I may have a camera that can shoot HD, software and a computer that can edit HD, but my SD TV and LD iPod and iTunes is good enough for me.
In an article over at Roughly Drafted, Daniel Eran Dilger argues that Low Definition content will be wildly more popular than HD. LD is what people watch on iPods, what they convert their DVDs to, what whiles away their time on YouTube (and YouPorn).
HD appeals to less people here in the UK. In the US, SD is associated with broadcast TV at a ratio of 4:3. In the UK over 90% of SD broadcast is at 16:9 – widescreen. That means that the vast majority of TVs in the UK are widescreen TVs. The PAL TV standard also has a higher visual resolution (with a lower temporal resolution to make up the difference) than NTSC. It follows that most consumers will not see much difference between a vertical resolution of 525 lines (the 51 remaining lines are used for other stuff) and 720.
Of course as people replace their TVs, they’ll get TVs with chips that can interpret any HD signal. They’ll be scaled onto LCDs and Plasmas of many different resolutions. 95% of the audience won’t see the difference. They certainly won’t see the need to pay extra for HD content when SD is good enough.
720 by 405 24 times a second is enough for almost everyone. The rest aren’t enough to support one HD on shiny discs.