* Do tell your TV you have an hdmi cable box. I originally was watching the HD channels through the TV input which not only explained why I wasn't seeing a huge difference in picture quality, but why the picture wasn't automatically adjusting to fit my screen.
* It all depends on the signal or if the show is, in fact, HD. I was watching an old episode of SG1 on SciFi's HD channel and other then it was nicely 6:9 ratio and blown up to fit the screen, I didn't see any big difference in the picture quality. A few hours later I caught a repeat showing of this week's SGA and big difference in the picture quality. At the point it dawned on me that SGA, filmed months ago, was shot in HD, the ep of SG1 from ten years ago was not. It also explains why the network programing (NBC, ABC, FOX, etc) seems hit and miss. Shockingly, our broadcast PBS affiliate, which normally sucks, has an awesome HD channel. I watched a Lifehouse concert this afternoon (No comments! I like Lifehouse!) and it was almost like being there.
* I have Universal HD which means I get to watch BSG's 'Act of Contrition' tonight in HD. Woo! Sort of. While Universal has a pretty decent signal, it could be better. I'm getting some pixelating and graininess. I know that's the fault of the HD box and the TV having to translate and reproduce the signal. (I read about all that.) Also, as raislak reminded me, there have been issues with Comcast compressing signals more than they should and, therefore, we aren't necessarily getting true HD.
* You can record HD. In HD or not in HD, I was thrilled to discover that Universal HD is rerunning the U.S. version of Touching Evil. I tried recording the ep to see what would happen and, bless my little DVR, it translated the signal to a normal digital signal.
* Do nott always do what the cable company tells you to do. When I spoke to costumer service earlier in the week, the guy told me I "may or may not have to call" to have Comcast send a signal to the new box to activate it. Both women I spoke to at the Comcast office told me I would have to call an 800 number to have Comcast activate the box. Well, after I hooked up the new box and turned on the TV I did get an error message on screen. But I also noticed stations were loading behind the message. I decided just to give it a minute or so to see what would happen. Eventually, I got a picture and when I tried the HD channels they, slowly, revealed themselves. I figured, great, I can save myself a call. After straightening out the settings on the TV, I ran through all the cable channels last night to see what I had and to mark favorites. I suddenly realized I was watching Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, and The Movie Channel. I only subscribe to HBO. I'm thinking that because I didn't call Comcast, the box just loaded all the signals it was receiving. When will Comcast catch this? Normally, I'm a pretty honest person, but I am paying for cable, including stations I don't want to get ones I do want, and the box and that is all quite a chunk of change so I'm thinking I'll just see how long I get away with this. ;)
I've pretty much been playing with the cable and TV all day only to be interrupted by sleep, since I ended up waking up at 5:45am (catching the end of 'Crossroads Pt 2' in HD and then the movie Invincible), going back to sleep at 8:00am, and then getting up to watch more TV, eat, and talk with my mother who I'm going to see tomorrow, but has to tell me what she was going to tell me tomorrow today. Not that I'm bitter. ;)
Now I think I'm going to pick up this dump a bit, color all the grey hairs, and perhaps see about getting the very long overdue recap of the Razor podcast done.
Since I'm speaking of BSG, Universal has moved up the release date of Season 3 on DVD to March 18th.
Also, a reminder that Season 2 of Torchwood premieres on BBC America at 9:00pm est tonight. I'm not really a fan of the show (to put it mildly), but I'm curious about a few things in the premiere.