The HDTV guy finally showed up Friday afternoon to hook up the new dish and bring me into the 21st century. I’ve just spent my first weekend with 1080 resolution (whatever that is) and a surround-sound home theater. So, what did I watch?
Golf, mostly. The Nissan Open from Los Angeles was broadcast in HD by CBS, and the experience was amazing and especially heightened my enjoyment of watching Phil Mickelson kack up another tournament. (I don’t know what it is specifically about Mickelson — the smirk, the false sincerity, the ugly logos — but I just can’t stand the guy. No doubt his epic and predictable brain-farts are quite painful to him and I know I shouldn’t take such satisfaction in his travails, but I can’t help it; he’s the Joe Biden of the PGA.)
Anyway, the super-sharp picture resolution showed every dimple on the ball and every blade of grass around the hole as “Lefty” lipped out yet another short putt. It let me see the little flecks of vomit still on Phil’s golf shoes since the U.S. Open. It let me clearly see the bull logo printed on Sergio Garcia’s golf ball (and what is with the horrible commercials trying to establish this mis-shaven Spaniard into a trashy sex symbol? The commercials use double-entendres so heavy-handed pro wrestling wouldn’t even touch them). There’s more to high-def than just the picture, though. Additional sounds are picked up and transmitted from the extra microphones around the course and in the crowd, leading to some pretty interesting effects, especially if you’ve got a home theatre set-up. The sound of a driver crushing a ball is explosive and seems to come from behind you. The applause and cheers of the crowd sound as if you’re standing right in the middle of the gallery.
This isn’t always such a good thing. On one long putt the golfer had no sooner started the putt on its way when some jack-ass, apparently standing right next to a microphone, shouted “IN THE HOLE!” from immediatley behind my left shoulder. I jumped and reflexively lashed out in that direction with a back-handed karate chop, saying “IN THE ADAM’S APPLE!” I wish the clown had actually been standing there. I don’t understand the appeal of this “cheer” except to get yourself “on” TV. Do the jokers who do this stupid thing go to work the next day and brag, saying “Did you hear me on number 14? I shouted ‘YOU DA MAN!’ or “IN THE HOLE!” when Tiger marked his ball.” No one’s ever said that to me at work, and if they did I’d probably say, “Oh, that was you? IN THE ADAM’S APPLE!”
All in all, though, I’m really liking this new technology even if it was kind of expensive, and even though I am discovering some hidden costs. One of the things I watched on the new system yesterday was one of the “Band of Brothers” DVDs. It was the episode where the men are freezing in foxholes around Bastogne. There was a quiet scene where a couple of guys were hunkered down, softly reminiscing about home or some such. I even turned the sound up to follow the conversation, when all of a sudden an artillery shell exploded right behind them (and me).
Now I’ve got to buy a new couch.