back to article HDTV 'pointless' without perfect peepers

If you’re about to decorate your living room with a 50in plasma HD TV, Freesat HD box subscription and a Blu-ray Disc player, you’d be wise to add an eye test to your checklist. You won’t get the benefit if your eyesight’s iffy, it’s been claimed. High Street optician Vision Express has warned that many people aren’t getting …


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  1. Ben Mathews


    So, the optitian, who makes money from eye tests and prescription lenses things moer people should get.... eye tests and perscription lenses...


  2. ben


    What a non statement, and a pathetic attempt at drumming up business.

  3. Eddie Edwards
    Dead Vulture

    And in related news ...

    HD porn "pointless" unless you enlarge your penis. According to some spam I received today right before the press release from Vision Express.

    I mean, come on guys this is not news, this is a Vision Express commercial. I hope they paid you well.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Should have gone to Specsavers

    or is it that plenty of people already did, hence the publicity-chasing from Vision Express and their Daily Fail lapdogs?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a couple of metres from....

    It depends how big the telly is, a 50inch telly has bigger dots - which are obviously easier to see - than a 14inch.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Not very surprising...

    ... but then I'm *very* slightly farsighted, and can therefore make out details very well on my TV screen. Unfortunately compression artifacts in freeview channels become noticeable on a 50" full HD screen.

  7. Iain
    Paris Hilton

    Not that perfect - don't be so alarmist

    My vision is very far from 20-20, in the 1960's it was something like 15-18 if I recall correctly, and it sure is worse now than then....

    I've got a foxsat HD plugged into a sanyo plv z4 and the difference is glaringly obvious - even if I use an old pair of specs (that I can't use to drive with) I can see the difference. Mind you, the difference is pretty hard to spot on smaller screen (I use a 22" LCD screen when I don't need the big screen).

    Paris? - well she weras specs too

  8. Steven

    Uh huh

    Or to translate:

    Vision Express made a statement today saying that anyone who had bought an 1080p capable HDTV shoudl then come to them so that they would notice a huge difference...

    Or to put it another way: Vision Express: Blu Ray won't work unless you let us scam you first.

  9. bluesxman

    Daily Mail Reports Bad Eye Sight Affects Vision

    World Sits Down To Catch Breath

  10. Tom Cooke

    Ho hum

    Hasn't this advert been on the goggle box for months? Slow news day :-)

  11. censored

    I've said this for years...

    My standard-def LCD looks pretty rubbish close up, but perfect from the sofa. If I can't see digital artefacts across the room, how will I get the benefit of seeing every hair on the presenter?!

  12. Mark Edwards Silver badge


    I smell an optician trying to gain some free advertising here. I suffer from bad eyesight (incredibly long sighted in one and partially long sighted in the other) and have no trouble seeing the difference when looking at 1080p streams when compared to lesser formats...

    Boffin because he's wearing specs (why else?)

  13. dervheid

    "Head of Professional Services at Vision Express"

    No sign of a vested interest there then.

    Or perhaps I need to have my eyes tested?

  14. Frank Bough

    Not true

    The POINT of HDTV is not to allow for higher definition pictures at some fixed picture size, it's to allow for LARGER picture sizes without unacceptable image quality deterioration. So, glasses wearers, go ahead and replace your 28" SD CRT with that 46" HD LCD that you've been promising yourself.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Short sighted people at some distance from an object will be unable to see the fine detail!

    What a completely transparent attempt at trying to get some free publicity for vision express and trying to get extra customers through their doors.

  16. Daniel Silver badge


    Lens & glasses retailer in "Your life may not be complete without buying some more of our Product" shocker!!

  17. Bumhug
    Paris Hilton

    Story correction

    High Street optician Vision Express has warned that many people aren’t getting the full adavantage of HD quality telly because their specs, contact lenses or good old unaided peepers aren’t strong enough and should immidiatly pop down to their local Vision Express to see the new range of HD ready glasses and contact lenses.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Freesat HD subscription?

    Is this different to the totally-no-contracts-or-subscriptions Freesat HD that I've heard of?

  19. Anonymous Coward

    So come on down !

    And cough up for an eye test at Vision Express, where we will then proceed to try and flog you two pairs of glasses with a daft two4one offer where you can choose your second pair from the natty grandmother/grandad range.

    Call me cynical

  20. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    HDTV 'pointless'

    I'd say not just "pointless without perfect peepers" but just pointless anyway.

    New, expensive display equipment with DRM built-in.

    New, expensive cables to shuffle the DRM about in.

    New, expensive reception equipment

    New, expensive and additional cost of being able to recieve anything worthwhile in HD anyway (e.g. Blu-Ray, or HD channel subscriptions).

    All to stare at a few more pixels that, from any sensible distance, you can't even spot anyway. Sure, you might think you can but the truth is you were probably never able to and the only reasons it looks different are:

    - Contrast (expensive TV = better contrast = "sharper" image).

    - Interpolation

    - De-interlacing

    - Refresh rates

    - better MPEG compression (HDTV signal = more bandwidth)

    - Flatscreen vs CRT (i.e. better tech in the first place, nothing to do with the number of theoretical pixels)

    - Input sources (Aerial, Composite, S-video, Component, HDMI, all handled by different circuits and cables with different qualities and sources).

    - Larger screen size

    - Downgrading standard SD content on your HD TV (some models actually do this - make SD signals look poorer than an average SDTV could manage with the same signal, in order to make the HD "look good" and save money).

    Do a double-blind scientific test with identical (fair) equipment recieving the same signal in SD and HD (no "better MPEG compression" tricks please, a pure full-pixel signal to both!) side-by-side in the same room from the same distance for a reasonable time at several times of the day (tired eyes see less, etc.). It's almost impossible to do, mainly cos all the HD stuff introduced all sorts of extra enhancements with its introduction (see above) over sheer pixel size and because of the biasing of many models towards HD content.

    But the fact of the matter is that HD on an average setup looks no better to the average person than SD on a similar average setup. You can make a non-HDTV that looks the same or better than a HDTV for the same price using the same signals. Except the fact that the dollar signs won't be rolling in front of your eyes on the HD setup because you blew it all on expensive kit and subscriptions to watch the same programs.

    The *only* advantage of HDTV (specifically referring to a modern implementation of a HDTV standard, not just "a new/expensive TV") that I can see is that you can sensibly plug a real high-res display in (such as a computer signal) and get pixel-perfect representation. In the past, you had to knock things down to 800x600 at stupidly strict refresh rates, or live with the squished image. But this has always been true of computers - standard monitors / laptop screens have always been "HD" because you're never more than a few inches from them. Back in the day, a WinTV card on even a crappy SVGA would look ten times better than any TV you could buy. It's nice to be able to plug a laptop into a unsilly-priced 42" screen and get a pixel-perfect image so you can play silly games in the living room, but from any reasonable distance, you could equally well be using an old TV-out signal on an SDTV without even noticing.

  21. Michael

    Bears deficate in the forest

    Sorry? People with poor eyesight will struggle to see the TV. Amazing.

    People need new prescriptions for their glasses over time? REALLY?

    Stop push adverts and get back to giving us news.

  22. Jimmy Floyd

    Spot on

    Despite the blatantly obvious sales pitch here, the point is perfectly valid. I have 20/20 vision (with my contact lenses in, admittedly!) and a HD film running on a 28" screen is only marginally (repeat: marginally) better than a standard DVD when I'm more than 6 foot away.

    Which is why I laugh at an acquaintance's 48" plasma. The picture is either incredibly pixelated on SD or you have to sit so far back that it appears no better than a SD would do on a smaller screen.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    "Marginal" short sight at "two meters"

    "even a marginally short-sighted person sitting on a sofa watching a couple of metres from an HD TV broadcast may not see the full enhanced image quality."

    I have little to say other than that this sounds like utter bullshit designed only to advertise Vision Express. And the fact that this article has appeared on the Reg proves that it has worked. Suckers!

  24. Greg

    Opticians find reason to go to opticians

    Film at 11...

  25. Geoff Webber


    My eyesight isn't perfect - I need glasses for reading.

    But I can certainly tell the difference between HD / Upscaled SD and SD pictures perfectly well.

    I may not get the full benefit, but i always opt for an HD version of something because it is visibly better than the SD one

  26. Jared Earle
    Dead Vulture

    In other "No Shit Sherlock" news ...

    Q-Tips makers say there's no point in spending money on decent headphones if your ears are full of wax.


    Advertorial disguised as news, anyone?

  27. Anonymous Coward

    This just in from the "no sh1t Sherlock department"

    People with bad eyes can't see a TV properly. Well, yes, that sounds about right...

    What's annoying is they haven't clarified the "2/3s of people who need a new prescription haven't had it yet" - presumably because the new prescription is 0.25 variance and therefore largely irrelevant.

    That and I wear contact lenses 99% of the time (even when I'm asleep) - the prescription has changed by 0.25 and 0.5 respectively. The lenses I get have been changed, but my glasses haven't as it's just not worth the effort or expense. Presumably I'm in that 2/3s category.

  28. DT


    Can't think of any alterior motive of Vision Express reccomending that everyone gets their eyes checked asap.

    20/20 vision is pretty average, just over halfway down the chart.

    Having 20/10 vision is the schizle. HD -24/7.

    Still, can't fault their cynical marketing, doing shit like giving laser surgery prices "per eye".

    Which one eyed individual is going to risk their remaining good eye for the convienience of being monacle free?

  29. nick sciarrotta


    The compression used to bring hd into your home, or store HD on a disc, results in poor color separation and large macro blocks and video artifacts. You can see this by standing close 1-2 feet away from your TV. A far cry from a good viewing experience. As you move further away from the tv, these are less noticeable, giving you the perception of Clear viewing. If your glasses are not up to date, you wil notice the effect even less. Thus able to enjoy video where the darker scenes have no noticable noise.

  30. gabor
    Thumb Down


    So if eyes are not working, you won't see stuff? Really? And what's with this advertising?

    This is the stupidest article I've read on El Reg in a long, long time.

  31. Richard

    Eye test within 12 months?

    It's hardly surprising that such a high proportion hadn't seen the optician in 12 months. Quite a lot of us with glasses get told to come back in 2 years.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Sounds more like the opticians just jumping onto the HDTV bandwagon to get more people through their doors.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Free advertising

    By running this story you have fallen for this opticians bid to obtain free advertising for their products and services - their comments are pretty obvious - if your eyesight is defective then you can't see properly - wow !! I never realised that.

    They do get a couple of name checks in the write-up though - I didn't see that coming - maybe I need to visit Specsavers

  34. Mal Franks
    Paris Hilton


    Eye testing and spectacle manufacturing company says we won't be able to see things very well unless we get an eye test and buy new spectacles. Who'd have thought it?

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    Who is REALLY blind?

    El Reg it seems, as this is clearly an advert for Vision Express..

    Shouldn't this article have the "This is an advertisment" discalimer on it, like in the newspapers? I hope they paid you well.

    You would have to be blind, or own a supermarket HDTV to not see the difference between SD and HD.

  36. Maksim Rukov

    specs criteria

    Most of my TV viewing is of fuzzy DivX movies from BitTorrent. Not really worth donning glasses for them. (Not that I'm complaining, mind, they're still very watchable.)

    Though I do need to grab my specs when it's time for a HD console game. Otherwise I get in trouble for not spotting the terrorist crouching in the dark corner...

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