I have a longer post coming on Friday, but I found this today (thanks to Consumerist) and thought it deserved a mention.
It’s the HD VISION ULTRAS (in all caps because the guy in the video is yelling and because…well…it’s an infomercial). Imagine if the whole world was in HD and the only thing holding you back from appreciating the full vibrancy of color and clarity was your darned old eyes! Note: if you’re a blind person, then actually yeah, the only thing holding you back is your darned old eyes, but we all know that blind people wear glasses to hide their cloudy white eyeballs from everyone, not so they can see. If you’re a normal (non-blind) person though, your eyes are getting in the way of clarity and color and stuff! The solution is at hand! Wear these cheap-ass glasses and the world will be presented to you in HD! Just like a TV! But don’t take our word for it, listen to these testimonials!
“It’s like wow, there’s no glare involved, it’s amazing. HD quality” – Having Difficulty Processing How Douchey This Guy Is, He Even Has The Livestrong Bracelet For God’s Sake
The all caps narrator goes on to tell you that other glasses just make things darker, but his actually enhance clarity. Douchey Guy comes back on, announcing that he can see how blue the ocean is, the sky, he can see every cloud, and that it really is incredible. Just to clarify, these glasses allow you to correctly identify the color blue in more than one shade, and also do not render clouds invisible. Bust out the credit cards.
Now the narrator points out that other glasses cost 100, 200, up to 300 dollars, and they don’t have HD lenses! These are only $19.99! Now, there are a few concessions to be made here.
Yes, $20 is cheap for UV protected sunglasses. Yes, there are certain conditions (skiing in flat light) where a lens makes an incredible difference in visibility. I ski with a Sensor Mirror lens from Smith Optics and it is amazing. Yes, polarized lenses cut glare, which is awesome for fishing, sailing, skiing, etc. And yes, there are yellow lenses for shooting and driving that create sharper edges and thus the illusion of more clarity.
But they do not enhance anything. The only thing a lens can do is let less light through. The lens I mentioned before is a pink lens with a blue mirror coating, so the blue light is blocked and the world appears pinker. There’s not as much pink light in the world of gray and white snow as there is blue, so there’s more contrast to be seen if you can cut out some of the blue. See how that works? Polarizing lenses block light waves that are vibrating in a certain direction (it’s complicated). UV blocking lenses cut most UV out to protect your eyes. And all lenses (including the ones advertised, despite what they say) block some visual light. You can tell because you can’t see the douche brigade’s eyes. The point is that there is no way to create a lens that doesn’t block light in some way or another, and there is absolutely no way to create a lens that puts more color into your eye than the world put into the other side of the lens in the first place.
Finally, they are not HD. HD, in terms of TVs, means 1920 x 1280 pixels, or about 2 megapixels. If any of you have bought a camera ever, you know that’s pretty bush league by current standards. Not only that but it is way below what the human eye can actually process. Without going into detail (this guy does if you’re really that interested), a rough estimate is that if you could take a snapshot of your entire field of vision in the resolution that you see it in, it’d be about 576 megapixels. If these glasses actually brought you down to HD, you’d be fucking pissed.
Besides, even ignoring all the science, do you really want to trust the testimonials of people who are all testing glasses by looking directly into the sun (look back at the screenshots, they totally are)? Didn’t think so.