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HDTV - Deja Vu All Over Again

Aug 17, 2007
HDTV will be a greater leap in the quality of the home entertainment experience than even the change from black-and-white TV to color, or Hi-Fi to Stereo, or AM to FM. HDTV, in addition to picture and sound will also deliver data services, such as electronic program guides or information related to the programs you watch. Local broadcast stations broadcasting in HD will be able to broadcast one extra high quality picture, or several separate camera angles equal to today's pictures. HDTV will offer the opportunity to develop sophisticated services that meet consumer demand for flexibility and convenience.

HD will be presented in a 16:9 format and will allow resolutions up to 1940x1080 plus provide you with twice the amount of picture information both vertically and horizontally. It will not work on regular analog televisions since these sets don't support the interfaces required for HDTV signals.
After February 17th of 2009 local analog TV channels will stop transmitting, everything else connected to your analog TV will continue to work.


By the time HDTV is wide spread, high-definition movies will be on the shelves, playable on Blu-ray, HD DVD or both, depending on which way the format wars go. When you switch over to HD, you may need to connect your HD set-top box, Blu-ray or HD DVD player to your TV using a HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) cable. Both Blu-ray and HD DVD are compatible with existing standard DVD, so you can play your current discs on a next-gen player, but the two competing formats are not compatible with each other. It's a bit of a laugh if you are old enough to remember the 'Beta-Max VHS Wars', Beta you say?


What problems are facing the early adopters of this new technology and what caveats remain for it to become mainstream? The people buying HDTV units today are known as "early adopters". They usually buy whatever is the 'Latest & Greatest' especially in the Hi-Tech field. Other consumers will have to be sold on the technology. A huge number of older television sets will instantly become obsolete and when their owners make plans to replace them, newer technology like HDTV as it exists at the time of the mass conversion will be very attractive. You can bet that there will be a market for 'conversion hardware' to enable the use of 'analog' sets with the new HD Broadcast Technology. If you now record off-air local TV shows on your VCR you will not be able to continue doing that after February 17th of 2009 without an upgrade. To continue recording local TV programs you will either have to connect a Digital to Analog TV Converter box to your VCR or purchase a different TV recording device that has a DTV tuner built in. You'll need that to continue to record programs from local TV stations after February 17th of 2009. The advent of Tivo will eventually make the VCR question irrelevant.

While the prices of HDTV sets are dropping, the High Definition equivalents of many of the complimentary technologies that we've come to expect will remain relatively expensive, such as home recording and storage media. The HD DVD and Blu-ray war is another slow down in bringing High Definition technology into the mainstream. In reality the main distinctions between competing HD formats will be virtually unnoticeable unless you are viewing on a screen 55"+ in size.


In cities across the nation stations have already begun broadcasting an HDTV signal, receivable with an antenna. In order to receive over-the-air digital and HD signals, you need a tuner and a digital antenna. In order to watch local network affiliates, some satellite customers may have to switch from their dish to an antenna. To receive HDTV via antenna you'll need: An HDTV, HDTV tuner, HDTV antenna. Depending on your location you may need an antenna rotor to point the antenna to multiple broadcast towers.

A major hurdle to overcome with over-the-air HD broadcasts via Antenna is, the technology has to overcome the 'consumers' misperceptions and long held myths, combined with lack of knowledge about the capabilities of antennas. The solution to the Antenna/Satellite conversion question may have a more long term effect on the consumer response than the seemingly obvious debate in other hardware.
Note: HDTV tuners that come built-into many HDTVs are over-the-air tuners for use with an antenna and cannot be used as your cable HD tuner.

Local Response

It's always a good idea to check with your local TV dealer regarding what HDTV services are available in your area before buying. It would even be a good idea to call your local TV stations and ask for the Chief Engineer to find out the stations' particulars.

The cable industry believes that HDTV will drive DTV sales up and bring prices down to a where more consumers can buy.
I'm looking at a DLP Projector System now; capable of displaying HD and allowing connections for an HDTV Tuner. Perhaps HDTV will be my next acquisition.
About the Author
Webmaster of Informational Sites and Blogs since 2000
C R Ellsworth is retired from Corporate America and living in the 'Great Northwoods'
Wireless Home Theatre Systems
Flyfish For Less
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