Fancy a scan from Which Video, July 1983, on high-definition telly? Shut up whining at the back there, I’m going to post it anyway. Clickity-click to get a larger version:
Of course, it’s easy to make fun of predictions of the future. So let’s do it:
- They were way out with the date – 10 years later was 1993, and we didn’t get the first regular HD broadcasts in the UK until 2006. Now, we were slightly late in this regard – the rest of Europe has had regular HD transmissions since 2004, and Japan had an analogue HD system in the late 80s – and to be fair, lots of people expected HD to take off far more quickly. (The fact it didn’t was partly due to the inevitable conflict between two formats; 60Hz vs 50Hz.)
- It’s worth pointing out that 35mm still has a far higher resolution than current HD television. (This does rather smack of guesswork in the journalism.)
- Of course, the article is spot-on about not being able to transmit HD pictures through “existing networks”, but the idea of the extra information being sent separately “by cable or via satellite” is intriguing. Surely even then, though, the question would be: why not send all of the picture through alternate methods, if you have to do it at all? However, the idea of a separate “definition signal” presumably comes from wanting to make all broadcasts compatible with existing televisions.
- “Perhaps the most natural medium would be the video disc” is pretty much spot on. If you ignore downloads, of course; the fascinating thing about reading the article is that there was no knowledge of the impending digital revolution.
- I find it impossible to read the phrase “micro-chip technology” without thinking of The Young Ones. “Quite a… a new thing, isn’t it?”
- Indeed, the bit I find the most striking bit of all is that penultimate paragraph, discussing display technology: “…it might be better to abandon the idea of the TV tube altogether”. And there’s a specific mention of projection televisions – I had no idea they were around in 1983!
Right, I’m off to squint at the video ads on the back page. Anyone for a bit of Leather Joy Boys?