Audio Technology versus Video Technology

Now, I should preface this by admitting that I do not know everything there is to know about video. But I do know some things; I read the trade magazines and forums and scope out various video technologies every so often, so I think my points will be valid, to some extent anyway.

This post was inspired by a casual thought I had that video technologies were objectively better at doing their job than audio technologies. That videophiles didn’t seem to have all these wars over how close XYZ technology was to being objectively real as opposed to being subjectively ‘somewhat like reality’.

But is this really true?

War of the worlds - the original

The idea here is to compare video technology to audio technology in terms of how close they are to reproducing the ‘real thing’.

Both technologies have products that are ‘warm’ (Pioneer Elite, some CRT projectors and I think LCOS as well).

Both technologies have products that are overly detailed (Mitsubishi, some might say DLP as well).

But in the audio world people often build systems for the types of music they like (rock & roll, classical, jazz all have different system profiles and only the best systems can do all genres well), but I am unaware of people designing their video systems to best display specific genres; say sci-fi movies, or love stories, or horror movies. Is this because video technologies all reproduce subject matter objectively so well, that they are way beyond this need to tailor the technology to the subject matter type?

I wonder….

Though they advertise that some of the new LCD display technologies are like ‘looking out a window’, they have not fooled a single person as far as I know (the 102 inch flat panel at CES was really amazing, but it wasn’t REAL. It wasn’t capable of fooling someone). But I have read of several audio demonstrations where people were easily fooled into thinking that the sound came from real musicans and not the stereo system behind the curtain which was really generating the sound.

Are our ears just more easily fooled?

Or is audio just inherently easier to reproduce?

I think that when the day comes that videophiles are arguing about video technologies that fool people into thinking, say, a persons face is real – but fool them in different ways – well, I imagine that day is still a goodly distance in the future.

Will they someday determine that enlarging the red pixels a little and shrinking the blue will make horror movies scarier?

So we audiophiles should be happy (yeah, right) that we have got it pretty darn good. We can reproduce the sound of a guitar, some singers, and most percussion so that it fools people, even people who are skilled listeners.

Not too shabby.