Tech Mashup (tech blog)

HDTV – Once you see it…..

By: Tim Coles
By: Tim Coles

Ok so by now most people in the US know that HD will be the only format distributed to homes starting in 2009. This was a decision that our lawmakers decided a while back. I personally think its a great decision...

Ok so by now most people in the know that HD will be the only format distributed to homes starting in 2009. This was a decision that our lawmakers decided a while back.  I personally think its a great decision, not because I am in the broadcast industry but because I love technology. Once you have experienced HD you will want to watch all of your programming in it.  I compare it to watching a movie on a DVD at home to watching that same movie in a theater.  The difference is obvious.

“By law, full-power television stations nationwide must switch from the old method of transmitting TV signals known as analog to digital television (DTV) on February 17, 2009. DTV is an innovative new type of broadcasting technology that delivers movie-quality pictures and sound, more channels, and even high definition television (HDTV) to consumers with HD television sets.”
Source: http://dtvanswers.com/

What does this mean for most households in Kentucky ?  If you have cable, satellite or have an HD TV(with a built in receiver) nothing because you will not be effected.  The people who have an analog TV set and receive their signal via rabbit ears(antenna – for those under 30 years of age) are the ones who will be effected.   So what happens to this group of viewers?  You have couple of choices, get cable, satellite, or upgrade to an HDTV that has internal receiver.  The other option is to get a government voucher to get a receiver that down converts HD to analog.  You can link to the site to learn about the converter box coupon program(www.dtv2009.gov).

"We estimate there are 13 million households in the that use an antenna or rabbit ears," said Elaine Myada, spokeswoman for the Department of Commerce's Web site www.dtv2009.gov.

Instead of telling you a bunch of things you can get from other web sites let’s talk about what they won’t tell you.  All of the links you need are listed below and they extremely informative. 

Do you really need an HDTV?  NO, and most people are going to be satisfied with their analog TVs.  If you have cable or satellite their receivers will down convert the signal to work on an analog TV.  I own a LCD HD TV and I LOVE it.  Did I need it, no but being in this industry it helps to understand the technology and to be able talk with my clients about it.  That’s what I told my wife.  The programming that really highlights HD is sports.  Watch NCAA basketball(GO WILDCATS!), NASCAR, Kentucky Derby or any sport and you will see how superior it is over analog TV.  I found myself watching hockey one night because it was the only program in HD.  Trust me I am not a hockey fan but the picture looked great. 

Do you have to convince your wife that upgrading is worth it? Have you seen the Chase Bank commercial where the wife is watching an old TV and it finally goes out and she gives her husband permission to go out and get a new TV?  You will know it the next time you see it because of the background music; “I want it all, yeah yeah”.  That is what I felt like when my wife said we had it in our budget to get an HDTV.  If you’re like most men who have to get permission, here is the secret to getting them to say yes.  See if you can arrange to have the store where you want to buy the TV to have ice-skating or a female oriented show playing.  Bring your wife to the store and let her see what her programming will look like.  It will work in most cases.  For the wives that are harder to convince then I would resort to bribes, diamonds or a vacation are recommended.  It works in government why not use it on our spouses.  For those of you that have wives who like sports programming, God bless you.  For the rest of us we need to resort to negotiating and lobbying to get an HDTV.  If you are a women and you are going to have to convince your husband that you need an HDTV I don’t have any advice.  You have bigger issues than HDTV.

Will HD change your life?  No, it will lighten your wallet a little, but if you can afford it I say go for it.  I love technology and because the average TV user consumes about 8 hours a TV a day it only makes sense to watch the best equipment. 

When you’re ready to buy! The prices have dropped dramatically and they are going to continue to drop. If you do decide to buy an HD TV make sure you do your homework.  Understand the terminology or talk to the people who can give you the best advice.  Your decision should come down to the following requirements; screen size, resolution, flat screen vs. rear projection and price. 

If price is not a factor then get the biggest screen you can for the room you’re putting the TV in.  Rule of thumb: if you have to move your head back and forth to see the whole screen, your TV is to big for the room.

Resolution is important and the minimum HD monitor you can get is 720p, I have a hard time telling the difference between 720p, 1080i and 1080p.  Rule of thumb: buy the highest resolution as your budget will allow. 

Flat screen (LCD & Plasma) vs. rear projection; once again it comes down to preference.  The biggest thing that you will see is price difference.  You will be able to buy a bigger TV if you buy a Rear Projection.  The one big drawback that I have heard from professionals for a rear projection screen is the life of the bulb.  From what I have read it has a three to five year life.  The LCD and Plasma have a much longer screen life, plasmas boast a 60,000 life.  Let’s do the math; if we watched 8 hours of television each day the plasma would last roughly 20 years.  As stated before, do your homework and find someone who is knowledgeable about HD technology.

I look forward to hearing your feedback and comments.  Below are some links that I think you will be interested in.  If you have more links please share them with the rest of the readers.

Links
https://www.dtv2009.gov/

http://dtvanswers.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-definition_television

http://www.engadgethd.com/tag/switchover/

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