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HDTV brings out Hollywood's wrinkles

I love high-definition television.

But then, I'm not an aging actress whose wrinkles are suddenly going to be coming into American living rooms unimpeded. Nor, for that matter, am I 76-year-old Clint Eastwood, whose unambiguous septuagenarian chicken-neck -- courtesy of HDTV -- now becomes a sociopolitical statement (i.e. Integrity is truth, truth integrity).

I've only had true HDTV for a few months now, but it truly is a wonder -- especially when you're watching sporting events, like today's blissful orgy of NFL playoffs (3 p.m., Ch. 29 Chicago vs. New Orleans; 6:30 p.m. Ch. 4, New England vs. Indianapolis). Not only can you see every tiny droplet dripping from, say, Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman's slashed index finger but, when the Goodyear blimp is up there doing its work, every member of the crowd is a tiny, individuated dot, not just part of a big, pointillistically blurred throng.

But then, every technological advance I've welcomed into my living room has been -- along with everything else -- a new way for me to watch football.

When I finally broke down many years ago to buy my first color set (a dandy Zenith), it was because I wanted to see the Super Bowl in color, just like the rest of my fellow forward-thinking Americans. That was long before anyone thought it was a good idea to have Justin Timberlake rip Janet Jackson's clothes off at halftime.

Now, with true HDTV and a decent-sized screen and a DVR to boot, I can not only be sure when a wide receiver has stepped out of bounds, but during the season I can see two games at once and switch back and forth.

You may not think this ode to new high-definition television technology all that big a deal. But it is when, say, you're watching a football game.

Or, as I did last week, watched my first awards show, the Golden Globes, in HDTV. It was at that point that I suddenly understood what a neurotic and vain aging actor or actress might have to fear from the new technology.

If, say, an older performer hasn't had a makeup team working on them for as many hours as it takes to botox them for a movie camera, we casual watchers in our living rooms are going to get a bracing blast of visual reality. We're going to see, courtesy of digital technology, more of some faces and hairlines (right down to the follicles) than we generally see of next door neighbors.

Under such circumstances, of course, it's the serious actors and actresses -- and the Eastwoods who fare best. Every crease and blotch and wrinkle and misplaced sparse hair is like a sigh of relief: "Thank God my career isn't dependent on youth and glamour."

High-definition television is a whole new way of looking at award shows in award-show season.

You can see what poor souls have virtually had a surgical team and an army of designers and jewelers standing by for weeks before they risked a Red Carpet sashay, and who just stepped out of their limo with a half-baked "aw what the hell" grin and all 25 thinning hairs on their scalps going in 25 different directions.

Just another reason that it was rather a pity that Jack Nicholson didn't win a Golden Globe award.

Then again, if he got home and played the show back on his high-definition television and watched his old buddy Warren Beatty receive his lifetime achievement award in slow-motion, he could be sure of one thing about his old girl-hunting pal: Dorian Gray, he's not . . .


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