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Televisions : Why do people believe nonsensical contrast figures?
kaled




msg:4132331
 12:41 am on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

I bought a new main TV a few months ago and just ordered a smaller one for the bedroom. I never spend money on technology without doing my research but one thing that I have seen in review after review is comments along the lines of "The picture is great because it has a 50,000:1 contrast ratio".

I don't know how manufacturers get away with these claims any more than I know why people believe them. You only have to look at the (black) top of the screen when an extra-wide movie is showing to see these figures are nonsense. And, given that video broadcasts use no more than 8 bits per sub-pixel, the maximum theoretical ratio between white and almost black is 765:1 (and no human can distinguish black from RGB 0,0,1).

Ok, the high contrast figures quoted are usually "dynamic" meaning that the backlight is turned up and down, but this usually results in pretty awful pictures and smart folks turn this down to minimum or completely off. Also, the figures quoted even for dynamic contrast are often impossible too. Nevertheless, even professional reviewers (who should know better) believe and repeat these nonsense figures - what gives?

Kaled.

 

sgietz




msg:4132933
 8:16 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

No no no Kaled, you got it all wrong! What you need to do is buy that $1600 per foot HDMI cable. You will see so much detail, you'll think you're on the Planet Pandora. Every videophile knows that.

graeme_p




msg:4132941
 8:32 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Perhaps the same reason people believe audio output numbers (you know the peak transient output on all outputs combines as opposed to RMS per channel)?

@sqeitz, you know that there are people charging very high prices for special cables to carry digital audio? Audiophiles presumably thinks bits get lost, or feel a little weak after struggling through a sub-standard cable.

sgietz




msg:4132964
 9:26 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

@sqietz, you know that there are people charging very high prices for special cables to carry digital audio? Audiophiles presumably thinks bits get lost, or feel a little weak after struggling through a sub-standard cable.

Indeed, I have heard of $7500 speaker cables. My entire home entertainment system, plus furniture, decor aren't worth half that much, but it sounds and looks pretty damn good to me.

I actually subscribed to Stereophile magazine, thinking it just featured general audio equipment. Boy, I had no idea what a bunch of pretentious, pompous snobs were responsible for that rag. $50,000 turntables ... check! $14,000 tube amps ... check! $40,000 speakers ... check!

You'd think people who make enough money to be able to afford those sorts of things would be smart enough to not be fooled by snake oil. It's fascinating!

claus




msg:4133006
 11:11 pm on May 14, 2010 (gmt 0)

Why would anyone want to own (much less watch) a television in the first place?

Seems like a pretty nonsensical thing to me by itself ;)

kaled




msg:4133018
 12:01 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

Audiophiles can be a bit nuts - some years ago, I knew someone that insisted he could hear the difference after fitting a mains plug with gold-plated pins to his amplifier - absolutely crazy!

Kaled.

[edited by: kaled at 12:02 am (utc) on May 15, 2010]

lawman




msg:4133019
 12:01 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>Why would anyone want to own (much less watch) a television in the first place?

250 channels and nothing on. Surfing them puts me to sleep.

wyweb




msg:4133028
 12:46 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have my TV on all the time. I rarely actually watch it but I have the volume turned low and the noise breaks up the silence in my home office.

I can't listen to music while I work. It's proven to be too big of a distraction. So I listen to television with the sound turned so low that I can't even make out the words. It's a step up from white noise but not by much.

Now that baseball season is here I'm watching it much more though. Go Royals!

graeme_p




msg:4133049
 2:20 am on May 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

@kaled, the plug with gold plated pins actually made me laugh out loud. I did not think I it could get worse than the special cables for digital - you just proved that wrong,

@claus, I have never owned a TV. I call it having a wonderful time saving, educational, gadget called a No TV.

timster




msg:4134140
 5:33 pm on May 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

very high prices for special cables to carry digital audio? Audiophiles presumably thinks bits get lost, or feel a little weak after struggling through a sub-standard cable.


I've talked to a few people like that myself, although they didn't have any technical arguments at all. Just said we'd be idiots to hook a good system up with "cheap cables."

Straighter ones and rounder zeroes.

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