Depth perception of HD TV vs B&W

Close to 20 years ago, I remember sitting on the couch watching an old episode of The Twilight Zone in black & white with my Dad on broadcast TV. I remember sitting there amazed at how clean the picture was, and how the image had such an incredible sense of depth.

Last night I watched A Christmas Vacation on DVD with an HD TV and again noticed that same clean, deep visual sensation, almost 3D in a way.

How is it that a broadcast show, viewed 20 years ago on a very plain TV was able to achieve that quality? I remember at the time viewing it and wanting to ask my Dad what was up, but unable to put it into words.

Any ideas? I seem to recall this a few times with B&W viewing.

In the second season of The Twilight Zone some episodes were shot on video instead of on film. Was the episode you saw one of these? They were; Twenty-Two, Static, The Whole Truth, The Lateness of the Hour, Night of the Meek, and Long Distance Call.

These have a different quality and depth of field that make them look quite distinctive from the others.

Here’s “The Whole Truth” (in Spanish) for the posters who are wondering about the effect. They used videotape as a cost cutting measure. I watched it a while back on a regular CRT TV and the effect was noticeable on it as well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFojSdD-AdM