Blind as a Brit

As Mark Twain (and other others) have noted, “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

Blu-ray looks a zillion times better than DVD, right? Are all of those British viewers blind, or are we asking the wrong questions?

Even though early July is an entirely appropriate time for former colonists to make fun of the former empire, this dig at the UK comes entirely from a UK website. According to a survey commissioned by some outfit called MyVoucherCodes, 39% of UK residents claim they can’t tell any difference between DVD and Blu-ray images. Say what?

Digging a little deeper, the numbers get even worse. Fully 81% don’t own a Blu-ray player or disc, perhaps because 53% say Blu-ray discs are overpriced. Those select few who actually own a Blu-ray player or disc, on average, own only three Blu-ray discs while (adding insult to injury) 82% of them own more than 70 DVDs and 38% say they own more than 100 DVDs. Clearly, six years after its launch, Blu-ray is not registering with Brits. Can it be true? Can they really not see the difference?

Well, we’ll never know the answer to that question, at least not from this survey. That’s because the survey never bothered to ask those being polled (and we all know just how uncomfortable that can be) whether or not they own a high-def TV. If you’re watching a standard-def TV, it’s entirely understandable that DVD would look a lot like Blu-ray. Other wild cards include the screen size they are viewing, and how far away they are sitting. In other words, the 39% figure — if not busted — is suspect, at best.

If there’s a lesson to be learned from this, it’s that polls are only as good as their questions. Something to ponder as the colonies enter another election season.

On the other hand, the Brits insist on called elevators “lifts.” I’m sorry. There is just no excuse for that.