This is something mere mortals (i.e. usually everyone else in our families) simply cannot, or care not to do.
But then, when any of those folks need camcorder advice, or computer help, or digital camera assistance, they turn to us. As if knowledge about how to shoot and edit professional video equals a complete encyclopediac knowledge of every consumer camcorder, computer, software problem & how to fix it.
But there’s now help from a retail friend…
Amazon has seen fit to introduce a sub-site devoted to educating consumers about HDTV basics.
After taking some time to poke through it, I have to admit that they did a nice job gathering together the various bits of information that general consumers would want… specifically, not just focusing on the resolution of the screen. The site clearly shows that there’s more to HD than just the screen, avoiding the first major faux pas of most HD newbies- buying a big, cheap screen from the nearest box store, on sale, and connecting it with composite cables to whatever else they already have at home.
The interactive guide features 10 rollovers that cover audio, video, games, programming and even the remotes you’ll need to control your disparate gear.
Obviously, this entire site is geared to helping the consumer figure out what to buy and not for the professional to figure out what camcorder to get, but, for our neophyte friends, this is a pretty decent place to start them out. It is designed to drive sales for Amazon. That much should be obvious. But that doesn’t stop Amazon from offering lots of basic advice in simplified, straightforward English that most of our friends can understand. Or, at least, now they’ll come to us with a question that shows they’ve actually put some thought behind it, as opposed to: “What screen should I get?”
Talking about screens… I especially like the “How big of a TV do I need?” Faq that has a size/distance comparison that tops out at 14′ and recommends a maximum size of 112″ for that distance.
To me, even that’s conservative.
I’ve watched 1080i through a 1024×768 projector on the wall from 12 feet away. Admittedly, it was not the full resolution of the source material. But when I zoomed out the projector, it was 110 inches and I never felt overwhelmed. In fact, I only wish it went bigger to provide me the more immersive viewing experience that 1080 offers. Take a look:
Is that too big? I don’t think so.
In fact, it was only limited by the in-wall speakers I had the contractor install.
So take the advice given at the Amazon HD-101 site as a starting point. It doesn’t end there. But if you need assistance helping your friends and family start to wrap their minds around what this home theatre / DH thing is, feel free to point them there first. At least, then you can spend your time helping them adjust the loudness of the surround sound to your favorite shoot-em-up sequence. :)