WASHINGTON, DC—In the most dramatic leap in television technology since the advent of color in the 1950s, on Monday the FCC approved a 10-year plan to shift to digital, high-definition TV, technology which will make barely watchable crap far sharper and more detailed than ever before.
"This is a monumental breakthrough," said Magnavox vice-president Gene Kalman, demonstrating a prototype of the new HDTV. "This atrocious episode of Sliders almost looks like it will leap off the screen, and it wasn't even shot in the new format."
The first generation of the format, Sony's "TV-H," will be available in U.S. stores as early as this fall. Though the $2,500 price tag makes crystal-clear viewing of intelligence-insulting swill possible only for the very well-off, prices are expected to drop dramatically in the next five years.
"By the year 2005," said Bob Rowell, president of the American Association of Broadcasters, "90 percent of American homes will watch their favorite mind-numbing swill on a high-definition TV."
"Soon, your children will be able to watch shrill, grating Hanna-Barbera re-runs on the Cartoon Network with a degree of crispness unheard of when you first watched that crap in the '70s," Rowell said. "And those whose lives are so empty that each Thursday night they actually watch all of NBC's so-called 'Must-See-TV' lineup will be amazed at the clarity and resolution with which all those stupid people's apartments come through."
Promised Rowell: "When you see the episode of Martin in which the computer dating service matches Martin up with his neighbor Sheneneh, his grotesque and profoundly unfunny mugging will come through with a resolution unimagined on traditional TVs."
Stupid, inane commericals will also look amazingly deep and dimensional when viewed in the new format. The digital sound system will also greatly enhance their intrusive, overloud quality.
"That kid with the Southern accent on the grape-juice ad will look like you can almost reach out and strangle him," Rowell said.
In addition, recent big-budget movies like Independence Day and Eraser will soon be available in HDTV digital-cassette format, which manufacturers promise will offer an experience comparable to shaking your head and thinking, "This sucks," in an actual movie theater.
Top videogame manufacturers, including Nintendo and Sega, are already developing new systems on which consumers will be able to play astonishingly crisp, ultra-realistic versions of the same old stupid videogame in which two guys pound the shit out of each other.
Designed with an eye to the future, HDTVs will be also able to accomodate yet-to-be-unveiled cable-TV systems, which promise to bring more than 1,000 channels of unwatchable tripe into the home.
"We have seen the future," FCC chair Reed Hundt said, "and it is sharp. And it is crap."