High definition TV is a load of fucking arse.
The whole reason high definition TV exists is simply to con people into wasting money replacing perfectly good TVs that they might otherwise have kept for years, in order to assuage the greed of the TV manufacturers. Well they can go and fuck themselves. Do not spend any money attempting to acquire the capability to watch high definition TV, because you are only fucking wasting it.
Similarly, do not spend any money acquiring Blu-ray equipment to watch on a TV. There are two valid uses for Blu-ray equipment: high capacity backup media for computer storage, and taking it apart to get the laser diodes out. Using it to watch shit on a TV is pointless, so do not waste your money.
The reason for this is very simple: the limited resolution of the human eye. It does not apply to eagles, whose resolution is roughly four times greater, but if you were an eagle you would not be reading this because you would have better things to do. It does not apply to Elves either; there is enough data in Tolkien's works to calculate that the visual acuity of Elves is about the same as that of eagles. But again if you are an Elf you aren't going to be watching fucking TV anyway because it doesn't exist in Arda, even if you wanted it in the first place, which you wouldn't. (It is true that "palantír" is a literal translation of "television", but the technology is entirely unrelated.) Also, neither eagles nor Elves have to deal with economic fucking morons who refuse to recognise that using finite resources at an ever-increasing rate for ever more useless purposes is a fucking stupid way to carry on, and wouldn't need telling how even if they did have to deal with them. This page is applicable purely to humans, because they are congenitally thick and need to have simple and obvious shit explained to them all the time.
The angular resolution of the human eye is around 1 minute of arc (1/60 of a degree). All that shite-arsed crap about "20/20 vision" (ack, spit) is just a piss awkward way of expressing how close someone's visual acuity is to achieving 1 minute of arc resolution. Instead of inventing such a horrible way of expressing it they should just cut the cackle and quote the angle directly: instead of saying "20/20" (ack, spit), just say "1 minute of arc", because it means the same fucking thing but is immediately understandable to anyone familiar with basic geometry instead of having to be looked up and then converted into normal units.
So. The human eye, in someone who is considered to have "normal vision", has a resolution of 1 minute of arc. This means that it is unable to resolve details which subtend an angle of less than 1 minute at the eye. Anything less than that just blurs, basically.
PAL TV - ie. plain ordinary bog-standard TV the same as we have had ever since UHF TV transmissions began in the 60s - has a vertical resolution of 625 lines, of which 576 lines actually appear on the screen. It has an aspect ratio of 4:3, so the equivalent horizontal resolution is 576 * 4 / 3 = 768. The horizontal scan frequency is 15.625kHz, so each scan line occupies 64 microseconds; allowing 4 microseconds for flyback, that works out to 60 microseconds of actual display, or an effective horizontal resolution of 720. (This is how we get "576x720", although as with most things a lot of people talk a load of fucking horseshit about this.)
(Yes, I know screens tend to be 16:9 these days instead of 4:3. This is shite. The PAL signal is still 4:3, even if the screen isn't. To make it fit the screen either the top and bottom of the picture need to be chopped off or the picture needs to be stretched sideways. Either of these is self-evidently a shit thing to do, therefore 16:9 screens are a pile of wank and this discussion will continue to work on 4:3. It only makes a few inches difference in any case.)
At the limit of human visual acuity, as we have seen, one "resolution unit" is one minute of arc. Therefore 720 "resolution units" corresponds to 720 minutes of arc, or 12 degrees. This means that if your TV screen subtends an angle of less than 12 degrees at the eye, there is no point having resolution any better than PAL because the difference will be too small to see.
The angle some object subtends at the eye can be calculated by simple trigonometry:
A = 2 * arctan(W / (2 * D)) A = angle subtended at eye by object W = width of pbject D = distance to object
Rearragning this, we get:
W = 2 * D * tan(A / 2))
We know A, see above: it is 12 degrees. We also have a decent idea of D, because most people's living rooms are roughly the same size, unless they live in a mansion or something. D is usually around 3 or 4 metres.
So, plugging the numbers in, for 3 metres viewing distance we arrive at a screen width of 0.63 metres; for 4 metres viewing distance, we get a screen width of 0.84 metres.
Of course, screen sizes aren't usually expressed as a width in metres. They are usually expressed as the length of the diagonal, in inches, and the figure quoted is one inch larger than the actual size, because they are cunts; this figure will be referred to as the "cunt designation". So we need to do a bit of Pythagorarse and also change the units.
dreal = √(W^2 + (W/R)^2) * (100/2.54) dcunt = (√(W^2 + (W/R)^2) * (100/2.54)) + 1 d = screen diagonal, in inches W = screen width, in metres R = aspect ratio dreal is the real diagonal of the screen, as actually measured. dcunt is the false measurement as quoted by manufacturers, who are lying cunts.
From this we can see that, using a 4:3 aspect ratio, the screen width of 0.63 metres appropriate for a 3-metre viewing distance corresponds to what the cunts call a "32-inch TV". The screen width of 0.84 metres appropriate for a 4-metre viewing distance corresponds to a cunt designation of "42-inch TV".
Using a 16:9 aspect ratio, the cunt designations are "29-inch" and "39-inch" respectively. (This is assuming that the 4:3 signal is fitted to 16:9 by chopping off the top and bottom, so the horizontal resolution and the screen width required for that resolution remain the same but the corresponding vertical dimensions are reduced. This is, of course, shite, but the alternative method of stretching the picture sideways is even more shite.)
These figures, as is obvious from the equations, scale linearly with distance, and we can clearly see that the "rule of thumb" for TV screen sizes is that, for PAL resolution, the cunt designation in inches should be a maximum of roughly 10 times the viewing distance in metres.
It is also plainly obvious that the sizes we have arrived at are also appropriate for the room sizes in terms of being in proportion. In a room 3 metres across, a TV any bigger than "30 inches" or thereabouts will be too fucking big anyway. Similarly for a 4-metre room and a "40-inch"-or-so TV. And that, too, is where it stops; any bigger than that and "too big to be proportionate to the room" becomes subordinate to "just too plain fucking big in absolute terms". A "50-inch" TV is just stupidly sodding huge and is too big for any room in a normal house; you need to be thinking about schools or lecture halls or something before such a big TV is anything more than public masturbation.
Not to mention that as well as being too big for the room, such a big TV is also too big for its picture. Think of the common "talking head" format used for news programmes and the like. Most of the vertical height of the screen is occupied by someone's face. Make the TV too big and that face ends up being bigger than life size, and that looks fucking weird and not very pleasant. It's easy to cope with faces looking smaller than life size because that is a normal effect of perspective and you see it all the time with real people. Giants, on the other hand, do not happen, and apparently seeing them is accordingly disconcerting because it messes up your signals.
So there we have it: science fucks capitalism. Mathematics proves that HDTV is a fucking waste of money. The human eye is not acute enough to tell the difference unless the TV is grossly oversized for the situation. PAL is perfectly good enough.
It's pretty obvious why, too, if you look at the history. HDTV was designed by capitalist wankers trying to make people spend money. PAL was designed by engineers. PAL is a design appropriate to its situation; it gives a result which is good enough for all reasonable sizes of screen, and does not start to break down unless you start being silly. PAL was designed at a time when TVs were fucking expensive and it was as much as anyone could do to afford one at all, let alone one which was miles over spec. It was possible to implement PAL without costing a fortune, even using valve technology, and having done it once that was that; it would continue to be good enough for as long as human visual acuity remained the same, which in practical terms is the same as forever. There is no point having a standard which provides for any higher resolution than PAL does (humans are not eagles) any more than there is any point having a TV which can reproduce UV or polarisation (humans are not bees).
HDTV was designed by greedy scum purely and simply to get people to buy new TVs that they otherwise wouldn't have bought, and sold by con artists. Yes, of course it looks better in the shop, when you are looking at a fucking big screen from 2 feet away. And when the signal is coming from a high-bandwidth local source that can actually maintain the resolution, as opposed to an overcompressed broadcast signal that can't handle panning across a field of grass without it degenerating into a uniform blur because the fucking bandwidth isn't enough for the job. But the fucking sales cunts are too dishonest to make that clear to anyone who is after buying one. Instead they do their best to make sure people don't realise, in order to be able to take their cut of the money people consequently waste buying shit that there was no point in them buying at all and then convince themselves is an improvement purely by auto-suggestion and confirmation bias.
And now we are getting even shitter things being plugged on the same mendacious basis: this fucking "4K" bollocks and all the rest. Four times the raw bandwidth of the already-way-OTT "standard" HDTV and four times as fucking pointless. Purely and simply a way to make people waste money, invented by enormous fucking syphilitic cunts.
Fuck HDTV, fuck consumerism, and fuck the shitheads who invented both of them.
Note: You will probably find on the web other pages which make quite the reverse argument and try and claim that HDTV is a useful improvement. They are talking shite. It was, as it happens, reading one such - unsurprisingly, it was written by a shitheaded cunt with a vested interest in people wasting money on this crap - that inspired me to write this page to refute it.
The shitheaded cunt's page uses the same argument based on geometry and human visual acuity, but arrives at a totally wrong conclusion because it uses a blatantly fucking stupid assumption. It isn't in fact talking about watching TV at all. It is talking about watching things in a fucking cinema, which is a completely different kettle of fish, and then slides into talking about watching TV hoping you won't notice the difference.
It works everything out on the basis of the median viewing angle subtended at the eye by a cinema screen, which it gives as 50 degrees. It assumes that this figure is equally applicable to a TV screen in your house. Which is complete and utter blatant fucking bollocks, but it carefully fails to draw any attention to that.
So let me spell it out. Using the equations above, for the set of conditions which gives the smallest resulting screen size out of those we've considered - a viewing distance of 3 metres and a 16:9 aspect ratio - a 50 degree viewing angle corresponds to a TV with a cunt designation of "131 inches". That's 3.3 METRES. The fucking TV is further across the diagonal than you are sat away from it. The cunting thing is 2.8 metres across and 1.6 metres high.
That's not a fucking TV. That's a fucking king size double bed, tipped on its side. This stupid bastard is trying to sell you on HDTV by assuming that you'll have a bleeding sideways double bed hung on your fucking wall. Which of course you won't.
So HDTV and all its sales and marketing cunts can go and fuck themselves. Cunts.
(Oh yeah, and as a final note: HD video on computers. Yes, you usually do sit close enough to a computer screen to be able to make out individual pixels, so as far as it goes it does make a difference in that situation. But the difference is not as much as you might expect, and again the cheats and liars make use of this to con you - although admittedly it only works if you are stupid enough to be paying to download stuff off the net in the first place. Take, for instance, the glamour model videos on pay-sites operated by Damien Morley. He advertises them as "FULL HD". Are they bollocks. They may be 1280x720 resolution, but they fucking aren't HD videos. The dishonest fuck has simply scaled up a 640x360 video to 1280x720 resolution. It's bleeding obvious if you look for it, but because it isn't as obvious as you might expect and because people in general are far too ready to believe any old shit some cunt tells them, the poor saps who pay through the nose for this crud do not seem to realise and so he gets away with it. Cunt. And he is a very long way from being the only fucking cunt who does the same shit; never believe anything is genuine HD if someone's trying to get you to pay for it, and make bloody sure you see a pukka copy to check before you hand over any money. Or better still, just look for a torrent of it.)
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