Now with more digital quality…

“Digital Quality”

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
–Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride

This blog comes to you in digital quality. You know it’s gotta be quality because it’s digital… right? I mean, DirectTV is digital quality… then again, this is digital quality. And this, this and … this

But digital quality … really has no meaning. Whatsoever. MP3s are digital but a lower quality than CDs (which are also digital) … but are also lower quality than an LP. Yup, your Dad’s record collection will sound better then your MP3 collection (unless the CD you ripped your MP3 from was digitally remastered, which is a whole ‘nother deal).

This is especially the case when heavy compression is involved — like when Direct TV crams 4 channels into the same bandwidth as one ‘premium’ channel in order to offer you more channels then you can count, or even watch. Or when Apple sells you an AAC file that’s nowhere near the quality of that same track on a CD… for about the same price (start buying when they offer lossless though). Or how about Tivo — it records in digital quality… but must heavily compresses the files to achieve their bloated “80 hours of recording time” figures. While watching live TV (through my Tivo) I would occasionally switch to straight TV (analog cable) — the improvment was palpable.

So the next time anyone (especially a salesman) tells you it’s digital quality, ask them what that means exactly. They are sure to use fun terms like ‘blistering sound,’ ‘lifelike picture,’ and ‘enhanced viewing experience.’ Be sure to smile and nod! Then ask them how reducing a continously varying analog signal to a series of 1s and 0s makes things more lifelike, blistering, or enhanced. It sure makes it more convienient, but convienince has always been an enemy of quality! 😉

Note: Not that I’m anti-digital or anything. I’ve quite a digital guy, I’m just sick of companies lying to consumers in the name of greed.


Leave a Reply