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Video Quality Matters Less If You Enjoy the Show 366

An anonymous reader writes "Rice University researchers say new studies show that if you like what you're watching, you're less likely to notice the difference in video quality of the TV show, Internet video or mobile movie clip, putting a lie to some of the more extravagant marketing claims of electronics manufacturers. 'If you're at home watching and enjoying a movie, we found that you're probably not going to notice or even concern yourself with how many pixels the video is or if the data is being compressed,' said the lead researcher. 'This strong relationship holds across a wide range of encoding levels and movie content when that content is viewed under longer and more naturalistic viewing conditions.'"
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Video Quality Matters Less If You Enjoy the Show

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  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:36PM (#33230742)
    The quality of sex matters less if you're having it.
    • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ironhandx ( 1762146 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:52PM (#33230952)

      I believe the metaphor would fit more in the line of:

      The looks matter less if the person is damned good at sex.

      (I was going to say something else but my politically correct reflex kicked in :( it really ruins things sometimes)

    • If you're having it, you know that it's really not that special after all. Honestly, sex is the second most overrated thing in our cultural landscape.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stele ( 9443 )

        Honestly, sex is the second most overrated thing in our cultural landscape

        Sounds like you're not having very good sex!

        • I agree with the GP. It's good and all, but is it as amazingly awesome as our culture makes it out to be? I don't think so.
        • Re:In other news (Score:5, Informative)

          by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:41PM (#33231628)

          Honestly, sex is the second most overrated thing in our cultural landscape

          Sounds like you're not having very good sex!

          I concur and offer the following solution: fuck.

          Making love is good and important in a steady relationship, mutual respect and trust and all that, but sometimes you should just let instinct take over. Literally rip off her clothes, bend her over the dresser and take her from behind. Let her drag you into the shower and make you go down on her. Involve anything but other people and things outside either one of your comfort zones. Watch some porn, buy some toys, just discuss your limits beforehand and respect them. And have fun. ;)

      • by jbssm ( 961115 )

        If you're having it, you know that it's really not that special after all.

        I think the problem is that you are having it always with the same person ... that's way you don't find it special any more. Fool around a bit and you'll find that's all but overrated ... well at least most of the times.

      • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ArcherB ( 796902 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:38PM (#33231576) Journal

        If you're having it, you know that it's really not that special after all. Honestly, sex is the second most overrated thing in our cultural landscape.

        Sex is like oxygen. When you're not getting it, nothing else matters. When you are getting plenty of it, you don't pay attention to it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

          How did we, the people of slashdot, get onto the topic of sex quality to such an indepth fashion? In a thread about perceived quality of video output resolution, streaming, and encoding, of all things? JFC.

          What is wrong with you people?!

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          If you're having it, you know that it's really not that special after all. Honestly, sex is the second most overrated thing in our cultural landscape.

          Sex is like oxygen. When you're not getting it, nothing else matters. When you are getting plenty of it, you don't pay attention to it.

          Your analogy has a flaw in that if you'd have as much oxygen as you'd like to have sex, you'd die.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fractoid ( 1076465 )

        If you're having it, you know that it's really not that special after all. Honestly, sex is the second most overrated thing in our cultural landscape.

        However, if you're not having it, it starts becoming pretty damn special and important.

        Just like if you're getting a steady supply of oxygen, you think it's pretty overrated, until it gets cut off.

    • Re:In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <> on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:04PM (#33231128) Journal

      I would say that the quality of the bed (or TV, or venue) matters less if you are enjoying the sex (or move, or concert).

  • seems to favors special effects over storyline!
    • by Midnight's Shadow ( 1517137 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:50PM (#33230922)

      seems to favors special effects over storyline!

      Well yea, it is cheaper and easier to blow something up compared to writing something good. It is also easier to sell a 5 sec clip of special effects then a 5 sec clip of storyline. It would also say that it is harder to appreciate special effects with really crappy resolution while the story usually doesn't suffer.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cgenman ( 325138 )

        Or rather, you realize after the first round of dailies that the movie you greenlighted is crap because you're an overpaid cad who can't read a script. At that point it's too late to fix the story (and you'd probably just add another comedy sidekick anyway you hack), so you approve a higher effects budget and call in a favor at Lucasfilm. And movie enthusiasts get a great looking turd out the metaphorical end of the tunnel, and all switch to drinking whiskey and abusing the staff.

        • by Bemopolis ( 698691 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @04:50PM (#33232834)

          At that point it's too late to fix the story (and you'd probably just add another comedy sidekick anyway you hack), so you approve a higher effects budget and call in a favor at Lucasfilm.

          Or, in a few notable cases, you OWN Lucasfilm.

    • by Peach Rings ( 1782482 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:52PM (#33230956) Homepage

      Sometimes special effects can make the movie though. Jurassic Park would be ridiculous and boring if it were animated, and A Scanner Darkly [] would be melodramatic and underwhelming if it didn't have such a fascinating look (or if you watch it in standard definition).

  • Applicable to games? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IICV ( 652597 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:38PM (#33230774)

    Soooo... does this mean that if modern games actually had better gameplay, people wouldn't care so much about the graphics?

    Surely not! That way lies madness and a complete inability to sell the next generation of consoles!
    (and NetHack! The horror!)

    • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:53PM (#33230968) Journal
      I think Wii sales proved that a long time ago.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Woah there partner. I think you're entering the trolling territory of claiming that Wii games have better gameplay than 360 or PS3 games - and ignoring the part that the Wii targets a different audience completely.

        Don't get me wrong, I think we're all in agreeance about gameplay > graphics - but I don't think the Wii is the perfect indicator of it at all. (About 30% of wii games I see on the shelf are for lack of a better word: bad)

        • by jayme0227 ( 1558821 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:49PM (#33231786) Journal

          I don't think it's necessary a troll comment. If graphics were all that mattered to a person's enjoyment, the Wii flat out would not have sold. The graphics capabilities of the PS3 and XBox 360 are superior. The fact that the Wii outsold them is a testament to the fact that gameplay does indeed matter.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by StikyPad ( 445176 )

            Or that price rules supreme in a race to the bottom. The Wii basically sucks for any game not explicitly designed for it, and many that are.

            It's hard to beat a $200 flat fee babysitter though.

      • Original StarCraft as well...
      • by arb phd slp ( 1144717 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:20PM (#33231320) Homepage Journal

        I think Wii sales proved that a long time ago.

        Indeed. In fact, I spend as much time playing the Bit.Trip games as most Wii games, and they're made to look like 8-bit graphics. They'd be worse with better graphics.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by R3d M3rcury ( 871886 )

      Many years ago, I worked with a company that ran a ship's bridge simulator for training and certification purposes. Walk into a particular room in their facility and it was laid out like a ship's bridge--real radar scopes and engine controls and all that. And, as you looked through the "windows," you would see other boats and bridges and buildings and things like that.

      Of course, this was probably 1990 or so. The graphics were not all that great. But they were "good enough."

      See, they weren't necessary fo

    • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:43PM (#33231674)
      I would say that Plants vs. Zombies is a very good example of this. While it does look good, it doesn't have wiz bang graphics, and it has no real special effects. The graphics qualities are so low, that you don't even see the difference when it was ported to the iPhone. I would guess that it could be scaled down to a 16 color 320x200 screen and still be an awsome game by today's standards.
  • There are some exceptions, such as The Fountain or anything else that is heavily visual, but for the most part I'll watch crappy quality video if I like what I'm watching.

    That being said, there's no reason to settle for bad quality video...there's always a way around it (except for our copies of every Bill Nye episode...VHS tapes only age so well, know what I mean?)

    • by smurfsurf ( 892933 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:01PM (#33231098)

      What about audio?
      I tolerate dropped video frames, but if the audio stutters, I will stop watching very quickly. Often seen with screencasts or demonstration videos: Buzzing or humming because of low quality or built-in micro or loud fans. I cannot stand that, but do not mind if the video is a bit blurry.

      • by Pojut ( 1027544 )

        I completely agree. I'm much more sensitive to crap audio quality than to crap video quality.

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )

      I have long said that I would watch a Kings game in blurry SD with Vaseline smeared on the lens (in other words, on FSW2).

      For certain movies on Netflix streaming, I still wait for BluRay because I want to see it that way (mostly action/effects movies). On other movies (documentaries, chick flicks with my wife), I couldn't care less.

  • PS/3 (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:39PM (#33230790)

    My Playstation 3 came with a copy of the first BlueRay video I'd seen at the time: the latest Spider Man movie.

    It's like Sony was trying to turn people off to BlueRay.

    • My Playstation 3 came with the same crappy Spiderman disc and a coupon for some "selected" free Blurays which included "300" (aka, "the crapfest continues"). You would think they would throw at least one adequate movie in there as a showcase, but no.

  • manga (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmbasso ( 1052166 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:40PM (#33230802)

    Yep, that's the same reason some parts of Japanese comics are drawn sketchy without making it any less nice.

  • by Anonymous Monkey ( 795756 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:41PM (#33230816)
    I could have told them that. My new yard stick for good TV is if it is still worth watching in low res and cut up into 10 min chunks on youtube it's good tv.

    Old episodes of Dr Who and Star Trek have held up very well, however Star Wars and Enterprise don't do all that well. The best example I have found of this is Primer, I saw it first on google video and bought it within a week of viewing.

  • Well Duh! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How else would you explain You-Tube?

  • by Spazntwich ( 208070 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:43PM (#33230846)

    Ah scrambled porn. Waiting through 5 minutes of snow for one elliptical, green boob.

  • And if I'm trying to watch something that's low quality, I'm less likely to enjoy it in the first place. Only if I know I like something and really want to watch it and can't easily change the quality will I put up with low quality.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by BobMcD ( 601576 )

      And if I'm trying to watch something that's low quality, I'm less likely to enjoy it in the first place. Only if I know I like something and really want to watch it and can't easily change the quality will I put up with low quality.

      The study implies that you're electing to dislike things that are of lower quality. You're looking for it, and if you stopped focusing on it, you'd not notice so long as the content was otherwise good.

      My oldest son hates vegetables. The other day he accidentally grabbed a slice of supreme pizza. He'd eaten about half to three quarters of it when I pointed out to him that he was, in fact, enjoying a big pile of veggies. He immediately started retching and freaking out. Of course I forced him to finish i

      • by BobMcD ( 601576 )

        due* dammit... Oh well.

      • He'd eaten about half to three quarters of it when I pointed out to him that he was, in fact, enjoying a big pile of veggies.

        Why did you chime in then, rather than waiting for the whole thing to go down? Less drama if you would have done that. I'll chalk it up to your inexperience, because I wouldn't like to assume that you believe that the best way to teach your kid is to be a dick.

      • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

        This is likely do to the same reason, he's electing to dislike vegetables, and some are simply electing to be hawkish about quality.

        Not sure I agree completely with your logic there. I also hate most vegetables, but I can stand them so long as they're well disguised. The flavour and texture of "a big pile of veggies" on a slice of pizza (mixed with sauce, cheese, crust, etc) is vastly different to eating them on their own (not to mention a lot less healthy).

        Obviously your boy was putting on a show, but

  • They need to test comcast HD vs Directv HD PQ

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tangential ( 266113 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:45PM (#33230878) Homepage
    Not surprising to me. I grew up watching a B/W TV and the picture quality was definitely lower. Today, I am still happy to watch those old episodes in B/W. Its definitely about content. The thought that putting a movie in HD or 3D improves the storyline or the acting amuses me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Very true.

      I watch quite a range of films, and I find it amazing how I can watch some 30s movie and only find the crackles and hairs/blobs on the screen offputting for a few minutes - but some movies the bad CGI can just ruin the entire movie (Jar Jar, for example)

    • Today, I am still happy to watch those old episodes in B/W.

      I don't get it.

      You got some 'splainin' to do!

  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:51PM (#33230938)

    Game Show Network (now going by the name "GSN") had an uproar on their boards as they slowly cut back their black and white game show programming eventually to zero. It started as a Saturday Night block, then was moved to 7 days a week but in the early morning hours, and then was shrunk by infomercials and eventually canceled. It its place is "Wayback Playback" where they show game shows from the 70s and 80s... 90s and 00s game shows dominate the rest of the schedule with an occasional airing of Match Game being the only show that is still in prime position despite being old.

    Yeah, people would rather see content from before they were born, even if it's before color TV, than a replay of what they've already seen enough of. TV Land, Nick at Nite, This TV, Retro Television Network and others are all proving there's enough old content to go around.

  • So this is why the local news stations were the big early adopters of HD?

    Their make-up artists had to refine their techniques because HD was very unflattering on the facial pores clogged with beauty goop.
  • The xkcd Principle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Itninja ( 937614 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:52PM (#33230958) Homepage
    Same applies to web comics. The aged xkcd comic has virtually zero artwork at all (much less 'quality' artwork), yet it has one of the highest readership counts of any web comic. It's because it uses very intelligent humor (most of the time) and it targets a very large, but very specific, audience.
    • by natehoy ( 1608657 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:01PM (#33231094) Journal

      And it always has something appropriate: []

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by demonbug ( 309515 )

        XKCD is fun, though I disagree with his points in that particular comic, especially the alt text. 60 fps looks fake because it is unnaturally smooth in pans.

        Seriously, try this at home (or in the office) - sit in your chair and slowly rotate (pan) - what does it look like? Does the world go by nice and smoothly? Assuming you are actually focusing on anything, no, it does not - your eyes jump from one point to another in anything but a smooth fashion (yes, I realize you can avoid this by purposely focusing o

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:54PM (#33230980) Homepage

    I'm used to most movies and shows I like being in HD, I certainly notice how fuzzy SD suddenly looks. I find the same with video games, over many years the "state of the art" always looked great despite how much it sucked in retrospect. Nothing saves a bad movie, but there are stuff I wish was produced in much better quality and with better effects. Then again, I'm happy it was made rather than not at all under any circumstances. It just deserved more... persistance, not something you'll so easily say "OMG was that made in the 80s?" - at least those stories not actually set in the 80s...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Abstrackt ( 609015 )

      Your comment reminded me of this article [] (posted on /. here []), where the author came to exactly the same conclusion.

      What I find interesting is that when I fire up my NES and play Final Fantasy it looks pretty good because that's what I grew up with but when I load up some N64 games I can't believe how bad they look. It will be interesting to see what the generation that grows up with HD thinks.

  • by Immostlyharmless ( 1311531 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @02:55PM (#33230998)
    I don't think the video quality matters less, I recently bought a bluray player and hooked up to netflix streaming on a 55" Samsung. One of the first things I watched was the new Alice in Wonderland movie and there were a few scenes in there (most notably when she first lands in the eat me, drink me room...) where the blacks were HORRIBLY pixelated, enough so that I commented to my wife, it was quite literally jarring to see how bad it was and definitely detracted from the viewing experience. I also had the same thing happen during a recent session on Netflix where I was watching the movie Heat. Lots of blacks in the opening sequences that were just horribly pixelated, Im not sure if it was just that the first part of the movie didn't have enough buffered up so they decreased quality in an area where it was most notable or what, but again is was jarring enough that I mentioned it to my teenage boy (he noticed it too).

    Was it enough to make me stop watching in either case? No....

    but it was bad enough to make me sit up and literally say...WTF is with all this pixelation? If I'm noticing that and not the plot/characters/movie, then its definitely lessoning my enjoyment of the media.
    • by FreonTrip ( 694097 ) <> on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:52PM (#33231840)
      One dirty but fairly open secret of HD On Demand services is that the providers compress the hell out of the stream to save on bandwidth costs. What you noticed were edge cases where this practice aggressively breaks down. It's proof that high-resolution doesn't mean much if the actual bitrate is too low to take advantage of it. You're unlikely to notice this on a Blu-Ray disc unless it's been horrifically mastered - I'd go far enough to say that a Blu-Ray disc exhibiting this kind of visual anomaly would probably be subject to a recall. That is, unless it's a $6 bootleg advertising "THREE NEW HOLLYWOOD MOVIES ON ONE DISC"...
      • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @04:52PM (#33232872)

        Ya happens all the time on HDTV. During fast action and high motions scenes, like a camera moving around while a fire rages in the background, everything breaks down and the 16x16 blocks are clearly visible. When things settle down it gets better again.

        As you say, discs don't have that problem since they've got bandwidth to spare. I Robot is one of the few I've got but it is crystal clear the whole movie through, and is encoded H.264 @ 25mbps. In fact the actual limiting visual factor is the transfer. You can see film artifacts and noise at a low level, in particular if you pause. They needed to do a better quality transfer and clean it up to truly use the resolution completely.

        With TV it is always likely to be a problem. Consider that a single 6MHz channel is good for 38mbps max. Now that would be fine for 1080p high motion stuff... Except that would give very few channels. If each digital channel actually used an entire 6MHz analog channel you'd have a total potential of only 165 channels, and then only if you eliminated cable modems and analogue channels. With the 0-600MHz spectrum taken up with analogue and probably at least 4 channels for cable modems you would be talking 62 total channels.

        Clearly, they are packing way more in there. What that means is lower bitrates.

        Just how it'll go. Eliminating the analogue lineup will help, though who knows when, if ever, that'll happen but unless the cable system is expanded past 1GHz, you have to juggle the bandwidth needs of a number of services. The data part is taking up more and more too.

    • Films like Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate factory use a much broader range of colors than other films. In fact, they exaggerate colors a great deal. I was responsible for compressing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for VoD consumption in Scandinavia a few years back and the film was a nightmare.

      Standard definition VoD is typically streamed at 4.5mbits/sec including a MPEG-2 video stream, an AC-3 audio stream (possibly 2), an MPEG-1 layer II audio stream (possibly 2) and multiple subtitl
  • Perhaps their would have been a greater preference for high quality video if they had included...well, you know...among the movies and television shows. Me wants me Jenna Jameson in VERY high definition.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:01PM (#33231100) Journal

    I've watched Eden Log, a refreshingly original, slow paced hard Sci-Fi movie, and enjoyed it a lot. Then I read the comments on IMDB, and someone was complaining that it's in black&white. It was funny, because I had completely forgotten the movie wasn't in color!

  • Well duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:09PM (#33231186)
    You could produce "Keeping up With the Kardashians" in super-HD, 3D, 240mhz video and project it onto an 40' OLED screen with a one-trillion-to-one contrast ratio, and I'm still going to gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork before I'll watch it.
  • Sound matters (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ghostlibrary ( 450718 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:10PM (#33231198) Homepage Journal

    Turns out (citation needed) sound continuity is more important than video. People will put up with choppy or lossy video, as long as the soundtrack remains relatively coherent. But if the sound is dropping out or breaking up, they stop watching.

    Which, if you think about it, is why we put up with crappy internet videos that speed along, but get frustrated when it's constantly buffering.

  • I've enjoyed and loved many anime series in crappy realmedia files and divx rips. The story, humor, and even some of the action get through incredibly well even in low video quality, and I didn't consciously notice the pixellation.

    That doesn't mean I wasn't blown away when I saw the same series at full quality. I had never fully appreciated Evangelion or Cowboy Bebop for the quality of animation and visuals.

    Similarly, the great football games from days before HD were just as tense and enjoyable before they

  • Sure, some stories are more cerebral and require little in the way of quality to assure enjoyment. Ultimate form of this is ultra-low-budget movies where nothing is of quality yet the story & telling is engaging (El Mariachi, Babette's Feast, Cube, pi).

    But some movies just have to be seen on the big screen. They're overwhelmingly visual, demanding a wide field of view and tremendous detail, because the visuals really are a significant part of the story (Watchmen, Matrix, Alice in Wonderland).

    So, for tho

  • I worked for a while in an environment full of classical musicians. They would happily listen to old vinyl records with hisses and scratches, because what they were listening to was the music in their heads.
  • since the quality of the storytelling has dropped, the technical quality of the presentation is raised.

    but the truth is that a good radio story show from half a century ago, or book, is far superior to 99% of the entertainment crap marketed today.

    However, the current market consists mostly of morons who are pained to use their mind

  • Inverse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kidcharles ( 908072 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:17PM (#33231278)
    The inverse is true for me. If I really like the content (a movie or song I love), I just can't stand to watch or listen to it at low quality. Just the other day I was listening to Bowie's "Life on Mars?", my favorite Bowie song, but it was an MP3 sampled at 96 kbps and the compression was so obnoxious I had to stop listening. On the other hand if I'm watching some idiotic YouTube video for a quick laugh, I could care less how nice it looks.
  • Until you start seeing pixel artifacts and you get more and more annoyed by the low bandwidth issues.
    At that time, all you do is spot artifact after artifact and loose attention to whatever was on.

    Maybe people consider this a good thing, only because their mind is no longer focussed on the bad content.

    Try watching a game where your mediocre team is doing badly while there are pixel artifacts to enjoy.

  • by shadowfaxcrx ( 1736978 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @03:27PM (#33231420)

    I think more important than worrying about whether or not you're shooting SD, HD, or UltraMegaSuperFineNanoHD, is worrying about how you're shooting what you're shooting.

    I'm tired of the MTV syndrome, where cameras can't ever be steady, and always have to jiggle around like a 7th grader on crack in order to appear more "live" and "in the moment." What's the point of ultra-crisp resolution if you screw it up by shaking the camera so much that I can't see detail in the first place? Rather than various production companies comparing the resolution of their penises to sell movies, I'd rather they concentrate on telling a story with good, steady shooting that draws people in to the scene rather than constantly drawing attention to the fact that they're watching something recorded by a camera in a major earthquake.

  • by realsilly ( 186931 ) on Thursday August 12, 2010 @04:11PM (#33232216)

    All this is, is a way to for TV/Movie companies to justify the degradation of quality visual and sound in programming and movies. As a country (in the USA) we were forced to leave analog signal for digital, but shit, digital has some major flaws. So now we pay big $ for digital TV's for bad visual/audio quality. Because digital can be compressed, and it's expected, the results can be atrocious. When a movie like Blade Runner that looked pretty good for its time on anolog looks like garbage in digital, that just says the industry is out for cash and thinks society is too stupid to care.

  • The following is especially true on slashdot: You have to also consider the geek factor, or "the more a person knows about [compression|image sensors|filmmaking|professional audio|music|programming], the less they will tolerate poor quality [transmission|photography|sound|songwriting|software]."

    For some examples, I deal with the details of video compression, signal transmission, CCD cameras, camera electronics and display technology for a living, looking at systems from photons in to photons out to optimize image quality for the users. So when I see crappy compression creating blockyness or pixillation, or skewing and compression from line scan cameras, or ghosting and edge artifacts from poor amplifier chain tuning, I am distracted from the story, no matter how good. My brother is a video producer, and he can't watch most movies without being distracted by poor lighting, sloppy continuity, or amateur camerawork. My dad is a singer, and autotune drives him nuts.

    The thing that gets me the most is when it doesn't have to be bad, but it is. I can understand that things like multipath interference cause ghosting, and bandwidth limitations forces lossy compression, and atmospheric effects cause momentary bit error rate increases. Therefore I find their effects more tolerable. But ignorance and incompetence are less tolerable - like when ignorant compression settings cause noticeable periodicity in image quality (either temporal or spatial), or when sloppy calibration results in poor MTF or chroma accuracy, or amateur filmmaking results in crappy lighting and cameras wielded like firehoses (thanks, bro, now I see it everywhere, too).

    It's gotten to the point where I can't watch most porn because the lighting and camerawork is so amateur, I'm distracted from the girls. (Thank God for Andrew Blake, though he does tend to like darker, moodier lighting...)

I've finally learned what "upward compatible" means. It means we get to keep all our old mistakes. -- Dennie van Tassel