Planet Earth in 720p

Let me tell you. I wasn’t really prepared for how awesome this would be. I hooked up one of the “spare” boxes that meander around here from time to time, threw Debian Etch on it, and did the tweaking to get it up on the set. I initially tried to play an h264 encoded copy of Heroes, but even simple playback was unpossible with my puny little 2.0 Ghz computer with the Geforce 6200 video card (seriously? What the fuck are you people using for HTPCs these days, brand new boxes?). Instead I found a Divx encode of Planet Earth and gave her a go.

Stunning. Just absolutely magnificent. I felt the shame of all those years trying to get TV-out working to an old set hot in my face, messing with overscan, tinkering with resolutions. All pathetic in the light of this most amazing picture. Those of you who are upset that we’re moving to digital TV and wondering what the big deal is? This is the big deal. You can see things. Like, leaves. It’s difficult to explain properly without having a set in front of you, but there is something about being able to see things in detail that allows you to become immersed in shit that you would otherwise not care about in the slightest. A friend who will remain nameless has admitted to watching a show about fishing because it was in HD. A FISHING SHOW. I have to tell you, I’d watch golf at this point, as long as I could watch the grass gently blowing around on the fairway and read the brand names on the balls. It’s compelling.

And another thing: I now have some inkling why Television got so popular in the first place. I got to experience the phenomenon of getting in on the ground floor with the Internet too, but I suspected that it was somehow different because it was (somewhat) interactive (and becoming much moreso now). And while that is true to one degree or another, the same sort of growing fascination and awe turns on the same brain switches with the new HDTV, and it’s about as interactive as taking a dump.

Also, I would totally rock some Hello Kitty tires on my bike.

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