It's 2013. Analog television is a thing of the past, and we have all switched over to digital. For years, analog signals could vary in strength based on your location and antenna, but after cable standardized that, all channels mostly looked the same. As high definition (HD) becomes more persistent and prevalent, though, does it put lower definition, known as standard (SD), at a disadvantage?
I think so, for sure. When most of the major networks, like ABC, FOX, CBS, NBC, USA, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, TNT, SyFy, FX, and the like are transmitted to my house in crystal clear clarity, why would I want to tune into something that looks fuzzy and old?
I refer, of course, to those channels still not offered in HD. These may vary by location. In my area, IFC is one network I really wish I received with a better quality signal. It's frustrating to watch Portlandia when its fuzzy, especially when I can change the channel and get such a better picture. Ditto for the excellent British series Misfits, which I get on Logo, in SD. I'll just wait for the Blu-rays.
The HBO and Showtime packages I have annoy me because I pay so much for a couple dozen channels, but only three of each are delivered in HD. I can tell you, I don't even bother to record movies that aren't on one of those three channels. Why even get the rest? Because they are part of a "package," the magic word cable companies use to charge us extra money for stations we don't want or need, since the a la carte option isn't available, which could be a whole other column.
I do think this puts the SD channels at a significant disadvantage. I may be one person, but I'm sure it's a trend many are moving towards, especially those casual viewers that don't follow as many shows. If I were a channel surfer, I'd just stay in the 900s, and not go outside of that range.
The Internet has spoiled us, giving us instant access to everything however we want it. Our current generation is used to being able to access everything, and when the cable companies only give us SD versions of certain channels, those get forgotten and overlooked.
It's funny because I still watch older shows and movies. Many of them are on DVD, and may not be in HD. But because they are from a different time, I just accept the difference. Portlandia could be viewed in HD, if I lived in a certain market, so getting a lower quality is annoying. Friends has never been in HD, so I will watch an old installment and accept it.