How High Is Your Definition?
The increasing popularity of crystal-clear broadcasts in American TV has indicated that HDT has arrived and here to stay. Analog TV shift to an all-digital system herald a new dawn in the 65-year history of television. Hours of HDTV content are already available every night. Viewers can easily determine if a show is presented in HDTV if the message “Presented in high definition where available” is shown in the beginning of a program.
Basics of HDTV:
HDTV- a new type of television that combines an HDTV tuner and HD-capable display. Almost all of HDTV’s available in the market use the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. An HDTV tuner can receive analog and digital over-the-air broadcasts.
HDTV-ready TV- features only the high-resolution display and can only receive digital broadcasts if connected with a separate HDTV tuner. HDTV-ready TVs can have the 16:9 widescreen ratio or the square like 4:3 aspect ratio.
Choosing the right shape of a TV is important in the HDTV experience. A 4:3 screen will be advisable if a considerable amount of local and network dominate programming and these is a low number of over-the-air or cable HDTV programming in your TV market area.
However, with the arrival of new technology also calls for viewers to adapt to the situation. Those still using TV sets purchased nearly a decade ago will not be able to get the most out of the HDTV experience. For this you need to have a tuner to receive and decode HDTV signals from a source, and a high-quality screen that can reproduce the outstanding details and colors from an HDTV broadcast.
The chief reason why HDTV pictures look considerably clearer and crisper than normal TV is due to the higher resolution of HD. Normal TV pictures only have 480 lines of vertical resolution, while the most common HDTV’s have 1,080-line interlaces scan and 720-line progressive scan. The best analog quality that can be offered by analog TV is 480i, which in contract is the lowest quality signal in digital TV.
Getting started in HDTV is not as expensive like in the past few years, as prices of tuners and HDTVs continue to drop but the quality of products are constantly improving.
To help you maximize your HDTV setups without breaking the bank here are some tips to avoid costly mistakes and help you enjoy HDTV at its best.
Finding HDTV broadcasts within your area
Over-the-air-broadcasts: Nearly 1,500 local station across the US are transmitting Digital TV signals today. About 90% of digital station broadcasts are made in the UHF range an these can be accessed with the use of a normal UHF antenna. For this scenario you need:
- HD-compatible TV
- HDTV tuner- some are already built in an HDTV
- Outdoor or indoor UHF antenna
- The HDTV broadcasts in your area (of course!)
Nearly all cable companies in the US offer HDTV service to their subscribers (especially those living the major cities and TV markets). Digital cable will offer more channels and the picture quality of broadcasts will be noticeably more crisp. However, consumers must always remember that “digital cable” is different from HDTV via cable. For this setup you need the following:
- HD-compatible TV
- HD-compatible cable box
- HD programming from cable company
Digital Satellite TV:
HDTV via satellite is available for those living the US and has a clear view of the sky. In short, this service is available almost everywhere. HDTV channels are already available from the top satellite TV providers DIRECTV and the DISHNetwork. Those lucky enough to live in major cities can even get local stations in HD via satellite. For this setup you need:
- HD-compatible TV
- HD-compatible satellite dish
- HD-compatible satellite receiver
- HD programming
Once you start to enjoy HDTV, going back to normal TV is likely not anymore an option. The crystal-clear viewing experience becomes addictive and anything less becomes mediocre. Many HDTV viewers have become impatient towards the slow growth in the number of compatible programming available.
However, HDTV will receive a boost from the introduction of the Blu-ray and HD DVD within the next twelve months. These new formats will enable HDTV viewers to watch and enjoy high-definition versions of their favorite movies for as long as they want.