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Welcome to the world of tomorrow

Well, I’ve finally made the leap into the world of hi-def; I now have all the HDs, HDMIs and numbers ending in ‘p’ that a boy could desire thanks to the 40” Samsung M87 LCD sitting proudly in the corner of my living room.

This isn’t something I’ve entered into lightly, either, as it’s been 18 months since I started my search for a flat-panel TV and it has taken so long because I’ve been holding out for an affordable 1080p set (read this if you’re confused by that number). Sure, there have been numerous 1080i sets that have been of high quality, but despite the arguments about the noticeable (or unnoticeable) differences between interlaced and progressive, I’m of the opinion that if I had settled for 1080i then I would have forever kicked myself at the thought of missing out of “true” hi-def.

Monday was the day of truth, and since its arrival I have been nothing but smiles all week.

For the first couple of hours I could only mess around with a tangle of cables and a myriad of settings, but the time invested proved worthwhile and I now have an AV setup at home that would cause a weaker man than I to weep due to its beauty.

The true pride of the setup has to be the Xbox 360 running in full 1080p through a VGA connection. Seeing Viva Piñata running on my new toy for the very first time was really quite shocking; this is a game I’ve stared at every day now for over three years, but booting it up at home in hi-def made it seem like a completely new game. You could see every bump and every papery strand in amazing detail, and the colours were possibly even more eye-watering than I had previously thought.

True, I have had access to a HDTV at work, but that is limited to a small screen with dubious connections, plus, as a friend says, it takes seeing something that you already know to truly appreciate the jump in resolution, size and quality.

Also looking amazing is DiRT, my rally driving purchase from last week, what with its bloom lighting, the high-polygon cars and the generous filters that overlay everything. The first time I tried a race I ended up crashing at several points thanks to the highly crisp trees that lined that track proving too much of a distraction.

Cheekily I’ve also borrowed a HD-DVD player from work and all I can say is that as soon as the format war between blu-ray and HD-DVD is decided, I can’t wait to join the next generation of video discs. All I’ve had access to is King Kong but the wide shots of the jungles and cities could be enough to make anyone put down a deposit on a HDTV right there and then, they’re that good.

Of course not everything is rosy. The Wii is currently looking an absolute mess through its basic connection, but I’m hoping that the component cables currently on their way through the post should sort that out.

And what does Ali think of it, I hear you cry? Well, the first thing she played on it was unsurprisingly Tomb Raider. Not on the 360, oh no. On the PS2. Through composite connections. Not only did I despair at this choice but I can assure you that this setup does not show off the power of the PlayStation.

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