So far, this column has discussed some items that could make the transition to digital easier, but moreover, what would make high-def the dominating way to watch TV. First we talked about the price needs to drop on receiving the high-def and then the need for a broader range of program options, specifically geared towards women. Past that, manufacturers and content providers need to market HD to a larger market in the native resolution and I came to the conclusion that in-flight movies and malls would be great venues. These are all wonderful ways to help push HD into the living rooms across America, but if there's a way to keep lowering the cost of high-def we might need to go back to school and find it.
No, seriously. Put high definition into schools and the premise of ‘Supply and Demand” we all learned back in middle school will speed up. By increasing the ‘demand’ the ‘supply’ will increase as well which would bring down the overall cost from both ends: from the manufacturer to the consumer. Many schools have put TV sets in the classrooms over the past decade so perhaps there isn't a demand for HDTV till the old sets die. Why not have a long-term vision in place that includes high definition?
Even if there isn't a need for high definition in schools yet that does not mean there isn't a market for it. Schools were slow in getting computers in every classroom, but we all know how well they speed up learning. High definition is making its way into all aspects of Science and Medicine so put bleeding edge technology in front of bored teenagers and lets see what will happen. I am not talking about putting a 40 ± 2-inches LCD or plasma in front of every classroom so teachers can use it for PowerPoint. (Hell no, talk about misuse of technology. Teachers are saying the Internet is replacing the library, well PowerPoint, is replacing good ol’ fashion teaching.) But rather, hang that flat panel and hook it up to the gobs of high-def content out there.
There is already a good amount of high-def programming that can easily be adapted for the education world. NOVA and Discovery HD Theater have a whole array of nature and lifestyle programming that is already in the superior format. Sure, HD will not replace the ‘classic’ films that have been shown in schools for decades. Just last week, I had to watch an old film reel from the early 70’s, but perhaps by knowing that someone is watching the better quality it will be the reason for many film makers to finally make the switch to digital and hopefully to HD. Even the tons of DVDs out there would look better and catch the eye of the techno-teens. I understand that the quality of the picture would not improve the content of the films, but it would make learning easier and enjoyable.
Politicians have been yelling for years the future of this country needs to be educated at any cost so I am shouting back, GIVE THEM HDTV!