ads in order to get back to the Daily Show or the Colbert Report (the only regularly scheduled TV I watch). And on comes an ad for HDTV.

The ad features lots of bright colors and vigorous motion and loud sounds.

"Wow!" I guess I am supposed to exclaim to my wife. "Isn't that HD great? I sure wish I had a TV that could show me those bright colors and let me hear all those incredible sounds...."

And then since my wife is not a guy and therefore not easily captivated by gadgets, she might say back to me:

"Dummy! You like those colors and sounds? Well, you're watching all that on your own television, right now."

Hmmm. I am suspicious. Is she playing a trick on me? My Primitive Man Brain wants a new shiny skinny high-def TV. But my Rational Man Brain has a hard time arguing with her logic.

And don't you, too? Isn't it a bit ridiculous for companies to promote the radically new and better resolution of an HDTV on a non-HD TV by showing how much better it will be?


blackweta said...

Before HD I use to be amused by companies toting the display of their new CRT TV using the same logic.

Even worse, the advertising I saw on rented VHS movies trying to amaze you with DVD quality audio.

I still haven't seen a Plasma or LCD that can better a good CRT.

And my 35mm compact camera film photographs look better than any digicam photograph.

We are all suckers for marketing. The only people that benefit from HD, Plasmas, digicams etc are the manufacturers who realise that they now have products they can convince consumers have short lifecycles.

Camera manufacturers backed digital early, not because they thought they were good, but because they realized if they bundled the sensor with the camera body, they could sell the same customer a whole new camera every couple of years. Seen a camera with an interchangeable sensor yet?

And why am I talking about cameras when your post is about TV. Sigh...

Unknown said...

You are SO RIGHT Steven. I think the part I love the best is that the commercial tries to show you how much better it will be but the TV it is going to is not HD :-) I will admit that when I went to a TV store it is amazing what HD can do. And once I save my 13,000 dollars for that thin big screen I want, I'll buy it; I believe that is when Hell Freezes Over but let me check with my wife. Personally, HD is overated and although the clarity is sharp I dont want to have to pay more from my cable provider to have it so for now I'll stick with the old format :-)

SwitchBL8 said...

If you have a HD-DVD or BluRay player, then by all means: buy a HDTV. If you want it because you want to watch TV in HD, then you will be very very disappointed.

BTW I'm a guy, but made the same observation as your wife: when they can make commercials that look better already on a non-HDTV, then why not make all TV like that?